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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Boston Science Fiction Festival 1

It is that time of year where I spend 10 days on Science Fiction films. Most of the reviews will really be quick hits. There are so many things to see in such a short time that I wonder when I will have a chance to write. On top of it my video card went bad this week and I have to make some time to replace it or I won't have my regular workspace. I warmed up for this event by playing along at home with the Zombiegrrlz podcast and watching the four Alien films, Alien, Aliens, Alien3 and Alien Resurrection. I have draft reviews on those in the works at the same time hopefully I can get them out before long.
The first day at the festival was a mixed bag, one good and one tragically bad film. I missed the starting shorts program because silly me left my pass at home and had to go get it after work. The first feature I saw was called:
Pig (2011) -titled 1.2 A man (Rudolf Martin) wakes up in the desert his hands bound and a hood over his head. We see him struggle to free himself and make his way out. He is found by Isabel (Heather Ankeny) and hewr small sun. With the help of the area doctor (Steve Tom) they nurse him back to health. As he heals we learn that he has lost his memory but has a name on a piece of paper "Manny Elder". Is he Manny? How did he get in the desert? Isabel has some ideas about it, possibly he was invovled in the drug trafficing? There relationship grows as he takes the time needed to fully heal. She lives in the desert so he is far from town and the isolation adds to the ease of their getting to know each other. Still the lack of memory is eating at the man and the name Manny Elder may be the key. He can't let go of it so when she is in town she googles the name and when she comes back with a phone number for Manny he has the choice to call it. When he does he knows he is not Manny as the answering machine has someone elses voice. Still the need to know who we are is the driving force for the man. He eventually convinces Isabel to take him to LA to meet Manny. He has found her gun and brings it along without her knowing and when he approaches the door with the gun the film stops.
Title 1.3 Again he is in the desert and struggles to survive, a mountain lion in the dark. At this point I am thinking that this is some kind of time travel movie. We don't see the mountain lion get the man but it is implied. It is a smart turn by the film maker Henry Barrial, it sidetracks our perception of what kind of film this is making the eventual reveal more effective.
Title 1.4 again he wakes in the desert and this time we see him make his way to Manny Elder in LA. He is a nice guy who apparently was his landlord. He starts learning about his life by looking at his stuff and it seems he is making progress, he is Justin Reeves and not the greatest of people but looking at his stuff he definately was living a life. It seems although he still does not have his memories he is making progress. Then another great turn when while sitting outside a woman Anouk (Ines Dali) shouts to Justin speaking in German. He reponds perfectly in the same language and we start down a new trail where Justin discovers another life where he is a bit of an asshole, a guy named Lukas Ernst. She talks to him about how his personality is different, how he is kinder and softer. Certainly the film explores this how we are defined by the experiences we have. That our memories define us and help create our personalities. Still Justin is struggling with the idea that he could have two lives.
1.5 Again in the desert, he passes out and we see a couple pairs of boots move his body to where Isabel is going to find him. But wait there is a twist. Lets not get into it here as you will want to see this film but the Justin/Lukas is not who we think. The theme of how we are who we are is nicely explored and although the film seemed to drag just a bit at times it is an interesting enough film. I fell in love with Isabel in the first sequence and if only I could mneet the actress I know she would love me too. :) The acting in this film is very good, the plot interesting and it keeps enough under the covers for reveals that are surprising. A solid entry but as the first thing I viewed has the task of being compared to each thing I see this point on. So a rating (6.1)
The second film of the night was a hilariously bad monster movie called The Millenium Bug (2011) A story about the Haskin family who escape to the Sierra Diablos mountains to avoid the Y2K turning of the century. Unfortunately for them they run into some deformed "Hills Have Eyes" hillbillies who are looking for new blood to mate with to expand their family. Also just so happens Roger Patterson a scientist is also in the hills looking for a creature he is sure will rise from the earth. The creature does rise and it is very large and hungry. So as the kidnapping and bad acting runs rampant through this movie, the killing and gross practical effects take over. Then the monster starts feeding and there is yelling, running and screaming. There is a lot of screaming, and did I mention bad acting. Part of the problem is that the parts are such characatures that they are just horrible and limited. There also is just some really poor acting and it takes away from what might have been made iton a decent moster movie. There is a real strength to this film though. The practical effects are excellent and gross and just a please to cringe at. So I won't recommend this one but I have to say there is a soft spot in my heart for movies like this. I love a monster movie even if it is bad and I would probably watch this film again but add my own home commentary. Rating (3.2)

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