Not a lot happened at work. Found out that instead of being expected to write a lot of test cases for a new video format, all I was asked to do was suggest to the person who wrote the first pass that he needs to copy all those and add a second circuit board to the tests.
Plodded through rush hour traffic to downtown SJ, parked on the top floor of the cinema lot (it's almost never that full after 6 on a week night), and went to Cinema 12 to see a set of short indie movies. And then got back in line for another set.
My nutshell reviews:
Shorts Program 2 - (Dis)connection
The Baddest Part (15min)
Bonnie & Clyde wanna be
The leading lady showed a lot of range, from batshit crazy to sexy to dangerous to vulnerable. The leading man mostly looked on, being boyishly handsome. Both did a great job with their characters. This film is done in short clips, and until we were 3/4 of the way through the movie it didn't matter if they were chronological. When it mattered, they were. I liked and hated that we are not shown enough to know if they pulled off the robbery or not. Okay cinematography, but too much shooting into the light.
Barrio Boy (8min)
Hispanic barber has the hots for male redheaded customer. Mostly voice-over. Okay acting, okay cinematography, lighting could have been better. Very perceptive story, cute ending. Loved the name of the barbershop, and that it's embedded into the bench in front. The "bad boy" loiterer gave a great performance, but I think the character distracts from the plot.
Coney Island Dreams (24min)
Best acting in all the shorts, all the characters, all the time. Superb cinematography. It took me a while to realize they were splicing back and forth between past and present, I think they were counting on the leading lady's eyes to be The Clue. But since she is in sweats in the past and in a sun dress in the present, I thought we might be seeing sisters in two different story lines. But once that resolved, it was brilliant. Very well written, poignant, loved the ending, and the scene before it. Second-best of show.
Hole in the wall is a camera. We see a fixed shot of a section of livingroom, as a couple evolves through the years. Very well acted, enjoyable story line, ocassional subtitle translation failures but for the most part spot on.
Strange Men (20min)
Paranoid Tumwater girl gets out of jail in Mean Cops, AZ, calls home for bus/train fare back home. She's paranoid, but that turns out to be justified. Excellent cinematography, lighting and makeup (or lack thereof). Costumes were good too. Great acting from the guy she meets in the coffee shop. There was one script error in the Amtrak station scene - the agent says "that's a regional..." but what she is showing him is a schedule for one of the train routes. The line should have been "that train doesn't go to Seattle" (I did not see which schedule she took off the rack - but only the Coast Starlight goes to Seattle from LA. I wouldn't call the others "regional" though).
BORING. The plot takes forever to develop. Filmmaker thinks the lens needs to be inches from the subjects at all times. Horrrible choice of angles, even in the rare long shots. We're supposed to believe the set is a prison cell, when it's obviously the kitchen in someone's apartment. The insane struggle at the end was not justified in the rather tame relationship during the rest of the film. And after the movie opens with the cupcake, we never see or hear about it again.
Through The Breaking Glass (A través del espejo) (15min)
Can our dreams control others? Dying woman's dreams. Alice in Wonderland/Through The Looking Glass analog. Powerful animations, beautiful location shots (dream world) superb cinematography both outdoors and in the hospital setting. Best in show, by a long shot.
Shorts Program 4 - Animated Worlds
Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky You (4min)
Beautifully drawn, captivating story of jinxed boy meets magically lucky girl. Excellent score tracks through many moods and levels of excitement. Set in SF, very romantic ending. Tied for Second-best in show.
Bear Story (11min)
BEST OF SHOW. Incredibly fine artwork, powerful story, poignant, almost made me cry. Helped by a score which matched the moods of the piece. Very clever mechanical circus-in-a-box. Clockwork marvel.
The Dam Keeper (18min)
Horrible watercolor impressionist art, strong anti-bullying theme, WTF climax and ending. Pig is the protagonist. Too long, and the two themes of the story were not integrated as well as they could have been. Theme 1 is the devoted dam keeper schoolboy (similar to Hugo). Theme 2 is this schoolboy is bullied, but a new student befriends him.
Behind My Behind (4min)
Meh. SJSU product, mediocre artwork, mildly annoying score. Otherwise a pleasant fantasy about what has fallen through the sofa cushions. Possibly drug-inspired.
Boring. Ink infusions creating Rorschack type patterns, not my idea of animations. Poem voice-over is boilerplate Native American tale we've heard 100 times. An insult to crows.
Highly amusing. Well drawn, probably the most romantic thing featuring Death® personified since the Terry Pratchett books. Irish film, but no accents that I noticed on the characters. Or maybe it was subtitled? Tied for second-best in show.
Dinner For Few (10min)
Excellent artwork, but extremely opressive score and story line and highly annoying cats. More pigs.
Total WTF. Sloppy pen and ink artwork, sloppy animation, sloppy story line, the only thing which made any sense was the ending, and even that not so much.
German Shepherd (10min)
Horrible title for this film about a Jewish boy who is so guilty about his mother's hate of all things German that he seeks out "good Germans". Not much animation in this, it actually starts off with some photographs of the protagonist as a child, which IMHO was a waste of film. Voice over narration. Some rudimentary stop-action drawing animation which sometimes illustrated the story, sometimes just took up space. I hated this one for purely personal reasons - my parents both lost family to the Nazis, and hated all things German.
Heavenly Peace (6min)
Cartoonish art, very well drawn for the style (I'm not thrilled about this style), the plot is all about Christmas, did not work as well in mid-February. Great storyboarding. Cupid lies. Nice to see a gay couple movie where the being gay part is preipheral.
The Last Resort (8min)
Really good story with lots of amusing twists. Sense of humor from the opening titles. Well drawn, character voices were spot on. My #3 choice.
Luna & Lars (9min)
Marionettes in stop motion, though most of this could easily have been done live video with puppeteers. I did not like the makeup used on the puppets, or the special defects. The music was a montage of 78s-style dance instrumentals. Lots of work, but not to my taste.
Kitty/ghost fantasy with warthogs as antagonists. Superb artwork, okay score. Gets pretty WTF at the end. Nice to see all those Thai names in the credits - lots of people needed for this very complex animation project.
What's with all the flies? Voice over, okay artwork, story about a guy who doesn't take care of his teeth. Disgusting surprise ending.
Fireball vs cubes. No story, frenetic score, excellent but simple artwork. Made me dizzy, I shut my eyes for the last half.
johnnyeponymous MCed the second set, always fun when he's in charge.
Got out of there about midnight, home at 12:30, last-minute check of FB and Quicken, and went to bed.