Posts tagged Short Film
SHORT FILM REVIEW: Not Yet

For a while now, I have long wondered how someone could bottle that signature Pixar-level lightness for dramatic heft and pour it into a live-action piece with the same welcome whimsy.  Pixar's animated feature films and shorts consistently have a special way with conveying humor within the most difficult emotions  I might have found the closest attempt yet in Chad Hamilton’s lovely short film Not Yet.

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: Message Received

The character of James in Message Received, played by David Chin, is a married man whose extramarital activities has been discovered by a mystery person.  His actions that follow in the taut 11-minute short demonstrate how desperation can make that downward cycle even more steep and slippery.  Things get worse instead of better and he has no one to blame but himself.

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: Loyalty or Betrayal

By design and in the name of essential effectiveness, a good short film has to cut to the chase.  Their tricks of cinematic shorthand in the exposition department are what make them entertaining.  When the micro-budgeted Loyalty and Betrayal opens on the imagery of a man on his bedroom floor putting a gun to his forehead, a chase has certainly been cut.  Writer/director Jonathan Vargas grabs us right there and locks our gaze.

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: The Other Place

Dashes of kink and horror mix within Lee Amir-Cohen to create moments of shock and heat shared with Amanda Maddox in the short film The Other Place.  The star, who also writes and directs this short, has crafted something creepily captivating in front of and behind the camera.  Contracted properly as a short film that leaves you wanting more, this shot glass of venom is a properly measured jolt.

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: Jack & Amelia

The key strength of “Jack and Amelia” is the focused narrative that sketches a telling and accurate microcosm example of Chicago.  It blends lifestyles for people feeling the city’s stresses in their own unique ways.  Just when you think you these four central characters are random and will stay random, the short-order shifts and twists of “Jack and Amelia” push their destinies forward in engaging and cunning ways.  This really was a blossoming treat.

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: The Debt

2017 Chicago Irish Film Festival: Short Program II

Kids not only say the darndest things, but do the darndest things too.  “The Debt” is a highly charming short film illustrating a child’s view of courtship and love.  The romantic ways of the world are foreign to the young, so they make up their own ideas.  Engaging and well-acted by youth performers, this short film will charm you to pieces.

 

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: More Than a Barbershop

2017 Chicago Irish Film Festival: Shorts Program II

In the world of poker, they say all you need is a chip and a chair to play and be a factor.  For a musician, all you need is a time and a place.  Your voice and instruments can do the rest.  Not every concert needs to be in front of hundreds or thousands of adoring fans powered by a stadium’s worth of light and speakers.  A singer and a microphone can fit just about anywhere.  Well, how about a barbershop, and not the quartet variety?

 

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: Blackbird

2017 Chicago Irish Film Festival: Shorts Program I

Diverting from the other short films in this program at the Chicago Irish Film Festival, “Blackbird” leans to the existential and experimental.  The abstract feel and weighty themes are in place to knock one’s socks off.  However, in an ironic fashion, this is a short film that feels too short.

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: Incoming Call

2017 Chicago Irish Film Festival: Shorts Program

“Incoming Call” has a dynamite premise that would make for a fascinating nugget of science fiction.  The possible latitude one could take with the idea of warning the past about the future is endless. This film keenly distills and scales that down to microcosm level of a single person and the matter of picking up the phone.

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: The Apparel

2017 Chicago Irish Film Festival: Shorts Program

Director Peter Delaney and writer Daniel Mooney flesh out miniature character study with decent results.  Andrew Bennett gives a very solid performance to construct numerous shades of character within Joe.  He is a man that is losing touch with his comfort zone.  We never fully know his issues and we shouldn’t have to.

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: First Kiss

2017 Chicago Irish Film Festival: Shorts Program

As it plays out its thirteen minutes, “First Kiss” is hilarious and charming in its tidy simplicity.  Written by Fitzpatrick himself and directed by Patrick O’Shea, the short film generates the right amplitude of sparks cooled by the right temperament of sweetness.

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CAPSULE REVIEWS: The Oscar nominees for Best Animated Short

This year’s Academy Award nominees for Best Animated Short are an eclectic bunch.  One of them, “Borrowed Time,” I have previously reviewed in full on this website.  Here are my collected capsule reviews of the slate of five, complete with my signature life lessons.  Look for the theaters this month bundling these nominees together for public viewing and ticket opportunities.

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: Borrowed Time

This website and writer has long celebrated the “Pixar Punch,” the animation studio’s uncanny ability to absolutely destroy our hearts with raw and simple emotionality in perfectly calculated amounts and moments within their feature films.  In quicker chunks of time, Pixar’s animated shorts are no slouch at hitting the same body blows.  Their settings have always been warm and sunny family films, long begging the question of what would more adult fare look like in the same creative boxing gloves.  “Borrowed Time” is a striking glimpse into such a possibility

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: The Story of 90 Coins

"The Story of 90 Coins" is a microcosm of pure and modern young love that transfers in any language and is free of unnecessary cinematic obstacle courses that strain believability.  This short story is completely relatable and endearing melodrama in all its approachable beauty that succeeds in under 10 minutes to tug heartstrings and linger in your consciousness.  Don’t you dare call this an overlong greeting card, a miniature soap opera, or a expanded touchy-feely TV commercial.  

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: Endless Waltz

People will speak with dueling dichotomy and similarity that nothing is more simple, and yet more complicated, than life and death.  The plainness comes in the inevitability of the outcome no matter the the journey, while the complexity lies in the individual beauty of each life’s path.  In a symphonic microcosm of eight minutes, the short film “Endless Waltz” paints its portrait of beauty giving way to finality with utter perfection.

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: The Gun Equation

Short films have the unenviable creative and artistic challenge of time limitation.  By design, they have a brief window to cut the BS, grab your attention, spin its narrative, and create resonance.  Simplicity is key and nuance takes over for sprawl.  A razor sharp example of a short film that checks those boxes with raised eyebrows and quick captivation is local Chicago filmmaker Matthew Weinstein’s “The Gun Equation.”  His short film plays at the 2016 Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival which runs from July 24-31 at the AMC Randhurst 12 theater in Mount Prospect, Illinois.  

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