TNT undergoes a massive task with “Snowpiercer.” After coming to the big screen as a massively underrated and underseen 2013 science fiction masterpiece from Bong Joon Ho, their next phase is taking the graphic novels by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, and transforming it in to a weekly series that puts us on board the Snowpiercer once again. This series’ newest aim is to take us so much deeper in to the lore and world of Snowpiercer, as while the central setting is a train, it’s a massive train that houses its own ecosystems, as well as its own turmoil that threatens the entirety of the haul including the bubble that many passengers have built for themselves.
Happy April! We hope you and yours are doing well during these bizarre times. What with most things slowing down, I thought it’d be a great time to bring back “Shorts Round Up of the Week” once again with some back logs being cleared out from our submissions. This week we have some great short films that you can check out, now including a science fiction drama, a comedy, and a drama about the #MeToo movement.
If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.
It was only a matter of time until studios would come along and start trying to duplicate the formula that “A Quiet Place” perfected. Hoping to strike lightning twice after the shocking pop culture success of “The Birdbox,” Netflix adapts yet another novel in to an apocalyptic thriller featuring monsters working on human senses, and a family trying to stick together, doggone it. And it stinks. Director John R. Leonetti’s horror drama has a good idea somewhere buried beneath this hacky often mean spirited mess, but damned if I could find out how to salvage it.
Netflix’s horror drama “Bird Box” has been unfairly dismissed and ignored as a blatant rip off of acclaimed horror film “A Quiet Place.” That’s disappointing (especially considering “Bird Box” is an adaptation of a book from 2013) since, while “Bird Box” and “A Quiet Place” share similar tones and framing devices, they’re more companion pieces than copies. “A Quiet Place” examined a family trying to stay together during impossible odds as well as the extremes parents go for their children, while “Bird Box” is ultimately about learning to let go, and the paralyzing fear of losing our children to an outside world that we can’t understand or ever fully trust.
“Cell” was troubled from the moment it was optioned in to a movie. Rather than become a success tale like “It,” it instead was left to tread water as a limited release that was quietly tucked away on the VOD market, and is now a two dollar purchase on streaming services. It’s not surprising since “Cell” is a film that could have used a much better script, a lot more development, and about twenty more minutes in its run time. In its state it feels utterly incomplete, half baked and rushed, along with pairing two stars that, at their best, are magnificent and at their worst, make a good living phoning in (shut up) performances. Tod Williams had the chance to jump on the ball and really provide us with a frantic and scary commentary about our over reliance on technology, and he fails.
I’ll admit again and again that post apocalypse movies are my sweet spot in regards to genre cinema. I eat movies about survival after the end of the world with a spoon and am hardly ever let down. “What Still Remains” as far as its concerned is fairly standard post apocalyptic fare. It by no means re-invents the wheel with its narrative and characters, but at times it doesn’t seem like director and writer Josh Mendoza is trying to. In the end I was more impressed by what Mendoza does with his lead heroine more than anything, and I’d love to see Ana return once again in another movie of this ilk.
Trey Edward Shults’ “It Comes At Night” is a great movie, it’s also a poorly marketed movie by a studio that had no idea what to make of it. It’s a masterful dramatic thriller less in the realm of “The Walking Dead” and much more in the realm of “On the Road.” Shults definitely creates a film that focuses on the apocalypse and a family surviving through the apocalypse. But what Shults does is create an enemy that assures an inevitable and unstoppable death at the hands of a miserable disease that is inexplicable and remorseless. When we meet Paul, his wife and son Travis, they’re beginning to set their grandfather free in the woods where they plan to execute and bury him.
The staff at Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival makes a great effort to bring all kinds of horrific, kooky, and fun shorts to their fest. The films chosen are of a wide array and all different from each other. Here are a few shorts reviews for a few of these short films: