Monday, May 28, 2007

The Curiosity of Vance - Notes From The Inside Out Film Fest

So I checked out a few more films this past weekend, on top of Eleven Men Out and the really bad/tedious/film school quality shorts from last week.

Most notable was a Danish short called Three Summers (Tre somre) as part of the series Straight... To Bed and it stood out to me as one of my faves, and one of the most well done. It follows a 14 year old Thomas who accompanies his arguing parents to their summer house every summer and his relationship with his parents friend and summer house neighbour Jørgen. Directed by Carlos Oliveira, it sort of harked back to Eric Rohmer films from France or reminded me of some François Ozon shorts (though not as quirky or explicit), but was an amusing short tale told sparingly and surprisingly humane and impactful for a short about sexual powers.

Another Summer was probably next best, directed by Hong Khaou from the UK, essentially the partly overdone scene of two boys playing around where one comes out. Still, nicely done and surprisingly sweet and fresh considering the story.

There were 3 others shorts on the bill, yeah no definitely, Cabalerno, and Float all which were fine but nothing to scream about (good or bad).

Dead Boyz Don't Scream is just as bad as they set themselves out to be. Not campy enough to be campy fun, but bad enough to be bad but not bad enough to be good, but since they sort of know all this, you just sort of have to let it go. Gratuitous, pointless and painful to watch, yet sort of what I needed at the end of last week.

On the opposite end, the documentary Red Without Blue chronicles the lives of two identical twin brothers, Alex and Mark, both who are gay, both fall into drugs, attempt suicide together, are separated, and Alex realises that she is transgendered and begins the process to become Clair. Did I mention their parents separated and their mother lives with another woman but does not use the word lesbian to describe it? Yet is still extremely slow at accepting her children's sexual identification? Slightly long film, but hell, there's so many plot points to tell, it takes that much time as revelation after revelation is revealed, all in a non-exploitative, and moving way that was classily directed by Brooke Sebold, Todd Sills and Benita Sills. Kinda heart wrenching to watch but completely fascinating.

The Curiosity of Chance is sort of billed as a kind of John Hughes film of the 80's if Ducky were gay (Dan?). American Chance Marquis is already out and newly enters an international high school "somewhere in Europe" "sometime in the 80's" and befriends two other oddballs Hank and Twyla, a drag queen and the hunky school jock Levi, that he crushes on, all to battle against the homophobic football star (and this being in Europe, football means soccer to us).

Classic High School underdog comedy with a gay twist stuff, and while not as good as some predecessor (gay or straight) like Election, Get Real, or Beautiful Thing, it was cute enough led by an engaging lead Tad Hilgenbrink as Chance. Seems like actual Europeans played the other European students, which is a nice touch even though the heavy accented English got annoying at times. The hermetically sealed world of the international high school and the students life that replicates an American world was a little disorienting and almost annoying at times, though possibly slightly realistic (since my experience of living in Europe also did not include passing the Eiffel Tower or major tourist sites everyday and instead, was mostly bland living just like anywhere else). It was great seeing Chris Mulkey (Twin Peaks, Any Day Now) as Chance's military father and of course, a gratuitous casting of Brett Chukerman as Levi, the hunky jock who befriends Chance despite the ban from homophobic teammate Brad. Overall, a flawed movie that doesn't meet expectations and is not the next coming of the great romantic (gay) comedy (though has there been ANY good romantic comedies of late?) but amusing enough that makes for enjoyable viewing on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Even repeat viewings.

Three Summers (Tre Somre) = A- or 9/10
Summer = B or 7.5/10
yeah no definitely = C+ or 6/10
Cabalerno = C or 5.5/10
Float = C+ or 6/10
Dead Boyz Don't Scream = D or 5/10
Red Without Blue = A- or 9/10
The Curiosity of Chance = B- or 7/10

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