Published Jun 16, 2009Aside from a man making his hand puppet shout the C-word and the final short about online dating gone awry, this collection of short films is perhaps the least intriguing of the festival, featuring some weak humour, bizarre animation and dull interviews. It is, however, far better than most things involved with the term "makeover," as nothing here is quite as insipid as those reality shows wherein things are made "better" when gussied up.
Opening short "All This Way" is just plain annoying, mainly because it's a collection of close-ups of people's faces. Sure, people are apparently beautiful and all that but do we have to be reminded of it in unflattering detail? Thankfully, "Ten for Grandpa" takes a step back from the human face, examining the questions a young man has for his deceased grandfather, who may or may not have been a Soviet Agent turned film producer.
"Buddies" is the first-person testimonial of a children's entertainer turned vagrant who details just how he got where he is. Apparently, parents don't like it when their children are subjected to an explicit rant about where pee-pees and hoo-has go in the boudoir. This short proves far more interesting than "Everyday People," where folks that share names with celebrities are interviewed. Did you want to know what it's like to go through life with the name Julia Roberts? I didn't either.
Dipping again into documentary territory, "Featherland" offers a disturbing look at Pelee Island and the price it pays to remain a tourist attraction for fat, white Republican pheasant hunters. This one is actually quite good but it's probably best not to ask how the footage of the stripper entertaining a tourist came about.
Both "Sea Dog's Devotion" and "Sound Shadows" are brief animations but thematically they're very different. "Sea Dog" is a fantastical look at birth, death and much of what's in between, while "Shadows" attempts to show what a blind woman refers to as sound vibrations.
"Token Hunchback" is animated as well but nowhere near as strong as the other two, featuring a typecast actor making the most of his situation. It attempts to be funny but really isn't. Luckily, final short "Alter Ego" proves charming and clever, with an internet blind date turning strange when one of the parties learns that the other used a fake photograph.