3 Sci-Fi Shorts, Mech, human trials, Singularity and Mis-Drop

I’ve done a few Horror collections so now it’s time for some sci fi, and this is really where things can get quite technical when it comes to short stories.

I have been a fan of sci fi since I really started watching films as a kid, with the The Thing (1982) and Alien(1979) being two of my earliest favourites. We’ve come a long way but our thirst for predicting the future has never faded and it’s always interesting to see what the raw and imaginative directors can come up with in the most creative movie art form.

All of these short movies come from a Youtube Channel Called CGBros I’ll try and add a link in here somewhere.


Mech: Human Trials
Director: Patrick Kalyn
Duration: 5.52
Starring: Steve Baran. ???. 2015

Despite not being a 110% original idea this dramatic short plays out more of an intro to something much bigger and it does look like the experienced director Patrick Kalyn, who’s worked on films such as District 9 (2009) and Avatar (2009) will be bringing into fruition this year. So what’s all the fuss about, the main protagonist, has always wanted to be somebody and in this pursuit he becomes addicted to a new drug,  called Mech,  which starts to morph him into something that belongs in any 90’s Manga film. While he starts to question the drug, it and it’s dealer disappear and another force makes itself known to him but is his a friend or a foe?

It’s beautifully shot, but does come across as a film preview more than an actual film and for a film this short it repeats a couple of scenes, I’m not sure if the director thought that we had forgotten or if he just wanted to showcase the most epic scene twice because it is so damned epic, either way it’s a just above average short, impressive on the graphics but not really a “short film” but just a stepping stone to a feature.

Rating 6/10


Singularity
Director:  Samuel Jorgensen
Duration : 8:04
Starring : ?? Produced by Jeremy Pronk ????. 2015

A slightly longer and more epic film here, while it’s futuristic it’s also steeped in the look and feel of a modern warfare game (take your pic they all look the same to me). A special forces team have to rescue the president as there is a group of sentient androids out to destroy the president and it seems they aren’t all warm and mushy over any of the human race.

It takes a little while to warm up and doesn’t waste any time introducing any characters, mostly because the rest of the film is a blood bath! I was overly impressed with the effects and the acting, both are skillfully applied and neither one more overbearing than the other. And with a slightly predictable twist at the end there is a story that carries through to the end and isn’t forgotten among the robotics and bullets. It’s actually an okay movie, a lot better produced than some supposedly full length features.

Rating 6/10


Mis Drop
Director : Ferand Peek
Duration: 13:14
Starring : ????/2014

Possibly too long that it needed to be, this (not so) short film is presented as a found footage film, a forensic accountant is reviewing a video from a drop pod stream to understand why it was broken in the initial stages of a colonial invasion, upon opening this  kinda black box recording of a young rookie  Private Glenn’s  first combat drop on an alien planet. First he’s strapped into his suit and given some advice by an old timer this scene is particularly wonderful just due to the presentation, the entire film is set up with a camera faced onto the lead like a gopro, all other characters are portrayed as voices or by their reflection.

The rookie is  fished by the other “marines” and then things start to go awry. Taking a leaf out of the original Starship Troopers () this poor rookie has a rough introduction to life in a combat zone and even attempts to connect with his last one night stand, yep there’s even a hint of romance, this short is a mini epic.

It’s actually beautifully crafted, for the time and budget the resources, but it’s a bit too long for the short amount of story that it tells, and with an open ending I felt a little cheated by the end of the third watch, and it can’t be denied that it looks amazing, maybe if it is part of a series then it can redeem itself, but get in there now and check out this awesome first chapter.

Rating 6/10

 

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The Guest (2014)*

the guest

 

Director : Adam Wingard#
Writer: Simon Barrett
Starring: Dan Stevens, Sheila Kelley, Maika Monroe.USA. 1h 40m

It’s not often that a modern action movie, moves me this much, but I think a lot of it’s down the the oddball attitude of the crazy director Adam Wingard who’s thrilled me with segments in V/H/S (2012) and You’re Next (2013) and the electro goth/dark wave/carpenter inspired soundtrack literally blew me away. Continue reading The Guest (2014)*

House of Seven corpses (1974)

house of 7 corpsesquickflick-1.jpg

A low budget and often overlooked horror, all surrounding a creepy old house that is being used to film a horror movie, what could go wrong? Fortunately the director (John Ireland) courts disaster by filming his horror movie in a real haunted house and one of the corpses are missing.

