We begin our look at the amazing cinematic year that was 1980 with a consideration of Friday the 13th. Yes, it was the beginning of a massively important franchise that also didn't quite fit what the franchise would become. We look at the reasons it should be on the National Film Registry, what the impact was on the world of genre film, and why it and Halloween are so important.
There is a kind of film I call the Walkin' Around flick. It's fun, and the point of the film is not the progress of the characters through the setting or their encounters, but the way the characters interact with themselves. The road trip movie is the automated form of this sort of thing; the motorcycle to to bike, in essense. The British film Forgotten Man is of that ilk, and it's great fun!
The basic story is a guy who is a part of a theatre company for the homeless, Carl, meets Meredith, and they spend the day and night together walking, talking, encountering, and basically enjoying one another. Carl is dressed nice, because that's his role in the play, and Meredith comes from money.
The real thing here is the acting. Each and every performance is the kind of thing you'd tell folks about. The leads, Obi Abili and Eleanor McLoughlin, are phenomenal, and have all the chemistry you need to pull off a film like this. The stunning black-and-white cinematography allows the subtleties to play across their faces in a way that never intrudes on the bigger picture. I got the feeling that this film would work in Glorious Colour, but as it stood, it was so much more monumental due to the impact each tiny gesture made upon the entirety of the shots.
McLoughlin is magnetic, and Abili has a difficult role to play that he hits perfectly. I've seen other actors walk into this kind of role and go ill off-course into the weeds. Instead, he plays it with a combination of realism and a sense of direction without purpose. That may not make sense when you read it on-screen, but when you see it play out, it totally works. Meredith is a different animal, and she nails it by allowing every event to wash over her and giving into it as if it is a normal reality instead of an unusual occurance. That's another difficult pass, but she makes it happen, and damn well.
Forgotten Man shows twice more at Cinequest, on the 9th at Santana Row in San Jose at 1:30, and at the Century Theatre in Redwood City on Saturday the 11th at 9pm. YOu should go and see it, because it really hits it out of the park... or an appropriately British version of that cliche.
H.P. Lovecraft is the perfect source for comedy, right?
Nick Spooner has created a hilariously bizarre short comedy with The Call of Charlie. It's a simple story - a dinner party, and then a set-up to get their single friend (CTHULHU or Charlie) happens as an unexpected friend stops by.
Let me say this the simple way - it's freakin' hilarious. Seriously, everything, even the cinematography, manages to make the comedy even more comedy! The way it was cut, smart and clear and without an overly-showy sense of flash, it lets the acting and script and the general absurdity of CTHULHU coming to dinner play with the audience's expectations. Horror Comedy is not usually played like this, in fact, I can't think of another one that goes this way other than Cinequest 2014 favorite A Night at the Office. This makes it all the more impressive, because there is no template, and you can tell that it works at every step!
The Call of Charlie plays as a part of Shorts Program 7 - Comedy Favorites and shows at the Hammer Theatre Downtown SJ on Fri, Mar 3 9:30 PM and at the Century 20 Redwood City on Sun, Mar 5 3:50 PM, Mon, Mar 6 4:30 PM and Thu, Mar 9 8:30 PM
One of my favorite Disney shorts, it provides an amazing point of consideration for the development of animation's role in the Hollywood landscape.
This is the part where I give a little bit away about the film programming process. We have to watch a lot of films, and so we don't have a lot of time for things to land. You watch one, you might take notes while you're watching, you rate it and you move on to the next one. That's how it works. There's no real reflection period, it comes at you like you're in a theatre, watching a shorts program. The ones that stick out, that you rate highly, those are the ones that you consider a few weeks/months down the line when it's time to put together your programs.
But then, there are the other ones. They stick with you, have you thinking about them, basically poisoning everything else you try to watch because the film is so good, so fun, so fresh, so smart that anything else just feels wrong, and you have to stop for a while and re-watch, then let it sink in. The first movie I put on one fine morning was The Eleven O'Clock. The rest of my viewing day was ruined, since I had to re-watch it twice and then just bask in it.
The story is a psychologist has a patient; the patient thinks he's a psychologist. The two meet and play off each other, trying to convince the other that they're the one that's trying to help. The entire thing is silly, but it's that smart sort of silly that makes you giggle at even serious bits that stick in.
Watching it, there are three things that stuck me on it and required my re-watching. The first is the acting. Our leads are phenomenal, especially playing pass-and-go with each other within a script that is just about as smart as can be, which is the second thing. They each have a stance, and they both work from it so well. I was noticing tiny little things on my first viewing that stuck with me enough that I had to see it again! The third thing is the way it's shot. It is more-or-less a one location film, but it works within that location so well, I felt as if I was discovering it. That alone made this a film I had to program, and the rest meant I wasn't going to be meeting my 25 Films a Day duty!
The Eleven O'Clock plays as a part of Shorts Program 7 - Comedy Favorites and shows at the Hammer Theatre Downtown SJ on Fri, Mar 3 9:30 PM and at the Century 20 Redwood City on Sun, Mar 5 3:50 PM, Mon, Mar 6 4:30 PM and Thu, Mar 9 8:30 PM
They're saying that Zombies are played, but I think there must still be some magic in that old silk hat they found. The festering dead are still ambling strong when headed by a good script, a smart director, and a well-deployed cast. This proves to be the case with Instapocalypse.
There's two intrepid hold-outs roaming the ravaged Earth, and a zombie, and there's an iPhone, and there's an Instagram post waiting to be checked. That's the basis for the film, and in five minutes, it gives a smart and funny play off of those elements in conflict. While it's short, it's stylish, but not showy, and funny, but not dumb. There's some beautiful craft on display in setting, make-up, and especially cinematography. As quick as a flash, it hits, and ultimately, that left me howling!
Instapocalypse shows as a part of Program 5 - Mindbenders at Century 20 Redwood City Fri, Mar 3 9:45 PM Tue, Mar 7 6:00 PM and Fri, Mar 10 4:45 PM and at the Hammer Theatre in Downtown San Jose Sun, Mar 5 9:15 PM and Thu, Mar 9 3:45 PM
Klaus at Gunpoint
A Film Journal dedicated to all film.A segment of Office Supply Publishing.