REVIEW: Pappy’s World [2018]

“Come on. Tickle me.” A self-proclaimed “socially responsible Blaxpoitation” horror short from director Matt Wisniewski and co-writer Fred Polone, Pappy’s World arrives as though a music video for Buffalo-based art-rock project Smokin’ Black Tar with an opening guitar-led track against the silent movements of a young girl (Jaz Frazier) around Christmastime. While she eyeballs a […]

REVIEW: Univitellin [2016]

“All of that for nothing” Writer/director Terence Nance describes his short film Univitellin as “an improvised prequel about the past lives of one person—about the two people they were before they karmically merged.” It’s important to know this because that’s not what you’d assume upon watching its tale of fated and tragic romance between Aminata […]

REVIEW: C’est La Vie [2016]

“You don’t choose to be me” In the perfect complement to Basically, writer/director Ari Aster uses the same format of pitting his lead character against the camera for an incendiary diatribe about life, freedom, and oppression with C’est La Vie. Where the former centered upon a young, aspiring actress who proved a product of affluence […]

REVIEW: The Turtle’s Head [2014]

“She didn’t get the pun” What appeared an early misstep of juvenile comedic intent with TDF Really Works actually seems to be a glaring blind spot for writer/director Ari Aster after watching his short film The Turtle’s Head. There are few better than him today where using humor to augment the subversions of darker genres […]

REVIEW: Basically [2014]

“That’s just the rejection talking” Even the most vain and vapid have moments of clarity. Whether they prove to be intentional or not is the question. So is it because Shandy (Rachel Brosnahan) has more to her than what appearances reveal that she’s able to turn colorfully vindictive soliloquies into philosophical quandaries worth contemplating beyond […]

REVIEW: Munchausen [2013]

You can almost hear the musical score when thinking about old silent films from the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. They have that peppy melody to really shine a light on the optimism of what could be before some sort of hardship or tragedy arrives with a somber tone to lead our emotions […]

REVIEW: Beau [2011]

“Well I’m horrified too” Just before he’s about to leave his apartment for a flight to visit his mother, Beau (Billy Mayo) realizes he’s forgotten his dental floss. What should be a quick jaunt upstairs to the bathroom becomes the biggest mistake of his life upon returning to see his keys—which he left in the […]

REVIEW: TDF Really Works [2011]

“Roast duck? Good luck!” Sometimes there really isn’t anything below the surface of gross-out comedy like TDF Really Works. Just because it’s the brainchild of the writer/director behind the equally disturbing yet conversely thought-provoking short The Strange Thing About the Johnsons doesn’t mean you have to try harder to find one either. And whether Ari […]

REVIEW: How Do You Type a Broken Heart [2018]

“You have to fight” Addiction is a tough topic to do justice with in a short film. I don’t mean that as a commentary on duration, but honesty. The last thing you want to do is have a piece meant to conjure introspection and drama feel like a PSA commissioned by the same companies that […]

REVIEW: Entanglement [2018]

“Should I have brought you flowers too?” **POTENTIAL SPOILERS** There’s a great moment in Jeremiah Kipp‘s short film Entanglement wherein Frank (Lukas Hassel) explains to the second party of a random sexual encounter assumedly organized online (Robin Rose Singer‘s Jenny) how he used to “see” his ex-girlfriend everywhere after they broke up. Screenwriter Joseph Fiorillo […]

REVIEW: Bao [2018]

Watching the first half of Domee Shi‘s Bao with a quizzical expression is par for the course. How could you not react that way with this story of a Chinese-Canadian woman who begins to treat a hand-made dumpling like it is her child? It’s one thing to gasp and laugh when the tiny piece of […]