Cardinal

About me: 
Hey all! I'm Ben and as of the 2015 competition, I've contested Chch 48HRS 9 times as part of TBALC, and was a City Judge in 2014. I think the nature of 48HRS makes comparing the films really difficult sometimes, so I tend to think of the star ratings as a measure of "how likely do I think this film is to get into the city final" rather than as objective measure of overall entertainment value. So I guess this is my way of saying please don't be discouraged if I give your film a low star rating, because there's every chance I still really enjoyed watching it! (Except that one team's film. You know who you are.)

History

Member for
9 years 2 months

When I saw this film at the final, I genuinely thought it was going to win the whole shebang, and was pretty surprised when it didn't.

I don't want to give the Pigs Guts guys the whole "we've watched them grow up in the competition" thing yet again because they've probably heard it more than enough times already, but they've clearly been honing their skills over all these years and their films are as good as anyone's now. They've got a knack for cracking out some great lines, some really charismatic comedic actors and a genuine talent for bringing some excellent humour out of every day situations. The basic set-up here of a TradeMe seller and buyer trying to track down an errant second-hand couch was an extremely simple concept, but they were able to bring it to hilarious life just through the strength of the writing and the performances (and solid technical work). They understand the straight man / funny man concept intuitively and they're great joke writers.

I'd love to perhaps see them break away from the sort of "ordinary guys from a flat go on a quirky adventure" set-up next year, but that's only because I'm excited about what they might bring to say a zombie film, a war movie, or a Regency-era romance with their particular skillset and sensibilities, not because I'm bored of what they're doing.

Awesome work guys; will be crossing fingers that this ends up in the national finals.

Harper Harrison prepares lunch (lots of morning routines in the Chch films I watched this year, for some reason), then heads to school and witnesses a confrontation between two girls, in which one suggests the other "go die in a hole". Things escalate quickly to muuuuuurder, with one girl dead and her enemy a prime suspect. But the bodies just keep stacking up! Fortunately Harper and his friend/girfriend (it was hard to tell as at points the sound rode up over the dialogue making a lot of it hard to hear) are on the case as amateur teen sleuths, Hardy Boys style - just as well as by the third body, "the police are starting to get involved". At this point Harper embarks on a great foot chase of a suspect which was definitely the highlight of the film, beating out the sort of pseudo-amazing green screen match cut. Despite being hot on the trail of the killer, the thoughtless Harper can't put the clues together but then OF COURSE, THE BREAD – a realisation that leads to a decidedly unexpected ending.

Looks like you guys had lots of fun making the film (I hope no-one fell over with the camera during the chase scene) and the ending scored big points with the audience. If I had just one single to suggest working on for next year it would be sound, sound, sound – if we can't hear the dialogue in the theatre, much of your hard work is undone and it makes things tough to follow. Every team struggles with sound quality at some point though, so I'm sure it's all experience under the belt towards improvement!

If I recall correctly, the team intro here had this booming Voiceover O' Doom. It was great. Anyway, on to the film: a man makes several attempts at waking up in the morning, not helped by jump cuts bouncing him back into bed all the time. Eventually he gets up, and brushes his teeth. Then he makes his way to the fish and chip shop, accompanied by brushing teeth sound effects and more jump cuts... then inside the fish and chip shop, unseen, he, er, poooooossibly exchanges some dialogue with people inside in the form of some bizarre subtitles, he comes out, the film ends and I write WHAT JUST HAPPENED in big capital letters in my notes.

Was this art? Maybe it was art and I was too dumb to get it. Is the title significant? Why the teeth brushing? So many questions. I was certainly intrigued during the running time as to where this was going. Perhaps one day, I may find out.

In the bush, a camouflaged man makes breakfast in his bivvy. He is the Last Person On Earth, presumably (the film doesn't really tell us this, but rather just seems to assume that we know it because of the genre label up front). But no, he isn't the last man on earth! A desperate stranger exaggerates a leg injury to gain access to the survival supplies stored within his tent (where I'm pretty sure a loaf of bread disappears from one shot to the next at one point - perhaps there's a third party lurking somewhere?), then limps off with the stuff when the hero goes to look for help. Our hero tracks him down grim-facedly, and in the ensuing confrontation, both are too busy to notice a yellow van pulling away in the background (possibly driven by the bread thief?) – and limping man learns a harsh lesson about karma.

I feel like the major thing here was that we needed to have the circumstances established a lot more - who are these characters, what is the situation in their world, what is the situation for them? It's tempting to use shortcuts based on the fact that everyone in the competition knows what genre your film is supposed to be, but I think it's helpful to think about people trying to view it outside the context of the competition - if you can make a film that makes perfect sense to that sort of audience who have none of that information, your movie will probably be better for it. The perils of trying to capture the Lonely Earth in this genre were also somewhat unfortunately indicated by the nearby car! Great hardcore leg injury effects though!

Two goons/criminal henchmen take a kidnap victim out to the woods (was it McLean's Island, or Spencer Park/Bottle Lake? At any rate, just picture the "Christchurch 48HRS woods location" look – we all know it off by heart by now). One, Harper, is an idiot, but then his companion isn't the brightest bulb either. Making a number of mistakes that stray from the recommended operating procedure in such scenarios, they spend a lot of time talking about how they are going to deal with their own errors (to the alarm of their victim), but end up opting to let him go. However, there's one last mistake waiting to be made.

Black Banner's film last year was a justifiable crowd favourite I think, with some of the better lines and performances of the year coming out of their film. This year though their film never quite got of the ground for me personally. If I had to pinpoint a specific problem I had with it it might be that the two henchmen ended up being very similar characters. Big tracts of the film were spent with these two talking about stuff , like sandwiches, that never quite went anywhere (although there were definitely some good lines sprinkled thoughout all this). Perhaps the idea was sort of that Pulp Fiction style "slice of life/a moment in time" approach, but maybe it would have been better to have a bit more context for the situation – as it was, I feel almost as if the whole kidnapping thing could have been removed from the film entirely, just leaving two buddies chatting in the woods about stuff (since the friendship was portrayed pretty well, as others have noted). Well shot and some solid performances though, and I'm sure they'll be back with a vengeance next year.

Good to see Awkward Spark again and good to hear their film open with a sweet live bass line. (Good work there, music person.) This is a VH1 Behind the Music style look at a successful band, the kind of thing where people are always"coming off a real rough period" and saying things like "He was our guitar technician for the first incarnation of the band". Harper Harrison is one of the two remaining members of the band after a steady reduction in band numbers (most previous band participants seemingly having died in mysterious circumstances), and provides a bit of foreground and background comedy via the sort of "idiotic" interpretation of thoughtless, including an amusing bread-beating at one point.

There were some attempts here to tell the background/subtext story within the wider context of the documentary format I think, but these didn't seem to quite come together, and just when they reached a more intriguing point, the film suddenly ended. This was sort of symptomatic of the film overall, which I think felt a bit bits-and-piecesy, never quite finding (or perhaps never quite clearly presenting) its through line or story. Good nods to a lot of the rocumentary style film making techniques though, and some funny moments.

Three Austen-esque characters are dropped whimsically into the modern world in Alterium's short, the "modern romance" of the title seeming to refer to what is in fact a very old-fashioned romance taking place in 2015 (with no sort of explanation, awesomely) . Harper Harrison is the recipient of male attention from two competing suitors, one more desperate and likeable than the other, and a love triangle arises, but despite our hero (or the nearest thing, we have, anyway) enduring blows, awkward car rides, a fickle love and bicycle jousting defeats, Harper's eventually makes a choice that does more than enough to give her her thoughtless character.

Lovely wee off-beat character piece this one, with some great, largely non-verbal performances and a few really nice shots, including one great big ol' tracking shot and possibly some good commitment from a cameraman to stay on a moving car bonnet at one point?! (OK, probably you just stuck the camera to the car somehow). I also remember being really impressed with the title cards, which really suited the mood of the whole thing. Every chance of taking out the award for best use of the technical element in Christchurch too, I'd have thought. Lots to like in short! Hope to see it again in the final.

This one-shot effort opens with no preamble on a long, sloooow tracking shot following a young woman into an old house where a strange party is happening and holy crap, this first part of the film is probably some of the most arresting imagery I've personally seen in the competition. As our heroine passes, robed and masked figures in side rooms turn to stare blankly and creepily at her from dark corners and moodily lit rooms, all while a song perfectly chosen to complete the eerie mood blares on the soundtrack. It really feels like she is entering some kind of macabre cult-house of devil worshippers or something, where God knows what unspeakable things are going on, and the apprehension created is pretty palpable. And then, she finally ducks into an end room, and, AND - starts talking sort of inanely to a bubbly party girl who has a bottle of Scrumpy tied to each hand. And then...she leaves (via a bit of dancing).

I thiiiiiiink (going by the name of the short, too) it was the intention of the filmmakers to try to set up that expectation of something malevolent, mysterious, and freaky about to happen and then subvert the audience's expectations. If so, mission accomplished, but you did such a good job of setting the scene (I can't emphasise enough how effective I found that first part of the film) that I can't help but wish that the film had carried on in that same vein instead. The overall result was screeds and screeds of visual style, but not a lot of substance. Still, clearly a team with some real visual panache, and I look forward to seeing what they do with that next year.

At a seemingly innocent date at Burgers and Beers, a woman asks the guy she's with if he knows about the "Facebook legend". You see, every so often a woman will receive a mysterious friend request - and if she turns it down, she DIES. Can we see where this is going? Cut to a couple of flashbacks where, sure enough, our guy is revealed the Facebook Killer. Up at Overexposed Hill, he snares a victim with the line "Do you like Dusky Sound savignon blanc?", and then finishes her off Death Proof style by, er, jinking slightly when she's riding out the top of the sun roof. (Let that be a lesson to us all: keep your arms, legs and especially your torso and head INSIDE a moving vehicle). In intermittent returns to Burgers and Beers, our imminent victim keeps drinking it up while telling the Facebook Killer about her rubber band collection ("Over 10,000", apparently). The date ends with our Dead-Woman-Drinking bundled into the boot of the killer's car, and the film finishes with a nice use of the line.

So predictability was the main problem here, really. The Facebook angle didn't seem to bring much new to the standard psycho-killer plot (although the use of the line was cool) - a more interesting twist might have been for the lead woman to turn the tables somehow, since we were all just waiting for what seemed like her inevitable death. A few tech issues as well which sometimes made things hard to follow. All learning for next year though!

A burglar spends a little time on some philosophical leaf appreciation before climbing into a bathroom window and faceplanting into a bowl of jelly left on top of the toilet. He seems to have broken into the house of a singer, but isn't much impressed with the haul he finds in her house. MEANWHILE, gangster types are doing gangster things somewhere. MEANWHILE, back in the house, our buglar discovers a secret lock box under some furniture, reaches in...and pulls the pin out of a grenade, which he now can't let go of. The singer arrives home and somehow fails to notice the guy stuck with his arm under his cupboard, although she is revealed to be the source of the toilet jelly. Calling for help, the burglar gets the gangsters on the other end of his phone, who appear to be his colleagues in the Russian mafia. Rather than render him any assistance though, they laugh at him - what bastards. Bereft of assistance, the burglar is (presumably) forced to call attention to himself, because the next thing we see, he is being led away by police. The singer then reveals that not all was what it seems.

So, there seemed to be a lot going on here, but it never quite joined up. The Russian mafia guys had some pretty sweet shades and a very serious looking gun, but it was never quite clear what relevance they had to the story - I kept waiting for a connection between them and the singer, but it never materialised. The singer's habit of eating jelly on the toilet while looking depressed...what was that about? And why does the burglar like leaves? I feel these questions will sadly never be answered. Some good humour in the film though, and definitely runs away with the prize for the most excellent accent in the 4 heats I watched in Chch.

So I'll be completely honest, the first thing that really struck me about this film was the incredible toaster that was used in one of the establishing shots. Rather than manually click the toast down into its customary toasting position, some mechanism slowly lowered the toast automatically into the slot like Han Solo into the carbon freezing chamber. Is it too hard for us to click toast down for ourselves now? Good lord, the machine uprising will surely be upon us any day now.

Anywaaaaaay, the toaster was being used by our hero to make breakfast as on the radio, a news announcer explains a politician's daughter is missing. Our hero is a courier of some kind and arrives at the Abandoned Warehouse District to make a pick-up, but instead stumbles into a terrorist lair. An evil scientist mastermind has mixed up a nasty virus (using a leaf somehow) and has the politician's daughter hostage to boot. As man on the spot, our courier takes on the scientist's goons in a series of strangely edited action scenes, rescuing the hostage, and then going back to finish the job (although weirdly not taking the gun the politician's daughter has managed to acquire with him) when he realises all other help is too far away. He stops the scientist with some help from the belatedly returning former hostage (and her gun) - but DUN DUN DUNNNNN, the closing shot shows she isn't looking entirely well.

This film looked really nice and had some great props and costumes going on, but was based on a fairly generic sort of a premise and featured some strange editing decisions through the middle that made the whole piece seem very disjointed when watching (although heck, maybe you guys just ran short of time on the edit - I know that's happened to us). Held up very well technically though, and I'll be interested to see what you produce next time.

So JAGBOG landed Found Footage this year and I guess the idea of filming a direct sequel to their found footage (Quest I think it was?) movie of last year was clearly ruled too good to pass up. For those in the know there are some references to spot (was this the only film in the country this year with a character called Bobby Young in it?) including some chumping. Our "sambo" loving moustachioed lads are off on a follow-up expedition to take on the wilderness dwelling invisible demon that (seemingly) wiped them all out in last year's film. This time they're more prepared though, constructing some kind of technomantic demon banishing device with a keyboard and what I think was a waffle maker. En route to the demon's hideout, there's time to run over Nicky Brick and add him to the crew. Confronting the invisible demon in the forest, things look bad when the ghostly presence starts taking them out one by one and their device malfunctions, but the day is saved when the unlucky Nicky's fortune changes, and the forces of blokiness triumph over evil.

You can't fault the enthusiasm of this team and the sheer 48hoursiness of their movies. I'm not sure the set-up here was a well that needed going back to (especially after last year's movie seemed to end fatally for everyone), but that said, there were some nice sly digs at the conventions of sequels, the movie looked pretty good and had some good laughs. Would like to see something new next year though - OR, alternatively, the three-quel that blows me away entirely and makes me wonder why I was ever a doubter :)

Trent is tied up. But why? He goes back to the start, explaining his job as a Trolley Recovery Officer - beating old ladies at trolley races, unwittingly assisting car thieves, washing trollies down, and rescuing accidentally abandoned children. Bobby Young is a fellow T.R.O who used to pick on Trent (with some inventive trolley-related lunch destruction methods), but seems to now accord him some respect. Trent revenges himself in small ways upon those who commit trolley crimes, thinking this goes unnoticed. But someone has been paying attention, and the revenger finds himself revenged upon.

