A short film by John Buchanan, Dinner tells the tale of a predator who has been on the lose in a recent rash of murders. This particular instance focuses around a creepy dinner invitation – plain and simple.
Meant as an homage to Alfred Hitchcock, it came across more as a quirky made-for-TV murder sitcom. Did that not do an accurate job of describing it? Well, to be honest, I am having a hard time finding the right words to articulate my thoughts on this. The soundtrack seems out of place, and the acting could use some work. Still, the quality of the film and the simplicity of the set is admirable. I would also like to keep in mind, this opinion is just that, an opinion that belongs to me. In fact Dinner has been named as an official selection for the London Film Festival taking place on October 26th.
Want to form your own opinion? Take a look after the jump! Dinner clocks in at 7 minutes and is worth a watch. You can also find more information on the official movie website.
In honor of The Walking Dead returning TONIGHT on AMC, I have decided to focus on the Australian short film Cargo.
Well folks, the zombie apocalypse seems to have hit the land down under! In most popular media we don’t seem to hear much about how the Aussies deal with such things. Well Cargo drops you into the middle of crisis with one such man’s journey to find help for his baby daughter. It is a race against time that is both tense and clever.
A Tropfest 2013 finalist (not familiar with that festival? neither am I) does a lot with very little. You don’t see too many zombies and there isn’t a lot of dialogue to walk you through the plot. The visual storytelling is fantastic and provides the perfect amount of depth for a 7 minute short.
Sometimes short films tend to cram too much into a limited amount of time. That mindset is very understandable – we want a beginning, a middle, and an end to our stories. We want to feel like we know the characters and their motivations. The Silent City boldly avoids such an approach. Created by Ruairi Robinson and starring our favorite scarecrow Cillian Murphy – The Silent City is about a group of soldiers wandering a post apocalyptic wasteland.
What makes the film so bold are the gritty visuals. With a mood reminiscent of the war scenes in Full Metal Jacket and Saving Private Ryan, The Silent City accomplishes this within a 7 minute window. The Silent City effectively captures your attention without being fully invested in the background of the characters (because you don’t know it). Come to think of it, you never really get a firm grasp on the plot either. What made me really appreciate this film is the knowledge that this is just a smaller piece of a bigger story. Whether we learn anything else of this tale, I wouldn’t bet on it – but it sure is fun to speculate.
In 2012 Maggie Simpson starred in her very own 3D short film. The Longest Daycare debuted prior to Ice Age: Continental Drift on July 13, 2012. This film would be the second Simpsons movie to grace the big screen and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
In true Maggie fashion, The Longest Daycare features no dialogue, yet the story plays out rather effectively. Like any other Simpsons product, the jokes are present, albeit a bit more subtle. The story is constantly in motion; amazing animation and a fantastic soundtrack make The Longest Daycare a great watch and well worth the time for Simpsons fans and non-Simpsons fans alike. While I am nowhere near as passionate for the series as Kevin and Graham are (I argue it peaked around the 7th and 8th seasons), The Longest Daycare contains everything you would want in an animated short. Not that I saw Ice Age: Continental Drift - but I imagine this short was the best thing about that film experience for moviegoers over the age of 12.
Clocking in at approximately four and a half minutes – consider this a great way to cap off Simpsons Week! A special thanks to Kevin and Graham for putting together all of the festivities. The 25th season premieres TONIGHT on Fox – but until then you can watch The Longest Daycare after the jump! (more…)
Titan Books sent us a copy of Once Upon a Time – Behind the Magic, here is our review.
If it wasn’t for my partner’s TV habits, I don’t think I would have seen a single episode of Once Upon a Time. She enjoys it as much as one possibly could I think, even taking time to look at this book with me. For a quick synopsis: Once Upon a Time revolves around the adaptation of fairytale characters such as Snow White and Prince Charming who have been brought into the real world with no knowledge of their true identities, due to the Evil Queen.
The book is well made with 176 pages of nice glossy images and information to satisfy any fan of the show and catch others up as it covers everything from the show up until now.
While I won’t promise regular viewers will learn much more about Storybrooke and Fairytale Land, the new companion does unveil secrets from behind-the-scenes, from in-depth episode guides, to revealing interviews with co-creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis (Lost). My favorite was the inside looks at the special effects and props and learning the writers’ favorite episodes. There is a lot more in this guide, so for fans and newcomers, it’s a definite companion for your bookshelf.
With summer officially ending yesterday I found it fitting that my review this week focused on a Game of Thrones fan fiction – ‘Winter is Coming’ friends. While I generally tend to steer clear of fan fiction, I made an exception in this case.
