MIFFF 2012: ‘Mon Ami’ and ‘Alter Egos’ [Reviews]
Over the past weekend I was able to attend the 4th Annual Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival (MIFFF). While it was a small festival with only a few feature films, the experience was still very fun. Taking place at the SIFF Film Center and SIFF Cinema Uptown in Seattle, there were a variety of genre features and shorts, but the festival was intended to explore primarily action, animation, fantasy, horror, and science fiction.
Like always, I wish I’d had time to see more that the festival had to offer, but sometimes this just isn’t possible. I did, however, catch the opening and closing night films, and have my reviews below.
If you are interested in MIFFF, check out their site here.
Set in an unknown part of Western Washington, Rob Grant’s Mon Ami explores two friends as they plan a kidnapping. Since both are unhappy with their current jobs (as basically department store minions), they decide to kidnap their boss’ daughter and hold her for ransom.
The two main characters, named Vincent (Bradley Duffy) and Teddy (Mike Kovac), aren’t your typical hard-and-fast criminals though. Not only do they have no criminal experience, but they are pretty nerdy and clueless. This isn’t a bad thing, though, when watching the movie, because they’re a very funny duo. And although my premise may have made it sound more serious, Mon Ami is far from it.
Instead, it’s a dark comedy that features a few serious moments. At the core of the “seriousness” is their fractured friendship. Since Teddy got married to his crazy wife Liz (Teagan Vincze), Vincent has felt like their relationship has suffered for the worse. Their kidnapping attempt is more about repairing their friendship than getting the monetary reward.
And money is an issue because pretty much every attempt they make to successfully kidnap Crystal (Chelsey Reist) ends horribly…and the whole situation snowballs out-of-control.
Mon Ami is fun because of the tight-knit group…and now I’m talking about behind-the-scenes. Made on a small budget, the film seems like it was made for fun and not just for the thrill of being a widespread success. Yes, it’d be nice if this film made it to thousands of theaters, but the entire process seems like it was done by a group of close friends…kind of like Vincent and Teddy…with, obviously, a lot less death.
Looking forward, Mon Ami will hopefully be playing at a location near you…and if it doesn’t, take my word for it: the film is a fun little dark comedy with a spirited tone.
Since superhero movies saturate our market (look at the past five or six years, how many of the hits have been superhero or comic-inspired?), it only seems fitting for superhero offshoots. In fact, there have been two not-so-superhero-y (Chronicle and Looper) movies that have seemed inspired by the recent boom.
We can add Alter Egos to this list…and this offshoot is done in the form of parody.
In a land where superheroes roam the streets, the government decides to cut superhero funding. Since crime doesn’t exist, the superheroes start to become obsolete. Now struggling, the costumed heroes start to have issues reintegrating into society with their alter egos – or “normal” selves.
The premise is Alter Ego’s biggest draw because it explores an issue more explicitly than most “superhero” movies (not counting the Batman franchise). Comparing these movies, though, should stop there because they are completely different.
Much like the aforementioned Mon Ami, Alter Egos tries its hardest with the budget it has, making sacrifices to effects and editing, but it continues to stay true to its form…which is an extreme compliment. The film isn’t trying to be grandiose or bold, but it does want to deliver an emotional punch…and I’d say it succeeds on some levels, with the success being variable from person to person.
In the end, the fun performances by Kris Lemche, Brooke Nevin, and Joey Kern help make a case for Alter Egos. Anything else shouldn’t be taken too seriously, since it’s a spoof on so many of the films we are familiar with.
I’m not sure what the future holds for Alter Egos, but it does appear to have a release date coming up. Keep your eyes peeled if it seems like an interesting project.