This week we have seven stellar short films from around the world including Asia, Hungary, and The Ukraine, as well as one from prolific indie filmmaker Patricia Chica. Some of the shorts featured have competed in Cannes this year, and all deal with some kind of interesting and very widely discussed social theme including LGBTQ Pride Month. Look for these excellent films when you can. If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers
Full Disclosure: Although Mill Creek Entertainment sent us a copy of “The Jackie Chan Adventures,” the opinions expressed are 100% honest and our own.
Jackie Chan seemed almost fit for his own kids show. While the international action movie star was in fact known for a slew of iconic movies that continue to win the hearts of movie buffs to this day, Jackie Chan’s methods of self defense always made him look like a walking, talking cartoon character—but, you know–deadly. To tap his ever-rising popularity, the WB network eventually gave him his own animated series for kids. Unlike other action stars, it seemed like a natural fit that wouldn’t alienate any of the fan base including the action aficionados. Basing a show on a hero that avoided getting hit as well as avoiding actually hitting his enemies was a breath of fresh air, and it seemed like Saturday morning kismet.
Satoshi Kon is an artist that left behind a lasting influence, not only on the animation world, but the filmmaking world in general. Kon’s own beats and shades of surrealism can be seen in a lot of genre pictures to this day. Directors like Darren Aronofsky and Christopher Nolan have admitted that much by paying homage with their own films. “Perfect Blue” is that groundbreaking animated masterpiece that you probably didn’t know inspired a lot of modern and contemporary filmmakers if you’ve never seen it or heard about it. Now with the new anniversary release available, there’s no time like the present to visit what is one of the most unnerving thrillers ever made.
There’s so much about Chang-dong Lee’s dramatic mystery that I had a good time picking apart. It’s a long and occasionally trying film, I’ll admit, but director Chang-dong Lee slowly but surely takes every single element of his narrative and places them in their proper order, allowing for a character study about class warfare and paranoia that is quite satisfying. I wasn’t really privy to what “Burning” was about when I first stepped in to it, but I had a difficult time looking away from it as it unfolded, as Chang-dong Lee dissects a lot about the haves and the have nots, the idea of love, and obsession.
It’s a wonderful time for fans of grindhouse cinema and collectors of physical media. Great studios are all rushing out to offer collectors some of the rarest and under seen movie titles of all time, including some of the best martial arts films ever made. With Arrow Video releasing the pristine Sister Street Fighter Collection on Blu-ray recently, Shout! Factory follows up from the rear unleashing the Street Fighter Collection. If you loved both series, now is the time to grab them, as they’re finally on Blu-Ray, with the original article starring Sonny Chiba in a great box set with a ton of extras and restorations.
It should just about go without saying that “Audition” is basically Takashe Miike’s masterpiece. If not then it’s the most accessible in where Miike is able to basically cut loose in a horror movie that begins as a romance about a man finding love again that descends in to darkness and torture. Twenty years later, “Audition” is a masterpiece of the genre, of film, and hasn’t aged a single bit since its release in 1999. It embraces romance, drama, a hint of dark comedy, and builds up to a fever pitch of a climax that’s both horrifying and will leave audiences feeling physically pained.
This South Korean horror film by Jiwoon Moon is not a movie about ghosts or goblins, but about the absolute perverse horrors of greed and the evil money can foster. Director-writer Moon tells the tale of a small family living in a sheltered home. After Ji-hyo has a horrible nightmare with her father scaring her without any eyes, her mother Hyeon-woo half heartedly assures her that it was all a nightmare.
Autumn Waltz (2018)
Ognjen Petkovic’s short thriller is a tense look at a couple trying to escape a war zone and make it out of enemy lines without becoming one of the many victims of the ensuing battles. Set in the 1990’s amidst a landscape of rubble, and torn down deluxe flats, a man and woman attempt to make it outside of Yugoslavia. When they’re faced with a barricade of ruthless armed soldiers, they make up a story that allows them free passage. But as the soldiers interrogate them their reasons for leaving their home land begin to fall apart. At the last minute they’re saved by the most unlikely source and it’s a testament to how the past can affect the present, and vice versa. It’s a well shot and tense short with some fine photography and I quite liked it.