Tag Archives: Short film

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

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

Ronan’s Escape (short film) forces audiences to think about change

25 May


Bullying is a hot-topic issue that has received considerable attention from the film community in the last couple of years. A. J. Carter writes and directs one of the most powerful short films on the subject by allowing the actions to speak for itself. He does not pull any punches and presents an accurate depiction of young people targeting one of their classmate, as well as the potential impact it can have on its victim.

Ronan is a 14 year-old boy who has been labeled a “loser” by his peers. He attempts to persevere through the physical and mental abuse, but finds himself frustrated, embarrassed, hurt, and alone. Carter storytelling is more complex than the sparse words he uses throughout the film. He allows audiences to witness the behavior and to think about their potential role and responsibility when it comes to treating others with respect. Ronan’s Escape is a thought provoking short that forces audiences to think about change.


Chuck’s Grade: A

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Strangers (short film)

11 May


Guy Nattiv and Erez Tadmor do not need any words to describe the racial tension between Arab and Jewish people. In 2004, the writers/directors put together a seven minute film that reminds everyone of the fear and dislike that exists between these groups. The racial prejudice and religious intolerance is felt between subtle gestures and eye contact as a Jewish man and Arab man sit across from one another on a European subway train. The uncomfortable silence is broken when their mutual distrust is interrupted by a gang of skinheads that wear their over hatred for others on their sleeves. The cast is convincing and the climax gives hope, but in the end, Nattiv and Tadmor remind audiences of the gap between the two sides. A powerful film that will lead to an expanded version a couple of years later, but these seven minutes capture the moment and the message.


Chuck’s Grade: B+

Adam’s Grade: N/A

R’ha (short film) remember the name

4 May


R’ha is a six minute independent film that is taking the internet and Hollywood by storm this year for its amazing cost effective visuals. Writer, director, and animator Kaleb Lechowski has created a science fiction story about an alien race being attacked by its own defense technology. The machines are intent to exterminate its creator from existence. The premise is similar to The Matrix and The Terminator series, but the execution is much different. The film opens with a snake-like pharaoh looking alien being interrogated and tortured by one of the “head” machines. The alien and its overall concept is amazing for having no money and only an assortment of computer programs, such as Maya, Blender, zBrush, Nuke and After Effects to complete the seven month long project. Internet audiences are demanding a full length version and Hollywood will probably pick up this 22 year old’s option to create an extended version. Remember the name, Kaleb Lechowski.


Chuck’s Grade: A+

Adam’s Grade: A