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for those who like brighter shorts ...
on 25 March 2014
This collection initially seemed less good than those that preceded it, but on coming back to it I find some of the films better than I remembered. Most obviously, the last one, a Hawaiian comedy showing three middle-aged women and their attempts to meet a visiting Korean pop star, is actually quite funny, although it may be more so once you accept its total silliness. It goes by the name of Ajumma! Are You Krazy???, a name which already gives a pretty good indication. When they finally catch up with him after "madcap" adventures, it turns out he's not going to respond to any of their amorous promptings, if that's not giving too much away. However he does deal with them quite charmingly.
The funniest film, along with this one, is Franswa Sharl. Again it's a very silly title, referring to the name Francoise pronounced by a boy who doesn't speak French. He tries to pass himself off, at the age of twelve, as a French girl in a beauty competition for young girls, to the dismay of his father, who has absolutely no idea until he parades out in a bikini with a flower behind his ear. It's set in a holiday resort in Fiji.
Ron the Zookeeper is a bit tasteless, I thought, in its Wallace and Gromit-style take on the travails of a rare grey panda who is forced to participate in artificial fertilisation in a zoo.
LOVE, 100°C shows a naive young boy who is hearing-impaired and has an experience in a sauna, having been mistreated by a school crush and his brother. I thought the latter was really quite appealing physically, but overall it's a bit too winsome ... unlike Tanjong Rhu, a Singaporean indictment of the treatment of gay men by the police in that state. This one doesn't quite come to life, the drama being a bit flat, and the characters look a bit made-up. Drowning has some attractive young men, too, without the make-up, but its story feels tired and too crude, about a boy who gets jealous when his friend gets a girlfriend. It would have been better if the straight boy had been more ambiguous himself, but as it is it doesn't have as much impact as Dare from no. 3 in the series. The girl lives in a swanky ultra-modern house where much of the action takes place. It's an interior I don't like very much - much too designed - but it does have an interesting feature which is a swimming pool set against the vast ocean directly behind it.
My Last Ten Hours With You has some quite sexy moments where the characters wrestle in their underwear, but is otherwise rather tedious and unconvincing. The New Zealand film Teddy is rather better, in fact it really does have a certain pathos, is highly original, a bit sentimental, and features nice boys, a stylish blue Mini, and an old teddy bear that's lost its nose and travelled halfway round the globe - a winning combination ...