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TASTE THE HAPPY

2wit 2woo

Reviews

Spylent Night

Always fun to see people voluntarily making musicals, and after the success of MURDER SHE RAPPED a couple of years ago, it makes perfect sense. The actual genre of hidden identity was set up nicely by a whodunnit plot which unfolds throughout the musical, but I do wonder if all the Christmas theming was really necessary to tell the story. Felt a bit like watching three genres muddled together, which can work when it is motivated by story, but is otherwise distracting. The expected twist at the end still had impact thanks to some clever clockwork prop use. Most importantly, I think this team had a lot of fun.

Where Do The Children Play?

Favourite film from the 1st heat. Slick production values, nice juxstaposition of light music and scenery with darker plot content. Not exactly a road movie, but original enough for it not to matter. Great to see some kids who can act!

The How, The What, The Who and The Why

An innovative interpretation of Ultra. Good clean voice over, and well shot motivated use of shadows to describe the heist. Remembering that 5 minutes is a limit and not a target, a tighter edit would have made this film punchier and give us less time to think about the plot holes. Some decent natural light cinematography in the lounge, but the bathroom plumber scenes could use more light and a white balance. These scenes are some of the funniest though, so overall a decent effort. I hope the kids are OK!

Encore Une Fois

Wow, great tension, nice grade and an amazing young cast. I think we all knew something sinister was up from the beginning, but the payoff still had the intended impact. Good attention to detail with the set dressing and costumes too, an all round fantastic effort.

Choir In The Blood

Possibly the least PC film we'll see this year, though if the first three heats are anthing to go by, there'll be some close contenders. This musical had everyone in stiches. It may have wavered a bit towards the end, but still easily the best short of the evening. I'm pretty sure most people thought of the bent wire gag last friday, few had the bald faced cheek to actually run with it. It seems there's a reason this team got its name.

The Stand-In

A fun filled case of mistaken identity with a modern twist. Very reminiscent of 2010's Peter Jackson Wildcard THE POOL, in some ways what is most interesting is what has changed in just eight years. This well shot crime caper opens with some impressively rotoscoped titles, which raised my expectations beyond what is realistic for 48 hours. The rest of the graphics in the film have more of the usual rushed charm that we're used to seeing. After a stellar performance from Terry and few funny gags, the plot wraps up rather predictably. Great to see a blooper reel during the credits crawl, always nice when people have fun making these films. A well earned 5 star rating.

The Shirt: Altered

What a ride! I feel like watching this one before going back and watching the original is a great way to get into the mental state of the protagonist, minus the misogyny. Animation in 48 hours is crazy difficult, especially when you've got 4 minutes of monologue to fill, but a bit more movement/parallax in some of the shots would go a long way towards feeling less like a slide show. That said, the visual style was innovative, and with some clever integration of 2014's compulsory line, it totally nailed the spirit of ultra 48. After re-watching the first film, the plot also became much more clear. Lots of clever references tie the two together. Great to see the same formula taken in a different direction, and the final punchline definitely delivered!

Burgled on high

A funny musical with a twist. While there were a few of nice moments of split screen storytelling, especially the fantasy sequences, a lot of the time the gimmick is wasted on different variations of the same shot. Would have been nice to see more POV shots of the burglars looking in, or more of a duet between the cupboard and the lounge to bring the spit screen into the storytelling. A fun caper nonetheless. Lock up your antique PlayStation, those things are like gold!

Sweet Child Of Time

This is the future Jeff Bezos wants. A disturbingly current lo-fi sci-fi animation that completely derails by the third act. I get the low production value aesthetic works well visually, but sound wise it gets tired quickly. A little more wub and a little less repetition would have the soundtrack dubstepping away from the cringe zone it currently occupies. Worth a watch if you're a fan of Don Hertzfeldt and MS Paint.

The Day The Earth Stood Somewhat Stationary

This isn't the first film where every character was played by the same actor, but it is the first time I did double takes at the two main characters together in the same shot. Through acting craft and post production wizardry, the two flatmates were believable enough to make all the hammy supporting characters forgivable. Inventive use of the CARD prop as well. While overall there was room for improvement, this film sets an impressive benchmark for the one man team.

