Saturday, March 1, 2008

Jason goes to Cinequest--Day 3

Okay, I have maybe a little time to write before heading off to the movies today. I'm only 9 movies behind, so let's go.

First up on Friday was "Miscalculation", a Hungarian thriller of wealth, power, and corruption. Hoffman is a powerful supermarket tycoon, gourmet chef, and admirer of all thing luxurious. He and his lovely wife and troubled son always eat dinner together, where he dominates the conversation by describing new recipes. Meanwhile, in this unnamed country a secret police force maintains iron-fisted control, disappearing those who oppose it. Hoffman's son opposes it. Hoffman knows of it, but doesn't oppose it at first (after all, he's well connected in all levels of government). But he starts noticing the disappearances of his friends (many of whom died of "accidents" on the train tracks) and sees his son wallowing in suicidal self-pity. So he hatches a plan to expose and destroy the secret police, giving his son a mission that brings them closer. However, miscalculations are made on all sides, and a bad time is had by all. It can be slow at times, figuring out where it's going, but the ending makes it all worthwhile.

Then I watched "Young People Fucking"...and then I watched a movie. Ha ha ha ha haaa! No, seriously, the next movie was called "Young People Fucking". It's very, very funny. Five couples--the friends, the exes, the bored couple, the first date, and the pervy roommates (okay, that's a threesome, not a couple), engage in all sorts of freaky behavior. It's about as explicit as it can be without being porn, and a good time is more or less had by all. Of course, describing anything would ruin the surprise, suffice it to say that the fucking--and the prelude, foreplay, and afterglow--are all microcosms of the relationships while also changing the relationships. Oh yeah, and one thing about the bored couple. It's his birthday. So I'm officially declaring that not only are birthdays a theme of Cinequest '08, but birthday sex is a theme.

And the final movie of the night was "The Art of Travel", which also contained birthday sex (BTW, for all my lovely lady readers, my birthday is Halloween). Christopher Masterson (from "Malcolm in the Middle") stars as Conner Layne. He's about to get married to the girl of his dreams. But at his wedding, he announces a gift to all the guests assembled--pictures of his bride sleeping with his best man. So he says, "fuck you", and leaves to the airport to catch the next plane out of the country. He ends up in Nicaragua. He's naive from the start, gets robbed, and despite hooking up with a couple of hot Dutch girls, he's having a hard time of it. He calls home, and his dad gives him the best advice possible--keep drinking! Cut to a few months later, he's in Panama speaking fluent Spanish and hooking up with a team that's planning an expedition across the Darien gap (some of the most treacherous jungle in the world). He's doing this rather than returning home and attending Berkeley--good choice! For much of the middle part, it's a true "road" movie, as the expedition is trying to build a road through the Gap and take a jeep through. The expedition also includes a bunch of jokers led by James Duval, who's always cool. And it includes Anna, aka 'G-spot' (Angelika Baran), who hooks up with Conner and joins him on his continuing adventures, which take them to Machu Picchu (where the birthday sex occurs). Eventually he's left with the choice of following her home or continuing his travels. And he'll have to watch to find out. You know, I don't think I can sum up this film easily, but so far it's been my favorite of the festival. It's just a giant love letter to traveling and adventure, something I wish I did better (and more often).

Here's a picture of some of the team behind "The Art of Travel". From left to right, they are: (I think) Kathy Sunshine Soler, producer; Emyr Graciano, producer; Christopher Masterson, star; Brian LaBelle, producer/writer; Thoms Whelan, director/writer; and Brooke Burns, star.
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