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The First CPA Film Festival

Wednesday, May 24th, 2000 was a special night. That evening, while everyone else was out in the Pit watching the Drama 12 classes put on their plays, a small number of people (the few, the proud, the mighty) were stuffed into Mr. Savageís room watching seven brilliant films put together by their fellow CPA students. It was the first night of the first annual CPA Film Festival.I decided to play critic. Utilizing the all-new Will Matheson Web HQ General Ratings System, I am now beginning (and ending) a hobby as a film reviewer.Important: This is only the first part of my comprehensive Film Festival review. The last three films on the following target list remain to be reviewed, as they were not shown on the 24th.

Wednesday, May 24th, 2000
The Chase ****
Wackbirds ***
Life After Y2K **½
Computer Concepts presents The Joy of PC Computing ****
Blah Blah, Blah Blah Blah ***
Trouble in Paradise ****
Staff ***½

Tuesday, June 6th, 2000
William Mathesonís ďThe ArtifactĒ

I Think Iím A Clone Now II

The Chase

Awesome camera work and background music make a great short film. Watch this film and see Scott Gibb getting chased around the school. =) hehe Well, as entertaining as that aspect of the film is, The Chase has even more to offer. Exciting choreography, and visually interesting scenes abound in this fast-paced run around the corridors. And the interesting parts... they donít just *abound*, the whole film is interesting. Amazing, as a matter of fact. A gem. It seems to have been a most excellent effort from all aspects of its production, the criteria required for a small masterpiece. Thatís why Iíd say this humble film deserves the rating of...

Topic / Item: The Chase
Rating: **** (out of *****, in ½* increments) View ratings info.


If you didnít figure it out already, itís backwards.
Jeff Misner is a writer who favors weirdness and new concepts over coherent stories. Which is okay by me, Wackbirds is short enough to get by without much of a plot. The funny parts more than make up for the confusing bits... (ie: the scene at the beginning of the film / end of the story which has this guy slipping and falling... even if you think of it backwards, it still seems out of order), and some neat tricks boost this film. The dialogue is well-executed in all instances; there is this absolutely hilarious scene in one of the washrooms; thereís an awesome back-up job at the end; and the end credits have an awesome beat to them, thanks to Digital Monkey Boy Chris Spencer. This film should be commended for not being a bore like one would expect a concept film to be.
Topic / Item: Wackbirds
Rating: *** (out of *****, in ½* increments) View ratings info.

Life After Y2K

A film that could have been so much more.
Calum MacLeod wrote an excellent script. I drew up an excellent storyboard, in my opinion. But something went wrong someplace.

Itís life after Y2K. Most of the human race has been destroyed by the Y2K bug, but there are still five students attending CPA. This is one of those funny concepts that readily appear in oneís head but are terribly difficult to execute properly in a medium besides oneís own imagination. Calum MacLeod has accomplished this task. The dialog is honest, sensitive, and funny... itís a shame that the film itself turned out like a piece of crap.

This was mostly my fault. As a director, I soon tired of trying to exert any creative control over this film whatsoever because people didnít want to listen to me. I should also have kept closer tabs on the camera, because it somehow got set up such that the current time (when we were filming the raw footage) counts itself away in the lower right-hand corner of the recording. And I donít even want to talk about the quality of the sound... I edited in 8-bit sound instead of 16-bit by mistake.

But the film wasnít a total loss. Joe Chisolm and Matt Langille save the show with their excellent acting. And Joeís monolouge about being alone in a classroom is simply to die for. And the end credits are by far the best part of the film... thanks to Chris Spencer. But other than that, the film canít do any better than Ďokayí.

Life After Y2K as my directorial debut was a disappointment. But it was mostly my fault, as it was I, completely inexperienced I, who did most of the post-production. Hopefully William Mathesonís ďThe ArtifactĒ, which I wrote and produced, will turn out to be a more polished film.

Topic / Item: Life After Y2K
Rating: **½ (out of *****, in ½* increments) View ratings info.

Computer Concepts presents The Joy of PC Computing

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha... ha!

