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ALL IN GOOD TIME |
THE BALLAD OF NESSIE |
I TAWT I TAW A PUDDY TAT | SPRING | WE ONCE WERE TIDE
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last update 23.Nov.11
See also: SHADOWS FILM FESTIVAL
|The Ballad of Nessie|
dir Stevie Wermers|
scr Regina Conroy, Kevin Deters, Stevie Wermers
narr Billy Connolly
It's hard to believe that this silly Disney short is new, because it's been made in an old-fashioned, goofy Looney Tunes style without any concessions to either technical progress or postmodern irony. The story traces the life of Nessie, who is chased from her idyllic home in the Highlands by the developer McFroogle, who plans to build a crazy golf course there. With her best pal McQuack the rubber ducky, Nessie roams the Scottish countryside in search of a new home, eventually ending up of course in Loch Ness. No Scottish cliche is left unturned, from Nessie's Tam O'Shanter to the tartan hills to Connolly's jolly narration. There are flashes of clever humour here and there, while the traditional animation is colourful and lively, but it's so relentlessly old-school that it feels like we've seen it all before.
6.Mar.11 with Winnie the Pooh
dir Gary Rydstrom|
scr Erik Benson, Jason Katz, Christian Roman
voices Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Jodi Benson, Michael Keaton, Joan Cusack, Timothy Dalton, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris
This hilarious short doesn't try to say anything significant, but it gives the Toy Story characters plenty of space to be extremely silly. And it's genuinely funny to watch the toys try to create a Hawaiian paradise in the bedroom to give Barbie and Ken (Benson and Keaton) the illusion of a fabulous holiday that's leading up to a romantic proposal. The sight gags are witty, and the dialog is amusingly snappy. And while the joke about Ken's queeny obsessiveness continues from Toy Story 3, the writers have clearly stepped back a lot from that film's knowing innuendo. Still, it shows that there's life for these characters in shorts. And if future films are half as clever as this one, it bodes well for keeping these lively, endearing toys alive on film for a long time. And of course bringing in more merchandising cash for Pixar/Disney.
26.Jun.11 with Cars 2
|All in Good Time|
dir-scr Miikka Leskinen|
with Elizabeth Elvin, Nadine Lewington, Celyn Jones
Gorgeously shot in widescreen with feature-quality production values, this clever film keeps us on edge as it follows a mother and daughter (Elvin and Lewington) driving on an isolated nighttime road. They clearly have something they need to talk about, but are interrupted when they hit something, probably a rabbit. While they stop to investigate, a stranger (Jones) turns up looking for a ride and claiming to be a prostitute, but he clearly has a secret as well. Haunting and suggestive, the film's striking imagery and elusive drama keep us gripped. And the script is a bundle of red herrings, jagged black comedy and intriguing interaction. In fact, it's so beautifully well-made that the evasive plot is a little frustrating. But even without proper resonance, we somehow feel the characters' struggle to cope with their own actions.
|I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat|
voices Mel Blanc, June Foray|
One of the most effective of the new generation of old Warner Bros cartoons, this 3D rendition of the original recording of the song I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat is turned into a gleefully deranged musical romp in which the exasperating Tweetie Bird torments hungry cat Sylvester far beyond reason, all while Granny naps in her chair. As they demolish the entire apartment, and much of the street below, the filmmakers find some hilariously inventive ways to bring these characters into three dimensions, blasting us with Sylvester's sibilant saliva spray while flinging everything right into our faces. The skill and artistry are simply fantastic, and the film also makes terrific use of the original Blanc-Foray song. This is a much more fully realised short than the newer Road Runner clips, with a sharper beginning and end, and some truly imaginative stuff in between. More please!
20.Nov.11 with Happy Feet Two
|R E V I E W S B Y R I C H C L I N E|
25th BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival|
Shorts shown as part of the festival in March-April 2011.
dir-scr Hong Khaou|
with Jonathan Keane, Chris O'Donnell
When a Joe (O'Donnell) decides to explore issues of sexual dominance, he consults S&M master Tim (Keane) and enters a whole new world. In an abandoned room, Tim orders Joe to strip and walk around like a dog, then blindfolds and ties him to a wall in a dangerous position. From the start, writer-director Khaou cleverly obscures each man's motives, dropping hints as to what's going on in each of their minds without giving us clear answers. This is effective because it lets us experience both perspectives in a questioning way: what is the other guy up to and am I in danger here? The film is beautifully shot and edited in a tactile, hesitant way that makes the experience jarringly vivid and darkly sexy. And the ending both drops a couple of clever hints and leaves us questioning what we have just seen. It also, intriguingly, leaves us curious.
see also: SUMMER (2006) • 4.Feb.11
|We Once Were Tide|
dir Jason Bradbury|
scr Matthew Kyne Baskott
with Alexander Scott, Tristan Bernays, Mandy Aldridge
This dark, introspective short follows two young men hiking along a misty coastline who come home to find one guy's mother distraught and lost. Breathy, sweaty sex ensues, but there's clearly something wrong between them, especially as they both cope with what to do about mum. The film is gorgeously shot with richly shadowy colours that echo in the taut character interaction, much of which is very nicely played out without dialog. From the start, the film has a foreboding quality, hinting that something tragic is coming. Even some offhanded comedy and tenderness are tinged with sadness. And indeed, things turn emotionally wrenching as the story develops.
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© 2011 by Rich Cline, Shadows
on the Wall