Jay Sherman

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Jay Sherman says it as he sees it.

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I'm torn on this one. I thought the use of soft toys in the place of actors was handled pretty well. Interesting shots and judicious motion helped convey the emotion, but unfortunately the story was a bit hard to follow. I think it was a bit too high concept for the limited resources to convey effectively and while I think I got what was going on, it was a bit of a struggle.

The great thing about 48 Hours is how it can surprise you sometimes. This film did not give me the impression it was going to be anything to write home about at the start, but it turned out to be one of my favourites from the heat. The production value wasn't amazing, the performances were ok, but the story was great and there were some brilliant moments. The ending was damn near perfect, too. I might not be Jamaican, but I was laughing a lot through this one.

This was a nice little animation. Kept things simple, perhaps a shade on the side of too simple, but there was no bloat whatsoever. The animation itself was not especially technical, but they leaned into that and didn't over-reach and it payed off.

Time travel films are a magnet for confusing story and while there was a bit of backstory that could possibly have been added, there was no trouble following the characters through the time jumps. It was a fun, sad story!

Chess Club never fail to deliver. It's such a dumb film, but when you truly commit to a dumb concept the world gets turned upside down and dumb becomes brilliant. This is just such an example.

A parody within a parody of the buddy cop genre that then gets parodied even further at the end, all done with a smile and a wink. Was it their greatest story ever? No, it had some holes but everything was all done with such raging charm that I could barely care less. Always a fun time!

If you've ever had a film screen with the kinds of sound issues this team had to deal with, then you will be feeling for them while watching this. It the stuff of nightmares, I tell you. The sound cutting out completely at times, being wildly out of sync other times, and then a weird doubling effect for the remainder made this a difficult film to follow properly. There were some nice moments but things escalated much more quickly than the film seemed prepared for and it got a bit confusing as to what was happening and why.

They looked like they had a good time so I hope they stick with it and return next year, knowing how to avoid the catastrophes that befell them.

This was a really interesting take on the genre. I love that about 48 hours where teams try to subvert the expectations and end up with something crazy and original. This was exactly one of those situations. The story itself was a bit thin in places but it held together well enough that the concept was able to shine through and keep the audience engaged nicely.

Years ago it seemed like every other team went with the mockumentary route and it just wore on you, but now that they're not the hot ticket anymore it allows films like this to shine without the baggage.

This was a textbook case of playing things smart, not hard. Which is not to say that there wasn't a lot of hard work that went into the film, there definitely was, but it was clear that it was made with a practical attitude and an eye on the prize of getting it done.

The animation was simplistic, but that was fine. This was an ultra film, and even though it teeeechnically broke the rules by having a moment without splitscreen, (it really was just a moment before a phone screen popped up) it still necessitated twice as many shots which meant a significantly higher number of things they needed to draw up. The story was nothing especially novel, but it was handled with care and ran really smoothly. It had great atmosphere and the performances were well done.

I was surprised how good this film turned out to be given that the start felt more like a blooper reel. There was a significant lack of artistic focus during the news interviews, but once that was out of the way things picked up and produced some really nice set pieces that exemplified nature running amok. A little more time figuring out the framing and timing on those initial scenes would have given a nice amount of polish that would have made this a really fun little film from top to bottom.

So simple, so effective. I was really curious to see what this team would do when they got a genre so removed from their usual style. Turns out they do great! It was a film that could have been done by really leaning on stereotype but it felt natural and honest and cringy as all heck. I loved it.

The 'awakener' was fantastic. She was over the top without ever becoming parodic and was so convincing. And the guys opposite played things nice and straight to heighten the performance of everyone.

So great to see teams with a particular style really embrace something different.

Musicals are hard for the best of people, but it's always an extra challenge for newbies. They made a sensible move by choosing to rap most of the lyrics and while there was definitely too many lyrics to keep track of, they were clear enough and the tone came through. Unfortunately, there was very little dynamic, both in the music and the film itself. Things didn't seem to really develop much and it started to drag, which I feel really bad about saying as they were trying to tackle both a tough issue and a tough genre.

I think it was definitely handled better than the other school team in the heat that went down a similar dark path and you were able to empathise with the characters pretty easily due to the shot choices and performances.

...what even happened?

I have to assume that the team exported their film incorrectly and it cropped from every side because those shots COULD NOT have been intentional. Couple with the fact that I had no idea what was going on and have only managed to piece together a fraction of the story since.

Have to give points for whoever it was that agreed to dive into an outside pool at night. That's the kind of mad dedication this competition spawns.

It looked like they had some fin making this one, which is a shame that it meandered so much. There was no tension, mostly due to the writing. The whole thing was pitched like a mystery but even when they introduced the nemesis, it didn't really feel like it had stakes. The ending was pretty forced, too.

Man, did this film beat you round the head with its agenda. Like I've said before, I applaud people trying to tell stories that deal with difficult issues, and especially from such a young team, but it was just so, I dunno. Obvious. I get it, they're new to everything (I assume) but these issues are so important that to be flippant about things, even unintentionally is problematic.

This was a neat idea, and clearly relished in the lo-fi aesthetic. The lead gave a good performance as a man contemplating his imminent death and it wasn't hard to empathise with him. The ending was a little predictable which is weird as I also thought it was a bit inconsistent. Still, for a one man team, it was a solid effort and deserved it's place in the top three for the heat.

It must suck to be a national winner. Lots of pressure to perform, etc. And then you get the genre of death. What are you going to do?

Redefine what a dance film can be, that's what!

