SIFF Journal #4

By kate on July 3rd, 2004

Yeah, I know this is a bit belated, but I wanted to put up my last couple of reviews…

Garden State
An indie movie with Natalie Portman can pretty much guarantee that I’ll go to see it. And I thought this movie was entertaining, but solidly mediocre. Portman and Zach Braff, who plays her love interest, act their parts well, but ultimately the writing leaves the viewer less than interested in their lives.

My main complaint was that Braff’s character is supposedly going through a lot of growth as a person during the film. However, it comes across as “telling” rather than “showing”. You watch his growth as exposition, rather than feeling it along with him.

I didn’t hate it, though. It was a fun movie, and both main characters are easy on the eyes.

Rating: 3

Love Me if You Dare
This was one fucked-up movie. In a good way. I don’t really know how to describe it that will convey the premise without making it sound cliched (which it isn’t). It feels like a game of chicken, where the two main characters (a boy and a girl, who grow into a man and a woman) defiantly dare each other to be the one to blink, to step out of the game as the stakes continue to rise. Do they step aside and finally let the game be in the past? Or do they collide because neither will yield? Until the end of the movie, you can’t figure out which way it will go.

It was beautiful and horrible. I only gave it a 4 instead of a 5 because it is a difficult emotional roller coaster to ride. But I recommend it, if you dare!

Rating: 4

Overall SIFF Experience
I saw 15 movies over four weekends, and I rated them an average of 3.4 out of 5. I had such a great time, though. I saw no movies that were BAD. The less good movies have faded away in my memory already, and the good movies still glow brightly. If I had to choose one movie as the best, it would probably be The Five Obstructions (my review) because it had such a strong intellectual component along with humor and a human story.

It seems like I was experiencing SIFF in a parallel universe from the majority of the audience. I didn’t even see any of the award-winners (except Cavedweller, which I didn’t think was that great). However, it’s likely the award-winning films will come back in a general release, and I can see them eventually.

I can’t wait for next year. I’m definitely planning to see about the same number of movies again. Next time, I will try harder to avoid any movies that will probably have a general release and focus on the more rare/indie/international ones.

Filed under: film
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