Long day tonight on about three hours sleep, but somehow James and I managed to push through to make it to both the party for Richard Linklater's film Me and Orson Welles and the Midnight Madness screening of Detroit Metal City.
The Orson Welles party was great by my personal film fest standards, which include preferring not to be crushed in a crowd of starlet wannabes tottering in high heels. There was a decent-sized, but not overwhelming crowd; appropriate, but not overly loud music; and tasty, but not overly messy snacks being circulated on trays. The film's star, Zac Efron, was on hand, as was Linklater. Geoffrey Rush was also there circulating around.
We had to ditch the party a bit early to allow time to grab a bite of dinner, then headed over to the Ryerson; when Detroit Metal City director Toshio Lee and the film's star, popular Japanese actor Ken'ichi Matsuyama, showed up, a pack of Japanese girls and women who'd been allowed to gather to get an up close view went absolutely wild, screaming so loudly that a guy passing by in front of the red carpet wondered aloud, "Who is it? Brad Pitt?"
Lee briefly introduced the film -- currently the #2 film in Japan and being seen tonight for the first time outside Japan -- which was adapted from an enormously popular manga , by telling the crowd that if they had, in fact, thought they were coming to see a film about Detroit, they were in for a big surprise, and he'd gladly refund their money. Judging by the crowd's reaction to the film, I don't think Lee has anything to worry about.
In brief, the film is a bright, loud tale that immerses you into the story as if you've stepped into the pages of a manga. It tells the tale of a kind, gentle young man named Negishi Soichi, who just wants to make people happy by singing Swedish pop with his acoustic guitar. Instead, life takes a different turn for Negishi, who finds himself the reluctant lead singer of a death metal band called Detroit Metal City (DMC for short), and it's Neghishi's conflict with the dual sides of who he's become, and a love interest who hates DMC but has no idea that he's in the band, that drives the story. It's a fun, loud, riot of a film, and a perfect addition to this year's Midnight Madness.
The crowd at tonight's Detroit Metal City premiere absolutely ate it up. I very much enjoy anime, but even so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this film. Hats off to Midnight Madness guru Colin Geddes for booking it into his slate this year.