Suds & Cinema – Memphis Mini Reel Reviews – Part 2

Pie

A documentary about a man. A man who has learned to hate pies. Not just because he hates the taste, but because they are ruining his life. Yes, that’s right. I said pies.

Pie has a hilarious central concept used to its fullest potential. Directed by Doug Cox, the film uses a faux documentary style to carry this concept up till the end. The genius concept combined with the creative presentation result in a comedy short that I will remember for quite some time.

I give Pie 5 out of 6 reels.

Sac de Merde

Mazie can’t catch a break. All she wants is decent man who is above all else normal. Sounds simple enough but after multiple dates she continues to find quirks that only seem to escalate in weirdness, with hilarious results.

A good story, fantastic script, and an uproariously funny performance by Arielle HallerSilverstone as Mazie are some of the keys that make Sac de Merde shine. Directed by Greg ChwerchakSac de Merde has amazing comedy writing that could make the story great all on its own. However, having Arielle to deliver the lines really brings everything together as she gives us an all-star comedic performance.

I give Sac de Merde 6 out of 6 reels.

Saul’s 108th Story

Saul Moroz shares his incredible story where he installs a pane of glass for a window company. “Incredible story?”, you may ask. Yes, considering it’s 1950s New York and he’s 108 floors above the ground. Don’t worry about it!

A fun short that is basically a very enjoyable story told to us by the man who lived it, Saul Moroz. Directed by Joshua CarlonSaul’s 108th Story puts the spotlight on Saul and he is an entertaining storyteller indeed. As with any great storyteller Saul puts you in his shoes and you actually feel like you’re a glass worker in 1950s New York. The presentation and graphics around Saul as he tells his tale are also a nice touch.

I give Saul’s 108th Story 4 out of 6 reels.

Smoke

After visiting a creepy fortune-teller with his buddies Ethan uncovers a dark sinister secret. A secret that may change the course of his life forever.

Smoke is a creepy tale of revenge directed by Justin Malone. The film features some great editing and skillful camerawork which helps to set up the increasingly sinister mood. Clint Abner does a fine acting job and it shows because we see Ethan’s descent clearly as the joking mood in the beginning quickly turns sour. A great entry into the thriller genre.

I give Smoke 5 out of 6 reels.

The Mirror

Does a mirror really show us what’s happening in reality, only in reverse? Or is only the reflection of our mind?

Directed by Massimiliano Mauceri, The Mirror is an effective horror short with a creative way of telling us its story. The Mirror lacks any dialogue, but makes up for that with amazing special effects and purposeful direction given to the actors (Carlotta Galmarini and Mattia Rigatti). Through the use of these elements we get a very nuanced horror tale that doesn’t resort to jump scares.

I give The Mirror 4 out of 6 reels.

Toasted

What do the items in our house do while we go to work? More than likely they just sit there and don’t move until we get home. Then again maybe they come up with courageous escape plans that rival Escape from Alcatraz.

Done in a similar vein as Sausage PartyToasted takes a style we usually associate with children’s films and flips it on its head. Director Chad Janusch takes a stop motion animation approach with Toasted and mixes it with vulgar adult humor. The results are astonishing because the craft and care taken to make this short is clearly evident. You can see it even in the little details, such as matching certain emotions with specific household items. Fantastically funny and full of visual eye candy.

I give Toasted 6 out of 6 reels.

The Voicemail

A voicemail from a mother because she worries about her adult son going outside for the day. A simple action that shouldn’t be of concern. 

Through the delivery of hearing a voicemail being played, director Kyle Solomon delivers an emotional punch. In The Voicemail we see that, for some people, everyday activities can be much different from others. A short that delivers an impact which will linger with you long after watching.

I give The Voicemail 4 out of 6 reels.

Until next time….

Suds and Cinema Memphis Mini Reel Reviews Part 1

American Craft: What Beer Can Teach Us About Well-Crafted Laws

This documentary short gives us a look into the world of American craft beer. We see the ups and downs over the years as laws have shaped how we produce and distribute craft beer to the public. From its fledgling beginnings to becoming a thriving creative subculture, American craft beer is here to stay.

