Movies Encapsulated

By next year I will be a volunteer veteran! Thanks to my discovery of press screenings (where there's no need for those pesky, previously blogged about, vouchers), I'll be able to see more movies than I previously thought. On a space-available basis, Sundance lets volunteers into its theaters showing back-to-back films for the media. It is much easier to snag a seat when you're competing with folks who are on the job, as opposed to those who are doing something for sheer pleasure.

That said, here are my Cliff's notes thoughts on a couple of the things I've seen.

Driving with My Wife's Lover: a (south) Korean film. Guy hires a cabbie he knows is sleeping with his wife to take him on a four hour journey to another city. A bit hard to follow at times (even with subtitles). Some cool cinegraphic moments (especially involving a watermelon truck that's lost its cargo). But mostly, just too darn long. I was bored by the end. We were at the film's first screening, along with the director (shown left) and he said it started out as a short film. It should have stayed that way.

Chasing Ghosts is a documentary about 80's video game champions. Due to my complete disinterest in video games, I probably never would have seen this movie, but I thought I was walking into something else, and I'm glad I did.

If Napoleon Dynamite has a documentary counterpart, this is it. The video game champions we meet are outright characters, and certainly products of the 1980's. They speak on subjects like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong with utter gravitas. To them, video games are heavy, deep, almost-philosophical matters. The gamers are completely naive to how absurd their comments come across to mere neophytes. Hilarious at times, generally well-constructed story-wise, and managing to hit upon deeper themes of success, finding acceptance, and the hardships of being a has-been, this is an enjoyable documentary I would recommend to even those who never touched an Atari.

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