Skip to Content

Browse

Somebody Someone steelpotato

1 Entry and 1090 Reviews

Entries

Brough Bros and the Monster

Brough Exotic

Reviews

Minor Transgressions

After failing to check the back seat of a stolen car, a group of "hardened" criminals get more than they bargained for in the form of a clever young boy joining their gang. A decent script here playing well to the odd one out requirements of the genre, with a lowbrow homegrown attitude that was largely charming. Solid examination of tough external personas as well though perhaps could have played that angle a little more for more dramatic impact. Good use of the warehouse interior and ticked the ultra box by having the child as the clear lead. Sound however was a tad flat for me and whilst I really appreciated the subversion the majority of the film being sitting and talking or standing around (not all, mind) was what held it back a bit.

The Hitler Effect

Alternate universe farce where facial hair is championed and smooth faces for men are mocked and ridiculed, with the titular nazi leader having an enormous effect on the proceedings. Spanning across 85 years for all intensive purposes through low budget time travel, well covered up by black and white footage to hide any budget constraints, this highlighted modern high school life well where the pressure to show your true feelings is indeed immense, and rejection is soul crushing. I liked the message here to never give up even in the face of denial, and the beard jokes came thick and fast. "Dad" was a particular highlight, as was the dramatic mo trimming and good use of sound effects in the film. Some of the camerawork was noticeably shaky and motivations for characters were a bit questionable at times but I do enjoy a good farce and this got great laughs from the audience including myself.

KUNG-FOODOO

Hyper-kinetic warriors must deal with the repercussions of a new companion making their 2 a 3, who grows very attached after their life is saved in the woods. I did not want to peel my eyes away from the screen for a second as the film moved with the pace of a bullet train. Like a comic book come to life, we were greeted with bold colours and daring camera work. I was reminded of many films; Shogun Assassin, Princess Bride and the 36th Chamber of Shaolin immediately coming to mind but this was an original beast all of its own with that incomparable Moffilaide touch. With some fantastic special effects the quest to return to the warrior's sensei many miles away may just be the best film these boys have made. Fantastic.

Flatmate Wanted

There were some startling images on display here, and we got a very creepy build with a sense of unease throughout. Medical students obviously have a very good cover for anything that might seem odd related to human anatomy, but that doesn't stop our lead actress from thinking it might be a bit more than just in her head. Reminded me a bit of underrated German horror ANATOMY (rent it out if you haven't, both that and this film are worth a watch) Art direction was really good on this one and whilst the finish was gross it was not too over the top and hit the marks of a horror film really well. Being a new flatmate it does seem quite odd that the established house dwellers take such an interest when she chops her finger...The main thing I could fault was a strong start and end were matched by a not quite as strong middle portion for the film. Played to your visual strengths though which was a good idea.

Losing Lucy

Placeholder review.

Ruby Smith - A National Treasure

A former acting star who rode the coat tails of one catchphrase early in her career all the way to Hollywood returns to Raumati South for an interview to give back to her roots. The banana republic/fatigue/split joke was on point but a lot of the film was a sit-down interview that repeated information in different ways. I'm giving this one positive marks because of good camera work and your male interviewer was simply superb.

Sheared Luck

Used the 2015 trait of a thoughtless character to provide a cannonball comedy of events that fit will within their required genre. After attempting to become besties with a bunch of burglars while being robbed our lead shows a genuine ineptness at everything he does even for simple tasks such as returning a found wallet. This contained one of the best comedic uses of wool so far seen in the 2016 competition. Good audience response although it seemed half loved the screeching voice and half kept quiet throughout the film.

Girls Night

She'll be right humour of a couple of wind turbine pokie loving dudes leads to a night of...body swapping into beautiful women??!! Yeah this was wild in terms of the secret identity aspect of the film, using the genre to drive the story and all the better for it. Lots and lots of audience laughs and not surprised it did well in audience favourite voting, but for me this was technically quite a mix. The titular girl's night was extremely well shot given that it focused on dark night clubs for the most part and yet colours and contrast popped, but the opening scene and bedroom scenes looked very plain in comparison. I also feel the story was pretty threadbare despite the wild originality. The bookending was nice and the pie joke was hilarious, mind. Poor Nugget. Edit, fuck it I'll bump it to a 5/7 as it was very entertaining despite my reservations. The joys of star ratings! :)

The Talk

Fantastic looking short here as a very young lead stumbled across an adult magazine at the beach, and wondered what sex was after feasting his pre-pubescent eyes on a scantily clad lady. Unfortunately the sage advice he is after is a little shortcoming from his brother, mum and grandad despite their best intentions with condoms, books and dolls (don't ask). I felt the cinematography on this was top notch, and a cracking start to the heats with some deeply saturated deeply focused shots, all in well framed scope.I also liked the attention to detail for your production values with the house kept tidy, but interesting through attention grabbing stylish backgrounds. The payoff so to speak was a bit predictable in this day and age but the actors were committed to selling it. Well done.

Vitamin Z

Wonderful use of wind through your fog shots, I was impressed by how you took what seemed to be a little bit of a generic post apocalyptic tale of a masked band of marauders into something a bit more mind-bending with the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE nods through veggie tales and a headscratching ending. I don't know if I'll ever look at broccoli the same way again.

Not One Tear

NAILED IT. Like out of the park in my book got your genre absolutely picture-perfect spot on. I've always been a bit of a puppet fan and having watching The Lady from Sockholm earlier this year I was pretty pleased to come across some getting the big screen treatment so spectacularly. Our lead actress feels empty, although they acknowledge that with Hamlet coming up that an opportunity to re-gain their passion for acting may be able to come through. The only problem is that they can't cry. Nicky Brick tries to ignite this passion for them, suggesting a multitude of scenarios that ultimately hit home a lot harder than anyone would care to imagine for our lead. Set design was superb and the puppets were simply beautiful. Not just play with for Sunday school type stuff either. No, this team put a huge amount of effort in with differing facial features to actually convey emotion. Big time payoff to the point where the audience was clapping before the end credits rolled.

Justice

Started pretty promisingly with an amusing shower number, but due to some audio issues (which plagued all films on this first night of Wellington heats) it was quite hard to understand many of the lyrics clearly. Autotune, ninjas, rifles and it actually looked pretty good too. I found the plot needed a bit more focus though, with a music video vibe for significant sections. Having said that, I reallly dug the shot of the dude being tackled into the harbour.

Impasta

Sock puppets have a spaghetti-eating competition, only one of the contestants may not be quite who they seem to be. Is the fact that one of them is the size of a human the giveaway when all the others fit on hands and feet? Only time will tell. Absolutely farcical and surreal I was completely sold on this sock world as it felt hypnotic to me. It honestly felt fully formed from the jibberish language, to little and not so little details such as not having teeth being key to being allowed to enter the competition. Whilst the location could have had a bit more detail to it to be more engaging, the team overcame the plain background with lots of close ups and a large variety of colours on screen giving this energy and vigour.

Bro

Is our destination really the stars, a road trip with some bros or a quick stop at the dairy for a meat pie (no potato top of course)? ICW asks the hard questions with an existential effort that is simplistic on the outside but earth core deep on the inside. Subtitles for general grunts have worked well in the past in this competition with a famous former winner coming to mind, but here the translations play a bit differently than feral instinct. The irony and self-awareness to explore masculinity in such a simplistic yet fascinating manner that 'Bro' does has already got me coming back to re-watch multiple times and it definitely works very well on repeat viewings. Also technically hard to fault; car-based films can be tricky for keeping momentum but that was managed with aplomb, camera angles were engaging and sound crisp...and Gavin Rutherford steals the whole fucking movie - whew!

Synthetic Sonata

My lack of well known classical music again comes to bite me in the butt as I should be able to list what this team used as its centrepiece plot point but I'm not sure. Maybe Mozart? I'm stabbing in the dark. Yet whatever it was it was used to good effect in this serious effort. Nicky works as a musician for hire in somebody else's private home, playing the music that they request but unfortunately this is restrictive dreary stuff and does not allow them to be themselves. The fact that they even play at all is what gives the film its inspirational weighting; but on that note it might have worked better as a reveal towards the end rather than relatively early on in the piece The person who gets them to play is quite a pent up individual, but there are others who are happy to share their thoughts about creating music. It doesn't matter if you can't read sheets, right? The film would have passed quite well if they got Drama as their genre in previous years. Really a little morbid overall despite the positive messages. Very well shot.

Fifty / Fifty

A teen team explored gambling addiction here and the distance it can put between people, as well as its highs and lows. There were some really good harmonies in your music, but live on camera sound for singing is generally a bad idea, because the lack of clarity meant I had a hard time distinguishing the lyrics. A couple of neat editing effects.

Four's A Bunch

Despite having grown up on the titular Brady Bunch-inspired tv show, the son of the director has had enough and so turns up on set without his costume or makeup on one day. I was going to give this a 1 or 2 star rating as the plot of him bringing a gun to set and just blowing away a cameraman to end proceedings was cold hearted and bleak as fuck. However the hilarious granny reaction to round out the film saved this from total disaster.

Bloody Mary

"Paramedicked myself out of there before the explosion" is quite possibly the best line I've heard so far in this year's comp. This effort was quite simply deranged, with jaw droppingly awful CG, cheesy gore and over the top performances from all involved. Plot? Who cares. Sometimes you get a reminder that this competition started as part of Incredibly Strange, and this was one of those occasions.

Dead Last

Most definitely inspirational and a bit of a surprise that athletics or sports in general hasn't featured more this year in the genre given that it is an area with such clearly defined goals. The smart money is on Flash Wilson to clean up at the Wellington athletics meet, but Nicky Brick never stops running for lack of trying. The motivational coach was an excellent supporting actor trying to get it into our undead lead's head that having heart is more important than having brains when running a race. Of course brains help too, if you're a zombie at least. Excellent use of slow motion too. Couple of moments where the production values could have done with a bit of polish but minor points really as I think they were probably deliberately done that way (I'm talking about the floating heads and zombie make up in general)

Parkour Boys

Absolutely skitzo but had its heart In all the right plices. Full of rapping, beatboxing, parkour, fighting and…singing? Looked you were having a lot of fun. The only thing is that with musical it would be nice for some of the songs to develop the plot rather than being intros/boats throughout. The haphazard approach almost gave it a cinema verite feel.

Lost in Cyberspace

Great team intro/lack of, setting the scene for a low-brow KATH AND KIM (with mum and daughter) uber scenario gone wrong when the women take someone else's ride, having just wanted to get to Hillsborough. With surreal minimalistic but well done green screen inside the ride, the down to earth dialogue and misjudgement of the driver created some decent awkward humour. What I particularly liked about the film was the well captured audio, however once the couple got out of the car the culmination of events left a little to be desired due a wee bit of a casual ho hum approach. The stranded would be passenger WOULD have been a nice touch, had there not been a very clear and obvious boom operator in shot which caused me to double check whether this team had entered ultra and were breaking the 4th wall on purpose...

Hattie Hatpin

Placeholder review.

Lost & Found

We see a farmer smashing up some floorboards with a crowbar, before being taken back to earlier in the day/week. Bobby Young bullies his apprentice/assistant around the farm quite strongly, yelling at him about fencing, smokos and shifting stock. A really fresh vibe to this one with some good acting and jokes, and whilst it was certainly mysterious and the farmland scenery looked great, the narrative lacked focus, with the payoff creating confusion rather than resolution in my opinion.

Pass the Parcel

Over the course of a year, a father tries sending monthly gifts to his son and keeps having them returned by his boy's mum, leading him to drink before some hard truths lead him to really think about what it means to be a father. This was effectively done given how much of a timespan the team covered, with barely any dialogue outside of the written letters so the performers really had to work hard to show us their development through facial and body emotions. They did just that by and large, and I liked that you really threw in some variety in terms of your coverage. I think there were a couple of times were the seasonal timing didn't quite match up with what we were seeing on screen but kind of irrelevant given most of the film was based indoors. I appreciated that the mum in particular was shown running quite a range of emotions from resentment to anger to sadness as the time passed.

Mother's Day Out

Poor sound, poor video, poor acting, poor editing I can deal with. Tedious films however are a lot harder to look to get a positive perspective on. Especially if they decide to essentially shoot not in the English language but with some gobbidy gook infantile babbling sounds throughout, with said sounds emanating from the ashes urn of our mentally unstable lead. I think tripping out and imaging the other funeral goers were an angry mob was the highlight, and that happened about 10 seconds into the film. I honestly really don't mean to sound to harsh but a plot would be appreciated if I have to watch another of your films ever again - the visual gags almost had a point but no exposition as to why meant I was confused as fuck.

Happily Never After

Threw out all the stops to provide several vfx shots and whilst none were perfect I definitely commend you for the effort. Odd creepy little film had a book of the dead or something of a similar note summon fairytale demons and lull victims into a false sense of security. The tiny axe of the woodsman provided a good laugh and the tears of blood were a nice touch that added a nightmarish feel to events. I feel that a key element of horror is caring about the characters that are under threat so if the main girl being attacked by riding hood had been fleshed out a little bit more this film would have been stronger.

Exit Room

Looked like might have been colour graded? A couple of scenes at least had some real depth to them whether touched up in post or not. A psychiatric ward presents us with the opportunity for Nicky to escape through her dreams, and this freedom acts as a catalyst to get out of the surrounding dooming isolated confinement of the ward. I believed the escape aspect in terms of how desperate the character seemed to be to not be restrained, but I felt like the film could have done with just a little more grounding in motivation for the characters.

Computer Crimes

Slightly slow burning (but still funny) start as an office worker suffered the consequences of not paying attention to shutting down his computer in the race to try out a new Turkish restaurant. Ramped up a gear once the story got to prison, which looked great and garnered a good audience response. Fast and punchy, would not have been too out of place in a Spike and Mike compilation.

Imaginary Friends

Childhood imaginary friends returned to try and help an adult Vic Meyer get to sleep. As each represented a different personality treat, they also explained/tried their own remedies and cures. I thought this had some real potential, but was a little bit too varied. If the idea was to reflect Vic's frustrating then you succeeded, but was hard to tell. Getting inside his inner thoughts really got the short going somewhere, but then it ended a bit abruptly.

All Fur Nothing

Shame about the DQ as for the 2nd year in a row I really enjoyed what Look at daddy have produced for the competition, this time stepping up their game from a technical point of view in a big way, with excellent deeply saturated cinematography, a good soundscape and top lighting, as a scientist develops an electronic necklace to make his lovable pet pooch talk with him. Some crass humour but also very well done in terms of comedic timing and delivery, and the edit was spot on. When the master gets what's coming to him was a truly rewarding watch.

Eyes Crust Shut

Given that Tasteful Side Boob + We Fight Like Girls (who had members from this team) previously regularly had gross out comedy elements in their films, this genre honestly felt absolutely made for this particular team...and they nailed it. Three news anchors come into the office, suspiciously wearing sunglasses that don't quite hide the fact that there is something lurking near their eyes. The script was cracking here, delving into the issues of screwing the crew versus what HR policies might dictate you should be doing in the office. I loved that the free spirits just went their own way here, and when it was time for 'News Zealand' you knew the proverbial shit was going to hit the fan. Highlights included the flashback to the previous night of debauchery, the TV director losing his mind which played off ever so nicely compared to the sexually liberal presenters, and the gooey squishy vomity makeup and effects. Basically this was a life lesson about butt stuff.

Made Maid

Frustrated young brats try to manipulate their android babysitter to go from young kid levels of entertainment to adult (3.5 inch disks storing the ability to change, much to my amusement). The plot developed nicely and the android POV shots were quite well done, as was the excellent final shot. I think your young leads did a stellar job, and the choice to go with a darkly comic approach gave the story credence.

One Last Game

Definitely adventure more than action as a couple of siblings set out for treasure that they believe their grandfather will have left them after they scatter his ashes. This sparks the sister up as she has been given a 48 hour notice of foreclosure, and so the hunt for treasure represents a chance to save the farm. That description makes the plot far more convulated than it was. The main charm behind this film was its true blue kiwi dialogue and positive energy, which overcame any technical shortfalls it may have had.

The Sleeping Plot

Knocked it out of the park; finals for sure, maybe nationals. Parents try to comfort their young girl about an unfortunate event, whilst she at the same time develops a plan to make $37 after a visit to the local gardening store. Great production values, excellent script and a superb performance by the lead actress. I loved that you basically showed the whole thing from the child's POV with the adults lower halves being shown when we were watching through her eyes. Darkly comic, children with ice creams and swear jars will never be the same again.

Battle Royale with Cheese

Oh so short but oh so much action. I think this would actually be touch and go whether it met the 60 second requirement. An all out assault on the senses and each other as the film was basically a big brawl in a carpark as they all fought for their "last chance" that included a couple of neat night vision shots. Finger guns have been done before but it established the film's own little universe well. Good example to be honest that bigger is now always better as I'm not really sure what else could have been said outside this framework that would have matched the intensity displayed on screen.

Hero

So I couldn't help but look at the reviews for this film before the grand final and it STILL got to me. FUCK....

Hot Knights: The Bob, Rob Medieval Bod Swap

Europe-ish 1247 was a time where pan flutes, wigs and magical gems were the order of the day...as well as a bit of body switching initiated by wizard's tongues. As per usual breakneck pacing and inimitable humour were the order of the day for this fantastic team. You could feel the camaraderie shine through on screen. I can't wait to see it again.

Vic Dreams

I know that it is obviously your team's style, but shooting 9:16 just seems bizarre on the cinema screen. The reason that Hollywood has historical shown more image wider than taller is that most audiences don't care about the lower half of actors, but I don't need to lecture, I'm sure you had your reasons for doing it this way. It was a fun little film about an English Language teacher being absolutely adored by his class. All lessons try and steer clear of the subject of sleep for obvious reasons, but once his condition is found out it allows the obsession levels to ramp up...Just writing that now I realised that you kind of got the character trait wrong as he was constantly sleeping, wasn't he? Given my own film had a dream with a girl with an umbrella I'm willing to cut your some slack.

Sleepless in Seatoun

A late night infomercial addict, and an infomercial star with a few issues at the local TV studio have their lives chronicled back and forth, which led to some fantastic visual gags. The performance of the lead actress in particular was fantastic, and this had a huge crowd reponse. My only real issue bringing this film down was that I felt the resolution was entirely predictable, although the physical comedy made up for that.

The Score

Now that was a long 30 second intro. A regular Casanova with magic hands manages to work his way his way into the hearts and tongues of quite a few young women across the course of the film. However treating them as things to be used is obviously not an acceptable way to act, and so a plot is set in place to look to stop those hands from working their magic any further. The ease with which he hooked up with anyone he wanted got some good responsive laughs, but it also meant that the plot was a bit thin.

Robert's Ring

You made my head hurt a bit which is both good and bad, because the best parts of this gave me chills which is bloody rare for a 48Hours film. I loved the disjointed evil fragmentation with a strong attempt at producing your own lore - some of those shots were textbook Obayashi by way of Mario Bava as I could see a sure strong hand was behind this film. However both my notes and memory are struggling to discern a clear plotline for the film but it seemed like the evil was wanting to shape its own reality? Had the plot been a bit clearer you could have had a contender.

Hot Knights: The Bob, Rob Medieval Bod Swap

Europe-ish 1247 was a time where pan flutes, wigs and magical gems were the order of the day...as well as a bit of body switching initiated by wizard's tongues. As per usual breakneck pacing and inimitable humour were the order of the day for this fantastic team. You could feel the camaraderie shine through on screen. I can't wait to see it again.

Affinity

I saw you had some decent gear in your intro, so not quite sure what happened with your motion problems; possibly an issue outputting in 25 frames? There was some excellent comedic back and forthing between a brother and sister 'taken your pills?' - 'nup.' but other than that, this tale of a girl who would do anything to impress her first date (after being stood up the last couple of times) was ok. It needed more action, or more adventure, or ideally a combination of both. You hit some genre troupes such as the one liners and running from baddies but needed more.

Afternoon Tea

Peruvian tea = the perfect remedy to settle the nerves when you're on the run from something crazy that gets hinted at more strongly as the film develops. This theatrical piece was particularly well acted by the man in the robe, espousing the wonders of his peppermint hot drinks from South America, whilst his 'friend' struggled to stay calm, understandable given he was carrying a gun and his arm was heavily bandaged. Just about the right level of dark comedy, well measured and from a technical point of view the edit itself was on point. Plus really good lighting and clean sound.The reason this probably just missed out on the Wellington shortlist would have been a couple of minor things. Firstly, the whole story was essentially a sit around and talk on the couch affair, with just the bust in and finale to break up proceedings. This would have definitely counted against the team given the real time genre. Secondly, whilst I personally loved the script, as it's genuinely rare to see a team let their film breathe like this and world build, it was actually a tad slow placed. Just minor quibbles, though.

The Magic Word

Our lead loses his girl to Bobby Young, the leading superhero in Superville, where everyone has some sort of power. The rest of the film gets spent trying to learn/develop a superpower so that he can win her back. It looked good, and had a cool glass moving shot, but the power that he ending up getting seemed pretty naff to me.

Strewth Ruth

Placeholder review.

Saviour

[DQ] Oh man I feel for you guys as this was the best high school entry I have seen in years in Wellington but understand was late due to rendering issues. Sigh... Moving on to this brilliant film; a couple of survivalists raid wherever they can in the search for supplies in particular food and medicine. The medicinal aspect of the film was a very important one as with one party in very poor health it meant reliance on the other where scavengers shoot on sight ala THE ROAD was everything. Yet genuine love and friendship was provided eg, through the literal warmth of a campfire story tale. This took a less is more approach in terms of lore but still presented danger and dystopia to nail the genre. Rock solid acting, absolutely exceptional cinematography (whoever was your DoP needs to pursue film as a career if they don't already) and a gorgeous musical score tied this together beautifully. Never saccharine either as you always believed the characters would do whatever they had to do. EDIT - I am a Judge and Judge's comment removed re: Desikiwi by me - I had nothing to do with this film. Play nice :)

Subterfuge

Buddy cops with afros, wayfarers and thin moustaches straight out of the 70s go on the rampage in search of their missing chapstick. Whilst their good cop bad cop interrogation tactics may not work at least they have female help they can call in. Overall farily bugnuts in style, with homemade bulletproof vests, out there camera angles and confident screen presence by our 2 leads. The bravado was genuinely impressive, as was the quickfire spiel at the end about missed weddings, exorcisms and divorces. Just very very raw.

Meyer's Mime

Just because you included a computer and a digital camera in your film, does not cover your bases for the TECHNO thriller requirement. Also, the uncleared use of a few seconds of Bad Moon Rising by CCR in the background of one shot was a big no-no. Those were the negatives; the positives were that you made a great looking creepy film about a clown mime who is a little bit too comfortable with children. Despite being technically pretty good, the storyline needed development. There's a point where you can leave things up to the audience, but here I found it frustrating. Good work getting a big audience gasp, though.

streets of wishes

Ok so I'm literally one of the biggest fans of 'Streets of Rage' that you'll ever meet so when that logo came up I was hooked from the get go. The beat em' up guy who wishes he no longer has to clean up the streets, well wishes are meant to be granted in this genre right but before you know it this has gone on a massive left turn, right turn and then slapped you in the face when it comes to your expectations. Retro aesthetic was clean and simple but perfect for your switch fighter. Hilarious. Voice acting soooo good!!!

Hacked Off

Not a mystery film, just had a twist by having Bobby Young dead under the table all along. Because Eclipse Entertainment are being cunts adding multiple reviews to films it's only fair they get half a star for not doing their genre properly.

BLANKING: THE UNSEEN ART

A.F.M! (If you know me from this competition you'll know what that stands for). But yep...a mockumentary, which if you don't get as your genre I absolutely can't stand in this competition. It was well done and all I guess; covering an advanced form of hide and seek where the objective is to actually disappear as quickly as possible, or sometimes for as long as possible when considering 'endurance' blanking. But mockumentaries are a cop out. It also wasn't 16:9 [windowboxed] and end credit was '48 Hours 2011' (not the actually required wording) which just added to my annoyance.

The Birthday

Those two minutes of uninterrupted dancing at the start of the film were the longest two minutes of the heats. Surely could have been trimmed, and didn't really add much to the plot at all. Once it got going the jibberish dialogue was pretty ridiculous, although the use of the line in audible English made me laugh out loud. Developed nicely into a tale of parents getting upset at their daughter choosing a much older man. Silly but completely random and couldn't stop watching.

The Way Of The Cube

Placeholder review.

Inconsequential Halucinations

Absolutely dreadful.

I'm A Horse

Holy hell this was by far the most flat-out entertaining film of the first night of heats in Wellington. A guy who can’t sleep of course takes a pill only to be awoken by a man with a horse’s head. Well, now we can’t have our sleep being interrupted can we? A violent revelatory mindfuck with a damn catchy little ditty tidying it all together. Nailed the genre and POV shot with aplomb too.

Good Grief

Beautifully shot film as a funeral for a dearly beloved dog is accidentally interrupted by a snappy little pupper from next door. Played mostly stone faced with little bits of light spread throughout, I personally loved some of the humane touches such as the older man taking a rainbow coloured umbrella to the remembrance (when my own sister died a few years ago everyone dressed up in as bright colours as possible so that personally hit quite close to the bone). And the little boy not wanting to say goodbye had this almost hitting that really hard to reach sweet spot of emotion that is so so hard to do in this comp. Possibly the best overhead shot in Wellington as well. Music sweeping and on point too, for the most part. But I can unfortunately see why this didn't make the final. To nitpick, the camerawork was brilliant for the most part, and I totally appreciate going handheld a good amount to convey the raw emotion of the characters, however I noticed slight focus shifts as shots came into focus on a regular basis and it was honestly a little bit distracting. I mean at times it worked as it really directed focus but at other times it just seemed a slightly out of place stylistic choice. I cannot however complain about the sound which was crystal clear. The main issue which would have slightly held this back, as obviously the judges liked it well enough for it to make the shortlist, was that the script lost its way in the final minute. Obviously you're not going to get a perfect ending in 48, but the stealing of the dog and reaction did feel like a tonal jolt. The actors did a fine job and this probably did go close to making the Wellington final, it's just yeah for me personally that wrap up left me scratching my head :(.

Love.

After playing a game all night, two close knit friends talk about how things might change if one of them comes out of the closet to their parents. This had some excellent sound design as the lead actor dealt with the inner demons in his head, which were given actual demonic sounds to truly represent the personal torture that he was going through. Raw and admirable this broke down a lot of walls with a simple story well told. Would have got even higher marks from me if there were not stretches where the audio needed work; it was audible as the boys walked past all the cars but the car noise did make the dialogue lose some of its impact. Just so much unbridled love from friends and family in this story made my heart swell, this was a delight to get to watch in a cinema. Thank you.

Death of the Twilight Flower

Promising title but did not quite live up to its promise with music that could have been considerably improved. Perhaps dance next time if you draw the genre of doom? Having said that I had a good hearty laugh at your song about Fruit Loops. The aftermath of an Earthquake leads to NB being in hospital, but she also dreams and has to get away from guys with malicious intentions. There was the opportunity to do a lot more with the parallel worlds but it didn't quite add up.

Indelible

Placeholder review.

Prime's Numbers

I don’t like giving away plot points, so I won’t, but something seemed amiss here to me in terms of tying everything together. This is of course not necessary, especially if the whole thing was potentially imagined as it seemed. Quite surreal in tone with bodies falling down windows and laying on railway tracks, as well as eyeball violence [Un Chien Andalou?], we chronicled a “Prime”s resistance to helping out those with more grandiose plans. Enough is enough; she wants sleep, where they can be killed, and they need to keep her awake through any means necessary. I thought this bended your genre too far but would be willing to give it a second chance.

Full-Night

Well this was a tantalising little film that left me wondering what would happen next, capturing the erotic part quite and the intrigue it created at the end being enough to satisfy me re: its thriller quotient. Having been texted to cum ova 4 a feast, might get luky, our Nicky does exactly what he's told. And given the apparent interest shown in him as soon as he walks in the door, who wouldn't, right? Of course blindfolds and restraints aren't always the best things to have applied when you soon realise that a party of 2 might never have been the intended course of action. I would have liked a little more dialogue but appreciate keeping it up for interpretation.

The Game of Solitaire

What seems like a man playing solitaire in an empty abandoned house quickly becomes something completely different. I think this was the most beautiful film of night one out in Wellington, and in my book they absolutely nailed their genre. Perfect example of leaving it up to the audience to interpret a number of things. Played with sound nicely and the on-screen dynamics developed well as the film went on.

BLANKING: THE UNSEEN ART

A.F.M! (If you know me from this competition you'll know what that stands for). But yep...a mockumentary, which if you don't get as your genre I absolutely can't stand in this competition. It was well done and all I guess; covering an advanced form of hide and seek where the objective is to actually disappear as quickly as possible, or sometimes for as long as possible when considering 'endurance' blanking. But mockumentaries are a cop out. It also wasn't 16:9 [windowboxed] and end credit was '48 Hours 2011' (not the actually required wording) which just added to my annoyance.

Self-A-Were

Big fan of GINGER SNAPS here so let me tell you this film was right up my alley! Simple but clean and polished animation well aware of exactly how important the eyes are to any romantic situation and to bring out an impressive level of emotions to the characters was no mean feat. I thought the script was particularly grounded in the lycanthropian world, reflecting the awkwardness and messy excitement of a first date with aplomb. Whilst chillwave jazz is not normally my cup of tea I also found that the score brought an ambience to proceedings that sat well with the full moon human feast and efforts to impressive each other by the female werewolves through attitude and effort. Sound was clear and concise add editing let the film breath (thank you) despite the short run time so not much to fault from a technical pov. Script was solid too with a couple of strong jokes. My only minor complaint is that it was slightly hard to differentiate the two characters the first time I watched the film with no names being given and being drawn in such a similar way, although this was less of a weakness on subsequent viewings. Top work and appreciate Liam putting his money where his mouth is and delivering the goods! :)

Silver Leaf

A seriously done mix of the world ending (through flashback) and world after the apocalypse has come. I thought that the urgency was really good as our leads tried to get away from a quarantine - where did you get those gas masks from?! The wasteland of Tawa also leant itself well afterwards to show a disparate land. The roaming gangs were done well in terms of their marauding style and there was a decent resolution. I guess I really liked the fact that they captured the mass hysteria of the word essentially ending rather than just having a select few after the fact, or bothering with anything philosophical. It was happening and so shit had to get sorted.

6A

An eco-conscious woman keeps taking the effort to make sure the recycling is done correctly, but gets very frustrated at being undermined by her neighbour. So she goes to her flatmate Bobby Young for help, who comes up with some pretty devious plans for revenge. However when writing a letter to sort out the situation, our lead forgets the other side already had something written on it before getting it through to their messy neighbour. This results in brilliantly awkward confusion. The non-recyclable guitars and team intro were simply fantastic, this film was more about the creation of a want for revenge, rather than carrying it out.

Last Chance

On the verge of a relationship breakdown, the lead actor went for a walk where he saw elements of his past, present and future. Whilst clearly inspired by A Christmas Story, this had some good stuff going for it on a technical level, and I admired the 'trapped in the frame' very much when you consider how much effort must have been put in to get the shot.

Breadcrumbs

I know it was only acapella and for less than 5 seconds, but you still can't use BLACK EYED PEAS - I GOTTA FEELING in this competition, guys! sheesh! But with regards to the film itself, it was a serious effort that I guess made the point to live each day to the max. Our hospitalised lead really has this hit home to him when he flashbacks to previous memories before his accident, but this time does it through the bodies of his friends. Serious overuse of focus on the bedridden's eyes to try and manipulate the audience I thought, but hey that's just me. Technically decent otherwise.

Black Death

Black Death has been killing people throughout the City. Bobby Young tries to train 3 young women as superheroes, but that gets curtailed when she gets kidnapped. It's up to the girls to try and rescue her, by making their way to the villain's lair. Cool costumes and a polished film, but the story was well worn and I was a bit puzzled by the fake accents.

Private Invasion

Wait this was coming of age? That makes a lot of sense! I forgot to write down the genre when taking my notes so had assumed sci-fi for this alien giving his first anal probe. The posters around Wellington asking for volunteers to get probed really set the scene nicely, and the fact it was just all yeah ok sweet I'm here for the probe and played straight made the film even stronger. Whilst not exactly a bildungsroman I appreciated that this did explore personal growth, and was a clear metaphor for losing virginity in my mind. The fact that it may not have actually been a first time probe played off really nicely with some charming dialogue interplay between our two leads. Several notes for the genre were hit, I think what could have made it slightly stronger would have been some personal introspection for the alien prior to the probe, to know that the probe was such a huge deal for their development. Costumes, set design and props were wall handled and the camerawork was solid though static.

Sunday in the Park with Mary

Oops I forgot to review this one last night. Some good melodies and realistic situation between the two leads as they start dating only struggling to overcome stagnation. As others have said this could have done with a bit more work in post but I noted some good melodies and the ending was genuinely heartfelt.

Con Troll Alt Delete

Easily Nutbar's best 48Hours film I was impressed by the significant improvements made by the team to produce this 2016 entry. Relaying the dark thoughts of meandering office existence that I am sure many people have thought, a magical toy troll sets the scene for a frantic explosive low budget gore finale. Practical effects were worked well and the wild (but very well handled) camerawork was reminiscent of early Sam Raimi. Playful and funny but still disturbing at times nothing was left on the table - the spaghetti brains made it to the microwave!

Discord

Placeholder review.

