Monday, April 17, 2017

The Narrow World







Today's short film is called THE NARROW WORLD.

This film was written and directed by Brent Bonacorso. To the surprise of no one, I'm not familiar with his work, which, according to IMDB, is three other short films.

Here's the thing with that... at this point, I've been posting quick reviews of Short Films for awhile now. I don't know how many of these things I've watched, but there's a good number of them grouped under the Short Film Label. And as the days and short films pass, my now somewhat reliable lack of familiarity with anyone involved in these films has passed from the reality of a neophyte, to a quirk of the blog, and on into a realm where it now feels more like a strange re-occurrence. Honestly, I guess there's no end to these short film guys, because it's god damn rare that I come across someone where I'm actually familiar with their previous work. In fact, I think it only happened once.

That I can remember, at least.

So, I did a little research. It turns out that Brent has an upcoming feature film called YOU GET ME starring Bella Thorne and Halston Sage, the former is apparently the new Teen Queen It Girl for some reason, and the latter is completely unknown to me, despite the fact that I've seen a couple of movies she's in. Brent has also done some music videos for Elton John and Katy Perry, I guess. Plus, he also did the opening titles for the HBO docu-series THE JINX, which is kind of awesome. So, he's an up and comer, I guess, and getting some respectable work too.

Good for him.

Here's the synopsis: THE NARROW WORLD is the story of a gigantic alien that crashes to Earth and takes up residence in Los Angeles. Contrary to expectations, when the alien is neither hostile towards the tiny humans around it, nor communicative in any way, it falls on the populace to decipher what, exactly, this visitor wants and what it means for them. One man sees more to it- a message, perhaps, that may tell us less about the alien, and more about our deepest inner selves, about the mysteries of the soul.

Sounds profound...



That was all right.

The central idea of a massive and supremely powerful alien life-form landing on the planet and turning out to be neither savior nor destroyer is an intriguing one. I like the idea that its indifferent inaction would make the planet either stew in self-reflection, or lash out angrily. There's some interesting stuff there. I don't think the film actually nails the emotional arc it's aiming for, now maybe that's due to the skills of the actors, maybe it's the juxtaposition with the subject matter or genre, or maybe it's just a victim of the time constraints of a short film--most likely it's a combination of all three--but it doesn't quite land. I appreciate the effort, and it's not like it completely failed or anything either, it just lacks the oomph it feels like they were aiming for, y'know?

Opening with a Shakespeare quote maybe wasn't the best idea. Doing so adds an expectation of depth, one that if you don't deliver--especially with genre stuff--it ends up making you look a little bit pretentious.

So there's that.

The documentary style was a good decision, I think, especially for the creature, but the set design of the two male characters felt pretty generic. That being said, the rest of it looks great. It's shot well, with a good use of the city, and other than the "military attack" sequence, the effects are pretty top notch for the small budget of a short film. The wide shots really work, and probably provide the most emotion for the creature, giving it a nice lonely, melancholy tinge. That really amps up the otherworldly feeling.

One thing, I was confused by the part where the other creatures show up. Did they show up? Or were they just on the way? I couldn't tell if the scene that showed the other creatures was a dream/imagined future type of thing, or if it really happened. The film only showed the single giant robot after that, so it's hard to say.

Ultimately, this is an interesting and impressively done short film, but by shooting for the moon, narrative-wise, and falling short, it's not quite as exciting a watch as you'd want a 15 minute short film to be. I recommend it, but I don't expect many people will want to re-watch it.

Neither destroyer, nor savior,
Jon

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Lost City of Z









Today's film is called The Lost City of Z.

The title alone is enough to grab my interest. The type of imagery that the title invokes dovetails nicely with my love of the whole giant monster/skull island type of films. It's the life of exploration and mist-shrouded adventure thing, the journey to the edge of the known world, even if it's all from a very colonial, very Western World POV, I can't help but love the romance of it. And then to find out that it's based off a book by David Grann with the same name, all about the doomed Amazonian expedition of the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett?

Well, now I'm excited.

Side note: The idea that there was once a time when "Explorer" was a perfectly acceptable job title just kills me. Also, I'm totally going to buy that book.

However, there's a few things with the film that I'm worried about, mainly Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, and writer/director James Gray. Other than Hunnam's appearance in one of my favorite films of all time, Children of Men, I'm not really a fan of anything these three have ever done. I'm not NOT a fan, of course, none of them are awful, but none of them are really great or interesting either, at least in my opinion. These three together are the type of names that would normally be enough to put me off the film, or at least ensure that I made no effort to go see it in theatres, if at all.

