Monday, March 05, 2007

Coming soon to a theater near you

This weekend was the True False film festival. It started Thursday night and went on till Sunday night. We did the right thing this year and got an all access pass instead of individual tickets. This allowed us to pick out our movies before the general public could which meant we got to see everything we wanted, plus didn't have to wait in line. Here's a quick review of what we saw.
The Falling Man: This documentary was about the picture of a man who jumped from the World Trade Center. The picture was ran once in a newspaper on September 12th, and never printed again. The movie followed the film maker in trying to track down the identity of this person. Overall, a pretty good movie but a little slow.
In the Shadow of the Moon: This was one of the best. It chronicles the race to get to the moon in the 60's and has interviews with many of the astronauts that went. The interviews provide a lot of background info and experiences that aren't well known. The best thing about this film is that it really exemplifies the can-do spirit and optimism of America at this time. It's just what this country needs right now. Also, the cinematography was gorgeous. It won the audience best picture at Sundance this year and will probably get wide spread release, so look for it in theatres and video stores.
Banished: This one folllowed the story of some black people whose ancestors were violently driven out of town in Alabama, Arkansas, and Missouri around the turn of the century. The subjects of the film were trying to get their land back, get reparations, etc. A dark period of our American history, but once reparations came into it I lost interest.
Radiant City: Probably my first or second favorite movie, and we didn't even get to sit through all of it. It tells the story of suburban sprawl in Canada by following a family that lives in a very cookie-cutter bland suburb. Basically the film postulates that we lose our interconnectedness when we partition ourselves into solitary homes. It also talks about how it's silly that we have to drive one place to get fuel, another to shop, and yet another to get groceries...and that they are so far apart. It sounds like a downer, but the film was presented in a quirky, satirical style...not heavy handed at all. It reminded me of last year's movie This Film is Not Yet Rated.
Manufactured Landscapes: This was my absolutely least favorite movie. We left Radiant City to get to this one on time and I regret that. It was a documentary about some photographer that takes ghostlike pictures of coal mines, large factories, landfills, etc. Extremely boring with very little dialogue. The photography was excellent though.
The Third Monday in October: This was also up there for best film for me. It chronicled the class president election process in 4 different middle schools. This movie basically drops you right back into 8th grade, with all the awkwardness and sillines that it was. Very real portrayal of life at that age. It made me feel like a kid again, which is always good.
About a Son: I have mixed feelings about this one. It was basically an audio track of Kurt Cobain describing his upbringing and how he got into music. It was just Kurt Cobain talking for an hour and a half. The video was clips of areas around Washington State where he grew up. There was also some footage of people and bands and city life, but no Nirvana footage or songs...which actually enhanced the movie. The cinematography was beautiful. I found that this movie strips away preconceived notions about the man. He's not the voice of our generation, he's not constantly depressed, he's not a complete junkie, he's not full of himself....he's just an average guy.
Raders of the Lost Ark: This movie was freakin hilarious. It's a home movie that a couple of kids and their friends shot over 7 years in the 1980's. The cool thing is that they were obsessed with Raiders of the Lost Ark and set out to recreate it.....literally shot for shot. They did an amazing job....the timing, the dialogue, the camera angle......all of it was excactly as it was in the blockbuster movie. The only difference is that the actors are all kids age 8 to 16, who can't act worth shit. They even had special effects to recreate the fire in the bar scene, the faces melting, the egyptian tomb, and even the red line racing along a map as they travel. The only thing left out was the monkey (they replaced it with a small dog), and the airplane fight scene (just too dangerous to do). Afterwards, the actors took questions from the audience. The things they did would make their parents absolutely murder them. For example, the fire in the bar scene was filmed with real fire and no the basement of their house! If this ever is publicly released (doubtful), try to catch it.
American Shopper: This film was shot in Columbia with local people. Basically, a guy comes to town and wants to use Schnuck's grocery store for a new sport called "Aisling". The sport consists of tricking out a grocery cart and racing to collect grocery items in a certain amount of time. Oh yeah, you are also judged on creative dance moves. The film follows a group of about 10 Columbians as they prepare for the event. This was a gimmicky movie, as people really liked the whole "I know that guy" factor. Other than that, the movie was fair at best. It was pretty funny though. The guy that won did a Star Trek theme complete with music.
Overall, it was a really good festival. The only downside was that it was freezing most of the weekend. We also went to 2 receptions and 2 concerts. As always, in between movies there was live music and at the end of films the directors would take questions. Needless to say, I'm completely exhausted today. Oh yeah, the picture at the top of this is the poster for the festival. I failed to steal one while I was downtown, but it would look really good framed.

Another Geek Post

For those Star Wars fans out there if you haven't seen the clone wars cartoon yet, do so immediately. I'd been meaning to watch them for a long time now. I finally got around to picking up the discs. Basically, the two volumes bridge the gap between episodes 2 and 3. They were hella cool. Most of the stories don't have much dialogue, but are packed with action. The use of the force in these makes the movies seem weak by comparison. I think my favorite was Mace Windu vs. about 1000 battle droids. The series also introduces a new Sith villain pictured here and General Grievious. The fight scenes with Grievious are superbly animated. Best of all, Anakin doesn't act like such a whiny brat. Even Count Dooku, who I thought was lame in the movies, is actually pretty bad ass.