Fantasia Festival 2014: Open Windows (2014)

After a 4 day movie run at the Fantasia Film Festival, I have a few days off to put together these reviews (before my next bunch comes around) ūüôā

The first movie to kickoff my Fantasia Festival 2014 is Open Windows, a Spain/USA crime thriller. ¬†Open Windows didn’t start off on a good note technically and it had nothing to do with the movie. ¬†After a server reboot and two stops due to sound issues throughout, the movie did finish playing thankfully and I think despite the irritating sounds during, everyone had a good laugh out of it ūüôā Thats what I like about festivals. ¬†Everyone is pretty chill about these things. ¬†So, I put those things aside and I’m going to write how I felt about this one.

open windowsDirector: Nacho Vigalondo

Cast: Elijah Wood, Sasha Grey, Neil Maskell, Adam Quintero

Nick Chambers (Elijah Wood) is the webmaster of Jill Godard Caught: a website dedicated to a star he obsesses over. ¬†Luckily, he wins the Internet contest to have dinner with Jill Godard (Sasha Grey) except the campaign manager, Chord contacts him and notifies him that Jill has decided to cancel it last minute. ¬†However, Chord makes it up to him by ¬†sending him links that brings him closer to Jill’s life. ¬†However, as the night goes on, Nick realizes that Chord isn’t really the campaign manager and he has something much bigger and more dangerous than he imagined for both him and Jill.

Open Windows is a tech thriller and one that utilizes a found footage-esque sort of approach. I’m not much of a found footage expert. ¬†In fact, I’m relatively new to this genre and honestly, I’ve found zero interest in it. ¬†Maybe its the shaky camera work and the really horrible scripts I’ve seen. ¬†I go into every single movie hoping to like it and finally, I think I’ve found one thats decent. ¬†Open Windows is not with a video camera but its the modern day version of it. ¬†Everything happens on the computer screen of Nick Chambers. ¬†Then it moves onto another technology item as the plot thickens. Its a new take on an overused and not so much appreciated genre (from what I gather) and this gives it a new life. It truly reminds us: everyday people who rely on almost everything with our computers, the dangers behind it. Someone can hack anything, control anything and just rip your life apart. I promise you, the first thing I did when I got home is re-apply a piece of post-it to cover the webcam on my laptop. ¬†I’m not going to striptease nor do I think someone would stalk me but you know, precautions are always good.

Open Windows

I think before we continue with this write-up, you should know that I’m exceptionally stupid at computers and technology. ¬†I make do and I learn bit by bit but I think being on a computer in this day and age is all about multitasking and we have so many different windows going on at the same time. ¬†That is something to prepare yourself for with Open Windows. ¬†Its a bit of multitasking and whats really good is that its really very vocal. ¬†Everything is said out loud and we can follow as to what Chord wants Nick to do the whole way with a few interruptions. ¬†That being said, this is ¬†thriller and to at least keep the thrills on, there really shouldn’t be too much of a reveal here.

Open Windows is a great approach and although sometimes that computer screen can get confusing especially with the sound system problems, the insert of some mysterious characters turns the whole plot around. ¬†Those characters also were responsible for a part of my confusion as they had the main guy had a really heavy accent and with all the voices going on at one point, I just got the jest of what was going on. ¬†The pace of the movie is actually really intriguing and tons of questions pops up right up to the big finale when literally everything turns into a huge twisty pile. ¬†I can’t say mess because I do applaud what they were trying to do even if I needed to sit back for a while (or think a bit about it while I was walking to the bus) about what actually went down. I think I have a good idea of what happened. ¬†Where they sometimes lost me was with the technical thing, but I think the less you know technology the more you can feel the danger of this whole thing and for the most part, I started wondering, how will Nick Chambers get himself out of this situation? Lets not even go to say, how he will save Jill Godard…

Open Windows

Before I get ahead of myself because I know I’m heading in that direction, we need to look at Nick Chambers character. Elijah Wood does an outstanding job and falling into an obsessive fanboy. You know that he is because he catches everything of Jill Godard on his site and takes screen shots of every moment she shows her face. ¬†To a certain extent, it covers his judgement and logic. ¬†To me, it was illogical that I’d click a link from a stranger who calls me claiming to be somebody and I can’t see his face. ¬†On top of that, the link is from a site called hackspot. ¬†Ding ding ding! This cannot lead to something legal, much less something that you want to get yourself into. ¬†BUT, he loves this girl and he’s curious. ¬†Some of you might watch this and think he is dumb but as out there as the ending feels, it gives us the answer we want. I thought it was worth the wait at least.

