It’s the middle of the summer and quarantine is still under way, sadly. We hope you and yours are doing well during these bizarre, frightening times. “Shorts Round Up of the Week” once again goes back to Quarantine, visiting a list of short films of varying genres that were created during quarantine. This scenario allowed a lot of great filmmakers to build genuinely beautiful, fun, and sometimes horrifying cinema, and it’s managed to be a great twist in such unusual circumstances.
For this edition we have some great short films including a documentary, a horror comedy or two, and yes, a zombie flick.
If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.
Scott Douglas Brown’s “Stadium Anthems” is a movie that is just fine when all is said and done. The direction and production values are very good, and most of the cast keeps the film afloat with their charisma. It’s an okay movie that ultimately feels like with a bit of alterations it could have been great. I am always a fan of mock documentaries about rock bands, and varying shades of egos, et al. It’s just that “Stadium Anthems” suffers from feeling like there are just too many ideas struggling to rise to the surface, and it drags it down big time.
As she returns to her childhood home to care for her mother with her daughter there to help, a woman is faced with a haunting presence in the house that will force all three of them to look at their lives and themselves.
Despite the title which weirdly made me think this was an homage to “Plan 9,” Lance Polland’s science fiction thriller is quite an impressive survival film. Director Polland obviously has great affection for and knowledge of classic science fiction television, thus he creates an interesting character study that feels like a more sophisticated take on the original “Star Trek.” In many cases, so much of the scenes feel like something directly ripped out of “Star Trek” (and I mean that as a compliment).
John Hughes was considered the master of teen oriented cinema in the 1980’s, often depicting somewhat lower middle class kids on the verge of adult hood. While the movies were raunchy and funny, they were also intent on building characters centered on self reflection and facing potentially dead end adult hoods. While “Weird Science” has mostly been lambasted as Hughes’ worst, I think I’d choose his debut “Sixteen Candles” as the weakest of his eighties outputs.
The nineties had a weird trend where studios took classic films and attempted to rework them in to contemporary trash films. Pamela Anderson starred in a “Casablanca” remake with “Barb Wire,” Vanilla Ice tried for his own “Rebel Without a Cause” remake with “Cool as Ice,” and oddly enough Paul Verhoeven aims for a remake of “All About Eve” with the cult Joe Esterhas anomaly known as “Showgirls.” Simultaneously lambasted and praised for being so unabashedly stupid and sleazy, Verhoeven attempts to hide a narrative better suited Skinemax than world wide release in theaters beneath thin art house veneers that fool no one.
Danish film master Carl Theodor Dreyer’s “Michael” is a very good LGBTQ drama that tackles a lot of the sexual politics of the period and the often unrequited loves between queer individuals. The entire taboo nature is explored very subtly with Dreyer’s fascinating narrative. Here, “Michael” dissects the relationship between a master artist and his apprentice and how their love for one another fueled their love for art as well as their misguided affections for a young woman.
I vividly remember watching “The Case of Hana & Alice” for the Fantasia Film Festival in 2015, and it was a movie that managed to stick with me for a while. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece, but like a lot of its ilk, it’s a movie you have to go in with some knowledge acquired. “The Cast of Hana & Alice” is primarily a prequel, and a loose one at that, but it’s at least charming in its way, and allows a mystery to become the catalyst for an adventure with two best friends one fateful day.