2006 Diary

When we used to “Blog” at the festival before we actually knew what Blogging was……..

Friday 6th

Ils

Ils is a French film shot in Romania about a couple in a house that get tortured and kidnapped, which is based on a true story. Good camera work created tension and suspense with a neat twist at the end, although ultimately let down by a slightly one-dimensional story.

La Hora Fria

Spanish production about a colony trying to survive after a world war but struggling against attacks from fatally infected Zombies and a mystery spectre that appears at the cold hour. The film looks excellent for what we assume was a reasonably limited budget but lacking in pace, story and good acting.

Saturday 7th

Edmond

The story of a man pushed to the limit by a chain of random events that leaves him close to madness. Drawn by a combination of celebrated cast and writer we were let down by a completely self indulgent story which was over acted by a group of actors who should know better

Sunday 8th

La Caja Kovak

US/Spanish film about a Sci-Fi writer asked to do a speech for Sci-Fi fans in Majorca. Whilst on the island, a number of suspicious suicides alert the writer that not all is as it appears as the story of his first novel comes back to haunt him, and life begins to imitate art with serious consequences. A good, tight story and excellent acting particularly from Timothy Hutton meant that what could have been a tired retread was a fairly worthwhile experience.

Storm

A Swedish film regarding a man’s struggle to reconcile with events from his past that he has so far managed to suppress. An excellent

choice of lead actor, well written and directed and a really clever use of modern media and special effects to illustrate the character’s turmoil and the battle between good and evil

The Host

The highest grossing Korean film of all time, which is the story of a mutant fish that emerges from a chemically polluted Han River to wreak havoc with Seoul and one family in particular. One word – dog shit! Is that two words….who knows or cares. Trying to be a horror comedy but misses by miles.

Monday 9th

Renaissance

A black and white animated French / English production which is set in 2054 and is the story of and incorruptible cop who is put on the case of a missing scientist who holds the key to life’s greatest quest – immortality. Visually stunning and backed up with excellent pace and storytelling this is the best of the bunch so far.

Manga

A Russian film about the bringing together of three strangers whose lives form a bizarre love triangle. The only good thing about this film is that it was only 70 minutes long. And it had a fit bird in it.

The Science Of Sleep

A surreal story about a man who moves back to France to be with his mother following the death of his father in Mexico. We see his sanity begin to unravel as he struggles to distinguish between his dreams and reality whilst attempting to come to terms with his feelings for his next-door neighbour. This film was a different class – thumbs up for everything. Really funny and touching in equal measures, great casting and acting and superbly written and directed. It had an improvised feel about it which suited the pace and feel of the film.

Tuesday 10th

Right At Your Door

Post-9/11 disaster film about the aftermath of a dirty bombing campaign in Los Angeles. Essentially it’s the story of a man’s dilemma as his wife returns to the house after the bombings have left her potentially contaminated. He followed the instructions and fully sealed the house but her arrival questions whether he has done the right thing. In all, a very poor film that could have been so much better with an improved story but ultimately there just wasn’t enough story to make it interesting.

Brick

Film noir murder mystery set in a modern day US high school where a teenager sets out to find the killer of his ex-girlfriend. Debatably the best film of the festival, snappy dialogue, great acting and an excellent story

Wednesday 11th

S&man

Documentary made by a horror director about the tastes in modern day horror and how the thirst for more extremes has changed the way films are made. All in all pretty well made and was fairly interesting. Not enough ‘story’ or theme to make it wildly entertaining but still worth an hour of our time.

Moscow Zero

Difficult really to grasp as three different languages were spoken in the film and no English subtitles were provided when English wasn’t being spoken. Honestly, this film was rubbish. Take away the fact that the subtitles were missing and it was still easy to tell that this film had terrible acting, no plot and very little substance of any kind. Anyone who invested their own money in this should take a serious look at whether they should be involved in films and anyone who invested other people’s money in it should be ashamed of themselves.

