Stars: Jane Fendelman, Michael Coleman and Michelle Palermo
|This film was a submission to one of the IFP Phoenix film challenges in 2013. Here's an index to my reviews of 2013 submissions.|
|This film was an official selection at the Phoenix Film Festival in Phoenix in 2014. Here's an index to my reviews of 2014 films.|
While Star Babies was the only viable winner from this selection, it actually succeeds on a few levels. On the most obvious, it's a well made film on every front. It's shot well, acted well and written well. It zooms along with never a dull moment, the twist being as neatly accomplished as it was telegraphed. Technically, it's yet another emphatic reminder from Running Wild, who are now almost two thirds of the way through 52 Short Films in 52 Weeks, that they can make good films quickly. Most production companies will never make 52 films, let alone in 52 weeks, but what to them would be an insanely ambitious challenge is merely becoming another project to Running Wild. Mills and his crew are apparently so on top of it that they can finish up a feature, The Men Who Robbed the Bank, for a premiere this month at Tempe Pollack Theaters and not just take time out to make another film for a 48 hour challenge but to win it too. The absence of key competitors doesn't lessen that achievement.
What may be most hilarious is that the punchline stands out despite those cameo appearances having no impact on the drive of the film. Its stars are Michelle Palermo and Running Wild perennial Michael Coleman, who play brother and sister, Mike and Michelle. Yet, while they are absolutely the focus and they do their jobs very well indeed, their screen mum, Jane Fendelman, ruthlessly steals the show out from under them every time she's on screen. Equal parts mother, angel and new age hippie love child, she's a delight from the moment we see her first. She swoops into the house in a rainbow of a dress, throws, 'Hello, my darling star babies, how are you shining today?' into the air and exits stage left. It's such a quintessential sitcom entrance that I was actually shocked by the absence of a laugh track. She never lets up when she's on screen and I don't think there's a new age buzzword that she missed. It's hard to pick a favourite, but her use of the Higgs field in conversation particularly tickled me.