Wednesday, July 07, 2010

HOLEHEAD 2010—The Twitch Report REDUX

Since compiling my last Twitch report on films slated for this year's edition of SF IndieFest's Another Hole in the Head (Holehead)—running July 8-29 at both the Roxie Film Center and VIZ Cinema—a few guest reviews have popped up in response to similar programming at the New York Asian Film Festival, administered through Twitch teammate Ben Umstead, and a couple of earlier reviews that I overlooked have surfaced as well.

Death Kappa (dir. Tomoo Haraguchi, 2010)—Guest reviewer Mark Popham wanted more from this kaiju tribute than, he opines, it delivers. Deeming it "flat out awkward", I don't agree; but, hey, that just means more cucumbers for me! I'm going back to see it a second time when it screens at the VIZ and I'm taking friends. Crunch crunch. Mommy!

Mutant Girls Squad (dir. Noboru Iguchi, 2010)—Guest reviewer Alexander Thebez deftly synopsizes Iguchi's film, which—per his own admission—is familiar territory for fans of Tokyo Shock. He praises the breast swords and anal chainsaws as singularly noteworthy.

Strigoi (dir. Faye Jackson, 2008)—I admit it, I had Roberto Rossellini on the brain searching for this film and punched in Strigoli. Of course, I came up with no results. Had I been a bit more careful, however, I would have found Kurt Halfyard's spot-on review. Kurt writes: "Where Trueblood and Twilight pander mightily to their audiences, offering lurid cheap thrills and plots that wash down like fizz-less soda pop, Strigoi challenges and stretches audience expectation of the bloodsucker with an ambitiously adult story of land ownership, tradition, history and a people dealing with a generational gap that has its youth go off to the rest of Europe to find their place in the world." He concludes: "Faye Jackson's slice of Romanian village life is both a handsome curio and a modern step forward from the stake that Let The Right One In drove into the heart of the genre last year."

Symbol (dir. Hitoshi Matsumoto, 2009)—Guest reviewer Joshua Chaplinsky joins the chorus of the amused and confused. He categorizes Symbol as "two parts Luis Buñuel, a dash of Takashi Miike, and a sprinkling of Kevin Smith (to taste)." Joshua adds: "Symbol can be great fun. There is a charm to its mixture of smart and stupid, and it possesses an element of daring sorely missing from Western cinema."

Yatterman (dir. Takashi Miike, 2009)—I'll blame it on the Twitch search engine that I inadvertently overlooked Andrew Mack's earlier ebullient review of Yatterman from last Fall's Fantastic Fest, revived for its NYAFF appearance. Or perhaps I was just too dazzled by Grady Hendrix to look further? Either way, Mack asserts that Miike has taken the basic elements of the story and characters of a wacky '70s animated show and combined them together "with a dash of self awareness", candy coating "everything in an array of brilliant colors that won't melt in your hand but will melt in your heart. The sugar rush of goofiness and fun brims to the point of overflowing but Miike has never tasted so delicious and sweet." Considering the project "a resounding success", Mack found Yatterman far more entertaining than he ever thought it would be, with production elements far more impressive than he could have ever hoped.

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