American Craft is an enjoyable and informative short film. Directed by Matt WoodAmerican Craft achieves two goals that are important to any documentary. First, it attracts newcomers to the world of craft brewing without alienating them. It’s short and stylish enough to just dip your toes into and enjoy, while not being overwhelmed by an ocean of information. Secondly, the content is entertaining and educational. Veterans of the craft brewing scene will appreciate that American Craft is not watered down in any way.

I give American Craft 6 out of 6 reels.

Happy Bath Day

Follow along as a dog takes a trip to the pet store. Once at the store she gets a little TLC with a bath given to her by her friend in the blue shoes.

Delightfully simple and full of heart Happy Bath Day, directed by Meka Butler, is a pleasure to watch. If you’re looking for an intense story with multiple plot twists, look elsewhere. If you’re a pet lover looking for a relaxing movie with an excellent acoustic soundtrack, Happy Bath Day is for you. Also, it’s worth noting that Jada the dog does an amazing acting job.

I give Happy Bath Day 3 out of 6 reels.

My Plastic Buddha

In My Plastic Buddha we get some insight into a mans ideas on the value and importance we put on specific objects in our everyday lives.

Jeff Madzia stars and directs in My Plastic Buddha, an informative short that is both emotionally moving and effective. Never resorting to sounding to preachy, Jeff weaves us a short, but effective, cautionary tale. He tells us how he has extracted meaning and worth in objects that are objectively worthless. We are then allowed to form our own opinion from his message. We can then decide what in our own life may become our own plastic Buddha.

I give My Plastic Buddha 5 out of 6 reels.

Gauntlet Run: Origins

Tied up in a warehouse, a man answers questions for an unsavory group of people while being beaten. He isn’t giving any answers and when a rival member enters the scene an unlikely partnership forms and an epic beat down commences.

Directed by Garrett AtkinsonGauntlet Run: Origins wears its influences on its sleeve. Those influences being high-octane action films. Movies such as The Raid and John Wick come to mind and Gauntlet Run does them proud. The action is impeccable and at times you may wonder if you’re watching a professionally choreographed action spectacle. The story is generic but with action scenes like this I’ll give Gauntlet Run a pass.

I give Gauntlet Run: Origins 5 out of 6 Reels.

Haircut 

He is at his barber, ready to get his haircut. Or is he with his girlfriend, at a restaurant ready to order. The choices are so confusing.

Intriguing, strange, and clever. These are some terms that come to mind when viewing the comedic short Haircut. Directed by George MassimilloHaircut appears as one of two things. First, is this is a tale about life’s endless choices and the confusion that ensues while making them? Or, secondly, is this just an absurdist alternate reality, similar to Napoleon Dynamite or similar shows on Adult Swim? Or maybe it’s a bit of both. Either way it’s definitely worth a watch.

I give Haircut 3 out of 6 reels.

Lightning Strikes

A brother and sister realize that the sister, who is in a vegetative like state, that they have taken care of for years has a special talent. She can predict the outcome of future lottery draws or other gambling endeavors. Will they use this talent for good or will they let the greed wash over their lives.

Story is the shining star in Lightning Strikes, directed by Camille Calvin. A well written script that combines multiple genres along with great acting are what make the plot captivating. Some of the genres sprinkled throughout are suspense, drama, and even some comedy. Irene, played by Camille Calvin, and Betty, played by Emanda Pimentel, navigate these genres expertly and are a joy to watch. The choices dealing with mental disabilities are sometimes questionable but for the most part don’t interfere with the overall quality.

I give Lightning Strikes 4 out of 6 reels.

Macocky 

Jaysons life isn’t going so well. His girlfriend left him, his college grades are failing, and his dreams of becoming a local superhero always end in injury. That is until he goes back home to get his childhood toy, a Macaulay Culkin doll that brings him good luck and comfort.