Strings Attached

This gave me flashbacks to a film called 'The Manipulator aka BJ Lang Presents'. This is not a good thing. After capturing and sewing up two guys and a girl as human puppets, it is time for us to sit back and watch the show put on by the lead actress who is in control of the actors and the cinema audience. The makeup she put on the captives was creepy at first, and the sewn mouth still is come to think of it, but it got tedious quickly.

BOB...Interdimensional Wool Courier

'Interdimensional Wool Courier' says it all doesn't it? especially when that story is told in psychedelic hues of blue, purple and yellow with such artistic brilliance that any frame could be a painting. My understanding of this film was that Arlo Edwards simply said "I'm going to have a lot of fun and throw a shitload of effects at the film" on the 48Hours weekend. Mission not just completed but the trippiest film the competition has ever seen may well have been created. Sometimes films are just about feeling and this one hit me with all sorts of warm fuzziness. Yet whilst you could just sit back and be gobsmacked in the eyeballs the film works on many levels. Yes it speaks of the futile nature of human existence being on only one dimension. Yes it gives the impression that forced harvesting for whatever reason is distressing to the animals...I may be reaching on that one. Surreal, oneiric, futuristic absurd cartoonish sci-fi that quite literally pulsates with a plot that to me seemed very open to interpretation. Very special, thank you.

Earth 2.0

Genuinely batshit insane. I saw the title and was expecting something inspired by the old Tim Curry sci fi show from the 90s and instead got a hilarious romp through the last day on earth in Wainui. Boy oh boy this team was out to entertain. A lot of jokes missed but several of them hit such as the meteor spotted out the window with a "nope!" response. The fight to be the last survivor on the last rocketship anyone would realistically want to stake their life on was mind boggling stuff, from the blunt gun death through to jenken. But the Prince of Wainui....just wow - not sure if incredibly strange or best worst is still a thing but you guys are up for my award this year at least. Sound was unfortunately very raw.

Brains?

Definite contender right here, folks. I've heard a few are popping up around the country and its not different in Wellington either with a number of films told from the zombies' perspective for once. However until you've seen this one I find it hard to explain just how original it was. Just really damn good scriptwriting I guess, stomach-churning gore and make up effects, and a strong knowledge of the undead. From the first 'Brains!' groan of the film the film makers immediately had you in the grasp of their hand. So much so that by the time it ended I had completely bought into the character dynamics of four supposedly not living creatures and found it quite touching. FORM A PACK. Well done, guys :D Edit: On second viewing I'm bumping this up to a 5/5. Holds up amazingly well and even better with a massive crowd.

Myopia

A novelist needs to take care of his baby when his wife goes away for the weekend. This all seems fine, even running into his old friend Bobby Young who is selling insurance door to door. However when he goes to check on his daughter the insurance seller seems to simply disappear. A few body parts found by the toddler make the audience otherwise aware, however. Genuinely unpleasant ending which was good for the genre.

Consulting Victor Meyer

James Nokise is a funny man, and he carried this film rather excellently. As a government consultant, he is faced with the hard task of trying to raise more money through schools initiatives. Singing about how two birds can be hit with one stone by putting pokies in schools, he gets a conscience attack from old politicians on parliament grounds. All of this is of course conveyed through song, and whilst some of the lyrics were a bit muddied, the gist was good and any time that a line needed to be heard the team made sure it was.

Plover

A couple of crooks have a briefcase full of loot in a warehouse, and discuss how to divy out the cash between themselves. Only snag however, is when one of the crook's former tormenters Bobby enters upon the warehouse which he in fact owns. This film had some fantastic dramatic intensity, and was nicely shot. Shame it was disqualified.

Faux Pas

As a family drinks at a bar to mark the passing of a member, the attractive young daughter catches the attention of the waiter serving them. I'm not sure what the mother did or represented to stand in his way, as this developed into more of a horror film than a reunion film. Some of the script was quite good, but the showdown on the roof that led to strangulation lacked any tension.

Flat Note

Big pat on the back for really getting stuck in and giving this genre a go. Obviously you didn't have access to the pro recording gear that some teams may have, but the fact that 90% of your film was sung does get my respect. Basically the head tenant calls a meeting to try and sort out some major flat issues, which get responses of the musical variety. I think there were three key things to this short that would have improved it; firstly, some dynamic action by having actors/camera movement rather than sitting around. Secondly, moving away from your flat as a shooting location, or if you do shoot in your flat then you need to add some eye catching visuals to make it stand out. Third, towards the end when you mixed all the songs together they did not seem to harmonise so perhaps stick to one at a time (although if that had come together it would have been great).

Ruby Red

Ruby curtains give the backdrop for a burlesque-ish singer who sings about love; you can't take it if the other person won't give it to you. We then go back in time to a jazzy tavern/pub where our lead actor when asked to dance by his gal advises that whilst she will always be his, he's not the sort to meet the parents. Their flirtatious behaviour is too much for the manager of the establishment though, who doesn't want any bloody babies running around. However that issue does rear its head in short time, but with a bit of wire that issue could be resolved, right? Our lead laments his options; you can't take a child on the road...but it would also mean being a dad. Quite a serious effort from Traces of Nut/EPC, the set design was phenomenal.

Jumbo

Wow. Stunning little animation about a giant monster rising up in Wellington harbour and discovering that they have quite the affection for planes. In fact those planes look quite tasty blowing around in the wind. This also incorporated live action elements but by keeping it focused on the monster and the plane plus his instrument of doom it gave the film clear direction. Sound design was terrific.

It's A Trap

This team really worked with what it had to create a diverse gang of criminals where the leader was up for trial for heinous crimes, with the majority of the story told in a hazy coloured flashback. A particularly detailed script outlined events here and everything was played with a completely straight face despite the bombastic nature of the dialogue. With a colourful cast including a wheelchair tech wizardly conman, wig-wearing 'wife' and sunglasses-clad Mr. Big type I really enjoyed the verbal interplay between the crooks that showed some strong character development. The heist itself was a bit amateurish [being clearly set at the high school] and sound levels were a mixed bag in this film, being particularly low during the first act. Having said that, the brutal yet low budget gunshots and accompanying bloof vfx were highly entertaining moments. Ambitiously detailed this pushed the dirty humour and was one to remember.

The Imaginary Crime

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Well, a good question and one that takes us 7 minutes to examine. My main concern here was that almost every segment of the film was gathered around telling simplistic jokes. The big letdown was the fact that you introduced the characters and gave them backstories, and then threw these personality traits out the window. Would have actually been fun to see them behave the way you described. Your camera op has a good eye, but the script really needed work.

Sticks & Stones

Some different camera techniques were used by this team which was refreshing to see. Some sort of limbo prevents a mother from reaching her son, and everytime she falls she gets sent back to the darkness to be made a mockery of by another woman who has her beloved boy captive. Again got to state really nice visually and a reasonably straigh edge approach throughout. Good motivation for the character's actions too. I think it was good that we were not hit over the head with exposition in any way shape or form, but the potential of the space travelling stones seemed like they could have been explored a bit more. Having said that, it's a short film and two settings is sufficient.

Y2K

Placeholder review.

Sticks and Stones

Couch Kumaras :( Poor, poor Couch Kumaras :( Please get your film in on time next year! You would actually have been a genuine chance to defend your Wellington title (although a little birdy tells me it was the amazing effects in the final cut we saw which did cause you to be late...) had this been eligible. Also loved the big-headed NBA Jam stle intro, guys. Swords, capes, rangers, warriors, spells, swordfights, protection spells, family vengeance, magical objects. Yep I think you had the required tropes of the genre down pretty pat with this one. Also another majestical soundtrack. Really well acted too. Sigh...

The Wellington Job

A bunch of guys have their roles defined very clearly ala Reservoir Dogs for the job that they are about to pull in this film which seems needlessly shot in black and white first of all, but eveything becomes clear as the film progresses. Bit of a double-take film, although our plot development felt underutilised in my book, with far more focus on the 'crime' meaning that the chemistry between the guy and the girl was almost non-existent.

DOUBLE TALK

Lots of shots that made you go damn from a cinematography point of view, as a holidaying couple chilled out in a Bali hotel, only tensions are a bit rife with the woman almost constantly on her phone, rather than just enjoying the beautiful pool for example. The fact that the team were able to show glimpses of relationship issues through simple gestures was impressive in my book, as the main actor conveyed trepidation and annoyance at her use of technology, whilst she displayed a sneaky behind the back cheater impressively well. At the same time it was left up to the viewer's interpretation as to how solid their relationship was when noises were heard in the night; was closing the window a comfort thing? But I liked the open-endedness of it all. As to the ending? Yeah it didn't quite stick, and a little bit cold, but to me it was pieced together well enough. Kind of surprised this isn't in the Wellington final to be honest. Especially given all the sound design and music was original and extremely on point too...

Beard I be without you

Having stolen his pie, Bobby Young believes he has a legitimate reason to think his flatmate shaved off his beard...it's not like it could have run away on it's own, right? Well, guess again, and this led to some incredible footage of the beard on the move. Also nice and short for a change, I really liked this film.

Gonna Get Rich

Well framed story arc of infatuation that neatly showed how young love can easily become a bit over the top through misinterpretation. Cookies, cards and stalking by the dozen. You quiet cleverly had the lead actress borderline breaking the fourth wall, but it meant we saw how singular she was. Thus when friendships had to be examined it actually had some good weighting to it.

Dazza and Bazza: Kiwi Dad Detectives

Genuinely sick local buddy detective film dealing with the aftermath of a suicide. With knowledgeable capital humour and a propensity to really go to dark places this produced a mix of laughs and sighs of disgust from the audience. The titular Dazza and Bazza produced a farcical array of dad jokes whilst investigating grisly crimes, with the bizarre tint kept going through air horn and auto erotic machinations. Double browns rightfully earned their place in the spotlight and whilst the tar black comedy was not everyone's cup of tea I frigging loved this.

(Time) Travel Centre

Pretty much perfect. Goosebumps on the skin and not a moment of fat to the storytelling. Incredible sound mix, foreboding and gripping unique original vision. Touche.

Requiem for a scream

Placeholder review.

Inspir-irrational

A drought of inspiration across the country results in a new profession being created; that of the travelling salesperson of liquid inspiration. Being Nicky Brick of course they don't exactly hit the jackpot selling door to door, and the liquid nature of the product they are selling means that it is all too easily lost. This film came across as low budget but had its moments for example I could see that the team really tried hard to come up with an original concept, and we got into some solid strange dark territory towards the end when a new batch of inspration was being cooked up/flatmate went psycho. More work on the script and a better camera next year would work wonders.

Poesy

Ok, so Wikipedia justifies that poetry is music. However the website did indicate with regards to this genre that it did want singing, but I can appreciate what you did. If I wasn't clear just now, the team went with poetry and a disclaimer at the start of the film, as well as choreographing the rhythm in the corner throughout the film for a picture in picture effect. Vic Meyer expressed her thoughts and feelings in some lovely poetry throughout the film, which was just her and nobody else. Some beautiful shots, but the same ideas that were established in the first couple of minutes (insomnia, loneliness) kept getting emphasised. The "count to 24" scene brought a lot of unintentional laughter from the audience. Props for being original, but yeah the organisers did say they wanted singing...

Slaughter High

Basically a piss-take slasher version of THE BREAKFAST CLUB, complete with hilarious deliberately bad dubbing for the burnout, jock and nerd stuck in detention having to write an essay. Got z-grade pretty quickly although the homage to dated one-liners had its moments such as "eat my shorts". The burnout bully was believable however moving to a cold-blooded masked serial killer with a knife so quickly was a bit of a tonal jolt, and the film kind of lost the positive atmosphere it had garnered initially when it went stabby murderous with no clear explanation that I remember.

Dehydra: A Nightmare Musical

A girl who badly needs a friend in her life meets a monster, and from there examined the friendship through a pop ballad, hip hop number and jazz sax number. Unfortunately all the songs in the film had issues for mine and the tone was not enough to distract. The pop ballad whilst seemingly well sung was inaudible due to crackling, the hip hop song was hard to discern because whilst delivered with good flow it lacked diction, and then the jazz number seemed like the team were simply ensuring that they hit their predetermined goal of 3 distinctly different songs. Please don't hate me there was some nice style to the film; the hip hop section in particular was colourful, fun and fast-paced. However technically this film was on the backfoot from the getgo with the opening 30 seconds or so being particularly blurry, grainy or not well lit where it probably needed to be to establish the mood.

Glance Forwards

[DQ] I came incredibly close to not putting up a review of this film. I thought I missed something the second time we watched it, but if I did then so did the 6 or 7 other people I talked to who also thought the only noticeable difference was a slight chance of pacing at the start and some added music at the end reminiscent of Vertigo. * If you weren't at the heat the wrong file played; the team were in competition but chose to DQ themselves and hand in a 'better' version for artistic integrity and thus we watched the 'correct' version at the end of the heat. ...onto the film... A young woman on the edge losing her will to live in the present day is contrasted with an old couple who have just received what likes like a standard television set in the 60s (?), but after playing around with the receiver for a bit is shown to be more than its initial appearance. The team went for a slightly meta approach in terms of the convergence of the storylines. Well acted, well shot. I personally think you should have stayed in the competition but appreciate that is entirely up to you.

Truck and Hose

Nicky Brick always knew he wanted to be a fireman, but there's no reason to make a song and dance about it is there? Oh well he does it anyway as does the rest of the cast in this decent take on the genre. Unfortunately having bad luck and cooling off situations where burning flames are at hand don't really go together. The action was decent, and music pretty well composed as well. A couple of technical issues with the video skipping, but on the whole looked pretty good. Sah-weet slow mo on the pumpkin with the axe as well. The training montage felt a little generic but it still worked for developing the plot. I understand not coming to your heat if you're DQ but only one person turning up from a team of this size seemed a bit turn your noses up-ish.

Bobby Alone

Voiceover throughout was a ballsy decision, and whilst a couple of lines of narration fell flat, it mostly worked. With Bobby Young dying, he sets off on a rumour that there is a flower found only in a very remote area which could save him. None of his friends will help so it is up to him to try and find this rarity to heal himself. However the journey gets harder as he goes along, resulting in a Fight Club-like flashback that lists his material possessions and activities important to him. He is not one to give up though. I for the most part really liked this one, it threw a bunch of ideas at the screen and held the audience's attention throughout.

Office Fantasy Challenge

Mockumentary on an Office fantasy challenge involving an elf, barbarian and wizard/magician. A couple of nice jokes but sound was raw and loud, too many talking head shots for my liking and the film was fairly tedious. Probably would have been better if given a proper narrative, and not pigeon-holed into an office setting for the sake of it, at least that it how I felt.

Power Play

Probably the best looking 'shot the screen' film I've ever seen, it also had fantastic music (original?) so a shame it was DQ'd and we didn't get the real final product. Our lead keeps receiving tapes/messages and being told to listen to them, which creates a wave of memories to come flooding back to them about something that happened a long time ago. The ending was a bit abrupt, but the down the rabbit hole vibe - it contained several references to Alice in Wonderland - was intriguing. Seriously done and well acted, I enjoyed it.

FRAGILE

Loneliess and envy of couples well conveyed here by a strong lead performance, who through a eureka moment sculpted his own destiny in more ways than one, played for slapstick laughs throughout. I enjoyed the positive atmosphere in this film and quirky ideas. Some dim lighting was a bit of a block, so to speak but the ice queen was some number 8 wire magnificent ingenuity.

2 GUYS 1 SLUT

The whole she doesn't know I exist/have to somehow overcome her rivals teen film. Given the title not exactly Pretty in Pink, but a much different vibe compared to what I expected also. Quite charming, even. Our polyamorous female lead enjoys the company of boys quite a bit, although there are several interested parties at the library. A jock, a smooth operator who takes her out to dinner, and the underdog that gets the audience on their side pretty quickly by taking an impressive tumble out of a tree. The montage of competition was handled well and the script was solid with good comedic timing on the whole.

Bad Day

Placeholder review.

Distressed

Contemplating suicide, our lead has brief interactions with those who have mattered to him most in the past ala It's A Wonderful Life. Played seriously, this wasn't really an immobilisation film.

Parasite

Whilst the title of the film gave hints, I was actually a bit surprised by where this ended up going. An eery vibe builds from the beginning when a deadpan new flatmate moves in who is a bit too similar to the existing girl. One thing I would recommend is trying to get a bit more visual variety in future

Last Tindango

On the way to your wedding surely there is time to slip off for one last exotic dance, right? Especially if it is a passionate tango atop Wellington hills, or on the pier as waves crash nearby and metaphorically reflect your lust for dancing. The soundtrack here was utilized to aplomb with heavy string instruments playing perfectly as the 2 bodies swirled and stepped in rhythm. Really nice looking black and white with just a hint of colour, whoever was in control of tracking the movement had an incredibly steady hand and keen eye for tight v-formation framing. I respect going for the no-dialogue approach completely and artistically it was so strong that it worked. I think that this just required a dramatic story beat or 2 to elevate it further.

Great Mysteries of Natural History

Previous best worst "winners" Confusers are at it again with a mockumentary (no talking heads - hurray!) about the newly discovered Placeholdersaurus, delightfully narrated by someone giving their best Richard Attenborough impersonation. Now this might have been an entertaining short in another team without an incredibly strange bent, but in the hands of bizarro masters Confusers we got paper mache Dinosaur head weird all for the glorious better. Who is really at the top of the food chain - humans, dinosaurs or felines? I guess it doesn't matter when you have a green screen and not just one but two paper mache Dinosaur heads. Got some seriously huge laughs at the heat but could have cut down by perhaps 1 or 2 jokes for pacing.

Battle Roulette

Domestics lead into some very dangerous online gambling, because rather than sell the family house or abandon his wife and daughter, our lead decides to partake in a life/death shoot out. I'd probably need to watch this again to make my mind up on your stylistic choices, but by and large I think they worked because it differentiated the gambling from the real world.

Wool You Love Me?

Even the most outwardly confident use online dating as explored by this film, which depicted a swag skux in the high school hallway struggling for friends and turning to Mashley Addison to find the woman of this dreams. Put through the ringer to see if he matches the criteria of one of his likes, Baaadgirl69 presents a series of challenges that have the audience wondering catfish. I felt this was a solid simple story with a couple of pieces of comedy gold however production values could have used some improvements. I appreciate the time constraints but stronger contrast, use of lighting and potentially even a grade are elements that will make your film pop in future and I would recommend this as the look of the film was flat. The camera work was also fun at times but slightly jarring at others.

Transformation

Placeholder review.

Cadavre Exquis

A French girl keeps having things from her past mysteriously left at her doorstep including an old toy bunny rabbit and banana + jam sandwiches. Days pass until it is revealed who has been leaving things, before an abruptly shocking ending (which I unfortunately found to be a bit of a throwaway) The piano music fit the genre well.

Love, Pain and Chow Mein

A Baywatch-loving Chinese exchange student in New Zealand uses his Kiwi friend/former penpal to try and win the girl of his dreams/obsessions. Energetic lead performance conveying the confidence we'd expect from the underdog in a romcom, creating a strong setup for the "anti" part here. The audience definitely liked this one however I'd just be careful about using things that are probably not ok copyright-wise (karaoke videos in the background and the song from F.R.I.E.N.D.S even in another language probably not ok)

Return

Beautifully animated film as a couple of Maori fought a taniwha, followed by a hangi with a cut to Sky City. It's pretty rare that I miss the message in 48Hours but I'm genuinely a bit baffled how it fit into sci-fi. Edit: right, it was post-apocalyptic. I missed that as thought time had passed before we panned to Sky City. My bad. I'm not going to bump any more stars up though. Needed more meat to the story.

The Sleeping Plot

Knocked it out of the park; finals for sure, maybe nationals. Parents try to comfort their young girl about an unfortunate event, whilst she at the same time develops a plan to make $37 after a visit to the local gardening store. Great production values, excellent script and a superb performance by the lead actress. I loved that you basically showed the whole thing from the child's POV with the adults lower halves being shown when we were watching through her eyes. Darkly comic, children with ice creams and swear jars will never be the same again.

Lush Leaves

Here's a tip from doing 48 Hours for quite a number of years; don't waste the first 45-60 seconds of your film showing someone waking up out of bed etc as its precious time that can be used on jumping into your story and engaging the audience. The film itself was ok, as a girl deals with the horror of no 'Mermite' in the kitchen pantry by scouring around the house with a chair held over her head Benny Hill style, and then ending up in a fantasy world reached through leaves where they are promised this condiment by a mysterious mystical girl. I noted good use of sound effects throughout such as rustling leaves and running water for the river, as well as being drawn into the world of the film. The fact it had me thinking of more questions re: the fantasy world was probably a good thing.

KILL THE CHILD

This played in Heat 19. So this just happened. A demonic scatterbrained bloodfilled homage to Trash Humpers, or at least it wanted to be. The ritualistic cultists appear to bathe in blood with an intention to lure in their childhood neighbours on the promise of giving them lolly money. Trust me that's just my own interpretation of the images and sounds I just watched. I think the team might be quietly laughing that someone actually tried to make any sense of it. Some of the action had a Texas Chain Saw Masacre feel to it, but by and large it was an experience rather than a film. Shame I can't give a no rating option as I'm torn between giving it the lowest and highest possible rating. I'll give it high because its a DQ film and don't see that harming anyone.

The How, The What, The Who and The Why

A couple of "little shits" in the words of their mum conspire to steal chocolate protein bars from under mum's nose whilst she deals with a plumbing issue. Hoo boy as a dad with 2 and 3 year olds this felt scarily close to home in a been there, done that kind of way. Very relatable. I liked the pulsating start to the film as the energetic siblings were framed well for the upcoming heist, reflective of how moods can genuinely change for little children with the click of fingers or the loss of a chocolate treat. I also found the use of the shadow/silhouette for the plans well-executed and met the element requirement well. Kids held their own on screen well and sound was pretty good. The couple of things that I wasn't completely sold on was the pacing of the film. The chapter titles were unusual for a short film but unnecessary in my book, I felt the second one in particular kind of cut into the action just as I was getting fully engaged with the action unfolding. I also appreciate how grounded the film was in reality. Like, really, this was close to home, but I think that some interesting locations or even just more interesting backdrops given it was shot in a house could have given the film more of an impact.

Clutha Matters

Head scratcher mockumentary about a madhatter wanting to recruit students for his theatre troupe in the school holidays inspired by...Full House and Willy Wonka?? whilst seemingly shot on a very old vhs camcorder despite everyone in the film tapping away on modern smartphones. Tonally this was all over the place from the casio keyboard flavoured theme song that jumped out throughout, to self descriptors to the camera, to the actual filming of the show/interviews. I think this was a bit of a square peg in a round hole regarding the genre, as simply mentioning it was the holidays didn't really tick the requirement for me. I also think that if you were going with this old camcorder approach there simply had to be more justification for its use, as it didn't make sense and became a throwaway at the end. Your lead definitely hammed it up and this could have gone somewhere if there was a bit of motivation for the hiring of the actors. Ending definitely out of left-field but yet again had me puzzled rather than surprised in a good way.

Maybe the Last Time

12 June 2013 REVIEW EDITED AFTER SECOND VIEWING AT WELLINGTON 48 HOURS FINAL (Fact I didn't 'get it' the first time I think points to the fact your film was unclear): A high school reunion hookup aftermath film with a Tangerine-dream like score, mainly set in a parked car by the beach. A realistic portrayal of regret and hope, as two would be-lovers try quickly to make up for a lot of lost time. Coming in on the action after the drunken party and only letting the soundtrack try and convey emotion for any real conclusion felt flawed in my book. Reflecting now the film had a welcome change of pace right into the action, but I almost feel like Act 3 was missing, but then I'm assuming that you were going for a fly on the wall theatrical-type piece and letting the audience make their own conclusions. I think I "got it" this second time, but being held together by a soundtrack is always a dangerous thread to be hanging on. 16 June edit - drunk emotional irrelevant sections of the review removed.

Fathers love toast

Placeholder review.

Two Tall Tales

Hooray! The first Wellington Bigfoot/Sasquatch entry this year and luckily it was a real goody. A couple of DOC workers are queried as to how their daily activities had gone with regards to snail sampling and cataloguing; only thing is, we are presented with a couple of completely different stories. This had a witty script and excellent performances. Knowing how limited the light was on the Saturday of the shoot weekend in Wellington I was impressed by the coverage acquired in some deep forest areas. I honestly thought a lot more teams would take on this popular urban legend so it put a big grin on my face to see some big hairy man action as it is one of my personal favourite sub-genres.

Girl, Disembodied

Demented entry hahaha. But yeah after being abducted and having her brain sawn out my a mad scientist who has a plot to build an octopus made entirely out of brains...you heard right, a little girl's brain takes control of whoever has it in a quest to get back into the little girl's body. Creepy McCreepson strangeness abound, with people spazzing out and having acid thrown on their face. Had a grindhouse vibe that I dug, the 'scissor cut' scene was outrageous and the head explosions were fantastic. Wicked.

Fist Cop

[DQ] and verrry sadly DQ at that, as this was the best out of competition short so far. I was promised an ambitious short, and it really delivered on that expectation. This had such an 80s vhs neon vibe that it was incredible. It was like the punk buddy cop version of Robocop, with our 4.2% cyborg feeling a strong sense of justice against the Mr. Big type character who made him the way he is. Not just vengeance though, but to protect the valuable quantum that scientists have been working on. Over the top and full of action and dodgy special effects [floating buddy robot, anyone?] and one liners, I loved it. Only minor gripe was the use of the same pun a few times but not an issue at all.

The Pick Up

It makes it hard to review when you're seeing an idea for the umpteenth time in a 48 hours year, having thought the previous teams were original, and yet the later entries may be the best of the bunch in terms of using that concept. This was the case here, with mistaken identity and criminals involved. Almost a double reunion film, it set out charmingly and quickly developed. Some nice visual touches, it was short and to the point.

Better Dance Good

A French game show hosts auditions new contestants for their chance to become the next champion of Dance. There were some seriously excellent moves on display with again a good structure to the proceedings. Krump, latin/tango and freestyle were all covered well. I made a note that this had some absolutely excellent use of slow-mo through the human body flop/flop back up dance move that our Nicky Brick could provide with aplomb.

Kids These Days

Oooh errr my this was nicely shot. Simple, easy to follow story that opened itself up for several jokes and developments, including an excellent final confrontation when the body hammering away in the boot has made one annoying bump too many. The story revolves around the idea of a couple of crooks; one new, the other a grizzled old-timer, and their need to cover up their tracks. Hence a car is driven out to the middle of nowhere whilst they hatch a plan as to what to do with the child witness they have shoved in the trunk. I'm not going to give anything away as this will probably be in the Wellington final. Solid performances, technically good (I could hear every single line of dialogue crystal clear, for one) and entertaining fare with a surprising amount of blood. Thanks.

Ghostfish: Catfished By A Ghost

Slick as climbing glass.

Leave Me Alone

The SPCA, Bartending and Busking amongst other jobs have all failed for our lead, who just also happens to be a conjoined twin. Their bro has been the scourge of all their problems for quite some time particularly with women and employment, but that is nothing compared to the leaf monster they create when an experiment goes badly wrong. The two guys sharing one outfit for the twin effect really played off on one another well. Not a scary film by any sense of the imagination but more an ode to cheesy 50s/60s bad monster flicks which in my book is not a bad thing at all - Sting of Death and The Thing With Two Heads immediately came to mind.

Unravelled

Placeholder review.

Don't Clique

A campaign to stop bulllying that misfires in the worst possible way produced a pretty remarkable tale of pathos via Sergei Eisenstein and A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Questions of how to stop persecution based on difference were raised but the reality of society and the system was brought to the forefront in a shuddering jolt. A towering showing by the lead actress I noted this taking a bit too long to get going and the sound being a bit flat, although it was clean. Kind of hate the rating system sometimes as genuinely can't decide between a 5 and a 6 out of 7. Consider my rating unofficially a 5.5

1AM

This was a pretty simplistic idea of the blood of victims apparently being the cure for insomnia, as a character relays the ancient Amarian ritual regarding this to other cast members. Of course with with Mr Meyer being on the brink of losing his mind due to not getting 40 winks, all signs lead to death. I felt you could have really fleshed this out having given the explanation at the beginning. The cyclical nature of the short was decent but a murderous killing spree really needs something more to differentiate it from the others.

Dub Tee Eff

Are kids these days really too lazy to not even say a full W for this acronym? I guess they apparently are. Be that as it may, this was some entertaining young queer cinema that sent a positive message about coming out/being accepted. Realistic that the girlfriend was taken back by her boyfriend understanding and embracing this, there were some good physical humour jokes and the effort of actually jumping into the Wellington waterfront on the weekend means I'm giving the team a higher rating than I would otherwise. It was a little talk-heavy and the editing could have done with a bit of work, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Binary Love

With Y2K fast approaching, love comes in the most unlikely of places, a party in 1999 where our lead falls for Sally...a laptop. Slow motion puddle in this was fantastic and the actor was so good it was a borderline genuine romcom for mine. But then the premise is so ridiculous that is certainly fits outside the box as required. Solidly framed throughout with just minor lighting blemishes and a couple of bad misses on the 50/50 line. I was there on the waterfront when the millenium came around and this honestly captured the mood extremely well, right down to the laptop and (separate) keyboard actually being from the era. Loved the understanding grandmother and some high quality shots of Wellington. Wouldn't be surprised if this makes the shortlist.

Henry's 21st

Most artistic film ever made in Wellington? Yes I'm going to call it. Most artistic film ever made in the comp? Possibly, it's right up there with Brothers by ADHDMI that's for sure. The family who put on the vhs that they thought was a family birthday sure get the shock of their lives when it turns out to be a 4 part stimulating sensory overload video by the Institute of Applied Psychoanalytics. Audio, visual, reflex and dissociation were the stages to experience, and boy oh boy were they experiences all right. From waves crashing to the serene forest, fingers scraped and squeezed along metal and through bananas, this was an absolute delight. I haven't even talked about the colour palette that simply blew me away as bright yellows, purples and blue hues filled the screen cleanly yet effectively. Our instructor also put in one hell of a performance. We have a contender. Anyone for cake?

The Painter

Like the best horror films, creates its own lore with a sinister Painter comparable in many ways to Fulci's book of Eibon in THE BEYOND (but could not be more different than that masterpiece by Italy's Godfather of Gore). Seemingly simplistic vfx but really not given made over a single weekend those eyes will haunt me whenever I look back at the film. Possession? Haunting? Curse? Hard to say but a bloody fun time - pun intended as Nova Waretini-Hewison gives another star turn aided by a Linda Blair-like demonic voice. Shocking stabbings, a shrillseeking fantastic music score and the catchiest little song you will hear this year round off this little outside the box beauty. "A L I V E - so good to be!"

I Still Dream In Colour

Some nice camera work as an outcast tries to prevent having to take 'The Leaf'; a drug which has turned most of society into mindless slaves who work for the greater good powers that be. However the drug has not worked up to this point hence our heroine being on the run when the film opens up. The world the film creates seems quite desolate and unforgiving, definitely not one I'd want to live in. Whilst the camera angles were great I just felt like it needed a bit more action in my book. What I mean by that is that I didn't exactly come out of it feeling like I had watched an action film, more a feeling I had watched something with sequences of action within it.

V-Log of a Madwoman

A reasonably lusty scientist conducts a number of experiments in order to create the ideal specimen for attending to her needs ala Rocky from Rocky Horror. However none quite seem to make the grade. The team really crammed the screen with about as much visual information as it was going to be able to take at once; test tubes on a table, pictures of beautiful celebrity men on the back wall, and a bed hooked up for new male specimens to be created through on the side. Quite a manic film to be honest. Cue the squirrel fast forward to give it a bit of variety worked well at first, but got a little old by the third time the technique was used. Oh and they slipped some penis on screen. Just saying.

Hide and Seek

Age-inappropriate casting as a mother gets put under extreme duress from a kidnapping threat following a picnic trip to a war dugout with the young gang. It seems like there was a good deal of activity thrown into the film to try and keep it interesting, but I felt you over-thought the plot a bit too much and in the end this resulted in a predictable film. Don't get me wrong, swearing can be great for punch lines (I'm a huuuuge fan of SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT) but this film showed an over-reliance on the cursing and fell flat after the fifth or sixth eff this/eff that discussion. Unfortunately my suspension of disbelief was ruined by said age inappropriate casting and it felt more like a weirdly two toned thriller than a mystery given the obvious comedic payoff.

Finding Rose

I got quite a Highlander 2 meets The Matrix vibe with this one with the whole bad cloaked dude coming in and spouting prophecy + love interest being used as torture bait. What I'd recommend to this team more than anything would be to make sure they use better lighting going forward. A little grain and shadow here and there is obviously ok, but it felt like enough detail wasn't paid to these areas in a couple of key scenes.

break a leg

Holy-one shot baby! Incredibly well done backstage piece as a troupe of actors got ready for their play to begin, we swirled through curtains and dressing rooms, past affairs and meltdowns all the while somehow being able to let a few of the characters actually develop depth and personality, all with the most steadihanded camera I can remember for a one-take film (though I think I saw a cheeky edit). The lead actress, tree number 4 and the would be vampiress all had memorable moments. Impressive stuff, and I think this is a shoe-in for a cinematography nomination at least. Close to a 7/7. Might be on repeat viewings. Sometimes I hate star ratings but what I did not hate was this film. Probable finals.

Claymore

The bullying gets established early on through a military camp, before we come back to the present where a domestic situation forces a family apart. The father (Bobby Young) sets to the booze, but there are some police officers who still hold just a bit more than a grudge against him. The film came together well.

