pass the popcorn

The Indianapolis International Film Festival is wrapping up today, and for the first year, I actually got to see more than one film!  We decided to purchase a 10 ticket bundle (5 movies each) this year, and overall, it was definitely worth it.  Here’s a rundown of what we saw: 

*The Buffy the Vampire Slayer sing-along.  Yes, you read that right.  There is in fact a particular episode of the Buffy TV show where, in full-on musical style, they sing, dance and carry on like demented Broadway castaways.  Somehow, this has morphed into a Rocky-Horror-type spectacle, with attendees dressing in character and bringing props.  There’s even a devotee who goes from city to city orchestrating this madness.  At the urging of several friends, we decided to check it out.  It was fun!  The theater was packed with BIG fans, so we stood out a little, but we quickly got into the signing.  And the dancing dry-cleaning.  And the bunnies.  BUNNIES! 

*The Ten, a collection of vignettes dealing with the tribulations of The Ten Commandments, put together by the same people who were behind Wet Hot American Summer.  Some of the shorts fell flat.  However, a couple of them were downright amazing – who knew Winona Ryder had it in her?  There was a lot of over-the-top disgusting humor, but given the context of the comedy, it only made it that much funnier.  Naked men, sex with wooden puppets, murder, sodomy, this movie had it all in liberal doses.  It sure got the crowd talking. 

*First on the Moon, a faux documentary about the Russian space race and the attempt to be the first on the Moon in the 1930’s.  The premise was really intriguing, but the movie flopped on several different levels.  First, it was about 45 minutes TOO LONG.   It got almost painful near the end.  Second, the plot was meandering and just confusing.  A Russian-narrated documentary, with subtitles in English, based in the thirties with flips into the late 80’s, with random edits and even more random dialogue… it was crazy.  I wanted to like it, I really did.  Parts of it were brilliant, but we were wholly disappointed overall. 

*Fido, a tongue-in-cheek mishmash between Pleasantville and Night of the Living Dead.  The small town of Willard is hit by the Zombie Wars, and figures out that if they put collars on the zombies, they become docile, subservient and, well, they make good pets.  The cinematography on this film was nothing short of amazing!  Bright, crisp, well, executed.  The characters were a bit flat, but given the fifties-ish background, it played out well.  As the movie’s tagline says, “sometimes it takes a dead man to teach us all what it means to be alive”.  Plus, you really just can’t go wrong with zombies.  This was my favorite film of the festival. 

*Swedish Auto, a dark drama about… stalking.  And Volvos.  And a beautiful soundtrack.  I was expecting more Benny and Joon, but it turned out to be more Romeo & Juliet.  The plotline really played up the star-crossed lovers bit, they weren’t happy without each other but couldn’t be happy with each other… it got to be a bit much after awhile.  And while the cinematography was again very pretty, the plot had holes like swiss cheese that it didn’t even try to answer.  I think the word “befuddled” was what my fella used to explain the storyline, and I’m inclined to agree.  Though I do have to admit, Lukas Haas has permission to stalk me in the dark any time he wants. 

Kudos to the IIFF folks for putting this together and making it run (mostly) smoothly.  I heard a few horror stories, but nothing shocking.  Ticket sales were up nearly 15%, which I think is an encouraging sign for the future of the festival.  We’ll be volunteering next year, and I expect to see you ALL there.


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