I felt the film lost its way a bit after a very strong opening that featured great characterisation of Trent and a series of his highly amusing interactions with trolley infringers - for me somehow the revenge-upon-revenge plot with Bobby was not as satisfying as this earlier stuff. Some really funny stuff here though, well put together and with great performances, especially from the lead. Every chance to see this in the final.

A girl in a flat observes a weirdo on the lawn, but he vanishes. There's a flat shopping discussion with the girl's two flatmates, Bobby Young and Chelsea. ("I made it clear; I wanted chocolate milk and noodles.") Chelsea gets hit on by Bobby - he's creepy, and she's freaked out. There's some shots of tying up. The weirdo makes another appearance - he's a ghost. Or death. The main girl is also a ghost? Someone makes a comment about how she's been missing. I think - *think* - that the implication was that Bobby's a creepy killer, he's killed the girl before the film starts, and her ghost has been hanging around the flat not realising that she's dead? Maybe. But then didn't she talk to the alive people? Hmm. There was some kind of "The Others" feel to it, anyway. Maybe the red blazer on the weird guy means he's the grim figure from "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allen Poe. Or perhaps I'm reading too much into that. Yes, I am.

Basically, this film needed MORE SET UP. I get that things were probably being approached in a roundabout way in an attempt to pull a bit of an M. Nighter on the audience, but I think it was SO roundabout that nobody got it. Points for trying to tackle an unusual method of storytelling though and also for red blazer guy, whose random appearances on the lawn were pretty hilarious.

This 1-woman show begins as a news broadcast with "Aquila Bertram" (excellent name!) introducing a 60 Minutes style retelling of Bobbie Young's descent into drug abuse. An army general recalls, monologue style, Bobbie's time with the service, and her best friend then testifies to her previously excellent character. We also hear from her sister, and then her mother, finishing with a freeze-frame ending on the unfortunate Bobby herself, and then some factual informative text about drug abuse statistics.

A big effort to make this all by yourself. We needed a bit more variation the characters and locations though, and it would have been good to try and work the compulsory elements in a bit more smoothly (especially the prop!) Good use of Bobby Young though. Sound a bit iffy at times but there are lots of other teams with a lot more resources that had worse! All good practice for future years.

We open on some black and white scenes of tap-dancing bully Bobby Young, pushing people around randomly with his hilarious bully-dancing. Flash forward to some months / years in the future - Bobby's past all that now, and in fact he's in group therapy about it. Leaving the therapy session, he heads to a kind of underground dance-fight club where a certain Jychael Mackson (giving off a Cobra Kai kind of a vibe) is dance-duelling a hopelessly outclassed opponent (even though the rube's sprinkler move produces actual water, it's clearly a one-sided battle). Mackson toys with his lesser opponent until, when he's about to mercilessly dance-Mortal-Kombat finish him somehow, Bobby steps up to save the day. A dance-fight of titans ensues, and odds are even until Jychael receives a bent wire injury and then Bobby finishes him off with some sweet tap dancing.

This film was as slick as all hell. Entertaining, well shot, well lit, a great location, some great subtle use of visual effects, and an impressive number of extras, but perhaps the most impressive aspect for me technically was the beautifully done sound design (with every move of the dance-fighters giving us a well-chosen snap, crackle or pop with perfect timing). I expect this film to power into the final, where (IMHO) only its near complete lack of story will hold it back.

A horrid Mum (few of these in Chch this year!) complains nastily on the phone about her adopted son, which the wee fellow (8? 9?) overhears. That's it - he packs up a suitcase and runs away from home. He hitchhikes alone (damn, those are some irresponsible adult lift-givers!) to Christchurch in search of his birth mother, Bobbie Young. Starting at the logical place for a kid I guess, he heads straight to Young Street and breaks into a vacant house with some bent wire. There he sets up shop and begins looking for his real Mum in a montage sequence. Days pass with the poor wee dude living in the house all by himself, seemingly unable to get any good leads. The bent wire gets a second use as a makeshift can opener. And then - alas - his search ends at a grave when he discovers his Mum Bobbie Young is dead. But just when it seems like the movie is going to be really sad, he meets his previously unknown elder sister at the grave, and they reunite with a hug.

So maybe it's because I have my own small boy, but actually I found this to be a pretty affecting movie (thank goodness there was a happy ending, or I don't think I could have handled it!). Ignoring the possibly somewhat unrealistic nature of the wee kid surviving by himself without anyone asking any questions or so on, I thought the young lead did a great job of really winning the sympathies of the audience. Big props too for visual storytelling - the vast majority of the film had no dialogue at all but it still told a compelling story, which isn't always easy - visual storytelling is something our team tries to bear in mind every year, and yet inevitable always sucks at, so perhaps you should give us some tips! All-in-all a great effort. Look forward to future films.

A nerdy, unpopular kid (Richard) thinks - no, KNOWS - that he is a superhero. His friend Bobby Young documents his "heroic" exploits on video, but the cool kids are not impressed by what seem like his self-delusions as he demos his "powers". Even Bobby Young eventually abandons him and returns to his bullying ways. But to hell with 'em all, Richard knows what he is and rediscovers his self-confidence by helping out a stranger (using a bent wire after she locks herself out of her car), and confirms it with an awesome use of the required line (followed by a nice little sting in the tail afterwards).

A really neat little snapshot of a character, shot through with humour but also surprisingly earnest in the end, with a use of the line that seemed to have the audience murmuring in approval. Great work to create an interesting, relatable character and have him go through a real journey in seven minutes - that's a real accomplishment in the competition. With some technical improvement as you go on you guys could become a real force in the competition.

After a protracted waking-up sequence, a teenage Bobby Young is commanded over the phone (by his Mum?) to act as a babysitter. Some awwwwwkward babysitting with his younger charge ensues. Looking to stem the awkwardness, Bobby takes the kid out on a drive to see some boats. The boats are a failure (beached out in the estuary at low tide), and so the two get to talking on the wharf, while the kid fiddles with a matchbox car. It turns out the kid is being bullied, and stole his bully's favourite matchbox car to retaliate. Bobby knows a thing or two about bullying, having been one himself, and encourages the kid to take revenge by deep sixing the car. So the kid does, biffing the car into the ocean. REVENGE!

This film took a slow, almost meditative approach. It's nice to see a more grounded, reality-based approach in 48HRS sometimes, but this got pretty draggy in places. Why spend so long on the waking up scene with Bobby, when this isn't a film about him, but about the relationship between the two characters? And hasn't the kid really already taken revenge already just by stealing the car? I think things could have been helped by pacing things up a bit. Some well composed shots though and reasonable performances from the two young actors - will look out for you guys next year.

