Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sundance

I went to Sundance this year and saw a few of the films.  Overall they weren't super awesome, but it was still kind of a fun experience.

Sightseers (4/5) was my favorite by a longshot.  It's a dark comedy about a British couple who go on vacation, and after dealing with too many obnoxious people, the guy spontaneously decides to become a serial killer.  I don't think it needs much more explanation than that.  I'd recommend it to anyone who can enjoy a good dark comedy.

Virtually Heroes (2.5/5) was decent but I felt it was too long for what it is.  I imagine that you'd like it more if you’re the sort of person who likes cheesy or "so bad it's good" movies.  The plot is that the main player character in a video game has an existential crisis.  That's about all there is to it.  There are some good jokes that will only make sense to a gamer: the heroes avoid walking near barrels at all costs, after objectives are completed the movie gets letterboxed and prettier for a scripted cutscene, and characters keep forgetting to reload.  It spends too much time being painfully self-aware and making sure it can get every joke the writer thought of into the movie, even if it doesn't fit.

We Are What We Are (2.5/5) was a horror movie about a family of cannibals.  The atmosphere was great and the acting was good overall (especially considering that three of the stars were children or teenagers), but it lacked a plot.  With more stuff happening and less time spent setting up a creepy, disturbing atmosphere, it could have been great.

Big Sur (1/5) was filmed beautifully and it convincingly portrayed a portrait of a depressed alcoholic sinking into madness.  Too bad it was more dull than most documentaries.

Catnip: Egress to Oblivion was a short that played before Virtually Heroes, warning about the dangers of catnip abuse, in the style of half-documentary, half-propaganda.  It was pretty cute.  You can now watch the whole thing on YouTube; it's just a few minutes.  Recommended for those with cats.

Probably not something I'd be terribly interested in doing again anytime soon, but the idea of a film festival is compelling in theory at least.

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