Film Review: PROVERBIAL LUCK (Austria) Comedy

Played at the November 2016 Best of Under 5 Minute FEEDBACK Film Festival.

  MOVIE POSTERPROVERBIAL LUCK, 5min, Austria, Romance/Comedy
Directed by Dave Lojek

Idioms garnish our language, but are often hard to translate. This comedy helps to illustrate them and tells the story of two neighbours, who become enamoured. The “foam-beater” (boaster) Hanspeter throws an eye after an addleheaded Annemarie, but she just “shows him the bird” (indicates that he is chuckoo). So he has to “jump over his shadow” (take the plunge) and get a foot in her door. Amusement for all proverb fans who love to make whoopee, gaze into the pale blue yonder, or get to the point.

REVIEW by Kierston Drier: 

This five minute Austrian comedy has a bright, light, whimsical feel,  much like the well-loved French film Amelie. Full of colour, innocence and delight, PROVERBIAL LUCK tells an offbeat love story littered with the follies of language.

 

Taking a literal spin on pun, idioms and other figures-of-speech, the audience gets the feeling that our unlikely lovers are trapped in a world they never made- one where our casual turns of phrase have literal meanings.

 

Had this film not has superb subtitling (Hats off to the human being who expertly translated comparable figures of speech for the English-speaking audience) this film could have been much more confusing- although no less enjoyable.

 

PROVERBIAL LUCK is a wacky little gem of a comedy, that has mastery at making us laugh at the unfortunate characters while also laughing at ourselves.

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Short Film Movie Review: YO SOY PEDRO (10min, France, Sci-Fi/Comedy)

YO SOY PEDRO was the winner of Best Musical Score at the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival in January 2016. 

  MOVIE POSTERYO SOY PEDRO, 10min, France, Sci-Fi/Comedy
Directed by Jordan Inconstant

1977. Mackenzie and Banks are two Americans cops who encounter an alien that has just crashed. The police take him for a film actor and decide to bring it back to Hollywood studios. 

Movie Review by Amanda Lomonaco:

Yo Soy Pedro is one of the most unique films I have seen in a while, and it took me a little discussion with other audience members in order to truly appreciate it in all its glory. I guess that just serves as all the more proof of how misunderstood the science fiction genre can be. Nevertheless once I got a better handle on it, I realized how great of an example this film was that science fiction doesn’t need complex story-lines or super expensive production values to create quality entertainment.

Jordan Inconstant’s short film could not embody the director’s own name more. A Hollywood based film, spoken almost entirely in French, with extremely obvious, not-so-special effects Yo Soy Pedro manages to embrace two different genres while still making a political statement. Tired of watching numerous films based in different countries where everyone speaks English, Inconstant decided to create one in the United States, where everyone speaks French. Moreover, he adds to his critique of Holywood cinema by very poorly dubbing the only supposedly Spanish speaking actor in the film. In fact, despite my fluency with the language I could barely tell it was even Spanish that he was speaking – thank goodness for subtitles.

It’s impossible not to appreciate the cleverness of Inconstant’s creation, through everything from his plotline, to his production values, to his intricate use of language. Inconstant proves that he is able to laugh at himself, and at the film industry as a whole, while still embracing it with all its flaws. He not only seizes at Hollywood’s cheesiest cliches, he subverts them so cleverly that you could watch his film repeatedly and discover a new facet each time.

I’m not sure I’d go so far as to declare this film is for everyone, but it certainly has a strong appeal to a well-informed cinemaphile. In fact, for fans of Tim Burton, I have to admit some aspects of this film reminded me quite a bit of Ed Wood.Anyone who’s seen Burton’s infamous flop will quickly understand why Yo Soy Pedro might incite equally mixed reactions. If you’re a fan of clever, self-reflexive Hollywood comedy, give Inconstant’s film a shot. If he doesn’t have you on the floor laughing, he’ll at the very least be able to force our an involuntary smile from you.

Watch the AUDIENCE FEEDBACK Festival of the Short Film:

Movie Review: ZOOLANDER 2 (USA 2016) ***

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

zoolander_2ZOOLANDER 2 (USA 2016) ***
Directed by Ben Stiller

Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penélope Cruz, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Christine Taylor

Review by Gilbert Seah

ZOOLANDER and ZOOLANDER 2 are milder versions of Sasha Baron Cohen’s BRUNO which are still pretty wild for most audiences unfamiliar with films like these that satirize the fashion/modelling industry.