Bobby Young charges through a church car park and past one of those groups of complete strangers doing a spontaneous choreographed dance number that only seem to exist in musicals - the Rapture is upon us and he's highly concerned his bullying sins of the past are going to make him persona non grata with the man upstairs on the big day. In the confessional, the priest charges him with getting 3 people to forgive him so his soul will be absolved and he'll be ready when the moment comes. He hurriedly tracks down ex-victims, but they're not just satisfied with a simple apology - they all want some kind of a dance, as well. After a lot of random funny lines and putting in some big dance apology efforts, he's slightly too late off the mark and gets left on Earth with the rest of us sinners.

Not too many specific complaints with the film, really - just could have perhaps used a higher overall level of polish. Kept everyone giggling all the way through, and made good use of a variety of locations. Another solid effort from Flaccid Meat.

Around an army campfire, Bobby Young recounts his bullying days at high school, where he tormented a kid with a giant backpack. After hitting the sack in his tent, he awakes to a scream from one of his campmates and takes off into the woods. His army buddies seem to get offed by mysterious, er, things. (Maybe they were the Deadites from Evil Dead, as at times they replicated the same Sam Raimi POV camera shot, in a pretty cool manner). Our hero engages in an unpleasantly realistic vomiting scene. And then...the mysterious things get him too? What happened? Dialogue at the end after his body no doubt explained it, but damned if I could hear any of it.

Unfortunately I heard very little of the dialogue in this film at all, so I had very little idea as to what all the running around the woods was in aid of the whole time (I'm hoping it pops up in the screening room, so I can grok it better). The team seemed to make a pretty good visual job of a predominantly night shoot, though, and it seemed like a reasonable attempt to make a serious horror in 48HRS (always tough) so it's a shame the indifferent sound made it tough to know what was going on.

Creepy Neil, wheelchair bound, has somehow survived the zombie apocalypse (cardio?) and cruises the desolate, sparsely zombie-populated landscape. Zombies mostly leave him alone, but occasionally he gets into trouble, and on one such occasion he is saved by another wandering survivor - Bobby Young, his former bully (who gave Neil the "Creepy" label), who looks very much like he's the kind of guy who's positively *thriving* in a zombie apocalypse. Later, Neil meets Cheryl, a former acquaintance and now zombie. Neil, er, adopts her. Montage time! Man-zombie love blossoms, and it's kind of sweet really - until Bobby Young shows up from out of nowhere and does to Cheryl what he does to all zombies - smashes their skulls in. But Neil isn't too worried, because he's already gone (offscreen) where probably the entire audience was worried he would go (onscreen).

I have to say that for me the Bobby Young character ran off with this film with his two brief appearances - brilliant. Plenty of other good stuff in the film too though, with an effectively-created apocalyptic landscape, some great visual gags, and some good use of low-fi zombie effects. A shame the film was very quiet at times but a very solid entry overall.

Wow! CGI a-go-go. Some very slick science-flavoured graphics of bunnies as various spokespeople expound the health benefits of the latest health craze, the BMS - the Bunny Milking System - in late-night infomercial style. Bobby Young, for example, has had his bullying ways cured through the regular drinking of bunny milk. Bobby sports a milk moustache, as do kids and some older folk...images rendered strangely disturbing when we know the milk is (ostensibly) not from a cow. Things only get more disturbing though with an EXTREME BUNNY NIPPLE CLOSE UP, all rendered in realistic CGI (the bent wire nipple stimulators slip over the nips of our unfortunate leporine friends). Then, just when the audience has recovered from this, the film (like the infomerical it is) plays again through completely a second time! This takes the total number of bunny nipples shown in extreme CGI close-up to 8, which surely sets some kind of all-time cinematic record for the most bunny-nipple close-ups per minute of film ever.

This nailed the infomerical style dead-on with impressive graphics and the insane genius of the film repetition. A nice take on fad too - we do see fads (or attempted fads) advertised like this all the time. Going the route of doing an ad does kind of remove the story element though which might stop it from progressing further, depending on how closely the judges want to apply the "story is king" mantra; but it was funny enough, slick enough and surreal enough that it wouldn't surprise me to see it in the final.

Some ladies, including Bobbie Young, win 10 million from Lotto and need to go on a quest to Wellington to claim the prize. They run outside to leap in the car and set out immediately but - oops - they've forgotten the keys. Not to worry, KEITH to the rescue...or NOT! He biffs the keys down the drain for no discernible reason. Wait, he does have a reason! He's getting back at Bobbie for her bullying ways in the past. The ladies apologise for their previous behaviour, and accepting it with good grace like the gentleman he is, Keith agrees to help try to retrieve the keys. Various random objects like a toaster, gorilla and Oscar-like gold statuette are thrust down the drain in an effort to retrieve them with predictable uselessness. But then Keith hits upon the idea of a bent wire! He successfully retrieves the keys and the ladies reward him by cutting him in for a sweet 2.5 million (not bad for a 10 minutes' work).

So the tech level was low here, and the quest never really got past the end of the driveway, but the obvious give-it-a-burl enthusiasm of this entire team was totally infectious. Keith was a highlight for me, I wanna see more movies with him in them. Hope to see Elias Is Out There next year back, bigger, and better!

In an openly comical version of the same "stuck in a room with zombies wandering the earth outside" idea that was played seriously in "The Refuge" from Heat 2, a few people are chased into a stoner's room by zombies, the last just making it. It isn't long before the stoner is convening a "Tribal Council", expelling the girl who arrived last for no apparent reason (possibly because she was bitten by zombies?) She leaves, and gets a jolly good zombie-mauling. There are dark scenes, and guitars, another unsuccessful solo escape attempt, and then zombies beat down the door and, presumably, eat everyone - it was pretty dark.

There wasn't a lot of logic to any of this, (I'm not sure why everyone went along with the stoned guy's tribal council idea without so much as a question) and many scenes seemed to take place on a dark screen with lots of scuffling and yelping. I did like the shots of the fates of those that went outside though, with zombies converging from all directions. Would suggest a bigger focus on storytelling for the future.

A delivery of some superpowered rubber gloves to Bobby Young results, when he puts them on, in a kind of reverse "The Greatest American Hero" effect, turning him into the girl from Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" vid (although with not quite so much sex with strippers). After a whirlwind POV rampage of murder, drinking, drugs and regret, he receives a fatal visit from a similarly rubber-gloved supervillain (which made it a bit reminiscent of famous Twilight Zone episode "Button, Button").

Short and sweet from Gorilla, with a novel take on the genre, and a million-miles-a-minute style. Characterisation of Bobby Young as an ex-bully was pretty much non-existent, but we probably didn't care about that as we were swept along for the ride. A shame they disqualified themselves as I'm sure we'd have seen this in the final.

This was presented as a trailer for a non-existent crime film. A schoolgirl, Agatha, is bullied as a kid by Bobby Young and her cronies, but wreaks her revenge with a jolly good stabbing. She goes on the run, and the media debates her vigilante justice. And, er, that's sort of it.

This film won heat audience favourite, so it's entirely possible I don't know what I'm talking about, but with that wussy disclaimer out of the way, I personally kind of failed to see what all the fuss was about. No doubt the well composed shots, editing and stylish black and white all looked like a million dollars, but making the film a trailer was for me an odd decision - it seemed to sidestep the need to create a full story as such (surely a trailer is an ad, not a film), and the mantra of 48HRS is "story is king". Rather than making us a trailer for the film, why not just make the film? That grump out of the way though, these guys have arrived as a first year team with a technical proficiency that many multi-year veterans are still struggling to achieve, and the look of things was extremely slick, so with more attention to story, I think they'll be a real standout of the Chch comp in the future.

