Blood Honey (2017)

A woman returns home after an extended absence to find that things have not changed much, yet they are not what it seems.

Written by Doug Taylor and director Jeff Kopas, the film works with themes of family, grieving, mental illness, trauma, and related ones.  As it delves into the family dynamics and relationships between daughter and father, sister and brother, and others, the film develops characters that all have a connection one way or another and whose relationships are strained to say the least.  The characters created seem a bit limited as they pretty much only exist in relation to each other, except for the lead who is a somewhat more fully fleshed character.  Her trauma and evolution are central to the story here, so she makes a decent lead.  Her story is interesting and the twists keep the attention, however, the story feels like something is missing.  But, by the end, things feel more complete in a way.

Continue reading

Every Ghost Has an Orchestra (2017) [Oceanside International Film Festival 2017]

A paranormal researcher and music composer goes to a barn to find the Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) in the old wood as he believes objects have memories of sounds from their past.

The film about researcher and compositor Michael Esposito is directed by Shayna Connelly, the film shows Esposito as the star at the center of the subject.  He is shown as a prominent figure in the field while no others are interviewed.  This renders the exploration of the subject a bit thin and one dimensional.  Having no other experts corroborate his information or his research makes it less credible as it’s all from one point of view with no supporting evidence or opinions.  This doesn’t mean the film is not interesting, but as a documentary short, using other experts would have helped it be more powerful and feel like the makers did more research.

Continue reading

A Boy and His Beast (Un Garcon et Sa bête) (2017) [Oceanside International Film Festival 2017]

A young aristocratic boy adopts a dog on his birthday.  As he teaches his dog tricks and learns to love his pet, something happens and he meets a surprise in the family’s yard.

Written by Crystal Perea and directed by Calley MacDonald, this short stop-motion animation film is adorably cute and funny.  The story shows a lot of heart and love in a family that is rather strict and not accepting of new things.  The boy at the center of it all is the black sheep of his family and is shown as a sweet, loving boy.  The way the story is built, the surprise near the end is not evident or easily guessed.  While there is indeed more to this story than first meets the eye, it all makes sense in a way.  This story is loving and filled with just the right amount of humor to make it a comedy but without going overboard silly.  The film has very little dialog, almost none really, and it shares its story and emotions through well done animation and through its music.

Continue reading

Annabelle Creation (2017)

A prequel to the prequel to The Conjuring films, the story here is that of how the evil doll Annabelle came to be. Years following a tragic accident, a doll maker and his wife take in a group of orphans needing a new place to live with the nun who watches over them. As they are forbidden to go in a specific room, the young girls get curious and something is awakened.

Continue reading

Overdrive (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

A duo of car thief brothers runs into trouble after making a deal with a local crime boss in the South of France.

Written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas and directed by Antonio Negret, Overdrive is a fun car heist film with exhilarating chases, twists, turns, and beautiful vintage cars.  It takes a few cues from The Fast and the Furious, Gone in 60 Seconds, the Transporter series, etc and makes them all its own.  The use of the car is definitely a plot device, but it works quite well here.  The characters are not particularly deep, but as the film is mostly action car porn, it doesn’t really matter in the end.  What matters is that they are believable enough to take the viewer through the story and its twists and turns while being entertaining and fun to watch.  This film is one of those that is made for the fun of it and not to pass on some kind of grand message, something that is perfectly fine and well done here.

Continue reading

The Shorts of Fantasia International Film Festival 2017 – Part 3 [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

Each year Fantasia showcases a ton, almost a literal ton, of shorts films.  Reviewing them can be a bit demanding, so it has been decided to review them in groupings.  The following shorts were attached to feature films that played the fest and were viewed on the big screen.

Continue reading