When did I have time in the last 3 weeks to watch 6 films? Please, what else do you do when you have the flu or between the hours of midnight and 2am. If you think fitting 6 movies in three weeks on top of a heavy schedule is something, hold on to your hats. The Cinequest Film Festival runs at various venues in San Jose March 4th-16th, 2014 and we are talking 200 films people. The line up (yet again) feels like choosing a favorite vital organ. So many films so little time and so much variety and diversity. Get a pass, take two weeks off and see them all and don’t forget to schedule in time to TALK about what you see. I’ve had a sneak peek and below are some uber miniature snap shot reviews to help you choose based on your own preferences and to start you scheduling in your own March Madness!
Cheatin’ – My favorite of the lot so far, I’m amazed that hand drawn, raw and rustic cartoons can tell such a bizarre and simultaneously universal story with no dialogue. For 90 minutes you are taken on a journey, a sweet and a bit twisted love story, with only music, images and the occasional sound effect or gibberish to communicate an array of emotions. I was impressed with the effectiveness of the format for sure and was even a bit touched by the story. 4 our of 5 jewels in the review tiara.
My Prarie Home – Once you get used to the style of this film and settle into the groove, it’s a really enjoyable and certainly unique piece. Though it took me a good 20 minutes to “figure it out” and embrace it’s quirky, docu-music video, Canadian emo-folksy goodness, ultimately I liked it. The visuals have humor and poignancy, as do the story and the soundtrack. With the subject matter it could almost be too angsty, but the film makers and the film’s focal point, do a good job of keeping it positive and not too self deprecating. 4 out of 5 jewels in the review tiara.
Life is Love – A touching film, colorfully shot. Above all else I think this is a very IMPORTANT film to make and see. While the unfortunate young female victims of the Cambodian Sex Trade make for a devastating topic, the film, which consists of 90% interviews from all sides of the issue, illuminates a painful present, but shines the light on the good that is being done to change the future for the brighter. In my DVD version, there were no subtitles and I’d say at least 50% of the English being spoken could not be understood clearly. The loss in what was being said made it feel a bit long in places, but if I had some assistance with the language (which may in fact be available at the general screening) I wager it wouldn’t have dragged or felt repetitious at all. 3 1/2 jewels out of 5 in the review tiara.
Funny Money – A blockbuster comedy type plot with slapstick, over the top performances I found to be cheesy, but mildly entertaining. It was a bit uneven, playing over acting one minute and then some cute tender scenes the next. Cute plot, but the subtitles were a bit cumbersome for me as they (and the accompanying action) moved fast. Meh, 3 jewels out of 5 in the review tiara.
The Rugby Player – A story is told in this film and it happens to be true. The honesty of this film is appreciated. The main character is shown in some really less than complimentary lights, but in a way…that just makes the end that much more rewarding. A rebellious and intelligent and artistic spirit goes from altercations and minor run ins with the law to a very different space and destiny. It’s not until the end really that I think I understood why this story was being told and could “agree” with the approach it took to storytelling. Certainly a film that gives us insight into a human that very well may have died a real hero. 3 jewels out of 5 in the review tiara.
Acting Like Adults – There is no denying that this film is well made. It’s certainly a love letter to Los Angeles, and we all know LA needs someone on its side. Some people like watching extremely dysfunctional conflict. I am not one of those people. The acting must have been good, because I kind of wanted to punch the daylights out of at least 1 of the characters. Repeatedly. There were funny moments, but in general this comedy is so dark it felt like I had died. Many people will likely enjoy this film more than I did, and they can give it as many stars or thumbs or lattes as they like, I however will only give it 2 1/2 jewels out of 5, because it made me angry, and irritated, annoyed and want to do violence on damaged, shallow, mean people. Maybe that was the point. Still. Suck it this film. Grow up.