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Sunday, March 13, 2016

An All Too Plausible App Obsessed Future In Wen Ren's Sci-Fi Comedy "Cafe Glass"

"CAFE GLASS" (2015)
Genre: Sci-Fi / Comedy
Length- 9:15
Company:  Ocean Sky Media / Black Drone Media

In a near future where the virtual world and reality have begun to overlap, Steve (Devin Goodsell) attempts to meet Capica (Bridgett Luevanos) in real life even though his cell phone app warns him they are utterly incompatible for one another.  So incompatible, in fact, that they are "enemies".  

To make matters worse, there's an Internet failure at the local Wi-Fi cafe, so it seems the would be couple are truly on their own in strange new territory . . .

SAY HELLO TO THE FUTURE

Writer/director/editor Wen Ren is truly the driving force behind the humorous short film "Cafe Glass", which is basically a natural extension of the immersive "app culture" we are becoming.  It's almost a cautionary tale masquerading as a comedy.  The more we become obsessed with filling every empty second with something to look at, something to do, the more we lose in the long run.

This seems to be a philosophy with which Ren agrees, and he takes this in the direction of relationships.  Steve has friends, but they're not friends as we know friends.  Steve sits with a group of guys, but they don't talk to each other.  They are physically present, but not emotionally present.  They are busy doing their own thing, caught up in their own mess of apps and games.

GOODBYE TO ROMANCE -- DYSTOPIAN EDITION

And as far as romance is concerned, forget about it -- there's an app that instantly searches a room and tells you if there's anyone who is compatible with you, or if they'd be an enemy.  Instant search, instant gratification maybe, but without being able to emotionally connect (which how can you do that when no one can pay attention to anything beyond their own nose for five seconds) there's no way you can have a lasting relationship.  Romantic relationships are just as disposable as anything else in this new app obsessed world.

So it is appropriate that Steve and Capica attempt to forge their own relationship without the Internet . . . and maybe by doing so, they'll remember what it means to connect with another human being in the first place.

Consider this: perhaps they are labeled incompatible on the app not because they are enemies to one another, but because their union would make them an enemy of the STATE, since becoming a real, long term loving couple would distract them from the sort of loneliness that would promote an interest in the obsession of the app world that such a "futuristic" dystopia would require to continue to exist.

Boom.

That was your mind exploding.

You're welcome.

NOW THEN, THEN NOW

Yes, I got all that out of a nine minute short film.  It's story behind the story, unmentioned but no less there, and it's that kind of depth that helps fill in the blanks of what could have otherwise been a very cardboard cut out comedy story.

Thanks to some very good filling out of a real cafe, Ren gives us a great illusion of a bustling internet cafe, complete with high tech visuals which are on point with the way apps today are becoming more and more intrusive on our daily lives.  In "Cafe Glass", they truly dig their digital fingers into every waking moment.  Every action has an app attached to it, and it's all rendered beautifully with visual effects designed and supervised by Art Miroshin.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 3 / 5.  The unspoken depth of the cautionary tale behind the app crazy world helps elevate the story, which is pretty sparse otherwise.
Directing: 3.5 / 5.  Nicely integrated visual effects, a lot of Go Pro style first person or tight close up "in motion" shots.  These choices made perfect sense for this picture, and helped add some kinetic energy to the film.
Editing: 4 / 5.  Tightly edited.  The effects are perfect.
Sound/Music: 3.5 / 5.  Nice post-pop/electronic soundtrack from Chris Marz.
Acting: 3 / 5.  Good comedic performances from everyone.  Nothing groundbreaking, but it works.

Final Grade:  3.4 / 5.

Don't forget to check out "Cafe Glass" and follow the creators on Facebook!



Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!