HERE LIES JOE (2016)

Here lies Joe is a 23 minute short film that explores the dark, almost taboo topic of suicidal thoughts but balanced by the lighter subject of friendship. We have the two main characters Joe and Z. Joe and Z are polar opposites, their personalities are different, interests are different and ways of life are different but they both have one thing in common: suicidal tendencies. Unable to see the merit in a support group, they made a decision to end their life together. A plan that didn’t turn out like they expected.

here-lies-joe3

In the beginning, we meet Joe under some very unfortunate circumstances. Joe is preparing for his suicide and he’s determined. He’s taping his windows and he’s taping a pipe connected to his car exhaust. We get Joe’s face reveal and he looks like what you would expect someone preparing for suicide, to look like. He looks like went through hell. His clothes dull, the bags under his eyes dark and puffy, he hasn’t shaved in a long time, his hair and beard unkempt. In addition to that, he looks tired, stressed, uninterested and overwhelmed all at once.

here-lies-joe

We move into the part of the film where the two main characters meet and a we learn a few things about Joe. Joe is in a suicide prevention group. It’s his first day and looks a little disinterested……. until Z walks in. Z is a young, rebellious, carefree, vibrant, outspoken woman that is a frequent member of the suicide anonymous group. From just looking at her, you would question her attendance because she just doesn’t have the same demeanor as any of the other members of the suicide anonymous group. She sticks out like a sore thumb and Joe really has taken a liking to her. After this meeting and a quick chat, Joe reluctantly gives Z a ride and they end up in a cemetery. This was pretty ironic. Surrounded by death, here, Joe and Z, even though they hardly know each other, a relationship developed and Joe was benefiting the most. Due to Z’s carefree, almost childish behaviour she forced him out of his comfort zone even though he was a bit annoyed, he quickly started to warm up to her. Two strangers went for a innocent car ride and trip ended in a deal to attempt suicide together.

In the last scene, it was the same scene in the beginning where Joe was prepping his car but this time he has Z on the line. The phone call was supposed to end in two deaths but it turned out to be something almost like a date where both Joe and Z got to know each other a little better, realize they had something in common and it brought them closer together. Here lies Joe is a fantastic film.

I realllllllllllly like this short film. I liked it so much I watched it 5 times. Not because I know that I am going to review it, but because I really REALLY enjoyed it. I am a sucker for these types of short films.In addition to all this, I must say that I am glad that in the story, we didn’t get the full reasons behind Joe and Z wanting to attempt suicide. That allowed me to make assumptions and made me want to watch the short film in it’s entirety. Another thing, the title of the film is pretty genius.

I have no complaints. It is a great little short film with a great story line and talented actors and actresses. What more do you need? Check it out!

DIRTY BOOKS (2016)

dirty-books-cover

David is a young, high school reporter on the hunt for the next best story. His school principal, trying to lessen spending, decided that it was cost efficient to turn the school paper the “Gazette” into an online blog. David upset, determined and desperate to keep his paper running for as long as possible turns a joke with his friend Owen, into reality when he finds himself fabricating news stories to keep the Gazette alive.

With the great success of his first fabricated story, David tries to maintain the success of his paper by doing elaborate and sometimes illegal pranks and then giving details in the paper. Knowing about David’s dishonesty it creates friction between him and his fellow reporters because David is ignoring real news stories and his lies and pranks take greater priority. With this success, there is a shift in David’s focus as well. The main reason for saving the paper was to preserve the timelessness of the printed press but his reasons slowly and surely became very selfish and shallow because all he wanted, at that point was fame.

All of David’s efforts were in vain. He got suspended for his dishonesty AND the paper was still being transferred to the online blog. It wasn’t that bad though, he got attention he wanted in the end.

This is, yet another, a great short film.

dirty-books3

The first thing I liked, off the bat, was the role switch. It might not be the best phrase to capture what I mean, so let me explain. Usually, with respect to media and technology, you would expect younger persons pushing for the use of blogs, webpages, Instagram pages….etc and the older crowd you would expect them to push the use of newspaper, magazines, anything off the internet. This wasn’t the case. David was pushing and trying to preserve the integrity of the newsprint. His principal, much older than him, saw the benefit of an online blog. It was an interesting twist.

I really liked the actors chosen but the two of my favorite characters were David (played by Noah Bailey) and his friend Owens (played by Isaiah Lapierre). They were very convincing. Isaiah played the cold, detached, mysterious friend so well that the part of the movie where he is showing concern and panic when his journal was missing, it seemed out of character. The same can be said for Noah Bailey. He was a great fit and he had the look, for the part.

Lastly, the Cinematography was great. It looked like the short film was a small part of a bigger motion picture, which I think is something that every short film should strive for, and this film did it well. The music blended well with all of the scenes and in terms of both the Cinematography and Music, it gave me a very 1980’s-1990’s typical high school, teen movie type of vibe.

The ending was brilliant. When David was caught and the principal was trying to get details about how he was able to mastermind all of his pranks, he responded with, “You would have to check the Gazette” which was pretty bad ass and it solidifies the fact that David, as a true reporter would do just about anything to get a story, yet again.

