Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. EliCross is one of our chatroom regulars and he’s recently sent me a handful of reviews about a whole group of short films and a feature that he saw during the Tribeca Film Festival. This isn’t stuff that you’ll stumble across in the local multiplex, but if you like the sound of it, it may be worth tracking down. Take it away, Eli...
Welcome back and once again a fine collection has been amassed at the Tribeca Film Festival of films and filmmakers and which has stood out as one of the finest venues in displaying short films and yours truly on the killer crane caught so many that this years cast of the magnificent and the macabre will be divided into three parts. With this year having 75 out of 2500 applicants accepted, here's the long and short of some of this years selections: In Irish Twins, two brothers mourn the death of their father at a local bar and come up with a unique idea as to what to do with the ashes unaware of the conflict they had with their father. In 20 minutes, the team of Rider and Shiloh Strong have a strong visual sense in their direction and, in addition, give solid realistic performances as one successful brother who has a path in life and one drifter brother who comes up with the idea for the placement of his father's ashes. There is plenty of tension in both the acting and the writing and left this viewer stunned by its short length and its effectiveness in its execution. It's the 1960s in the deep south and one deputy brings a young girl to the local asylum unaware of what's behind closed doors in Kirksdale, a horror short that does more justice to the genre than many of the feature length one weekend wonders that call themselves horror movies (not all of them, but most of them). All this viewer can say about taking the trip to Kirksdale is that it stays in the spirit of some of the great middle of nowhere horror films in the past as well as having 2 people passing out before the screening of it was done. So beware, and expect a scare (or more) when going down to the deep South. A little wine and a little dinner goes well on a date but one wonders if a zombie on the other end is quite appealing in the animated Zombie Gets a Date which moves by beautifully and keeps the laughs going in only three minutes. With all sound, animation and use of score, the title character (who could be related vocally to Opie on Family Guy) charms his way with his look and leaves room for a great capper to a most intriguing date. It's short, it's sweet and it's very funny! After an overflow of post it notes on a computer monitor, one such filmmaker goes through the years of his life spanning nine years in Yellow Sticky Notes which provides joy and sadness going from the funny to the solemn as this experimental piece comes through with a lot to talk about with many minutes after viewing. In The Year of the Pig, the power of twelve years and coincidence comes into play in Havana's Chinatown where a few characters ring the doorbell of destiny complete with special fortune cookies and a most amusing tip of the hat to Magnolia minus the slow parts and very well done. A man and a women wake up unknown as to how they ended up in the same room with no memory and one big struggle in Skeletons in the Closet which entertains even if it doesn't contain any skeletons or closets but it does keep the questions coming in Swedish and within all the actions in this short, one wonders where another character ended up but keeps the tension level in the dialogue amusingly and in it's short version of a couple's Memento plays out nicely from beginning to end. Who says fish can't find its way to the ocean like Nemo but two kids breaking into one elementary school hatch an escape plan in the very entertaining Goldfish with its constant amusement and beautifully plays out what many kids don't know when trying to get fish to escape a certain way but the end result makes great use of The White Stripes and has a lot to love about it. The day after Halloween in New York City shows a parade of shame of many costumed individuals and onto the steps of one apartment building there lies one woken up man (Ben Walker) and one costumed girl (Mamie Gummer) pulling away from the parade and chatting about the night before in All Saints Day which provides some excellent uses of silent flashback and a simple two person play that plays out very nicely. On the other side, Peter Allen couldn't have imagined a site like this when he wrote I Go To Rio in Good Boy where in Rio De Janeiro a little boy gets paid handsomely to carry out making hits on certain shady individuals. It helps bring the groceries to his mother, and it keeps him moving but one such assignment gives this little boy a choice to be who he is or to be a man? This effective thriller has a common theme in a lot of the short work in that the best casting decisions are made more with these short films than with many features out there presently. It's a game of chance and one person has played one too many street games but one wrong word can ruin the day in The Money Shot where a cop is forced to make a choice under extreme circumstances that can lead to major consequences to all involved. With its great choices in editing and situational manner, its one shot that's quick and full of surprises from every turn with an exclamation point made by the group Prodigy and entertaining from start to finish. It's tough having a very special gift when you're Being Human as a doctor and a patient discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this gift. When one watches Heroes, they could've thought of someone like this patient but one that could fit in as he does during this short which is a very well edited and shocking piece that keeps all together in one neat package. Finally, one mans fear of the dark is recollected in Night Light where a fear takes advantage but not without a downside to overcoming the fear and where it relates to him in the present day. Not only did the dialogue and the situation make the hairs stand up, but this viewer wants to know where that very night light came from for I would love to have that one too. Before we close this chapter, Eli congratulates all who had been amongst the over seventy plus accepted and for providing what should precede films on a regular basis for they're far more entertaining than the endless commercials twenty minutes before any feature. Also a note for all those who view this and happen to run film festivals of their own-- all of these fine works come very well recommended made by these wonderful filmmakers and if you don't know their names, you will now, and they are: Irish Twins- Rider and Shiloh Strong Kirksdale- Ryan Spindell Zombie Gets A Date: Leetal Platt Yellow Sticky Notes: Jeff Chiba Stearns The Year of the Pig: Claudia Calderon Skeletons in the Closet: Ulrik Friberg Goldfish: Joe Wein All Saints Day: Will Frears Good Boy: Davyde Wachell The Money Shot: Aaron Rapke Being Human: Mike Palermo Night Light: Mark Mollencamp
