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Darryn
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 128

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Darryn Does Auckland (reviews)

I have some free time at the moment, and sitting in a semi warm theatre, out of the elements, watching shorts, has a certain masochistic attraction, so I may well make all Auckland heats.
Or not.
Six sessions per day on Saturday and Sunday with buttocks applied to Sky City Theatre seats may be a bridge too far.

To state the obvious.

I am not a judge. I will not bellow 'Do you know who I AM!?!!' and threaten to end your aspiring Hollywood career with a single whisper in the Prime Ministers ear.

Arguing the point will not change your standing in the competition because I have zero influence and no understanding to the secret pagan rituals used to determine the winners.
It is art. You cannot break it down to exact quantifiable numbers.
These are just the opinions of a one patron in the cheap seats.

Any movie featuring cardboard robot Kaiju battles will get an automatic thumbs up.

I am working with limited notes, so apologies if I get anything wrong. If I do get it wrong, feel free to link to your movie once you are allowed to put them online.

Generally I will be doing a review sandwich. A slice of what it was about, a couple of pieces of what might have been improved, then top it off with something positive.

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Darryn
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 128

Wednesday HEAT 1 & 2
Well done Cookie, Jeff and the crew running the show. Projection was bright, sound was loud, intros were quick. Everything flowed smoothly.

Plenty of room for everyone in Sky City Theatre. Which is at the Casino. Not the formerly-known-as-Sky-Cinema-now-known-as-Event-Cinema down on Queen St.

If you are half an hour late to your heat, I will not be happy to have to move for your late ass to get seated. Consider doing the walk of shame down to the front where there were entire empty rows.

Looks like a lot of teams got caught out with the variable weather over shoot weekend, with dodgy continuity for wet/dry ground and blue/gray skies.

Several teams also captured an absolute cracker of a sunset.

The most popular option for the required prop seemed to be a greeting card. But a diverse range saw tarot cards, trick magic cards, business, memory and a transparent QR card also.

Apparently we had two teams from Shanghai in the house (teams 1 &2?), that were on flights back home directly after heat 1. Hope you enjoyed New Zealand. Sorry about the weather. It was absolutely cracker jack just a few weeks back. Take my word for it.

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Darryn
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 128

HEAT 1 6:45pm 


1 AASTA1 "Toilet" IMMOBILISATION
Yep. Toilet humor. A man finds himself in escalating trouble, trapped in the toilet. Well made, went for several different types of gags. The situation built and developed. I got a little big lost with the multiple endings. Perhaps something in the edit might have helped that. Was impressed with the use off different angles when shooting in such a constrained location.


2 AASTA2 "Nice Dream" CRIME 

Crime meets romance when a gangster with insomnia wants to dream with his girl, and not be stuck thinking about his crimes. Think low-fi SCOTT PILGRIM with Jackie Chan humor. Not Hollywood Chan, but Hong Kong Chan, CITY HUNTER, DRUNKEN MASTER II Chan. Going from very broad/goofy slapstick to serious. There were some lighting issues and pixelation. I suspect the team ran into issues with night scenes set in the bedroom and then having to boost the levels in post. I loved the back and forth shot that went from the gangster's forehead to the crime he was thinking of and back. And the ending put a nice twist on things.

3 1001 "The Expulsion" CRIME 

A student takes on a teacher in a fractured time-line. We see the ending, then the beginning that shows a whole other side of the participants, then the crime in all its sloppy detail. A few people around me were asking what was written on the whiteboard. If it was written a bit larger, it would have been more readable. There was good use of sound design to make it seem like there were more students around than the few that were actually in front of the camera.

4 <undisclosed> "X-Treme Mail" ACTION/ADVENTURE
A free running postie of limited skill stumbles into someones generic crime headquarters. There were some issues of cutting from one action shot to another and things not matching. The cat gag got a laugh, and I liked that the postie was being needlessly sneaky on postcard deliveries.


5 10 TRUCK$ "DAS BEAT" TECH THRILLER
Super-fly hipster DJ dude mixes up a techno beat so powerful that European villains will do what ever it takes to posses it. Full marks for combining TECH with TECHNO, and gratuitous use of a memory card as the main McGuffin. Loved the retro team logo. The ending lost me a little bit, and I had some issues following what was being parodied. Had a great shot of the villain, seated, facing away from the camera, but talking into another camera, which was attached to a big screen, which was facing the camera. It was almost a POV shot within a master shot.