What Jack Built (2015)

WHAT JACK BUILT -The short film that leaves you guessing.

jack2

WHAT JACK BUILT is an 11 minute Thiller/Mystery film written by  Matthew Mahler, Ross Mahler and produced by  Ross Mahler. It’s a film that takes place in the 1980’s and it explores the mystery surrounding Jack and what he’s up too in his cellar. From the beginning of the film you get a quick peek of some diagrams on a blue print, but what it represented isn’t exactly clear. What IS clear from the beginning, is that Jack took great pride with what was on the blue print and he was determined to see his creation materialize. His excitement almost child like when searching for equipment. This was something that was important.

what-jack-built2

Jack carried all of his material he gathered, at home and built everything in the woods. We finally saw what had on those blue prints. You would think that would be the end of the mystery. NOPE! It wasn’t. More questions brewed when you saw that in addition to the trap,  Jack was surrounding his trap with camera equipment, controls, wires and he even hooked his cameras (surrounding the trap) to TV’s back in his cellar, to watch the catch. It was pretty clear that something out of the ordinary he was planning to catch.He sat and waited and in the end he got his catch but there is a unexpected twist, he quickly realized that the thing he wanted to catch, set a trap of it’s own.

That was a quick summary of all the events.

There was one actor in the entire film, Jack (played by Timothy Cox) and no dialogue, which was new to me. I’ve never seen a silent film but it was great because it went well with the mystery theme. For example, in the beginning when Jack rolled out his blue print and you got a sneak peak. The fact that there was no explanation and no dialogue to go on, it left you guessing and making assumptions, which works out great because it encourages you to keep watching.In addition, no dialogue means that the actor really had to put an extra effort to give the viewers an idea about what is taking place and Mr. Cox did a great job with that. The acting was great, no complaints there.

The film ended with a cliffhanger and I would admit I was a little annoyed but I was annoyed because I really wanted to see what happened to Jack.

With the good comes the bad.Here are some of my negatives:

  1. Some of the camera shots were really amateurish and wobbly. I don’t know if it is something that is intentional but it wasn’t something that I particularly enjoyed, it was a bit distracting. It’s something I couldn’t overlook.
  2. The music didn’t fit with the scenes. For a dark, mysterious movie a lot of the music selections were not dark enough.

Overall, I think it’s a good movie. It’s nothing new in terms of writing and it’s a little rough around the edges, but it is something I would definitely watch again.

 

 

What I’m watching on Netflix #2

The Mechanic

the-mechanic (1)

The Mechanic is an assassin for hire, revenge type action movie.There isn’t any other way to describe it. We have Jason Statham,who plays a highly skilled, emotionally detached assassin called Arthur Bishop whose job is to kill and make his victims deaths look like anything other than a hit.Whether it be a suicide, accidental poisoning, accidental drowning…etc. Everything goes well until Arthur is faced with the job of killing his mentor and good friend Donald Sutherland,who plays Harry in the movie. At this point, we see that Arthur isn’t as emotionally detached as we thought and we also get introduced to Harry’s son Steve.Arthur takes Steve under his wing and teaches him the ways of an assassin. Little does Steve know, the person that killed his father is the man teaching him how to kill. Arthur and Steve take jobs and work together on hits, but in the end, Steve figures out what part Arthur played in his father’s death.

Some positives. By now we all know that Jason Statham is tall glass of grown and sexy and he’s really really really good at these types of action movies. He has shown that he does the whole assassin/killer/bad guy roles very well. He’s a great actor. Also,I like the actors/actresses they chose for the roles. Nobody was slacking in the acting department. I don’t know if that’s something worth mentioning really. Just throwing that one out there.

Second positive, I love the fighting scenes. I love them, I love them. I don’t know if Jason Statham does all the fighting himself but if he does, that’s even better. The fighting scenes were on point in this film.

Now

My biggest complaint:

 There was nothing that had me on the edge of my seat except for the fighting scenes.As I said before, the fighting scenes are good but the bad thing is, the fighting scenes were the only really interesting parts. It seemed like much of the focus went into the fight scenes than anything else. Some parts of the film were interesting like the situation surrounding Harry’s death but everything after that was just, “Meh”.I don’t know if  I watch too many action movies  or perhaps I am asking for too much but I felt as though there was potential to do a little better.

I think it’s a ok-ish action movie. Lol. It’s above bad and ok, it has a high ranking in average and near good but no where near great/excellent. If you are a action movie junkie that is more into the fight scenes ,this would be right up your alley. The fight scenes are FIGHT SCENES. Lol. Hopefully Mechanic: The Resurrection would be a small improvement.

What I’m watching on Netflix- #1

Prison Break

lugOtbrO2XKkMbbATTtysXGjp19

This show is one of the most intense TV series I’ve seen so far on Netflix. Usually, I am not one of those people that get emotionally invested in a TV series or feel the need to watch a series to the end. Let’s just say Prison Break changed me. I am now that person that yells at the TV screen and gets emotionally exhausted if I watch too many episodes.

If you aren’t familiar with the show let me give a quick summary.

Older brother (Lincoln) gets set up by the government and is on death row for a crime he didn’t commit.His younger brother (Michael) knows he is innocent, commits a crime to get into jail just to break his brother out. Brothers break out of prison and try to prove Lincoln innocence.

It sounds like a typical TV show but I assure you,it isn’t. There are a lot of twists and turn that would have you at the edge of your seat clutching your chest. Every time I watch an episode I always wonder how the writer was able to get the story line to flow so well. It’s amazing.I highly recommend you go watch it. You wouldn’t regret it.