This year's HollyShorts film festival has begun, and while this year's festival has gone virtual, there is still no shortage of amazing films to watch. Every creator here has done something amazing, especially as the year has gone on and so many things have happened to complicate this medium. Congratulations to every film that has been spotlighted at this year's festival.
In 1988, comic book fans were given an unprecedented choice. DC Comics released a four-part comic book series revolving around Batman and then-Robin Jason Todd titled A Death in the Family. At the end of issue #427, readers found Jason Todd bloodied, beaten up, and left for dead by the Joker. They then had a choice to make: let Jason live or kill him. Two 1-900 numbers were in the back of the comic for readers to call in and cast their vote.
Superman: Man of Tomorrow is the latest offering from the DC Universe Animated movies collection — of which I’m generally a big fan - and this film doesn’t disappoint. Over the years, we’ve seen almost as many depictions of the Superman origin story as we have of the Batman origin story. We practically know it by heart, beat for beat. That’s not what this movie is. Rather, it’s an exploration of who Superman is and a glimpse at the journey he took in his early years, towards becoming the Man of Tomorrow.
While it can be argued that the DC Extended Universe has struggled on the silver screen, the DC Animated Movie Universe has flourished in the direct-to-DVD market well beyond expectations, reinterpreting several historically important events in DC Comics history and building a connection between its various metahuman superheroes that feels genuine, believable, and - perhaps most importantly - earned. DC Animated’s Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is the final chapter in the 15-movie arc that makes up the DCAMU and delivers an appropriately thrilling, epic, and touching conclusion to a story audiences have been following since 2013.
The LEGO DC movies are always a lot of fun and completely ridiculous in the best possible way. A couple of years ago, I reviewed Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis, which gave us an undersea adventure that was funny and strange. Now, Shazam: Magic and Monsters gives us more of that same brand of off-beat LEGO humor, and the film doesn’t disappoint. There’s action, there’s adventure, there’s comedy, and the Blu-ray comes with a free LEGO figure. It’s really hard to go wrong with that.
The film, NoHo, came out in 1995, one year after Clerks. The two are very similar: ultra-low budget films about Gen X slackers, meandering their way through life while having amusing conversations. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this film is a direct result of writer/director/star David Schrader watching Clerks and saying, “Hey, I bet I could do that!” Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.
When I first heard about this movie, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what it would be like: a young, talented chef saves himself, his family, and possibly the world, through the Power of Food™. That’s not what this film is. Instead, it’s something a good deal deeper, and a good deal more real.
It’s not often these days that I’ll see a movie in the theatre more than once. Who has time? It has to be something really special - truly unique - to draw me back in for a repeat, big-screen presentation. I just finished my second viewing of Richard Stanley’s Color Our of Space, based on the H.P. Lovecraft short story. I fell immediately in love with the film, which I had incredibly high expectations for upon my first viewing. The second viewing not only confirmed that love, but nourished it.
The main premise of Anderson Cowan’s debut feature film, Groupers, sounds simple: Psychology grad student Meg kidnaps two barhopping young men (Brad and Dylan) to use as subjects for her thesis experiment on whether homosexuality is a choice. As the plot unfolds, it becomes clear that there is much more at stake than a simple test, and as Meg’s careful plan spirals out of control, the only constant is that homophobia is so totally ridiculous.