Into the Abyss: 2011 AFI Fest

Into the Abyss: 2011 AFI Fest Werner Herzog introduced his newest film, a documentary called Into The Abyss, at the Egyptian Theater on Sunday night, by stating off the bat that if you’re looking for an issues film, then you’re going to be disappointed. And he’s…

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Kill List: 2011 AFI Film Fest

Kill List: 2011 AFI Film Fest It’s rare for me to say that I’ve never seen a movie quite like this. But that’s the case with Ben Wheatley’s Kill List, a genre-bending heart attack-inducer that will leave you rattled long after you’ve left the theater. I was completely unprepared for this. Based on a quick glance at the synopsis, it seemed to be about a slightly overweight, middle-aged, former soldier suburbanite husband and father who goes back to the nasty business of murder-for-hire because he’s out of money and needs to provide for his family. We’ve all seen plenty of hit man movies. We know the genre, we know generally what to expect. Since the plots tend to be formulaic, it’s the characters that make the memorable entries successful. And while not technically a hit man but in the same vein, I expected something like The American. Well, I’ll tell you right now that you have no idea what to expect. Not a clue. And the less you know about it, the better. Suffice it to say that this isn’t really a hit man movie at all. I mean, it is, but it’s not conforming to any you’ve seen before.…

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The Invader: 2011 AFI Film Fest

The Invader: 2011 AFI Film Fest From its mesmerizing and shocking opening shot, The Invader immediately places us into another world, clearly one not typical for American audiences. It’s not normal that I wouldn’t want to ruin the very first frame of a movie – or even consider that as “ruining” anything -- but I’d feel wrong about going into it in detail here. If you see the film, which I recommend you do, I’d want you to have the same surprising experience as I had.…

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Carnage: 2011 AFI Film Fest

Carnage: 2011 AFI Film Fest Packed into iconic Chinese Theater on a Saturday night at AFI Fest 2011 to see Roman Polanski’s latest film Carnage, with nearly everyone dressed to the nines and cordial ushers helping everyone to their designated seats, it felt like we were settling in to watch a Broadway performance rather than a film. And once the reels rolled, that feeling didn’t change a whole lot as Carnage, based on the highly successful play “God of Carnage,” certainly comes off as far more theatrical than cinematic.…

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Green: 2011 AFI Film Fest

Green: 2011 AFI Film Fest Green is what you’d come to expect from a film festival: extremely low budget, no-name actors, and minimalist plot. While writer/director Sophia Takal offers glimpses into an interesting world in rural America, the film spends too much of its runtime without any momentum, which is one of the common pitfalls of having a passive protagonist. Kate Lyn Sheil does a solid job as her character Genevieve finally devolves into an emotional mess, but up until that point, her passivity comes across far too often as lifeless, leaving the audience with not a whole lot to work with given this character drama doesn’t have much of a plot. It’s hard to empathize for someone who rarely expresses much more than a blank stare, even if Sheil’s gaze seems to have something more bubbling up underneath, which gets confirmed later in the film, she and Takal seem to confuse understated with non-existent.…

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