Philly Film Fest Shakedown

Chilling rain and wind did not deter me and my MT folks (plus an old friend) to show for the 15th Philadelphia Film Festival this year, running for the past two weeks and ending on Tuesday. We caught 3 films…

Hell – This Thai slash film details the torment of hell in a Tao/Buddhist perspective. For a Thai film it’s rather well done, IMO, but it’s holey and not to be taken seriously. I thought it was amusing in exposing a western audience (at the showing, anyways) to a rather classical Tao/Buddhist perspective to afterlife. I suppose you could take it seriously and it would have the right effect too. Mostly good for the laughable moments but otherwise eh.

American Dreamz – An Universal film, so it’s got some stars like Hugh Grant and Mandy Moore. Aside from the political jabs, it’s really entertaining and I felt it didn’t come off as preachy or too tongue in cheek. Well acted satire where the various actors put in a good balance of “the camp” and “the serious” to give us the semi-soft look at, first and foremost, the American Idol situation.

Tokyo Zombies – A 2005 Japanese film, but amongst the Zombie Genre meta remakes, this is possibly the best lampoon yet. Simply put, the first half of the film deals with the chaos when “Black Fuji”–a Mt. Fuji-sized landfill turned its ill-buried corpses and chemicals–erupted with armies of zombies which can only be killed by decapitation. Our heroes enjoyed a relationship similar that of a master and apprentice, which turned south when the master lost his fleeting life while saving a (random) girl from the undead horde. It’s sublime humor mixed with the style of movie storytelling that Japan is best known for. The second half of the film is just OUT THERE and it completes the circle of lampooning.

This year’s offering of comedy is superb. I was impressed by American Dreamz and even if TZ didn’t cater to me, it was great. If you want to know more about the films please visit the Film Fest site for more details.

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