I've had several busy weeks here which I'll dive into below.
Things are fine. I'm trying to find some time to finish up the update on my original tech site at updrift.com, which I hope to relaunch sometime by the end of the year.
If you're more into my movie-related posts, I attended the at-home version of Fantastic Fest 2022 and have a few things to say about it further down.
I had my eighth wedding anniversary just yesterday on Oct. 16th.
I married my wife in Sedona, AZ, because it was simply our favorite place. We finally moved here this year, so it was a bit special because it's our first anniversary living here. We ended up kind of doing a short tour to reminisce.
The eighth anniversary is traditionally the bronze anniversary.
As a gift to ourselves, I had the idea of us getting a bronze bell from Cosanti here in Arizona.
Paolo Soleri (1919-2013) was an artist, architect, visionary, and many other things. Stepping into his Phoenix workshop feels like stepping into a pseudo-futuristic place that is akin to visiting Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine in the Star Wars universe.
Soleri also is responsible for founding Arcosanti, which is worth checking out if you're ever touring Arizona. It's more like an exploration in a community around his visionary ideas.
You can see some of the bells on the right side of the photo above.
We had a work gathering back in June, but I missed it, so this is the first since January. It was great to hang out with everyone again.
My team has shifted around a bit since the beginning of the year. I left at the end of the week super excited because I honestly feel that we're the strongest we've ever been.
Franklin the bat came with me this time. He's obviously wondering why my computer isn't open already.
Fantastic Fest @ Home 2022
Going to Fantastic Fest for me, especially having lived in Texas for many years (it's in Austin, TX), has been a dream of mine for a while.
I never got around to it for several reasons.
A primary one was that it always conflicted with or was close to the Asian Film Festival of Dallas. I hated to miss that one, too, and being closer to my house was simply much less expensive to attend.
Another is that tickets for Fantastic Fest sell out almost immediately. It's hard to get a pass.
This year, I decided to get an on-demand festival pass for the 2022 festival. It's a limited, 5-day period immediately after the in-person festival where attendees can catch some flicks they missed, or people who aren't there can still check out the films.
I was super excited. I went through the list of films and created a ranking because I was sure I wouldn't have enough time to see all the films I wanted to see.
FF@Home was a bit disappointing.
Why? Primarily because the films available on-demand is a small subset of the films that show at the festival.
Something I wasn't expecting and was not communicated before I bought my pass. At least half the films I had on my top 10 list to catch weren't available. It was enough that I honestly probably wouldn't have purchased a pass at all.
That set the entire tone of the online experience for me.
Did I see some good films? Yes. They just weren't the films I was most excited to see. I understand that not all the films shown in person would be available online. I get it. But the number of films absent online from the in-person festival was significant to me.
FF@Home Movies I saw.
- Deep Fear was a decent horror flick. About some college kids exploring the catacombs under Paris but get trapped and diverted into an area they most definitely do not want to be.
- Demigod: The Legend Begins I was excited about because I'd recently introduced the Reelhouse Foundation group to Strings, another film with puppets. Demigod was a really fun flick with pretty impressive visuals and puppetry. I'm interested in seeing the next film or films that continue the story.
- Missing is an example of why I find Asian films better to watch than most films coming out of Hollywood. In the middle of the film, the story shifts perspective, and you get an entirely different take on what's going on. Leading to a gut punch of an ending.
- Shin Ultraman is a different, modern take on Ultraman similar to what Shin Godzilla did with Godzilla. I didn't think this one was quite as good as Shin Godzilla, but a must-see for any Ultraman fan.
- Amazing Elisa is about a girl who thinks she's a superhero. While she's an interesting character, I thought the film was a bit meh. The ending felt a bit underwhelming.
- Everyone Will Burn is a weird one but in a good way. Felt a little similar to the HBO Max show 30 Coins, but not nearly as good.
- Bad City is one of those films where a secret, small squad of cops who are considered trustworthy go after all the bad guys both inside and outside of the police force. Decent action, but if this plot sounds familiar to you, you've likely seen a film very much like this one before.
I did try to watch a few other films, but they were bad enough that I didn't finish watching them. By the end of the festival, I could have paid less money to rent them online elsewhere than it cost me to watch them as part of the festival. I doubt I'll be attending online again.
Outside of Fantastic Fest, I did catch a few other flicks.
- X is a recent horror flick that I wanted to check out because its follow-up film, Pearl, is one I wanted to see and thought it may play Fantastic Fest. Nice throwback to 70's horror.
- DC League of Super-Pets is on HBO Max, but my wife and I felt like getting out to the movies, and I'd heard good things about it. It was an entertaining, fun film. If you subscribe to HBO Max, it's definitely worth checking out.
Reelhouse Foundation Films
We're in a series of films showcasing the first films for famous directors. We'd started this series a while back on a previous post with Rian Johnson, but we had to take a break for a few weeks while our host was on a vacation. We're now back in action.
- Hard Eight (1996) is Paul Thomas Anderson's first film. You can feel the influence of Reservoir Dogs in this one but you definitely get his vibe as he proceeded through his further filmography. Great characters in this one.
- Pi (1998) is Darren Aronofsky's first film. He's a filmmaker that I can't quite say I'm a fan of. Mostly because I haven't seen a film he's done I've liked. He's more of an artist on screen rather than shooting for entertainment, and you have to be in the right frame of mind. His first film doesn't change my mind.
- Ginger Snaps (2000) isn't really the first film of a famous director. Rather a fallback plan for a different film which wasn't working for us that evening. I haven't seen this once since it came out. It holds up and is a bit of fun. Got me more in the mood for Halloween than I was before.