8 minutes 40 seconds, 2019
Re-establishing a life with family after some time in prison must be one of life’s greatest challenges.
For Kainoa (a convincing performance from Holden Mandrial-Santos), the simple act of picking up his son, Jonathan (Austin Tucker is the model of innocence and grit), the aloofness to his dad is soon erased by a “slipper” repair, the offer of a cigarette and some red licorice.
All goes well until mom (Danielle Zalopany) arrives on the scene and embarks on a hissy fit.
Even though Kainoa has done his time, it seems that the court of house opinion will forever render a guilty verdict.
Thanks goodness this is only fiction. JWR
16 minutes, 2019
Like armed conflicts fuelled by greed, teenaged bullying fuelled by inner fear will never vanish from the planet.
In director-writer Merrifield’s (along with co-writer Dave Testa) imaginative look at high school life in our present day, there is commentary on preparation for “shooters”, being called “faggot” and friends whose loyalty is, at best, limited.
At the centre of it all is recently black-eyed Sam (Jonah Beres demonstrates acting chops that ought to be given a feature role). Possibly queer (does it really matter anymore…yes, especially those who pretend to be macho straight), his best friend Adam (Jaylin Ogle) is almost “there when I need you,” preferring to stay with the “gang” especially on social media.
As his torments continue unabated (being pissed on by chief bully Jason—Carson Severson—while showering with the boys), Sam begins to realize that his apparent hallucinations about levitating at will, may not just be wishful thinking.
The inevitable showdown in the schoolyard works on many planes. Powers now at full control, Sam could pummel his tormentor even as his shallow classmates attempt to film the beating for quick upload. But Sam, figuratively and literally, opts—like the metaphorical balloons whose bursts evoke gunfire—to rise above the entire situation (if only that could happen more often). And like his real friend, the caterpillar, blossom into a truly beautiful butterfly for the ages. JWR
13 minutes, 2019
No big deal
Many children have monsters in their closets.
In eight-year-old Ida’s case (engagingly portrayed by Kerstin Jannerup Gjesing) the monster is her mother (Molly Blixt Egelind, nicely balancing her good and evil sides) once she turns to drink (daily).
Jørgen Lauritsen‘s nervoso, string infused original score nicely contrasts the angelic vocalizations of Gregorgio Allegri’s Miserere (finely rendered by the Vasari Singers).
But when all is said, sung and done (with a flour fight as comic relief: “No big deal,” says mom before morphing into an ugly visage courtesy of superb SFX), it is but to imagine how many small, fragile lives have to endure the parental monsters in their precious lives.
That, is a big deal. JWR
13 minutes, 2019
Winning isn’t everything
For many, like me, this introduction to the sport of “riding relay” is a fascinating bit of filmmaking. But make no mistake, as dedicated as the ingenious riders are, it’s the horses who steal the show and glow for the camera.
Thanks goodness only one rider was injured and not any of those beautiful animals. JWR