Day Six – Chicken Breasts. They’re A Canteen/Special FX Double Act


…..O.K. So technically this post is only making it onto our site the day after the festival has finished, five days after we actually watched the films we’re blogging about. In this day and age of instant information we’ve decided on a more old school retro approach. It’s our two fingered salute to all those festival goers who insisted on tossing about with their phones during just about every screening we attended. They were often the people who arrived 10 minutes after the film had started and were no doubt twittering that very fact to their army of 3 followers. Sort it out Angel……..

A last minute adjustment to the schedule saw us shifting from Swedish gangster flick SNABBA CASH to a cerebral pro-life advertisement for extra terrestrials.

PRADO – 10:30hrs – EARTHLING

Hats off to writer/director of this film (Clay Liford) for at least finding the passion/motivation to make a film about a concept (we assume) he was interested in. For us this one goes into the box labelled “why would anyone go to the time, effort, and expense to make a film like that”. It’s a box that gets pretty full during the Sitges festival.

A story of a group of people finding out that their lives up to that point had been a lie as their human forms were merely vessels for aliens that had been stranded on earth. Some of the aliens want to return home while others have kind of become attached to their new home and tensions rise within the group as a result.

Whether this was a vague attempt to raise the question of what it means to be human we’re not sure but a film that was mediocre at best then fell off the charts when the special effects team broke out the old chicken breasts for aliens routine. At this point Shaun was asking someone to open a window.

……With a little over an hour to burn until our next film it was two dudes, a beer and an iPad time in Café “yeah’ Roy. It was good to see that old folk still look out for the best interests of today’s younger generation. While Shaun and I were enjoying the innocent pleasure of a bit of G-String action out of the back of the voluptuous young (but old enough) lady at the adjacent table, a nearby granny poked her in the crack of her builder’s bum with the tip of her umbrella to show her disapproval. Spoil sporting old hag……

RETIRO – 13:45 – VANISHING ON 7TH STREET

The vintage Sitges year of 2004 and the masterpiece that is THE MACHINIST seemed a lifetime ago after enduring this faltering effort from Brad Anderson. At least he didn’t write it so perhaps it was thrust upon him and he merely saw it as a break from all the tivo work he appears to have been doing lately. Whatever the history this had an estimated budget of $10 Million bucks which once more begs the question “why?”

The story follows the last hours of what could be the remaining few souls on earth. Daylight is diminishing and darkness is busy consuming anyone and everyone that falls under its shadow. There is a brief reference made to “dark matter” at the beginning of the film and the ending has heavy-handed religious tones. Is someone trying to tell us that the Universe of science/nature will ultimately consume itself in the “big crunch” of the “big bang”, and the only way to save your soul is to seek out the light of God? Am I reading too much into this?

This was neither well scripted nor acted and appeared to be undertaken with little thought or care. Please Brad, stick to tivo and don’t sully the memory of Sitges 2004.

……. confused and grumpy we turned to the comfort of alcohol. Our next film had the potential to go either way so we were staring a possible three-on-the-bounce stinker of a day. No man should be asked to face that sober so a fruity blanco was called for at Café Del Monde and CS team members 3 & 4 were filled in on Plan B, that is, we asked them to keep our seats warm as we expected to be in and out of the next film in 5 minutes……..

RETIRO – 18:45hrs – GALLANTS

Having earlier posted our disenchantment with Hong Kong cinema (see FIRE OF CONSCIENCE) and staring at strike three for the day’s films we dragged our heels into the Retiro. We needn’t have worried. This old school martial arts comedy grabbed us from the start and left us feeling a touch of ARAHAN about it (high praise coming from us).

This Karate-Kid style tale sees our not-yet-a-hero Chung join up with a kooky band of martial arts old-timers to save their old school from being torn down and redeveloped. Regardless of any morals it may contain the story is really only there to give screen time to the brilliant kung fu pensioners Tiger (Siu-lung Leung), Dragon (Kuan Tai Chen), and Master Ben Law (Teddy Robin Kwan). These three worked so well together and their comedic timing is matched only by that of their (still) amazing kung fu. Teddy Robin in particular was outstanding and we love that fact that he used to front a band called “Teddy Robin and the Playboys” back in the 60’s

As if all of this wasn’t enough the film’s wardrobe appears to have been sponsored by Adidas Originals gaining it a near perfect score from the team (that’s 2 ¾ asterisks in case you were wondering)

…..What a turn around for the day with GALLANTS threatening to take the team’s top honours for film of the festival. There was little time to discuss however as we were back to back at the Retiro and straight in to our next film……

RETIRO – 20:45hrs – LES 7 JOURS DU TALION

From such comedic kung fu highs it was going to be tough to switch moods for 7 days of Canadian torture. Indeed we only had to wait 10 minutes before facing some of the grimmest and most realistic visions of the aftermath of a child rape and murder. From here on the tone was set as the child’s father sets about exacting his revenge on his daughter’s captured murderer. Planning and executing 7 days of methodical torture culminating in his version of the death sentence.

The film lost its way a little and, apart from one unbelievably realistic scene involving nifty work with a scalpel,  the anticipated torture sequence didn’t quite fit the build up it was given. The ending too left a lot to be desired unless there’s a subtle meaning here we’ve missed.

…….we chose to forget the day’s low points and instead carried the GALLANTS good vibe down to Hernan’s where Colin got dragged into a seemingly endless conversation on the virtues of Humphrey Bogart (who Colin can not stand) with a local Scottish drunk. Colin’s misery was compounded when Shaun later told him that exactly the same thing had happened last year with the same Scott!! Colin must have pushed last year’s miserable memory so far to the back of his mind that he’d forgotten completely. Or perhaps he was just pissed…….

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