ATVA Reviews: Part 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

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Another day, another set of ATVA reviews, what can be expect from these ones? The AirTV Awards take place on May 15 in the Macrobert Arts Centre at 7pm, tickets are £7 and can be bought at a stall in the atrium or on the Macrobert’s website.

Lines and Fog – Victoria Pajadaite

Lines and Fog

James Fitzsimons

If there’s one thing that can be said about Lines and Fog, it’s that Michael Mullen can act. The rest of it I just don’t understand. It seems to be one man’s spiral into substance abuse and takes place in a hallucinogenic fuelled nightmare only to suddenly and violently die. Maybe it’s real maybe it’s not. Still, still the makeup was well done and it was shot nicely. I just had no idea what was going on

2.5/5

Cara Boyle

Really intense, it took me a while to get what was happening and some parts were really creepy. I liked how it used little sub-titles throughout, as well as blurring the camera. The make-up was great and the music gave it a lot of suspense.

2/5

Aaron Fincham

For a film that is so unusual, I have surprisingly little to say about it. The concept is interesting, mysterious enough to spark curiosity without being frustratingly confusing. The scenes are well edited and the cinematography is excellent. It is a shame that the production value had the constraints that it had, which becomes obvious in the ‘pregnancy’ (I honestly have no idea if that’s what it was meant to be, not in a bad way, more in an acid trip way) scene. The acting is the weakest aspect of the film, which is a big hit to its overall quality since the film focuses entirely on the enclosed reactions of one character (counting the Maleficent lookalike as symbolic representation of something, which for what little was there was well acted). A well-made, interesting concept that is let down by a poor main actor.

3/5

Daniel Wright

This was a strange one and I mean really strange. Viktorija Pajadaite’s Lines and Fog casts Michael Mullen as an unnamed man experiencing various ‘stages’ of mental state over the course of a single day. These include the mundane to the exceptionally disturbed and horrifying. The film starts out particularly strong with some great cuts and camera work that really try to bring you into the mental state being experienced by the character. As the film continues he becomes more and more unhinged in what he experiences with much of the film leaving me feeling unsettled and uncomfortable as I watched; something I struggle to decide is good or not. The stand out factor in Lines and Fog is the sound editing with different music tracks and sound-effects creating a strong series of atmosphere and emotion throughout the film which greatly adds to immersion in the unsettling events. Overall, Lines and Fog is a film that doesn’t overstay its welcome and does some interesting things while it’s around.

2/5

Cory Thomas

Fantastic music, editing, cinematography, lighting – this piece looks fantastic. This film genuinely made me uncomfortable while also simultaneously being beautiful. Excellent use of sound effects sent shivers down my spine. Great work!

5/5

Carys Lunn

Lines and Fog has very great sound design, and the fast-paced editing works very well and helps to create a creepy and disturbing atmosphere. I was not quite sure what was going on though, and I’m not the biggest fan of horror so the creepiness was not to my taste, but it was well achieved all the same.

2/5

Going Great – Eilidh Nurse

Going Great

James Fitzsimons

We have all fallen in love with strangers at a bus stop, haven’t we? No? Just me? Wrong. Eilidh Nurse’s Going Great is the story of a girl who is in love with a girl she sees every day at the bus. The drawback? She doesn’t know the girls name. Funny and charming with Crea Barton playing an excellent leading lady, Going Great has that heart-warming rom-com feel that I am a sucker for

3.5/5

Cara Boyle

A really sweet story, it made me smile the whole way through and the Leonardo DiCaprio pillowcase was amazing. Crea and Abby did an amazing job and I need to see what happens next the ending was too cute.

5/5

Aaron Fincham

Going great is offensively dull. The concept is your copy and paste rom-com type situation. Except remove the comedy. Then remove any romance. The film doesn’t do anything particularly wrong, but its complete and utter lack of anything interesting or engaging somehow manages to make it worse than if it had thrown out the book of how to make a film well and fallen flat on its face. It feels as if it was written by a primary school student who once saw one of Mum’s movies that Dad always moans when it’s on the TV and wanted to recreate it in order to win some affection back from that bottle of red she likes so much. As cliché as a it can be.

