Shorts Round Up of the Week – 5/2/2019

For this week’s Shorts Round Up, we check out some great shorts including two animated experimental films one of which by film students, a thought provoking science fiction drama, and a riveting human drama.

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

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Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki (2018) [Blu-Ray]

“Never-Ending Man” is a meaningful documentary that explores the thoughts and ideas of Hayao Miyazaki that we can’t really find anywhere else. While some may go in to this expecting a more biographical and fluffy film about the man and his life, Kaku Arakawa seeks to give us more of a thoughtful and subtler peek in to the man, who is late in to his career and his life.

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Scary Stories (2019)

“The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on your snout…”

If you’re looking for a wonderful companion piece to the upcoming feature film adaptation of the infamous book trilogy “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” Cody Meirick’s documentary “Scary Stories” is a great refresher course for fans. It’s also a wonderful look at how history repeats itself, with the elementary school touted horror anthology nearly suffering the same amount of censorship and hysterical panic that EC Comics endured decades before its release. It’s a fascinating but nasty bit of history repeating itself, but history also learning from itself, as well.

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At the Drive-In (2017)

One of the best movies about the American Drive-In that I’ve possibly ever seen, “At the Drive-In,” is a wonderful documentary directed by Alexander Monelli that embraces and celebrates everything that’s so enchanting about the drive-in. It’s also a testament to the love and commitment that movie buffs are capable of, even in the face of financial dire straits and a changing climate of pop culture. Drive-Ins have become something of a memory of American pop culture and in the new generation is a community that has struggled to stay alive. One of the few standing is the Mahoning Drive-In in Pennsylvania.

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Millennium After the Millennium (2018)

I was one of the many people that tuned in to see “Millennium” when it premiered on FOX television back in 1996. When I was thirteen any horror show would catch my eye, but I eventually tuned out after a few episodes. Years late “Millennium” is a widely celebrated cult classic television series that never caught on as much as its sibling predecessor “X-Files.” While the former embraced science fiction and horror, “Millennium” delved mostly in to the occult and horror, and never quite sought out to inspire hope within its viewers.

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Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (2019)

“Black History is Black Horror.”

“Horror Noire” is the film you have to see right now. If you fancy yourself a horror aficionado, a film buff, or just a lover of history, “Horror Noire” is essential viewing that is long overdue. For a long time we’ve garnered some amazing documentaries that have covered a lot of overlooked chapters in horror cinema, and “Horror Noire” touches upon the most important era, exploring the history of African Americans in horror cinema, and how they evolved from being demonized, to becoming props, right up to becoming genuine heroes.

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The Bootleg Files: Who’s Out There?

BOOTLEG FILES 672: “Who’s Out There?” (1975 documentary short hosted by Orson Welles).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On a public domain label.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Produced for the federal government, hence the absence of a copyright.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: One public domain label carries it, but a full-throttle digital restoration is unlikely.

During the 1970s, a great deal of attention was being paid to outer space. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) kept people focused on the sky with its various lunar missions and probes into the deepest corners of the galaxy. But many people insisted that space traffic was a two-way endeavor, and sightings of UFOs along with various claims of personal encounters with intergalactic visitors became headline news throughout the decade.
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The Bootleg Files: Kokoda Front Line!

BOOTLEG FILES 671: “Kokoda Front Line!” (1942 Australian newsreel).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No perceived commercial value for the U.S. market.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It can be found on Australian DVD, but it is not likely to be released on a U.S. label.

If you are an Academy Award trivia buff, you will recognize “Kokoda Front Line!” as the first Australian film to win an Oscar. If you are World War II history buff, you will be familiar with the importance of “Kokoda Front Line!” in covering an important battle in the Pacific combat. But if you are not up to speed on either your Oscar factoids or your World War II knowledge, then hopefully you might come away from this week’s column with something worth learning.
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