Toronto / New York Film Festival reviews on House Next Door and Slant

Press screenings have started in New York – great to see people like Ed Gonzalez, Keith Uhlich, Filmbrain, Vadim Rizov and S.T. von Airsdale from The Reeler, Sam Adams, Manohla Dargis, Amy Taubin, Steve Erickson, Jared Rapfogel, and who knows who else I don’t recognize all in one screening room!

This year I’m writing reviews for both Slant Magazine and The House Next Door.  As much time as it has taken this past weekend, I’m really enjoying writing them.  I already have five reviews up, including three of the films I saw at TIFF:


The Man from London (Bela Tarr)

Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang-dong)

Useless (Jia Zhang-ke)

The House Next Door (also being cross-linked to Zoom In Online:

New films by Peter Hutton and Robert Beavers from the Views from the Avant Garde Program

Go-Go Tales (Abel Ferrara)

Tomorrow evening — The Flight of the Red Balloon!

Author: alsolikelife

This is my pet project

  • Michael Kerpan

    I enjoyed your reviews of “Secret Sunshine” (waiting on the Korean DVD to come out — soon) and “Useless” (heaven knows when well get to see this in Boston). Look forward to your reaction to “Red Balloon”.

    I only just got around to “Lat Life in the Universe” — so I am way behind the festival curve. ;~}

  • Joe Armenio

    These are great, thanks Kevin. Look forward to your thoughts on the Hou.

  • ryan tracy

    I don’t really remember you being much of a Ferrara fan. Just out of curiosity, what other Ferrara films have you seen? Regardless, nice review of GO GO TALES. That’s one I’m really looking forward to seeing. I love me some Ferrara! And with all the titties and such, perhaps it’ll get a better release than 2005’s MARY.

  • alsolikelife

    I’m honestly not a Ferrara fan, LeSam. I didn’t care much for BAD LIEUTENANT and didn’t even finish watching THE FUNERAL. Maybe it’s because this one didn’t seem to take itself very seriously at all that I liked it. Check out Ed Gonzalez’s review at Slant, he makes a lot of great points about it and his comparison to PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION is evocative.

  • ryan tracy

    You really need to (re)watch THE FUNERAL. To be sure, Ferrara’s film doesn’t really ‘get’ the ’30s so well: the film might as well have been set in the present for all it makes of the period. Nor do any of the brothers even remotely look like brothers. But like his other films, Ferrara’s filmmaking abilities, as well as the abilities of his actors, more than make up for THE FUNERAL’s faults. Chris Penn’s performance alone makes the film. I can’t imagine why you shut it off.

    Hmm… GO GO TALES is like A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION? Interesting comparison. Thing is, I didn’t think much of Altman’s last film when I saw it. And I thought even less of it after seeing the ‘real thing’ in Jonathan Demme’s NEIL YOUNG: HEART OF GOLD.

    For what it’s worth, my own favorite Ferrara films are: MS. 45, KING OF NEW YORK, BODY SNATCHERS, BAD LIEUTENTANT, THE FUNERAL and NEW ROSE HOTEL.

  • zetes

    I saw Ferrara’s Body Snatchers the other day. Good flick, although certainly the third best version.

  • jesse

    Hmmm… you’re making my weekend being spent at the (very modest) San Diego Film Festival sound very… modest. Have a great time, and I too look forward to your thoughts on Hou’s film.

  • Michael Kerpan

    Just watched “Secret Sunshine” for the first time. My thoughts are far from settled, but (as of now) I think I disagree with the (seeming) critical consensus that views the second half as a mistake (or letdown). I think it is in many ways both more brilliant and more “real” than even the first part of the film.

    I think her treatment of the unfortunate teen-aged girl (later seen as the rejected hairdresser’s assistant) is a key to the film — though I can’t claim to have unlocked all its secrets — as I still am uncertain about why she is so hostile to this unfortunate young woman.

  • alsolikelife

    well the girl is the daughter of the man who wreaked havoc on her own family, and as you say the way the mother treats her during instances where she’s really in help gives a true indication as to the extent of the mother’s new-found Christian charity. In a passive manner she’s still thinking “eye for an eye”.

  • Michael Kerpan

    Wow — I totally missed the fact that the girl was the daughter of an “important character”. LCD certainly didn’t make this very obvious (one of the good things about the film, I guess).

    Patty and I both felt that Shin-ae was never terribly stable during the course of the film — even at her best.

    Patty thinks that Shin-ae never _really_ wanted to forgive the man she visits in prison — but rather to cause him to suffer due to her display of goodness. I think she did want to grant forgiveness (despite the pain) because it alloweds her to feel that she was something other than a passive victim.

    Shin-ae’s line “How dare God forgive him before I did” has to be one of the greatest ever.

    The more I think of this film, the more I suspect it will top even “Peppermint Candy” in terms of my admiration.

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  • Narinder Singh

    I’m really enjoying writing them.  I already have five reviews up, including three of the films I saw at TIFF: