My Day 1 At San Francisco’s International Film Festival 2012: “The Fourth Dimension” and “Wu Xia” Reviews and Trailers

Jan Kwiecinski, Eddy Moretti, Harmony Korine, Val Kilmer and Aleksei Fedorchenko - Photo by Tommy Lau

The Fourth Dimension

Okay, so here’s the deal; the executive director of VICE Films, Eddy Moretti, sends out this vast list of instructions restrictions to three directors from three different countries.  These directors must than apply these restrictions to a 30 minute feature that deals with the fourth dimension, hence the name of the movie.  These directors include Harmony Korine (Trash Humpers, Gummo, and writer of Kids), Aleksei Fedorchenko (Silent Souls), and newcomer Jan Kwiecinski.  All of the directors were on hand for this world premiere event, and none of them had seen any of the others’ entries before tonight.  Also on hand was Val Kilmer.

First up was Harmony Korine’s contribution starring Val Kilmer; Lotus Community Workshop.  This was the silliest of the three and perhaps one of Val’s finest roles.  You want to see Val sing an improvised song about diarrhea?  Of course you do.  I Couldn’t tell you too much of what this movie was about other than Kilmer plays a quack motivational speaker who preaches enlightenment through sermons on the divinity of cotton candy, the dangers of velvet, and many other ridiculous topics.  Oh yeah, he also rocks a killer fanny pack.  It was hard to watch this movie and not ignore Kilmer’s scene stealing wardrobe.

Next up was the Russian filmmaker, Fedorchenko, and his time traveling entry, Chronoeye.

As much as I enjoyed the lunacy of Kilmer’s one man show, Fedorchenko’s movie, which focused on one man’s obsession with time travel, was my favorite of the three.  Grigory Mikhailovich plays the frustrated time traveler with brilliant subtlety, that in the wake of Kilmer’s, shall I say, liveliness, made Mikhailovich’s performance seem even that much more controlled.  This acting, combined with Fedorchenko’s photography and choice of settings were nothing less than magnificent, as was proven during a certain dizzying ascent to the top of a tower scene.

Moving on from the darkly comedic to the dark, dramatic, and anarchic, was Polish filmmaker Jan Kwiecinski‘s entry, Fawns.

This last portion of Fourth Dimension Omnibus, as I’m now referring to this movie as, was probably my least favorite, but that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it.  The odd thing about it is I can’t seem to pinpoint the exact reason(s) as to why I liked this one the least.  It’s filmed really well, and has that post apocolytic impending sense of doom feel to it that I always enjoy.  Plus there’s violence, sex (or at least foreplay), suspense, a minimal amount of dialogue.  Yet, even with all this it still felt very familiar; not giving me that sense of newness that the two previous entries provided.  I’m pretty sure that I would have enjoyed this more had both Korine and Fedorchenko’s movies not had that originality factor.

I tried to stay for as much as I could of the Q&A after the film, but my bladder, full of complementary coconut water had other plans.  One hour and forty something minutes later, with bladder now relieved, I was ready for some late night martial arts action… or so I thought I was.

Wu Xia

My star rating is based on action alone, nothing else.

From what I saw of Peter Chan‘s Wu Xia I loved.  Okay, so the bad news is I nodded off here and there, but that wasn’t because I found the movie boring.  I was up at 5:00am and it was now after 10:00pm.  I guess I just don’t have the stamina or energy that I used to have when I was younger.  Woe is me, it sure is hard being the ancient age of 34.

But the good news is that I’m pretty sure I was awake for all the action scenes, which had two key elements that coincide with every action movie I deem spectacular.  Those two elements are that I’m able to actually see the action transpiring and that the way in which the fighters use their surroundings is interesting.  In other words, I’ll take a Jackie Chan, Tony Jaa, or more recently, Soderbergh‘s Haywire movie over the likes of Transformers, or any of the Bourne movies where I can’t tell whose fist are whose any day.

Now, being that I was only awake for 3/4 of the movie, I don’t think I can comment with any real assurance as to how the film was overall, but being that I’m fairly certain I stayed awake for all the action scenes, I will say that as an action movie it kicks some serious butt!  Action fans should be pleased with this one.


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