2020 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 10: The Devil’s Passenger (2018) and Window Dressing (2019)

Day 10: Plastique Vivant: Manniquins are creepy enough standing still, but what happens when they come to life? (Window Dressing)

I came to my gig as the (chief) grease bit scrubber and dumpster pad washer at the ol’ B&S Bar n’ Grill by way of my screenwriting endeavors, which born out of my acting endeavors (which born out of my radio jock days).

As result, I’ve been to more than my fair share of film festivals, not only for the shorts I worked on, but for the films of others — in support of my fellow thespin’ brethren. And as someone who’s worked in the short film realm, take it from me: most of them are arduous, not only to work on, but to watch. As an actor, nothing is more heartbreaking than to pour your soul into someone’s vision to make it the very best short film it can be — only to see that filmmaker’s industry “calling card” disintegrate into an utter failure. And that’s not even counting the shorts that, through sheer directorial ineptitude and an indifferently staffed and in disarray film school, are never finished. The whole angle of the short filmVerse is that, while you, the actor, do not get paid, “you’ll get a finished film/clips for your reel.” And, as goes my luck, the filmmakers that never “paid” me with a finished film or so much as a clip (even after begging), far outnumbers the ones that did “pay” me. And, very few of those were of a quality to use as demo reel material.

Anyway, I digress . . . bottom line: I’ve seen lots of short films. I’ve long since surpassed my Hollywood-mainstream film attendances with my affection for the new breed cultivated in film festivals: I love going to film festivals, seeing short films, and acting in short films: the camaraderie of the indie environs is pure electric. It’s oxygen. It’s life.

And — in the hands of a knowledgeable and skilled filmmaker, one who checks their ego at the door and respects their actors and crew and realizes that film is a “team” effort — the short film story format works and there are, in fact, filmmakers who do not make you dread film festivals, but look forward to them. There’s nothing more pleasing, more exhilarating than to see all of those years of college and university-level film school classes pay off in spades. I am of the camp that doesn’t want those budding filmmakers to suck at their chosen profession: I want to see them succeed.

And succeed they do, as is the case with my reviews for Colin West’s Pink Plastic Flamingos, Marko Slavanic’s Project Skyborn, and Sara Gorsky’s Cockpit: The Rules of Engagement. Then there’s my recent reviews for Ben Griffin’s stellar sci-fi-on-budget excitement that is Ji, Marc Cartwright’s We Die Alone, Megan Freels Johnson’s Dear Guest, Brando Benetton’s top notch college thesis project, Nightfire, Greece’s Vahagn Karapetyan’s Wicca Book, Travis White’s Why Haven’t They Fixed the Cameras Yet?, and Chun-Ku Lu’s 2018 work, This Life, I am a flower pot (yes, he of 1975’s The Black Dragon’s Revenge).

And as I went down a You Tube rabbit hole, I discovered another Frank Barrone-moment, you know, a “holy crap” moment, with writer and director Dave Bundtzen’s The Devil’s Passengers.

Bundtzen’s been bangin’ at the Final Draft and eyein’ the Cannon Reds since the early ’90s across fifteen shorts, with thirteen of them as a screenwriter, and a seventeen-film mix as a producer of his own shorts and of others. So it’s no secret that Bundtzen is bringing an A-Game to the table. He possesses an expert concept of what a short film should be: short. His films are well-written and edited and fully-character arced in less than five minutes, exactly as a short film should.

Ack! Please don’t delve into a college thesis on the craft of screenwriting, and act structure, R.D.

Don’t worry; I’m pulling back the reins. But take my word for it: Bundtzen’s short film days are numbered. There’s a feature film on the horizon.

His latest short-fiction work, The Devil’s Passenger, concerns a woman (a very good Colleen Kelly, who reminds of Dakota Johnson; I actually thought, at first, it was Australian actress Amanda Woodhams from 2020’s Dark Sister) in a traffic jam that desperately tries to help another woman she sees in the back of a van hold — held by a hand that appears from the dark background of the vehicle.

