Thursday, March 14, 2019

Jason goes to Cinequest--Day 8

5 more films on Tuesday, as we're now over the halfway point. Time for some quickie reviews, because I've reached the point of the festival where I can't do much better.

First up was a trip to Canada and the fossil fuel industry for CIRCLE OF STEEL. Wendy is an engineer, fresh out of school starting her new job. She might not like the oil and gas industry, but it's a job and she likes it more than being unemployed. There's also not much to do in this small town--pilates at home, Internet dating, drinking at the bar. Yeah, so it's not the good life, but it's better than unemployment. Oops, except there are rumors of unemployment and her last performance review was only rated "Acceptable." So she's likely to have bigger problems than a shitty job. Chantelle Han is excellent as Wendy, and the movie has fun with what easily could've been a really bleak premise.

Next up was AN AUDIENCE OF CHAIRS. A talented and popular concert pianist seems to have her life in order. And then it falls apart. And I confess I dozed off during the "incident" that estranged her to her family. But I was awake for the long struggle to regain her mental health and win them back. Carolina Bartczak gives a knock-out performance, depicting the struggles of someone going through a disease that alters her reality (which is kind of a recurring theme of this years festival.) And the ending is good, showing the importance of the smallest victories against illness.

Then for some silly fun, with the British comedy KILL BEN LYK. A serial killer is running around London killing everyone named Ben Lyk. So...if you're a Ben Lyk, you should probably lay low, right? Well, if you're a marginally famous YouTuber, you vlog about it and worst case, the views on your murder will be through the roof. Scotland Yard gets involved, and whisks all Ben Lyk's into a safe house, which is very convenient...for the murderer. Now he doesn't have to run all over town. In a bit of a CLUE-like setup, the Ben Lyk's start dropping. We do eventually get the backstory of why all this is happening, and it's funny and satisfying. But the most fun is just watching all the idiotic Ben Lyk's reactions to what's going on.

The next show continued the theme this year of including music videos before the features. SNEAKS - MONEY DON'T GROW ON TREES is a good song with a cool video, and rather than a review I'll just provide a link so you can enjoy it yourself.

That was the lead-in for ALL MY NIGHTS, and Italian thriller that for one reason or another I just couldn't get into. I've talked to several audience members who loved it, so don't take my word for it. A woman--Sara--escapes into the night in a seaside Italian town. A stranger--Veronica--picks her up, and brings her to her home. And the security is pretty quickly broken, as there were more twists and turns than my sleep-deprived brain could follow. Sorry.

ALL MY NIGHTS plays again Friday Mar 15, 3:10 PM in Redwood City

And finally, I ended the night with Shorts Program 7: Something Funny. Hooray for comedy!
TELLING PEOPLE YOU'RE NATIVE AMERICAN  WHEN YOU'RE NOT NATIVE IS A LOT LIKE TELLING A BEAR YOU'RE A BEAR WHEN YOU'RE NOT A BEAR: Made me laugh while providing important advice for avoiding getting mauled--and avoiding pissing off Native Americans.
THE BROWNLIST: Made me laugh while exposing the intricacies of how to be ethnic but not too ethnic in Hollywood. Especially if they've already cast someone super-Asian in another part.
HOLDING: Made me laugh when do strangers are put on hold at the same time. Seriously, maybe that suicide hotline should hire an extra operator.
HOOK UP 2.0: Made me laugh with a sorority girl and her clever approach to casual college encounters. From Cinequest vet Dana Nachman (BATKID BEGINS, PICK OF THE LITTER) and edited by Cinequest super-vet Kurt Kuenne.
HOW TO APPLY FOR A SEXUAL POSITION: Mad me laugh at the idea of a bureau licensing new sexual positions. Also, WTF is wrong with Cleveland?
HOW TO OUT-DRINK YOURSELF: Made me laugh with a recipe for new life goals. All it takes is a little time travel!
I WILL NOT WRITE UNLESS SWADDLED IN FURS: Didn't make me laugh...because it didn't play (because, if the rumor mill is correct, it was poached by another festival.) But it makes me laugh to post the online guide picture for it.
Seriously, either this film didn't play or I completely blanked on it.

MADE PUBLIC: Made me laugh when "I do" is put to an online vote. If only 50.01% of your friends agree, should you still get married?
PEGGY: Made me laugh when the perfect wife and mother is challenged at her son's birthday party.
THE PUPPET MASTER: Made me laugh when a sinister mastermind's plan hits a little snag.
SORRY NOT SORRY: Made me laugh when a husband-wife war starts with plums and ends with a perfect plan coming together.
SPOONING: Made me laugh thinking about the old adage of "no small roles, only small actors." Still, it can be tough getting typecast.
THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MY SISTER: Made me laugh because...incest is just always funny.
WHITE GUYS SOLVE SEXISM: Made me laugh because it's about damn time!

Shorts Program 7: Something Funny plays again Sunday Mar 17, 8:00 PM at the Hammer Theater

Total Running Time: 445 minutes
My Total Minutes: 500,270 (like I said, we're over the halfway point!)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Jason I WILL NOT WRITE UNLESS SWADDLED IN FURS played in the Comedy Shorts program at RWC. I actually had seen it last year at the SF fest