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6/10
"Hide" and seek.
8 August 2016
This old-fashioned slice of child-friendly entertainment is probably more of an interesting curio than an enjoyable movie experience nowadays.

Peter Butterworth has a main role, which will make this worth a watch if you're a fan of his, but the whole thing plays out like an inferior take on some Enid Blyton material.

The plot concerns some poachers and a project to film some bird eggs hatching. When the film-makers accidentally catch the poachers on film . . . . . . . well, I am sure you can see where this is going (hence the title).

Butterworth is good. Nobody else stands out. Having said that, it's amusing enough to watch the rest of the cast go through the standard posh Brit motions of the time.
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Little Reaper (2013)
9/10
Can death be fun? A little.
6 January 2014
Ah, sometimes I could kick myself. I spoke online with Peter Dukes months and months ago when we connected on LinkedIn. In fact, it may have been over a year ago. The point is that Peter pointed me towards his company, Dream Seekers Productions, and asked if I'd be interested in checking out their stuff. Of course I would.

Unfortunately, time constantly gets away from me. You'd think that I could squeeze in a short film here or there and do a review and that would be that, everyone would be happy (or unhappy, depending on how I rated the film), but I just kept being unable to find the time. This is why I don't often view/review short films. It's not because I dislike them (I LOVE many short films), but I just don't always find the time to squeeze them in, between other scheduled reviews for my blog and the main website I write for.

Anyway, here I am at last, and Little Reaper is a great short film that I hope everyone gets to quicker than I did. I'll be checking out more from Dream Seekers Productions, they have their YouTube channel, and I'll be spreading the good word to make up for my tardiness (sorry, Peter).

What's this one about, then? Well, The Grim Reaper (John Paul Ouvrier) is trying to get through to his teenage daughter (Athena Baumeister), but she just doesn't seem to care about the family business. She has one day to do some reaping, and if that goes well she can be ungrounded. Not a bad deal, but teenagers can get so easily distracted.

Written and directed by Dukes, this is nicely presented in black and white, easy to enjoy within about 10 minutes and very, very likable. The two main performances from Ouvrier and Baumeister are excellent, and a number of supporting players have some fun getting themselves on the "due to be reaped" list.

All in all, this is a lot of fun, and certainly one I could hold up alongside a number of fine shorts that I've seen at various festivals. The ONLY reason I'm not giving it a perfect score is because a comedy horror with a fun punchline is one of the easier ways to make a good impression with the format (although it still takes talent, of course).
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6/10
Felicity Ward wishes she made up most of her tales of idiocy, but they're sadly true.
21 January 2013
Having seen Felicity Ward live at the Edinburgh Fringe 2011, just with a sample of her material, I endeavored to check out her show and give her some support after enjoying the little I'd seen of her.

This woman is very funny and also mixes in the darkness in a way that keeps the audience laughing while she goes off on self-loathing tangents, sometimes in the middle of a song.

A straight-talking, wry Australian comedienne, Felicity Ward might make some members of her audience uncomfortable but she gets away with it, she does everything with a twinkle in her eye and a a smile that comes at the end of even her darkest punchlines.

The show doesn't feel as tight and polished as other stand up shows I've seen but that's all part of the charm. I really like Felicity Ward and I look forward to seeing how she does a few years down the line once a few wrinkles have been ironed out (no, that is not a joke about age, sheesh!).
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Robot Chicken: Star Wars (2007 TV Short)
9/10
Small but almost perfectly formed, this is great fun for Star Wars fans.
29 March 2012
While this may be nothing more that a series of Star Wars gags bundled together into a package that runs for just over 20 minutes, it is one of the very best comedic jibes at the Star Wars universe I have ever had the pleasure of watching.

Crude stop-motion style is elevated by numerous little touches of detail and care (just watch the background and foreground and try to take in every detail) and taken to greatness by a stellar voice cast that includes Seth Green, Candace Bailey, Seth MacFarlane, Ahmed Best (reprising his role as the much-hated Jar Jar), Breckin Meyer, Hulk Hogan, Conan O'Brien and, perhaps best of all, a small turn from George Lucas playing . . . . . . George Lucas.

Some of the nonsense is just inspired lunacy (such as the final musical number "Empire On Ice") while other moments have fun siding with the vocal fans who have a bone to pick with many of the things that they see as flaws in the grand design.

I don't think I've laughed out loud so often in a long time. And the only thing that's almost as funny as this that I've seen recently is . . . . . . . . . Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II.
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8/10
After the sunset a mother hopes for the son rise.
2 November 2011
Surreal and whimsical, with a dose of dark humour, this short film from director Daniel Cormack and writer Ben Clover is a little gem that should be watched and enjoyed by those who like their tales to wander into the arena of the strange.

Hard-nosed journalist Tammy (Sally Bretton) offers advice to her colleague, Niall (Thomas Nelstrop), as the two head to the house of a woman (April Nicholson) who recently lost her son in a car accident. The task is to get some information and a photo or two for "a fitting tribute" but when Niall manages to get himself welcomed over the threshold things take a turn for the bizarre. Meanwhile, Tammy waits in the car and grows impatient.

The problem with reviewing most short films is that you can rarely discuss what you liked the most about them because every surprise can prove to be a delight and should be kept that way for future potential viewers. As is the case here. A Fitting Tribute starts off well in one direction and then turns elsewhere, with each component part just as satisfying and enjoyable as the rest.

