I’m not a sexual deviant, I swear. It just so happens most of the short films I’ve reviewed so far have been about sex. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Sex is exciting. In our constant political corrections and misguided tactfulness we end up pushing sex and sexuality into marginal taboos. There is a lot to be said and there is a lot that should be send with regards to sex. So, I’m going to keep talking.
Where We’re Having Sex is dripping in subtleties and innuendos, Captivus is upfront and in your face. From Captivus’ bluntness comes its comedy. There are a bunch of quick quips and double entendres that got a hearty chuckle out of me.
Captivus starts with Kurt showing up at Kate’s. There’s no segue into the next shot, where we end up in their bedroom. The lack of introduction of characters and storyline, contributes to the feeling that Kurt and Kate’s encounter is a meaningless casual encounter. Then, Kurt gets stuck. He can’t get himself out of Kate. There’s no innuendo here. The two can’t seem to tear themselves away from each other. Enter Hannah, Kate’s girlfriend. Hannah arrives apologetic and gets shocked. I’ll leave the rest of the film’s developments for your enjoyment.
The characters are confused sexually and emotionally and from their confusion come their problems. The film boils down to just about what every conversation about sex boils down to: communication.
I can’t help but compare the two, so I’ll indulge myself. I think We’re Having Sex is a better short. I hope that doesn’t dissuade you in any way from watching Captivus. Captivus is smart, funny, and worthwhile in its own right.
I realized while watching Distraction that most of my reviews have been positive. Needless to say, Distraction didn’t quite tickle my fancy. First, its about a writer. Writers who write about being writers are unimaginative. They say write what you know but most of the times when a writer writes about writing it just comes out as a poor excuse for a teenage girl’s diary. The act of writing itself is terribly boring. Distraction manages to get over the hump of boredom but I was turned off to it the instant it started with a tight-collared executive criticizing the Ethan’s (Ross Steeves) work and a search for inspiration.
I think the Director of Photography was trying way too hard with this one. While his reality bending slow-motion shots of papers flying in the air or ice cubes clinking into a glass of whiskey have a purpose in the film they come off as heavy handed. The nonlinear storyline works in the film because the entire thing is complaining about how hard it is to write an ending but it feels unoriginal and distracting. Also, films never need a narrator to explain the plot to them.
The whole “multiple endings idea with the story finally ending with the guy going crazy and shooting everyone” just doesn’t do it for me. From the second the film opened you can tell the prostitute is a figment of his imagination. Its a thriller that has no suspense. If you make it to the end, you’re met with a disappointing “I saw that coming”.
With World War III impending in the Ukraine, Obama and Putin should take a look at the short film 8 before they end up sending me over to exchanging bullets with other 21 year old kids and bloody up Europe again. Its all long overdue. There are a ton of better war movies out there that they should watch before killing off an entire generation but I know they’re both probably busy men so I think 8’s brevity might fit their schedules better than Saving Private Ryan.
The action starts with a presumably English pilot crash landing into presumably Russian territory. The stranded pilot, mending his wounds is taken off guard and captured by a patrolling soldier. Defenseless and surprised, the pilot is taken prisoner and made to march in front of the foot soldier’s rifle. The pilot uses distractions to his advantage to make his getaway attempt.
8 is as funny as it is serious. And its all done using only a duck call as means of communication. The film has some interesting ironic twists that set it apart from other shoot ‘em up war movies I’ve seen.
Its hopeful to know that this anti-war film was made in Russia.
I’m not quite sure why short films haven’t flourished in light of pop culture’s fractured attention span. The 7 to 12 minute length seems right in the wheelhouse of our hyperactive and attention deficient society. Short filmmakers pack all the entertainment and thematic lessons of a feature into a tenth of the length. I’m only a little bit disheartened short films haven’t caught on but I will spare you further complaint. One of the best short films I’ve seen is called We’re Having Sex, written and directed by Michael Callahan. You can find it, amongst a goldmine of other great short films at shortoftheweek.com. We’re Having Sex is about a couple whose sex life has fizzled out. Instead of depicting the typical sex hungry disgruntled man trying to convince his woman to have sex with him, We’re Having Sex turns the stereotype on its head and shows the woman as the aggressor. I’m sure there are many couples where the sex drive of the woman is higher than the sex drive of the man but in my limited life’s experience, I have found the opposite to more often be the case. Its frustrating for the audience to watch Kate (Hannah Pearl Utt) want sex so desperately. Somehow its not as frustrating to watch a man want sex as desperately. Kate is blunt and aggressive. David (Brandon Bales) is passive aggressive and subversive. The characters’ personalities and dialogues could have just as believably been reversed. Callahan switches stereotypical gender roles to bring to light an often unnoticed absurd element to the classic argument. By flipping them on their heads, We’re Having Sex, the film comments on sex roles and expectations. Its a little shocking to see David’s total disinterest and aversion to sex with Kate because we’ve been conditioned to view men as always ready and willing for sex. One of the film’s many messages is the need for patient and understanding verbal communication to have a healthy relationship. The larger and more upfront message here is the importance of sex, not for its hedonistic emotionally depraved pleasure but for the passion and love that can only be communicated physically. In David and Kate’s sexless relationship, there is an obvious air of pent up tension, frustration, and contempt. Sex is a powerful communication tool and is often able to relieve the tension through its sheer physicality. What’s better for struggling relationship’s is the intimacy and closeness that allows for couples to open up their deeper feelings because of their lust produced trust. Of course, if left untreated, miscommunication and frustration can not be solved by sex or anything else.
The film is amazing because it is so nuanced. A few of the little aspects I picked up on were the use of warm and cool colors to further the sense’s of David’s chilly and unreceptive attitude towards sex. Another use of symbolism is David’s shaky guitar playing to symbolize impotence.
We’re Having Sex is just one of the many examples of how so much can be condensed into such a short time. We’re Having Sex’s 12 minutes is definitely worth it for the hours of thought.