Dead End Job

Mukpuddy doesn't disappoint with another punchy animation that looks like it should've taken way longer than 48 hours. Morgan Foster was just adorable, and definitely a top pick for best use of character. Great to hear the range of accents expanding too, not sure how many regional British accents we could really expect to hear in an American gas station. My only complaint is that the totally dark scene went on too long and just seemed like a way of avoiding some time-consuming animation. Perhaps if the character's eyes were still visible during some (not all) of it, then it wouldn't have detracted so much from an otherwise well polished film. Fingers crossed for these guys making the finals.

Best In The World

I went to this heat especially to see MITCIT, and when the title card said "musical" I knew we were in for a treat. All the regular over-the-top zaniness combined with some very enthusiastic dancing from one particular cast member made for another enjoyable cult film. MITCIT did a very funny Kim Dotcom spoof a couple of years ago, and this year they weren't afraid to get political again. Let's just say the real identity of Morgan Foster is obvious to us all. Massive cheers from the audience show the majority were on board with their caricature of current affairs. Either that or they really like off-key singing. My only complaint is that there wasn't any signature MITCIT greenscreen or CG work. Maybe next year?

Kebab Quest

Some of the biggest laughs of the evening in this bro quest film. Plenty of twists and turns with the best use of chickpeas I've seen in a long time. Could use some higher production values to complement the comedy values. Will be watching out for this team next year.

The Somnambulist

It's hard to fault this film without faulting the genre of horror itself, which is fast becoming a tired cliche in the world of 48 hours. Seldom do horror films make the finals, yet they do offer film-makers a chance to flex their more experimental talents, which is what this team did. With exquisite sound design, and the best low-budget (the cost of a ream of printer paper) asylum set I've seen in quite some time, The Somnambulist takes an atmospheric journey through the nature of insomnia and insanity. Also slenderman shows up.

Henchmen

I've been a fan of BattleSoup since their controversial biopic and bombastic bobby young quest film. This year they bring back more of the same, with over the top digital blood and a couple of dissatisfied henchmen. Not quite as slick as last year, and it would've been nice to see Tom feature with his usual comedic insanity, but the new cast did a great job too. If you love funny accents and ridiculous action sequences, then you too will fast become a fan of BattleSoup.

Operator Part II Twin Souls

Great to see this in the screening room with fixed audio. I remember seeing operator in the heats many years ago, and it always stood out as one of my favourite Team Spielberg films, so I was excited for the sequel. Didn't quite capture the same tension as the original, but certainly had some good moments. Putting the operator on the phone was a nice play on the word, but I would have liked to see more use of the void outside the door that made the first one so interesting. Perhaps if the void consumed the bathroom after Bobby's reveal, it would feel more dynamic and claustrophobic. As other reviewers have said, a bit more creativity in the blocking would go a long way. Certainly limiting in a hotel room, but we know you can pull it off in an elevator!

DECEPTION

It seems a lot of young teams were inspired by inception this year, but at least this one made some vague sense. The flashback scenes were the high point of the film, and as other reviewers have noted, the stair fall was jaw-dropping. Hope they knew what they were doing.

Siren's Call

The second half of an innovative double feature with Guerrilla Gorilla. Always great to see teams trying something new for 48 hours, so congratulations for agreeing to give it a go and also pulling it off! The opening was so similar to the first film that it left us feeling like a mistake had been made. At the time, different details in the edit slowly gave away that this was a new film within the same plot. Though I've heard it was actually shot with a completely different crew, this wasn't immediately obvious. If intentional, it's a great way to mess with the minds of the unsuspecting viewers. If the openings were meant to immediately get viewers on board with the concept, then it needed more work to achieve that. Let's hope they were going for mind-bending similarity. The technical aspects of getting this done must've been a nightmare, and while I said the first film felt a bit rushed, by now the audience know what's going on and is willing to forgive the lack of polish and enjoy the unique experience. The benefit of screening 2nd, combined with some cold blooded scenes from both the protagonist and the villain made a nice rounded product. Kudos for trying something new, it certainly made for an enjoyable start to the evening.