Misner and Spencer are at it again. If youíre feeling down, this film is just the thing to brighten up your day. The plot (if you could call it that...): Itís an information video about Intel Pentium III computers, sponsored by Wendamore Computers. As dull as that might sound, you have to realize that Chris Spencer absolutely hates Intel, and it comes through in the film. As much as the thoughtful computer sophisticate might enjoy this film, it is still humor accessible to the uninformed types, as the main joke is explained in the film: When Intel makes a new generation of microprocessors (computer brains, weíll say), they neglect to invest in cooling technology. When chips go faster, they get hotter, and if youíre buying an Intel Pentium III motherboard for your PC, youíd damn well better buy the proper fan to go with it. Otherwise, youíll have something that can toast bread and boil water... and thatís in the film too.

A digression about heat: I donít know if anyone else noticed, but the computer lab has been several degrees hotter this year. Last year we just had a lab full of 80486 DX2ís with a couple of Pentium-90ís, and the other two labs were all 80386ís. It was certainly warm in here, but not totally roasting like it is this year with out three labs full of Pentium IIIís. Anyway, now you could heat the school with these computers... try opening a window in January when itís -15 degrees out and youíll see it doesnít make a bit of difference. Intel needs to learn some lessons from Apple. Anyway, back to the film review.

This is easily one of the funniest films Iíve seen this year. Unfortunately, like the other films on the docket here, it is difficult to access. If you do get the opportunity, opt for the VHS version, which is a better export in terms of the sound and video being in-sync.

Topic / Item: Computer Concepts presents The Joy of PC Computing
Rating: ****½ (out of *****, in ½* increments) View ratings info.

Blah Blah, Blah Blah Blah

Hope you like Blink-182... =)

Zoë Bigio, who wrote and directed and edited this solid short film pretty much by herself, is capable of producing work that is somewhat interesting. =)

Actually, that last line sounds very much like a left-handed compliment, but let me assure you it isnít. She didnít have a whole hell of a lot to work with, and itís quite fortunate that the film did not at all turn out like a piece of crap. It was actually pretty good.

I canít say much about the plot here, because it would give away the film a bit too much for my liking. I will say, however, that Jodie Wiswald makes an entertaining cameo appearance, and the editing was very clean.

Topic / Item: Blah Blah, Blah Blah Blah
Rating: *** (out of *****, in ½* increments) View ratings info.

Trouble in Paradise


For ďMr. SmithĒ, the Film-and-Video teacher in Trouble in Paradise, read ďMr. SavageĒ. He plays the part anyway. =)

This film is an absolute jewel, made better by top-notch performances by Tim Barnard and Mr. Savage. You *need* to see this film, although it may be hard to find because it was never exported to VHS. The plot is pretty simple, for reasons individual to the victims, Mr. Sav- I mean, Mr. Smith, gives the students a Surprise Quiz thatís worth 20% of their term mark.

This thing is gold. Itís hard to properly appraise short films in words, due to their length. (Bwah? =) hehe) The acting and editing are all superb. But thatís all I can say, because I really wouldnít want to spoil all the surprises for anyone. Watch this thing.

Topic / Item: Trouble in Paradise
Rating: ****½ (out of *****, in ½* increments) View ratings info.


Funny as hell, but...

Why didnít anyone think of this before? A film exaggerating the working environment of teachers, and poking fun at the television show Cops? Well, Hurst Gannon did it.

This film is as funny as hell. Everyone should see it, but... Well, first of all, the sound and video quality is super-poor. This isnít Hurstís fault, and Iím too lazy to explain why right now. And second, itís a little too long. You kind of get tired of watching Ms. OíToole go after the people who didnít put their paintbrushes back, or watching Mr. McCleave hike out of his van, go into the Main Office, check his mailbox, walk out, walk up the stairs, walk through the Solarium, walk into the corridor entrance of the Staff Room, say hello, remove his coat, laugh, hang up his coat... You see what I mean here. It really does get somewhat tiresome.

All these montages are done to various musical tunes, and this film has a great soundtrack. Furthermore, the dialogue and on-screen action (aside from the lengthy walking to and fro scenes) are always enthralling. And thereís a big fight in the Staff Room over a muffin that has to be seen to be believed.

Overall, this is another film youíve gotta see. Some problems plague it, but then again, problems plagued Life After Y2K, and itís still worth seeing.

Topic / Item: Staff
Rating: ***½ (out of *****, in ½* increments) View ratings info.

Remember, stay tuned for the rest of the Film Festival reviews! Return to the top.

Return to A View from the Solarium.
Goto Crosswinds.
Goto Previous Essay: "Emotional Grab Bag". (99/00-2 #23)
Goto Next Essay: "William Matheson's 'The Artifact'". (99/00-2 #25)