siff: weekend recommendations

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image modified from baghead via sony pictures classics

Hello SIFFsters. The festival has passed the halfway point and is gearing up for it’s final week. If there is one good thing about our weirdo weather, it’s that you won’t feel even a tiny bit guilty for hiding out inside a movie theater all weekend. Here are a few picks (and occasional pans) from your pals at Metblogs to help get you started. Let us know what you’re looking forward to seeing between now and the grand finale next week!


the Great Buck Howard [siff] screens tonight as the “Centerpiece Gala”. Hang out in the general vicinity of Colin Hanks at the D.A.R. after seeing Sean McGinly’s film about a famous mentalist. This time there will be drink tickets, two per person, so treat them like gold. [josh]
Friday June 6, 7:00 PM (Egyptian)

Half-Life [siff] : Global warming has transformed the world into a strange and dangerous place in this film that manages to smoothly blend domestic drama with provocative sci-fi. [zg] Just for the sake of mixing it up, balcony style: I knew this movie was not for me when it opened with a woman throwing herself off a single story roof with a voiceover saying something like “the only way to fight the vacuum is to create one of your own.” Set in a world like our own, but in a not-to-distant future where everything is slightly worse and populated with flat and disaffected characters in search of love and attention, there is a bit of magic realism (can it be magic realism without the “realism” part?) and occasional interstitial animation. One of a handful of movies that I walked out of during the festival, not because it was unwatchable, but because I really just didn’t care after sticking it out any more after an hour or so with these characters. [josh]
Friday June 6, 6:30 pm; Saturday June 7, 1:30 pm. (Harvard Exit)

Otto, or up with dead people [siff] : The Midnight Adrenaline series is starting to seem like the safest bet in the whole festival. It’s just not SIFF without a zombie movie (or a vampire movie for that matter). No, it isn’t the first gay zombie movie of all time, but it does look awfully stylish and just the sort of reason to stay up past midnight. Otto, the zombie, wanders the streets until he finds a mentor in an underground film director. [josh & patriciaeddy]
Friday June 6, 11:55 PM (Egyptian); Saturday June 7, 7:00 PM (SIFF Cinema)

Saving Luna [siff] In 2001 a baby orca became separated from his Washington-based pod and started getting friendly with the humans around Vancouver Island. Soon the Canadian government found itself at odds with fans, Native Americans, and others in determining the best way of handling the little exile. This is part of the Films for Families section; so I wonder how far they follow the story. [josh]
Saturday June 7, 11:00 AM; Sunday June 8, 1:30 PM (SIFF Cinema)

Choke [siff]: I know Barrie (and others, many of them ) liked this one, but I thought it was a collection of quirks in place of character or story. I’m imagining how this one came together: Let’s see, impotent sex addict? Not quirky enough! How about impotent sex addict who works as a historical interpreter in a ridiculous colonial village? Maybe we should have him also come to believe think that he might just be the cloned half-brother of Jesus and give him a best friend who’s a compulsive masturbator and a one-time fugitive revolutionary smothering yet distant mother who might be suffering from Alzheimer’s. Now we’re cooking with gas, but we’re not quite there yet. No, I think he needs to have another totally different personality defect. Self-induced attention-seeking choking in restaurants should do the trick? And someone on the production team must have something on Anjelica Huston, right? Let’s blackmail her into appearing in this and we’re ready to roll tape. [josh]
Saturday June 7, 4:00pm (Uptown)

Good Food [siff] : Patricia loved this movie about local organic farmers [mb]; it made me feel incredibly guilty about not being part of a CSA or visiting my neighborhood farmer’s market and angry that this kind of food production is such an exception and not the norm. [mb] It gets a second screening this weekend.
Saturday June 7, 4:30 PM (SIFF Cinema)

Seachd: The Crimson Snowdrop [siff] : If you enjoy a good folk or fairy story, you’ll enjoy this family-friendly film in which a Scottish grandfather seeks to temper his grandson’s temper by telling him tales from the rich store of Scottish folklore. [zg]
Saturday June 7, 9:30 pm; Wednesday June 11, 4:30 pm (SIFF Cinema)

Sukiyaki Western Django [siff] Do you want a campy gun slinging, sword swinging, high body count shoot-em-up? Do you want to stay up until 2 am and possibly head down to the Pike Street Fish Fry before you get in line? [patriciaeddy]
Saturday June 7, 11:55 pm; Monday, June 9, 9:45pm (Egyptian).

Baghead [siff] : There is no movie that I want to see more in this festival. Mumblecore horror movie set in the woods about mumblecore filmmakers making a horror film in the woods?! I am giddy with anticipation and am probably counting on this to rescue me from what has been an off-and-on second week of SIFF. By the brothers who made the surprisingly affecting low-budget Puffy Chair and including the deeply charming awkward star of Hannah Takes the Stairs among the cast, this lo-fi pseudo-improvisational feeling stuff is the new new wave as far as I’m concerned. [josh]
Sunday June 8, 6:30 PM; Monday June 9, 4:30 PM (Egyptian)

Still Orangutans [siff] : Don’t go see this movie for its “gimmick” of having been shot in a single take from start to finish, as impressive as that feat is. Go see this drama that follows a series of characters through a single day and night in Brazil as they go about their lives on the train, on the bus, at the job and on the street, presenting a series of unusual and provocative events. [zg]
Sunday June 8, 9:00 pm (Pacific Place); Tuesday June 10, 9:30 pm (Uptown)

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