Reviews By Sharon Foss
My basket of DVDS to review is quite full, so I decided to weed out all the short films I’ve been meaning to watch and compile them into one review. What better way to begin 2012? Some are great, some are puzzling, and some are just right.
One I wish was longer: Impostor
I was taught in a drama class that the hardest part to play is one without any lines. Every thought and movement must be distinct and mean something when you are expected to tell a story without using your verbal skills. It may be the toughest role to play in any production, but it certainly is the most rewarding.
Agim Kaba must feel completely satisfied with his performance in Impostor with its almost nonexistent dialogue. He plays twin brothers Arthur and Ray. Arthur’s day is filled with the doldrums of life. Get up, shave, eat cereal, work a dead-end job, dream of a tropical land, return home, go to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat. He’s unhappy and miserable and doesn’t even speak a word until the eighth minute in this 25-minute short film by writer and director Marc Masciandaro. Things change when Ray walks in; he’s a cocky lady’s man. One such lady he makes an impression on is Arthur’s neighbor (Bree Michael Warner), who Arthur has been crushing on for a long time.
When Ray can’t fulfill his date with the neighbor, Arthur decides to take the opportunity to seize the day. It’s not until 20 minutes into this movie that you realize this isn’t a tale of a nerdy guy who finally gets the girl, but a sadistic mind bang that makes you feel sorry for poor Arthur. Who is the true “impostor” here?
As Arthur, Kaba is quiet, in his own world, and reserved. When Arthur turns into Ray, Kaba is the nerdy-trying-to-be-cool guy. He does both well. His face holds so much expression that the dialogue could be omitted from the movie completely and it would still tell the tale. Kaba takes Masciandaro’s story to a whole new level of character study and is completely believable as both the awkward and cool guy.
5 out of 5 stars.
One that was just right: Last Seen on Dolores Street
Poor Cyn. She has to put her dog to sleep and is truly devastated by the loss. She has a real affinity for canines, you see, but not for the reasons you may think. Last Seen on Dolores Street is written and directed by Devi Snively, and it portrays a decent, docile woman in a way you would not expect. Very few words are spoken and that’s all that’s needed in this short film. Cyn’s face (Cynthia Dane) reveals the story superbly in the three-minute movie, which also stars Ken Dusek, Jr. and Circus-Szalewski.
4.5 out of 5 stars.
One that warmed my heart: Death in Charge
Did you know that Death is goth? It wears black, listens to depressing music, and wanders about in a gloomy mood. Death (Marina Benedict) learns this when it enters a home to babysit a preteen girl (Kylie Chalfa) in Death in Charge. Death brings a scythe, but also a curiosity for life that is almost comical, especially when cooking up some mac and cheese.
Although Death has a job to do, it’s enthralled with the girl and its curiosity gets the best of it as it learns more and more from the preteen. Death even teaches the preteen to respect the very life that Death is there to take.
Writer and director Devi Snively reminds us in this 15-minute film that no matter what you do, there is already a map that you will follow. Benedict is mesmerizing as Death, portraying something so terrifying in such an innocent, beautiful way that you almost believe you will be spared the inevitable.
4 out of 5 stars.
One that made me laugh: The Furred Man
Max is a businessman who runs a campsite that is not bringing enough income into his pocket, so he devises and carries out a plan to spread rumors of a werewolf siting. When this still isn’t enough, Max begins dressing as a werewolf himself, making appearances once in a while to spark interest for his business. It worked! So why is Max sitting in a police interrogation room in his werewolf costume and being questioned for murder?
It’s werewolf versus werewolf in The Furred Man, written and directed by Paul Williams. The short film combines humor with a common horror-themed concept of werewolves, but really, it’s more humor than anything else and I imagine Williams intended that.
Daniel Carter-Hope is Max, a wide-eyed fake werewolf who keeps finding himself in compromising positions. The humor Carter-Hope brings to the 14 minutes was well worth my time, especially during the last line of the film. This is definitely a worthwhile watch.
4 out of 5 stars.
One that made me say, “HUH?”: Spek.ter
I’ve been sitting on Spek.ter for a while now, not intentionally, but only because I am behind in my reviews and it was pushed aside. This short film was written and directed by Terrence Kelsey in 2007 and played many film festivals in 2007 and 2008.
The short is about Dani (Keisha Jackson), who is obsessed with crime scene photographs and even runs a website where she posts her own replications of the photos, using herself as the subject. She’s just been dumped and finds out her favorite goth singer Morgana Saint (Serena Toxicat) is dead. Dani then sees Saint as a specter and takes it upon herself to do what she is told.
I’m not sure what to say about Spek.ter. It had blood and nudity in every scene and left me wondering what I missed. It tells a simple tale…but does it? This one leaves me shaking my head, wishing I had the writer here with me to explain what his vision was for this film.
2 out of 5 stars.