Tuesday, August 2, 2016

MIFF: Reichardt's return

I complained that my first MIFF foray of 2016 on Saturday had too few anecdotes for my liking, making it difficult to blog about.

My second on Sunday had almost too many, while still resulting in a fairly straightforward viewing experience.

They mostly surrounded the return of another movie to the Hoyts kiosk, a task I had been trying to accomplish all day, which had an absolute deadline of 9 p.m. In other words, about 45 minutes after Kelly Reichardt's Certain Women was scheduled to end, meaning it would really behoove me to do it beforehand.

The first attempt was in the morning, when my family made a trip to the park on a gorgeous winter day for a little bike riding (my five-year-old is learning and we are hoping to take the training wheels off by summer). There's a Hoyts kiosk near there, and I could have easily returned Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to it. But my wife was on a relatively tight schedule for her own MIFF activities, and asked if we could forgo the return. She volunteered to take the movie back herself when she went into the city, but I declined the offer, knowing I'd get other chances.

But when I left with the kids to go to Costco around 4:15 -- too late anyway, considering that Certain Women started at 6:30 -- the movie was nowhere to be found. I did a reasonably thorough search through a couple rooms, dropping expletives as I went, before finally leaving for Costco without it, missing the day's second opportunity to return the movie. In the car I found out that the kids had been playing with it, which I had sort of noticed, but they swore they had just left it on our bed when they were finished.

Costco on a Sunday afternoon was of course a clusterfuck, meaning I couldn't get the kids ice cream as promised. In fact, the line was so long that even without ice cream, I risked getting back from the store almost too late to make the tram downtown in time for the movie. As my wife was returning home and would probably get there before we would, I texted her about the missing movie. So not only might I miss one movie, but I might be on the verge of late fees for another.

Fortunately, this is when things started to look up. I closed out the Costco experience with speed and efficiency, and relatively few complaints about the ice cream that didn't transpire. And had a text from my wife five minutes from home that she had found the movie in among the kids' toys in their room. That was the little one's doing, I'm sure of it.

I was actually back on track and arrived at a Hoyts kiosk a full 30 minutes before the movie. Meaning it was of course time for another stumbling block. The guy in front of me at the kiosk was keen to read the plot synopsis of nearly every movie in the whole damn machine, and even finally adding a movie to his shopping cart didn't bring his transaction to a close. He wanted at least one more, and was totally oblvious to my pacing and sighs behind him. Eventually I put the fate of this movie it had been so hard to find in this guy's hands, asking him if he would mind returning it once he was finished. He did me one better than that and inserted it immediately.

It was at this point that I shifted from a passive to an active participant in my own potential lateness, stopping at a place that took five minutes to make my hamburger (I hadn't eaten dinner) rather than just scooping up a slice of pizza or something.

All this and I still made it to the movie ten minutes early, sitting in the exact same seat at the Comedy Theatre I'd sat in for The Salesman on Saturday -- in the front row, separated off to the left from the center section of seats. Which sounds like a horrible seat, but in this particularly theater is just fine.

We're finally about to discuss Certain Women, I promise.

But first I will explain what I mean by the title of this post. Kelly Reichardt is my first repeat director at MIFF. In 2014 I saw her film Night Moves, which I really liked and ended up ranking #21 for the year. When I saw that she had a film at this year's festival -- and I'd say it's likely that unless she becomes a much more mainstream director, her films will keep cropping up at MIFF like clockwork every two years -- I knew I had to add it to my schedule.

Unfortunately, it was not quite a Night Moves-sized hit with me, though if I'm honest, Night Moves itself had a couple developments that gave me pause. "Pause" is a good word here as Certain Women contains pauses within its pauses, which is another way to say that it's slow in parts. Not bad slow, but a bit slow and unplotted. When I say it's got pauses within its pauses, I'm actually ripping off my own review, which you can find linked to the right. In fact, why make you do extra work? You can find it here.

Because that review is up and now fully accessible to you, though, I won't go into any further detail about the film here. Did I say we were finally about to discuss it? What a bait and switch.

I will mention that it's obviously pretty far away from a general release, as it does not even have a proper poster yet. Had that same phenomenon last year with The Witch, which didn't come out until the following February, so I guess it's possible the rest of you won't be seeing Certain Women until 2017. (Actually, Wikipedia says October 14th, so who knows why there isn't a poster yet.)

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