Thursday, June 01, 2017

Flirting with Disaster

Flirting with Disaster (shorts program), total runtime 87 min.
Friday, June 16, 1:30pm, Castro Theatre
Saturday, June 24, 11:00am, Victoria Theatre

The Mess He Made
• The Mess He Made, dir. Matthew Puccini, 2017 USA, 11 min. ๐Ÿ‘Œ West Coast Premiere
A man tries to keep his entire life from falling apart on the day he goes for a rapid HIV test, but it seems nothing can go right. The anxiety is palpable as he sits in the waiting room craving a cigarette and as he runs a couple of other more mundane errands and makes plans with a little girl for her birthday the following day, but the film left me feeling alienated from the main character, rather than relating to him or the mess he made. Recommended, I guess.

• Call Your Father, dir. Jordan Firstman, 2016 USA, 20 min. ๐Ÿ‘Ž West Coast Premiere
Call Your Father
An older man in his fifties (right) goes on a date with a man half his age (left), but the younger man is cray-cray and the older man gradually realizes what should’ve been obvious almost on first meeting: this guy is trouble and not worth the agita. The only mysteries are what the young man’s psychiatric diagnoses (plural!) might be, and how long the older man will put up with the insanity for a little hot sex. The craziness of the young man is almost as unpleasant to watch as it would be to experience directly, making for a dyspeptic film experience, especially dragging on for twenty long minutes. Not recommended.

• The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo, episode 4, dir. Brian Jordan Alvarez, 2016 USA, 17 min. ๐Ÿ‘Ž
The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo
Scour Los Angeles County with its ten million people and find the most annoyingly vapid half dozen. Throw in a few self-consciously arty riffs on race, gender, and relationships, plus some absurd situations that induce more groans than empathy or laughter.  It’s clearly meant to be a comedy, but it mostly fails at being funny, let alone at having anything of substance to say. I can honestly say that I would not spend five minutes with any of these characters in real life, and I’m sorry that I spent 17 minutes with them on screen. NOT recommended.

• The Feels, Almost, dirs. Naje Lataillade & Tim Manley, 2016 USA, 4 min. ๐Ÿ West Coast Premiere
The Feels, Almost
The Frameline blurb says, “In one unbroken monologue, The Feels, Almost reveals an adorable bisexual New Yorker describing his spontaneous attempt to ask his straight friend out.”

Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, I have not yet been able to screen this short for review, but I hope to do so before the festival screenings. Check back later.

(Note that this is not at all the same film as the feature-length lesbian drama The Feels, also appearing in Frameline 41.)

• Exchange, dir. Dorian Carli-Jones, 2017 USA, 9 min. ๐Ÿ‘Œ Bay Area Premiere
Exchange
In his closet, a man finds a jacket belonging to his ex (pictured) and finds that it still carries his scent. The man returns the jacket, setting in motion a round of second-guessing their breakup and subsequent decisions. It’s well done, but I really didn’t relate to either of the main characters or the situation (haven’t been there, haven’t done that, don’t have the t-shirt). On a technical level, the film is well crafted, so I’ll give it a tepid recommendation.

• Marz, dir. Bobby Yan, 2016 USA, 12 min. ๐Ÿ West Coast Premiere
Marz
The Frameline blurb says, “In the sexy and gorgeously photo­graphed Marz, a closeted up-and-coming rapper chooses between the man of his dreams and his own career.”

Unfortunately, Marz was not available for advance review. Given my dissatisfaction with the films in this program that I have had the opportunity to review, I do not anticipate attending the festival screening, so it is unlikely that Marz will be reviewed here.

• Sign, dir. Andrew Keenan-Bolger, 2016 USA, 15 min.๐Ÿ‘ Bay Area Premiere
Sign
Two men see each other on the subway several times and finally gather the courage to meet up, leading to the blossoming of a rela­tion­ship with enough promise that the hearing man learns sign language in order to communicate with his new beau. We follow the relationship through a few ups and downs, with all of the dialogue in ASL; the only sound in the film is the music track, plus incidental background noises. It’s an intriguing glimpse into a type of relationship that doesn’t get nearly the screen time it deserves. Definitely the best of this program; Highly recommended.

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