The Drop

A secret agent is given his orders to make the destruction of a base look like an accident, but as he takes his titular drop out of the aeroplane, his cellphone rings with a completely naive bitchy wife on the other line. Whilst he gets ready to pull the cord, she pulls his strings about housework and social engagement in typical laidback kiwi fashion. The usage of Ultra split screen here was absolutely fantastic, utilising a comic book panel style approach but knowing exactly how to keep things engaging, with decisive editing decisions to keep one panel at the centre of the viewer's attention, yet utilising the others to give the film more of a scope coverage. The result is it actually elevates the film in that respect compared to most other Ultras I've seen this year. Frigging fantastic sound design and impressive scope of animation pulled off. Probably just judge's personal preferences keeping this out of the Auckland final. Good voice work too. I did notice the characters dead seem a little deadpan due to no emotion in their faces like other reviewers which would probably also be my only minor qualm. Thanks for uploading, though!

Cut Up

Really well shot, like the best shot teen film by far this year in terms of framing and focus. Reminded me of the 80s slasher He Knows You’re Alone stylistically, with the puzzle pieces being kind of obvious and yet the slow burning revelation still having good effect. Nice work.

Glitch

Technically amazing as always, this went quite deep on concepts of immortality and human nature vs technology with an open-ended approach that had the audience captivated. Serious nods to THE MATRIX but without any homage and a genuine attempt to do something different, with a dreamy yet sinister vibe to the whole proceedings. Those tunnel shots were truly something. Visual effects were also subtle but terrific and the script whilst minimalist kept an air of intrigue as to who the Morpheus-like overlord was and what he meant to our protagonist. I'm expecting this in the Wellington final because the film as described above is very strong, but as an 'Ultra' film I'm seriously disappointed. Yes there's children and yes the events of the film kind of skirt/subvert that regarding the adult protagonist. I'll wait until others have seen the film to say any more. EDIT = Film would have been a 6/7 if not for the Ultra shortcomings.

Trapped in the Act

Nice take on the genre; I'm guessing you saw the Martin Freeman starring world 48 Hours winner from a couple of years back? A mime in Civic Square felt that they were trapped in a concrete cubile, much to their friends' amusement and his frustration. I thought the switch between scenes of reality and the mind entrapment were exceptional, but the ending came a bit abruptly.

Wellingtopia

With a strong dystopian foundation laid out (animation was a massive advantage to be able to show a decrepit Wellington) this morbid and charming effort by Lovely Bongo Drums brought a smile to my face from ear to ear. Felt like what Tex Avery would have done if he had access to flash software back in the day. Also reminded me of Courage the Cowardly Dog but instead of terrified protagonist the lone survivor eternal optimist welcomed their new friend, even if said new friend is a death-bringing leper/ghost type creature. Oh and I can't forget the fan-service to your own 48hours films - love it! ps those long lasting cans = puuuuke hahaha.

Mind The Gap

A trio of high school girls ponder their lives with exams and cellphones, and compare themselves to the older generation with their craft beer and artisan chocolate. We're also told through exposition that a lot of younger people have been 'crossing over' to the older side when they forget who they are as their younger selves. Bit of a creepy vibe as this isn't just metaphorical but results in completely disappearing from the young universe ala a Thanos snap when you forget your youthful self, or at least this was my take. I appreciated the attempt at subversion however it did have an air of standing around and talking for most of it. I think it would have been a much stronger film if the older generation had not just been talked about but instead properly integrated. I mean I get that the cross over was the integration, but the lack of explanation as to why the cross over was happening despite all the talking meant it was a hard sell in my book. The camera was also very static and for more dynamism I would have suggested not filming most of the film through long shots.

Raw Chains

The standard definition camera that this team clearly shot their film on actually helped itself immensely to the genre that they were provided. The fact that the whole thing was found footage also gets a big thumbs up from me. Holed up in a barn that the group of friends jokingly pronounce as haunted, things quickly go fairly horribly wrong. This felt quite claustrophobic but had just the right level of pacing to avoid any shaky camera issues. The darkness often seen on screen kept you guessing at all times as well.

Strings Attached

One of the darkest 48Hours films I have ever seen in terms of subject matter as an abusive domestic relationship was shown through the abuser treating his partner as a puppet. Phone calls and access to friends are stopped and emotional abuse is hurled at the victim. This presented a really tough subject matter and subverted its genre however whilst a strong story the actors did feel a little bit like they were reading lines other than the friend who was concerned about the abuse, and stood out.

Dead Last

A fake trailer for an upcoming horror-action film that included blood, intrigue, an exorcist priest and guns. First things first; the positives were that it was bold, fun and kept repeating keywords that would hopefully attract an audience if they were to come see the supposed film on release. Also made complete fun of itself ala the fake trailers in the Grindhouse (Planet Terror/Death Proof) releases. The negatives = why fake American accents? Why have part of the trailer scratchy like a film print and other parts in crystal clear HD? Why add a supernatural element with the shot of the priest and have the trailer announcer not mention it when you are promoting a horror film? Also, ambitious long trailers do often give you a general storyline idea without giving anything away and this did not. It was fun, but there were a lot of potential things that could have been done better.

scienc

Fairly ridiculous music, but the whole film was fairly ridiculous. A scientist is annoyed that his friends don't like him when he is smart and charming, and so he sets out to show them with science by disintegrating all of them with a ray. The audience gave this a good response, and I liked the visual effects but me not being a fan of the music meant I thought it was average overall.

Bags

Some of my favourite horror movies are of the haunted house variety (The Innocents, The Haunting) and the key things they do is build a sense of dread by letting the viewer make their own interpretations in a lot of instances. But believe you me, when it comes time to scare, they do not hold back. Unfortunately this short chose to use a voiceover from the ghost’s point of view and give him a flat out mean spirited attitude. What this did was lost any sense of dread right from the start, and the fact that the film was presented in such a serious manner meant that the option of making it an entertaining or funny film was also gone. I would actually be interested to know what tone the team was going for – was it supposed to be a dark comedy? The score was good but before anyone harps on about how great it looked (which it did), the camera positioning was another reason for the scares failing. This is because every shot that I can recall was wide angle and steady. Movements and zooms are a troupe of this genre that really can’t be ignored, because they unsettle the audience. Sorry for the novel guys, but I’m just clearly saying why it didn’t work for me. EDIT - I see Dawkward's reviews. I'm not saying that Couch Kumaras needed shaky cams and zooms; there are some amazing steady horror films out there as well. In this particular instance the voiceover just didn't work. The score was beautiful.

Its Not a Pirates Life for me

Lovely opening overhead shot onto a pirate family's boat, as the docked band of buccaneers have come to Wellington for their young son's 'Arrrrgh-mitzfah'. Only he's not so sure he wants to make others walk the plank, when options such as planning for the City Council seem slightly more appealing in his measured eyes than covering one of them with a patch. This threw caution to the wind with a shit ton of dad jokes and puns, and squeezed every pirate trope the team could think of into its 5 minute run time, from swashbuckling to kidnapping. Whilst I loved the camerawork to start I felt that as the film went on it lacked the energy that could have elevated it as most shots were steady with little movement. I know that's nitpicking given the film was set on a docked boat, but then that was your choice.

;

Paul turns up at the party of Bobby Young, somebody who he has not seen for years and with good reason, as they discuss and show the results of some pretty vicious previous bullying. Bobby has the girl now, the friends and everything Paul doesn't, but in terms of remorse he only really makes a brief sorry statement to Paul. Clearly this isn't enough and a very good opportunity rears its head for revenge in the form of a pinyata. Pretty easy to see where this was going straight away but it was well acted and shot.

The Prototype

A scientist comes up with a new energy source, which gets stolen by an aggresively flirtatious rival; the term 'jumping someone' never really fitted better. However the scientist's assistant won't stand for the theft, so she and he set about infiltrating the office of the rival in order to get their invention back, and put egg on their face for a presentation to a leading company who could fund the project. I liked the barrel rolls, cheeky high 5 ending and the flirtatious rival had great screen presence.

The Long-Con

An amazing phone message gives a stoic hitwoman her next target, but the blind positivity of her Greenpeace leader target means that what should be a straightforward kill turns into a barrel of deadpan laughs romcom. Kind of worked better in my mind as an anti-romcom! The camerawork needed some focus and contrast to it plus was mostly static when some variety would have helped, and there was audible distortion on the soundtrack, but this team committed to an idea and ran with it which made it a highlight in the heat. Playing the material dead straight meant that being a 'yes woman' was highly believable as she had a job to do, and whether that took 1 second or 10 years it would get done even if it meant putting up with getting married or having a baby. A lot of promise here.

Altered

Wellington 2043 with not just one but 2 title cards to explain to the audience what was happening regarding a new drug on the street. Pretty cool dystopian cyberpunk thriller with the drone joke the absolute highlight. Makeup was nice too, reminded me a lot of tv show 'The Tribe'. I think the plot just needed a bit more clarity in terms of direction.

Zero Dark 4' 1" .7

In Slovakia, Eastern Europe, a couple with access to nuclear launch codes are held tied up and captive by a terrorist who threatens to torture them again unless he gets the numbers he needs for a strike. Clearly shot footage (nothing really striking though, it was mainly shot/reverse shot couple tied to chairs versus villain in the shadows) and a couple of name actors, but not really a Race against the Clock film at all.

Awake Like An Egyptian

Last year’s best bad film winners really did not change their style too much, complete with shooting in Black and White again, but the laughs were more chuckles this time around than belly aches. Starting in 1210BC with a curse on a newy tombed mummy, we converged into the 60s as a tenuous family link was made.

Strings Attached

Oh come one everyone this was not a 1 or 2 star film you mean pricks! Sian Reynolds as a socially awkward girl falls for a socially awkward boy the only problem is that their connection is through the puppets that live on their hands and he still struggles to see her. This explored the concept of being an introvert very well, and I thought the inclusion of the puppets to allow the characters to be someone who they were actually not was a clever idea as well, because extreme introverts often look to their outward appearance for more bravery. I feel the ending of this film was a bit heavy handed and mean spirited however also felt that camerawork was very solid. The sound design had moments where it was unclear who was talking due to not using separated channels for the puppets but there was definitely promise in this film that was just slightly unfulfilled.

Perishables

I really liked the tone on this film. Forelorn and sardonic with a sense of acceptance regarding mass organised killing to appease a minister's call for societal reduction. Bleak and dark it reminded me of an incredibly low budget version of a book that Evelyn Waugh never wrote. Like there was really not much to the film, just a darkly comic acceptance of those accepted to die that they will, but sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Work on the technical side of things a bit guys and I look forward to seeing what you come up with in future.

Plastic Splatstick

Used the 48Hours platform to present a darkly comic call to get rid of plastic bags, through bumbling kidnappers and a startling can-do alternate universe female Prime Minister. Held mostly high production values and the jokes were well timed. Fairly decent sound with clear dialogue for the strong script. Probably a bit of a smokey stabbey dark horse for the shortlist.

A Problem With Tomatoes

This team apologised for their audio before the film played due to having to use a backup mic, and to be honest guys whilst the levels were a bit loud at times, it was nowhere near the worst I've come across in 48 Hours. Probably better than half the films this year anyway. A blind or internet date goes fairly horribly wrong for our Nicky Brick when he is knocked out and handcuffed to the bed with a satanic sign painted on his chest by his potential date for her coven (and garden). What follows is a good level of interplay between the two, as well as another particularly energetic supporting actor. The virgin jokes were clever (not sure why they didn't get more laughs) and the both leads were really good. The woman who played 'Storm' was quite a stunner.

Different Strokes For Different Folks

Nice animated work by a one-man team, as they contemplated the quests we all go on personally.

Sprung

A ripoff of the film Jumper, but done with a local charm. Set in the year 2078, a couple of cyber cops are sent to investigate recent illegal jumping activity [I'm pretty sure; the wall of text at the start was TL;DR]. Kept it real with locations including the racecourse stands, and the local dairy, you got good performances out of your young actors. I liked that you mixed up the tone with the serious guys (ending was a shock!) and the happy go lucky fishing kids. Just need to do an original idea next time.

Thirst Contact

Placeholder review.

Daemon

Apparently the Rite of Serepis (sp?) is an ancient ritual for body switching. Well, nice to know, but yeah this was one for the books. After some tribal humming drums, the first phase begins and milky liquid gets poured. That's only the beginning though, if you want a visual assault on your eyeballs then come no further than this film, which had enough body rubbing and general strangeness to get you through a week. I loved it.

REWRITE

A struggling writer searches for inspiration after having lost what made his previous work so great. So far we are seeing some nice interpretations of this genre and this was another solid example, being about a reunion of the self/mind. It was however better played than that simplistic description with several different mental angles, and an examination of the strain writer’s block causes on relationships. Excellent use of the line is noted in my book.

Breadcrumbs

I know it was only acapella and for less than 5 seconds, but you still can't use BLACK EYED PEAS - I GOTTA FEELING in this competition, guys! sheesh! But with regards to the film itself, it was a serious effort that I guess made the point to live each day to the max. Our hospitalised lead really has this hit home to him when he flashbacks to previous memories before his accident, but this time does it through the bodies of his friends. Serious overuse of focus on the bedridden's eyes to try and manipulate the audience I thought, but hey that's just me. Technically decent otherwise.

Hira's Tree

Felt like quite a believable urban legend, as we focused on a local one that apparently should be of great benefit to those who have issues with luck - which I'd say three missed opportunities down the altar definitely qualifies as. Played it straight on the whole rather than using the previous tragedy as a comedic opportunity like a lot of teams would have. Good use of the required elements but the voice over taking over gave it more of an after-school special than filmic feel in my book. Still, it set out to tell an original urban legend and achieved that. I would have just personally liked to have seen more a story developed by characters actions rather than essentially being described by the voiceover.

48 Hour Famine

Fucking amazing meta puppet film. Made me giddy. 3 October - as a judge I am so so so sad this was DQ and hence not in finals despite the almost unanimously deserved 7/7s. Sigh :(

I'm Actually There

Invisible superhero is about all you need to know, but the film gets a lot better and has some great visual gags when said male superhero meets somebody else who is also invisible. Some of the camerawork was a bit odd, but ithe film knew its genre conventions well and played on them for good comedic efffect. ...Also had far and away the best freeze frame ending so far in Wellington.

End of the Saga

I really liked this film which was a good 2 minutes max in length made up of less than a handful of shots but covered everything it needed to. A couple of Wizards/warriors, I wasn't sure which they were and it didn't really matter, the point was they had impressive beards and costumes, discuss the war which they are currently engaged in. However due to the battle finishing soon one is sent on his way to deliver news to the castle. The timing was perfect, overdubs solid and moving the framing from super wide scope to 16:9 was an inspired touch.

General Incivility

Strong electrotherapy to cure insomnia. Sound a bit dangerous, doesn't it? And it proves that way when we are advised that if Vic Meyer doesn't wake up in 14 hours, she will sleep/walk forever. There were a few good lines, and ideas regarding conscious/subconscious behaviour, but I felt that some more character motivation was needed for the actions that we saw on screen.

Viktorious

Or, Frankenstein’s Robot, this team went all-in and it paid off in spades with a low budget zinger of hilarity. Followed a bullied (but envied for their genius) young man creating a robot with some terrific capabilities, and the gory results of man trying to play god. Z-grade effects brought a high level of laughs after a slow burning start and a genuine contender for best worst film.

#ourplanet

After expository youth protest news footage, we are zapped into the present future where everyone born prior to the millenium has been annihilated, or so it seems. With a concrete post apocalyptic vibe, guerilla Sami Raimi-inspired camerawork and frenetic editing, this team really presented their film with an urgency that sent the blood pumping. I particularly liked the colourful WARRIORS-inspired gang of juvenile delinquents, and some of your shots were absolutely beautifully framed. Where I think the film could have been a little better was that due to the dialogue heavy way the story was set, it almost came across as a blink and you missed what was really happening opening to the bravura. Also whilst I liked the music that was utilised when the hunt was on, the edit was a bit jumpy in terms of the A/V match up. However I really grooved on the tone, and enjoyed the attempt at a ecological footprint PSA message. Having said that, the stabby ending is one of my personal bugbears in 48Hours so that's the reason for the 4/7.

When the time comes

At a dinner we view a relationship that is obviously not balanced with the alpha male ordering (the wrong) drinks for his clearly frustrated partner. However fate would happen to have it that a third party should come into the mix due to smart phone failures. What progresses is an engaging little film with strong performances and whilst verbally based, knowing the limitless boundaries of film, is also not beyond the realms of possibility. Science fiction setup vs realllly clever plan? Hard to say, either way there was good chemistry between the two playing a game of talk and respond with a nice open ending.

A Loaf Story

Lovey dovey harmonising was the name of the game here as a girl and a baker came to realise their true feelings for one another.. Really positive approach to the genre that covered all the required technical elements well. I actually would have loved to have seen a little bit more, for example one more song or even a scene without singing to break up the action and give it a dramatic flow, but I can't deny this left a smile on my face. Nice songwriting, simple to follow story and technically sound.

Super Self Me

After talking to a shrink, our lead decides to build up some self-esteem by wearing a costume and confronting people from his past under the alias 'Captain Confidence'. Their was some really good black comedy in this film, from tipping over wheelchairs to telling children they would be safe because their father was murdered.

Compress

Genuine contender for the overall top Wellington prize, as our lead came to grips with being dumped in an absolutely bravado dazzling display of emotional intensity, conveyed almost exclusively through movement and dance juxtaposed with a damaged soul, with music video quality shots cut in rendering feelings raw where required. The eyeball shots of crying in the rain for example. Just wow. Also a shining example of making sure every single shot was tightly set up and played with just such absolute passion that I was in awe. Sound was perfect, with minimal dialogue other than the dumping and some very wise words of wisdom by people that matter the most in a young person's life. Even included actual high school footage where whoever was on art department duty had actually made an effort. I truly believed these adult actors were in their teens simply on the performances. Camera work on show was absolutely top notch there's very little negative I can think of to say about this film at all. Coming of age nailed? You betcha.

Finding Rose

I got quite a Highlander 2 meets The Matrix vibe with this one with the whole bad cloaked dude coming in and spouting prophecy + love interest being used as torture bait. What I'd recommend to this team more than anything would be to make sure they use better lighting going forward. A little grain and shadow here and there is obviously ok, but it felt like enough detail wasn't paid to these areas in a couple of key scenes.

Big Ben's Big Bean Challenge

Well well well this was a surprise. Two films that only really make full sense when played back to back (this goes with Team Cupcake Squidwig which followed immediately afterwards at the Heats). The only time I can ever remember something similar was when a team basically paid the entry fee to put on some art wank they shot over the 14 minutes that two slots would allow them. This team/s actually had the best intentions at heart and so the daring move gets a thumbs up from me. Both films have basically the same start with Kevin and the girl he's interested in + her daughter saying goodbye as the girls head off on a date whilst he heads off to the TAB. The date with Roger for the girls starts promisingly enough with talk of sports and then the decision is made to have a go at rollerskating given that he was apparently a master skater back in the day. Of course this is a bit of a flat out lie and allows our main female actor to reflect on things with the other guy. Whilst this goes on of course Kevin has a whale of a time inadvertently entering himself in Big Ben's Big Bean Challenge by breaking the record for eating a vast amount of beans in a short space of time. Having lost the girl once he holds onto the idea tight that the competition might actually show her that he can amount to something. Of course the reigning champion is not going to give up their title without a fight, especially when they could have passed for the spitting image of Helen Mirren, only with tattoos. The inspirational side of things comes to the fore when we're shown that playing a good clean game will always grant you respect whether you win or lose. Also the same ending. The films themselves were decently acted but the production values were mid-range; having their moments in terms of good crowd scenes and a well framed camera most of the time. I guess that's understandable given the rush to effectively make two films.

In The Basement

Having heard that there is a ghost in the basement of the building they hang out in that grants wishes, a group of young people make their way down what seems like a set of everlasting corridors and stairs to try and make their dreams come true. This played fairly loosely, but enjoyably with some down to earth humour and really great lighting effects at times. To give an example of the tone one of the happy go lucky characters only wanted some KFC as their wish, which was backed up by another! The sound design was fairly good although there was a technical hiccup when audio from a subsequent scene came in too early to the existing footage we were watching. I also noted some shaky camera work but from memory this was when tight spots were being covered, so not really a mark down. With the utilisation of angles the scope of the building really did feel like an infinite maze at teams, giving the film a dream-like quality. I liked that it played like a quest but do think that the final act of the film could have been a lot more satisfying.

Love Arktually

Came across as a bit of a PSA for practising safe sex, which was funny when I think about it now given that the team did an unrelated PSA as their intro before the start of the film. Twisted as always but with more of a narrative framework than usual from Readers' Wives at least in terms of having a three act structure. Also didn't make me laugh like normal but I still dug it. We focused on Noah's ark and his ghetto fabulous girlfriend who have domestics. Noah doesn't deal with this too well, and the situation on his boat doesn't get much better when the inhabits are the most raunchy bunch of animals ever known to man. The pressure of his ghetto booty lady means that the opportunity for love with someone else is always there, but in the days before protective sex there is the chance for something to go (horribly) wrong. Randomly flashing disco floor lights, a Dinosaur DJ and the shots of the ark rollicking through the high seas were visual highlights. Song was sweet too and stuck in my head now "...Got the Hiv"

Negotiation

I hope the actress who broke her leg has a smooth recovery!!! Nice interplay between a cop and thief, with a wall separating the two of them only for bits and pieces to come together over the course of the film. I think my biggest issue with this one was genre as the flashbacks didn't really present opposites, and perhaps we lacked one story beat or 2 to make us really care about the characters due to how they fell out? But by working towards opposites at the end of the relationship rather than opposites working towards a relationship I guess that's subversive. Camerawork was steady although static and performances were good.

Odd Pairs

Our Nicky has a real problem; they keep ending up with all the odd socks that everybody loses. Unfortunately for them the cops think he has actually been stealing them and so look to take him down. His vegetarian girlfriend stands by him but the crime scene evidence does start to all add up. Few good laughs at how harsh the team is to Nicky but the acting was a bit theatrical. Could have done with some location scouting as largely being set at their flats was a bit boring. Quite a lot of effort put in at least by the actors to try and sell the story but it was too silly for its own good.

Fused

SOLO ENTRY and eff me that must have been a billion times harder than duo: setting your own camera and essentially ruling out tracking shots, zooms etc, but the brains behind this one made some really smart film-making decisions by giving it movement and energy through lights, colour, flowing water, car travel, and screen footage (though not sure they had the rights to show what was on the screen briefly at the Photon Lux bar for commercial use for the comp - might have been Matthew Mcconaughey but I could have this wrong and I apologise if I do). Given the difficulty in setting your own camera I'm also forgiving of the fact that numerous shots of the actress were out of focus. Actually more forgiving than the technical difficulties they may have faced is the fact that the story was bloody strong, intriguing, dreamlike and wholly original. There were elements of LOST IN TRANSALATION with hints of THE NEON DEMON and BLUE VELVET and yet it had a beautiful mis-en-scene throughout that made it feel like a recurring dream. The story was seemingly simple though interesting, as a dream bookended an ambitious 48 hours road trip, yet more complex than that with high concept examinations of behaviour and control versus fate. The editing was top notch and the use of contrast throughout the film was excellent. Just a shame about the focus and I do hope what was on screen at the bar didn't break the rules. Well done on making the shortlist :) EDIT - yep, my beady eye is correct there was pre-existing footage of a film with Matthew Mcconaughey used approximately 1m32 to 1m36 at Photon Lux (I've just re-watched in the screening room). Should have unfortunately been DQ on this technicality much like Purple Dragons in 2016. Poor from the judges to miss it. Positive comments still stand, this was very very impressive for a solo 16 year old!

Safety is the key

Safety protocols and high-vis vests will never be the same following this high quality incredibly strange monster movie by Daniel Cook's team where things quickly went awry for the new team put through their paces. The smug benefactor boss was played with aplomb, and your tongue-like slug monster effects really hit the mark for me. Lo-fi as fuck but very well shot and cut with a snappy ferocity to the proceedings. Jokes really hit the mark and me even mentioning the cat footage as questionable probably means you succeeded in what you set out to achieve. Disturbing and hilarious in my book.

Climatic

Took a leaf out of Grand Cheval's book (nowhere near as good as Child Jumpers, though) by doing a mockumentary that wasn't quite in that genre; plenty of talking heads but more where the team trying to save climate change were simply followed around as they tried to save the earth with the impending change supposedly happening in a matter of days. Some nice comic touches such as the email from Al Gore drew a decent audience response, but it was a one joke film and I hate talking heads in 48 Hours. EDIT 12 JUNE 2013 AFTER WELLINGTON 48 HOURS FINAL. Boy watching this a 2nd time just made me absolutely cringe; your lead actor carries the film with an unrelenting loud in your face to the camera approach which obviously judges liked (but trust me, they all didn't love it by a long shot). The reason that downlowconcept and Grand Cheval mockos have worked in the past is by actually having character development with an emotional story arc. You had some really nice comic touches but this could have been pigeonholed to fit into any other genres.

Escaping Eden

Adam and Eve contemplate leaving the garden of Eden and bringing the word of God to the modern world, whilst Nicky Brick continued to show signs of being awfully unlucky before said two deities unleashed their superpowers of enlightenment. I've got to say I was impressed with the High School teams this year; it was obviously they poured a lot more effort into actually scriptwriting and the coherency displayed has been excellent. This film in particular had some great quick witted puns and inventive camerawork.

Pause and Effect

Who remembers the film Clockstoppers from 11 or 12 years ago? Um, I do, and it was a little bit ironic in my view for adults to rip off what was a children/family film. Bit more of a sinister dark vibe, given that the usage of stopping time was for criminal gain by our protagonist as opposed to stopping it in the original film. I thought the leads had good chemistry, but was disappointed that the team had not done something a bit more original.

Sleepover

A grumpy (but hilarious) dad and a forced restlessly early night for a group of boys at a pizza party sleepover means that it's time for horror stories and some classic kiwi bad taste splatstick ingenuity. This was kinetic in approach with lively performances and a nice buy in to the urban legend which pursued the young men with great vigour. The jokes were funny, the film screamed by in terms of pacing and I love that the team threw everything at their gore they possibly could. You really can get a lot out of sausages, fake blood and horse heads if you're committed. Getting out and about was impressive as well with the waterfall being a really strong final location. I noticed a colleague giving you some sound advice about not leaving the sound until last for your film, and I agree. It was cracking good fun but there were also quite literally some crackles on the audio, some muffled dialogue and several distorted peaks. Huge potential here though and for what I assumed was an ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT reference to round out proceedings I take my hat off to you.

The Dragons are Coming

Having broken a statue, our Nicky Brick has cancelled the force field holding the dragon's back from attacking Earth, and so he only has a couple of hours to make things right. With a lack of superglue and some powers that be actually wanting the mythical creatures to arrive, however, it is quite a quest that our Nicky Brick goes on. Only this quest was more urban Wellington than magical, with supermarkets and petrol stations replacing castles/caves. The showdown in the school hall was cheesy and entertaining and I'm guessing the team may not have had access to much fantasy adventure costuming or effects? Meandered a little and could have done with an attempt to at least show a little bit of magic on-screen.

Naked Bug, Money

Contrasting stories between 2 crooks on the run and a scientific videographer/tv show naturist. The recent escapees built up some good rapport as buddies, but ended up being quite mean spirited. I guess that's acceptable given how strung out they would be in real life. The guy getting footage of worms had much better screen presence, although the same joke was used a few two many times. The convergence really felt abrupt which is what brought the rating down.

Connections

In a world where everyone has been completely consumed by their cellphones, those who have not yet been consumed by virtual reality are few and far between. Very 1984-ish in concept but put the onus on the user rather than any overbearing overwatching government. The dinner with mum and the lead's sisters was audaciously robotic and sinister, feeling as though it was saying cellphones literally take our souls and wills. To eat or to live, it's the same idea. A cinema full of lit up screens was a very meta moment, as we in the cinema audience saw a film watching a cinema audience. I respected the big ideas, I just would have liked to have seen more of a storyline rather than concept developed.

Instaman: The Untold Story

An old guy trains his young and fresh superhero disciple Instaman, who ends up accidentally blowing him up with a bomb. However he doesn't give up on his dream of becoming a hero, and is inspired by another girl called Rapid Girl who also has powers (the fast running was actually splendidly done), so gets his own cape to try and be a better rep for truth and justice. Of course there is a big faceoff with the nemesis down by the Hutt River, with some cheesy effects and hammy fighting for good measure. Captured the tropes of the genre well.

Pause and Effect

Who remembers the film Clockstoppers from 11 or 12 years ago? Um, I do, and it was a little bit ironic in my view for adults to rip off what was a children/family film. Bit more of a sinister dark vibe, given that the usage of stopping time was for criminal gain by our protagonist as opposed to stopping it in the original film. I thought the leads had good chemistry, but was disappointed that the team had not done something a bit more original.

Utka

So very very good. Be careful what you wish for indeed... I know that George Miller was a clear and obvious inspiration but boy oh boy did this deliver. Honestly the closest comparison I could think of was the writing of Gregoire Solotareff because this was most definitely its own morality tale and an absolute beast of a film, pun intended. Framing was captivating, pacing like a leisurely journey across an ocean paradise and an ability to emotionally resonate like few 48Hours films ever have. The only minor minute squibble I had was the voiceover not quite being technically perfect sound-wise however the performance was so great in terms of guiding us lucky viewers that this is most definitely still getting full marks from me. Oh and that music using strings to pull on my heart strings? YESSS. Poor little Utka... ps Robbed of top 3 at nationals.

Jaime.

In preparation for his girlfriend's birthday, our lead tries every conceivable idea that they can come up with in order to make her the perfect present, only for him to fail miserably in a comic manner. Made a good fist of the genre by throwing a lot of energy at the screen, the script, for lack of a better word, was a lot of fun. Lead actor had a lot of charm and I noted a nice original score. A couple of minor tech issues and a bit simplistic, but very enjoyable.

Plant

A book a bach has some very basic but specific instructions for our holiday goer to take care of a plant. Of course he can eat all the food he wants in the fridge if he wants, if only there was any. With the stage set this played out as a wonderfully paced game of cat and mouse as attempts to take the plant surreptitiously led the guy who was supposed to be relaxing into a state of paranoia. The use of Ultra split screen was exceedingly well done, replicating a kind of human security camera that put the audience in the shoes of the guy. I loved how things really escalated, with the cult-like triangle conclusion being a particular highlight. Editing was top notch here. Definite finals.

The Prepper

A rugby league mad survivalist comes to terms with his insular nature through therapy, because his paranoia leads him to believe the zombie apocalypse is coming. This was an in your face psyched up aggressive performance by our hard man lead who came onto the screen psyched up and steaming and did not let up until the end. I liked how the "just calm down, go and meet some people" approach from the shrink was measured and realistic, and setup an entertaining finale at the bus stop. Rugged film with good laughs.

No Refunds

A group who all badly miss their grandma think that a necromancer type with access to bringing souls back from other realms through a pentagon type seance is a good idea. Things of course don't go according to plan and so we get a hair metal bogan trying to adjust to modern life. Couple of nice touches of physical humour and a good grade to the film plus a nice comment on the frivolity of personal asset greed. However the story just never really became engaging due to unclear direction. Worked better as a back from the dead film than fish out of water (the actual genre) by a mile.

The Curse of That Damn Cat

An anthropomorphic black cat follows home Nicky Brick, leading to some pretty severe consequences. Well written dialogue and good awareness of the genre, with characters stressing just how unlucky it is for an animal such as this to cross your path and going to levels such as claiming they caused the economic crisis. A friendship develops and our Nicky seems fairly laissez-faire about the whole thing, but the negative things that happen to him do snowball and then we get a nifty little resolution; the actress who played Bloody Mary in particular impressive for the few seconds they were on screen. The whole thing was a little scatterbrain but it also made me long to ride those Croc carts/bicycles along the waterfront next time we have a sunny Sunday and I'm sober enough to get out of bed before 12.

Sims 3 Generation Expansion Pack

Verite home movie film-making on a $2 budget yes this was absolutely cringe and had an impressive amount of detail to the story as our lead showed how she grew up alone with a heavy drinking father and neglectful mother before finding the love of her life, and a blind dog randomly thrown in for good measure. Gonzo would probably be the best word to describe this, with crazy makeup for almost all cast members involved. It reminded me a bit of a warped version of TARNATION but from a plot point of view this was all over the place. I also get it, but am of 2 minds as to whether deliberately shooting this to look like a used vhs should be applauded when you've got other teams shooting on high-end cameras creating exceptional scope films, for example. But variety is the spice of life, hey, and this team did get a huge amount of laughs at the heat.

A Weekend With Gazza

What if your uncle magically came back to life as a vacuum cleaner? Well that's where this team's headspace was for the weekend and I liked their 100% commitment to selling the idea. Some decent character development and links to family as our lead was shown to be a non-listener/person who kept to their headphones, until their smart-ass wisecracking uncle shows them how to stand up for themselves both against bullies and when it comes to women. Million dollar idea on a miniscule budget but a couple of fantastic jokes.

