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A Look at the Recent Surge of Brilliant Short Films

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Rakka

Now, when you read the word recent, understand that we’re not necessarily talking about pictures filmed last month. A handful of these pics made successful festival runs over the last few years but experienced a delay in making their way to the internet. A few others are pretty damn new. Regardless of when these movies were specifically filmed, they’ve only emerged as readily available pictures in recent memory, but every one of these brilliant short horror films more than deserve your time, attention and respect.

If you’ve got an hour or so to spare, and you’re looking for genuinely amazing entertainment, look into the short films below. Not a single one fails to impress!

Tonight I Strike is a brief tale of loyalty, pursuit and revenge, as a young man finds himself tracking a small group of thugs who’ve kidnapped his younger sister. There’s a fine futuristic element to the film, and it proves to exceed expectations in the performance department. It isn’t long, but it is a well-assembled picture with a finale that will have your head hung low, shaking in a slowly on-setting shock that sticks to the psyche after the film has ended.

There’s nothing better than a story fueled by desperation and familial terror. The Surface gives us both, and blends science fiction and horror seamlessly. It almost feels like a monster movie, in a sense, as we see a frantic mother racing to obtain a power source that will keep her child alive. The problem comes in the fact that a cyborg-like creature has the power source, and he’s got good reason to need it, as well. Beautifully shot apocalyptic horror works well in feature length format, and you can best believe it works well as a short film, as well.

There’s probably very little reason to talk about Neill Blomkamp’s Zygote. Most have already jumped to check it out, and what they got for their time and attention is a beautiful nod to John Carpenter’s, The Thing. It’s fast-paced, features authentic set pieces, a kick ass, uber-weird monster and two stellar performances from convincing tough guy, Jose Pablo Cantillo and child phenom turned grown woman phenom, Dakota Fanning. It’s true must-see greatness, especially if you dig monster movies.

The Fisherman is a throwback monster movie in the greatest of ways. It’s built around a hardheaded but wildly relatable everyman trying to make a living fishing, and he alone makes the film a worthy watch. Factor in an amazing monster and an all-out war on the world and what you’ve got is potential greatness. What truly pushes it completely over the precipice of genius is the highly refined aesthetic value of the production. It looks gorgeous, and even the CGI is far superior to that which we see in high profile, commercial releases. Alejandro Suárez Lozano has crafted an unforgettable piece of film.

Firebase is the second Neill Blomkamp picture to be featured on this list, and it comes our way courtesy of the obviously fan-friendly and immediately successful Oats Studios. The film drops viewers right smack dab in the center of the war in Vietnam, which alone is a relatively fresh approach. The fact that the film comes loaded with stunning practical effects and some extremely satisfying digital work boosts the stock immediately, and the story itself, which introduces soldiers to an entirely new kind of threat doesn’t hurt the production in the least. It’s a sublime picture, and it needs to be seen by anyone who can confidently call themselves a fan of horror or science fiction.

Unlike the other films on this list, What’s Up Bro? doesn’t have a lot of money dumped into the production and it lacks any really stimulating visuals or camera work. It’s a shoestring piece of work that probably didn’t take an enormous effort to complete, and, it even comes with a cliché conclusion. However, the story is great. It’s a familiar idea with a familial spin that leaves a knot in the belly, so it’s an easy little picture to recommend. Sometimes less can be more, and this is one of those rare times there aren’t too many bells and whistles needed. I would have liked to see a more creative conclusion, but the script and the concept earn big points and the film is a fine way to pass seven minutes.

The Jigsaw is nothing short of brilliant, and certainly ranks among the greatest additions on this list. It’s well-shot, has some of the greatest sound mixing I’ve ever heard in a short film and even features a pair of elderly gents who prove to be fine performers. The concept – a man buys a puzzle that, unbeknownst to him, he wants no part of – is refreshing, eerie and flawlessly executed. I’m not too familiar with the work of the Al-Safar Brothers, but this little picture has me itching to see more!

And finally, we’re going to close this list out with yet another Neill Blomkamp film, Rakka. Arguably the bleakest of his new trio, Rakka pits man versus alien in an engrossing feud for survival and supremacy. The special effects are again amazing, and this time around the great Sigourney Weaver shows up to prove she’s still a bad ass, even if she is a bit older, and a bit more collected. There’s an awesome District 9 vibe to the pic, but it’s certainly a story all its own. Now all we need is the full length film!

Editor’s Note: Since the writing of this article, D.C. contributor Matt Molgaard has passed on. It’s an honor for us to share his final insights with you all. He will be sorely missed.

Rakka

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Amazon Developing Stephen King’s The Dark Tower TV Series

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The Dark TowerIt’s been a while since we brought you guys an update on the planned TV series based on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower book series.

But today it looks like we have confirmation via Deadline that, “Amazon… is developing a slew of high-profile titles, including The Dark Tower…”

The series is being developed by Amazon as part of their bid to move into bigger budgeted spectacles ala their recent acquisition of the rights to The Lord of the Rings.

No further info is available at this time but we will keep you up to date as we hear word on Amazon’s “The Dark Tower.”

Are you excited about this series? Let us know below!

Synopsis:

Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger, is locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey), also known as the Man in Black. The Gunslinger must prevent the Man in Black from toppling the Dark Tower, the key that holds the universe together. With the fate of worlds at stake, two men collide in the ultimate battle between good and evil.

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Rutger Hauer Says There Was No Love and No Soul in Blade Runner 2049

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I don’t know about you, but I dug the hell out of last summer’s Blade Runner 2049. I found the film to be a tonally perfect addition to the Blade Runner universe and appreciated how it built on the story established in the original film.

That said, there are some out there that aren’t fans of the sequel – most of all, it seems, is the original film’s baddie, Rutger Hauer.

Recently, Hauer spoke with THR and didn’t hold back on his dislike of the new film.

“I sniff and scratch at it,” Hauer says. “It looks great, but I struggle to see why that film was necessary. I just think if something is so beautiful, you should just leave it alone and make another film. Don’t lean with one elbow on the success that was earned over 30 years in the underground.”

He continues: “In many ways Blade Runner wasn’t about the replicants; it was about what does it mean to be human? It’s like E.T. But I’m not certain what the question was in the second Blade Runner. It’s not a character-driven movie and there’s no humor, there’s no love, there’s no soul. You can see the homage to the original. But that’s not enough to me. I knew that wasn’t going to work. But I think it’s not important what I think.”

Wow, don’t hold back, Hauer. Tell us how you really feel!

I’m kidding. And while I don’t agree with Hauer on this particular issue, the man has more than earned the right to think it IS “important what [he] thinks.

Do you agree with Rutger Hauer on Blade Runner 2049? Let us know below!

Synopsis:
Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

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Ash vs Evil Dead Set Visit Part 2: Learning About Kelly, Pablo, and Brandy

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If you haven’t read through the first part of my set visit for the third season of “Ash vs Evil Dead”, make sure to do so here.

After walking through the halls of Brandy’s high school, the sperm bank clinic that has been seen in the trailer, Brock’s house, and the streets of Elk Grove (all through the magic of set designs), it was time to sit down with stars Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago, who told me about their characters Kelly and Pablo through this season of “Ash vs Evil Dead”! Oh, and there’s also a lot from Arielle Carver-O’Neill about her character Brandy as well, because who can resist hearing from Ash’s daughter?

After finding out that Dana, who is from Youngstown, Ohio, is a fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes, our interview nearly ended. After all, your boy is a Wolverine, through and through, and anyone who knows sports rivalries knows that Buckeyes and Wolverines don’t get along. That being said, we managed to put aside our differences so that I could learn a bit about Kelly and what she’ll be going through this season.

I really loved Kelly’s journey in season one and two. It was very exciting to play because, in a way, it mirrored my own as an actor coming into a franchise like this. Just like Kelly was dragged into this fight against evil and was caught completely off guard, it was very similar to the actor struggling for 10 years. I was living in Los Angeles working at a bar when I got this job. All of a sudden I’m being thrown into this with this incredible franchise, with the amazing producers of Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, where a franchise that’s built upon one man, a lone wolf as we’ve said, who is the star of this show and now he’s going to have sidekicks, that was terrifying as well! But it was really cool because I feel like I got to grow with Kelly and every time Kelly did something new, it was me doing something new,” DeLorenzo explains.

Expanding on that, DeLorenzo starts telling me more about Kelly and how she specifically changes through the upcoming season, saying, “At the end of season two, there’s the parade. And if you look, you can see that Kelly isn’t happy. Kelly is the smart one of that trifecta, the ghostbeaters. She knows that evil is not gone for good, which brings us to season three. Now that she’s tasted blood, she’s constantly chasing that high. So, at the start of season three, Kelly is a warrior without a war. She wants to stay on her game for when evil comes back. Her journey for season three…evil paints Kelly in a bloody corner and sets up her to fail where she can’t do what she does best, which is kick evil’s ass. She’s put in these catch-22 situations that she can’t fight her way out of without someone she cares about getting hurt. I think fans will be shocked at her transformation [this season].”

The theme of family running throughout this season of the show is not lost on DeLorenzo, who recognizes that Kelly’s ultimate purpose throughout this series is called into question through events that she wasn’t able to elaborate upon. However, she did tell me, “It was always about protecting and staying by the side of Ash and Pablo because they are not her family by blood but they are her family by bloodshed.

When describing the ghostbeaters, she calls Ash the “brawn”, Pablo the “heart”, and Kelly the “brains”. Later, as I sat with Arielle Carver-O’Neill, I asked what Brandy represents, to which she stated, “the hope”. “They all become very protective of Brandy and are very supportive of her journey,” Carver-O’Neill explains.

I asked her to envision a world where a fourth season is confirmed and how she’d like to see Brandy’s role expanded. Pondering this for a couple of moments, she then told me, “I’d like to see her find herself a bit more. I think just because she’s a teenager, you go through that journey at that age where you are figuring out who you are and your parents, either consciously or unconsciously, play a large role in that. For her, she only had her mum and then she found parts of herself in her dad. But she’s got a lot of growing up to do and I think that’d be really fun to explore how she goes about that.

For Santiago, the character and evolution of Pablo throughout the series has a very personal meaning for him. “As a kid, I grew up watching horror films and I always wanted to be the hero saving people from the monster and I always wanted to be the person chased by the monster. I think, in this show, I have the opportunity do that every day as Pablo and I’m one step closer to becoming the superhero I wanted to be as a kid,” he states.

As for his evolution, Santiago sees Pablo as going from a pushover in the first season to someone very important and potentially very powerful in the third season. “We’ve seen Pablo go from this naive guy [in the first season] that’s pushed through the ringer to last season and…the Necronomicon and Pablo have an undeniable relationship that will never end. As we move into this third season, Pablo sees things differently. He’s not just tormented by his visions of darkness, we see that he may not be just a sidekick but also psychic! We’re going back to his family and we callback to his roots. Perhaps it wasn’t just a coincidence that he met Ash and that he himself was always destined to be somewhat of a Jefé. I think season three is where we see all that coming to fruition. He’s not just along for the ride, he’s become an integral part of the team.

Part III of our set visit coming soon!

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