MIFF Day 08: Unmade Beds, Chocolate & More

Today was my most grueling day of the festival with four films back to back. Fortunately the films were great except the first film of the day.

THE HIGHER FORCE (2008), Iceland, a film that just tried way too hard to be funny. It had all the ingredients to be a funny film with the plot centering around incompetent debt collectors and wacky characters all set in the baron back drop of Iceland. Instead we get characters that seemed to be forced to odd and don’t work together plus the timing or pace of the film didn’t seem to gel. It had moments when it look liked it was going to all fall into place but then the laughs stopped and it never got started again. It reminder me a hell of lot of another film, Adventures of Power (2008) that had all the potential but just tried hard and thought that by having wacky characters that it’ll be funny!

CHOCOLATE (2008), Thailand, was a fun film that worked perfectly and the MIFF audience was clapping and cheering all their way through it. It’s no classic cinema but simply a fun film that works as a crowd pleaser. Chocolate has a simple plot, two lovers from rival gangs fall in love and told they’ll be killed if they stay together, they go their separate ways but not before conceiving a girl (Zen). Mum stays in Thailand and Dad returns to Japan. The little girl is physical challenged, but seems to have some unique skills which she develops as she grows up by watching marital arts movies and practicing her thai kickboxing. They take in a street kid who becomes Zen, best friend. Zen’s mother gets sick with cancer and before you know it she’s beating up every bad guy who owns her mother money to pay for her treatment. Amazing action sequences that will make you cheer and laugh, image Jackie Chan crossed with Bruce Lee then Rain man all in a teenager girl and you’ve got Chocolate! Just to complete the madness drop in a few ladyboys and you’ve got a very entertaining film!

UNMADE BEDS (2009), UK, was a film I missed at Sundance earlier this year and I hadn’t heard anything bad about it! I really found this to be a very freshening and enjoyable film. It like a modern and updated version of a John Hughes (Breakfast Club, Some Kind of Wonderful) 80‘s style films. It was beautiful shot and wonderful storytelling that felt so natural. The style and the music of this film worked together like a great piece of poetry to tell a lovely romantic story. This is a must see film for those wanting to experience great film that just seems to work!

ONG BAK 2: THE BEGINNING (2009), Thailand, the second thai film for the day. This time I was knowing exactly what I was getting myself into with this film it continues ONG BAK (2003) but it’s more of a prequel of sorts! Tony JAA does his thing again with wonderful fight choreography which is amazing to watch but the story set in ancient thailand is weak! But the reality for audience is their to watch epic fight scene after fight each more complex and eye catching! Fun but take it for what it is an brains action with that is just entertainment.