Montreal, 2010

Another year, another Fantasia film festival. :) This time we convinced Vanessa to join us, but it entailed a bit of hotel room juggling since I'd already made a reservation assuming four people. Luckily Chris was able to bring an air mattress so we all had something soft to sleep on. Then Cris's car got caught in a flash flood, and he had to rent a car for his drive up on the Friday night. But, in the end, it was a fun trip. :) This year, I added a one off play to the movie line up, sacrificing a showing of Blades of Blood to see Nevermore.

Thursday July 15, 2010

Worked from home during the morning, and at just past noon, after I'd opened the front door and was washing up some dishes, I heard Chris singing the Canadian national anthem. He, Forest, and Vanessa were there to pick me up. :) Pretty fast trip up to Quebec, no one was around at the border and they waved us through. There was a lot of traffic leading up to the Jacques Cartier bridge going into Montreal proper, and a sign saying that the exit we would need was barred anyway, so I directed Chris around to the bridge after Victoria (one way only at that time, we were in rush hour), and then back along Sherbrooke to Guy. We checked in at the Espresso Hotel (formerly a Days Inn), parking in their garage and carting our stuff up to the room on the fifth floor. We basically dropped our stuff, I think we might have taken turns at a quick shower, and then headed out into the wilds of Montreal.

First we walked up to Maisonneuve to Concordia's Hall ticket booth to get our pre-purchased tickets. Then it was a bee-line to Mad Hatters on Crescent. We dithered a bit over where to sit, it was hot but the patio was crowded and smokey, upstairs had a couple of small groups spread out over all the tables, and we ended up downstairs. Forest went to the bar to get us two pitchers of sangria, and the four of us split them, Chris and I finishing ours first in a silent race. :) I had about half of my order of poutine, plain while Forest had the one with chicken. Vanessa's bank card wasn't working in the ATMs we tried, so we took turns covering her meals and drinks for the evening. There was a bit of a mix up with the waitress thinking that we were going to order everything from the bar, but we sorted it out, apologised, and tipped her well.

Now it was time for shots. We went around the corner to the Peel Pub, and the tall bouncer let Chris in with a tank top after a bit of pleading. We got a table near the bar, and proceeded to order shots. And more shots. I sat out an order, then did more. They came in sets of four, and Chris tended to order two sets at a time. I think we came close to trying all the non banana containing ones. The kamakazi was vile, apparently it's good if you use good vodka, and they were not. The final total was 56 shots, I *think* I had 5 + 4 + 4, but I could be wrong. We would split each set of four up and everyone would get four different shots per round. I really liked the alabama slammer, and had fun doing the no-hands drinking of the blow job. The shots were tiny, I was perfectly able to walk out of there when we were done, if giggling a bit more than normal. :)

From there, we went on to the Karina/Karma (I cannot tell what their crazy font says) club, where there was a DJ battle going on. New turntable master every thirty minutes meant that the music changed just enough to keep us there until close to closing. My favourite set was from the guy who had the girlfriend dressed all in black. I almost killed myself laughing when the waitress pointedly took my and Vanessa's orders and totally ignored Forest, despite his sporting Hat. :) He got his order in on the second round, and when Chris came back from changing into a t-shirt (no tank tops allowed), they would go to the bar to get their drinks. I just had a gin and tonic and amused myself with people watching (apparently, grinding is the way to go). There was a small group of women who were dressed comfortably (instead of having to totter around on high heels and constantly tug down their dresses), and another with alt.hairstyles, but mostly it was people who looked like they were from a Eurotrash catalogue. I danced a little bit, keeping close to one of the two groups of women and watching my back for unexpected grinders. Once the male:female ratio on the dancefloor got high enough that women were being encircled, we headed out.

Friday July 16, 2010

My movie heavy day! After waking up, I talked to my aunt Monica, having missed her message the night before and not wanting to call her back at 2am when we got in, and made plans for meeting up for breakfast on Sunday. We all headed out to Ruben's for breakfast, which turned into lunch since it was about noon. Vanessa had a food volcano salad, my order (a large tuna melt sandwich) was less pretty but quite tasty.
I Heart Doomsday It was super low budget, but I liked the interactions between the mad scientist's cyborg a#1 and Jane. Max was so nerdy it hurt. I loved the ending.

