Montreal, 2009

I went up to Montreal for a weekend watching films at the Fantasia festival.

Thu July 23, 2009

Chris was running late, just leaving his place to pick up Forest at the time I was expecting him to be at my office. So I went back to working on some code that had come clear that afternoon. Eventually got the text that they were getting close, closed up shop and ran out to meet them on the street at around 4:15pm. And... sat in traffic on Storrow and on I93. Once we got close to NH, it opened up, and we managed to avoid the worst of the rain. I sat in the back seat and chatted with the guys up front for most of the ride, with Forest providing tunes from his iPhone. We stopped at the gas station that has diesel (I remember stopping there with Tony one year) and I noticed that they have a shower in the bathroom as well. We all grabbed Subway subs and ate in the car. It was a quick pass through the border, though only one lane was open and it took a little bit to get up to the front, but they only asked us cursory questions and we were through. There was some debate about our route to the hotel, me going from memory and my scribbled reminders, and the guys working from a google maps print out, but we made it to close by before being detoured by road works. One circle around later and a possible wrong way down a partially closed street, and we were in a parking garage next to the hotel, the Cantlie Suites. I didn't want to suggest Chris find street parking as the car would have to be moved for morning rush hour anyway. Small mix up at check in as they didn't have electronic records of my paying for a third person when I pre-paid but my print out and their eventually dug up paper copy confirmed it and we were issued two keys. *sigh* The whole point of booking us into a hotel was to get enough keys for all of us, but they were using metal keys instead of swipe cards. Up to the room, found the kitchen tucked behind some closet doors (oven! stove! microwave and fridge and toaster and coffee maker and a teapot + kettle!), dropped stuff, walked the short distance to the Fantasia festival theatres. Scooted past security and went up to the box office to find it closed, and read the sold out notices. Was gutted to find that Crawler was sold out. :(

I needed food, so Forest pulled out a hand written list of "pubs to visit" and we set off for the Peel Pub. It was jumping, but we got a table right away, and I eventually got my chicken quesadillas. They were good when the garnishes were piled on, bland otherwise. But the real treat was watching Forest and Chris pile up the shots, they were on special at $1/each, minimum order 4 of one kind. 16 shots later, I'd tried a bloody brain and was done. They weren't, so it was off to find Sir Winstons. There was a cover for the basement, the middle floor was dead, but the top floor looked promising so in we went. I snagged a table in the corner while they visited the men's room, and I caught the eye of the red headed waitress serving our part of the room to get a gin. I was supposed to be going light on the alcohol due to the anti-inflammatories I was on for my shoulder, but that translated to "lighter than the guys". :) The shot girl at Karina's was good at her job, flirting and getting the guys to come back for more. Chris got me a gin and tonic from a neglected bar tender in the corner, and I had a shot to go. I danced for a little bit, and Forest got pulled onto the floor for a dance-off. The other guy was amazing, Forest just barely held his own (and he's one of the better dancers I know). The drunkenness level was getting pretty high, and the club was clearing out at around 2:30 or so. When I saw one guy with his hands down a girl's pants on the dance floor, and another couple humping against a pillar, I collared the guys and got us out of there. Fast walk back to the hotel and we were in bed by 3am or so, I think, it's a bit hazy. :)

Fri July 24, 2009

This was my movie heavy day. We started off by walking down to Ste Catherine St to go to Rubens, ending up a different location than we normally find. The menu seemed the same, so I was happy. After that we went to the box office to grab tickets for the day's movies, and I grabbed two for Saturday as well. From there, we stopped briefly at the room to drop off the programs and DVDs and then walked further along Sherbrooke to stop in at Atom Heart (browsed CDs but didn't buy), X20 and RIO where Chris got new boots. It was getting close to movie time now, so we headed back toward the theatres, dropping Chris off to leave his boots in the room while I held a spot in line for Cyborg She. I think Forest went off to get food?

