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Magnetic (short film) not strong enough to hold me

11 Aug


There is an old saying, “opposites attract,” but not in the short film, Magnetic. Writer/Director . F. C. Rabbath draws you into its story with a young boy offering a small magnet as a gift to a young girl, but she rejects him. The look on his disappointed face is priceless and worth pausing the video for a moment. For a second, I’m thinking this is going to be a psycho-killer film as the kid stares past the object of desire and is unable to see the obvious, but thankfully Rabbath has another path for this character to follow. The film jumps forward to the character as a young adult still obsessed with the image from years ago. The story mixes in some science fiction to create a comic book-like scenario that creates a strong, but unpredictable power. Rabbath is a good storyteller and a solid filmmaker, but Magnetic was not strong enough to hold me.


Chuck’s Grade: B

Adam’s Grade: N/A

ABE (short film) has a different serial number

3 Aug


Killer robots is nothing new in the horror/sci-fi genre, but writer/director Rob McLellan interpretation of the idea is a fresh take that mixes psychosis with humanity, which are usually absent from such characters. The short film opens on a high note and is able to maintain the pitch through a well written monologue and adept cinematography from Kate Reid. A robot that feels loss and finds itself desperate to fix things creates a sympathetic character for a moment. The story lures audiences into a web like a spider, until it is too late to late to change our minds. ABE has a different serial number that separates him from other models.


Chuck’s Grade: B+

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Tick Tock takes us back in time

20 Jul


Director Ien Chi’s short film Tick Tock uses time to frame his short film. At the beginning, an ordinary wall clock is mysteriously ticking backwards, until the characters begin to talk and move in reverse. The punch line is revealed at the beginning and the male character takes you to the point of crisis. Along the way, Chi provides headings to title the sequences, Cowardice, Reputation, Pride, Embarrassment, Greed, Indifference, and Laziness. At the end or should I say beginning, the motivation behind Chi’s story is revealed. It was a wise choice to play everything in reverse because in the other direction it would have a been a much different project that probably would have felt more like a poorly done student film. Chi is an imaginative artist that can turn the ordinary into something special– “leaving only what is truly important.”


Chuck’s Grade: B

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Table 7 (short film) is made to order

13 Jul


Writer/Director Marko Slavnic and co-director Andrew McDonald take the tension created from argument between two lovers in a Chinese restaurant and transform it into a mysterious conversation that keeps viewers guessing to the very end. I am not going to reveal anything because this is a must watch short that challenges your archetypes. One moment it is a domestic drama, and then the next moment is it espionage. Who are these people having this disagreement? Why are they important? What is going to happen to them? All of these questions will flood your mind as you watch these short film unfold and reveal itself. A conversation needs someone to talk and another to listen, but Slavnic and McDonald take this idea to another level. Needless to say, I feel very fortunate to know the truth.


Chuck’s Grade: A-

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Memorize (short film) the story and not the cast

6 Jul


Eric Ramberg and Jimmy Eriksson came up with a great concept for a sci-fi action short. In 2027, everyone is implanted with a memory chip that records everything a person’s sees and does. A special unit of police called the Special Surveillance Unit (SSU) regulate the system and catch criminals by reading the chips. The film opens in the middle of a chase between a SSU officer and a suspect. He moves from one suspect to the next by immobilizing them and reading their memories. There is a bunch of gunfire and video-game like violence which is cool, but the cast lacks presence and charisma. Obviously, the film was on a limited budget and some of the shots could be more stylized, but Ramberg and Eriksson did a lot more with less compared to seasoned directors with a larger budgets. Memorize the story and not the cast because I believe it will become a full-length feature in the near future.


Chuck’s Grade: B+

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Memories (short film) is unforgettable

29 Jun


Memories come and go and some are lost forever. This award-winning short film from Radoslaw Sienski captures a whirlwind of emotions in two minutes that balances the past with the present and an inevitable future. An old man finds a film strip on the ground and when he looks at the frames he sees himself in the past. He continue to locate these strips of film as he walks through the city. Memory after memory is put forward and his reaction to the past is like a young man experiencing the world for the first time, until he reaches his home and shuts the door. The reality of the situation interrupts the playful memories and audiences are reminded of the fragility of life. One of the more interesting shorts I have seen in some time. I will remember to revisit this one in future when I am older. At least I hope to.


Chuck’s Grade: A

Adam’s Grade: B+

Perfection (short film)

22 Jun


Perfection is a short film that follows the development of an Asian-American girl attempting to meet her mother’s expectations as a child, and later her own high standards as an adult. Writer/Director Karen Lin uses the Milton Bradley game, Perfection to illustrate the pressures the main character is under to succeed. Lin continues to return to the game and its timer to build tension throughout the film. There are no words, but the message is heard loud and clear. The film progresses nicely and there is an effective crescendo to the climax, but many people would like to have the main character’s problems, such as becoming a great violin player, a scholar, and a successful career woman. The position of privilege and status make it difficult to feel empathy for the main character, but I can appreciate Lin’s effort and recognize the talent of a director that wants to do something meaningful with her films.

Chuck’s Grade: B

Adam’s Grade: B

Portal: No Escape (short film)

15 Jun


Portal: No Escape is a sci-fi short film featuring ultra-fit actress Danielle Rayne (Chell) as a prisoner in some kind of experimental facility. Rayne’s physique and high cheek bones pull the viewer into her struggle, but the explanation for her imprisonment and the serial numbers on the back of her neck are never explained. Director Daniel Trachtenberg uses establishes some familiar prison motifs, until Chell figures out a way to escape using a gun that generates worm-hole like passages from one location to another. The action is exciting and the mystery behind Chell’s circumstances attracts audiences to appreciate this short film, but for me, it does not really go anywhere new.


Chuck’s Grade: B

Adam’s Grade: B+

Nuit Blanche (short film) breaks through

8 Jun


Director Arev Manoukian captures a moment in time that all hopeless romantics can appreciate. His black and white homage to finding love on the streets in Paris at night is a beautifully put together short film. The combination of slow-motion computer generated images and a powerful instrumental ballad smash the conventional approach to a love story with an amazing sequence between two strangers caught up in a special moment. Manoukian does not need words to communicate the power of attraction. His visual metaphors are long-lasting even though his film is over in four minutes.


Chuck’s Grade: A

Adam’s Grade: A

The Desk (short film) takes us back to a good place

1 Jun


One of the most memorable images of high school is the desk. It is the place where students spend most of their time reading, writing, learning, and day-dreaming. Director Albert Gonzalez uses this idea to create a seven minute short film about a new student trying to cope with their insecurities and loneliness. Peter (Spencer Jefferies) wants to meet new friends but lacks the confidence. He writes what he might say to a pretty girl sitting girl next to him on his desk, “Hi. My name is Peter.” When he returns the next day there is a response. Intrigued he begins to communicate with this unknown girl named Julie, until he realizes her responses begin to materialize instantaneously. The production is simple, but the story is engaging and the mystery surrounding the desk is fun. Most of us try to erase our high school years from our mind, but Gonzalez successfully takes a back to good place.


Chuck’s Grade: B

Adam’s Grade: N/A