Directed by Kenji Kamiyama
Well, it's another Ghost in the Shell. The world is a nice examination of a highly technological future where computers are interfaced directly into people's brains and there are advanced artificial intelligences and everything is networked. Previous GitS films have focused on a Cartesian skepticism on the nature of consciousness, perception and reality. This one was more of a thriller plot without the rather crude philosophising.
It was OK entertainment, but is basically another sequel in a franchise and doesn't really add anything new. At least the animation didn't suffer from the horribly ropey CGI from GitS: 2nd Gig.
Directed by György Pálfi
So many films concentrate on the internal world of the characters, this wonderfully grotesque black comedy looks at the physical reality of the human animal. Eating, excreting, sexual urges, viscera and flesh are examined in three equally bizarre stories about generations of men. In some ways it's comparable to Monty Python's Meaning of Life, but this is darker, cruder and at least as funny.
Directed by Laurent Tirard
A luxurious production that draws from the works of the 17th French playwright and presents them as biographical detail. It's a very witty comedy that mostly manages to mix drama and comedy closely, and when mixed with the rich settings of the 17th century bourgeoisie it makes for a pleasantly amusing period drame. It's not a particularly deep and the criticism leveled at Molière in the film can be made of the film, it does comedy far better than tragedy.
Amoung Adults (Entre adultes)
Directed by Stéphane Brizé
A fairly original structure of several short films linked by one of the two main characters continuing to the next, each film looks at the interaction between a man and a woman and alternates which goes on to the next film. It's a bleak look at relationships, with most of the films looking at the characters lying, bullying and cheating. I can't say anything really stood out, the structure left very little room for redemption or mitigation of many of the deeply unpleasant people, with the exception of the character that links the first and last segments.
Directed by D.J. Caruso
Mostly a remake of Hitchcock's Rear Window, apparently just enough plot elements were changed to avoid litigation. A teen is traumatised by the death of his father in a car accident, and goes off the rails, cumulating in him being sentenced to house arrest for assault on his Spanish teacher. That's where the film really begins.
Most of the film is a mystery thriller, the last section becomes classic teen-slasher, and there's an overall wholesome air of coming-of-age redemption and reconciliation. I suspect the film will date incredibly rapidly with the very consciously contemporary references to technology and culture. Whether for simple product placement, or out of an attempt to make the protagonist real, his bedroom is filled with the latest from Apple and Sony and there's a prominent Xbox360.
As teen thrillers go, it's a very intelligent well made one, but if you see it, see it in the next year, I don't think its appeal will last.
Directed by Satoshi Kon
The synergism of anime, this film draws on elements from across the spectrum of Japanese animation; cybernetic futures, giant robots, tentacle monsters, living toys, magical transformation and so on. It manages this by the introduction of a piece of technology that opens up dreams to interference and breaks down the barriers between dreams and reality.
The story introduces no rules for the dream world, which lets the story go in whatever direction is needed but needs a shift in the viewer's perspective as the film gets less founded in near-future reality and more in a fantasy realm.
It really is a very good anime; great animation, great soundtrack and the blending of reality and fantasy that anime does so well.