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76 Reviews

Reviews

OPERATION MISHAP

This 1-woman show begins as a news broadcast with "Aquila Bertram" (excellent name!) introducing a 60 Minutes style retelling of Bobbie Young's descent into drug abuse. An army general recalls, monologue style, Bobbie's time with the service, and her best friend then testifies to her previously excellent character. We also hear from her sister, and then her mother, finishing with a freeze-frame ending on the unfortunate Bobby herself, and then some factual informative text about drug abuse statistics. A big effort to make this all by yourself. We needed a bit more variation the characters and locations though, and it would have been good to try and work the compulsory elements in a bit more smoothly (especially the prop!) Good use of Bobby Young though. Sound a bit iffy at times but there are lots of other teams with a lot more resources that had worse! All good practice for future years.

Serendipity Road

An arguing husband (Bobby Young) and wife head out on a road trip to get to an event of some kind. Bobby is a douchey golf-playing yuppie type who probably votes ACT, and has a clearly strained relationship with his wife, complaining about her constant texting during the trip. Their journey is interrupted when they stop to pick up a broken-down motorist (with the foreshadowing car licence plate "4PLAYR"). It turns out to be Bobby's former bullying victim. They offer him a lift. Smarmy git that he is, Bobby conversationally rubs his financial success in his victim's face, but despite his efforts, his former victim's satisfied smile never leaves him. At a comfort stop the motorist sends a text, the wife's phone beeps and (finally) putting two and two together, Bobby grabs his wife's phone to discover his wife's texting is sexting, and his former victim is now shagging her. Furious, he makes to exact his revenge on the (still oblivious) motorist with one of his golf clubs, but is delayed long enough by his repentant wife that he is (seemingly) hit by a truck. An interesting idea to do a sort of little character study sort of thing, but it strained credulity in several places - the fact that they came across the wife's lover broken down, the lover character seeming to be all but coming out and saying "I'm shagging your wife" with his actions and words while talking to Bobby, and him sending her a "secret" text when her husband was right there - something of a risky manoeuvre! The film almost seemed to make a last minute plea for audience sympathy for Bobby as well, after spending most of its length establishing him as a dickhead, and the truck seemed like a bit of a deus ex machina. However, there were pretty strong performances from the three actors, and the story kept one interested.

Breaking Bread

Two goons/criminal henchmen take a kidnap victim out to the woods (was it McLean's Island, or Spencer Park/Bottle Lake? At any rate, just picture the "Christchurch 48HRS woods location" look – we all know it off by heart by now). One, Harper, is an idiot, but then his companion isn't the brightest bulb either. Making a number of mistakes that stray from the recommended operating procedure in such scenarios, they spend a lot of time talking about how they are going to deal with their own errors (to the alarm of their victim), but end up opting to let him go. However, there's one last mistake waiting to be made. Black Banner's film last year was a justifiable crowd favourite I think, with some of the better lines and performances of the year coming out of their film. This year though their film never quite got of the ground for me personally. If I had to pinpoint a specific problem I had with it it might be that the two henchmen ended up being very similar characters. Big tracts of the film were spent with these two talking about stuff , like sandwiches, that never quite went anywhere (although there were definitely some good lines sprinkled thoughout all this). Perhaps the idea was sort of that Pulp Fiction style "slice of life/a moment in time" approach, but maybe it would have been better to have a bit more context for the situation – as it was, I feel almost as if the whole kidnapping thing could have been removed from the film entirely, just leaving two buddies chatting in the woods about stuff (since the friendship was portrayed pretty well, as others have noted). Well shot and some solid performances though, and I'm sure they'll be back with a vengeance next year.

Dream Castle

This one-shot effort opens with no preamble on a long, sloooow tracking shot following a young woman into an old house where a strange party is happening and holy crap, this first part of the film is probably some of the most arresting imagery I've personally seen in the competition. As our heroine passes, robed and masked figures in side rooms turn to stare blankly and creepily at her from dark corners and moodily lit rooms, all while a song perfectly chosen to complete the eerie mood blares on the soundtrack. It really feels like she is entering some kind of macabre cult-house of devil worshippers or something, where God knows what unspeakable things are going on, and the apprehension created is pretty palpable. And then, she finally ducks into an end room, and, AND - starts talking sort of inanely to a bubbly party girl who has a bottle of Scrumpy tied to each hand. And then...she leaves (via a bit of dancing). I thiiiiiiink (going by the name of the short, too) it was the intention of the filmmakers to try to set up that expectation of something malevolent, mysterious, and freaky about to happen and then subvert the audience's expectations. If so, mission accomplished, but you did such a good job of setting the scene (I can't emphasise enough how effective I found that first part of the film) that I can't help but wish that the film had carried on in that same vein instead. The overall result was screeds and screeds of visual style, but not a lot of substance. Still, clearly a team with some real visual panache, and I look forward to seeing what they do with that next year.

