The Eighth Annual Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival
Directed by Sara Hyoun and Cecilia Hyoun
Score! hardly seems like it should work at all - its ultra low-budget is exacerbated by several iffy directorial choices - yet it's hard not to be won over by the likeable characters and snappy dialogue. There's not much of a plot here; Reva (played by writer and co-director Sara Hyoun) spends her days chasing an elusive perfect score in bowling and her nights hanging out with her friends, while also pursuing a relationship with the self-assured Jeremy. Score! is essentially an estrogen-infused riff on Swingers, with Reva and her buddies standing in for the heroes of Doug Liman's cult classic. Score! isn't quite as polished as that movie - the screenplay often sticks a little too closely to the romantic comedy formula (complete with the faux breakup towards the end) - but there's a certain amount of genuine charm here that's infectious, making it easy to overlook the film's few flaws.
Directed by Tammy Cheung
HONG KONG/85 MINUTES
Secondary School was evidently the source of some controversy in its native Hong Kong upon its release, though it's hard to imagine why. The film follows several weeks in the lives of the students and faculty of two schools - one for boys and one for girls - and effectively captures the day-to-day minutia of such an existence. As a result, the movie consists almost entirely of short sequences featuring classes being taught (ie students learning all about screws and their many variations) or teachers debating about one thing or another (ie whether or not the kids should tuck in their shirts). Secondary School is kind of interesting, but just like school, it eventually becomes tedious; the repetitive nature of the film eventually becomes overwhelming, and since director Tammy Cheung never focuses on any one person, it's virtually impossible to care about any of this. Really, there's nothing special or unique about these two schools, so there comes a point at which it's difficult not to wonder just why we're watching this.
The Adventure of Iron Pussy
Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Michael Shaowanasai
It really is incredible just how bad The Adventure of Iron Pussy is, a film devoid of any redeeming qualities. Star and co-director Michael Shaowanasai plays Iron Pussy, a superhero whose disguise consists of a dress and lots of make-up. Iron Pussy's latest assignment finds him sent to the Thai countryside, where he is to infiltrate a rebel base in the hopes of tracking down their elusive leader. The Adventure of Iron Pussy is clearly going for the vibe of a camp classic, but it just feels like it's trying too hard to make that happen. As a result, the movie is packed with instances of broad, painfully unfunny moments of comedy and off-kilter musical numbers (none of which work in the slightest). While Shaowanasai is quite effective in the title role, this doesn't change the fact that the film is a torturous ordeal to sit through.