Cinequest 2010: The Good Heart, as seen by the blackhearted media.

“No one is going to tell you what to think about these movies”–Halfdan Hussey, on stage at the California Theatre last night.

Oh yeah? I am the dreaded media, and I shall tell you what to think! Do my bidding!

Filthy weather last night–a nasty spitting drizzle–but a good crowd outside the California Theatre under the klieg light waiting to get into the gala opening. Loads of prelims: a pick your favorite cell-phone directed movie contest, free burritos from Chipotle (yay) and in the lobby, several booth-bunnies from Hewlitt-Packard showing off the Vivian Tam digital clutch purse or something. Butterflies! HP’s spokesman mentions the fact that its Model 200A Audio Oscillator helped Uncle Walt make Fantasia.
You never have an idea how much the average middle-aged man looks like Brian Cox until you try to look for Brian Cox in a crowd. He wasn’t there, but the place was packed with vociferous partisans for Super Hero Party Clown, which got its props from stage and shrieks of ecstasy from the attendees. Bring it on! And C’quest celebrating its astuteness with a clip of Ben Kingsley’s local apperarance–Kingsley being currently in a #1 movie. As we saw from the clip, clearly Kingsley is his own James Lipton.
Love the grand old theater, and the Wurlitzer playing Nino Rota. The Good Heart itself, I must declare a verdict of meh. Being the evil media I’ve got to come up with a better dismissal than “I don’t even like the real Paul Auster that much.” But this insta-movie set in the metaphorical slums–the good-hearted Paul Dano, a street urchin making St. Francis look like Dick Cheney bonding with Brian Cox as a bartender so misanthropic he makes Moe Syzslak look like St. Francis (conserve those metaphors, the festival has 12 days to go). It all takes place in a derelict Manhattan bar named the Oyster House. What better way to metaphorize Cox’s Jacques as a hard-shell containing goosh and a pearl of wisdom? Very indiffently written love and loss in the form of a French waif (Isild Le Besco), a stewardess cashiered for fear of flying. And big metaphorical (yet clinically visualized) heart transplant as per Open Hearts, John Q., 21 Grams, Seven Pounds, etc.

The open heart surgery: did not want. The kitten who didn’t make it, also did not want. Some pleasure in Paul Dano’s Gene Wilder-ish reaction shots–he’s a great mooncalf, some (less) in watching Brian Cox swear his head off, though the crowd was beside itself with every new obscenity.  (Has Cox played Nixon yet, Imbd? No? Why not? Cox is playing Menenius in a film of Coriolanus, which is interesting news…). Despite a fine duck and a finer dog, I couldn’t get behind this selection of bits leading to a conclusion you could discern a half-hour away.
Afterparty at E & O Trading Company was an improvement: goodly crowd, wandering satay-bearers and the usual deafening music making sure your networking will consist of screaming and spitting saliva into the ear of the person next to you, which I’m certain looks very professional. Ran into veteran Camera Cinemas publicist Pam Kelly who tipped us off that Ireland’s The Book of Kells is playing Cinequest March 3, in a too late for the printed catalogue screening. Reportedly, this Oscar dark horse nominee for best animated film is glorious, a compliment to 2009, Animation’s Greatest Year TM, all rights reserved.

Ran into Jacob Rangel, who notes that Team Stroganoff’s 48 Hour Movie Raton will be opening for The Professor, also Mar 3.

Saw Cinequest’s Mike Rabehl, and he said proudly (as he ought to) that Applause was one of his picks; it’s playing tonight at 6:30 at the Camera 3). That’ll give you loads of time to see the excellent Sweetgrass (9:45; slightly late, so I fear there will be some sheep-counting in the audience at that hour).

Some nice Norse skin in Upperdog 8:45 Cam 3, but you’ll pay for it with loads of upper class I-was-adopted-so-I-get-to-act-like-a-ween business you might have already had enough of from fellow students when you were growing up.

Watch this space. I pledge never to tell you what to think, just to suggest that if you don’t think like I do, there will be serious and lasting consequences.

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