Though my various work commitments kept me from experiencing the full festival, I was able to take in four films at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, and they were all varying levels of good! I’m kind of behind on blogging so I decided to compile all my festival reviews together into one post, so they’ll be short. First up was my number one priority, Obvious Child. Based on the short of the same name, the film stars Jenny Slate as Donna, an aspiring stand-up comedian who loses her boyfriend and her job back-to-back. After wallowing for a bit she allows herself a one-night stand with a cute but fairly strait-laced boy named Max (Jake Lacey), whom she meets at the bar where she performs.
Maddy (Caitlin Stasey) is a grungy lesbian teen who catches the gruesome accidental death of her friend Alexis (Felisha Cooper) on film when she breaks her neck during a daring cheerleading stunt. Months later, Maddy enacts a revenge plot against her school’s cheerleaders and football players, whom she feels have trashed Alexis’s memory with their wanton ways. She joins the squad and sets to work clandestinely dismantling their relationships. Frenemy lines become blurred, however, when she starts to fall for new head cheerleader Tracy (Brooke Butler). After a party with the team goes horribly wrong and the cheerleading squad winds up dead, Maddy’s Wiccan ex-girlfriend Leena (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) brings the girls back to life, with bizarre, homicidal side effects.
I haven’t seen enough Barbra Streisand movies, and it’s becoming a problem. I feel like I’ve skipped over this big cultural touchstone. Mostly I just really want to revisit Yentl. But last week I settled for What’s Up, Doc? because it looked supremely silly. And you know what? IT WAS. Ryan O’Neal stars as absent-minded musicologist Howard Bannister, who is traveling to a conference with his bossy, no-nonsense fiancee Eunice (Madeline Kahn). He is half-wooed, half-stalked by the mysterious and apparently penniless Judy Maxwell (Streisand), who manages to turn his entire life upside down within just a few days.
So yes, the Thon is about halfway over, many hours have passed. I’ve lost some of my patience with the “Close the door” running joke, and the kids sitting behind me have been way too chatty, but I’m feeling awake, and excited about the next several films, and my companions have been staying strong. Plus I know I’ve got some Dunkin in my future, always a pleasant thought. (God, I’m, like, so New England.) So here we go.
As focused on visuals as I typically am, it’s no surprise that I am a complete mess for experimental animation. If a film toys with stop-motion, or time-lapse, or imaginative cel animation, or cut-outs and silhouettes, I tend to be automatically entranced and very forgiving of narrative/thematic faults. Terence Nance’s An Oversimplification of Her Beauty uses several animation techniques, to gorgeous effect, blended with live action sequences. The project started as a short film inspired by Nance’s real-life relationship with Namik Minter, who plays a version of herself. They are close friends whose dynamic borders on romance, but she remains committed to her relationship with another man, who is never named.