DALLAS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL–DAILY BLOG–SUNDAY APRIL 15

 

Sunday—DIFF

 

Today is 100th anniversary of the day the Titanic sank.  For such a solemn occasion, there is nothing like going to see a bunch of movies. 

 

First up is one of the only flicks I have been looking forward to seeing since the announcement of the DIFF choices.  The film is the Morgan Spurlock documentary Comic-con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope.  The director of Super Size Me has focused his camera on the world of sci-fi geekdom and their biggest convention of like minded peoples—the San Diego Comic-Con.  It is a yearly convention of comics, sci-fi, video games and just about every pop culture side shoot.  This is another standing room showing in the Premiere Series and was presented by BigFanBoy.com.

 

Spurlock focuses his camera on two different comic book artists who are trying to break into the industry.  He also shows a seamstress who makes costumes based on video games.  She is a talented artist who combines mechanics and sculpture to make full scale renditions of characters that exist only in the world of video games.  There is the owner of Mile High Comics who is bringing a very prized and very rare comic that he hopes to sell for a million dollars. 

 

There are also interviews with such different celebrities as Seth Green, Kevin Smith, Stan Lee and Harry Knowles.  They all talk about their personal experiences with the convention and the state of this very large genre driven collection of fans. It is a charming and heartfelt love letter to the fan-boy that dwells inside of each of us. 

 

Comic-con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope will screen again at the Magnolia on Thursday April 19.

 

The middle feature was just something that could be fitted between the two films I wanted to see.  The creamy filling in my cinema ice-cream sandwich was Bonsai.  It is a romance that bounces back and forth between the beginning and the aftermath of a romance.  We see the two youngsters meet and the film goes ahead 8 years to show his struggles to adjust in a world where she is no longer a part.  It is about both love and art and the back and forth of a relationship.  There are issues of trust and comfort as these two lovers find commonality. 

 

At times the film was poignant and uplifting but other times it was meandering and without focus.  While the film had more than a few moments of truth, there were even more moments that lacked an emotional clarity.  It is beautifully shot, it just needed a tighter script.

 

Bonsai will screen again on Saturday April 21 at the Texas Theater. 

 

I was sold on Juan of the Dead the second I heard the title.  Presented by Texas Fright-mare Weekend, this little gem is usually not the type of film one expects at a prestigious festival. 

Set in Cuba, Juan is a hard-working hustler who is always looking for a way to make a buck in his communist homeland.  As the film opens, he and his best buddy are fishing and they accidentally harpoon a body.  To everyone else it is a zombie but they guys just think it is a dissident.

 

Back on land, there seems to be a whole lot of dissidents who only are stopped by a blow to the head.  Juan wants to defend his homeland against this internal threat.  He sets up a service to get rid of your relatives who dissent.  This is a twisted bit of gross silliness that is part Shaun of the Dead with a daub of Pirates of the Caribbean and Ghostbusters thrown in for good measure.   

 

If you really wanted to see this one at the DIFF, you are out of luck.  There are no more planned screenings for Juan of the Dead.

 

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