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42 Reviews

Reviews

Nickys List

Can I just say - this team intro took me by surprise and made the whole cinema crack up laughing. And it went on for exactly the right amount of time. Had high hopes from the start. And they were met! This was a genuinely funny heart-warmer with ingenuity and class. The film engages quickly with the audience through some clever but unnerving good-acting. Then *something* happens (I'll forgive it) and our hero returns to the leaf-motif (it's screamingly funny) and sets about his life-mission. It's a charming and fresh take on a simple idea, lovingly executed by a small cast. Kiss ALL the girls! But only one can win his heart. Ticked all the boxes and made for a cinematic storytelling highlight. Fairytale-esque.

Brothers

Perhaps the ballsiest film I've _ever_ seen in 48 Hours. Here's a team that knows what they're doing, and is not afraid to challenge you a bit. It's technically excellent, and at times difficult to look at for how far it goes with certain cinematic techniques. But it's on purpose! 'Brothers' has an original score, visually spectacular execution of its bold and dynamic photographic imagery that sets it way apart from anything we've seen before. To state the bleeding obvious (spoilers?), the shots portray with remarkable accuracy the poignancy and clarity but lack of action details we experience in *memory* - and it's that trick along with a painful but perfect sense of timing that sets off the emotion and buy-in that it seems only this approach could deliver. I found the film-maker afterwards and shook his hand, this work is gold and not everyone will like it (can be hard to follow) but those that love it simply won't care.

Dead Meat

Applause! Wow, there's some choice work that's as Cormack McCarthy as it is Peter Jackson. This film opens with some rough & raw close-ups and it keeps the good hits coming. The colours in muted tones, the fabulously suggestive isolated location, and wow the child-acting. Dare I say it's better than the film's only speaking adult! This one's got great cinematography, tense dialogue and timing, smart but insidious kids and totally believable special effects. A treat to be made in this much time and clearly a genre curve-ball that took the team off-guard. Here's the zombie film we ALL want to make where the tough survive and who that is might just surprise you. Loved it, got the cinema murmuring before the applause. Beautifully balanced.

A TIme Of Legends

I sat next to this bunch and they're a nice bunch of guys. A young (but not that young) team with an eye for locations and an ear for stories. But maybe too *many* stories! 'Time of Legends' tracks down and catches up with three urban legends and asks: what do they do now? But separating its actors makes it hard to engage despite characters rife with flaws. Still, this is well made for a young team with stacks of good content presented in flowing montages and effective use of some advanced techniques like ADR to troubleshoot sound issues. If they'd recorded a buzz-track in the narrator's location that could have been even better! The team is still learning, but it seems like they're working things out well for themselves. They should hang with some other crews, learn their tricks and be back to impress us proper next year.

Bricks & Mortar

Wow! What the fuck, this was too good! Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of footage I'd suggest cutting back. I just _really_ hope this team wasn't disqualified for being too long. Despite limited equipment available, this team uses amazing cinematography and camera techniques that set up scene and character - better than I've seen from any other school team. This team shows great knowledge of the genre and makes use of several Action tropes early on, but sometimes at the expense of pacing. But it gets really strong in the third act, with a menacing/annoying/despicable bad guy and some side-splitting and satisfying moments of slow-build humour. Then a stonker of a fight breaks out, like it has to. Perhaps the best fight I've seen in the heats this year! And then wow! That slow-mo shot! Where did that COME from and how exactly did you do it? Best technical use of slow-mo from a young team yet, and dropped with perfect timing. Boom! I loved it. This whole team should stay together even if they're leaving school, and don't get freaking disqualified next year.

AFGHANI GOLD

Stop-motion, always an impressive and difficult choice. This is a beautifully made set with some good life between the two (alive) characters. I do like the early shot of the plane flying by the full moon - sets a scene and introduces a fairly tense premise: a whodunnit on a plane! Alas, it's missing the engagement and grit of a good crime film, and fails to keep its location interesting by cutting away. Didn't catch the slow-mo, too bad. Good additional sound.

To Dad

This was an arty and slightly philisophical film with a focus on an introspective lead character's "last autonomous day". There were some highlights here with the use of time-lapse and a good use of the required line at a dramatic moment... but it felt like the team needed more time to edit and perfect the stitching together of its "moments". Would have been nice to get a story that matches the ambition of the introspection, but again that may be a time factor. I hope the team don't regret setting up so many nice shots as well! Strong acting at times and what could have been a nice film if it weren't for that ticking damn clock.

