Friday, July 16, 2004

MCF: Friday

As I said yesterday, I watched TEN features and shorts the Friday of Microcinema Fest.  Here are my capsule reviews:
SOLACE:  Nicely done short about a family's loss, almost all done with music and photos.
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS:  Solid little action-drama about various lives intersecting in a college town, including a drug-dealing prof and an addled thug.  Suffered a bit from what I call "young dude's writing syndrome," where you have extremely hot girls falling for nerds, girls begging forgiveness from guys, and other things you find out never happens in the real world once you're old and married.  Nicely done, but you can't help but think how much shorter the movie would have been if someone had dialed "911" on at least three occasions.
TOM'S WIFE:  After "Best of Fest" winner RED COCKROACHES this feature cleaned up the most awards with a tale about a young abused wife in 30s Texas whose fortunes begin to change with exposure to the outside world.  Moving story, beautifully shot.  The acting took home best actress and supporting actress prizes, as well as one for cinematography.
MURDER:  ACT ONE:  Noir short that was a bit muddied visually and thematically.
THE PASSAGE:  Great action set pieces, but thick-headed plot-wise; grim revenge tale has great fight scenes and is visually striking but features too many of those shots where cool guys wearing sunglasses (inside), with guns to their sides and leather coats flapping, walk around in slow-motion badass mode.  Stars young guys who probably couldn't wait to show it to the guys who picked on them in high school.
LADY X-BEAUTY, BULLETS, AND INTRIGUE IN BOSTON:  A clever spy short from Jason Santo, part of the "Lady X" online series, nicely shot and acted.
LAFFO:  An audience fave, but I couldn't understand this short featuring a clown getting beat up by the mafia in a TV studio.  Generation gap, I guess.
DARK EXPOSURES:  Admirably recreated noir short about a hardboiled photog could have been lifted right from the 40s; but seemed a bit emotionally aloof, more of an exercise in noir style than a short.
WILL'S DR.:  Polished slice of life short about a homeless guy, and a kid who strikes up a conversation with him.
SHOCKHEADED:  Disturbing, almost unpalatable, horror feature riffs on 70s Scorsese and Shaw Brothers and 90s Lynch while shooting on what looks like 80s technology.  A guy is dispatched to find a girl he spots on a pirate porn/snuff channel and ends up getting in too deep.  This and RED COCKROACHES were probably talked the most about in the lobby afterwards.
Tomorrow, I watch some more stuff.  Until then, yell back at

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