Thursday, April 15, 2010

All Day Geekout '10

And if the Cannes announcement didn’t satisfy your thirst for awesomeness, we’ve only got two more days until this year’s installment of the Ohio 24-Hour Science Fiction Marathon. Ever since I started going to this back in 2002, the Marathon has become one of the highlights of my moviegoing year. As we speak, Marathon guru Bruce Bartoo is hard at work putting the finishing touches on the event, which promises, as ever, to be a blast.

As any veteran attendee can tell you, the movies themselves are only part of the fun, with the incidental stuff- contests, favorite trailers, traditions both official and unofficial- really making the event one-of-a-kind (this explains why the midnight-to-noon “Half-a-thon” just isn’t the same). Still, you can’t overlook the movies themselves. Let’s begin with this year’s “premieres,” which are more plentiful than in most years:

This one probably intrigues me the most, being the title that may fit the “brainy SF” profile best here. Although its popularity among the torrent crowd doesn’t necessarily mean anything, it could go over nicely with this group. Or not, you never know.

Documentaries tend to be hit-and-miss with the Marathon audience, but this was well-received at SXSW last month, so this could be a winner.

On the basis of The American Astronaut, it’s hard to say whether Cory McAbee will have appeal to a group raised on George Lucas and Gene Roddenberry. May be too culty for the room, but I’m down with that.

These, on the other hand, are more their kind of cult objects. Gehara looks to be in the vein of Big Man Japan, which played a few years back, and The Lost Skeleton Returns is a follow-up to Marathon favorite The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, which of course gave us the immortal line, “Aliens? Us? Is this one of your Earth jokes?” And hey, it'd have to be better than Don't Ask, Don't Tell, right?

However, on the basis of my admittedly limited research, I’m guess this could be the biggest audience hit out of all the premieres. It’s cyberpunk-y enough to scratch that itch, without the Hollywood polish that softens the edge so many fans of the genre tend to enjoy. Then again, what do I know?

And now, the oldies. I’m surprised by the lack of canonical genre classics this year, but some of these should be fun, anyway.

Kind of a “duh” choice, and indeed Bruce said he booked this one wayyyyyyyy in advance. I’ve only seen this one once and couldn’t resist comparing it to 2001, but I’m curious to see if I’ll be able to watch it without thinking of Kubrick the entire time. I’m a little disappointed, however, that Bruce wasn’t able to pull off his proposed Marathon theme, “2010: The Year We Show Contact.” Not that I’m a fan of the Zemeckis film, but it just would’ve been too perfect.

Normally, there’s a single slot for a Toho classic at the Marathon, but this year Bruce decided to double up, so here we are. GvKG is an obvious choice, but Battle in Outer Space somewhat less so, less of a monster movie than a space opera done Toho-style. Still, it should be pretty fun, which is more than I can say for…

… which represents the kind of cheeseball I wouldn’t dream of watching anywhere other than the Marathon. I suppose the only logical reactions are (a) does Stratten get naked?, and (b) hey, at least it’s short.

Not sure why they’d book these, especially Star Trek, seeing as how they just came out last year. I don’t feel the need to watch either one again- can’t imagine Moon will do well with this crowd, especially considering that the ones who would be into probably saw it already. So depending on how these are scheduled I may either duck out and sneak into buy a ticket for something else at the Drexel (like Girl With the Dragon Tattoo or the new Egoyan), take a nap if they’re in the middle of the night, or go home altogether.

Finally, my bud Mike Olenick will be screening his remake of the Marathon perennial Spaceboy this year, in conjunction with the original. Now, that’s the kind of Marathon goodness I can get behind.

The Ohio 24-Hour Science Fiction Marathon will run from noon on Saturday, 17 May until sometime around noon the next day. Tickets will be available at the door.

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