Monday, July 11, 2011

Top 5 movies for a mini Film Festival

List by Danielle

'Well, not to worry, child: It's good news. There's a tall, handsome beast in your future.'
~ Coraline (2009)

Between the ticket price, and the babysitting - and the general inertia that sets in on a winter evening, after the kids are in bed - I don't get out to see a lot of movies. And sometimes I just need to be reminded how great movies are, and how varied, and how full of unexpected delights.

This year, as Tosca and I discussed what the Auckland Libraries' tweetstream might celebrate movie-wise, when neither of us were planning to attend more than 1 Film Festival movie at most, I had a very delayed brain wave. Auckland Libraries: we stock movies. And many of those very same movies have played in previous Film Festivals. And I haven't seen most of them.

Why not hold my own mini Film Festival??? Think of it - the ticket price is more manageable, and not only can I choose when and where I watch it, I can make sure everyone's turned off their cellphone! WIN-WIN. Now, I'm not knocking the real Film Festival, the brochure each year fills me with wistful, vicarious movie-watching delight and anticipation. But if you're strapped for time and cash, why not take a look at what your library has to offer?

This film festival is so miniature, I've decided to concentrate on 1-word movies. There are plenty of other worthy ex-Festival movies on the shelves with longer titles, believe me: I recently watched Cell 211, a Spanish suspense movie set during a prison riot, and it was excellent, with a couple of great lead performances, and lots of twists and turns.

Moscow, 1981; Sergueï Grigoriev is a colonel in the KGB who has become so disullusioned with the regime running his country that he decides to bring down the system. He makes contact with Pierre Froment, a young French engineer and begins to provide him with sensitive information that soon attracts the attention of the US intelligence services.
Based on the novel Bonjour Farewell by Serguei Kostine.

I like a good spy movie, and the history sounds really interesting too - the Film Festival archive refers to this as "An extraordinary but little-known episode in international espionage...".

At the sixtieth birthday party of a Danish patriarch, his oldest son reveals a family secret that contributed to his twin sister's suicide.

The first film to be created under the intriguingly harsh Dogme 95 film rules, which include the use of only natural sound and props already existing in the locations used. I've seen films 2 and 3 ('The Idiots' and 'Mifune'), and adored 'Mifune', in particular. The Wikipedia page for 'Mifune' includes the director's confession regarding certain moral transgressions against the Dogme rules, including 'I confess to helping to chase the neighbour's free-range hens across our location and including them in the film.'

A young girl walks through a secret door that she has found in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. On the surface, this parallel reality is eerily similar to her real life, but much better. When her adventure turns dangerous, and her counterfeit parents, including the Other Mother, try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home - and save her family.
Based on the book by Neil Gaiman.

I've never read the book, though I'm a Gaiman fan, and different groups of friends gave the film mixed reviews. You know that thing, where people tell you a film's no good, but you don't entirely trust that you like the same kinds of movies? Finally, I'll be able to see for myself!

Terrified that their children will become contaminated by the outside world, a desperate husband and wife ban their offspring from leaving their isolated country estate... but when the first seeds of rebellion are sown, there is no stopping the revolution.

This is sitting on my desk as I write! According to the back, the Times calls it '...brilliant, dark and disconcertingly funny', and it looks wonderfully weird. It reminds me of a book I read as a teenager, The house in the country by Jose Donoso, a Chilean slice of magical realism about a multi-generational family living in their own private kingdom.

When several friends on a yachting trip become stranded by a storm, they discover a deserted ocean liner and after climbing aboard they find they are not really alone.

Two stars on our catalogue, but seriously, I never can pass up a scary movie set on board a ship or a boat. I've been let down a lot, but somehow this particular meme gets me coming back again and again. Recommended: Jaws, Deep Rising, Below. Do not watch: Ghost Ship.


Kelly M said...

wish I had seen your 'don't watch' of ghost ship before I actually saw it many moons ago....uurrggh!

Danielle said...

I know!!! Ships! With ghosts! What could go wrong with that?! how could it be SO BORING?! But honestly, the title and that poster (ship + ghostly skull) were so keyed into my obsessive need to watch scary nautical movies that I probably would have watched it anyway. Two (skeletal) thumbs down!