The American Boys – Movie Review

TL;DR – In this collection of short films, we get a snapshot of life, of stories untold, but nothing that really stands out.     

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

The American Boys. Image Credit: NQV Media.

The American Boys Review

One of the strengths of short films is their ability to give a concise snapshot into a world. You pick only a couple of characters and dive into their world and how it is shaped. While usually, you would release these films separately, you can also group them around a theme which is what the film we are looking at today did.   

The American Boys is a collection of six short films including These Things Take Time, Legend of Scotty Watts, Two Fish, You Can Play, I Think I’m Gay & Billy’s Blowjobs. All of these films look at different types of relationships, and as some of the titles would suggest, they look at the many different stages of gay relationships. Now because the film has grouped them as a whole, that is how we will look at them in this review.

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The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special – Movie Review

TL;DR – There was so much wasted potential here that you actually start to feel sorry for the film    

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special. Image Credit: Disney+

The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special Review

Well, few things in pop culture have such infamy as the original Star Wars Holiday Special. Sure you may have been the first time we got a look at Boba Fett, but well you don’t get to be a gag in Weird Al’s seminal White & Nerdy for nothing. Well, today we look at Lucasarts giving a second crack at the idea, but this time Lego.

So to set the scene, at the end of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The New Order was defeated, so Rey (Helen Sadler) and Fynn (Omar Miller) decided to travel to visit Chewbacca and his family on Kashyyyk to celebrate Life Day. But for Rey, this is a big struggle because she is struggling to train Fynn in the ways of the Jedi and takes a trip to the past to get some inspiration.

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Movie Review – Sol Levante

TL;DR – An interesting vignette, but more focusing on the style than the substance   
   
Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Awards

Nominated: Creative Animation

Sol Levante. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I mentioned earlier this week with Familiar Strangers, that it was the shortest film that I had ever reviewed for the sight, well not three days later we are going to beat that record with Sol Levante. An animated short made in 4K HD that I don’t think anyone in the world is going to see at 4K at least not for the foreseeable future.

This is an interesting film to review because there is not a whole lot to it, but then it also feels like there is a bit more to it than first appears. There is not a story, bar a young woman fighting I want to say demons across a shifting landscape. There are quite a few of these set-piece moments that the fit into the three minutes run time that hint at things. It is a film that fits into the sort of nexus of fantasy, science fiction, and spiritual genres and is steeped in symbolism if nothing else.  

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Movie Review – Alive

TL;DR – A short film that explores the important bond between people    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Alive. Image Credit: Distribution with Glasses.

Review

When it comes to films, if it can get to that core emotional note and thus resonate on that deep level, well that will always hit that much harder for me as a viewer. This is because if the emotions work, then so much more of the film will flow from there. Today we explore a short film that knows this and focuses in on it as the core of the film.  

So to set the scene, Viktoria (Eva Johansson) lives her life in a wheelchair and needs around the clock support to live her life. During the day, her assistant Ida (Madeleine Martin) was walking through the park when they run into Ida’s boyfriend Björn (Joel Ödmann). Later that day, Viktoria admits that she feels alone. So Ida sets her up with a Tinder profile to find someone.

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Movie Review – Familiar Strangers

TL;DR – An interesting experimental film that hits that overlap between film and a technology demonstration    

Familiar Strangers. Image Credit: Murat Sayginer.

Review

I have seen quite a few films that you could call experimental in my time but today might take the cake as one of the more weird concepts that I have ever seen. Something that at first sight is deceptively simple but then it is clear a lot of work has gone into making it come together.

Familiar Strangers might be also one of the shortest films I have reviewed, clocking into only four minutes. However, that is just the right amount of time for you to process what you are seeing on the screen. Which is row upon row of actors faces apparently rendered using deepfake technology while Air on the G String by Johann Sebastian Bach plays in the background.

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Movie Review – Dragons: Rescue Riders: Hunt for the Golden Dragon

TL;DR – A perfectly bland film    

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Dragons: Rescue Riders: Hunt for the Golden Dragon. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Without a doubt, the How to Train Your Dragon film series is one of my all-time favourites. So when I noticed something new from the universe on Netflix, I knew I had to check it out …. And well that was a thing.

So to set the scene, we open in on Waldondo (Carlos Alazraqui) a former antagonist. He is on a ship, stealing a map, when he arrives at Berk, to let people know of a problem. For you see the map leads to the golden dragon who only lays their egg once every 100 years, a dragon in a golden egg. They have to go save the egg because pirates are coming to steal the egg.

When you go into a film like this, you kind of have to reassess your level, because it is clear that this would not have the same about of money behind the production. Also, because it is a kids film it is going to be focused more on broad moments than nuance.

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Movie Review – Ghosts of Sugar Land

TL;DR – An interesting exploration of one of the big topics of our days that just doesn’t quite come together.      

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Ghosts of Sugar Land. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

There is this moment when people find out someone has done truly awful, where those who know them have to reconcile the person you knew with the person they now are. This is a common reaction across the world but today for some people it has even more complication due to outside pressures. When people head off to ISIS, there is this clamour as to why nothing was done, why didn’t people know?

This short film explores the life of “Mark” and the reception to his apparent departure to Syria to fight for ISIS by his friends back in Sugar Land, Houston, Texas. Right from the start, this documentary captures your interest by yes the content but also from the presentation. Everyone in the document bar “Mark” has their face covered by vintage pop-culture masks like Thor and Spider-Man. This is such an odd choice but then it is a good juxtaposition to what they are talking about and everyone is wearing it for a good reason.

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Movie Review – Sturgill Simpson Presents Sound & Fury (Sound & Fury)

TL;DR – A fascinating combination of animation and music, all this a real purpose and theme that made it a intriguing work of art.     

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene

Sturgill Simpson Presents Sound & Fury (Sound & Fury). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review


Earlier this year I mentioned that back in the day Daft Punk created this animated accompaniment to one of their albums and that it was surprising that no one else had really explored this as well. That was at the start of the year since then we have had multiple artists combine an album release with a short film accompaniment. We have had the highs of Anima,The Bash Brothers Experience, and Guava Island. Well, today we get add another to that list with the truly fascinating Sound & Fury.

While there is a story referenced though some recurring moments, it is more a work that focuses on mood and theme. If I was to label it I would say it is a meditation on a post-apocalyptic world by way of Japanese animation and heaping of Mad Max car action and sheer absurdity all put to a rock anthem. This, I hope, will give you some idea as to just how weird this music video/experience is, but also how fascinatingly interesting it is.

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Movie Review – Birders

TL;DR – A fascinating look at the birds that live along the USA/Mexico border   
Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Birders. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I love a good wildlife documentary, where you dive into a place in the world and explore the glory that you find. Even more so when it is an area of the world I don’t have a lot of experience with. Today we get just that with an exploration of the birds along the Texan/Mexican border.   

On the border of the United States of America and Mexico is the Rio Grande/Río Bravo River. These days it is more the focus on human migration however while this is an important area of discussion it is also the site of another migration, birds. This is a look at the people whose lives revolve around the birds, protecting them from the many dangers focusing on this precious land.    

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