/slash ½ 2017 – Day 3: The Misandrists

The Misandrists
Germany 2017
Written by Bruce La Bruce
Directed by Bruce La Bruce
Watched on 07.05.2017

I can’t remember ever seeing a movie which, from a political point of view, was so much up my alley, but still managed to irritate me almost entirely. It’s obvious that Bruce La Bruce’s sensibilities and mine – as much as we might agree on a political level –couldn’t be further apart from each other. The result is that, from start to finish, I simply didn’t know that to do with and/or make of this movie. “The Misandrists” seems like it was made for 10 dollars, and it shows. It’s very cheaply – and badly – shot, the acting is laughable, the sets unimpressive, and so on. However, if I like a story, I’m more than willing – and able – to look past things like that. Unfortunately, with “The Misandrists”, I simply never found my way into the movie. The story feels like a rip-off of “The Beguiled”, but without its most interesting aspects. There was not one character I could relate to, thus it bored me rather quickly. Also, even though it’s clearly a Farce and not meant to be taken seriously, I found the way Bruce portrayed these feminists as men-hating bra-burners (which is in line with the picture some men have of feminists in general) rather problematic (and also in conflict with the political message it seemingly wanted to convey). Granted, there was a handful of nice ideas (like the symbol of the order) and quotes, but that – and all the naked flesh – couldn’t save it for me. A classic case of a movie that tries really hard but fails miserably (and completely), “The Misandrists” bored me to tears. It was the first picture that I saw of Bruce La Bruce, and most certainly will also be my last.
1/10

IMDB

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/slash ½ 2017 – Day 3: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

The Autopsy of Jane Doe
UK/USA 2016
Written by Ian Goldberg & Richard Naing
Directed by André Øvredal
Watched on 06.05.2017

“The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is a nice, classical, straight-forward horror film with a cool setup and a great buildup of tension. I very much enjoyed it. Granted, I wouldn’t have needed the scene with the accidental murder, since that’s such a stale cliché by now. Some of the jump scares were a little predictable. And witch-themed horror films are always a little problematic for me. However, like “The Witch”, “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” circumnavigated that troublesome area quite nicely, and the way they dealt with the witch-thematic worked quite well for me. The cast is also great. Both Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch arguably bring more to their roles than was written in the script, thus proving once again that great actors can improve a film considerably. But it wasn’t just their individual performances, but also their chemistry; I definitely believed them to be father and son. Special mention also has to go out to Olwen Catherine Kelly, who probably had one of the most thankless acting jobs in the history of films, and manages to achieve a lot by doing next to nothing. The movie further profits from the fact that André Øvredal definitely knows how to create tension. He might have relied on jump scares a little bit too much for my personal taste, but at least, he knows how to use them, and builds them up real nicely, instead of just relying on loud noises. And even though it takes a couple of unexpected twists and turns, I also liked the story. Overall, while “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” might not be a modern classic, it managed to entertain me from start to finish. Which is more than I can say about a lot of other (horror-)movies that I’ve seen this year.
8/10

IMDB

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/slash ½ 2017 – Day 3: Without Name

Without Name
Ireland 2016
Written by Garret Shanley
Directed by Lorcan Finnegan
Watched on 06.05.2017

“Without Name” was a nice, old-fashioned scary tale. I especially liked the way Lorcan Finnegan shot the woods; how he played with light, shadow and perspective, and gave it a nightmarish, almost labyrinthian feel. What was also great was the way Finnegan and Shanley, with a couple of (quiet) scenes, established their main character, and gave us an impression of his life (f.e. with the family sitting at the table). Afterwards, when he reached the remote hut, “Without Name” made his sense of isolation palpable. Even when his young colleague joins him, he still seems to be alone. That, and the first half in general, I really liked. Unfortunately, the movie lost some of its appeal after a while (around the first drug-induced-hallucination-scene, I’d say). Before, I was enamored by what was happening, and felt some sort of connection with Eric. But in time, if you will, we grew apart. There were a couple of decisions – like taking even more mushrooms – which I simply couldn’t understand. Thus, the movie started to drag along a little bit. And the ending, even though I liked how mysterious it was and that it offered up room for interpretation, was a little flashy and annoying. It’s still a nice film overall, but after the great first half, I couldn’t help being a little disappointed.
7/10

IMDB

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/slash ½ 2017 – Day 3: Nova Seed

Nova Seed
Japan/Canada 2017
Written by Joe DiLiberto & Nick DiLiberto
Directed by Nick DiLiberto
Watched on 06.05.2017

