You're a Dead Ringer Too - Craig Quinn
This is a sequel to the film You're a Dead Ringers and it's a very stylish short at roughly 30 minutes. This British dark crime comedy has a lot in common with films like Snatch and the better Tarantino films, but it also has a lovely originality that energizes the production. I'll admit, I thought I had this film nailed early, but moved on me. The use of music, to hammer home points, and amp up the impact, is downright perfect. There are a few small issues with the sound mix, but the overall production values are fantastic, especially the cinematography and editing. You can find out more at https://www.facebook.com/MomentaryRevolution
Save the Bees - Marta Topolska
The plight of Bees in our polluted world is serious. We're losing them at a tremendous rate, and the danger to the future of our species (and many others) is 100% at stake. The short Save the Bees is a beautifully animated documentary. It tells us why we're seeing the great die-off, and how we can help. It's an important message, and it's delivered in a bright, easy-to-absorb fashion. Director Marta Topolska has done a wonderful job crafting a skilled educational piece. You can see it at https://vimeo.com/133728249 (and you can learn more about helping save bees at save-bees.org/)
When the Giant Says The Bookstore is Closing - Patrick Delhougne
Over the last few years, us bookgeeks have been losing our sacred spaces. Bookstores, both big and small are going under, harmed irreversibly by the likes of Amazon and eBay. In just about a minute, director Patrick Delhougne has his tough-as-nails lead devastate the owner who has announced the closing of his shop and shove him in the back of a truck, where she continues beatin' on him. It's all the frustration that us readers have felt in recent years. Stylish, well-shot, and just plain cathartic, it's a film that made me feel better.
Discredit - Danny Miguel
The thriller is a favorite genre for me, and Discredit plays in the vein quite well. The story of a returning agent put on a new mission is well-told, and felt like an entry into something from Tom Clancy or the Jason Bourne franchise. There are a few technical issues here and there, mostly in sound, though the story has so many markers of quality, from effectively fluid editing, well-placed use of effects and graphics, it never pulls you out. The movement of the action isn't frantic, but more measured, and that serves the film well. As a whole, Discredit is a film that delivers thrills brilliantly.
The Wolves - Dominique Rochon
Living isolated from the outside world can drive even a totally sane person mad over time, and loneliness can drive anyone into any available set of arms. In Wolves, we are presented with a couple, James and Karina, who live out of town in the forest, and they are faced with various issues, including a wolf who is stealing hares from their traps. While that is the scenario, the real story is the one between our hero and his wife, and the difficulties of their life together. The writing, acting, and the perfect use of silence, combine well to give us a strong film which speaks to the desperate state of those who live apart from the rest of civilization. You can get a glimpse of it at https://vimeo.com/125759664
Do You? - Gio James Bertoia
This is a love letter. It is a love letter to New York City, to the people of New York City, and to the idea of love. The filmmaker goes interviews many individuals and asks "Do you believe in love?" and the various answers he gets show not only the diversity of NYC, but also the diversity of human emotion. The way it's shot, from stiff close-ups to two-shots in profile with the City looming in the background, it's just about the perfect way to present this material.There is a lovely performance of Hare Krishna that might have gone on a bit long, and the other bits of music are actually phenomenally well-chosen. I'm betting you'll find an interview subject whose world view matches yours, and you'll attach as strongly as I did to this film.
Sweet As - Danny MAlin
I'm sometimes confused by the central conceit of a film. In the case of Danny MAlin's Sweet As, it's a difficult thing to come to grips with. There are two old twins, and apparently they're only two years old, perhaps suffering from a form of progeria. Their alcoholic father has been hiding the truth from them. The story gets weird, and there are two strange witches, a lesbian sub-plot, and magic. The make-up is obvious, the script is absolutely nuts, and the plot nutty, but the cinematography and editing is phenomenal, every bit as strong as your average Hollywood endeavor. It's weird, and difficult to mentally synthesize, but I have to say that I could not look away and strangely came to love it. You can find out more at http://www.sweetasthemovie.ca
Life and Death in Spoon River - Richard Redmond
An adaptation of the legendary Spoon River Anthology, Richard Redmond does a very strong job giving the actors a chance to express the words of Edgar Lee Masters with impressive gusto. Some are better than others, of course, but we are greeted with an impressive performance from Syl Farrell as Pauline Barrett, who delivers her portion of the film with perfect measure and restrained force. The real downside to the production are the rather simple production values. The graphics are week, and the voiceover is unbalanced in volume. Some of the music seems out of place with the material surrounding it. The overall impact of the film seems to do justice to the source. You can find more at http://www.richardredmondproductions.com/index.html