Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Jason goes to Cinequest--Day 6

The big first weekend finished, and I had a pretty light day of films--only 4 on Sunday

First up was THE TRUTH ABOUT MARRIAGE, from returning Cinequest master Roger Nygard. With his trademark sense of humor and a rapid-fire editing technique, he takes us on a worldwide journey, starting close to home with his own friends and ranging as far as the amazing Don Blanquito, the most single man in the world (now married.) He ponders why a product that fails half the time and requires constant upkeep when it does work...is so popular? Full disclosure, this is a review written by a guy who has never been married, of a movie by a guy who has never been married, and is surprisingly optimistic about the institution. And he does come up with an answer in the end. And it's a satisfying one. So all was write with the world. Except for the fact that this was its last screening in the festival, so if you want to see it I don't know how you can. I'm sure it'll be released eventually.

Next a few drinks in the lounge. Then a few more drinks, and finally it was off to GROUPERS, a sick and twisted revenge fantasy about torturing homophobes...for science!

Confession, I got too drunk in the lounge before this film, and ended up mostly taking a nice nap, but I loved the ending, and I pieced together from my friends more or less what happened before. So...good job team! I loved the ending. Sometime I plan to really see the rest of it.

GROUPERS plays again Fri, Mar 15 9:30 PM in Redwood City.

So I then decided to skip the Soiree and the Meetup and go into sobering-up mode, which was a good idea.

The next show started with the music video SECOND HAND LOVERS. A cool music video with a lot of synchronized bodies (presumably the baggage of ex-lovers) following a guy around. Really clever.

Then the feature, GUEST ARTIST. Jeff Daniels wrote and stars, a rambling meditation on art and writing and alcoholism (appropriate given my sobering up mode,) based on his play based on a true incident (Mr. Daniels was not present to explain.) He plays famous playwright Joseph Harris, who hasn't written anything in about a decade, because he's been drunk. He's not to happy to be in Lima, PA to write a world premiere for the local theater. But Kenneth Waters (Thomas Macias) is absolutely ecstatic to meet him, he's a big fan. And they'll have a wild night in the train station, Kenneth trying to pick Joseph's brain, and Joseph trying to convince Kenneth to buy him a ticket back to New York so he can get out of this nothing town where no one would ever go unless they absolutely had to. It's a very funny, caustic, entertaining night. The one-room setup probably works great on stage, but is a little stifling on the screen--some effort could've been taken to make it more cinematic. But the strength of this film is its writing, and that crackles while jumping from hilarious to serious and surprises in the end with a bit of unexpected political bite. Very well done.

GUEST ARTIST plays again Wed, Mar 13 5:15 and Sat, Mar 16 7:30 PM. Both screenings are in Redwood City

And then I ended the night with ELECTRIC LOVE, an endearing rom-com about dating in the age of Tindr and Grindr, albeit with a surprisingly 80s aesthetic (I'm assuming Los Angeles just never wanted the 80s to end.) Tindr and Grindr have made hooking up easier than ever (also a point made in the first film of the day, THE TRUTH ABOUT MARRIAGE, so they made excellent bookends) but making romance work is still difficult--maybe more so when options are so easy. You still have to navigate annoying roommates, polyamorous podcasters, Internet trolls, best friends who may or may not be romantic rivals, and Grindr hookups who really aren't gay so stop calling them gay just because they used an app to find another guy to have sex with! (Confession...I've never actually dealt with that one...or really most of the complications I listed.) The film handles them all with sweetness and humor and provides a pair of appealing pair of leads in Adam (Zachary Mooren) and Emma (Mia Serafino, who is gorgeous). A really fun film to end a really fun day.

ELECTRIC LOVE plays again Wed, Mar 13 3:00 PM in Redwood City and Fri, Mar 15 10:00 PM at the California Theatre.

Total Running Time: 356 minutes
My Total Minutes: 499,336

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