6 100% Maybe "That's Fab" CONVERGING STORYLINES
Two women cross paths in a bus stop, accidentally swapping their shopping bags. One had purchased Fab, the other, a white powdery substance in a Fab box, but not Fab. Full marks for having characters converge, diverge, then converge again. Some of the dialogue was a bit ropey. Was it improvised on set, or was another writing pass required? Had the funniest line of subtitled dialogue of the evening. And full marks for getting a shot into a reflective glass bus stop, dollying the camera side to side, and not getting the crew in the reflection.


7 3:15 Productions "The Somnambulist" HORROR
Creepy tone horror, with someones insomnia causing them to see and experience some creepy things. I couldn't really follow the story, and I didn't get that walls covered in paper sheets were supposed to be a padded room. Some great sound and camera production. I really liked the shot with a creepy dude in the back ground with a blurred out face.


8 4 Fat Heads "Al's Last Day" MUSICAL 

Al is an old man in a young mans high tech world, loses his job, goes on a downward spiral, before figuring out how to get what he wants online. Now musical is a genre that either makes or breaks a team. Elevates their short, or crushes it. In this case, was it even really a musical? Does quoting an Al Jolson standard make a short a musical? All the ingredients were top notch. Loved the camera work. The slow-mo car, the POV shot. Liked the actors, the art design. The lead actor had a fantastic look for the story you were going for. Absolutely top notch gag/shot of one person holding a sign up in the window, with the second person reflected in it. A different genre and a script to match, this could have been top notch.

9 42 Cents "Lights. Camera. Wasteland" REUNION MOVIE
Post apocalyptic, post production, movie within a short. Auckland has gone to hell, and Vic is putting his team back together to finish his passion project movie. Had all sorts of moments, but for me, did not jell together. Bad guy audition was great. Several of the gags got a good audience reaction. Doing post apocalyptic is going to make getting several locations tough, but the team pulled it off.


10 420 Dream Team "pulse" NON-DIALOGUE

My entire notes for this were “???”. Man stumbles down Queen St. Finds girlfriend. Falls asleep. Non-dialogue seems to have been an issue for putting a substantial story together. Frequently looked good. Really liked the subtly distorting logo.

11 48 hours later "Living with Vic Meyer" ROBOT/CYBORG/ANDROID

Androids and their owners are interviewed. A glitching disease seems to be spreading and the cure comes in card form. I thought there were some very clever ideas with the gradual reveal, and the use of the card. But I had trouble following the story. May have to watch again to understand where Vic played into the story. Paint shaker gag got a well deserved audience reaction.

12 A Strange Cast "Gregg" OBSESSIVE
A man trying to start a new romance has to cope with an obsessive friend playing third wheel. Straddled a line between humor and dark and serious. Really liked the camera self portrait gag, which was a good bit of non verbal story telling.


13 Aardvark Animation "Quest Time" RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK
A young goblin must go on a quest to save his master. Puzzles must be solved, dangerous journeys undertaken. And not to mention damsels requiring rescue. Animation in such a short time frame is going to always be very very tough. And with the limited 2d animation used, you are going to have to rely on sound and good voice work to carry much of the story. That was lacking here. It is something MUKPUDDY always shines with when they do the 48. And the syncing of sound to lipsync and scene changes was also a bit off. Get your audio sorted and the gags would have gone over even better.

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Darryn
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 128


HEAT 2 8:15pm Wednesday



1 Aceba "Vic Meyer: Neighbourhood Crime Watch" CRIME
A slightly sad and demented ex accountant (and Cludeo fanatic) is an obsessive one man neighborhood watch. Clearly some of the actors were much younger than the roles they were playing, and the camera work was very hand held at points. I did like that it moved between comedy and sadness with Vic. And the wall of thread showing obsession was a good touch.




2 Act Natural "Victim" ACTION/ADVENTURE
Vic struggles to find and silence an alarm clock, in a quest of sleep that parodies action movie action. Hey, great chicken chasing team intro. Leave that on when you upload. The end reveal was a good touch.