The thing is, I'm hearing nothing but good things. Effusive praise, as it were. Lots of it too. I've seen several different reviews calling it an early contender for best of the year. People are going on and on about the film, and loving the shit out of it. They're using the type of language that might seem hyperbolic, were it not for the fact that this film, and the people involved, are not usually the type that critics get hyperbolic about.

So I'm curious too.

Here's the synopsis, which honestly seems like there was little to no effort put into the writing: A true-life drama, centering on British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s.

Well, that's underwhelming. Let's take a look...



Yeah...

That looks interesting. It looks good, but it didn't really impress me.

I still want to see it, because like I said, I love the idea, and the setting, and all that stuff. I'm into this kind of thing. Plus, despite the average-ish trailer, there's the huge response to the movie to keep in mind. For a Charlie Hunnam movie? That's not a usual thing, and yet... people seem to love it. The aggregate on Rotten Tomatoes is 90% with 70-some reviews. That's impressive. I mean, everyone (except certain dark corners of dumb fandom) understands that Rotten Tomatoes is not an exact indicator of quality, it's not a ranking, but when 90% of reviews are positive...? That's a good sign, so I'm going to check this out. You should too.

The Lost City of Z opens on 4/14/17. That's tomorrow, people!

Go see it,
Jon



Friday, April 7, 2017

Colossal





Today's film is called Colossal.

I saw this film at Fantastic Fest, and I loved it. Hands down loved it. It was my favorite film of the festival, and I think that's really saying something as this past Fantastic Fest had an especially impressive list of films. It was positively crowded with great stuff, including such titles as: Arrival, Safe Neighborhood, Elle, Tony Erdmann, Age of Shadows, Down Under, The Crew, The Handmaiden, Shin Godzilla, The Invisible Guest, Raw, Popoz, The Playground, AND The Greasy Strangler. That's an insane amount of incredible films. I loved them. They were great. 

But my favorite was the one with Anne Hathaway.

I'm just saying.

The Writer/Director of Colossal is Nacho Vigalondo. He's a writer, director, and actor that hails from Spain. He mostly does what I'd call "grounded sci-fi" films. They're usually of the "funny, quirky, and weird" variety, mixed with one big crazy idea like Time Travel, or Alien Invasion, or Giant Monsters attacking the city. Y'know, fun stuff.

I've enjoyed the films of his I've seen, although I still haven't been able to catch Timecrimes, which is the one he is so far the most known for. It's supposed to be great. Everyone seems to love it, and everyone says you have to see it, but it's a little difficult to track down a copy. That's not  too surprising, I guess, it is a ten year old Spanish film, after all. I'm hoping Netflix and/or Itunes make it available once Colossal hits. I say Timecrimes is the film Nacho "is SO FAR the most known for" because I think Colossal is going to put him on a lot of people's radar. Deserved so, as he's a talented artist and an actually a nice approachable guy too. Nacho is a regular at Fantastic Fest, and it might be fair to say that he enjoys a good party, and is a bit of a cut-up.


Here's the synopsis: Gloria (Anne Hathaway) drinks too hard and parties too much. Her boyfriend has enough of it and throws her out. Gloria returns to her hometown, dreaming of making a new start, but instead revives her childhood friendship with Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who runs a bar. After drinking a night away with Oscar and his friends, she wakes up to discover a gigantic monster rampaging through Seoul and realizes that somehow the monster is connected to her.

Sounds "funny, quirky, and weird," amirite? Check out the trailer...


That's a good trailer, mainly because it doesn't actually show you what the film is really about.

Yes, it looks like it's spilling a huge amount of beans, doesn't it? Anne Hathaway and her drinking buddies are funny drunk, and then she discovers that she is somehow connected to a giant monster that is attacking Seoul, South Korea. Gasp! Spoiler! She's controlling the beast! Awww, the cat's out of the bag, right?

Wrong!

That's not what the film is about. Well... it is, but it's also not. There's a lot more than that. Colossal is a good example of a genre film done right, one where allegory and narrative mesh perfectly. Whether you're a fan of them or not, Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis are not just great in their roles due to their own natural talents, but they're also surprisingly great in their roles for the meta-baggage they bring with them. This film is not just "funny, quirky, and weird," but smart too.

Without giving anything away, Colossal is a film about bad decisions, about regrets, and the mistake that haunt us and define our lives. It's also about taking back control of your life. It's about trying to be better. It's about good friends, and bad friends. It's about funny drunk, and not so funny drunk. It's also about giant monsters.