I think only Chris and I saw Cyborg She. A man reminisces about a wonderful quirky woman celebrating his birthday with him last year, and lo and behold, she shows up again, and saves his life. Turns out that she's a cyborg sent by his future self to change the past. My brain broke trying to figure out time lines and continuities, but it was a very sweet film. The only parts I didn't like were clearly fan service, with the young man trying to cop a feel while the cyborg was shut down for the night.

They let us stay in our seats and took our tickets there for Battle League in Kyoto. Chris texted Forest to tell him not to wait for us outside. This was a school drama/comedy/supernatural romp that was a lot of fun. The young adults are lured to join a social club that turns out to fight other schools using legions of small spirits, Oni. The fun part is that they have to use body language to communicate with the Oni, so they're flailing about and hopping around. :) Love triangles intersect, the meaning of courage is pondered, and of course the world is in danger from the angry gods and must be saved. :)

I ran out to get a vegetarian burritto from Burrittoville, and ate about half of it standing in line for My Dear Enemy. Forest and Chris went off to get food before their later movies. The distribution company head gave a short introduction (fairly unprofessional, it's just started up), and I liked her point about how many attendees view the festival as something different depending on what types of movies they focus on. I tend to avoid the straight up horror ones, but Forest looks at it as a horror movie festival. This was a straight up drama, and lovely and subtle. A woman tracks down her ex at a race track and sticks to him like glue as he goes around to all his exes to try and raise the money that he owes her. The interactions are wonderful, she can say so much with just a glare or a sideways look or roll of her eyes, and you get a sense of the heavy weight of history between the two of them. I really liked it.

That ended at around 9:35 and I ran over to de Seve to get in line there, but ended up standing apart and scarfing down the rest of my burritto (sweet potatoes + black beans are a winning combo). I finished in time to join the end of the line and get a seat at the back for Courts metrage Quebecois II (adult). In Cold Love was very noir, Pogo et ses amis was hilarious and disturbing (a kids show featuring serial killers, Pogo being a clown), Le quelounne was another hilarious/disturbing film about a zombie clown, Dead Pussy was too dark to make out most of what was happening (revenge for a dead girlfriend was the basic plot). L'entrevue was disturbing in a different way, a guy goes in for an interview but it's more of a psychological manipulation involving his humiliation/degradation. Belle Maman explored what happens when a boyfriend flirting with his girlfriend's mom is taken out of the realm of innuendo and into straight talking, uncomfortably funny. :) Princesse Isabelle is told fairy tale style, about a prostitute and her rivals, pimp and john, ending with sober statistics on the world wide sex trade. Fantasme explored a woman's doctor fantasy, again disturbing, though hot to begin with. Kagamiko was also disturbing, the sound design was excellent, though it was really dark and hard to make out what was happening (I think it was this night that an editor was in the audience and asked the host to do something about the darkness of the films in general). I described this as an alien pig spirit possesses a woman, it was surreal.

That finished at around 11:30/midnight, and I made my way back to the hotel room. I got a text from Forest and Chris saying that they were going out for a drink, but I took the time to recharge by myself and wait for Cris to arrive from his long drive up by himself. I got to the Pharmaprix on Ste Catherine just before they closed at midnihgt and picked up breakfast food for the room and allergy meds. I fell asleep waiting for Cris, I think he got in around 2am. I went down to the lobby to let him in, still wearing my flannel PJ pants. :) I barely remember the guys coming in, I was sound asleep.

Sat July 25, 2009

We ate breakfast in the hotel room, and Chris left to head back to Boston. Cris and Forest picked up Bixi city bikes, and we debated various places to go, but finally decided on the Titanic exhibit at the Eaton Centre since it was close and we had to be at a restaurante to meet Dimitri et al by 2pm. Cris and Forest elected to go to the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit, but since they were on separate admission charges, I just did the Titanic one. I was influenced by a friend's report of seeing it in NYC, it was a bit eerie seeing actual artifacts pulled up from the ocean floor, especially the personal effects. They gave me a "boarding pass" with a passenger's name on it, and at the end I found that she was on the list of survivor's. It was also eerie being there as I'd spent the previous weekend on the Queen Mary and the room mock ups felt familiar. The Convergence 15 laminate was spot on to the White Star Line boarding pass. :) We met back up outside the exhibit and the guys did a spot of shopping while I hit the bathroom

They got new bikes and I unlocked mine, and we biked out through the Just For Laughs set up to meet Dimitri, Maud, Etienne, +1 at Dame Tartine at 1652 Ontario for brunch. Yummy food and good conversation, lots of fun. :) From there, we split back up and headed back downtown.

