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    Lawrie's feedback for every film :)
    #1
    Senior Member lawriejaffa's Avatar
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    Righto guys!

    I am touch typing as I go here, and wanted to give you all my thoughts on the films, and because its so late in the day for posting feedback - thought I would do it all on one thread! So I will post feedback (with terrible grammar and typos) in the order I downloaded them from dvx fest.

    Dead Drop
    Some crafty composition & camera movement to keep my attention, interesting decently cast actors with credible performances. A story that had some pace and excitement - but a predictable and dissatisfying ending. For me this story unravelled because of its non-sensical predictable betrayal at the end. My suggestion, would have been for our hero to turn the game around against the bad guy - that... would have been more unexpected - in actual fact, than the ending we had. The nihilistic ending really required a lot more intellect behind it for it to pull off, instead we are given a more mainstream/action/thriller vibe that makes us expect to be more entertained imo. So not bad technically at all, and well cast, but weak storytelling imo.

    Lawless
    Pleasant - museum like film, almost resembling the kind of educational dramatisation I might shoot myself for a client! The text prose at the beginning and end, was a little over the top - is this a drama or a history lesson? There is a more subtle way to combine the interesting factual elements into the film. At times appeared a little too staged, and i can't help but feel the visual montage at the start - with slow down felt a little cliche. (You did avoid the slow down crashing to a still and bang into sepia - i'll give you that!) Charismatic performance from lead, a little dry from the others. Overall, to me this was a pleasant - but slightly mundane film! Utterly competent

    Little Voice
    In that all so American obsession upon the nature of betrayel, we have the first of what I expect will be many film's - focussing on marital infedility. However, unlike most, this film is greatly enhanced by a charismatic performance by the male lead - who manages to perform two characters convincingly. We are left genuinely hoping that our lead ends up going backstairs (to his wife with the 'great boobs' - hey hey.) Elegantly shot, modest story carried off well.

    Occupational Hazard
    A very original and entertaining premise. I was immediately delighted when I saw where this film was going. What a lot of folks don't realise in the dvxuser forum - is that the idea 'that makes sense' - the story in which your mind's little voice goes 'hey that sounds... right' is often the story 50% of the competitions other entries are going to do too... No risk of that here!
    So yep the humour is juvenile, toilet based, but the set up is so outrageous, that it's all good fun - and is shot well too. The performances are amusing enough, though I feel at times, the pace did slow unnecessarily. The number of gags' per second ratio as it were, felt a little low. I was tapping my legs, wriggling - wanting more!
    So in all the film didn't fulfill the promise of its high concept, but its still a solid piece of entertainment nonetheless.

    RoM
    RoM explores elements raised in classic science fiction, with the awkward marriage of technology and the human condition and what it means to be either! I have previously been fairly critical of Ben Sliker's lack of intellectual curiousity in his storytelling - ive always applauded the technical skill and craftsmanship of the films, but felt let down at the pop corn theatrics, or jj abrams style soap opera.
    Somethings changed...
    The keen and effective visual aesthetic is here, but the story, its content and connection resonates with me, and i believe would do so outiside the typical fanboys of a film forum - to mean cranky faced strangers on the street too! I would say this is a well deserved winner for the contest, its daring and looking at uncomfortable issues with far less protective gloss or superficiality.
    It looks great - but it also feels great. Well done Ben and the chaps working with him.
    Feature: LORD OF TEARS - A New Legend in Horror - Pre-Order Now http://www.lordoftears.com/


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    Senior Member lawriejaffa's Avatar
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    The Dinner Guest
    Apart from casting a hot older lady for the mom! This is a crowd-pleasing comedy with some Peter Jackson style gore - and a completely evident twist, but one we are willing it seems to forgo - in order to enjoy the fun of the film. It has a general charisma that invites the audience to partake in its camp/joke gore like humour. The roles of the family are well performed, and eerily remniscent of the great Korean film 'Hansel and Gretal' (again forgive any typos.)
    The film is somewhat let down by uneven special effects for the digital planting of the head over the body - (we do laugh at the cheesy fx, with an air of acceptability) as it does fit in with the film's camp atmosphere. A fun, ridiculous crowdpleaser, that just manages to work through the strength of its charm, poppy colours and well rounded performances.

