Tuesday, May 03, 2005

IFFB Day 3: The Future of Food, The Hole Story

I'm gonna get letters.

My reviews from IFFB have already generated one letter, from a guy who didn't come off so well in Stolen, and, hey, it's a bit freaky when you get an angry letter from a guy who's close with felons. Not angry at me, so much, but still angry.

But, today's reviews could generate some more - I've gotten mail about not loving documentaries with worthwhile subjects because I didn't think that automatically makes for great movies, and that's The Future of Food in a nutshell. And, as I may have mentioned in the Day 2 entry, there were lots of friends and family members in attendence for The Hole Story, with a couple of folks in attendence already putting raves up on HBS/EFC.

And, speaking of eFilmCritic, apparently my review cross-posted there for Freeze Frame was blurbed on the back of the movie's DVD box. Didn't use my name, of course, because either people would think the movie was being recommended by a fictional character (curse you, Alan Thicke!) or internet writers just don't rate the recognition of a guy working for a UPN station in Nebraska.

(Nothing against Nebraska, just not a whole lot of national recognition. Not that I merit any, either)

The Future of Food

* * ½ (out of four)
Seen 24 April 2005 at Somerville Theater #4 (Independent Film Festival of Boston)

To say that The Future of Food is a bad documentary would be untrue. It contains interesting information about a subject which merits attention. That subject is not, however, "the future of food", or genetically engineered crops in general. The material is here for a solid movie on the abuse of the patent system and the need for it to evolve and/or reform. Frustratingly, writer/director/producer Deborah Koons doesn't talk much about this subject, except in terms of how the Monsanto corporation uses it as a tool to screw people over.

I should have known what I was getting myself into. The program for the festival referenced a film which played at the last IFFB, The Corporation, and all weekend, whenever the folks at the Somverville would hawk festival T-shirts, it was prefaced with how all us Massachusetts liberals would appreciate that they were made outside sweatshops. Still, I figured that perhaps there'd be something for us Massachusetts tech-geeks, too. Not really the case - this is a movie by and for activists, or anyone else who enjoy watching corporations and Republicans be painted as evil.

Read the rest at HBS.

The Hole Story

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 24 April 2005 at Coolidge Corner #2 (Independent Film Festival of Boston)

Just about anything can be funny when it happens to someone else. And if the timing of a comic disaster catches the audience off guard, well, that just bumps it from "funny" up to "hilarious", especially if, as in The Hole Story, it happens much earlier than expected. However, once you've defied audience expectations less than fifteen minutes into the movie, you'd better be ready to keep doing it, and if you can't come up with something as surprising as that first big moment, at least come up with something as funny. Given that the movie's a comedy, you might want to do that anyway.

The movie opens with a little introductory text, pretty much telling the audience that things aren't going to go right, and the opening credits for a TV series, "Provincial Puzzlers". Well, the pilot for a TV series, which would involve writer/director/host Alex Karpovsky traveling throughout America, talking about unexplained phenomena peculiar to some small town. For the pilot, Alex has come to Brainerd, Minnesota, to investigate a hole that has appeared in the middle of an otherwise frozen over lake. He's lined up scientists to talk about what a climatological anomaly this is, and he's got some ideas about mentioning how the Paul Bunyan legend got its start in and around Brainerd.

Read the rest at HBS.

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