Sheep puppets! Two of them - Nigel and his friend, some kind of scientist sheep (we can tell he's a scientist because he wears glasses) - converse in a cafe, although what exactly they are talking about is difficult to make out over the music. Bobby Young (bullying sheep) and jellyfish genes seem to be involved. Bobby shows up, and with some kind of sheep-dragon-punch socks Nigel clear across the cafe and into the coffee grinder! Oh the horror, as (lamb?) mince emerges. But scientist sheep comes to the rescue. Recovering Nigel's unminced top half, he takes him to his (very cool looking) mad-scientist style lab, and transplants Nigel's brain into Bobby's comatose body - but he only succeeds in creating a MONSTER (in a development that popped up a bit in the Body Switch genre).

Sadly the explanatory back-story in the cafe was almost entirely lost to sound problems, so we didn't really know what was going on between Bobby, Nigel and the scientist, but I thought the sheep puppets were particularly awesome, and some of the little touches in the film really stood out for me, particularly the shot of Nigel flying across the cafe and the cool background details of the science lab. A real shame that the dialogue was so hard to hear. Sound balance, people!

Fruit, a road, broken buildings, a guy with giant sideburns saying "Bobby Young" a lot. Then turning his head slightly, and saying it a lot some more.

Kind of insane genius, in a way. Almost hypnotic in places. Keep reaching for that rainbow?

I don't think any carefully worded, reflectively written review I could write could do this film more justice than the notes I scribbled at the screening (with intensifying levels of gobsmackedness), so I shall simply reproduce them here verbatim:

"Bobby Young + friends play 'Abortion' the board game when - holy CRAP, F**stain Morris appears and starts singing a song about how he panties, and then Bobby Young shoots him and JESUS CHRIST, my BRAIN."

Judged as a total assault on the senses (which it was surely intended to be), this film can only be called a stunning success. Can't question the make-up. Or the commitment of anyone to the concept. Or that a, er, memorable film was created. Yes, *memorable*. Like other reviewers, I'd be interested to see what you guys might produce with a more, er, conventional film, but perhaps I should be careful what I wish for, because I'm not sure I'd survive one of your movies with a run time longer than a couple of minutes. I've given it half a star here, but that's only because the review site forces me to. That doesn't count though, because I'd actually like to borrow the end of Roger Ebert's review of "The Human Centipede":

"I am required to award stars to movies I review. This time, I refuse to do it. The star rating system is unsuited to this film. Is the movie good? Is it bad? Does it matter? It is what it is and occupies a world where the stars don't shine."

An arguing husband (Bobby Young) and wife head out on a road trip to get to an event of some kind. Bobby is a douchey golf-playing yuppie type who probably votes ACT, and has a clearly strained relationship with his wife, complaining about her constant texting during the trip. Their journey is interrupted when they stop to pick up a broken-down motorist (with the foreshadowing car licence plate "4PLAYR"). It turns out to be Bobby's former bullying victim. They offer him a lift. Smarmy git that he is, Bobby conversationally rubs his financial success in his victim's face, but despite his efforts, his former victim's satisfied smile never leaves him. At a comfort stop the motorist sends a text, the wife's phone beeps and (finally) putting two and two together, Bobby grabs his wife's phone to discover his wife's texting is sexting, and his former victim is now shagging her. Furious, he makes to exact his revenge on the (still oblivious) motorist with one of his golf clubs, but is delayed long enough by his repentant wife that he is (seemingly) hit by a truck.

An interesting idea to do a sort of little character study sort of thing, but it strained credulity in several places - the fact that they came across the wife's lover broken down, the lover character seeming to be all but coming out and saying "I'm shagging your wife" with his actions and words while talking to Bobby, and him sending her a "secret" text when her husband was right there - something of a risky manoeuvre! The film almost seemed to make a last minute plea for audience sympathy for Bobby as well, after spending most of its length establishing him as a dickhead, and the truck seemed like a bit of a deus ex machina. However, there were pretty strong performances from the three actors, and the story kept one interested.

A south African filmmaker is working on a low-fi film project of some kind. The film within a film seems to involve one guy chasing another guy, pretending a tripod is a gun. The director explains his awesome 50mm lens to us, and constantly loses patience with his cast and crew, and tries to get them to do stuff they don't really want to. They film various scenes of the film in a somewhat amusing manner. Scenes include getting the two leads to stand on cars to get a cool rooftop shot (on the top of Riccarton Mall), and a simulated gay sex scene. And then...the end.

This film seemed to be going for a behind the scenes or slice-of-life approach, but ended up, in a word, storyless. (Or in two words, plot-bereft). The revenge part of what was ostensibly a revenge film didn't seem clear either, although at one point the director vowed future vengeance on the incompetent actors he had been saddled with ("He'll never work in this town again", etc.) The director was a great character though, and there was some funny stuff, especially a scene in which a "special" effect was being filmed. Some purty shots, too. Would love to see this film tackle a more traditional narrative in the future.

Bobby Young has boarded himself in a room with two flatties / mates / acquaintances, one female, and one brainiac-type. Time is passing - it's Day 7, then 13, 23, 30. A bent coathanger TV aerial gets some info from the outside world for the audience, revealing we're in the middle of the zombie apocalypse (everyone in Africa is DEAD). Bobby Young advocates waiting - they do. Presumably running out of food and with the situation getting desperate, everyone starts getting philosophical. The girl laments never getting to be a grandma, then reminisces wistfully about her own grandma. Bobby confesses his bullying past. At one point there is a sloooooooow pan. They realise they have to send someone out to try and get food, and after some discussion, Brainiac gets nominated. We get a nostalgic look back over the film we just watched and then a freeze-frame ending as he charges out the door with a baseball bat.

I'll admit up front I'm not really the target audience for this sort of thing, but somehow this film didn't really work for me. I think part of the problem was that we were told about the apocalypse going on outside, but never actually *saw* any hint of it, (even hands beating on the door or something) and so the threat was never that well established, which perhaps (for me) detracted from the attempt to build tension. The acting was good, but the script might have needed punching up a bit. Tackling a serious film always seems like a brave move in 48HRS though, and Dragon V Mouse really went for it here and tried to do something a bit different - more power to them.

Phil quits the DVD store when his new boss is a dick (insisting he do actual work, goddamnit), though not without some regrets, as he leaves a cute customer girl behind. Now unemployed, he signs up for an army course, and ends up at the not-so-tender mercies of drill sergeant Bobby Young (who reminded me of a slightly chunkier, moustachioed Zach Braff), who raps an introduction that makes it clear that this won't be a walk in the park. Sure enough, soon Phil and his fellow recruits are singing about how sucky their lives are, but just when things seem at their worst, the sarge informs them they'll be taking a big final (and surprisingly lethal) obstacle course. The recruits go down one-by-one in amusing fashion, but Phil makes it to the final confrontation with Sgt. Young and triumphs by bending a wire into a somehow-actually-working machine gun. A big dance number to finish and then a great freeze frame ending with the sudden arrival of the cute girl from the DVD store.

Confectionery Aisle normally produce an entertaining short, and this was no exception. Very nicely shot and some great use of the elements, although to get picky Bobby Young seemed like he was *still* a bully - perhaps he was an ex-illegitimate-bully, and joining the army conferred some official status on his bullying. Some amusing use of FX as well. Although as others have commented the story was perhaps a bit slight, it kept the audience laughing all the way through, and a shame to see it DQ'd.

