2007 Diary

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

Thursday 4th

Stardust

Romantic fantasy from gangster flick favourite Matthew Vaughan. Well paced, visually competent plus Robert DeNiro as a camp hero in tights – what more can you ask for? Good entertainment all round.

Dead Silence

Plot less, talent less attempt at horror from the dummy who gave spawned the “Saw” franchise. The other dummy gets the plaudits in this one

El Orfonato (The Orphanage)

Solid but slow Catalan offering which failed to hit the mark for suspense. The film’s twist was insufficient to account for the film’s earlier attempts at mis-direction

Friday 5th

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie For Theaters

Feature length version of the U.S cult animation series – sometimes bizarre, often funny, definitely original. Maybe too much time on screen for it’s own good.

Senseless

UK offering on terrorism with a twist (we met the director in the queue, he was very nervous). Good, solid effort for a first time director with high production, some scripting highlights and excellent acting performances.

Rogue

A late call from the Derby duo which failed to bite. Silly film about a giant crocodile that was everything that Jaws managed to avoid. Unfair comparison but fact!

Trigger Man

Confused as to what this film is doing at Sitges. Painfully poor Direction, Writing and Acting. A walk out.

Saturday 6th

Invisible Target

Hong Kong high action! Overly sentimental and intent on underlining the difference between good and bad for it’s intended HK/Chinese audience. Nevertheless, some great action and buddy cop moments.

Chrysalis

French Sci-Fi thriller that flicked all of the right switches. Solid plot, well written and excellently performed. The action, particularly the Bourne-esque combat scenes were spot on

An American Crime

Harrowing story played with a performance from a spot-on cast that held you close throughout. Great casting and great direction, let’s hope that Ellen Page is around for a while.

Sunday 7th

Free Jimmy

Credible credits promised much yet the film delivered very little. A strange choice by Simon Pegg who wrote the English screenplay

The Devil’s Chair

Richie-esque Brit horror / carve-up flick complete with a great turn by Statham look-alike Andrew Howard. A newish twist to the genre and some snappy dialogue kept this one’s head above others

Hot Fuzz


Second time around to spot stuff we missed on the first pass. “Edward” Wright was there and gave a great little opening speech to the audience officially moving him up to “Legend” status.

George Romero’s Diary Of The Dead

Did we really leave Hot Fuzz early for this? If it was our bag I guess it could be considered good for it’s genre – but it’s not our bag so it got a big thumbs down

Monday 8th

WAZ

For us, the best of the festival so far. Great take on the genre – pace perfect, tight story, great casting and performances and visually very effective. Would probably need to be toned down for general UK release to avoid a killer rating.

Confession Of Pain

This film from the makers of the Infernal Affairs trilogy offered another is he or isn’t he a bent cop tale. The story was enough to keep you involved and the HK visuals were present in spades. Touching towards too much sentiment but otherwise well built.

The Signal

A film which is one single story but split into three parts directed by three different directors – erm… Spoofing it from early on and with a fairly weak plot, the film succeeded largely based on some good dialogue delivered in some style, particularly by AJ Bowen. Didn’t take itself too seriously from the word go – tongue firmly in cheek.

The Nines

Where to begin? Where to end? Am I really here? Three parallel stories played out by the same actors in slightly differing roles where stories touch and cross, as do reality and fiction. We’re still not sure what it was all about, Colin loved it but Shaun still doesn’t get it.

Tuesday 9th

Blade Runner – The Final Cut

The classic has been cleaned up (digitally speaking) and looked spectacular on the big screen. At 25 years young it’s still holding up well and this time around we noticed the incredibly detailed work of Ridley Scott in the framing of some of the shots, also noticeable was the importance of Vangelis’ original score. The ‘Final Cut’ has removed Decker’s closing voice-over but the message of mortality was there throughout the story anyway.

Cruising

William Friedkin’s 1980 film of the underground gay scene in New York in the early ‘80s, Al Pacino has to go undercover to catch a psycho who’s bumping off gay men. Visually it looked very much of the time and didn’t take anything from Friedkin’s writing or directing to differentiate this from any other serial killer flick.

La Habitacion Del Fermat (Fermat’s Room)

Interesting, if not simple premise that held up ok for a film largely based upon four people in an ever-shrinking room working out maths problems. Almodovar aside, not sure we’re really digging Spanish flicks.

Cassandra’s Dream

RUBBISH!!! Flat, meandering toss of a film with an uninteresting story giving Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell little to work with. They dropped the ball big time with what they had anyway; poor English accents and totally unconvincing relationships. Even the legendary Tom Wilkinson struggled but we’re thinking that it could have featured Cruise, Norton, Pitt, Damon and King Leonidas and it still would have been disappointing. And don’t even get us started on the ending!

Wednesday 10th

First Snow

A Sitges gem. Not an original premise of a man who’s given his future by a roadside fortuneteller but it’s played out in a fresh style enhanced by great camera work and editing and solid performances from an excellent cast.

Tazza, The High Rollers

Not the best Korean film we’ve ever seen but had style and unusually generous amounts of nudity. Good male lead with crazy sidekick and excellent levels of violence and martial arts. Ultimately half an hour too long and won’t be making it alongside the Park Chan Wook trilogy on the DVD shelf.

Dainipponjin

A no show from the team mainly down to drunken fatigue and / or the lure of another night on the town.

Thursday 11th – (The Godfather Arrives)

El Ultimo Justo

What a disappointment! Slow and poorly played out enactment of what promised to be a good story. We’ve hereby reached the conclusion that Spanish films are rubbish (Colin was half asleep for this one)

Slipstream

Although this left a bitter after-taste, on reflection it may just have been a reasonable story that was poorly executed. At the time it felt confused, slow and random but a look at the synopsis afterward shows that the film actually contained all of the story’s elements. Probably just that they weren’t properly exposed in Sir Anthony Hopkins’ directorial debut.

American Zombie

An empty, silly film that could never have risen higher had it bought some intelligence to the story! It didn’t and ended up being a poorly executed attempt at twisting the genre

Friday 12th

Halloween

Rob Zombie’s remake actually had the feel of the original 1978 classic. While being updated enough for today’s audience the director is clearly a fan of the original and did a good job, it just slightly lacked the edge and tension of the original.

Aachi & Ssipak

Korean animated film about Earth in the future where shit has become a rare commodity as it powers everything. Shaun slept the whole way though this film – enough said.

I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK

Quirky film from the Korean Master Chan Wook Park. Not a patch on Oldboy, Sympathy For Mr Vengeance or even Lady Vengeance but watchable.

Grindhouse

One of the highlights of the festival. A 1.15am showing at the Auditori, which didn’t begin until 2am, was definitely worth waiting for. Not sure that the Tarantino / Rodriguez double bill will be to everyone’s tastes but seeing it with a full house and a very vocal Spanish audience made it a night to remember.

Saturday 13th

Mad Detective

Fairly standard fair for Sitges favourite Johnnie To. Watchable story of straight-laced rookie detective partnered with outcast, mad older cop.

The Cleaner

Question: Does Samuel L Jackson ever turn films down?Answer: Going on this film, probably not.  Don’t know what this is doing in Sitges, standard Hollywood killer thriller – Shaun left early to chase women.

Mister Lonely

Strange film about a Michael Jackson look-alike and a Marilyn Monroe look-alike, which despite itself managed to be quite boring. Shaun failed at chasing women and sat in a bar on his own waiting for us for an hour, he probably had the better night!

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