Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jason goes to Cinequest--Day 7

Back to the weekday schedule at Cinequest, where being gainfully employed means only 2 movies a night. But I did get there in time for the VIP Soiree at the fabulous Silicon Valley Capital Club. Drinks, snacks (which disappeared too quickly) and a wonderful view of the city. A nice way to prepare for my first film of the day.

And that first film, THE SPACE JOCKEY PURSUIT, was a delightful laugh-out-loud comedy (seriously, I laughed out loud many times, and I wasn't the only one, although I wish there had been a bigger crowd at the screening.) Tom Bernstein is the son of a wealthy auto manufacturer who is being groomed to take over the company by travelling to Japan and heading up the new factory there. Trouble is, he doesn't want to. Taking over the company was his dream when he was little, but now it sounds kind of boring, especially as he's missing his recently deceased mother (who was way more of a free spirit) and his brother who has been away in a mental institution. Well, his brother Alvin is back, with dreams of landing the choice role in the upcoming feature film SPACE JOCKEY (yes, as in horses in space...just go with it.) And Tom, seeing Alvin's dogged pursuit of his dream, has his own dream--to have a dream. He doesn't really know what he wants in life, but he knows helping Alvin escape and make it to his audition is somehow part of it. So they set out with a 3-day deadline and a list of Brando-inspired "method" prerequisites for preparing for the role (learn to ride a horse, learn Spanish, learn to drink Wild Turkey, etc.) Primary among them is to convince his scene partner to come along, and it becomes pretty clear that this might be just as much about an infatuation with her. Anyway, the plot arc itself doesn't exactly break new ground (road trip, ticking clock, love triangle, lessons learned--check, check, check, check), but it's just very well executed and hilarious. Man might not have been meant to travel twice the speed of light, but if you like a good laugh you were meant to see this movie.

THE SPACE JOCKEY PURSUIT plays again Fri, 3/8 4:45 PM


Next up was DETONATOR, which suffered from a few brief but annoying technical glitches and ultimately started (for the third time) about 20-30 minutes late. Let me detour a bit and thank the hard-working projectionists. I know they're dealing with several different formats, several pieces of media, and every show is different. It's not like a regular theatrical run where they might have to work out the technical kinks once and then it should play the same way for weeks. And I don't want to hear any guff about how 35 mm film never has glitches--it's not like I've never seen 35 mm jam and burn up, or a reel accidentally inserted backwards. There's a lot to say about 35 mm vs. digital, but they both are subject to the whims of the projector and the skilled but all-too-human hands of the projectionist. So I mention there were technical glitches not because I want to "call out" anyone, but because it's a factual account of what happened. The fact is, given the complexity of this festival, I'm surprised there haven't been more glitches (incidentally, I heard at the same time OH BOY was playing without subtitles. So two glitches on the 7th day of the festival--not bad.) Thank you again to the hard-working projectionists.

Oh yeah, the movie. We open with Lawrence Levine getting his anarchy tattoo burned off. Ok, I know his character is named Sully, but to me he's Lawrence, the filmmaker of GABI ON THE ROOF IN JULY who I partied with at Cinequest a few years back. Similarly, when his (real life) wife Sophia Takal shows up as a young temptress at a party, I can't help but think 'Hey, that's Sophia! They're married.' Same thing when Joe Swanberg shows up as a lawyer (only difference is I know him from Indiefest instead of Cinequest.) Wierd that I have this reaction to this group of indie film friends, and not to giant stars. I guess I just care more about them.

Anyway, I will write about the movie. Sully is getting his tattoo removed because he has finally given up his punk-rock youth and settled into being a family man in the Philly suburbs with a wife (Dawn Hall) he loves and a beautiful son (Chris Lamothe) they're raising. He's even going to finally sell his amp to buy some good furniture for his home. But an old band mate, Mick (Benjamin Ellis Fine) shows up and stirs up some trouble for him. Although he looks older (and runs slower) than Sully, he's still pretending he's young. While Sully can acknowledge they got old, Mick insists the kids on the scene now are just babies. And Mick is convinced that Abrasion--a band headed by Sully's ex-girlfriend--ripped off one of their songs to make their big hit. So he goes to a club to get an old tape they had recorded there, which totally pisses off the tape's owner Dutch (Robert Longstreet). Which is a bad idea, because he's kind of a violent fuckin' psychopath. So they're entering a night of pain, with Sully just trying to get out of this scene-that's-totally-not-his-scene-anymore and Mick insisting it's still his scene and he has a brilliant plan and it will all work out. It's a thriller about friendship and other dangers. In particular, it's about how much a toxic friend can ruin your life and how hard it can be to leave him.

I have to say, I'm pretty lucky I don't have any toxic friends like that anymore. Wait...does that mean I'm the toxic one? I do try to convince people to drink a lot...

DETONATOR plays again Wed, 3/6 2:45 PM

And actually, I was so exhausted from the weekend and then trying to work, I didn't even stop at the Maverick Meetup at Tanq. Which is, for the record, an awesome bar. But I had to go home, do some laundry, and actually get some sleep. Don't worry, I'll be back to tearing it up all night soon enough.

Total Running Time: 191 minutes
My Total Minutes: 319,288
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