It’s difficult to give this one a fair shake. I mean, obviously, it can’t compete with Disney, Ghibli, and so on. And if you take into consideration that it’s pretty much a one-man-job, it’s quite impressive. That doesn’t change the fact, though, that it feels a little half-baked. The animation was actually quite cool, and the thing that impressed me the most (mostly because of the fact that it was all done by one guy). But the story was rather sketchy and definitely could have used more work. The characters are mostly glossed over and seem to be there to serve specific functions, but never register as fleshed-out, “real”, multi-dimensional beings. Its biggest problem, however, was the sound, which was terrible. There was a lot of reverberation, and for me as non-native-speaker, I had a hard time understanding what the characters were saying – which obviously didn’t help matters. And even though it was only slightly over an hour, I was glad that it was over when it was. Overall, it’s more of a curiosity than a sleeper hit, and as impressed as I was that this was the result of just one man, I couldn’t stop asking myself what a professional animation crew could have made of it.
5/10

IMDB

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/slash ½ 2017 – Day 2: Another Wolfcop

Another Wolfcop
USA 2017
Written by Lowell Dean
Directed by Lowell Dean
Watched on 06.05.2017

While heralded by many as a b-movie-triumph, I personally found the first “Wolfcop”-movie to be rather lame (or tame?). It had a nice concept – but not much else. Nevertheless, I decided to give its sequel a chance – and while I indeed think that it was slightly better than the first one, I could have lived without ever seeing it, and don’t particularly look forward to yet another sequel (which is hinted at during the credits). Once again, the humor fell mostly flat for me. Some things and ideas were too stupid even for my taste. There was no tension at all, and many of the supposedly big moments didn’t work quite as well for me as was arguably intended. On the other hand, they managed to take a little bit more out of the concept. It looked slightly better and was better shot (even though it still feels a little amateurish), with the strong colors a particular standout. They came up with a couple of nice, new ideas, some scenes were pleasantly far-out, and the movie itself a quite bloody affair. So yes, overall, it was better than the first one. However, with a benchmark like that (I gave it a 3/10 back then), that doesn’t really say much.
4/10

IMDB

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/slash ½ 2017 – Day 2: Prevenge

Prevenge
UK 2016
Written by Alice Lowe
Directed by Alice Lowe
Watched on 05.05.2017

“Prevenge” could almost be a sequel to “Sightseers”; in any case, it felt like a spiritual successor to what in my opinion still is Ben Wheatley’s best film so far. Written and directed by “Sightseers”‘ Alice Lowe, it’s a fantastic dark comedy, and the best film that I saw at this years “/slash ½”-Festival. Alice Lowe not only wrote a great script and did a splendid job directing it, she also (once more) gives a magnificent performance in the leading role. Once again, she perfectly captures the comedy as well as the tragedy that’s inherent in her character with impressive ease. She especially shines in the scenes that illustrate Ruth’s incredibly loneliness and despair. Despite her actions, she makes it easy for us to feel for her – especially when the motivation behind her dark deeds is finally revealed (something that Lowe, thankfully, lets the audience find out in their own time). There also was a sweet symbolism with the cutting of the cord (one life ends, another one begins). Furthermore, “Prevenge” offers up a couple of nice guest stars, some impressive shots, a great synthesizer-score, and many (darkly) funny scenes. Entertaining from start to finish, and equally funny and tragic, “Prevenge” is just the dark comedy of a murdering expectant mother that the world needed – without even knowing it.
8/10

IMDB

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/slash ½ 2017 – Day 2: El Bar (The Bar)

El Bar
Spain 2017
Written by Jorge Guerricaechevarría & Álex de la Iglesia
Directed by Álex de la Iglesia
Watched on 05.05.2017

“The Bar” was the third movie of Álex de la Iglesia that I’ve seen. “Witching & Bitching” was quite funny (especially the first 15-20 minutes), and “My Big Night” mostly hilarious. “The Bar”, however, was a huge disappointment. It started off well enough. I liked the basic idea behind it, and for 15-30 minutes, the movie managed to grip me. After that, though, it started to unravel quickly. Iglesia offers up a couple of nice ideas, only to drop them without giving them a second thought. The characters are one-dimensional, walking clichés, and thus uninteresting, with the way they portrayed the homeless especially questionable and problematic. The actions of the characters got dumber by the minute. Having Blanca Suárez run around half-naked for the last bit of the movie was completely unnecessary and felt incredibly forced (and misogynic). And towards the end, there were a couple of overly dramatic scenes that didn’t work for me at all. (The fact that one of the characters is called “Nacho” probably didn’t help. In the scenes where Elena desperately called his name while stretching out her arms, I half-expected them to cut to a large bag of potato chips.) Mostly, though, “The Bar” felt twice as long as it actually is – which is never a good sign. Yes, the first quarter or so was nice, the acting ok, and there’s the occasional tense moment. But when the characters repeatedly act as stupid as they do here, and the tone of the film starts to feel off, that doesn’t help much.
3/10

IMDB

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