Trigger Happy

DaBalance did really well. The film cut *straight* in to the conflict and action of the story, then presented a packed-full film that was always opening new plot threads and things to remember. It's a party where everything's going wrong, and things go *really* wrong. Good use of tropes around the vampires and action - *inviting* Lucretia in to the house etc. The team made great use of sound for a young crew, and I suspect the only limitation in that department was their equipment. This is an ambitious and action-packed single-shot with good use of slow-mo, a make-up change and an always-moving camera. Great work!

Happy Birthday Nicky Brick

I'll be honest. This film's team-intro is the best I have ever seen. It's amazing. I could not look away. Combining 'One Shot' with 'END OF THE FREAKING WORLD' is an ambitious goal for any team. Ten trucks has a few years doing this behind them, but I still *had* to wonder if they were up to it. And yep, they are. Ten trucks are always funny and they have a knack for timing. Some of the timing skill didn't translate to the ruthless challenge of one-shot, but hey - some of it did! Our unlucky protagonist has a great moment of almost getting lucky... then, of course... spectacular unluck. A strong, captivating and unapologetically ambitious film. I'd have loved to see a location change, but the team did well with what they had. And the intro was spectacular.

Alien Apocalypse : A Guide To Survival

This little end-of-the-world features a documentary about the aliens that are about to invade our precious little Earth. It's got a vintagey feel despite contemporary content and a characteristic narration style. It's cool! The team should be proud. I'm not quite sure it's an end of the world film. But it's got some funny moments, it's got a variety of locations and it's got a screamingly great use of slow-mo. Great practice for a small team to hone their craft.

Interstellar

There were a few familiar faces in this team and if I'm remembering them right, they're getting better every year. This was a fairly straight-forward alien invasion achieved with a small cast and some legit visual special effects. The voiceover was effective and the lighting effects were rather convincing! The team knew their genre well and seem to have got exactly what they wanted, and that's commendable. From here I'd say further technical practice and fine-tuning their writing practice will make the team one to watch out for.

Hinterland

Pirates storm the beach and take to the forest in search of treasure. Didn't this team turn up as pirates last year too? Whatever :-) The plastic sword really let down the full (but slightly too clean) costumes in this piece, but the sword was made up for by some lovely shots and great use of sound. If a little wooden, the film effectively tells a nice little straightforward story with a minor twist. Rr.

Appreciating Nothing

This film has a dreamy quality that I think the team can be quite proud of. Despite obvious limitations of equipment they were able to use the camera in artistic and professional ways - backed up by a strong sense of timing in the editing department. There were some really difficult shots here that came off beautifully, especially scenes shot on the beach and running on the street. I have to admit that I didn't find the film especially inspiring, and although that's hard to do, the first thing is to have a story that's easy to follow. Still, the rising and falling action does add to the dream-like nature and voice-over narration of the whole piece. I'd like to see what these guys could do with a couple of months on another film.

DMZ

Lots of music, no attempt to take themselves too seriously and lots of bizzaro variety. Laffs for zombie in choir, laffs for zombie being main character, hokey dance n' song number, a glory hole accident in full view, and a simple story gets told. What more could you want? This team will need a lot of polish but they have all the creativity they need.

BBS

Can't stop laughing. This is perfect Kiwi piss-take humour with a good heart and a ridiculous premise. They took the text-book expert approach to the genre and made an incredibly sweet film from team-intro (amazing!) through to credits (the kind you'd stay in the theatre for). It's got science and action and a variety of locations and completely adorkable actors. Mega-cool, probably heaps of fun to make and I can't wait to see it again.

Zomboy

I was surprised by this film! Hungry Lion clearly moved at great speed and reaped the benefits. It's a tale of the first zombies in an apocalypse, and it's a packed full film that feels like it was made with all the time in the world. Right from the start we see effective use of lighting, adherence to the expected horror tropes, and an inherent understanding of shot-building. The film is fast, seems to burn through an endless stream of appropriate location changes (including a blisteringly funny scene on a bus), and takes us through a lot of emotions along the way. High hopes for Hungry Lion, these guys are masters in the making.

Fallen

Good on these guys for attempting a serious superhero film. It shows some excellent storytelling devices and for the most part it is excellently shot. I was impressed by the use of special effects in ways that are both simple and more comlex, but at all times effective. This is one I heard people talking about afterwards - using words like "beautiful". I did feel like the acting (it may have been the accents) let this one down, and the difference could have been two extra stars on an already-strong film. A nice technique to present this story as a retrospective and good use of motif in telling the story.

