MovieCriticND's blog

Becoming

In the short film Becoming, we meet Cassie. As an Army wife, she's struggled with loneliness for years -- and even more so now that she's become an Army widow. It's just her and her young son Danny now and she's doing her best to shield him from the awful truth even though it's useless. But they'll be all right, she insists -- they're both adjusting, slowly learning to accept the situation.

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Cassie struggling with the loss of her husband.

Seize the Night

As in a short story, in a short film like Seize the Night you have to start as close to the end as you possibly can. In this case they may have started a bit too close to the end, though since they only have 13 minutes to set up an entire world of urban fantasy, full of vampires and werewolves, there's only so much explaining you can do. It felt like jumping into the middle of a TV series and I was scrambling to catch up with all the relationships and nuances.

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Eva growls at the camera. She's not having a good night.

Abbey Grace

A few weeks ago, Stacey (Debbie Sheridan) had her life rearranged. Her mother (Kirbi Mason) died, and Stacey was forced to return to the family home to look after her brother Ben (Jacob Hobbs). And Ben needs some serious looking after, since he hasn't set foot outside the house in over twenty years -- he's agoraphobic and also suffers from various OCD issues. The amount of hand sanitizer he goes through in a week must be staggering.

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Little Girl with Box. She's creepy but not very bright.

The Last Hurrah

We've all felt that yearning to recapture the glory days. Maybe it's the time when your career was soaring and anything was possible; maybe it's when love was blossoming and the world felt perfect. In the film noir short The Last Hurrah, Samuel (Michael Bronte) wants to reclaim both -- he and his beautiful, icy wife Petra (Aleksandra Vujcic) were business partners as well as spouses, though now both relationships have ended.

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Petra smoking. Back then it was all right to blow smoke in people's faces.
Petra and Samuel on the stairs. I couldn't resist the lighting.

The Id

Meridith Lane (Amanda Wyss) still lives in her childhood home in southern California, taking care of her increasingly helpless father (Patrick Peduto). This might be the setup for a touching story of familial devotion, but in The Id we quickly learn that it's the opposite. The relationship between father and daughter is tense and complicated. Dad is far from an easy patient, often blaming his daughter for the sins of her mother. And Meridith is increasingly overwhelmed and isolated.

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Dad ponders ways to make Meridith's life even more miserable.

Day of Reckoning

Fifteen years ago all hell broke loose, literally. During an eclipse hideous creatures with very sharp claws and teeth came roaring up out of various fissures in the earth and proceeded to eat whatever they could catch for 24 hours. Then they just... went away. Millions died, while the survivors, calling the incident the Day of Reckoning, began the long, slow process of rebuilding.

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The cast fleeing. The blond is Tyler's girlfriend Maddy, the one with the knife.

Spaghettiman

We've all daydreamed about having superpowers. Who wouldn't want to be invulnerable, or super-strong, or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Though granted, True Flight would be cooler than Super-Jumping. One power that isn't on anyone's list, though, is the ability to shoot spaghetti from your hands. For one thing, then you'd end up with a name like Spaghettiman, and that isn't exactly going to strike fear into the hearts of criminals.

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Anthony and Spaghettiman at a diner. Yes, he eats soup with a bag over his head.

Total Performance

We all know the cliches about actors and the sometimes bizarre day jobs they end up working until they finally get a break. I suppose in a way any job that requires you to interact with people counts as practice for an actor, but some day jobs are just designed for actors. For example, the company struggling actress Cori Sweeney (Tory Berner) works for, the titular Total Performance, offers an unusual service for their clients. Don't worry, it isn't anything I can't mention in a family-friendly review.

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Cori is slightly distracted while with a client.

The Chair

It's hard to think of a more terrible and soul-destroying place than a cell on Death Row. Appeals drag on endlessly, yet every second passes by much too quickly. Your fellow inmates are all suffering in the same ways, though this is probably one time when sharing the misery doesn't help. And waiting patiently beyond a certain door is the bleak room where your life will end. Now multiply all this despair by a factor of at least ten, and you have an idea of the nightmarish world of The Chair.

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Murphy and Sullivan have a heart to heart. Sort of.

Here Lies Joe

You have to be careful who you talk to in a support group, especially when you're new. Just ask the title character in Here Lies Joe (Dean Temple), who's just started attending a suicide prevention support group. It's run by Bill (Timothy J. Cox), who means well but seems to be more concerned with what's appropriate than with anyone's well-being. To be fair, the overly happy slogans everywhere may have skewed his thinking.

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Joe contemplates the cemetery and also his car keys.