Patience

More cool titles. In a doctor's waiting room, an emotionless man waits with a box (secured with bent wire) in his lap, while other patients pass through and a ditzy secretary casts a slack eye over proceedings. Each new arrival wants to know: "What have YOU got?" (Probably one of the better uses of this very ordinary line we have this year I saw this evening). A nifty time lapse sequence and a great (all visual) gag about computer downtime occur before we learn that the doctor is Bobby Young, and the emotionless man has a surprise for him. The surprise is one that the audience has mostly already guessed, I suspect, but I think few guessed the secretary's reaction to it. As others have noted, this is a slick film, but for me it felt like perhaps a little bit of style over substance (why does our revenger wait for the doctor to come out? Just because it's the waiting room?). If the story was perhaps a bit simple, though, it WAS well told, and I'd expect to see this in the finals.

Back Pay

Trent is tied up. But why? He goes back to the start, explaining his job as a Trolley Recovery Officer - beating old ladies at trolley races, unwittingly assisting car thieves, washing trollies down, and rescuing accidentally abandoned children. Bobby Young is a fellow T.R.O who used to pick on Trent (with some inventive trolley-related lunch destruction methods), but seems to now accord him some respect. Trent revenges himself in small ways upon those who commit trolley crimes, thinking this goes unnoticed. But someone has been paying attention, and the revenger finds himself revenged upon. I felt the film lost its way a bit after a very strong opening that featured great characterisation of Trent and a series of his highly amusing interactions with trolley infringers - for me somehow the revenge-upon-revenge plot with Bobby was not as satisfying as this earlier stuff. Some really funny stuff here though, well put together and with great performances, especially from the lead. Every chance to see this in the final.

Modern Romance

Three Austen-esque characters are dropped whimsically into the modern world in Alterium's short, the "modern romance" of the title seeming to refer to what is in fact a very old-fashioned romance taking place in 2015 (with no sort of explanation, awesomely) . Harper Harrison is the recipient of male attention from two competing suitors, one more desperate and likeable than the other, and a love triangle arises, but despite our hero (or the nearest thing, we have, anyway) enduring blows, awkward car rides, a fickle love and bicycle jousting defeats, Harper's eventually makes a choice that does more than enough to give her her thoughtless character. Lovely wee off-beat character piece this one, with some great, largely non-verbal performances and a few really nice shots, including one great big ol' tracking shot and possibly some good commitment from a cameraman to stay on a moving car bonnet at one point?! (OK, probably you just stuck the camera to the car somehow). I also remember being really impressed with the title cards, which really suited the mood of the whole thing. Every chance of taking out the award for best use of the technical element in Christchurch too, I'd have thought. Lots to like in short! Hope to see it again in the final.

Serendipity Road

An arguing husband (Bobby Young) and wife head out on a road trip to get to an event of some kind. Bobby is a douchey golf-playing yuppie type who probably votes ACT, and has a clearly strained relationship with his wife, complaining about her constant texting during the trip. Their journey is interrupted when they stop to pick up a broken-down motorist (with the foreshadowing car licence plate "4PLAYR"). It turns out to be Bobby's former bullying victim. They offer him a lift. Smarmy git that he is, Bobby conversationally rubs his financial success in his victim's face, but despite his efforts, his former victim's satisfied smile never leaves him. At a comfort stop the motorist sends a text, the wife's phone beeps and (finally) putting two and two together, Bobby grabs his wife's phone to discover his wife's texting is sexting, and his former victim is now shagging her. Furious, he makes to exact his revenge on the (still oblivious) motorist with one of his golf clubs, but is delayed long enough by his repentant wife that he is (seemingly) hit by a truck. An interesting idea to do a sort of little character study sort of thing, but it strained credulity in several places - the fact that they came across the wife's lover broken down, the lover character seeming to be all but coming out and saying "I'm shagging your wife" with his actions and words while talking to Bobby, and him sending her a "secret" text when her husband was right there - something of a risky manoeuvre! The film almost seemed to make a last minute plea for audience sympathy for Bobby as well, after spending most of its length establishing him as a dickhead, and the truck seemed like a bit of a deus ex machina. However, there were pretty strong performances from the three actors, and the story kept one interested.

