Friday, June 13, 2008

Jason goes to holehead--day 8

Aka, "closing night", even though it's not really closing night. That's a theme of the festival, things not being what they seem. Think about it.

For example, the first film "Wasting Away" is about zombies who don't look like zombies. Okay, I have a bit of backstory to this. On opening night of Indiefest I met this guy who told me about this movie he made that was a zombie comedy from the zombies point of view. They think they're normal, and everyone else is infected and running around really fast. This sounded perfect for Holehead, so I introduced him to George, the head programmer, and now here it is in the festival. I'm such a mover and/or shaker!

Anyway, that's why I was so happy this didn't suck and was the funniest zom-com since "Shaun of the Dead" (and yes I loved "Fido" but this is even funnier). A military "super-soldier" serum goes horribly wrong, the project is cancelled, but the truck carrying the drums of serum (surreptitiously labelled as baby formula) is hijacked and ends up contaminating a bowling alley's soft-serve ice cream base. 4 friends, goofing around before the lanes open, eat glowing green ice cream (one invents beer ice cream) and get the worst brain freeze ever. They feel kinda sick, but when they call 911, they only get super-fast chatter, like a modem. Soon they're joined by a soldier who explains they are now super-soldiers and everyone else is infected with some quickening disease. Wacky hijinx undoubtedly ensue. The transitions from zombie to "normal" POV are clever and witty. Jokes about how delicious brains now are totally hit the spot (pun intended). Perhaps my favorite premise is that drunk people are slow enough to understand and be understood by the zombies, so when they barge into league night, only the guy in AA is freaked out. A good time was had by all in the sold out show (a scheduling snafu put us in the 51 seat Little Roxie), and perhaps no movie has more fun with George Romero's tenet that "the zombies are us".

And finally, the closing-ish film was Uwe Boll's Vietnam war drama "Tunnel Rats". The Internet haters already had to suck it a bit when Boll's bad-taste epic "Postal" actually got some good reviews. Well, their heads might explode when I say he also made an effective, serious, and brutal horrors-of-war movie. The world is so upside-down I hear they're making a video game based on this Uwe Boll film instead of vice-versa. For the record, that makes 4 Boll movies I've seen, 3 of which were actually worth watching ("Heart of America: Homeroom", "Postal", and this) and only this one without Uwe in attendance. For the haters, I'll offer this bit of meat--as story and dialogue have been Boll's weak points (while set pieces and outrageousness have been his strong points), he wisely trims down the story to 'soldiers go into a tunnel and die'. He hangs plenty of inventive gore on that, most notably the soldier suspended over the tunnel entrance via bamboo spear through the neck. And having the woman who does that immediately throw up keeps it from being campy and also humanizes both sides. That is, as human as it can be when there's no right or wrong (or rather, just no right), only survival. A surprisingly serious and well done movie from the guy rather unfairly labelled the worst director ever (and really, if you take video game movies so seriously that you have to hate him, you should just grow up).

And that's Holehead, at least until the 22nd. It occurs to me I didn't do a good job of telling you when the repeat screenings are, but all next week are repeat screenings. Take a look at to see what interests you, and come back here to see if they're any good.


Dan said...

Did you hear how attendance was this year? It looked like fewer people attended based on the 15 screenings I went to.

If they holding a week of screeinings in the smaller Little Roxie, they probably can't catch up to last year if they behind pace.

Anonymous said...

how come the japanese movies are getting so much attention? they were ALL terrible, drowning in stupidity and a waste of time. each and every one of them. i'm really starting to hate film festivals because the reviewers seem to like terrible films and dislike the films that are actually really good. like yourself.

puppymeat said...

Dan, I don't know the full attendance figures, but I believe the opening weekend was a new record. Weekdays are always lower, and I missed thee second week at the Little Roxie, so I don't know how that went. I don't know, but I suspect overall attendance was up and it bodes well for next year.

Anonymous, I'm sorry you didn't like the Japanese movies,and I'm sorry that thinking up a fake internet name is beyond you. But mostly, I'm sorry that I forced you to attend the festival and then read my blog. For the record, I'm not really a reviewer, this is just a hobby. I'm really a nuclear physicist.