Seriously. Go see this film. I loved it. I highly recommend it. It's fun. It's funny. It's great, and totally worth your time, and it opens on April 7th, 2017. That's today!

Go see Colossal,
Jon

P.S. Here's a couple of awesome posters





Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Void






Today's film is called The Void.

This film played at the last Fantastic Fest, and I missed it. It was on my list, but c'est la vie, y'know? Sometimes that's how the lottery works. I don't mind so much either, at least, not in this case. Since then... reactions have been a little lukewarm.

But still, I'm kinda interested.

Horror is not really my thing. It's only maybe half my thing, which is kind of a weird position to be in, as most people either love the shit out of everything horror, or they can't stand it at all. A lot of the time it's the gore, or maybe the amount of tension that's the deal maker/breaker. While for me, if it works, if it fits, then I'll take whatever blood or tension you've got, but only if it works, only if it fits. That nuance might as well not even matter though, as inevitably. depending on who you're talking to, you end up getting classified as the default opposite position.

I mention all of this, because The Void is a horror film.

The images I posted above might have tipped that off, but in case there was any confusion, yes, it is most definitely a horror film. The pictures are bloody and weird and pretty monstery, which I like. When it comes to horror, my line is that I generally avoid any of that gleeful gore porn/torture porn shit, and I don't really take slasher stuff seriously, but anything apocalyptic, demon or monster filled, or magical in anyway, I'll probably be in. So, that's what draws me to this particular film, what makes me want to see it, even though the best I've heard from multiple people I know who like this sort of thing basically amounts to a shrug and a "meh". It's the siege aspect. I like that. I also kind of like that it involves a weird cult too. Plus, there's the monsters in the hospital's basement. I'm into all of it, but  I'm also keeping my expectations low.

Here's the nice, robust synopsis: In the middle of a routine patrol, officer Daniel Carter happens upon a blood-soaked figure limping down a deserted stretch of road. He rushes the young man to a nearby rural hospital staffed by a skeleton crew, only to discover that patients and personnel are transforming into something inhuman. As the horror intensifies, Carter leads the other survivors on a hellish voyage into the subterranean depths of the hospital in a desperate bid to end the nightmare before it's too late.

Let's watch...



This is a really short trailer, and maybe there's a longer version out there, but just from watching this, I can say that it is not what I was expecting.

I was expecting something along the lines of a survival horror "trapped in a hospital" kind of thing, or maybe a siege horror situation where a bunch of weirdos are trying to get into a hospital and the people inside have to hold them off, but this film looks like it might be more along the lines of the film Baskin, a portal to hell type of film, which is... all right, maybe. I'm less interested in those. Those kind of films tend to lean more toward the torture porn/existential punishment type of thing, and that's not really something that trips my trigger, y'know? It all looked pretty wet and gooey.

Plus, like I said, I heard it wasn't that great... Maybe I'll see it, maybe I won't.

The Void opens on April 7th, 2017.

Jon


Friday, March 31, 2017

As They Continue To Fall






Today's short film is called As They Continue To Fall.

I'm going to be honest, right away, hate the title. It looks like it should be an album title for a NuMetal band from Iowa, the type where the lead singer girl still wears a cloth choker and velvet babydoll dresses with combat boots, and the rest of the band wears "scary" masks. It sounds like the type of self-published novel you could buy at the on-line Hot Topics store, one where an "artist" friend of the author has hand-drawn the cover. It feels like it was intended to be read aloud in a extremely meaningful voice to a circle of teens sitting in a basement with all of the curtains drawn, and all of them badly smoking clove cigarettes. I would assume there's a fake skull on the table somewhere close by. In a word, it sounds super lame.

But... I'm not going to let that initial reaction taint my response.

This film was directed by Nikhil Bhagat and written by C. Robert Cargill. Bhagat has done a couple of short films and, surprisingly, for a Short Film Director, he has done zero work in a visual effects department. That's unexpected. Cargill has written the movies Sinister 1 and 2, which I haven't seen, and the Doctor Strange film, which was pretty good. I enjoyed it quite a bit. He also used to write for the website Ain't It Cool under the name Massawyrm, which was a geek/genre/pop culture news site that was huge over a decade ago, and still looks exactly the same today.

I bet the C stands for Commandant.

Here's the synopsis: An aging drifter hunts fallen angels in a desolate city. Society may have turned its back on him, but that doesn't stop him from moving forward in his endless search for fallen angels.

That's kind of an oddly written synopsis for a film that is supposedly about a homeless dude with a rifle hunting down fallen angels. Let's see what we've got here...



I liked bits and pieces.

First off, it looked good. The designs were cool-looking. It was well shot. But mostly, the film felt kind of half-baked. After watching this, I assume it was a specific couple of cool images--the idea of the bum on the roof with his grungy old rifle, and probably the scene from the old Hellblazer comic where John Constantine cuts off the angel's wings--that were the main inspiration for this film,. I say this, because the whole sequence from the rooftop sniper shot to the alleyway de-winging all felt very focused, and everything after that felt like a bunch of second thoughts and add-ons.

The bum's motivation for hunting the angels? Wafer thin. And weirdly petty. It also felt completely unnecessary. Then the ending turned out to be not so much a climax as a slow slide to a stop. The angels show up, presumably for revenge, but say nothing and do nothing, and then leave. What power did the bum have, and why? Is he special? There's nothing established as to why the angels would fear him without his rifle. Was the knife special?

I don't know. The film doesn't tell us.

The film also doesn't tell us what the noises were supposed to be that he hears at the end. What were the angels doing? Tripping? Falling down stairs? Or was his last line just a joke? Without understanding what the noises were, I have no idea what he's rolling his eyes about. It's a weird beat to end the film on. It's played like we're all supposed to share a chuckle, but I have no idea why.

In the end, I think there's too much focus on things that don't matter, and not enough on things that do. There wasn't enough focus on the specific story they wanted to tell. Maybe a little more time would've helped the film out? Maybe? It's only six minutes long. I don't know. What I do know is, once again, it seems like the temptation to draw a larger world, and all for the vague idea of some benevolent studio god bestowing a franchise upon them, ended up hampering the short film that was the only vehicle they had to sell the idea in the first place. Ambition, it appears, is the bullet that most often shoots the genre short film creator in the foot.

Jon

But at least there's a couple of cool posters. Too bad shit like this wasn't actually in the film...





Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Night of the Slasher





Today's film is called Night of the Slasher.

I'm kind of interested in today's short film, because it supposedly has contains some commentary on the whole Slasher genre. This may not draw in a lot of real fans, I'm sure it probably gets done a lot, but the slasher genre is not really my thing, so I don't spend a lot of time following it, so... it's new to me! That's not to say that I'm totally uninformed. I recognize good ones, of course, but usually, when it comes to the Slasher stuff, I get bored by the common tropes pretty quickly. This is why the self-aware/self-referential thing appeals to me.

Another positive in this short film's favor is that it claims to have all been shot in a single take. They might be lying, of course, they might try to cleverly hide their edits in passing shadows or something like that, but they might be telling the truth too, which would be kind of cool. The downside, of course, is that these type of filming decisions--being too self-aware, or too concerned with complicated set-ups, for example--can sometimes lead a film to disappear up its own ass, but... hey... maybe not, right? I appreciate the effort, if maybe not the execution.

Also, a side-note, I really like that the killer is wearing a Leonard Nimoy mask. That's a nice little nod to John Carpenter's Halloween movie killer Michael Myers, who is famous for wearing a William Shatner mask.

So, here we go... Shant Hamassian is the writer/director of this film, and his name sounds familiar. I can't place from where, and it doesn't seem like I've seen any of his stuff before now, so... who knows, he just seems familiar to me. Maybe it's nothing. Anyway, other than that bit of memory fluff, I have no insight into his ability or talent. I like the idea he's going with. I like some of the ballsy stuff he's trying to do. I hope he can pull it off, because it sounds ambitious.

We shall see.

Here's the synopsis: A teenage girl must commit horror movie sins such as drink alcohol, do drugs, and have sex to lure a killer and finish him off.

Let's watch...



Okay, so I forgot to watch and see if it was all really done in one shot until right before the end, so I can't be sure, but I think it was. In fact, it would go along way towards explaining why some of the kitchen fight choreography seemed kind of odd...

So, not bad, huh? Kinda fun.

At first I was kind of annoyed that the actress didn't speak at all, but I liked the end reveal of why. I obviously wasn't paying close enough attention at the start, as the reason why never occurred to me. For such a short run time, there was a good mix of humor and blood. The beer drinking scene, and the "some kids say I look like I'm 30 years old" line was pretty damn funny. I also liked the nod to all of the dumb classic "rules" too, the sudden disappearing and reappearing of the killer, their refusal to die, the negating effects of parents returning home, that was all good stuff.

