Film Review: EDEN HOSTEL (Spain, Comedy)

This fourteen minute comedy hailing from Spain by director Gonzaga manso, tells the story of a slightly tacky Virgin Mary wall hanging that hangs above a bed in a Spanish Hostel. Sweet, innocent and non-judgemental, our figurine recounts the most important moments of her time there. Such as watching a suicidal man and a prostitute with bad timing, fall in love. With gentle nudges that may be God, fate or fantasy, our heroine sees the world with simplicity and love, kindness and, above all else, compassion for those who sleep below her.

This fly-on-the-wall style narrative opens up many options for a story set in a hostel and we are delighted with colourful characters, thoughtful moments and snapshots of people in their lives. Much like the Heroine wall-hanging, we only ever see snippets of the lives of the hostel guests- and never the endings. Yet, using this narrative we are able to draw together meaning from each vignette- and the natural sweetness of our hero makes her capable of seeing the best in everyone.

What we get from watching EDEN HOSTEL is the knowledge that, deep down, we are all the same. Our characters might be different, but we all go through similar plot points. If we remember how similar we all really are, perhaps our endings, our beginnings, and our middles, will be more filled with love and happiness.

PLAYED at the January 2018 Comedy/Drama Festival. 

Review by Kierston Drier

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

EDEN HOSTEL, 14min., Spain, Comedy/Drama
Directed by Gonzaga MansoThe Eden Hostel is a humble and dirty place run by an elderly couple. Hanging from the wall of one of its rooms there?s a statue of the Virgin Mary who narrates, from her peculiar point of view, the stories of the various guests who stayed there through the years. One of those stories, the one of Yolanda and Felix, will make a huge impact on her.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

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Film Review: ALTERNATIVE MATH (USA, Comedy)

Perhaps one of the smartest and most compelling shorts around, ALTERNATIVE MATH, a nine minute American piece directed by David Maddox, is a deeply layered and remarkably sophisticated pieces of intelligent comedy.

Our heroine is a veteran grade school teacher trying to explain to her student that 2+2=4. The child however, believes the answer is 22. So do his parents. How dare this teacher censor their child and restrict his learning. What kind of professional does this? The child’s parents are out for blood and soon our heroine is trapped in a vicious media onslaught and a school board demanding her resignation.

What makes this film so special is that it functions on so many layers. It works comically due to it’s wonderfully executed reducto-absurdum, but just a little bit deeper we find an allegory for our modern world carrying a concerning warning. What happens when beliefs are taken too such a degree that basic knowledge is questioned? What happens to a population when the right to free speech becomes more important than the recognition of fact? There is a frightening undertone in ALTERNATIVE MATH that speaks to a greater and more terrible world lurking in a reality not too far away from our own.

Of course, this allegory is one that comes gift-wrapped clearly and politely in the bow comedy for an audience can unwrap it with glee, not fear. Perhaps this is one of the best reasons to see ALTERNATIVE MATH, a film with heart, humanity and humor, as well as deeper philosophical undertones. A family film to be enjoyed by teacher and student alike.

PLAYED at the January 2018 Comedy/Drama Festival. 

Review by Kierston Drier

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

ALTERNATIVE MATH, 9min, USA, Comedy
Directed by David MaddoxA well meaning math teacher finds herself trumped by a post-fact America.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

Film Review: WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN, 9min, UK, Comedy

Played at the March 2017 COMEDY Film Festival

  MOVIE POSTERWHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN, 9min, UK, Comedy
Directed by Charlie Francis

Amanda is pulled away from a one-night stand to rescue her best friend Nick. The young gay man’s mother is on her way. Will out-and-proud gay women Amanda bury her pride and act as girlfriend?

Review by Kierston Drier:

This UK comedy from Charlie Francis is a gem that is worthy of copious replays. There is nothing but the deepest platonic affection that would propel Amanda to ditch her sexy one-night stand to save her gay-best friend.

Why does he need saving? His mother is visiting and doesn’t know he’s gay. She needs to be the beard.

