Friday, April 20, 2007

Fuzz and Film Festivals

New Reviews at Since Last Week:
Hot Fuzz
Everything’s Gone Green
Perfect Stranger

This week started with more of the confusion that’s become a pretty predictable part of our everyday lives. On Thursday, some (but not all) of us got an email about a Hot Fuzz screening on Monday morning. I hate Monday morning screenings, since Monday’s probably the busiest day of my week, but for Hot Fuzz, I was more than happy to drop everything and head over. The problem, however, was that I didn’t know where to head. Over the weekend, some (but not all) of us got another email, informing some (but not all) of us that the screening was at a different theater than the one indicated in the email that some (but not all) of us had gotten on Thursday. So no one really knew where we were supposed to be. Mark had to call the rep first thing on Monday morning to get the story straight—but even then, we weren’t quite sure. And John missed the usual pre-screening banter because he ended up at the wrong theater and had to rush to get to the right one.

There’s just nothing like a little mass confusion to get your week off and running, don’t you think?

Fortunately, though, Hot Fuzz was worth every minute of confusion. Edgar Wright may not have made it big with your average Joe Moviegoer yet, but many of my fellow COFCA critics (myself included) have been crazy with anticipation for months. Every time the trailer played before one of our screenings, we all giggled like schoolgirls trying on dresses for the prom. And we weren’t disappointed. It’s hilarious. After the screening, not a single one of us complained about having to drive out to a screening on Monday morning. We were all too busy basking in the afterglow.

On Tuesday, we gathered at our favorite theater for the screening of Anthony Hopkins’s latest, Fracture. Since we get there early to ensure that we all have good seats before the theater lets in the rest of the pass-holders, we usually have plenty of time to chat. Actually, many of us will admit that it’s often the best part of the whole evening. Sure, it’s cool that we get to see movies before they’re actually released. But sometimes the movies flat-out suck. Sometimes we would have much rather spent the evening at home, crashed out on the couch in front of the TV. But at least we have that time before the movie, when we can hang out with our fellow film geeks and discuss the movies we’ve seen, the movies we’re excited to see, and our box-office predictions. Sometimes, we even talk about non-movie stuff. Since our jobs often require us to sit in a dark theater just about every night of the week, those moments before and after screenings are the closest we often come to having a life.

So anyway, Tuesday was one of those days when the before-movie time was way better than the movie itself. Fracture was just one more in the long line of bland un-thrilling thrillers we’ve been subjected to of late. While watching it, I decided that I would definitely be skipping Wednesday night’s screening of Year of the Dog, the new Molly Shannon movie. If I’d liked Fracture maybe I would have been in a decent enough mood to deal with Molly Shannon’s same old crap. But Fracture drained me of my will to watch movies—and thus, a night with Molly Shannon probably would have made me violently angry. I know my limits.

After my Wednesday night off, though, I was back in full force on Thursday. This week, John and Clay asked me to make another guest appearance on their award-winning radio show “It’s Movie Time”—to add my two cents to this week’s review of In the Land of Women. Despite a few technical difficulties this week, it was yet another wild and crazy afternoon in the studio. I still remember how terrified I was the first time I went into the studio with the guys last summer—but now I love every minute of it. You wouldn’t believe how much work goes into that five-minute show (not the least of which is cutting a 550-word review down to 130 words or less), but I always look forward to my next chance to fight it out with the guys.

This week, the wonderful (and wonderfully patient) studio manager, Dan, pointed out how quickly I’ve managed to fit right in with John and Clay. I don’t think he necessarily meant that as a compliment, but I’m just going to take it as one anyway.

After we finished recording and producing the show, I had to rush back to the office to get a few things done before heading out again for opening night of the Deep Focus Film Festival. They have a reputation for getting some good stuff to screen on opening night (last year, they screened Brick)—and this year was no exception. The opener was Waitress, a light and tasty rom-com that satisfied even the tough guys in the crowd. After that, we headed down the street to the TBD Tavern, where the Grey Goose was flowing. John kept tracking down the waitresses, who brought by tray after tray of little tiny martini glasses (which, we soon discovered, spilled very, very easily), filled with various mixed beverages. It all brought back memories from Cleveland, when Mark, John, Clay, and I hit Hyde Park for the four-dollar-martini happy hour. John almost got himself into a film festival brawl after three martinis that night—so it’s a good thing that last night’s martini glasses were much tinier. Fortunately, there weren’t any brawls this time around.

But a good time was had by all. There was much drinking and much laughing and much spilled food. Film critics may be a messy crowd, but we definitely know how to have a good time.

The festival continues through the weekend, and I’ll be heading downtown to catch as much of it as possible. So if you happen to be in the Columbus area this weekend, be sure to head to the Arena Grand and check it out.

This Week’s Film Critic Discussion Topics:

1) The Grindhouse Split: Will it do any good to split the two parts and show them separately, or should the Weinsteins just accept the loss and move on?

2) Hot Fuzz: Will anyone actually see it in the theaters, or are we critics the only ones who know just how cool Edgar Wright is? And how long will it take before this one hits the discount theaters, so we can all see it over and over again?

3) The Fantasy Moguls Travesty: Will any of us still want to play next season if they change all the rules and take away all the fun?

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Anonymous Neil said...

Gosh, that makes me wish I would have stuck around longer to see John in his various states of inebriation. Oh well, there was work to be done...

I listened to "It's Movie Time" this morning, another stellar show. You do fit in well with John and Clay, and the jury is still out on whether that is a good or bad thing...

Oh, and I'm pulling for Hot Fuzz... Sacrificing my 1st born and everything to get people to go see it. I even wrote this: Top 10 Reasons for You to See "Hot Fuzz"...

See ya later!

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Brenda said...

I love that Fantasy Moguls came up at your event, but as one of the people responsible for the travesty, I also wanted to open our door to you and anyone else who attended and had comments or suggestions about the game.

If we haven't already heard from you on the message boards or by email (or even if we have), shoot me a note with your thoughts, requests, etc. Our games will continue to evolve as we get feedback from folks like you so bring it on! I can be reached at Brenda AT

3:18 PM  

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