Thursday, May 31, 2007

siff hotties: juan josé ballesta

The second installment of SIFF Hotties! The first featured Gaspard Ulliel, Elias McConnell, et un trio des garçons. Today...

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...the spotlight hottie is none other than Juan José Ballesta from the uneven Spanish film, Doghead. I don't know much about him, except that he's 19, from Madrid, and really really hot. Oh, and I think I read somewhere he's gonna be a dad soon? Anyways, he did a decent job in the movie, even if his role consisted mostly of looking mopey and slightly confused. If you have anything to add about Señor Ballesta, please do.

On to the films!

My Best Friend (Mon meilleur ami). Rating: 4. So, at it's heart it was a formula movie. The build-up goes here, the climax goes there, etc. but it was really well done. A man is forced by his co-workers to come up with a "best friend," he realizes he has no friends, only business contacts, and so goes in search of a friend. It was funny and sad and gripping in all the right places, even if the conclusion was completely predictable. Best use of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" in any movie I've seen. Well-written, well-directed, well-acted, go see it.

Fido. Rating: 3. Okay, it was funny, but except for a few parts, it wasn't terribly intelligent humor. I guess I knew that going into it, but still expected a little bit more out of it. In an alternate universe 1950s Canada, after a victorious war against zombies, people now keep zombies as pets/servants. I felt like the premise could have offered such great satire, but a lot of it just fell flat. That isn't to say when Carrie Anne-Moss shot her kid's friends-turned-zombies in the head, I didn't laugh, but you know... there should have been... more. But overall it was a good time.

Doghead (Cabeza de Perro). Rating: 3. Like I said above, this uneven film was mediocre at best. A kid with some sort of mental condition in which he blacks out and does crazy things when under stress tries to break out of a sheltered life. A lot of the visual quirks didn't seem to work so well, or weren't employed in the best way. Most of them just felt misplaced in that they were in the wrong places in the movie, or they didn't belong in the movie at all. We sort of see that the main character makes progress within the movie, but I feel like I only see that because he was supposed to, and not because the filmmaker showed us in any meaningful way. The movie seemed like a bunch of free-floating interesting ideas that weren't tied together very well. But Juan José Ballesta was hot. I'd also like to note that a car accident served as a plot device in this film, a movie moment sure to reappear at the very least a few more times in this festival.

Exiled (Fangzhu). Rating: 4. This was a fun Johnny To movie. Well, as fun as a Hong Kong gangster movie with a high body count can be. A gangster exiled for trying to kill the boss makes his way back to Macau to try to live a normal life with his wife and child. Yeah, that never ends well. The action was well-choreographed and well-shot, and all the characters were slick and cool, especially the security escort played by Richie Ren. I liked how the movie seemed to start right after all the exposition that usually occurs in other movies. It saved us 30 minutes of boredom by dropping us right when the action begins, and it worked well. Now that I think about it, I guess a lot of Hong Kong movies do that. I can't think of much else to say about it, except that if you like Hong Kong action, and you like Johnny To movies, then you should probably go see this movie.

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