Bump In the Night

I assume sound design is an award again this year? Definite nominee right here in my book. We followed our protagonist through a pretty drab rundown looking Kilbirnie, which seemed to have splintered off into its own little society with the Kilbirnie Post newspaper, and a whole lot of chaos such as the main sportsfield now being "KILLbirnie park". Several people were missing on flyers in this chaotic vision of the future, but our lead had strong screen presence as he made his way home after having had to crash at a friend's for a while. Nice payoff that was reliant on sound, that earned its dues because the team had good sound like I said earlier! I loved the world building, I just wish there was a bit more in terms of plot to this one.

Hard To Peas

Placeholder review.

Bloody Mary

Placeholder review.

Fruit Punch

Always wanting to do a good deed, our lead David (NOT Dave) helps someone get into their house that they have been locked out of, although when the person they helped get in starts smashing things up they give it a second thought. This team made a pretty huge goddam mess of whichever house they filmed at, but it was pretty deliriously good fun. Good chemistry between the two leads, as they captured the awkwardness of meeting someone you like for the first time very well.

Along for the Ride

A down to earth uber driver takes a woman to see her boyfriend when she has come for a surprise weekend visit, only the one getting a surprise is not him, and the shock is not a good one for her. Whilst stuck in the 'burbs luckily he sticks around to keep driving. Only she doesn't hop back on the train she has come from, surprise surprise. The dialogue interplay between the performers was well delivered, and I liked the variety of coverage despite the LOCKE inspired inside-a-car setting. Given the charm and fact this was technically good I'm giving this positive marks, although it was a bit formulaic in terms of plot.

The Wind in your Heart

Well this team certainly took the required wind element and ran with it, hard, with a very "Wellington" film. Huge audience laughs as a couple of omnipresent beings who controlled the weather worked to keep Wellington windy, much to the chagrin of metservice. Given it was a father and son duo creating the blusts this certainly met the coming of age challenge, as well as being one of the best nature run amok films in Wellington so far this year. Really low budget effects but the matte work to create the heads in the sky was at least super clean, and I loved that you got outside on the weekend and went hammer and tongs for it. The metservice jokes were the absolute gold part of the film, with the deadpan 2 days accurate record drawing some of the biggest laughs of the night. Would expect to see this on the shortlist. My main gripes would be that the comedy is probably not going to be everyone's cup of tea given just how silly it is, and the cinematography was servicable at best, although the hyper energy of the film made up for that.

Wheel Love

Well well well this was a surprise. Two films that only really make full sense when played back to back (this goes with Team Cupcake Go! 6.9 which followed immediately before at the Heats). The only time I can ever remember something similar was when a team basically paid the entry fee to put on some art wank they shot over the 14 minutes that two slots would allow them. This team/s actually had the best intentions at heart and so the daring move gets a thumbs up from me. Both films have basically the same start with Kevin and the girl he's interested in + her daughter saying goodbye as the girls head off on a date whilst he heads off to the TAB. The date with Roger for the girls starts promisingly enough with talk of sports and then the decision is made to have a go at rollerskating given that he was apparently a master skater back in the day. Of course this is a bit of a flat out lie and allows our main female actor to reflect on things with the other guy. Whilst this goes on of course Kevin has a whale of a time inadvertently entering himself in Big Ben's Big Bean Challenge by breaking the record for eating a vast amount of beans in a short space of time. Having lost the girl once he holds onto the idea tight that the competition might actually show her that he can amount to something. Of course the reigning champion is not going to give up their title without a fight, especially when they could have passed for the spitting image of Helen Mirren, only with tattoos. The inspirational side of things comes to the fore when we're shown that playing a good clean game will always grant you respect whether you win or lose. Also the same ending. The films themselves were decently acted but the production values were mid-range; having their moments in terms of good crowd scenes and a well framed camera most of the time. I guess that's understandable given the rush to effectively make two films.

Pour Moi

Technically super smoothe, acting performances fantastic and a brilliant take on a difficult genre as our lead was immobilised for hours in an attempt to woo the girl of his dreams. The sound levels peaked a bit high a couple of times but those are minor quibbles. I won’t give too much away but art and pills and provocateurs really do work well on screen together.

Leafal Interests

A one-shot mockumentary which usually earns my ire but this fell in line well with the required elements rather than shoe horning them in. A focus on the 8th episode of a show regarding over zealous leaf collectors in search of rare shrubbery gave had all the actors hit their marks, had a beginning middle and end and got some good audience laughs especially the strong boyfriend taking offence to thinking our female lead was checking out his "missus". Taking a show and giving it the feeling that ordinary people wouldn't just turn tricks for the camera was well conveyed.

25 Minutes

Mostly based on a true story apparently, our lead has 25 minutes to get his IVF specimen to the clinic because he chooses to go with the do it at home approach to save on the $80 it costs if you wish to rub out your specimen in nicer surroundings. Of course a tale of things getting in the way, in particularly their fellow Xbox playing flatmate who has a very relaxed attitude about the whole thing. What would a good action movie be without a ninja, too? And what would a good ninja fight be without it being against a pirate? Some of the little random acts were really well done but the lighthearted tone meant that it did not have too much actual action.

Cheernobyl: A Holiday Meltdown

After clicking on a 'win the holiday of your dreams' link that isn't spam, but the VR opportunity of a lifetime, our lead very much gets more than her bargained for when it turns out that all holidays in the world rolled into one is actually a bit nightmarish. Outstanding costume design and while the set was minimal in scope the editing was on point, leading to a claustrophobic tense effect that reflected the lead being trapped in a virtual world headset while the Easter-birthday-Xmas-chicken legged monster got up in his grill. Pretty batshit really, and definitely one of the best uses of the holiday genre this year. I liked the oneiric feel on show here, with a what the fuck feel in buckets. I also appreciated the plot having a well structured beginning, (overwhelming) middle and end, and I'm assuming that the attack on the senses was very much the team's intention. I can see why this didn't make the Christchurch finals though, out of nowhere murders are something that judges I know are completely over. However the film's proper finale was very satisfying indeed.

Jack & Jill

A friend sets up their friend with a psychiatrist to help them with their supposed agorophobia. Not a lot to this one, although I guess it captured the awkwardness of dating well enough.

Sammy

Good contender for best actress in Wellington from this film, as a mother who has lost her son brings home the boy who hosted the party where he died. Quite an intense film, the script was engaging and feedback between the two actors was top class. The only thing I felt let it down was the ending, which seemed a bit rushed and didn't have the emotional strength that the vocal exchange did earlier in the film.

It's a Dog's Life

The film is shown from a dog's perspective initiallly first person and it really does make you feel sympathetic towards them, as their owner inadvertedly neglects them. Of course we realise this is just reality in their rush to work etc. but luckily their actually is some inspirational stuff in this film when said owner has time to spend with their beloved pet. A nice little fence joke really made the film for me

THAT THING

What's this doing not in the Auckland final? Must be a banner year! Short, sweet, sick tale of family acceptance no matter how alien a child's traits may (literally) be as a newborn really seemed to come from another world, complete with glass-piercing growls, accordion bookends and seemingly problematic fire vomit . Huge Lee Hardcastle vibes but with emotional warmth and the comforting tone of a well-told children's story book. I loved the measured clear diction of the storyteller's voice over and the unwavering approach to the vocals strengthened the metaphor in my book to be unconditional in your love for your family. The vibrancy in the colour palette also helped this stand out from the crowd a lot. Animation where present was great this would have got full marks from me with just a smidgeon more movement to the film. Awesome work though!

A Walk to Dismember

Lo-fi FRANKENSTEIN in reverse where our lead was prone to dismemberment and re-attachment of missing limbs was at the top of his list in life, at any cost. Very much embodied the BAD TASTE guerilla approach that inspired the genre with a commanding performance by the man with missing limbs. Exceedingly poor though to show your computer screen having "EZTV Torrents" links, but I'll forgive you for the entertainment and also having fucking amazing songs. Can only wonder what would have happened if you got musical!

Daylight Horror

Walked in on the end of this one which had some good toilet humour and fencing on show, with strong audience laughter. Will update the review once I see the full film but liked what I saw. Edit: this team is behaving atrociously. Had given the film a 7/10 based on what I had seen which made me laugh, but now cannot fathom giving it a positive rating of any kind. Behaviour will be brought to judge's attention, probably the school's if it continues.

State Highway Death - Turn Right For Murder

After being bullied at school, Bobby Young goes on a road trip to New Zealand to kill all of her previous tormenters. Well, at least on the map she does, as 'Auckland' being followed by turning off the motorway onto Thorndon was greeted with some pretty massive audience laughs. Pretty unoriginal, but some good one-liners. "You do have the time, hammer time!"

Playback

Priests and churches sure seem to be popular this year. We get told/shown the story of a camera documenting someone having a fairly wild weekend. How they came to acquire said camera however provides a good story point. It must be a bit frustrating to clearly have some quality HD gear and then get this genre, as the time off the low budget camera was fairly crisp indeed on screen. Anyway lipstick on the forehead, seduction at a poolhall, the aftermath of a party and confessions at a church all get good screen time.

The Hand That Feeds

Very impressive sound design indeed, and a creepy as hell sound track had the audience genuinely squirming in their seats which is everything you'd want from a horror film that bravely played it straight and did not go for laughs. Reliance on mood and tension had my attention as a cursed loaf of bread caused our lead actress some high levels of grief whilst she tried to keep her daily life in order. The main things letting the film down were a lack of a polish from a cinematography point of view, and the curse afflicting hobo was a bit off in his performance tone. However I was able to overlook that and found that your strong lead actress and disturbing nightmarish soundtrack really knocked me over. Well done.

Light Reading

Yeah really good camerawork here involving a wide variety of shots that created tension and mood for the studying student struggling to focus but being stalked, unbeknownst to him. Really satisfying given how well the scholar was projected as a dickhead who didn't care much for library rules. Sound design was on point and editing was crisp. Short and sweet with a final shot that made me envious at your skills which is always a great sign. I noted a couple of camera shots early on that were slightly shaky but everything else was rock solid. Less is more in the best possible way.

Crawlspace

Now this was a lot of fun. A would be DIY plumber father tries his luck fixing the drains under the house, ignoring the warnings of his daughter whilst his wife and her friends get boozed. There have been a few complaints about the projection darkness levels at Vic this year, but I just have to point out that this one looked fantastic given that the team clearly went to great efforts to shoot under a real house. It wouldn't have been a Squidwig Production without some physical special effects, and this year they looked great.

Mother's Day

[DQ] Interviewees give their take on a daycare centre teacher who was a bit too endearing to the children, making them more than jealous when the annual celebration of motherhood rolls around. At the start I saw this going in several ways so it was quite engaging, but on the other hands I’m really not a fan of talking heads in 48 Hours. The sinister levels built throughout, although the ending was quite abrupt.

Crossroads

Shot in black and white, from what I gather to give the impression that everything we do is 50/50 in terms of our choices? Seemed to have an alien sent down to present doors to dimensions that showed everything we do is just a big gamble and linked to the cinematography being a metaphorical allegory of this. I might have it all wrong but the rest of my team was also confused by the whole short.

Parallel Lines

Another team that wasted 30 seconds to establish a character waking up/going through their morning routine (yawn). Could have established that we were looking at a parking warden a lot quicker than that without compromising the story at all. Off for his daily quota, he is one of the nasty wardens who will get you even if you park in the wrong area for 2 minutes. A parallel story runs as a group of crooks prepare to pull of a heist and a quick getaway only their fates are set to intertwine with the council employee. Due to the editing and confusion over who got clamped (the cop or the robbers?) the film's big dramatic moment lost its impact unfortunately. I know there was also a twist but the editing meant this was also not clear either. A bit strange as the film was entirely clear in structure and working towards a nice payoff until the final 30 seconds.

13 going on 14

The tale of a an awkward 14th birthday, with a cringey mum who gets things a bit wrong (veggies at the party, providing a book about reproduction to her son bizarrely late?) and three in your face energised friends who don't seem to have come close to hitting puberty like our lead has. Finger spinners, hamburger slippers and joke books for children seem a bit out of place to say the least for presents. Well, at least until one of them confidently and aggressively asks a girl out by the river and takes her off hand in hand despite weirding her out, in a slice of action that definitely feels like its own tale. I liked the positive energy on show here, and whilst I'm not the biggest proponent for flinging the camera around I'd advice to utilise some motion to match movement inside your framing, as this will engage the viewer by directing our focus. I would also recommend mixing up your camera angles as this is the biggest advantage a film medium can give you. For example utilisation of close ups would have driven the point home as to who was made to feel awkward (assumedly the lead) but by keeping the camera long it avoided the cringe comedy aspect and just made the action on screen as cringe. I hate to be overly critical but it seemed like having almost everything recorded through long shots meant the camera was a bit far away for recording audio, creating a slightly echoey effect to the sound. If the camera was closer it would have also allowed cleaner sound (or else an external mic will also be of huge benefit). I did enjoy the energy and liked that you got outside to shoot! But due to the technical limitations and lack of clear storyline I've unfortunately given my low rating. Sorry :(

Climb

A lot better take on the genre than most of the adult efforts I have seen so far this year, again with a solid script, good pacing and performances and even a really nice twist that actually created the inspiration I was searching for. New workout routine sounds good to our lead actress, who trains rigorously to overcome a personal challenge of climbing a tree that may seem quite straight forward but we actually realise is quite impressive given the situation. Nice workout montage, good little story.

Day None

Serious in tone and played with believable authenticity this established a sparse barely inhabited Wellington through quality drone camera work where I honestly don't remember any giveaways like lights being on as well as impressive costuming and set design. With the world set this was well acted mainly in a bunker as a couple of survivalists shared their tales of getting through, and opened up knowing it was unlikely they'd see another person ever again. The radio announcement that the world was coming to an end was a nice touch but could have been made a bit clearer because it was hard to make out all the details. I noted "captivating" on my pad I base these reviews on, and I'll stick to that. Lighting here was out of this world good. Cool vfx to conclude, I do however wish the team had added a bit more originality to their story.

Pixel Dream Girl

Sick burn here on app-based dating, and the many challenges that it generates by deciding a romantic fate through swiping left or right. I was thoroughly impressed by how well Squint Eastwood rapid-fired the douche canoes that plague the likes of tinder, with nobody safe whether it be the boring 'interests = movies' guy, through toxic ab showing MGTOWS and running the gauntlet through to the desperate bit too old creep. Really well done integration of split screen too, utilising the phone for the Ultra requirement whilst our pierced and tattooed dream girl for many lamented not finding the one for her. So like story wise this had a great setup, and the pastel bright colours are always a massive breath of fresh air, the inimitable animation of Sam Harris something to behold and honestly the music was catchy as hell (A++ for the blazing autotone finish)...I was just personally struggling to resonate with this as a cohesive story. Great opening act, strong finish, but the glue of the middle piece when the rejected creep went too far just took me out of it a bit. I understand it was probably supposed to make people feel uneasy and you nailed that aspect, and that's not why I'm critical here, I just think it created a variation in the mis en scene of the whole film that felt a bit confusing by the end, when it started so amazingly well with the subversive topical approach to love.

Random Access Memories

Goddamit, 2 films in the same heat with murderous stabby endings! I'm sorry for spoiling this but as a resolution in this competition that is just a shitty way to end things. And honestly it was a damn shame because up until that point I was enjoying your film a hell of a lot and you had in my opinion made a much better film than your film that got to the national final last year. Script was really good here as a dishy in a restaurant used new sci fi technology while lying awake in bed at night to deal with the horrendous treatment from his boss. It was relatable for sure for anyone who has ever suffered under poor management or workplace bullying, with lots of laughs and guffaws in the cinema when the fantastical comebacks where pronounced. Your lead actor and his boss both had commanding screen presence, and I really liked how you were able to get such clean coverage with your camera within the small confines of the back of the restaurant. Sound and sound design was also crisp. Just so frustrating that you went with that cop out finale.

Apollo 69

Man I don't have too many notes here because I put my pen down pretty quickly and just watched in awe as this beautiful film took over my retinas and brain cells. Easily the most amazing use of stock footage we've seen in the comp so far, and in conjunction with an incredibly pieced together space station given the time constraints, it genuinely felt like we were up there in outer space, running the gamut of emotions that our lead actor did due to loneliness, despite his AI friend DQ's best intentions. Imminent self destruction allowed for imminent self introspection and the most unlikely of connections. Fantastic subversion of genre. Gold use of split screen throughout, driving rather than hindering the story in any way, you finish watching immediately wondering when you can see it again. Answer = Wellington final no doubt, and probably national final too. For those wondering, yes Tim Hamilton dropped the meta 48Hour approach and yes he absolutely delivered the goods, helped in part by a terrific lead actor and one of the most beautiful music scores I've heard composed for the competition by Liam Reid. Literally note perfect. The required 4th wall break also put a huge grin on my face even if took me out of the moment for half a second. Honestly the sort of film that I live for in this comp. So good.

Beans and Frank.

Three Hawaiian shirt-wearing crims on a getaway struggle to deal with the fact that one of them has been shot and really needs a doctor. Camera was decent, script was working well and performances were engaging. But that ending....like the flattening of a balloon in all its cold mean spirited cliched predictability. Ruined the film for me.

Bufo

Yuss more puppets. And I'll tell you what, if you read the instructions given for Urban Legend on the 48hours website this was actually one that came closest to what the organisers were looking for in their description. The team took a well known urban legend (licking a frog will make you trip balls) only they told it almost entirely visually rather than relying on a Captain Exposition or 2 to establish their legend like most teams. Having tripped out our lead puppet/actor enjoys some scattered flashing leaves in his vision, is treated to some saxophone in the forest and finally gets transported to the human world. Ok so the setup was fantastic based on the genre requirements and the rest of the film was a little thin plotwise but it was still enjoyable.

Hairmonal Creatures

Big big werewolf fan here, and SkooterMan Pictures have improved yet again with a ravishing understated kiwi tale of lycanthropy. In a nutshell a trip to the doctor for monthly sleep deprivation and cramps that happens on oh around so each full moon leads to the realisation that our lead may be cursed like Michael J Fox in 1985. Mad props to the actor who shaved their impressive beard for the part! I'm also impressed that you took one of last year's main flaws (lighting) and ensured that all your footage was crisp and bright. And fuck me I looove some practical effects so I have to say the transformation hair ripping through the suits was sensational. I think this will go close to shortlist, + would have been a real contender for best incredibly strange if that was still an award, though the main thing holding it back just a teensy bit were a handful of jumpy edits here and there in the doctor's office. Nevertheless there were other technical aspects that shined from a cinematography point of view, with the pair of werewolves ambling around and howling in unison being a particular highlight.

It's Always Night In Space

Superbly acted, the film nailed the concept of a urban legend where it is possible to give a slightly different tale of events based on whatever hearsay the storyteller has heard. Set in a lecture theatre, a list of possible discoveries, motives and ways Nicky Brick was killed at an observatory in 1971 are well examined. Some say he saw a giant meteor, others that there was a conspiracy to kill him and yet a different take is that it was suicide. Our lecturer of course provides the calming hand to our students' wild speculations. Some sweet visual touches and completely engaging.

Dual Bakers

Pun-filled bread fighting low budget fx love triangle buffoonery. The kitchen sink and its bakery replacement were thrown at the screen here as two buddies bickered and argued about their bakery and the woman they loved. The jokes ranged from absolutely awful to absolutely brilliant, and the final showdown with bunchucks vs a French bread sword stick was great. I would recommend working on your camera work given this was largely very static medium to long shots throughout, and is something that can also be used as a great film making device to tell a story, whereas the reliance on dialogue exposition did become a little tedious. Very fun though.

The Sunnybrook Diaries

First animation this year? Not sure what's happened as we used to get close to 10 most years in Wellington. Found footage at that which was quite an interesting take on the genre I must say. We focused on the work of a Doctor at a mental asylum, in particular the effects of playing repetitive children's music for hours on ends to patients who were already at least a bit unstable. Short and sweet this didn't overstay its welcome by any stretch of the imagination. I liked where it cut off as open-ended is probably the perfect way to resolve a film in this genre.

Crossfire

Demon-hunting men of the cloth struggle to come to terms with the fact that the so called evil spirits they identify are nothing more than bums and pregnant women, so turn to their own alcoholic spirits for guidance. Some really great comedic beats such as the fingers coming together, but the sound was let down in a few places. I also understand that you may have deemed hunters to fit your genre bill, but the whole concept of Cat and Mouse is that it is a push and pull/2 way concept and to me the Demons just never gave the idea of being ahead in the chase. Basically you made a good buddy film but not a great Cat and Mouse film.

ACES

In a way this could have been construed as a returning vet film, given that most of the film was fire and duck/run military action in the woods with the contrast bumped way up on the images presented. Not a lot else happened, and could have benefited with some originality. I also think your final plot point could have been developed or mixed in earlier.

The Cunniffe

From what I gathered, Vic Meyer visited a Tarot Card reader with the intention of curing his woes of being unable to sleep. As each card was presented, the description was then backed up on screen eg, financial troubles. I think you needed to explain what a cunniffe is, because that appeared to be a key plot point which was lost on the audience (I talked to several people). The warm colour scheme was nice at times, but there were also a couple of tech glitches such a director sound remaining in used takes for the final film.

Vic TV

Some super strong sleeping pills pull Vic right into a television where he bounces around between channels with the same nemesis in each. Cooking/Infomercials/Religious/Kids TV were about it. Being whisked away to a parallel or alternate world is a great setup for a non dialogue film, but I would have stayed well away from somewhere that is arguably 50% driven by dialogue like TV. It got tedious.

Add to Story

Mostly shot as vertical cinema from a phone POV/found footage approach as freshly turned 18 year old lads venture into town for the first time on the prowl. Very naturalistic in approach it seemed like the script came from a very familiar place. Sure looked like real vomit here too...Champagne popping, uber driving and courtenay place. Well done day-after repercussions that almost reframed the previous events but the verite approach once the drinking started simply felt too much like a low budget Project X in my opinion.

Lost My Lizzy

"I'm an insomniac" just sounds funny when adult teams do this. This was about a P.I. searching for a missing girl to reunite with her twin sister. The only thing is, you kind of made the reunion anticlimactic by showing the audience a bit too much. If someone is missing, it pays to keep them missing if the reunion scene is going to be your payoff.

Sprung

A ripoff of the film Jumper, but done with a local charm. Set in the year 2078, a couple of cyber cops are sent to investigate recent illegal jumping activity [I'm pretty sure; the wall of text at the start was TL;DR]. Kept it real with locations including the racecourse stands, and the local dairy, you got good performances out of your young actors. I liked that you mixed up the tone with the serious guys (ending was a shock!) and the happy go lucky fishing kids. Just need to do an original idea next time.

The Ballad of Nicky Brick

A cowboy type strumming their guitar on the beach works as a nice introduction to this tale that happened once upon a time when Nicky Brick who had no friends to help him out on 48 Hours went on a bit of a quest. Very clever lyrics and well shot for the most part (although at times a bit music-videoy which is a backhanded compliment, but the fourth wall singing could have been toned down a little in my view), this was probably a better fantasy adventure film than most of the entries in that genre so far despite not having too much mystical going on. Solving riddles, questing for the leaf of luck and dealing with a curious old man with a beard warmer made this quite a fun watch.

Leafmageddon

A more serious effort here this team looks like it could have quite a bit of potential for future years if they decide to stick with the competition. A little talky but good ideas regarding the end of the world being potentially having been caused by someone but also giving them the potential chance to put it right. Ended on a cliffhanger race against time but yet again a good script, and being a short film it was probably good that we didn't get closure either way.

FashiON ReTREAT

Yeah I'm not going to be down on this one as was infectious in its positivity despite some technical holdups in terms of editing and sound where unfortunately wind was on a lot of the track. A fashion retreat in the woods allowed 3 epic micro fashionista biopics that had big ideas about country vs city and, fashion as a deep concept and finding individual identity.

Keta-Mean Girls

Drug dealers with an appetite for pies contemplate whether to try taking down their crime lord, whilst being on the run from the guy they nicked some special K from at the start of the film throughout. Decent rapport built up between the two leads, and of course hilarious when they got hungry and contemplated mince vs steak and cheese. I thought the story was a bit muddied and the payoff at the end abrupt.

YOLO

Good take on the genre that actually spent some time on character development and a resolution that was tonally good. Some real angst on show, and whilst the script was raw the lead actor showed some real potential. Basically a loner lashes out at anyone that tries to be nice or care for them. Having said the script was raw I'm not actually saying that was a bad thing. You laid out your jokes and went for it which I commend you for eg, the don't-give-a-shit laugh was excellent. Pacing was decent too and the closeness of the domestic situation gave the film's ending impact.

The Pick Up

It makes it hard to review when you're seeing an idea for the umpteenth time in a 48 hours year, having thought the previous teams were original, and yet the later entries may be the best of the bunch in terms of using that concept. This was the case here, with mistaken identity and criminals involved. Almost a double reunion film, it set out charmingly and quickly developed. Some nice visual touches, it was short and to the point.

CHRISTMAS

Certainly unique, I could definitely see a crazed auteur behind the wheel of this one as an electric guitar beer loving bogan drove around and tried to engage with his mum in the lead up to Christmas. The car driving shots had an ethereal, oneiric quality and this presented the idea of how loneliness can be a genuinely problematic issue around the holiday period for people, as can family. Also the recording of phone conversations due to paranoia and a previous theft of the laptop fit nicely with the character arc that we were privy to witness. Genuinely takes effort to pull this aethetic off but I think you nailed it.

Refraction

A story that uses fantasy as its framework for getting over a relationship breakup was an interesting take on the genre. I don't know where this team shot the film but they found somewhere with some truly majestic overhanging forest trees and a large clearing with no houses or technology in view of the whole horizon, meaning the tone was well set. Coming up with their own fantasy terminology - it was 'Phanthom' wasn't it? was a bold move, although the final battle was a teency bit underdone (the team did the best they could though and the makeup effects on the villanous Phanthom more than made up for not having any real effects or spells).

Holdin' On

Another dude sitting on the toilet to start this one off, one of the more popular themes in this year's 48 hours. We were then treated to a looong tracking shot following him down Aro Street, lamenting not having TP through some fairly ordinary spoken rap (decent beat, though), running into a couple of acquaintances. Highlight was the operatic phone booth singer, which left me baffled as to why the team hadn't made more use of his stunning voice. The film looked fairly nice, but most of the music wasn't great.

Movie 48

Colour me impressed! Massive improvement from your previous films, and no I definitely won't be making any harsh criticisms this year, absolutely respected the meta call out in this sharp little film within a film. Whilst making a film about the shoot weekend with v cans can often be the death knell in this competition, this team gave the expected hand wringing a metaphorical middle finger before putting it in the blender with aplomb. I have to agree with you, opposites attract is a crazy hard genre to make work, so mad props for subverting. With an introspective three act plot the team tried to come up with ideas that would work for shooting over the weekend; a massively stereotypical silly costumed Mexicans across the border piece, which they used as a send up for acknowledging what has not worked in the past, perhaps bananas emerging from the sea, or a mixture of all the ingredients they could come up with. Technically sound with a smooth hand behind the edit. Well played guys.

Off the Cuff

Excellent film. I was a little hesitant at least initially that this was going to be a mockumentary, although having said that the film blasts into gear with quickfire jokes such as the name the NZ equivalent of Cops being 'Beat Off'. I should have worried not as we get a plot turning point that really uses the found footage concept to good effect. Sure, not the most original re: death and documenting the antics that follow, but some really good topical laughs and particularly strong performances I was fairly sold on the idea that these people were just being followed rather than acting out scripted lines.

Nicky and Lucy

Interesting take on the one-shot genre, with an actual attempt at character development as an outcast is followed by her schoolmate from History at school who has never talked to her but sees now as the perfect opportunity. Everything seems to be going swimmingly with smokes offered and stories told to look to get each other onside as friends, but it seems like Mrs Gilbert at the high school has stirred up a few things and this leads to a daring conclusion. The film developed nicely and the young leads conveyed emotion well without dialogue. I just felt the camera work was not quite at the level it probably should have been for this to go from good to very good.

life sKills

NCEA Level 3 Life Skills exam goes absolutely ballistic, in a balls to the wall display of craziness by this veteran team and it was all the better for it. Many scratch your head or blink your eye did I really just see that moments, as the exam produced some staggeringly ridiculous questions for the students to ponder. Almost all hilarious this film moved like a locomotive and when a question comes out that is worth 100 credits you know there's going to be effort made to obtain excellence! Really covered a lot of ground from spelling to toast to illuminati, and got quite dark and violent while still trying to keep some of the tender friendship elements in there that represent school. Largely raw technically with sound being haphazard but made up for by its energy.

25 Minutes

Mostly based on a true story apparently, our lead has 25 minutes to get his IVF specimen to the clinic because he chooses to go with the do it at home approach to save on the $80 it costs if you wish to rub out your specimen in nicer surroundings. Of course a tale of things getting in the way, in particularly their fellow Xbox playing flatmate who has a very relaxed attitude about the whole thing. What would a good action movie be without a ninja, too? And what would a good ninja fight be without it being against a pirate? Some of the little random acts were really well done but the lighthearted tone meant that it did not have too much actual action.

Party Pooper

A genuine race against the clock to save a perfect first date when a bathroom break doesn't go quite as planned. My goodness me this was an urgent film, never boring for a second with flash cuts, split screens, blockbuster camera movement and a pulse-pounding score. Really threw all the editing tricks in the book at the screen and stood out for the better because of it. Comedic timing was bang on and to me an absolutely charming film with terrific acting performances but at the end of the day your enjoyment of the film will hinge on how much you enjoy toilet humour.

The Gathering

Technically impressive for its genre given that it appeared to have steady framing, lighting and sound throughout as well as the actors giving reasonably strong performances. I do however get the feeling that most teams getting this genre (or choosing End of the World, as the case of 1 shot may be) took the example picture of Melancholia perhaps a bit too literally. Still, this had a decent idea with several different individuals gathering about a potential apocalypse; the skeptic reporter, the drunken scientist and the unemployed pregnant women amongst others. Probably good that it created more questions than answers in presenting the whole science vs other argument.

Survival of the mutant

4 years in the future a virus attacks the whole world, and so people decide to make the most of their last time by spending and sharing time with friends and family/sharing video and skyping. Started off cringe-worthy and got better...and better...and better until I was literally crying from laughter at the stupid things our narrator would quip on. I mean a young boy with a slingshot? Yeah ok. Drinking mate with a BBQ? Good to reminisce I supposed. But yeah the team just snapped and our narrator came up with some goldmines of dialogue. "Go Nick Go" "Alanis Morissette isn't ironic, she's just inept". So yeah in other words another best worst contender.

Cranial Muffin

Cranial muffin does not really sound very endearing, and neither did it to our central protagonist when the very mention of the words took him to some dark, cannibalistic places with his ex in the back of his memory vault. I felt a real sense of unease throughout the film, which I’m hoping is what the team wanted to convey.

Stuffed

What I liked about this film: excellent audio, steady camerawork and the moments where the 'lovers' were genuinely on the run (well into the 2nd half of the film) such as the car chase vs the gang of EYES WIDE SHUT masked assailants featured really strong cinematography. I did find that the script felt a bit stilted however and whilst I would never expect or want people to replicate BADLANDS/BONNIE & CYLDE/WILD AT HEART etc I was surprised with the narrative arc taken. I liked the subversion attempt but struggled because I personally felt there was only really one lover on the run - the pet to me didn't really count (and yes I did see it noted in the film that pets provide love and companionship - it still didn't make her dog her lover in this film)

Nicky Brick and the Funkys Licks

My favourite high school entry in many a year. Top stuff guys. Our lead has a his breath taken away by the girl of his dreams, but lacks the funk she's after to let him stick it in her (I shit you not, that was the first song and it had the audience in stitches). Not only that, but there are wayfearer/leather jacket rivals who hold a lot more coolness at the start of the film. Of course what's a good love story without having a progression to allow the chance to win a lady back/at least vye for her attentions again? And what's a good 48 hours film without a manic as fuck rainbow tight wearing funk guru? The costume designs were tremendous, montage superb, the camera angles sublime and the pacing was like a runaway train. I wanna go listen to Maggot Brain now. Oh and you had the best use of the prop in the whole competition so far. Badass film on the whole guys, would watch again.

Fetus 5000

What a location! Reminded me of the nuclear factory at the beginning of trash Italian zombie classic Hell of the Living Dead. We followed a tour around the facilities where they make the latest craze, the 'Fetus 500'. The key elements of the product being highlighted with some scripting/comedic timing that was outstanding in particular our tour guide. Where do you get the finest specimens for injecting pregnant women? Watch the film and find out :) Of course what's a tour without a demonstration, right? Luckily there are specimens close at hand who are ready to give birth with the help of the F5K. 200 litres of injected fluid and a flying demonic spawn baby follow with a couple of jaw dropping moments. Again, do have to reiterate that it was a good idea for the pregnant Wellington judge not to come to the heat... The battle between the demonic spawn and the scientists/progression of the footage as the situation disintegrated was excellently done I thought. Given what it was the production values were almost perfect, with just the one repeat shot dragging things down ever so slightly.

Past-it Notes

Out of the box timeless take on time travel, as the old monitor and vcr + unidentifiable setting for watching meant this could have been any place, any time. I was pretty impressed by how well the team replicated the look of a composite analogue tape, the only thing missing would have been some colour bleed haha. The person giving the self-help seminar on the video about sending pick me up/encouraging post it notes ("past-it notes") to the past was outstanding with not a single moment where he did not completely sell his performance. The pacing was tidy and I loved the originality. I think the lo-fi aesthetic worked really well and I liked that you kept it simplistic in scope, though I do wonder if the notes to historical figures could have had slightly more impact. The ending was also a tad abrupt when I had really grooved on the film up until that point.

