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Just Genes

ken blose

Reviews

Re-maid

An interesting film reasonably well executed.

I'm Gonna

Disappointed the team didn’t live up to its name and produce a 1:1 film. Nah jks this film was a great time. A neat story very well executed. What more can I say? Well not too much cause I still have a bunch more reviews to write..

Him & Her

As a disclaimer, I typically hate musicals, but I think this was an incredibly creative use of the genre. The first couple verses and Him/Her chorus are a banger, but then it did begin to get a little too High School Musical meets Hillsong for my liking. I was wondering why it never returned to the Him/Her chorus (or perhaps it did, and I’m misremembering)?

My thoughts on the song itself over, the performance / lip syncing and compositing in this film are an incredible feat, not to mention the elaborate amount of costumes! An incredible achievement for 2 people to complete in 48 hours.

I have no idea what happened at the end though. You might have to explain that to me. If you had stuck the landing this would have been my number 1 of the evening,.

Two Steps Forward

Certainly the best team intro of the evening, and an intriguing short film. I think there may have been some audience confusion for a while as the initial dialogue about the time traveling pill was a little hard to hear. I liked the way the film ended, and it was good that I wasn't 100% clear on how the time travel worked. No film should get too into the nitty gritty details.

Aurora

The details for this one are a little foggy for me, I’m sorry, but overall I remember enjoying the film, just erhaps thinking that the full story was a little unclear. Certainly a neat concept and shows some potential.

Dumb Cult

Another great comedy from No Budget Ninjas centred around an odd but intriguing scenario. The format was great, the jokes were great. Overall, a joy to behold, and exactly what I expect from 48hr vets like yourselves.

Crumbling City, Tumbling Minds

A very nice looking film with some audio issues, an interesting premise, but sadly not a lot of payoff. I left a little confused as to the story itself, and didn’t quite see the ten year time span. Definitely a team I hope to see competing in the future.

Tadpole

Some good techniques used here, although the long dialogue scene in the casino could have been trimmed a bit. The ADR was well done, but the audio overall was missing some atmosphere (like sfx of slot machines, or even just some room tone), which I know is not a massive priority, but if you have time to add in the weekend can be a huge improvement to the film.

The Price

Take it as a compliment that this film was incredibly creepy! Now I’m not a big horror fan, so perhaps I’m not quite in tune with what the genre typically follows, but I felt it was a bit lacking that there was no final struggle from the heroes. They sort of just follow this creepy trail to their deaths, no major confrontation, which would have been good to see, even if they still end up loosing.

Down 2 The Wire

I can't say this film was as good as its predecessor, however it does a really good job at connecting the two thematically. The film looked and sounded great. My only confusion was with how and why the two characters were at the house. Although there was certainly a lot of tension leading up to it, the bomb difusal itself felt very low stakes, unlike in the first film, where other lives were at stake, and fleeing was not an option.

Banana Chick and Cat Girl

A laugh all the way through, but a story that was somewhat difficult to follow.

Maurice

An intriguing story, mostly well made. It could use some sort of visual cue to make the flashbacks more obvious, as during the first one I thought it was part of the same scene, and was a bit confused geographically.

Also totally thought when he asked for water that he was going to be drenched from a bucket of water falling from the sky or something. The water bottle story worked well though, I only feel the ending could have been communicated a little better. Is this like Mario Kart where you lose/die when all three balloons are popped? A little unclear. Also would have been a great place for a reaction shot of the main character when the balloon is being reached for / popped.

The Drop

Had me laughing right till the bitter end.

Twenty Four Hour Rewind

Of all the Groundhog Day style films to come out of the competition this year, this film is the only one to have nailed it, due to the well structured story, convincing performances, and solid editing. Great to see an improvement from last year and I hope to see you go further in the future.

There Was A Way

Wowzer, what a ride. What a thrill. At first I thought you guys had made a musical and then BAM you get right into the splatstick and have done the genre better than any other team I’ve seen, embracing it to the absolute fullest.

