Saturday, August 26, 2006

MIcrocinema Fest 2006: Friday, Part II

Back from dinner, and on to the short that landed several prizes in Palatine including Best of Fest: OCULUS, which I reviewed some time ago at Microcinema Scene right here. I was standing backstage shivering and one of the guys asked if I was cold. I answered, "No, this thing STILL scares the shit out of me!" Go read the review.

Next was a new one from the Dastoli Brothers, a pair of technical wizards who have been regulars in the Fest since their high school days just a few short years ago. SOUTHWESTERN ORANGE COUNTY VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS was another loony FX-laden eye candy short, and though it was visually astounding not as cohesive as some of their other work. Still, much respect for what these young auteurs have done over their brief careers.

Then camed the much talked-about DESPERATION, from director Jon Clark. This pegged a number of awards at the fest, though it made everyone's skin crawl. A young woman is trapped in a car wreck with her leg pinned, and is misfortunate enough to be found by two budding serial killers out for an evening of fun. Heavy sledding at times, but nice work from the three leads, and crisp storytelling work from Clark, kept everyone in their seats.

Next was a one-joke horror short called AND THEN THERE WERE NONE that was cleverly executed over its short four-minute running time, a palate cleanser after DESPERATION.

Back came the intensity with Sean Gormley's BLACKOUT, about a drug-fueled psychologist whose excesses become his undoing. This one picked up best photography for S. Tyler Wilson, an extremely talented young auteur whose directorial work--including ABOMINATION and TOMORROW'S LULLABY, two of my favorite micro shorts--has nabbed many kudos in the last two Fests.

Wrapping up the evening was STUMP THE BAND, a tongue-in-cheek b-movie about an all-girl punk group who run afoul of a bunch of backwoods crazies, including a guy called "Coach" who collects human feet. Pretty much hits all the genre beats from skinny-dipping to spatter to a monstrous man-child who, curiously, acts like a dog. Director Bill Holmes packed the seats with an appreciative local crowd to send this night home.

Next time, even more reviews; 'til then, give me a shout at

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