Are you ready Eddie?

I've heard that public speaking is right up there in terms of things most people are the most nervous about in the world, so this was a reasonably realistic portrayal of a boy trying to skimp out from delivering his speech for school in order to avoid embarrassment. Of course plenty of other opportunities provide themselves for him to accidentally be shamed, such as his crush being an environmentalist and his own family having a composting toilet... The actor who played the teacher was fantastic, and the cringe of his short shorts and the failed attempt at romance really ticked the cringe-inducing boxes. Simple but effective film.

Job Security

A 10 year human security veteran tells his newly recruited robot replacement that he is going to teach him the ropes today. By that I mean he is going to use the day as a means for some excellent comedic quips and observations. Both actors were really solid here as they built a rapport in front of our eyes. A couple of nice special effects touches as well re: the robot.

Sugar Hit

Nicely picked spacey sounding music selected from Big Bang and Fuzz complimented this short very well, I thought. After a radio report of women going missing, we follow Victoria who is clearly upset by the goings on, and her friend even more so. Ordinarily I hate wake up/breakfast and coffee shots to start films but you had a really good vibe going. Creepy neighbour was suitably creepy. You did a good job of going for the show rather than tell approach, but in this instance the ending was quite abrupt.

Legend of the Eternal Leaf

I do have to say that this wasn't exactly an urban legend with the whole being set in a forest thing going on, felt more like a Hans Christian Anderson tale. I won't hold that against you entirely though, as a legend was still told well enough. The two brothers(?) collecting wood and stumbling upon a thing of great importance was well framed, and the tree climbing/leg break definitely made me wince.

Many Happy Returns

Following a very recent family death, a birthday cake complete with candle is presented. "Make a wish" and the rest is history. Although of course there's no such thing as a free lunch, and so oneiric J-Horror makeup and backyard burials become the order of the day much to the chagrin of our protagonist. Strong screen presence from the lead actress given very little dialogue, and engaging audio ambiance this was very much a foreboding folktale that I imagine would affect anyone who has lost somebody close to them. The only thing is that I swear I've read this exact folk-tale/ghost story previously.

The World

Name of Short: "The World" (Race Against the Clock Genre) [DQ] A guy plays a videogame where he gets to create the word, but the first time he plays a woman who is a glitch enters the system and won't leave him alone. The relationship develops, but I felt this was more of a techno thriller than anything. Contained some nice early morning shots of Wellington but could have done with some more character development.

Genie in a Goon

Drinking goon must mean you're wishing for something better in life, right? Clever concept and very kiwi in its audience side splitting humour, the genie in particular had very strong screen presence in this one. Solid subversion of the whole concept of genies and wishes with the idea of what if the genie didn't always get the wish right? Vegas joke was hilarious and the film had an electric pace to it. Churr bro in tone but with a sinister underlying, a significant improvement for Skooterman Pictures. Well done.

Dead Market

A welfare beneficiary is going to have their benefit cut off and needs to come up with a plan in order to keep their cash flow going. The film shows the reason that their previous jobs have not worked up, and the plan they come up with to bring in the moolah moving forward is sick and twisted but also makes a lot of sense within this film's universe. Of course when the reasons for previous failure include death, extreme burning and woodchipper injuries (was that a nod to WOODCHIPPER MASSACRE?! fucking mad props if it was) you can always use your own bad luck to your advantage going forward, right? Well paced and sickly funny, although could have probably been extended just a little bit more.

The Orb of Truth

Our lead is tied and beaten by some interrogating thugs who believe they have incriminating evidence of their super powers, and want to know how they acquired them. There were a couple of nice gags and the special effects were simple but effective but the comedy was rather cheesy. To me it felt like it was missing another act either the capture of our main actor, or else more of a payoff once the reveal came. Obviously the camera work at the end made everyone sit up and take notice, and more of that could have been more beneficial as the film felt a little static otherwise.

The Heart of Bwiindi

A postie/cyclist (sorry, wasn't clear which they were) tries to move on with his life after getting rejected by a receptionist. Of course, being given a map that should lead to The Heart of Bwindi treasure won't hurt if he manages to find it. Looked like you guys were having a good time making your film, and obviously went for the Indiana Jones route. Just all a bit low budget [eg, terrible sound] and cheesy [fight scenes were not good to be blunt], and it took me a long time to piece together the plotline that I have summarised here; trust me, it is not as clear as I have described.

The Deliveryer

A Goonies t-shirt wearning courier drives up to deliver her package. However a mysterious mist once inside the building makes her vision blurry and she then starts seeing things such as Mexican wrestlers. A guy in a chicken suit comes along and advises that she had better get her package delivered, but there is an interesting development towards the middle of the film which I'm not going to spoil. Cool use of lasers and some great gags, as well as quality acting all around.

Laundry Time

Like a low budget romcom version of Christopher Smith's TRIANGLE, set in a laundromat. Well I guess the budget might have been a bit higher as this team is not marked as disqualified despite having the audacity to use Lana Del Ray's megahit Young and Beautiful to drive proceedings. Um...

Mondays

See now this is how you subvert dystopian but still keep well within your genre. After a start that felt like a Captain Exposition joke (but carried by the oh so most wonderful bubby electronic score) covering the resistance movement against the government machine the film settled into a classic kiwi comedic look at taking down the system armed with a 2 person rising and a very thoughtful getaway driver. Strong mis-en-scene throughout I felt the team here played to their strengths of good actors, solid camerawork/editing and particularly good music.

Leafal Interests

A one-shot mockumentary which usually earns my ire but this fell in line well with the required elements rather than shoe horning them in. A focus on the 8th episode of a show regarding over zealous leaf collectors in search of rare shrubbery gave had all the actors hit their marks, had a beginning middle and end and got some good audience laughs especially the strong boyfriend taking offence to thinking our female lead was checking out his "missus". Taking a show and giving it the feeling that ordinary people wouldn't just turn tricks for the camera was well conveyed.

Face Plant

Jazz singing as a group of friends/associates converge whilst they await Nicky Brick, who they are hoping will have the talent to bring them riches. Nicky is looking to make it big so that she can stop being whore (I apologise if I misheard the lyrics but it seemed to be what she was saying). The original guests of course are obnoxious to the point where there waiter feels he has to do something about it, with dire consequences for Nicky. Looked like the team had fun as they sleazed it up a bit. Tough genre to get for this team as there songs could have done with a lot more work.

New Eden

A group of colonizers struggle with having to constantly eat some orange soup-like food that they literally call gobbledigook (not sure on the spelling). Many discussions ensue about alternative sources, and there is some foraging for additional food. I like that you had some sci-fi tropes in particular your soundtrack and sound effects, but what could have been developed more was a tighter edit as often multiple characters had turns talking within the same frame, delivering expository dialogue. I'd also recommend if you are going to commit to shooting a large portion of your film inside to spruce up the set especially when gifted something like sci-fi. Just my 2c!

Dead Comfy

Oh man, I really hope this team has seen DEATH BED: THE BED THAT EATS, because as a fan of that 70s shocker I absolutely loved this entry. A couple of friends find a free couch and take it home to their flat. However anyone that goes near the piece of furniture kind of runs into trouble. The script was very good, and the film felt fresh.

E.O.O

A budget cereal eater struggling with his life takes a church pamphlet through no choice of his own, and then realises things are shit at the religious retreat he has been enticed to. The idea of a monster was only really suggested or hinted at with the wise old sage and the promise of a BLAIR WITCH potential creature on the horizon before a hilarious meta ether level burn for the actor who left halfway through the weekend, called out directly by this team as a meta joke ending. Taking the piss out of the elements was hilarious and I hope you enjoyed the massive laugh you got at the cinema, because you deserve it for that stunt. Sorry to hear about your actor quitting though!

Made Maid

Frustrated young brats try to manipulate their android babysitter to go from young kid levels of entertainment to adult (3.5 inch disks storing the ability to change, much to my amusement). The plot developed nicely and the android POV shots were quite well done, as was the excellent final shot. I think your young leads did a stellar job, and the choice to go with a darkly comic approach gave the story credence.

It Tolls For Thee

This was a nicely shot confession of a man's inability to stop dancing like a retard any time they hear a bell due to a misshap at a stag do. The events are well chronicled and there are some good laughs to be had. In particular the priest gives some good response that make him seem just one of the lads eg, responding that he too loves go karting. The mischievous grin he holds only reveals its true value once the film reaches its apex, of course. Well acted but too much talking for a dance film, I would have liked to have seen at least a 50% balance in favour of the genre but that's just me.

PepTok

So....the elephant in the room of this film's director having for the 2nd time in 4 years written a suicide-centered film that placed at the national finals? Yeah I'm assuming most are going to not care given it just took out the Apee (congrats by the way). For me personally this has got to be the most divisive winner the comp has ever seen. Yes challenging and technically brilliant plus perfectly performed it just didn't tick the boxes for me personally in terms of engagement and it's really hard to put my finger on it. Will come back to edit this review once I've pondered a bit more and re-watched.

The Secret in His Eye

Interesting idea of a hitman planning his revenge in great detail, before trying to replicate what should in theory have been a smooth operation. Given the level of detail involved, there has to be some adaptability, of course. I really liked the concept of the eye technology and your lead held the story together well.

Lush Leaves

Here's a tip from doing 48 Hours for quite a number of years; don't waste the first 45-60 seconds of your film showing someone waking up out of bed etc as its precious time that can be used on jumping into your story and engaging the audience. The film itself was ok, as a girl deals with the horror of no 'Mermite' in the kitchen pantry by scouring around the house with a chair held over her head Benny Hill style, and then ending up in a fantasy world reached through leaves where they are promised this condiment by a mysterious mystical girl. I noted good use of sound effects throughout such as rustling leaves and running water for the river, as well as being drawn into the world of the film. The fact it had me thinking of more questions re: the fantasy world was probably a good thing.

Cold Porridge Caper

Absolutely GORGEOUS film, with my friend sitting next to me commenting that a couple of shots could be framed as photos. Spot on camerawork as well. I will be re-watching this as have been told by the team that sound at the Paramount was overblown resulting in dialogue not being as clear as it should have been. Essentially a dark retelling of the Goldilocks/3 Bears story with an ambitious attempt to look at the psychology of the girl. I feel that this was a film directed with a very sure hand behind the scenes, but was slightly thrown by the very young actress smoking a cigarette. Minor as I understand it was showing her being from the bad side of the tracks. The deeply saturated black and white photography of the film provided a classic Sam Fuller look to the film and to me worked well as a metaphor contrasting the reality of the goldilocks story and the fairy tale. Due to the reliance on narration it did make it a little hard to follow at the heat with score being much louder than dialogue hence I will re-watch but most definitely enjoyed.

limb

Almost an all-girl team (was I correct in reading the credits that the only male contribution was the music?) had an interesting dark colour grade, with a sense of menace throughout, as a Lyall Bay swimmer happens upon limbs after getting out of the water. Strange symbols abound and she then gets chased by something, this was almost great but overall felt like a case of style over substance.

Mel the Magic Mushroom

New cellphone game takes over lives and ruins friendships, this was short and simple. Started off really well but did lose its way; I think that whilst the effect on others of the obsession was telling, in my mind the ‘relationship’ being with something like a game meant it lost that human dynamic I would have expected.

Not Everyone's Fantasy

Catty flatmates are convinced that there is something up with their flatmate, and they have reasonably good reason to think so given that they found a toilet covered in pink glitter and when they try and enter his room it seems like they are crossing a magical forcefield. This leads to the setup of some hidden cameras to try and catch what he is up to, only what they find is perhaps a bit different to what they may have expected to. The film took the piss for the most part, and really got into some funny weird territory when we got to see the camera footage. The 'wizard' and horse head/mask wanking for example brought the LOLs. In fact several memorable visual moments...being soaked in milk being another...probably a better found footage film than most who got that genre this year.

Stake & Chips

Bobby Young turns up late to a game of poker, which some people he knows have basically setup as a chance to get back at him. To be honest it seemed like he was still a bully, rather than a former one, but that's just me. The tables get turned due to Bobby (literally) holding an ace up his sleeve, and by destroying the others at poker tensions mount as he continues to torment those that brought him there through verbal insults. This wasn't too polished from a technical level I noted, with several shots being completely out of focus. Also a blunt simplistic ending which ruined it for me as I had my interest piqued when the stakes were raised to their highest.

My Nemesis

Nicky Brick and Joseph Marlin are in the process of recording an audition tape for 'Wander in the Wilderness' and giving it a New Zealand spin with focus on our local floral fauna and how they are used culturaully for example as healing plants by Maori. However both leads dispute how they should shoot, who should do what, and the lead actress also happens to have a troubled past that links to the forest they are exploring. Very much a Blair Witch vibe but also one of the more realistic films so far in terms of actually believing someone could have stumbled upon the tape. The lead actress gave a believable performance. More in future, please.

operation resurrection

Non-linear exposition on life and death set across 2 weeks or so with unexplained loose-ends making it come across like a giallo fever dream. This film had some really lovely opening shots as a body was dragged across a beach and buried, but was followed by being out of focus the first time we saw the face of a character. It really did walk a fine line between a memorable dream and hard to comprehend storytelling as a woman followed instructions under threat from a sinister unnamed figure through to resurrection and confusion. Despite the unclear structure and hit and miss audio, this was entertaining with a crazy script and black comedy that I can't give negative marks to.

Have You Met My Sister

Nicky Brick attends a party that it appears he does not know too many of the people there. We follow his initial scouring of the activity as he is introduced to a dangerously close brother and sister, tourists who in his opinion need to be corrected and some strangers near the bathroom who take a particular interest in how much everyone has drunk. Why? It becomes clear later. Now as to my thoughts on the film I think it is technically a solid film with whoever played Nicky doing a really solid job, and the brother/sister had just the right level of creepiness for what was actually happening in the film. It does seem in my opinion to be quite heavily indebted to Melancholia not that that's necessarily a bad thing, and the daytime party for an End of the World theme just didn't sit quite right with me, especially based on the end result of the film.

Unquenchable, Undying

After a raging drinking party where everyone gets dressed up, our fairy costume adorned lead actress falls victim to a GROUNDHOG DAY meets FINAL DESTINATION loop of death. Some inventive kills (that fork into the microwave being the highlight) and some not quite as effective deaths when it just seemed she hit her head, she starts to realise the steps she needs to take to avoid her doom. With very little dialogue it was hard for this to stand out from the other looping time travel films this year, but it never took itself too seriously. I just think that even though you went for the farcical approach some of the set pieces needed a bit more impact to really get an audience reaction.

Big Horn

Short sharp little 2d animation as a young monster makes their way past a procession of elder beasts to the top of a mountain and receive their adult horns. Included all the required elements and looked nice. I enjoyed it even though it was exceptionally short, but then I absolutely love animation.

Charlotte's Dead

Entertaining escapade of a second chance to stop a young woman from being taken out and killed by a flying fox at the park. Songs were absolutely fantastic with wall-breaking lyrics that were both humorous and important to the plot of the film. Like FINAL DESTINATION but if death's target was anyone who wears headphones of doom. You know how it's actually kind of rare for every day things like going to the toilet (well, maybe not for 48hours) or blowing your nose being shown on screen? Well that was the sort of low budget cheekiness used to propel the story. Good reaction from the audience and I get the song framing device it did just need to be tightened up a bit.

Second Hand Killers

A girl who comes to buy some tables gets the shock of her life when a mother and her son seize the opportunity to prey on her + her boyfriend. I liked the vibe of this one, not much to it but it had clear influences from Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Shining. Also laughed out loud after when smashing a door down with an axe, it simply swung open with no effort.

The Seven Slides

Hilarious black comedy escapades in a survivalist's bunker who had hunkered down as soon as the Christchurch earthquakes hit. From the get go Outcasts established a strong impending tone of doom as the group almost walked into deadly nightshade, before having to weight up whether their apocalypse ready friend had lost her marbles or not. Said survivalist was delightfully manic and carried the film strongly, and to get a sense of the film the fact that Sharknadoes off the coast were believable to the group probably hits the nail on the head. Sure fire nominee for best use of puddle. Yuck.

THE NEXT BIG THING

Staff at an Inventor Company were pressured to come up with 'The Next Big Thing' by their pushy boss, however the only real success they have is wire bracelets which cause people to bleed and are a hit with emos. This was candy-coloured silliness in an office, but I honestly didn't get the ending.

Climatic

Took a leaf out of Grand Cheval's book (nowhere near as good as Child Jumpers, though) by doing a mockumentary that wasn't quite in that genre; plenty of talking heads but more where the team trying to save climate change were simply followed around as they tried to save the earth with the impending change supposedly happening in a matter of days. Some nice comic touches such as the email from Al Gore drew a decent audience response, but it was a one joke film and I hate talking heads in 48 Hours. EDIT 12 JUNE 2013 AFTER WELLINGTON 48 HOURS FINAL. Boy watching this a 2nd time just made me absolutely cringe; your lead actor carries the film with an unrelenting loud in your face to the camera approach which obviously judges liked (but trust me, they all didn't love it by a long shot). The reason that downlowconcept and Grand Cheval mockos have worked in the past is by actually having character development with an emotional story arc. You had some really nice comic touches but this could have been pigeonholed to fit into any other genres.

Battle Royale with Cheese

Oh so short but oh so much action. I think this would actually be touch and go whether it met the 60 second requirement. An all out assault on the senses and each other as the film was basically a big brawl in a carpark as they all fought for their "last chance" that included a couple of neat night vision shots. Finger guns have been done before but it established the film's own little universe well. Good example to be honest that bigger is now always better as I'm not really sure what else could have been said outside this framework that would have matched the intensity displayed on screen.

Heart of Wire

In a military bunker, our lead writes a love letter to his beloved that needs to get to HQ as he's about to go over the top. The film was sound from a technical level but I would have really liked more than one song for a musical, even if it was a key plot point.

Spy Tunes

American spies from Virginia come to infiltrate the Beehive and report back to their government. However when caught they must try and prove to their captors that they are true blue Kiwi blokes and not Yankee infiltrators like appears entirely obvious. Songs such as 'Greatest Spy Alive' and some classic tongue in cheek humour were thoroughly enjoyable in how they made fun of Kiwi sayings and doings. The songs not so much for their musical sound which could have used a lot of polish but more for their crack up lyrics. Just seemed like the team had a really good time on the weekend and put that on screen

Apple Smash

To mine this was treading a damn fine line on the Ultra requirements. I've heard the explanation that the whole film was from the child's POV making them the lead, but films entirely from someone's POV are something I watch out for and there were multiple shots of the mum and dad outside the possible scope of the view of the car that for mine clearly made them also lead characters not supporting. Subversion is bloody great but was this given a bit of a free pass? Nobody who is not a judge that I've spoken to disagreed that the parents were also lead characters rather than just supports. I don't think I've ever given a negative review to the films made by the people in this team whether Moffilaide or Simmo and Simmo and I'm not going to start now in terms of the film itself (very fun and slick as hell), I simply have gripes about Ultra and felt I had to bring it up because nobody else has. Appreciate this is technically a new team of course, and sorry for whining - I love what your team does and brings to the comp almost every year without fail! Others at the cinema described it as whimsical and I can go with that; close to the best 'heist' film in this year's comp from Wellington while at the same time being a very subversive fish out of water; a kid taken by mum and dad for their latest hit/gunfight is most definitely wrong place, wrong time shouldn't be there if you wanted a shining example. Stunt work was great and edit was on point. Huge audience laughs and kept everyone on the edge of their seat. I'm not a judge this year and they are ok with saying the adults are supporting characters, so good luck at the finals!

The Imaginary Crime

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Well, a good question and one that takes us 7 minutes to examine. My main concern here was that almost every segment of the film was gathered around telling simplistic jokes. The big letdown was the fact that you introduced the characters and gave them backstories, and then threw these personality traits out the window. Would have actually been fun to see them behave the way you described. Your camera op has a good eye, but the script really needed work.

Vicarious

A prisoner liaises with her councillor/attendant that she has been writing to get over the inability to sleep. This was more about the relationship between the two, and lacked any sense of urgency that the genre required. Well shot, but the storyline was unclear.

House of 1000 Horses

[DQ] Piss horse is coming for you...mainly set at a frat house with exploding dicks, more exploding dicks, horse pissing, and a woman giving birth to a horse amongst visual atrocities committed to screen. As per usual this was more about the experience of the visual assault than the storyline, which was slightly weaker than previous years; I understand the revenge but given that a lot of the action had no direct connection to piss horse it made it all the more surreal.

The Prototype

A scientist comes up with a new energy source, which gets stolen by an aggresively flirtatious rival; the term 'jumping someone' never really fitted better. However the scientist's assistant won't stand for the theft, so she and he set about infiltrating the office of the rival in order to get their invention back, and put egg on their face for a presentation to a leading company who could fund the project. I liked the barrel rolls, cheeky high 5 ending and the flirtatious rival had great screen presence.

The Fallen

A space beam gone wrong allowed for some good old fashioned Trek-style fights with mutants in the bush and very entertaining Klingon-type gibberish (made all the more hilarious with a lack of subtitles). The bad makeup and deliberately ham fisted acting brought a smile to my face, this was short and sweet.

Affinity

I saw you had some decent gear in your intro, so not quite sure what happened with your motion problems; possibly an issue outputting in 25 frames? There was some excellent comedic back and forthing between a brother and sister 'taken your pills?' - 'nup.' but other than that, this tale of a girl who would do anything to impress her first date (after being stood up the last couple of times) was ok. It needed more action, or more adventure, or ideally a combination of both. You hit some genre troupes such as the one liners and running from baddies but needed more.

It Tolls For Thee

This was a nicely shot confession of a man's inability to stop dancing like a retard any time they hear a bell due to a misshap at a stag do. The events are well chronicled and there are some good laughs to be had. In particular the priest gives some good response that make him seem just one of the lads eg, responding that he too loves go karting. The mischievous grin he holds only reveals its true value once the film reaches its apex, of course. Well acted but too much talking for a dance film, I would have liked to have seen at least a 50% balance in favour of the genre but that's just me.

Out of Order

A very interesting concept; the mystery of the item transporter elevator which switches items when the receiver opens it up. However rather than explore that concept, it got a bit sidetracked I believe by then switching its attention to an old man's attempt to uncover the reason for his son's disappearance. It was well shot, but I felt it could have used more focus. It got the mystery vibe well though.

The Gathering

Technically impressive for its genre given that it appeared to have steady framing, lighting and sound throughout as well as the actors giving reasonably strong performances. I do however get the feeling that most teams getting this genre (or choosing End of the World, as the case of 1 shot may be) took the example picture of Melancholia perhaps a bit too literally. Still, this had a decent idea with several different individuals gathering about a potential apocalypse; the skeptic reporter, the drunken scientist and the unemployed pregnant women amongst others. Probably good that it created more questions than answers in presenting the whole science vs other argument.

Red River

You know you're onto a winner for a gross-out comedy when several "OH NO"s can be heard around the cinema within 10 seconds of the film starting. Absolutely brilliantly shot with many different tight yet effective camera angles churned out in what was an impressive amount of coverage. Everything popped too, and excellent sound! The overhead shot was great too, and honestly this was close to technically flawless as the edit was also top notch. I'm feeling generous so I'll also commend the outstanding lead actress! Who knew that the idea of being out of tampons on a heavy bleed could create so many hilarious puke-inducing jokes when our heroine just wanted to get back to the rugby with her guy mates in the lounge? Bodily fluids, an inhaler, shower caps, a wild fantastical imagination and blood, oh so much blood...expect to see this contending in the Wellington final at least.

The Voiceless

A killer with no voice and a love for hearing others sing chloroforms and kidnaps three victims, and takes them to his lair where horrible fates await unless they please his ears. Some really dark subject matter was tackled here not just with the serial killer, but the opening song being a suicide contemplation, whilst gore levels were high. I liked that you had clear diction on your songs, I think just a little bit more melody would have really nailed the genre. But given how insane everything was - I haven't even touched on the placards the killer used to tell them what he wanted due to not having a voice - I'm willing to let the flaws slide.

Project 7

Actually got the thriller part of the genre completely right as opposed to most who received this tricky genre. A good looking film of intrigue, as our lead delves deeper into something he discovers than he perhaps should, with men in ominous dark soots and a moody electronic soundtrack to boot. The use of google was comedy gold, and the chase sequence was very effect. As I said you nailed the thriller part, but the tech. part of your genre was a little bit lacking, as this is one of the few genres where you actually do need to show things for it to really work.

Broken

Bro puns galore like I have never come close to seeing before. The first few minutes of the screening did come across a little awkward with the audience not buying the humour but I did note some good laughs towards the end so well done on sticking to your guns and running with the idea like nobody ever has. Essentially a tale of a lonely obsessive who has had his vernacular developed to the point of only being able to speak in said puns and how he deals with rejection. The story itself was stock standard and from a technical pov quite flat but memorable for 5 minutes of non stop inclusion of the word bro into every word/sentence imaginable. The Leo joke was pretty good.

Flat Note

Big pat on the back for really getting stuck in and giving this genre a go. Obviously you didn't have access to the pro recording gear that some teams may have, but the fact that 90% of your film was sung does get my respect. Basically the head tenant calls a meeting to try and sort out some major flat issues, which get responses of the musical variety. I think there were three key things to this short that would have improved it; firstly, some dynamic action by having actors/camera movement rather than sitting around. Secondly, moving away from your flat as a shooting location, or if you do shoot in your flat then you need to add some eye catching visuals to make it stand out. Third, towards the end when you mixed all the songs together they did not seem to harmonise so perhaps stick to one at a time (although if that had come together it would have been great).

Wheel Love

Well well well this was a surprise. Two films that only really make full sense when played back to back (this goes with Team Cupcake Go! 6.9 which followed immediately before at the Heats). The only time I can ever remember something similar was when a team basically paid the entry fee to put on some art wank they shot over the 14 minutes that two slots would allow them. This team/s actually had the best intentions at heart and so the daring move gets a thumbs up from me. Both films have basically the same start with Kevin and the girl he's interested in + her daughter saying goodbye as the girls head off on a date whilst he heads off to the TAB. The date with Roger for the girls starts promisingly enough with talk of sports and then the decision is made to have a go at rollerskating given that he was apparently a master skater back in the day. Of course this is a bit of a flat out lie and allows our main female actor to reflect on things with the other guy. Whilst this goes on of course Kevin has a whale of a time inadvertently entering himself in Big Ben's Big Bean Challenge by breaking the record for eating a vast amount of beans in a short space of time. Having lost the girl once he holds onto the idea tight that the competition might actually show her that he can amount to something. Of course the reigning champion is not going to give up their title without a fight, especially when they could have passed for the spitting image of Helen Mirren, only with tattoos. The inspirational side of things comes to the fore when we're shown that playing a good clean game will always grant you respect whether you win or lose. Also the same ending. The films themselves were decently acted but the production values were mid-range; having their moments in terms of good crowd scenes and a well framed camera most of the time. I guess that's understandable given the rush to effectively make two films.

Dark Side

Our lead gets approached by a dangerous looking girl who asks for a smoke, but he is attached to his fiancee and says no. She keeps popping up in a creepy manner, culminating in a shock ending. The film looked pretty good, but the story was unoriginal and whilst something dangerous was always hinted at, there was no real tension.

Sleep Shepherds

Sock puppets again, which I loved last year, focused on two who have been dispatched at the same time to put a newborn infant to sleep. This gives them the opportunity for some comic banter and also framework to sing. I liked the opening original song, but Ba Ba Black Sheep and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as your other main songs to carry the film were a bit surprising to say the least. There also appeared to be a couple of technical glitches such as crew sound being clearly heard on at least one take. In my opinion it needed more original music.

A Tale of Two Bricks

Spandex suits with the 'superhero' eradicating crime but turning those he saves against him, because his moral guidelines are whack and hence the laws being broken may not be as such in terms of actual statutes. Only issue is, the hero in question is the father of the Nicky Brick who has aspirations to dance. This film didn't bother taking itself too seriously which lead to some nice dark humour; the actor who played the senior Brick Barry, was particularly memorable. A good level of colour on screen mixed it up well and whilst some of the jokes fell a bit flat I was engaged. Taking over the family business is never a smooth process if you don't believe in the product.

Your Lie in June

Three years into a relationship and it's the perfect time for a proposal in a carpark, but a shootout and sudden gun showing reveals cracks in the relationship of our 2 leads that are more like chasms. I liked the idea of love conquers all being presented here, and playing it deadpan in terms of dialogue was probably a smart option. Reveled in ridiculousness, and whilst the team kinda said screw you to the request to be respectful with guns, it all worked within the story for me. Nollywood quality squib effects brought the house down, while whoever played the character with the blonde wig could be up for a Wellington best actor nomination in my book.

1AM

This was a pretty simplistic idea of the blood of victims apparently being the cure for insomnia, as a character relays the ancient Amarian ritual regarding this to other cast members. Of course with with Mr Meyer being on the brink of losing his mind due to not getting 40 winks, all signs lead to death. I felt you could have really fleshed this out having given the explanation at the beginning. The cyclical nature of the short was decent but a murderous killing spree really needs something more to differentiate it from the others.

You only YOLO once

A holiday from hell from an Instagram power couple, complete with sinister German host, horrific toilet and a menu that looks like the cook killed everything before serving it up. I liked the parody of the good old gram with the wife, and the fact that there were no complaints despite the place being an absolute shithole essentially reflected the mood of the film. Basically the couple were having their holiday and would present it to their followers in the best possible light for the likes at all costs. Literally whatever it takes for likes even if it kills them. I get the bleak ending given the whole thing was pitch black comedy, I'm just not sure it was terribly funny is all.

The Moist

Truly one of the more disgusting 48hours entries ever for Wellington, this short rocked my world. I've promised the director I won't give too much away, but let's just say that in a crudely animated retirement home lounge, some of the residents are feeling a bit chilly. However something lurks where the heater is, and despite the aggressive warden trying to calm down the senial old farts, it all gets a bit...messy. Genitals, extreme gore and an unusual animal make an appearance here, which left more than a few jaws scrapping the floor in shock. Also bloody hilarious and a serious Spike and Mike vibe as per usual from this team.

A Problem With Tomatoes

This team apologised for their audio before the film played due to having to use a backup mic, and to be honest guys whilst the levels were a bit loud at times, it was nowhere near the worst I've come across in 48 Hours. Probably better than half the films this year anyway. A blind or internet date goes fairly horribly wrong for our Nicky Brick when he is knocked out and handcuffed to the bed with a satanic sign painted on his chest by his potential date for her coven (and garden). What follows is a good level of interplay between the two, as well as another particularly energetic supporting actor. The virgin jokes were clever (not sure why they didn't get more laughs) and the both leads were really good. The woman who played 'Storm' was quite a stunner.

Awake Like An Egyptian

Last year’s best bad film winners really did not change their style too much, complete with shooting in Black and White again, but the laughs were more chuckles this time around than belly aches. Starting in 1210BC with a curse on a newy tombed mummy, we converged into the 60s as a tenuous family link was made.

The Ballad of Nicky Brick

A cowboy type strumming their guitar on the beach works as a nice introduction to this tale that happened once upon a time when Nicky Brick who had no friends to help him out on 48 Hours went on a bit of a quest. Very clever lyrics and well shot for the most part (although at times a bit music-videoy which is a backhanded compliment, but the fourth wall singing could have been toned down a little in my view), this was probably a better fantasy adventure film than most of the entries in that genre so far despite not having too much mystical going on. Solving riddles, questing for the leaf of luck and dealing with a curious old man with a beard warmer made this quite a fun watch.

The Fruitalian Job

One for the pun enthusiasts with the film focused on two sets of characters; would be fruit smugglers and those would prevent them. The film started slowly with the first half script being a bit cringe worthy with all those puns, and for some reason the acting not really picking up until the second half of the film. The climax of this one though, is indeed terrific. Pushing boundaries for where bobbing for apples have never gone before, the visual action improves as the two groups come head to head. A manic foul mouthed dealer definitely the acting highlight, the clearest area the film could have improved was audio which seemed to be mixed raw and loud. Perhaps have some more music next year?

SHE'S OUT OF THIS WORLD

Warriors fight for the right to marry the Princess Junkadia (sp?) on Planet Falcor, but she wants to marry for love and not just who is the strongest and therefore flies off to Planet Earth to get away from the barbaric tradition of her people. Running into an Earthling who can show her our ways of life is of course a refreshing change, but the warriors also possess the ability to fly between planets so could catch up with her at any time. Effects were great as always but I also thought this was verging on being more of a Fantasy Adventure than Rom Com with the whole 5th Element meets Superman 2 vibe that I was getting (and a lot of the ideas being the same as those films). The laughs are more based on character expression and some 'oh shit didn't see that coming!' [usually from the outstanding fx] than script based dialogue that I've come to expect to entertain me from this team. Having said that the chemistry between the two leads is decent, and her stalking him is a nice change-up to the standard romcom formula. But yes the ending dare I say it did feel quite formulaic and forced, even. Hard to rate this one on its own terms knowing the team's fantastic body of work but not quite as good as previous years apart from the fx improving even more.

BRICK

Thanks for the quotes in the intro guys, you're free to use what I say for your films any time hehe. On to the film which showed a more restrained hand in terms of developing a plot this year, before the usual gonzo incredibly strange action kicked in. Probably lucky the pregnant Wellington judge wasn't here tonight as the baby kidnapping and dropping was pretty twisted. Taking an infant is easy money right? And whoever has their newborn removed from their care should be happy to pay to get their beloved back right? Probably a good plan, if only it all doesn't get ahem bloody messy when Nicky Brick is in the mix and not exactly a lucky Irishman. The ransom note was quirky and impressive moustache was impressive. Mean-spirited and there were moments that could have had some more script development (the criminal buddies had good chemisry for example), but enjoyable again at least for me.

