Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The 2013 Boston Science-Fiction Marathon, Part III


BUT FIRST! Read Part I and Part II!

Well ok then. It's 4AM, we have had A LOT of science fiction. I don't know, maybe you can't handle anymore. Maybe you should just call it quits, go home, sleep it off. NO I DON'T THINK SO. We are in it for the long haul, guys, and I will keep my eyes wide open through the next four movies so all the geekery can really sink in. I was a little bummed that The Hands of Orlac was cancelled (I think the print didn't make it due to the snowstorm), since I'd never seen it and was looking forward to seeing a silent German Expressionist film on the big screen, but then I realized that watching a slow-moving silent at 4 in the morning probably wasn't the smartest programming choice. It was replaced with a festival film and the director was in attendance, so that was cool! Another nice touch was a showing of "La Luna", the cute Pixar short made for Brave. Anyway let's power through, dudes, it's the final stretch of the Thon, and soon enough we'll have to walk into the blaring sunlight and be... Outside. Let's hold onto the soothing glow of the screen for a few more hours.

9 Motivational Growth (2013)
This was the replacement for Orlac, and I was looking forward to it because it featured the voice of my guy, Jeffrey Combs! It's a strange, uneven film detailing the sordid, unkempt existence of Ian Folivor (Adrian DiGiovanni), a man who hasn't left his apartment in many months, spending his time sleeping or watching tv. When his beloved television breaks, he feels a friend has let him down, and he attempts to kill himself, but after a serious head injury he spends a week talking to a sentient mold growth who tells him how to clean up his life. The movie progresses in a dreamlike state for the remaining time, throwing in video game-esque animated sequences and hallucinatory imagery. It oscillates between funny and interesting and gross and aimless, and I think my biggest issue was that I didn't really care about the protagonist that much. His narration is often funny, but as a character I didn't like him, so watching a film completely centered around him is a little tough. This was the most polarizing film of the Thon, as far as I could tell, with several people calling out against it while several quieter viewers seemed to really like it. I'm in the middle, I guess, since I appreciated its unique take on depression and its no-holds-barred weirdness, but I don't think the premise really worked as a whole, and it might have been better as a short. I will say it definitely kept us all awake as we tried to understand what the hell was going on, and for a 4AM film that's always a positive thing!
3/5

10 V for Vendetta (2006)
This is the one I had sort of blocked out to sleep through, at least partially, since I'd seen it before and wanted to make sure I was awake for Escape from L.A. But wouldn't you know it, I just ended up watching the whole thing. This is a movie I remember really liking in high school, but upon a rewatch I'm not quite as taken with it. It's grounded in a believable future dystopia and has a fantastic cast as well as some cool action scenes, but it's also super preachy and unsubtle, and I'm really uncomfortable with the romance that develops between a strong-willed young woman and a man who has physically and emotionally tortured her. I feel like V as a character is given a pass for his murderous, cutthroat tactics just because he has a strong stance against the tyrannical government. He's put on a pedestal instead of being recognized as the lesser of two evils. Not that he isn't right- he is- but his actions are still questionable. Anyway I do still enjoy all the knifey parts and Natalie Portman shaving her head and the beautiful lesbian love story and Stephen Rea's detective work.
3.5/5

11 Escape from L.A. (1996)
Ok obviously Escape from New York is an awesome movie, but I'd always been warned off the sequel so when I heard it was screening at the Thon I was half psyched and half concerned. Turns out this movie is pretty fun, if steeped in too much loopyness even for me. This time around Kurt Russell's Snake (another addition to the aforementioned HUNKS this year) is thrown into the city of LA, which was made into an island and a mandated deportation area once some religious nut became America's dictator. It's got criminals, immigrants, and various folk who deviate from the new ultra-conservative standard, and the president's daughter has thrown herself in with them in a bid for world takeover. While trying to retrieve a doomsday weapon that she's entrusted to a dangerous faux-hippie revolutionary, Snake suffers run-ins with aging surfers, plastic surgery monsters, an opportunistic tour guide, various assailants, and a badass transwoman gang leader. And everything is set to a truly kickin' soundtrack. I was way into it at the start, but towards the end they throw in hang-gliding and surfing and it just gets to be too much, like they didn't know how to edit themselves at all. But the cast is fabulous (Steve Buscemi, Pam Grier, Stacy Keach, Peter Fonda, Bruce Campbell!) and you can tell Russell is having fun revisiting this character. Plus it's set in 2013 so perhaps it's an... omen?
3.5/5

12 The Fifth Element (1997)
This is another one I hadn't really seen since high school but was looking forward to revisiting, especially since someone (sorry I don't remember who) suggested that I do a gig poster for Diva Plavalaguna which is a good idea. The print melted twice, which was weird and scary, but we made it through somehow. The story of a gruff cab driver in the future who finds himself escorting a wayward god-figure to her destiny as a planet-sized pit of evil hurls towards earth is a path well-trod, but Besson injects enough humor, visual ingenuity, exciting action sequences, and kooky characters to make it fresh. The movie is all over the place and often confusing, but I do enjoy myself every time I watch it. Plus after all the handsome man-meat (what?) going around, I'm sure those attracted to ladies could definitely appreciate Milla Jovovich's memorable turn as Leeloo, a smokin' hot god with ass-kicking skills and cool hair. I know I was ok with it. Like many of Besson's films, it stretches longer than it needs to, with so many side characters and subplots clashing together that at any given moment I forgot half of the story, but overall it's just a fun time. Best of all you get to see Gary Oldman with actually the worst hairstyle in existence.
4/5

There you have it! This was our fifth year doing the marathon and I have to say it's super fun every time, and it's worth having my sleep schedule thrown out of whack for a couple of days. Until next year, fellow nerds!

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