Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 2

2 more movies, as Indiefest is going easy on me and not showing weekend midnight movies this year.

We started out right home in San Francisco...and in the afterlife, with LIMBO LOUNGE. Small time San Francisco con man Silas pulls only small solo jobs ever since his partner/girlfriend Anya died a year ago. After a night of fleecing some guys at dice, he's hit by a car and wakes up in purgatory--i.e., stuck in gridlock before the Bay Bridge. He can't leave the car, and the radio constantly plays Limbo Rock as some sort of corny joke that ensures anyone is batshit crazy by the time they make it to heaven. He can't even get out of the car, until Anya shows up and lets him out. Turns out, she's got a nice gig harvesting souls for hell, and if he follows her lead he can become staff, too. And trust me, it's better to work in hell than live there. All he has to do is corrupt timid, sweet ad-woman Jules. And hey, he's a con man so manipulating people is easy for him. To help him and monitor his progress she gives him a handheld device that displays the percentage corruption of her soul and gives him two "bursts"--30 minutes of physical presence on earth (Harvesting souls? There's an app for that). So...a lot of this high concept setup was pretty strained and was close to losing me. But I stuck with it and eventually there were twists that satisfied me and got me to care about the characters. It took a while, and some of the transitions were kinda forced, but eventually it did become about the characters more than the gimmicks. Plus I really liked the gag of a BART train to heaven (disclosure, I'm writing this on the BART right now)

LIMBO LOUNGE plays again Wednesday, Feb 10 at 9:30.

Next up was a hilarious mockumentary from the UK, BEYOND THE POLE. Fellow eco-warriors Mark and Brian are determined to bring attention to the melting polar ice by being the first unaided, carbon-neutral, vegetarian, all organic expedition to the north pole. Only problem is neither of them are experienced campers and they're equipped with more zeal than supplies. Especially Mark, the leader, who is kinda crazy to begin with and goes completely nuts during the trek. After a bit of training (including cold acclimation in a meat freezer that's not good for their veggie sensibilities), they're on there way, encountering polar bears (which their cameraman/guide Steve helpfully shoots), much better equipped Norwegian competition (including Alexander Skarsgard from HBO's "True Blood"), the elements, freezing waters, and news from back home that makes Brian want to turn back. Hilarious and fun, it's quite a journey. BEYOND THE POLE just got released in the UK on the strength of the fans and online support. Here's hoping they have the same success here (I've done my bit not just by writing here, but by joining their facebook fan group).

BEYOND THE POLE plays again Sunday, Feb 7 at 2:45.

Running Time: 177 minutes
My Total Minutes: 169,177
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