Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fun in Boys Shorts (2011)

Fun in Boys Shorts” (2011 shorts program)
Sat. 6/18, 11:00a @ Castro, FUNB18C
Sun. 6/26, 2:15p @ Castro, FUNB26C
UPDATE: all 8 shorts reviewed

Cassie (Ivy Latimer) and Greg (Callan
McAuliffe) in Franswa Sharl.
52, dir. Josh Levy, 2010 Canada, 4 min. 
BaldGuy (Skallamann), dir. Maria Block, 2011 Norway, 12 min., in Norwegian with English subtitles 
Cold Star, dir. Kai Stänicke, 2011 Germany, 7 min., music video 
Drives (Pulsiones), dir. José Manuel Carrasco, 2009 Spain, 12 min., in Spanish with English subtitles 
Franswa Sharl, dir. Hannah Hilliard, 2010 Australia, 14 min. 
I’d Rather be Looking at Porn, dir. Jared Michell & R.M. Vaughan, 2010 Canada, 3 min. 
The Itch, dir. Nora Tennessen, 2011 USA, 13 min. 
Revolution (انقلاب), dir. Abdi Nazemian, 2010 USA, 15 min. 
Scott Thompson in 52.

Beloved queer Canadian comedy icon Scott Thompson (Kids in the Hall, Another Queer Movie, and so much more) is in a nightmare within a nightmare within ... well, I don’t want to give any spoilers. He’s (gasp!!) an aging homosexual who’s lost all his teeth, or maybe he’s a middle-aged married woman. In less than four minutes, 52 completely redefines the existential dialectic of being a late-Baby-Boomer gay man under the hegemony of the cultural something or other — ah, who am I kidding? It’s a cute fluff piece, gently poking fun at its subject; a good short to start off a weekend brunchtime screening. Highly recommended.

Frank Kjosås as Jonas, singing about his Skallamann.
In BaldGuy (Skallamann), Jonas (Frank Kjosås) comes home to give his parents some shocking news: he is over the moon from having just snogged someone. Of course, his mother worries about what the people of the town will think, but his father tries to calm her down. The entire town spontaneously bursts into song and dance, as Jonas is unable to contain his enthusiasm. By the end, you’ll be singing along, too, so here’s the key line: “Jeg har klinet med en skallamann.” Infectious, toe-tapping, singalong fun. Highly recommended. [trailer]

In ColdStar, a teenage boy (Benedikt Kauff) is at the swimming pool, having just met an interesting old man, when several other boys begin menacing him. His only escape is up the ladder to the diving board, but then a kindred spirit emerges: the older man (Dieter Rita Scholl) is a drag queen! They start a party and singalong in the pool, with men kissing women, men kissing men, and women kissing women. It’s a cute music video and an appeal for acceptance of all forms of sexual identity. Recommended.

Carlos (Nacho Casalvaque) hires
a rentboy (Marko Mihailovic)
In Drives (Pulsiones), Carlos (Nacho Casalvaque) is engaged to be married, but he’s worried, because sex with his fiancée is not very exciting and he feels certain “drives.” He decides to hire a professional (Marko Mihailovic) to help him explore those drives and decide whether he’s making a big mistake in marrying a woman. Carlos is a tightly wound character — we first see him obsessively grooming and then walking through his flat spraying air freshener, waiting for the rentboy to arrive, from which point he has no idea how to proceed. It’s a good fish-out-of-water sort of comedy, with several twists along the way. Highly recommended.

Greg Logan (Callan McAuliffe)
in full bloom as Franswa Sharl.
For five years in a row, a highly competitive dad has taken his family to Fiji for Easter vacation, encouraging the kids to compete and excel. Dad seems to be completely incapable of relaxing, but 12-year-old Greg (Callan McAuliffe, whom you’ll recognize from I am Number Four and Flipped) takes that drive to win in an unforeseen direction, entering a different sort of contest than his father expects. The kids and their interaction with a tightly wound father are absolutely spot on. Franswa Sharl is a real gem — delightful, fun, but with real heart. Definitely a MUST SEE.

I’d Rather be Looking at Porn is pretty self-explanatory: it’s a recitation of various things in life that the filmmaker finds less appealing than pornography. Unfortunately, rather like most porn, the film is pedestrian and clumsy in its execution and painfully obvious as to where it’s going. I’d Rather be Looking at Porn actually manages to make some of the porn more boring than the scenes of the Canadian Parliament, and it takes work to find porn that’s less appealing than Stephen Harper. No recommendation.
Robin (Aaron Harris) feels The Itch.

In The Itch, Robin (Aaron Harris) and Orlando (Brandon Collins) have a great first date, but things get weird the next day when Robin gets an itch he can’t stop scratching and he blames Orlando. Robin talks it over with his flatmate Suzie (Vanessa Hardy), also fresh from a hot hook-up, but eventually Robin confronts Orlando as the one he believes gave him scabies. Cute, but not as infectious as its subject. The writing is rather clumsy, especially in the too-good-to-be-true character of Orlando, who seems to be filling up his resumé for an application for sainthood. Recommended.

Gabe (Zach Cumer) and Jack
(Logan Aria) in Revolution
with the Ayatollah Khomeini
gazing up at them....
In Revolution (انقلاب), Jack (Logan Aria) is a 16-year-old Iranian immigrant, living in Los Angeles ten years after his family fled the ayatollah’s revolution. His mother fired the nanny because she was teaching Jack a simple Filipino prayer — after all, “if it wasn’t for religion, we would never be here.” Jack rebels by secretly adopting an abandoned puppy, despite his parents’ antipathy towards dogs. The new nanny brings along her son Gabe, who awakens in Jack some feelings that are sure not to sit well with his conservative family. It’s all part of Jack’s quiet little revolution — in his father’s words, “working within the system for incremental change.” It’s a well-done story with an intriguing cultural perspective, and Highly Recommended.

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