Saturday, March 7, 2020

Jason Goes to Cinequest--Day 4

The big first weekend begins. Also, I'm officially on vacation and am Cinequesting full time until the end of the festival. First thing, I checked into my luxury suite at the Fairmont for the weekend. Then it was just about time for the VIP Soiree at The Grill on the Alley, conveniently located in the Fairmont. A couple of hours of too many drinks, and I was ready for the first movie.

Nina, in the woods, or at least in the tall grass
My first film of the day was the world premiere of  NINA OF THE WOODS, from returning Cinequesters, Charlie and Wendy Griak (THE CENTER, Cinequest 2015 #ItsNotACult). They're back with a completely different kind of thriller. Megan Hensley plays the titular Nina, a young actress who in the beginning appears to have botched an audition for a TV reality series about supernatural phenomena. Not her fault, really, the production team are totally unprofessional, barely paying attention to her and carrying on distracting conversations in the background--the kind of rude people who you wish would just disappear. Anyway, she actually does get the part, because they want her as a local to lend some authenticity to their story about the allegedly haunted, ancient woods. Except they're not really interested in authenticity, because they're plan is to stage everything. But plans don't always work and it seems there really is something there. Not any sort of traditional monster, though. Just...well, things get strange and I don't want to reveal more. It's far more meditative and quiet than any thriller I've ever seen, but it's beautifully shot (using the natural beauty of Grand Rapids, Minnesota) and wonderfully acted, showing that the mysteries of being a human in an unfamiliar and puzzling situation is more unsettling than any made-up monster.

NINA OF THE WOODS plays again 3 more times:
Mon, Mar 9 at 9:00 PM in Redwood City
Wed, Mar 11 at 5:05 PM in Redwood City
Sat, Mar 14 at 6:30 PM in Redwood City

And then it was time for some bat-shit crazy insanity, with the world premiere of FRIED BARRY. Barry is...pretty indescribable, you just have to experience him. 
Barry, completely fried. The role Gary Green was born to play 
He's a drug addict and abusive husband and father, but that was before he was abducted by aliens and put under their control, presumably so they can navigate the world (of Capetown, South Africa) while blending in. Although blending in is not Barry's strong suit in the best of times. The whole thing plays out as a kind of hyper-active, drug-fueled, fish-out-of-water comedy, but in a sort of crazy environment that I couldn't imagine anyone fitting in. I could get weird and philosophical about how by making it an alien visitor story it offers an outsider's perspective about the insanity of the human condition. But really, it's all about crazy adventures and nods to 80's movies...oh, and 10-second pregnancy. And it gives Gary Green (who is apparently a pretty famous extra in South Africa) a chance to go totally wild and rule this movie.

FRIED BARRY plays again two more times:
Sun, Mar 8 at 6:35 PM in Redwood City
Tue, Mar 10 at 9:30 PM in Redwood City

Once the movie ended, the Cinequest Social at Mosaic was just winding down, so I took a bunch of the hardcore partiers up to my suite and celebrated Cinequest until about 3 A.M. But I still got up in time to write this and have a morning drink at the lounge before my first film of Saturday. Because that's how I Cinequest! 

Total Running Time: 188 minutes
My Total Minutes: 522,596


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Angel charls said...

. I could get weird and philosophical about how by making it an alien visitor story it offers an outsider's perspective about the insanity of the human condition.
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