QFest 2011

Schedule | Reviews | Official QFest Site

Fell Between The Cracks

  • Baby Cake – Arrived late for homo.lv, just in time to see the end of the credits rolling for this short.
  • Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same – Lacking any feedback from the first showing, decided to take drop going to the last showing and get some urgent matters sorted.
  • Puppy Love & Lust – Planned to see it on the 16th, but it got bumped by a late addition to the schedule.  The other showing is up against Karate-Robo Zaborgar: Robosexuality trumps homosexuality!
  • Short & Sweet – Decided to see My Last Round instead so I could free up Saturday morning. Unfortunately, I really liked MLR and may see it again depending on how late I can wrangle brunch.

Reviews: Features | ShortsRatings Guide

Rating Features Shorts
Excellent (5/5) 6  9
Very Good (4/5) 6  3
Good (3/5) 5  4
Fair (2/5) 13  1
Poor (1/5) 5  0
TOTAL 35  17
Average Rating 2.9  4.2

Feature Film Reviews

Excellent (5/5)

  • August – Inventive narrative punctuated with sharp humor knows to show, not tell. Evocative. Smartly written. Well acted.
  • Four More Years – Kinder/gentler romcom where policy is foreplay; forgivable flaws, funny, inventive, nice–but in a good way.
  • homo@lv – Thought-provoker. Religion, politics, relevance of Pride in Latvia. NoPriders literally act like feces-throwing monkeys.
  • Love Her or Leave Her – Unprecedented all-5 shorts program. Hard to pick a best. Feels odd, being so excited about Lesbian shorts!
  • Married in Spandex – West Philly girls marry in Iowa: More Adult Swim than Royal Wedding. Funny, authentic, tightly edited docu.
  • My Last Round – Tragedy in the strictest sense. The right amount of slow since the’re no desire to rush towards that inevitable. — Gets extra points for appropriate use of guitar.
  • Three – Quirky German love triangle is funny without being romcommy; no flaws AND the scientist gets the guy AND the girl!

Very Good (4/5)

  • eCupid — Tech as problem & solution; sweet, silly, strong technically; suffers a little romcomitis in score, talky climax.
  • Harvest – Deliberate, simple German farm boy first-love story. Amazing Q&A revealed its improv, grassroots, embedded making-of. — In honor of the #qfest film “Harvest”, I feel I must link to the surreal video “Cows & Cows & Cows”: youtu.be/FavUpD_IjVY
  • I Am – Well-done gay-in-India docu focuses on parental relationships, acceptance; followed by excellent Q&A with film creator.
  • Private Romeo – Strong cast, well-produced. Suffers by being too true to the Bard. Still surpassing previous festival adaptations.
  • The Night Watch – No bodices ripped in Waters WW2 period piece. Very good, but lost its 5 because of too many plots for its running time.
  • The One – Mirror image of _Three_ set in NYC struggles with some classic indie roughness but is more than the sum of its parts.

Good (3/5)

  • Buffering – British stiff upper “lip” film manages to meet admittedly low expectations with only a few time-crawling segments.
  • Circumstance – Proficient film examines dichotomy of modern Iran, but issues films like this (and Milk) feel somehow distant to me.
  • Jitters – Icelandic ADD teen drama could be set anywhere in post-MTV product-placed world. Suffers from corny guitar montage-itis.
  • Karate-Robo Zaborgar – Wacky parody (Space Giants meets Power Rangers) is funnier when not trying too hard. Based on actual show!
  • This Is What Love in Action Looks Like – Competent, uplifting docu about friends rallying to support teen forced into ex-Gay camp.

Fair (2/5)

  • Eating Out – Drama Camp – Stretched premise; anemic jokes; lacks raunch and chemistry of previous flicks; score didn’t help.
  • Finding Me: Truth – Well-meaning sequel depends too much on knowing story-so-far. Fun at times but uneven, temporally jumbled.
  • Finding Mr. Wright – Sleepy, awkward, talky at times. Not horrible, but expected more from fest regulars.
  • Finisterrae – Some interesting moments are trapped in lumbering film limbo. Being Spanish, expected faster pace, more absurdity.
  • Hold Your Peace – Over-scored rom-com. Wobbly in its dramatic turns. Better in smaller moments. Oddly, too abrupt in its climax.
  • Judas Kiss – Competent but slow. Lacks any time travel inventiveness. No SomewhereInTime, PeggySue, Primer, Timecrimes, ST:IV.
  • Longhorns – Funny at times. Overwhelms dramatic moments with score. Story needs broader timeline. 80s now counts as period piece!
  • Looking For Simon – Lacking in suspense and character development. Slow with a few underwhelming twists. So much for my pick!
  • Milocrorze – Lush visuals and an amazing strobe/slowmo kabukiesque fight scene can’t compensate for plot, pacing shortcomings.
  • Over The Edge – Wildly uneven dark comedy with some gasping-funny moments and bizarre characters. Recut as a short and it’s a 5.
  • So Hard to Forget – Brazillian “learn to love again” unfolds too slowly for me despite some interesting characters, moments.
  • The Love Patient – Screwball is hard. Choppy, especially at end. More generic comedy soundtrack problems.
  • The Perfect Family – No Serial Mom. Turner slums it in a saccharine, predictable film with easy jokes and corny soundtrack.

Poor (1/5)

  • A Few Days of Respite – Glacial and French in so many bad ways; serious to the point of absurdity including corny guitar montages.
  • Absent – Underage Latin swim-club man-eater film with Jaws-ish score lacks real suspense. Tediously slow, laughably serious.
  • Birthright – Motionless for all but 5 minutes and improbable for the lot. OTOH, a great case for being pro-choice.
  • Blackmail Boys – No amount of skin could save a good premise from such a uniformly poor production. And yes, corny guitars too.
  • Sagat – No-show’s too-French self absorption is ultimate cold shower. Best to keep art and artist separate, even in porn.


Short Film Reviews

Excellent (5/5)

  • Ave Elle – French (but in a good way) short parallels Cyclicity’s narrative of telling the story of a whole relationship (real in this one, imagined in the other). Nice use of language to parallel the cognitive preferences of the painter and musician.
  • AWOL – Frank performances make this no-way-out mini-drama compelling.
  • Bye Bi Love – Coming-to-terms story uses flashbacks effectively and does a good job of making me care, RE: Will she/won’t she.
  • Cyclicity – The give and take between two just-met women imagining their entire relationship during a Ferris Wheel ride plays out like a superb MMO RPG session.
  • Fresh Air Therapy – Two older German women in couples therapy believably grow close again because of a clever trick and a simple vulgarity of being human.
  • Fucked – Cautionary tale hearkens back to the beginning of the epidemic. Needed reminder for a new generation.
  • Poker Face – Excellent local short with some great depth and humor. As good as everybody is in this, the two blonds in the bar absolutely stole the show.
  • Tech Support – Definitely won points for geek angle, great little comedy with a gag about fear of bears (animals, not gay men). Did Colbert start all this?
  • We Once Were Tide – Somewhat sad tale of obligation, opportunity, and separation was inventive and touching.

Very Good (4/5)

  • Masala Mama – Comics motif accents a good story about intolerance, compassion, and how both can be taught–by example.
  • Smut Capital of America – Fascinating glimpse into SF’s role in pushing boundries in the content and legal status of porn.
  • Winner Takes All – Inventive short about narcissist stage actor who decides to have his two lovers square off for his undivided affection. Just desserts will definitely be served.

Good (3/5)

  • I Want Your Love – Porn, really. Happy endings and all. Most notable is how power bottom resembles Charlie from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
  • Punch Me – Good story about fear and acceptance is a little muddled when unclear about reality versus imagination.
  • Time Spent – A lesbian deals with her straight male best friend’s unwanted advanced and self-destructive tendencies; dark comedy (more dark than comedy) inspired by real life.
  • Two Beds – Interesting “couple” squabble more notable for its nudity and vulgarity because it played before a family-friendly film, and my friends brought their teen-aged son along not having read the short’s blurb. Yikes!

Fair (2/5)

  • Shave – I really needed the story about a gender transition in a hotel room to go a little further.

Poor (1/5)

8 thoughts on “QFest 2011”

  1. Glad to hear you enjoyed Three, I’m going to the Sunday show. May hit The Art of Hardcore next Saturday as well.

    1. Try “Married in Spandex”. Much better than I’d expected. Interesting site. I particularly like how you’re using categories for ratings. Doing full reviews on every film (31 so far) would kill me!

  2. Any idea what that videogame was the kid was playing in “Three”? My google-fu is weak and I can’t find it. It looked….intriguing.

  3. I am surprised you did not like ‘Absent’. I absolutely loved that film. I saw ‘August’ yesterday and this one is now my festival fav so far after ‘The One”. ‘Tomboy’ was another very good film. The kids were all superb.

    PS: I absolutely detested eCupid. I thought it was a very wannabe kind of a film. I would love to hear your thoughts on some of my reviews on http://alternatesexuality.blogspot.com/

    1. I generally have problems with Latin/South American pacing, Absent’s biggest failing. How many minutes did we spend watching characters grooming themselves, for instance? Too many. It would have gotten a 2 until the “death scene”. Implausible, very poorly done, and a weak device to get out of the narrative bind they were in. That pushed it right to the bottom.

      August was the best shot film I saw this year, hands down. These ARE movies, and that attention of visual storytelling is hard to do well. I found the story compelling and the resolution almost too believable, true to life. It also gets points for playing with the timeline, showing events from different perspectives. There are many things I liked about this film, but I really loved it _as film_.

      eCupid was one of the few romcoms this year that didn’t crush it’s story under a heavy score. It did get points for the Electric-Dreams-like technology angle, and there’s a dichotomy built into it where technology is both the problem and the solution that I liked very much. There was also technology behind the scenes like digital altering of the storefronts–blows my mind that can be done on a film with a $75K budget. It was also more than the sum of its parts, because I could pick apart the technicals more, but the fact is that I enjoyed seeing it.

      A factor with eCupid that I need to elaborate on in my review system is how good a film is at keeping me in its world. If there’s a real quantifiable for film review for me, it’s how much time I spend immersed in the movie versus how often my awareness is either outside the film (criticizing technicals for instance) or somewhere else altogether.

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