Saturday, December 13, 2014

Jason goes to Holehead--Day 3

Well, it's been a long week at work, so I've fallen a week behind on my blog. Here's from last Sunday.

Shorts Block 4:
THE CONFESSIONAL: A priest is tormented by a series of the most horrific confessions ever.
HUSH: A little girl, a babysitter, and an evil haunting. Hopefully (according to the credits) soon to be expanded into a feature film. The short scene was pretty awesome, so I'd love to see that worked into a feature.
ENCEINTE: A trapped woman, being forced to bear a child for what a creepy cult leader calls the Son of God. A great movie about a woman's struggle to control her own body. And it ends, for some reason, in the Niles district of Fremont. So...cool to see a place where I hang out frequently featured in a movie.
A GIRL, A CAT, A BOMB: That bomb would be a mushroom cloud. So the girl stays in for days with her cat, running out of food and going a little crazy. Audience speculation afterwards was that there's no way she could've survived the nuclear blast, so that's all in her head and it's really a story of agoraphobia. Either way, it's pretty cool.
THE WRONG PRIEST: Discipline, Catholic school style. When a smart-aleck student makes jokes about how the priest just wants to molest him, he soon finds out he's dealing with the wrong priest.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING THAT FOR?: POV short of a a guy wandering around, filming random people doing strange things. The question could equally be asked of the guy behind the camera.

Shorts Block 5:
ROTA: Entertainment in a world of ultimate inequality. Die for my amusement, peasants!
SLUT: A plain, awkward girl is jealous of the beautiful, popular slut. But things might turn around when she meets a mysterious stranger who likes her innocence. Or things might get really dangerous. As long as grandma still gets to watch TV, it'll all be fine.
FAT RABBIT: Tease, there's no rabbit in here at all! But it's still a cool story of people trying to ascend to heaven by growing weird balloon animals to take them away.
SKIN: Okay, to be honest, I know some of the films in this block didn't arrive. I can't remember if this was one of them. But I just watched it on Vimeo, and it's pretty great.
ATLANTA ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: So the replacement film was this, a great film that the festival programmers really wanted to play, but couldn't fit in because of its 40 minute running time. A group of jaded horror fans go to the cheesiest, fakest haunted house in Atlanta. But when a plague from the CDC unleashes a zombie horde, the haunted house becomes real. I love the comedy they got out of the 'Oh yeah! It's a real zombie apocalypse' incredulity of the characters, and the excellent high-energy feel. This always should've been in the festival to begin with.

Shorts Block 6:
EARLY TO RISE: An alarm clock with sweet, soothing, female voice doesn't like being ignored. Just like a real woman.
SAY WHAT!?: Just put down the damn phone, look up from your small, self-involved life, and fight the zombies already
CAROLINA PARAKEET; A kind old man, who has seen a lot in his days, helps a young couple in a zombie apocalypse. Well done, with great acting.
OPEN HOUSE: A single father and his two kids move into an old house. When the kids are drawn to the old toys (and tarot cards) in the attic, the place is obviously haunted. Control is lost pretty quickly, and havoc ensues.
THE WORKING DEAD: Workplace harassment is bad enough. But when the harasser turns into a zombie...well, then you actually have good reason to kill him.

Then on to the features, starting with R-100, which has been my favorite of the festival. From Hitoshi Matsumoto (BIG MAN JAPAN) it's a story of a man who joins a unique club. It's an S&M club, but the twist is that the dominatrices don't just work on-site. They will appear to him at any moment throughout the day, for the course of a one-year subscription, and humiliate and beat him whenever. Not knowing when it will happen is key to the enjoyment. And for the first half of the movie, everything seems to be going fine, and he's having a great time. And then we actually get the title, and things get weird(er.) There are interludes where studio executives talk about how confusing it is. The 100-year old director insists on his vision and that no one can understand it until they're 100 (the title is the fictitious rating of the film, Restricted for anyone under 100.) The film story turns dark, as the man's job and family are threatened. And when he fights back he unleashes the wrath of an army of ninja dominatrices and the giant boss lady who will freakin' destroy him. It's all about pleasure, at any cost.

And speaking about pleasure at any cost, the final film of the night, LIMO RIDE was supposed to be that. A documentary recreation of a legendary drunk day and night. Starting with a polar bear swim on New Year's day in Mobile, Alabama. Since they're gonna be drunk as hell, they try to do the responsible-ish thing and rent a limo. They still get drunk, get naked, get into fights, get a phone stolen, piss off the limo driver, and get abandoned on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. It's all narrated by the people who actually lived it. And...if you like listening to drunks tell their drunken adventure stories, I think it could be fun. As it is, I prefer to be the drunk telling the story (ask me about the infamous Burning Man asshole poet sometime.) But I can appreciate a good drunk story, if it has a good payoff. The trouble is, this didn't. It's just everyone survives and is pissed off in the end. There's even an opportunity for a good ending, but I won't spoil it.

Ah hell, you can't spoil shit. So one of the guys loses his cell phone at a bar, during a fight with a giant asshole. Well, while they're lost on the dirt road, this asshole has been calling everyone in the cell phone address book and talking shit to them, calling them names, telling them their friend is dead, whatever. So when this guy finally gets home people are telling him about it, and he's pissed. So he calls his cell phone and yells at the guy. Now it would've been great if, as tired, hungover, and pissed off they all were, they had gotten together, headed back to the bar, and kicked the shit out of that asshole. But instead he calls the phone company and cancels his phone. And a couple of hours later the harassing phone calls stop and he goes to sleep. The end. What a payoff, right?!

I know, it's what really happened, that doesn't mean I can't wish it had a better payoff.

Total Running Time: 415 minutes
My Total Minutes: 376,003
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