I’m always fascinated by the way the shorts programs are treated at festivals. It’s hard to get an audience, even a fest audience, to show up, but some of the best experiences I’ve had at festivals have been with the short films. Here’s Eli with his second heaping plate full of reviews for you:
Eli Cross back with another helping of hilarity and heartbreak done in a short length of time at the Tribeca Film Festival and with all the filmmakers contributions, here are more looks at the works featured: A worker has added a profile on his computer and his favorite social site is upgrading but there is a danger to hitting the download button at the office in About Face, a hysterical take on the connecting sites on the internet and how they can possibly invade the space of ones work time. On the other side of things, Candi struggles with her weight but can't seem to give up her one love of it all, her favorite dessert in Cupcake, whose use of the unseen amusingly accented narrator as well as Kinna McInroe's performance as Candi and all the little touches drive this short into touching and tickling the funny bone even in the smallest detail from the goofy workout guy on the television to the imagery in Candi's life. Meanwhile in the next neighborhood, two sisters bond closely at home. However a boyfriend in the older sister's life threatens the bond in the eyes of the younger sister in The Elephant Garden and while a trunk or Dumbo is nowhere in sight, it does capture ones lack of love from family and the young struggle for love in all places. Sasie Sealy's drama benefits from fine casting (as many of the shorts have) and a strong visual sense especially in a scene involving the younger sister and riding a bicycle in the woods. This viewer is still wondering how it was pulled off, but its one great scene as part of a great short film. An older couple on holiday suns themselves into happiness. All goes well until a young kid starts horsing around and disturbs the husband in Hesitation where anyone can relate to the struggle in this film that has ever dealt with a constant annoyance. It's very well done and it's director adapts her short story nicely. If there was ever a real out there salute to the Looney Tunes classic Sunrise in Nutsville, that honor in that would go to Last Time in Clarkenwell which has a catchy tune and throws so much in four minutes such as a spider cat, some penguins and plenty of wackiness that ensues in song. Another great mix of music and back and forth dueling competition comes into play in Little Minx Exquisite Corpse: Rope a Dope where a girl who loves her music walks into a boxer's gym and gives the rope jumper a run for his money as they duel it out on the gym floor. A middle aged car salesman seizes the opportunity for some kick ass footwear in Rattlesnakes. Unfortunately, not every one agrees with his choice and through it all, he tries to stick it out with amusing results and a satisfying ending. The tension brews in the Arab city of Lod where one youngster is the second in command for the biggest drug dealer in town in Roads a powerful suspense filled tale where one member of a family's involvement causes one to question his cause and leave him no choice but to go on the run from his employer and escape by any means necessary. It's one that races the heart and is a consistant thrill from start to finish. One man's resistance to the graphic nature of a dead body is featured in Supply and Demand in which an assistant to a medical examiner brings an odd air to the neighborhood when the morgue runs out of bodies and starts to get an abundance on their doorstep and one wonders whether the assistant is connected or not. Here's a piece where a stiff reaction says more than words. Finally, an African boy goes through the trials and tribulations of his first day at school in New Boy where seating, threats and memories of the past come all in a matter of hours in the boys eyes and its mix of comedy and tragedy is beautifully mixed in this piece. Well, the wackiness has calmed down for now but before we're finished like Daniel Plainview, let's take note of the fine filmmakers and their works and to festivals all looking for shorts, remember all of these titles and filmmakers and they are: About Face- Chad Maker Cupcake- Sean McPhillips The Elephant Garden- Sasie Sealy Hesitation- Virginia Gilbert Last Time In Clarkenwell- Alex Budovsky Little Minx Exquisite Corpse: Rope A Dope- Laurent Briet Rattlesnakes- Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson Roads- Lior Geller Supply and Demand- Frederic Farrucci New Boy- Steph Green
And then, finally, Eli sent in a review of one feature he saw at the fest, one that sounds intriguing:
A most intriguing journey on the other side of the world, The Zen of Bobby V covers both the love of baseball in Japan and how one American is looked upon on the highest order. This film chronicles one year in the life where a Major League Baseball manager takes his love of the game to another country (along with a few players) and how in a matter of a few years, the love of one manager exploded like no other baseball personality. What made this film quite a view was seeing how highly the Japanese commit themselves to this sport along with how far this manager went after his departure from the United States and seeing the struggles of the season as well as not succumbing to the reliance of the big game as opposed to the big season and the different activities in between. If there's one thing this viewer didn't care for, its one minor thing and it was factual but it goes into which MLB team helped out the Japanese to know the overall structure of American baseball and being from the Empire State, most of you readers can figure which team. The film is directed by the team of Andrew Jenks, Andrew Muscato and Jonah Quickmire Pettigrew who's fine balance between praise and perspective keeps this piece moving and paints a great portrait that makes this viewer want to have a satellite hookup to catch Japanese baseball. Knowing that it will be seen on ESPN2, this viewer wishes it had a theatrical release in addition to being televised, but at least it will be seen on one of the biggest sports channel and one worth viewing more than once. From the killer crane to the web pages, this is Eli Cross and to all who have crossed Eli's path, thank you for the company!