MOVIE REVIEW: A MONSTER CALLED CHARLES (UK, Fantasy/Drama)

ECSTASY BOULEVARD played to rave reviews at the July 2017 FANTASY FEEDBACK Film Festival.

“Winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the Festival.”

by Kierston Drier

Some films make you laugh with joy, or awkward discomfort. Some break your heart. A MONSTER CALLED CHARLES will do both. This fifteen minute film hailing from the United Kingdom follows a young impoverished boy being raised by circumstance more than by his otherwise neglectful mother- who spends more of her time entertaining Johns than she does caring for her young son and infant daughter. In the wake of any real stimulation, our young hero heads out into the woods to make his own adventures, and discovers a monster there, who he names Charles.

Stunningly shot with a keen attention to detail, incredibly well edited, and seamlessly constructed, this piece also has an exceptional performance from the young male lead. His choices may seem confusing to the viewer at first glance, but his rationality, given his life circumstances, becomes all too clear soon enough. A tale that literally answers the question of what is worse- the monsters you know, or the monsters you don’t.

For a movie told through the eyes of child, and (potentially) their vivid imagination, A MONSTER CALLED CHARLES has a surprisingly intricate level of emotional complexity. Our characters, from smallest to largest, are deeper than mere black-and-white stereotypes. A piece worthy of detailed discussion, this film can be enjoyed at face value as well. It pays homage to childhood classics such as Where The Wild Things Are and even Peter Pan and the viewer can end the piece knowing the a happy ending has been found. A deeper message within the story might be showcasing what the effect of poverty and neglect can have on children.

Whichever way you choose to interpret this film, it is a powerful piece to watch. It would be a tragedy to miss A MONSTER CALLED CHARLES.

 

A MONSTER CALLED CHARLES, 15min, UK, Fantasy/Drama
Directed by Richard Paris WilsonThe story of a Boy who lives in a caravan park with his Mother, and a Monster who lives in a nearby woods…

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

Movie Review: DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN (UK, Experimental)

Played at the July 2017 Experimental Short Film Festival

DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN, 4min, UK, Experimental
Directed by Michelle Bailey

A young girl girl searches for a safe haven in an urban landscape and finds solace in her own creative expression.

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

Terrifyingly authentic and yet beautifully abstract, DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN follows a young woman fleeing the endless cycle of her abusive partnership. She flees down a street while a cycle of his verbal abuse replays over and over in her head.

Once she reaches a rooftop overlooking a deadly drop to the street below, she defies the expectation by bursting into a passionate and emotionally charged dance piece.

Sharp, dramatic, cathartic and intense, DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN is a piece about finding your own freedom. Our heroine is an exceptional dancer and cinematic performer, and our story, though simply, is nevertheless incredibly emotive and effective.

A piece worth watching if you are a fan of dance cinema, an appreciator of strong dramatic pieces or a lover a fine cinema, you will find something to enjoy in this work. It’s movement will surely move you.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

dont_let_the_bastards_grind_you_down

Movie Review: STRANGE BEASTS (UK, Experimental)

Played at the July 2017 Experimental Short Film Festival

STRANGE BEASTS, 5min, UK, Experimental
Directed by Magali Barbe

‘Strange Beasts’ is an augmented reality game. It allows you to create and grow your own ‘pet’. How far can it go?

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

A bright, authentic and chillingly vibrant piece of speculative fiction, STRANGE BEASTS follows a software and game developer on his new groundbreaking game. One where you create and care for a digital pet. The catch? The game exists in a device embedded in your eye.

Our hero is loveable, bright, energetic and trusting. The game looks authentic, dazzling and instantly addictive. As a film the colors, graphics and visuals are flawless. The film is a master of attention to detail.

But what sets this film apart is its believability, and its gut wrenching twist. Without spoiling this remarkable ending- this film hits frighteningly close to home.

With this only a five-minutes-in-the-future kind of science fiction, the audience is hit with the sudden realization that this type of technology already exists, and the we are not watching a film about what could be, but what will be.