Open Windows

Now, I’m not familiar with Sasha Grey. I only ever saw her in Would You Rather (my review HERE) and she had a somewhat meh role in that. ¬†She’s definitely gotten herself a better role in Open Windows. ¬†She still gets partially naked once but for the most part, she does carry the movie pretty well. ¬†She’s really just the damsel in distress but at the same time, we’re learning about her since thats who the camera is intentionally stalking. ¬†The question before anything is why does Chord want to do this to her and why would he use the hands of Nick Chambers to do it?

Overall, Open Windows is full of questions like most thrillers should have and a lot of them do get answered by the end. ¬†There are some issues with just logic and judgement with the characters and the ending is a bit complicated, maybe a bit too complex since I got lost for a few moments. There are some parts where I questioned why anyone would do that but Open Windows was done well enough with a fresh take on how it was in that intriguing tech-y found footage-esque approach that I got over all of it and felt the tension as the movie progressed on. ¬†I’m not going to say this is the best thriller I’ve seen but its far from the worst. ¬†It has a lot of potential and it might have had space to be better but everyone does a great job here and I fully appreciated the movie for what it was (even if we had pauses due to technical difficulties) ūüôā I enjoyed it a lot and I would probably give it a second chance, maybe at home with some headphones and subtitles on.

P.S. I’m bumping up Elijah Woods’ Maniac on my viewing list ūüėČ

Since this is just a Canadian Premiere, has anyone else seen this yet? What did you think? Any thoughts on Elijah Woods and/or Sasha Grey?

Fantasia Film Festival & My Line-up!

Fantasia Film Festival starts this week in Montreal. It runs from July 17th to August 6th.

Last year, I lost track of when it started and ended up catching 2 movies.  Sad and pathetic, yeah, I know.  In my defense, I was super sick and was on antibiotics.

This year, I amended my old ways and tracked the event and waited for the schedule to go up and then chose my movies and was ready to pounce at those tickets the first moment they went online.

My plan is to see 10 movies and as this goes up, I’m still hoping that one of them will open up because I don’t quite understand what “restricted availability” is but I have a few backups, I that I can choose from. I’ll tell you which one in a little bit.

No rambling on today. ¬†We’re going straight to business. ¬†This is my line up in order of when I’ll see them.

1) JULY 18: OPEN WINDOWS/SPAIN/USA/2014

Open Windows is one I’m not completely sure about. ¬†Sasha Grey isn’t all that convincing to me but then I’m guessing she’ll strip so there’s a appeal to people who like that but my reason is that Elijah Wood has been on a crazy streak of horror movies and they’ve all been received well. ¬†I haven’t seen Maniac or Grand Piano yet but the trailers for those looked good as does this one. ¬†I’ll try to squeeze in Maniac before I go, just to get an idea of Elijah Wood in horror movies, but no guarantees ūüėČ

2) JULY 19: I ORIGINS/USA/2014

I Origins is probably one of the most anticipated movies in 2014 for me. ¬†Brit Marling has been doing amazing movies with Another Earth and The East. She is unstoppable and this one is loaded with cast that I love. ¬†This one was squeezed on a not very good day with another one that I’ll talk about in the end that I had to miss because of my friend’s wedding. ¬†This one cuts into hers just a little but I’ll only be 20 minutes late max. ¬†It should be okay, right? I just couldn’t give it up…what else can I say?

3) JULY 20: CYBERNATURAL/USA/2014

http://www.fantasiafestival.com/2014/en/films-schedule/250/cybernatural

Somehow Youtube didn’t have a trailer for this one but they have a trailer if you follow the link the festival’s page ūüôā

Cybernatural is one of the last decisions that I made when compiling this list. ¬†I gave my boyfriend a few choices since he’s going to see some of the weekend movies with me (especially horror). ¬†This one was the final choice. ¬†It looks like it has a pretty intriguing setup and seems to touch on various social issues in the process.

4) JULY 26: JACK ET LA MECANIQUE DU COEUR/FRANCE/2013

In English, the title is called Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart.

Last year, I saw a few animated movies from France and the style just charmed me so much that when I saw this one and the trailer, I knew I had to see it. ¬†I like the whole dark Gothic style and the original idea of having a boy with a cuckoo clock as his heart. ¬†I’m really excited for this one.

5) JULY 27: HAL/JAPAN/2013

Back to back days of animation. ¬†How can I go to Fantasia and not see something from Japan? I almost wanted to choose a Korean one but it didn’t really work for me other than the cute characters and this one seems to have a more intriguing storyline whether its love or maybe something more. Plus, its only 60 minutes and the animation looks really nice.

6) JULY 28: INTO THE STORM/USA/2014

I already had Into the Storm in my anticipated movies for 2014 but seeing as this showed up in Fantasia Film Festival, I’m guessing it might not make it to the theatre near me. ¬†Plus, I get advance viewing from everyone else in Montreal whose not seeing this on July 28th? Who needs perks anyways? I just want to see Richard Armitage in a leading role and I love disaster movies. ¬†This one could hit the over the top area but sometimes, it works well ūüôā I’m staying optimistic for this one!

7) AUGUST 1: DYS-/QUEBEC/2014

I’m usually not running towards Quebec productions and no, that should say Canada because as much as Quebec wants to believe its unique and not part of Canada, it is. ¬†Just so no one bans me from the movie for saying that, I’m going to shut up about that part. ¬†This movie is weirdly in English (take that, Quebec :P) and its shot in my friend’s condo building. ¬†I recognized the hallways. ¬†Plus, it has a creepy vibe to it. ¬†Its the only horror that I will be going to see by myself, unless some friend decides to join me.

8) AUGUST 2: THE DROWNSMAN/CANADA/2014

Last year, I wanted to check out Antisocial, which looked mad gory but it had some messed up time where I was always at work. ¬†I know a few of you of reviewed it. ¬† The Drownsman is done by the same team, I believe I read that somewhere. ¬†Confession time: I can’t make it through the trailer? My boyfriend watched it for me and gave it a thumbs up for scary and potentially awesome and he laughed because he doesn’t know how I’ll get through the movie if I can’t get through the trailer. ¬†I don’t know either but I’ll figure it out when I’m sitting in the theatre…

9) AUGUST 2: TIME LAPSE/USA/2013

Thats right! August 2nd is a double feature for us. ¬†We have back to back movies with a little time slot in the middle to eat dinner (hopefully). I wasn’t so sure about Time Lapse until I saw the trailer and then I was sold. ¬†Time Lapse looks intense and pretty intense. ¬†The question with these sci-fi time travel-esque movies is whether it makes sense. ¬†I’m confident that it will but I’m also curious to see how this pans out ūüôā

Thats what I’ve bought so far!

The movie I believe slipped out of my grasp is also the one I expected to also: the special screening of Guardians of the Galaxy. ¬†I don’t really mind too much. ¬†I’ll still end up seeing it opening weekend, I’m pretty sure. ¬†One of my friends seem pretty hyped up about it.

BUT, that means to complete my 10 movie run, I need to choose one more.

I have to miss Suburban Gothic (and the chance to see Matthew Gray Gubler) because of my friend’s wedding but here’s the trailer:

This just looks so good. ¬†But I had to make a choice and I have prior commitments. ¬†Lets see other options…

There is one that made me laugh called 3D Naked Ambition, a Hong Kong movie at 11:55pm. ¬†Red light flashing on it possibly being in the porn department since its like at midnight. ¬†As I was trying to find the trailer, I actually found the full movie on Youtube so nope, especially since I won’t have public transport to go home either.

Honeymoon also looks pretty good, but I’m not too fond of watching too many horrors on my own.

As interesting as this is, its also a pass.

Now, I could go on because there’s a few action movies that looked decent as well but I came to the final conclusion that it doesn’t feel right to give up the chance to watch a Hong Kong movie on the big screen. ¬†They have one, From Vegas to Macau which I actually bought when I went to Hong Kong earlier and I will review it during this festival time (if I find time for it).

The final choice goes to That Demon Within.  Its somewhat of a horror action flick, if that even exists.

Nick Cheung has been churning out hit after hit and he’s just been out of control. ¬†Daniel Wu is also one of my favorite actors. ¬†The more I watch this trailer, the more I’m convinced this is going to be epic. ¬†On top of that, its a crime thriller and I just can’t resist them.

Thats it for Fantasia Film Festival for now! I’ll be back with reviews in a little bit ūüôā I’ll try to get them out as soon as possible but with the movies mostly at night, I might have a few days delay depending on my schedule. ¬†Things will stay as normal as possible here. ¬†For sure, the focus will be geared towards movie reviews but I still remember that I have the Hong Kong trip that I have a few posts to put up also at the very least.

What movies peak your interest? Have you been to the Fantasia Film Festival? If you are going, what are you seeing?