I don't think they quite nailed the balance between commentary and titillation, but it's hard to complain about them lingering on the lead actress's butt for a moment or two too long. Also, the fight itself was kind of oddly paced. This is obviously due to the whole "single shot" thing, but it made for a less than satisfying fight. But those are nitpicks, for the most part, this was all right. Like I said above, I appreciate the attempt to say something--even if it's just to highlight some of the genre's worn-out but beloved tropes--and I appreciate even more the fact that they challenged themselves to make their statement in an interesting way. I also like that they told a pretty self-contained story too.

One thing though... if the girl had survived a previous attack--hence the scar--wouldn't this encounter be "Round 2" and the implied sequel actually be "Round 3"?

Rule breaker,
Jon



Friday, March 24, 2017

A Movie for Every Year


This has been a thing going around lately: Make a list of your favorite movie for every year of your life. Lord knows I love joining shit, especially Internet fads, so I thought I'd try it out. There weren't any other attached rules or anything, at least, not that I saw. I assume it's not required to have seen that particular movie within that particular year, just pick one movie per year. You probably shouldn't lie about your age either.

I mostly based my choices off of pure love and enjoyment, with "re-watchability" as the secondary factor. This obviously resulted in certain types of films coming up over and over, but then, that's the point, right? Pick your favorites. One interesting thing I noticed while making this list was that a lot of the "great" films of that particular year, upon reconsideration, just have not aged all that well. Many of them now seem dated and overwrought, formulaic in that insincere award-driven kind of way. Some of them, for all of their supposed greatness, I couldn't imagine ever sitting down and re-watching them again. 

So, here we go...

Some years, the choice was glaringly obvious. Other years, there were almost zero good choices, which led to a couple of weird picks. And in still other years--I'm looking at you '81, '84, and '14--were surprisingly difficult, because there were so many good choices. Honestly, being forced to choose between Predator and Robocop? That's just cruel. Anyway... Make a list of your favorite movie for every year of your life.

This is mine...

A MOVIE FOR EVERY YEAR

1974. Chinatown
1975. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
1976. The Outlaw Josie Wales
1977. Star Wars
1978. Dawn of the Dead
1979. The Warriors
1980. The Empire Strikes Back
1981. Raiders of the Lost Ark 
1982. Conan the Barbarian
1983. The Return of the Jedi
1984. Terminator 
1985. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
1986. Aliens
1987. Predator 
1988. Die Hard
1989. Say Anything
1990. Goodfellas
1991. Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey
1992. The Last of the Mohicans
1993. Dazed and Confused
1994. Pulp Fiction
1995. 12 Monkeys
1996. Trainspotting
1997. Jackie Brown
1998. The Big Lebowski
1999. Being John Malkovitch
2000. Battle Royale
2001. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
2002. City of God
2003. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
2004. Shaun of the Dead
2005. Munich
2006. Children of Men
2007. No Country for Old Men
2008. Iron Man
2009. Watchmen
2010. True Grit
2011. Drive
2012. The Avengers
2013. Blue Ruin
2014. Guardians of the Galaxy
2015. Mad Max: Fury Road
2016. Green Room
2017. So far… Get Out? Logan?

And there you have it,
Jon

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Blackcoat's Daughter







Today's film is called The Blackcoat's Daughter.

I keep saying I'm not a big horror fan, but I've noticed that I do seem to be posting a lot of horror stuff lately. Maybe I'm a medium horror fan. To be fair, a lot of the stuff I have posted crosses over into my regular interests, so maybe it's not the horror that attracts me. It does seem like there's been a lot more apocalyptic survival horror lately, not to mention some good zombie stuff, and a few strong social critique laden films too. Must be the world we find ourselves living in now...

Anyway, that's usually my deal with horror. The genre doesn't really do it for me, unless it merges with something else. Usually. But that's not the case this time.

At least, as far as I can tell. From what I've seen so far, The Blackcoat's Daughter seems like it's a more traditional horror film. There appears to be a big house with creaky floors and dark hallways and a weird basement that you probably shouldn't go down into. There might be some sort of malevolent force involved. Maybe its a ghost, maybe it's the devil, or maybe it's just puberty. There's a drawerful of potentially bloody knives.

Like I said... traditional.

