Undercrank Productions deserves a ton of credit as they are releasing films and silent cinema that no one else has even approached yet. While boutique studios are dabbling in eighties and seventies obscure gems, Undercrank and Ben Model are back in the early 1900’s restoring the short films of Alice Howell, a silent cinema comedic actress who was once compared to her contemporaries Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, folks that want to bone up on the history of women in comedy cinema, this is a great place to continue your education on how much they’ve contributed, and the unsung voices of comedy.
With the 91st Oscars airing on February 24th, I’ll be going over the trio of short film topics and their nominees leading up to the premiere. With short films often getting overlooked (Live Action Shorts was cut from this year’s broadcast and then re-inserted after big protests) I was interested in checking out the Oscar caliber shorts making the list. It should be noted that most of the animated shorts are directed by women this year, which is refreshing. Here is the list and the short I hope wins.
As a preamble I admit that I’ve never liked the “Kim Possible” animated series. I know as a Disney fan I’m supposed to love it, but I always found the series to be incredibly flat, bland, and boring. I didn’t really care for anything about it beyond Will Friedle who, at the time, was my favorite voice actor. That said, when “Kim Possible” was rebooted in to a TV movie series, I was surprised by how new and re-energized the reboot looked. Though “Kim Possible” is back, she’s returned for a whole new generation of fans that have embraced heroines fighting crime.
I was thoroughly surprised with 2017’s “Happy Death Day.” The more I’ve thought about it and re-watched it, I’ve come to like it more and more as a horror reworking of “Groundhog’s Day.” It’s a fun and creepy character piece about a despicable young woman who realizes that maybe the way to keep herself from dying and end the cycle of re-living the same day over and over, is to think about other people in her life. “Happy Death Day 2U” is that same concept, but a wholly different movie. It’s a sequel that brings us a new angle of the narrative, expands on the concept of the original film, while also continuing to explore the character of Tree Gelbman.
BOOTLEG FILES 673: “The Jack Benny Birthday Special” (1969 TV special).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It fell through the cracks.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.
During the mid-1960s into the early 1970s, Jack Benny made a number of TV specials that aired on NBC. Most of these offerings were pleasant but entirely forgettable, and Benny often seemed to be dialing in his performances.
There’s no better statement on romance than the idea that sometimes the ones that we love the most aren’t always the best thing for us. With “Elephants” director-writer Alexander Hanno constructs a truly good romance dramedy based around how nostalgia can often leave us stagnant and stuck in one place. “Elephants” is a very sad movie about two people so in love that they automatically hurt each other’s prospects at success in life, but also about getting stuck in remembering the past, and not accepting that we have to move forward and look ahead.
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 “Shorts Round Up of the Week” we review 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.
This week we have a trio of shorts from Chris McInroy, a psychotic tattoo artist, and the tale of a walking baby.
Written by Clarissa Jacobson and directed by J.M. Logan, Lunch Ladies is a horror-comedy short that packs a punch. It’s one of those that is easily watched and for which is humor works and so does the gross-out factor. Together, these two create a fun short that more than worth its runtime and that allows the viewer a bit of a break from the usual when they fully give in to what Seretta and LouAnne have to offer. The film is kept tight and moving with just the right amount of everything, creating the perfect balance between everything going on in the film.