27 July 2011

Fright Night Film Festival Notes...in 3D!

This past weekend, I had free passes to see a preview screening of The Smurfs in 3D at Rave Stonybrook in Louisville.  My wife has never been able to tolerate 3D so we haven't explored the new 3D technology but we figured for free we could afford to find out whether she's amenable to the current format.  It turns out she is.  I was very pleased with the movie, which I reviewed for Flickchart.  What I didn't put into that review was that the projectionist at Stonybrook really screwed up the movie.  The first 5-10 minutes were terribly unfocused and the movie even stopped playing at one point.  Eventually, it was corrected but it was certainly a reminder of what Roger Ebert has been railing about 3D not being properly handled in most theaters.  I will say, the 3D in The Smurfs worked very well and convinced me that it can be a useful addition to the right movies.
After the screening, we were off to Fright Night Film Festival.  Because I had to have two teeth extracted a week ago, our spending budget was reduced to the $10 cash I had on me, so I didn't score any of the autographs that I had hoped to add to my meager collection.  I did, however, get to chat with Tiffany Shepis whom I found charming and very friendly.  We discussed Nightmare Man, the DVD bonus features that I shamefully still haven't watched and the guy at the adjacent table joined me in contrasting whether I was better off having missed a previous Fright Night convention with a Crohn's flare--apparently the air conditioning had gone out so that con was roasting.  We ultimately scored it a draw.  I felt bad not buying something from her after taking up a solid five minutes of her time in conversation, but what was I gonna do with $10?
Tiffany Shepis in Nightmare Man. Publicity photo.
I also managed to have a solid five minute conversation with Albert Pyun. I was unfortunately unable to attend the Friday night screening of his director's cut of Captain America (Friday at 5:00 is a horrible time to schedule a movie to start). He shared some thoughts about that movie with me, saying that in his version, there are some important themes that are better explored. For instance, it answers why the Red Skull is Italian instead of German. More importantly, though, he said that his movie is about Steve Rogers wrestling with whether or not he can live up to being Captain America. I didn't realize it, but the actor cast as Steve Rogers/Captain America is Matt Salinger, son of famed auther J.D. Salinger. Pyun noted that Salinger knew a thing or two about growing up in the shadow of a famous legacy and that this is in his performance. To what extent Salinger thought about all this at the time, of course, you'd have to ask him.

My back started hurting so I took an hour away from the con floor to sit in on a literary panel about anthologies.  I think there were more panelists than attendees.  I learned a few things.  Firstly, apparently only about 25% of submissions actually follow the guidelines of a given anthology meaning that if you just follow the rules you've got a leg up on 75% of the competition.  A story can also be rejected if it's similar in theme and tone to another story (preference is given to the story written by someone with name recognition), and a story can also be rejected if it's too good for the collection.  Homogeneity is important to an anthology.  Every editor present also emphasized how much they enjoy finding a reason to give someone their first break in the industry, and how they take pride in being the one to first take a chance on someone.

After the panel we attended a screening of Cross, which is part A-Team and part Raiders of the Lost Ark.  It's a product of the comic book/sci-fi world produced by stars Brian Austin Green and Jake Busey among others.  We saw it because it also features Troy H. King, friend of my mother-in-law.  His is a small but entertaining part as one of Michael Clarke Duncan's henchmen.  The audio mix was screwed up so it was hard to follow a lot of the dialog but having the background I have in such stories and having seen several silent movies in the last year, I didn't have too much trouble keeping up with it.  It started late for whatever reason, which pushed back subsequent events to the ire of those event enthusiasts.  As it happened, the masquerade ball and body art show were scheduled for that room.  We passed, waiting instead for the invitation only Fat Monster party.

With Daniel Logan.
No idea who the photobomber is.
Just as we were going to leave, my wife started finding friendly celebrities (many of whom I didn't even recognize so I can't say who they were).  At one point, we had two Boba Fetts: Jeremy Bulloch and Daniel Logan.  I didn't really get to talk with Mr. Bulloch, but we did spend some time trying to keep up with Daniel Logan.  That guy has to have some kind of ADHD.  He's a whirlwind of energy and I got dizzy trying to keep up with him.

What I enjoyed most about hanging out with Daniel Logan was that he doesn't even act like he knows he's a celebrity.  I honestly think he'd be the life of the party even if he was a nobody.  The guy's full of energy and seems to really enjoy being around people having a good time.  It reminded me of what it was like hanging out with my friends back before Crohn's disease put an end to my late nights.  So, thanks for the good time, Daniel Logan.

We left sometime between 1:00 and 2:00, and had a lot of fun.  I was thrilled my guts had cooperated throughout the entire day, though my hip and my back did not.