The Girl From Monaco – Anne Fontaine – France
A criminal lawyer takes on a high-profile murder case, but the drama happens more outside the courtroom than in. He befriends his newly assigned body guard, and falls for a beautiful weather girl who turns his world upside down. It’s an enjoyable comedic romp until it unforunately takes an ill-advised dark turn and ends up in odd territory that doesn’t feel right.
God’s Forgotten Town – Juan Carlos Claver – Spain
A horror film about a town where all the residents dissappeared 50 years ago. A small TV crew is sent in to do story and gets wrapped up in a story involving ghosts, nazis and a holy relic. It’s not as good as it sounds. The story is uninspired and the direction and style are flawed. It had a promising opening, but quickly turned into a third-rate horror film.
Bitter & Twisted – Christopher Weekes – Australia
The death of a young man causes problems for his family, and for his girlfriend. This amatuer effort has some good performances, but not much else. The characters are not fleshed out, and those that are have the same stories of characters in hundreds of other films. It has its moments but is ultimately forgettable.
King of Ping Pong – Jens Jonsson – Sweden
Two brothers contend with the snow, their drunk father, their mother, her boyfriend and each other in this slow drama. The overweight older brother is the best ping pong player at the rec center, but he still gets picked on. The younger brother is a ladies man who is clearly the apple of his father’s eye. He seems to have it made. Unfortunately, the older brother finds out a secret that can change all that. This meandering film loses its focus after the first few minutes and never really regains it. The two leads are good, but the film has no footing and goes on way too long.
Emodiment of Evil – José Mojica Marins – Brazil
Coffin Joe! Those familiar with the first three Coffin Joe films from the 60’s and 70’s will be happy to see the titular horror icon is back. This film starts when Coffin Joe is let out of jail after 40 years. He quickly gets a gang together and sets out to make himself a son. The film is full of the expectied surreal and graphic elements. It’s a good mix of modern sets, slick gore, and Coffin Joe’s old-school horror charm. A worthy conclusion(?) to a seminal horror franchise.