0.5/5

Daniel Wright

It is often said that a film lives or dies by the performance and personality of its lead actors and Going Great demonstrates this to a tee. Following Nancy (Crea Barton), Eilidh Nurse’s film shows her passive pursuit of Maggie (Abby Ferguson) who is ‘basically her girlfriend’ despite not knowing her name. This sets up some amusing commentary by the lead which is predominantly told through voiceover; a style that works well here but could have been done differently in parts. Though not hilarious, Going Great does cause a chuckle at particular parts which are mostly due to the brilliant acting of Crea Barton in the lead role. A Best Actress contender in my opinion, Barton is believably awkward yet charming which makes for a relatable character that the audience can comfortably root for and enjoy watching. All in all, Going Great was an extremely pleasant surprise in the 2017 ATVAs; a feel-good film that leaves you ‘going great’ at its conclusion.

4.5/5

Cory Thomas

Going Great is pretty damn Great. It’s very funny, incredibly awkward and also pretty relatable. It does those three things with a really sweet tone. It’s certainly a film to lift your spirits.

4.5/5

Carys Lunn

This film follows Nancy, played by Crea Barton, who is very awkward and shy as she attempts to approach her crush who eventually decides to hang out with her, aww. Barton’s performance in this film is so endearing that by the end of the film I felt as though I knew Nancy and understood her awkwardness, which shows how good the writing of this film is. Going Great is so sweet and beautifully shot, a very enjoyable watch.

4/5

Let’s Go Crazy – Tony Beneditti

Lets Go Crazy

James Fitzsimons

A tale of high functioning depression and how you never know what’s going on in someone else’s head. In the end, it feels more like an after school special or PSA on depression. Everything feels a little on the nose and unnatural and I felt that the characters played by Abigail Ferguson and Michael Mullen were a little too calm in the face of a friends death. Still that doesn’t take away from the good acting and the accuracy of the information Michael’s character gives

3/5

Cara Boyle

When I started watching it, I wasn’t really sure where it was going, but the final scene was heart breaking. I had to watch it again once I knew how it ended and it was so emotional to watch. Very thought provoking and definitely wasn’t what I was expecting.

3/5

Aaron Fincham

A fundamental misunderstand of how you create an emotional response in your audience would sum up this film. Throwing big dramatic events at people that are meant to be emotional are not going to create an emotional response in your audience if they have no formed a connection with the characters. If you fail to create meaningful characters and fail to create a connection between them and your audience then your emotional drama won’t have any impact. Let’s Go Crazy doesn’t develop its characters; it doesn’t create meaningful emotional drama. Unfortunately, as it’s a short film, it can only do a certain amount in the time it has. So the fact it fails to manage what it tries to do just renders the film empty and gives it a feeling of meaningless.

1.5/5

Daniel Wright

Let’s Go Crazy by Toni Benedetti is a film that delivers a strong, sobering message in a way that seemingly comes from nowhere. Beginning by introducing a woman who has just been dumped by her boyfriend, the story unfolds in a manner that leaves you wanting to know where it is going because it can be difficult to tell. The acting from everyone is nothing truly impressive but still stands up as competent and good at delivering a script that appears to arrive at its final destination without really knowing or preparing for it. Overall, Toni Benedetti’s film is one that makes you think about the sobering message, which it delivers, but through a plot that doesn’t really seem to fit or prepare you for the subject matter.

2.5/5

Cory Thomas

I like the theme, I like the general idea that was attempted here but a script with questionable dialogue, some choppy editing and mostly static shots made it hard for me to engaged.

2/5

Carys Lunn

Let’s Go Crazy is a film about suicide and depression, and the last scene is very sombre, which achieves a great depth of emotion. I would have liked to see more development of the two main characters, although their spontaneous friendship is very touching. I also didn’t feel like anything that crazy happened in the way that the title suggests, which I find a bit confusing. Regardless, it is a well-made film, and the acting is particularly strong.

3/5

A Cult Film – James Lee

A Cult Film

James Fitzsimons

James Lee’s movies are always…weird. Weird but enjoyable. I think that suitably sums up A Cult Film as well. Starring Matthew Roud, we see one man’s effort to make new friends in the most unlikely of places – a satanic cult. Because where else would you go. The acting was good, with my personal favourite being Rowan Rennie, the props looked great and while it was largely for laughs (see violent rabbit in a cage) the film also had some heart in the end.

4/5

Cara Boyle

This interesting documentary style film had the perfect balance of creepy and funny. The cult member’s costumes were brilliant and Calum Moore’s performance was a stand out for me. Very well put together and really enjoyable to watch.

3/5

Aaron Fincham

A Cult Film takes the now overdone mockumentary style and applies it to a cult society. There was a danger here that it could come across stale, but instead pulls it off and provides a fresh new take on the style. The dialogue is well written and funny, which is helped by the actors who do a good job in creating the contrast between the extreme ridiculousness of the cult with the grounded realism of the everyday man’s experience. With plenty of laugh out loud moments this is a well made, interesting and, most importantly, hilarious short film.

