Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 6

Another night, another two movies, starting with an excellent animated shorts program, Animated World. Yay, cartoons!
MONDO CLAYMO: Claymation documentary on bizarre and shocking rituals, like tofu carving and plastic (plasticine?) surgery.
KIDNAP: A little chick (literally, a young chicken) explains why she's just a little late to school. Seems she got kidnapped, in a story that involves guns, karate aliens, and her hatest word--"cute."
SOMETHING LEFT, SOMETHING TAKEN: Forensics geeks land in San Francisco and immediately meet the Zodiac killer. Or they just let their imaginations run away with them.
RIP DRIP TEAR: And fold, crumple, mutilate, in this abstract paper world with a bird flying through it.
DAISY: I'd put money down on this tale of picking the petals off a daisy will win the audience award. It's hilarious.
THE GENTLEMAN'S GUID TO VILLIANY: A silent cartoon lesson on how to tie a lady to the railroad tracks.
BIKE RACE: Belgian Eddy and American Lance (not Eddy Merckx and Lance Armstrong) compete in a bike race, the Tour de Force, which becomes a race for the love of Eddy's girlfriend.
THE WIND UP LIFE: A surreal trip underwater with a lot of gears.
THE NEST: An even more surreal trip about animals pulling apart a wall to build a miniature castle, and a man taking off his face and arm to build siege vehicles. Awesome.
THOUGHT OF YOU: Simple sketches dance to the music.
THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE: The survival and cultural halves of the brain compete in this dazzling CGI film.
BEAN SOCIETY: Turns out beans are just as stupid and xenophobic as people.
HUMPTY DUMPTY: In this retelling, the "fall" is more psychological, and psychotic.
THE BIRDS UPSTAIRS: Dude, I just watched bird skeletons try to conceive, and I liked it!
DEATH BUY LEMONADE: Death vs. a little girl with a lemonade stand.

And then I saw a second program, the feature film, A LITTLE HELP. Sometimes, the last thing you need when you're in trouble is help. That's the moral I got out of the story of Laura Pehlke (Jenna Fischer), a mom struggling with a failing marriage, a rebellious 12 year old son, and a family of busy-bodies in the summer of 2002 (definitely in the wake of 9/11, which serves to up the tension and becomes something of a critical plot point). I suppose everyone--her mother and sister especially--means well, but for some reason all their "help" comes off as meddling, like they don't care so much about her well-being as the feeling of superiority they get from having all the answers for her. Not that she couldn't use help--she doesn't know what her finances are, she might lose her house, she can't control her son (who's a sweet kid, just at that age where you pretend you sprang full-formed from the ether because having a mommy is embarrassing). The acting was great, the story was smart and funny, and while the moral of self-reliance has been done many times before, it still comes off as true.

And so that was Tuesday at Indiefest.

Total Running Time: 180 minutes
My Total Minutes: 222,154

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