Blade of Insomnia

A martial arts teacher shuts down his dojo after an accidental death under his watch, and the rest of the film was mostly about his mental anguish/fighting other warriors in his dreams. Despite the disclaimer that this would be the most random film we'd see in 48 hours this year I'd disagree as I've already seen my fair share of animal outfits and ninjas this year. It was actually relatively straightforward compared to a lot of other films, with some nice shots, it was just very tedious. Given the martial arts training at the beginning it would have been nice to see some proper martial arts fighting given you had action as your genre.

Zleepers

Clowns teleport to earth and rap/sing about them hoping this planet will allow them to chance to sleep for the first time in 10 million years. A couple of good ultra low budget physical effect jokes (gloves as beards, 'zzz' paper drawn out of a mouth), unfortunately I'm not the biggest fan of clowns and the music was random rather than catchy or melodic.

Accidental Candyman

Currently not DQ, but from what I understand this one is on right on the line given that 48 Hours is actually not generally ok for fair use parodies, given that it is a commercial competition (and that is despite what the law says; there has been quite a hard line on this sort of stuff since a fantastic short in Auckland called 'Discount Taxi Driver' was DQ a few years back). Trapped in the Closet parodied with subtitled singing about a guy who has just got out of jail [currently in a halfway house] trying to stay clean, who is asked to do one last drug pick up job for his best friend. Beautifully shot, and well sung, I expect it to be kept out of the finals because it goes a bit too far with the 'recreation'. The team apparently recreated the music themselves, but from someone who has watched R. Kelly's shorts an awful lot, this was way too close in my view. Ballsy to do a musical when it wasn't your genre, I would have recommended going by what the 48 Hours page said rather than consulting any legal experts.

Mary's Descent

Placeholder review.

R.I.T.A

Great audio jokes abounded as a relaxation Android gets unpacked and tries every setting it knows in order to please its master. The actress who played the android did a fantastic job and I have just cracked up again laughing whilst writing this review thinking about those whale sounds.

Chasing Alexis

So this would have been a 4/5 apart from the fact that the team sung ‘I Will Survive’ acapella without clearance (as far as I’m aware, please correct me if I’m wrong). Fantastic energy levels throughout ranging from a party to the morning after on the beach to piecing back together the events of the night prior. Said Hangover-inspired quest produced some excellent visual jokes.

LOVE.EXE

Genuinely jawdropping 3d animation the likes of which I have never seen before in 48Hours, this absolutely fucking amazing film plays like something you would showreel to Pixar and get hired for on the spot. However it was done I don't really care it instantly reached the absolute upper all time echelon of this competition, and did so without a word being spoken by the characters. Move aside Charlotte by the Linemen (2009 National Champion); there is a new best animated 48hours film for all to marvel over. Effectively inspired by WALL-E, WALKABOUT and the video game JOURNEY the film represents the quest for love that is in all of us; big or small, short or tall, robot or tumbleweed. It could have also fit into dystopian given the vast abandoned desert which may seem some instantly lumping it with Andrew Stanton's film. However the film-making rhythms and beats are so pitch perfect across the less than 4 minute run time that you realise this really is about the search for embrace rather than just for friendship. Beautiful, quirky, charming, melancholic and touching with a spine tingling score that seems to go from Clint Mansell sonics to Thomas Newman delicacy in the blink of an eye. Nevermind the incredible sound design! This might be a huge call but this is possibly the best 48Hours film I have ever seen.

Steve and Friends

A 'Rainbow' style puppet kids show host loses the plot when his role is taken over by a cardboard cutout of himself. Good use of the required prop and perhaps a better unintentional black comedy than several films that got that genre. My main grip with the film was the lack of a strong story arc and any sort of dynamic film making. Short films in particular can work with simple camera work, even static as the case may be and this can even translate well to feature length cinema (Ceylan, Tarr, Tarkovsky etc) but for a simplistic film such as was presented I would have preferred a dramatic arc that gave us a clearer beginning, middle and end. The way the film presented suffered from the randomness of evens presented. Your lead clearly gave it his all which I commend.

Ick

Kind of hard to review without mentioning them as a Lego team and I guess I already have. Luckily it wasn't just static activity, however, with the characters' faces having computer generated mouth movements/facial expressionss where need be. We follow a trio of brothers sent on a quest by their Queen mother. One tall and handsome, another also tall and handsome but with the ability to crack open nuts with his butt and the third a bit of an underdog who survived a piano falling on them. Only there are obstacles in the way such as giant frogs and a crazy woman. Enjoyable, but some of the jokes fell a bit flat.

a nipple in time

Time travel through nipple twisting, a much better way to spend a Saturday night than having a pizza party with your flatmate right? This was wild. At times wearing its influences directly on its sleeve in relation to a certain Dan Harmon animated show (and DAYS OF FUTURE PAST), but the fact this was an accidental case of breaking the space-time continuum allowed the team to go hard with covering a heck of a lot of different periods in history, both past and future. It also had a bizarrely close parallel in plot structure with last year's Wellington finalist 'A Wine in Time' by Team! but whether the team saw that or not I don't know and a little bit irrelevant, much like their self-declared use of iphone which I honestly wouldn't have noticed if they hadn't hammed it up in the team intro given the high grade cinematography in general. As I alluded to earlier, things got bonkers and fairly promptly, as rip focus basically crammed as many things as they could think of into the maximum allotted running time allowed. I don't think this was the best idea in terms of providing us with a clear storyline, as whilst the jokes came thick and fast from cavemen to talking through instruments via headtrip insanity and colonialists, that's just it, they were jokes and the weighting of any time travel didn't really have any impact on the characters or let the film breathe/the viewer enage. The almost break of the continuum ala Marty McFly was probably the highlight of the film as it actually felt like the inane silliness could have some repercussions. Although I did chortle at the Maccas discussion.

Time to spare

After getting bored watching TV (please don't use actual TV footage in future, it's a big no-no under the competition rules), the chance to win $500k suddenly gets Vic Meyer excited and he races towards Wellington Town Hall to try and collect. I sat in wide eyed amazement as our lead shuffled his bdsm gear to the side of the kitchen bench before picking up his keys. Just about the whole thing was shot POV, and whilst there were some nice shots, the editing needed some work especially as geographical continuity errors in Wellington are a bit of a bugbear. At least you stuck to your genre.

Experiment 24696

Great time lapse shot of Wellington to start; one of the most beautiful images I have seen so far in the competition. From here the team presented a nice cinematic vision (contrast pumped up) of a man coming to grips with the fact that he may not be human. Also nice sound design and the lead actor had good screen presence, although the film ended a bit abruptly.

Naked Bug, Money

Contrasting stories between 2 crooks on the run and a scientific videographer/tv show naturist. The recent escapees built up some good rapport as buddies, but ended up being quite mean spirited. I guess that's acceptable given how strung out they would be in real life. The guy getting footage of worms had much better screen presence, although the same joke was used a few two many times. The convergence really felt abrupt which is what brought the rating down.

Sleve McDichael's Guide to Success

Like LIMITLESS but with faeces instead of drugs, and the lead is a motivational speaker instead of a struggling writer. Grossed me out! Very strong performance by the lead actor who was fearless in the face of gobbling poop to be more like Tony Robbins. Script was good, and mostly well shot but some of the camerawork was a bit unsteady and the theaters theoretically being full of audience members unfortunately did have the vibe of empty school halls. I'm giving this a pretty good rating as the final act with the Himalayan vomit and man in goat suit was a sight to behold.

Buckets of Love

Excellent performance by Jackson Wood as...himself?? Nice twist on the obsession with an inanimate object contrasted with an actual real developing relationship with a person. Clever script, and a brave performance to go and get soaked on Cuba Street in the middle of May. Zany is a word that comes to mind, I noted minor sound level issues, but the team wore their guerrilla low budget approach with pride.

Chasing The Beat

Wrong place wrong time and the chase is on in Naenae. Clever camerawork including a good drone shot to highlight the comedy of a scooter and a bike respectively chasing a runner. The quick wit of Charlie Flowers was a good way of utilising the thoughtful element of the character, the jandal throw was hilarious and that was some seriously slick rhyming and flow that you dropped at the end of the film although the sound outside of the musical sequence could have done with some more polish. Nice work.

Full House

I appreciate unsettling your audience. For me, to have an effective film that has this with its ultimate goal, you want to start on a level and then build towards the payoff. What this film did; an unpleasant tale of domestics gone awry, was to start negatively and finish in an unpleasant manner. This meant that our lead actor's swearing outbursts and violence felt a bit jarring. There were moments which indicated a more peaceful domestic situation, and his obsession could have been what gave rise to the situation, but the fact that they were only glanced at meant the actions felt unjustified on the whole.

Taylors Escape

Made the case that what we do as a child affects us as an adult, where young Call of Duty fan Taylor ended up in the military. However also introverted the expectation of dealing with battling parents when push came to shove which was a nice touch. Breaking the 4th wall was a nice touch also and your young lead carried the film well. I do wish that the cuts between footage that had music to the different time zone with only camera sound had been a bit smoother as it took me out of the moment.

Lady Red and the Blue Goop

Placeholder review.

I Heart NZ?

I'm not much of an animator myself so I'm not sure if I'm using the right terminology but appeared that just about this whole thing was fairly garishly rotoscoped with plenty of colour throughout? It did give itself a unique sense of style by doing this, but also meant it was hard to focus on what was happening story wise. Not that there was really much of a story, with a rambling rap about the bad aspects of New Zealand and how a lot of culture/social activity occures being commented on. Of course what would a rom com be without a romantic subject, right? Although doesn't really work if the romantic subject is a place or metaphor, in my opinion. It was a daring film but the lack of an actual story or structure and that fact that the rapping was really bad meant I did not enjoy it.

Jaded

Brave filmmaking here with some gobsmacking cinematography and clearly high-end equipment. Technically just really on point with A-grade editing and sound to top things off. That party was absolutely pumping without seeming staged. That's not to mention the virtuoso naturalistic performances in particular by the lead who conveyed a wide array of emotions from happy go lucky through party animal and desperate fuckup. Fair cop for giving this one a warning as class A drugs are not something you see very often in this comp, but whilst the repercussions were harrowing there was never a hint of exploitation or intention to shock from the filmmakers. Personally those rooftop scenes and contemplation of life were even harder to watch but that's because they looked almost identical to the site of a personal tragedy. Coming back to the wizardy behind the scenes can I also just add that the I noted the lighting was great? And ooh yes this is subversive of its genre in a good way. Foreboding plot, impactful results.

Tea Jerker

From the over-the-top start of this film I thought initially that there was an early contender for best worst film in Wellington. However, the film actually got a lot better soon after the initial hysterics and you realise what the plot boils down to. Basically the lead gets accused/grilled about wanking crimes by a couple of cops, but the film builds to better and better jizz jokes as it moves forwards. Great manic stuff and there was some superb grading on the cinematography.

Wunderbailout

After hearing that Greece might be sold to a shady businessman to become Southern Germany, a patriot goes an an action packed recovery mission to stop the deal from going down. Before doing this I might let you know that they happened to come out of the harbour dripping wet in some tight togs, which set the tone for the film's style of humour throughout. Not realistic that he will go it alone, he gets a sexy French sidekick in on the act with her being proficient at using baguettes as weapons amongst other talents. Chock full of one liner puns the plot was formulaic but delivered with aplomb.

Full-Night

Well this was a tantalising little film that left me wondering what would happen next, capturing the erotic part quite and the intrigue it created at the end being enough to satisfy me re: its thriller quotient. Having been texted to cum ova 4 a feast, might get luky, our Nicky does exactly what he's told. And given the apparent interest shown in him as soon as he walks in the door, who wouldn't, right? Of course blindfolds and restraints aren't always the best things to have applied when you soon realise that a party of 2 might never have been the intended course of action. I would have liked a little more dialogue but appreciate keeping it up for interpretation.

Flower Boys

Be still my beating heart this was achingly beautiful and a rare example of mature, well-handled queer cinema in this competition. There's some adult teams who could absolutely take a leaf or 10 out of this team's book because they put a lot of teams to genuine shame this year simply by making a touching love story between 2 young thespians. With an affinity for the bard himself and keeping physically active through running, the two young men studying Shakespeare catch each other's eye but the delicate propositioning always had something beyond their control getting in the way of their path. This was a well-thought out gentle yet charming film with a few technical bumps such as the opening couple of shots being out of focus and wind on the audio track for several outside shots, plus a couple of areas where the edit could have been tightened such as the overly long establishment that one character loved tea, however I'm giving high marks because it was a raw open window into young love that struck a chord. Whilst I may seem negative about the issues behind the scenes, I should note that the camera work was very solid and tidy in terms of framing and drawing the audience in.

The Calling Card Killer

Good team intro, good script and a good performance by the lead actress. Due to the fact that a serial killer had been giving calling cards to their victims before death, our lead follows each instruction she receives to the letter in a race against the clock (time limits are given on each card). My only real problem was the massive geographical errors in relation to Wellington which happened throughout the film; 10 minutes to run from Oriental Bay to the Botanical Rose Gardens??

Scooter Girl

An Ed Sheeran loving girl falls in love with the neighbours' scooter, much to her mother's annoyance (and fair enough to, having just bought her a really nice car). The flowing hair shots on the scooter were nice, but obsessing over an inanimate object meant that this lacked dramatic impact, especially as we were not given clear reason for the preference when the girl appeared to have it good otherwise.

F.I.O.N.A

Interesting dive into the world of androids, and what a suitable use is for them covering office work through personal relationships. I liked how the film sold the idea of this future, with the girl who played the android really commanding the screen. It was quite eery how the almost drone or zombified robotic approach to work is how a lot of people actually feel when typing away at an office. I think some of the big ideas here could have been explored a bit further, because going into THE BIG SICK sort of territory of thinking a partner might not wake up and what repercussions there might be if a replacement is brought into the mix, android or not, was really deep at least to me. The ingenuity on show here was very positive, and whilst the story was a bit unclear I liked the ambition. In a way the lack of clarity and so many thought provoking concepts being raised actually helped rather than hindered the film. Main thing that would have improved the film would have been a tighter edit as it some of the cuts were a bit rushed, whilst other shots were held probably too long.

Small Fish Big City

Great script delivered at machine gun pace, great gags. That fish, that song. So catchy!

Trapped in the Act

Nice take on the genre; I'm guessing you saw the Martin Freeman starring world 48 Hours winner from a couple of years back? A mime in Civic Square felt that they were trapped in a concrete cubile, much to their friends' amusement and his frustration. I thought the switch between scenes of reality and the mind entrapment were exceptional, but the ending came a bit abruptly.

Girl with Fig

My notes say this had really good cinematography, and the script was good too as a tradee lets his girlfriend in to the shed of the hoarder he is working for when she offers him a picnic lunch, after said hoarder has gone out to change some locks. Given curiousity killed the cat and her art history knowledge this leads to a precarious scenario for our snoops. Given this had some revelations in it I don't want to give too much away in my review. Acting performances were strong the only thing I wasn't 100% convinced on was the ending which wasn't entirely satisfactory, though I did appreciate the motivation for the "thefts". Art should be seen not locked in dark vaults!

Release of the Monkeys

Victims going missing turning into a bunch of manic but entertaining torture was the order of the day. This had some nice, although interpolated, establishing shots with some lovely comments from boy to girl prior to snatching meaning you at least cared a little. Good energy and the cackling off our psychopath did reach a level of over the top so bad it was great.

KILL THE CHILD

This played in Heat 19. So this just happened. A demonic scatterbrained bloodfilled homage to Trash Humpers, or at least it wanted to be. The ritualistic cultists appear to bathe in blood with an intention to lure in their childhood neighbours on the promise of giving them lolly money. Trust me that's just my own interpretation of the images and sounds I just watched. I think the team might be quietly laughing that someone actually tried to make any sense of it. Some of the action had a Texas Chain Saw Masacre feel to it, but by and large it was an experience rather than a film. Shame I can't give a no rating option as I'm torn between giving it the lowest and highest possible rating. I'll give it high because its a DQ film and don't see that harming anyone.

Life is Better With You

Not sure why I noted the team name as 'Exit Sign'? but that's by the by. This was an engaging and very enjoyable film to watch close out the Wellington heats for 2018 as a guy obsessed with asking a girl out simply will not take the hint that she is not interested, no matter how many times she rejects him. Yes this ranges from mid-exam through lady's bathroom and on to her house. So creepy and stalkerish but done in a really lighthearted way showing that you can make good comedy out of any situation. The back yard barrel rolls deservedly got some loud laughs and your lead actor really had something highly watchable about him, nailing every line that came out of his mouth. The payoff was fantastic it was just a bit rough around the edges from a technical pov.

The Score

Now that was a long 30 second intro. A regular Casanova with magic hands manages to work his way his way into the hearts and tongues of quite a few young women across the course of the film. However treating them as things to be used is obviously not an acceptable way to act, and so a plot is set in place to look to stop those hands from working their magic any further. The ease with which he hooked up with anyone he wanted got some good responsive laughs, but it also meant that the plot was a bit thin.

A Dinner For Sinners

Oh man that opening shot of the record playing was majestic. Deeply crisply saturated black and white art just oozing out of the frame...only for the film to unfortunately fall really flat for me in terms of the actual plot. Murderous and cold dinner party with a heavily bound and gagged woman being talked at about God's will and armageddon, this explored a slice of the SE7EN concept but without really offering much new other than a much more questionable explanation for murder than John Doe ever did. I'm pretty over violence against women in this competition :(

The Curse of That Damn Cat

An anthropomorphic black cat follows home Nicky Brick, leading to some pretty severe consequences. Well written dialogue and good awareness of the genre, with characters stressing just how unlucky it is for an animal such as this to cross your path and going to levels such as claiming they caused the economic crisis. A friendship develops and our Nicky seems fairly laissez-faire about the whole thing, but the negative things that happen to him do snowball and then we get a nifty little resolution; the actress who played Bloody Mary in particular impressive for the few seconds they were on screen. The whole thing was a little scatterbrain but it also made me long to ride those Croc carts/bicycles along the waterfront next time we have a sunny Sunday and I'm sober enough to get out of bed before 12.

The Curse of the Satanists

Dungeons and Dragons loving lead meets...a satanist convention?? Yes most definitely wrong place, wrong time to bump into this coven in the Newlands College boiler room. But not the wrong time for a hip hop musical! Solid beats, decent flows and one hell of a dolly zoom were highlights in this funky effort. Outside of the music however there were a couple of audio issues I noticed, and the diction on the songs could have been slightly clearer at times however I'm letting those slide when I look at my notes and remember the huge laughs I got out of your "Get rekt n00b" joke. Dark dark payoff and gonzo camerawork too.

Sketch

A young man takes a canvas to a hillside road and starts drawing. However, not just any drawing, but one which apparently has the power to alter reality, or is it that the drawing creates reality? Either way, very cool concept and had some of the best uses of the elements so far (Especially the prop) The artistic shots (bringing from soft focus into focus quite a bit throughout the film) were a bit too artsy for artsy-sake in my book, but the film had a deliberate tone so I can appreciate why they were done that way. The acting was good and the music score fit perfectly.

Cutting Shapes

A girl lacks both friends and food in her fridge although I guess salsa, v and microwave food would have been the stable diet for a lot of teams on the 48 Hours weekend. They do not however lack for imagination with photoshopped images of them at landmarks dominating their facebook photos, and also acting as a plot device to get into the fantasy aspect of the genre. Had a bit of a low budget cardboard cutout Heavenly Creatures vibe. Didn't overstay its welcome as was very short. Could have used a bit more of a narrative, however.

Fetus 5000

What a location! Reminded me of the nuclear factory at the beginning of trash Italian zombie classic Hell of the Living Dead. We followed a tour around the facilities where they make the latest craze, the 'Fetus 500'. The key elements of the product being highlighted with some scripting/comedic timing that was outstanding in particular our tour guide. Where do you get the finest specimens for injecting pregnant women? Watch the film and find out :) Of course what's a tour without a demonstration, right? Luckily there are specimens close at hand who are ready to give birth with the help of the F5K. 200 litres of injected fluid and a flying demonic spawn baby follow with a couple of jaw dropping moments. Again, do have to reiterate that it was a good idea for the pregnant Wellington judge not to come to the heat... The battle between the demonic spawn and the scientists/progression of the footage as the situation disintegrated was excellently done I thought. Given what it was the production values were almost perfect, with just the one repeat shot dragging things down ever so slightly.

Mother's Day Out

Poor sound, poor video, poor acting, poor editing I can deal with. Tedious films however are a lot harder to look to get a positive perspective on. Especially if they decide to essentially shoot not in the English language but with some gobbidy gook infantile babbling sounds throughout, with said sounds emanating from the ashes urn of our mentally unstable lead. I think tripping out and imaging the other funeral goers were an angry mob was the highlight, and that happened about 10 seconds into the film. I honestly really don't mean to sound to harsh but a plot would be appreciated if I have to watch another of your films ever again - the visual gags almost had a point but no exposition as to why meant I was confused as fuck.

Straight Outta Wellington

So many fish puns and a great comedic use of a puddle - I hope the guy who took the fall got some just reward! Basically an out of town tech-savvy cousin came and struggled to fit in with his athletic relations. Some tightening of the story and use of more dynamic camera angles (almost everything was wide to super wide) would have been of immense benefit however the tennis court ball barrage was gold. Also I saw in the credits a mention that the version of the Happy Days theme song you used was royalty/commercial free and I think you've missed the mark there.

Ex Libris

Good original score about a sleep deprived man starting to see things without having got any decent REM cycles recently. I thought this was building ominously and actually wanted more, because ending where you did meant you got one good laugh/jolt and could have had a lot more.

KUNG-FOODOO

Hyper-kinetic warriors must deal with the repercussions of a new companion making their 2 a 3, who grows very attached after their life is saved in the woods. I did not want to peel my eyes away from the screen for a second as the film moved with the pace of a bullet train. Like a comic book come to life, we were greeted with bold colours and daring camera work. I was reminded of many films; Shogun Assassin, Princess Bride and the 36th Chamber of Shaolin immediately coming to mind but this was an original beast all of its own with that incomparable Moffilaide touch. With some fantastic special effects the quest to return to the warrior's sensei many miles away may just be the best film these boys have made. Fantastic.

Scattered

Placeholder review.

Bufo

Yuss more puppets. And I'll tell you what, if you read the instructions given for Urban Legend on the 48hours website this was actually one that came closest to what the organisers were looking for in their description. The team took a well known urban legend (licking a frog will make you trip balls) only they told it almost entirely visually rather than relying on a Captain Exposition or 2 to establish their legend like most teams. Having tripped out our lead puppet/actor enjoys some scattered flashing leaves in his vision, is treated to some saxophone in the forest and finally gets transported to the human world. Ok so the setup was fantastic based on the genre requirements and the rest of the film was a little thin plotwise but it was still enjoyable.

Cheers Dad

A couple of siblings reunite over their father's urn of ashes, and subsequent trip to a beautiful park to scatter them. An intimate and serious tale, with notes of laughter sprinkled throughout that hit close to home having lost loved ones myself in the past. I could feel the rawness of the terrific lead actor as he stood up for his father with some stirring speeches. Also very nice use of the required wind element. Having said that, sound was an issue. I once got absolutely ripped to shreds for saying a team had bad audio, and that was not the case here but this was definitely a case of where the film could be in an oh so much stronger position had the dialogue mix in particular been clearer, as I was genuinely struggling to make out what was being said at multiple times throughout the film.

The quest for redemption of young robert young

Bobby Young is determined to get forgiveness for his bullying that he dished out to his school mates when he was younger, and sees an opportunity at his high school reunion. I'm not sure if it was technical glitches or some attempt at subliminal pictures being flashed every few seconds, but either way it made the film a real eyesore. I apologise very strongly to the team if my memory was incorrect, it seemed that the person who tried to steal the voting ballots was from this team. So I take back the accusation and increase the film's rating to it's rightful score.

The Running Conspiracy

I'll copy Dan Slevin and mention the Tarantino-esque plot structure. Very young team but showed up a few of their adult peers with unmatched energy on screen. After refusing to throw a race, Nicky is up against it from a mob boss who has a sniper in his arsenal to look to ensure he collects the betting money. Guns, ninjas and ridiculous fighting throughout. Was that a flashback within a flashback that I saw? Because that is my favourite nonsensical plot device of all time. The times that the characters did open their mouths for dialogue just about always hit eye opening levels of ineptness with regards to the human language but the film was alll the more better for it. The over the top violent results of injuries and gunshots were memorable as heck. I commend you for getting the audience to applaud you a couple of times before the credits rolled.

Fugue State

Challenging expose of a doomsday worker and his introspective analysis of the afterlife. The script crammed a lot into this one with jokes about superannuation, HR and collective agreements, with weird segue-ways thrown in at random moments. Production design also went all out here with well-produced pamphlets and a genuine attempt to show a fully fleshed out world. However most of the film was static sitting and talking in an office, there were several instances of framing missing the 50/50 line, sound peaking varied considerably and whilst the concepts were ambitious the storyline was unclear.

Mother's Day

[DQ] Interviewees give their take on a daycare centre teacher who was a bit too endearing to the children, making them more than jealous when the annual celebration of motherhood rolls around. At the start I saw this going in several ways so it was quite engaging, but on the other hands I’m really not a fan of talking heads in 48 Hours. The sinister levels built throughout, although the ending was quite abrupt.

Product Z

Thank you very much for giving sound reasoning as to why the footage was shot in 1080p. I'm guessing the team had recently watched 21 Jump Street? As took the element of making an extreme new drug as their plot point. Sadly for them the territory they are looking to move on already has established dealers. Guns aren't hard to come by in this country, at least... I was really hooked in by the energetic start, and then the drug testing I was still engaged with. The film kind of lost its way though when it became a formulaic turf war, although the very ending of the film was really well done and the bullet holes in the windscreen a very impressive effect. Also not sure why sound quality was perfect fine at the start but progressively got worse?

Final Notice

Murder cover up that appeared to justify self-defence and was really well shot with strong contrast and evening shots in particular popping off the screen. Chemistry between the two friends looking to cover up the murder was palpable and the fake blood was visceral and believable. Went over some dark concepts such as stalking and locking yourself away from the world. I would have loved rather than liked the film if the conclusion had not been foregone and perhaps tried something different such as subversion of expectations.

Balls-Eye

So instead of the end of existence of life on Earth as we know it, 'The World' was actually a person; the reigning regional darts champion to be precise. If it had not ended like it did I probably would be giving it a negative review as that's taking subversion a little too far in my book...kinda like the year a team made their M Night Shymalan Big Twist film be all about M Night films... I'm not going to, though, this had a nice fly on the wall feel to it with some entertaining crude humour. The main area I'd recommend working on would be sound as it was a bit of a mixed bag in terms of being able to clearly hear dialogue or not.

How Time Flies

Age inappropriate casting = the best sort of casting! This film felt like it was more of a crime investigation than anything, although worked around an upcoming reunion. Focused on someone obsessed on catching up with the person they have been tracking for 3 years. I liked your earnest approach to the film, but finishing with "never leave me DAD" when he was clearly younger than the person saying it was just one example of why I lost suspension of disbelief.

How Time Flies

Age inappropriate casting = the best sort of casting! This film felt like it was more of a crime investigation than anything, although worked around an upcoming reunion. Focused on someone obsessed on catching up with the person they have been tracking for 3 years. I liked your earnest approach to the film, but finishing with "never leave me DAD" when he was clearly younger than the person saying it was just one example of why I lost suspension of disbelief.

Dead Comfy

Oh man, I really hope this team has seen DEATH BED: THE BED THAT EATS, because as a fan of that 70s shocker I absolutely loved this entry. A couple of friends find a free couch and take it home to their flat. However anyone that goes near the piece of furniture kind of runs into trouble. The script was very good, and the film felt fresh.

Loyal

Technically superb with a tremendous sense of dramatic development this nailed the buddy film genre but also subverted it In such a way that I could see it being a serious contender. Two best friends are shown to go through their daily routine in a way that unmistakably only buddies do; all the tropes of young men you could relate to are there such as bacon, sports and driving fast all moved along with just the right sense of urgency to let the film breathe within its time frame but not overstay its welcome. The comedic timing was good, the performances very strong, script even better and score which appeared to be original also perfect for the mood.

Maybe the Last Time

12 June 2013 REVIEW EDITED AFTER SECOND VIEWING AT WELLINGTON 48 HOURS FINAL (Fact I didn't 'get it' the first time I think points to the fact your film was unclear): A high school reunion hookup aftermath film with a Tangerine-dream like score, mainly set in a parked car by the beach. A realistic portrayal of regret and hope, as two would be-lovers try quickly to make up for a lot of lost time. Coming in on the action after the drunken party and only letting the soundtrack try and convey emotion for any real conclusion felt flawed in my book. Reflecting now the film had a welcome change of pace right into the action, but I almost feel like Act 3 was missing, but then I'm assuming that you were going for a fly on the wall theatrical-type piece and letting the audience make their own conclusions. I think I "got it" this second time, but being held together by a soundtrack is always a dangerous thread to be hanging on. 16 June edit - drunk emotional irrelevant sections of the review removed.

Accidental Candyman

Currently not DQ, but from what I understand this one is on right on the line given that 48 Hours is actually not generally ok for fair use parodies, given that it is a commercial competition (and that is despite what the law says; there has been quite a hard line on this sort of stuff since a fantastic short in Auckland called 'Discount Taxi Driver' was DQ a few years back). Trapped in the Closet parodied with subtitled singing about a guy who has just got out of jail [currently in a halfway house] trying to stay clean, who is asked to do one last drug pick up job for his best friend. Beautifully shot, and well sung, I expect it to be kept out of the finals because it goes a bit too far with the 'recreation'. The team apparently recreated the music themselves, but from someone who has watched R. Kelly's shorts an awful lot, this was way too close in my view. Ballsy to do a musical when it wasn't your genre, I would have recommended going by what the 48 Hours page said rather than consulting any legal experts.

Jack & Joni

Placeholder review.

Brains?

Definite contender right here, folks. I've heard a few are popping up around the country and its not different in Wellington either with a number of films told from the zombies' perspective for once. However until you've seen this one I find it hard to explain just how original it was. Just really damn good scriptwriting I guess, stomach-churning gore and make up effects, and a strong knowledge of the undead. From the first 'Brains!' groan of the film the film makers immediately had you in the grasp of their hand. So much so that by the time it ended I had completely bought into the character dynamics of four supposedly not living creatures and found it quite touching. FORM A PACK. Well done, guys :D Edit: On second viewing I'm bumping this up to a 5/5. Holds up amazingly well and even better with a massive crowd.

An Apple a Day

Set around the idea that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, although we soon discover that the apples may in fact not be quite so simple as the urban legend suggests. It ended abruptly so I am not sure if anything was missed. I noted good enthusiasm from this young team but I would highly recommend getting some editing and camera practice; the majority of the film was made up of static mid to long range shots which could have benefited from either camera movement or cutting.

Cutting Shapes

A girl lacks both friends and food in her fridge although I guess salsa, v and microwave food would have been the stable diet for a lot of teams on the 48 Hours weekend. They do not however lack for imagination with photoshopped images of them at landmarks dominating their facebook photos, and also acting as a plot device to get into the fantasy aspect of the genre. Had a bit of a low budget cardboard cutout Heavenly Creatures vibe. Didn't overstay its welcome as was very short. Could have used a bit more of a narrative, however.

It's Always Night In Space

Superbly acted, the film nailed the concept of a urban legend where it is possible to give a slightly different tale of events based on whatever hearsay the storyteller has heard. Set in a lecture theatre, a list of possible discoveries, motives and ways Nicky Brick was killed at an observatory in 1971 are well examined. Some say he saw a giant meteor, others that there was a conspiracy to kill him and yet a different take is that it was suicide. Our lecturer of course provides the calming hand to our students' wild speculations. Some sweet visual touches and completely engaging.

Black Death

Black Death has been killing people throughout the City. Bobby Young tries to train 3 young women as superheroes, but that gets curtailed when she gets kidnapped. It's up to the girls to try and rescue her, by making their way to the villain's lair. Cool costumes and a polished film, but the story was well worn and I was a bit puzzled by the fake accents.

Spill It

David Caruso eat your heart out! The POV peeing was one of the best uses of the required shot I have seen so far. This CSI parody followed a murder investigation where the only real evidence they had was shoe registration of the apparent killer. Full of one-liners, taking the piss out of cop show computer systems (zoooooming in and maintaining clarity) this was really enjoyable. The guy with the Murray/Flight of the Conchords voice was excellent, but some of the other acting was a bit wooden and I did notice a couple of audio errors. Yeahhh!!!

GOD BLESS AMERICA

A couple on a park bench discuss how they hate USA, only for a figure in red white and blue coming along to give them a singing lesson as to why they should really love the land of the free. The music was seriously amazing, some of the best I've ever come across in 48hours, and I've still got 'When you sing, you all sound American' stuck in my head. But that's really it, it was amazing wordplay and singing without a plot. Big crowd pleaser, though.

Favour From The Neighbour

Placeholder review.