I really, really loved this film. I've heard some people complaining that it wasn't a dance film, but rather a film with dancing. A criticism I myself have leveled at other films. Well to anyone who thinks that, they are just flat wrong. The music was constant, the rhythm permeating through every frame. The dance told the story. It might not be so outwardly over the top as say a Carey Grant film, but it was definitely a dance film.

It was shot so well and performed so well and I didn't see the disturbing ending coming. The fact that this did not get the audience award makes me sad.

Had real trouble with this one. It was an interesting concept but was hard to really engage with and follow. Maybe I was just tired at the heat and missed something, but when they started trying to kill each other I was a bit surprised as it didn't seem in keeping with the characters.

That being said, I'm assuming these were first timers and they looked like they had fun, and that's what counts!

A nice, different take on the superhero genre that continues to saturate the market. The story could have benefited from a bit more development as things seemed a little un-setup at times, and while it wasn't really difficult to follow, things sometimes came a little out of nowhere as there could have been a bit more backstory to really get to grips with the characters. Most of the cast gave good performances (dad was a bit wooden at times) and I liked the simple yet distinct costumes which really helped differentiate things.

Really liked the use of the wind element. I would hazard to say it was the genesis of the idea and it was a good move. The actual physical implementation was really well done, too.

I can see what they were going for and I'm a big fan of that style of humour, but if there's one thing a dead horse isn't a fan of, it's continual flogging. The repetitive gag with the coffee slurps got old, fast. Well, maybe the exception being the final one where one of the characters wasn't ready and had to catch up fast. That was kind of amusing.

Besides that, the film didn't make a whole lot of progress. The story needed way more development, both on and off screen. I wouldn't say it didn't make sense, but it just didn't go anywhere and it was pretty awkward.

It's always tricky to review a film like this. They went after such a serious and difficult topic and you've got to handle it carefully so as not to be branded as callous or overly flippant. I don't think this team succumbed to either of those pitfalls but something about it just didn't sit right still. Maybe it was too serious? Maybe the juxtaposition of the drama and the comedy was a bridge too far? I'm not sure.

This is a team with some significant members and while 48 Hours is tough for anyone, I feel like you have to expect a higher standard from pros and while the film was technically on point, I felt that the flow did not seem to work so well and ended up feeling battered about by the 'message'. Yes it's imperative to talk about topics such as this but this film made it feel like we were in detention with the parents. Swing and a narrow miss, guys.

I loved their film last year and I was expecting great things again. I thought this was a sequel for a bit seeing as they had the same leads and the same location, and I would have been totally fine with that, but it was not the case and instead we got another sweet but brutal tale told very well. I don't think they really had the splatstick genre down, more pure splatter, but I'm probably splitting hairs. I really enjoyed it and I think it was a step up from last year. Didn't notice any technical issues and the absurdity was somehow even more pronounced than before and yet still felt very natural which is my kind of dichotomy.

This is a national contender and the Creamery show that they are definitely another team to watch out for.

This was a cute little film from a young team. Definitely some rough edges, but the male lead was so awkwardly charming that you couldn't help but root for him. He was awkward without being cringy, forward without being creepy, rejected but not defeated. It wasn't an especially new idea but the approach they took was fun and had enough energy to keep you interested despite being largely confined to a bench. Look forward to see what these guys put out next time!

I'll be honest, I'm a little disappointed with this one. It's not that it's bad, because it certainly isn't that. It's just that the film from last year was so good and this one is just missing something. The film has some really great and inspired moments, heck the title alone was fantastic. The film was well shot and the sole actor did a good job, however when the film consist almost entirely of someone sitting in a car, talking on a phone (with only one side of the conversation being heard at that), good may not be good enough. Maybe it was the lack of more dynamic action. Maybe the actor thrives more when bouncing off others as she did brilliantly last year. Perhaps the 48 Hours pressure just squeezed a bit too hard this year. I don't know.

What I do know is that this is a team with some great, fresh ideas and the ability to do them justice. It just didn't quite get there this time. I think the concept definitely warrants a revisit with fewer restrictions. Even if it only meant adding more to the existing film.

I want to believe that there was a disaster that happened during the weekend that necessitated a complete redo at the last minute. If that's not the case, then this just came off as lazy. Like they could have more or less done the same film about any other topic and it would have been better. Making it about the competition itself was groan inducing. As the previous review mentioned, the ending was so tragic as to almost go so far beyond unfunny to become funny again. Almost.

Musical is hard, I get it. What's confusing here is that you clearly had the means to deal with the music itself and still phoned it in. They maybe tried to offset it at the start with an 'ironic' comment about not wanting to make another amateur film but, well, knowingly done or not, that's exactly what they delivered.

This film perhaps wasn't as slick as it could have been, but with as solid a concept as they had it it was a relatively minor stumble in the stride to success. A high school film that focuses solely on the teachers was an inspired move and was pulled off rather well. The pacing is a little inconsistent but there were some really nice setups and payoffs that really held the film together. The fight at the end could easily have ruined the flow by dipping into the absurd, but the well pitched performances of the actors held it together nicely.

I don't know if these guys have entered before, but I do hope they enter again!

Definitely a different kind of film this year. There were cuts! Lots of them! And I think this may have been the undoing. The team's previous films had hang on the shoulders of the female lead, and seeing as there was only a photo of her shown, one must assume that she wasn't available and the film suffered for it. Still, it was a gutsy move to not feature ANY on screen characters, and while the story didn't have me riveted, it certainly was coherent. A juxtaposition of seemingly innocuous shots of a kitchen and narration in the style of one of the cheaper form of TV documentary kept the thing moving and there were some decent gags in it, but it did drag a bit.

Hopefully next year they get their star back, or find a suitable replacement as I miss the old UNE. Also, the less said about the narrator's accent the better.

This was by no means an original concept, and if we're honest they didn't break any new ground with it either. That being said, it was competent enough. Like a lot of teams this year, the emphasis was on the technology and not the thriller with this genre and the whole thing felt a bit too subdued to really keep the audience engaged. What should have been a sinister and nail-biting experience just sort of sloshed over the audience like room temperature water. Unoffensive but unremarkable, too.

So confused by this film. They had great wardrobe, used some great locations, and then undermined all of that by using a awful composited background for the throne room. Such a disconnect, and considering how they framed things, it seemed pointless. I'm sure they could have used an actual location. The story also confused me a great deal. I got the general thrust of it. Kind of a fantasy themed children of men, but then there was some guy who was brainwashed or something and I think I zoned out.

This I would say is a classic example of trying to do too much with too little. In this case they didn't have enough time, both in terms of production time to work on the story, and screen time to better develop and present the concept and world they had created.

While this film definitely had rough edges it was an overall enjoyable experience. I don't know if I would classify it as splatstick, more a silly action film. Grindhouse, perhaps? So maybe on that front it's a fail, but who cares. Now I feel that there was an element of plot that I missed as things escalated quite quickly and had this been less absurd that could have been a killing blow, but as it is the film was linear enough that you could coast along quite happily on the action and frivolity. Speaking of action, while I think it would be fair to say that the actors were not stunt-performers, the fighting was still pretty decently executed and set pieces didn't overstay their welcome.

When it's all said and done though, they had a giant whoopee-cushion making whoopee. I mean, does anything else need to be said?

This was an odd film. I think if it were not for the larger than life lead performance it would have been unwatchable. I've got nothing specific against some good wank gags, but the story such as it was seemed to only be an after thought. It wasn't even really going for the gross out factor from what I could tell. It very much was anti rom-com, however perhaps not in the manner the team intended. They looked like they had fun though. so kudos. Better luck next year!

This team just can't let gimmicks go, huh? Once again there was some cool costume standing front and centre in an otherwise very underwhelming film. They dropped the 'steampunk' (yay!) and replaced it with 'cyberpunk' (boo!). I will say however that this year was better than any of the others I have previously suffered through but that could just be down to it's relative lack of contrivances. Sure it still had a pretty forced premise, but whether it be the lack of verbose Victorian-esque dialogue or simply just a better grounding, the film flowed better. Which is not to say it flowed well. It still was a contrived mess with bizarre decisions that removed any sense of tension in what was really the team pretending that they had really been given technological thriller (sans thrills).

That this team managed to snag third place in the audience awards is a travesty as there were far superior films in this heat that did not get a look in. I can only assume they had a significant number of supporters come along who voted indiscriminately.

This was a film that was walking a knife's edge. It kept exposition to a minimum and the only way that that can really work is through the capability of the performers and the two leads in the film were great! They had such great chemistry and individual charisma that even though it wasn't clear right away what was going on, I was invested in the characters and wanted to know more! The film also handled what could have been trite setups with a very considered level of restraint and came off feeling natural and compelling.

If I'm honest, the only real criticism was at the end when the pair drives away with the interior car light on. But I'm really just griping for the sake of griping. This was a significant step up from their film last year (which I also enjoyed) and I hope to see it feature in the finals!

This was a nice little idea that was done pretty well overall. As others have mentioned, the pacing was a little bit off and things felt a bit confusing at times, but it didn't break the through line and the ending went down well. Weeeeeeeell, that is until it was undercut by a cliche remark following the climax. It was completely necessary and lessened the impact of the ending. If it had been slyly set up earlier in the film, it was too sly for this reviewer and it just felt tacked on.

Still, a fun film to watch and good performances by all.

From the moment the female lead flubbed her incredibly overwritten dialogue, looked like she was going to stop, and then powered on, I knew exactly what kind of film this was going to be. I mean, they used THAT TAKE. Maybe that was the only one they had? Maybe the others had even bigger problems? Who cares. This was not a film being made by experts, it was clearly some people who were just enjoying themselves in the competition, which frankly is the best approach to this mad weekend. And while that made it easy to have fun watching the film it does not make it a good film...

On top of the verbosity of the script, the situations were too ludicrous and didn't sell sufficiently to keep you in the story. There were some seemingly random gender switches which wouldn't have been a problem except there seemed to be some kind of consistency otherwise and I thought it was supposed to match with the protagonists.

I hope the team does not take this as a condemnation and they return next year as it's teams like this that really make the competition special!

This film had some nice (if not original) ideas, however the film felt like a bit of a meander to the climax that I felt was telegraphed pretty hard from the moment you saw number on arms. The performances were decent and the effects were sufficient but the edit did not make the film feel compelling. It did not 'thrill', so to speak. If there had been another potential victim that was decided on the final number, that would have added some tension, but as it is it just felt tired, which is a shame.

I'm sure I've said it many times in reviews before, making a serious 48 Hours film is hard. This team tried but I just don't think it panned out.

The film started off well, with a dramatic abduction, but then it just lost its momentum. The script was kinda trite and the actors I think had a hard time trying to deliver some of the overly melodramatic dialogue. The ending was really confusing too. The location didn't sell as a place two people had been locked up in for 10 years and once you saw the outside you couldn't believe they hadn't escaped sooner. A rookie mistake of trying to tell a story that the production couldn't accommodate. Speaking of the 10 year thing, that really didn't sell. The girls didn't appear to age and the reveal of the captor in the wheel chair at the end only confused me. If that was to make it look like he'd become enfeebled with age, then it didn't sell. Particularly for the relatively brief time he appears on screen.

This film ended the heat on a high. Absurd comedy played straight is sublime when done right and this team were shining bright. The use of shadow puppets was great and I'm surprised that more teams didn't go that route. In any case, the use here was the most accomplished and functional that I witnessed in the competition thus far.

My only real criticism is that the film felt a bit truncated, like there was a beat or two missing somewhere and the ending came off as a little anti-climactic. By no means a crippling blow but it's always a shame to see a good film that could have been great. Such is the 48 Hours way, I suppose.

Another team being beaten by the musical. There were moments where you could see the team was trying to deal with what was clearly not their forte, a shoulder jiggle and some editing on the beat alas does not a musical make.

I'm always in two minds. I love that the competition continues to torture teams with this genre as there's nothing like adversity to really push creativity, but it doesn't always pan out and I'm sure it can be disheartening to those involved. This team clearly wanted to make a different film and in other circumstances it might have been great but they just couldn't get on board with making it musical, which is a shame.

There were some moments in this film that were really cool. Unfortunately they were swaddled in a dreary blanket of mediocrity that was the rest of the film.

In regards to the social issues that other reviews are bringing up, I do think it's important to keep them in mind even if you're going completely out of sight from political correctness as the best films of this type rely on satire as much as they do the riotous gore. I can't say whether the team was willfully ignoring them or not but at the viewing stage it doesn't really matter, and what could have been a very silly but knowing affair came off as churlish.

Is this a new team with a familiar face or a re-branded Tomorrow Today and the world has gone utterly mad giving us two years in a row of coherent, entertaining (and completely depraved) 48 Hours films?

A bit of a wobbly start to the piece but once the separation occurs it found its feet and busted out the reckless absurdity with aplomb. If the gross out factor of a seemingly sentient dismemberment were not present, the film might not hold up so well but this is absolutely a team that commits to the deviance and that makes a world of difference.

To be honest, that flipping apron was worth the price of admission alone. Best costume in the competition.

This film was a trip. In the first minute they completely blew away what I was expecting with one reveal and then, with almost no exposition, held us captivated through to the end. The team won two awards at the Auckland final and I think they were greatly deserved. The makeup was gruesome without ever feeling gratuitous, and the lead was superb. Her performance was essentially the bedrock of the film and its success or failure rested on her capable shoulders.

The production value wasn't as high as other films but it never felt like an issue. Everything that we needed to see was seen and communicated well enough and I would argue that the more 'gritty' aesthetic, be it intentional or otherwise, supported the tone of the film very well. I agree with the previous review in that I felt there was more to the story but wasn't woefully unsatisfied with where the team left it. Typically I am of the opinion that what was done in the weekend is where things should be left, however I think this film could really be the start of a larger exploration into these characters and either use this short as the starting piece of a larger work, or as inspiration. Great idea handled with due care and subtlety for great effect. Excellent.

Having now seen this film twice now my opinion has somewhat changed. I've become even more appreciative of he 'Z-grade' aesthetic they implemented but the story feels far less interesting than I had previously thought, which I can only ascribe to it relying on subverting expectation. Having said that, the collision was pretty predictable even the on first viewing and while it was satisfying enough and the denouement was pretty cool it felt a little bit of a cop-out in an otherwise successful story.

First review? Really?

Well first off let me start by saying this team well deserved their win for best song.

This was a pretty simple film and rested solely on the charisma of it's two leads, which is fine as they nailed it. The Jesus-esque band leader slash sexual predator was outrageous in all the right ways and was superbly foiled by the mild-mannered neighbour. The young band members were brilliantly subdued, too. They managed to heighten the already over the top persona of the band leader with little but dispassionate looks.

This film didn't have the same depth of story as some of the other films in the final but it still managed to be cohesive and thoroughly entertaining.

I'm torn on this one. I appreciate the adherence to the 8-bit aesthetic (it felt extremely reminiscent of the games I used to play) and but I found the visuals to drag a bit. It'd be fine if it were a game but for a purely passive experience it left a bit to be desired in my mind.

I have not seen the original film that this sequels, but I feel given the nature of this competition all of the ultra films really needed to stand alone as a great number of people watching wouldn't have done their research, I guess. In this regard, while the whale may have been some genius reference to the first film, it just felt boring and the reveal awfully predictable.

That all being said, I thought this film did a great job of presenting some truly crass stuff in a entertaining way.

The production value on this short was fantastic. I just wish they'd used some of the time they spent making it look fantastic on getting the story to make some kind of sense. It's clear that they were going for a bit of a mind fuck and had a great setup but I really don't think there was any kind of payoff that left me feeling cheated. Maybe there's some metaphor than I'm just not getting. Maybe this is a film that only really reads for people with kids. I don't know. Almost everything about this film was well done but without the semblance of a coherent story it just falls disappointingly flat.

It's always a bit of a risk to go serious in 48 Hours. Jokes are easy and can paper over a lot of holes, but cold hard drama has to be slick. While this film wasn't wholly successful I think they did a achieve a pretty solid tone throughout. The technical elements were pretty good with some interesting camera work. My most significant critique was that the ending felt a little bit flat. I'm all for wanting to know more come the end but I felt more confused than captivated. Like so many films, more story development would have helped push the idea further but a good effort for a young team none the less.

After having read the slightly narcissistic review by the team (use the Team Comment, guys!) I must say I have a greater respect for this film. That said, you have to review the film put in front of you, right?

This was by no means an especially original idea, however I do feel that the team did a pretty good job of bringing it to screen and generally hit the mark where it mattered. It could have benefited form a bit more development (what 48 Hours film couldn't?), but all in all a decent piece of work. That's not even accounting for the fact that this was a very small, young, and apparently significantly unwell team. That they got the film not only done, but done on time is a huge achievement worth celebrating. The 48 Hours spirit is strong in these ones!

"There may be some 'M' rated films in this heat". That preamble from the MC was then followed up by this film. Sheesh.

This was a filthy film. It had a look at the line and stepped way over it, laughing it's head off. It was great! I mean, I've seen some gross 48 Hours films before, but man. This team took things to places few would dare, and yet it was all rooted in a story. Nothing felt needlessly gratuitous, which was pleasantly surprising. There were some technical problems here and there but overall it was a competent film from a team of people who clearly know a thing or two.

It's worth nothing that this film came in from New York, complications from which may have caused the disqualification? I couldn't say. I will say that being able to throw a legit Jackson Pollock painting into the mix somewhat put everyone else's art direction to shame.

I hope they return next year!

So confused with this one. The action was so good but the audio was so, so bad. This team seems like they've got some experience so I just don't understand how they managed to have their sound get so distorted. I actually couldn't follow it at all as a result.

I really appreciated the direction this film tried to take a folktale, however I felt that some of the interactions didn't make sense. The first two characters the wolf meets seemed like random passers by and therefore it didn't feel justified what happened to them later. Which is a real shame as in every other regard the film was a success.

I must admit, I don't recall any sync issues. That is not to say they definitely weren't there, but it clearly didn't matter to me. I'm a sucker for absurd comedy and this one was done to perfection. The cinematography was excellent and the performances matched. Brilliant restraint in what could have so easily have gotten corny.

I couldn't tell if the wrapped bodies landing in the stream were actually people or dummies, but if they were real than I have to admire the trust they put in the team cause that did not look safe.

This film had some nice technical elements, that didn't make up for the extremely thin story. In fact, if it hadn't been for the title I'm not sure if I'd have followed it at all. There was basically no conflict, either. The only moment that ostensibly threw an obstacle at him, when he was being told to get lost by the flatmate/girlfriend/female character was irrelevant as he hadn't really wanted to be there in the first place.

This team has some skills but needs to focus on story more.

I think this team was trying to be subversive and perhaps suggest that homosexuals are alienated but if so the entire film seemed to work to undermine it. Basically I'm saying this wasn't an alien film.

That being said, I think there was some cool stuff in here. The moment that stuck out the most was the 'joining'. I wasn't expecting it to be done in such an intense fashion. It looked like it probably hurt, so I must commend the team for their commitment to their art.

People always bemoan musical as the hardest genre. I disagree completely. To make an amazing, yet deliberately bad film take a level of ability that few possess. All of the best Z-Grade films are so wonderful because of their misguided integrity and I feel like this film managed to somehow knowingly tap into that. The subject was wonderfully obtuse and the comedic timing was tragically on point. They even got the perfect level of discontinuity. Just terrible, and by that I mean amazing.

This was another team that I had hoped would return to a different story (Clean Getaway is one of the best movies to have ever come out of the competition in this not so humble reviewer's opinion). That being said, the way they approached the sequel to last year's champion film was pretty masterful. My only real complaint is that I felt the ending did not hit at the same level as the rest of the film. I don't even know if it was possible, both in regards to the overall quality of what led up to it, and in the very abstract nature of the subject. This is a solid film and worthy of praise, and I am once more really excited to see what they produce next year!

When you're making a serious 48 Hours film, you've got to use something of a light touch. This was a bit heavy handed. I also didn't quite understand why the girl was where she was and why she couldn't get herself out. I kept thinking that she was being held prisoner, Silence of the Lambs style, or maybe she was allegorical, or perhaps even supernatural (the briefcase the protagonist carried threw me into thinking maybe she was stuck inside that).

I feel like this team had some big message they wanted to communicate which was unfortunately drowned by confusing signals throughout.

Chess Club do it again. I had hoped there would have been a return to Bread Winner but it does take a brave team to voluntarily go back to musical.

I think they were perhaps pushing the idea of a sequel a bit too far, but I really enjoyed the film none the less. It was a really slick presentation on a very simple idea, the bookending by Morgan Foster held the the otherwise thin plot together really well and the performances were outstanding. It just goes to show that you can do amazing things when you keep it simple.

Great costume and art direction does not a watchable film make. This film was strange from the get-go, which I am in no means denigrating, but it has to go somewhere and make some kind of sense otherwise what's the point? The way this thing ended came out of nowhere and really undermined the rest of the film and didn't explain anything. There was such promise but it ended up such a mess.

It's really hard to go serious without having decent production value, and especially when you're already tasked with making a musical. I think that if this team had tried to work with the technical limitations they seemed to be under they could have been more successful. They did have some skills on display but it was pretty awkward to watch at times.

I think these guys had a decent idea but just weren't able to develop it properly. The musical genre is always a tricky one, even for top teams, and this seems like a fresh bunch so hopefully they were not put off by the difficulty.

The lead had a good voice and if they'd had more time to write and practice the songs I think they could have had some really great tunes.

Make a good film. Make a serious film. Make a 48 Hours film. Typically you only get to choose two of those. This team managed to smash out all three. Is it perfect? Definitely not, however the heart of the film is so ridiculously solid that any flaws are mere irritations rather than complaints. If this was anything other than a 48 Hours film, I would be holding it to task as these guys clearly have the storytelling chops to have fixed those minor problems, but given that this was somehow dreamed up and delivered with such slickness in two days is remarkable. I'd be prepared to put decent money on a national slot and if it took out the top spot I wouldn't be remotely surprised.

These guys are ones to watch, inside and out of the competition!

This is by no means a new concept but this team did a really nice job of implementing it! There were some original takes on topic and it gets pretty meta at times. Well performed and put together. Keen to see what this team puts out next time!

