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Entries from Cinecultist tagged with 'IFC Center'

Too Many Movies To See, or Our Tentative (Insane) Viewing Plan For This Weekend

After a long week of work, Cinecultist needs to get our movie on. But we're a bit overwhelmed by the wealth of options at our fingertips. Here's our list of possibilities. Feel free to leave us pros or cons in the comments.

Fitzcarraldo (at the IFC Center) - Lately we've had Herzog on the brain and we've always been curious about Klaus Kinski's supposedly bonkers performance in this one.

The Jane Austen Book Club (new release) - We're hearing the siren call of the chick lit and the beloved Jane Austen, plus CC read this book so long ago the reasons why we didn't really love it are now fuzzy. Seeing the movie should fill those back in.

Great World of Sound (new release) - We've heard good things, plus a friend suggested going to see it together. Cinecultist is a sucker for movie outings.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (new release) - In the elevator this afternoon at the Day Job, one of those handy dandy trivia screens told us EW gave it an A and the NYT gave it a pretty strong endorsement too. Plus, we have a thing for Brad Pitt on the open range that's left over from seeing Legends of the Fall in the theaters at an impressionable age.

Plus, we have DVDs of Taste of Cherry and Cranes Are Flying at home from Netflix. Oh, and we're going to see Rilo Kiley at Webster Hall on Saturday night and we have to find time in there to eat, sleep and clean the bathroom. Yes, it's going to be a busy few days of rest.

"The Vending Machine Says Hi"

imacyborg.jpg
The New York Asian Film Festival began this past weekend, and on Sunday night amidst the residual brouhaha of Pride weekend in the West Village, Cinecultist caught a screening of I'm A Cyborg But That's Okay at the IFC Center. We've been anticipating Park Chan-wook's newest as well as the sixth annual fest from the folks at Subway Cinema and for the most part neither parties disappointed. Complex visuals and kooky characters from Park? Check. High energy programmer Grady Hendrix acting delightfully spastic as he introduces the film and gives away free stuff? Double check.

Unfortunately I'm A Cyborg, while containing a lot of great moments (including the part where one of the characters utters that bizarre and hilarious line we used for the headline), isn't uniformly as compelling as some of Park's previous work. Set in a mental institution, the two main characters are Young-goon (Su-jeong Lim, who played one of the sisters from A Tale of Two Sisters) and Il-Sun (Rain, a HUGE Asian pop star), who fall for each other while trying to cope with their mental instability. Il-Sun believes he has the ability to steal people's character traits as well as their prized possessions while Young-goon thinks herself a cyborg and chats with inanimate objects in the hospital like the fluorescent lights and the aforementioned vending machine. Of course because she's animatronic, Young-goon believes she needs to be recharged with electricity rather than refueled with conventional food, a theory at odds with the standard practices of a hospital.

Like in his previous films, Park's movies really take off when he enters his characters' warped perspectives. The sequence where Young-goon becomes the cyborg and takes out all of the evil "white 'uns" holding her hostage with her automatic rifle fingers is spectacular. It's just that some of the internal logic of the crazy people was tough to parse. Psychosis isn't really the most light topic, nor the stuff of obvious romantic comedy, so there are times where the craziness seems tacked on and solvable. There seems to be something disingenuous about creating characters with debilitating phobias and then implying they could just "make themselves better" if they really wanted. While we'd never try to expect a Park Chan-wook to be "realistic," it's usually at least believable and consistently compelling. In that respect, I'm a Cyborg isn't as powerful as you'd hope.

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The Host Takes A Bite Out of Viewers

The Host
Gang-du (Song Kang-ho) knows that something wicked this way comes in the new Korean movie The Host.

Cinecultist likes monster movies with bite, the kind where you get goosed by something jumping out from the screen right after you've laughed uproariously at some witty, ironic aside. The two parts "goosing" and "laughing" have to go together, one without the other just devolves into Children of the Corn or the like. If you also appreciate smart scariness on screen, might we suggest checking out The Host, a newish movie by Korean director Bong Joon-Ho which CC saw at NYFF last year and is finally getting a theatrical release. The IFC Center here in New York is also hosting a mini-fest of his movies starting next Monday and culminating in a screening of The Host with Bong conducting a post-film Q&A on Tuesday.

Two things we heartily enjoyed about this movie, though there's a lot in it to endear:

Continue reading "The Host Takes A Bite Out of Viewers"

A Little Snoring Coming From the Back Row

For the Cinecultist, moviegoing is a full body contact sport. Not content to just be a regular kind of movie person who laughs at jokes, cries at tragedy and says "awww" at kittens or small children, CC will leap out of our seat at unexpected acts of violence or fall asleep during the boring bits. For CC watching a movie isn't passive, it's utterly active. Except for that habit of sometimes sleeping during the movies, of course. Seriously, we've taken brief cat naps in pretty much every major movie house in New York and after last night can add the IFC Center to the unfortunate list. Worse yet, we think our tendency to "breathe loudly" while sleeping may have disturbed the woman next to us trying to enjoy the red carpet movie premiere of the documentary, East of Havana. Oops. Our bad.

When we arrived at the Sixth Avenue theater last night at 7:20 p.m., the line of photographers and journos at the red carpet were in full twitter snapping photos and yelling to Charlize Theron. Theron produced East of Havana which was directed by her long time friend Jauretsi Saizarbitoria and Emilia Menocal, so there was quite a downtown New York celeb contingency at the screening. Inside we spotted our imaginary boyfriend Justin Theroux, Famke Jensen, and some other cool fashion-y types (the night was sponsored by DKNY). CC was just there to see the movie, not mingle, so we waited kind of impatiently reading our New Yorker as the bold face names trickled in until 8 p.m..

The movie started out well enough, with a very stylized, graffiti-inspired photo montage of the main characters in the doc. Following the lives of three young rappers in Cuba, the film tries to show with grace the catch-as-catch-can life on the island. The music on the soundtrack is quite good and the rappers' screen presence telling their stories is moderately engaging. However, there's no particular drama in the hour and 20 minutes and a bunch of pretty pictures of decaying Havana don't add up to anything substantial. About 40 minutes in, CC started to feel the full effect of our 5 p.m. happy hour beer and began to get the heavy eye lids. Then, because we were leaning to the right slightly to read the subtitles around a guy's big head, our nodding off at this point may have bugged our neighbor. If so, we heartily apologize. We never mean to sleep at the movies, it just happens sometimes when the action on screen doesn't totally compel. The sad reality, because the filmmakers seemed so well-meaning and earnest in their introductions, is that this movie probably shouldn't be on the big screen. On television, particularly somewhere like MTV or Fuse, it's music video-esque flashy editing would really pop. But as a feature film, it was snore city.

Cinecultist skipped the surely star-studded after party. People who nap during the screening don't really deserve free drinks and celeb gawking.