Stingray Sam, directed by Cory McAbee, who also directed The American Astronaut, is best described as a science fiction musical western and all the goofiness that implies. This short film (about 60 min) is actually a series of ten minute episodes. After the screening, McAbee explained he decided on this structure partly because The American Astronaut was chopped up an put on YouTube. Stingray Sam is designed for various distribution methods. It can be watched as an entire film or digested in small chunks.
Stingray Sam, starring the members of the band American Astronaut, is a joy to watch. Filled with big ideas–the end of civilization, genetic experiments, tiny robots, pregnant men–it, nonetheless, never takes itself seriously. Each episode features its own song, most are quite memorable.
It Came From Kuchar is a documentary about the underground filmmakers George and Mike Kuchar. The film is a by-the-book documentary (not that that’s necessarily a bad thing) alternating between talking head interviews and historical clips. I did not know much about the Kuchar brothers going in and found the film very informative and entertaining. It provides an excellent overview of their lives and works and convincingly asserts their importance to the history and development of underground film.
Asylum Seekers is a terribly misguided film and a candidate for the worst film I have ever seen at a film festival (previously held by the unintentionally humorous Hard Candy). The story of six misfits who either committed themselves or in one case was committed by a spouse to a mental institution, Asylum Seekers loses its way early an often. The asylum has room for only one new patient, so the six characters each need to prove that they are the most worthy.
Ostensibly a satire (one hopes), the film is painfully unfunny. Most of the “jokes” are groanfully predictable. The characters never rise above type (the horny virgin, the shy exhibitionist…see these are contradictions, clever, no? No). As tedious as the proceedings are, the film comes to a dead stop during a “talent” competition.
It’s hard to describe Humpday without making it sounds sleazy which would be unfair because it is anything but. Two old friends reunite and during one drunken evening make a deal to make a gay porn video. Pride and mutual egging on remove any possibility that they will just turn their backs on the promise. Much more about male friendship than anything sexual, Humpday is funny and touching.