SIFF 2014: Week Two of Press Screenings

Note: On Sunday, we had our annual staff meeting pre-festival.  The difference this time is that we got goody bags — and a staff photo that included a wardrobe change and balloon hats, in including the ones below:

Balloon Godzilla


Monday May 5

Movies today were Ballet 422, Hellion, and Clownwise.  Of the little I heard about each film, Ballet 422 was the best of the three.

Tuesday, May 6

Today, 40 Days of Silence replaced Monsoon Shootout as the first film.  In addition to passholders and press, a few kids came to see it, but nothing like the hundreds that are rumored to be coming on Thursday.  I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story was the second press screening of the day.  I heard it was  heartwarming, especially the stuff about Jim Henson.  Press screenings concluded today with The Signal, one of many sci-fi films at the festival.  General consensus was that it was so-so.

Wednesday, May 7

Some really good press screenings today, starting with The Case Against 8, which deals with Proposition 8 and the fight to overturn it.  Even one of the press members, who knew much about the court battle, said that he learned new things in this documentary.  Normally he doesn’t like political docs, as the material often doesn’t live up to the subject, but he said this one was an exception. That was followed by  Lucky Them, which is Megan Griffiths’s new film.  I heard it was very good, and there’s a twist at the end.  Hopefully there’s a screener or it’s being shown in the biggest theater possible; otherwise, there’s a chance I won’t get in to see it during festival, as films with local ties tend to sell out.  That leaves Obvious Child, which stars the kid from Uncle Buck (Gabby Hoffman, who played the younger sister).  From the one person I heard feedback from, it was not as good as the other two.

Thursday, May 8

Zip &  Zap and the Marble Gang started our morning with lots of high school Spanish students, but not the hundreds I was expecting.  That’s next week.  The film is described as “the Spanish Goonies,” and people coming out of the screening agreed.  Also, they were all smiling.  That was followed by Garden Lovers at 12 and Borgman at 2.  The most important screening of the day, however, was the accredited press only screening of Boyhood at 12:30.  At 164 minutes in length, Richard Linklater’s latest film didn’t get out until 3:15, but it proves the adage that no good film is long enough.  This one’s special, and it’s playing as the Centerpiece Gala at the Egyptian Theatre (which has been closed since the end of June, but will be open for the festival).  If you can see it, go see it!


Next week: Week Three of Press Screenings, plus Opening Night and Weekend of the Festival!