Movie Review: DEVIL WEARS A SUIT, (Australia) LGBT, Sci-Fi

Played at the June 2017 LGBT Toronto Film Festival

Directed by Eli Mak

A high-concept drama/scifi about a Jewish boy who must decide whether to ‘cure’ his homosexuality with an injection or be ostracised from his community forever.

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

Review by Kierston Drier

 Some films make you laugh, some make you think. Some punch you in the gut and break your heart. Few do this so well as DEVIL WEARS A SUIT, coming to us from Australia by Director Eli Mak.

In this transcendent science-fiction piece, teenage Adam from an established Jewish household, must submit to a homosexulity test at his school. If he fails and is shown to be gay, he will be kicked out of school and likely disowned by his family and community. But sweeping the world is a new homosexuality “cure”- an injection that can “make your straight.”

Adam considers his options and goes to buy the cure, when he runs into an old friend from high school he hasn’t seen in years, Jarred. It turns out Jarred didn’t move to Israel as his family has said. Jarred didn’t pass the homosexuality test years before, and is now living in near squalor conditions, a social outcast from his community. Seeing what Jarred has, and what he gave up in order to live the life he wanted, Adam must question what his freedom is worth.

Academically speaking, science fiction is a medium of storytelling that addresses a current issues, softened through the lenses of the almost-unbelieveable. When we think of the areas in the world where people must hide and conceal their sexuality for fear of ostracization, it becomes terrifyingly easy to believe a “cure” like the one is this movie might be utilized, even in today’s society. But at what cost to human lives?

Not only is DEVIL WEARS A SUIT beautifully shot, superbly casted and performed and stunningly cinematic, it’s story will leave you breathless. It’s impact will resonate with anyone who has ever questioned what a life without love is worth. It will throw into sharp focus the lengths people can go to in order to conform. DEVIL WEARS A SUIT has an ominous undertone, that foreshadows the outcome of a world that puts conditions of love.

This is science fiction at it’s finest, and it is cinema at it’s most engaging. A special note must be made to the exceptionally well chosen and well executed score, for the music in the piece adds a rich emotional element.

Bravo, Eli Mak. DEVIL WEARS A SUIT is a multifaceted, deeply layered, dramatic, emotional, thought-provoking and fundamentally beautiful film. See it.

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Movie Review: 20:15 (2016)

  MOVIE POSTER20:15, 12min., Canada, Sci-Fi/Thriller
Directed by Marc-Andre Morissette

20:15 is a drama-mystery, sci-fi thriller in which we follow the lives of a mysterious man and a loving couple. Their lives will forever be changed once their two worlds collide.

Shown at the September 2016 Sci-Fi/Fantasy FEEDBACK Film Festival

Movie Review by Kierston Drier

 20:15 from Canadian director Marc-Andre Morisette is a dramatic and impassioned piece played out with almost no dialogue. A stylistic choice that nevertheless heightens the tension of the story. After the horrific loss of his partner by an unknown gunman, our hero becomes obsessed on a machine, hell bent on using his present to somehow fix his past.

Full of graceful shots, excellent camera work and beautiful muted tones, this piece is poetically beautiful to watch. The story is engaging and the twist is satisfying, with a thought provoking ending that is sure to be a conversation starter.

Morisette’s choice to limit the diegetic sound in his piece gives this film a distinctive avant-garde tone. It changes the cinematic experience for the audience. A more traditional film may create the feeling that you are immersed in a real-life story, perhaps not even aware that you are watching a film at all, and instead standing invisible observing the lives of the characters.

20:15’s stylized choices give the distinct feeling that you are watching a piece of Art, where the stylistic choices are equal to the plot of the piece itself. Morisette’s movie has a mysterious tone, with notes of Film Noir. It is a film that feels like it provides cultural capitol as well as entertainment.

Lovely devices tie the story together and thoughtfully composed music and sound composition elevate the piece to a more refined level. A film that may not be everyones’ preference, but certainly an enjoyable watch.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the short film:

Movie Review: A SHADOW OF DARA (2016)

  MOVIE POSTERA SHADOW OF DARA, 14min., Bulgaria, Sci-Fi
Directed by Kirill Proskura

A leader of a rebellion risks everything to find a powerful commander of an alien world who’s been captured by enemies and put into a fabricated reality for the extraction of valuable information.

Shown at the September 2016 Sci-Fi/Fantasy FEEDBACK Film Festival

Movie Review by Kierston Drier

Science Fiction lovers are a tough crowd. Pleasing them requires so many things; a knock-out, often high-concept story, with an unbeatable twist, compelling and thematic world building and epic stakes. This is on top of the already compulsory requirements of good production value, solid performances and strong story elements.

Enter A Shadow Of Dara, directed by Kirill Proskura, an edge of your seat science fiction that boasts intensity, polish and turns to keep you guessing until the every last frame. Quickly paced and excellently performed, this is the tale of the chosen leader of an alien world who must fight against being trapped in an artificial reality, in order to not reveal important information to his enemies. Once he is able to break free from his false-reality changes, however, he must team up with members of another planet (coming to him from the future) to avoid loosing both worlds as they know it.

If there is any flaw to be had in this otherwise very well composed piece of sci-fi cinema, it is that it’s highly condensed manner can muddle the details and make it hard to follow. Conversely, the piece is strong enough to warrant a second watch. Full of details and gripping good versus evil, the piece has multiple twists and turns. The final moment in the film provides a great ending, and leaves the audience wanting more.

Hailing from Bulgaria, A Shadow Of Dara could be a proof on concept for an excellent feature, where its’ themes will make nods to well loved films like Inception and the entire evil-alien genre. Regardless anyone with an appetite for a good science fiction film would enjoy this film. It will keep you wanting more.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the short film:

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:

Short Film Movie Review: DISAPPEARED (5min, Canada, Fantasy/Romance)

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

DISAPPEARED, 5min, Canada, Fantasy/Romance
Directed by Jon Silverberg

On the day he plans to propose to his girlfriend, a lowly shipping clerk finds a fountain pen that cause objects to vanish. He embraces the strange phenomenon as a novelty, until it threatens to impede his romantic plans, and very existence.

Movie Review by Amanda Lomonaco:

This film definitely played on one of my biggest fears, and despite its light-hearted nature I couldn’t help but feel a heavy knot in my gut after watching this. I have mentioned repeatedly in my reviews how much I am a fan of horror, but perhaps the very fact that Disappeared isn’t a horror film is what got my nerves jumping. Fortunately I seem to be the only person in the audience with a phobia for disappearances, as everyone else seems to have simply enjoyed it for what it was, even more so for its open-endedness.

While Jon Silverbeg’s introductory performance could have been a little more convincing, this minor flaw is quickly forgotten as the rest of the story draws us in. There’s even a certain catharsis in the very idea of a magical “erasing” pen that can make all our troubles go away. You can’t help but root for Silverberg’s character as you watch him magic all his problems away just so he can make it to dinner and propose to his girlfriend.

The best thing about this short was most certainly the ending… in a good way. It is both surprising, and vague enough to let you create your own satisfying version, and even leave you longing for a sequel. One audience members cleverly pointed out that it would have been interesting to encounter the other people or objects that the magical pen had been used on. In fact nothing says Jon Silverberg’s character wouldn’t encounter exactly that just moments later. The film ends so abruptly it leaves all that room precisely for you to interpret and decide where his life goes to from here.

It’s easy to deduce from here that this film is certainly one for the more creatively minded. Nevertheless, caution should be taken for those with a phobia of disappearing loved ones, like me. I guess that also makes this perfect for lovers of mystery. It’s always nice to appreciate good home-grown cinema, and Disappeared is definitely a good example of the capacity of the Canadian imagination.

Watch the AUDIENCE FEEDBACK Festival of the Short Film:

Short Film Movie Review: ARTIFICIAL (20min, Spain, Sci-Fi/Thriller)

ARTIFICIAL was the winner of Best Cinematography at the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival in January 2016. 

ARTIFICIAL, 20min, Spain, Sci-Fi/Thriller
Directed by Luis Espinosa

A man goes to a job interview. What he doesn’t know is that he has already been selected. CORPSA offers to pay him 80,000 Euros if he agrees to be cloned. But more than just a lot of money depends on his decision.

Movie Review by Amanda Lomonaco:

I’ve always found Science Fiction to be a tricky genre in the film industry. People seem to either love it or hate it most of the time. I’ve never been sure if that’s because of how expensive it is to produce a good sci-fi film, or because people have a hard time wrapping their heads around them, but the genre often provokes a lot of mixed reviews. That’s the only explanation I could find for the audience’s reaction to Artificial. During moderation people seemed a bit at a loss for what to say about their experience, whereas I wasn’t sure how anyone could have helped but fall in love with it.

Harkening back to a recent Indie sci-fi favourite, Ex-Machina, David P. Sanudo manages to simplify Alex Garland’s original concept and cause an even bigger impact. By condensing the films’ twists and turns into a smaller time span, Sanudo, the mastermind behind Artificial, keeps the audience constantly on their toes. 20 minutes pass by in an instant as you constantly try to figure out what’s actually happening and then get slammed with more shocking information just as you think you’ve figured it all out.

Connoisseurs of Spanish cinema will easily recognize Aitor Mazo and be disappointed to hear this was his final performance. Suffice to say hiswork in this short film was no less impressive than those of his blockbusters. It’s heartwarming to know the famous star passed away after such a great contribution to independent cinema, but it’s always sad to lose such a valuable component to the International film scene.

Fans of Spanish cinema and science fiction alike will appreciate this film for its simplicity in the face of such complex, and deeply philosophical concepts. Sanudo’s use of the ever familiar job interview setting also appeals to a less tech obsessed audience and provides an interesting fantasy relief to a commonly nerve-racking situation. With a thought provoking storyline, excellent performances and amazing production quality, Artificial certainly deserves every award it has won. Hats off to David Sanudo and his team for such an impressive final tribute to one of Spain’s cinema greats.

Watch the AUDIENCE FEEDBACK Festival of the Short Film:

Watch the best of Fantasy/Sci-Fi Performance Readings from the Writing Festival

Deadline TODAY: SAVE $10 SCI-FI/FANTASY Screenplay Festival – FULL FEEDBACK. Get script performed at festival
http://www.wildsound.ca/fantasycontest.html

WATCCH the best of Fantasy/Sci-Fi Performance Readings from the Writing Festival:

Feature Screenplay: ORIGINS, by Michael Panek & Guershon Moreno:

JACK’S MERMAID 1st SCENE Reading by Lois Wickstrom:

MEN OF COLOR – Short Script Reading by Mike Kearby:

THE PURE TV Pilot – Watch Winning Reading of Original Sc-Fi TV Series by Jesica Seguin:

SHAPESHIFTERS, Feature Script Reading by Andrew S. Fisk: