Title: Love and Loss
Director: Bernard Hunt, Alex Thompson, Peter Jenson, Steven Ritt
Starring: Olympia Dukakis, Rose Gregorio, Burt Young
Runtime: 1hr 19 min
What It Is: A collection of five short films focused on the relationships between friends and loved ones through all times, good and bad.
What We Think: Really, anything of value and is cinematically tangible within this “film” is due totally to the efforts of director Alex Thompson, who heads the two best short films Irene & Marie and Calumet. This anthology feels more akin to a short film festival in its extreme varying levels of quality (for real—this is ABCs of Death bad). It’s all over the map. While the shorts that are good are really good, the shorts that are bad range from passably amateur to completely, ridiculously unwatchable. Really: just watch Thompson’s sweet and well-crafted little films and then press skip on the rest.
Irene & Marie: B+, Wonderfully detailed performances and a plain yet comfy visual style lend to a simple, sweet, and funny story about old friends living their lives and coping with the loss of their loved ones. Not only good compared to its fellow featured shorts, but good enough to be judged on its own. Emotionally effective, to the point, and memorable.
Sorry for Your Loss: D+, Though well-intentioned and not bad-looking (that’s the best I can come up with), you get the sense that this is a passable college student film. Its story is cliche, it’s heavy-handed and overly, sentimentally quirky with writing and performances that are either serviceable or mediocre. It tends to a little technically jilted (in terms of editing and camerawork) which becomes distracting. Overall, forgettable, but not completely terrible as I feel it could have had a much larger potential.
Calumet: B, Similar to Irene & Marie in the subject, quality, and style (thanks, Thompson), this is almost as effective if not just as grounded and heartbreaking. Easy and captivating to watch, its character draws you in.
Unleashed Love: F+, Basically a pet owner decided to make a home movie with their dogs and release it as a short film featuring a bunch of bad music. Cute, if not embarrassing. Watchable for the featured dogs and its Lynchian/Breenian levels of strange stylistic choices that end up being completely laughable and in that right, at least entertaining.
Danni: F, Just the worst AND the longest short in the whole film. Too boring and dry to be comprehensible. Toward the end, it gets so goofy that it’s almost entertaining, but the wait takes too long to get to that point…in a short film. The best I could say about it is that they had a functioning camera and functioning camera crew and had some pretty establishing shots.