October 3rd, 2007


The Coney Island Film Festival 2007

Sorry I've been so quiet -- I've barely been home since Friday. My filmmaker friend from L.A., Raiya Corsiglia, got into the Coney Island Film Festival (this is its seventh year, and I never knew it existed until now) this weekend and took me as her plus-one.

We saw mostly short films, so we must have crammed around 30 of them into the weekend. I'd say there was about a fifty-fifty ratio between "Wow, that was good!" movies and "How the hell did that get into the festival?" movies, which I'm told is actually pretty good for a film festival. Only 10% of the submissions were accepted, but some of the ones they showed made me wonder just how terrible the rejected 90% must have.

Some of the movies were way too precious. If the program description says things like "[a love story] told through the precious memories of a circus clown" or "magically visited by a colorful and peaceful 'Healing Tribe' [that] creates a circle of understanding" you know you're in student film territory, or worse.

But it wasn't all like that. There was a surprisingly strong showing of horror shorts this year. And because I love that kind of thing, they were my favorites. I finally got to see Rue Morgue publisher Rodrigo Gudino's The Eyes of Edward James, which was great, even if I think I didn't totally get the twist ending. Also, you're going to want to keep an eye out for Rich Ragsdale's The Sandman -- an adaptation of the E.T.A. Hoffman story done in the German Expressionist style. It really looked like it was from the early 1910s or '20s! It reminded me a lot of the silent Call of Cthulhu that came out a few years ago, too. Ragsdale is going places, and this movie is his first-class ticket.

There was one called Night of the Living Gay by Lola Rock'N'Rolla that was campy good fun (zombie bites turn people gay), and Jane Rose's Heading Home, based on the Ramsey Campbell story, was outstanding. She's going places too.

Two very good horror docs had their premieres there as well: American Scary, which was producer Sandy Clark's love letter to all the horror hosts on local channels throughout the country (he even found and interviewed Commander USA! Hooray!), and Blood, Boobs & Beasts, a very touching doc about the late schlock filmmaker Don Dohler.

I could go on, but you're no doubt bored by now, so let's fast forward to the awards ceremony. Which was held at the Eldorado disco bumper cars. In the cars. Raiya's film, Blue Dreams Downtown, won an award for best experimental film. And then we played bumper cars for an hour with the other filmmakers and audience members. "I loved your movie!" SMASH! "Can I get your business card?" POW!

In other news, I finally rode the Wonder Wheel. I'd avoided it for all these years thinking it was just another boring ferris wheel, but no, I was wrong! It's the best ferris wheel ever, because the cars swing and slide on tracks. I screamed like a baby! Also, it's impossible to find good food at Coney Island, so we ate way too much Nathan's. Nathan's is delicious, but not every day. After three days, even I was begging for a salad.

And then Raiya got drunk and danced on the bar at Hogs & Heifers! Woohoo!


CBS premiered Moonlight, its new vampire detective show, this past Friday, but I wasn't able to watch it until today.

Oh my God, it was terrible! A parade of cliches and awful dialogue that probably looked a lot wittier on the page, broken only by the occasional voice-over in full Captain Exposition mode. I wanted to stop watching after 5 minutes, but the TV Nerd is charitable, and so suffered through the whole thing so that you won't have to. By the time Evanescence's ubiquitous ballad "My Immortal" came on during the end montage, I was ready to plunge a wooden stake through my own heart. Even Jason Dohring from Veronica Mars couldn't save this show for me.

I call early cancellation. Five episodes max.