I really like this film. While the kinds of tone that were being used for the christmas genre were perhaps predictably similar this year, teams were still able to show plenty of difference and I think this was the most successful that I had seen. Some great performances and when Santa was confronted with the kids, I wasn't sure if you were going to go there. You did. Bravo. I typically have no time for poetry driven films but this one worked really well and was obviously totally thematically appropriate.

My only real gripe was that it would have been great to have more elves in the factory, but, well... 48 Hours. Understandable.

I recall when it seemed like every other film in this thing was a mockumentary, which always put a damper even on the good ones. That trend has definitely passed so it was great to be able to watch this film without that stigma. I really liked the idea, especially with it being based on a real law. I'm assuming that this is a newer team so while there were definitely things that could have been done more successfully I was more impressed with the potential they displayed. The story was solid and they had a good sense of humour. The style also is very forgiving of technical errors, so whether or not that was a motivating factor it was a sensible choice.

A really solid entry. I laughed out loud when I got the reference the story is based on. Yeah, it's a corny idea but it was handled really nicely. The ending was well done too, despite the idea of a hardcore Santa being the obvious go to for pretty much every christmas film this year.

The team intro I think was the most accurate expression of a 48 Hours weekend that has ever existed, too.

Ok, guys. Just stop it. The steampunk thing is done. You are time and again throwing these great looking props and costumes at a film with an incomprehensible story, rubbish sound, and cheesy effects that do not in any way fit the otherwise 'highbrow' tone.

I just couldn't stand this one. I'm so tired of the gimmick. Give up the shtick and just make a film that makes sense. Please!

I couldn't really understand what the characters were saying so could only guess what was happening. There was some nice ideas from what I could make out but just could have been realised more successfully.

An interesting idea that I wish had been developed further. The story was there but it just felt like it was missing something.

This was an interesting film with some fantastic editing, but I really felt like the idea was underdeveloped and relied too heavily on the (admittedly great) visuals.

There was some really nice stuff in here. Great use of the location and really slick, restrained effects. I really didn't get the ending, though. I don't think they needed anything after the last incident. It was a twist that didn't make any sense to me.

This film started off so well! I don't know what happened but things clearly got out of hand for this team. I will say that I hugely respect the fact that despite some significant sound issues that might have deterred others, they still handed their film in. That 'it is what it is' attitude is vital for this competition!

I didn't really get this. Maybe it's just my hearing playing up but I missed the key premise of why the guys were in his house and got distracted for the rest of the film by trying to make sense of it. I'm usually a huge fan of minimal exposition but I think this one could have done with a bit more hand holding.

The Trump pictures were brilliant, though...

UNE continue to test the limits of minimalism, however I feel like it slipped a bit this year. I can only assume they were thrown off a bit by their genre. I still applaud their obvious commitment to their aesthetic.

Having said that, the songs were decent and the lead has a great voice.

I thought this was a cool idea and with a bit more time it could have been bloody brilliant. As it is though there were a few things that pulled me out of the story. The most significant was having trouble figuring out who the princesses were supposed to be. I don't think it was super important for them to actually be specific, but seeing as they clearly wanted those characters they could have made it clearer from the start. I got stuck trying to decide which Disney princess the one who turned out to be Dorothy was, for instance.

The performances were all solid and it was really original. Look forward to what they hand in next year!

I didn't think these guys had entered this year and we'd be spared the the random clusterfuck that is their typical style. Well 50% of that was true. This was a much more cohesive entry and it made such a difference. The gross out humour and purposefully awful effects had something solid to latch onto and be elevated by. I really liked the take on the sequel, too. It was ridiculous, it was scandalous, it was hilarious.

#metalwizardlives

This movie went from eye rolling cringe to absurdly hilarious. Whether that was deliberate or not I couldn't say, though I suppose it doesn't even matter. The story was disjointed and minimal, the effects were atrocious, and yet it got some of the biggest laughs of the night in a pretty comedic heat. Was it a great film? No, but it's films like this that make me love this competition!

This was definitely my favourite of the heat. Strong characters, interesting twists, and great production value. Also a damning indictment of gentrification. Funny and topical!

I really thought I was going to hate this film. Vertical video, the 'Hey, it's Fred' squeaky voices, the general lack of polish. However, this is old school 48 hours. Some random ideas roped together which somehow all work and then rounded off by a completely mental ending. The production value was low, but the laughs were high. They ended it exactly at the right moment, too.

Definitely one of my favourites from the Auckland final. The ideas were really creative and the performances from the two leads were fantastic. There was something about it though that just didn't quite sit right for me. Like it was missing a beat or something, which was a damn shame as it was otherwise great. I loved the way you ended it, both with the twist and then the twist on the twist. The abruptness worked really, really well. Really looking forward to what this teams puts out next time!

I'm not even sure what happened in this film. More time should have been spent making a likable protagonist than shooting unmotivated tracking shots. I really didn't understand the remark about the main character 'getting what she deserved'. I must have missed something, or something might have been missed?

The ending was weird too. First I thought the runner was just waiting for the main character to move on, but I think they just were waiting for a cue despite being smack in the middle of shot. I dunno, this whole affair felt more looks rather than substance which. Spend more time on your story, guys. You'll be better of for it!

Great costumes and props. And that's it. This team once again seemed to have a whole lot planned out before the weekend and tried to inject the required elements into that. I applaud them for only sticking to one subculture this year, but it just felt so forced. The dialogue, or at least that which I could discern (so quiet?), was overly verbose. I get that these are supposed to be Victorian-esque characters but it didn't feel natural at all to me. Speaking of unnatural, let's talk about the VFX. OK, I know, it can be hard to get it all done in 48 hours. I get that, but this team is consistently trying to saturate their work with portals and lasers and what-not. It didn't look like they were even close to getting them all finished this year and the film suffered greatly for it. Also, maybe I don't understand steampunk as well as I thought I did, but portals and lasers? Really? Where was, you know, the steam?

I would love to see this team try something different. Drop all of the various trappings that they usually cling to and go simple. Focus on making a good story rather than figuring out how to explain the peculiarities to a bemused audience.

Once again, I don't find myself in agreement with the other reviewers on the genre. This definitely wasn't a traditional rom-com, but I don't know if I'd swear blindly that the relationship wasn't romantic. It would be a twisted, repressed kind of romance, but there seemed to be something there that said more than just 'I like working here'. I'm sad the team got disqualified as I thought this was one of the strongest in the heat (as is often the case). The two actors were great, the lead in particular and the whole thing was wonderfully silly without being stupid.

I want to watch it again!

Ambition is great, but it's only a fraction of the equation. This was one of the teams in this heat that tried to create a world that they just didn't have the resources to pull off. Some great costumes were let down by some completely mismatched locations. I just couldn't buy it. The story was hard to follow despite its simplicity and I just kind of zoned out a bit. I too would be interested to know if there was any trouble caused by that fight scene on the overbridge.

I'm a little torn on this film. It felt a bit muddy, like they weren't really sure where they were going with the story but kept moving anyway. However, whatever meandering there may have been they took a decidedly scenic route and I really enjoyed it. It was an idea I hadn't seen before and while I think there may have been one or two jokes in there that could have been cut, the rest of it great. Some nice performances that didn't devolve into caricatures (although some came close) and the ending was interesting, if a little unfulfilling for this reviewer.

This team has good instincts and I can only assume they'll keep honing their stuff and next year will be even better!

A well shot, well acted, tedious film. OK, maybe I'm being too harsh. Some of the film was great, I'd just seen it before. A lot. And this is clearly a team with some miles behind them, so it's not unfair to hold them to a higher standard. In all honesty, if the charity worker hadn't been performed so amazingly creepily (seriously, I had chills), then I think the film would have been completely forgettable. The biggest problem for me was that they pushed the joke too far. The super actiony camera sweeps in the park just felt forced and then the self parodying move on top of that was even more so.

The team had the beginnings of a cool idea but just couldn't get it to the next level it needed to be at to really shine. You guys have skills. Don't settle for the obvious!

The banter at the end was great though.

Anyone who doesn't think a resurrection of Vanilla Ice's career is horrifying needs to seek help. Yes this team once again went a comedic route but I don't think that precludes it from being a horror film. Could it have been in a more traditional vein? Of course, but so could have a lot of films that people consider classics.

This team once again strove for a minimalism and somehow managed to strip away even more than their most sparse affair from previous years by having what seemed like three quarters of the film in total darkness. It shouldn't have worked, and yet it didn't detract. This I can only put down to the great chemistry of the two actors. The female lead was particularly good which was important as the entire film rested on her shoulders.

Some of the elements could have been better utilised and the ending fell a little flat in comparison to the rest of the film, but all in all I really enjoyed it. Once again a different spin in a competition dripping with repetitiveness.

Really underwhelmed by this film. Thought it was going to be just another mess like previous years, and if I'm honest it kinda was. However they managed to save it by taking a step back with the reveal at the end.

I say save. Really I mean outline. The ending added some context to an otherwise muddled affair, which did have some moments approaching charm but in a kind of seen it before way. Once again, the this team's film was completely overshadowed by their intro.

I'm sure I've heard Ant say something along the lines of 'throw away your first idea'. This film feels very much like a first idea.

The bell ringing moment moment is great and if the film had really built itself around the dynamic there it would have been something worth watching. As it is, the film is confusing and pretty flat.

Also, maybe try and shoot all of your own stuff and not throw copyrighted material in there? You made Bruce sad.

This film displayed masterful restraint. A very simple (if twisted) story executed damn near perfectly. The use of the prop was the best I've seen this year, perhaps even ever. It MATTERED to the story. It had repercussions. Far too often are the elements, the prop particularly, thrown into the film seemingly as an afterthought. Yes, this could have been something else, but it in no way felt token.

A few people have commented that the tangent to the boss was too brief, or didn't provide enough back story. Well I completely disagree. The purpose of that section was to show WHAT the boss did, not WHY. He was not a character of any significance. The film wasn't about him, it was about the two women. The only purpose he served was the cause of their situation and a constant source of fear, which the little flashback provided beautifully.

I could go on and on about this film but instead I'll simply say that if this film does not carry through, the actual finalists must be fucking amazing to justify the snub.

This is not a team to take the road most travelled. Sometimes it pays off. Sometimes it doesn't. Brownsense was definitely the former.

I don't really know what to say about this mind-bending work of art. It didn't make a whole lot of sense. I don't know if it was supposed to, but I do know I don't care. I have a tendency to hate on films lacking story, but this one seemed to laugh in the face of typical narrative and was the better for it. An active disregard for typical storytelling as opposed to a clueless fumble for narrative usually resulting in a horrible mess. All of that backed up by a superb technical showing. Creative yet functional. A difficult balance to to find at the best of times, no less so when trying to work outside the box of convention.

This was a weird one. I say that in the positive. There was only a semblance of a story and characters, which would ordinarily be a cause for concern, but something about this film kept me interested. Perhaps it was the humerous performances, or the not too subtle political overtones (#ponytailgate), or maybe just the sheer difference from everything else in the heat. Whatever it was, it felt well put together and everything flowed nicely. Another young team with a bright future

What do you do when you're a team from an all male boarding school and get handed 'Rom Com' for your genre? Obviously you go with online, false identity, gender swapping, bread fetishism. And puns. So many puns.