I don't know Oz Perkins' work. He's had a lot of background roles as an actor in a lot of things--some of them very high profile--and all of which I have zero memory of him being in. It looks like it's only recently that he's started writing/directing his own stuff, and that mostly looks like low budget slasher/ghost type horror, so no big surprise at my lack of familiarity. So, I can't tell you if it's any good or not. His cast this time is interesting though... Emma Roberts, Lucy Boynton, and Kiernan Shipka... They're all very talented. Emma Roberts is Hollywood nepotism defined, but she seems like she might be actually talented. Nerve wasn't exactly great--it kind of shits the bed at the end--but she has potential. I guess it's just a question of her finding the right part. Lucy Boynton, on the other hand, she was fantastic in Sing Street, so I'm ready to see more of her. And everyone loves Kiernan Shipka, right? Especially in a film like this. It'll be nice to see little Sally Draper finally become the crazy murderer we all assumed she was going to be. Seriously though, I wonder how you pronounce her name?

The point is, I'm interested...

Here's the synopsis: Two girls must battle a mysterious evil force when they get left behind at their boarding school over winter break.

Sparse, but interesting. Let's watch...



That's a good trailer.

It was creepy. It liked the look. I liked the tone. What else is there to say? That was well done. Maybe I'll see if I can listen to the song that was playing, to see if there's any plot clues in it. It didn't look overtly supernatural, at least not beyond the oppressive malevolence of the setting. There was a mention of Satan, sure, and it might be used in that classic "oops, turns out the urban legend is real" kind of way, but maybe not. This felt more grounded. We shall see, of course, I could be wrong, but I'm betting that, when it comes to who's ultimately responsible for the inevitable bloodshed... I think Sally Draper just quits pretending and finally starts cutting some motherfuckers up.

I'm looking forward to this.

The Blackcoat's Daughter opens March 31st, 2017.

Jon



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Lasiurus






I'm generally not a huge horror fan. I don't avoid it or anything. It's just the genre isn't really my cup of tea. Despite this, when I do watch it, one sure way to get me interested is for the setting be apocalyptic in some way.

So today, we have Lasiurus.

The writer/director is Marcus Alqueres. I don't know his stuff, of course, but like most short film writer/directors, he seems to have done a lot of visual effects work. Also, Alqueres apparently has some kind of deal with Sony at the moment due to one of his older shorts called The Flying Man. I've seen The Flying Man, and it definitely looked good, but its main problem was a pretty common one when it comes to short films... there's too much "potential", and not enough "delivery".  I don't want to knock the effort or anything, there was some definite talent involved, the film was well done, and obviously with very little money too, I just wish thee guys would tell a full story in their short films, instead of making what amounts to a vague teaser for a franchise that will probably never happen.

So, right from the start, I'm a little unsure about Lasiurus. Just in setting up this post, I see a lot of potential red flags popping up in a lot of the usual places. The first red flag comes from the fact that I read a press release about Lasiurus that said this short film is supposed to feature a story/world that is intended to be explored more in a feature length narrative, so... that's a bummer.

The synopsis for Lasiurus reads simply: What if you are the last one to know? 

This is the next big red flag, of course. Here we have a synopsis that is underwritten and not intriguing at all. It feels like there was no effort put into it at all. So, the question becomes... why is there no effort? Do they just not care? Or is there actually no story at all? Hands down, this is a shit synopsis, but while either option is problematic, the latter is definitely worse than the former. And that's not to say that the synopsis doesn't raise any questions, just that it doesn't do it in the good way. "Last one to know" what? I assume it means "what if you were the last one to know the apocalypse was happening" but the only way I know that is because I read it in an article about the short. If I had just been scrolling through short films, I would've barely stopped for it.

Bottom line? Synopses matter, put some effort into that shit...


It's hard to get behind a really dumb protagonist.

You could probably make the argument that he's just oblivious, maybe, not dumb, but he's so oblivious that it just strains credulity. I hate to be the guy who questions the timeline of a bat-demon apocalypse, was this the neatest and quickest and quietest apocalypse ever? This question may seem nitpicky, but it's also an indication of the film's main problem...

Like The Flying Man, Lasiurus looks good, but the story is non-existent.

There's almost nothing here, narrative-wise. After watching it, I have all the questions possible as to what was going on, and the film answers pretty much none of them. It doesn't even try to. Granted, the stated purpose of the film is to pitch a feature length project, but what have you really got here? A vague vampire/zombie apocalypse with bats? Does that really need a pitch? It's kind of like saying: "I want to make a movie where a lady meets an unlikely guy, and at first they don't seem like a good match, but guess what? ...They are." Who's wowed by that? "It's a monster movie. Full stop." Why would anyone need this short film to sell the concept?

In the end, Lasiurus is well shot, but it doesn't give you much to hold onto.

Jon