Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 13

Two more movies last Tuesday, starting with the exceptionally inventive BESIDE MY BROTHER. Single father Josef (Michael Hase) is in no state of mind to raise a son, much less twins Thomas and...Thomas (played by Steven Cloos as a child and Pierre Kiwitt as an adult.) Yeah, he just raises his twins as a single boy, calling them by one name, only taking one to school, making breakfast for just one, etc. And they get so used to living one life, they continue doing it even when they move out and go to the city to become an artist. Oh yeah, they have very different personalities (one is healthy, outgoing, colorful in his painting; the other is quiet, sickly, and meticulous in his drawings), but they do have art that keeps them together. Oh, and a budding romance with Magda (Ricarda Zimmerer,) but I think only Thomas loves her, other Thomas doesn't. What I appreciated most in this movie is that it takes a premise that is ripe for sitcom hi-jinks and plays it as completely straight drama. Not that it doesn't automatically have some comic moments, just that it's played with a very German (or rather, Austrian) sense of precision and logic, with just slight moments of dark humor.

Speaking of dark humor, the next show had that in spades, starting with the short STUCK. A man wakes up, standing up in a pit, stuck up to his waist in concrete. This is revenge, and we soon meet his tormentor--a man who is still grieving his little girl who was kidnapped and murdered. Best part is when the tormentor's wife shows up and has a "not again" moment.

Then the feature THE DEVIL'S BUSINESS, the second of the two 'hit man horror' films in Indiefest (the other being KILL LIST, which returns for a one week run at the SFFS cinema March 16-22.) This is the more supernatural version of hit man horror, and also the more claustrophobic. Two hit men--an old veteran and a young rookie--are given an assignment to take out a former associate of their boss. They show up early and...wait. To pass the time, the veteran (Billy Clarke) tells a story to the rookie (Jack Gordon) that unnerves him. And then a lot of weird shit happens in the house. Of course, given that one of the first things they saw was a skinned animal head (complete with eyes) on a plate, you know something weird is going on. This movie was just cool as hell--scary, funny, creepy, and a real testament of what can be done with little budget but a whole lot of atmosphere and great performances.

Total Running Time: 171 minutes
My Total Minutes: 267,408
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