Monday, March 9, 2015

Jason goes to Cinequest--Day 11

Another 5 shows on Friday. For those keeping score at home, that makes my total so far 49. Which means I'm unlikely to hit my goal of 60. But I have a good shot to break last year's record of 57, depending on the Encore Day schedule.

Anyway, my Friday started with IN THE COMPANY OF WOMEN. This was a movie that I was primed to hate, and did for about half of it. A young, handsome, escort is given one night and one last big paycheck to help elderly college professor Peter get laid. So they go to the clubs, the escort uses his skills, moves, and expertise to get women to talk to Peter, and then Peter continually fucks it up by being an old-fashioned gentleman who prefers to talk about conservative notions of romance and monogamy. But then what the heck is he doing trying to pick up chicks? Well, over the night we learn more about him, and about the escort, and...without giving too much away it goes from a sort of situation I was primed to dislike to characters who are good enough that I ended up liking them and liking the ending. So stick with it, even the characters and situations seems annoying at first...they redeem themselves by the end.

Next up was SEA HORSE, the other post-apocalyptic journey through the wilderness in the festival (the first being ASTRAEA.) Beautifully shot in the woods outside Seward, Alaska, it's the story o f a few women (and one Walrus Man) traveling to the sea for...some reason. I didn't quite understand a lot of the motivation in the movie. There's a lot of distrust, fights, etc. It's definitely one of those movies that you have to fill in the blanks yourself. But at least it was beautiful to watch while I was mystified by it.

And then the even that is always one of my favorite events of the festival, the Silent Cinema at the California with Dennis James rocking the mighty Wurlitzer organ (which he calls the only perfectly restored Wurlitzer he has ever played.)

This year's silent feature was King Vidor's THE CROWD. John Sims was always told by his father that he would grow up to be someone special. So he becomes one of the 7 million people who are sure New York City would collapse without him. That despite just being one of hundreds of clerks for his firm, and not one who is moving up the ladder quickly. His friend Bert convinces him to blow of studying and come party at Coney Island with him and a couple of girls. Which is how he meets his wife Mary. So before his ship has come in he has a wife, a kid, and some in-laws who hate him for not earning enough. And then...well, I don't want to give too much away because for some reason I still care about spoilers for an 87 year old film. But it's a brilliant, moving, subtly acted and still relevant movie about struggling to make it in the big, cold city. And it even provides its own applause at the end.

And then I caught BOOZE, BOYS, AND BROWNIES. Boy, I really wish this was less auto-biographical because I found the main character really, really, really annoying. Vivian (writer/director Veronica Mannion) is a struggling actress in L.A., drinking a lot and obsessing over one of four different guys at a time. That and working on a one-woman show, although you rarely see her writing or rehearsing. Oh, and it's a musical, but I don't really care about that either. I saw the movie because I had a drink with her in the lounge. So I've completed my duty, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

And finally, I ended the night with a midnight screening of Shorts 5: Mindbenders. Hooray, my mind was bent!
BURNT GRASS: Bent my mind when that girl got all duplicated.
DANNY AND THE WILD BUNCH: Bent my mind with how sometimes the characters you write do what they want to do, not what you think you want them to do.
THE DETECTIVES OF NOIR TOWN: Bent my mind when the puppet detective tried to solve the Rubik's cube, and realized how hard that is in black and white.
ECDYSIS: Bent my mind when...umm...not much happened. And I think I fell asleep.
IN EXTREMIS: Bent my mind when the night watchman found something disturbing behind the brick wall.
LOVE AT LAST SIGHT: Bent my mind with how fucking rapey it was, then how murdery it was, too.
SOLO FINALE: Bent my mind with opposites--old and new, light and dark, and upside-down dancing.
TURN OF THE SCREW: Bent my mind when that guy found a loose screw and searched everywhere to find what it came from. It's like a scene from my own life.
WIEN FOR LIFE: Bent my mind when the wrong guy won the lottery, and everything went downhill from there. Hilarious.

Then I had a few filmmakers back in my penthouse suite at the DeAnza Hotel. Partied until about 4:30 am, and was still in the lounge by 10 am for the first drink of the day. That drink was coffee.

Total Running Time: 506 minutes
My Total Minutes: 389,430

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