A woman pursued down a dark street by a man, and caught, wakes from the situation to find herself in a room with some catatonic types. On the wall is a monitor, where she can see...herself. It's body switch tag. Some sort of evil entity is taking control of a succession of bodies, (which it can accomplish with a touch), being sure to carry a Cellphone Of Significance with them each time. It leaves the real owner of the body seemingly, er, body-dead when it moves on, and consigns their uh - soul? inner-being? lifeforce? - to what seems to be an eternity of imprisonment in the mysterious monitor room. A number clocks up each time the body switch happens, and we see that woman from the start is number 105 - evidently this has been going on for a while (I'm not sure where the 100 or so other people are in the room though...maybe it can only hold so many at the time.) And then...the cycle continues. (Forever?)

Watching this film was for me a lot like watching the entire series of "Lost" - something was going on, it seemed intriguing, and I desperately wanted to know what it was; but I never got to find out. For example, that the Cellphone of Significance was significant, it was clear - but exactly what that significance was I never discerned. Possibly I missed something, although there's also an equal likelihood that I was just too stupid...the film seemed fairly sort of plotless, for example, but then perhaps that was the idea all along? I'm just not sure because this film was an ENIGMA. Like any decent mystery though, it was very atmospheric, with an uneasy and eerie tone that kept one intrigued all the way through. Well-made and an original take on the Body Switch genre as well.

A puppet movie! Huzzah. Some cool, freaky-lookin' handmade puppets, a lot with beaks (I was reminded of the Skeksis from "the Dark Crystal") enact the story. An old key-keeper guy is mugged for his key, which holds the power of life and death, or something. His granddaughter (apprentice? protege? I think it was his granddaughter) is distraught, but coming to her assistance is Bobby Young, former torturer (whoa, that's some hardcore bullying), so off to the 'Tree of Bargot' they go to search for clues. From there it's on to a puppet mountain climbing sequence. Two baddies are up there, apparently responsible for "all those things that had disappeared over the years", including the theft of the key. These kleptomaniacs get the drop on our heroes, but an avalanche of balled-up newspaper (I think brought on by them messing with the mystical forces of the Key) squashes them flat, and our heroes make their escape.

The plot seemed awfully quest-y for a mystery movie, so I wonder if perhaps that's the sort of direction it had to skew even before the weekend with the pre-made puppets and resources on hand to the team? Some dialogue also went astray, and the problems this causes are probably only doubled when the actors are puppets, and struggle to convey meaning with a look etc. The unique, quirky puppets though gave things an original, interesting look though, and I don't think any film has ever been served so well by varied use of balled-up newspaper. Amazing effort to get all the sets and so on made.

Special Agent Reynolds converses with a woman. They're talking about something, but darned if I know what it was. Meanwhile, across town, Bobby Young is talking to another woman, again about something very difficult to hear. The two women we have seen in the film so far then shoot each other dead simultaneously. I'm not sure what that meant. But it doesn't matter anyway, because we're suddenly into the real meat of the film, which is a red masked guy and a gold masked guy in an extended martial arts fight sequence, with the director audibly yelling "Go!" at random between takes. Red masked guy (or was it gold masked guy?) is revealed to be Special Agent Reynolds, and do you remember when we were in the supersoldier programme together, other masked guy? Because now the GOVERNMENT IS COMING FOR YOU! And now THE END OF THE FILM. And now I write in my notes "WHAT JUST HAPPENED?"

Yeah, so coherency wasn't the strength of this film. Again though as with lots of film every year, you probably had a perfectly fine and possibly even cool plot there, but all that expository dialogue at the start was lost with sound issues. I'll tell you what though guys, your fight choreography was pretty damned decent. The only issue was that our combatants seemed to be going at sort of half-speed, (probably to avoid smacking each other in the chops, which is fair enough), which made it rather amusing (maybe you could have considered increasing the film speed a little bit in parts of the fight? It's a cheat of sorts, but might have given you a good result). Work on that sound though and come back stronger!

Wifenap! A farmer, Bobby Young, gets home to to discover a ransom note from a nefarious villain, who his kidnapped Bobby's wife and demands a ransom. Bobby Young won't be standing for that sort of nonsense, so he enlists a gun-owning mate and together they set out on an epic journey to the villain's stronghold. You can tell it's epic because of the amount of running they do, and because they have to stop and build a campfire. (We tried to put a campfire scene in our film to demonstrate epicness; the one you guys had blew ours away.) After the long journey they arrive at the villain's hideout. They sneak round some guards in order to find the best spot from which to shoot them; this accomplished the villain is driven out, but oh no! He's got Bobby's knife at wifepoint! Wait, no, the other way around. Bobby suggests they put down their weapons and "fight like men". The villain agrees, but as it turns out that isn't a smart move, as Bobby whips his gun back up and blows him away. Years later, Bobby (or was it the villain?), now an old man, regretfully recalls his actions.

Hopefully these guys will become regulars in the competition; great effort from some young blokes. A fairly basic sort of a plot and characters to be sure, but some decent shots and some great moments (especially Bobby's Mal Reynolds-like pragmatic victory) that kept the audience entertained all the way through. I look forward to seeing what you come up with in the future.

The cocky, confident Bobby Young (fad-making champion) and his more modest, likable rival fad-maker Teddy explain, doco-interview style, the art of fad-making. Their previous successes include pet rocks and 3/4 pants. We see their fad-making techniques explained - the thinking chair (was this a Blue's Clues reference, or was it just me?) and Bobby Young's fad cabinet. The big annual fad-making contest is approaching - the likable challenger Teddy finds it hard to focus though, distracted by his mum's leprosy. The day of the big contest arrives, and our challenger has his Mum's death to overcome. Bobby Young pulls out all the stops with his creation of paperclip jewellery, but Teddy takes it out with the "fad of today", the audience being told that they merely need to "look around them" to see what his creation was.

This was the best film shown on Thursday night, for me. Funny, well-shot, slick technically and two dead-on performances from the actors, who NAILED their archetype cocky-champion and lowly-challenger characters (the film reminded me very much in this respect of the documentary "King of Kong", actually). If I'm picking holes I would say that the film wasn't itself in the fad genre (but then I wonder nationally how many fad films are - I'm guessing very few) and that while the ending was quite clever in one way, as a viewer, I kind of wanted to see what the winning fad was, and really revel in that moment of comeuppance for Bobby Young. Great stuff nonetheless though, and a sure finalist.

All P.O.V. of a police officer (the Paul Holmes of the title, I think?), who pulls over an empty car to discover a man - Bobby Young - locked in the boot of the car. Bobby explains he followed the sound of a screaming baby into the boot, and then it locked him in. Our intrepid officer and Bobby leap into the self-driving car, which drives them to a house - the officer plans a sting, and hops out to stealthily observe events. It turns out Bobby's former bullying victim is now a crazed guy in a robe who used his elaborate self-driving, boot-closing, baby-noise-making vehicle to lure Bobby into his vengeful trap ("Your genius has clearly corrupted your brain", we're told.) The officer scones the crazed robe-wearer with his torch, and seems to have killed him, but no! He had a hard hat (comically improbably) on under that robe, and comes back to life to gun down the officer and Bobby as - I can't believe I'm about to write this - they are distracted by examining his collection of pictures of antique tractors. The whole thing is interspersed with quick scenes of Paul Holmes' (I presume) old recordings in front of a green screen, acting up for the camera.

