Film Friday: It Went Down Like An Iron Balloon
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Film Friday: It Went Down Like An Iron Balloon

Oh, man! It’s a quiet week in film for some reason! It’s almost like there’s a huge film festival halfway across the world that all of the critics and film companies are distracted by, so they forgot to release anything notable this week. After all, Iron Man can take care of itself, right? (If you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely the kind of summer blockbuster we’re happy to recommend, so go for it.)
Well, that’s not entirely fair—a new feature-length documentary from Super Size Me‘s Morgan Spurlock is pretty noteworthy. We rather enjoyed his 30 Days TV series, even if it was pretty much the version of Wife Swap that didn’t feel incredibly disgusting to watch (as it did manage to be at least fairly educational). So we’re interested in Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? in a similar fashion (though we’ll pause to give props to the Carmen Sandiego reference). After all, it’s certainly possible that Spurlock has gained some bad habits from working in TV—Eye‘s Jason Anderson laments that “Spurlock…seems so wary of boring viewers over the age of seven he ends up trivializing the topic with corny shtick.”
One man who isn’t afraid to bore audiences is Hou Hsiao-hsien. That’s not to say that we think his movies are boring—just that it would be easy to see them as such. His latest is Flight of the Red Balloon, based on the celebrated children’s short that, if our mother’s memory is correct, left us utterly inconsolable. (We can’t remember, really.)
Can Hsaio-hsien’s take be anywhere near as good as Mr. Show‘s? We can’t be sure, but the mysterious Paul Ennis over at NOW seems to have enjoyed it, saying, “If you need an antidote to Speed Racer, this is it.” Which gave us the fantastic image of people writhing in hospital beds, suffering from Speedraceritis. You know the symptoms: speaks incredibly fast without pause for breath, limited movement, and so on. Anyway, Flight of the Red Balloon plays the Royal starting tonight.
In festivals this week, the Canadian Sport Film Festival ends this Saturday, while Inside Out continues (covered here by Johnnie Walker), as does the Toronto Hispano-American film festival.