    The Indispensable Chaucer

    Right, well we have the poppy cultural comic music, poppy swish visuals (its a slick aesthetic, but we might slide and slip off the gloss.) Pace is a little slow too, the exchange and the awkward interactions between our nerd character and (the figure of most male fantasies hehe) is to be expected. The dialogue includes the usual oops - oh how embarassing sweet hearted innuendos and such like. The betrayal element is and would be unexpected to audiences, who would simply see this as an exercise in pop cultural blurghness. So to that effect its quite amusing - the end.
    I think overall, this shoes a fixation with appearance, gloss, and a superficiality that has more to do with looking right, than any irony regarding Chaucer the writer. There i think lays a greater potential for this film, at present it is pretty but somewhat vacant for me.

    The Slice
    Awe this is a very ambitious film, anything looking to explore the use of animation or puppets in the contest deserves special applause! While I had a few giggles at the first appearance of our characters, I would soon left asking where this story or just the action or comedic action - was going to go? The vomiting - the knife 'attack' and other elements were amusing - gross, and unexpeted (and a bit hilarious at that.) But i think this comes across mostly as a fun self indulgent film for the forum, than anything the public would relate to.
    Unfortunately you do have to compare, to what this film would feel like if the puppets were replaced with people? As puppets can't enhance a story by virtue of them just being there, they allow, like animation for wilder perspectives, hyper realities and fantasy storytelling that was just kind of absent here.

    Voices from the Dark
    Is a mature adult thriller, taking the 'tied in a room' scenario all so common to short films, especially American short films to much more interesting and original territory! (That is no small feat!) I loved the dark and intense scenario by which these characters are placed together, the knife and the distraction it plays in the story (leading to the dark revelations of our characters) is mystifying and satisfying. The visuals are top notch, creative and i like the use of colour. The performances are excellent.
    The story and plot will be confusing to many people, - elements will be to most, and thats just the way i feel the cookie crumbles on this entry (just imo.) Make it simpler, and you lose the mystique for those with enough grey cells to discern satisfaction from it, but those who can't (or for other reasons can't access the story hehe as i did have to watch twice to get it all) is a price to pay for your art hehe. Well done.
    Feature: LORD OF TEARS - A New Legend in Horror - Pre-Order Now http://www.lordoftears.com/


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    Senior Member lawriejaffa's Avatar
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    Xepoj
    Elegantly shot, spartan production values, credible performances, interesting voice over, cliched scenario - which given the nature of its expression in the films cinematography and foreign setting will hold both a sense of 'familiarity' to many American filmmakers with marriage issue movies, and a sense of superficial originality. I would say this is a competent film, but not one that blew me away. It's use of abstract shots and voice over, is a great thing to see here though - incorporated so well.

    Acceptable Losses
    This is a fun and ambitious science fiction romp, with a fairly simple story and an effective and unexpected twist (who outside a betrayel fest competition would expect our poor hero to get well... abandoned hehe.) The visual fx are crude however - especially for the spacecraft - and these are made worse with some unnecessary shots (such as at 4mins 50) So an inconsistent visual bag, but overall some nice ideas put together, an enjoyable romp.

    Adam and Eve Must Die
    This is a peculiar film, that like many Hoz films are set in his house (or start that way!) It retains the charm i feel from every Hoz film, and while I can't really distuingish between the characters he performs (i imagine he's like tin-tin in a new adventure in every festival.) I found this film to be a little confusing in part. The camp chap upstairs with the scarf who warns hoz that he will die for breaking the code, seems a little half hearted.
    At least Hoz ends up with the girl however! Its a fun film, a welcome particpant in the festival, but i do have to wonder how it would play to the public. I think more discipline in storytelling and casting would really enhance these films. Technical cinematography / sound, while uninspired is competent imo!

    Backfire
    We have some crazy Miami thriller type grading going on, and a fairly predictable setup, hit man, wife, betrayal (even outside the festival the basic story would be guessed) though it is also incoherent here. There is some decent visual casting though performances are uneven, there is a genuine lack of suspense also, (despite the music's best efforts.) I would say there is far too much attention to style here, and a desire to look good with the gear and the post - instead of good storytelling.

    Breach of Faith
    Another story determined by the gun. I sometimes wonder if American filmmakers in particular are using guns to change storylines with the same panache as those watching TV do there remote controls. While shot reasonably enough, this one fell flat for me - with no story, or build up, and a fairly irrelevant betrayal that leaves us unmoved, unconcerned/disinterested in the characters.
    Feature: LORD OF TEARS - A New Legend in Horror - Pre-Order Now http://www.lordoftears.com/


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    Senior Member lawriejaffa's Avatar
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    Churhi
    Is a great and almost classic Indian style soap opera, it genuinely makes us feel interest for the fate of our wife character, the predicament she has in the face of this new interested love rival, and our understanding of his potential madness - did make me fear for her safety! Teh cinematography has some great shots (im thinking our wife in the swing) but there are uneven inconsistencies, nothing terrible, but im interested to see what more polishing in the technical department will achieve here for your future films. All in all, it was a solid story, told well enough, with reasonable performances. It doesn't scream high concept or have any superficial distractions to make it stand out, but what it does do, it does fairly well imo!

