[#2020oscardeathrace] In the Absence (2018)

Director: Seung-jun Yi

28 mins. Not Rated.

  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Documentary Short Subject [PENDING]

 

In the Absence is a short film chronicling the disaster of the South Korean ferry, Sewol, which, in 2014, sank nearby Jeju Island. Presented through real footage, texts from passengers aboard, real phone calls and phone call transcripts, and interviews with people involved, In the Absence is a haunting look at this true disaster and loss of life that very easily could have been lessened.

This is a haunting short film, and I struggled to get through it without chucking something at my television screen. Seeing the disaster play out across the initial days and following months while government officials continually made poor choices that worsened the situation is absolutely sickening. This is a hard-hitting piece of documentary film-making that says so much in such a small run-time.

In the Absence is a truly effective little short that hit me very hard. I learned a lot about a situation I knew very little about, and the time I spent was frustratingly powerful. I cannot recommend this one enough. Seek it out and be changed.

 

5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

900 Posts is the Best Way to End the Year!

Hello everyone!

Yesterday, I published my 900th post on the site, and I just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for the amazing support over the past several years. When I started this site, I just wanted to get my love of film out of my head and onto the page. It was a hobby that’s become a pretty big part of my life and I’ve been able to share it with lots of people in the space. Thank you so much.

As per usual, I thought I’d look back on my Ten Most Popular pieces and share that list with you.

  1. London Has Fallen (2016)
  2. Turbo Charged Prelude (2003)
  3. Poltergeist (1982)
  4. Bad Boys (1995)
  5. Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
  6. Frankenstein (1994)
  7. Leprechaun (1993)
  8. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
  9. The Thing (1982)
  10. Zootopia (2016)

So there you have it. Quite a spread of popular pieces.

Now, let’s get to the pleading of it all. If you’ve enjoyed any of these reviews or really anything at all, help me out by liking my reviews, commenting with your thoughts, and sharing the reviews when you read them. It’s the easiest way to support independent content creators.

Thanks again, and we’ll see you at 1000.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein (2019)

Director: Daniel Gray Longino

Cast: David Harbour, Kate Berlant, Alex Ozerov, Mary Woronov, Alfred Molina, Heather Lawless, Marion Van Cuyck

Screenplay: John Levenstein

32 mins. Rated TV-14.

 

I came across Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein on Netflix during a random searching, and I had to watch it. I’m a sucker for mockumentaries and short form comedy, so this was an easy choice.

David Harbour III (a fictional version of David Harbour of Revolutionary Road and Hellboy) is on the search to discover the mystery behind his father, David Harbour Jr., and the play that obsessed him. That play is Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein. By recreating his father’s office and visiting with his father’s agent and the play’s producer, David deconstructs the convoluted and extremely confusing video footage of the play while attempting not to drive himself insane in the process.

The short film is made by David Harbour’s performance. He plays a fictionalized version of himself as well as playing his father, in an Orson Welles-esque role, and the film works because of him. There’s a lot of strange comedy to the film, and that comes from a bonkers screenplay from John Levenstein (Illegally Yours, TV’s Kroll Show).

It’s simple to say that I’ve watched this short twice and still couldn’t completely unravel the confusion in its many layers, from the confusion between who is playing Dr. Frankenstein and who is playing the Monster in the play, to which lines in the play are actually in the play versus which lines are monologues about acting forcibly added in to elevate his father’s pride. It’s watching the story and letting yourself by unraveled by it that makes it funny, though not something that I would call classically comical. It’s a stupid short film but it is worth watching at least once.

Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein is not great cinema, and it certainly isn’t for everyone. I enjoyed it for what it was and I think the run time is perfect as it would have made a terrible feature, but I cannot begin to explain how it all fits together, and that’s kind of the point. Give it a try yourself and see what you can make of it.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

800 Posts! Thank you!

Hey everyone,

for those of you that have been readers for awhile, you’ll know I like to celebrate the little moments, and I had one a few days ago when I published my review for Hobbs & Shaw. That review ended up being the 800th post for this site! It’s rather fitting because many of the Fast & Furious reviews I have written have been among the most popular reviews on the site!

