For Those Who Appreciate Gallows Humor and Solid Cinematography
Review of "The Last Laugh" at NFFTY by Vida Behar
This series of short films shown at NFFTY on Friday revolves around shared themes of black humor, endings, and death.
Standing out as a favorite is Applesauce by Nathan Hansen, Cory Soukup, and Drake Tucker. According to the description provided by the program, in this film “A man thinks he has found true happiness. But he quickly learns that this comes with a price.” This happiness comes in the shape of a curious life-sized horse statue by the name of Applesauce. This short has amazingly cheesy sound effects that provide irony and hilarity as well as solid cinematography techniques that are at once tactful and seamlessly blended into the narrative.
Another truly quality short from this series is The Conversation by Griffin Stoddard, in which a couple must have a meaningful conversation about their relationship. It is blessedly short, and the plot is surprising as well as funny in a dark humor sort of way.
Timeless Solutions by Mark Breedlove was yet another notably good film in this series. In this short, after a failed first attempt at holding up a gas station mart, Mickey and Chuck happen upon Timeless Solutions, a business that offers them opportunity to redo their past mishaps. The first thing I noticed about this film is the radical cinematography; the camera would be panning, and then suddenly it would zoom onto a particular element of the shot. This is very exciting. Another fabulous element of the cinematography is that when the pair goes back in time, the film goes backwards, which is very original. The color palette is bluish tinged with the occasional orangey-yellow streetlight, which really captures the atmosphere of the setting. Added bonus: The actor who played Chuck was really attractive.
Not the One by Laura Holliday is about a cafe romance between two strangers. The cinematography and special effects combined were actually sarcastic. Hilarity ensues. The plot itself seems to be echoing the ridiculousness of the concept of love at first sight.
Who Shot Jesus Christ by Jeff Burgett and Gorby Mu Fan Shih is an investigation into the murder of J.C. that's retold dozens of times with the actors switching out the roles. By the third time, the retelling of the incident got extremely boring, not to mention confusing. This film could have been better if the plot was clearer and the pacing faster. Its sole merit was how the narrator actually interacts with the other characters, which was original and funny.
But overall, the films of "The Last Laugh" are recommended to those that appreciate gallows humor and solid cinematography.
April 24 - 27