A strange sort of a film that didn't quite work for me. The discovery of the self-driving trap car idea seemed an overly running-time-sapping way to get the story to where the action was (in the house), and our baddy / ex-victim's weirdess seemed a bit random (I'm not sure why he was wearing a monk's robe, or felt a trap car was the only way to get Bobby Young to his house - seemed a kind of a "Snakes On A Plane" "we've tried everything else!" sort of method.) Interesting to see the P.O.V idea tackled though, and certainly an interesting "third-party" approach to the story of the revenger and revengee.

Doors in a student-type flat are slamming all by themselves 3 seconds into the film and titles suggest the occupants should "call the professionals". A very weird expert is brought in and uses bent wire to detect ectoplasm. "I'm so confused" a character says, and the audience agrees with him. And then...a hilarious low-fi haunting sequence making use of the night vision mode ensues, as sheet-clad ghosts hump the flatmates, then jam, then read a book on the toilet. And...that's it.

Not much plot or character to speak of in this film, but who needs those when you get people to laugh this hard? The hysterically funny haunting scenes were pure 48HRS genius and had the entire audience in stitches. A 'Spirit Of The Competition' classic that transcended the need to be "good".

This fast-moving short begins out in the woods, introducing us to Lester and his girlfriend, who for some reason is nicknamed Helium (I believe it was explained as to why, but I missed it). Helium is off for a while, leaving Lester to his own devices. His speed-talking friend tells him he should take this opportunity to go a bit wild and accompany him to a party. They drop in to see a dubiously accented Bobby Young, who sells Lester a pheromone-soaked shirt to wear the party. This works a treat - Lester ends up in a one night stand, but then realises he's supposed to have picked up Helium - only to find her in the shower with his mate (a scene complete with some naked buttocks). After an encounter with a scary Irish gardener, he bails on the whole scene, and heading for the airport, he has hitchhiking run ins with a stoner, the gardener (who tries pulling moves on him) again, and a luggage stealing thief before finally catching a promising lift right at the end of the film with a random, relatively-sane looking girl.

This film barrelled along. Events moved at such a pace that it became a bit hard to tell who was who and what was up, and it seemed a bit more like a series of events than a story, if you know what I mean. The film also seemed to end just at the point that a rom-com would start. However, there were some great, energetic performances and plenty of laugh out loud moments.

The action opens with a hanging before we meet Bobby Young, a P.E teacher (I expect P.E teacher to be a put-upon profession nationwide this year) and stepdad, whose stepson James is always running late to gym class, and misbehaving at home, too. Bobby has a manly heart-to-heart with him over some XBox and seems to have sorted the problem out, but NO! James turns out up at the gym with some wire and a murderous look in his eye. In a surprise move we learn that Bobby used to bully James' biological Dad at school so badly that it led to his eventual suicide, then Bobby married his Mum, and having discovered his Dad's suicide note, James wants revenge. (In the margin of my notes here, I scribbled "Macbeth!", but what I meant was Hamlet, damnit.) James and Bobby have a life or death struggle on a high-jump crash pad, and Bobby succeeds in choking out James with the wire. James is then led away by the police while Bobby and James' Mum look sadly on.

This was pretty good stuff all round, some quite good performances, and I liked the (surprisingly, for 48HRS) realistic sort of ending that didn't resort to dead bodies scattered all over the place (not like Hamlet there, then). James jumped from troubled teen to would-be murderer pretty suddenly, but hell, we've only got 7 minutes here. Solid effort overall.

An cute wee low-fi animated fairytale film, all told in impressive rhyming dialogue. King Bobby Young is no longer interested in reigning, so he gets an idea from a storybook to talk to a wizard, and asks to be changed into a lion, which he thinks would be pretty great, but the wizard manages to turn him into a frog (which Bobby had asked him specifically NOT to. Jeez, wizard!). As a frog, Bobby is somewhat mocked by his less than adoring subjects. Peeved, Bobby has the wizard return him to human form, then confiscates the wizard's wand and enfroggens the entire village in revenge. But in an epiphany, he realises he's just a mean Nigel No-Mates, so he turns himself back into a frog and he and all the villagers live happily ever after as amphibians.

A charming little film with some great drawings, and the moments of low-fi animation suited things perfectly. The English major in me was very impressed with the all-rhyming narration, although at times the sound balance was out of whack, meaning we lost some of that clever work. Would agree with MistaTeas that the film meandered in the middle a little bit, but a strong finish with the happy frogs.

Silas Organa (the second Princess Leia shout-out of the heat?), founder of Wirism, explains doco-style his wiry cult / religion. He initially wins few converts, but Bobby Young is one such convert, and Wirism turns him from his bullying ways. Opponents of Wirism exist - we know they're bad, because they wear sunglasses. Bobby Young passes on his bent wire talisman (the Wirism equivalent to a crucifix, I guess) to his son on his deathbed, but we never find out what Wirism actually is.

This was a technically slick short with some decent cinematography and production values, but because we danced all around it Wirism without ever finding out anything about it, the story was pretty lacking. I guess the mysterious Wirism was intended as a sort of Macguffin, but was only really presented as straight imagery - (soundless) sermon / prayer meetings, wire pendants etc. - and I would have liked to have learned more about the tenets and principles of Wirism that helped to change Bobby, etc. Well put together though.

An arty black and white opening of a fatal bent wire encounter (gonna be lots of bent wire strangulation this year, methinks) leads us into a series of police interviews in the white room. The police have three subjects (with a handwritten dossier on each one). Flashbacks show the wire victim was Bobby Young, who bullied each suspect. In the end the big twist is...one of the three suspects is actually the murderer.

I expect this turn of events was actually probably cleverer than it seemed to me at the time, but again sound issues (sound, sound, sound!) made it difficult to hear all the dialogue. Some nice shots though - I thought framing the viewfinder of the interview room camera made for a particularly good one, and the opening was interesting. Look forward to seeing these guys back next year with hopefully some better sound!

I admit that the intro from this team had me a bit worried about the film that would follow, but then they delivered what was for me probably the most out-and-out entertaining film of the heat. An episode of a kid's show called Kylie's Corner, the film alternates between bouts of the host Kylie's happy-kitten-rainbow presenting and interjections of a Greek chorus of SUPER-enthusiastic singing teens who power-sing (or sort of power-chant) lessons in stranger danger and anti-bullying, followed by the obligatory moral lesson at the end of it all. Comedy gold randomness (why were they all dressed as pigs at the end?) with a pitch-perfect performance from Kylie and amazing energy levels from everyone involved.

Cute children's drawings to kick off, with accompanying voiceover, explain our young hero's super-powered alter ego (his powers include "tough hair"), with his sister having a magic wand. Their superhero Mum died "fighting the forces of evil", and their Dad is a bit of a bully (Bobby) - he got it from his Dad. Suddenly - bam! - we're in the real, vaguely child abuse-y reality, where the idea of the poor kid's superpowers seem to be a sort of Pan's Labyrinth-y escape from their grumpy Dad and horrible stepmum. Some affecting scenes as the poor wee kids are treated shabbily. Fortunately, dear departed birth Mum is on hand as a disembodied voice and flashback memory to provide encouragement and pass on a magic wire wand (bent into the shape of a heart - awww) to the kids, allowing them to freeze the evil stepmum in her tracks and make their escape as their superhero alter egos.

