Monday, April 30, 2007

Atlanta Film Festival - Closing Day

The Atlanta Film Festival concluded Saturday at its 'official venue', the Landmark Midtown Art Cinemas. The festival features the 'Jury Winners' from each category, along with the Closing Night selection. I chose to see two documentaries and the Closing Night, though I skipped the party.

"Protagonist" (Dir. Jessica Yu, US, 2007, 90 mins.) This was the Jury Award Winner for Documentary Feature. It is an uniquely formatted documentary, weaving four stories of personal struggle around the structure of Greek Tragedy, which is illustrated by
stick puppets. Now, if only the four subjects were as unique as the format, this would have been brilliant! However, I just could not find a through line that would connect the four men: a German terrorist,

an “ex-gay” evangelist,

a bank robber, and a martial artist. Of the four, the German terrorist has possibly the most exciting journey, the 'ex-gay' evangelist was cinematically a hoot (then and now pics), the bank robber was perhaps the most well spoken, and the martial artist was a hoot, though his 'journey' seemed trivial compared to the rest. And this is where I had conflicts. The four subjects are so different in intensity and style, as it were, that I kept searching and waiting for the 'cross roads', which never happened. They are simply four very different stories, set against a classical style, which may very well be director's Yu's point. However, it is not necessarily a strong point.

"Banished: How Whites Drove Blacks Out of Town in America" (dir. Marco Williams, USA, 2007, 86 mins.) A topic which I was not completely aware of, though it comes of no surprise. African-Americans were completely driven out of some towns after the Civil War and up to the 1920's. This is a documentary about what happened to the land they owned. How it was confiscated and is it at all possible to reclaim (easy answer: no) or at least receive reparations (hard answer: maybe). The film follows three families as the research and trace the deeds of property of their ancestors and then confront the present authorities as to what options are available. It is during these confrontations in these particularly small towns that matters of race obviously still do matter. It is an eye opening documentary, that may lack in artistic quality but loads a solid punch.

The Closing Night Feature: "Fay Grim" (Dir. Hal Hartley, US, 2007, 118 mins.) This is the sequel, or follow up to "Henry Fool", which I have not seen. Apparently, it is a quirky tale. The film does not waste a second in establishing its snappy, dead pan delivery and style. In fact, Parker Posey as 'Fay Grim' gives such a controlled performance, it lacks realism for the first two thirds of the film. Jeff Goldblum as her nemesis nails the style and yet remains completely believable. However, in Posey's 'defense', she has an enormous role in the film and breathlessly delivering the sheer burden of lines is quite an accomplishment! The plot? Oh, who knows... It's sort of a farce about international intrigue as Fay travels the globe collecting the various volumes of 'Henry Fool's Confessions', which apparently where written in a code that half the governments of the world need to break. Anyway, the pacing is swift, which I like! The plotting gets quirky and murky, which I don't like. But I do like it fast! Plus, cinematographer Sarah Cawley has given the film a nice comic-book-meets-noir look with the off-horizon angles. Anette Guther has also dressed the cast in some stunning and instantly remarkable pieces. In the end, I think I want to see "Henry Fool" and give this another whirl before being too judgemental.

Maxxxxx says
re "Protagonist": "Stop that!"
re "Banished:...": "Time to come out!"
re "Fay Grim": "Such a pretty bird!"

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Atlanta Film Festival - Day 9

The Atlanta Film Festival continues at its 'official venue', the Landmark Midtown Art Cinemas. It was HORROR FLICK DAY for me! Woo hooo!!! Though I originally intended to spend the day, after the six outstanding 'Horror Shorts' and "BLOOD CAR"(!!!), I decided to quit while I was ahead and stop there for the day. So, let's start with the shorts this time, as I LOVED nearly all six!

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY 2 YOU" ("Y que cumplas mucho mas") (dir. David Alcalde, Spain, 13 min.) Ooooo... Definitely twisted! Possible child abuse, dismemberments and a really creepy dream sequence! What MORE could you ask for in a horror flick?! OH! A really TWISTED ending! Bwahahahahaaaa! [I MUST get a copy!]

"Hollow" (dir. Paul Bickel, USA, 10 min.) Oh yeah! Mom and son get freaked out after watching a horror flick on TV, and dad's not too happy about it! He's especially pissed off about leaving the Red Door open! Some truly inspired editing, and I'm digging the nightmares in this program of shorts. [I want THIS one too!]

"Litle Lise" (Dir. Benjamin Holmsteen, Denmark, 20 min.) Beautifully filmed in widescreen and wonderfully recorded, the film has some striking images, terrific performances and a HAUNTING ending! Mom is dead from a knife wound, but why is daddy dumping her in a lake? Oh yesssss...

"MEMO" (dir. Christian Simmons, USA, 5 min.) Short and wonderfully designed nightmare of the post-it variety! You can view it online:

"THE HAUNTING OF MATT LEMCHE" (dir. Mort Swindle, Nemo Dally, Canada, 29 min.) Simply, a mockumentary about the haunting of Matt Lemche. However low budget it is, the editing is great and some of the effects are so simple, they are spine tingling! [I want THIS one, too!!!]

"The Last Zombie" (dir. James Murphy, USA, 14 min.) Now, you should know by now that I LOVE zombie flicks! And I loathe CUTE. This is a CUTE zombie flick. ACK!! The last zombie is searching to 'procreate'. It's icky, too.

"Blood Car" (dir. Alex Orr, US, 2006, 75 mins.) It has all the ingredients of an instant B-Flick classic! Even a tag line: "Save Gas, Drive Bloodcar!" It is the near future, "maybe only two weeks from now", and gas is $32.33/gallon. Only the untouchable wealthy can afford to drive a car. So our little vegan kindergarten teacher is devising a machine that runs on wheatgrass juice. That is until he accidentally cuts himself and some blood gets in the mix. In a twisted and nearly inspired mix of "Christine" meets "Little Shop of Horrors", the machine must be fed in order for our hero to get laid! It's cheap (only a $25,000 budget), it's racous, it's bloody and bloodier! I laughed out loud more than a few times and LOVED it! "Toss 'em in!" should be it's battle cry! Oh, the film was made here in Atlanta, which meant that BloodCar itself was present! Woo hoo!

Maxxxxx says
re "Blood Car": "Sweet Sweet Eye Juice!!!"

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Atlanta Film Festival - Day 8

The Atlanta Film Festival continues at its 'official venue', the Landmark Midtown Art Cinemas. Well, Day 8 was a well rounded, potpourri of a day! Two features: one narrative and one documentary, followed by shorts: five comedies and six war stories. In the order of the day:

"The Killer Within" (dir. Macky Alston, USA, 2007, 77 mins.) Bob Bechtel is a mild manner, if not meek, little professor of environmental psychology. Almost no one knows that when he was in college in the mid 1950's, he went on a killing spree in his dorm. He was found not guilty due to insanity, he spent 4 years in an institution and was released to live the normal life he is living. Until now. The documentary follows his 'coming out' process in admitting his past to his family, friends and students. He is doing it as a reaction to the Columbine High School tragedy and as part of his lesson plan in the social dynamics of 'bullying' and its results. Thus begins the other side of the story: the victim's family and friends, as well as the former classmates, debate Bechtel's reasoning and continue to question his motives and the resulting verdict. This is the most compelling section of the documentary. The Bechtel family's reaction to this is where the film starts to dissipate. In profiling the family as being so 'average', the director misses a chance to emotionally invest the audience in them. So, their reactions to the resolution are not as effective as they could have been. It is an intersting and, obviously contemporary, topic, however it seems to just skim the surface.

"Hollywood Dreams" (dir. Henry Jaglom, US, 2006, 100 mins.) First off, let me state my prejudice in that I do not particularly like Jaglom films. There is just SO MUCH TALKING, that it gets to be a buzz in my ear! However, with "Hollywood Dreams", there isn't so much buzzing as neurotic rambling. But Tanna Frederick's performance as the emotionally unstable (or is she?) wannabe starlet is so complicated that her nearly non-stop babbling is sort of infectious. She is playing against Justin Kirk, who 'brings the pretty' as they say, and seems to almost be at a loss in playing against her. (The film does appear to have been improvised within Jaglom's scenes.) Not to mention that he is given a character that is a 'closeted heterosexual A-list gay actor' which is sort of hard to play. Karen Black and Melissa Leo are able to stand their ground against the mercurial Ms. Frederick, as they draw no lines around their characters, and thus are pretty hard to describe. In fact, I don't know what Karen Black's actual role is in the film, except as sort of a sexual predator and initiator.

Jaglom's tale is an exceptionally cynical view of what the 'Hollywood dream' is. Though the group of characters are in the business, you never actually see any 'business' happen. The characters are all centered around a pair of 'producers' who house them, preparing them for their big break. Yet there are no projects awaiting or being developed. The producers are gay partners, too, which seems to be tossed in here as another aspect of the craziness of pursuing the Hollywood dream. I don't know quite what to think about that. Everyone is drifting about in their own fantasies, so Jaglom would be saying. And in the middle of these fantasies is the nearly psychotic world that Tanna Frederick creates. It's an outstanding performance in a grey little film.

After the two features, there were two programs of short subjects: one set in war stories and one featuring comedies, a total of eleven shorts. I can not say that I was blown away by any of them. In fact, I left after three of the six war stories. The comedies were not so much as 'funny' as 'humorous'.

"BITCH" (Dir. Lilah Vandenburgh, USA, 15 min.) was possibly my favorite of the bunch. It's sort of about 'punk love' but features a brute of a woman, who could be a teenage Fellini heroine. She's big, mean and in a weird way, adorable.

"MAGIC" (dir. Colin Corrigan, Ireland, 18 min.) Under most circumstances, I would have loved this charming little flick about a down on his luck magician wooing his weary girlfriend. However, the rest of the program was proving so mediocre that the subtle charms of this short were almost lost on me.

"AMERICAN DELUXE" (Dir. Aaron Brownlee, USA, 15 min.) Cleverly written, but typical bit of satire on the 'American dream'. We've seen this many times before.

"LOOK ALIVE, MR KLINE" (Dir. Jacob Hensberry, USA, 25 min.) Due to no fault of the film itself, but due more to the other pieces accompanying it in the program (and general fatigue), I dozed off and slept through the entirety of this. Ooops!

"MARTI'S PARTY" (Dir. Annabelle Murphy, Australia, 15 min.) I woke up as this started, but found myself 'out of the groove' as it were and not know how long it was going to run, I decided to step out for air.

The 'world at war' shorts, of which I only saw three of the five:

"ALL'S FAIR" (Dir. David Jibladze, USA, 19 min.) An anti-torture-in-Iraq story, which actually creates some tension and doubt, though the resolution is predictable from the start. A soldier must choose between obeying orders and guarding an interrogation of a prisoner or breaking the chain of command and taking a stand against torture.

"CLEAR CUT, SIMPLE" (Dir. Vineet Dewan, USA, 14 min.) Another anti-torture-in-Iraq story, though this one leaves no doubt as to where its morals lay. (Based on a true story written by a former U.S. Army soldier in Iraq.)

"KILROY WAS HERE" (Dir. Charlie Boyles, USA, 15 min.) With some disturbing imagery, a WWII parachutist is caught in a tree in France where children find him and eventually they bond against the Germans. There is a bit of 'Lord of the Flies' in here, as well as 'Forbidden Games', however for 15 minutes, the film has no real dialogue (none of the French or German is translated) and that is always remarkable.

