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.
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.
Despite generally loving movies about the supernatural, and in spite of “The Plague of the Zombies” being very much ahead of its time in its implementing of voodoo as a means of our villain enacting his devious plan, I was indifferent toward “The Plague of the Zombies.” I can’t say that I completely hated it, but while it packs in some tension and great mood set pieces, I wasn’t too sad when it finally drew to a close.
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.
Director/Star Bradley Cooper’s “A Star is Born” will likely go down in history as one of the greatest remakes of all time. Cooper doesn’t try so much to remake a story that’s been already remade, but rethink it for a modern culture. In the end “A Star is Born” excels because it doesn’t lose sight of what it wants to convey as an epic romance, and a tale about identity, and stardom. It’s a beautiful and often soul shattering drama that Cooper directs with immense humility and is able to derive wonderful performances all around.
You have to give it to John Carpenter. Even when he stumbles, he’s still one of the finest directors around who manages to set himself apart from his contemporaries stylistically. While “Star Man” is an obvious attempt to cash in on the good Spielberg “ET” dough, “Star Man” manages to be a pretty okay movie, either way. Carpenter sets aside his usual nihilism in favor of a more measured alien love story where it retains much of its appeal thanks to the wonderful turns by Karen Allen and Jeff Bridges. This is especially a movie where Allen shines, as she delivers a performance filled with layers and emotion to the very end.
Director Zandashé Brown’s Southern Gothic horror short is a beautifully directed narrative that explores the complex and sometimes darker relationships of mothers and daughters and the stresses of raising a child on one’s own. “Blood Runs Down” has some wonderful imagery and genuinely unsettling moments of terror it’s just mired by ambiguity that makes the overall film somewhat confusing.
I could kind of see where “Supine” was headed thanks to the opening shots, but Nicole Goode’s short horror drama still managed to register as a demented peek inside of a complete and utter monster. Eva Larvoire does a bang up job playing Sylvie, a taxidermist living in France, who spends most of her time looking for dead animals on the road.