The acting by Bretton, Nelstrop and Nicholson is superb, the script is fun and the direction is spot on. Well worth a watch.
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Repent (2011)
7/10
Girl gets worried as preacher gets cross. Holy hell!
2 November 2011
A short horror film, not without some great humour, that runs for just under 10 minutes, Repent is the kind of fun that shows a lot of promise and makes viewers hope the director can go from stepping stone to stepping stone en route to a career in features.

Of course, features are a lot different from shorts and that's why a short film has to do a lot more with the time. Repent isn't perfect but it's a damn fun way to spend ten minutes of your time (check it out on YouTube while it's there).

The story concerns a young woman home alone at night (standard horror movie stuff) who goes to answer her door, thinking that it's her horndog boyfriend not taking no for an answer, and finds that a passionate and slightly off-kilter preacher is waiting to save her soul. The woman closes the door on the preacher but he won't be dissuaded so easily.

This has everything that an entertaining short film could want for - brisk set-up, some amusing lines, a couple of fun scares and an enjoyable punchline - writer and director Dakota A. Thomas gets it just right.

The acting from the two leads isn't necessarily going to trouble any Oscar-chasing heavyweights but it's not terrible either. Sarah Vera is likable enough and Arturo Portillo gives an enjoyably over the top performance.

All in all, this is a step up from the previous short from Thomas (Don't Look Under The Bed - still an enjoyable piece but a lesser outing than this one) and shows great potential. I certainly hope to see him do more that I can check out in future.
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6/10
Something off-balance beneath the valance.
23 April 2011
It's always hard to write reviews of short movies and yet equally important, in my view. The short film is where many talent started, of course, and viewing them can often allow you to see someone's work ahead of the years when they become a well-known name to movie fans.

But it's always tough to describe anything without giving away any detail or, even worse, revealing a great punchline.

Don't Look Under The Bed uses the old horror standard that we've all experienced at some time in our life. That feeling that the boogeyman is under our bed and that he IS going to get us.

Rachel Gomez plays the young woman who is playing around with a ouija board before fearing what it may have let loose.

This isn't up there with the best short films I have seen - it has a weak second half and a punchline that isn't delivered as well or clearly as it should be - but it's a decent stab at a slice of micro-horror in three minutes.

The big plus here is some impressive sound design (often a weak aspect of many amateur efforts) and I'll be interested to see if writer-director Dakota A. Thomas can do better with more resources and more time.
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Deep Throat (1972)
6/10
Really just a one-gag movie.
10 March 2011
People roll their eyes and shake their head in disbelief whenever I discuss my movie collection and reply negatively to their question of "where's the porn?" I just have far too many movies to view to waste my time watching someone get it on with Photocopier Repairman #2.

But Deep Throat is the stuff of legend. It's the movie that had everyone queueing round the block to see what the fuss was about. It's the movie that really got picked on by the moral crusaders (with actor Harry Reems even being convicted at one point in a highly warped use of the laws on conspiracy, or some such legal jargon).

And watching Deep Throat . . . . . . . . . I wonder why. I was expecting something that transcended the porn genre but nothing was all that different (except the central concept, I suppose, of the story being built around Linda Lovelace seeking sexual fulfilment and being told that her clitoris is in the base of her throat). Bad performances from everyone involved? Yep. Ear-damaging soundtrack? Yep. Numerous, unpleasant close-up shots of penetrative sex? Yep.

Maybe it's because, for better or worse, we've seen so much more variety and money going into adult entertainment over the last few decades but Deep Throat doesn't stand up as a classic. It does, however, stand up as something very much of it's time that really kickstarted an amazing chain of events and for that historic curio value it gets rated just above average.
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6/10
A fictional but real look at the real but fictional . . . . . if you know what I mean.
12 June 2010
Essentially a puff piece complementing Diary Of A Bad Lad, most people will probably wonder why it's worth even rating and reviewing this 5 minute feature.

Well, having just watched it as an extra on DVD I must say that it helped to highlight a couple of points regarding the movie and to raise a couple of interesting points about exploitation and media manipulation in a clear fashion for those who may not have quite picked up on everything as it unfolded during the movie.

It's also fun to hear the background of the fact/fiction blurring and of how the Lumière brothers alarmed audiences back in the early days of cinema showing footage of a train arriving at a station.

It may be only 5 minutes long, maximum, but it provides some more nice food for thought for fans of Diary Of A Bad Lad.

See this if you like: Diary Of A Bad Lad, Resurrecting The Streetwalker, Curse Of The Blair Witch.
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6/10
Man gets ratty over ownership of umbrella.
13 May 2010
I caught up with this short film after seeing some great advance clips of Josh Reed's 2009 movie, Primal, and I must say that despite it's slim running time and daffy central idea it made me chuckle.

The story is simply about a battle between a man and a rat over an umbrella that the rat had grabbed to provide shelter for itself. That's it.

Some comedy violence and frustration, the one actor here does well in his physical performance but this is really all about the rat, a cute creation that's a bit rough around the edges but kinda resembles an orange version of Scrat from the Ice Age movies.

Low-fi fun that has no chance of outstaying it's welcome, this should please fans of both cartoons and plain, physical comedy.

See this if you like: Mousehunt, Of Unknown Origin, Monkeybone.
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