Extremely funny and charming the comedy short Macocky, directed by Ivon and Eyan Wuchina, excels on multiple levels. The comedy writing is excellent, mixing jokes that are both uproariously funny as well as more subdued leading to an even tone throughout. The story is nicely paced with moments of complete absurdity complemented by more relatable human moments. Luke Enzor also does a fantastic job in playing Jayson as a unique and quirky person while also remaining realistic. All of these elements make Macocky a must see.

I give Macocky 6 out of 6 reels.

Stay-tuned until NEXT TIME, for SUDS & CINEMA – Memphis Mini Reel Reviews Pt.II!

Phone Sex Grandma (2006) – Reel Review

“I got some hot pussy . . . what? I’ll suck it. How big is it? Listen, when your dick gets hard does it get hard fast or does it take it awhile to get hard?” This may sound like the banter of your normal run of the mill porn star, but it isn’t. This is the dialogue of an old woman in her small house, as she does puzzles and crochets. A grandma who appears normal but has a very unique job thus creating a juxtaposition that is uproariously hilarious.

Phone Sex Grandmais a comedy short directed by Jack Truman. I enjoyed this film on multiple levels. Opal Dockery was funny in her hilarious portrayal of the vulgar grandma. It was amusing to watch her go about her daily life while also spouting numerous obscenities. Opal does a great job of both making the character endearing with her actions, while also hilarious with the delivery of the script. Opal Dockery also wrote Phone Sex Grandmawhich I feel is noteworthy.

The more I watched the more interested I became in knowing more about this woman. I wanted to know how she came into this job and her life leading up to it. On the surface Phone Sex Grandma seems like a straight up comedy but I believe it also has elements of drama. Where she lives and her daily activities make me believe that this job was chosen by necessity and not by desire.

One criticism I do have with Phone Sex Grandma is with one of its greatest attributes, the writing. While very entertaining and hilarious, by the end of the roughly 9 minute runtime my mind was starting to wander. It was a great bit, but if they were to continue with future installments I would need more variety.

That being said, other films by Jack Truman bare the following titles:

Do I sense a theme…

Phone Sex Grandma is a hilarious look into the life of a seemingly normal Grandma with a very interesting job choice. It’s both funny and heartfelt when thinking of the old woman and how her life came to be at this point. The acting is outstanding and while the vulgar jokes do get to be a bit much by the end of the film, I still would give this a strong recommendation.

5 out of 6 reels.

Night (2019) – Reel Review

A man stalks the streets at night. A very dangerous man who has little regard for anybody but himself. He is searching for people that he will use in a game. A game that satisfies the sick twisted mind of not only himself, but also of others that are willing to take part. However, games have winners and losers and outcomes are not preordained, no matter how stacked the decks are.

Night is a thriller/horror film written and directed by Nicholas Micheal JacobsNight is an interesting study into the mind of a deranged man. This man is Adam Audrey, acted by Nicholas Micheal JacobsNicholas does a great job convincing us that Adam is a dangerous person with sociopathic tendencies. His victim is Judy Stern, played by Gianna JacobsGianna also does a fine job. She shows us that, while extremely terrified, she is also very defiant and never gives up the will to live.

The setting and mood of this film are standouts and it shows. Night uses a mix of found footage and traditional camera work and the footage was well crafted and inventive. In a sea of unimpressive found footage films, Nightis not one of them. The plot and realistic nature of the movie make for a very dark and sinister atmosphere. Fans of good thriller/horror films will appreciate that this mood doesn’t ever let up.

A few of the criticisms I have with Night are in its editing. To improve their effectiveness, many scenes could have been shortened. An example would be the opening scene of the movie in which Adam is getting ready to leave. I went through a variety of emotions during this part. At first I was curious wondering what this Adam was up to. I was then creeped out, realizing he was getting ready to do something nefarious. But finally, and unfortunately, I started to feel a bit bored as the shot lingered for to long. 

Night is a film that is equal parts frightening and disturbing. The overall story is simple and some of the scenes linger for little to long, but the acting and craftsmanship is solid. This movie is meant to scare and terrify and through an inventive camera style and deft handling of mood and atmosphere, it triumphs.