Maxxxxx says
re "The Killer Within": [Maxxxxx is strangely and suspiciously silent]
re "Hollywood Dreams": [Maxxxxx is strangely and annoyingly sqwaking loudly]
re the shorts: "Is it bedtime?"

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Atlanta Film Festival - Days 6 and 7

The Atlanta Film Festival continues at its 'official venue', the Landmark Midtown Art Cinemas. I'm going to 'write off' Day 6 as "Intermission". I attempted to start a couple of the shorts programs, but just couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to stay for the complete programs. But resting up did prepare me for a couple of avant-garde documentaries on Day 7 about cows and horses and what we, well, what SOME people have done to them...

"Milk In The Land" (dirs. Ariana Gerstein, Monteith McCollum, US, 2007, 90 mins.) This is a uniquely filmed documentary about more than you may ever wanted to know regarding the U.S. consumption of milk. It details the socio-political and economic settings that have promoted milk, with little if any regard to it's actual nutritional value. It is a fascinating look at how morality and politics will use any tool at its disposal to further the cause, and how eagerly an industry will align for profit. Subject matter aside, the directors give the film a 'Brothers Quay'-like feel to it. Shot almost entirely in black and white and using animation to describe the first century (1840-1940) of the dairy campaign, and the inventive use of intertitles, it is always visually stimulating, even when discussing grass-vs.-feed for cows. Its message is in short: milk really isn't that is evil, but the institutions surrounding it are.

"ZOO" (dir. Robinson Devor, US, 2007, 80 mins.) Well, this is a disturbing little ditty! The film focuses on a group of men in Tacoma, Washington, who had sex with horses and refer to themselves as 'zoo' (aka zooaphiliacs). There. If you can get passed that, you will see a beautifully filmed and paced documentary-dramatization. The subject matter itself is handled with tasteful objectivity, really. The cinematography is gorgeous if not breathtaking at moments. Even the soundtrack is dreamily lyrical. But once the film reaches the climatic event which exposed the group of men, you realize what a dark little tunnel you've been led through. The director takes a very mature and nonsensationalistic approach in trying to make sense of something that starts as simple as people anthropomorphizing with the household pet, but was taken to erotic and monstrous extremes with these horses. There are no gratuitous beastiality shots, though there is a brief moment of 'home video' that some may find VERY disturbing. At least i did...

Maxxxxx says
re "Milk In The Land": "Breakfast?"
re "Zoo": "I love you!"

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Atlanta Film Festival - Day 5

The Atlanta Film Festival continues at its 'official venue', the Landmark Midtown Art Cinemas. Today features a couple of my FAVORITE (extremely!) indie directors!

"Hannah Takes the Stairs" (dir. Joe Swanberg, USA, 2006, 83 min.) Joe Swanberg, who directed "LOL" and I LOVED at this year's SF IndieFest! "Hannah Takes the Stairs" is nearly a 21st century, 20-something John Cassavettes feature. The performances are apparently improvised, yet played with such honesty and clarity of intent, that I was completely absorbed for the entirety of the film. Greta Gerwig as Hannah, has a transparency in her delivery and performance that was beautiful to watch. Kent Osborne, Andrew Bujalski and Mark Duplass as her carousel of beaus are wonderfully cast with three specific and particular dynamics. Hannah's dilemma with each paramour is so well defined, especially in Ms. Gerwig's tour de force, I fell in and out of love with each of her relationships. This could have gone on for hours and I would have been there...

"Everything Will Be OK" (dir. Don Hertzfeldt, USA, 2006, 17 mins.) Oh. My. GAWD! I have missed this in San Francisco, Sacramento, Phoenix and once here in Atlanta. I FINALLY had the chance to screen Mr. Hertzfeldt's (Oscar nominee for "Rejected" and creator of the classic "Billy's Balloon"!) latest opus. He is a genius! Enough about him. On to "Everything Will Be OK". It is the latest in his psychopathic journey through his ID. He reaches nightmare qualities that he only brushed upon in "Rejected". He is stretching his visual style and technique in mind bending ways. The journey that 'Bill' (is it 'Billy' grown up?) takes in these 17 minutes is further and more complete than some Hollywood epics. I can't say enough about Hertzfeldt and his monstrous (the fish head?!) creations! It was THE highlight of the animation collection, which is in detail further down.

