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HIFF: Albert Lanier stalks LOST cast members and reviews SHUTTER!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with Albert Lanier's continuation of his Hawaii International Film Festival coverage. This time he got to see a panel with Hurley, Jin and Michael... I don't often get a chance to show my affection for LOST since Herc rules his Coax Kingdom with an iron fist and has tight control over LOST-material. I love the show and this is coming from someone who doesn't get much into TV (especially non-cable TV). A dream of mine would be to visit the set before LOST wraps up just so I can say I was there, with these characters at this moment in time. Not to mention the fact that it's in Hawaii. hehe

Now below, Lanier talks about approaching these actors (I want to hear what Jorge's response to Albert's statement was!) and also gets a chance to review Asian horror flick SHUTTER. He didn't like it and I have to say I disagree with his take on horror. He doesn't seem to like it as a genre much at all. I'm totally opposite. Actually, I'm getting in the Halloween mood now, with FRIDAY THE 13TH Part 3 on as I update this. However, I didn't like SHUTTER either. It has some nice imagery, but on the whole it didn't impress me. But enough about me. Let's get to Mr. Lanier! Enjoy!

by Albert Lanier

The clichéd statement is that three times is the charm but that didn't appear to be the case with the third day of the Hawaii International Film Festival on Sunday, October 23-at least as far as films went.

Started well enough with the U.S. Premiere of the documentary SISTERS IN LAW directed by Kim Loginotto about prosecutor Vera Ngassa and Judge Beatrice Ntuba who usually find themselves prosecuting and sentencing abusive husbands. Only saw a half hour of this film but the doc was clearly watchable and entertaining as well.

I had to leave SISTERS IN LAW to get a good seat at the LOST panel or "Secrets of the Island": An Insiders Look at the Phenomenon of LOST" (even though no real secrets scriptwise, storywise or otherwise were revealed-not that I expected them to reveal anything important anyway).

The panel moderated by Honolulu Star Bulletin writer Tim Ryan included local special effects whiz extraordinaire Archie Ahuna (who won an Emmy for his work on LOST), Executive Producer Jack Bender and Producer Jean Higgins, DP John Hartley and cast members Jorge Garcia, Harold Perrineau, Yunjin Kim and Daniel Kim.

The LOST panel ended up being okay and surprisingly amusing since the legs on two plastic chairs collapsed sending DP Hartley and Moderator Ryan crashing into the flood of one of the Dole Cannery theaters (though at different times).

Harold Perrineau for instance said when he auditioned for the show that they were looking for a generic Father and Son as opposed to a parent and his offspring from a specific racial or ethnic group.

The panel discussion was held in front of a packed crowd that filled a 400 or so seat theater at the Dole. Fans swarmed around cast members with hopes of getting pictures or just chatting with them.

I met Jorge Garcia and Yunjin Kim afterwards. I told Jorge that he would be perfect to play Harry Knowles if a biopic of his life ever came out and I got a picture with Yunjin Kim (I couldn't resist).

Next stop for me was the Meet the Filmmakers Party at the Tiki Bar at the Aston Waikiki. I got to meet Daniel Dae Kim of LOST at the party. A very nice guy, easy to talk to and he says he likes AICN which makes him a smart man as well.

Also chatted awhile with Director Vincent Ward who's latest film RIVER QUEEN was the closing night film of the festival. Ward did double duty as a Juror this year because scheduled Juror Julie Delpy canceled due to a film role (or so the cover story goes). Another nice guy to talk to.

Among the filmmakers at the party were Loyola Marymount University Film Student Brianne Castillo-Huang who's short film BRACELET screened as one of the selections in a Hawaii Panorama package and Australian Director/ Producer Robert Connolly who had a gala screening of his latest feature THREE DOLLARS during the fest. The flick stars David Wenham (who I met last year when he served on the HIFF jury), Francis O'Connor and Sarah Wynter and had its U.S. Premiere at HIFF.

Both Castillo-Huang and Connolly were great company and fantastic to talk to during the festival.

As much as I enjoyed myself at the party, I felt the need to see another film, SHUTTER, a horror film that was reportedly a big hit in its native country.

Directed by Banjong Parkpoom and Pisanthanakun Wongpoom (both of whom were in attendance for the screening and looked like they just got out of high school), SHUTTER revolves Ton, a photographer and his college student girlfriend Jane and the consequences of the crime they committed.

SHUTTER begins with 4 friends drinking and talking up a storm what seems to be an emptied restaurant. We next Ton and Jane heading to their car and then driving off. They both have laugh about their friends. All of a sudden a body comes hurtling on the windshield and their car careens eventually stopping when it hits the side of a roadside billboard or sign.