Thursday 12th

The Ungodly

Mickey is a filmmaker who tracks down a serial killer and films him murdering his latest victim. He then sets about blackmailing the killer into appearing in his film and discussing the whys and wherefores of being a serial killer. Unfortunately Mickey hadn’t fully appreciated the difficulty in dealing with a homicidal maniac and is slowly drawn into becoming as bad as his subject. A really good film from what we think is a first time director. Excellent, gripping story and superb acting from the main characters Wes Bentley and Mark Borkowski.

Fido

Fantasy comedy set in the 1950s about a family who, following a war in which humans managed to defeat Zombies and turn them into house pets and servants, decides that it’s time that their household kept up with the fashion and got it’s own. A harmless comedy where the zombie ends up becoming the son’s best friend and a general friend to the family. It wasn’t exceptional but had good laughs and good performances from Billy Connolly and Carrie-Ann Moss.

Dragon Tiger Gate

Hong Kong adaptation of a popular Manga cartoon. Essentially it’s the story of two brothers who get separated as youngsters, one who ends up working for the local crime boss and the other who studies under his master, and also his uncle, at the Dragon Tiger Gate kung-fu school. Following an event that causes the crime boss to retire, the ultimate boss called the Black Pagoda goes on a rampage killing the other crime bosses and the Dragon Tiger Gate Master. Both brothers then re-unite to avenge their respective teachers and take on The Black Pagoda in a fight to the death. After an excellent start this tails off into basic Hong Kong / Chinese style Manga. Very little story and extended sentimental dialogue scenes mean that something that is sold as an all-action Kung Fu film actually ends up being quite boring.

Friday 13th

Children Of Men

Set in London in 2057 where violence and fear of immigration has turned the city into a police state. Women have been unable to conceive for the last 18 years and the human race looks to be on the brink of extinction and Clive Owen’s wife asks him to get her travel papers for a refugee. It soon appears that the refugee is the first woman to become pregnant in 18 years and Children Of Men is the story of one man’s struggle to protect the girl and her unborn child from the authorities and activists to ensure her safety. A good premise which just about works until they have this crazy idea to break into the refugee camp / prison which is actually the town of Bexhill-On-Sea just to get a boat! The only really noteworthy thing was how good Clive Owen’s performance was and that isn’t really enough to make you see this film.

The Wicker Man

Nicolas Cage is a cop, who after witnessing the death of a young girl, gets a message from an ex-girlfriend asking for help in finding her daughter who has disappeared. The trail leads him to a remote island that is predominantly female dominated. The remake that nobody wanted and which did nothing to justify its existence. Cage was a joke and seemed to spend most of the film looking confused and shouting at people. A waste of time that prompted a walkout from Shaun.

Saturday 14th

Borat Goes To America

The “surprise session’ remained a surprise until the opening credits and although a questionable subject for the Sitges festival it didn’t disappoint. The character created

by comedian Sacha Baron-Cohen, also of Ali G fame, leaves his home nation of Kazakhstan to America to report on the gulf of differences between the countries. Once there, his original plan is overshadowed as Borat falls in love with Pamela Anderson’s character in Baywatch, C.J, whom he believes is real. We follow his journey across America to California where Borat hopes to claim C.J for his wife. At times cringe worthy but never less than a genius take on America, Kazakhstan and their people. Cohen is fearless in extracting every last comedic breath out of situations where mere mortals would wish for the ground top swallow them whole. Upsetting America and Kazakhstan in equal amounts appears to matter little in Cohen’s pursuit to make us laugh.

Sisters

Another remake, this time one of Brian DePalma’s first films.  The story follows a young journalist, who after investigating a doctor accused of suspicious practices with two twins, discovers that their relationship is not as it seems and they are hiding dark secrets. Very poor – an unbalanced story, which lacked pace and direction despite a good cast and definitely failed to deliver.

Princess

Danish animated film that tells the story of a Christian missionary who discovers that his porn star sister has been murdered. When he returns for the funeral he takes care of his niece and decides to get vengeance by killing anyone involved in his sister’s downfall. Expected nothing from this film but it delivered on all levels – great story, animation and clever use of some live action footage.

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