Friday, September 28, 2018

Movie Review: Twisted Humor Short Films (San Diego International Film Festival 2018)

We had the chance to preview a collection of short films that will be playing Oct. 13th at 12:30pm and Oct. 14th, 2018 at 4:30pm at the San Diego International Film Festival at the Regal Cinemas Horton Plaza location. This set of shorts boasts dark and humorous tales that are slightly more askew than your average comedy, hence the category title "Twisted Humor."

A Funny Thing Happened to Kelly and Ted 2018 movie poster short film
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Director: Jason Manella
Running Time: 6 minutes

"A Funny Thing Happened to Kelly and Ted" is written and directed by Jason Manella and has a Dr. Seuss style narrative for adults. One day, married couple Ted and Kelly (Dominic West & Amy Argyle) wake up to find that their lives are being narrated by a disembodied voice, and they don't know what to do about it. This film has a cutesy rhyming scheme, is very colorful, and is quite charming right up until its twist of an ending. It offers at least a couple of big laughs in its short six-minute runtime.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
End of the Line 2018 movie poster short film
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Movie"End of the Line"
Director: Jessica Sanders
Running Time: 14 minutes

"End of the Line" is directed by Jessica Sanders. It is written by Joanne Giger and is based on the short story by Aimee Bender. This is a film about a Big Man (Brett Gelman) who buys a Little Man (Simon Helberg) in a birdcage from a pet shop. As time passes, the Big Man starts to release his frustrations by torturing and abusing the Little Man. This short has some spectacular visuals and tremendous special effects. The story is kind of wacky and can go to some dark places, like a much more grim version of "Downsizing" with a much better narrative. The Little Man is being sold as a pet, but it's clear there's a whole society of tiny people out there, people with kids and jobs and families and hopes and dreams. It doesn't have the type of humor that will make you will laugh out loud steadily. It will make you awkwardly chuckle at its unlikely, twisted situation, and make you think about the repercussions of its story. We aren't entirely sure what the exact message is, though we have a couple of strong theories. This is a very compelling short, and Jessica Sanders is a filmmaker to watch out for!

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
Must Kill Karl 2018 movie poster short film
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Movie: "Must Kill Karl"
Director: Joe Kicak
Running Time: 14 minutes

"Must Kill Karl" is directed by Joe Kicak. He also helped write the film along with Karen Moore. It tells the story of a group of friends and co-workers. One of the members of this group, Karl, is being his typical obnoxious self at a party one night. He is up to his usual shenanigans, annoying and offending everyone around him. The rest of the group doesn't know what to do since Karl shows up whether he's invited or not. They decide that the best course of action is to kill him, but this is easier said than done. At some point in our lives, we have all come across an obnoxious person who interjects themselves into our lives without asking. If you've never met a person like this, chances are, you *are* that person. This short derives its humor from Karl's ridiculous antics, as well as the various ways his group of "friends" tries to off him. We found this short to be laugh-out-loud entertaining and well made, plus, it offers an excellent, darkly hilarious finale.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
The Arrival 2018 movie poster short film
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Movie"The Arrival"
Director: Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe
Running Time: 17 minutes

"The Arrival" is written and directed by Jocelyn Deboer and Dawn Luebbe. When his new baby brother is born, Thomas (Elias Harger) turns the tables on his mother (Jocelyn DeBoer) to give her a taste of her own medicine after praying for a new mommy in church one day. As the youngest child of his family, BigJ was genuinely hurt by this story. It didn't make him laugh, but it did make him feel sad and depressed. It made him feel like he was being blamed for ruining the life of his older sibling, like everything would have been better if he had never been born because that's the really what the general message is here, only with a darkly comedic twist. He just couldn't relate as a younger child. I, on the other hand, am the oldest child in her family. While I don't remember actively trying to get one over on my mom for having another kid, it's obvious (historically speaking) that there are usually lingering resentments between siblings. This short is darkly humorous by nature, and what DeBoer and Luebbe do to flip the script on the mother made for some witty, interesting commentary on what it's like to welcome a (sometimes unwelcomed) new addition into a family. That said, I wasn't offended by this, nor would I have been if I were the youngest child. To me, it feels more about the mother. It's all about her guilt (how would YOU like it?!) and trying to balancing having two kids versus one more than it is about blaming the youngest child for any issues.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
Tuesday Crowd 2018 movie poster short film
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Movie"Tuesday Crowd"
Director: William Kioultzopoulos
Running Time: 19 minutes

"Tuesday Crowd" is directed by Will Kioultzopoulos and is written by Jonathan Hirsch. This short film brings a bizarre set of characters and circumstances into convergence at a fast food restaurant staffed by just one employee who is stuck at work on his anniversary. It has furry sex and armed robbery, and a lot of people get killed in a few short minutes. The main comedy comes from the unusual nature of the characters and their jobs, as well as the set of circumstances they find themselves in on this specific Tuesday. We did laugh on occasion, mostly because people are doing strange and/or criminal things while dressed in different fuzzy animal costumes.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
Your Call Is Important To Us 2018 movie still short film
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Movie"Your Call Is Important to Us"
Director: T.J. Power
Running Time: 14 minutes

"Your Call is Important to Us" is written and directed by T.J. Power and is one of the most relatable shorts in this collection. Whenever we have to call to get help for a problem we're having, like issues with insurance companies, medical offices, or customer services lines for banks, cell phones, or utilities, we can't help but feel that the people on the other end of the line are doing their best to dick us around. This film runs with the concept that those in call centers are actually actively trying to torture its customers. We laughed endlessly at this short because we have all been the person on hold, frustrated and going in circles. As soon as it feels like we're getting somewhere to get our issue resolved, it turns out we aren't. We believe everyone can relate to the feeling that the goal of a call center representative isn't to help but to drive us mad. Sometimes it feels like the process is so complicated that we would rather live with our problem instead of having to deal with the hassle of calling a customer service help center. This is one of the best short films we have seen this year, hands down.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10

Overall, the hilarious Twisted Humor collection of short films is definitely worth watching if you are attending in-person the San Diego International Film Festival.

Please be sure to check out Lolo Loves Films all over the internet!

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