#105

A woman pursued down a dark street by a man, and caught, wakes from the situation to find herself in a room with some catatonic types. On the wall is a monitor, where she can see...herself. It's body switch tag. Some sort of evil entity is taking control of a succession of bodies, (which it can accomplish with a touch), being sure to carry a Cellphone Of Significance with them each time. It leaves the real owner of the body seemingly, er, body-dead when it moves on, and consigns their uh - soul? inner-being? lifeforce? - to what seems to be an eternity of imprisonment in the mysterious monitor room. A number clocks up each time the body switch happens, and we see that woman from the start is number 105 - evidently this has been going on for a while (I'm not sure where the 100 or so other people are in the room though...maybe it can only hold so many at the time.) And then...the cycle continues. (Forever?) Watching this film was for me a lot like watching the entire series of "Lost" - something was going on, it seemed intriguing, and I desperately wanted to know what it was; but I never got to find out. For example, that the Cellphone of Significance was significant, it was clear - but exactly what that significance was I never discerned. Possibly I missed something, although there's also an equal likelihood that I was just too stupid...the film seemed fairly sort of plotless, for example, but then perhaps that was the idea all along? I'm just not sure because this film was an ENIGMA. Like any decent mystery though, it was very atmospheric, with an uneasy and eerie tone that kept one intrigued all the way through. Well-made and an original take on the Body Switch genre as well.

For A Day In The Sun

The cocky, confident Bobby Young (fad-making champion) and his more modest, likable rival fad-maker Teddy explain, doco-interview style, the art of fad-making. Their previous successes include pet rocks and 3/4 pants. We see their fad-making techniques explained - the thinking chair (was this a Blue's Clues reference, or was it just me?) and Bobby Young's fad cabinet. The big annual fad-making contest is approaching - the likable challenger Teddy finds it hard to focus though, distracted by his mum's leprosy. The day of the big contest arrives, and our challenger has his Mum's death to overcome. Bobby Young pulls out all the stops with his creation of paperclip jewellery, but Teddy takes it out with the "fad of today", the audience being told that they merely need to "look around them" to see what his creation was. This was the best film shown on Thursday night, for me. Funny, well-shot, slick technically and two dead-on performances from the actors, who NAILED their archetype cocky-champion and lowly-challenger characters (the film reminded me very much in this respect of the documentary "King of Kong", actually). If I'm picking holes I would say that the film wasn't itself in the fad genre (but then I wonder nationally how many fad films are - I'm guessing very few) and that while the ending was quite clever in one way, as a viewer, I kind of wanted to see what the winning fad was, and really revel in that moment of comeuppance for Bobby Young. Great stuff nonetheless though, and a sure finalist.

Harper's Curiosity

Harper Harrison prepares lunch (lots of morning routines in the Chch films I watched this year, for some reason), then heads to school and witnesses a confrontation between two girls, in which one suggests the other "go die in a hole". Things escalate quickly to muuuuuurder, with one girl dead and her enemy a prime suspect. But the bodies just keep stacking up! Fortunately Harper and his friend/girfriend (it was hard to tell as at points the sound rode up over the dialogue making a lot of it hard to hear) are on the case as amateur teen sleuths, Hardy Boys style - just as well as by the third body, "the police are starting to get involved". At this point Harper embarks on a great foot chase of a suspect which was definitely the highlight of the film, beating out the sort of pseudo-amazing green screen match cut. Despite being hot on the trail of the killer, the thoughtless Harper can't put the clues together but then OF COURSE, THE BREAD – a realisation that leads to a decidedly unexpected ending. Looks like you guys had lots of fun making the film (I hope no-one fell over with the camera during the chase scene) and the ending scored big points with the audience. If I had just one single to suggest working on for next year it would be sound, sound, sound – if we can't hear the dialogue in the theatre, much of your hard work is undone and it makes things tough to follow. Every team struggles with sound quality at some point though, so I'm sure it's all experience under the belt towards improvement!

The Bully Killer

This was presented as a trailer for a non-existent crime film. A schoolgirl, Agatha, is bullied as a kid by Bobby Young and her cronies, but wreaks her revenge with a jolly good stabbing. She goes on the run, and the media debates her vigilante justice. And, er, that's sort of it. This film won heat audience favourite, so it's entirely possible I don't know what I'm talking about, but with that wussy disclaimer out of the way, I personally kind of failed to see what all the fuss was about. No doubt the well composed shots, editing and stylish black and white all looked like a million dollars, but making the film a trailer was for me an odd decision - it seemed to sidestep the need to create a full story as such (surely a trailer is an ad, not a film), and the mantra of 48HRS is "story is king". Rather than making us a trailer for the film, why not just make the film? That grump out of the way though, these guys have arrived as a first year team with a technical proficiency that many multi-year veterans are still struggling to achieve, and the look of things was extremely slick, so with more attention to story, I think they'll be a real standout of the Chch comp in the future.