The film starts out quite creepy with an introduction to huge house with it’s on tombstone in the garden and a quirky caretaker Edgar Price played by the ever charismatic John Carradine who tries his best to warn the cast and crew about the occult horrors that have already occurred in the doomed house but he’s just passed off as being crazy.

The acting is dismal but with these low budget horrors it’s often a part of the charm, the most experienced actor would probably be the grouchy caretaker, crafted by Carradine. It’s actually a beautiful house and reminiscent of many a Hammer House of Horror classic or even something like House on Haunted Hill (1959). The crew bumble about the house with little faith in the production of the film and recoiling at the wrath of the aging leading lady Gayle Dorian (Faith Domergue) the fluff which makes up this middle section of the film seems to have forgotten that’s a horror movie as it starts to develop into a melodrama.

A return to the classic gothic ghostly haunted house that was once made great y Hammer film, only a little shabby around the edges but still a gem that shouldn’t be forgotten

Eventually one of the crew stumbles upon real occult books in the library and incorporates the readings into the occult ritual scenes in the movie and strange things start to happen, sadly the unravelling of the “mystery” and the presence of the ghoul all ploughs in at the end, I for one was not really expecting one of the crew/cast to be linked in with the house, if this was made clear it would have been as awesome as The Beast Must Die (1974).

Despite losing the direction the film is pretty entertaining, I’m not sure why I really enjoy it so much, the cheese or the jibes at the leading lady who’s basically called a gold digging whore in one scene and threatened to be left on a street corner, I almost forget that it’s a horror film, but there are a few chills and thrills to be had, basically it’s just a bit of harmless creepy fun (how many times have I said creepy?) and should still be cherished due the atmosphere and the story that you might have to dig deep to find, it arrived at the end of the hammer horror reign of terror, it’s early 70’s and things were stepping from these golden years into the gore filled 80’s, this film simply endeavors to give us a final dose of mansions, capes and black magic, Undoubtedly one for the old nostalgia fans.

 

Rating 6/10

RA bucket of Blood (1959), House on Haunted Hill (1959) Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1972) , The Beast Must Die (1974).
L – House Films, Tibetan Book of the Dead, movies about movies,
A – How accurate do occult movies have to be?
5BJohn Carradine

Topos – Moles (2012)

topos

Director: Emiliano Romero
Starring: Lautaro Delgado, Mauricio Dayub, Pompeyo Audivert . Spain. 1h 40m

I wasn’t prepared for this movie, the blurb and cover led me into thinking I was about to watch some kind of contemporary dance interpretation of a class war. The film highlights all of the key points that you’d expect from a futuristic class divide, similar to the one in Demolition Man (1993) but way more artistic but the twisted humor really brings the film into it’s own rites as a beautiful and funny look at how ridiculous we can be in dividing people.

Beginning with a close up of The Mole (Lautaro Delgado) applying heavy and dramatic theatrical makeup, similar to that in Black Swan (2010), in the background a girl bangs a drum and announces that the show is about to start… Cutting back in time, the first introduction goes to the squalid underworld of the moles or rats as they are called frequently throughout the film. El Topo’s father, Kongo is a revolutionary, hell bent on waging war against the world above and is determined that his children follow suit and remain loyal to the cause. In order to escape this fate, El Topo and his nymphomaniac sister kidnap a promising dancer, Amadeo, so El Topo can take his place in a dance academy. The story of El Topo is quite charming, he’s always dreamt of being a dancer and watches and studies the students through the vents and cracks, striving to get out of his world and into theirs, but once he’s in the school he realizes that he’s still an outsider, with poor hygiene and a bad posture but somehow this goes ignored but he enlists some help to perfect his skills and attempts to live his dream.

The world below is almost identical to the vegan sewer dwellers in Delicatessen (1991) the biggest difference is that the community here is much more advanced, with peddlers selling cooked rats and a thriving red light district, the world above is limited to ONLY the dancing school, there really isn’t a lot more to see, but it’s very surreal, the characters seem to have been set loose from the villains department of a scooby doo film, but what really connects both worlds is the dark insipid humor.

topos

It’s obvious that Director, Writer and Producer Emiliano Romero has a air for melodrama and seems to apply it to scenes that don’t require that particular touch. It also struck me as being a little weird to make a movie about dance and not to employ a single dancer. This hasn’t stopped directors in the past, I don’t think that any of the cast of Suspiria (1977) we’re trained, but the dance scenes and the training lead to some very comical and surprisingly fluid scenes.

