Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Movie Review: Unexpected Endings Short Films (SDiFF 2016)

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Movie"Black Swell"
Director: Jake Honig
Run Time: 9 minutes

A man thinking about committing suicide runs into an old student who won't stop talking to him.

"Black Swell" is directed by Jake Honig and is written by David Rysdahl, who is also one of the two stars of the film. Joining him is Richard King, who plays the suicidal Mr. Fennimore. This is a dark, brief story about a man at the end of his rope. One man is hopelessly depressed, and the other is clearly ecstatic to see his old teacher and doesn't seem to be able to take the hint to go away. Of course, there is more to this situation than meets the eye, and while some of the dialogue may give away the ending before it even comes, this short is brief enough to where some may be taken in by it, though we weren't entirely convinced.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDb's Rating: 7.5/10
Movie"Search History"
Director: Neil Stevens
Run Time: 4 minutes

A woman borrows her husband's computer, and while going through his search history, finds some concerning searches.

"Search History" is written by, directed by, and stars Neil Stevens as Mark. When Mark's wife Cindy, played by Whitney Gries, discovers some unsavory searches in his browser history, she starts to think he may be planning to kill her. This brief short is quite funny and has a lot of quippy banter between this husband and wife. The two do a great job playing off each other and sell this short film very convincingly. It's really great and feels like something that may actually happen in real life...though we sure hope it doesn't!

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDb's Rating: ---/10
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Movie"Breakfast With Tiffany"
Director: Andres Molano Moncada
Run Time: 15 minutes

A man makes breakfast while a woman sleeps in bed as he tries not to wake her up.

"Breakfast With Tiffany" is directed by Andres Molano Moncada. It offers a humorous situation where a man struggles to make breakfast without waking his nearby sleeping lady-friend. This is a task far more difficult than it sounds in the small, broken down apartment where they are staying. There is a lot of charm to this intriguing tale and it kept us fully engaged even in just 15 short minutes. We wondered while watching, "why the man is struggling so hard to keep her asleep?," and eventually all is revealed, and there is more to it than we initially find out at first glance. A very interesting short!

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDb's Rating: ---/10
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Movie"So Good to See You"
Director: Duke Merriman
Run Time: 10 minutes

On their way to a friend's house for dinner, a couple accidentally leaves a message of their conversation disparaging their friends on a voicemail.

"So Good to See You" is written and directed by Duke Merriman. It stars Sienna Miller and Patrick Kennedy. In the modern age where cell phones are in every purse and pants pocket, isn't everyone's worst nightmare to accidentally call someone while you're talking shit about them, leaving the entire conversation on their voicemail for them to hear and repeat for all eternity? This movie offers up a lot of uncomfortable, awkward comedy as we wonder if the situation will blow up as soon as someone listens to the scathing voicemail or whether or not the two main characters can get to the phone in time to delete it before others hear it. We laughed quite a bit in a short amount of time at this mini heart attack-inducing short that will teach you to never trust your technology or your fingers in the presence of a cell phone.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDb's Rating: 7.1/10
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Movie"One Good Pitch"
Director: Parker Hill
Run Time: 4 minutes

A son plays catch with his father and is scolded until he throws a good pitch.

"A Good Pitch" is directed by Parker Hill. It stars Monty Renfrow as Andrew, and Roger Grunwald as his father Richard. Andrew throws pitches to his dad while Roger scolds his form over and over as he demands a perfect performance each time. It seems Andrew is preparing for some big game as his father demands perfection, not the casual kind of father son "wanna have a catch?" kind of ball tossing. They don't appear to have a great relationship, but everything you need to know about their situation is revealed in the end. This is a short film that just feels kind of there. It is competently shot and we get all of the needed information in just 4 simple minutes, but the emotion isn't there and it's pretty boring, if we're being honest.

My Rating: 4.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDb's Rating: ---/10
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Movie"Snake Bite"
Director: Tim Hyten
Run Time: 9 minutes

A group of kids contemplate what to do when one of their friends is bitten by a snake.

"Snake Bite" is directed by Tim Hyten, who wrote this short along with Nick Sherman. It follows a group of boys, played by Andrew Fox, Holden Goyette, Gabe White, and Luke Darga, who are out in the woods looking for snakes and exploring nature. This is a dark comedy about how the kids scramble to decide what to do when one of them is bitten by a snake that appears to be poisonous. In just a short amount of time, we fully see their thought processes on screen as they weigh their options, panicked, afraid, and determined to not let their friend die. We laugh and shake our heads at the numerous bad choices they make, choices that only work when a kid makes them. In a Q&A after the film, director Tim Hyten mentioned that this short started out using adults, but we personally think those involved in the behind the scenes making of this film made the right call by turning the protagonists into a bunch of kids as opposed to adults. This was our favorite short of the bunch and is one you must see if you can find it!

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDb's Rating: 7.9/10

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