A mixed bag of shorts
anonymous | New York | 02/11/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"So few short films become commercially available on DVD you can't help but think a better collection could have been culled here. But "Celebrity Mix" (presumably so named because people you've heard of appear in some of the films) has its worthwhile moments, as well as one true gem.
Most of these eight films classify as comedies. Of them, only "Laud Weiner" - an incredibly obvious take on shallow Hollywood producer/managers (see the feature "The Player," the TV show "Action," and about a million other sources for smarter, funnier treatments of the same topic) falls completely flat. "Dysenchanted" offers a few smiles but never overcomes the cuteness of its premise; "Media Whore" mocks vapid entertainment reporters but needs more bite to be truly memorable; "Mr. Dramatic" (yet *another* swipe at Hollywood - can any shorts auteurs see beyond their disillusionment with LA-types?) takes an okay but underdeveloped concept and slo-mo's it to death.
But "Dependable People" has some very funny bits, even if they never coalesce into a whole that's as good as its parts, and "Curiosity" is a sharp, if simple, thriller with some edge. "House Hunting" bears an obvious literary imprint (it's based on a Michael Chabon short story) in its dialogue and themes, and remains watchable throughout its often uneven execution.
And then there's "Waking Dreams," by far the most accomplished piece of filmmaking here. Though not a comedy, its smart humor makes it in some ways the funniest short in the collection - as well as the best written, best directed, and best acted. Inadequately described on the DVD packaging as a "paranormal thriller," it takes a sharp turn toward the sublime at the end and actually gets there. Remarkable for its subtlety, this is a pitch-perfect, deftly done film - more resonant than most features - that changes and expands to become quietly moving by the end. Some of the other filmmakers on this DVD show promise, but writer/director John Daschbach seems fully arrived, and I can't wait to see what he does next. Forgive the cliché, but "Waking Dreams" alone is worth the price of purchase. It's a five-star film camping out on this three-star DVD."
Should have been great - what happened?
Brittany | Orlando, FL | 11/29/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It seems like it should be so easy to make an excllent short film. Not too much time to have much go wrong right? WRONG!These were terrible. I have to confess, I didn't make it all the way through and started some furious fast forwarding hoping to find something salvagable in my 3.99 rental.
Wish I had 1 positive thing to say. I would say it. But this was just bad. Sorry!"