- Fay Grim – This sequel to the 1997 film Henry Fool, which I have never seen, opened the festival. I really liked this film… Corinna and Audra have raved for a long time about HF, but I’ve never had a chance to see it. After seeing FG, it’s at the top of my Netflix queue. The story was well crafted, the characters were really interesting, and the actors did a fantastic job.
- The King of Kong – A documentary about the Donkey Kong world record. Obviously, I had to see this film, but my expectations weren’t high. This might have been the best movie of the festival. The documentary was fantastically paced, the subjects were fascinating, and the film made the trivial consequences seem like the most important things in the world. I knew a bit about Billy Mitchell and Twin Galaxies through nerd osmosis, but I couldn’t even begin to imagine the dirty dealings and shenanigans… Even Corinna, who isn’t a gamer by any stretch of the imagination, loved this film.
- Rabbit – A short film set in a kindergarten “learning to read” book, where all objects have their names printed next to them. It looked like illustrations from a Dick and Jane book, but with a far more surrealist premise. It was very enjoyable.
- Fido – I really wanted to love this one.. The basic premise is this: A idyllic world, stuck in the 50s, where Zombies have been domesticated and are effectively pets/slaves to humans. And that sentence makes it sound like a winner, but it was an idea that just shouldn’t have been stretched to feature length. The movie was effectively Lassie but with a Zombie instead of a dog. Lassie episodes were only 30 minutes, this film was 90, and the stretching was evident. I really loved almost everything about this film; The concept, the characters, the acting, the cinematography, etc. was all great, it the story just couldn’t support a feature length film. I think this would have been an awesome 45 minute short…
- Death Trike – A funny little short about a homicidal tricycle. I don’t feel I need to elaborate much more.. Very fun… From the director of Forest of the Dead.
- Black Sheep – Another huge highlight of the festival.. Genetically engineered sheep with a thirst for blood. Very much in the spirit of Peter Jackson’s early films like Bad Taste and Dead Alive. Very well paced, very funny, and properly gory. Those Kiwis sure do know how to make a horror flick.
- Monster Camp – I was afraid this documentary about Live Action Role-Playing (LARPing) would be a bit to exploitative.. I mean, I think LARPing is hilarious, but I laugh in private.. My fear for this film would be a theatre full of people laughing at the people dressed up as lizards.. But thankfully the film was very delicate and well crafted.. The filmmakers weren’t playing for laughs even if there were plenty of them in there, and when people were laughing, it didn’t seem cruel.. That could be because it was a theatre full of Boston-area nerds, though, so I’m not sure… But I had the feeling that the subjects would have been able to laugh along with the crowd and not be terribly embarrassed.. It was a very fun film, and really provided insight into the LARPing scene.. I also think it made me a bit more sympathetic to LARPers in general… I think playing helps many of these people in a similar way I think Computer Science House helps people; A sort of “social primer” to help not-terribly-social people develop those skills they need in the real world.
To further Xtremeify this weekend of entertainment, Corinna and I went out to Providence on Saturday to see Stephen Lynch at Lupo’s. Before the show, we met up with Omar, an old friend from the Rovia days… He’s getting his Ph.D at Brown, but I hadn’t seen him in a few years, so we grabbed dinner and caught up a bit. The show was fantastic! Our seats were pretty good, and Lynch (who’s been on Broadway for a year as The Wedding Singer) was on his game completely… He seemed to have really missed being on his own… He had some verbal sparring with a heckler, but he seemed to have the upper hand.. It was a great show… Unfortunately, Corinna’s mysterious food allergy reared it’s head again, but she took enough Benadryl to keep it somewhat in check in order to enjoy the show. The Benadryl put her on her ass, though, so she slept the whole ride home and missed out on Black Sheep that night… She woke up with the flu, so fate is apparently not smiling upon her.. =(
On Sunday, even though Corinna was feeling shitty, we managed to squeeze in 5 open houses… Out of the 5, 3 weren’t even really worth considering, one was OK,but the last one turned out to be really cool. We haven’t made an offer yet, we’re hoping to have a few more viewings in the next day or two before we make our decision, but we’re both rather excited about this place…