Hello once again and welcome to Day Nine of my trip to the Cinequest Film Festival! Another five films will be reviewed today, so let get things started up in here!
This morning I saw WORTH THE WEIGHT, directed by newcomer Ryan Sage. The film's about an overweight former football player named Sam Roberts (Robbie Kaller, Domino) who is tired of his 411 pound physic. Deteremened to lose weight and get back into shape, he signs up at a gym where he meets his trainer Cassie (Jillian Leigh). They start off being just friends but Sam starts to develop feelings for her. But when he takes some bad advise from his friend and roommate Miles (Tommy Snider), his dreams of making Cassie his girlfriend begin to slip away. Things go from bad to worse for Sam as Cassie's ex-boyfriend Stephan (Bryan Bellomo) shows up and proposes to her.
What I liked about the film was that it featured a big man in the title role. Here we see a 411 pound man going after a skinny woman. Wow, that right there makes the film unique, but having Sam as our "nice guy to be with" go through his trials and tribulations make it that more sincere. We are rooting for Sam to lose the weight, to capture Cassie's heart, and run off into the sunset. Plus it was a funny film about some serious issues like obesity, self-respect, and breaking stereotypes. Director Sage and music composer John DeBorde conducted a Q&A session that revealed the making of the film was made on weekends for about six months. Overall a great film with a positive message. Today was the last showing of the film you can still visit the film's official website at http://worththeweightthemovie.com.
The second film I saw was BEAT DOWN. OK I know that I already saw the film this past Sunday, but while I was looking at the festival schedule I saw that there wasn't another film being shown at that time. So I thought it would be fun to see the film again with my friends, since they were seeing it for the first time. And it was still fun to watch a second time around. The best way to describe the film would be THE WRESTLER meets WHIP IT. The film is an entertaining, happy-go-lucky film and I like these types of films, especially if you just want to relax and watch a fun film. Today was the last screening of the movie, but like I said, you can still visit its official website at www.beatdownmovie.com.
The third film of the day was the Bollywood movie THE KING (KO). Now in the Cinequest program, it stated and I quote, "In this Tamil film, you'll find no song and dance." Well I hate to tell you that there is, however there's only two song and dance numbers. Thought I'd let you know in advance. So anyway, back to the film. In this political thriller/action packed film (isn't that an oxymoron or what?) is about a young go-getting photojournalist Ashwin (Jeeva, Raam) who also happens to be at the wrong place and the right time. On his way to work he stumbles upon a bank heist and follows the getaway van so he can take pictures of the criminals. He gets the photos and soon the robbers are all captured, except for one that was wearing a ski mask that hid his identity. Upon his return to the newspaper office he meets the stunning new reporter Renuka (Karthika Nair), who is writing a cover story about a big-name politician's intentions to marry a minor, he gambles his safety to get the photos she needs for her story. In the meantime, a young named Vasanthan is about to enter government game and becomes the newly elected minister after Renuka's story hits the newspaper. But there is hidden political agenda that Ashwin discovers that could spell trouble for Vasanthan.
This was a very intriguing political thriller, one that is pretty rare in the Bollywood genre. Not only did it have a very clever script, but it also contained some awesome action scenes that had some awesome kung fu fighting! Again not what you'd expect in this type of film. I love Bollywood films and this was a great film! The film will be screened again on Saturday, March 10th at 9:15pm.
Next up I attended the SHORTS PROGRAM 5: MINDBENDERS. And boy these were mindbenders to the max! During this program I saw seven very different short films:
CUSHING'S SYNDROME: A stock broker with a thing for the film TOP GUN likes to do online trading, feed his overweight rat Goose, and likes to kill his neighbors. Very disturbing, especially when the guy dresses up in a flight suit and masturbates to online porn.
CHARLES BUKOWSKI'S THE LITTLE TAILOR: Jack is a tailor who snapped and killed several people. The bodies are scattered throughout his shop. Henry is his good friend. He like to hang out and talk to Jack. They like to have sex with Jack's phone, which adds a whole new meaning to the phrase "phone sex."
CURTAIN: A couple move into an apartment that has a succubus trapped in the bathtub by a magically protected curtain. Also look for a special appearance by Mr. Pokey...the less said the better.
BLOOD ROULETTE: A throwback to the early 80's low budget horror films being shot on video. The beautiful Jenny Savage plays Mary, a stripper turned night shift nurse. She comes home from the hospital to find her alien boyfriend acting very strangely that ends with deadly results. Also the film contains one of the best lines ever in cinematic history, "Dance for me, you carbon-based whore!" Classic!! The short was directed by Lee Lainer.
A FUNCTION: OK this film's about a Japanese girl having trouble solving a math equation. Oh did I mention that if she didn't solve the equation in time, a man with a scary looking bird mask with a big sword was going to kill her. Mind bending indeed!
THE LAST GUEST: Two friends have one last drink between friends that turns into a life-or-death confrontation
MASK (MASKA): So I think that after seeing this twisted animated French short, I wondered what the hell they were thinking when they made this? I didn't get it, so I'm not gonna even try to explain it.
After the program, Chris our shorts host called up several of the filmmakers up to partake in a fun-filled Q&A session. Another great year of mind bending shorts, courtesy of Cinequest. The program will be shown again on Saturday, March 10th at 9:30pm.
The final film I saw was the amazing SONS OF NORWAY (SONNER AV NORGE). The film opens on Christmas, 1978. Nikolaj's family is celebrating a banana induced Christmas, courtesy of his father. But when his mother is killed in a tragic car accident, his father fall into a very deep depression. Nikolaj tries to heal his pain by becoming a punk rocker, playing in a punk band, and obsessing over the Sex Pistols (even Johnny Lydon aka Johnny Rotton makes a cameo in the film). His father tries to bond again with his son by fixing up a cool old motorcycle, attending his punk rock shows and taking him to a nudist camp. Yup, that's one cool dad, huh? But soon Nikolaj's rebellious actions goes to far as he loses his grasp on reality.
I was really surprised about how amazing this film was. I didn't hear anything about this film during the festival and I walked away with seeing an undiscovered gem of a film. Today was the final screening of the film but if you ever see this film playing at your local indie movie theater, go see it!
Another incredible day of movie watching! Remember the festival ends this Sunday, March 11th so make sure you come out here to San Jose! To view the festival's film schedule and purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at http://www.cinequest.org/.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!