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JDIFF 2013 reviews part 2: John Dies At The End, In The House

More guest reviews from Mick McGovern, aka amawaster. Read Mick’s other reviews and follow all our JDIFF coverage here.

John

John Dies At The End

★★★★

Directed by: Don Coscarelli // Starring: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti // USA
IMDB // Screened at JDIFF on February 16th 2013

The director of Bubba Ho-Tep returns with another genre-buster. The tale centres on a bunch of youths who take a drug called “soy sauce” which is actually a portal to seeing other dimensions (a gateway drug if you will), unfortunately some nasty creatures want to come over so it’s left to John and his mate Dave to stop the impending apocalypse. The film is framed by Dave telling his story to a reporter played by Giamatti, so by its very nature it’s off the wall and all over the place but its constant pace and shifts don’t put you off. The film is very funny, playful and charming and has some really fantastic dialogue and set pieces and I’m already looking forward to watching it again.

5

In The House (Dans La Maison)

★★★★½

Directed by: François Ozon // Starring: Fabrice Luchini, Ernst Umhauer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emannuelle Seigner // France
IMDB // Screened at JDIFF on February 16th 2013

Ozon’s latest charmer deals with a teacher who, underwhelmed by his pupils literary skills, is suddenly transfixed by a “What we did at the weekend” essay by a pupil who chooses a friend so he can enter the perfect middle class family home and write about it. While the teacher understands the boy has a crush on the mother and the pitfalls of a student writing about another student’s family life, he’s intrigued enough to encourage the boy to continue writing his story as long as the teacher and pupil are the only ones who know – well those two and the teacher’s wife. What follows is a truly engaging romp and also an interesting and witty take on narrative and storytelling and also how authors manipulate stories and characters depending on what they are trying to achieve or say. Every character is well drawn which leads to great performances from Luchini, Scott Thomas and particularly the young Umhauer.

Follow all our JDIFF coverage here

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Amawaster writes our monthly "I Streamed a Stream" Netflix column and blogs at http://amawaster.com. Don't be creeped out by by how freakishly similar his film tastes are to the two Spooool.ie founders...