Mindless Sensibility
dir. New Lab Film Company
Opens Fri Aug 16
Laurelhurst Theater

Everybody's happy when a "local kid makes good." And this goes double for local artists who are showing far more promise than one would expect from a town our size. Some of Portland's finest are the New Lab Film Company, who will be showing four of their works in a weeklong engagement at the Laurelhurst entitled Mindless Sensibility. And while this company is well-regarded for making tight, professional-looking art flicks, it should be noted that mixed in with their golden eggs are some golden poops--and you never know what you're going to get.

Sensibility starts out with The Miracle of Life, a 14-minute silent short about a disintegrating marriage, nuclear clouds, and a surrogate baby/meatloaf. I didn't like it. While the cinematography and lighting were nicely executed, the experimental soundtrack was grating, and it played like a film school class project--not something one should ever ask an audience to pay for.

However, things begin looking up in the second featurette, entitled Hunter Dawson. The film is an audition video of sorts for the title character (Hunter), who is a So-Cal bonehead transplant looking for a gig on a reality show. While the character is played with a definite one-dimensionality, Hunter Dawson is nevertheless a breezy and enjoyable short.

Next comes Autographhss.com, which many people seem to enjoy but I didn't. This mockumentary about two cyber-losers trying to start their own autograph web business was too meandering for my taste, but as stated earlier, other people have claimed to enjoy it. I fell asleep. Twice.

Rounding out the evening is Ugly Parade; a bonfire home run. Checkers, a down-and-out loser, falls in with the twin Mangini brothers, who give her a role in their TV variety show--which turns out to be a vehicle to satisfy the sexual urges of their decrepit mother. This film is completely bizarre, hilarious, and strangely enough, touching.

While Mindless Sensibility may contain both hits and misses, this collection still shows the promise of what New Lab Film is capable of when they have a good story. Keep your eye on them.