Sunday, June 21, 2009

30 years of film festival attendance is a fair old investment of time. A commodity that I’m particularly aware of at the minute but still, it’s a hard habit to break.

Yesterday started pretty early because I decided to go and donate blood prior to my schedule. The centre there was pretty quiet so it was all pretty smooth. The women who work there seemed to be excited about the prospect of being able to score Take That tickets for tonight. At that point I’m thinking that I’m glad I’m not travelling to Glasgow although I do feel a twinge of guilt through not being at the Halt Bar. Anyway, I got the business done and a collapsed vein caused my next couple hours to smart like something that smarts a lot. Bit of a sairo but so far it’s not purple like I expected it to be.

"The Intruder" is the Star Trek episode where Jim gets... oops sorry. I’d never seen this despite it being considered one of Corman’s finest and an early performance by William Shatner. The print screened belongs to Joe Dante and it was in pretty great shape. It’s odd, the subject of racism being tackled like this is something like a vintage Outer Limits episode. The more things change, the more they stay the same and all that, as sung by a Missouri group in more recent times. The film was actually shot in the “show-me” state. This made me want to see the entire Roger Corman retrospective but unfortunately logistics forbid that.

"Elkland" was next, screening with a short film from Mexico entitled “Roma” because this, the only Swedish film in the programme this year clocks in at under an hour. This will probably prevent Elkland being seen by more people here. Not as “black” as the blurb painted, it’s a pretty gentle twisted rural portrait. The cool score by Matti Bye adds to the understatedness. The director, Per Hanefjord comes from the North of Sweden and reflects a terrain that he’s familiar with but he stressed at the Q&A that it’s not a family tale.

"Wide Open Spaces" was a world premiere. With its Father Ted alumnus and generally what would have suggested a good pedigree, I spent most of it wondering why Ardal O’ Hanlon’s character looked so much like Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub. One of the people involved, could have been the director, and said there were a couple of jokes in it but if we didn’t like it that it was pretty short. Didn’t really feel like it and I missed one of them I think. I’m sorry to say that this isn’t good. Things took an odd twist at the close though when “Planets” written by the aforementioned Mr Blake and our good friend Francis Macdonald played the film out. That was a bit spooky. I hope that the piece does well businesswise so that my friends might earn some royalties but I can’t imagine anybody thinking that this is worth their time.

WOS confused me as to how anybody might have thought it was worthy of a slot in the program and as I wandered down toward Filmhouse for my final appointment, I did consider blowing it out. “Don’t be a quitter” my inner masochist implored. Got there just as the doors to Cinema 1 and "Black Dynamite" went ahead on time, no intro, lights down and bang, well actually, whimper. I hope that the ghost of Rudy Ray Moore is putting the shite-ers up everybody involved in this utter guff. The audience laughed and hooted at this completely lame recon of all that we hold dear about what’s become known as blaxploitation in these post-Tarantino times. It makes “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” look like high art. Folks diss the Wayans brothers but they’ve never plumbed these depths. Avoid at all costs and get a copy of “Dolemite” or “The Human Tornado”, both of which are several light years ahead in every way. I should have went with my hunch earlier but I imagine that I’d have wanted to see this anyway so better getting it done now and be able to maybe save other people from wasting their money. Check it out for yourself but don’t be snowed by the “authenticity”.

“BD” is working for the man and squealing like a biiiiiii-atch. No disrespect to bi-atches intended.

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