There are several strong points, the cinematography is actually quite good, the lighting successfully transverses both the over and underworld  giving a studio feel to the upper scenes and an amber  glow in the darkness of the underworld accompanied by pipes, plastic sheets and steampunk machinery it looks impressive, despite most scenes involving El Topo’s sister raping the young dancer that they kidnapped.

Overall a forgettable movie, with some very interesting and memorable characters. El Topo gives his hope that no matter what our situation we can still strive for our dreams, although I don’t know if we’d all have so much luck. There is a stupidly funny work out montage that Rocky would be proud of and a few other movie references that crop up and the silent Topo trips around his new world as a modern day Charlie Chaplin, thoroughly good stuff.

Rating 7/10

R – Lowlife (2012), Window Licker (2014), My Brother Jack (2013)
L – Selected Dancing movies, best workout montages
A – Class wars on film
5S – Mole Films
Vs – Topos Vs El Topo

Horror Shorts – Vermin, The Passenger and Hi

I’ve decided that it’s better if I double or triple up the horror shorts as doing individual posts will just take forever so expect a few triple bills from now on.

Vermin


Director : Danny Donahue (@dannyfdonahue) Starring: Casey Fichtner. USA.2015
Duration : 2:06
Extremely short but strangely on point, this thrilling silent horror short uses amazing camera angles and sound to fool the viewer and enhance the scares. There is a fair amount of tension and build up to a rewarding ending. A young woman is trying to hang a picture on the wall when strange noises start coming from a cupboard then the tools go missing. It doesn’t sound to scary but even the name of this creepy tale lead you off guard for a sinister scare, for the tiny timing it’s worth a watch. It’s simple, short and very effective.
Rating 6/10 Continue reading Horror Shorts – Vermin, The Passenger and Hi

The Other Man (2008)*

the other manDirector: Richard Eyre
Writer: Richard Eyre, CharlesWood +
Starring: Liam Neeson, Antonio Banderas, Laura Linney USA. 1h.28m

Sometimes when you suffer from insomnia you find yourself watching some right out tripe.. but I’m not a huge fan of American romances to be fair and I could see some deadly potential, but sadly this movie takes some incredible actors and kinda washes them out in a dingy tearjerker.

Peter (Liam Neeson), the tame husband of a famous shoe designer named Lisa (Laura Linney) comes to the conclusion that his stunning was wasn’t always faithful to him, so tracks down his wife’s lover and travels to Italy to confront him. Continue reading The Other Man (2008)*

The Collector (2009)

 

collector

Director Marcus Dunstan
Writer Marcus Dunstan / Patrick Melton
Starring  Josh Stewart, Michael Reilly Burke, Andrea Roth, Juan Fernandez, USA 1h 30m

I wasn’t sure if this was going to be a film about stamp collecting or soul collecting but it turns out to be about a psychopath with a McGuyver manual who “always takes one”, so he’s not a gifted collector huh…

Arkin O’Brien (Josh Stewart) is an ex convict who’s not making an honest living as a handyman, he’s currently doing a lot of work for the Chase family and has become attached to their daughter, he starts noticing a lot of insects around the home and eventually an exterminator is called in. On returning home, his wife gives him the terrible news that she needs a lotta money by midnight to pay off a series of loan sharks , Arkin has to don his thief cap again and decides to rob the Chase family, while attempting to crack the safe he hears someone else entering the house and screams coming from the basement, there is something very strange going on in the Chase household tonight, Mr Chase enters the room ready to attack Arkin but he’s bloody and bruised. He triggers a trap which incapacitates him and when Arkin tries to call the police the phone is bobby trapped (in a very painful way) and then he realises the windows are boarded up and also laced with a trap… Continue reading The Collector (2009)

The Gallows (2015)

 

The Gallows

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Despite being a fan of the found footage genre, every now and again something really lets the scene down and this film is so fucking boring and predictable, I really don’t know how it was released in the first place.

