Short Film Sunday – Curfew

Title: Curfew

Director: Shawn Christensen

Released: 2012

Length: 19 min

 

Shawn Christensen writes, directs and stars in this Oscar winning short film about loneliness, family and redemption. Curfew opens with Richie sitting in the bathtub having just split his wrists. He receives a call from his sister begging him to look after his niece, a moral dilemma…

Christensen is excellent as the beleaguered protagonist and questions about his past are left vague enough to keep things interesting. In 19 short minutes the likeable Christensen has the audience rooting for him and the ending is emotional without feeling forced or contrived.

Not content with writing, acting and directing the damn thing, Christensen also wrote and performed the song that plays over a seminal and beautiful dance sequence in a bowling alley. Indeed the soundtrack is in general very good with Alex Ebert’s (of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s) beautiful track Truth fitting perfectly over the end credits.

Curfew has been my favourite of the Short Film Sunday series so far and it is easy to see why it won an Oscar back in 2013. Christensen turned this short into a critically acclaimed film titled Before I Disappear.

 

Celeste and Jesse Forever – 7/10.

Documentary asks ‘What happens next?’ When Celeste of Daphne and Celeste fame finds a new partner.

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Ok so it isn’t really about that, instead we have an adult comedy drama starring Andy Samberg and Parks & Rec’s Rashida Jones as a freshly divorced couple who remain friends and are unsure about their feelings for each other.

This is exactly the kind of grown up rom com that has rendered ‘wacky’ romantic comedies such as the lacklustre This Means War obsolete. Not quite in the same league as similar film 500 Days of Summer but there is still a lot to like in Celeste & Jesse Forever. It is nice to see Rashida Jones (who also co-wrote the film) move away from her usual supporting roles and she shows she has the chops to play the lead and it is also refreshing to see Andy Samberg playing a more restrained and believable character than his usual fare.

Eric Olsen and particularly Elijah Wood provide able support and a decent soundtrack results in an enjoyable and underrated film.

The Conspiracy – 7/10

Two aspiring film makers infiltrate a secret society that are trying to orchestrate a new world order only to discover they are all actually lovely chaps (spoiler – they aren’t).

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I don’t need to list the films responsible for the rise and rise of found footage horror films since Blair Witch Project arrived back in 1999 but you may not have noticed the modest ascent of cults and secret rituals in the horror world. Sound Of My Voice, VHS 2 and most memorably Kill List have tackled the subject in recent years with varying degrees of success.

What makes The Conspiracy unique is that it tackles existing and popular conspiracy theories. Most people can’t see the phrase ‘conspiracy theory’ without emitting a knowing groan but The Conspiracy at least sticks to some of the more widely known reptilian schemes (RMS Lusitania, 9/11, FEMA, JFK etc) and most pleasingly has no agenda other than to just make an entertaining and chilling movie. While you know what is going to happen within five minutes it is still executed very well and the last twenty or so minutes are genuinely creepy.

You normally expect some pretty crap acting in these low budget found footage films but everyone does well here and the two leads are very solid. Good enough to ensure I will watch first time director Christopher MacBride’s future work with interest.