MIFF - 29th July 2003

Human Contraptions

I was looking forward to this feature of Bruce Petty's new cartoons for fill in spots on ABC TV as I enjoyed his work in "Bruce Petty's Mad Century" and wanted to see more of it.

This series aims to explain important concepts in the modern world in an simple and funny way. The narration by Andrew Denton is excellent and there are lots of silly voices and sound effects throughout.

I thought the most interesting ones were those on the law and finance, but the funniest one was about sex (it probably won't be screened until later in the evening.)

The animation was very good and I liked the animated collage that was used in the "Media" film to demonstrate the effect of the mass media.

While the films themselves were excellent, they suffered from being screened all together. (The constant repetition of the opening and closing titles was annoying, but it was a great opportunity to see them before they are on TV.)


Wallace & Gromit's Cracking Contraptions

These new shorts were originally released on the web, but as I only have dialup at home I decided to forego downloading them. It was good that I did as it was great to see them on the big screen (despite what someone yelled out about "focus".)

The series of 10 shorts each showed Wallace trying out a new invention and Gromit trying to stay out of the way when they they go wrong. It was good to see Gromit getting his own back in some of the stories though.

My favourite one was "The Snoozatron" (lots of other people thought it was funny too) but all the others were great as well.

I really hope the series is released commercially or given a TV screening as it deserves a wider audience.


Yesterday

A tough, gritty police crime drama set in the reunified Korea of the future. While there are many high tech gadgets and Blade Runner influences, it is mainly a gun driven action film with some great car chases and shootouts.

The use of technology by the characters was interesting as they had things like DNA Scanners which could pick up minute traces of a suspect from a crime scene. There was also some humour in regards to these devices as one character (a police official) annoyed the main character by having ads on his video phone. It may have annoyed some people that there was a big product placement for Samsung in the film though.

The plot concerns the kidnapping of the police chief by a serial killer which leads the Special Investigation unit to uncover a secret government program from the 1990's to produce genetically altered children. It does get a bit confusing (but not enough to give you a headache like the main characters seem to get), but you can just ignore that part and concentrate on the action if you wish.

While this was a very good film, it suffers for me as the two best films of the last two Melbourne International Film Festivals were both Korean (Joint Security Area (2001), Volcano High (2002)) and had something extra that this film lacked.


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