I give Night 4 out of 6 reels.

Rules To Kill – Reel Review

A serial killer lives by a very specific set of rules. When these rules are broken, mistakes are made. It is these mistakes that lead to the eventual capture of the perpetrator. However, one particular serial killer (Mike Neider) believes he has perfected what he thinks of as an art. His solution to the problem is simple. Follow the rules and never, under any circumstances, break them. But can you ever really trust the mind of a killer?

Rules To Kill is a short horror film, written and directed by Joshua Hartwell of EVOX Media. Due to the documentarian style, as well as the mannerisms and personality of the main character, Rules To Kill is an extremely cold and calculating movie. As a lover of the thriller/horror genre, and true crime in general, I enjoyed this film a lot.

It excelled in three areas. First, the script is outstanding. It puts you into the thought processes of a person that thinks they are in control, when in reality things are spiraling into madness. There’s also enough nuance in the writing that makes you invested to come back for multiple viewings. Secondly, I enjoyed the diverse soundtrack. It had a mix of songs that set the dire mood for the piece while also providing brief moments of levity. These moments were needed in a film with such strong feelings of dread. Lastly, the cinematography in the film was impressive. The tracking shots of the killer in action were creepy and visceral while the quiet shots of the landscape were quiet and serene. The quiet shots helped in providing time to process the dialogue of the killer and the chaos of his actions.

While I enjoyed this film I would be remiss without mentioning that this experience is not for everyone. It’s for a specific group of people. People who enjoy exploring the minds of people that commit crimes and the thought processes behind their actions. This film is extremely visceral.

Rules To Kill is an interesting look into the psychology of a serial killer. It’s a bit formulaic but through great writing, cinematography, and a killer soundtrack it provides a well crafted film. If you’re into true crime and horror/thrillers I suggest looking up Rules To Kill on YouTube and giving this a shot.

5 out of 6 Reels.

Suds & Cinema – Grove City – Mini Reel Reviews – Part 2 of 2

We’re back with Mini-Reviews for the 2nd half of official selections for the SUDS & CINEMA – Grove City event that occurred on March 9th, 2019!

Static

directed by Anthony Chambers

A house sitter(Lolita Price) arrives at her job for the night. It looks easy enough. Watch an old house and profit. That’s until she meets the odd old man(Clay DePew) in the house. Then there are the strange occurrences that are becoming increasingly unexplainable.

A very well-directed horror short that makes the creepiness of the house the star. I love old haunted house flicks and this captures the feeling of those classics in multiple ways. The camera shots give the viewer a feeling that they are in an unsettling and unfamiliar place. The actors did a great job of putting us in the shoes of the house sitter, while also making us feel uneasy about the creepy homeowner. This film probably wouldn’t do anything for people who don’t enjoy a ghostly horror vibe, but this will impress the diehard fans.

4 out of 6 Reels 

Strike It

directed by Tom Dallas

Another suspenseful action packed bank heist thriller filled with dangerous criminals and gritty police officers. Or is it…

A really fun and creative movie that explores different ways to approach a clichéd genre. The cast is large for a short film and, despite it being crowded, they all do a good job. The true star of the movie is the concept of the film. I don’t want to spoil anything but this movie really opens up after a few scenes and the rollercoaster ride begins. Some may find this short a bit to reliant on the concept but, regardless, I had a fantastic time watching every second.

5 out of 6 Reels

Subject 

directed by August Aguilar

The Subject(Tyler McKee) wakes up. The Subject entertains himself. The Subject eats. The Subject gets out of line. The Subject gets punished and put back to bed. Rise. Repeat.

A sci-fi horror short, Subject plays out similar to an episode of The Twilight Zone. Just like that classic series this film lives or dies on its story. Thankfully, the story is very good. It gives you just enough, bit by bit, to leave you wanting more until you arrive at the shocking conclusion. The plot hooked me during the entire runtime. The special effects are great and the sound design, with  the ominous alarm, was quite effective. Despite some plot holes, which comes with the territory in this genre, I was still captivated.

