Shorts Round Up of the Week (11/9/2018)

Most of the time we get such a backlog of short films and feature length indie films that we work hard to take them all on and review them before the year is up. In what we hope will become a new feature, “Shorts Round Up of the Week” is a column where we’ll be reviewing a round up of short films of varying quality.

If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.

Absit (2019)
While “Absit” kind of misses the park in terms of its premise and intentions, “Absit” succeeds mainly for its stellar direction. Imogen Ross is a very good director who perfectly expresses the internal struggle of remaining faithful to your religion through visual metaphors and silent exposition. “Absit” is essentially a character piece about a man name Kiran who wants to pursue a life committed to his religion. But everywhere he looks he finds not only mockery for his devotion, but what he considers temptations and tests of his faith. He very quickly begins to question his own ideas for a life, and whether it’s worth losing human potentially valuable human relationships for his devotion. It’s a powerful idea that, while not completely as interesting as it wants to be, is still worth watching. Imogen Ross is a very good director and top notch visualist, and I hope we can see a lot more from her down the road. “Absit” will be released on Shorts.TV (AMC Networks) in North America on January 1st, 2019.

Partitioned Heart (2017)
Matt Morris’ science fiction short is a wonderful and heartbreaking allegory for the whole system of life support on our ailing loved ones. Though much of the narrative is left ambiguous, we get a lot of the exposition through the establishing shots that bring us in to the film. Rob is a grieving father who, through a mysterious program on his computer, is allowed to speak with his son Daniel, who recently died. The only thing is Daniel is in pain and has been avoiding the revelation, since he wanted one last time with his dad. When Daniel asks to be deleted, Rob has to come to grips with his son being gone forever, and gather his feelings on the concept of losing his son. “Partitioned Heart” is an original and gripping take on the idea of taking the ones we love off of life support. Although we have them for a while longer, perhaps they’re in immense pain. Sometimes the best thing to do is just let go. The performance by Travis Mitchell is superb, and “Partitioned Heart” is deserves a large audience.Reina (2017)
I hope Phillip Vickery pursues more comedic pictures very soon, because I think he could ace a feature film down the road. “Reina” is a hilarious and unique comedy that focuses a lot on coincidence and how animals can touch even the most hardened criminals. Seth is a man who can’t seem to get over losing Reina, and this has affected his date with Michelle. Michelle is about to give up on him but gives him another chance, and decides to go for a drink.

When they end up at a seemingly closed bar, they run afoul a trio of Russian gangsters that have looted the place. As Seth and Michelle hope this isn’t their last night on Earth, one of the gang members takes an interest in Seth’s story about Reina, and suddenly they find common ground. “Reina” is a very funny movie with a slew of fantastic performances. The entire cast offer pitch perfect performances and I got a real kick out of the final scene. If you come across this hilarious gem, give it a chance.Solohawk
I admit complete ignorance as to who “Solohawk” are. I guess to folks that have been to their shows and have followed their careers, “Solohawk” might just be the short film you’ve been waiting for. For me, however, I had no idea what was happening most of the time and goal was for what feels like a pastiche of home videos and staged interviews. Honestly, “Solohawk” feels a lot more like an EPK for potential promoters and bookers than it does an actual documentary. I liked Til Willis’ gritty photography and directorial style, but “Solohawk” reveals almost no information on this band.

Who are they? Where are they from? What have they done for the music scene? What are their aspirations? There isn’t much information at all to mine here, it’s a ton of performances, some testimonials about how they want to perform anywhere so long as it grants them work, and that’s about it. I think with twenty more minutes and a ton of back story, “Solohawk” could be an intriguing documentary about the passion for music. As it is, I was fairly unengaged through most of it. I hope Til Willis gets to extend the short in to a feature.

To Be Alone (2017)
Matthew Mahler’s look at the descent in to loneliness and isolation by one man after the loss of his wife is quite a stellar short film. While it dips a bit in to the twisted in an instance, “To Be Alone” is an interesting look at what happens when we freeze in place after we’ve lost someone we very much loved. Mahler opts for a mostly silent drama, with Timothy J. Cox playing the sole part, for most of the short. As he tries to mourn through his love for religion, he figures out the best way to finally move on is to use his and his wife’s beliefs as a means of finally laying her to rest. Cox is very good in the role of a man experiencing immense grief, and the slow build to the method he bids his loved one farewell is sad and gut wrenching. “To Be Alone” is a very good short if you’re interested in pursuing a compelling drama.