CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS [3D] [Main Picture]
DIR: Werner Herzog
Mike Says: I’ve actually already seen this one and it was a true revelation. Herzog finds an interesting purpose for 3D in shooting France’s Chauvet Cave – the image reduction and dimmed light that are the result of 3D projection actually serve to enhance the film somewhat, portraying the labyrinth-like cave as a claustrophobic and shadowy place of past lives and Paleolithic artworks. It brings an unprecedented depth and actually allows the viewer to navigate the protruding rocks and stalagmites as if they were actually there. Some beautiful photography, an odd assortment of side characters and some bizarre observations by narrator Herzog complement one of the most interesting and unique films of the year so far, and the albino crocodiles that end the film are truly a sight to behold. Wonderful stuff.
DIR: David Keating
Mike Says: It’s been getting some rave reviews, but I know very little about this film except that it’s a British folk horror that in its trailer recalled The Wicker Man (1973) and The Cottage (2008). It seems much more serious in that tone than that latter film however, and seems to have earned its 18 rating with some intense scares and gory mutilations. It also has Timothy Spall as some kind of menacing backwoods farmer, which can only ever be a good thing. This one has gone from being off the radar to high on my to-see list, and even if I miss it in cinemas the DVD is out on Monday!
DVD / Blu-Ray [28th]
THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME / SUMMER WARS
DIR: Mamoru Hosoda
Sam Says: These two films mark director Mamoru Hosoda out as one of the most exciting and original talents in anime, perhaps even a worthy successor to the late, great Satoshi Kon. Both are beautifully animated, with a simple style and design that nevertheless pulls you into the worlds the films create, and both deftly combine sci-fi concepts with genuinely involving human drama. The characters in these films may be animated, but they feel more real than those in many live action films of late. Both Mike Ewins and I rated Summer Wars very highly, and for me The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is even better. If you have even a passing interest in sci-fi, anime or good movies, this boxset is essential.
DIR: Robert Rodriguez / Ethan Maniquis
Sam Says: I was surprised that more people didn’t like Machete, okay, so it’s not a ‘good’ film per se, but it sure is a fun one. It’s both an affectionate parody and an authentic throwback to drive in exploitation movies of the 70’s, and I had a great time with its tongue in cheek tone, over the top violence and attractive cast of supporting female props (‘characters’ would be giving the film a bit much credit). I like to turn my brain off every now and then, and this was a fun film to do it with.
OVER YOUR CITIES GRASS WILL GROW
DIR: Sophie Fiennes
Mike Says: An artists’ documentary that showed at the LFF (where I missed it), Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow will either be fascinating or infuriatingly pretentious. It charts the creative process of German artist Anselm Kiefer and is an intensely serious meditation on art, specifically documenting the universe that Kiefer has built in his French studio, and how he immerses himself into it. The title is taken from a beautiful quote referring to the studio complex Kiefer abandoned in 2008: “Uninhabited, it quietly waits for nature to take over, because, as we know, over our cities grass will grow.” Patience is required, but I can’t wait.
UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES
DIR: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Mike Says: After The Social Network this was my favorite film of last year; a deeply spiritual meditation on death and reincarnation. It’s the definition of ‘art film’ and as such is deeply frustrating and bound to divide audiences. French critics tore it apart but I love it and found the film to be moving and thought provoking. The scenery is beautiful and the naturalistic sound creates an absorbing atmosphere. The monkey spirit, with his glowing red eyes, is an unforgettable presence, and to quote my own review the film is one of “furious intelligence, exasperating ambiguity, dazzling imagination, artistic ambition and quietly affecting honesty.” You’ve never seen anything like it, and on Blu Ray you’d be mad to pass it up.