Hey everyone, it’s Jason from Jack-FM! In my new role as the Jack-FM movie critic, I’m trying to see as many SIFF films as I can, and I’m going to give you quick breakdowns as I go:
SIFF 2017 kicked off Thursday night with Kumail Nanjiani’s “The Big Sick,” and you can find my review of that HERE.
Friday Night – TIME TRAP – https://www.siff.net/festival/time-trap
I’m a sucker for a good time travel story, and this one is a pretty interesting twist on that genre.
In a nutshell, an archeology professor searching for a lost group of people in a system of caves in Texas disappears, leaving his team to come find him. They discover that this cavern might be the location of the Fountain of Youth, but that time passes much differently IN the cave than outside… Hijinks ensue.
I really enjoyed this one. The cast was pretty solid, and the story was great. There weren’t any glaring “oh wow, that was a stupid decision” moments that seem to plague movies like this, and the “annoying” character wasn’t overly so.
I really liked how the different levels of the cave travel at different speeds in time, and how that affected different parts of the story. Seeing different characters exit the cave at different times to find completely different things was really cool. (Also, I just used “different” seven times in one paragraph, and I’m not changing it.)
All in all, it was a fun story, even if it was a tad bit slow in moments. There’s no word on wide release, so you may have to wait a bit to see it, but it’s worth it.
Saturday Night – MOKA – https://www.siff.net/festival/moka
The first of two revenge movies this weekend pits a mother against the driver that killed her son in a hit & run accident on the shores of Lake Geneva…
This one was a SLOW BURN. It’s beautifully set between France & Switzerland, the landscape is just a big a presence as the characters themselves. Diane is a grieving mother who, after giving up on the police, hires a private detective to track down the people responsible for her son’s death. What ensues is eerily tense, as she grows closer to each of the three members of the family that owns the mocha colored Mercedes that committed the crime.
This one took a while to get going, but once it did, it was pretty good. A few pretty obvious twists in the story are present, but nothing that really killed the vibe. It’s a French film, so I saw it with subtitles, but the emotion & feeling is such that at points it doesn’t even matter what they’re saying, but how they’re saying it.
Again, the movie itself is beautiful, set between Evian & Lausanne. Slow, but good, I recommend it if you’re into a good revenge movie.
Sunday Night – BAD DAY FOR THE CUT – https://www.siff.net/festival/bad-day-for-the-cut
My second of two revenge movies flips the script. This time, a son is out to find the people responsible for the murder of his mother in this Irish thriller. This is also the first of the Jack-FM sponsored movies of the festival, so it was fun to have a few listeners in the audience with me.
Donal seems to be pretty mild mannered. He lives with his mom, he takes care of the farm, he helps people out by fixing their cars, and he dreams of going back to the beach like he did when he was a kid. His mother is quite content at home until her past comes sweeping into the present, bringing her past back to haunt her.
Much like Moka, this one was a slow burn. It took its time establishing who Donal is, before dropping us right into the thick of things. Once the ball starts rolling, it’s impossible to stop it, and we’re taken along for a bumpy ride.
Both violent and very funny, I really like how this movie kept things “real.” Donal has great presence, and you find yourself rooting for him immediately. My favorite line of the movie was, “This is the third body I’ve had to bury today,” merely because it was said in such a matter-of-fact manner, as he took care of the next gangster on the list.
I feel like it kinda fell into the trap of having to quickly explain EVERYTHING in the final few minutes, in order to wrap everything up in a tidy bow, and we’re not left ENTIRELY satisfied with all of the outcomes… but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
I have lots of questions about the characters that I wish had been answered, but I enjoyed it a lot. It’s playing Thursday afternoon at the Majestic Bay in Ballard, if you’re interested.
COMING UP – We’ve got An Evening of Cabaret on Wednesday night & Dean on Friday. I’ve got a bunch of movies on my list to see as well, so I’ll keep you posted with mini reviews as we go!