This was an interesting idea and the team really made it their own. The team's use of bread themed parody websites and online chat was inspired, but the big problem the film suffered from was that the initially neat split-screen chat windows being used to show us the conversation juts. didn't. stop. I got to a point where I couldn't care less about what was being said, or typed, I suppose. As amazing (awful) the puns were, it didn't matter because the picture was almost completely static. Writing on screen is tricky at the best of times, but when that's all there is for a really solid chunk of your running time, you've got problems. A classic case for 'show us, don't tell us'.

All that in mind, this is a young team who came up with a great, original idea (assuming those WERE parody websites... the mind baulks at the alternative) and, with the exception of marathon chat sessions, pulled it off admirably all things considered.

I've seen a lot of these 'grind-housey' kinds of films in the competition over the year, but rarely are they as well put together as this. This team totally gets the aesthetic and despite the completely over the top, well, everything, it never strays into self concious parody. They OWN it.
The cinematography was excellent, the performances were excellent (especially man playing the twin brothers), and the special effects were pitch perfect for the aesthetic (lo-fi but compelling!). The story was perhaps a weeee bit too big for the time limit as the introduction felt a bit rushed, but honestly I haven't laughed so hard for a while. The crowd response was immense and I'm very confused as to how they did not get the audience award. I look forward to seeing what this team pulls out next!

This team normally does 3D animation, right? I respect them fro wanting to try new things, but this film didn't turn out so well. I had real trouble following exactly what was happening and was forced to piece it all together after the fact. I really didn't get the ending.

The lead actor did a pretty good job all things considered, and the bread... moment... was something to behold. But unfortunately it wasn't enough to carry the rest of what was a pretty disjointed film. If this team plans on going live action again next year, maybe play to their strengths. Keep the idea simple and integrate some interesting VFX that work with the story.

I applaud zer05um for not going with the cop-out Rockumentary option, but this wasn't a dance film. This was a film that had dancing in it. Subtle but significant difference. The film seemed to rely heavily on stereotypes instead of building characters. It was like the start of a joke (a goth, a steampunker, and an android walk into a bar...). The only real character, the enthusiastic janitor, got sidelined by the rest of the cast and the film definitely suffered for it.

The film was competently shot and edited, the VFX seemed rushed but were effective enough, and the performances did the trick. What let this film down (other than the unfortunately echo-laden audio) was the writing. Trying to cram in all of the wildly different genre characters together felt really forced. Just cause you have some awesome costumes doesn't mean you HAVE to use them. Story comes first!

I'm so glad this team returned. Their one minute, one shot film last year was a revelation considering the competition is so frequently filled with bloated films that could easily be cut in half. This year was no different (despite being twice the shots and about three times the length). It was not the most original of ideas, but it perfectly represented the genre and used the other technical elements in a manner that felt integral to the story rather than a token gesture or after-thought. Some people have commented saying it was too brief and wanted to see more, but I completely disagree. I think it did what so few films manage and stop when the time was right. No tedious resolutions or drawn out explanation, just getting the point across and getting out.

There were some sound problems (rumbly fan or whatever, microphone rubbing on the actresses clothing), and the Harper Harrison character could have been clearer, but I really hope they continue on next year and stick with their minimalist approach. It's something different if nothing else. Great work!

I liked how the film started off. Some good camera work and the makings of a good set up, but I didn't really understand what happened after that. It felt a bit like they'd had an idea for the genre but needed to find a reason for someone to go on a killing spree in a house and didn't really come up with anything really compelling.

This team definitely has potential, just need to work on their stories. Better luck next year!

I was not in any way surprised when I saw this had won the audience award. I was apprehensive when the film started - you know that old role about who you shouldn't work with in the biz - but instead of being a mess of a film at the mercy of a cat doing its own thing, the film turned out to be both inventive and hilarious! How the team managed to get the cat to perform so amazingly is beyond me.

If I had to add some criticism (and I kind of don't want to), I would say that it could have been a bit tighter in places. Like some of the jokes were drawn out just a tad too far. Also the cinematography could have been better, but to be honest that's just nitpicking cause it really didn't matter. The simple yet engaging story, the great humour, and of course the cat's cuteness factor carried the whole thing to lofty heights.

Can we expect a Mr Nibbles 2? I would pay good money for that.

I really liked the simple approach, something that a lot of teams could take notes from. Considering that there were only two people on the team, this turned out great! Obviously there is no such thing as a 'perfect' 48 Hours film and things can always be improved. I think this film could have been trimmed down a bit more to increase the focus, but really, a simple idea executed well. The voice over was well written and delivered and served as a great counterpoint to the action on screen.

A lot of really laugh out loud moments (the book scene? Brilliant). I hope this pair continues on together next year and builds on what they achieved here. I think it'll turn out really cool!

For the record, I didn't notice a boom (or even a pseudo-boom).

I don't even know where to begin with this one. It just felt like a slew of half formed ideas, that could have been really interesting, but instead turned into a chaotic storm of 'what the hell?' Had a really hard time trying to figure out who the protagonist was (still not really sure) and really wasn't invested in any of the characters which meant I didn't give a damn when any of them got taken out. This was an interesting concept that could have had some legs but it needed focus to avoid the clusterfuck it turned into!

What the hell was that? I know from seeing their film last year that they like to make films that are a bit... left of centre, but this was just a mess. Trying to cram every genre into the film and leaning on WTF shock value was a mistake, in this not so humble reviewers opinion. Time would have been better spent building character (when's the Metal Wizard getting his own chat show?).

This team has an aesthetic that they're quite adept at bringing to screen, they just need to focus on telling a cool (undoubtedly crass) story!