Angela - Brittany O'Dell
I often have trouble watching trailers for films that haven't been made. Too often, they're made as a replacement for the films they purport to be trailering. Angela is a trailer for a film that they haven't been able to make, and it actually doesn't try to make the movie, nor does it try to be a Hollywood trailer for a film that doesn't exist. It gives you the basis of the story, and it hints at how things would go, and then ends. It would make for an excellent Kickstarter video, because if I saw it, I would want to see what director Brittany O'Dell could manage with backing.
Last Days of Mortal Entity - Alexander Formos
The story of the Russian/Soviet Empire is one of the most tragic in history. Last Days of Mortal Entity tackles the final decline via the story of a young man moving through a crumbling wasteland. It's an impressive bit of filmmaking, even if the editing and cinematography left me a touch confused at times, as if it stranded me in the middle of a situation I had no tools to comprehend. Off-camber close-ups and longing vista cinematography make the film feel distant emotionally, as if we're supposed to sense this closeness as oppression. Maybe it was the timing of some of the cuts. I found myself lost at times, but when the film came together at the end, I also realised that was the major theme, and while experiencing some of that was unpleasant, the film was effective at bringing me into the world.
The Gamekeeper - Peter Kane
Thrillers are hard. The Gamekeeper is built like a horror film, and from the very beginning, it's what it feels like, but where it goes beyond that is through the interaction of the teens that trespass on the land the Gameskeeper is in charge of. A horror film would typically treat this as secondary, using elements of those interactions to set-up stings and kills, but here, they take a prominence that helps define the feature. The AWOL soldier-turned-gamekeeper is a strong character, and I can see why so many see this as a horror film, but the real power of it lay in the almost Harmony Korine-like level of pain and realism. A strong film.