The last day of the festival loomed: I went on one final cinematic binge which took in three films – Marley and Me, Last Chance Harvey and the perennial classic, the Surprise Film. I hadn’t put as much effort into the Surprise Film as usual because I won last year (twas The Escapist) and it seemed unfair to win again…. Plus I had no idea what it was.
Marley and Me – a cheerful film which doesn’t make me want to have a dog (or at least without it being trained to within an inch of its life). No matter how much Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston’s home seemed to get wrecked by Marley, it always seemed to look immaculate. They must have had a secret, off-screen Brazilian maid.
I then saw Last Chance Harvey, which was a serious preview (it doesn’t get released til June). Dustin Hoffman’s depressed jingle-writer romances Emma Thompson’s airport worker against an attractive-looking London backdrop. As a lady said in the Q&A, it’s utterly predictable but executed in such an enjoyable fashion that you don’t mind somehow.
Lastly, the Surprise Film. By the time we sat down in our seats I was convinced that it was The Boat That Rocked but it actually turned out to be… Hamlet 2 starring Steve Coogan. He’s a pretentious drama teacher who decides to write an ill-advised sequel to Hamlet and stage it at his local high school. Fun and games result. It was funny but could have been way better and I’ll admit that I can only take a certain amount of Steve Coogan. His screen time in Tropic Thunder was about right!
So that was the JDIFF 2009. I had a great time but one wish I do have is that they would organise some round-table sessions (like in Austin), where Irish producers/directors and Irish screenwriters could meet. It could only be mutually beneficial and would clear at least some of the confusion about how to meet industry types over here. Maybe for 2010….??