5 out of 6 Reels 

The Chair

directed by Zebulon Griffin

Bear(Josh Strehle) really loves his new chair. It’s red, probably an antique, and just so dang comfy. However, his girlfriend, Susan(Tifani Ahren Davis), is not a fan of the chair. How far will Bear go for his one true love?

Wow, this was a delight to watch. The acting was superb, the story quirky, and the writing was super sharp and witty. Right from the beginning it’s made clear who Bear is and what his motivations are. I was instantly on board till the end. I didn’t connect with Bear on a personal level, but the writing was so good that I still couldn’t wait to see what he was going to do next. It hooked me from the first minute and I was smiling till the end.

6 out of 6 Reels 

The J

directed by Diaa Bahaa El Dein

A man is getting ready to see his daughter when suddenly, a drug addict attacks him in his apartment. However, this drug addict seems very similar to his victim in more ways than one.

A moving and emotional piece that explores addiction and the choices made that effect an addicts day-to-day activities. In many ways the short plays out similar to a horror film with the scenes being visceral and disturbing. A strong and silent performance along with great direction and camerawork make this a very powerful piece. The subject may hit hard for some viewers but the message is still important.

5 out of 6 Reels

The Pizza Guy

directed by Naim David

Another normal night for your friendly neighborhood pizza delivery guy(Mickey Phelan). Well it was normal until he makes a delivery to a girl(Celeste Blandon), her face spattered in blood.

A horror short that will constantly shock you as a pizza delivery guys shift becomes more absurd by the moment. The performances are great and the script is well written. Everything up to a point was done well, but then things started to derail for me. Without spoilers all I can is that shit gets real crazy. This film is definitely entertaining, but for me the motivations of the characters seemed messy by the end. If you enjoy crazy imaginative plots this film is for you.

4 out of 6 Reels

Well, Slicers, THAT’S THAT! We hope you enjoyed our review of all of the official selections of the first ever SUDS & CINEMA – Grove City!
SLICE THE PLANET!

Suds & Cinema – Grove City – Mini Reel Reviews – Part 1 of 2

Following CinemaSlice’s first ever Suds & Cinema event in Grove City, OH, we just had to write up mini reviews for each official selection that screened! Without further ado, let’s get into these REEL REVIEWS!

Alive

directed by Naim David

A woman(Mary K. Riestenberg) begins to clean up after the gruesome murder of another woman(Celeste Blandon). She quickly finds that there are more important things to worry about than her blood soaked hands.

A very effective horror short in terms of setting and characters. In the short runtime it is well established that something terrifying has happened. The actors do a tremendous job with their movements and mannerisms to help flesh out this feeling of dread. I could have used a more in terms of plot but I understand that this was probably a purposeful choice.

4 out of 6 Reels

Clowns vs. Corn 4 Gold

directed by Matthew MCR Ellison II

The psychedelic trip of a clown whose drink of choice is Corn 4 Gold.

An animated short done in a very unique and creative style. As a piece of art this is a captivating look into a mad alternate universe where everything pulses with a fast and frenetic energy. Looking at it as a film, I would say it’s lacking in plot with no real narrative thread to speak of.

3 out of 6 Reels

Fear, Itself

directed by Alex Caperton

A girl(Rachel Hass) is having a fun and relaxing night eating junk food and playing video games. Fun and relaxing until she hears a sound coming from outside her bedroom window.

This horror short has a nice advancement of creeping dread from beginning to end. I enjoyed the use of video gaming in the film. As a video gamer I use the hobby as a relaxer and can imagine how the girl may have felt before the creepy events begin. Personally, the ending left me on a bit of a cliffhanger and I would have liked to have seen more. A very effective thriller nonetheless.

4 out of 6 Reels 

Haunted House

directed by Michael DeSanto

Amanda(Kenzie Phillips) and Ryan(Charles Wetzel Jr.) have just purchased a new home. Hilarity ensues when they find that the house is very lonely and would like some special favors done in return.