It took a while, 15 years, since the first ZOOLANDER (2001) also directed by Ben Stiller hit the screens. It has been a long wait – the stars have grown older, and the plot makes use of the fact. Whatever goes on in the movie does not make much sense, but famous pop stars are being killed as they are protecting the Chosen One. “You can’t kill us all.” utters Justin Bieber, the 6th pop star killed in a year, before he kicks the bucket after posing on Instagram. Even Madonna has struck her last pose! Who is the Chosen One and who is the villain? As outrageous as the plot is, the twist is even more outrageous than anything found in any film in a while. Hilarious? It is in a way if one sits back and ponder over what has occurred. The script, by no less than 4 writers including Stiller, Justin Theroux (the writer of AMERICAN PSYCHO who also appears in the film as an evil DJ) is actually hilarious, though it might not seem so on first appearance. Perhaps ZOOLANDER 2 should be seen a second time to digest the mayhem on screen.

So, the not-so bright Zoolander (Stiller) is drawn out of recluse together with fellow model, Hansel (Owen Wilson). The villain is Mugatu (Will Farrell hamming it up, the most he can ever muster), engineering his escape from fashion prison. (Don’t ask!)

Not everything is original in the film. A lot of the jokes are similar to ZOOLANDER 1 and the ending sexy cat fight between two beauties, Penelope Cruz and Milla Jovovich, to the delight of all the males watching is way too similar to the scene from the French film (that did not get released here), OSS 117 NEST OF SPIES, directed by THE ARTIST’s Michel Hazanavicius.

The star cameo list is staggering. They include Bieber and real life fashion icons, Valentino, Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger and Anna Wintour. The trouble is that these icons are not immediately recognizable, but their names are emphasized at least so audiences know who they are. Of the recognizable star cameos, Susan Sarandon (doing a ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW routine), Milla Jovovich, Macaulay Culkin, Billy Zane, Katy Perry, Sting and Neil deGrasse Tyson strut their stuff, all playing themselves. But the best of these belong to Benedict Cumberbatch who surprises as he plays All, a transgender looking super model so full of himself that he marries himself.

ZOOLANDER 2 plays like a spy spoof as well as a satire of the fashion/model industry. Hate it or love it, my partner best described the film as “not that funny but sill entertaining.” Yes, and the film has lots of energy! But audiences not in the know might be totally bewildered at the goings-on!

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Movie Review: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL MONOGAMIST (Canada 2016) **

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

portrait_of_a_serial_monogamistPORTRAIT OF A SERIAL MONOGAMIST (Canada 2014) **
Directed by Christina Zeidler and John Michell

Starring: Robin Duke, Masa Lizdek, Grace Lynn Kung

Review by Gilbert Seah

This spritely romantic relationship comedy is exactly what the title promises. It is the story of monogamist, Elsie (Diane Flacks), in her thirties who cannot, no matter how much she tries change her ways. A slight twist to the story is that Elsie is a lesbian.

When the film begins, Elsie has just broken up with her girlfriend, Robyn (Carolyn Taylor). Robyn has not taken the breakup too easily. It is tough for them to remain friends without fighting.

Meanwhile, Elsie has a fling or two while trying to survive her job was aTV producer after a corporate takeover. She is offered advice from friends and family. As the saying goes: “Everyone has a advice and everyone is full of sh**”

That is basically what the entire film is about. It is pretty boring for those who cannot connect with the main character. Whether one does depends, but to Flacks, credit, she is not a bad actress.

The film is shot in Toronto and the directors are proud of the fact. Torontonians will recognize familiar sights like the local streets, streetcars and buildings. The film also showcases local musical and art talent.

Diane Flacks inhabits her role comfortably, passing off as a desperate lesion trying not to be desperate. She creates a likeable character and a very human one. She is pretty though not overtly pretty and smart, though human enough to make mistakes and smart enough to recognize them. She takes a little time to figure out what she wants. In other words, she is a normal person, a nice Jewish girl from Toronto (as she describes herself) in the ordinary sense. Of the supporting cast, Robin Duke stands out as Elsie’s mother, a nice Jewish woman from Montreal.

The film ends up an ok watch, but there is nothing exceptional about the film, which is a shame. Everyone tries very hard, as is evident in the last scene of the cat funeral. During the cat funeral, Elsie and Robyn have it out amidst the ceremony. It is definitely a far-fetched scene that is funny at parts, but feels too artificial.

There are no sex scenes, thanks goodness for that! The actresses are pretty but not sexy enough that the audience would like to watch them doing it in the nude. The kissing scenes are sufficient and short.

PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL MONOGAMIST, made in 2014 finally reaches the big screen after making its round across the country’s LGBT festival circuit. The film is unlikely to become a big hit, but its target audience is clearly the LGBT festival audience and maybe the local Toronto art scene.