STRANGE BEASTS will haunt you, with its disarmingly charming approach to the future, and send a chill up your spine when it ends.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video

strange_beasts_1

Under 5min. Film: THE FINAL FAIRYTALE, 1min, UK, Family

Played at the Under 5 Minute June 2017 Film Festival

THE FINAL FAIRYTALE, 1min, UK, Family
Directed by Ken WilliamsA woman looks back at a fading memory of her father and of fairytales .

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

Review by Kierston Drier

A four minute American film about the pain of growing up. A father reads his bedtime story to his daughter, when his daughter tells him that she thinks she might be too old for bedtime stories.

It is an utterly simple film. But emotionally, it is fathoms deep. Most impressively, the acting of the cast. The character of the father is only given one small moment to react to his daughter’s request- and so many emotions are transmitted. The efficiency of this emotional punch is breathtaking. A moment of independence for a child, and a moment of heartbreak for her father.

Remarkably effective and incredibly poignant, THE FINAL FAIRYTALE is touching and worthwhile piece indeed.

Under 5min: VOICING SILENCE, 3min, UK, Animation

Played at the Under 5 Minute June 2017 Film Festival

VOICING SILENCE, 3min, UK, Animation
Directed by Lucy LeeHow do you move forward when events from a distant past continue to cast their grim shadow on the present? Can breaking the silence ever bring a much longed for quietude? Voicing Silence is one woman’s attempt to find her words that have remained muted for so long.

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

Review by Kierston Drier

A three minute piece coming out of the UK, VOICING SILENCE is an mixed media journey of an adult womans’ recount of her victimization when she was a child. Speaking out in order to heal and give strength to others, her piece is a strong and emotionally impactful one. It’s message is deep and powerful.

What makes this short unique is it’s use of animation. As our heroine recounts her events, she relives the memories in the form of an animated scene. To soften the accounts of abuse by looking through the lenses of animation helps ease both the viewer, and the reteller. It is, as the proverb goes, dipping the tip of the sphere of truth in honey. An excellent cinematic choice and giving the film a unique look, VOICING SILENCE is both powerful and beautiful to watch.

Under 5min. Film: DAN, 1min, UK, Comedy

Played at the Under 5 Minute June 2017 Film Festival

DAN, 1min, UK, Comedy
Directed by Uzo OlehDan and Steve are identical twins that live together. Steve is fed up with being guilted into covering for Dan’s frequent “sick” days from work. So Steve decides to get himself (as Dan) fired.

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

Review by Kierston Drier

Stunningly short and still marvelously funny, this one minute UK comedy is laugh-a-minute brilliance. An twin begs his identical brother to take his place at his office job so he can have a day off. But his fed-up twin decides to wreak havoc instead. Bright, tight and witty, this piece is seamlessly efficient, colorful, fun and even sports a great twist. It has breathless pacing and delivers its comedy at lighting face speed.

Perhaps what sets this piece apart is that is is exactly the length it needs to be. True craftsmanship and professionalism can be found in a piece that knows when to stop- because it leaves you wanting more. And you will want more when you watch DAN?

Film Review: SEEDS (UK)

Played at the May 2017 EUROPEAN Short Film Festival

A young female astronaut trains for the first expedition to Mars.

 

Review by Kierston Drier

A gorgeous and deeply layered piece of cinema, SEEDS does what all science-fiction genre piece hope to do: dissect a part of our modern world by throwing it through the lense of the future. A young female astronaut must decide to leave her brother (the only family she has) to go into isolation training for a settlement to be built on Mars. She will likely never return. There is an echo of other well loved science fiction pieces like “The Martian”, or even “Stranded” in this piece, although in SEEDS, our heroine is only prepping for her journey. But this film, like others before it, puts human relationships under a microscope through the examination of isolation and space. Bravo to SEEDS for being able to do this in a short film format.

Our heroine has not yet left Earth, but she is already worlds apart from her brother. Emotionally, they must make peace with one another before she leaves. But what he views as abandonment, she views as her ultimate sacrifice to her home- rising a colony on another planet may pave the way to ensure human survival for generations to come.

Science fiction is a genre used to soften the blow of asking really hard questions. SEEDS fits perfectly within its’ medium: It asks us to look at human relationships and the difficult feelings of isolation, separation and loss. It is palatable for us, because it is accompanied by the fantastical, beautiful, adventurous notion of crossing the boundaries of our own world. It asks us a big question: Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Would your love for your family keep you from being part of the journey that could save the world? Our Heroine has asked herself this. To find her answer, you’ll have to watch SEEDS.


seeds_2.jpg

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: CHARITY CASE, 3min, UK, Romance/Comedy

Played at the February 2017 ROMANCE Film Festival

CHARITY CASE, 3min, UK, Romance/Comedy
Directed by Sam Tibi

A young man’s attempt to show a beautiful girl his charitable nature backfires…

Review by Kierston Drier

 This delightfully fresh and comic look at chivalry gone awry, Charity Case comes to us from the UK by director Sam Tibi. In this simple, short and hilarious tale, our male hero tries to impress a beautiful woman at a cafe by tipping the barista. His plan backfires when, trying and failing to get her attention, he gives too much in the jar and runs short for his coffee. While the barista’s back is turned, our hero attempts to get his coins back- an ill fated idea indeed.

A short, humorous film that makes us question- is generosity still generosity if the gesture is done for self-gain? Is there such a thing as true altruism? It should be noted how expertly this film is able to get it’s emotional point across. In under three minutes, and with only one set, three characters and minimal dialogue, we know exactly who everyone is, and exactly what their motives are.

A simple and inviting slice of life with a keen moral- that honesty really is the best policy when it comes to meeting the girl of your dreams, or tipping the barista.

 

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO:

SUBMIT your TV PILOT or TV SPEC Script
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
FILM CONTESTSUBMIT your SHORT Film
Get it showcased at the FEEDBACK Festival
writing CONTEST1st CHAPTER or FULL NOVEL CONTEST
Get full feedback! Winners get their novel made into a video!
SCREENPLAY CONTESTSUBMIT your FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed

Film Review: LUNCH (UK) Experimental/Music Video

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

  MOVIE POSTERLUNCH, 2min, UK, Experimental/Music Video
Directed by Matthew Fletcher

From the dawn of Homo Sapiens we’ve been eating it, and we will continue to eat it… until it’s redundant. Take a journey through space-time and be aware of the 3D spatially dynamic soundtrack.

REVIEW by Kierston Drier: 

This vivid, fast-paced glance at our relationship with food, is all at once social and economic commentary and a delightful visual romp at the very bread of life. The beauty of this piece, is its incredible visual simplicity- as it revolves around a plate and the various dishes that people (and animals) eat. From extravagant to simple, healthy to horrible, the dishes, and the lives attached to them are distilled in just a few seconds.

 

And yet, this film, like a chameleon, is able to be almost anything to the viewer wants it to be. It is a political and economic nod to the distribution of our resources, it is social and philosophical commentary of humanity’s’ relationship with nourishment. It has an effortless depth in its’ simple approach, but it is nevertheless a meaningful and impactful piece.

 

LUNCH has a wonderful composition: quick, impactful and effective it is not without unexpected comedy. It is fantastic piece of emotional and captivating cinema. Regardless of the impression it leaves you with- it will certainly make you hungry!

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO of the short film:

WATCH PAST FILM FESTIVAL EVENTS and the FEEDBACK VIDEOS of EACH SELECTED FILM

ACTOROCTOBER HORROR/THRILLER 2016 Film Festival
Watch Audience Feedback Videos from October event
ACTOROCTOBER ACTION/CRIME 2016 Film Festival
Watch Audience Feedback Videos from October event
ACTORSEPTEMBER DOC/COMEDY 2016 Film Festival
Watch Audience Feedback Videos from September event
ACTORAUGUST FAMILY/ANIMATION 2016 Film Festival
Watch Audience Feedback Videos from August 25th event
ACTORAUGUST HORROR/THRILLER 2016 Film Festival
Watch Audience Feedback Videos from August 18th event
ACTORJULY 2016 Film Festival
Watch Audience Feedback Videos from July 28th event
ACTORJUNE 2016 Film Festival
Watch Audience Feedback Videos from June 30th event
ACTORMAY 2016 Film Festival
Watch Audience Feedback Videos from May 26th event
ACTORAPRIL 2016 Film Festival
Watch Audience Feedback Videos from April 28th event