Space Cadets – The festival started off with a bang. A funny movie about outsiders who decide they will defy everyone and go into space. After being rejected by NASA, Scott decides to follow his dream of becoming an Astronaut. First he must assemble his crew. The crew consists of Lilly, Clarice, and Ferk. None of them which possess any skill necessary to go to space. But they decide to build their spaceship anyway and follow their dreams and a budding romance is kindled. The movie is really funny and got some great laughs out of the crowd. The cast all played their parts really well and you really felt for the bunch of misfits. It was a great way to start off the festival.
Hi, Neighbor! – Sometimes when movies get made for a 48 hour film project the quality isn’t so great. They are usually very creative and funny but they are made quickly and cheaply. There is nothing wrong with that and I admire anyone that can actually make a movie in 48 hours. Hi, Neighbor! was made for the 48 Hour 4 Pont Film Project in Madison. The movie doesn’t feel like it was made in 48 hours. The movie looks great. The screenplay is dark, sharp and funny. The movie is about a woman who attempts to kill her overly happy and annoying neighbor over and over again in more comical ways. It’s a great premise with a great twist at the end.
Rocket Science – The story of the last man on earth as he struggles with technology. Ever feel like arguing with Siri was the end of the world? Well for this guy it sort of is. As he tries to board the last rocket off a dying earth he tries to get a hold of a person to delay the launch but can he get through the automated answering service before it’s too late? What I love about this movie is how well the story is told. It takes place in one location with one person, it cleverly gives you back story on why everyone is leaving, and it’s relatable. It was one of my favorite films during session one.
Quack – The world premiere of Quack was at the opening night session and it had the laughing. The follow up to “No Touchie, Touchie” the movie is simple but hilarious. What are you supposed to say when you get up from your seat to use the bathroom? If you don’t know you might lose your seat. Make sure you see the movie to find out.
The Map of Maps – Documentary Shorts are some of my favorite short films. The Map of Maps did everything a great documentary short is supposed to do. Told a unique story about a fascinating subject. A feature length documentary about a map would not be that interesting but a short film is perfect. The map in question is a traditional map of Korea called Daedong Yeojido. The map folds out to form a huge map of Korea. The documentary sheds some light on how the map ended up in Milwaukee and at the UWM library. It also follows some from the Korean school nearby that takes kids and their parents to see the important part of Korean history.
Death after Life – The first film in the new Voices Heard program and it was amazing. Directed by Rubin Whitmore II the movie touches on a topic that has been in the news a lot. The story of a family who is grieving the death of their son due to police violence. When the cop who shot the kids tries to talk to the Pastor of the Church is turned away like he has nothing to say. Finally at the funeral we hear a letter he wrote. For a short film it touches on a lot of social issues and forces the viewer to see both sides of the issue. This is a must see.
Fight Night Legacy – The story of a boxer returning home to his dad after being in jail. What I love about this is it’s a simple story that quickly and effectively introduces us to the characters. In the 8 minutes we understand the characters motivation. Great piece of screenwriting with a cool fight sequence at the end.
Something Under the Christmas Tree – The lone horror movie we saw during the festival so had to give it a shout out. The movie about a kid who finds an evil elf under his Christmas Tree has a creepy set up. Unfortunately the payoff isn’t as big as I would have like. I wish the movie was a bit longer and had a more of a conclusion.
Modern Romance Volume One – The lone comedy during the serious of the Voices Heard Program brought the much needed laughs. The story of an awkward guy and his first date is hilarious. We get some voice over narrations that are really funny and a great dance sequence. I can’t wait to see Modern Romance Volume Two.
Grass Between My Lips- Directed Amardeep Kaleka was the longest film we saw at the film festival at 30 minutes. But it told a truly riveting story. Taking place in Africa we see a girl coming of age and struggles with a budding romance and the fearful ritual of female circumcision. With great acting and directions the movie really brought you into the story and on the edge of your seat. It is clear to see why this won the jury award for Best Film of Voices Heard.
Super Deluxe – I was really looking forward to this film. I helped out its Kickstarter campaign and couldn’t wait to see it. It’s a funny film about a lounge singer that goes by the name of Super Deluxe played by local favorite Robert W.C. Kennedy. What his real name is and how he got the name Super Deluxe is a mystery. This is the first film for Mark Maj as writer and director and hit all the comic beats and the performances by everyone were great. I am glad I gave money to their Kickstarter. Money well spent.
I Thought I told You to Shut Up!! – I am not a big comic book fan so I have never heard of Reid Fleming the World’s Toughest Milkman before. So this documentary was completely new to me. The documentary narrated by Academy Award Winning Director Jonathan Demme (but directed by Charlie Tyrell) is about the creator of the comic David Boswell and the quick rise of the comic as a cult favorite. Again what I love about documentary shorts are that it gives you a quick glimpse into a topic you may or may not know about. And this movie accomplished that. Also gave a behind the scenes of the fickle world of Hollywood as the comic was planned to turn into a movie but the studio changed their mind. Besides Jonathan Demme there are lots of other famous people interviewed in the movie including Ed Asner, Matt Groening, and Kevin Pollak.
Dreamers – Dreamers won the Jury award for Best Screenplay and it’s easy to see why. The dialogue is great and the movie explores the difference between our dreams and our realities. When a guy who just wants to be left alone has his space invaded by a saleswomen things begin to change. She says he can have his dreams come true if he just buys a necklace. Will this help him meet a woman and start a relationship?
The Trap – This was an awesome little movie. The Trap is a sci-fi comedy about a man who wants to show his friend his invention. The invention turns out to be a trap for aliens. Again it’s a simple premise but very well done with a great surprise ending. The movie was directed by Dick Grunert a Cedarburg, Wi native and he won Best Director and the film was Juries pick for Honorable Mention.
Dark_Net – The winner of the Jury Award for Best Picture and co-winner of Best Actor. This funny thriller is about a man who hires a hitman from the Dark_Net. But who did he hire? Did he waste his money? The British comedy has a lot of the same humor you will find in films like Shaun of the Dead. The majority of the movie takes place between two friends talking at a bar. As the one guy explains how and why he hired this hitman. The movie is very well shot, quickly paced, and great memorable characters. It was definitely a well-deserved Best Picture win.
A Dubious Night
The Great Outdoors