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
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Movie Review: DIRTY GRANDPA (2016)

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

dirty_grandpa.jpgDIRTY GRANDPA (USA 2015) ***1/2
Directed by Dan Mazer

Starring: Zac Efron, Robert DeNiro, Zoey Deutch, Aubrey Plaza

Review by Gilbert Seah

Read Interview with the Art Director Jeremy Woolsey

A party scene has one character saying: “Party till you are pregnant!” Another has a prosthetic penis (an erect one at that) in the face of Zac Efron in bed after the De Niro character admits that ‘naked’ is the best way of sleeping.

If the above offends, stay away from DIRTY GRANDPA – the movie. The film is meant to offend. If the above do not do it, De Niro gets to use the ’N’ word later on in the movie. It is what is expected from the British co-writer Dam Mazer, who penned the BORAT and ALI G. characters with Sacha Baron Cohen. But DIRTY GRANDPA is extremely funny, if not a bit inconsistent in its laughs. But if a few jokes fail, one knows there are more successful ones to offend just around the corner.

But the film has a poor start with the funeral services of Dick Kelly’s (De Niro) wife of 15 years. Cousin Nick’s (Adam Pally) drunken shenanigans (speeches and small talk) are unfunny and a waste of time. His later appearance does more of the same and director Mazer would have done better to edit this character out of the film. Then there is the appearance of Dick’s grandson, Jason (Efron) and his annoying fiancé, Meredith (Julianne Hough). The Meredith character and her scenes are also unfunny at all, though her character is key to the film’s plot. John Phillip’s script could have given her a few funny moments.

The film’s simple plot allows for lots of hilarious distractions. Dick fools his grandson Jason to drive him to Florida for spring break for the sole reason that Dick and his late wife go there every year. But Dick has another agenda up his sleeve. He finally confesses to Jason once there in the film’s funniest line: “I have been faithful for 15 years, and all I want to do now is fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!” The two get a chance when they meet two hot chicks Shadia (Zoey Deutch) and Lenore (Aubrey Plaza) on the road.

The film’s funniest parts are nothing less than inspired. At a beach party, there is a ‘Flex Off”, a take off from a ‘Dance-Off’ where Dick and Jason hilariously take on a couple of hunks in the contest. Another exceptionally funny segment is when Jason gets drunk and naked, smokes crack and takes off stoned on a motorbike to a beach where he is mistaken for a child pervert.

Oscar winner De Niro has proven his comedic skills in films like MEET THE PARENTS and THE FAMILY, while Efron has proven himself just as proficient in last year’s NEIGHBOURS. Together, they form a dynamic duo in comedy.

The film’s climax does not involve anything as dramatic as the heroes saving the world but involves the heroes accomplishing an equally daunting task. Dick gets to fuck after 15 years in another very funny segment. If you are prepared not to be offended, DIRTY GRANDPA proves enough filth for the funny bone for the entire 2016.

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

Movie Review of the short film “The Little Missus”

“The Little Missus” played at the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival in October 2015, part of their best of Horror/Thriller short films from around the world. Ironically this is the funniest movie that has ever played at this festival. 

3min, Canada, Comedy/Horror
Directed by Adam Beal

A devoted housewife discovers that her slob of a husband has been cheating on her. She takes her revenge by feeding him dozens of tiny metal items — paperclips, ball bearings, thumbtacks — and pulling them out with a powerful electromagnet.

The Little Missus Review by Amanda Lomonaco

Some people might find it strange to mix horror and comedy, but I have always loved it. Yes, I am one of those people who laughs during horror films. I thought Hostel and the entire Chuckie series were hilarious, and while Little Missus is no where near as gory as those flicks, it still finds the perfect balance between comedy and disturbance.

This is definitely one case where I can say my bias did not get in the way, as the rest of the audience seemed to enjoy it about just as much as I did. With absolutely no dialogue, some peppy, upbeat music, a colourfully bright set and quick cuts, director Adam Beal was able to turn an otherwise distressing turn of events, into something pleasantly comical.

Perhaps what’s most interesting about this film is Beal’s use of magical realism. Though generally associated with Latin culture, and cartoons, Beal somehow managed to transfer this fictional genre into horror, and use it to emphasize the comedic elements of this gory tale. It’s not every day we’d be willing to accept that a man would eat an entire disgusting meal filled with bolts, and metal objects, without noticing a thing, or that his wife would have an industrial sized magnet laying around. The way the film is set up, and edited, however, lets us suspend our disbelief and remain content in the world of the film.

I could find nothing wrong with this film. The acting was excellent, the casting was brilliant, the cinematography, editing, art design, even the length. I loved it. And I loved it even more because it was a Canadian film. This is one I definitely advise you not to take my word for on, though. Go see it for yourself, biases aside, I’m certain you’ll enjoy yourself.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of THE LITTLE MISSUS: