Sunday, March 6, 2011

Jason goes to Cinequest--Day 5

First up was the program SHORTS 1: EXPECTATIONS. Here's the rundown.
CAPTURE THE FLAG: A few families get together for a weekend to party. One of the highlights is the game of capture the flag. One girl is one of the best, but maybe she's also getting a bit too old for it.
DESPAIR: Bryce Dallas Howard in the most colorful suicide film ever.
DRY: Part of the Theatre Junkies "Moments" series. Literally so quick blink and you miss it. I remember there was a really, really quick film, but for the life of me I can't remember what happened. Doesn't matter, this non-review review is already longer than the film.
LICKED: A couple of little girls do what they have to do to get money for ice cream.
LIV: A cute little girl pulls a few pranks on her daddy's boyfriend (I think that's the relationship. Actually the program started a few minutes early so I missed the beginning. I walked in as she was sticking her finger in his cake)
SUMMER DAYS ARE LONGER: A Mexican family on a hot summer day, with ice cream.
LOS GRITONES: It's fun screaming from the rooftops, just make sure you don't scream something stupid like "¡Te Quiero!"
MAM: A young boy takes care of his family, since their mom is too strung out to do anything.
RACHEL: A young woman takes the bus to El Paso to meet a recruiter and join the Army. Bad things happen on the way. It's her desperate struggle to be strong.
THE SAME OLD STORY: People overhear a heart breaking/warming cell phone conversation on the bus. Best film of the program.
WONDERBOY: A young college boy, trying to escape his violent drug past/friends with his education, has a little problem--his professor won't pay him for the pot he delivered.

The next program started with another Theatre Junkies moment, RUN. This time I kept my eyes open, and TJ Thyne runs a little bit, a dog barks, he jumps off screen, and the movie ends.

That was an odd lead-in for FALLING OVERNIGHT, a wonderful film that takes its time drawing you in. Elliot is about to go into surgery for his brain tumor. He meets Chloe and goes to her photography show, mostly as a distraction. He couldn't possibly be thinking of falling in love, what with not really knowing if he'll survive tomorrow, and even then if he'll survive 5 years beyond that. But sometimes things just sort of happen. And that's sort of the dynamic of the night--just letting things happen. There's no big maudlin moment like, 'I'm going to live for today because I might be dead tomorrow. Tonight is all that matters!' or 'I can't start a romance, I might die soon!" In fact, he doesn't tell her until the next morning. Of course, the audience knows it, and so you can see it in every little hesitant moment. It's like a privileged view of the early moments in a potential romance when both parties are holding something back. You get to know exactly what he's holding back. It's fantastic for the very real, natural feel. There's not a single false moment in the entire movie.

So next I saw SHORTS 2: SLANTED
AUTUMN MAN: Some small time Swedish thugs have a very bad day. After they're robbed, one just wants a cup of coffee, one wants to start reading Dostoevsky. Each has just about the same amount of success.
THE DIVE: A young man bartender working in a seaside town has an opportunity to go to medical school. But he can't get over the man who broke his family apart. Especially when that man walks into the bar.
HARD SILENCE: An extremely creepy story of pornography and mothers abusing daughters. Gross...and powerful.
HOLLOW: A couple of junkies try to get clean. They try every month, but when they find out she's pregnant they try extra, extra hard.
TAPEWORM: A funny and nauseating look at young girls' body issues and eating disorders.

So then I made a last minute decision, since the people introducing all the films had been pushing the World Premiere of SAMUEL BLEAK, I decide to see it. Worst last minute decision of my life. It's a veritable crap-ucopia of cliched drivel that's as emotionally empty as it is manipulative. Samuel Bleak ran away from home when he was 8, and hid in the woods for 15 years, where apparently his hair turned into a cheap looking fright wig. He's discovered and brought to the hospital. He's a mute who carries his mom's old typewriter around (although the ink in the ribbon ran out years ago). His father is a violent drunk who probably killed his mother. By the time he gets to the mental institution I was thinking to myself, 'We're just waiting for 3 things--he'll bone the hot patient, kill his father, and finally speak, saying something incredibly profound!' Spoiler alert: I was 3 for 3. What I couldn't predict is it would have groan-inducing scenes like his father smashing the typewriter and Samuel putting the keys together to spell "MOTHER." Awful, awful, awful!!! I have seen so many movies at Cinequest (this year and others) where the writer, director, and actors put in tons of effort to make sure the emotional reactions are true. Writer/director/actor Dustin Schuetter takes a giant crap over the very thought of putting in such work.

In fact, SAMUEL BLEAK was soooo bad, I wanted to see a good movie, like...PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. So I did. I saw the World Premiere of the 3D version of PLAN 9. Yes, it's laughably bad. Yes, it's colorized. Yes, it's 3D. That's not the way Ed Wood shot it, but I'm sure he would approve. This I'm sure is the movie as he always meant to make it. And yes, I did show up dressed as Vampira. No I don't have pictures. But I'm sure there are plenty on the Internet now.

SAMUEL BLEAK is still the worst damn movie I've seen at Cinequest. I think I'll end every one of my posts that way. At least this year.

And finally I saw HAIR OF THE BEAST. A costume drama with werewolves. Too much costume drama, not enough werewolves. Actually it was pretty fun, if it took a long time for the monsters to actually show up. A condemned man in 17th century Montreal escapes and steals the identity of a priest who is famous for slaying werewolves. And then he stumbles into a town constantly on the lookout for werewolves, where he's greeted as a savior. And of course, wacky hijinx ensue. And it includes the best backstory ever for how werewolves were created in the first place.

And that was how the first Saturday of Cinequest 2011 ended.

SAMUEL BLEAK is still the worst damn movie I've ever seen at Cinequest (and I've been doing this for 10 years).

Total Running Time: 578 minutes
My Total Minutes: 226,114


RomanyX said...

So, I gather you didn't care for SAMUEL BLEAK?

Anonymous said...

I disagree with you Jason. I loved Bleak! I thought it had all of the elements of a great film. And I didn't agree that it was void of emotion. I laughed, cried, and really loved it. But to each his own. Cheers.

puppymeat said...

Thank you for your opinion, anonymous plantbot.

Francesca R. said...

lol... I saw Bleak and though it was dreadfully slow in the beginning it picked up about 1/3 of the way through and hit hard. A great film, great score and great cast. To say that it was the worst movie is like saying your a good looking man.. Huge Lie!

Francesca R. said...

lol... I saw Bleak and though it was dreadfully slow in the beginning it picked up about 1/3 of the way through and hit hard. A great film, great score and great cast. To say that it was the worst movie is like saying your a good looking man.. Huge Lie!