And that brings us to Dave Bundtzen and Colleen Kelly’s newest film (and the Scarecrow Video Challenge part), along with the expertly creepy Elaine Partnow, in a tale about Danielle (Kelly), a young woman who responds to an innocent “Help Wanted” sign in the window of the Rose Time antique dress shop run by Clara (Partnow), a kindly, senior shop keep. Now, if you know your British Amicus horror anthologies, you know about those little, out-of-the-way shops and their affable clerks. Yeah, this isn’t going to end well for young Danielle. The “Amicus” vibe of Bundtzen’s pen is buoyed by Gavin V. Murray’s stellar cinematography that gives the proceedings a very-Argento vibe.

The Devil’s Passengers and Window Dressing are currently streaming on You Tube, along with Bundtzen’s early efforts Siri (2012) and Tap (2018), courtesy of Flix Horror’s You Tube Platform. And, what I really dig: Bundtzen supports other short-horror purveyors, as his nifty “Great Horror Short Films on You Tube” playlist attests. Watch ’em once, twice, watch three times. Just an awesome day of movie viewing to be had over at Flix Horror’s page.

Colleen Kelly made one foray into network television with an appearance on ABC-TV’s Castle. Here’s to hoping she makes a much deserved transition out of shorts and indies and into more network television (yeah, you know me well: Law & Order: SVU and Blue Bloods) and A-List feature films. In fact, if you’re a Felissa Rose (A Nun’s Curse, Rootwood) fan — and aren’t we all — you’ve also seen Kelly’s work alongside Rose in Clawed (2017).

You can learn more about Dave Bundtzen’s filmmaking endeavors at Flix Digital’s website and Facebook page.

Disclaimer: We were not sent screeners or received a review requests for either of these shorts. We discovered them on our own and truly enjoyed both works.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies and publishes on Medium.

Why Haven’t They Fixed the Cameras Yet? (2020)

If you’re a frequent visitor to B&S About Movies, you know of my admiration for Law and Order: TOS and SVU. However, while expertly produced and acted, my precious exploits of Captain Olivia Benson and her squad (and Blue Bloods, I think) sometimes falls back on the ol’ the-car-won’t start-at-the-most-inopportune-moment trope of the ol’ our-security-cameras-haven’t-worked-in-months-and-our-bosses-are-too-cheap-to-fix-‘em trope.

But guess what?

It’s not a screenwriting trope. I’ve witnessed four incidents during my 9 to 5 lifetime where crimes-incidents (yes, people do spike coffee pots and icepick tires and key paint and steal food and spread icky-sticky things around and go into cubicle “smack down” mode) occurred in my workplace—and the cameras were broke. And yes, back in the pre-digital epoch when VCRs interfaced with those cameras—the VHS tapes really were “taped over” every 24 to 48 hours. And security cameras really are the new “digital mailboxes,” as wayward teens like to either—due to a lack of a “canvas” to craft an epithet on—spray paint the lenses or give ‘em a whack with a baseball bat, you know, for fun. Those rascally scamps.

Courtesy of digital technologies and through constant hardware miniaturization upgrades, security cameras—that you don’t know are there and everywhere—are recording everything. And if there’s not a camera to capture our societal faux pas, someone is at the smartphone-ready—recording everything. Then there are those high-tech-toys-not-meant-for-boys drones that, as with any piece of technology, are a benefit to man in the right hands—and a nefarious tool in bad hands. And if those technologies aren’t capturing us in an innocent Ridiculousness moment, the digital ethers chronicle our not-so-innocent-moments; ubiquitous technologies that leads to nary the pass of a day that our local and national news or browser portal feeds go without a newsworthy event or crime—thought private—that becomes our “forever” moment. . . .

A young office worker is thrust into that world of false security set forth by those omnipresent cameras capturing our forever moments—cameras that really are sometimes malfunctioning or vandalized and never repaired by our bottom-line employers. And if you’ve worked odd-ball hours in the big city, then you’ve experienced the reasonable fears of those remote, concrete wildernesses known as a parking garage. . . .

And, for this young office drone, that broken security camera in that desolate parking garage becomes a catalyst: her life is about to change . . . but is it for the better . . . or the worst?

Spoiler Alert: Watch the short, now, in its entirety, before scrolling onward.

