First up was the comedy MON AMI, which George (Kaskanlian, the festival head) introduced as DUMB AND DUMBER meets FARGO and HOSTEL. And damn, that's a pretty good description. I hate to admit it, but sometimes George knows what he's talking about. Two friends from age 6--one a congenial slacker and one who is...also a slacker, but totally whipped by his wife--work in a hardware store. When the owner decides to retire and leave the company to his meathead boys, the two friends are a bit pissed that they didn't get promotions after their years of loyal (okay, rude and boneheaded) service. So they come up with a cunning plan to kidnap the boss' daughter and hold her for ransom. And things go hilariously, bloodily wrong. I don't want to spoil anything by detailing their comedy of errors, but I will say that its the two friends obvious bromantic chemistry that makes it all work. The way they rib each other and call each other pussies (for being to wussy to commit murder) but still ultimately have each other's back is both believable (at least in the context of the ridiculous situations) and endearing. Everyone should be lucky to have friends as loyal as these, and no one should be so cursed as to have friends this stupid.
Then the late show was the world premiere of THE G-STRING HORROR, shot in and about San Francisco's iconic and allegedly haunted adult entertainment establishment, the Market Street Cinema (link NSFW.) And, like CROSS BEARER last Monday, it once again proves that boobs + blood does not a movie make. I will give them credit for an intriguing premise. The idea is a filmmaker (director Charles Webb, playing himself) is making a documentary about the alleged hauntings at the Market Street Cinema. While filming, he notices odd things showing up on his footage. The ghosts show up, especially "Baby Doll" (Natasha Talonz) who was killed by some psychos in the basement some 20 years ago. The movie becomes a kind of seance for her troubled soul, as they spread her ashes in the bay. BTW, did you know stripper ashes are actually glitter? That and the penis-severing (oh yeah, SPOILER ALERT!) were the two scenes that got thumbs up from me. The rest...just meanders kind of directionless. It ended up being a collection of interesting ideas that needed a better narrative to hold it together. The narrative of the director seems to be better suited. If he made a sort of narcissistic Michael Moore style 'director-is-the-main-character-of-his-documentary' and told it from his one consistent point of view I think the narrative would have worked about a hundred times better.
BTW, this is all based on true stories of alleged hauntings at the Market Street Cinema. In fact, it is supposed to be featured on an upcoming (i.e., sometime next spring) episode of one of those ghost chasers show. I don't know which one, they all look alike to me, but if you care you should keep a look out for that.
There was a Q&A afterwards (it was, after all, the World Premiere) and the whole cast was there, including Natasha Talonz who was practically popping out of her dress. Good (if perhaps awkward trying not to stare too much) for the front row. There was also an after party at the Penthouse Club (not Market Street Cinema, the got a classier place) but I had to catch the BART home. So...that was the end of my night.
And now the public information dissemination part of my blog. For those continuing with Holehead through the weekend, there are two things you should know:
First, the Vortex is a small (but awesome!) venue, so I expect it to fill up. Be sure to get your tickets early.
Second, there's at least a plan in consideration for the closing night film (ZERO KILLED) at Terra to screen outdoors, weather permitting. This is in response to the acoustics in Terra Gallery, which I can confirm from opening night is just too loud and echo-y. I actually expect that an outdoor screening can work very well, but if you plan on coming prepare to bring a jacket.
Third, it appears based on the website (I haven't confirmed with George yet) that the makeup screening of CELL COUNT will be [updated]
[Update] Within minutes of posting this, the website has been updated to show CELL COUNT on Saturday, Dec. 8th at 5:00 pm. I repeat, Saturday, not Sunday at 5:00 pm. I apologize for any confusion created. Although I could put this on the Holehead staff, I knew they were pushing for Saturday at 5:00 so I should have confirmed with them before reporting that the website (briefly) showed Sunday.
Total Running Time: 169 minutes
My Total Minutes: 306,965