I cannot thank you faithful and maybe first-time readers for tuning in, reading and contributing to the discussion. This has morphed from a hobby to a passion to a daily requirement for sanity, and it’s because of the kind words of so many of you that have helped with that.

All that being said, I’m going to leave a list of the most popular reviews and posts on the site since it started. Feel free to peruse and gander at your choosing.

 

  1. Turbo Charged Prelude (2003)
  2. Poltergeist (1982)
  3. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
  4. Frankenstein (1994)
  5. Leprechaun (1993)
  6. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
  7. The Thing (1982)
  8. Zootopia (2016)
  9. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
  10. The Fly (1986)

Here’s hoping Hobbs & Shaw ends up on this this. Three of the Fast & Furious films have ended up on the most-read list, including a short film prequel to the second film. It always strikes me at how many people have looked at the Leprechaun posts I have done. It seems year-round that that post gets views and I don’t understand it, to be perfectly honest.

So there you have it. Thanks again for reading, even if only once. I truly appreciate all of you readers and I only ask that you help like, comment, subscribe and share to keep independent content creators like myself going. All film is truly subjective, so if you’ve never interacted on the site, I urge you to do so. If you loved a movie I hated, let me know your opinion, and if you hated something I really love, I want to know why. That’s part of what makes this part of movie fandom so special. Thanks again!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Short Film Sunday] A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer (2011)

Director: Leythum

Cast: Clark Gregg, Jessica Manuel, Jeff Prewett

Screenplay: Eric Pearson

4 mins. Not Rated.

 

In the days of Phase 1 MCU, the franchise was still looking for footing. With that came the Marvel One-Shots, short films set in the MCU outlining characters and events not seen in the MCU theatrical releases.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer is set between Iron Man 2 and Thor as Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg, Live by Night, TV’s The New Adventures of Old Christine) is heading to the site of Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Along the way, he stops at a Roxxon gas station for some snacks just as it’s about to get robbed. Coulson must use his S.H.I.E.L.D. training to escape.

This One-Shot is probably the weakest one in the entire bunch, humanizing Coulson but also showcasing his skillset in a way we didn’t see much of in the theatrical Marvel films. Clark Gregg is great as always but the short is four minutes of fluff. This is one to appease Marvel fans but any general audience member would have no interest. This actually would have made for a more fun post-credits scene as it has no purpose in building anything up in the MCU.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer is cute and fun but really nothing special and rather forgettable. It’s always a good thing to have more Marvel content but outside of seeing Coulson’s uncertainty surrounding his favorite kind of gas station donuts, there’s little to pull here.

 

2/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Joe Johnston’s Captain America: The First Avenger, click here.

For my review of Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, click here.

For my review of Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2, click here.

For my review of Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk, click here.

For my review of Anthony and Joe Russo’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, click here.

For my review of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, click here.

For my review of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, click here.

For my review of Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, click here.

For my review of Anthony and Joe Russo’s Captain America: Civil War, click here.

For my review of Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, click here.

For my review of Jon Watts’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, click here.

For my review of Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok, click here.

For my review of Anthony and Joe Russo’s Avengers: Infinity War, click here.

[31 Days of Horror: The Final Chapter] Day 8 – [Short Film Sunday] The Maiden (2016)

Director: Michael Chaves

Cast: Alia Raelynn, Penny Orloff, Brian Knudson, Sunny Pelant, Betsy Slingh

Screenplay: Michael Chaves

9 mins. Not Rated.

 

Okay, so I found that once a year, I get a chance to deep dive on some horror shorts, and today I picked The Maiden, a short film about a real estate agent (Alia Raelynn) who knowingly tries to sell a house that is haunted by a sinister and dark force known as The Maiden (Penny Orloff).

The film is rather short but I found the tone and mood quite visceral. It is light on ingenuity but what it has is played very nicely. There’s a darkly comedic menace to the short in what Lucy, the agent, is willing to go through to get rid of this property. Lucy has depth and character in how badly she needs to be rid of the home. Penny Orloff is pretty great as the sinister spirit as well, she doesn’t overextend her stay and is given room to scare with mood and tone as opposed to repeated jump scares.