A Tale of Benjen Stark is set north of the wall as as the title character is out on a ranging mission. In a familiar scene, Benjen stumbles across a Wildling camp massacred. The production value is rather high and the limited dialogue is a benefit. Avoiding a lot of conversation can hide flawed acting and in this instance really allows the viewer to focus on the visuals. The production value of this fan fiction is rather high. Without giving too much away, not a lot of story progresses here. Again, this is another good thing as it doesn’t create any inaccuracies with the plot that has existed or the plot that is yet to come.
Created by Benjamin Von Wong, A Tale of Benjen Stark clocks in at approximately 6 minutes. If you don’t enjoy fan fiction, well then you may want to take a pass on this. If you can like it for what it is, this is worth a look! Check it out after the jump!
Titan Books sent us a copy of Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard by Kim Newman, here is our review.
Firstly I’d like to say that I have never read any of Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series,Ryan did a review (a re-release title) around this time last year and was lukewarm to that particular entry. I have heard pretty good things about the books, they are often compared to the great read that is Interview With a Vampire. I can tell you now for someone who doesn’t read this particular genre of books, I was hooked.
Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard, is the first Anno Dracula series entry in over a decade, a long time to wait for fan, but worth it. Newman’s dark and impish tale begins with a single question: What if Dracula had survived his encounters with Bram Stoker’s Dr. John Seward and enslaved Victorian England? When vampire boy Johnny Alucard descends upon America, stalking the streets of New York and Hollywood, haunting the lives of the rich and famous, from Sid and Nancy to Andy Warhol, Orson Welles, and Francis Ford Coppola, sinking his fangs ever deeper into the zeitgeist of 1980s America, it seems the past might not be dead after all.
It’s not necessary to read the earlier entries in the Anno Dracula series, but helps to know your vampire films and novels, and popular culture for the last several decades. Film and vampire lore is what kept me turning pages, Newman manages to touch on nearly every meme or mythos I can think of.
This book will delight fans of the series and bring in new fans as well, it’s a fun and easy read put together beautifully by Titan Books.
I do not want to go into too much detail as I would hate to ruin a few surprises, so check it out for yourself and let me know what you thought.
Check out the Anno Dracula series history here.
The Gate will not provide you with a satisfying story arc. There, I said it – and it was the first thing I said. It’s important to understand that so you aren’t totally disappointed with the progression of this film. If you have an active imagination however, you could see it as a stepping stone into a much larger world. A lot of short films tend to push that concept, like a pilot to see if a TV series can be made. When I watched The Gate I felt a lot of components were there to make a really good film or television series.
Centered around genetic mutations – The Gate comes across as a debriefing after a thorough investigation into the recent deaths of several people. I myself, like others who have reviewed this film in the past, recommend you stop at the 6:46 mark. That is the point in which this film turns into a PSA about reputable pharmaceuticals. I have nothing against movies portraying a message. A lot of the time the visuals of stories will spark people to action and inspire some to greater causes. Unfortunately this was not done gracefully and came across like a bad television commercial.
Despite this huge negative, with some nifty special effects and an interesting premise, The Gate has potential. You can watch The Gate after the jump!
I will keep this review brief, because frankly, this is a brief film. Clocking in at 3 minutes and 40 seconds The Device takes the term short film very literally. While not burdened with a costly production budget or bloated special effects, The Device accurately portrays who the main character is through his quick choices and dorky persona. The only dialogue he utters is ‘Yes!’ upon understanding the true power he possesses, which is pretty awesome. The device itself in The Device provides powers an abilities akin to something you would see in the Portal video game series. As Uncle Ben famously quoted, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Somebody tell our protagonist about that alright?
I hope I kept the above summary vague enough to peak your interests. If I did, you can watch The Device after the jump. Enjoy!
Disarm is a short film focusing around the recall of prosthetic limbs by it’s leading distributor after a new law is passed banning them. These limbs are not just prosthetic.. they are robotic! Which makes them super cool to modify, want a flamethrower in your arm, you’ve got it! I already have thoughts of branding the ‘Swiss Arm-y’ Arm, see what I did there? Well with people doing these modifications Disarm focuses on a company representative working with a police office to make all of the necessary recalls by going door to door. A little hostile don’t you think?
The quality of the filmography is great. The shots are well framed and executed with great color and balance to every scene. With any short film not developed by a big studio, this is a feat worth noting. In the opening scenes it is presented almost like an episode of The Office as the corporate suit talks about the recall to us, the average viewer. This point of view quickly shifts as you begin to understand that this situation is not as black and white as the corporation makes it seem.
Disarm is a fun ride and perhaps a glimpse into the type of technology we could see in the future. Filmmaker Andrew Kelleher provides us a glimpse into a world of social commentary, action, and super hero like abilities in a little over 11 minutes. Check out Disarm after the jump!