Saturday, June 16, 2007

SIFF #13 - Sex, Death, and Berlin

Everyone loves the movie Heathers. And I'm sure all the fans of that movie wonder what happened to the sharp screenwriter that made one of the most viciously quotable teen movies ever. Well, in his introduction to his new movie Sex and Death 101, writer/director Daniel Waters pretty much admitted that he had sold his soul to The Man, and it has taken him this long to finally create a follow-up that he wasn't embarassed about. Sex and Death 101 (4/8) is about a good-looking and wildly successful businessman name Roderick Blank (Simon Baker). On the verge of finally settling down to get married, he gets a mysterious email list of 101 women. Strangely, he recognizes the first 29 names as being all the women he's ever has sex with, in chronological order up to his fiancée. Some mysterious and friendly Matrix-y type fellows wearing sharp suits and lounging in a white room tell him that a master computer sent him the list by mistake, and he should destroy it immediately. But would any sane man detroy a list that guarantees he will get laid another 70-some times in his life? The movie definitely has its funny moments, including a crowd-pleasing edge-of-very-wrong scene about necrophilia, but to me it felt a bit like a one-joke movie overstaying its welcome (especially when you find yourself counting the names on the long list, just like the character). Winona Ryder has a side-plot as a mysterious seductress who puts men into comas, but that storyline crosses paths with Roderick too little too late. Plus, considering the tone of the movie, the ending sucked (how do you say: Cop out!). My cohort S and I stayed a bit for the Q&A with Waters and Simon Baker afterwards, enough to hear that Waters himself seems to be as freaky/funny as his scripts, but we had to hop a bus to our next event...

The line stretched down the sidewalk at the Triple Door nightclub, where we arrived to see a sold-out event with the rock band Kinski doing a live score to a silent film. We were actually quite pleased with our Metro efficiency, arriving at the dinner theater a good 20 minutes early. Hooray for public transit! We hopped into line, and then... stood there. The line did not move. A man behind me griped, "If I knew I'd be standing outside this long, I would have brought cigarettes..." (for your non-local readers, we just had our first anniversary of the indoor smoking ban in Washington state). A harried Triple Door employee, that was an adorable taller version of Elijah Wood (swoon!), tried his best to keep order, but the natives were restless. With the help of a short line jump to join our friends J and D, we finally got seated inside the fancy venue.

The Triple Door is impressively Vegas-y, with cosy booths and dim lighting, and a small stage for performers. We all ordered drinks with phancy names and prepared to enjoy Kinski's musical stylings. First, one of early German director Walther Ruttmann's short films was shown (didn't catch the title). It was animated, with squishy blobs and pointy, thrusting, toothy triangles, and was frankly a little bit baffling. Kinski's score was quite and mellow, which only emphasized the scraping of cutlery on dinner plates as people ate. In my mind, the dinner clanking served as the equivalent of someone awkwardly clearing their throat at a performance. Luckily, the feature film, Ruttmann's Berlin: Symphony of a City (Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt) (7/8) was awesome. Kinski created a quiet to thundering wall-of-sound guitar score to this fascinating 1927 silent film that is a collage of the day in the life of a city. I knew it was going to be good when early on a big, butch locomotive emerged from a station, and Kinski blew our hair back with unexpected blast of electric noise. I leaned over to my friend and yelled, "You hear that music? That means that train is a BADASS!" Kinski got rousing applause at the end, and we all agreed the the event was great fun for a Friday night.


Vickie said...

I haven't been able to look at Simon Baker the same way since he announced he doesn't wear deodorant because he doesn't think he needs it.

Given your four-slice rating and your capsule review, it seems the movie wasn't worth the wait for a Heathers follow-up.

Linda said...

OK, the strange thing is that Daniel Waters ended up winning the audience award for Best Director (!). My theory is that it was totally the case where the audience crushed on him in person because he was a freaky-weird cat, and transferred their crush to ballot-box stuffing. Happens every year. But then again, I think the audience liked the film a whole lot more than I did.

Shehrry_Bobbins said...

I think I saw "Berlin" at the Rendevous about 3 years ago.