Photo by Kent Miller

Context: Dir. Kimberly Rice

If you like the movie Lars And The Real Girl, you might enjoy Context. It’s a film about a man who works dressing Barbie dolls who is about to embark on a cruise with his friends. That said, that is the entire plot. The dialogue is lacking, as well as a change from one scene location to another. However, instances of the film are fascinating. Aesthetically, the film has a How I Met Your Mother vibe of nostalgia to it, as the protagonist examines Poloroids of his friends while at work. The film also makes use of a deluge of what seem to be Lichtenstein/Apple-influenced Barbie chat bubbles, which means… yes, most of the film includes a man talking to Barbies. Were the film more of a parody, it would have been easier to view.

Just Jane: Dir. Kevin Taylor

The story of a detective helping a woman he admires, Just Jane begins with a rather vague investigative case. A “crime of passion” is said to have occurred between Jane and a man—although this “crime of passion” is left to be a red herring for the film—and the detective follows his client to determine what needs to be done. As they move from unidentifiable place to place, the detective happens upon Jane and a man while he has her pressed up against a wall. The only one who can stop the danger, the detective attacks Jane’s troubler.

The plot would benefit from more complexity and nuance and comes off as a slightly cliché take on a nouveau-detective genre, but one effective line of the script, “You’ve been following me,” “That’s what you hired me to do,” makes for great entertainment. It’s a detective film. He was following her. A-ha. Get it?

Someday Hero: Dir. Darcy Fray

Someday Hero begins with a scene where a boy dressed in a red superman cape tugs at his face like the Mario Party game where you can do just that. The precious boy has a normal desire to dress up as a superhero, but for this desire to manifest years later? Not a good look. Our protagonist walks around in public in his superman costume, and even his friend thinks it’s strange. Yet the character marches on to entertain at a kids’ party and—zow!—score a date, which is nice, as the plot often threads elements of our hero’s unsightly and upsetting childhood throughout.

This was my personal favorite of the short films I saw. It was masterfully presented, edited, and aesthetically crisp. It was structurally organized in plot, and tugged at a whopping amount of heartstrings. So if you’re ready for cute and slightly tragic with an original music score, this is a fantastic film to watch.

Perry Street: Dir. Antonio Padovan

In this film about a man seeing a therapist—replete with the patient-on-plush-couch stigma—protagonist Ryan Thomas is plagued by “the machine” that is the work structure of American society. Simultaneously as he meets with the therapist, he also begins to meet with a chipper and innocent girl with a penchant for wearing hats in perfectly warm weather. But beyond that dimensionality there is further dimensionality. As she gets to know Ryan, she discovers that he has a true passion for historical description—he describes the primary city structure of New York with fervid detail and enthusiasm. She then encourages him to explore this realm, and his potential for writing a book. What comes to evolve in this short film is a transfiguration of Ryan Thomas’s character, and a delightful twist of an ending. Although the plot could have been taken further, and the acting would only be boosted with more dimension, ultimately the short was an active display of what it means to live with purpose and passion for something.