Monday, March 4, 2013

Jason goes to Cinequest--Day 4

3 movies to kick off the big first weekend. But first, a couple of vodka root beer floats in the VIP lounge courtesy of Tito's Vodka. Then a couple of beers and some grub at the VIP Soiree at Gordon Biersch. So I had a super-powered buzz by the time I made it to the first show, the 50's noir superhero comic movie SPARKS. This was just tons of fun. A campy noir superhero story starring Chase Williamson as our hero Ian Sparks, Ashley Bell as his love interest/crime-fighting partner Lady Heavenly, Jake Busey as the more physically intimidating rival superhero Sledge, and William Katt (who was also producer) as the villainous Matanza (I got to shake his hand afterwards--I shook the Greatest American Hero's hand!!) The plot is kind of convoluted, with lots of twists and turns (and did I mention I had a bit of a buzz) but I loved the look, I loved the stylish creation of the 1950's underworld, I loved the inventiveness, and I it opened with our hero, bloody and beaten, chased by the cops, stumbling into a newspaper office and telling Clint Howard he wants to report his own murder. Awesome. As for the plot twists, it just makes me have to see it again, and according to IMDb it's set for a May 1 release (couldn't find a confirmation of that anywhere else, though, so I just hope it's accurate.)

SPARKS plays again Tue, 3/5 4:45 PM

SPARKS was kind of like a cartoon come to life, so I kept that feeling going and saw a whole block of cartoons with Shorts 4: Animated Worlds
BUTTERFLIES: A little girl is a promising artist, sketching the butterfly who lives with her. When a businessman sees her talent he gives her a job illustrating greeting cards. The job is on an assembly line, and is slowly killing her and her butterfly. A metaphor on how industrialization and profit motive kills creativity...or (as my friend Chris put it) a metaphor on how grants for the arts are killing industry.
BYDLO: Polish for cattle, they are brought literally up from the claymation dirt to the music from Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition No. 4, "Bydlo"
CICADA PRINCESS: 16 years dormant and underground, followed by one beautiful day of life on the outside. Beautifully constructed figures.
EXOIDS: Slugs vs. Robots in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles hellscape. Need I say more? (A: No, it's clearly already awesome.)
KALI THE LITTLE VAMPIRE: None of the other kids will play with little Kali, just because he's afraid to step into the light. Pretty sad.
A KNOCK ON MY DOOR: The sad but hopeful life of a Korean immigrant to America, based on the life of director David Chai's dad. Simple animation hides a surprising, funny, and touching story.
LITTLE KAIJU: A little critter roams Tokyo at night, and a curious man sees him and follows him. Pretty and clever.
OLD ANGEL: Perhaps he's too old for his wings to work anymore. Or perhaps he just needs the right kind of encouragement to fly again.
PRIESTS: The funniest movie in the program, a young priest pesters his mentor with questions of life, God, stage fright, where you're allowed to stick your penis, etc.
SOUTH SEAS DREAM: Lee Lanier (BLOOD ROULETTE) returns with this weird little composition of found footage, music, dancing tikis, and fish. Now if I can just see the "director's cut" where she's not wearing those starfish...
YELLOW STICKY NOTES: CANADIAN ANIJAM: A project from 15 of Canada's best animators, all doing variations on the theme of a to-do list. Just simple line drawings on a yellow background. The cool thing was realizing I've seen so much of (most) of their works before that I could recognize their individual styles.

And for some reason, SLEIGHT OF HAND didn't play. I don't know what happened there. In any case, Shorts 4: Animated Worlds plays again Tue, 3/5 1:30 PM...hopefully with SLEIGHT OF HAND.

And finally (after a quick drink at the Maverick Meet-up at Farenheit) I was in for more shorts with the midnight program Short 5: Mindbenders. I always love the Mindbenders program, and this might have been all told the Mind-bendiest total program yet. The lest said the better, but here we go anyway.
ANAMNESIS: Bent my mind and my notion of memory.
DOKTOR FANG: Bent my mind and what I thought of Freud, Jung, the nature of dreams, and German expressionism.
THE HINDSIGHT BIAS: Bent my mind with a chilling answer to the question of what if you had it to do over again.
MALODY: Bent my mind--and gravity, in a story of a sick woman in a diner. Pancake batter.
MIMIC: Bent my mind by showing me what's about to happen in just a few seconds...
THE WOUND: Bent my mind and inspired the greatest question ever in the Q&A--"What the fuck!?" Hopefully soon to be a feature film!

Short 5: Mindbenders plays again Wed, 3/6 1:30 PM.

Total Running Time: 302 minutes
My Total Minutes: 318,186

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