The Best Movie Critic + the fairy

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The Starz Denver Film Festival, A Word on Poverty, and THE FAIRY!!!

Ben here. Well here we go again, folks! The 34th annual Starz Denver Film Festival opens the floodgates today with a screening of the new Anton Yelchin-starring rom-drom LIKE CRAZY at Denver’s premiere opera house, the Ellie Caulkins. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that most of my readers are about my age, and therefore, at about an equivalent level of poverty, and therefore – I’m good at this, eh? – not at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House for the Red Carpet screening of LIKE CRAZY. After the glitz and zizaz of a few more Red Carpets, the festival proper begins on Friday.

Last year, a number of friends avoided the festival outright, citing the almighty dollar – or rather a lack thereof – as the primary inhibitor. But although, yes, I joke about Denver’s wannabe-glitterati struttin’ the cowtown carpet, I want to correct the misconception I’ve heard amongst the “youngs” that the Starz Denver Film Festival is only for the wealthy. Tickets to the vast majority of the festival’s totally stacked 300+ film lineup are selling for $13 a pop (or $11 if you’re a Denver Film Society member, which you should be: FREE POPCORN). Guys, that’s what, one or two bucks more than yer average Transformers?

Sure, a lot of the higher profile flicks like Lars Von Trier’s MELANCHOLIA, Alexander Payne’s THE DESCENDANTS, Steve McQueen’s SHAME, and David Cronenberg’s A DANGEROUS METHOD are pricier and/or sold out. But think about it: Those movies are going to be coming to a theater near you within a month or two anyway. What a gargantuan film festival like Denver’s affords you is the ability to take a chance on something you might never be able to see again. Some of the best movies I’ve seen at festivals have been shuffled to some dark straight-to-DVD corner (see my favorite movie of last year, SUMMER WARS) if they were even released at all (see DOG SWEAT). I would have never known about these hidden gems if I hadn’t taken a chance at the festival.

Case in point, THE FAIRY (LE FEE), playing the festival this Friday and twice on Saturday. THE FAIRY's selling point is not it's plot, but it does have one, um, sort of. Dom (Dominque Abel) is the graveyard clerk at a hotel. One night Fiona (Fiona Gordon) checks in, and, oh, by the way, she's a fairy and grants him three wishes. He wishes for a scooter and a lifetime's supply of gas (which she obtains illegally, so she might not be a fairy after all but rather just mentally unstable and reckless?). What really make THE FAIRY great is that it is the first honest to god pure slapstick movie in decades. I'm talking Charlie Chaplin/Buster Keaton slapstick, not that Adam Sandler junk. Dominque Abel and Fiona Gordon are in complete control of their bodies and can often incite laughter with nothing more than a flick of the wrist or a shake of the hips. The plot is an avalanche of madness, rolling up a bizarre cast of supporting characters who happen to fall in its path, including a dog-loving free-loader, a blind bartender, three vagrants, two bike cops, and an entire women's rugby team, one of whom is a very nice singer. I am not making this up. While a few of the jokes fall flat on American ears (this is French comedy after all), THE FAIRY has an almost Pixar-esque command of storytelling, and an intoxicating sense of fun and wonder about the world.

I can almost guarantee that you'll be hard-pressed to find THE FAIRY playing anywhere in Denver once the Starz Denver Film Festival has packed up it's tents. There are over 300 other movies to discover over the next 12 days. Take a chance on a few.

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