Friday, March 5, 2010

Jason goes to Cinequest--Day 8

Three more movies on Tuesday. Let's go:

First, a trip through the night in Mexico City with ONE FOR THE ROAD. A beautiful opening shot zooming over the city takes us from the disheveled slums up to the wealthy parts of town. Then a group of well-to-do friends take a trip to sample the night life in the...less safe neighborhoods. They get separated, and they each have their own adventures. One ends up picking up a stripper, getting into a fight with a mariachi, and has to convince the stripper that he's really a good guy. One has an overprotective mother who actually sends a bodyguard to spy on him. He sneaks out, and ends up on a bus at the end of the night and spends the night with the sexy bus driver. And one gets dragged into the local hoods and is robbed. Most importantly, a watch he picked up as a birthday gift is stolen, and he has to spend the rest of the night--and risk his safety many times--to get it back. It's a visually and musically engaging film, and mixes just the right balance of humor with a revealing look at Mexico City's less popular districts. And it's a cautionary tale about white boys (there's an epithet thrown around through the movie that they didn't translate until near the end, and translated as "white boy") and poverty tourism.

The next show started with a short, GRAND DAME, a wild performance piece of a trans-gendered star and his/her long love affair with Bill Shakespeare. Includes an Encore--his/her funeral.

That led into THE SONOSOPHER: ALEX CALDIERO IN LIFE...IN SOUND. Alex Caldiero is a beatnik, a Mormon, and a self-described "sonosopher". That is, he plays with sounds. Not necessarily music (although he is very musical), not necessarily poetry (although he can write beautiful poetry), not necessarily even words. Sonosophy is a celebration of the sound of...sound. In a way it's pure. In another way, it's pure bullshit. But as Alex said in the Q&A, he even takes his bullshit seriously. He's a fascinating guy, and it's a lot of fun spending a little over an hour with him. I don't know how fun it would be to spend much more time with him.

Oh yeah, and on another note, by this time in the festival I'm so exhausted I'm nearly dozing off in just about every film. This is a perfect film to take a 5 minute catnap during, because as long as you can still subconsciously hear everything, you get the most important part of the experience.

And I ended the night with the excellent thriller THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. My only complaint--it's opening at the Camera Cinemas in 2 weeks, so I didn't need to see it here. I should've seen the animated shorts instead. But I must look to the positive, don't mourn the films you missed but celebrate the films you did see. If the worst thing that happened last Tuesday night is I saw a great film, I'll count myself blessed.

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is based on a Swedish novel which I haven't read. But in talking to other fans I can report it was faithful to the novel and people are relieved that a "good, Swedish" version came out before the inevitable American remake. Michael Blomkvist is a journalist caught up in a libel case. He's just lost, and his career and the magazine he helped create ("Millenium") is in ruins. So he takes a leave of absence, and is soon contacted by the patriarch of the Vanger family. 40 years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared. Her uncle is convinced she was murdered, and hires Blomkvist to solve the mystery. He knows he's a ruthless, meticulous investigator, and he also knows he's clean, because he had Lisbeth Salander check on him. Lisbeth is a computer hacker, a really tough chick, and the titular girl with a dragon tattoo (all down her back, and very hot). At first Blomkvist is wary, but she quickly proves an invaluable ally, and their investigation shows a string of murders that appear to be connected, and connected to the family. An exciting adventure thriller, although as I said it's opening in regular release soon (and so I could've/should've seen something else) it's exactly the tonic I needed at the time.

Total Runing Time: 322 minutes
My Total Minutes: 175,212
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