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Monday, February 9, 2015

BSFFF Day 2: Two Documentaries!

Boston Science Fiction Film Festival Day 2:  Individual tickets are available for all shows during the festival, click the above link and come on out and join me for some great science fiction.  Highlights for day two of the festival were a couple documentaries, one real and another fake.Unfortunately I had to miss a series of shorts in order to watch a feature in another theater but I really want to get into some of the shorts during this festival.

Painting the Way to the Moon (2015) A really cool look at Ed Belbruno, the man credited with the  discovery of how to do ballistic capture. This is a slow speed approach at getting into orbit around an object where thrusters are not needed to slow your vehicle down. More than that this film is the story as told by Belbruno a large personality with a unique approach to the math it took to get this new low energy approach, His story of his painting, drug use and an alien encounter made an interesting film. Director Jacob Akira Okada does a nice job balancing a story that could easily become an ego trip about one man and his obsession. It's an interesting balance because Belbruno is a bit of a hippie who claims his ability to perform the complex math needed in his discovery has origins in drug use. There is a line that has to be negotiated her around how we form our origin stories. The narrative that Belbruno uses like all of our narratives about are past are not exact memories but more the stories as we have formed them over time. Still this loose history of the man made for a very enjoyable film.

The History of Time Travel (2014) This fictional documentary was very clever. Tracing the history of time travel through the man that made it possible and then through several cycle retells the story because the time travel has changed the past. Writer/Director Ricky Kennedy should get a lot of credit here making an entertaining film that is very smart and entertaining. The format of a history channel show telling the story works great for the clever visual continuity gags. In this version of time travel the person who travels back and changes something ripples those changes through to this show. So as the time travelers try to tweak things in their past the show sort of reboots including the changes that rippled from those acts.

The Rest:

Matt Mercury (2014) -  This unfortunately was my first walk out of the festival. Although colorful and with a lot of space special effects the script of this was so flat and immature that I could not get past the 20 minute mark. Not to say that I don't love some campy fun, but this feature did not seem camp or fun enough to suffer through. The danger of seeing so many things in a festival is some of them will be real misses for you and in the case of Matt Mercury it was a complete miss.

With Short: "Tugger the Ship (2014)" d: Kevin Bertazzon A space ship being tailed by a tow truck. Tugger was a joke filled short about so much that one can not even begin to explain the plot. I would say that there was a gag or joke every six seconds or so. Off kilter and funny for the most part it was short enough at 22 minutes not to wear out its welcome. "Hitch Hikers Guide" vibe at times and some ridiculous sight gags this one was worth a view. Don't expect too much but some of it was clever.

Uncanny (2015) A seven day interview session with one of the worlds smartest robotic scientist holds surprises both personal and professional for reporter Joy Andrews (Lucy Griffiths). Assigned to interview reclusive scientist David Kressen (Mark Webber) about the cutting edge projects he is working on Joy is astonished to meet Adam (David Clayton Rogers) a life like robot created by David. Through the course of a somewhat over long week we watch as Joy and David form a relationship, while at the same time seeing Joy is repeatedly put off by the uncanny behavior of the robot. Things in science fiction are never quite what they seem though and when the "climax"  comes there is more to the story than meets the eye. My initial guess on day two had to do with the project financier Castle (Rainn Wilson) and the prospect of  "More human than human" stealing from Blade Runner there but I thought maybe both the Adam and David could be robots. So in order to be surprised I figured the ante would be upped and the girl would also be a robot. So then we see Castle running an experiment in artificial intelligence. It was not so complex but still an enjoyable film. The silly final scene was not really needed as well as being completely immoral in its conception by the character who created the condition.  maybe the film makers wanted to leave us with a quandary at the end. A question think about instead of the execution of the story. They didn't need too the story was decent scifi and it was well executed.

Suicide or Lulu and Me in a World Made for Two (2014) Probably should not of stayed this late because I was really finished after Uncanny. The film itself a black and white science fiction love story with a dark core was more than I could handle. I feel bad skipping out before the Q&A with writer Director and lead Christian Carroll but the hour long drive in a snow storm was waiting and I was tired. This is the problem with seeing most of the material of the festival, it makes it so your head may not be right at times. So I didn't like the film at the time I saw it but after chatting with other viewers the next day quite a few people saw some value in it. The film overly long and drawn out did not help this feeling. In need of a serious script editor Lulu and Me was a chore to get through. A smart enough idea wrapped up in a passionate driven protagonist the film really would have benefited by doing more in each scene and cutting about twenty minutes. The dark turn at the back of the story tried to save the concept but there was just too much movie by that time to get it a good review here.

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