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last update 26.Jul.17

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Spoilers   3.5/5  
dir-scr Brendon McDonall
with James Peake, Tom Mumford, Mathew David, Chelsea Violet, Hainsley Ransford, Heledd Gwynn
16/UK 22m
peake and mumford

Spoilers Cheeky and engaging, this brief romance indulges in a series of movie-style references as it tells its story. It opens with two men meeting cute as their plane lands in Cardiff. Leon (Peake) is a lovelorn guy who doesn't think he'll ever find someone, so he can't bring himself to believe that the sexy-beardy Felix (Mumford) might be interested in him. As they roam around the city and then plan to meet for a late movie, the film is more fantasy than reality, gleefully indulging in slapstick silliness and more than a little movie magic along the way. But under the surface there's a remarkably strong message about how important it is to risk getting into a relationship, even if you don't know how it's going to end.

also at IRIS PRIZE FEST • 22.Mar.17

Lou   3.5/5  
dir-scr Dave Mullins
17/US Pixar 7m
lou The inventive premise of this dialog-free short film is what catches the imagination. Prone to rather a lot of sentimentality, it's so cleverly realised that it becomes deeply endearing. The title character is named after some missing letters from the lost and found box in a school playground. And he's made up of the items in the box, assembling into a shifting creature with baseball eyes and a red hoodie, cleaning up things left behind when the children rust back to class. Meanwhile, he's watching what happens at recess, and finally snaps when the class bully mistreats one too many children. What follows is a cleverly positive act of revenge and lesson-teaching, with a gratuitously heart-tugging twist. The animation is to a very high standard, of course, with plenty of playful touches in the design and action. It's also relentlessly cute, and the preachy message is more than welcome.

showing with CARS 3 • 2.Jul.17

Siobhan   3.5/5"  
dir-scr Maeve Murphy
with Scot Williams, Orla Brady, Cliff Brady, Charlotte Peters
17/UK 11m
brady and williams
Siobhan This evocative short opens with a glimpse of a violent attack before shifting into a haunting image of a man (Williams) walking on a spectacular Devon coastline, where he imagines a woman standing among the rocks - his girlfriend Siobhan (Peters) who was murdered there a year earlier. A local farmer (Cliff Brady) offers him a meal and a bed for the night of the solstice, and he and his wife (Orla Brady) speak about how they met Siobhan on the day she was killed. The film is introspective and raw, with emotions that gurgle up around the edges. It's beautifully shot with a strong sense of the setting, a vivid attention to detail and a willingness to embrace the silence of a moment. Where the story goes is dark and unsettling, with constant touches that mix love and fear in unexpected ways. It's not always easy to watch, but it's darkly moving. And also eerily provocative.


Puppy!   2.5/5  
dir Genndy Tartakovsky
voices Asher Blinkoff, Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg
17/US Sony 5m
abs and hume
Puppy! Basically a placeholder between the Hotel Transylvania movies, this silly short has lots of energy but is rather too frantic for its own good. It centres on Dennis (Blinkoff), a little boy who asks his parents (Gomez and Sandberg) for a puppy, but they're reluctant. Dennis and his family live with his Grandpa Dracula (Sandler), who eventually gives into his whining and gets him an enormous, slobbery blue pug, which proceeds to cause mayhem around the castle. The idea is cute, and there are plenty of adorable moments amid the chaos. But this feels like a hyperactive advert rather than a proper short film, as the script never plays with the situation or characters, never adding any real interest or comedy (the biggest gag is that Dennis names the pup Tinkles) while assuming that the audience knows who these people are. It's lively and brief, and kids will love the destruction the enormous, playful and oddly blank-eyed dog unleashes on the hotel and its guests. But there's nothing to it.

showing with THE EMOJI MOVIE • 30.Jul.17

In a Heartbeat   3/5  
dir-scr Beth David, Esteban Bravo
17/US Ringling 4m
in a heartbeat This short film has taken the internet by storm with its wordless exploration of youthful attraction. It centres on a teen boy watching another boy walk through the park, his heart pounding. Then his heart leaps out, dragging him into an encounter with the other boy. Comical mayhem ensues until they reach the school, where things turn oddly serious. The animation is very nicely rendered in a slightly sub-Pixar quality, but the design work is strong, and the animators pack scenes with telling details and tender moments that are genuinely, yes, heartfelt. It may not be particularly groundbreaking, and it feels almost quaintly dated, the kind of film that should have been made 50 years ago. But it's so sweet that it can't help but catch the attention of audiences yearning for positive portrayals of teen diversity at a time when bigotry gets most of the media space.


Hanazuki: Full of Treasures   2.5/5  
dir Allison Craig
scr Dave Polsky
voices Jessica DiCicco, Colleen O'Shaunessey, Michael Sinterniklaas
17/US 4m
Hanazuki This bizarre onslaught of colour is little more than some sort of surreal sci-fi fantasia, although fans of the TV series will no doubt beg to differ. The story centres on a little girl named Hanazuki (DiCicco) living on a distant planet with a group of candy-coloured figures that look like lopped-off rabbit heads. They're noisily playing in a rainbow river leading to a waterfall when Little Dreamer (O'Shaunessey), a baby in a spacesuit, appears and gives the girl a diamond which she immediately loses. What follows is Hannazuki and her yellow rabbit going on a hyperactive adventure to retrieve it, involving a toothy monster and a river of lava and ending in an "All I need is you!" message. To call this maniacally colourful would be an understatement.

showing with MY LITTLE PONY • 15.Oct.17

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure   3/5  
dir Kevin Deters, Stevie Wermers
scr Jac Schaeffer
voices Josh Gad, Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff
17/US Disney 21m
anna, olaf, elsa
Olaf's Frozen Adventure Produced as a half-hour TV holiday special, this 21-minute short is a full-on animated musical comedy extravaganza reuniting the main characters from the 2013 Disney hit Frozen. While the animation is gorgeous, the plot is somewhat basic, and rather contrived. As princesses Anna and Elsa (Bell and Menzel) get ready to celebrate their first Christmas in the castle, they realise that they have no family traditions for the holiday. So Olaf (Gad) takes Sven the reindeer to collect Christmas customs from the people of Arendelle. Of course nothing goes remotely as planned, with a range of witty gags and silly slapstick accompanying several belting musical numbers. The best thing here is a peppering of tiny hilarious details through every scene, including amusing wordplay that feels improvised. So even if it feels rather slight, Frozen fans will love everything about it.

Showing with: COCO • 25.Nov.17

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