Sunday, April 15, 2012

7th Annual Secret Film Film Festival.

My wife and I just got back from the 2012 Secret Film Festival at the Del Mar Theater. This year had another fine selection of soon-to-be released films.
The festival itself is apparently not a secret to the locals, like last year, it was sold out. The real secret is that the line up of films is unknown. The host gives a few spare details just before the projector rolls.
In some cases, a second feature starts upstairs, five minutes after the main feature. The festival runs from midnight until noon.
Before the festival a show of hands revealed that only one person in the audience had been at all seven Secret Film Festivals (I guess it was called something different years ago.)
The only negative that I found at the festival was that vocal pockets of the audience complained loudly at having to watch so many films with subtitles. I'm not sure what they expected, but I straight up heard complaints at having to read, at least a half dozen times. Some complaints bordered on racism. "I don't speak foreign!" one fuckface yelled.
If you read this and are thinking about going to The Secret Film Festival, if you don't like subtitled films, stay home!

There were 6.1 films downstairs and 2 separate films upstairs. The links embedded in the titles should take you to the respective film's trailer on YouTube.
  • God Bless America - Falling Down meets Super. Just be nice and you won't be killed. Bobcat Goldthwait directed and Joel Murray stars as a guy brought to the edge. It is a fantastic film. Mean and wonderful. Joel Murray's acting is solid. The film doesn't get hung up on technicalities and police work. It just follows a pair of spree killers trying to save the world. Good stuff.
  • Pac-Man - This was the .1 film. A short film about scientists making a Pac-Man game/simulation/real life digitial version. It was cute. Click on the link to watch the short.
  • Morgan Spurlock's San Diego Comic-Con documentary - I'm too lazy to look up the actual title. It's what you would expect.
    If you're interested in this kind of a thing, just go to an actual comic, anime, GI Joe, Star Trek, whatever con. You don't need rich and famous people telling you how to feel. If you're not interested in this kind of thing, you won't go see this movie anyway. A perfectly good waste of time.
    Penumbra - This played upstairs and I did not see it. A gentleman in front of us said, "So bad, dude, so bad." He ended up putting down all the other films, hated foreign films, and made racist comments about showing English only films (he's not the one who made the "I don't speak foreign!" remark.) So, I have no idea about this one.
  • Juan of the Dead - A Cuban zombie/comedy. Started out very unfunny, but picked up quickly. The characters are dimensional and super well conceived. Juan is not dumb, he is a smart rascal (there is that latino hero-type again, I've written about it before, I'm too tired to look it up.) There is an amazing scene with Juan and his best friend sitting on a rooftop waiting for the sun to rise. Just hilarious. It's a great mix of lowbrow and smart.
    Beyond the Black Rainbow - I have wanted to see this film for months but it didn't work out. I'm a little bummed that I didn't get to see it. Afterwards, whenever the host mentioned the title, everyone booed, so it's probably a great film.
  • Sound of Noise - This Swedish film was a shocker. It should never have been made, it's just slightly off beat. It's not Lynchian weird. It's not crazy. It's not dark or strangely upbeat. It's not surrealistic or abstract. A tone deaf cop from a family of famous musician/conductors gets on the trail of a group of criminal, avant garde musicians. They conduct large scale crimes in order to create percussive music. It's a blast. The film is smart, a touch confusing, and fun. Like I said, it's not normal and it's not crazy, it's just odd enough to make you do a second take at what you're seeing. It will get looked over, but I recommend it.
    Kill List - I didn't get to see this showing of it. Before you get too sad, read on.
  • The Raid - My dear friend, Derrick, has been on about this film for the last few years. He was waaay ahead of the curve on this one. That being said, I didn't watch it. HA.
    The film actually came out to local theaters today, a week early, so I will see it, I just didn't see it here. Instead, the programmer asked if anyone wanted to see anything else upstairs since The Raid was released a week early and some people had already seen it. We voted for....
    Kill List - Oh yeah, baby, I finally got to see it. Matt did a write up about this fine film HERE. Go read it.
    This was my favorite film of the fest. It's a hard one to explain without ruining it, but let's just say it builds and builds and builds. What a fine film. The music cues are fantastic. Oftentimes they mislead and build inappropriately. The story is confusing and debatable, but I have it mostly figured out for myself, and that is fine. It is super slow, then super violent, then super confusing. In other words, super duper. Bring your strong stomach and watch it.
  • Goon - What was left of the crowd (about 75%. Less people made it through than last year) met up in the main theater for the final film. The host said, "It's an easy movie." It was. I never would have seen Goon myself. It's a hockey film about a horrible player, who can barely skate, but packs a mean punch. The film is based on a true story and there are even clips of the real fella during the end credits.
    Goon is really good. The script is super well written with awesome dialog. You will laugh and relate all the way through this thing. Seann William Scott is fantastic. He is wound way down for the role and he pulls off this team-first, honest, slow, guy, just amazingly. The film is worth seeing just for the dialog. I'm not into hockey, but I didn't feel like a mark. I got it. Worth your time.
After the films there was a raffle. We didn't win anything and that was all right. We did see local artist Frank Trueba and Lauren from Marini's there.
Thus ends another Santa Cruz Secret Film Festival. Thanks to the Del Mar and our host, Scott. They did a fantastic job. I can't wait until next year.

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