3 ADHDMi "The Solution" TECH THRILLER

Hats off to ADHDMi for bringing an experience to the screenings. Characters in costume handing out prop cards as punters entered. 3D glasses. A plot MacGuffin website link that is seemingly a real website. ( www.thesolution.xxx). Vic's insomnia leads him to a very dodgy website and a solution that is in the solution. Visual story telling. Somewhat challenging. Technically great. People, seek this one out. It will either be flavored to your taste, or not.


4 AKMSA "string" CONVERGING STORYLINES
A couple's story diverge and converge, with a creepy masked figure haunting them and tragedy not far away. This was a Korean Media Study Association production, and brings some very interesting imagery and a non linear narrative. (?I think, will have to watch again) The strobing lights on the waterfront were probably a technical mistake, but I thought they added to the nightmare quality of a lonely walk at night. Some good shots as well.


5 ASAP "Hush Little Baby" MUSICAL
Mom and Dad want to make with the birds and bees, but baby needs to be sung to sleep. Great use of 'Bow-chick-Bow-Wow' funky music to set the tone. Did I hear 'Happy Birthday' being sung early on? That may be trouble as it is not in the public domain. Great almost dirty lyrics. I thought the tone change from beginning, to middle, to end, was well handled. And well done to the actors.



6 Asphalt "Laid Out" REUNION MOVIE 

Released from prison, a man explains in flashback how a crime, cards and death put him away. And now he meets someone unexpected, who takes him to a grave yard reunion. Some of the dialogue is on the nose. Getting the 'voice' right in voice over narrative is tough, and maybe another pass at the script would have been of benefit. I really liked the combination of the over-the-grave-stone shot with the reverse shoot into the dug up grave. A creative way to get around it generally not being cool to dig up a real grave in a real graveyard just to shoot a movie.


7 Assholes & Elbows "Threesome" NON DIALOGUE

One man, two beautiful woman, what could go wrong? I had trouble following the exact why/what happened. Maybe subtle and serious do not mix well with non-dialogue. It was serious, and well shot. I may need to watch again.



8 BadBaby "Perfect" ROBOT/CYBORG/ANDROID
It is not easy ordering the perfect robot companion. She cooks, understands rugby, does... other things... frequently... but is it what a man really needs? I liked the way it went from comedy into more serious territory. Some of the actors interacting over the phone felt a bit off. Where they shot separately? It certainly earned the 'Awwww' the audience gave it in the end.



9 Bald Faced Cheek "Chums" OBSESSIVE RELATIONSHIP
Vic is pulling night shifts at work, spending all day with his new flatmate, and it is keeping him away from his friends. Dirty. Hilarious. Bald Faced Cheek know how to set up and deliver the LOLs. “Racist BBQ” was line of the night. Jokes get revisited and twisted. Recommended you check this one out.



10 Band Of The Wrong . . . "Where's Tinkerbell?" RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK
A man has been house and dog sitting for a wealthy client. The client is due back at any moment, and the dog has got loose. Great use of locations, with a well trained, and very cute dog running loose. They hit the Central Auckland highlights. The Domain. K Road. City. Parks. Is it considered crossing the line if a dog runs from left to right, then cutting to the other side where the dog runs right to left? If that is an editing/blocking snafu, they got away with it. The go-pro dogs POV shot was less than steady, but the POV and reverse shot through the wind shield on the motorbike were fantastic. If you are a dog / cute pet person, track this one down.



11 Bang on Bob "Bored Stiff" IMMOBILISATION
Vic finds herself bored senseless by small town country living, but when she is immobilized catatonic on the sofa, things take a WEEKEND AT BERNIES twist. Yes, this was very funny. Things escalated. Again Auckland highlights were visited. Maybe the line of dialogue explaining how long it took to drive to Auckland could have been done differently. Enjoyed this one a lot.





12 BattleSoup "Henchmen" ACTION/ADVENTURE
Henchmen find themselves facing both near certain death and indifferent management in their day to day working lives. All sorts of gun violence and slapstick humor on display. Great tarot card gag. The gun and explosion FX were appropriately over the top. Another one I recommend you check out.

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