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InsideOut 2004 - UPDATE #3

Wishing Stairs
Directed by Yoon Jae-yeon
SOUTH KOREA/100 MINUTES

As has become de rigueur with Asian horror films, Wishing Stairs is heavy on atmosphere but light on everything else. The story, set at an all-girls ballet academy, follows several characters as they make wishes that eventually come true thanks to a mystical set of stairs - and, of course, things go terribly wrong. Despite the lack of horror elements in the film's first half, it's there that the film works at all because it actually makes sense. Once all the supposedly creepy stuff starts happening, the movie throws all logic out the window and becomes an incoherent ordeal. Making things worse, the film is yet another Ringu clone - complete with the long-haired girl climbing through something to attack a character.

out of


Bulgarian Lovers
Directed by Eloy de la Iglesia
SPAIN/95 MINUTES

There's not much worth recommending about Bulgarian Lovers, an aimless drama about a straight-laced businessman who falls in love with a roguish immigrant. The plotless nature of the film wouldn't be such a problem if there were any characters worth caring about, but that's certainly not the case here. Though the movie's central figure, Daniel (Fernando Guillén Cuervo), holds a little promise - he's a successful gay man who seems to be somewhat embarrassed about his sexual orientation - director Eloy de la Iglesia surrounds him with overblown stereotypes (ie all his friends are swishy clichés, not to mention annoying as hell). Things kind of pick up a bit when Daniel's lover becomes involved in shady dealings, but it's quickly evident that this subplot is just as hackneyed and dull as everything else in the film. Director Eloy de la Iglesia tries to liven things up by inserting weird, Amelie-esque representations of Daniel's daydreams, but it's just not enough to hide the fact that Bulgarian Lovers is an entirely superfluous filmgoing experience.

out of