* Earthbound was the first genuinely terrible movie I saw at SIFF. Billed as a scifi romantic comedy, it’s about a guy who was told at age eleven that he’s an alien, and apparently never got over it. Amazingly, I had actual hopes for the movie because he’s told this by his father, who is played by David Morrissey. Unfortunately, it’s just bad.
The frustrating thing is that the concept has a lot of potential: a dying father tells his son that they’re aliens on the run, and the kid totally buys into the idea as a survival mechanism. But the film wants to have it all the ways — he’s really an alien! He’s really crazy! Wait, maybe not! — and it’s full of terrible jokes that fall flat & tired ideas like that it is a shocking turn of events when a pretty lady likes science fiction. Ugh.
* The story of two deaf teens who run off together, 170 Hz is okay. It’s gorgeously shot, and I found the sound design really interesting (though people seated near me thought it was inconsistent). That said, a solid half of the film is just the couple having sex. Which, whatever. If you’re into that, far be it from me to judge. But I wasn’t that into their relationship in general, let alone into endless close-ups of them expressing their supposed chemistry.
* Cloudburst is one of my favorite features of festival so far. The latest film from Thom Fitzgerald, it follows an elderly lesbian couple as they flee from Maine to Nova Scotia to get married. The film isn’t perfect; it gets occasionally bogged down in some Judge Judy-style family theatrics involving the granddaughter of one of the women.
However, Olympia Dukakis is a force of nature, and most of the picture concerns the accidental forming of an unconventional family with the couple and a young male hitchhiker they pick up along the way, all of which is fantastic. Also, if you’ve never seen a Thom Fitzgerald film, please drop what you’re doing & watch The Hanging Garden. I can wait.
* Finally, week one obviously included a Secret film. It was a lot of fun, as if __________ had directed a __________ take on __________.
Earthbound plays Saturday 6/2, 9:30 at Pacific Place, Sunday 6/3, 2pm at SIFF at the Uptown, & Thursday 6/7, 6:30 at Pacific Place.
170 Hz plays Thursday 5/31, 9pm at Pacific Place, Thursday 6/7, 7pm at the Uptown, and Saturday 6/9, 2pm at Pacific Place.
Cloudburst has finished its run at the Festival, which figures. I’ll update this if it pops up in a TBA slot or at Best of SIFF.