Some effective heartstring-tugging here with the departed Mum and the poor wee put-upon mites, good triumphs though and all is right with the world. An awesome idea to include the drawings, too - although this made the changes in tone a bit jarring, this ended up largely working for the film. I hear the whole thing was written by the kids, to which I can only say fantastic job, guys - I look forward to seeing your entries in the future.

A couple of young guys are in the park contemplating the horror of their upcoming maths test when -chikka bow bowwww - a hottie walks past. Now obsessed with winning her over, our hero first tries his mate's suggestion of impressing her with a skating trick, but his boarding skills aren't much chop, so he has to go to plan B - leaping out from a pile of leaps dressed in a ghillie suit and presenting her with a flower - only to get BLANKED (harsh). Soon our hot babe is in the arms of the champion school planker, because we all know planking is the key to a woman's heart. Our hero throws himself into a PLANK TRAINING MONTAGE (or PLAINAGE for short), emerges a powerful planker, bests the pretender in a plank-off with a daring plank and literally carries the girl off in his arms like it's the end of "An Officer And A Gentleman".

Sound issues again (will type this a lot, I feel), and planking is dangerous, you crazy kids! (also, get off my lawn! Ahhh, I'm old) but one or two neat ideas here, including probably my favourite line of the night: "That was the most embarrassing thing that happened to me ever, and I went to Armageddon dressed as Princess Leia." A team to watch for in the future.

Christchurch's first plunge into true WTF territory this year showed up with this One Room superhero film. Now retired superhero "Iron Maiden" is paid a call by her former enemy (friend? A frenemy again, maybe) "First Lady", who is determined to drag Iron Maiden back into the superhero game again for reasons that never became entirely clear to me. Lots of close shots and spinning and all intercut with random flashes of a random tea-drinking guy, who is apparently observing this bizarre clash of wills from the corner of the room somewhere, without ever saying anything. Finally First Lady flips out and fireballs random tea drinking guy into chunky giblets (I think) and then...the end? Can't fault the originality anyway, and everyone threw themselves wholeheartedly into the spirit of things.

Our story begins with a guy (who later - I *think* - turns out to be Bobby Young) being gunned down. Enter two 70's style cops - Good Cop and Bad Cop, titles handily inform us - who get a lead, then chase it down with judicious use of some confusing shouting. (Also of note: they have a sweet car.) This lead leads them to another lead (Bobby's brother?) who has an alibi (and what seems to be a product placement deal with Coffee Culture) BUT, undeterred, they somehow get another lead and they chase that guy down too and blow him away with a silent gunshot. MEANWHILE, Bobby's former girlfriend is hooking up with Bobby because he's inherited something (?) and they go the airport - where I was really rather impressed with their access to filming the tarmac and the back of an Air New Zealand plane - and Bobby's ex calls in a hit on Bobby's brother because SHE'S THE MASTERMIND, dun dun DUUUUUN.

I don't mean to sound too harsh - probably the plot is actually a lot less confusing than I am making out here, but this film was *really* hard to hear, with a lot of people talking over the top of each other, and so on, and so we had little chance of keeping up as the story rushed recklessly onwards. Love the ambition though, and David Caruso himself would be proud of some of the sunglass acting.

More cool titles. In a doctor's waiting room, an emotionless man waits with a box (secured with bent wire) in his lap, while other patients pass through and a ditzy secretary casts a slack eye over proceedings. Each new arrival wants to know: "What have YOU got?" (Probably one of the better uses of this very ordinary line we have this year I saw this evening). A nifty time lapse sequence and a great (all visual) gag about computer downtime occur before we learn that the doctor is Bobby Young, and the emotionless man has a surprise for him. The surprise is one that the audience has mostly already guessed, I suspect, but I think few guessed the secretary's reaction to it.

As others have noted, this is a slick film, but for me it felt like perhaps a little bit of style over substance (why does our revenger wait for the doctor to come out? Just because it's the waiting room?). If the story was perhaps a bit simple, though, it WAS well told, and I'd expect to see this in the finals.

Four archetypes - Colorado (Jones?), Vorak the Magician, Princess Imelda and a Mysterious Ninja girl - are on a quest for...something. There was a voiceover explaining it all (at length) but it was kind of hard to make out. Anyway, importantly just as the voiceover is about to go on TOO long, they are attacked by ninjas. Highly amusing fighting ensues, with each of our heroes besting the ninjas in their own ways, and the Mysterious Ninja girl revealed as Bobbie Young. The ninjas defeated, our heroes make their way to a nicely candlelit set, where a robed dude delivers rhyming couplets en route to a Monopoly joke. This episode completed, they set forth again and come across a ute, which they mistake for an enemy of some sort, and having failed to attack it, climb onboard and...it is revealed they are all characters in a role-playing / board game, which someone ends by smacking the pieces over and proclaiming an "act of God".

I thought the film lost it a bit after the church scene (possibly because I just wanted to see more of our heroes fighting ninjas in funny ways), but it showed a good sense of humour and nice use of locations. The church set in particular was very cool. Combining different heroic types in a band was a great idea, but it might have been nice to see a bit more interplay between them.

A ute crash is followed by the first of quite a few cool titles we got during the evening, and then we're whisked away to meet a physicist and his sister. She's got terminal liver problems and needs a donor, and her physicist brother is determined to save her by....body swapping. (I believe it was something about swapping bodies into "the perfect donor" or something...sound was a bit iffy and I was distracted by his whiteboard calculations including the figure "88mph" - nice one.) Before he enact his plan though, his old mate / bully Bobby Young drops by (Bobby Young as frenemy, I guess, an idea we are seeing occasionally) and bullies him into coming out for a night on the turps. But don't drink and drive, kids - Bobby crashes the ute on the way home (as we saw at the start) and the physicist is killed. Accepting responsibility, Bobby steps up to the plate to complete his friend's research and puts himself through the body swap procedure in a scene with some neat little effects, making himself the perfect liver donor for the physicist's sister. One trip to a hilariously morally questionable doctor later, and he's given his life to safe hers (with a great closing line to the film).

A novel-ish approach to the genre (heavy emphasis on the "body" part of body-swap) and some great humour in this film (the doctor for me especially) that kept everyone chortling. A few sound quality issues at the start, but the story was told well enough that we got the gist anyway.

Christchurch 2011 is kicked of with the tale of a woman who inherits an old house from her grandfather, Bobby Young (in this film, as in a few others, the "ex" in "ex-bully" is VERY "ex"). She moves into it with her douchey boyfriend, who enjoys saying "goddamn" a lot. Grandpa Bobby is of course casting an evil and possessive ghostly eye over proceedings, and after warming up with some leering down from his portrait (or mirror?) by a SUPER creaky door, a few poltergeist-type activities, and appearing to his granddaughter in a forest dream sequence, he cuts to the chase by possessing some loose wiring in the house to come down and choke the boyfriend dead, then imprisons his granddaughter in his haunted house.

The film seemed a bit disjointed, but I think a bigger problem was that the premise was quite generic. Solid performances and some creepy-ish images / atmosphere, though.