    Circles
    Admittedly im a little put off by silent films, that feature a moving object, connecting people's lives - to that wry all so wary music that keeps us egging along. Some shots i loved were of the Japanese schoolgirls *ahem* but overall the melodrama of this objects consequences really stretched reasonable suspension of disbelief. Overrecations and subsequent disasters were all a little too forced and directed for me. So overall a little inconsistent to me, a little implausible! But some nice shots!

    Cleaned Out
    An ambitious gangster heist film, with two interesting performacnes from our interrogated lead and our evil gangster git! He's bald and he wears a cap (You just know he's bad - especially if he was British - classic gangster!) So I overall enjoyed this film, but it was I felt let down in some areas of technical and performance inconsistency. Our older chap (bless him) looked like a guy helping you out rather than someone appropriately cast. His voice was very hard to discern, and without that his contribution to the plot (fairly important I bet) was somewhat lost on me! The problem is when you get some of your casting 'so perfect' it really makes the stretches more evident you know? However, while not as slick as some, I think this is a fun enjoyable gangster romp.

    Decievers
    This was a somewhat silly film that was all rather implausible but also a lot of fun to watch. It was shot well enough, cast well enough (though everyone was rather pretty) *ahem* especially our 'husband' character, who was perhaps wearing a little too much make up. (I mean he can buy me a drink anytime ;) but it was a little off kilter shall we say for the story.
    Yes it all ended (story wise) very neatly, and was all rather silly, almost like a murder farce of silly convenience. But it was also good fun. If this was a serious study into betrayal and drama then no... but if it was a foray into Dallas and outrageous soap betrayal with tongue firmly in cheek, then it accomplishes much of that!
    Feature: LORD OF TEARS - A New Legend in Horror - Pre-Order Now http://www.lordoftears.com/


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    Exmas
    Okay a little wild on the editing front here, overblown exposures, and perhaps too relaxed an acting manner to fit with this story. I have to admit I did find this one a little hard to follow and watch all the way through. The FX post DoF was unnecessary (i think that was added right?) However it is an attempt to tell a more interesting story than the classic setups seen over and over here, so i give credit to that. I think more planning, more practice, and more discipline in scriptwriting, rehearsal and other basic fare) will see great improvement - but going with original ideas, well you have that one sorted ;) And thats the most important quality imo!

    Facade
    Right, now this film does look very pretty and yes it features some excellent production fx. However my point of criticism here, would lay in a similar manner to your last film Chris, (with the September 11th, disaster theme answering phone message film.) Which is the entire focus is on one emotive point of fact, with little story, just blatant sentimental emotionality. Quite honestly, we could watch a basket of crying kittens only to be dressed in little bowties and made to sit in a showroom and the contextual relevance would be the exact same. Its a point of obvious fact you make, but it is obvious... there is no revelation in this story. Which makes our devoted focus to this one point of fact (someone is hurting inside despite appearances) a little simplistic. Feelings from such simplicity are sentimental but ultimately superficial. Someone watching might be 'oh my god that's sooo sad' but if you think about it - what is your film really saying? Does that emotional response stand to any kind of intellectual curiousity?

    For your Own Safety
    I think you've come on leaps and bounds Rod, this is a very complete and accomplished little faux documentary. It's certainly an alternative take on the Philadelphia Experiment, and while I think it loses its credibility by just going too far in its fantastical qualities (i think you could retain a more sinister feel by keeping it more plausible and make for a more effective film.) It's still good fun, and shows a genuine amount of research and devotion taken towards the subject matter. The voice is perhaps a little too muffled, and the footage of public domain etc, while aptly used could do with more original/interesting content from the present day. However I love the home video footage. I imagine this one is perhaps an overlooked entry, but well done Rod.

