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Laughing with Orwell

Visioneers (and I'm an idiot)

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Every once in awhile at festivals you see a film that would never get a theatrical release, like evah, something that might show up on DVD, a single copy at your local emporium that vanishes quickly because it's just too weird for a mainstream audience. Sometimes, though, a small but fanatic cult can grab a movie like that and turn it into a bizarre little sensation.

One of those fates awaits Visioneers.

Starring Zach Galifianakis as George Washington Winsterhammerman, a direct descendant of the first president, the picture is shot in basically two locations, not including interior car shots, a two-scene visit to a restaurant, and, in the finale, on a boat.

Winsterhammerman works in a gray room as a "tunt," a middle manager in the all-powerful Jeffers corporation, whose salute is a middle finger raised. Society is beset by an epidemic of people exploding, and he's afraid of it happening to him. He has the symptoms... gorging on food, dreaming, no sex drive---his wife, played by the awesome Judy Greer, reads books and watches DVDs on how to be happy. Then his brother shows up---James Le Gros, who should be working more often than he is---dressed like a '70s track star, and proceeds to pole vault in the backyard, drawing the attention of a commune of hippies. Oh, and everyone pronounces chaos, "chay-os."

An absurd, comedic revisiting of Terry Gilliam's Brazil and every welcome-to-the-machine, Orwellian, corporate dystopia you might ever think of, from Metropolis to THX1138 to Joe Versus The Volcano I can't say I got much out of it. A few laughs, especially in the beginning, but I felt the ideas couldn't sustain the running time. Still... It's a very weird little movie, and we don't see enough of those.

Saturday afternoon I bolt from my brunch with friends to see the Atlantic Shorts special presentation, featuring The Book Lady and Chasing Wild Horses.

But I got it mixed up: it's next Saturday. I've been covering this festival as a professional for three years... you'd think I wouldn't make such a lame, newbie mistake. Blurg.

Looking for something else to see in that slot, I spied Colville, only to hear that it had been cancelled, and replaced with a second screening of... Visioneers. No, I'm not going to see it again.

Tonight: New Kevin Smith! And then, maybe Spanish horror at midnight at The Oxford.

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