Make Time

A clever plot that unfortunately got quite tiresome after the constant repeating of events, which weren’t different enough to hold my interest. Perhaps the issue is that you were focusing on the daughter, whose actions didn’t change every reset, when it was the other girl’s actions that would’ve been changing, and therefore we needed to see more of that. When going for that Groundhog Day style plot, as many teams did this year, one of the most effective ways to do that is to have your main character getting more desperate to achieve their goal in each time reset and having that clearly shown through their actions and quickening the pace in the editing.

The Last Lord of Scotland

Certainly a cute idea, and the photographer is great, but I can’t help but feel that the resolution between the couple felt a little forced. Great team intro too!

Follow

An intriguing film. I absolutely loved the shot of the ambulances lights reflecting on the number plate. A very smart use of resources there. Only thing I would say is that it felt like it was all over very quickly.

Terra-Fried

Wow, now this is an incredible feat. This film looked like it should’ve taken weeks to produce. Not only was it technically incredible, but the story was clever and the jokes were all great. 48Hour filmmaking at its finest.

Decision day

Another attempt at a Groundhog Day style time loop that really falls flat because the exact same action is repeated over and over with no increase in pace. Seriously, go watch Groundhog Day, or Edge of Tommorrow. You’ll notice that certain events are skipped or shortened each loop, which really helps to keep the audiences attention. The last thing the audience wants is to see the same or similar looking footage without a decent reason for it to be there. I hope I’m not misremembering your film and you actually did quicken the pace, but if you did, I definitely still felt it could’ve been even quicker, as I lost interest not too far into the first loop - probably because your film is missing another hugely key aspect to making a Groundhog Day style film, and that is that your character should know that they are in a time loop. Without that, we are essentially watching the same events occur over and over again, with little change, and we are not taking a journey with a character. Without the character being aware of the loop, he has no reason to make a single change to his life, and any changes that happen are left to pure chance. I feel like the message you were trying to send was not that if you randomly don’t hit your head on the cupboard in the morning, you’ll be wiser with your money and relationships, but that’s essentially what happened. Now, going by the weird and visually confusing key effect you had going on, it looked like the man saw himself being argued with, but then after that point it was very unclear whether he stepped into that loop or was just watching the loop play out. If your character was supposed to be aware of the loop, there was certainly no reaction on his face communicating that to us. Now I realise this review may sound fairly negative, but I wouldn’t write such a long review just because I don’t like a film. It’s because I see a lot of potential in your team, to tell intriguing stories and send some thought provoking messages. What you really need to work on is the structure of your story and your visual communication, as well as thinking about what you can do in the editing to help further your storytelling (eg. quickening the pace of each time loop). Unfortunately this film is a just a notch below last year’s effort, but I hope to see you in the competition again next year.

Polaroid 2

Loved this film. A perfect sequel that explores some very interesting themes of sacrifice and realisation. Was on the edge of my seat right till the end.

The Interview

Some funny moments here and a good performance from the interviewer. I was left a little foggy though on how the whole poison thing played out. Perhaps would have been cool to have the three of them play some mind games with each other before deciding which glass to drink from.

The Ad

One of my favourites of the evening! While it was initially a little tough to sit through, the intentionally awkward acting really pays off in the end. The final conversation on the deck felt a little awkward too, but it comes together nicely with the commentary of the rugby match and ends up with a very satisfying and entertaining finished product!

Castle Cat-burglars

Didn’t 100% follow what happens, but a really great use of invisibility and an awesome location make for a decent entry. I think some things to think about would be some clarification around the story, what the character’s motivations are, and I know it’s hard, but thinking of a satisfying ending that will resolve the conflict brought up in the film. Eg. Have the hero’s do something smart to overcome the knight that is chasing them, rather than them just running away.

Pop goes the Weasel

While I appreciate the creative solution to getting thrown the musical genre, I really wish you’d chosen some other subject matter, or at least gone about it in a more tasteful way. Similarly to Heat 6’s “Speak Up”, this film inadvertently is sending the complete wrong message, by having your main characters aggressively getting revenge on the subject. While you had a great monster in the chair, you also had three female monsters surrounding him, and I don’t assume that was your intention. I also thought the whole “admit what you’ve done or I’ll cut you up” business got pretty repetitive and dull after a while, and the story never really progressed or had much rising tension. Perhaps the story would’ve benfitted had it been focused more on the three women freaking out about the situation and trying to find a solution, building up that tension that possibly it ends with the man accidentally getting killed, That way the man still gets his poetic justice without the film sending an unwarranted aggressive message.

qk

Watching this film is like watching my own children grow up and take flight.