What transpires is part slapstick, part wit and all genius. Every frame is full of visual comedy and ever line crackles with character in this laugh-a-second joy ride. Best of all, it has a heart-stoppingly hilarious twist ending.

When A Man Loves A Woman will show you the lengths we will sometimes go for our friends and the lesson we learn- like honesty being the best policy. With actors boasting exceptional comic timing and a great concept full of fun, this is a piece you’ll want to watch over and over again.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO. Moderated by Matthew Toffolo:

Film Review: POKER NIGHT, 11min, Canada, Comedy/Romance

Played at the March 2017 COMEDY Film Festival

  MOVIE POSTERPOKER NIGHT, 11min, Canada, Comedy
Directed by David Metcalfe

A fun, comedic short film about a group of twenty-somethings living in Toronto; poking fun at stereotypes, and breaking expectations.

Review by Kierston Drier:

This subtle, sweet romance-comedy film will test your knowledge of relationship boundaries. Poker Night is a great Date-Night discussion piece directed by David Metcalfe. When the girls’ poker night is crashed by the hosts boyfriend, the tension is palpable. But it gets worse when the boyfriend invites over his own friends to alleviate his boredom.

His heart’s in the right place it would seem, as he brings his friend to set him up with the one single-lady of the group- but is this ill thought plan going to work?

Falling more on the romance spectrum of comedy, this bright, Canadian piece will remind you of (or make you think of) the youth en metropolitan. The cheap beer, late nights, romance-in-the-eyes-of-every-stranger intoxication that is so often associated with the youth that almost has life figured out. Too old to be kids and too young to be adults, Poker Night will make you chuckle at the good-will but sloppy execution of our leading man and will definitely lead a viewing couple to discuss who “crossed the line” in crashing poker night.

Poker Night does one more amazing thing- it gets tops marks with this reviewer for a kissing scene nothing short of magical. It captures the nervousness, delight and excitement that all the best movie moments have- maybe even more, as it feels so authentic. For that, bravo to Metcalfe, and the ensemble of Poker Night.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO. Moderated by Matthew Toffolo:

Short Film Movie Review: THE FAUCET (4min, USA, Comedy)

THE FAUCET played to rave reviews at the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival in January 2016.

  MOVIE POSTER

THE FAUCET, 4min, USA, Comedy

Directed by Samip Raval & Danny Klimetz

Movie Review by Amanda Lomonaco:

How many times have we tried to wash our hands on touch-less faucets, or tried to dry them on automatic driers, only to look like idiots as we stupidly wave our hands in front of an unresponsive sensor? We put a man on the moon, but we still can’t invent dependable motion sensors somehow. Yet thankfully these situations lead to hilarious plotlines, such as that in Samit Raval and Danny Klimetz’ film The Faucet.

The only minor critique I would have for this short is that, for such a predictable outcome, the film lasts a little longer than you would normally expect. Regardless, Raval and Klimetz still manage to somehow extend the element of comedy by using a few clever curveballs throughout the film. These unexpected mini-twists almost turn the technology itself into a character that is simply out to get our poor, hygiene-conscious, protagonist.

If you enjoy being frustrated, or you have some sort of a gripe with new technology, then you will very likely enjoy The Faucet. I do not all into any of these categories myself, but I was certainly able to appreciate the humour in this film. After all, lets face it, who doesn’t enjoy a good comedy? Particularly one that so many of us can relate to.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the short film

Short Film Movie Review: MOUSSE (Sweden, 40min. Comedy/Crime)

  MOVIE POSTERMOUSSE, 38min, Sweden, Comedy/Crime
Directed by John Hellberg

MOUSSE is a medium length droll and blackly comic tale of an honest criminal and police ineptitude.

MOUSSE was the winner of best film at the 2014 FEEDBACK Film Festival. 

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of MOUSSE:

Movie Review by Amanda Lomonaco:

Absolutely brilliant. I’ve seen this movie 3 times already and I can’t get enough of it. After watching it the first time at WILDSound, I could not stop thinking about how great it was, I even hunted parts of the soundtrack down, until finally I had to hunt down the film itself. This is especially surprising considering this film is one of the longer selections I’ve seen at WILDSound, standing at 41 minutes. Even if you’re not a lover of subtitles, I would give this film a try.

To begin with, the acting in this film is exceptional, particularly for a film with such a wide diversity of cast, and an equal diversity of languages. Every character in Mousse is meticulously developed and well rounded, and every performance throughout the film feels nothing but genuine. The casting of the elderly policemen could equally not have been more perfect as it added a surprising element of hilarity to the film.

It’s hard to call John Hellberg’s picture a “short film” given its ambiguous length, standing somewhere between a feature and a short film, but at no point during the film do you find yourself disengaged or uninterested. Hellberg propels the story forward through a series of juxtapositions that intertwine seamlessly into the main story line, and prevent any semblance of boredom. Moreover, the production quality gives no sense of cutting any corners, giving Mousse an almost feature like quality.

Between the odd translations and awkward pauses in communication, the age and attitude of the policemen, & the jokes the actors tell each other, it’s hard to say what part of Mousse isn’t hilarious. It’s almost as if Hellberg is trying to cover all his bases in the humour category, from visual, to verbal, he even throws a couple of fart jokes in there just in case.

If you haven’t caught on by now, I think this film needs more visibility. Heck, if it were a part of a DVD collection I would buy it right away just to show others. It will take a little more of your time than most short films, but you’ll be laughing so hard the whole time you’ll hardly notice it passing. This is the first of Hellberg’s films that I’ve ever encountered, but I hope to come across many more in the future.

 

Movie Review: THE LAST POST (Award Winning Short Film) 2015

THE LAST POST played to rave reviews at the November 2015 FEEDBACK Film Festival

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video from the Festival:

  MOVIE POSTERTHE LAST POST, 15min, UK, Comedy/Social Media
Directed by Adam Preston

A halfwit is invited to speak at the funeral of a girl he only knew through the internet.

Review of the Short Film by Amanda Lomonaco:

Hilariously cringe-worthy. There’s no other way to describe this one. We all now a girl like her; updating her social media constantly, her life seems near perfect, everything she does is amazing, and fun, everything she eats is delicious, and if you wanted you could find out everything about her. Well, almost everything. As we all know social media and online profiles only give us little peeks into a person’s life. No matter how often you update it, how much content you add to it, it’s hard to know the real truth of who a person really is purely through their social media profiles.

Adam Preston has somehow managed to perfectly balance the tragedy and comedy of our excessively interconnected lives. Using the knowledge you can typically gather from a person’s social media accounts Preston writes a hysterical eulogy for one such social media star. This is certainly one film where credit needs to be highly awarded for performance. The Last Post’s main character had me tearing up with laughter non-stop.

Admittedly Preston could have added to the comedic value of his short by having the funeral attendants accept the eulogy as a sincere tribute to the deceased. Nevertheless his actual choice of direction didn’t  detract from the hilarity in any way. I also feel obliged to question Preston’s choice of the social class of the deceased and her family. It seems a little reductionist to have her and her family be from a region with a certain reputation for ignorance, simplicity, and poverty. It might have been a little more interesting if they had been from a posh family. However, part of the reason for this could have been to increase the threatening demeanor of the two bully brothers.

The Last Post is more than just a hilarious short film; it’s a commentary on today’s modern, digitally centered society. I had a very odd feeling as soon as the film was over because after having laughed the entire way through the film, I found myself pondreing deeper issues as soon as it was over. Comedy is for everyone, and comedy that is pertinent to current issues is all the more worth it. It kind of suits all flavour preferences; if you’re up for something more serious, this movie will work for you, if you’re up for a good laugh, add this to your list, heck it even has a little violence if that’s your cup of tea! I think you can see where I’m going with this one. Definitely give The Last Post a watch, whatever your inclination. It will be worth it.