The Remarkable Day of Doom

[DQ] Not sure of the name of the film here but the adventures of the murderous Hattie Hatpin from Toyhead Collective continued again this year. Animation was a lot better than previously and I adored the fact that you basically went big or went home (very sorry to hear you were late), with world domination on the agenda starting with a DESPCIBLE ME style fraternity of evil. Given it's the last day on earth it would be time for a Monty Pythong inspired shark submarine, wouldn't it? I would have given this one higher marks if the last day on earth aspect had been more to the forefront of the film, but really do admire the improvements made by the team, and while murderous the satyrical destruction of the oppressive male patriarchy made me grin.

General Incivility

Strong electrotherapy to cure insomnia. Sound a bit dangerous, doesn't it? And it proves that way when we are advised that if Vic Meyer doesn't wake up in 14 hours, she will sleep/walk forever. There were a few good lines, and ideas regarding conscious/subconscious behaviour, but I felt that some more character motivation was needed for the actions that we saw on screen.

Hear No Evil

Evil Dead-font intro for the film title made me smile, as a group of three try to survive in an apocalyptic world where everyone is getting killed or going crazy that comes in contact with a signal (ear suicide with the wire was fantastic!) I also liked the hole up in an attic that seemed to be very much like the original attic in Dawn of the Dead; like Romero has always said, the focus should always be on the people when the world falls apart. This team covered that well, even throwing in a bit of romantic drama. I dug the vibe, also seemed to have nods to The Signal and The Crazies. Ended a bit abruptly but oh well.

Rhythm

I really really love the way that you presented the bedroom scene here; honest, raw, believable and most of all showing that the characters in the three-way genuinely cared about consent and what the other people in the bedroom liked. If more people could present sex like this society would be better as a whole. The converging storyline with the drumming lesson down below gave the film its heartbeat and whilst low key was endearing. I do think the dramatic arcs could potentially have come together but on the other hand this was a 5 minute slice and that plot would be better suited for a longer film so was not needed. Great performances and definitely a film that stays with you.

120 hours in OSdom

This is quickly becoming my favourite genre of 2013 as yet another team knocked it out of the park. After an initial Star Trek-ish setup of having been beamed down for shelter during an asteroid storm, our team of explorers soon realise the dangers of having things run on solar power when the area has 5x the normal levels of exposure. Eyeball violence, tinfoil costumes and drill sergeants were the order of the day here in a film that had me in stitches laughing.

Blown

Charming tale of a widower who had the perfect wife on a quest to find/buy love one more time. A Russian mail-order bride from a less than reputable company (found through searching on 'googol') leads to a LARS AND THE REAL GIRL inspired payoff. Made great use of setup and payoff through several repeated comedy vignettes. Also pleasingly made use of the small gaps in the weather on the weekend of rain that Wellington had to showcase the waterfront. I felt that the lack of dialogue worked for what the team was trying to achieve but that it was slightly let down by a few flat shots.

Here Comes Charlie

The midnight loser of ‘Sketchosaurus’ will have to leave the flat to make way for the beloved Charlie. This framework sets the way for a number of great verbal and visual jokes between the obnoxious flatmate, the generally ignored flatmate, the art painting flatmate and the flatmate whose mother recently passed away. I thought it could have had some more variety as flats are a pretty boring backdrop all up, but it was very entertaining.

Daddy's Little Angel

Very entertaining film. Genuinely surprised it was up for best editing at the nationals though as felt that was the area of the film that held it back from potentially challenging for the top gong. Just my 2c.

GOD BLESS AMERICA

A couple on a park bench discuss how they hate USA, only for a figure in red white and blue coming along to give them a singing lesson as to why they should really love the land of the free. The music was seriously amazing, some of the best I've ever come across in 48hours, and I've still got 'When you sing, you all sound American' stuck in my head. But that's really it, it was amazing wordplay and singing without a plot. Big crowd pleaser, though.

Game On

Placeholder review.

A Delicate Point

Black and white minimalist animation that showed a wonderful friendship develop between a recently dumped girl and her new best friend unicorn. With charming picnics and shared sensibilities for pottery, the crisp clean animation was handled with aplomb. I particularly loved the subtitle touches such as the selection of equestrian netflix shows for our horned friend. Of course a bond over a breakup is one that is to be protected and so the defence of the friendship was a particular highlight. Makes me wish I had gone as clean and simple with my own animated film!

Time Beyond Time

I have a feeling that this team were trying to combine obsessive relationship into the genre that they were given. Given how difficult the competition is, I would really recommend trying to nail the genre that you get given in future. From what I could make out our Vic here followed his love but it this was somehow a metaphor for love being a race against the clock to get right? A nice oneric feeling but needed more work on the structure.

Poesy

Ok, so Wikipedia justifies that poetry is music. However the website did indicate with regards to this genre that it did want singing, but I can appreciate what you did. If I wasn't clear just now, the team went with poetry and a disclaimer at the start of the film, as well as choreographing the rhythm in the corner throughout the film for a picture in picture effect. Vic Meyer expressed her thoughts and feelings in some lovely poetry throughout the film, which was just her and nobody else. Some beautiful shots, but the same ideas that were established in the first couple of minutes (insomnia, loneliness) kept getting emphasised. The "count to 24" scene brought a lot of unintentional laughter from the audience. Props for being original, but yeah the organisers did say they wanted singing...

Illusion of Refuge

A woman and her brother hope to seek refuge at a shelter, but they are told they will only be able to stay if they can find what the military camp attendant is looking for. On their quest for this they encounter several characters who sing songs about their own situation. A monkey with a guitar, a dirty long haired man and a labourer who is out of work lament their woes which have resulted in them seeking out the shelter. Songs were painful and only the military officer held the film together with any sort of acting skill; I would have suggested having a few more goes at nailing your one shot and probably doing the music off-camera. A real struggle because of the lack of polish.

Insomnity

Insomnity is a combination of insomnia and insanity, we are told. The rest of the film was a bunch of shots of creepy guys in masks and close ups on the boozy lead's crazy eyes. Well, other than the buzz saw carving with screams. Needed more plot development.

The Wishboners

A family of genies and their company were documented dealing with a lack of wishes for people in the world in 2018. This played mostly as a one joke film with the team throwing every possible boner reference into the mix that they could think of. A lot hit the mark although when material became exhausted the film did hit a bit of a lull. The chicken jokes and development of genuine sympathy for the family did give the film a second act although the editing during the first half of the film was of a lot higher standard as the ending felt rushed and predictable. Having said that the first half of the film did have a few too many talking heads moments for my liking. EDIT updated star rating to correct (for me) 3 stars. Sorry had the wrong (and probably appeared to be mean) 2 stars in here until I corrected myself.

Flat Bread

Best actor nominee? Whoever he was, he was terrific! And your use of the line was also fantastic. Pretty low budget and gonzo and I'm really not a fan of films set in apartments...but you pulled this off. A bread pun spectacular as a mother sent her son to infiltrate a flat on a secret mission to uncover a mystery. His weirdness provided a spectacle where my eyes were glued to the screen - txting mummy versus down to earth herbal ciggies anyone?

People Get Lucky and Bad Things Happen

This was actually a better example of a road movie than just about every film that thinks it needs a car to qualify. A failed business major recruits some other buskers (musician/statue mime/magician) with plans to make it big in the world. However when they try to put their act together, things go awry. This certainly had some of the best framed shots I've seen this year, and it was also well acted, however there were some instances of style over substance eg, close-ups on cigarette smoking unrelated to the plot.

Big Ben's Big Bean Challenge

Well well well this was a surprise. Two films that only really make full sense when played back to back (this goes with Team Cupcake Squidwig which followed immediately afterwards at the Heats). The only time I can ever remember something similar was when a team basically paid the entry fee to put on some art wank they shot over the 14 minutes that two slots would allow them. This team/s actually had the best intentions at heart and so the daring move gets a thumbs up from me. Both films have basically the same start with Kevin and the girl he's interested in + her daughter saying goodbye as the girls head off on a date whilst he heads off to the TAB. The date with Roger for the girls starts promisingly enough with talk of sports and then the decision is made to have a go at rollerskating given that he was apparently a master skater back in the day. Of course this is a bit of a flat out lie and allows our main female actor to reflect on things with the other guy. Whilst this goes on of course Kevin has a whale of a time inadvertently entering himself in Big Ben's Big Bean Challenge by breaking the record for eating a vast amount of beans in a short space of time. Having lost the girl once he holds onto the idea tight that the competition might actually show her that he can amount to something. Of course the reigning champion is not going to give up their title without a fight, especially when they could have passed for the spitting image of Helen Mirren, only with tattoos. The inspirational side of things comes to the fore when we're shown that playing a good clean game will always grant you respect whether you win or lose. Also the same ending. The films themselves were decently acted but the production values were mid-range; having their moments in terms of good crowd scenes and a well framed camera most of the time. I guess that's understandable given the rush to effectively make two films.

Extract of Feminine Essence

Placeholder review.

Rollplay

As a fellow DnD player in a past lifetime I think I get what you were trying to achieve which was the fact that the game is about being taken off to other worlds whilst being located within one room. However the playing party each making different choices about what to do such as an intelligence test or search for traps missed the mark a bit by failing to produce any clear narrative arc. The montage at the end showed promise that it might lead onto something more engaging but then the film ended without having really got started. Whilst this was a difficult genre it was also supposed to be mapped up with any one of the other 14 genres and had you done so I think you would have had a better starting point.

Vic Dreams

I know that it is obviously your team's style, but shooting 9:16 just seems bizarre on the cinema screen. The reason that Hollywood has historical shown more image wider than taller is that most audiences don't care about the lower half of actors, but I don't need to lecture, I'm sure you had your reasons for doing it this way. It was a fun little film about an English Language teacher being absolutely adored by his class. All lessons try and steer clear of the subject of sleep for obvious reasons, but once his condition is found out it allows the obsession levels to ramp up...Just writing that now I realised that you kind of got the character trait wrong as he was constantly sleeping, wasn't he? Given my own film had a dream with a girl with an umbrella I'm willing to cut your some slack.

Once a Winker, Always a Winker

Having parted ways following a defeat in a 2009 Tiddlywinks championship game, this mockumentary followed the process of a team reunion to try and take down reigning champ Vic Meyer. I do not like Talking Heads in 48 Hours as it means people can just describe rather than show events. The other issue is that if you describe character traits then you should really actually back that up when said character turns up on screen. I felt this short would have improved without the talking heads as it would have allowed the characters to develop more naturally. The talking got to the point of being tedious.

Missing Demetri

Ok, I get what you do here by interpreting that monologue did not qualify as dialogue. However in future years if you are given a non-standard genre I would highly recommend reading the website, which gives you examples and often explains what the organisers are looking for/do not want you to do. Narration of non dialogue was clearly stated as not being acceptable. Ignoring that fact, a non sleeping Vic Meyer told us of how her relationships have developed over the years, and why a particular boy really piqued her interest. I liked the jokes that contrasted her idealised view of him versus what we saw ie, nice small = crooked teeth and date night = Xbox. More of this would have been good, but in a way that qualified under your genre.

Pussy

The last couple of years the team has been pushing the boundaries, and this year drew the dreaded musical genre which had a much harder time being pigeonholed into their cinema verite/Harmony Korineish drug haze style. I must admit the harmonised opening song made me think that the team might at least give it a fairly decent go, but I was mistaken as it descended into sordid drug taking (I can understand others getting upset about the realistic class A use given there were kids in the audience and surprisingly no warning before the film played) and a surreal mess with scattered camerawork and no discernible plot. There was the potential I thought for this to be an original crazy take on sexual discussion, but I was unfortunately proven wrong.

Snuffed Out

Survivors wonder where their renegade friend Nicky Brick may be, with both pretty confident that he has risked the raving savages that rove the post-apocalyptic wasteland once again. Having a car involved in the piece seemed only out of place given that there seemed to have been early important dialogue about a lack of rations, and yet petrol can be used for the commodity of moving something on 4 wheels? Odd. Be that as it may this was a mainly sit around and talk end of the world one shot film. I would have personally tried to cover more sparsely populated areas but that’s just me. A lot of wind sound was very distracting, please watch out for it in future.

Product Z

Thank you very much for giving sound reasoning as to why the footage was shot in 1080p. I'm guessing the team had recently watched 21 Jump Street? As took the element of making an extreme new drug as their plot point. Sadly for them the territory they are looking to move on already has established dealers. Guns aren't hard to come by in this country, at least... I was really hooked in by the energetic start, and then the drug testing I was still engaged with. The film kind of lost its way though when it became a formulaic turf war, although the very ending of the film was really well done and the bullet holes in the windscreen a very impressive effect. Also not sure why sound quality was perfect fine at the start but progressively got worse?

Post-Heist

A heist goes horribly wrong in more ways than one due to some really unfortunate circumstances. Funny what money can do to people, eh? Hoping for a smooth exit as it appears our crooks had run a long way to get to the getaway car, yet they get anything but when Nicky trips over...but does recover a black bag and then the paranoia ramps up when they realise a name may have been said a bit too loudly at the scene of the crime. Excellent camera work but the storyline was very predictable. Having said that the physical violence definitely got an audience response and the actors played off each other well. Not sure if you were going for laughs or shocks to be honest as the film treaded a fine line between the two.

Double Check

[Disqualified] This was well shot with an excellent intro on the waterfront as an old man hands a scarred hitman an important job to get back his girl. The film hums along building with a nicely composed soundtrack before our guy arrives at his destination. The development of the story was good and most of the technical solid (in fact, the establishing shots were better than solid, they were beautiful captured the sense of walking into a lion's den in 'ghetto' Wellington for a rescue perfectly) but I found the fight choreography to be a bit average for an action film. The payoff/reveal was interesting. It worked well though as it was one of those 'can't quite put my finger on it...aha' moments that had been building the whole time the apartment was being infiltrated. With Nicky being an actions speak louder than words kind of character it gave it good closure.

It's Time

Now this was a really nice film. Contemplative but engaging as a young couple struggle to deal with the guy's obsession, one he has held on to when he should possibly just let go. Had a heartfelt message, both actors did a fine job and the soundtrack was ace.

Unforgettable Date

A guy sinks many double browns before we are drawn into a time travel pen pal world between him in 2019 and the woman he is flirting with in 1985, as they exchange notes and personal items through an urn that traverses time and space. The dropback to the 80s was particularly well done with lycra, neon, and synth music whilst his casual "send nudes" approach unfortunately resonated with the modern world of dating and apps. Interplay between our 2 leads was strong, which was particularly impressive given they were never on screen together so the reactions and conveyance of emotion was all through the performers' own doing. I think the payoff was a little bit predictable myself but still a highly enjoyable film.

youralreadyinjail.co.nz

A great way to start the heats as per normal from these veterans, who were unfortunately disqualified this year (apparently for being too long). We were introduced to several gangsta-types who included Bobby Youngsta, No Name and The Wasp. When I say introduced I mean their name flashed on the screen. What followed was an order of chair whipping, car driving, in your face mindfuck, with a side order of fish angle wide shots.

Holdin' On

Another dude sitting on the toilet to start this one off, one of the more popular themes in this year's 48 hours. We were then treated to a looong tracking shot following him down Aro Street, lamenting not having TP through some fairly ordinary spoken rap (decent beat, though), running into a couple of acquaintances. Highlight was the operatic phone booth singer, which left me baffled as to why the team hadn't made more use of his stunning voice. The film looked fairly nice, but most of the music wasn't great.

Canned Laughter

Ohhhh man I enjoyed this black comedy until the final 30 seconds. Stab stab murder resolution really bummed me out. Sigh. The main reason I really dug it is that your camerawork was out of this world in places, with the wrestling down the hill one of the best action shots I have seen in 48Hours in many years. Whilst an interesting decision from an editing point of view, the canned laughter worked because you committed to it and I did notice a few laughs around the cinema. I would have liked a little bit more story from the two 'friends' as a trip through the park where one steals a bike, pushes the other over, fights them and then finishes it all was a bit dark given we didn't really establish the relationship between the 2 before the action commenced. But yeah, camera work was golden and spectacular cinematography which is why you're getting stars.

The Gift

Placeholder review.

A Wine in Time

A cleaner with a demanding boss and strict set of rules to abide decides he wants to do what he wants, with earth-shattering time travelling results. The device of choice for travel through time and space was an interesting choice with good payoff, the film felt like a good eff you to all the bad bosses out there. Variety of locations was impressive and most of the camera work was tight although I noticed some issues with movement early in the film and the contrast seemed overblown at times. Going big for scale gets point for me and the ancient warrior actually provided a haunting few moments of suspense. A clearer plot is what would have pushed this film higher. Spew was GROSS.

Monarch

After a parent-teacher interview goes awry, our protagonist teacher has murderous thoughts of how to deal with the bad dad who thinks his naughty son's behaviour is her responsibility. But of course that would be way too simplistic, and so when the rubbish bin full of tissues from her coughing metamorphs into something sinister, all hell breaks loose within the school. Most definitely this was slick, with the Joseph Bishara-inspired soundtrack the actual highlight in my book, and the team ticked a lot of the trope boxes for the genre, with nods to ALIEN and MOTHRA being the most obvious, but the script just left me a bit cold. I think the reason for this is that the dialogue interplay between the 2 leads was engaging at the interview, but after that opening 60 seconds it all just went a bit murderous. I really liked the practical effects I must add, I just personally didn't engage with the story after the teacher was made to feel like crap. Just my 2c.

Beast Mode

Really slick effort this one with nary a frame not looking great and crystal clear quality sound and music, this took a lot of beats from cult classic horror film THE BEAST WITHIN but played for laughs, and unfortunately (as I've been a huge fan of Alan Morrison's work in this comp over the years and see he wrote this) I didn't really buy it as as radio DJ went through a monster transformation all the while staying actively engaged with social media. I get that this was meant to play as a meta commentary on instagram/facebook etc but the payoff genuinely came too late in the piece for my liking. I also think that texts as an on-screen graphic have been a tad overdone in this comp especially when Chess Club did their drop the mic film in this area a couple of years ago. However I'm pretty inspired by what you guys pulled off from a technical pov. The camerawork in some of this was absolutely exquisite from the fish eye lenses examining the man's soul and body transformation through to the dramatic VAMP-like neon lighting. The makeup was freaking marvelous for a 48hours film too!

Resonance

Sensitive leisurely touching film about a young girl inheriting a very special family guitar. Special as it had been in the family for generations. The film played with a genuine delicate rhythm that felt personal and honest as a massive scope of examples of where the instrument had been used were portrayed on screen taking the audience on an emotional rollercoaster in a really good way. From sad cringe at aunties and uncles getting high and using it to strum a fun tune all the way through to a tangi. Full of arohanui I take my hat off to you.

Lost

Now here we go, genuine contender this one as our lead struggled to make his way to his party destination in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. Of course he also happens to be alone in his car with only an Alexa-type phone for company... Seriously awesome sound design in this film, barely an ounce of fat to it, sublime camerawork and a lead performance by Jordan Rivers that is going to take some beating to stop him taking out the top Wellington award. Hints of CHRISTINE, IN FEAR, 2001 and KNIGHT RIDER but absolutely it's own beast and all the better for it. I mean jeepers creepers this was a thriller and it actually gave me goosebumps at a certain key dramatic point! I've been impressed by Stock Standard's continuing maturity in this competition and this is their most sublime effort yet. Just shy of 7 stars but that may change after the Wellington final.

Ripped Off

HOMEWARD BOUND through the lens of a stick family car sticker boy and his beloved pet cat who fall off the back of the station wagon. I really loved the animation here and how it mixed with real life through water splashes, sewers and moving leaves. Clean sound, charming wholesome feel to the whole thing. I was personally impressed I'm just not sure if the story had enough legs to progress further given how many other's footprints it was following (MILO AND OTIS also) but we'll see.

Vic TV

Some super strong sleeping pills pull Vic right into a television where he bounces around between channels with the same nemesis in each. Cooking/Infomercials/Religious/Kids TV were about it. Being whisked away to a parallel or alternate world is a great setup for a non dialogue film, but I would have stayed well away from somewhere that is arguably 50% driven by dialogue like TV. It got tedious.

Shadowplay

Was it just me or did anyone else get a bit of a Jade meets Oldboy vibe to this one? I liked their style at least, if that comment was not entirely obvious it was a compliment. A tale of deception with some erotic moments was carried out, with a love triangle involving a couple, his older ex and her much younger daughter (the younger daughter being his current partner). It was well acted and had some juicy dialogue. Good restrained approach at least visually to the genre though with a tongue to cheek being about the most explicit activity shown from memory. One where you really have to pay attention to the dialogue though as that ending...wow.

Passing Lane

What would you do if you could plead your case for a second chance at life? This went deep and as a father hit my touchy feely nerves in a big way. Impeccably framed throughout as a taxi driver picked up a passenger and took them for the probably final ride of their life. Nobody needed any baggage where they were going. It seemed like the route this was headed in was obvious 60 seconds into the film, but believe you me there was clearly a skilled hand behind this to pull the strings like it did. Just little touches here and there like keeping things interesting with framing inside the car, and creating dramatic mood with cuts to a look in the rearviewmirror that doubled as a look back onto the passenger and yet at the same time exploring predetermined destiny, this is a sure fire thing for the finals and a very good chance for nationals.

Wish you were here

Oof. Ever lost a loved one? Yeah it bloody hurts and this effort conveyed that with immense gravity as two tightly knit sisters came to terms with having lost both of their parents in a tragic accident. Nice little touches like calling her sibling 'little bean' and it meaning something showed a good awareness for building character development, and the escapist but minimalist BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA fantasy pulled the wool over the audience' eyes very nicely when the required wish came into play. The audio could have done with some work here as some of the dialogue was hard to discern but very much appreciate going for the jugular with mature themes and a serious tone. That enormous puddle might have been the biggest I saw in the Wellington heats!

Cut Up

Really well shot, like the best shot teen film by far this year in terms of framing and focus. Reminded me of the 80s slasher He Knows You’re Alone stylistically, with the puzzle pieces being kind of obvious and yet the slow burning revelation still having good effect. Nice work.

Zleepers

Clowns teleport to earth and rap/sing about them hoping this planet will allow them to chance to sleep for the first time in 10 million years. A couple of good ultra low budget physical effect jokes (gloves as beards, 'zzz' paper drawn out of a mouth), unfortunately I'm not the biggest fan of clowns and the music was random rather than catchy or melodic.

Crossroads

'Inspired' by Reservoir Dogs, had three accomplices point guns at each other whilst they argued over the divy up of a bag with mysterious contents that was in the middle of them. I found the dialogue pretty forced, but the film was entirely watchable as it had a slick sense of style.

Displacement

[Disqualified, and didn't come to their heat = BOO] Not sure if you deserve a review if you don't come to your own heat but here goes. More found footage because the team clearly wanted to use this new genre. Only this time it is for a sole survivor to record their own activity for their own shits and giggles. Think I Am Legend but in an office with not a lot going on and you've pretty much got the film, until a mysterious strange figure is viewed on a monitor that covers outside. Given horror was the actual genre not hard to guess what happens next. Focusing on just one character is ballsy but you basically need to play it for laughs or have someone with chops who can pull it off. Maybe next year hey?

Boxed Away

Narnia-lite with a box full of memories being used as a transportation device to magical worlds; a couple in fact with one having an Alice in Wonderland flavour and the other more medieval. The cardboard sword fights were well done and the tea party ala Alice was particularly warped. As a family make a move, the young boy must rifle through his collection of childhood memories one last time as they pack up boxes... I just felt the film needed a bit of work on its narrative. I was trying to make head and tails of the rainbow flag and whether this film was trying to be metaphorical but decided to just go along for the ride through the box as the film was more or less an ode to coming of age.

Lucy

Months of work on an android suddenly comes to fruition, and this short examined the repercussions given that not everything was exactly fine tuned yet. Could have been better, as just merging the ideas of Frankenstein and The Terminator without motivation for the killing removed any real tension. It was getting there towards the end in terms of the couple actually being believable, but was just a bit underdeveloped overall.

Old Man Bones

So there have been some teams in the last few years that have gone very far in this competition making unusual or striking visual choices. This film was also visually very different, but the thing that separates the really good films is that they will still tell a very strong story. A lot of this film was pure eye candy, which makes giving a star rating kind of hard as I'm sure they nailed what they set out to achieve, but it felt like the unclear storyline did not engage the audience as much as it could have. I don't think I will ever forget the cat legs, though. Or the dream dancing with the lion and chief. Music was good, at least, but I personally found it a case of style over substance.

Cut Rate

Topical splatire about the Wellington renters markets; tenants desperate to get a house at any means necessary, then go even further to get the rent price to go down when they remember they're not millionaires. Silly as anything bringing to mind a Three Stooges sensibility (only 2 actors here though) I liked the commitment to corniness and the payoff put my heart in a blender, so to say. Good laughs but the audio was poor in large stretches.

Survival of the mutant

4 years in the future a virus attacks the whole world, and so people decide to make the most of their last time by spending and sharing time with friends and family/sharing video and skyping. Started off cringe-worthy and got better...and better...and better until I was literally crying from laughter at the stupid things our narrator would quip on. I mean a young boy with a slingshot? Yeah ok. Drinking mate with a BBQ? Good to reminisce I supposed. But yeah the team just snapped and our narrator came up with some goldmines of dialogue. "Go Nick Go" "Alanis Morissette isn't ironic, she's just inept". So yeah in other words another best worst contender.

Cry

[DQ] New parents have to suffer the horror of a baby that will not stop crying. This really does not help with Vic’s insomnia and so he reaches out for help from friends but gets a reality check. The baby’s screams sounded very real which was quite unpleasant, but for only a few seconds did this approach being a horror film.

Reversed

Nice comic timing and quality simplistic special effects kept this topical comedy entertaining and got some good laughs from the crowd as a teenage boy unwittingly gets granted superpowers and uses them for mischief. Puke, pony tails...and poofter jokes. Yes you absolutely lost me with a single word. I've made a stand against homophobic jokes in this competition for years and will continue to do so as long as I'm part of it. Good script, performances and editing from a technical point of view, though.

Keep Your Game Face On

A board game playing syndicate has high stakes, that increase when Vic Meyer arrives to the party. Full of puns on popular creations by the likes of Hasbro, Jenga etc this team simply went with one idea and ran full steam ahead. Some hissing sound distracked, but the guerrilla approach was really entertaining. I think the hierarchial structure and importance of change could have been examined a bit more though, as the convergence of stories was a bit weak.

Queen of Hearts

Fate or obsession? Sometimes a difficult question to answer, as a seemingly innocuous relationship gathers steam pretty damn quick at least on one end. Kept ramping up the obsession at a suitable pace until (in my mind) a homage to 'Heathers' brought things to a fitting conclusion. Both leads were excellent.

Snuffed Out

Survivors wonder where their renegade friend Nicky Brick may be, with both pretty confident that he has risked the raving savages that rove the post-apocalyptic wasteland once again. Having a car involved in the piece seemed only out of place given that there seemed to have been early important dialogue about a lack of rations, and yet petrol can be used for the commodity of moving something on 4 wheels? Odd. Be that as it may this was a mainly sit around and talk end of the world one shot film. I would have personally tried to cover more sparsely populated areas but that’s just me. A lot of wind sound was very distracting, please watch out for it in future.

SHE'S OUT OF THIS WORLD

Warriors fight for the right to marry the Princess Junkadia (sp?) on Planet Falcor, but she wants to marry for love and not just who is the strongest and therefore flies off to Planet Earth to get away from the barbaric tradition of her people. Running into an Earthling who can show her our ways of life is of course a refreshing change, but the warriors also possess the ability to fly between planets so could catch up with her at any time. Effects were great as always but I also thought this was verging on being more of a Fantasy Adventure than Rom Com with the whole 5th Element meets Superman 2 vibe that I was getting (and a lot of the ideas being the same as those films). The laughs are more based on character expression and some 'oh shit didn't see that coming!' [usually from the outstanding fx] than script based dialogue that I've come to expect to entertain me from this team. Having said that the chemistry between the two leads is decent, and her stalking him is a nice change-up to the standard romcom formula. But yes the ending dare I say it did feel quite formulaic and forced, even. Hard to rate this one on its own terms knowing the team's fantastic body of work but not quite as good as previous years apart from the fx improving even more.

Captured

I see this being noted as being an 'Immobilised' film but my notes are really lacking anything that highlighted how you explored that angle, and making sure your film is identifiable as its given genre should be one of the first things an audience is able to pick up on with 48 Hours. Friends tried their best to help out a depressed/immobilised Vic Meyer. A great POV shot from the basin, but really needed a stronger narrative arc.

shortmatch

Kicking myself for not paying attention as to whether this was an original score or not. If it was chalk it down as a front runner for the Wellington award. If not, very well selected indeed. A couple of guys who very well may be the last men on earth bunker up and grow increasingly paranoid of each other every day, leading to drawing straws for who stays and who has to fully don their radiation suit and face the outside world once the supplies have run out. Excellent post-apocalyptic feel and again that saturated Tangerine Dream-like soundtrack fitted perfectly. Unfortunately I am marking it down a point for a shot taking me out of the film where vital information was missed and it no longer felt like the end of the world. Good open ending, too.

Panic planet

Placeholder review.

Follow Her

Placeholder review.

Wings of Fate

Placeholder review.

Master

What a good boy that dog was! Percival I think I saw on the credits? Managed to keep a very calm demeanour as all hell was breaking loose for his masters due an unexpected nasty terrorising the neighbourhood. Direction on this was really top notch and the team showed their experience in building suspense in such a short space of time, with money shots that celebrated the genre in the best possible way. Aware of tropes and yet subversive as domesticated bliss came under attack like an old sea monster film. EDIT - Winnie! Not Percival...lol

Glance Forwards

[DQ] I came incredibly close to not putting up a review of this film. I thought I missed something the second time we watched it, but if I did then so did the 6 or 7 other people I talked to who also thought the only noticeable difference was a slight chance of pacing at the start and some added music at the end reminiscent of Vertigo. * If you weren't at the heat the wrong file played; the team were in competition but chose to DQ themselves and hand in a 'better' version for artistic integrity and thus we watched the 'correct' version at the end of the heat. ...onto the film... A young woman on the edge losing her will to live in the present day is contrasted with an old couple who have just received what likes like a standard television set in the 60s (?), but after playing around with the receiver for a bit is shown to be more than its initial appearance. The team went for a slightly meta approach in terms of the convergence of the storylines. Well acted, well shot. I personally think you should have stayed in the competition but appreciate that is entirely up to you.

Tempus

A time travelling guide explained the mechanations of time travel in particular the idea of challenging tragedy. The set design was of particularly high quality and the lead actor who played 'Cronos' had watchable creepy screen presence. The negative marks for mine were an over-reliance on exposition because there was definitely some promise to explore the doors of time. Nice ending, mind.

The Tender Grace

Beautifully shot with nary an issue with the deeply saturated strongly contrasted film from a technical point of view, and every last cent was rung out of the amazing old house this team had access to. Plus they had a beautiful orchestral score. The film itself investigated a murder with several suspects from a tightly knit family. But unfortunately to mine the plot was disappointingly flat and some 48Hours tropes that have been a bugbear of mine for many years reared their ugly head (in particular violence towards women in crime/horror films especially any promiscuous women).

One Last Game

Definitely adventure more than action as a couple of siblings set out for treasure that they believe their grandfather will have left them after they scatter his ashes. This sparks the sister up as she has been given a 48 hour notice of foreclosure, and so the hunt for treasure represents a chance to save the farm. That description makes the plot far more convulated than it was. The main charm behind this film was its true blue kiwi dialogue and positive energy, which overcame any technical shortfalls it may have had.

The Portable Pizza Predicament

Placeholder review.

Bad Omen

Slick cursed-typewriter type film within a film that had some nice comedic touches and an excellently acted hobo prepared to do anything for food. I liked how smooth some of your transitions were and the dialogue was good. I also commend that the genre was subverted, but unfortunately to me this was done at the expense of a coherent story.

Captured

I see this being noted as being an 'Immobilised' film but my notes are really lacking anything that highlighted how you explored that angle, and making sure your film is identifiable as its given genre should be one of the first things an audience is able to pick up on with 48 Hours. Friends tried their best to help out a depressed/immobilised Vic Meyer. A great POV shot from the basin, but really needed a stronger narrative arc.

Sharon and Cobie

Seemingly charming domestic house cat turns out to be fairly damn crass when given a voice by their loving owner inadvertently. Treaded the line between gross and introspective, almost a personal film at times, a couple of the jokes hit but I think I kind of missed the message here. As was said at the launch I'd encourage you to get out of your house for the shoot weekend!

Monkey Business

Our busking lead needs to come up with two grand in a weekend or else he's toast. His only real option though is dancing in a monkey suit and only Wellington zoo will grant him a (expensive) license to perform. Doesn't really help when their previous primate with moves was the best they ever had. An enthusiastically acted but mean-spirited zoo director and female zookepper all too willing to help through a dance training montage [think F*Dance a few years back] kept this one kicking. Some really solid dancing on display, and a very cheeky sense of humour in general.

The sky is falling

I know you were disqualified for some other reason, but do you reallly think having Bangarang by Skrillex play would have meant you would be able to keep going in the competition? Hard to say when a team made it to the grand final and got away with Billie Jean last year, but yeah... Its actually a shame that you were DQ because the editing on this was cut tight as heck. It might have seemed like a random set of collages/happenings in the city initially but everything came together and formed a real bond for the three focused on actors by the end of the film. Also gave introspective into city life; seemed like the team had some pretty badass lenses for whatever camera they had. As breaking news of the world ending comes in, people gather together their family, friends or loved ones and try to get away. Some look to enjoy what they love one last time, others prepare signs such as 'Aliens go away'. Like I said earlier it is a real collection of images but three friends look to make the most of Wellington one final time before the end. Tugged at the emotion strings a little.

