023_Greta_S (2018) [Slamdance Film Festival 2019]

Director Annika Birgel short thriller asks: How far are you (or anyone) willing to go to get the job of your dreams? Set during a casting call, young Greta is called in to the office of a director and his assistant. Being subjected to various questions for the sake of getting to know her and connect her to his character on his film, his vague questions about her life turns in to very invasive and emotionally upsetting probes about her love life, and her family.

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Wet Pavilion (2018) [Slamdance Film Festival 2019]

People tend to take for granted how much love can be turned on and off, and how quickly relationships can end. “Wet Pavilion” is an unusual but interesting short drama about a young man sitting in the back of his brother’s car. While he, his brother, and his brother’s girlfriend slide through a car wash, he watches their relationship disintegrate before his eyes.

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Tungrus (2018) [Slamdance Film Festival 2019]

Documentary Shorts Block

 “Tungrus” is a short documentary that you’ll likely never see anywhere else. It’s a documentary about family, about living in confined spaces, and yes, it explores the idea that the possible to answer to a problem is eating the family pet. No seriously. “Tungrus” centers on the large Bharde Family, in Mumbai that lives in a cramped apartment with one another and their pets. After the father brings home a baby chick, the chick manages to survive and grow in to a large rooster.

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Narrative Shorts Block 3 [Slamdance Film Festival 2019]

Blast Beat (2018)
“Blast Beat” doesn’t have much of a premise; it’s merely a slice of life for a black metal band. When a guitarist (Alexandre Dostie) auditions for a black metal band, he has a hard time convincing the lead singer that he can play with and for the band. When she (Corinne Cardinal) decides to try out his vocal abilities, he doesn’t quite seem to be up for the task. “Blast Beat” does have a few funny beats in its four minute run time, including the unusual ability of singers to be able to switch from beautiful opera to loud booming howls for their audience. Pascal Plante’s short is a fascinating and comical look at a skill many underestimate.

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Slamdance Narrative Shorts Block 2 [Slamdance Film Festival 2019]

Akeda (The Binding) (2018)
Dan Bronfeld’s drama is a disturbing but fascinating bit of meta-fiction that examines the real life brutality of war and loss of innocence. Bronfeld stages the film initially like an actual confrontation between American soldiers and an Israeli family. When the surviving son of the family emerges from his spot we learn he’s actually making a film. But is he? As we learn more and more about the filmmakers and their inherent tribalism, what we think we’re seeing doesn’t quite seem as absolute anymore. We’re left to wonder if he’s making a movie, or if he’s merely lying to himself to shield from the horrors of the war and violence that’s unfolding all around him. “Akeda” makes a strong statement about the brutality and sensationalism of war, and it’s a gem of a drama.

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Slamdance Narrative Shorts Block 1 [Slamdance Film Festival 2019]

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.

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Anna and the Apocalypse (2018)

One of the best movies of 2018, “Anna and the Apocalypse” is a movie that’s destined to catch on with midnight audiences, as it begs for sing alongs from an enthusiastic audience. John McPhail’s zombie horror musical is a pastiche of the best from the genres it puts on the big screen, delivering what is one of the pleasing and creepiest zombie movies of the years. “Anna and the Apocalypse” manages to be both life affirming and a spectacularly vicious zombie movie at the same time, with some of the more entertaining musical numbers and sequences filmed in a long time.

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The Howling 3 (1987) [Blu-Ray]

By the time “The Howling III” rolled around, the studios basically stopped continuing the storyline from the original Joe Dante movie and just turned the movie series in to an anthology. The only connection “The Howling” movies have with one another is that they have werewolves in them. The rest of the movies are basically of varying quality with drastically different narratives. Ironically latter day sequels (The Howling: New Moon Rising) would use clips from the former films as a crutch to make up for lack of story and the painfully low budget.

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