The execution is beyond phenomenal for a 48Hours film, but more than that, this film means something. Which is more than I can say for most of the national finalists this year. qk shows an understanding of what filmmaking is all about, by telling a meaningful story and doing it in a splendorous fashion.

If these films were judged regionally I have no doubt qk would have cleaned up the competition.

The Immortal

Excellent production design and cinematography! And a stand out performance from the female lead, but it is unfortunate that the audio was not captured as well as it could have, and I think partially due to that, I had a really hard time following the dialogue and what the story was actually about. Audio is half your film so make it count!

White Christmas

An enjoyable film with good dialogue from Mr Claus. Can't imagine Christmas is an easy genre, so I applaud you for working with that and coming up with a great idea.

tips

An entertaining film throughout, that does well with a simple premise and single location.

The Spares

A rather enjoyable film, and a solid attempt at Ultra. I was a little unsure, however of what animal the grey looking one was. And yea, I’m gonna be that guy that points out that in the OG tale of Noah, they were actually on board for about a year, or around 220 days till they were resting on the mountain as seen in your film. This sort of thing sticks out at me like a sore thumb and shows that you haven’t really done your research on the story you’re parodying. Of course, your joke wouldn’t have worked otherwise, but that’s only because the audience is just as uneducated. Maybe you could’ve replace the line with a more accurate amount of time, followed a fourth wall breaking “it’s actually a common misconception that we were only in here for 40 days and 40 nights.” The other thing I’d note is that I think that we needed a little more breathing room after those killer jokes, as the audience laughter really did make it hard to hear some dialogue, so that’s something I think you have to account for in the edit. Unfortunately I didn’t get the final punchline until after the screening when someone mentioned it to me, I think due to the fact that I missed something at the end there. All around though, a great 48 Hour film and no doubt we will see it go further in the competition.

Doom Comes to Mars-Town

A great location and some well used effects, both practical and digital, make for a fun little sci-fi adventure, although I’m a little fuzzy on what the story was at the end there.

Also notice you had some issues with the aspect ratio masking. Pro tip (at least if using Premiere Pro): make your sequence the wide aspect ratio (eg. 1920x800), and then because 48Hours requires it, drag your entire sequence into a new 1920x1080 sequence for export. Much better than physically sticking a black bars png on top!

Concatenated

I really enjoyed this film! Love the opening and tying it up in the end. I think what drags it down a little is slightly cheap feeling action with the very unprofessional looking cop (is he a cop?) who doesn’t handle his gun very safely... I feel that if you can find a way to create the same tension and outcome without a gun, your film will be a lot better, because when not used appropriately, guns just feel like a cop out.

Also, PSA, please call the police ahead of time if you’re ever using a prop gun in public! Don’t want the armed defenders squad showing up (yea that can really happen).

Dick, Actually

Some great funny moments throughout. Loved the gag with the pizza, although I was expecting Dick would reveal that he put the pineapple on there! And a sad but funny ending too!

The Second Coming of Draven

I enjoyed the comedic subversion of the genre here, I just feel that this was a great idea that could have been explored a bit more. The dialogue from the cultists was a bit repetitive, it would have been cool if there were some explanations as to how David the medium got misconstrued into being known as Draven, like a thousand years of miscommunication. And then at the end I would have liked to see David do something, rather than just have everyone walk away plainly. When they asked him to kill all the unfaithful I was expecting them to suddenly explode or something, as they were the ones that were unfaithful to David. Or perhaps I’m reading it wrong? Still, a solid effort and a great visual effect to sell your invisible character.

Duck Off!

What even happened? I’m not too sure. But it was funny as hell. Keep up that humour and work on condensing it into a thought provoking, tear inducing story... or y’know, do whatever the hell you like.

An Appointment with a Poo

This movie was so much fun. Well written, and wonderfully executed. One of the few dialogue heavy films I’ve seen this year that really works.