The Rescue Party

Good script had a couple of guys tied to a chair, sending out a call for help that produced some cracking dialogue between themselves and two farm women. "Txt that you're a little bit kidnapped" = very funny. Exploding sheep and revelations kept the plot ticking along, I was really loving this until the ending, as I felt that your insomniac Vic Meyer was quite weak in terms of the character trait.

Spearhead

My apologies for the late review but the calling out of judges not appreciating subversion by a bunch of 7 star reviews for this film did not go unnoticed. Over half the film was spent on speed dating where attempts at insightful comical humour were made however to me the self depreciation of the average kiwi male did feel rather cliched. I'm a huge fan of Takashi Miike's fan AUDITION (in other words I'm a huge fan of slow burning horror) and so whilst dating has been massively overdone in 48 I still did like the ability to hold the frame during the dates. Building to a cold drab murderous mean spirited factory/warehouse conclusion was not unexpected unfortunately. There was a fine musical score in the 2nd half of the film however the plot development in terms of any story was for me a massive problem. Acting fine, technically fine in particular camerawork. Shit even editing was fine but at the end of the day there was a story that to me personally was simply not engaging.

"Cheatings Eating"

A Psychopathic housewife goes on a bit of a murderous spree with regards to servicemen, taking out a plumber by choking them to death and heavily hinting that the same fate may await the internet service man due to come around in the near future. Luckily we are given motivation behind this behaviour with a backstory of mistreatment by her ex and how her current beau essentially came to her rescue as a white knight. There were a couple of nice shots for example the hand in the oven, and I squirmed at least a little whilst the plumber was choked. The film did appear however to go for more of a dark/disturbing approach (also included chainsaws and blood, for example) than any sort of tension which is what I view as a key element to horror, and the production values were average.

YOLO

What a bizarre coincidence...the second inspirational Wellingotn film of the night called 'Yolo', although this one didn't have to spell out the number of times you live in a life time like the high school team who chose the same name (hint: once). At a books store a couple of brothers have a discussion about how hard the outisde world is - its so dangerous for unlucky Nicky that he needs to wear a helmet at all times. Of course their daily routine is broken up by a female customer who queries their thoughts on friendship. Didn't put enough of a positive spin on things for me to really feel inspired. Tough genres but at least this one shot had a nice sense of claustrophobia inside the shop crammed to the rafters with books.

Playing House

At first I thought the description of the outside concrete cityscape of buildings as 'beautiful' was a rookie mistake but with a quick rabbit hole approach the dark comedy here was well acted as 2 lovers argued about everything imaginable. Decently shot with the bland sterile apartment utilised as a strong plot device, this team went with a kitchen sink approach to subvert everything they could possible think of regarding romcoms. A few lines were dubbed out of synch and whilst there was a clear beginning to end structure some of the tonal shifts whilst funny were a bit jarring.

The Grate Cheese Caper

Another film 'inspired' by Reservoir Dogs, although I felt the use of the infamous Mr. Pink joke (and simply changing the wording to Mr. Colby) to be fairly inappropriate. A bunch of crooks have been told to procure cheese for their boss, but all have various issues getting the dairy product back once they have stolen it. Couple of semi-funny visual gags.

Fistfull of Crime

A tough cop with some slight (well, giant screaming skull face that constantly flies around) mother issues interviews a suspect in relation to a murder case. Having advised the suspect that he's capable of doing the good cop/bad cop thing all night, we are treated to a couple of pretty graphic confessions, one involving a horse and a urethra, or something along those lines. Of course everything gets topped off with a David Carradine CSI put the glasses on 'oh yeah!' scream moment, and Jesus. The animation was pixellated brain candy mess yet again from The Avatards, and the warped humour was definitely my cup of tea. Awesome.

Digital Flick

Our lead's mum (played with hilarity by a guy) stays with him for a few days, becoming a total nuisance by relying on her son for everything; from food to the toilet. Eventually she even rings him at work. After talking to a colleague who was formerly a bully, our lead has had enough and plots his revenge. However there are potentially obstacles to the planned revenge for once. This was pretty over the top, verging on silly but it still made me genuinely chuckle.

The Moist

Truly one of the more disgusting 48hours entries ever for Wellington, this short rocked my world. I've promised the director I won't give too much away, but let's just say that in a crudely animated retirement home lounge, some of the residents are feeling a bit chilly. However something lurks where the heater is, and despite the aggressive warden trying to calm down the senial old farts, it all gets a bit...messy. Genitals, extreme gore and an unusual animal make an appearance here, which left more than a few jaws scrapping the floor in shock. Also bloody hilarious and a serious Spike and Mike vibe as per usual from this team.

120 hours in OSdom

This is quickly becoming my favourite genre of 2013 as yet another team knocked it out of the park. After an initial Star Trek-ish setup of having been beamed down for shelter during an asteroid storm, our team of explorers soon realise the dangers of having things run on solar power when the area has 5x the normal levels of exposure. Eyeball violence, tinfoil costumes and drill sergeants were the order of the day here in a film that had me in stitches laughing.

Scraps

An obsessive cleaner takes things a bit too far regarding the girl he is into. Shows the danger of falling head over heels with someone based on a fantasy image rather than reality. I would have liked to have seen this fleshed out a bit more with perhaps some drama or comedy. As it was, it simply presented this idea, ramped up the tension a bit when the creep took things a bit far and then ended.

Téa Leaves

Someone hates tea! Hard sell of a Uni Tea Drinkers Anonymous group who all struggled to come to terms to their addiction to Early Grey and Dilmah, which was apparently the scourge of the earth and creating a reign of terror. Editing was a bit hit and miss here as significant passages of time passing were just represented with changes of clothes and whiteboard markings, although coming across both static and rushed at the same time. After most of the film was a sit down discussion of how bad tea was the anti-romcom element brought in at the last minute was probably the highlight of the film though a bit sad and harsh in tone. Ending was great, though.

The Clock

The tension levels were high at the start of this one, as you had me horrified that you had spelt the character's name Vic Mayer, but of course I was relieved that nobody would be that stupid. A nice synthy soundtrack highlighted some focused training in preparation for something that wasn't entirely clear until it happened. Good macguffins with the bomb and the girl. Led itself to a pretty simple payoff that worked because of the physical humour. Just needed a bit more polish.

The Capillum Affair

Set to a pulsing rhythm an expert thief plans his heist with meticulous detail when he learns that the royal jewels are going to be on display in a Wellington museum. Finely crafted with some top notch framing and precision, the intricate level of thought and detail put into the film were truly impressive. I really liked a lot of the ambiance in the film but yearned for more consistency of lighting as the shots that were heavily grainy took me out of the moment a little bit. The snapshots were also a bit low budget but played to good comedic effect. Also nice work on the end location! Lasers were gold.

Fraternity Milk

The story of sperm on their voyage to the egg re-framed into a world of surreal chaos where all swimmers had articulate personalities and traits necessary to help with the 'heist'. All the genre tropes were covered with plans laid out and unexpected obstacles doing their utmost to prevent a pregnancy. The double step-back on FANTASTIC VOYAGE was pretty choice if you ask me. Diction/audio mix was not always great but I thought this was overall original and fresh.

Fist Cop

[DQ] and verrry sadly DQ at that, as this was the best out of competition short so far. I was promised an ambitious short, and it really delivered on that expectation. This had such an 80s vhs neon vibe that it was incredible. It was like the punk buddy cop version of Robocop, with our 4.2% cyborg feeling a strong sense of justice against the Mr. Big type character who made him the way he is. Not just vengeance though, but to protect the valuable quantum that scientists have been working on. Over the top and full of action and dodgy special effects [floating buddy robot, anyone?] and one liners, I loved it. Only minor gripe was the use of the same pun a few times but not an issue at all.

Love Hurts

Looking to spice things up a bit in their sex life a couple call in help from what seemed to be a professional gigalo who looks like he is still stuck in a different time zone with white pants, completely unbuttoned shirt etc. Sex-mad and freaky horny he appears to be just the ticket they need to get things back on track despite hesitancy for help in the first place. I mean it was mum's idea after all! With a mixture of chocolate sauce and gooey fruit I thought this team were going for the subversion route of 'splatting' being just the messiness. Boy oh boy I was wrong. One of the most graphic films to grace the screens in Wellington's 48hours at least this got a massive audience reaction of groans and disgust. 2 things though that dragged this for me a little 1. Despite the huge audience reaction I cannot recall a single actual laugh when the blood came in and 2. the sound had issues in the whole first half of the film with significant discrepancies in audio levels and some hissing/buzzing on the track. EDIT - forgot about the safeword joke. Bumped up a star. First half sound still a significant issue.

Stop

Stylish panning/tracking shots to start off with; fairly sure they used a dolly in there at some point? A film focused on the hardships of life but didn't seem to have too much of an inspirational message, or if it did then I missed it so clearly the script needed a bit of work. A pickpocketing hitchiker gets picked up by someone just trying to get away from it all in particular their sister because they don't want to be a disppointment. The film tried to be heavy but it was so focused on dialogue that it failed to draw an emotional response. The radio announcements were also quite distracting. I understand the want, perhaps even need to do something a bit different stylistically but story is king and having built a nice setup I was left wanting more of a resolution/reason to feel inspired.

The Hand You're Dealt

Reflecting on the choices we make being pretty much a gamble, this was quite heavy handed in the way it presented poker as a metaphor for life. An elderly grandfather struggling with depression, a young man not really watching out in the dark alleys of night time, and a couple coming to grips with unexpected pregnancy came together. An ambitious short, I think it would have worked better without the black and white scene.

The Riverbed

BODY HORROR! Thank you! Leisurely Sunday drives have never been more creepy especially when they include alluring mystical horrifying boxes at riverbeds and perhaps the creepiest creature I've seen in 48Hours. Shudder. Big audience reaction and deservedly so. Fine example of less is more.

End of the Saga

I really liked this film which was a good 2 minutes max in length made up of less than a handful of shots but covered everything it needed to. A couple of Wizards/warriors, I wasn't sure which they were and it didn't really matter, the point was they had impressive beards and costumes, discuss the war which they are currently engaged in. However due to the battle finishing soon one is sent on his way to deliver news to the castle. The timing was perfect, overdubs solid and moving the framing from super wide scope to 16:9 was an inspired touch.

No Bars

A good genre subversive effort on show here, well edited and having its own unique sense of style with the only dialogue of the film coming from radio talkback commentary. A young group of friends look after the estate of Nicky Brick over the weekend in the country and entertain much revelry with dancing, drinking and guns. It encapsulates a sense of freedom from the outside world with efforts made to stop people from using their mobile phones as well. However the explicit aftermath of the partying of the good looking young cast builds in the creepiness scales with solid sound design throughout.

Dreaming of Love

A foreman who can't sleep collides with a woman who has trouble finding love, and goes on a series of dates that we get to see the comedic result of. Played more like a Public Safety Announcement than anything, I thought if you edited it down it could have been a TV add regarding getting behind the wheel on a lack of sleep. The actress who was looking for love did a great job.

Beat Around The Bush

I was a bit worried this might be going for a mockumentary approach but quickly realised that we were essentially just focusing on some footage to create a narrative framework of obsession, as a woman from the Leaf Related Crimes Unit sets out to incriminate Nicky Brick who she had seen sully up a nice patch of leaves. The film followed a tried and true three solid joke structure, as the woman does her utmost to make his life hell, including going to the point of trying to paint him as a pedo. There was some quality wordplay in the script and the payoff was good as there was a feeling of unease created throughout by the driven (obsessed) woman.

Dive Dive Dance!!!

Thank you to this team for just giving it their absolute all in this loved and hated genre. We follow the exploits of a submarine team as they cruise around the ocean, always on the alert for whether they will have to self-destruct or not. Whether they do or not, is another question... Anyway music and dance wise it had everything it needed. A captain standing up with just himself and his guitar, going for and largely hitting the high notes as a climax. It also contained possibily the most amazing group shoulder bobbing dance collective you will see this side of a toilet paper roll-made periscope. Definite contender for best worst film in Wellington this year.

DICKS

Anarchist cyberpunks who believe only a true state of anarchy is achieved when removed from the system set out to rage against the (library fine) machine. The D.I.C.K.S are presented with a hellbent determination to take down anyone deemed a fascist or conformist and Puppyguts produced a really good looking short film here. Really went with the idea of punk ideology of being anti-rules and ran with it, with a particularly strong performance by the woman with the nose piercing as she showed vitriol and spitfire like a true punk. I do think the story could have been a bit more streamlined as we moved from live gig to group formation to multiple botched kidnappings to a techno thriller. Also was a key plot point not that a certain action needed to be done by 4pm and completed in an office that showed dark night time through the windows? If I have that wrong I apologise. Overall really presented a punk ethos well and was very well made. Points also for Reagan's disguise!

Shippopotamus Wrecks

A space battle between a hippo and lizard team, and an robot opponent, leads to a crash and exploration of an alien planet. Full of wordplay throughout (some cringe inducing, some bellyache funny), mostly of a slightly sexual nature, it was good to see this team back in the competition.

Time to spare

After getting bored watching TV (please don't use actual TV footage in future, it's a big no-no under the competition rules), the chance to win $500k suddenly gets Vic Meyer excited and he races towards Wellington Town Hall to try and collect. I sat in wide eyed amazement as our lead shuffled his bdsm gear to the side of the kitchen bench before picking up his keys. Just about the whole thing was shot POV, and whilst there were some nice shots, the editing needed some work especially as geographical continuity errors in Wellington are a bit of a bugbear. At least you stuck to your genre.

Job Security

A 10 year human security veteran tells his newly recruited robot replacement that he is going to teach him the ropes today. By that I mean he is going to use the day as a means for some excellent comedic quips and observations. Both actors were really solid here as they built a rapport in front of our eyes. A couple of nice special effects touches as well re: the robot.

Blade of Insomnia

A martial arts teacher shuts down his dojo after an accidental death under his watch, and the rest of the film was mostly about his mental anguish/fighting other warriors in his dreams. Despite the disclaimer that this would be the most random film we'd see in 48 hours this year I'd disagree as I've already seen my fair share of animal outfits and ninjas this year. It was actually relatively straightforward compared to a lot of other films, with some nice shots, it was just very tedious. Given the martial arts training at the beginning it would have been nice to see some proper martial arts fighting given you had action as your genre.

Hypnagogia

Loud, but not in a bad way, there was some really visually striking imagery here. Nice editing touches that kind of seared into my brain as well. Basically this played with the insomnia dream/reality/psycho idea and really ran with it regarding a young lady who stumbles upon a murder late at night. There was a sense of dread and unease but not many frights at all.

Office Fighter

Whilst I've seen this video game fighter story done previously (in this comp, a few years ago, by Alpaca Punch) this was a reasonably fresh take on the most tired setting outside of apartments in 48Hours - the dreaded office where coworkers don't get along. Superb production design however, well deserved award there but the plot for mine was a bit threadbare.

Trophy Hunting

Animals are running wild in Wellington we are told over the radio to start this short, which attempted to build some lore through taxidermia and a post-apocalyptic vibe. Eventually turning into a battle between two determined females and one remaining dog, I felt the team attempted to subvert the genre by playing on the aftermath of said nature as per their genre already having run amok. Whilst I like double personalities as much as anyone, and thinking back this had parallels with POSSESSION, I think the edit could have been tighter. The tight focus pulls were impressive but much of the coverage did not push the story forward. Also I felt the back stories of both the animals being wild, and the 2 characters were a bit unclear.

Reign

Frigging heck Blowfish make amazing films. Did not check my watch but this must have barely clocked in over 60 seconds. The only problem is that this creates an almost blink and you miss it approach, most definitely leaving me wanting more. Will the beautiful utopian/dystopian sci film covering vast cityscapes and barren wastelands but for arguably moments be seen the same way by the judges or is there enough here to progress further? Only time will tell.

The Fertilizer

A nerd with an amputee sister meets up with his Professor, and they uncover an amazing new way to regenerate plants. Thinking of helping out his sibling, he realises that the invention may also be able to regenerate limbs. However more menacing powers at be are interested in the invention of course, including someone with plans to take over the world's food supply. The conclusion taking on the henchmen/villain was a true highlight. This had good production design, a killer script and a nice soundtrack too.

Psylent Night

Holy fuck guys that editing was SIIIICK. Drug-addled shroom-tripping via MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE. Meta commentary on the fungus among us? Just a scribbled note I had. But yeah visually a masterpiece for most of the film, cult in tone as the spoils of a forbidden treasure of shrooms were enjoyed by a select few. Nightmarish, glorious, neon but ghostly my mouth was agape at the literal trip back through the door post-pill ingestion. Also noted that it was a comment that what goes around comes around. It's rare to be taken on such a voyage in this comp. Slightly more of a story and you'd get full marks from me. EDIT - hey as Wellington finalists you should probably take this down from the screening room in case you get in the grand final :)

The Stile

Technically slick harrowing examination of inner turmoil that had me feeling very uneasy through bloody well-used handheld camerawork and an aurally sinister soundtrack. The lead actress sold the material with immense value showing terrific emotion through her eyes regarding the relationship that she thought was the one most pursuing, with the film being incredibly subversive. Wide open in scope utilising the rolling hills of Canterbury yet intimate in subject matter with a mature hand for framing both the action on screen and development of this slice of life/death. I loved that the film came in late to proceedings and piqued my curiousity with a refusal to reveal the other party's identity, making the conclusion all the more satisfying. Depth of field was on point with literally only a couple of moments where the camera could have been improved. My only minor gripes with the film were that perhaps it was legitmately too subversive of the genre; it had a strong script and the star-crossing of the two was certainly a unique take but the 'lovers' point point could have been argued plus the audio peaked a couple of times. Overall very well done!

The Super Galactic Spacecadets

Placeholder review.

Bullies, Nerds and a Weirdo

A group of nerds and a group of dickheads respectively go camping, accidentally in the same place. One group is prepared with tents and supplies, the other kind of wings it but when the leads go wandering in the woods we are treated with comedy when they bump into each other, all the while worrying about the rabbid dog on the loose that was pronounced over the 4 Square Radio. I enjoyed the energy this team brought to proceedings, with some unusual humour. I did notice a few continuity issues though, and lighting became an issue for your evening shots. Big laughs to finish but kind of silly and simplistic in terms of plot for mine.

LUVSUX

A poo joke-loving vacuum cleaner takes care of sucking up the office debris until it finds love, but love is never quite that straightforward, and the resulting action lets a bunch of other household appliances sing ala the Brave Little Toaster. The first couple of songs were really good, the visual gags were solid and then the BLT and Toy Story nods were nice too. However the second half songs were much weaker.

Board to Death

So I re-watched CLUE for the first time in a while the other day, and that film still stacks up superbly. This pun-filled quest to be the first Cluedo character in the house to kill someone else, however, did have a number of flaws... although your enjoyment of the film would likely depend a great deal on how much you like puns, board games and board game puns. An underutilised Nicky Brick does luckily break up this barrage of jokes and one on one fighting with candlesticks/revolvers/spanners by Colonel Mustard, Rev. Green and the like, but it one essentially a one joke film that could have done a lot more plot-wise than just ham it up.

The Calling Card Killer

Good team intro, good script and a good performance by the lead actress. Due to the fact that a serial killer had been giving calling cards to their victims before death, our lead follows each instruction she receives to the letter in a race against the clock (time limits are given on each card). My only real problem was the massive geographical errors in relation to Wellington which happened throughout the film; 10 minutes to run from Oriental Bay to the Botanical Rose Gardens??

Third Wheel

Lololol ADR throughout the film, I'm not sure if any original audio was used, but it definitely added to the film for me. Having packed up the car, a couple decide that yes in fact they do want to go with their original plan of a romantic getaway at Wiremu Bay. However after a bit of bickering they pick up a hitchhiker who actually seems very familiar to Bobby. Having said that, he proves to be good conversation and knows the way to the Bay, although he gets a bit to close to the girl for Bobby's liking. "I WANT YOUR BALLS!" lol, thanks for making me laugh guys :)

Dregs

This played like a Bogan version of the Twlight Zone classic 'Where Is Everybody?' with our bearded lead being blissfully unaware the world has ended, but not seeming to really give a shit that it had. To him it just seems like another Sunday (or Monday or Tuesday) hangover. Quite a sexist streak shown at a party by our drunken lead prior to the world ending, but this sets up a nice finish to the film. His stereotype is only further reinforced once the apocalypse hits; not something that should stop him getting his smokes and booze, right? I'm guessing you weren't the biggest fan of the sponsor's product but the film had a nice script and excellent lead performance.

The Robster Goes to High School

Pot-bellied chain smoking 35 year old goes back to high school to become the champion of the school he always dreamed of being, with backing from his mother and a desperate principal. As though 21 JUMP STREET was starring a loser who lived at home and had such poor iq that being picked for the 1st xv was a non-issue for investigatory boards. I noticed quite a few technical issues here with the whole party being shot a bit out of focus, disruptive wind on the soundtrack more than once and some camera shots even cutting characters' heads. Handful of good laughs for the audience but what brought this down for me personally was the talking heads component of the film.

Depart'ners

Buddy cops drive from HQ via Oriental Bay to Shelley Bay for a stakeout, with plenty of chitchat about holidays, donuts and healthy food. They're on the watch for a perp with a dog but the day just kind of dwindles by until something is spotted that fits the description. I think the plot was a little bit threadbare here but my main issue was when I think buddy I generally think friends and often a higher level of energy than sitting down and talking. But that's just me. Arguably I think this fit the secret identity genre much better than it did buddy film!

S.H.A.R.P.

Title stands for an acronym I won't give away, but this was a mockumentary with too many talking heads for my liking. I'm not going to comletely rag on the team as you had a couple of lines that made me laugh hard, but my feelings on doing this sort of film are pretty strong. I think mockumentaries are a genre cop out as they can be pigeonholed into any genre. Throw in some interviews with intercut footage of the jokes said participants are discussing and voila you've got a film that's likely going to get a positive audience response. Its not jealousy I know for a fact there are many regulars to the competition who feel the same way. The jokes that made me laugh were not the crude sexual humour, or comments by recovering superheroes about other characters which were visually obvious anyway. No it was the stuff about the rugby and harshness towards little 'Fly Boy'. This got a good audience response initially but seemed to run out of ideas.

Leave Me Alone

The SPCA, Bartending and Busking amongst other jobs have all failed for our lead, who just also happens to be a conjoined twin. Their bro has been the scourge of all their problems for quite some time particularly with women and employment, but that is nothing compared to the leaf monster they create when an experiment goes badly wrong. The two guys sharing one outfit for the twin effect really played off on one another well. Not a scary film by any sense of the imagination but more an ode to cheesy 50s/60s bad monster flicks which in my book is not a bad thing at all - Sting of Death and The Thing With Two Heads immediately came to mind.

The Sunnybrook Diaries

First animation this year? Not sure what's happened as we used to get close to 10 most years in Wellington. Found footage at that which was quite an interesting take on the genre I must say. We focused on the work of a Doctor at a mental asylum, in particular the effects of playing repetitive children's music for hours on ends to patients who were already at least a bit unstable. Short and sweet this didn't overstay its welcome by any stretch of the imagination. I liked where it cut off as open-ended is probably the perfect way to resolve a film in this genre.

Purls of Wisdom

Offbeat humorous take on a the plights and perils off master and apprentice in a tv knitting show where hard work behind the scenes goes uncredited. With over the top green screen, delectable camera angles and a western swag because the bar is not big enough for the 2 of them, this built momentum throughout the film. Excellent use of literal sleight of hand as well however the film felt a little disjointed to me personally with tonal jumps from shock revelation to silliness.

Tinder 2.0

With achievements unlocked it was clear and obvious that the game of love was going to be treated like a video game in this film, where a nervous first time tinder 2.0 user and his date have a charming bit of banter before things get technological and goofy. The interplay of the would-be romantics was engaging and natural, while the VR screen itself was high quality in terms of production values. I liked that whoever DOP'd this knew how to utilise lighting well, presenting a couple of lush shots where neon in the background provided vibrant contrast. I think things got a bit silly when the kid brother got involved although the audience laughed, and the ending was fairly predictable in my book after the virtual world shows its problems.

Insomniacal

[DQ] To the sound of what very much sounded like an Eagles guitar line, our lead sings that he is prepared to try anything to get to sleep. This works as a framework for others to give him advise/tips such as working out or seeing a shrink. The Daft Punk style dance-off was definitely the highlight as unfortunately the team did not have any great singers; good choice going with who you did as he was the best of the bunch.

BRICK

A horse riding couple stumble upon a drug den and when things turn pear shaped it is up to Nicky Brick to get revenge. This had low production values but that probably added to its charm. The editing could have done with a bit of polish as there were times where shots did drag such as the opening shot of the horses being parked up. Having said that the action was enjoyable to watch with a couple of the grapples/flip releases particularly impressive.

The Big Number

Very subversive take on the musical/dance genre as a theatre director outlined how the production should run, with extravagant exclamation that brought good laughs from the audience. Playing as a comedy of errors with children and musicians missing cues as the theoretical running of events was outlined, the fact that it was almost all one very steady long take was almost an afterthought. I mean that in a good way, because the unusual camera choice did provide a point of difference to most other films in the comp this year. Reagan Morris nailed his role as the flamboyant man in charge, and importantly in a film like this you had good clear audible sound. I don't take issue with the lack of any actual songs or dancing as the film itself did have a rhythmic quality and its honestly refreshing to see a different behind the scenes approach that isn't a mockumentary! Left a bit to the audience's imagination at the end, though made sense if you had been paying attention.

Two Years, I Promise

Whilst the shot of Wellington Airport with a subtitle of "London, England" may have been the hardest I laughed in all the heat films, there were a number of unfunny homophobic jokes. A jock basically waited around getting frustrated that the girl he never told he loved doesn't come back from England when she said she would. Also sounded like there was piano ripped out of Ben Folds' song 'Not The Same'. The girl who went to England (supposedly) was ok, but yeah the gay jokes were not cool.

Daylight Horror

Walked in on the end of this one which had some good toilet humour and fencing on show, with strong audience laughter. Will update the review once I see the full film but liked what I saw. Edit: this team is behaving atrociously. Had given the film a 7/10 based on what I had seen which made me laugh, but now cannot fathom giving it a positive rating of any kind. Behaviour will be brought to judge's attention, probably the school's if it continues.

Waiting

Basically a no budget version of A QUIET PLACE, with the monsters being conveyed as being everywhere through text messages shown on screen. Unfortunately a complete lack of originality here and no show of the monster was disappointing. The 'threat' became a laugh when a safety barricaded door supposedly opened from a monster relatively wide had nothing come through and was closed by a character without urgency. If sound design had been more immersive it may have sold the film more.

Parallel

Choosing to do musical of your own accord when given generation gap and nailing it? Impressive! Well when I say nailing it I mean that the songs were incredibly well sung, and the look and feel of the film was terrific. I just have a couple of reservations of how well this really ticked the box for your given genre, though I expect the judges will probably have loved it given how much they like subversion typically. The reason I say that is because simply pondering how kids would date 40 years in future was only meeting one half of the criteria. I mean yes absolutely really well done with the John Hughes inspired cringe first date, and goddam if this doesn't get a nom for best song or score, but the payoff to actually show a gap in generations was kind of weak for mine.

Shadow Play

A tale of rejection turning to narcissism, but more through self-love than vanity as our Nicky Brick literally falls in love with their own shadow. As I said they used this as a plot framing device to focus on the comedy aspect of the genre through some physical humour at the Botanical Gardens. A solid time lapse was included and the idea was ok but I felt it could have been padded out a bit more.

Parallel Lines

Another team that wasted 30 seconds to establish a character waking up/going through their morning routine (yawn). Could have established that we were looking at a parking warden a lot quicker than that without compromising the story at all. Off for his daily quota, he is one of the nasty wardens who will get you even if you park in the wrong area for 2 minutes. A parallel story runs as a group of crooks prepare to pull of a heist and a quick getaway only their fates are set to intertwine with the council employee. Due to the editing and confusion over who got clamped (the cop or the robbers?) the film's big dramatic moment lost its impact unfortunately. I know there was also a twist but the editing meant this was also not clear either. A bit strange as the film was entirely clear in structure and working towards a nice payoff until the final 30 seconds.

Nicky Brick and the Funkys Licks

My favourite high school entry in many a year. Top stuff guys. Our lead has a his breath taken away by the girl of his dreams, but lacks the funk she's after to let him stick it in her (I shit you not, that was the first song and it had the audience in stitches). Not only that, but there are wayfearer/leather jacket rivals who hold a lot more coolness at the start of the film. Of course what's a good love story without having a progression to allow the chance to win a lady back/at least vye for her attentions again? And what's a good 48 hours film without a manic as fuck rainbow tight wearing funk guru? The costume designs were tremendous, montage superb, the camera angles sublime and the pacing was like a runaway train. I wanna go listen to Maggot Brain now. Oh and you had the best use of the prop in the whole competition so far. Badass film on the whole guys, would watch again.

Spazz Allens

Bullied art-student with mild verbal dyslexia blended right in to the alien invasion here which presented a very strong metaphor for being the odd one out....albeit through grotesque head explosions and ray guns. I thought that the vfx in this film were really well done and would not be surprised to see a nomination in the Wellington final if only that bloody award hadn't been combined with animation this year. The comic timing here made one of the best splatstick films in Wellington this year, and yes I'm aware that the team got 'Fish out of Water' as their genre. Generally engaging framing and very impressive editing, plus excellent use of whatever stock soundtrack the team had acquired. I think this team can hold their head very high and proud as it quickly reached the top echelon of high school films all time in Wellington for me.

Witcher Grove

Bit of a shame this was DQ as I'd have it up near the top of my cinematography finalists shortlisted to this point. Not only that but the use of the line was a moment which was coming for a while, but still delivered with aplomb. A creepy rhyming tale of three lovely young ladies and a nasty murderous man with cannibalistic intentions. The more I think about it the more I liked it. Far more old school fantasy adventure style that reminded me of the works of the Brothers Grimm. Artsy and bold our narrator gave a really fantastic performance. Get ya bloody film in on time next year Tim! :p

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

Utterly embracing of Ultra and manic in the best possible way as an infantile overlord monitors his army in a post-apocalyptic bunker following the natural aging process on earth being stopped. This was militaristic bonkers film-making that danced to its own beat with an infectious drumbeat driving proceedings. Dubbing was well done too given the very young child When I say bonkers I refer more to the concept rather than the film-making which was steady and assured, with a gourmet of visual information for the viewer spread across up to 6 screen panels at a time. I really felt immersed in the world as well as hugely entertained, with some solid one-liners and a fast snappy pace. Oh and before I forget...the machine gun firing robot that looked like a Dalek brought joy to my heart. The interplay between the 2 lovers to be was also nicely done, although came into the piece just a tad late in my opinion. I feel that this team showed that a few seconds of clear expository dialogue is really all you need to set the tone and build a world, especially when the film is only around 3 minutes long. Torn whether slightly more to the plot and say roadblocks to the lovers would have added to the film or not. Big barrel of fun as it stands, though.

Followed

Spooked loudmouth armchair film critics show that paranoia and what they show you in the movies can escalate things very quickly when you find a hockey stick in an alleyway. The interplay between the 2 lead actors was really terrific, with a solid script and immersive character creation. Bit of a shame to go for the unexpected violence against a woman trope which has plagued the competition for years, although the timing of the comedy here was edited very soundly. As a comedy of errors this really was top notch as the splats kept on splatting, but giving the audience enough time to recover from their last bout of laughs before producing another unexpected gag. Good work on utilising both the CBD and the beach as distant locations can be a tall order. I just WISH you hadn't gone with the guitar beat from Elvis Costello Pump It Up/Rogue Trader Voodoo Child for your pivotal scene. Loses a whole point for that.

Edge of the Circle

A baker's wife/gf leaves him for someone new, and our baker spies on her to see who this new plonker is, as well as striking up a friendship with an old lady on the side. Quite a random effort, with the spying, praying, hot tub laughter and sabotage by sending the new guy a prostitute with an STI. I've got to say the randomness added to its enjoyability a lot, but the plot had some gaping holes.

Gnome me before you judge me

Placeholder review.

Fall

Having said that they would start a family together, a girl then has to deal with the interrogation over her missing partner as she is the prime leading suspect. There were some strange stylistic choices such as applying computer effects to the characters in the opening scene for no apparent reason, as well as at the meeting for coffee. Oh well, you did warn us before your film played. I mean it wasn't offensively bad or anything, just needed a lot more work on the actual script/dialogue.

Once a Winker, Always a Winker

Having parted ways following a defeat in a 2009 Tiddlywinks championship game, this mockumentary followed the process of a team reunion to try and take down reigning champ Vic Meyer. I do not like Talking Heads in 48 Hours as it means people can just describe rather than show events. The other issue is that if you describe character traits then you should really actually back that up when said character turns up on screen. I felt this short would have improved without the talking heads as it would have allowed the characters to develop more naturally. The talking got to the point of being tedious.

Gift-Wrapped

Taken from bed, gagged, and mummified by two masked assailants, our lead struggles desperately to escape. Given the sinister approach those with masks take, it is easy to understand our lead's efforts (great performance by that guy). Tough genre, nice payoff. I liked how you at least tried to build a profile for the guy we followed on screen for most of the film, with the joke about the staplers a particular highlight.