What To Watch: Imagine Film Festival 2013

What To Watch: Imagine Film Festival 2013

Apr 10, 2013 |  by  |  Art, Event
About the author
Born and raised in this amazing city, Steven (25) remembers quite vividly the first film that as a young boy got him addicted to cinema: The Neverending Story. And it really is a never-ending story, his grand film study has gone on ever since. Since then his taste has extended beyond such a fantasy coming-of-age film and will now guide you to what to see and what to skip.

What To Watch Thursday is Overdose’s weekly film concept: every Thursday – which traditionally is première night in cinemas across Amsterdam – we’ll review what is definitely worth your while. Our main goal is to shield you from horrible films and wasting your precious time. In the process we will try and give you as much in-depth background as possible, without spoiling anything!

Anticipation: The 29th edition of the Imagine Film Festival just had its official opening night, with Danny Boyle‘s new adrenalin-packed film Trance. Until April 17 the festival will offer an extensive range of genres, with particular attention for cult/horror/sci-fi cinema. The official Overdose guide to this geek galore is here; ten films you should definitely watch at this years festival.

The Grandmaster

Appreciation: It’s Wong Kar-Wai‘s 10th feature, enough reason to go see The Grandmaster. He’s probably the most acclaimed Asian director of our time and any film he’s involved with is no less than awe-inspiring. The Grandmaster is his martial arts, star-packed tale about the infamous Ip Man, the guy who trained Bruce Lee. Best known for In The Mood For Love, the ever eye-catching Tony Leung returns here in yet another Kar-Wai film. Five years in the making, this film is a somewhat disappointing attempt to a martial arts production. Nonetheless, the grandmaster of Asian cinema is definitely working his magic here. Most notable is the great acting and the fact that it looks stunning! Laden with ambition and cool ideas, this film, however, keeps its audience at arms length and its pace a little bit on the slow side.
Length: 130 min.
Verdict: Perhaps not the greatest introduction to Kar-Wai’s amazing oeuvre, but The Grandmaster is a very stylistic and unique approach to the Martial arts genre.

Gangs of Wasseypur (I + II)

Appreciation: It’s sufficient to say that Bollywood and Indian cinema in general have a pretty bad name in European art house circuits. Unless it’s Danny Boyle directing, who staked his claim for British director of the moment with the horribly overrated Bollywood-inspired Slumdog Millionaire, you’ll probably never see most of the films from Indian soil. Recently fierce Indian film laws were relaxed a little and I suppose Gangs of Wasseypur is a result of that. With it’s 320 minutes, divided in two parts, this film is rather lengthy and a little repetitive. But it s one hell of a ride; gritty, powerful and epic! Not to mention the amazing and inventive eclectic score. Definitely worth seeing back to back, but make sure to catch at least one part!
Length: 320 min.
Verdict: This is the coolest (Indian) thing you’ll see all year. Epic and violent: this is Indian’s homage to The Godfather.

American Mary

Appreciation: Canadian twin directors Jen and Sylvia Soska return with yet another weird and disconcerting horror film. This second feature tells the tale of beautiful and sassy underground surgeon Mary (Katharine Isabelle), who decides to start doing illegal surgery to make some extra bucks. Her work becomes increasingly popular in a community of extreme body modification fanatics. Of course she ends up working for shady people and doing some despicable things, but while Mary’s money trouble might be over, the real trouble seems to be just starting. American Mary is a pretty effective horror-thriller, but there’s more to it than meets the eye and in the end it leaves viewers with plenty to contemplate.
Length: 88 min.
Verdict: Very ambitious – if somewhat flawed – horror with a great female lead.

Rurôni Kenshin

Appreciation: This popular Japanese animé adaptation amounts to a friendly and decent samurai film. It has its roots in animé, so expect a lot of quirkiness and over-the-top characters. However, the cinematography and especially the fighting choreography make up for a great deal. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the more hysterical and extremely weird Japanese sense of humour, even in a brilliant film like 13 Assassins there’s always the rather annoying comical relief. I suppose Japanese audiences like that, and much of the same can be expected with this film. Despite all this the look and feel of this film is very much on point. Note, however, that the director probably aimed for a PG 13 rating, which explains the cuteness of it all.
Length: 134 min.
Verdict: Simply put is Rurôni Kenshin a rewarding Samurai film. It looks great but can be a little goody-goody and quirky.

Six other suggestions, that I haven’t seen, but certainly look good on paper:

This Korean fantasy by Jo Sung-Hee: A Werewolf Boy.
The Evil Dead remake that apparently needed to happen, but then again why not: Evil Dead.
This subversive horror, playing mostly on illusions, and accompanied by some Tom Waits: Resolution.
An adrenalin shot of a film by Danny Boyle and it’s stellar cast: Trance.
The quirky, ironic and gory zombie tale John Dies at the End .
And finally, this new film by Neil Jordan: Byzantium.

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