DAS BEAT

A techno thriller that both borrows on the tropes of actual techno thrillers and is also just a thriller about techno music. Lo-fi production values with over the top characters and a killer bassline had me in stitches all the way through. Easily a contender for best cult film, just a shame the ending track wasn't as awesome as the bad guy's webcam.

The Somnambulist

It's hard to fault this film without faulting the genre of horror itself, which is fast becoming a tired cliche in the world of 48 hours. Seldom do horror films make the finals, yet they do offer film-makers a chance to flex their more experimental talents, which is what this team did. With exquisite sound design, and the best low-budget (the cost of a ream of printer paper) asylum set I've seen in quite some time, The Somnambulist takes an atmospheric journey through the nature of insomnia and insanity. Also slenderman shows up.

SUPERb

Very strong opening, brilliant characters, totally derailed by the third act. If they were being ironic then they totally nailed the hollywood superhero formula. A good effort but would have loved to see it go somewhere deeper. Is that too much to ask of a 48 hours short? Probably.

Heist School Musical

I love voluntary musicals, and this team chose to combine not one but two extra genres into their heist school musical. A clever though obvious in retrospect wee heist is played out through songs and set pieces that had me wondering whether I was watching a musical about a heist or a high school movie about a musical about a heist. A very meta and enjoyable tale from the noodly appendages of a team who clearly like a challenge.

Choose Hers

This film came up a few times in discussions afterwards about films that are so bad they're good. I mean that in a good way. The crazy guy with the informative gestures was pretty funny, and clued the audience in to the whole body switch thing very well. Low production values and clunky scripting only added to the film's charm. I may be a sucker for anticlimax endings, but a body switch film where it ends with them deciding not to bother trying to switch back seems pretty fresh to me.

Dead End Job

Mukpuddy doesn't disappoint with another punchy animation that looks like it should've taken way longer than 48 hours. Morgan Foster was just adorable, and definitely a top pick for best use of character. Great to hear the range of accents expanding too, not sure how many regional British accents we could really expect to hear in an American gas station. My only complaint is that the totally dark scene went on too long and just seemed like a way of avoiding some time-consuming animation. Perhaps if the character's eyes were still visible during some (not all) of it, then it wouldn't have detracted so much from an otherwise well polished film. Fingers crossed for these guys making the finals.

Siren's Call

The second half of an innovative double feature with Guerrilla Gorilla. Always great to see teams trying something new for 48 hours, so congratulations for agreeing to give it a go and also pulling it off! The opening was so similar to the first film that it left us feeling like a mistake had been made. At the time, different details in the edit slowly gave away that this was a new film within the same plot. Though I've heard it was actually shot with a completely different crew, this wasn't immediately obvious. If intentional, it's a great way to mess with the minds of the unsuspecting viewers. If the openings were meant to immediately get viewers on board with the concept, then it needed more work to achieve that. Let's hope they were going for mind-bending similarity. The technical aspects of getting this done must've been a nightmare, and while I said the first film felt a bit rushed, by now the audience know what's going on and is willing to forgive the lack of polish and enjoy the unique experience. The benefit of screening 2nd, combined with some cold blooded scenes from both the protagonist and the villain made a nice rounded product. Kudos for trying something new, it certainly made for an enjoyable start to the evening.

That's Fab

I might have to start buying a different detergent. Punchy converging storyline crime caper that hit all the right notes and didn't linger. Was worried half way through that it ran the risk of borrowing too much from Lock, Stock, but was pleasantly surprised by the sustained suspense followed by a fresh resolution. One to watch out for.

Office Fighter

Once again Super Furious Ninja Dragon from Invercargil show Dunedin how it's done. Easily the strongest film of the heat, with some excellent animation cut seamlessly into live action office politics. From a narrative perspective it left me wondering what had actually happened during the animated segments, but perhaps leaving that up to the viewer makes for a more visceral spatstick experience. A very original take on the genre.