Exhilaration X 10 Million

Some ladies, including Bobbie Young, win 10 million from Lotto and need to go on a quest to Wellington to claim the prize. They run outside to leap in the car and set out immediately but - oops - they've forgotten the keys. Not to worry, KEITH to the rescue...or NOT! He biffs the keys down the drain for no discernible reason. Wait, he does have a reason! He's getting back at Bobbie for her bullying ways in the past. The ladies apologise for their previous behaviour, and accepting it with good grace like the gentleman he is, Keith agrees to help try to retrieve the keys. Various random objects like a toaster, gorilla and Oscar-like gold statuette are thrust down the drain in an effort to retrieve them with predictable uselessness. But then Keith hits upon the idea of a bent wire! He successfully retrieves the keys and the ladies reward him by cutting him in for a sweet 2.5 million (not bad for a 10 minutes' work). So the tech level was low here, and the quest never really got past the end of the driveway, but the obvious give-it-a-burl enthusiasm of this entire team was totally infectious. Keith was a highlight for me, I wanna see more movies with him in them. Hope to see Elias Is Out There next year back, bigger, and better!

Wire We Here?

Silas Organa (the second Princess Leia shout-out of the heat?), founder of Wirism, explains doco-style his wiry cult / religion. He initially wins few converts, but Bobby Young is one such convert, and Wirism turns him from his bullying ways. Opponents of Wirism exist - we know they're bad, because they wear sunglasses. Bobby Young passes on his bent wire talisman (the Wirism equivalent to a crucifix, I guess) to his son on his deathbed, but we never find out what Wirism actually is. This was a technically slick short with some decent cinematography and production values, but because we danced all around it Wirism without ever finding out anything about it, the story was pretty lacking. I guess the mysterious Wirism was intended as a sort of Macguffin, but was only really presented as straight imagery - (soundless) sermon / prayer meetings, wire pendants etc. - and I would have liked to have learned more about the tenets and principles of Wirism that helped to change Bobby, etc. Well put together though.

Deadbook

At a seemingly innocent date at Burgers and Beers, a woman asks the guy she's with if he knows about the "Facebook legend". You see, every so often a woman will receive a mysterious friend request - and if she turns it down, she DIES. Can we see where this is going? Cut to a couple of flashbacks where, sure enough, our guy is revealed the Facebook Killer. Up at Overexposed Hill, he snares a victim with the line "Do you like Dusky Sound savignon blanc?", and then finishes her off Death Proof style by, er, jinking slightly when she's riding out the top of the sun roof. (Let that be a lesson to us all: keep your arms, legs and especially your torso and head INSIDE a moving vehicle). In intermittent returns to Burgers and Beers, our imminent victim keeps drinking it up while telling the Facebook Killer about her rubber band collection ("Over 10,000", apparently). The date ends with our Dead-Woman-Drinking bundled into the boot of the killer's car, and the film finishes with a nice use of the line. So predictability was the main problem here, really. The Facebook angle didn't seem to bring much new to the standard psycho-killer plot (although the use of the line was cool) - a more interesting twist might have been for the lead woman to turn the tables somehow, since we were all just waiting for what seemed like her inevitable death. A few tech issues as well which sometimes made things hard to follow. All learning for next year though!

The Challenge

Phil quits the DVD store when his new boss is a dick (insisting he do actual work, goddamnit), though not without some regrets, as he leaves a cute customer girl behind. Now unemployed, he signs up for an army course, and ends up at the not-so-tender mercies of drill sergeant Bobby Young (who reminded me of a slightly chunkier, moustachioed Zach Braff), who raps an introduction that makes it clear that this won't be a walk in the park. Sure enough, soon Phil and his fellow recruits are singing about how sucky their lives are, but just when things seem at their worst, the sarge informs them they'll be taking a big final (and surprisingly lethal) obstacle course. The recruits go down one-by-one in amusing fashion, but Phil makes it to the final confrontation with Sgt. Young and triumphs by bending a wire into a somehow-actually-working machine gun. A big dance number to finish and then a great freeze frame ending with the sudden arrival of the cute girl from the DVD store. Confectionery Aisle normally produce an entertaining short, and this was no exception. Very nicely shot and some great use of the elements, although to get picky Bobby Young seemed like he was *still* a bully - perhaps he was an ex-illegitimate-bully, and joining the army conferred some official status on his bullying. Some amusing use of FX as well. Although as others have commented the story was perhaps a bit slight, it kept the audience laughing all the way through, and a shame to see it DQ'd.

#105

A woman pursued down a dark street by a man, and caught, wakes from the situation to find herself in a room with some catatonic types. On the wall is a monitor, where she can see...herself. It's body switch tag. Some sort of evil entity is taking control of a succession of bodies, (which it can accomplish with a touch), being sure to carry a Cellphone Of Significance with them each time. It leaves the real owner of the body seemingly, er, body-dead when it moves on, and consigns their uh - soul? inner-being? lifeforce? - to what seems to be an eternity of imprisonment in the mysterious monitor room. A number clocks up each time the body switch happens, and we see that woman from the start is number 105 - evidently this has been going on for a while (I'm not sure where the 100 or so other people are in the room though...maybe it can only hold so many at the time.) And then...the cycle continues. (Forever?) Watching this film was for me a lot like watching the entire series of "Lost" - something was going on, it seemed intriguing, and I desperately wanted to know what it was; but I never got to find out. For example, that the Cellphone of Significance was significant, it was clear - but exactly what that significance was I never discerned. Possibly I missed something, although there's also an equal likelihood that I was just too stupid...the film seemed fairly sort of plotless, for example, but then perhaps that was the idea all along? I'm just not sure because this film was an ENIGMA. Like any decent mystery though, it was very atmospheric, with an uneasy and eerie tone that kept one intrigued all the way through. Well-made and an original take on the Body Switch genre as well.

OPERATION MISHAP

This 1-woman show begins as a news broadcast with "Aquila Bertram" (excellent name!) introducing a 60 Minutes style retelling of Bobbie Young's descent into drug abuse. An army general recalls, monologue style, Bobbie's time with the service, and her best friend then testifies to her previously excellent character. We also hear from her sister, and then her mother, finishing with a freeze-frame ending on the unfortunate Bobby herself, and then some factual informative text about drug abuse statistics. A big effort to make this all by yourself. We needed a bit more variation the characters and locations though, and it would have been good to try and work the compulsory elements in a bit more smoothly (especially the prop!) Good use of Bobby Young though. Sound a bit iffy at times but there are lots of other teams with a lot more resources that had worse! All good practice for future years.

For A Day In The Sun

The cocky, confident Bobby Young (fad-making champion) and his more modest, likable rival fad-maker Teddy explain, doco-interview style, the art of fad-making. Their previous successes include pet rocks and 3/4 pants. We see their fad-making techniques explained - the thinking chair (was this a Blue's Clues reference, or was it just me?) and Bobby Young's fad cabinet. The big annual fad-making contest is approaching - the likable challenger Teddy finds it hard to focus though, distracted by his mum's leprosy. The day of the big contest arrives, and our challenger has his Mum's death to overcome. Bobby Young pulls out all the stops with his creation of paperclip jewellery, but Teddy takes it out with the "fad of today", the audience being told that they merely need to "look around them" to see what his creation was. This was the best film shown on Thursday night, for me. Funny, well-shot, slick technically and two dead-on performances from the actors, who NAILED their archetype cocky-champion and lowly-challenger characters (the film reminded me very much in this respect of the documentary "King of Kong", actually). If I'm picking holes I would say that the film wasn't itself in the fad genre (but then I wonder nationally how many fad films are - I'm guessing very few) and that while the ending was quite clever in one way, as a viewer, I kind of wanted to see what the winning fad was, and really revel in that moment of comeuppance for Bobby Young. Great stuff nonetheless though, and a sure finalist.

The Frog King

An cute wee low-fi animated fairytale film, all told in impressive rhyming dialogue. King Bobby Young is no longer interested in reigning, so he gets an idea from a storybook to talk to a wizard, and asks to be changed into a lion, which he thinks would be pretty great, but the wizard manages to turn him into a frog (which Bobby had asked him specifically NOT to. Jeez, wizard!). As a frog, Bobby is somewhat mocked by his less than adoring subjects. Peeved, Bobby has the wizard return him to human form, then confiscates the wizard's wand and enfroggens the entire village in revenge. But in an epiphany, he realises he's just a mean Nigel No-Mates, so he turns himself back into a frog and he and all the villagers live happily ever after as amphibians. A charming little film with some great drawings, and the moments of low-fi animation suited things perfectly. The English major in me was very impressed with the all-rhyming narration, although at times the sound balance was out of whack, meaning we lost some of that clever work. Would agree with MistaTeas that the film meandered in the middle a little bit, but a strong finish with the happy frogs.

Monkey Business

A burglar spends a little time on some philosophical leaf appreciation before climbing into a bathroom window and faceplanting into a bowl of jelly left on top of the toilet. He seems to have broken into the house of a singer, but isn't much impressed with the haul he finds in her house. MEANWHILE, gangster types are doing gangster things somewhere. MEANWHILE, back in the house, our buglar discovers a secret lock box under some furniture, reaches in...and pulls the pin out of a grenade, which he now can't let go of. The singer arrives home and somehow fails to notice the guy stuck with his arm under his cupboard, although she is revealed to be the source of the toilet jelly. Calling for help, the burglar gets the gangsters on the other end of his phone, who appear to be his colleagues in the Russian mafia. Rather than render him any assistance though, they laugh at him - what bastards. Bereft of assistance, the burglar is (presumably) forced to call attention to himself, because the next thing we see, he is being led away by police. The singer then reveals that not all was what it seems. So, there seemed to be a lot going on here, but it never quite joined up. The Russian mafia guys had some pretty sweet shades and a very serious looking gun, but it was never quite clear what relevance they had to the story - I kept waiting for a connection between them and the singer, but it never materialised. The singer's habit of eating jelly on the toilet while looking depressed...what was that about? And why does the burglar like leaves? I feel these questions will sadly never be answered. Some good humour in the film though, and definitely runs away with the prize for the most excellent accent in the 4 heats I watched in Chch.

Exhilaration X 10 Million

Some ladies, including Bobbie Young, win 10 million from Lotto and need to go on a quest to Wellington to claim the prize. They run outside to leap in the car and set out immediately but - oops - they've forgotten the keys. Not to worry, KEITH to the rescue...or NOT! He biffs the keys down the drain for no discernible reason. Wait, he does have a reason! He's getting back at Bobbie for her bullying ways in the past. The ladies apologise for their previous behaviour, and accepting it with good grace like the gentleman he is, Keith agrees to help try to retrieve the keys. Various random objects like a toaster, gorilla and Oscar-like gold statuette are thrust down the drain in an effort to retrieve them with predictable uselessness. But then Keith hits upon the idea of a bent wire! He successfully retrieves the keys and the ladies reward him by cutting him in for a sweet 2.5 million (not bad for a 10 minutes' work). So the tech level was low here, and the quest never really got past the end of the driveway, but the obvious give-it-a-burl enthusiasm of this entire team was totally infectious. Keith was a highlight for me, I wanna see more movies with him in them. Hope to see Elias Is Out There next year back, bigger, and better!

Periodic Elements

This fast-moving short begins out in the woods, introducing us to Lester and his girlfriend, who for some reason is nicknamed Helium (I believe it was explained as to why, but I missed it). Helium is off for a while, leaving Lester to his own devices. His speed-talking friend tells him he should take this opportunity to go a bit wild and accompany him to a party. They drop in to see a dubiously accented Bobby Young, who sells Lester a pheromone-soaked shirt to wear the party. This works a treat - Lester ends up in a one night stand, but then realises he's supposed to have picked up Helium - only to find her in the shower with his mate (a scene complete with some naked buttocks). After an encounter with a scary Irish gardener, he bails on the whole scene, and heading for the airport, he has hitchhiking run ins with a stoner, the gardener (who tries pulling moves on him) again, and a luggage stealing thief before finally catching a promising lift right at the end of the film with a random, relatively-sane looking girl. This film barrelled along. Events moved at such a pace that it became a bit hard to tell who was who and what was up, and it seemed a bit more like a series of events than a story, if you know what I mean. The film also seemed to end just at the point that a rom-com would start. However, there were some great, energetic performances and plenty of laugh out loud moments.

The Bully Killer

This was presented as a trailer for a non-existent crime film. A schoolgirl, Agatha, is bullied as a kid by Bobby Young and her cronies, but wreaks her revenge with a jolly good stabbing. She goes on the run, and the media debates her vigilante justice. And, er, that's sort of it. This film won heat audience favourite, so it's entirely possible I don't know what I'm talking about, but with that wussy disclaimer out of the way, I personally kind of failed to see what all the fuss was about. No doubt the well composed shots, editing and stylish black and white all looked like a million dollars, but making the film a trailer was for me an odd decision - it seemed to sidestep the need to create a full story as such (surely a trailer is an ad, not a film), and the mantra of 48HRS is "story is king". Rather than making us a trailer for the film, why not just make the film? That grump out of the way though, these guys have arrived as a first year team with a technical proficiency that many multi-year veterans are still struggling to achieve, and the look of things was extremely slick, so with more attention to story, I think they'll be a real standout of the Chch comp in the future.