Prior to watching and reviewing this debut work by Austin, Texas-based writer and director Travis White, I wrote an upcoming review for our October “All Slasher-All Horror Month” for Thom Eberhardt’s (Night of the Comet) horror-thriller Naked Fear (2007)—a film that concerns a woman’s emotional breakdown and catharsis at the nefarious hands of others.

The reason for my critical analogy of these two decade-apart films is that I see the possibilities of White’s short film—which is exactly what a short film is supposed to do: leave you wanting more; to serve as a visual business card to pitch a feature film development deal.

I’m not privy to reading “Why Is It Always So Dark Here?,” the short story on which this film is based, but I look forward to learning about this office worker’s exploits that—considering Thom Eberhardt’s work with the great Sir Michael Caine (1988’s Without a Clue)—remind of one of my favorite films starring Sir Michael: A Shock to the System (1990). In that film, the accidental death of a hated co-worker at Caine’s hands starts off an anti-hero murder-to-right-the-wrongs-and-for-workplace-advancement chain of events.

Office Parties: I hate people, but love gatherings. Isn’t it ironic?/courtesy of Wet Demin Productions

You can watch the complete film—and other productions—courtesy of Wet Demin Production’s You Tube page. And, in a special treat, we have an opportunity to share the film’s storyboards completed by writer-director Travis White. As you can see, no matter how long or short the film, an incredible amount of thought, time, effort, and planning goes into a film. It’s not about the length. It’s always about the content. Always.

If this is what Travis White (and producer Madison Phillips) can do in less than five minutes with his debut work, then we’re looking forward to see what he can do with his future works. In fact, he’s currently in the pre-production stages of his next short-narrative, Man Seeking Man (beware of those who ask for “favors”), which will see release in 2021. And you’ll hear about it first, at B&S About Movies.

And bigger things are on the horizon for actress Lee Eddy, here as the nameless office worker. She’s currently in pre-production on Richard Linklater’s (Dazed and Confused, School of Rock) Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Adventure, a coming-of-age story set in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, in the summer of 1969, centered on the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. That film stars Zachary Levi (Thor: Ragnarok and Shazam!) and Jack Black (Jumanji: The Next Level). Eddy’s husband, Macon Blair, won the U.S. Dramatic Competition Grand Jury Prize at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival for the Netflix-released I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore. Fans of Scratch Acid and Jesus Lizard may want to check out the film (it’s great, by the way) as it co-stars lead vocalist David Yow (Under the Silver Lake).

Disclaimer: We were provided a screener by the film’s public relations firm. That has no bearing on our review.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies and publishes on Medium.

Ji (2019)

We’ve gone down the DUST rabbit hole once before — as part of last year’s Scarecrow Video of Seattle’s Psychotronic October Scarecrow Challenge of watching 31 movies in 31 days. For the 24th day of the challenge, the theme was “Short Attention Span Theatre: Watch Some Shorts or Anthology Things.” And I chose to meet the challenge with a pair of short films from DUST: a You Tube-based, social media portal that features science fiction shorts from emerging filmmakers obsessed with aliens, robots, space exploration, technology, and the human experience in space.

During my last year’s DUST excursion, I felt moved to the point of wanting to review two of the many wonderful films on the DUST platform — and chose to review Colin West’s Plastic Pink Flamingos and Marko Slavanic’s Skyborn. This year, I was wowed by the writing and directing, narrative-fiction debut of Ben Griffin, a filmmaker who earned his bones in the music video field with the likes of Demi Lovato, Imagine Dragons, Machine Gun Kelly, and Metallica* (2019’s Metallica & San Francisco Symphony). (We previously reviewed A Clear Shot, the latest feature film by Nick Leisure, himself a writer-director who rose up through the music video field ranks.)

Lewis Tan (Shatterstar in Deadpool 2; Gaius Chau on AMC’s Into The Badlands; Lu Xin Lee in Netflix’s Wu Assassins) is Ji, a modified human and commanding General in a military unit protecting the mechanized exo-planet Nilo. His artificial life on his artificial home world is perfect — yet, he hungers to learn of his human roots.

