Sunday, February 14, 2010

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 9

Starting a second week, with all new movies. This is Friday, a day in the UK:

First, up the Acid House documentary HIGH ON HOPE. 1980's Thatcherite Britain. Youth gather in warehouses for all-night raves and celebrate anything-goes freedom. This captures the attention of A) the government, who sees it as a lawless, drug-fueled scene that must be stamped out, and B) organized crime, who sees it as a lawless, drug-fueled scene that they can exploit. But mostly the movie focuses on the police angle. It's told through the excited anecdotes of the men and women who made it happen back in the day. And that's the whole problem. They're talking to each other--to the people who were there. There's an interesting story in there, but this movie is smothered with a "you had to be there" feeling. With a better storyteller enforcing a more engaging narrative on the anecdotes, this story has the potential to reach far beyond those who were at the Acid Houses. But as it is, this is an insider movie made for insiders, and leaves people like me out.

HIGH ON HOPE plays again Monday, Feb. 15th at 9:30

And then I stayed in the UK (through the power of cinema), and in the world of crime, for the dark comedy DOWN TERRACE. Bill and Karl are a father/son team. Bill has just gotten out of prison, and is obsessed with a) keeping his little crime enterprise afloat, and b) finding out who ratted on him and put him behind bars in the first place. What exactly their criminal enterprise is isn't exactly clear, but they spend most of their time in their flat alternating between drugs/alcohol and Alka Seltzer (unless there's some cool new drug I don't know about that you take in fizzy tablet form. I am habitually unhip about such things). As a series of associates pass through the flat, everyone is a suspect, and most will end up dead. Oh yeah, I said it was a comedy. It is...if you think shoving a woman in front of a moving car is funny (now that's slapstick). Seriously, this is intended to be funny, but since it's British and I'm not, I never know if I'm laughing inappropriately (which, to be fair, is my favorite way of laughing). I'm assured that the cast is full of British TV comedy actors. I wouldn't know, but their deadly deadpan gave me a good chuckle.

DOWN TERRACE plays again Wednesday, Feb 17th at 7:15

And then, for really the first time ever, I was able to spend significant time at Indiefest's traditional Big Lebowski Party. Usually I'm at a midnight movie and at most have time to show up for one drink before it shuts down. But this year I got to have several drinks. I watched my friend Ira win the contest for best Walter Sobchak (it was never in doubt, especially when he dumped Mr. Lebowski out of his wheelchair). Oh, and whoever gave me the leftover pitcher of White Russians at the end of the night--thank you and go to hell. And to whoever had to clean my vomit out of the Daly City IHOP at ~3 am, I'm profoundly sorry. At least I made it to the sink.

Total Runing Time: 161 minutes
My Total Minutes: 170,739

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