4/5

Daniel Wright

A Cult Film can foremost be described as funny. The mockumentary by James Lee takes the idea of a class film project which focuses on new member Sam (Matthew Roud) joining the Children of the Rotting Ram, a cult led by Paul Mandaughter (Calum Moore) whose events feature everything from occult ceremonies to scavenger hunts and bake sales. The mockumentary format is extremely well done with camera and sound work helping to make the film a pleasure to watch. Matthew Roud is good in effectively being the audience’s relatable entry into the cult and Calum Moore is charismatic and excellent in his delivery of comedic lines, while Kirstie Will is impressive in making her character Dara incredibly likable in such a short space of time. It may also help that Kirstie perfectly delivers the best-worst joke of the ATVAs 2017. Though the film could have possibly benefited from taking the mockumentary format further, A Cult Film is an absolute joy to watch.

4/5

Cory Thomas

Top notch work once again from James Lee. If you think that this year’s Going Great was a little awkward? Matthew Roud’s perfectly awkward character blows that out of the water, while remaining loveable and sympathetic. It’s not the most daring or complex film, but it’s done well and it’s just so easy to watch.

4.5/5

Carys Lunn

This film’s premise alone makes me laugh: an awkward guy seeks to make friends by joining a cult. It is shot and edited in the style of a documentary project for a film class, which is very original and quirky. The comedic timing of this film is great and I particularly loved the supporting cast of cultists, Calum Moore and Rowen Rennie were fantastic, especially Calum’s grandiose overacting. One thing that definitely surprised me about the film is the ending, which is genuinely quite heart-warming. A Cult Film is a really good comedy, extra points for the pun.

4/5

Girl Fight Tonight – Katherine McKnight

Girl Fight Tonight

James Fitzsimons

Anyone who has ever been a broke ass student will relate to Katherine McKnights Girl Fight Tonight. McKnight plays a woman who is perpetually out of money and refuses to grow up. Funny yet painfully relatable in many respects, Girl Fight Tonight is well written, nicely shot and filled with some great natural acting

4.5/5

Cara Boyle

Absolutely hilarious, I really related to this film and it made me laugh out loud so many times. The animation at the beginning was a great opening and Katherine McKnight was so entertaining. I really like the black and white throughout and then switching to colour for the flashback scene it was really clever.

5/5

Aaron Fincham

The best part of this film is the title screen, a little, well-made animation. The rest of the film is a complete hit or miss. Some of the scenes are funny, but some of the scenes that are meant to be funny fall flat. The cinematography is well done, as is the sound and lighting. I’m not sure if the black and white aesthetic adds anything, which makes me question what the point of it was. The concept is interesting enough though and I was a big fan of the continuing tally of debt. The ‘fight scene’ is never really explained why it should happen, and the acting just falls flat in that scene. Overall though it doesn’t meet its potential, but it still manages to be enjoyable.

3/5

Daniel Wright

A black and white film by Katherine McKnight, Girl Fight Tonight starts off strong, demonstrating its impressive aesthetic from the get-go with its stylish title sequence. The film follows a woman – a strong and believable performance from McKnight in the lead role – struggling for money and needing to pay her rent, so therefore desiring to get money back from her former flatmate. The film adds up the total of her money owed at different points throughout in a well-executed addition that centres the film. Cinematography is strong here with some very nice shots and a particularly funny cutaway. The entirety of the supporting cast, from Crea Barton to James Lee in a very funny and self-aware actor role, is convincing with some well-done timing and delivery that requires equal credit to both the acting and writing of the very well-done script. If I’ve any particular negatives with Girl Fight Tonight it would be that the ending appears quite sudden and not as well thought-out as the rest of the film, though a humorous final gag does cement Girl Fight Tonight as an excellent film.

4/5

Cory Thomas

A witty script and a winning performance from Katherine McKnight had me laughing and smiling throughout. It’s one of the most intelligent films I’ve seen from a student and I love the attention to detail. Sadly, some of the shots show quite a level of noise. Perhaps intentional stylistically, but I found it quite distracting.

4/5

Carys Lunn

Girl Fight Tonight is a well-written comedy about a girl who keeps getting into debt, because we all have that one friend who does nothing but borrow money. There are some pretty funny moments but for me this film didn’t stand out, and is not one I am likely to watch again. It is decently made though and the acting is good.

3/5

The ATVA’s is May 15 at 7pm in the Macrobert Arts Centre

Tickets are £7 and can be purchased online or via a stall in the atrium

http://macrobertartscentre.org/

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