    Ghosthunters
    This seems like an incomplete film with a tacked on (somewhat tacky) ending - however there are some nice little moments here and there - in the scene in the car at the beginning. Why couldnt this consistency be maintained. Sure it wouldn't lead to Ben Hur, but would leave a competent credible film. Otherwise I became lost with the story, and found the 'ghost' to be quite ridiculous (especially when the terrifying entity stops to take breaths before going booga boo!) There is potential in the first 30secs, that applied to 6 mins would be great!
    Last edited by lawriejaffa; 04-04-2010 at 04:45 PM.
    Feature: LORD OF TEARS - A New Legend in Horror - Pre-Order Now http://www.lordoftears.com/


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    Hunter's Earth
    Aweee what can I say about this! I have actually watched this film, far too many times now, possibly up to 8 times! So whatever criticism I might make for the film itself, nothing takes away from the fact it has huge rewatchable qualities and is really entertaining.

    However, this film is not and cannot be concieved in any way as a 'serious drama' or a musican/dance performance that evokes 'serious emotional responses'. This is perhaps the campest film I have seen on this festival, and ranks way up among the most hilarious camp films I have ever seen. This in itself is not a criticism, and while it might feel so, consider still that ive watched it 8 times plus, and showed it to many friends - who too also enjoyed it.

    This is the 80s flashdance of science fiction. It is so peculiarly retro, from costumes, music and robot dancing that it even manages to invent pop cultural 80s cliches that didn't already exist!

    First of - for this to be a very serious film, it would have required - ULTRA PROFESSIONAL dancers, on fittest form, with amazing choreography and make up, and even then it would still have been compared to Avatar. Instead we have girls who bless them, are acting and dancing there socks off, but are ESPECIALLY in the case of the native girl character, woefully woefully miscast (for a serious characterisation.)

    From ugh boots to sports shorts, to tiny bows to a hysterical 80s montage dance sequence, this is not a film that evokes serious feeling on the poignancy of human civilization, aliens and humanity. Instead it shows a girl stumbling at times on the ends of her dance moves, comical routines, charming and sweet sincerity, that makes it a touching and hilarious unintentional pastiche of an era. This is the stuff CULT films are made of. It is also in concept a million times more original than 99% of entries in this fest. Massive kudos for that, some use these fest as a comparison of measuring men thingies, others come in with brave new ideas. So much respect to you for that Jason.

    I love you
    A competently acted drama, with an engaging storyline, and with some very attractive cinematography, especially at the start of the film. While it is a little forgettable (my one point of criticism) the actors do reasonably well, and with greater story depth and a dash more of your directors autuer and there may be more to remember by!

    Interloper
    This was an unusual film, which I must confess left me a little lost on the storyline. I get the basic gist that somebody was 'replacing' the other? But I think while reasonably shot and acted, the accessibility of this story was too limiting for me. Especially when your engaging the audience with a high concept, its important to reel them in - to make me figure out whats going on despite a lack of coffee!

    Last Jump
    The ambitious of this film is to be applauded, anyone attempting a micro-budget science fiction epic (even a six minute one) deserves a salute. The opening FX shot in particular is very pretty, though the fx afterwards gets a little less convincing (of ship exteriors) and the colour graded 'earth forest' is a little unconvincing. The story itself as is so often the case with genre attempts feels compromised in the face of the fx and costumes etc. The betrayal has little lead in - for us to justify it, while the casual (and weakly performed) delivery of the rationale for it, is unconvincing. If this had worked, it would have been a style of drama very much in the jj abrams style, - glossy, but still superficial. The biggest benefit would really be in the writing, add more into story imo, and take more time rehearsing your actors and that will do more than half the work to making your movie rock (than achieved by time spent on fx)
    Feature: LORD OF TEARS - A New Legend in Horror - Pre-Order Now http://www.lordoftears.com/


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    Senior Member Chris Messineo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawriejaffa View Post
    Facade
    Right, now this film does look very pretty and yes it features some excellent production fx. However my point of criticism here, would lay in a similar manner to your last film Chris, (with the September 11th, disaster theme answering phone message film.) Which is the entire focus is on one emotive point of fact, with little story, just blatant sentimental emotionality. Quite honestly, we could watch a basket of crying kittens only to be dressed in little bowties and made to sit in a showroom and the contextual relevance would be the exact same. Its a point of obvious fact you make, but it is obvious... there is no revelation in this story. Which makes our devoted focus to this one point of fact (someone is hurting inside despite appearances) a little simplistic. Feelings from such simplicity are sentimental but ultimately superficial. Someone watching might be 'oh my god that's sooo sad' but if you think about it - what is your film really saying? Does that emotional response stand to any kind of intellectual curiousity?
    Thank you for your honest review.

