Sunday, May 24, 2009

2009 SIFF Notebook - Day 1-3 review

The 2009 Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) or as others amusingly call it - SIFF (Standing In line for Foreign Films), is underway.
I'm certainly not one of those scary SIFF "platinum pass" people that take the festival entirely too seriously and attend the opening and closing galas and go to hundreds of films during the 3 weeks that the festival lasts. But I definitely try to attend at least a few films each year. My record was I think 2004 when I saw 20 films, last year I only made it to one.
This year I bought a 6-pack pass and as of today, Day 4 of the festival, I've already seen three films and will probably see a couple more before the holiday weekend is through, so I'm off to a good start.

Robin and I met up Friday night for my first film of the festival, the documentary Trimpin: The Sound of Invention
This Trimpin dude (who only uses his surname like the eccentric he is) is totally crazy in the best possible ways. He's an artist, inventor, engineer, mad-scientist, musician, composer - genius! While I was familiar with some of his musical installation art pieces in different places like the Frye Art museum and the EMP, I didn't know anything about Trimpin so I really found this documentary about him to be fascinating. He's such a character! It was also great because Trimpin and the director of the film, Peter Esmonde were there to answer questions afterwards.

Next up for me on Saturday was the French film "Cliente" but translated for the festival as French Gigolo. Met up with my friend Ross who's in town from Portland for SIFF. I enjoyed this film about a successful woman in her 50s who, having been burned by love in a bitter divorce, satisfies her needs for sex and companionship by occasionally hiring male escorts. The performances by the lead actors, and even more by the supporting cast were excellent. And I enjoyed that although the film takes place in Paris, there isn 't any of the cliche "Parisian" shots evident. Truly the film could've been taking place in any city. But I did want the movie to be funnier for some reason. It was actually fairly dramatic and a little depressing. But good nonetheless.
The second movie I saw Saturday evening was the Spanish gay comedy Chef's Special. Although filled with cliches and a little silly, I really enjoyed the hell out of this film about Spanish chef and restaurateur Maxi, whose life changes when he's forced to take in his two children from a marriage that ended when he came out of the closet years before. Again the film is very silly, but everyone in it is delightful, especially the cute Benjamin Vicuna as Horacio, a closeted futbol star who falls for chef Maxi.

I'm looking forward to more SIFF films over the coming weeks.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Protest

GMAC Insurance company put out their annual "which state has the suckiest drivers" test results today.

Supposedly the state of New York has the worst drivers. No, that can't be right. Washington state, at least in all the counties I drive in has the worst fawking drivers in the country. I don't care what this survey says.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

An open letter to J.J. Abrams

Dear JJ,

I feel like I can call you that - we go back a long time to the "Felicity" days - and I need to talk to you about something important; your Star Trek.

First, I'll start off with the things I really enjoyed. I liked the way you presented the history of the whole thing and the little nerd-loving details that were dropped in the dialog and background that hearkened back to the original series.
LOVED Spock and Uhura together. Seriously. And Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana actually had great chemistry.
On that note - pretty good casting choices, I don't know what the goofy fanboys had their panties twisted for. Although the Winona Ryder thing kind of seemed like it was done for shock value and not for her acting ability or resemblance to Zach Quinto. But the casting sort of brings me to the problems I had with the movie and what I wanted to talk to you about.

Again I'll start with the minor issues first.
Did you tell Anton to speak in that ridiculous accent? Even if you didn't tell him to do it, the minute he broke out his bad Yakoff Smirnoff impression shouldn't you have stopped him? It was really distracting. Also distracting? Simon Pegg's strange dye job. Can't think of why there was a need to make his already red hair darker, can you explain?
And going back to the accent thing - my man Karl Urban, it hurts me to say because I find him so hot, was overworking his DeForrest Kelly impression. Again, if you weren't telling him to do it, you sure as heck weren't discouraging him from doing it which is just as bad. But way to go in making Karl look the part of kind of femme Bones - how or why you hid all of Urban's delicious muscles that he displayed gloriously in that shite film Pathfinder, I'll never know.
This brings me to my biggest problem with your Star Trek - NO ERIC BANA NUDITY. Not only did you unnecessarily hide Eric's pretty face under makeup, prosthetics and fake tattoos, you also never showed the character Nero without his clothes off the entire movie. Not even shirtless. What gives? I'm quite sure that you could have come up with some plot device that would have allowed Bana to show some skin. It's really unforgivable.

You can make it up to me by having a Spock, Kirk, Bones shower scene in the next sequel.
Or an autographed nude photo of Matthew Fox.