Sunday 4 August 2013

Psychic Says (2013)

Director: Winter Kane
Stars: McCauley Harlan, Jamaal Alexander and Krissy Kapp
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.
Sound was a recurring problem in many of this year's IFP Beat the Clock submissions and that became obvious first with this one. Later films had even worse sound and that was unfortunately exacerbated by the projection. I've presented sets of shorts before and I understand how they come with different sound levels and often wildly different sound quality. It's tough to screen that. Nonetheless, the sound wasn't good here, with a constant hiss under most of the film. It disappears when the lead character, who feels sick and believes the internet when it tells him that he's cursed, skypes with a psychic; all Madame Medilia's scenes are as crystal clear as her accent isn't. It cuts in and out as our protagonist works through a bucket list of tasks she has him do during his potential last 24 hours of life, because the score ably replaces it. It's annoying and it's what you might expect to hear in a film created from scratch in a mere 48 hours; it's a compliment to Beat the Clock regulars that it almost felt surprising.

I enjoyed this a lot more than I did the last Flight in the Eye production I reviewed, another IFP film by the name of Babble. That played less like a film and more like a piece of performance art. This is just as surreal but in a more cinematic way. There are a couple of really good shots, one making great use of a sunset and another taking solid advantage of a park bench with an appropriate inscription. It doesn't quite gel together, whether as a literal story, some sort of fever dream or even as an acerbic commentary on the gullibility of the youth of today and how everything found on the internet is clearly true. Mostly it plays as some good ideas jumbled together into a less good film because writers Winter Kane and Emma Grove had to write it really quickly and Kane then had to direct it to completion in a very short timeframe. I'm not going to remember the unnamed lead. I'm not even going to remember Madame Medelia. However I'm pretty sure that bucket list is going to sit in my brain and germinate.

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