The Movie Waffler SSFF 2016 Reviews - PIECE OF CAKE / SO IT GOES / TRASHONAUTS | The Movie Waffler

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SSFF 2016 Reviews - PIECE OF CAKE / SO IT GOES / TRASHONAUTS

Three reviews from this year's Seattle Shorts Film Festival.






Reviews by John Bennett (@johnbennett812)


Piece of Cake

In Piece of Cake, written and directed by Ella Lentini, Jessie (Shannon Beverdige) and Alex (Lentini), a lesbian couple, chat languorously in bed. When the more reserved Jessie accidentally lets slip that her parents will be in town and doesn’t plan on introducing them to Alex, the more free-spirited Alex angrily storms out of the house. A wounded Jessie thinks back to the party where she first met Alex as she prepares to meet with her stodgy parents.

At one point, the film makes a beautifully subtle revelation: Jessie’s mom thinks that Alex is a boy, signaling to us not only that she is not out to her parents but also that Alex wasn’t aware of this fact. This double revelation instantly colours Jessie as a full, flesh-and-blood character with unspoken motives for withholding information to different people for different reasons. That small moment enriches the film, even if the montage that follows it of Jessie smashing plates intercut with tender scenes of her with Alex plays like a TV commercial. Piece of Cake is also worth checking out for a very strong central performance from Beveridge.




So It Goes

So It Goes, written and directed by Justin Carlton, revolves around Samantha (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a young singer desperately trying to perfect a performance of a certain song. Feeling dejected in work and facing pressure from her aloof sister, Samantha goes out to clear her mind. In a park, a peculiar man (Ryan Kattner), mysteriously locked to a bicycle, drags himself out of a ditch to chat in riddles with the confused Samantha. As their Alice-Mad Hatter repartee becomes quirkier, the two gradually ease into a breezy musical number.

What the centerpiece musical number breathily illustrates is the invigorating power that bizarre, humorous chance encounters can have. Samantha’s newfound energy in returning to her recording booth feels both light-on-its-feet and credible at the same time. Even if the film relies too heavily on the lyrics of the final recorded song to comment on the action of the film, the Van Morrison musical number has the sprightly crispness of something out of Damien Chazelle or 21st century Jacques Demy. (One thing to be said about both Piece of Cake and So It Goes: both teeter on overindulging in a very American millennial woe-is-me myopia, but both are counterbalanced with enough merits to keep this from being too serious a flaw.)




Trashonauts

Jack Corpening’s Trashonauts, at two minutes, is fun and inventive enough to check out. In this CGI animated short, a grumpy space garbage man uses his magnetised ship to collect floating debris. When he investigates some trash that doesn’t zip right to him, he comes across a tiny anthropomorphised magnetic robot whose cuteness makes WALL-E look like Klaatu. The story is cutesy in the way you’d expect from a short like this, but it also has the same high standard of finely crafted computer animation as well.



The 2016 Seattle Shorts Film Festival runs from November 11th - 13th. More info at seattleshort.org.




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