Forest wanted to go to La Ronde to ride roller coasters, and since I had a break before my next movie, I joined him, not staying for the Q&A after my first movie. We took the subway out to Papineau station from Guy Concordia, then the 169 to the gates of the amusement park. We did the Monster first (wooden, not as shaky as I expected), and then the steel Goliath (waited for the front seat I think, hanging over the first drop was scary!). Then we took a water break and walked for a bit, finding the smaller Dragon, an indoor coaster. I screamed at the first plunge into the darkness, but it really wasn't that dark once we were inside and coiling around the big dragon. Then they sent us around the track again, and I screamed for fun. :) Next up was the Vampire (a few sad rubber bats fluttered above the line), where our feet were hanging, it was awesome. I was glad to have solidly laced boots on, but Forest didn't loose his sandals. The pass through some cool mist was nice to break the heat (the threatened rain was no where to be found). The one that went out over the water (apparently new that year) was closed, so our last coaster was the Cobra, a standing ride, it was kinda lame. Then we took the 169 back to Papineau Station, getting free Vitamin Water while we sat and waited in the shade.

I was on my own for my next movie, Sell Out!. It was a Malaysian musical, with a product engineer who got split into his two halves, dreamer and practical, while having a crush on a reality tv show host. There was a karaoke section where the audience sang along, it was great. :) The sing along section was actually pretty hard, I was impressed.
I went to Tokyo Sushi for dinner at around 9-10pm, the others had gone for all you can eat sushi in the left side of the restaurant, I did a Malay curry (massaman like) on the right side, and then hustled back to stand in line for my next movie. Despite being near the end of the line, I found a lone single seat in the middle of the theatre once I got in and had a perfect view. Fish Story. It was a bit slow in middle, but liked the intertwining stories. Goro (lead singer of the punk band) and the superhero chef were both very cute. :) I loved the title song, I was bobbing along to it each time they played it. The band member interactions were great too. Turns out that the director also did Golden Slumber, which I saw the next day. Vanessa was in either this one or the previous one and found me as the lights went up.

My next movie was in de Seve, I went across and found the others for Mil Mascaras Vs the Aztec Mummy. Wow was it over-acted, plus it had a lame plot, and random unnecessary conversations with the US president. The outfits were over the top, glittery and caped. So, in essence, it was true to what it said on the box, a masked Mexican wrestler movie. :) Forest was counting the different masks, the movie was introduced by a masked man who encouraged this, and there were some people with neat masks in the audience. The wrestling was good, though, and the lead was in amazing shape for being a senior citizen! I was a bit disappointed that the mummy was wearing a stiff mask, he (was in the audience) had to do all his acting with his hands. We didn't stay for the Q&A with the mummy actor.

Cris had stopped to take a nap on the road, and got to Montreal just as this show was getting out. We saw him parking the car across from the hotel, and Forest took Cris's bag while I went in the car to find a free parking spot a couple of blocks down Guy. In bed at about 2am again.

Saturday July 17, 2010

I wasn't feeling well, I got up at 1030 and the rest went out for breakfast and Cris reminded me at 10:50 that our movie started at 11am. He went out to grab seats while I got going slowly. I stopped at the Japanese bakery in the Guy Concordia subway stop, getting three connected red bean buns for $1.70, and then found Cris in Hall (oddly enough finding him right away despite not seeing his text message with his location). Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror was, I think, done in a combination of CGI and hand drawn animation, with lots of depth and complexity to the scenes. It was very colourful, with Oblivious Island made up of discarded things. Cotton, Haraku's old stuffed toy, was a badass. The fox spirit was not very fox like, but he wanted to fly. Haraku tread the fine line between teenager and child. Lots of musing on lost and neglected things, and memories.

I didn't feel like moving, so while Cris went out to explore a bit of the street fair on Ste. Catherine street, I sat through a bit of Van Von Hunter (too self conscious, introducing every single person that the documentary encountered), and then went over to de Seve to join Chris in line for Golden Slumber. Cris joined us before they let us in. There was a fire drill right at the end of the movie, and we stood under shelter during the break, watching the fire trucks and the downpour. We saw Forest, he was going to be at the next movie in de Seve. We went back in and saw the last 10 minutes of the movie, getting out half an hour late or so. It was a bit slow in the middle, when the protagonist is hiding from the police who are trying to frame him for the assassination of the prime minister. Themes of friendship and trust, as well as identity, ran through the movie. The young serial killer was blackly comedic, at one point giving our hero a cell phone "from a guy whose body hasn't been found yet".

Went back to the hotel room to get my rain jacket, and started the trek up to Outrement to get supper before the play. We first tried an express bus to connect to the 80 bus that went up Parc, but it was $7 since it was the airport service line. Then we went up a block and found the stop for a bus that the schedule that Cris found said it went up Cote du Neige to Parc, but it turned out to go to a park and not Parc Avenue and terminated in the middle of nowhere past Jean Talon. Luckily the bus driver took pity and dropped us at Parc on his way to the garage (it was a long way!). We took the 80 down to just past the theatre, and picked a restaurant with a patio. We had dinner at La Kloche, starting on the patio and then moving inside just before the skies opened up again. My salad with chicken was good, but my cheesecake had an apple topping instead of the blueberry I ordered. We rushed to theatre since service had slowed down with the rain (Cris seemed to be running in the cloud burst and I was just behind it, oops). We had a hard time finding seats, the balcony only had a single row of chairs, and we came back down and settled in the last row on the main floor. Nevermore was quite good. The actor was both manic and brooding, and simulated drunken falling and ranting to an uncomfortably accurate degree. I loved Anabelle Lee, The Raven and The Telltale Heart. It was 90 minutes, no intermission, and I was rivetted almost the whole time. The Rialto theatre was nice, lots of red velvet and gold accents, and the stage was simply set up, just a music stand to the left, and an armchair and side table to the right.

Then we walked the wrong way on St Viature and couldn't find bagels, and it was starting to rain again, so we took a bus to the north/south metro line and then did a transfer to the east/west metro to get back to Guy Concordia. I stopped in at Shopper's Drug Mart for some shampoo and water, then went back to the room to rest, as I felt weak all day. Cris went out for a bit to let me fall asleep, I barely woke up when he came back and just barely remember the others coming in after the midnight screening of Birdemic: Shock and Terror.

Sunday July 18, 2010

While waiting in line for my movie at de Seve, I saw a note on the TV above us from on a wearable absence fashion thing and I looked it up when I got home: project page.

I'd set my phone alarm for 9am, and Cris and I got ready as quietly as we could. We walked up the street to the Maritime Hotel and found that the round room on the second floor was only for receptions. I left Cris there and walked back to the Espresso hotel across the street and found Monica and Roger, we were supposed to meet in our hotel, oops! The Espresso concierge directed us to Eggspectations, and we walked along Rene Levesque to Montange. We were seated right away, by the main entrance and the bar, but it was very loud (there was a complicated coffee maker near us). I had really good eggs florentine and Roger was able to mostly finish his big pile of pancakes. :) We saw the rest of our group as we were leaving, they were meeting Brian there in a bit. We browsed the street sale on Ste Catherine, I got a cookbook for $5, and then some maple cider. Cris got some summer tops and I tried on a blouse at Le Chateau but decided to give it a pass (of course am now kicking myself). We split up there, promising to come visit again and stay with them in Laval and they left to take the Metro back north. Cris and I went back to the hotel to check out at around 1130 and then put stuff in the car. Cris hurried off to his noon movie with the others, while I had a slower walk up Guy (I was feeling better though) to get an acai smoothie at Liquid Nutrition and then went into line for my 12:15 movie, Frankenstein Unlimited. It was 15 min late or so (apparently they squeezed in an extra showing of Air Doll), but started fairly quickly once we got in. The producer introduced it with puns, and the Fantasia festival program director also gave a quick intro, as he was an extra in one of the 6 shorts, and the director of another (the kung fu one). It turned out to be a Montreal production, with actors showing up in more than one movie. The premises were often neat but the executions were sometimes lacking. The kung fu one was about a master who killed other masters and made himself better using their body parts, but we only saw one stitched scar when the good master defeated him. It was more about the philosophy of kung fu really. "Victor" was about the period between when Dr. F's monster was killed and he was hounded out of town, reset in present day Montreal. I liked (except for the female lead) the one with two serial killers (Mary and Frankie) being interrogated, and how it led back to the death of Victor Shelly (another murderer), with his blood and organs making a reappearance. The doctor from "Victor" also appeard in the lead film, a series of black and white stills about a mad doctor who created new twisted life and was attacked by a (very 1930's inspired) mob. The one about a woman with a facial deformity was interesting, but not well done (random burlesque acts notwithstanding).

Then I went to join the others in Hall for our last movie of the weekend, Black Lightning. The lead reminded me of a Russian James Dean or Harry Osborne. It was a huge Spiderman homage, down to his father getting killed due to his inaction. But the themes of communisim versus capitalism put an interesting spin on things. I could have done without the very blonde love interest though. There were some funny moments where the thugs searching for the hero would talk to people right after Dima had left. Then Cris and I hit the road in his rental, stopping at the Salt hill pub in Lebanon, NH for supper at around dusk. Very chilly in there, and my vegetarian shepherd's pie was more like veggie soup with a mashed sweet potato and crumble chevre topping. Warm and good though, just not what I expected. I dozed a bit during the last hour of the trip home, we got there at around 11 and I went right to bed.

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