Ape-King Aldo

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The Eh Team are local heroes for being a Christchurch team with high budgets that rival the Auckland heavyweights. I was a huge fan of their 2013 entry "Is love enough?" I thought they were robbed at the grand finals that year. This year however, was a bit of a disappointment. As with every Eh Team film, "The Impotence of Hard Times" looks gorgeous; all shots are framed well and have been colour-corrected giving it a very professional feel.

Unfortunately the film falls a little short in terms of story. The concept is funny, but struggles to carry any narrative weight. While there are certainly some funny parts as a result of the whacky concept, the film suffers from lack of character motivation and empathy. Granted, this was an extremely difficult genre, but far too often throughout the duration of the film I found myself asking "so what?".

Again, I just want to reiterate that I did like this film and it does deserve to be a finalist. However, in terms of The Eh Team and their usual standards this film was a little disappointing. Keep up the good work guys. I can't wait to see what you come up with next year!

This film owns the shock ending well. The key to having a good shock ending is to have the shock teased throughout. The film plays on the audiences assumptions about teenage characters. Throughout the film the characters comment on the physical appearances of passers-by, which the audience assumes is just teenagers judging people based on physical attraction. When the Sweeney Todd influenced shock is dropped these comments on passers-by suddenly has a new meaning. I look forward to seeing this film a second time and trying to find the clues of the twist. I really appreciate flea market's understanding of the shock ending conventions and the way they use their teenage cast to their advantage.

The acting in this film was great, I couldn't tell if the dialogue was largely improvised or just written very naturally and the chemistry between the two main actors translated well on screen. In terms of technical details; the cinematography and editing was not particularly interesting but certainly didn't take away from the charisma from the actors.

Overall a really great effort. In terms of advice for the future, I would recommend investing in some better equipment (particularly a new microphone) especially if you want the snappy dialogue to not be undercut by white noise and wind, etc. Great job flea market. I loved the film, keep up the good work.

This film is a gimmick. However, it is an extremely well executed gimmick. Dystography studios tell the majority of the film in reverse, which serves the purpose of taking a simple story and manufacturing mystery from it. They manage to keep the reverse gimmick interesting throughout by including interesting action (drinking from a bottle, smashing glass, etc). They also manage to keep on top of the backwards narrative beats, evoking audience responses at all the right times. If the concept of this film's gimmick does not bother you, there is very little else that will, because this movie's execution is fantastic. The acting is brilliant, the cinematography is solid and the editing serves its purpose well. Overall, it is another great job by these guys. It is definitely worth the watch, especially to see Dystography branch out from their comedy roots. Keep up the good work guys!

This film is a must-watch for any fan of 48 Hours.

The relationship of the pig and goat is incredible . The way they physically interact with each other alone is enough to convey the hierarchy of the farm (goat is obviously higher class than pig). By giving the animals voices Fireworks humanises them and makes the audience feel genuine empathy and guilt when we see the first pig get shot. There is a terrific black comic moment where the pig starts listing off family members who have been killed by the "metal stick" and the goat just ignores him. Again the class structure is reinforced; goats don't get killed for slaughter and therefore doesn't have empathy for the pigs. It is a shame that this plot line is kind of abandoned and we never get to see how this complex relationship ends.

There are scenes in this movie that made me stop and think deeply about the definition of cinema. There is a medium shot from behind someone eating breakfast that seems to go on longer than the candle-scene of Andrei Rublev. During this scene I experienced an entire spectrum of emotions and opinions towards this film's existence. At first I was confused as to what the purpose of this shot was since it seemed that the subject of the shot (the bacon) was obscured from vision anyway. Then I started to laugh at how ridiculous this seemingly unnecessary shot seemed to be lasting. Once the laughter had passed (and the shot still continued) I had an epiphany; we (the entire audience), were at the mercy of these filmmakers, an entire audience was literally watching an unidentifiable person eat an invisible breakfast. After this realisation I started to see this scene in an entirely new light; the shot suddenly became so familiar that I started to take notice of the minor subtleties; movements of the character, the mise en scene of the kitchen and the sounds of the cutlery scraping against plate and/or bacon. My new-found attention to the shot's detail allowed me to visualise the bacon, the character and the motivation of the shot. Suddenly I understood the shot's purpose and exactly how this masked figure represented the evil of animal consumption.

The finale of the film is a phone conversation between the farmer and an unknown relative/friend; the visuals of the entire scene is a black screen. This scene actually completely ignores the plot of animal abuse and the talking animals established earlier in the film, instead introducing the farmer's search for a new apartment. This sudden change in narrative direction leads us to the bombshell punchline that I won't spoil in this review. Needless to say, jaws dropped. As a result of the black screen I again questioned what the definition of cinema really was; if there is no visuals is it still film? Does a black screen count as visuals? If the scene stood on its own would it still be considered a film? These unanswered questions stay with me even now.

Despite all this joking, I do actually love this movie. It is quite apparent that Team Fireworks had a lot of fun making it and that positive attitude translates to the audience. This film has the true spirit of 48 Hours; Fireworks has jumped in with low budget, low-quality tech and made a movie that is fun and feels like it was fun to make. I am giving this film full-stars despite the fact that I cannot defend the quality or understanding of cinematic language. However, the purpose of 48 Hours is to go out and have fun making a movie, that you probably never would have made otherwise. This is a truly special movie and it deserves your attention. Great job Team Fireworks! Never change.