Isolation

This film was carried by a once again stellar performance from Tom Trevella and some beautiful cinematography. Spoilers below, I guess. I saw the twist coming as soon as she was let in through the gate, but then you totally broke that expectation with the blood and the "I'm human" line, so in the end I didn't see it coming! Only thing I would say was that I was a little confused at the end. Part of the problem may have been that Tom's character wasn't panicked enough, and we didn't see as much of a shock on his face at the reveal as I would've expected. Perhaps some tense music could've helped that moment also. But take this all with a grain of salt, because everything tastes better with salt. This was the first film I saw of the evening so forgive me if I've misremembered some of the details!

PLAN B

A fantastic use of split-screen and heist genre, which was beautifully subverted for some great action and comedy. I did however, get a little lost at the end, as it was unclear to me why they failed. She killed the rich guy? Does that mean they couldn’t steal what they were looking for? - maybe we needed to see more of their goal, as I can’t recall what it was they were even trying to achieve. And while I did like the way you sneakily included time travel, part of me also wishes you’d used split-screen to your advantage to make an actual time travel movie, although that would mean a totally different film. I suppose you went with plan B.

The Ballad of Kiwi Kate

It was a little slow at first, but I really got into as the song went along! A cute and simple western story told rather well with some good visuals and decent songwriting.

Home

Although this film was, in terms of cinematography, on fleek, I found the story mildly confusing. I loved the intercutting between the interrogation and the main story, but found it hard to understand how 'Vengeance' was a theme and also for what reason the guy was hit in the head by his apparent partner.

Fang, Bat, Stake

A film with a somewhat familiar plot... but overall entertaining story. It took me a while to figure out that they were vampires, as I was bit confused by the constant returning to the same house with different products - perhaps there needed to be an extra scene in there where Vlad talks to the other guy about his motivation for making the sale on this particular customer, which would make the betrayal all the better at the end.

The Gust

Couldn’t tell if the off-sync stuff was intentional or not given the audiences reaction. The VFX was absolutely on point though. Those freaky flying killers looked super convincing.

Hannah's Boring Life

Toot Toot strikes again! I can’t get over how on top of 48Hours meta humour you guys are. My only concern was that the riddle at the end didn’t actually make sense? Or at least I just didn’t understand how either of them was a reluctant hero. I thought the answer to the riddle was going to be Jesus. It just being the narrator perhaps felt a little too easy, but I do really like the twist at the end! (And he’s right, Shortland Street isn’t that bad)

Trolley King

Opening song is fantastic! The rest plays out alright, aside from a bit of a weird moment where the aspect ratio was over-squished, and then the final reveal just felt quite anti-climactic. Didn’t really understand the motivation behind wallet guy’s fake photo. Why is he calling the guy an arsehole for returning his wallet? I think it would have been good to focus the story on the trolleys. I want to see the trolley king earn his title.

Utka

A lovely story from start to finish, and a great breath of fresh air from all the live action films in the competition. A huge achievement for a multi-country 48 hour duo animated Ultra. I don’t know if you could set yourself a greater challenge!

Falling For You

Very smart and creative humour. A good laugh the whole way through. The shifting white balance was a bit off putting, however.

The Wish (hopefully nobody else picked that title)

I actually found this film a little less entertaining than last year’s. It started off really strong but after a while I got a little sick of the genie’s character and continuously going back to the bar seemed a little on the lazy side. If a little more thought was put into the structure of the story rather than solely focusing on great jokes, I think we could’ve seen a really great film.

Mother Ship

A really enjoyable film with some great gags, although I feel it could’ve embraced the genre further with even more cringe.

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

An incredibly enjoyable Ultra piece. An innovative idea and well executed.

The Trees Are Alive!

Some great moments in this film where I truly felt the tension, with a great use of lighting and quick camera movements. Just felt that the ending was a little unresolved.

One Drop

Great visual jokes at the beginning and interesting concept of the man shrinking down. I feel the witch didn't feel to much like a witch during her conversation with the man, but more like just an old lady. It would've been interesting to hear some more deceitful dialogue from her, so that she tricks the man into taking the potion, rather than the man just being an idiot who would listen to some crazy lady. Also, a very good use of Comic Sans.

