The films I missed



You might think that seeing 61 films was enough but I have a list of films from MIFF that I missed and still want to see. Some I am just curious about, others I heard good reviews from friends or through the MIFF social media feeds. Some are in release now – Tickled, Sunset Song, I am Not a Serial Killer – and some are coming up in the next few months at the Nova – The Eagle Huntress, Ella. I’m sure that there will be quite a few that don’t get a release but I’ll keep an eye out for them. Continue reading

MIFF wrap up



Sigh. Done for another year and it’s taken me two weeks to recover. My strategy of booking 75 or so films so that I could trim out a few kind of worked. I ended up seeing 61 films over the 16 days but that was perhaps just a few too many. It was so hard to not see a film – what if it was the film of the festival! – and there were a few that I was so tired in, my eyes may have closed once or twice. Next year I think I’ll make sure I have better breaks between films and perhaps not keep chasing that elusive film that blows me away. Yeah, right. Continue reading

The Rehearsal (2016)



MIFF announced some surprise screenings on the last day. These are films that weren’t part of the festival program and were a mixture of classics – Abbas Kiarostami’s A Taste of Cherry to mark his passing last month – and new films like this New Zealand drama that had just premiered at the NZ Film Festival and been chosen for the New York Film Festival. It’s based on a book by Eleanor Catton, author of the much better know The Luminaries so it has some credentials. Overall it was a pleasant experience though I was left wondering what the film was really about. Continue reading

Louis Theroux: My Scientology Movie (2015)



I’m a fan of Louis, in fact I’m booked to see him in Melbourne in September. Having said that, I was pretty sure what to expect from this feature length Louis-style documentary; an enjoyable and endearing ride that would teach me something but perhaps leave me feeling a little unsatisfied. And that’s just what I got. Let’s face it, Louis is not about hard hitting investigative journalism, what makes him special is his ability to hang around people without saying much which seems to provoke them to reveal more than they intend or realise. In this case, it is ex-members of the Church of Scientology and various current members who show their colours by their aggressive and bullying behaviour toward Louis and his team. Continue reading

Toni Erdmann (2016)



I nearly didn’t see this film. Thank you to MIFF buddy Alex #2 who encouraged me to book this encore screening after I had ditched an earlier screening in exchange for a bit of sleep. I loved it. Laugh out loud loved it. Now I want to see more of Maren Ade’s films. This film revolves around Winfried and his adult daughter Ines. Through steady and wry observation, we see the dynamics between them, the effect of a separation and what their early years together might have been like. They seem very different now; he always finding humour in the everyday, she trying so hard to be a competent adult. Continue reading

Tharlo (2015)


THARLO-3What a beautiful and sad film. Set in Tibet, we first meet Tharlo (pronounced tarlo), or Ponytail as he is used to being called, as he recites the words of Mao Tse-tung that he learned by heart when he was nine. He speaks of death being inevitable but not all deaths being the same significance; death after serving the people is ‘heavier than Mount Tai’ but death after serving the fascists is ‘as light as a feather’. He is reciting this to the local police chief who remarks that, with such a memory, he had great promise as a child and his forty years as shepherd, building up a small living, is a waste. Continue reading

Zero Days (2016)



If I’d seen this US documentary at the start of my MIFF journey, I suspect I may have given it a more positive review. On my second last day of the festival and slightly tired after 60+ films, I found the topic interesting but the storytelling technique overly dramatic and over-padded. It’s about the Stuxnet virus that turned up a few years back and its origin has been traced to US/Israeli intelligence, developed as a weapon to damage Iran’s nuclear enrichment factories. It’s worth a watch though if you can catch it on television someday. Continue reading

The Devil’s Candy (2015)



I chose another 11.30pm horror movie just because I could. By Australian director Sean Byrne, this is his second feature, the success of the first giving him the leverage to set this film in Texas. Part serial killer, part demonic possession horror type, it didn’t scare me as much as take me for an enjoyable and occasionally exhilarating ride. Continue reading

Phantasm: Remastered (1979)



1970s horror is pretty stupid. I should have realised this but, you know, it’s good to give things a go. Apparently Phantasm is a classic of 70s horror, inspiring many films and directors, including George Lucas. It is set in a small US town where brothers Mike and Tommy occasionally talk to each other. Mike attends the funeral of a friend who was killed by a bare breasted blonde in high heels in a cemetery and at the funeral home, Tommy sees strange things. Continue reading