    I cannot argue with your reaction to the film. But I think it's sad that you see this kind of storytelling as simplistic, superficial, and sentimental.

    Perhaps you will like our next film, "Muggles the Cat wears a Top Hat".


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    Look Back and Laugh
    I could almost seeee John Cusack in this! Charming comedy, shot decently, nicely performed, decently casted, reasonable pace, limited production values were a little too self evident with the 'bar' (despite the best efforts of that beer sign!) The story itself was amusing enough if a little slow at times. Overall i would say this is a decent effort that entertained me without blowing me away!



    Mole
    This is a film shot at an unquestioningly unnecessary crop factor - and essentially feels like nothing more than a chase sequence. A little cliche, and I would suggest considering next time that a short film is more than a hypothetical scene from a feature. It is an art form in itself, with a beginning, middle and end. This is far more like a projection of one filmmakers feature making man-gun-dream, than something made for itself. Self indulgent imo.

    Mirror Mirror
    Yep I think there is a clear progression from your last two entries, (Strange Days and flowers) both towards cinematography and storytelling. One of my biggest criticisms prior was how inaccessible storytelling was - and the over the top grading - colouring. Here we have the best of both worlds, you have an accessible story, that is neat, entertaining with a lovely dark edge. Performances are a little wooden (is that ADR?) but they do look the part and carry of the story well enough. The colour grading is playing on the style of Flower, but seems more disciplined, works far better here - and exposure levels look improved. Overall I'd say this is a fine and entertaining film Rodney.

    My Phone
    Where as Decievers took the camp and irraverent humour just faaaar enough, this film goes a little too far. The haha nature of innuendo and the phone, does not really fuse together. Despite the charismatic performance of our actress (and the exotic cinematography) I felt a little 'left out' of the joke in this film. Again it features our beautiful husband with just a little too much make up! (Though he seems a great character in his own right!) Nicely shot, but such a weak story it startles me to think why you would go to such effort to shoot, act this particular script that relies on such an irrelevant revelation at the end?

    Recession
    I'm never a big fan of unnecessary retro film filtering (ie. when the scenes are plainly set in modern day!!! Even if there is some exploratory linkage in the idea of the current recession and the oooolden days of the Great Depression, (and our elderly characters) it doesn't really quite work imo. However that said, the naturalism of the characters, and there conversation does have an effective documentary vibe, and is fairly involving as a film. It might not play well here, as the focus is on anything but what looks or sounds pretty and the story is a little modest at that. But i personally like it, though i'd prefer to see a revised edit without the gimmick fx!

    Rusty
    Featuring some interesting costume/production style choices (of retro 50s suburbia it seems) though not fully realised unfortunately (its an awesome production task in itself to evoke an era, even to satirise it.) So the setting feels a little incomplete, while the story itself, a bit like MyPhone, seems simplistic for all this effort. It almost appears this was a fun film thrown together among friends, than a creative piece carefully concieved with a script scrutinised and thought long over. Again cinematography, production work seems reasonable enough!
    Feature: LORD OF TEARS - A New Legend in Horror - Pre-Order Now http://www.lordoftears.com/


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    Senior Member lawriejaffa's Avatar
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    That kind of is my point of criticism over your piece Chris,

    it's sad that you see this kind of storytelling as simplistic, superficial, and sentimental.
    That you would find it sad - is not that i reject the nature of a story trying to express the unseen suffering of a character (especially in reference to a group of people, of any type that are 'suffering.' But that there are two ways of doing it. Sentimentality is a simple way to incite feeling, but it doesnt make people think.

    Show any pretty girl cutting herself, and we're gonna feel awe... it needs more imo. It would be like explaining racism by having Rodney getting beaten in slow mo with a sugar cane while Im dressed as George Lucas. Okay joking aside, its superficial sentimentality of the type criticised by Brechte as all so typical of bourgeious aristolean drama. Your take in that particular film facade was like a condensed soup tin of that school of criticism.

    I take intellectual issue with 'how your trying to express your idea' not with the idea itself. (Gosh and im only aware of how ironic all my typos are with such lofty criticism, but im racing through all the feedback atm!)
    Feature: LORD OF TEARS - A New Legend in Horror - Pre-Order Now http://www.lordoftears.com/


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    Senior Member Chris Messineo's Avatar
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    I get your point. I just think you don't "get" my films and that's okay.

    You and I must have dictionaries with wildly different definitions of the word "sentimental". I think my films are the opposite of sentimental and I do believe they can make someone "think" and provoke "intellectual curiosity".

    Just not for you evidently.


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