Cleveland International Film Festival 2012

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, I’m not talking about the holidays or Christmas (but those are wonderful times of year as well) – but I’m talking about the time of year when downtown and Tower City comes alive with activity – when people who don’t normally make the trip downtown spend hours at a time strolling around – when it’s socially acceptable to sit for hours in the dark and eating popcorn. The Cleveland International Film Festival!

Each year, B and I see one or two films. This year, now that we’re finally living downtown, we got to see even more! We saw 5 total, but I would’ve loved to see a few more. One of these years we are going to get a pass and take off of work and see all the movies we want – but until then, five movies in one week will have to do. Here’s a quick review and summary of the films we opted to see. DISCLAIMER: I was not paid to see or review any of these films. I’m also not a professional film critic (far from it!) so take these as the opinions of an average mid-late 20-something female.

Superthief: Inside America’s Biggest Bank Score

Summary, from Clevelandfilm.org:

If a Bank Burglar Hall of Fame is ever built, it has to be placed in Collinwood, OH. The Cleveland neighborhood is home to some of the U.S.’s most prolific and daring bank robbers of all time—the most famous of whom is Phil Christopher, who pulled off a bank job in Laguna Niguel, California for a record-setting $30 million in 1972. SUPERTHIEF is a documentary about the men who put together one of the most enterprising and remarkable bank burglaries of all time, as well as the men tasked with bringing the crooks to justice …

My thoughts:

Overall it was a good, entertaining film. Kind of like Ocean’s 11 meets that History Channel show, I (Almost) Got Away With it. The Northeast Ohio connection made the film even more enjoyable.  It was fun to hear from Phil Christopher himself bout how he committed the crime, the mistakes he made that got him caught, and where he is now. It was also amusing to hear from the police officers and other enforcement that were interviewed - any of them spoke very highly of him, almost as if he weren’t a convicted criminal.

My rating: 3 out of 4 stars

The Trailer:

Sacrifice

Summary, from Clevelandfilm.org:

SACRIFICE, an adaptation of Orphan of Zhao (the first Chinese opera to become known in Europe), dominated Chinese theaters upon its release and is sure to impress American viewers with its dramatic performances, alluring ancient Chinese scenery and absorbing Shakespearean plot. It is a complex tale of betrayals and revenge, as the jealous court official Tu Angu (Wang Xueqi) seeks to eradicate his prosperous enemies, the Zhao clan. Weaving together traps, poisons, sword fights, and all out warfare, Tu almost succeeds with his devious schemes, but the upright physician Cheng Ying (Ge You) has mercy on the infant child carrying the last remaining Zhao blood …

My thoughts:

Meh. It wasn’t a bad film – in fact the first hour or so captivated me as I got a great look into ancient China. I think any fan of Chinese films, especially those that involve fighting, would appreciate the film. I have never been a fan of the genre, however so I don’t think I’m the right audience. B enjoyed the action and I liked viewing the beautiful scenery.

My rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

The Trailer:

Missed Connections

Summary, from Clevelandfilm.org:

Neal is a good guy pushed too far in MISSED CONNECTIONS, a comedic romance for today’s internet savvy dating scene. He’s recovering from a gruesome breakup and a banal job, but rather than confront his problems head on, with the help of some loyal friends Neal finds the perfect distraction on the Craigslist Missed Connections page. Lonely women write posts describing details of chance encounters, a little eye contact, or a passing glance that could have been their knight in shining armor, only he got away. Now they are hoping he’s searching the same internet back pages. What could be easier than swooping in to the rescue as a woman awaits a date who you know won’t show …

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this film. I’ve been a fan of Craigslist’s Missed Connections for years (come on, don’t tell me you haven’t scrolled through the pages just to see who was writing what, and to whom?) and it was fun to see a movie about the site. The characters were likeable, and relatable, and the plotline followed that of a predictable romantic comedy. If you’re looking for something, light, funny and entertaining, this is it.

My rating: 3 out of 4 stars

The Trailer:

Primos (Cousinhood)

Summary, from Clevelandfilm.org:

COUSINHOOD is an American-style bromantic comedy with an added dash of Spanish cojones. It’s the story of three party dudes, loyal cousins who have each other’s backs. When thirtysomething Diego is left standing at the altar, macho Julian has a remedy for his broken heart. They begin by drowning their sorrows and dragging their cousin José Miguel to the seaside town where they grew up. A boozy summer festival is in full swing, where they revel with childhood friends and begin reconnecting with local traditions. Diego rediscovers his attraction to lovely Martina, who lives in his former house. Julian finds that his old friend is now the town drunk and the father of a sultry prostitute. José Miguel, a hypochondriac perpetually out of his comfort zone, bonds with Martina’s young son over their mutual fears. As a new day dawns for these endearing buffoons, it looks like they might be growing up in spite of themselves.

My thoughts:

You MUST see this film. If you’re looking for a hilarious, heartwarming movie that is entertaining for girls, and guys, here it is. It  had me laughing, and crying (from laughing so hard) at parts. Seriously- any film that has cute Spanish men singing the Backstreet Boys is a winner in my book. It’s the best comedy I’ve seen since Bridesmaids and I’m not just counting international films, I mean best comedy out of all movies.

My rating: 4+ out of 4 stars

The Trailer:

The Heineken Kidnapping

Summary, from Clevelandfilm.org:

Rutger Hauer gives one of the most intense and powerful performances of his long career in this Dutch film based on true events from 1983. Hauer plays Alfred Heineken, president of Heineken International and heir to the family’s beer fortune. When Heineken gets kidnapped by four young men, he must bide his time in a small cell hoping his company and family pay the ransom. One of the kidnappers, Rem Humbrechts, has plans of his own and they involve revenge. An incredibly intense and dark crime thriller, THE HEINEKEN KIDNAPPING grabs you from the very beginning and doesn’t let go of its grip. Brilliantly directed by Maarten Treurniet, what begins as a caper film quickly becomes a film of deep-seeded vengeance. After being released, Heineken must deal with the trauma of his ordeal and the only way to get the horrors out of his head is to see them extinguished.

My thoughts:

I was pleasantly surprised with the movie (even though the word “pleasant” hardly belongs in a review of this intense movie) – I had seen a cleveland.com review of the film beforehand and wasn’t expecting much. Despite some slow parts, the movie held my attention and kept me on edge the entire time. I was so involved with the film, I ended up peeling off all the nail polish from my nails – that’s how insense it was!

My rating: 2.75-3 out of 4 stars

The Trailer:

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