Enjoyable horror comedy that has fun characters and writing that is consistently funny. The writing is effective in that each character is specifically written for. This makes the characters distinctive and they don’t share the same jokes and personalities. I also have to mention the special effects, which were stellar for a low-budget film. My only minor criticism is that the story, while still very funny, was a bit disjointed and felt like we were just moving from scene to scene without much substance. Still a very funny and crowd pleasing film.

5 out of 6 Reels

Jilted Ex

directed by Christian Blackthorne

Sometimes breaking off a relationship can lead to some very dire consequences.

This very short horror clip definitely succeeded in setting a very dark and grim tone right from the start. A very unsettling visual accompanied by a gritty atmosphere made for a nightmarish combo. It seemed to play more like a trailer, however, and I was left wanting more. It would be very interesting to see this idea expanded upon in the future to give the viewer more to sink their teeth into.

3 out of 6 Reels

Not From Around Here

directed by Eric Mishne

Connie(Rachel Luther) and Parker(Colin Luther) are traveling the United States with dreams of traveling the world. Their plans hit a snag when their car breaks down on a lonely stretch of road. They are not concerned until a stranger(Chris Johnson) in a pickup truck pulls up behind them.

This short was awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, the characters and especially the film’s conclusion. The plot is straightforward, putting us in a believable scenario that many enjoy doing, traveling the world. It then establishes characters that we can see ourselves as and puts them in a scenario that we all hate, our car breaking down. It wraps up brilliantly with an ending that I won’t give away, but I will say to go back and give this a second watch. Little details will emerge that go unnoticed on the first viewing and the experience will become that much more enjoyable.

6 out of 6 Reels

That’s it for PART1!!! Tune in next time for the mini reel review of the remaining films featured at SUDS & CINEMA – Grove City!

Laakekoe (Medicated) Reel Review

Korppainen(Tapio Kauma) is a pretty quirky person. With hobbies that include random shadow boxing, science fiction literature, and chess matches against himself it’s hard not to consider Korppainen unique. However, the cause of Korppainens new problem maybe his odd behavior. Nearby, a doctor named Niklas(Heikki Kauma) is on the verge of unleashing a very dark and powerful entity. An entity that requires a unique individual, just like Korppainen, to arrive on earth. When Korppainens brother, Karsta(Tapio Kauma), asks him to take part in a strange medical experiment, we soon find out how destructive this entity is.

Laakekoe(Medicated) is a sci-fi action adventure directed by Tapio Kauma and Ville Viasanen. For me Laakekoe(Medicated) excelled in a few key areas: awesome special effects and telling a compelling, well paced story. The effects in this movie are extremely well done. The supernatural beings that inhabit the film are dark and ominous. You feel a real sense of danger when Korppainen is going up against them. I have to give Ville Viasanen an applause for a job well done. 

Laakekoe(Medicated)s pacing also kept me engaged all throughout the film. Every scene kept the action moving and I feel that’s important for a movie in this genre. It also helped that each character was distinctive and entertaining. Due to the fast pace of the film it was very important to have impressive character development to avoid any further confusion in the storyline.

Laakekoe(Medicated) – IMDB

This leads me to my one criticism of Laakekoe(Medicated). The story was, for me, fairly confusing. During my first viewing I always felt a bit lost. The awesome characters and action packed pace kept me watching. A second viewing definitely helped to clarify a lot of the plot details that had me lost.

The whole film project took 7 years to complete. Majority of the effort was done by two guys: Tapio Kauma and Ville Väisänen. They had previously done several short movies together but this is the first feature length movie by them. They have not officially studied move making but have instead learned everything they know about film making by trial and error. And of course by watching lots of movies.
The duo have estimated that during the years they spend about 1 300 hours to complete the movie. The movie was done while the film makers studied and/or worked full time. The whole budget for the movie is less than 150 euros.

Laakekoe(Medicated) is a solid sci-fi action adventure. It has a great mix of special effects and interesting, distinctive characters. Also, it has the perfect amount of absurdity sprinkled throughout. Although you may have to give this a second watch to help understand some of the story details, Laakekoe(Medicated) is still a kick ass experience. Look it up on YouTube and give it a watch.

