Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Full disclosure, I'm connected to Writer/Director Mike Pappa. I don't actually know him, or anything, but we have some mutual friends, and they are the main reason I know about his work. Also, I supported Pappa's kickstarter for his upcoming short, which is called A Crimson Man.

It looks pretty cool.

But we're not talking about A Crimson Man, not yet at least. Someday maybe. I think they're filming now, so soon-ish. Maybe. Whatever. Doesn't matter. Today we're talking about an earlier short film of Mike Pappa's called Frankie.

I'm curious about Frankie for two reasons.

The first reason is the obvious reason: The mutual friends Pappa and I share happen to really like his stuff, and since those mutual friends and I also overlap in tastes a lot, that makes me interested in checking these films out.

Understandable, right?

The second reason for my curiosity is probably more of a point of interest to me, but whatever, it's my blog... So, the picture of the man in the white short-sleeve button-up shirt looking back over his shoulder? The one with all of the festival awards at the bottom? The one that fronts the video at the bottom of this post? That picture is very familiar to me. It's familiar to me because I've seen it a lot. It feels like it has shown up on a lot of different geek/genre-centric websites over the past years/months/weeks/whatever, and most of the time, it's been accompanied by a pretty positive review. That level of exposure is pretty interesting. That level of acceptance is also interesting. Y'see, lots of things make the nerd-rounds, boys and girls, and lots of things do not, but when you're passed around a lot, that usually means there is something about the film that is at least somewhat interesting. Nerds don't agree on much, understand, so this is noteworthy. Basically, all of this together, coupled with the connection to the Creator adds up to... it's kind of weird that I haven't watched this thing before now.

In case you don't know... I watch short films.

In the end, it's probably only due to some weird combination of laziness and happenstance, because it should've happened by now. I mean, the film is about a pocket watch that controls time...

God knows I love me some Voyagers.

Here's the synopsis: When a watch repair man acquires an antique pocket watch that can control time, he decides to use it to achieve his dreams. His plans soon become sinister when he learns he isn't the only one with the knowledge of the pocket watch.

Let's watch...

That was great.

The lack of dialogue was an interesting choice. The film was more than expressive enough to convey the story and character motivations, so I honestly didn't notice at first, but it really worked. I appreciate the tight control on display here too. There obviously wasn't too much money behind the project, but that wasn't necessarily apparent in what you saw on screen. That's always impressive. There were a lot of small rooms and tight shots, but the film never felt restrained, at least not in any way that it wasn't supposed to. And I'm a big fan of the aesthetic. I love the mix of the Post-WWII industrial feel, the old tech, the paper crowded with scribbles, the kind of run-down industrial area, it all felt very timeless, and distinctly unreal. It was anywhere and nowhere, and all about a man outside of time. I loved that.

In general, everything here was really well done and looked good, so that's cool.

I really liked the pocket watch. It was a great idea and a great prop, and the time travel effects were simple and worked perfectly. I loved the sound effect too. I would've liked to have seen more of the watch in use, but that's the type of decision that leads to unfocused narratives, and that's a road that leads to ruin. So, less is more... smart.

Also, I'm always a big fan of the whole Twilight Zone/Monkey's Paw type of short films. The story type is pretty classic, sure, but that's because it works. Too many of these short film people think they're making the next Star Wars, or they're really just trying to pitch a movie or TV show, or they are simply incapable of paring down whatever their ridiculously overstuffed idea. Frankie was short and simple... or if not "simple", then straight to the point, at least. It was focused on its story, and yet still managed to pull off a nice little twist at the end. I liked that. I appreciate the smart writing. I appreciate the tight story-telling. And I appreciate the awareness of the short film's limitations, and how they worked with them, instead of fighting against them.

All in all, this was great. Very well done. Frankie was a good time.


No comments: