Friday, August 22, 2014

Jason goes to Jewfest North--Thursday, July 31st

A LIFE IN DIRTY MOVIES. Ah, yeah, some good old porn made by a nice Jewish boy. Joe Sarno is sometimes called the Ingmar Bergman of porn. Switching between archival footage of his early films and a contemporary story of him trying to get a new film off the ground, it takes a very sympathetic view of this Sarno as a serious filmmaker who happened to have an interest in making movies about sex. Particularly interesting is how he focuses on female desires in his films--something that porn nowadays almost totally ignores. I haven't seen his films, and I'm not about to rush out to get them, but this film makes a solid and compelling case for their artistic merit.

COMEDY WARRIORS. Now this was kind of a treat. Injured Iraq/Afghanistan veterans who deal with their pain through comedy and are trained by standup comedians (Bob Saget, Louis Black, and others are featured) to be standup comedians for a show. This is therapy, but it's also genuinely funny. A common refrain from the professional comedians is how easily these guys have stage presence and make them look stupid for spending so many years honing their craft when these "amateurs" take to it right away. Of course they joke about their injuries (most of them dealt with their injuries through humor from the beginning, which is how they were picked for the program) and in the live show that is the climax of the movie, they all--to borrow an inappropriate term--kill. No pity laughs from the audience, they were genuine, and same goes for the movie.

MAGIC MEN. And finally I ended the night with a comedy about an atheist Holocaust survivor and his devout orthodox rapper son who travel to Greece for an important business trip. It's not quite the screwball comedy it sounds like, but it is very funny and poignant. See, the dad is not just there for business, he also wants to look up the man who hid him from the Nazis, and taught him magic tricks (which he, in turn, taught his son.) And so we take a journey through a beautiful Greece (with its crumbling economy) along with a nice...woman of the evening...who he meets in the hotel. And a good time is had.

Total Running Time: 255 minutes
My Total Minutes: 368,654

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