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SIFF 2011 Movie Reviews: Vampire, Win/Win

Here are some reviews for movies that are playing today, with recommendations of what to see and, more importantly, what not to see! Vampire:�If you want to learn how to be a sick serial killer, then this is the movie for you. If you enjoy films that brutally manipulate and victimize women, then this film is for you. If you enjoy poorly written scripts, with stupid characters, and often rather wooden acting, then this movie is for you. If these things are not your cup of tea, then I strongly recommend that you give Vampire a miss. In short, the story is of a�man obsessed with drinking blood, who preys on the hopelessness of suicidal women to feed his vampiristic desires.�It's an interesting concept and could have been a fascinating twist on the whole concept of vampirism, but sadly, right from the start, the film is unconvincing on so many levels. �The acting is barely adequate, the writing random and lacking in continuity, and the suppositions made fairly offensive. They portray people who are suicidal as being pretty much complete idiots. I can assure you, they are not. It portrays women as being pretty much complete idiots. We are not. It seemed highly misogynistic, pointless, gratuitous, and is just plain mean and unpleasant. I can't give this film a fair review because after one particularly unpleasant and excessive scene I, along with at least eight other people, walked out of the theater. But from what I was told by those who stayed behind it clearly did not improve from that point on in either its writing, its plot, or its acting.

Canada/USA, 2011 (119 minutes) Director: Iwai Shunji Cast: Kevin Zegers, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rachel Leigh Cook, Kristin Kreuk
Festival Screenings 6:30 PM Wed, June 1 Egyptian Theatre 4:00 PM Thu, June 2 Egyptian Theatre 8:30 PM Sun, June 5 Admiral Theater

Win/Win:�This was a movie that I would never choose to see, but am very glad that I did because for most of the film I was really quite in love with it. A lowly clerk and runner at an investment firm leaves clever tips around the building to traders upstairs and soon is brought into the enclave which he most desires to be in. For him, math is a perfect, beautiful, magical thing that he can see everywhere - in what people wear, the proportions of their bodies, in nature and the world around him. Math and numbers come as easily to him as breathing and yet are treated with the wonder and delight of a child. But once in the trader's world, his relationship to numbers and people changes and he finds himself struggling against the tide that could easily sweep him away. Maybe it's because I'm�terrible with numbers that this film charms me. Maybe I'm a sucker for any film about a genius character. Or maybe it's the childlike delight of the lead character, his effortless ease with numbers and the intense joy that it gives me that pleased me so much. Probably all of the above. But for the first half of this film, I was enchanted. It's quirky and playful, quick paced and exciting, even though I haven't a clue what they're going on about. I found myself leaning forward, my hands flexing, caught up in the excitement and delight of the main character. The cinematography is an equal delight, visually playful and perky to match the main character's mood and personality. It feels almost magical and I totally could feel the joy and pleasure that he felt simply through the style and pacing of the film. The problem that I had was later on, when he seems to lose that magic and it becomes more about numbers and consequences, the waters became muddied. I couldn't understand what, exactly, changed for him. Perhaps that is just the way it is. I've heard it said that often when you take what you love and do it for work, you lose the love. Or maybe it's just the pressure of being a trader that kills the joy. Whatever it is, I found it a bit ephemeral and confusing save for one obvious blow, and as such had a hard time feeling as engaged in either the film or the main character. But still, a stylish and entertaining film about what makes people tick. Netherlands, 2010 (84 minutes) Director: Jaap van Heusden Cast: Oscar Van Rompay, Halina Rejin, Leon Voorberg, Hans Kesting Festival Screenings: 6:30 PM Mon, May 30 Egyptian Theatre 4:30 PM Wed, June 1 Neptune Theatre 7:00 PM Fri, June 10 Kirkland Performance Center