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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Over 40 feature-length and short films, many of which making their Chicago premieres, graced the main screen of the Music Box Theatre this past week-and-change as part of the fifth annual Chicago Critics Film Festival. It was an honor and pleasure to be be granted press credentials to cover the event. Here are my collected capsule reviews of the short film programs.Read More
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.Read More
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.
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?