Bad Start

Who doesn't walk around with a piece of bent wire up their nose? Pretty good effort, with a nice combination of serious and funny. Stunning special effects makeup work on the corpse. Where are all these teams finding realistic dead bodies this year?

Where Do The Children Play?

Favourite film from the 1st heat. Slick production values, nice juxstaposition of light music and scenery with darker plot content. Not exactly a road movie, but original enough for it not to matter. Great to see some kids who can act!

The Final Battle

Quirky little superhero gem with touches of Stephen Merchant/Ricky Gervais awkwardness. Nice to see the serious subjects of euthanasia and arson tackled in a comedic way. Also nicely shot, and good effort on costuming and makeup. Always love to see black makeup around the eyes under a black superhero mask, anything less is not trying hard enough.

8 Rules For Surviving a Horror Movie

A tight script that plays on all the tropes of the horror genre, zombieland style. As if you couldn't tell that from the title. Some genuinely funny gags in this one, and surprisingly high brow for an all male cast. Technically, there's a lot of room for improvement. Fuzzy evenly lit indoor shots make for dull viewing. Looks like the guys had a lot of fun, and with a bit of production value they could be a farce to be reckoned with.

Mega Sock Force

This is so good. I wish we could have an unofficial Dunedin finals so you guys could win!

Harpy's Call

The first half of an innovative double feature with Half Shell. Always great to see teams trying something new for 48 hours, and I believe Guerilla Gorilla were the instigators of this mad plot, so congratulations for pulling it off! Story wise, it was a bit tricky to follow. Time travel in a fantasy movie seemed out of place (until you realise the 2nd team drew time travel!) and could've been worked in a bit more smoothly. The technical aspects of getting this done must've been a nightmare, which is probably why as a standalone film everything felt a bit rushed. Some enjoyable moments between the villain and the hero. He seemed a lot less cold-blooded than Half Shell's version. I hope this team thinks of an even crazier way to bend our minds next year. Never stop pushing the boundaries.

Mother Ship

Dark Star but with your mom jokes instead of phenomenology. Not sure if that's an improvement, but I really enjoyed the aesthetic of this film. For the most part the action cut well, so the split screen/green screen gimmick felt natural. Some inspired lighting, simple costumes and brilliant miniatures all work in harmony to create a film that looks a lot more polished than it is. A film I just want to watch again and again to see how it was made.

Beast Mode

A slick production from a well oiled team. The elegant title animation was a great way of summarizing the plot using two emojis, but unfortunately we never got much more depth as it played out. The premise is decent, but I would have loved to see more exploration of why social media turns us into monsters, and fewer gags lifted verbatim from What We Do in the Shadows. The tone also shifts wildly between the acts, to the point where it feels like three different films. Overall an entertaining film that sets a high bar and doesn't quite reach it. I look forward to seeing what this talented team does next.

Binary Love

A lot of people in the late 90s loved the IBM ThinkPad, but this man loved it more than most. An anti-RomCom with a few great gags and excellent cinematography. A lot of story beats packed into 5 minutes, but thanks to some decent pacing it doesn't feel rushed. A minor thing that bothered me is how the screen graphics didn't track to the laptop when it moved, but that's normal for 48 hours. An altogether enjoyable tale about the unintended consequences of bit conservation.

Notice Of Seizure

A MITCIT film that makes sense? You guys are losing your touch! In all serious though, totally gutted to see the DQ next to this one at the end of the heat. A tight film that managed to pack all the usual MITCIT goofiness within a coherent storyline. Only thing that was missing was copious quantities of CGI. Will be rooting for a "best disqualified" award for this film for sure.

SUPERb

Very strong opening, brilliant characters, totally derailed by the third act. If they were being ironic then they totally nailed the hollywood superhero formula. A good effort but would have loved to see it go somewhere deeper. Is that too much to ask of a 48 hours short? Probably.

Bad Rock

Brilliant team logo featuring actual toes and actual jam. A mildly pretentious but pretty slick production. Don't want to give too much away, but everyone got a great laugh from a certain vegetable based cameo. The horror ending was a tad tacky but kept fresh enough with a little twist. The high-definition scenery was breathtakingly good, a really great way to start the first heat in the first year HD has been an option. If only all the shorts were this pleasing to look at.