A Disabled Account

When I saw this film at the final, I genuinely thought it was going to win the whole shebang, and was pretty surprised when it didn't. I don't want to give the Pigs Guts guys the whole "we've watched them grow up in the competition" thing yet again because they've probably heard it more than enough times already, but they've clearly been honing their skills over all these years and their films are as good as anyone's now. They've got a knack for cracking out some great lines, some really charismatic comedic actors and a genuine talent for bringing some excellent humour out of every day situations. The basic set-up here of a TradeMe seller and buyer trying to track down an errant second-hand couch was an extremely simple concept, but they were able to bring it to hilarious life just through the strength of the writing and the performances (and solid technical work). They understand the straight man / funny man concept intuitively and they're great joke writers. I'd love to perhaps see them break away from the sort of "ordinary guys from a flat go on a quirky adventure" set-up next year, but that's only because I'm excited about what they might bring to say a zombie film, a war movie, or a Regency-era romance with their particular skillset and sensibilities, not because I'm bored of what they're doing. Awesome work guys; will be crossing fingers that this ends up in the national finals.

Deadbook

At a seemingly innocent date at Burgers and Beers, a woman asks the guy she's with if he knows about the "Facebook legend". You see, every so often a woman will receive a mysterious friend request - and if she turns it down, she DIES. Can we see where this is going? Cut to a couple of flashbacks where, sure enough, our guy is revealed the Facebook Killer. Up at Overexposed Hill, he snares a victim with the line "Do you like Dusky Sound savignon blanc?", and then finishes her off Death Proof style by, er, jinking slightly when she's riding out the top of the sun roof. (Let that be a lesson to us all: keep your arms, legs and especially your torso and head INSIDE a moving vehicle). In intermittent returns to Burgers and Beers, our imminent victim keeps drinking it up while telling the Facebook Killer about her rubber band collection ("Over 10,000", apparently). The date ends with our Dead-Woman-Drinking bundled into the boot of the killer's car, and the film finishes with a nice use of the line. So predictability was the main problem here, really. The Facebook angle didn't seem to bring much new to the standard psycho-killer plot (although the use of the line was cool) - a more interesting twist might have been for the lead woman to turn the tables somehow, since we were all just waiting for what seemed like her inevitable death. A few tech issues as well which sometimes made things hard to follow. All learning for next year though!

Good Until the Last Drop

In the bush, a camouflaged man makes breakfast in his bivvy. He is the Last Person On Earth, presumably (the film doesn't really tell us this, but rather just seems to assume that we know it because of the genre label up front). But no, he isn't the last man on earth! A desperate stranger exaggerates a leg injury to gain access to the survival supplies stored within his tent (where I'm pretty sure a loaf of bread disappears from one shot to the next at one point - perhaps there's a third party lurking somewhere?), then limps off with the stuff when the hero goes to look for help. Our hero tracks him down grim-facedly, and in the ensuing confrontation, both are too busy to notice a yellow van pulling away in the background (possibly driven by the bread thief?) – and limping man learns a harsh lesson about karma. I feel like the major thing here was that we needed to have the circumstances established a lot more - who are these characters, what is the situation in their world, what is the situation for them? It's tempting to use shortcuts based on the fact that everyone in the competition knows what genre your film is supposed to be, but I think it's helpful to think about people trying to view it outside the context of the competition - if you can make a film that makes perfect sense to that sort of audience who have none of that information, your movie will probably be better for it. The perils of trying to capture the Lonely Earth in this genre were also somewhat unfortunately indicated by the nearby car! Great hardcore leg injury effects though!

Monkey Business

A burglar spends a little time on some philosophical leaf appreciation before climbing into a bathroom window and faceplanting into a bowl of jelly left on top of the toilet. He seems to have broken into the house of a singer, but isn't much impressed with the haul he finds in her house. MEANWHILE, gangster types are doing gangster things somewhere. MEANWHILE, back in the house, our buglar discovers a secret lock box under some furniture, reaches in...and pulls the pin out of a grenade, which he now can't let go of. The singer arrives home and somehow fails to notice the guy stuck with his arm under his cupboard, although she is revealed to be the source of the toilet jelly. Calling for help, the burglar gets the gangsters on the other end of his phone, who appear to be his colleagues in the Russian mafia. Rather than render him any assistance though, they laugh at him - what bastards. Bereft of assistance, the burglar is (presumably) forced to call attention to himself, because the next thing we see, he is being led away by police. The singer then reveals that not all was what it seems. So, there seemed to be a lot going on here, but it never quite joined up. The Russian mafia guys had some pretty sweet shades and a very serious looking gun, but it was never quite clear what relevance they had to the story - I kept waiting for a connection between them and the singer, but it never materialised. The singer's habit of eating jelly on the toilet while looking depressed...what was that about? And why does the burglar like leaves? I feel these questions will sadly never be answered. Some good humour in the film though, and definitely runs away with the prize for the most excellent accent in the 4 heats I watched in Chch.

