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DC Shorts’ Showcase 12 is weaker than Olive Oyl and about as fresh as a Popeye reference. Nothing is outright terrible, but there’s nothing to recommend, either. Skip it, not your spinach.
A Little Something on the Side: A timid man has a domineering wife who makes him eat wheat crackers with dollops of yogurt. He rebels by having a love affair with an incredibly sexy piece of meat called porterhouse—-which is fed to him by a dominatrix. Amusing bait and switch.
Performance: Black-and-white clips of a boxer and a dancer in the final minute of preparation for their events are intertwined to show… something? Is this an ESPN commercial?
The Boxer: Animated barefisted brawlers go at it in a fixed match that isn’t going the right way. More interesting than a punch in the face, but about as memorable as an ear flick.
Loveseat (pictured above): A guy who’s moving in with his girlfriend has trouble of letting go of the couch where he spent so many nights drinking, sleeping, and macking on previous lady-friends. But then the Couch of Dudebro Past starts talking to convince him it’s all good. Unlike this.
Tomato Story: Animated story about two city women who fight over a shared balcony to see who can grow the finest tomato. There are no words, just grunts and gasps for dialog, but at least it ends in their mutually assured destruction.
Frame of Mind: Potentially compelling sci-fi psychological thriller about a man who saw a serial killer abduct a child when he was young. His brain gets connected to a computer because technology allows investigators to tap into his memory and display the images on screen. But the late-night cable slo-mo scenes and jarring Beach Boys-like song that appears in the middle of a dramatic revelation undercut the emotion.
Konig Ludwig (King Ludwig): Two men search the wintry Bavarian forest for a place to scatter one of their ashes once they die. Once they find the spot, the film jumps ahead to the scattering. If there was a deeper meaning, it’s buried under the snow.
Premiere Neige (First Snow): A dysfunctional family of four adult children meet with their mother in a hospital to decide who might donate a kidney to their dying father. All refuse and then seem to make a tense peace with one another. Cretins.
Not reviewed from this showcase: Efimera (Ephemeral), for which a screener was not available.
Sept. 23 at 5 p.m. at Angelika Film Center Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. at E Street Cinema Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. at Anacostia Arts Center