IIFF 2009: Mixed first days

September 28, 2009 at 1:08 pm (Festivals, IIFF, Movies, Reviews)

After arriving very late on Friday, which meant no movies in the first festival day (not counting the two weird & disappointing couple of midnight movies I saw with some friends on a laptop), Saturday was a completely different animal. After a quick morning cappuccino at an Irish pub named Belfast (the one named Dublin 20 feet away was not yet open), we strolled through a surprisingly boring Iasi to the main theater of the festival, Victoria, to pick up our press passes.

A few libraries and a lunch later, I caught my first film of the festival: 30 Days of Night, that I’ve already seen a while back (and thoroughly enjoyed). This time, not so much, and not because of the movie. The screening was completely messed up, because of the horrible sound and unclear picture. I contemplated walking out, but decided against it, mostly because I already knew the movie so the loud and foggy mess on the screen was a bit easier to tolerate. Horror day continued, in the same horror theater (I’m pretty sure no one from Iasi reads this blog, but if you do, avoid at all costs Glendale Cinema – it’s a mess).

The second film was to become the first dud, and what a disgusting dud it was. The new Dario Argento flick, Giallo, is so bad it actually made some of the audience comment at the end that it might have been intentional. But it wasn’t. It’s just that bad. Adrien Brody sleeps through a role of an Italian detective on the track of a yellow serial killer (yes, yellow) that kidnaps girls and masturbates over their disfigured image. I don’t even know where to start. The plot is weak – it plays like a very bad Criminal Minds episode, only a bit more violent, and less alert. The dialog is horrific, while the acting is – literally – laughable. Brody is so bad, so bored, so awfully horrendous, that only Emmanuelle Seigner’s even worse performance (and trust me, that was no easy task) made him not get the most laughs out of the audience. What’s even more mind boggling is that Brody is also producing this mess.

The third and final film of the day ended up being the most enjoyable I’ve seen lately. The Boat That Rocked is a comedy about the British pirate radio movement of the sixties, a beautifully shot film that breathes quality rock music through all its pores and, despite its often exaggerations, ends up being equally touching, funny and thoughtful – not an easy task by any means. But Richard Curtis, helped by a stellar cast, knows how to blend comedy and drama in a story based on real events, and does it accompanied by the likes of the Who, the Rolling Stones, the Doors, and others like them – and after its heartwarming ending, it’s impossible not to walk out of the theater smiling.

In this report: 30 Days of Night: 7/10, Giallo: 2/10, The Boat That Rocked: 8/10.

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