Sunday, April 15, 2012

2012 Florida Film Festival - Highlights, Day 2

Day 2, which is actually the first full day of the Florida Film Festival, always (ALWAYS, I tell you!) seems to begin not with a bang, but with a stutter. Technical difficulties at the makeshift tickets booths outside the Regal screenings generally mark the beginning of each year's festival before things settle down as the week progresses.

In any case, the two Saturdays are usually the busiest days for me during the festival, as I normally try to fit in 5 or 6 screenings. I (and my sister, who joined me for the entirety of Day 2) opted for only five this time, skipping one of our scheduled movies for something I like to call dinner.

Khen Shalem's THE OTHER SIDE

Our first two shows were Shorts #1 and #2 programs and while there were a few standouts, as a whole, each program was terrific. Highlights included: High Maintenance, about a man trying to impregnate his wife, until the arrival of his mother-in-law royally screws up things; The Other Side, a lovely drama about a lonely little boy and a soccer buddy he meets on the other side of the Israeli/Palestinian wall; the crowd-pleasing Jim & Frank, about the first meeting between two colleagues whose friendship created the stuff of legend; and the uproarious Glue Man, about a guy who makes his living providing talking-head sound bites for documentaries. Shorts #1: It Takes Two can be seen again on Tuesday, April 17, at 7 pm. Shorts #2: Ain't That Peculiar can be see again on Thursday, April 19, at 8:30 pm. I recommend seeing both.

The following two screenings we attended were features in narrative competition. The first was Nate Meyer's See Girl Run, starring Robin Tunney and Adam Scott (both of whom are probably currently most familiar to TV fans of "The Mentalist" and "Parks and Recreation," respectively) as exes who never officially broke up after she moved away to college. He never left, pursuing his dream to be an artist. She eventually got married. Tunney and Scott are both great here as well as the supporting cast that plays her family. And while the See Girl Run is about two former lovers possibly rekindling an old flame, it's also about how some people are inexorably meant to drift away, like planets receding into space, while some never get their feet off the ground.

Turn Me On, Dammit! is a hilarious teen comedy from Norway about a bored 15-year-old named Alma, who has nothing on her mind except for sex, particularly with her classmate Artur. Helene Bergsholm is alternately funny and heartbreaking in the lead, as a girl who gets caught in an unfortunate incident with Artur and becomes the school's outcast. Her life toggles back-and-forth between the unfair realities of high school and her escapist fantasies, where she dreams of having sex with anyone she damn well pleases.

I rated both features a "5" on their ballots and needless to say are both highly recommended. (See Girl Run is showing again on Wednesday, April 18, at 1:15 pm at Enzian. Turn Me On, Dammit! will show again on Thursday, April 19, at 6:30 pm at Regal.)

We ended the night at the always interesting Midnight Shorts program. Anyone who has attended these before knows what to expect. It's dirty, raunchy, and naughty and if I were to describe it in any further detail, I'd likely get in trouble for the obscenities.

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