Big Apple Film Festival Shorts Block 11 movie review
Dr. Girlfriend and I were very happy to attend a night at the Big Apple Film Festival. We sat in on Shorts Block 11, which, as the name suggests, was a bunch of short films. A lot of the films had concepts in common, such as imaginary friends, fantasy elements or artists struggling to create, which was presumably done intentionally when the organizers set this up.
These types of things are always a mixed bag – there are some that are gems, some that are passable and others that make you want to claw your eyes out with a straw. Here are some quick notes on what we saw and how we felt about the short films.
This short is about Latina writer dealing with critical notes as well as rejection from a publisher. One of her characters appears, who the writer has been ordered to remove, but she regards this character as her muse, making it a difficult choice for her. I’ve never heard of someone refer to one of their characters this way… I’ve always regarded a muse as that which is real and inspires the artist to create, but in this case, it’s fiction inspiring fiction, which confused me, but, I guess that’s my own limited interpretation of the word to deal with. Stereotypically Me felt like it was running long – I was getting bored during the repetitive first act, the entertaining but dragging second act and then finally, a resolution I can scarcely remember. The film is impeccably photographed and staged, which helps elevate the material, but in the final analysis, there are some worthwhile performances here, but not much else to write home about, if you’ll pardon the pun. This could be a lot more effective if it was about half as long.
This period piece had a lot to offer visually, but it was repetitive and the visuals weren’t enough to overcome the lackluster dialogue. Initially, I thought we were seeing this 50s/early 60s environment because… Mad Men? But, as the story unfolded, I couldn’t figure out how old the characters were supposed to be, which seems like a simple thing a story should be able to convey, but then, Moving Millie is ripe with issues like that. It’s cute, but it’s not focused and too long.
Kissed by Inspiration
Here’s another period piece set in the late 50s/early 60s because Mad Men, but on purpose this time. The filmmaker described it as “Toy Story meets Mad Men,” and that’s just what it is, except it has severe framing issues. it’s tedious to watch and repetitive, which makes Kissed by Inspiration boring, and as I’m fond of saying, there’s nothing worse art can do than bore the audience.
This film was made by a young lady of maybe 12 with the help of a charitable organization that helps young people with brain tumors tell the story they want to tell. Unfortunately, they don’t tell you any of this until after the film is over, so it seems like a crew of creepy adults following around 12 year old girls in mermaid costumes and photographing them swimming around in a pool for a very long time, which was NOT THE CASE AT ALL. The entire video has a very “That came out of left field” feel, which I thought they could have helped the kid with, but it is what it is.
This is the bottom of the Big Apple Film Festival Shorts Block 11 barrel. It’s long, it’s boring, it’s tedious, it barely has a story and doesn’t make up for these short coming by being an interesting character piece which is a shame because its lead actress has talent. it’s not well photographed, nor are any of the technical elements (my God, the sound) handled well. It’s just… bleh. I’ve never thought “What was the point of that?!?” so often in such a short period of time.
Tour De Force
I liked this film; it was well photographed (all technical elements were good), performed, and the story had interesting ideas. On the other hand, it was pretentious and draggy, but it had some quality laughs and many good moments. I did enjoy the running gag, “I had to sign a waiver,” but I was surprised when we didn’t actually get to see this moment. Maybe I didn’t love every minute of Tour De Force, but it was certainly better than everything I’ve mentioned up to this point.
AND IT ALL COMES DOWN TO…
There were two films that stood above the crowd. One was Greg’s Guardian Angel, which I’ve already reviewed, so check that out. The other was…
I didn’t love every element of the story, but this was a fine film, featuring great camera and tech work, fine performances – it’s just a well executed film all around. Sure, the fake guitar and bass playing made me cringe, some of the dialogue was not great and there was more than one pointless scene (NOTE: people don’t throw full sized donuts out the window of moving cars, they throw the donuts holes! They’re round, it makes sense! But, I guess not as visually interesting, so… well played, Chubby Hubby.)
I have to pick a winner, and it’s Greg’s Guardian Angel, and it beat out Chubby Hubby for one simple reason – no fluff, no padding, no pointless scenes. Greg’s Guardian Angel only shows you what you need to see and, as Shakespeare says, “Brevity is the soul of wit,” which, as Red Letter Media translates for us, just means “Don’t waste my time,” and all of the other films waste time, which leads to boredom. (Didn’t Yoda say something about wasting time leads to boredom, boredom leads to injecting heroin, injecting heroin leads to choking to death on your own vomit a la the Breaking Bad Season II finale?)
I’m not exactly sure where you can see them, but I recommend Greg’s Guardian Angel, Chubby Hubby and Tour De Force in that order – search em out and see em if you can.