Sunday, February 22, 2009

JDIFF Update Part Deux...

I decided this weekend to really go for it and have a film festival binge so kicked things off by going to see Cherrybomb – a fairly entertaining teens-gone-bad tale set in Belfast. It’s stylishly shot and contains some excellent performances, although I’ll never be able to watch Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) in the same light again….

I followed that up with Genova, which stars Colin Firth as a grieving father who goes to live in Italy with his two daughters. There was to be a public interview with Colin Firth after the screening and the audience was, let’s say, female-heavy. The atmosphere was loaded with lust-driven oestrogen and by the time Mr Darcy himself appeared there was a deathly silence, rather like being in church. There was an unspoken agreement that if anyone made a noise while Mr Firth was talking, they would be ritually poisoned to death with Chanel No. 5. Colin Firth himself appeared slightly freaked out by the whole thing and came across as a nice, self-deprecating kind of guy. He was thoroughly embarrassed when they insisted on playing part of his singing role in Mamma Mia. The film? Looks great, really enjoyed it, but the plot is virtually non-existent. It all hangs on the gorgeous scenery and good acting.

Today I started with Bitter and Twisted at Cineworld. This was an Australian flick about a dysfunctional family. So dysfunctional that by twenty minutes in I had lost all interest in the characters and was tapping my fingers on the armrest. It was like a really grim episode of Neighbours, only with ugly people. So I implemented one of my New Year’s resolutions – to walk out of any film that was worse than Only You (the worst film I’ve ever seen, despite starring Robert Downey Jnr).

I escaped, had a quick scan of the Cineworld board to see what else was on, and sneaked into a screening of Push. This turned out to be ludicrously, hysterically bad – and highly entertaining. The only thing that disappointed me was Chris Evans, who after redeeming himself by being brilliant in Sunshine, seems to have decided to take an axe to his own career. Don’t do it Chris!

Last film of the day was Five Minutes of Heaven with Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt as two men who are due to meet as part of the reconciliation process in Northern Ireland. One is a former loyalist terrorist, the other is the brother of the man he shot dead in 1975. It sounds like a something which could easily drift into being sentimental or too grim, but Downfall director Oliver Hirschbiegel avoids both, creating a powerful drama that you get utterly drawn into. Both actors and Hirschbiegel appeared afterwards to answer questions and described the different ways they approached their roles: Neeson decided not to meet the man he character is based on, while Nesbitt spent a lot of time with his real-life counterpart and based a lot of his performance on the real guy. My opinion after seeing it? Neeson gives an excellent but slightly removed performance, but James Nesbitt completely inhabits the role of Jimmy Griffin and is the most memorable part of the film.

No comments: