The Hottest State (USA) - Ethan Hawke adapted his own novel for the screen, then directed and starred in it. Busy boy! I liked this movie mostly because William, our young man finding heartbreak for the first time, was so damned likeable (unless you were the woman sitting behind me at the cinema who found him annoying and ruined the movie for her - takes all sorts). We all have the same stories in life, and this is one we all go through once - our first love and consequently (for most of us) our first heartbreak. It's the real rite of passage - and timed in this case with a 21st birthday - to deciding how you cope with the bumpy road of life.

Boss of it All (Denmark) - this movie starts off with the film-maker narrating the introduction to his film. He notes that you can see his reflection in the building he is filming and this, he says, is the most reflection this movie will require. He is quite correct. This film existed for exactly as long as it took for me to watch it. It didn't leave any questions in my mind nor did it change my life or make me think. What it did do was make me laugh. It was funny and clever. The characters are all wonderful, nicely rounded and quite credible. Boss of it All didn't seem to misplace any humour in translation.

Meet the Armstrongs (UK) - The blurb for this movie included the quote “It’s as if the producers went looking for a real-life David Brent [The Office] and found one with an evil sister.” While Ann Armstrong isn't quite "evil sister" material she is definitely a very interesting character. She and her husband John own and operate Britain's third largest double glazing company U-Fit. They let the documentary camera crews into their lives to film them, their business and their employees, and they (the Armstrongs) loved every minute of it.

This fly-on-the-wall doco is *awesome*. You can't make this kind of stuff up and lord only knows you can't write and deliver the kind of lines these two come out with.

"I think that I'm going to have to put my foot down with a bit of a firm hand."

Ann (on having to talk to the staff about eating at their desks)

"You're trying to put the tyre on the rim, and we haven't even got the spokes in yet. If we're going to stop by the roadside and we're going to be putting a wheel back on, we might as well get on a completely different road and go for it. What I'm saying, is before you go down that road, you've got to make sure the vehicle's got oil and water in, right?"

John (on why they don't need to hire a consultant to grow their business)

Yella (Germany) - This is the story of a young woman who accepts a job offer in a larger city, with plans of escaping her old life in small town Germany. I don't even know how to say what I want to say about this film - or maybe it's because I need to rub my fingertips against each other while I emphasise the delicacy, the subtlety of the story and you can't see me doing that. This movie is so perfectly balanced, to talk about it might upset it's feng shui so let's just go with suggesting you see it if you get the chance.

(that actually reminds me that while coming out of a movie earlier in the week, I heard a man say to his companion that he thought Yella was the worst movie he'd ever seen in.his.life. - I can understand that too :)

Interview (USA/the Netherlands) - I didn't believe these characters. I was going to suggest that the problem for me with this film was that time moved too quickly to set up the bond between Pierre (Steve Buscumi) and Katya (Sienna Miller) but on reflection, their characters were both excellent manipulators and their evening together was great sport for the pair of them. In that light, I feel slightly better about the movie. It did seem a bit superficial at times though, and I do think it would have been better with a tighter script - it just seemed to cover too much ground too quickly (there I go again). Anyway, you go see it, tell me what you think. One thing's for certain, Ms Katya's loft is to.die.for.

Mister Lonely (from a bunch of places) - A Michael Jackson impersonator in Paris meets a Marilyn Monroe impersonator. She invites him to travel with her to visit with her husband, Charlie Chaplin and their daughter, Shirley Temple. They all live with other impersonators at a commune in the Highlands. Meanwhile, nuns are jumping out of planes without parachutes over Africa. Sounds strange? Well that's cos it is - strange and weird and nonsensical and fun and sad and did I mention weird?

*Melbourne International Film Festival