CONVICTED

This is encouraging! Blank Pages are a young and clearly new-at-this little crew. And they drew musical - not a forgiving genre! But the girls got straight to work with a proper attempt to create the best film they could, and though the production quality left plenty to be desired, it's delightful to see what they got right. I also have to say that the line directly following the friendship-song had the WHOLE cinema in hysterics, maybe the biggest laugh of the night. I thought I was going to cry with laughter. And it's clear that the team used the right process to make the film. Create the music, record the video, combine. So cool! Well done, it might take years of practice but you've definitely shown that Blank Pages has got what it takes.

Broken Clover

Disappointed in Big Red Firetruck this year. A team of proper grown-ups with access to some pretty amazing locations, costumes and props, but underutilised. Seemed like a bunch of guys with guns doing things that are a bit boring! It's not that they ever need to fire, just that the tension of their situation could have come through a lot more. But that's the plot, it seems, good-for-nothings go bush, then everybody dies. Too bad the characters seemed as surprised about the plot occurring as anyone else (what was with that?) I want to see more refined (not necessarily serious) work from Big Red Firetruck, maybe next year.

Nicky Brick Supernormal Investigator - Case 4: The Barber

Battlecam might be new on the scene, but if they're not I'll be remembering them from now on. This team has some flare and pizzazz, and I can't tell if that's coming from a writing team that work well together or perhaps just from the overclocked wardrobe of actress Nicky Shannon. Wherever it's coming from, the look of this "supernormal" crime is distinctive with fresh cinematography and funky presentation of its material, following two private investigators (who happen to be the most obvious people in the town) as they watch their mark. The clarity of what's going on, and perhaps its unnecessary subtext swings at "what's normal" let the film down exactly where it should shine, and the ending is a bit unsatisfying if you're looking for a suggested future for these fairly engaging characters. Still, it's a fun ride that doesn't fail to engage on several levels simultaneously. Lots of mystery, lots of jazz, and the dissonance may be exactly what they're trying to point out. I'd like to see what else this team has done.

Mis-take

Man, this angry chick sure is angry about her bracelet. Almost too angry. Risks destroying the film for how seriously she's taking it. This was pretty well executed but I didn't think it a likely story. I think they had fun making this, and the team probably got exactly what they wanted. Tense at times, and makes you wonder what you'd do in that situation. A tale of "what if" with a MacGuffin and a strong one-dimensional antagonist.

Briefcase of Pain

There'll be no shortage of people who love the fuck out of this movie, which includes explosions, pain and make-up effects among other things. Great pace, fabulous dialogue, and brilliant use of limited equipment. Won't be surprised if this ends up in the Auckland finals, simply for how enjoyable it is to watch. It's funny and it's tense and it feels like you're hanging out with some mates, and despite being short it has a more-ish episodic feel. Battlesoup know what they're doing and it feels like this film is a great success.

Brothers

Perhaps the ballsiest film I've _ever_ seen in 48 Hours. Here's a team that knows what they're doing, and is not afraid to challenge you a bit. It's technically excellent, and at times difficult to look at for how far it goes with certain cinematic techniques. But it's on purpose! 'Brothers' has an original score, visually spectacular execution of its bold and dynamic photographic imagery that sets it way apart from anything we've seen before. To state the bleeding obvious (spoilers?), the shots portray with remarkable accuracy the poignancy and clarity but lack of action details we experience in *memory* - and it's that trick along with a painful but perfect sense of timing that sets off the emotion and buy-in that it seems only this approach could deliver. I found the film-maker afterwards and shook his hand, this work is gold and not everyone will like it (can be hard to follow) but those that love it simply won't care.

New Flat

The best commitment to found footage we've seen in the competition so far. This team used limited equipment and a sweet location to tell a complex but awesome story. I wish the story had come a little sooner in the piece, it felt a little like the crush plot was a bit of a red-herring for what was to come. When it happened, it was masterfully executed (mirrors! The door!) and set my mind spinning right back through the whole film. The editing was pretty slick and flowed well from one shot to the next but I'd still like to see the team take another crack at making the same movie without the time constraints. More time for the actors to explore and develop the portrayal of their characters would have, I'm sure, grabbed the film an extra star or two.

Paranormal Dancetivity 4- Slave to the Beat

This one stands out. It's a cute but incredibly well-supported film with a few original ideas and mind-bogglingly stupendous cinematography. Seriously. Who shot this movie? It's amazing. I have to wonder with the young cast if we have a young Now that's said... I can't have been the only one that felt that "dance" was a bit of an add-on here. The challenge of dance/musical is that it completely upends the production process, and it would have been nice to see some more ambition and effort in that department. I have to wonder how late things went to get this film disqualified, but the fact remains that shooting and editing this in a week would have been quite an achievement. The action flows beautifully from one shot to the next, and the timing as comic elements are revealed is bang-on. Would be great to see this top-notch production take on the finals next year. Make another movie!