I give Laakekoe(Medicated) 4 out of 6 reels.

Brain Engagement Reel Review

Ben and Anna have been dating for two years and Ben is ready to pop the question. We see this very clearly within the first few moments of the short film Brain Engagement, a short romantic comedy directed by Patrick Neff. How Ben, played by Brennen Thompson, plans on accomplishing this goal is not so clear. Anna, played by Kristin Mellian, certainly seems interested in starting a life together. Ben can’t be for certain, however, until he finally asks “Will you marry me?”. He only has his heart and emotions to talk to. A heart and emotions that get angry, crack jokes, problem solve, and celebrate. It’s almost as if the emotions were real people themselves…

Brain Engagement was a joy to watch from start to finish. Being a Rom/Com this film had two aspects to focus on. It needs a relationship the viewer wants to root for and enjoyable, well written humor. Brain Engagement absolutely nails both. As Ben goes through his journey throughout the film you feel all the emotions that he is feeling, which makes the ending all the more meaningful. The moments of levity are also amazing with great jokes that are cleverly written and engaging to the story. Relatability and comedy combine together perfectly in Brain Engagement and that gives the film a lot of heart.

My one criticism of Brain Engagement is that, while it’s plot is perfect in execution, it’s lacking in originality. Not giving away any spoilers, I would have to say that I’ve seen this plot device used in comedy’s and animated features in the past. It’s a only minor criticism because of what Brain Engagement manages to do. In roughly 15 minutes Brain Engagement has more laughs, love, and charm then some other movies have with a full length runtime.

Brain Engagement does what I feel every short film should try to carry out. It gets the viewer excited about what they just watched, but also leaves them wanting more content in the same universe. More of the continued relationship between Ben and Anna, and more of Ben’s hilarious internal emotional struggles.

I give Brain Engagement 6 out of 6 reels.


Bailiwick Reel Review

Bailiwick is the story of John, a lonely, quiet man who is given a gift that changes his life. Do you believe in magic?

Bailiwick
Length: 1Hour 36Mins
Written and Directed by Tonia L. Carrier

John is a middle-aged man who lives a simple life. His day starts with your usual morning fare: shower, breakfast, etc. He then goes to his office job, which comes complete with a disagreeable boss and coworkers who mostly ignore him. John caps off the night by preparing for another day, identical to the last. During one of these mundane days John attends a magic show. At the show John receives a strange book, filled with detailed instructions for magic tricks. The magician hands the ancient book off and John eagerly accepted the gift. Little does John know that his life is about to change in many exciting and dangerous ways as he slowly masters the magic tricks one by one.

Bailiwick is an independent full length feature film directed by Tonia Carrier. In Bailiwick you’ll find mystery, drama, action, horror, fantasy, and comedy. It’s hard to pin down a specific genre because this film truly has a bit of everything and mostly succeeds in all the genres it attempts. I would say the creativeness of tackling so many genres is one of my favorite elements of the film and helped keep me continually interested in the story. The main character John, played by Dan Gerics, does an outstanding job. It’s impressive to watch an actor navigate these shifting genres and make it seem so effortless. I also enjoy a good narrative build up in a film and Bailiwick doesn’t disappoint. It’s very satisfying to go from that first uneventful day in John’s life which leads to the events that ensue at the end.

While I commend the creativeness of the multi genre approach to Bailiwick, it is also where some of my criticisms lay. Personally, I would have liked some smoother transitions from genre to genre. Most of these problems occur during the third act of the film. Without spoilers, I’ll just say that some of these genre transitions made me question Johns motivations. These criticisms, while a bit jarring, didn’t detract from the creativeness of the film.

Bailiwick is a wildly inventive film.

While this inventiveness sometimes messes with the pacing and flow of the narrative, it is still a fantastic film. If you’re into indie cinema that isn’t afraid to take risks, then give this film a shot. Go to YouTube where Bailiwick is available to stream now.

I give Bailiwick 4 out of 6 reels.