Overall, I would check out The Maiden. I enjoyed it, and the nice thing is that it is currently on YouTube. I’ll leave the video below for you.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

500 Posts! Thank you!

 

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 500 posts since I started this thing three years ago! Thank you so much to everyone that has been a constant reader or even those of you that are new! I wouldn’t be here without you!

Here’s a look back at the most popular reviews since this whole thing started.

 

  1. Turbo Charged Prelude (2003)
  2. Poltergeist (1982)
  3. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
  4. Frankenstein (1994)
  5. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
  6. Leprechaun (1993)
  7. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
  8. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
  9. Horror Express (1972)
  10. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

 

You keep reading and I’ll keep writing…

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Short Film Sunday] The White Helmets (2016)

Director: Orlando von Einsiedel

Cast: Khalid Farah, Mohammed Farah, Abu Omar

41 mins. Not Rated.

  • Academy Award Winner: Best Documentary Short Subject

 

Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you hadn’t heard of The White Helmets before. Maybe you had. For me, I’ve always felt like my knowledge of what’s going on in the world is rather limited. It wasn’t until I watched this documentary short, winner at this year’s Academy Awards, that I had my eyes open to the bravery of this group.

The White Helmets tells the story of the first responders to the airstrike victims in Syria. This group, called the Syrian Civil Defense, do not get paid but rather volunteer, risking their lives to save countless others.

This documentary short is not an easy one to watch, but director Orlando von Einsiedel doesn’t hold back when confronting the dangers that these volunteers have to face every single day in the line of duty. The most important aspect presented comes in the form of statistics that The White Helmets ends with. After seeing what they go through to save lives, the impact of the film is all the more hard-hitting.

The White Helmets is an impressive look at a part of the world that needs more spotlight. Through the lens, the director and his team present a painful yet hopeful look at humanity in the form of the Syrian Civil Defense. This is important film-making.

 

The White Helmets is available on Netflix.

 

4.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Short Film Sunday] Frozen Fever (2015)

frozenfever2015a

Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad

Screenplay: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Marc Smith

8 mins. Rated G.

 

Frozen Fever is perhaps the best title for this week’s short film. It happens to embody the main plot of the piece and also the ongoing love for this small but mighty franchise. Everyone is apeshit for Frozen (and I mean that in the best possible way, I also really enjoyed the film).

frozenfever2015b

In this short film continuation of the original movie, released as an opener for last year’s Cinderella, we see that some major changes have to come to Arendelle since the finale of Frozen. Today is the 19th birthday for Anna (Kristen Bell, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Zootopia), and her sister Elsa (Idina Menzel, Enchanted, Rent) wants to throw a massive party to make up for the last several years of isolated birthdays. The problem: Elsa has a fever, and she can’t stop sneezing little snowmen into existence. As Kristoff (Jonathan Groff, TV’s Looking, The Normal Heart) and Olaf (Josh Gad, Love & Other Drugs, Pixels) struggles to maintain the little critters, Anna desperately tries to convince her sister to cancel the whole thing.

Frozen Fever is a cute little one-off slice of life. I liked the addition of the Snowgies, as they are termed, as they provide a little chorus for fan-favorite Olaf. I also really enjoyed the closer examination of Elsa’s powers, as it doesn’t detract from the magic of the original film. Sadly, the short doesn’t carry much weight and is, apart from the above wins, largely forgettable. “Making Today a Perfect Day,” the new song, isn’t all that entertaining or catchy upon first glance, and the short feels like more of an afterthought of unused ideas for a Frozen sequel.

frozenfever2015c

All in all, I like my franchise shorts to feel like something special for the fans, an addition to the larger mythos of the regular series that adds and progresses the story in some way. To that note, Frozen Fever both meets and misses the mark. I enjoyed it mildly and can see why any other fan would too (mostly the younglings), but it isn’t the near-perfect display that its predecessor is.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

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