Monday, February 7, 2011

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 4

The end of the opening weekend, and a four movie Sunday.

The day started with my favorite film of the fest so far, THE DRUMMOND WILL. Two perfectly opposite brothers--one a long-haired, free-wheeling optimist, the other a button downed, serious professional--show up at their father's funeral. The next day they learn their father had no money but they get his old house. They go to the house and find a broken window and an old man hiding in the cupboard clutching a bag full of money. And this sets off a series of wacky accidents and a wild, hilarious, crime-thriller story. It's shot in black and white, although it takes place in fairly modern times (at least since the World Wrestling Federation became World Wrestling Entertainment). I think it's best described as slapstick noir. And a pitch perfect clever comedy. Have I mentioned I freakin' loved it?

Next up, THE HAPPY POET, which so far is leading the race for Most Ironic Title. Bill never smiles and hasn't written poetry since grad school (and his one poem he reads, I wish he hadn't). But has a dream of an organic, vegetarian food stand (and eventually solar powered). All he lacks is any business sense. He does make a few friends who 'help' with his food stand (i.e., one just sponges and the other uses it as a front to deal pot). It's a well made movie, but I really didn't like this idiotically bland, spineless 'hero.' And I have a sneaking suspicion the whole movie was made to justify the closing joke.

Actually, that was kind of the theme of the features today. An ending bit that was excellent. Of course, in THE DRUMMOND WILL I also loved the whole trip there. With HAPPY POET, I was often annoyed and/or bored. And with the third film of the day, I was somewhere in between. HEARTBEATS (or it's much better French title, which translates as something like IMAGINARY LOVES) is the second film by highly accomplished wunderkind Xavier Dolan (I KILLED MY MOTHER). Xavier also stars as Francis. He and Marie have been friends forever, and they both are attracted to pretty curly-haired Nicolas. The three of them go out, have fun, often crashing together in Francis's giant bed (Nicolas, of course, in the middle). Nicolas is (maybe?) blithely unaware, and it all leads up to a humorous finale. Naturally, there's not much story since the love triangle is pretty much imaginary. But Dolan keeps it at least visually interesting (although I don't think I could take one more slow-motion close up of bodies in motion and soaring music), and he breaks it up with funny testimonials of love gone awkward from random people. I've heard (from someone whose movie opinions I trust) that I KILLED MY MOTHER was even better, so I'll have to check that out.

And finally, I ended the night with the shorts program, Offensive!
INFIDEL PIG: Sometimes you need some fanatical motivation to clean up your life.
THE BOOK: Specifically, the book of Khomeini's Rules of Etiquette, used by the religious in Iran to be good Muslims. Or used in other ways by some people.
SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW: Reality show anxiety is broken by an earthquake. But soon things get back to normal.
JUST DESSERTS: Two old sisters run a diner, in a film that explicates the difference between "just desserts" (as in, only sweet dishes like cakes and pies) and "just deserts" (what someone justly deserves, and pronounced the same way). I'm so thankful they got it right, it's a little per peeve of mine when people obsess over the difference between "desert" (sandy, arid terrain) and "dessert" (sweet dish) and forget there is a word spelled the same as the former, pronounced like the latter, and meaning "something deserved." Anyway, I got off on a tangent there...the movie's good.
GAY KEITH: A mostly true story of Scott, a red-headed Canadian living in L.A. who just needs to empirically answer, "Am I gay?"
DREXEL CROSSES THE POVERTY LINE: Filthy puppet comedy, where Drexel has to rescue his long lost retarded brother Eric from the clutches of Mitt Romney's live bestiality show. Pretty awesome.
TRIVIALITY: 9 minutes, 19 seconds of a guy jerking off while a voice repeats how the secret to violent men is that they're ashamed of such trivial things that their very triviality makes the even more ashamed. Pretty quickly, both acts just become tedious, which I guess (hope?) Is the point. I don't know how I could judge this film as good or bad. I think most everyone would know if they do or don't want to see that. Well, except for maybe the red-headed Canadian from GAY KEITH

And that's the final image that I had to go home with. Thanks a lot, Indiefest!

Total Running Time: 360 minutes
My Total Minutes: 221,806
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