Potem Immortales

A mostly fun ride, but could possibly just do with a bit of a stronger structure and a more clear story. ie. What exactly are the characters’ goals and motivations? Certainly a step up from last year, and I think the first musical I’ve seen this year which is actually a musical, so thumbs up for that!

SURE AS SHIP

An excellent solo effort. Loved the visuals and thought you used your resources very cleverly.

The Marquis de Sade

While impressive on every technical level, I can’t say I enjoyed this film at all. Not just because of how disturbing it was (and I’ll grant you, you’ve done the best of any film this year at covering such a topic), but largely because I felt like there was no reason for it all. I feel like maybe you were trying to send some sort of message, but if you were, that was unclear. I thought maybe you’d follow in classic Strang fashion and reveal that your film is a prequel to Pulp Fiction. But instead, I was only left wondering why I watched these events happen. And that’s simply what they were, events. I didn’t feel that there was any real story to be told. Maybe it’s just not for me, but it was certainly a disappointment coming from my personal favourite team of 2017.

Eggs for Breakfast

Gotta be honest this one lost me. I like some of the techniques used to tell the story over multiple nights, although wasn’t sure about the split screen moment, as that made me think we were going to see the girl’s side of the story too. But yea the ending really got me a little confused at the point of the whole thing. I think the ideas could have been communicated a little more subtly than a voice over simply giving his hot take on the place relationships have in society, because it just doesn’t come off feeling super genuine, and story of the eggs doesn’t feel like it naturally ties in. Perhaps rather than a sudden voice over at the end, the story of the eggs is one that he is drunkenly retelling to one of the girls, then the only voice over you need is the final line about “sometimes you just need some eggs”. I don’t dislike the sentiment, I actually totally understand it, I just don’t think it was communicated in the best way.

Pandora's Night: Deleted Scenes

This film was incredible. The 'deleted scenes' felt absolutely like legitimate deleted scenes in the way they were edited. The whole film's story was very well told, with some great moments of humour, and very intelligent use of on set practical effects.

Hart & Soul

A lot of fun, with great gags, acting and editing. Team intro felt unnecessary considering you sort of had two of them.

P.A.N

Certainly had me laughing harder than any other of the night. Perhaps the first 48Hours mockumentary I’ve seen that actually puts effort into making it look like a documentary. You really knew what you were doing. The lead performance and the escalating hilarity made this film my personal favourite of the night, however it just lacked a conclusive ending. We don’t necessarily need to know what happens to the characters, but even on a technical level we need to feel like the film is coming to a close, rather than just cutting to black abruptly. Perhaps all it needed was a nice close up of the lead’s face as he embraces his fate with a smile. I look forward to seeing more from this team in the future.

Velociraptor

It seems the rules of 48 Hours are a little more flexible than the real world, where you would be immediately caught out for using Hallelujah (in NZ you still need permission to legally produce a parody). I would highly recommend writing an entirely original composition, as not only did I find your efforts to be a little lazy, but an original score is far more impressive and really brings your film up to the next level. As for the rest of the film, I found it quite enjoyable, and while I laughed at the ending I was a little confused as to how the two wouldn’t have known they were siblings. Apologies if I’ve just missed something. There are a lot of films to remember (and for the sake of my own consistency I’d like to refrain from rewatching the films before reviewing, now that some are available).

WOOD NOT BELIEVE IT

Had a funny premise, and a solid second half, but the reporter segment in the first half seemed to run a little long, and from a technical standpoint, didn’t look the part - the shot ideally needed to be wider and on a tripod to make it feel more like an actual news report.

soulmates

Beautifully shot with some nifty editing, this film definitely shows off a talented crew. You’ve got some great concepts and know how to execute them well on film, however I felt the structure of the film was a little too simple. Simple storytelling is definitely what you want in 48Hours, but this film didn’t really go up and down, it sort of just rode down the middle in a straight, unwavering line. I hope what I’m trying to describe makes sense to you. Essentially I would’ve liked to have seen more of a character journey - we saw the result, but we didn’t really get to experience how she got there. The “peace treaty” scene was particularly abrupt and felt undeserved. Huge creative potential though. Definitely hope to see more from this team in the future.

