Celebrity Shorts

BY Robert BellPublished Jun 5, 2012

AIDS, Facebook and hipster posturing highlight the Celebrity Shorts program for 2012, giving a whole lot of status quo reiteration and blasé filmmaking the star treatment, with recognizable actors doing their damnedest to get some indie credibility. On the plus side, Chad Michael Murray is hit by a car and Judi Dench reflects on the insincere nature of Internet chat acronyms.

Said acronym is LOL, a statement that makes Dench's best friend roll her eyes in disgust when she sees it typed on a Facebook chat discussion between Dench and a local single man she's recently added as a friend in Friend Request Pending. While cheesy and post-topical, it's amusing to see one of the most dignified actresses in the world gossip and blush about being poked by a man on Facebook (no crude double entendre intended).

This light-hearted romp is a good lead-up to the somewhat offensive and sanctimonious The Carrier, wherein a mother goes through her dead son's cellphone and tells all the women he's bedding that he was HIV-positive when struck by a car. While annoying, it's still more engaging than the crass Hollywood cliché animation of The Beaufort Diaries, wherein David Duchovny narrates a story about industry corruption that sounds quite similar to a plotline in Californication.

More intriguing is The End, which features Charlotte Rampling playing herself in an adjacent reality where actors are replaced in old films with digitally injected fresh faces. Exploring the nature of actor identity as a projection of cultural image, this short film smartly raises discussion about the importance of historical documents and the process of time.

On the cheeky front, The Voorman Problem finds a psychiatrist (Martin Freeman) treating a prison inmate (Tom Hollander) that has convinced the entire prison population that he's God, while the very brief undergraduate ode to the standard "TV as opiate for the masses" ethos, Butterflies, features John Malkovich in his underwear and some obnoxious editing.

Blitzen Trapper Massacre does feature an amusing discussion between the titular group and The Office's Rainn Wilson about the prospect of also trapping Donner and Dasher, but is too much of an inside joke to appeal beyond hardcore fans. It is, however, more appealing than Pitch Black Heist, which features Michael Fassbender being a vapid hipster tool while practicing a light-sensitive heist with Liam Cunningham. It's black & white, so it should appeal to the sorts of folks that like style over substance, as well as posturing.

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