I hope you guys are taking advantage of the awesome film festival that's been going on throughout San Francisco and end at the end of next week. We've been going to as many screenings as we can and have seen some pretty noteworthy movies because of that.
The first movie we saw was Assassination Classroom, which is a live action movie based on an anime. I saw this title come up a couple of times in the screening round ups and thought it was really weird that it was part of the Dark Wave films. I'd never seen the anime and wasn't sure how it would be translated into live action. But as it turned out, most of the anime loving Overlook creatures were free on one of the nights it was screening...
So we substituted weird Wednesday with a weird anime movie. And it was pretty damned good! I think seeing it in a theatre, with a group of similarly unprepared people added to the experience; less than half way into the movie, it seemed like everyone was laughing together. I can't think of a single moment that felt too long or boring.
The next screening we went to was Under the Shadow, which we knew the bare minimum about. This turned out to be a favorite of the year for one creature and a very pleasant surprise for the rest in attendance, because none of us had heard anything about this movie. I'll just put it this way: there's one more screening of Under the Shadow Sunday at 10 and there's a very high chance we'll be there again.
This past Saturday we spent the afternoon with the Coen brothers, and Peter Becker and Jonathan Turell from Janus Films and the Criterion Collection. Peter and Jonathan accepted the Mel Novikoff award and talked about their work with Criterion, standards that movies must meet in order to receive the coveted Criterion treatment, and about an infamous closet somewhere in the office which visitors are invited to rummage through. Afterwards, the Coen brothers joined them on stage to share stories from their careers and the making of Blood Simple, which was recently given the honorable Criterion restoration.
This incredibly interesting conversation was followed by a screening of the Coen brothers's first film, Blood Simple. I couldn't believe I had never seen this film before, because I loved it. And luckily, I know which edition I'll be picking up.
We followed that up with an early screening of Ben Wheatley's High Rise. During the introduction to this film, Doug Jones of the San Francisco Film Society took a poll of who was a fan of the novel that inspired this film and who was a fan of the director who made it. The results were pretty even for both, but there was also a number of people who didn't vote for either category. Those people were warned that they had no idea what they were about to get in to... And that was an understatement. This might be one of those movies that would benefit from a second viewing, but I will need some time to feel up to embarking on that journey again.
There are still four days left in the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, so be sure to check their diverse calendar for showtimes and tickets.