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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar Voynar@moviecitynews.com

SIFF 2009 Dispatch: Ein! Zwei! Die!

I’ve caught a few films at SIFF that are “hold review” films, meaning although they may have played at earlier fests (and been reviewed from those fests) they now have distribution, so we can’t write full reviews on them at SIFF. I can, however, write briefly about them, so here’s a roundup of three of them.
In the Loop, the festival opener, is a sharp, funny political comedy that’s been called something akin to the love child of The West Wing and The Office. As the Brits and the Americans bicker over starting a war or stopping one, the political tug-of-war among the players keeps up a frenetic pace, with rapid-fire dialogue that’s often completely politically incorrect; insults are hurled back and forth like hand grenades so quickly it can be hard to keep up with it all through the laughter of the audience. James Gandolfini is particularly good as a peace-loving general, but all the players in In the Loop, including his, have alliances and hidden agendas, and the film is biting and often very funny (though when you mull over much of the plot after seeing it, and ponder how close to the truth it likely is, it’s actually kind of scary).


The Garden, nominated for an Oscar this year, is a doc about the fight to save a community garden in South Central Los Angeles. Constructed just after the Rodney King riots, the 14-acre garden, grown and nurtured from an abandoned patch of dirt by a group of dedicated, mostly Latino farmers, grew to become the largest urban farm in the United States — until the farmers showed up one day to an eviction notice.
The ensuing fight to save the garden is documented in the film, but what’s also documented are the myriad facets of politics, greed and racism that all played a part in the battle. The Jewish legal owner of the property is painted here as anything but a mensch, the city councilwoman is shown to be up to her elbows in back-room deals, and, perhaps most surprisingly, the racial tension between black and Latino residents over which group controls South Central creates much of the drama. While the dialogue and pacing are very different from In the Loop, both films show the ugly underbelly of politics; The Garden, though, shows more how the lives of the people with the least political power are affected by those who wield it.
Dead Snow, aka “the Nazi-zombie flick,” isn’t the best zombie film ever made, but it does have the benefits of having a herd of well-organized undead Nazis marshalled by their evil commander, some attractive Norwegian victims, an opening scene set amusingly to “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” and perhaps the best tagline ever (“Ein, Zwei, Die!”). Writing-wise, it’s very self-aware of the stereotypes of horror films in a way that’s a bit reminiscent of Scream, and some of the special effects are over-the-top, but it’s all campy good zombie fun. I expect Dead Snow plays better as I saw it — in a dark theater packed with eager horror fans — than at home on DVD, so when it comes to your neck of the woods, try to catch it that way, preferably with a group of attractive victims, er, friends. And look out for any zombie Nazis who might be lurking in the shadows as you walk to your car.

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One of the great movies. Charles Bronson, great, Charles Bronson. Great movies. Today you can’t make that movie because it’s not politically correct, right? It’s not politically correct. But could you imagine with Trump? Somebody says, oh, all these big monsters aren’t around he’s easy pickings and then shoot.”
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