Movie Reviews From a Spiritual Perspective


March 27, 2012
DRAMATIC SHORTS - 4/4/11  These well-produced shorts were all VERY dramatic except for one.

Friday Night Tights by Joonki Park

This was the odd one of the group.  What a charming 3-D animation of a guy who secretly loves taking a ballet class on Saturday mornings!  The animation was not absolutely perfect, but extremely expressive, whimsical and musical!  I thoroughly enjoyed this.  Very uplifting.  It was actually filmed in 3-D. See the entire 2-D short here.

Jay by E.R. Womelsduff, USA

This is a tense, emotional story of Jay, an 18-year-old girl with a very young sister, who is having extreme difficulties at home with her single mom and her multiple abusive boyfriends who all hang out at her house at the same time.  Beautifully acted, suspenseful and well-told story.  I highly recommend!  Trailer will be coming soon.

Hollow by Rob Sorrenti, United Kingdom

Hollow is an in depth examination of a drug addicted couple who try to get off drugs.  The acting and writing were phenomenal.  Although it was very dark at times, it quietly spoke volumes about self-healing.  Highly recommended. 

Shudder House by Joey Dello Russo

A period piece that tells the tale of a teenage boy, Robby, in the 1950's who is brought up in a very strict household.  He is made to play only classical piano.  He discovers the housekeeper secretly plays blues guitar and wants to learn.  The frustration of the oppressive Robby's upbringing is skillfully portrayed in all aspects of this well-produced film.  The ending was just a bit unclear and made me wonder what happened to Robby and what he was going through.  Haven't found a trailer yet.

Ultimo Recorso (Last Resort) by Barney Elliot, Peru

A suspenseful and emotional story of a pregnant woman who gets car-jacked and kidnapped by a desperate and conflicted criminal.  The acting was superb and the story was visually well-told.  See a clip here

Testigo Illegal by Caylee So, USA

This student short was a compelling morality tale of Oscar, an illegal immigrant, who witnesses a murder and is advised by his family not to report it.  Oscar struggles with his impulse to do the right thing.  Great directing and acting.  Nice production values for a documentary style short and nice music score.  I haven't found the trailer yet.


March 27, 2012

SCHLAFENDE HUNDE (Sleeping Dogs) by Michael O'Connor, Germany- 4/5/11

This German feature was beautifully acted and beautifully filmed in Black & White.  The main character, Jim, is somewhat clairvoyant and sees a vision of his death.  His past premonitions have come true which makes him believe all of his current visions will come true. So he concerns himself with reconciling with his estranged son who harbors much resentment for his father's abando...
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March 27, 2012

WORLD SHORTS - 4/5/11 - Stories that seem connected with the thread of grief and loss - Very high production values.

The Wind-Up Life by Yi-Jen Chen, Taiwan

This 2-D/3-D animation short tells the story of a young man who gets bogged down by his busy 9 to 5 existence.  It is hard to tell if he is experiencing a dream while sleeping or getting very lost in thoughts on the subway train (or both).  But whatever, the dreams are quite beautiful and watery. ...
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March 27, 2012
SHORT DOCS - 4/6/11

A Comic Author X-Ray by Marcos Nine, Spain

A very creative documentary about a very creative guy.  This Italian comic artist and fiction writer, who is very shy to speak, speaks volumes through his work.  English subtitles throughout. I liked this! See the trailer here.

Little Mom by Maria Fortiz-Morse, USA

A documentary on kids who end up taking care of their special needs siblings to help out their single Mom's.  Tw...
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March 27, 2012

- 4/6/11 

Replacement by Tanya Beeker - Tucson

This is the story of a corporal who struggles with his prejudice against a young, inexperienced replacement for one of his soldiers who was killed in battle.  It is nicely filmed with a thoughtful story line.

And the Dogs Tried to Dance Too by Trevor Riley - Phoenix

A futuristic tale of what it might be like to live during WW3 if it was waged on US soil.  We follow a coupl...
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March 27, 2012

Leap Before You Look by Stephane Goldsand, Mexico

This beautifully and creatively filmed documentary short follows the journey of Stephane (pronounced Stefan) Goldsand through his fears of being a father.  Goldsand uses B-roll or cutaways, to dramatically and often hilariously exemplify what he is feeling at that moment.  His painful childhood is also explored.  His wife, who is very eager and ready to have a child, seems to have a completely different out...
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March 27, 2012

INNER CIRCLE by Emma Humphreys

This murder mystery thriller inspired most of the audience to walk out before the end.  I stayed because I wanted to know who did it and why in spite of the disjointedness of the story  The production quality was very low.  Some scenes looked like they were shot without doing a white balance first.  Audio & lighting were also poor.  But on the upside, the shots were nicely framed and the acting good in spite of the disjoint...
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March 27, 2012

FILMMAKERS OF TOMORROW - Student films from The Art Institute of Tucson, Pima Community College and the University of Arizona.  Only the Art Institute had student filmmakers present for Q&A.

Art Institute of Tucson Entries:

ABC's by Adriana F. Garcia & Jacquelyn Vrooman

This reworking of David Lynch's experimental short was skillfully produced and directed.  It created a creepy dark, yet playful feeling.  Nice multi-media work!...
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March 27, 2012

GUN HILL ROAD by Rashad Ernesto Green

This skillfully produced and emotionally rich film set in the Bronx was shot in 15 days for $200,000.  It looks like much more time and money was put into it.  The film tells the story of a father who, after three years in prison, comes home to discover his 16-year-old son is trans-gender.  The father has to deal with his issues about being sexually molested in prison which are reflected back to him by his son.  I real...
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March 27, 2012

ABSENTIA by Mike Flanagan, USA

This artistic, moody, low budget, black & white horror story tells the tale of a woman, Trisha, who's husband went missing around 7 years ago.  She finally starts to complete the paperwork on filing his death in "absentia."   (After 7 or 8 years if someone is still missing, they can be declared dead.) Trisha starts to see horrifying visions of her husband.  She tries going to a counselor.  Her sister, who drove through Tucson...
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