Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Shorts: It's Not You, It's Me

This short from Matt Spicer just goes to show how it's possible to find the humor in a little death and murder.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Shorts: Surveillance

I'm not a huge fan of found footage films but this one really caught my eye. Surveillance manages to tell  a pretty compelling story story in under 3 minutes, which is a lot tougher than it sounds. I come across so many scenes and shorts that take forever to set up and their payoffs are rarely worthwhile. This starts as late as possible in the story and gets right to the point...

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sunday Shorts: Controller

This whole hard drive crashing thing has been quite the misadventure. I'm still kicking myself for not having monthly backups. My drafts are so far behind, it's unlikely I'll have anything ready for the upcoming contest deadlines. Luckily, I keep a decent amount of handwritten notes.  It'll be a chore but not an impossible one. I also smartened up and got myself a dropbox account.

Anyway, this week's short comes from writer/directer Saman Kesh. It's a pretty ambitious 8 minutes of sci-fi, action, and romance. The video game elements remind me of Scott Pilgrim. According to deadline, Fox plans to turn it into a feature. That might prove to be an enormous challenge. Bigger isn't always better...

BTW, Kesh is also set to direct the Cube remake.


Sunday, May 03, 2015

Sunday Shorts: The Flying Man

Not quite back to speed after my hard drive crashed, but almost there. I'm kicking off a superhero-themed week with this short from Marcus Alqueres. A little light on plot but it sure is pretty...

Hopefully, I'll get a chance to post some thoughts on recent superhero fare like Daredevil and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Shorts: a function 이계도함수

Directed by Hyunsoo Lee, a function takes that all-too-familiar test-taking anxiety and turns it into a nightmarish short. I love the way it keeps the tension with just a bit of PG-13 violence, but lays out the potential for something much worse. A little blood and gore can go a long way.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Sunday Shorts: ReCURSION

ReCURSION from NinjaSticks on Vimeo.

'Recursion' is the modern-day time-travel adventure of Sherwin, a best man who travels back in time after losing a wedding ring.

It usually takes me a while to find a noteworthy selection for the Sunday Shorts but this one fell right into my lap (via recent twitter follower @Recursionfilm).

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


I wish there was a way to send a print of David Hayter’s Wolves back to the 80s. It would fit right in with stuff like Fright Night, Lost Boys and Teen Wolf. Not as endearing as those movies, but the throwback feel is pretty strong. Alas, Amazon hasn't invented time travel shipping (yet), so I’ll have to judge it as a 21st century creation.

Underneath all the fangs and hair, Wolves is your basic coming of age story. A teen discovers that he’s not like the other kids, so after some violent episodes, he sets out on a journey to find himself. Instead of running into Professor X and his School for Gifted Youngsters, Cayden (Lucas Till) winds up in the quaint town of Lupine Ridge. (Get it?) It’s not long before hijinks ensue...

The usual characters archetypes are front and center: The Wise Sage (Stephen McHattie), The Love Interest (Merritt Patterson), and The Antagonist (Jason “Aquaman” Momoa).

As much as I like the spirit of these genre mashups, I have to admit, they’re hit or (mostly) miss with audiences. It gets even worse when werewolves are the main attraction.

Jeff Goldsmith's Q&A podcast has a really good interview with Hayter here.

As the writer of X-Men, X2, and Watchmen, Hayter obviously knows his way around action-oriented stories about people with special abilities. Clearly, Wolves was originally envisioned as a bigger story but was scaled back because of budgetary constraints.  The movie does a great job with the werewolf design -- kind of looks like Beast from the X-Men movies. It even has some clever cheats to explain why everyone doesn’t turn into a werewolf, too damn expensive otherwise.

Good cast, good creature design, so what’s the problem? Wolves is an $18-20 million dollar movie and at the end of the day, this:

Is going to have a hard time trying to compete with this:

(I couldn't find a good clip from X-Men or X2.)

A low budget movie like Wolves needed to focus more on character development, suspense, and horror to make up for the lack of spectacle. There's nothing remarkable or especially different about this take on the werewolf genre. Aside from a few twists, it all feels very, very familiar. Those 80s movies I mentioned had other things going for them.

I'm still holding out hope that we'll see a wildly successful werewolf movie at the box office... eventually. It's been rough for a while now. I have little faith in Universal's plan to relaunch their iconic horror monsters by focusing on action/adventure rather than horror -- I'll get into Dracula Untold later.

One final complaint: the title. Could it be any more generic?



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