There's a young woman in a white blouse lying in the middle of the road. She has obviously been run over by Ton and Jane's car. Ton and Jane decided to hightail out of there and forget about what they saw.

The scene shifts to a University graduation. Ton is taking standard shots beaming smiles on parents and graduates. Then as the cluster of graduates sit for their ceremony and Ton aims his camera at the group, he sees a sort of grayish female figure among them.

Then she's gone. Strange but not life least not yet. Ton goes to a photo shop to pick up his snaps and while flipping through them notices eerie white streaks appearing on a number of his photos. What the hell is this?

The photo shop owner says its a glitch involving double exposure and advises him to check the negative and there are spots on the negatives.

Ton and Jane are forced consider that perhaps this is the work of the young woman they ran over, that perhaps she has arisen from the dead to wreak vengeance.

After all, a whitish, grayish woman has not only terrifyingly popped up in a photo or two but she appears in Ton and Jane's apartment from time to time-blood around her eyes and mouth.

Ton's friends also seem to be dying off-the ostensible cause is suicide and indeed, in one of the film's best shot, the camera sees a buddy of Ton's climb and then jump from his apartment building as a steadicam shot runs with Ton from the inside of the apartment to just outside and darting over the concrete precipice to see a bloody figure smashed on top of a car ala GET CARTER-and Ton and Jane might be next if they don't figure out a way to appease or get rid of this spirit.

There is of course a secret that is revealed in SHUTTER which lends itself to explaining why this woman has come back to haunt Ton and Jane but I wont reveal it because its not worth it.

Neither is SHUTTER for that matter which is essentially a pale copy of JU ON-THE GRUDGE mixed with Antonioni's BLOW UP and is neither scary or frightening.

SHUTTER made me shudder all right-with frustration and slight anger than fear.

The script by Banjong Pisanthanakun, Sopon Sukdapsit and Parkpoom Wongpoom is an assemblage of hoary, tired clichés and archetypes from a million Asian and American horror movies: the unexpected death and cover up, the cute young couple, the reappearing entity, the "exhaustive" research and the horrifying secret.

Not to mention friends and associates dropping like flies and the leaving-room-for-a -crappy-sequel ending.

The performances from actors such as Ananda Everingham, Achita Sikamana and Natthaweeranuch Thongmee are pretty typical and uninspired-basically par for the course.

However, SHUTTER is fairly well directed technically and visually and the film's rich, dark saturated colors and moody lighting are excellent thanks to DP Niramon Ross who does a bang-up job here.

The directors of SHUTTER demonstrate that they can direct a decent film-just not this movie.

SHUTTER reminds me again just how decrepit and obsolete the horror genre is.

Frankly, I have never been much of a fan of the genre due to its highly formulaic consistency and almost rigid insistence by genre filmmakers on flat characters with moronic dialogue and stupid situations.

Yes, there are exceptions-John Carpenter's HOLLOWEEN, George Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD and Danny Boyle's 28 DAYS LATER as well as many of the Hammer films of the 50's and 60's and Universal International Pictures of the 30's-but for the most part, the horror genre is like an old and feeble horse that needs to be shot, destroyed or put down.

Consider then my review of SHUTTER to be a mercy killing.

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 31, 2005, 3:49 a.m. CST


    by Johnny Wishbone

  • Oct. 31, 2005, 9:29 a.m. CST

    I feel what's significant about Shutter is...

    by themikejonas

    ...not that it's a decent horror film, but that it's the first decent horror film from Thailand (half of The Eye notwithstanding). Had it been just another Japanese or Korean horror it would've elicited a yawn from me, but considering how well it was done, it's a sign of good things to come. It's the equivalent of Korea's "Phone" of a few years ago--not particularly original (though with a couple of fresh touches), but it raises hopes for a future classic (like Korea's "A Tale of Two Sisters") to come from "Shutter's" neck of the woods.

  • Oct. 31, 2005, 2:15 p.m. CST

    You insulted Jorge Garcia .......

    by ptindy

    How could you fucking do that! He should have beat you down after that comment! (I met Jorge Garcia and Yunjin Kim afterwards. I told Jorge that he would be perfect to play Harry Knowles if a biopic of his life ever came out)

  • Oct. 31, 2005, 5:10 p.m. CST

    yunjin kim is yum!

    by Reedus

    please, more bikini scenes!

  • Oct. 31, 2005, 5:18 p.m. CST

    Yeah I'm sure that was real fattering to Jorge...Just tell K

    by chickychow

    oh I meant flattering. anyway, dude, you're a jackass.