The Stile

A grim tale of star crossed lovers. One of those films where you think you know where it's going and you hope you're wrong. Shakey camera and shallow depth of field are often overused, but here they work well to help tell the story. Quite a change in tone if you're expecting "The Shirt: 3", so kudos to this team for taking some risks.

Harpy's Call

The first half of an innovative double feature with Half Shell. Always great to see teams trying something new for 48 hours, and I believe Guerilla Gorilla were the instigators of this mad plot, so congratulations for pulling it off! Story wise, it was a bit tricky to follow. Time travel in a fantasy movie seemed out of place (until you realise the 2nd team drew time travel!) and could've been worked in a bit more smoothly. The technical aspects of getting this done must've been a nightmare, which is probably why as a standalone film everything felt a bit rushed. Some enjoyable moments between the villain and the hero. He seemed a lot less cold-blooded than Half Shell's version. I hope this team thinks of an even crazier way to bend our minds next year. Never stop pushing the boundaries.

We'll just have to do things the long way.

Ultra Duo done right. I don't think I've seen a Mad Scientist film before, so this film was quite a ride. A great example of those rare gems of weird 48 hour films that don't take themselves too seriously. The ambitious concept drew me in despite the bad sound and variable visual effects. The payoff was clever, and I think even Davros would be envious of those Gatling gun chairs. Next year's compulsory prop for sure.

Porn Film; Untitled

Probably the funniest film of the first heat. A shame the audio was a little on the quiet side, a fair bit of dialogue was drowned out by laughter. Can't complain too much though. At least we were laughing. Thankfully didn't see any, but the naked guy clearly has balls for being naked in front of so many people for pretty much the entire film. Would love to know how many kiwi film puns they came up with before settling for "an anal at my table".

Mum

Hands down the best script in Dunedin this year. So much good dialogue backed up by solid acting from the children. Great cinematography as well, especially the inventive high angle shot within the house. The ending was rather predictable and either needed slightly less heavy handed foreshadowing or something extra to elevate it further. I'm not saying we wanted Mum to eat the rat, but some of us probably wanted Mum to eat the rat. A lot a nice little details throughout, altogether another outstanding effort from Studio Giblets.

Nothing To See Here

A masterclass in story and sound design. I've watched this a few times just to see how well executed this was. Even the drone shot was motivated! One of my favourite lockdown films for sure.

DopeMonkey Live

At first I thought the genre was musical because nobody would voluntarily make a musical, but slowly the gross out vibe gets stronger and stronger. Really funny that the grossest thing on screen is the gratuitous quantity of animated vomit, and not what the character is reacting to. The reaction video format is a really inventive use of split screen, initially it seemed like a cheap way to get out of too much animation, but then we are treated to three characters animated on screen by one animator at once! What a mammoth achievement. A solid 5/7 perfect score.

Mannequin Shenanigans

An irreverent 4th wall breaking take on the apocalypse with villains straight out of Doctor Who. I love the line about drama student's egos, especially because presumably this film was made by drama students. Well acted, though I had trouble understanding what the mannequins were saying with the heavy effects on their voices. Great foley for the explosions though, and apparently a casual "nah mate" is an appropriate response to the threat of death. Very kiwi.

Self-A-Were

A cute little were-rom-com with some excellent character animation, which is no easy feat in 48 hours. I love how this team combines live action with animation, so the team intro and cardboard sets were quite a treat. I would have liked to see that aesthetic carried through to the backgrounds for final scene, which felt a bit rushed in comparison. With a solid story and a tonne of animation it's fair to say time was spent where it needed to be. A howling good take on the splat-stick genre, this film has real bite.

Free As The Wind

What a wild ride. I'm not sure I've ever seen a team take a compulsory element, make it a character, and just run with it. This film went in all sorts of unexpected directions before returning to the expected conclusion with a neat little baby gag and perhaps a more sinister undertone. We all remember what the wind said about snatching babies. Altogether a surreal journey. I don't know if they still do awards for best strange film, but this is a contender for sure.