Saturday, February 23, 2013

Jason goes to Indiefest--Closing Night

That's it, it's over. And for the 12th year in a row I can say I've seen...well, if not everything (as I have all previous years) then at least as much as physically possible. I couldn't see FACES IN THE MIRROR opening night because it conflicted with the real opening night film THE WE AND THE I. And I couldn't see BORN INNOCENT because of multiple conflicts. Both these films are available online (BORN INNOCENT is free on Youtube, FACES IN THE MIRROR is available for rent/purchase on multiple services.) So maybe after I rest up a bit I'll watch them, but it won't be the same as the theatrical experience. I suppose I should also say I missed Love Bites: The '80s Power Ballad Sing-A-Long. But I've seen that multiple times in the past so I don't really count that (even if a few videos change every time.)

In any case, here are the last two movies:

First up was IT'S A DISASTER, a hilarious comedy about the end of the world. A couples' brunch starts out innocently--if obnoxiously--enough, as people show up, make small talk, and it's pretty clear early on that everyone is in their own little self-absorbed world. Except maybe Glenn (David Cross) who is the new guy just on his third date with Tracy (Julia Stiles.) As things progress they find that cell phones are out, the TV is out, there's no Internet access,...they don't seem to notice the sirens of emergency vehicles passing by. It's only when the neighbor (director Todd Berger, in a cameo role) shows up in a Hazmat suit and is surprised they haven't heard the news that several dirty bombs were set off in the middle of the city. I.e., World War 3 has started. Well, that shakes them out of their self-absorption...for about a minute. Then they fall back into bickering about who cheated on who, what relationships aren't working and why, etc. They are all such bitchy, unlikable people that it's a joy to watch the world end around them, especially as they descend into more and more craziness. So much fun...this might actually be my favorite film of the festival.

And then I ended on THE OTHER SIDE OF SLEEP. A strange, kind of dream-like (appropriate for the title) story of murder and sleepwalking in a small Irish town. Arlene wakes up in the middle of a forest. That, maybe, is not too unusual, since she's been a sleepwalker all her life. What is unusual is she's next to the corpse of a murdered woman. Did she do it? Who's the man in the forest that saw her? How is this connected to a similar incident that happened to her mother when she was a kid? This is not a thriller, so these questions won't really be answered. Instead, we see her work in a factory, go to the funeral, and be really, really depressed/scared about the whole thing. It had an interesting style and is definitely well made, but I just couldn't get it. I don't know, maybe I was too tired by the end of the festival (check that, I guarantee I was exhausted.) But as one guy in the audience (and I didn't get his name because I'm a lousy journalist) said afterwards, this movie is "selfish." Perfectly said--It asks a lot of the audience, and doesn't necessarily give anything back in return.

And that is how Indiefest 2013 ended. All in all--despite a few clunkers--an excellent program this year.

And one last note, I saw THE OTHER SIDE OF SLEEP instead of the official Closing Night film ALL THE LIGHT IN THE SKY because I had seen that last weekend--my schedule just worked that way. But last night director Joe Swanberg and star Jane Adams were there. And the Roxie is kicking off a weekend of Joe Swanberg films Friday night (oops, that was last night. I guess I should've gotten this posted sooner.) So, depending on my energy level, I might be back for more of that.

Total Running Time: 176 minutes
My Total Minutes: 316,747

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