Cris and I lined up and saw Rough Cut together. An actor in a gangseter movie recruits a real gangster to play his antagonist and things get a bit too real. The gangster is conflicted about his work/life, and the actor's life is falling apart around him. Interesting meditations on what's real and what matters and how people face real violence. My quibble with this movie was that it was misogynistic. The gangster rapes the love interest for real in one scene, and days later she's seducing him. The actor treats his girlfriend like crap and barely redeems himself at the end.

Cris and I went back to the hotel room and I changed into a dress, then we went to La Brasserie le Pois Penche for dinner. I have to say I wasn't impressed. We had to wait a long time between visits, our server changed half way through the meal, and the food just wasn't worth the price. Granted, we stuck with the $23 prix fixe (the entrees started at around $27) in order to stem the flow of spending, but the beets in my salad were room temperature with room temperature congealing broiled goat cheese on top (if the beets had been either cold or warm I'd have liked it better). The mushroom rissotto was both over peppered and bland. We didn't stay for dessert, instead wandering arond a bit looking for ice cream. Cris got a cone at Ben and Jerry's and then we sat in the Hall lobby to wait for Forest to get out of his movie. I left to go over to de Seve to get in line for my movie before he come out though.

Watched Longue vue sur le moyen metrage on my own in De Seve. Temps Mort was good (the world ending in cold, two people find each other and hole up in a small house), Present Fighter had a good plot but poor acting/scripting (the kick boxing lead actor was wearing many production hats as well - the fights were good), and L'Or Blanc was incomprehensible to me w/o a good grasp of Quebecois slang and fast delivery (it was about drug dealers). I snuck back into the room at around 2am trying not to wake anyone up.

Sun July 26, 2009

They packed the car while I checked out, no extra charges. Biked toward bagels, stopped at Universel for brunch. Got 12 sesame bagels for myself at St. Viatur, 12 sesame bagels for Regina at Fairmont. Went wheee! down Parc. :)

We all watched K-20: Legend of the Mask. Steam-punk stylings and parkour based fight scenes made it wonderful to watch (attractive actors didn't hurt either), but it lacked a bit of emotional punch. A bit of editing would have helped tighten it up, and I'd have liked to see more than just the one scene of Yoko kicking ass. :)

We waited in the lobby, then went in again to see Fireball. I thought this was shot wonderfully, though you couldn't quite make out what was happening in some of the fights that seemed more true to the "you're right there" style. Plot, what plot? Oh, okay, twin brother takes on his sibling's identity and joins the underground fighting circuit to ... avenge his brother's injury? Pay for the operation? Fight a lot? Whatever, it's brutal no holds barred (they blithely ignore the no weapons rule) lethal basketball played until the first basket is made or only one man is standing. I clapped and yelled, it was awesome and totally worth staying late for. :)

Got my bike on the car, and we were on the road at 7pm. Stopped at duty free to get my passport out, use the bathroom, get snacks. Quick pass through the border (no line up, but lots of questions). Cris stopped in Burlington and we ate on the sidewalk at Sweetwater, the chocolate cakes were great, I only had half my pasta and packed up the rest for lunch the next day. I drove from there until the NH liquor store, the last 30 mins of my 2.5 hour stretch were hard, it was dark and I was tired, but I got us there. I ate a snack and took my anti-inflammatory and passed out in the passenger seat, only half waking when the rain would get loud. Dropped off Forest, and home at around 2am. Took a quick shower and fell into bed w/o taking my bike off the car.

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