Saturday, October 31, 2009

Doha Tribeca Film Festival

This weekend saw the launch of the first Doha Tribeca Film Festival. Now I really like film festivals so when tickets went on sale three weeks ago friends and I ambitiously purchased tickets to see eight movies over three days.

Now I'm still not feeling 100% but I am going back to work next Monday so I figure going to the film festival would be a good test to see how I was doing. Friday was our busiest day as we had tickets to see four movies. I wound up going to three but I think that overdid it a little -- I should have just gone to two films and then rested at home. Today I am scheduled to go to three films but I'm just going to go to the first two.

So, what did I see? And what did I think? Here's the movies I saw and the rating I gave them, based on the viewers voting cards that they gave to every attendee, five-point rating scale, with a one being "not recommended" to a five being "highly recommended".

Capitalism: a Love Story -- Michael Moore

Attendance: 100% -- full house

I have of course seen his documentaries before and I will give him credit -- whatever you think about the content at least his films are not dull. Sometimes a bit theatrical, a lot of times pulling on your heartstrings with anecdotal stories of tragedy and from this leaping to broad conclusions, occasional glossing over of facts, but his films are entertaining to watch. This one is no exception.

Rating: 4. I would recommend people see the movie as it is interesting, but do not accept what he says at face value. If you're concerned about an issue that he brought up please do additional research afterward.

Bright Star -- Jane Campion

Attendance: ~75%, surprised me that there were a number of seats available. Well, I guess this is the first year of the film festival.

Period piece set around 1818 in England, a romance between the poet Keats and the young lady who lived next door.

Man, was it boring.

Now before anyone gets all dismissive, figuring I didn't like it because men generally don't watch English period pieces, take a look at my previous blog post at the movies I watched while recovering. You see Sense and Sensibility there? The period piece with Hugh Grant? Yup, I do watch the occasional period piece, not ashamed to admit it.

Sense and Sensibility was a decent movie. Bright Star sucked.

No chemistry, most of the supporting cast had no personality, there was not much intrigue or drama. Dull. I'm not even sure why Keats would have fallen for the lady since she generally comes across as a bit of a bitch. At one point in the movie when Keats was leaving for the summer I was whispering "Run man! Run!"

Rating: 1. The lady's family had a cat and it stole every scene that it was in, what does that tell you?

Kobe Doing Work -- Spike Lee

Attendance: ~30-40%!! I definitely was not expecting such a low turnout. No idea why, the movie was at 8 p.m. so it's not like was a midnight screening.

A documentary on basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, at least I thought that's what it was going to be. Actually the film covers a Lakers game with Kobe providing a voice-over narrative. What was he thinking at the time, why did he do that move, what does he think of this player and that player etc. That's literally the movie.

It turns out that Kobe is an interesting speaker. He's didn't have the attitude I expected, he was mature and modest, but not so modest as to be annoying. Let's face it he is currently the best basketball player in the league, you know it, he knows it, and he knows you know it, so he doesn't spend time going on about how good he is. Tactics, strategy, team communication, are covered instead. After listening to Kobe for an hour and a half he seems like a down-to-earth, nice guy.

Rating: 3. While the movie was not dull per se since basketball games are usually high-energy I think I can only recommend this movie to a basketball fan. This is a fanboy movie. If basketball is not your thing you're better off watching Hoop Dreams if you want to see a basketball movie. Spike Lee may have directed but in truth pretty much anyone could have set up 6-8 cameras to film a basketball game so fans of Spike Lee movies I don't think will be that impressed.

Two more films today, I'll post my reviews after.

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