Infusion

So I'll be completely honest, the first thing that really struck me about this film was the incredible toaster that was used in one of the establishing shots. Rather than manually click the toast down into its customary toasting position, some mechanism slowly lowered the toast automatically into the slot like Han Solo into the carbon freezing chamber. Is it too hard for us to click toast down for ourselves now? Good lord, the machine uprising will surely be upon us any day now. Anywaaaaaay, the toaster was being used by our hero to make breakfast as on the radio, a news announcer explains a politician's daughter is missing. Our hero is a courier of some kind and arrives at the Abandoned Warehouse District to make a pick-up, but instead stumbles into a terrorist lair. An evil scientist mastermind has mixed up a nasty virus (using a leaf somehow) and has the politician's daughter hostage to boot. As man on the spot, our courier takes on the scientist's goons in a series of strangely edited action scenes, rescuing the hostage, and then going back to finish the job (although weirdly not taking the gun the politician's daughter has managed to acquire with him) when he realises all other help is too far away. He stops the scientist with some help from the belatedly returning former hostage (and her gun) - but DUN DUN DUNNNNN, the closing shot shows she isn't looking entirely well. This film looked really nice and had some great props and costumes going on, but was based on a fairly generic sort of a premise and featured some strange editing decisions through the middle that made the whole piece seem very disjointed when watching (although heck, maybe you guys just ran short of time on the edit - I know that's happened to us). Held up very well technically though, and I'll be interested to see what you produce next time.

The Burden of our Memories

The action opens with a hanging before we meet Bobby Young, a P.E teacher (I expect P.E teacher to be a put-upon profession nationwide this year) and stepdad, whose stepson James is always running late to gym class, and misbehaving at home, too. Bobby has a manly heart-to-heart with him over some XBox and seems to have sorted the problem out, but NO! James turns out up at the gym with some wire and a murderous look in his eye. In a surprise move we learn that Bobby used to bully James' biological Dad at school so badly that it led to his eventual suicide, then Bobby married his Mum, and having discovered his Dad's suicide note, James wants revenge. (In the margin of my notes here, I scribbled "Macbeth!", but what I meant was Hamlet, damnit.) James and Bobby have a life or death struggle on a high-jump crash pad, and Bobby succeeds in choking out James with the wire. James is then led away by the police while Bobby and James' Mum look sadly on. This was pretty good stuff all round, some quite good performances, and I liked the (surprisingly, for 48HRS) realistic sort of ending that didn't resort to dead bodies scattered all over the place (not like Hamlet there, then). James jumped from troubled teen to would-be murderer pretty suddenly, but hell, we've only got 7 minutes here. Solid effort overall.

Finding Richard

A nerdy, unpopular kid (Richard) thinks - no, KNOWS - that he is a superhero. His friend Bobby Young documents his "heroic" exploits on video, but the cool kids are not impressed by what seem like his self-delusions as he demos his "powers". Even Bobby Young eventually abandons him and returns to his bullying ways. But to hell with 'em all, Richard knows what he is and rediscovers his self-confidence by helping out a stranger (using a bent wire after she locks herself out of her car), and confirms it with an awesome use of the required line (followed by a nice little sting in the tail afterwards). A really neat little snapshot of a character, shot through with humour but also surprisingly earnest in the end, with a use of the line that seemed to have the audience murmuring in approval. Great work to create an interesting, relatable character and have him go through a real journey in seven minutes - that's a real accomplishment in the competition. With some technical improvement as you go on you guys could become a real force in the competition.

Young, Bobby Young

Wifenap! A farmer, Bobby Young, gets home to to discover a ransom note from a nefarious villain, who his kidnapped Bobby's wife and demands a ransom. Bobby Young won't be standing for that sort of nonsense, so he enlists a gun-owning mate and together they set out on an epic journey to the villain's stronghold. You can tell it's epic because of the amount of running they do, and because they have to stop and build a campfire. (We tried to put a campfire scene in our film to demonstrate epicness; the one you guys had blew ours away.) After the long journey they arrive at the villain's hideout. They sneak round some guards in order to find the best spot from which to shoot them; this accomplished the villain is driven out, but oh no! He's got Bobby's knife at wifepoint! Wait, no, the other way around. Bobby suggests they put down their weapons and "fight like men". The villain agrees, but as it turns out that isn't a smart move, as Bobby whips his gun back up and blows him away. Years later, Bobby (or was it the villain?), now an old man, regretfully recalls his actions. Hopefully these guys will become regulars in the competition; great effort from some young blokes. A fairly basic sort of a plot and characters to be sure, but some decent shots and some great moments (especially Bobby's Mal Reynolds-like pragmatic victory) that kept the audience entertained all the way through. I look forward to seeing what you come up with in the future.