"Murder Party" (dir. Jeremy Saulnier, USA, 2007, 79 mins.) This genre bending little flick is actually a hoot and could very well be a new 'midnight classic'. In mixing art criticism, murder, horror and an outrageous rooftop chase scene, the flick nearly guarantees a non-stop intellectual and visceral joy! Chris Sharp (also producer) plays the hapless victim of accidentally attending a 'murder party' on Halloween that is all too literal. The murder is being staged by performance artists, which is how and why the screenplay allows itself to wander into intellectual terrorities usually unexplored in a horror genre. It is a hoot! FULLY recommended!

"Animation Extravaganza 1" featured eleven short subjects. Of those eleven, following are what I found to be outstanding. The rest? Well, it's just a lot of typing...

"Everything Will Be OK" (dir. Don Hertzfeldt, USA, 2006, 17 mins.) As I said above, a work of genius!

"Lagerheads" (Dir. Timothy Heath, USA, 9 min.) What starts off looking like a CUTE Disney adventure of baby lagerhead turtles making their way to sea, becomes a "Saving Private Ryan" nightmare! Twisted! LOVED it!

"Big Dreams" (Dir. Robyn Von Arx, USA, 3 min.) A swift and cynical look at 'success' in Hollywood. I LIKE cynical!

"Mirage" (Dir. Youngwoong Jang, USA, 9 min.) Simply gorgeous to look at! What happens, etc. is, well, up for interpretation. However, Jang's visual abilities are NOT to be questioned!

"Phantom Canyon" (Dir. Stacey Steers, USA, 10 min.) Surrealism at it's surreal best, more or less. Though NOT everyone's cup of tea, it still kept my interest.

Maxxxxx says
re "Hannah Takes The Stairs": "I love you!"
re "Everything Will Be OK": [Maxxxxx can not find the words to adequately describe his 'Herzfeldt Love'!]
re "Murder Party": "Sweet, sweet eye juice!"

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Atlanta Film Festival - Day 3, Day 4

The Atlanta Film Festival continues at its 'official venue', the Landmark Midtown Art Cinemas. Some, if not most, of the house management problems are being resolved. Thank GAWD!! There continue to be some projectionist errors, however those seem to be clearing up too. Now, if the distributors can keep up!! (See Day 4 below.)

Day 3: 2 Features and 6 short subjects. I'll leave the shorts to the end, and proceed in preferential order.

"Away From Her" (dir. Sarah Polley, Canada, 2006, 110 mins.) A Julie Christie performance has become a rare and beautiful treat. What might have treacherously tread the fine line of a "Hallmark Hall of Fame" special, is redeemed by an unsentimental screenplay adaptation (by Sara Polley of Alice Munro's "The Bear Came Over the Mountain") and the two remarkably restrained, experienced and wonderful performances by Ms. Christie and Gordon Pinsent, who plays her husband. (His voice alone would have been enough!) The story goes beyond a couple dealing with alzheimer's. (She is the one who is stricken.) It moves into what is memory and where does love exist - in the memories shared? Or what is being experienced now? And how can you express that? I can't say enough about Julie Christie in this. Her ability to reveal an emotional history, as well as her emotional future, in a SINGLE LINE is amazing! Olympia Dukakis is also in the cast, and brings her acerbic wit fully intact, which only completes this unsentimental, yet emotionally deep drama. The Executive Director of the Festival introduced it as a prime Oscar contender. Hopefully, Lionsgate will be able to give it a good push, as the adapted screenplay is beautifully enacted by the long overdue, Ms. Christie!