Popsicle Man

A good fun time, but I wish you’d delved even deeper into the hilarious differences between our cultures, and not bogged yourselves down too much with the hidden treasure storyline.

Nan's Hole

Well done on making a funny and enjoyable musical! I do feel like there was more potential for a good gag in the eye-hole moment, and a second pass on the sound mix worthwhile, but overall a solid effort!

Time Saver

Very good looking film with excellent lighting, production design and cinematography. I just had a hard time understanding the plot itself. Didn’t know why they were stuck in there, and felt it wasn’t too clear if he was travelling back in time every time he hit that button, and by how much? Still, very impressive for 48Hours!

#ourplanet

This team shows a lot of skill and creativity. Shot compositions and dialogue were particularly good (and ballsy for such a young team). My only key concern with the film was that the story was a little unclear at times. It took far too long for us to learn who the guy was that they were chasing. Other than that, hats off to you. I hope you guys continue with the competition far into the future.

Accessories Not Included

A front runner I think for AJ's best ending award! This film had a really great atmosphere and an intriguing story, although admittedly it got a little foggy for me around the midpoint on what was actually going on, but it all became clear in the end. Very well done. I think something that could help would be trying to make the dialogue a little more concise, and make the effort to get good clear audio, as that will help audience comprehension a lot.

Hysteria

One of the best Tech Thrillers I’ve seen in the competition this year. Even if it was a little derevitive of Black Mirror, it was still incredibly well executed, with some good camera work and editing. I really felt the tension building towards the end. The only thing I missed was that there was quite a sudden jump from her being in the computer to being in the kitchen speaker. I think it would’ve been nicer to forget the speaker and just have that dialogue with her in the computer screen, where it’s easier to build on that relationship.

Natalie & Gregory

One of the stand outs of the evening for me. A great laugh all the whole way through, with a great performance from the lead. One slight concern of mine was that the girl's "why are you in my house??" dialogue got a little repetitive at the end there, and there were just a few missed opportunities I thought in the editing. For example, we have Gregory saying something like "can't wait to hear all the nice things she has to say about me", then if we had immediately cut to Natalie saying terrible things about him would've improved that joke a lot. Very excited about this film though, and can't wait to see more from this team in the future!

PC High

All round brilliant filmmaking. The actors played their parts really well and the comedy was great. One major thing that for the purposes of Ultra, kind of seems odd, is that the teacher was definitely a main character in the film, which my understanding is that that’s against the rules. I think there is an easy enough fix for this though, that only requires a little bit of restructuring at the beginning. Basically, don’t start with the teacher’s interview, and only include her interview in short snippets. All her in-situ moments were great, but we really need to be focussing on our teenage leads throughout the entirety of the film. It’s also worth noting that I did not pick up on the fact that the zombie was accepted into the school due to its PC nature until reading your team comment. The way the actors played it, it seemed to me that everyone was simply oblivious to the fact, so perhaps that plot point needed to be a little clearer. Still, a great film that may or may not be very cleverly sending a message about a certain school. But what was with that team intro? I was thinking it was a sequel to your beauty from 2016, but then it turned out to be... exactly the same. I expected better.

A Hearts Desire

Ah-maze-zing! Love your team’s dedication to makeup, and the film was shot splendidly, with an hilarious ending too! You guys just get better and better every year.

Cushy: A Pull Story

Such a beautiful film, and one of my personal favourites of the competition so far. Not much else to say here but great job, and can’t wait to see what you come up with in the future!

Rob

Agree with the above, once inside the house I don’t think you would have broken the immersion to jump into regular camera angles. I think because the of the single angle and lack of editing (forgive me if I’m misremembering) it was hard to get behind the characters at the end. I hope they took the PS3, 4 and 5 with them though. Screw the groom.

Concatenated

Just been pondering this and back to add a retroactive note about my guns comment. I think a possible fix here is that the cop just shouldn't have pulled out the gun until the end. Perhaps he gets the gun in the car and puts it in his pants, then the chase I think would be much more believable, and he pulls it out at the very end to raise the tension.

Sorry for the double comment, I feel my initial review was a little hasty!