London Film Festival: Day One

11 Oct

WTF?!? That bastard Dilworth DIDN’T go see Frankenweenie? He won the frickin’ toss up! AND he told me he loved Tim Burton- love Tim Burton. I gotta come clean- Edward Scissorhands changed my life, and for all the failures, Burton is a genius. You don’t miss his premier. Fact.

I haven’t even got onto the shit he spewed about ME. Festival or no festival, who wants to live in a tent? There are people out there busting their asses just to get out of tents, for chrissakes. Who cares if I want to stay in a hotel for ten days? My room in the Gloucester Road Holiday Inn isn’t exactly Babylon, I’ve gotta say- in fact, it looks a little like an annexe of the Big Brother house from  Reality, Matteo Garrone’s (Gomorrah) new movie about reality TV, life, selling fish, going crazy and stuff like that. More of that in a second, once I’m through with Dilworth…

His ‘American colleague’? They pay me three times more where I work (and yeah, I am under contract- sad to tell y’all that ‘Marcus’ ain’t my birth nameΦ), and anyways, I only know him from covering Venice last year. Must I mention that I’m 24 years younger than he is? Asshole.

I may not be qualified to tell you I’m at the center of things, but this is because I’m back at the hotel listening to the new John Cale CD (awesome) and typing this onto my Mac Book Air (because I can afford one, Dilworth). What I can write is that have actually seen some of the movies screened today. Wanna hear?

The Hunt is the new feature from Thomas Vinterberg, the guy who made Festen. I haven’t enjoyed his movies for years, but this was something, and make no mistake- guys, if you don’t leave the theater with your balls in your hands and a reflex to hide your face from every preteen kid who walked past, you should most probably be locked up. The story has Lukas (Mads Mikkelsen, from Casino Royale), a recently-divorced preschool teacher, getting caught up in a web of very serious accusations by a fuck-up, throwaway remark from one of his students- can you call a three year old a “student”?- and watching everything around him fall to pieces. The movie is shot in that blurry-then-super clear European style, of which Vinterberg was a pioneer, and the suggestions given by what we actually SEE are problematic. Did Lukas molest these kids? We just don’t know, and even without the fudged outline, Vinterberg has produced his best movie in ten years. It makes me glad to be a child-phobic homosexual, I’m telling you.

Then there was Amour: well, what can I say? It’s a Michael Haneke movie. It won the Palme d’or at Cannes. It gave me an early-onset midlife crisis. I’m on expenses only for this assignment, for chrissakes.

We (members of the press- suck on it) were loaded with an embargo before writing about Blood the new feature from your beloved BBC. Seriously, what is it with you Brits? You produce good enough character actor fodder for Hollywood, and then go take it as if it’s the Lord’s blessing? GET SOME FUCKING CONFIDENCE! Your commercial movies stink- and none stinks worse than this pile of crap. Paul Bettany is totally unconvincing as a smalltown cop who kills an innocent suspect with some help from his improbable brother (Stephen Graham from Boardwalk Empire) and descends into an ass-wipingly clichéd moral crisis. The photography is dark and moody (surprise surprise) and the dialogue is as awkward as a bum in the Ritz. To see Al Capone reduced to this shit is more embarrassing for an American than the whole 8 years in Vietnam put together.

And then there was Reality- now THIS is a movie. If you’ve seen Gomorrah, you’ll know what to expect from a technical point of view. If not, just see the damn thing already. Luciano (Aniello Arena) is an outgoing guy who runs a fish store in Naples. He likes his life. He sells fish. He goes to parties. He does a transvestite act. And yet… and yet… when his family bully him into auditioning for Big Brother, he’s at first reluctant and then OBSESSED. He gets through to the second round and is called to the sacred ground of Cinècitta. He’s sure he’s made it into the final selection. So he waits. And waits. And waits. And then… all I can say is that he gets WAY too into the Orwellian implications of the show he’s competing for. This is a parable about the fever of attention, the lure of celebrity and the shopping habits of Romans on holiday. And for all that, it’s just waiting to be called a masterpiece. And I don’t do that when I’m writing for ”different” British wordpress blogs under pseudonyms.

It’s one day in, but already it looks a lot like the London Film Festival is trying- and almost succeeding- to get itself taken seriously. Cute. I’ve had a party- no, seriously, a party. I must’ve drunk twelve cognac miniatures back there. Could Dilworth do that? Ask again when he fails to post his copy tomorrow night.

Thanks. You’ve been great- and don’t answer back.

Marcus P.Hernandez

ΦI wanted to pass myself for a Brit- but thanks to a certain SOMEBODY, the secret’s out. I’m happy, you betcha- hell, I can be as much of a dumbass yankee as you Europeans seem to think I am! Kiss my ass, Dilworth.

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