Friday, February 10, 2006

2006 SF INDIEFEST

The 8th Annual San Francisco Independent Film Festival is running from February 2 through the 14th.

Though I haven't been as caught up with the roster of films as I was last year, I do intend to catch a few. So far, I've caught two.

Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's
Initial D. has conquered the East Asian market, according to Variety, and I really wanted to like it when I slapped down my ten bucks the other day. I ended up walking out halfway through the film. In retrospect, I realize I just don't know enough about manga to appreciate what's been done here. But should I have to? After seeing the same "drifting" sequence on a downhill S-curve over and over, I lost interest. I'm sure I'm in the minority here.

Caught Sidekick at Indiefest yesterday afternoon. What drew my attention to this Canadian indie was not only its comic book superhero theme but the Indiefest catalog's assertion that Hollywood has already scooped up Michael Sparaga's script for remake rights. I'm glad I was among the impressively-attended first audience to see the new 35mm print struck for the festival. Unfortunately the print was seriously flawed at one point, which must have made the director and writer squirm in their Roxie seats. Sidekick screens again on Saturday and I recommend it for anyone into comic books and eye candy. Directed by Blake Van de Graaf, Sidekick is an uneven but nonetheless entertaining film. When it works, it really works, even with its somewhat cheesy special effects and its begging-for-a-sequel ending. This is largely due to a fine, credible acting turn by sidekick Norman (Perry Mucci) and the strapping good looks of Victor (David Ingram). The only "name" to the project is Daniel Baldwin of the infamously hirsute Baldwin brood who plays Norman's comic bookstore owner friend Chuck. Even though it's asserted over and over again that Norman has the hots for receptionist Andrea (Mackenzie Lush), there's nonetheless "ambiguously gay" undertones to Norman's wish to be Victor's sidekick. Hey, I'm blatantly gay and I'd be his anythingkick!! For that matter, I'd sharpen pencils for writer Michael Sparaga who gives David Ingram a good run in the smiling hunk department. Yowza!! Thank God I had enough integrity to walk away from the Q&A without drooling. Well, actually, I had another film to catch. Thank God for discretionary timing.

Sidekick was preceded by Claire Thomas' first 10-minute short
Imaginary Friend about the plight of being invisible. Cute, with child actors precocious enough to stick with a visible fork.

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