*sigh*

There are rumors going around some random high school about a student who died during a , performance now that the “cursed” okay is going to be acted again, so a group of teens plan to break into the school after hours to sabotage the play,  if you can’t already imagine what’s going to happen, get off my blog. Overall it’s a great premise for a horror movie and if executed well, this could have scared the pants off of any hardcore fan, but, Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff’s found footage horror The Gallows is a serious cheese-fest with a terribly thin plot and  annoying characters.

Queue every predictable found footage cliche, snotty noses crying into the camera, shaky cams that miss all the paranormal activity, bad sound, low battery warnings, on top of this every jump scare is hugely signposted a mile off with the addition of flashing lights and also in braille for those who might have missed it. The acting is terrible, the camera work is lame and there is no point to this film.

Everything about the Gallows is lame, I have nothing good to say about it. It’s just a visual shambles that has no idea what it’s trying to be, the trailer is rather good though..

There are so many factors that just don’t gel right, the teens are annoying and spend far too much time just screaming and running, they are probably angry that there characters are as  deep as cat scratch. The camera hangs around for ages before the ghoul appears, almost like the director is waiting for someone to turn up on the set.. I am struggling to to find any good points and I hate running a movie into the ground but I have justification here, the ending was a total relief.

There was no substance to the “bad guy” nothing recognisable about him in any way, just a hangman and not much else, this stuff shirt could have been the next Freddy if any time was spent on developing him There are a couple of scenes where some interesting special effects were  to show an invisible hangman at work utilized but to be honest there was a lot more creepy action in the Taiwanese flick The Heirloom  (2005).  I really don’t like advising people if they should watch or avoid a movie but I really do wish that someone had warned me about this as it’s time I’ll never get back.

Rating 1/10

RBlair Witch Project (1999),  Exists (2014), Heirloom (2005),
L – Selected Found Footage Movies, School FIlms, Haunted Horrors, Worse films ever
A – What really ruins a found footage movie?
Vs  – Gallows Vs The Heirloom

 

4.44 Last Day On Earth (2011)

4.44

Director – Abel Ferrara
Writer – Abel Ferrara
Starring – Willem Dafoe, Shanyn Leigh. USA. 1h 24m

I had been looking for this film for some time, I rekindled my love affair with the unusual character that we know as Willem Dafoe when I watched The Hunter (2011) and Antichrist (2009) and remembered how his presence always added a bit of skinny charisma to any film. So I got busy on Amazon and started searching for his back catalogue. 4:44 Last Day on Earth came up and sounded like an amazing spiritual adventure, so it was the top of the list…. but it was strangely hard to find! Anyway I have it now and I’ve watched it and.. I’m not all that impressed. Continue reading 4.44 Last Day On Earth (2011)

Heist (2015)

Heist

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Advertised as a “heist” movie and even titled Heist, I would assume the movie would be about a heist, but that’s over in the first 20 minutes of the movie and the rest of it is about a getaway… but I’m not gonna split hairs here. Big names in this film, Robert De Niro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Batista. But that’s the impressive part over.

It’s an ok movie, it pulls at the heart strings and entertains. Robert De Niro plays a craggy ole crime boss who’s been laundering money in his casino, Morgan goes to him to borrow some money to pay for an operation for his Tiny Tim of a daughter, but De Niro refuses, so Morgan robs him. that’s the heist part, then the group leg it onto a bus to make a break for it. Yep they use a bus to getaway.. there is a point to all of this! There is a plan!

There is a reason for this method of getting away but I won’t reveal here as I don’t want to spoil the film. There is a bit of action, motorbike assassins come from nowhere and there’s the odd shoot out all topped up with scenes of baby Morgan fading away in hospital and him crying on the phone, a bit of knife action and what not.

It’s like one of the old school action movies from the 90’s it doesn’t need a reason just sit back and let the action take you away.

I like the movie, it’s not brilliant, but it does entertain and had a few laughs too. De Niro doesn’t really do much, but then he doesn’t have to these days, showing up is enough. There isn’t much else to the film, a decent twist at the end, nothing astounding, but it doesn’t let the film down like so many others I have seen this year. There is a decent amount of action, a little bit of “guy” antics, but not a lot of depth, to be honest it doesn’t need it. It reminds me of the old style action films of the 90’s, including the other bus film, Speed (1994), it doesn’t apologise for it either but it does swim around i sentimental waters and it could have shed that for more bloodshed in my opinion.

The Director Scott Mann is making a few improvements with his films with his newfound budget but I preferred The Tournament (2009).

6/10

full film review to come…