"PEZheads - The Movie" (dir. Chris Marshall, US, 2006, 75 mins.) What starts off as a fascinating look into another obsession, this time PEZ candy dispenser collectors, quickly diminishes itself as... well, how much can you say about PEZ candy dispensers? The structure of this short, yet still too long documentary, is a bit off as the history and manufacturing of the actual pieces could have been placed earlier, so that we can see what makes some of these rare pieces so valuable to the collectors. Instead, there are innumerable interviews with collectors, proudly displaying hundreds, if not thousands of PEZ dispensers, which diminishes why the casual viewer's appreciation for the 'rare' pieces. There is no real dramatic through line either. There is some arc having to deal with the PEZheads finding each other at conventions, yet, by that point, I sort of didn't care anymore. Cool idea, but needed to be more concise or needs a 'hook'.

Before going into the short subjects of the day, a note about Day 4. Due to some physical needs, as well as roommate obligations, the only screening I was guaranteed to make was personally highly anticipated "Taxidermia", by the director of "Hukkle"! The. Print. Didn't. Arrive. The SCREENING WAS CANCELLED!!!! There. With that out of my system, I continue into the short subjects, in preferential order.

"Paperboat" (Dir. Daphne Lambrinou, USA, Greece, 18 min) A charming, yet bittersweet tale about choosing a future and closing the door on a past love. Quite delicately done.

"True Colours" (Dir. Barney Elliott, United Kingdom, 11 min) A tense and nearly brutal examination of living with a 'ticking time bomb' of a father and husband. The tension as more extreme in these short 11 minutes than some of the full length features.

"Lost Crossing" (Dir. Eric Blue, USA, 29 min) Locally produced and featuring an nearly amazing performance by Melissa Suzanne McBride, the short has a small flaw in the screenplay and what the 'protagonist' (Carrie-Rose Menocal) is asked to do. Though McBride's performance is filled with rage and danger, it is artificially invoked by a plot device involving the teenage runaway that she has hooked up with. Once I allowed 'that moment' to pass, I was able to continue to appreciate Ms. McBride's ferocious performance! However, the screenplay just doesn't logically justify it.

"VARTAN LLP" (Dir. Myles Price, USA, 18 min.) Though the performances are strong, the script involving a modern 'Scrooge' and his reviewing a life of loss, was a bit lost in the making.

"AT THE END OF THE DAY" (Dir. Dionisio Ceballos, USA, Mexico, 17 min.) Eh. An 'After School Special' quality script, poorly performed.

"DAY TRIP" (Dir. Tracy Martin, USA, 9 min.) This was either a religious nightmare, which would elevate it in my view, or a retelling of the Isaiah and Isaac story of sacrifice. Either way, it is a Sunday School tale, and not my cup of tea.

Maxxxxx says
re "Away From Her": "I love you!"
re "PEZheads - The Movie": "Is it bedtime?"

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Atlanta Film Festival - Day 2

I hit the pavement running for Day 2 of the Atlanta Film Festival, which now continues at its 'official venue', the Landmark Midtown Art Cinemas. Promising enough in print, however less than enough in reality. The Midtown Art Cinemas is an 8 screen art house, with the lobby the size of San Francisco's Opera Plaza, so it seems. Four of the screens are devoted to the film festival and the schedulers seemed to think it would be convenient to schedule the screenings within 15 minutes of each other. Thus providing a solidly PACKED lobby, without ropes or 'cattle chutes' to guide the hundreds to the appropriate screen.

There was ugliness at one point. However, it didn't come from me, though I fully supported him to the consternation of some of the surrounding crowd. As some of you know from my little fits at the S.F. International at the Kabuki, House Management is a hot button of mine. As are Luddite projectionists. I missed the first program of short subjects, yet was able to make the next three programs. All three had (from my viewpoint) simple projection problems, and by the end of the night, the last screening was over an hour late.

"Monday" (dir. Heidi Van Lier, USA, 2006, 89 min.) The best and worst aspect of this entertaining though maddening romantic comedy is that it is the stream-of-consciousness of an agoraphobic-obsessive-compulsive-depressive (played by Joe Kraemer, the director's real life husband), who believes his girlfriend left him in the middle of the night. The film is tidily and economically done with a running internal monologue as the man's day progresses. As he does or comes across certain things, remarkably edited flashbacks occur with the voice of the girlfriend haunting him. Though visually not so remarkable, though there is some digital color work done with the flashbacks, the editing is fairly tight and the OCD monologue has some inspired moments, which is extremely necessary as it runs with nary a pause for the entirety of the 89 minutes. And there is the rub. Though successfully portraying the character, I am afraid I completely understood why his girlfriend would leave him, which is a point of success on one hand, though a less patient audience might leave the screening, on the other. The video was projected in the wrong aspect ratio for about the first 10-15 minutes, as we watched the projector's menu be played with, I could feel a couple of us mentally WILLING the projectionist to go to the 'Aspect' menu and NOT the 'source' menu to fix it! This after having delayed the screening for 15 minutes to fix the problem to begin with. It added a bit of madness to a film about madness to begin with.

"The King of Kong" (dir. Seth Gordon, USA, 2007, 79 mins.) The screening was in the wrong aspect ratio (which was never fixed) and the first opening minutes there was no sound. However, this documentary about the obsessive video game players was able to surpass any technical difficulties in its screening. The video game is "Donkey Kong" and the film is near brilliantly paced as we get a history of the game and its 'king player', Billy Mitchell, who has based his life around his record breaking score from nearly twenty-five years ago. He is challenged by a 'nobody' in the person of Steve Wiebe, husband and father, who becomes the 'Rocky' of this story. The two men, as well as the people surrounding them, or of such strong character that it almost feels staged. But it ISN'T! This ranks up with the work of Errol Morris and Christopher Guest in its celebration of the 'little man'. I was totally fascinated and actually glued to the chair as it approached the climax. I loved it and whole heartedly recommend it!

The "Secret Screening", scheduled for 11:00 p.m., would be delayed an entire hour, due to 'technical difficulties' which we had been witness to through out the night. As it was projected, it was in the correct aspect ratio, however the screen matting was wrong and the projection should have been reduced to fit the matting. One of the people connected with the production was overheard by me to mutter as he was running up to the booth, "What amateur crap!"

"The Signal" (dirs. David Bruckner, Dan Bush, Jacob Gentry, USA, 2007, 99 mins.) I was tempted to leave as the film began over an hour late, and I have pets to tend to now. However, I gave it 15 minutes and was GLUED. The concept surrounds a viral transmission that has interfered all broadcasts and phone reception. This viral transmission has a psychotic effect on those that become enraptured by it. If one were to pitch the story, it's sort of "O" meets a zombie flick. The mix of reality and psychosis is disturbingly violent and disorienting enough to keep me FIXED on the screen. The three directors (who each wrote their segment) use the single cast as they go through several episodes of madness. The supporting cast, particularly Scott Poythress and Cheri Christian who liven up the Second Section, completely nail the comic-horror tone of the film. The cinematography, which I assume was by the individual directors as there are none specifically credited, was wonderfully specific to the tone of each section. The 'gimmick' of splitting the film into three parts was not seamless, nor do I think it was meant to be. However, the directors/writers must have worked closely enough to maintain a continuity, even to the extent of cross-editing sections of each others work. It was a fascinating, funny and bloody flick to watch! It would be the PERFECT entry for SFIndieFest's Hole in the Head festival!

I ran home to find Belle (the 6 month English Bulldog puppy) happily awaiting to go OUTSIDE without spoiling the apartment!

Maxxxxx says
re "Monday": "I love you, too!"
re "The King of Kong": electronic phone ringing noises and such
re "The Signal": "Sweet, sweet eye juice!"

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