The Blue Tiger
Children’s fantasy from the Czech Republic that mixes actors with animation in a manner that has become pretty familiar over the years as a way of accessing the land of a character’s imagination. In The Blue Tiger, an inner city botanical gardens, a small patch of green in a concrete jungle, becomes the target of a nefarious development scheme by a diabolical mayor. Creatures great and small that spring from the mind of the central child character help take on the villain and his henchman with predictably heartening results.
I Miss U
Thai flick about love that transcends the grave, mixing romantic and horror elements in what seems a rather incongruous style. Horrific car accidents, pining for a loved one and the terrible things that can happen when you actually get what you ask for are the main meat of the story. A good-looking cast, which includes Jessadaporn Pholdee from the successful The Iron Ladies franchise, does a workmanlike job in this nuts-and-bolts genre piece that is unlikely to do much for anyone who is not a diehard fan of the Thai horror revival.
Keep the Lights On
A sensitive and keenly observed portrayal of a intense relationship that springs up between Erik (Thure Lindhardt), a Danish expat in his 30s trying to complete a documentary on the legacy of pioneering queer filmmaker-photographer Avery Willard, and younger lawyer Paul (Zachary Booth), set against a backdrop of late 1990s New York. A deeply personal work by director Ira Sachs, Keep the Lights On has richly drawn characters who defy gay stereotypes, and provides ample appeal outside the gay-interest film circuit for its portrayal of shifting mores and gay politics from the 1990s into the first years of the new millennium. The film won a Teddy for Best Feature at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2012, and further proved its mettle with a nomination at Sundance in the same year.
Cracks in the Shell (Die Unsichtbare)
Outstanding German film that unfortunately seems to echo Black Swan in its storyline. Nevertheless, it still manages to hold its own through fine acting and a highly accomplished script. Aspiring actress Fine (Stine Fischer Christensen) moves back to Germany to pursue her acting career, and despite the disdain of her drama coach, she lands a meaty, and sexually promiscuous, role with the notoriously demanding director Kaspar Friedmann (Ulrich Noethen). Fine explores the new sexual horizons her character offers and begins a dangerous relationship with Friedmann. A classy, demanding film that repays audiences’ attention.
Seer II (賽爾號大電影2雷伊與邁爾斯)
A Chinese take on various Japanese animation movies, Seer II has strong echoes of various Pokemon movies, though obviously with Chinese characteristics. The first film in the series was a box office hit in China, and the sequel clearly has an ample budget and goes for as many big effects as it can fit into its 92-minute running time. Cute monsters square off against nasty mechanical creatures in an against-the-odds battle. Want to know what happens? Take a guess, you’ll probably be right.
2012 Singapore International Film Festival (2012新加坡影展)
A romp through a selection of comedies from the notoriously unfunny island-state of Singapore. The lineup includes Petaling Street Warriors (大英雄小男人), Nasi Lemak 2.0 (辣死你媽), Dance Dance Dragon (龍眾舞), The Wedding Day (結婚那件事), Ah Beng the Movie: Three Wishes (阿炳心想事成), and Greedy Ghosts (貪心鬼見鬼). All films will be screening at Cinema 7 (絕色影城), 52 Hanzhong St, Taipei City (台北市漢中街52號), starting today until August 9, 2012.