I spent this weekend at the Egyptian for the Cape Town Film Festival
, run by Entertainment Weekly and the American Cinematheque
. I became a Cinematheque member last year, and really enjoyed it, but I was on the fence about renewing. But shortly thereafter, I heard about this festival and, more importantly, got an income stream again, so I reupped and grabbed a bunch of tickets.
The screenings were lots of fun. It was exciting to see the Egyptian so busy, with the courtyard filled to brimming for each show. It was also a show of force for the volunteers, most of whom I'd seen at other screenings at other times, all of whom were friendly and excited.Earth Rises
This was, probably, the most important film in the entire festival. Some of my favorite moments of the festival happened when I was watching it. With hundreds of geeks in attendance over the course of the week, it was a binding force, something we could share and laugh about.
I am speaking, of course, of the trailer for Season 3 of Falling Skies
TNT was a sponsor of the festival, specifically promoting the new series of Falling Skies
. If you can't or don't want to watch ad, it's a series of dark and dramatic scenes from this show about an alien invasion of the United States (and probably other parts of the world, who even knows)
. Early on, Will Patton
yells Take cover!
, and an artificial echo is added to his voice (Cover! Cover! Cover!)
. For the next few seconds, short snippets of dialogue are punctuated with more Cover!
s, growing into a massive crescendo of music, explosions, Cover!
, chaos, Cover!
, warfare, Cover!
, then silence.
With six hundred nerds in a room at the same time, a good number of them are going to use that silence to yell Cover!
Especially when this ad is run before every film in the festival, with several people, like myself, seeing it several times. It became a bit of a thing.Falling Skies
As an extra "bonus" the season premiere of Falling Skies
was screened before Escape from New York
on Friday, which I was attending. It was, exactly the way I remembered it two years ago when I stopped watching the first season because it was too boring. I felt little bad about it. It has a cast full of people I really like, and a lot of the sci-fi elements in this new season seem to be much more interesting than what had been present before. But I just couldn't keep my focus on it. It has the same "a bunch of stuff happens to a bunch of people and then it ends" pacing that I don't like about Walking Dead
and Game of Thrones
, but without even the occasional character moments that make those later shows somewhat compelling.
I don't really know why they wanted to show it before Escape from New York
. I guess there's kind of a similar apocalyptic-action vibe between the two, but they really didn't mesh well, and the Russell/Carpenter crowd was not too pleased with the delay.
The episode was followed by a terrible Q&A. The interviews with actors and filmmakers was of extremely high quality when I was there, but the interviewer in this case was a overexcited puppy asking questions that sounded like a parody of celebrity magazines. The actors had a hard time responding to them as well; Moon Bloodgood had a minor meltdown when she had to field a spoiler-angled question despite having no coaching about what kind of spoilers she was or wasn't allowed to reveal.
The whole event was a dissonance in an otherwise incredibly smooth event. But what else should we expect from the sponsors? It's certainly not the worst commercial break I could imagine for an event like this. And TNT gave us free soda, popcorn, and (for some reason) bandanas. So there's that.Escape from New York
Okay, here come the actual movies. It's been a while since I watched the movie (I skimmed it for a puzzle a few years back, but didn't have time to sit down and watch it), and so it was mostly hazy TV memories on this one. What I was struck with the most was how much it reminded me of videogames. The Metal Gear Solid
references were the most direct, but there was just something about the way Carpenter filmed a lot of the action that feels very much like a videogame today.
Kurt Russell came out after the movie for a Q&A that was very entertaining and touched on lots of his early career. It also sped into some bizarre tangents, such as when the name "Anderson" inspired him to spend a minute or two talking about how good Hugo Weaving was in The Matrix
. As for New York
, he talked about being terrified of Ox Baker because of his history of hitting people so hard they died after wrestling matches (the actual causes of death are mostly unrelated
, but enough to make a young and pretty actor cautious).
Speaking of Kurt Russell being pretty, Kurt Russell looks really pretty in this movie. Russell talked a bit about who might play Snake in a remake of Escape
; I'd look toward Ryan Gosling.