Chattanooga Film Fest 2017: Day 2

Hello/Goodbye (Short)

A man cares for his ailing grandmother by taking her on walks, by sitting with her in the park, and by going with her to get tea. A woman cares for her ailing grandmother by taking her on walks, by sitting with her in the park, and by going with her to get tea. Their paths cross, and they exchange glances, but they’re always too busy with their respective grandmothers to do any more than that. It’s a simple, bittersweet short film that works well and makes a good pairing with the attached feature, Lost in Paris.

Lost in Paris

Fiona is a Canadian woman who receives a letter from her elderly aunt Martha, who lives in Paris. She’s not doing so well, and they want to put her in a home. Fiona heads off to Paris to try to meet her, only to get no response when she rings at her apartment. An unfortunate encounter with the Seine river leaves her with only the wet clothes on her back—no money, no passport, and no luggage.

It’s a surprisingly light and whimsical film given its somewhat dark subject matter. It feels like it’s going for a Wes Anderson sort of vibe, but fortunately it fails at that because it’s not the worst thing ever made. Not all of the comedy works as well as I’d like, and the “Fiona and Martha are constantly missing each other” gags do get a bit tiresome, but it’s still an enjoyable film that’s worth checking out.


Menashe (pronounced “men-osh-uh”) is a devout Hasidic Jew, who lives in a Hasidic community in New York City. His wife, Leah, died a year ago, leaving him alone to care for their son. Unfortunately, rabbinical law states that a boy should be raised by two parents, so Menashe is forced to let him live with Leah’s brother’s family. Menashe is lonely, has a crappy job, and doesn’t get any respect from just about anyone.

The film provides an interesting look at Hasidic culture and practices that are probably not familiar to most audiences. It’s often entertaining, but it’s also dark and depressing and feels like it’s really piling it on at times. It’s also a little obvious at times, and if you ask yourself in each scene, “how could this go wrong?”, you’ll probably end up being not too far off.

Lake Bodom

In 1960, four teens were killed while camping on the shore of Finland’s Lake Bodom. The murders were never solved, but they did raise a lot of speculation and folk tales about what might have happened. Atte is particularly interested in the story, and he gets the bright idea to take his own camping trip out there to see what happens. So he convinces his friend Elias, and together they trick Ida and Nora into coming along. And then things start happening.

It’s a fairly standard horror movie that has decent enough production values and isn’t always as predictable as you might expect. Unfortunately, though, that unpredictability doesn’t last. It pursues storylines farther than it should, killing the suspense and weakening the film in the process. It’s adequate but could have been a lot better.


Istanbul, Turkey is full of stray cats. You might even call it an infestation, except the idiots who live there encourage it by feeding, petting, and otherwise encouraging them to make themselves a public menace. This documentary is full of interviews with several of those people, and lots of footage of cats doing cat things.

This is a film without any substance at all. It’s an eighty-minute film with only about five minutes of unique content. And unfortunately, all the remaining fluff seems expertly crafted to make encourage asshole audience members (and there were many of them) to spend the whole time talking, fawning, and making utter nuisances of themselves. If you’re into cute cat videos, you might find it enjoyable. Otherwise, it’ll probably only fuel your dislike of humans.


Jason Ritter plays a husband and father of four who spends all of his time at the office and none of it with his family. His wife (Marianna Palka) has been begging for a break, but he always puts his job first. Then it all becomes too much for her, and she snaps. She thinks she’s a dog, leaving her husband no choice but to take on some of the family responsibilities while trying to save face and his job. Also featuring Martin Starr as Ritter’s coworker and Jaime King as his sister-in-law.

This entire film feels like someone misheard the title to the Swedish film My Life as a Dog as “My Wife Is a Dog” and they just decided to make that. It’s got one or two laughs, but otherwise, it’s highly predictable and not all that great. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the film is the work of the hair, makeup, wardrobe, and lighting departments for finding so many ways to conceal nudity on the naked woman turned dog.

Small Crimes

Joe (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is a former cop who found himself in debt to the wrong people, which led to him doing things he shouldn’t have done. He’s just gotten out of prison and is living at home with his parents (Robert Forster and Jacki Weaver). He thinks he’s done with that life, but others feel differently. Also featuring Gary Cole, Molly Parker, Macon Blair, and Pat Healy.

It’s hard to describe the film in much more detail without giving too much away, and it’s really a joy to discover the film as it unfolds. It mostly works, although there are a couple of times when it relies a little too heavily on coincidence. It’s worth seeing in a theater if you get the chance, and I’m glad that I did because after its festival run, it’s likely to only be available on Netflix, and you shouldn’t give them your money because they give it to Adam Sandler so that he can keep making movies.

Death Metal (Short)

Kirk Johnson plays a man who’s given a special Satanic guitar and a set of rules that he must follow. HIs careless playing quickly turns deadly. It’s a very fun short film from director Chris McInroy (Bad Guy #2), and it’s the only reason I sat through Slayer: Repentless Trilogy.

Slayer: Repentless Trilogy

This is simply the music videos for three Slayer songs: Repentless, You Against You, and Pride in Prejudice. I went in with zero interest in or knowledge of Slayer and went out seriously regretting my decision to sit through it. The videos are openly racist, full of Nazi imagery, slurs against Jews, and, as the title of the third video proclaims, pride in their hatred. It’s shocking and disappointing that the festival would include something this completely vile and without any shred of merit or redeeming value.