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Boys on Film 8: I DON'T CARE | MAN AND BOY | WHAT YOU LOOKING AT?!
LLGFF shorts: HALF-SHARE | PERFORMANCE ANXIETY
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last update 30.Jan.13
See also: SHADOWS FILM FESTIVAL
|R E V I E W S B Y R I C H C L I N E
dir-scr Andy Muschietti
prd Barbara Muschietti
with Berta Ros, Victoria Harris, Irma Monroig
A ferociously intense horror short, this film was clearly a calling card to get Muschietti noticed. And it worked, because he's now expanded this three-minute shocker into a 100-minute box office hit. But frankly, this version is scarier, because it doesn't bother with back stories, motivations or drawn-out dramatics. It just gets in there and sends chills up our spines as Lili (Harris) wakes up her sister Veronica (Ros) in the middle of the night, saying that they have to run because Mama is back. But of course they're not quite fast enough, and it's not easy to be terrified of someone you love. Even if you really should be. Yes, this micro-movie is remarkably effective at scaring us, and unlike the feature it also leaves us with something to think about.
See also the 2013 feature: MAMA • 29.Jan.13
dir John Kahrs
scr Clio Chiang, Kendelle Hoyer
voices John Kahrs, Kari Wahlgren, Jeff Turley
12/US Disney 7m
This seductive short plays on nostalgia to win us over, telling a romantic little story in a minimalist way. In black and white, it follows a young businessman who meets a woman on a big city train platform on their way to work. She inadvertently leaves her red lipstick mark on one of his forms, but they get separated in the rush hour chaos. Later at work, the now dejected man notices that she's in the skyscraper across the street, so he starts making paper airplanes to get her attention. After throwing hundreds of them, he's about to give up. But the wind and a little magic intervene. Designed in a traditional hand-drawn Disney style, this virtually silent film uses music to gently prod our emotions, evoking memories of classic films (particularly The Red Balloon). Big-eyed characters win us over instantly, as do the whizzy 3D antics of the airplanes as we will these two lovelorn characters to reconnect. By taking such an adventurous approach to the story, the animators keep us guessing, and perhaps a bittersweet ending would be lovely. It might be gimmicky and a little obvious, but the film is also clever and irresistibly charming.
Shown with the feature: WRECK-IT RALPH • 18.Nov.12
|R E V I E W S B Y R I C H C L I N E
Boys on Film: Cruel Britannia
Even the more comical films in this eighth Peccadillo collection have a dark edge to them, as filmmakers explore issues in British society that are frighteningly unsettling. The central theme is the difficulty of coping with people who are different due to sexuality, culture or subculture, or sometimes all three. Within this, there's also the strong emotional resonance as people yearn for others to accept them for who they are.
release UK 28.May.12 • 12/UK Peccadillo 2h30 • 18 themes, language, sexuality, violence • 9.Apr.12
|I Dont Care
dir Harry Wootliff
scr Pete Jordi Wood
with Iwan Rheon, Dan Leon, Di Botcher, Paloma Faith, Mark Benton, Helen Grady
|Warm and intimate, and shot in the style of a proper feature film, this skilfully made short was made as an episode in Channel 4's Coming Up anthology series. Aspiring artist Luka (Rheon) feels trapped in the isolated coastal town of Porthpunnet, where he takes care of his bedridden mother (Botcher). On his birthday, Mum hires a carer (Grady) so he can have a day off, and he heads off for an adventure. But there's not much happening here, especially on a Sunday. Then he meets the lively Dan (Leon), who shares his interest in art. As they hang out in Dan's camper-van, Luka starts to feel like he's made a rare connection with someone. As they open up to each other, Luka begins to feel like he's finally living his life, if only for one day. But things take a startling twist when Dan says he's in love with him. And Luka begins to question his whole life. The film is rather dark and serious, with a stream of jolts as Luka struggles with the feeling that he's lost his youth and has no idea what to do next. Solid smaller turns from the likes of Faith and Benton add texture to this resonant, emotional story.
|Man and Boy
dir David Leon, Marcus McSweeney
scr David Leon, Rashid Razaq
with Eddie Marsan, Calum MacNab, Geoff Bell, Eddie Webber
|Based on a true story, this edgy film kicks off from the start with a sense of desperation as teen Alfie (MacNab) tells his father about Carson (Marsan), who invited him back to his flat to take some photos. Alfie's dad Frank (Bell) is out for blood, but was their encounter friendly or more sinister? And who was actually the aggressor? In flashback, we see what really happened: something much more unsettling that we - or the boy's dad - could possibly suspect. And there are wrinkles to the story that make it unceasingly disturbing. Beneath the bristling intensity, the film has a heavily emotional undercurrent that cuts through the violent bravado. the more we learn about what really went on between Alfie and Carson, and about Carson's past, the more we worry about what will happen when the police get involved. The filmmakers skilfully let us see layers within all of these characters, forcing us to confront issues within ourselves along the way. And the filmmakers leave us contemplating what we would do.
|What You Looking At?!
with Michael Twaits, Hussina Raja, Rez Kabir
In a grotty, industrial lift, two unlikely people meet: a glamorous drag queen (Twaits) and Muslim woman (Raja) completely covered by her hijab. When the lift breaks down, they struggle to to connect on any level. Finally, they begin to remove their disguises. And as they begin to talk, they realise that they have a lot more in common than they thought, starting with the fact that both are the subject of constant abuse on the street. The film is extremely well-played by both actors, and writer-director Faryal inventively cuts through several layers of society with the astute dialog. It's also sharply directed and edited, making the most of the claustrophobic space. And just as these two people discover that they're a lot more alike than they think, they're in for a surprise. A thoroughly engaging, important little film with a terrific final punch.
B O Y S
O N F I L M
V O L 8:
R E V I E W S B Y R I C H C L I N E
26th BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
Shorts shown as part of the festival in March-April 2012 • (1 of 2)
dir-scr Reid Waterer
with Danny Lopes, Lawrence Nicols, Anthem Moss
In a movie studio, straight actors Jacob and Duke (Lopes and Nichols) meet up to rehearse a gay love scene they will need to shoot for a film. But it's not as easy to get into character as they thought it would be, so they try a bit of roleplaying (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation!) and talk about how badly they both needed the job as well as the gay friends they have. This is a very clever little film, hilariously cutting through issues of masculinity to find some depth in the characters. And when we finally see the finished scenes in a 1950s-style black and white film, it highlights how much a fuss has been made for no real reason. And in the closing credits, we get a short doc about straight actors playing gay. Sharp and engaging.
dir-scr Jesse Archer, Sean Hanley
with Kyle Spidle, Alec Mapa, Jack Plotnik, Sam Pancake, Jesse Archer, Kevin Morrow, Marcus Shane, Joey Dudding
Set in New York City, this looks like the pilot for a sitcom, as a group of snappy characters head to Fire Island for the summer. Mac (Spidle) and Ito (Mapa) moan about the crowd of identical gay hunks ("misery loves sodomy"), while Harold (Morrow) strikes a pose in his Speedos. Michael and Michael (Plotnik and Pancake) are a bickering couple, and so on. Fortunately the script is smart and funny, and the actors make the most of the corny dialog and situations, which play with every cliche imaginable. And in Mac there's at least one character we can identify with: a newly single newbie from Oregon trying to cope with this gang of misfit nutcases while avoiding falling into a rebound relationship. There's no real point to it, and the dialog is far too on-the-nose, but it's silly and funny.
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© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows
on the Wall