Against orders and abandoning his post, Ji sets off for Earth and comes to discover it’s not the wasteland he and his people were told. Upon arrival, he meets an Earth woman (Eva De Dominici, of the upcoming Bruce Willis sci-fi actioner Cosmic Sin and TV’s Hawaii Five-O) and falls in love. You’ll also recognized Peter Adrian Sudarso (Marvin Shih and Preston Tien in the respective Power Rangers‘ spinoff series HyperForce and Ninja Steel) as Ji’s commanding officer who ventures to Earth to return him to Nilo.

Ben Griffin’s debut is the epitome of skilled filmmaking at its finest, complete with a top-notch, imaginative script flowing in perfect harmony with a solid cast and stunning special effects: a highly recommended watch that’s worthy of expansion into a feature-length film. The last time I was this enraptured with an action-oriented short film, was Brando Benetton’s top notch college thesis project, Nightfire. Which proves my ongoing point: it doesn’t have to be long to be good: it’s in the content, not the length.

You can learn more about the works of San Francisco’s Ben Griffin and his Prime Zero Productions at their official website, Facebook and You Tube pages. After completing a successful film festival run, Ji is now available at DUST You Tube as of July 30, 2020.

* We previously reviewed Metallica’s support of Spencer Susser in 2010’s Hesher (Will somebody please back Spencer and let him make another feature film, will yah? Hesher is so good.)

Disclaimer: We were not sent a screener or received a review request for this short. We discovered it on our own and truly enjoyed the work.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies and publishes on Medium.

We Die Alone (2020)

Aiden (Baker Chase Powell), a socially-inept thrift store clerk, wants to find true love (“true love” is a girl who likes jigsaw puzzles), but his courage-defying insecurities lead to social media ghosting of any connections he makes on dating apps (and his “agoraphobic-dating” a dumpster-dived mannequin). Also looking for — and fearful of love — is his co-worker, Elaine (Ashley Jones), whose own generosity with advice and to-a-fault kindness crossed with shyness perpetuates her own loneliness. And Aiden’s inability to pick up on another’s social cues makes him oblivious to Elaine’s feelings for him.

Aiden comes to find the courage through Chelsea (Samantha Boscarino), his new, beautiful — an ulterior-motive driven — apartment-across-the-hall neighbor (who digs the puzzle on his coffee table and his “vintage” ’70s-era phone). And she, like Aiden, has a failure adapting to and connecting with others through social (media) norms. And that common — real life and social media — awkwardness sends Aiden and Chelsea into a noirish decline of dangerous infatuation and obsession.

Sigmund Freud just called. Mommy’s womb wants you back; you’re not ready to be around people.

This creepy thriller effectively updates the twisty, black & white tales of Dashiell Hammett and James M. Cain for a digital world. And when the “harmless” Aiden locks his stare on his mannequin and he starts stealing dainties . . . and the friendly Elaine comments, “. . . you think you know people. . . .” Chills (courtesy of the-just-nails-it Powell). You know this isn’t going to end well. And Cassie Keet’s script (written with director Marc Cartwright) of well-crafted herrings and Cartwright’s taste for the (Dario) Argento hits all the noir-giallo cues: when that dainty, red slip hits the Laundromat floor — well, poor Aiden just found Ms. Dietrichson’s “honey of an anklet” (Double Indemnity) and triggered a femme fatale chain-of-events.

If you’ve hung out with B&S About Movies for a time, then you know how we feel (but we’re nice) about indie films by unknown filmmakers meandering with an unfocused narrative structure towards a patience-trying two-hour mark that’s crying for a 30-minute celluloid sushi in Final Cut Pro. Then there are those films that run extensive end credits to pad their too-short running time to a home-distribution acceptable 80-minutes.

What’s makes this 22-minute fifth short by writer-director Marc Cartwright so refreshing is that you’re left wanting more. And that doesn’t happen often (the recent The Invisible Mother is an example of that “wanting”). You feel denied by not getting that other hour of film with We Die Alone. If there’s ever a short film that deserves expanding into a feature film (Fruit Chan’s cringey masterpiece Dumplings comes to mind), then it’s We Die Alone.

If Baker Chase Powell is familiar, that’s because he co-starred as Steve Dodd in Dolemite Is My Name, Eddie Murphy’s multiple-award winning biopic on ’70s exploitation filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore. Daytime TV fans have watched the Emmy-nominated Ashley Jones on The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful; HBO surfers know her from her recurring role as Daphne on True Blood. You’ve recently watch Samantha Boscarino on FOX-TV’s The Resident, but our younger readers will remember her recurring role on Disney Channel’s Good Luck Charlie; Lifetime fans enjoyed her as the lead in 2016’s The Cheerleader Murders (and she’s very good there, and here).

We Die Alone made its premiere at the Oscar-qualifying festivals LA Shorts and The Newport Beach Film Festival. It also picked up award wreaths at the Indie Memphis Film Festival (“Best After Dark Short”), iHorror Film Festival (“Best Director”), Shriekfest (“Best Thriller Short” and “Best Actor” for Baker Chase Powell), Filmquest (“Best Horror Short” and “Best Supporting Actress” for Ashley Jones), Crimson Screen Film Festival (“Best Actor” for Powell), Nightmares Film Fest (Powell, “Best Actor,” natch), and finally, GenreBlast (“Best Short Film”). Most recently, the Deep in the Heart Film Festival in Waco, Texas, granted three award nods to the film: Best Horror/Thriller Short, Best United States Short, and Best Performance for Baker Chase Powell. That festival streams from Waco on September 25 through 27 and October 2 through 4. Tickets are now on sale now at www.deepintheheartff.com.

You’ll be able to stream this multi-award festival winner beginning August 21 through Amazon Prime, with other services to follow. You can stay abreast of those developments with We Die Alone — as well as the other projects of Glass Cabin Films — on You Tube and Facebook and their official website.

Disclaimer: We were provided a screener by the film’s P.R firm. That has no bearing on our review.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies and publishes on Medium.

Stationary (2020)

Over one tense afternoon in a car, Jimmy (Xavian Russell, Top Boy) comes back home and comes to terms with former drug buddy Che (Rebekah Brookes-Murrell). This film also features Aaron Thomas Ward, who was in Accident Man.

The beauty of this film is how it uses its limited setting to tell a much larger story. Credit for that goes not only to director Louis Chan, but to the talented actors who bring this story to life.

To learn more, check out the official site.

You can watch the film here:

Thanks to Jonathan Caicedo-Galindo, the producer and an up and coming filmmaker, for sending this our way.

Genevieve (2020)

Nicholas Michael Jacobs is a young man who sends us movies every once in a while, like NightUrban Fears and Tales from Six Feet Under.

Genevieve is a spin-off of that last film. In this five-minute-long story, Ted Morris is attending his son’s funeral while two criminals are breaking into his home. Those criminals want one thing: the infamous — and potentially saleable — killer doll, Genevieve. Of course, things don’t go well.

Nicholas does a lot right — he has an IMDB page for the movie, he sends out numerous links for reviews and keeps pushing. Sooner or later, he’s going to make a movie that isn’t shot in POV and has people swearing to themselves for the entire running time. Again, this is not that time, but I also know that next year, I’ll have another film from him that will look better than this one.

For example, the credits look great on this one. So does the poster. It’s another step forward.

You can watch the movie here:

The Body (2020)

We previously reviewed Adam Weber’s movie The First Date and said that it was “a fun effort” with “decent FX.” Now he’s sent us his latest work, which is a quick little tale of two men and a dead — well, maybe — body.

Yes, these two characters have been asked to bury the body in the countryside, but things are never that simple when you have a corpse in the trunk.

Much like his last film, Adam knows how to use his production budget to make things look way better than they cost. I’m looking forward to the time when he moves past these short takes and attempts a longer narrative, as I want to see if he can sustain the same tension and humor across a longer story.

You can learn more at the official Facebook page. Thanks for sending us your films, Adam!

Dumplings/Gau ji (2004)

Fruit Chan’s Dumplings is a masterpiece. It is also a film not for the faint of heart.

If you cringed when you watched Pier Paolo Pasolini’s final film, 1975’s Salo, the 120 Days of Sodom . . . if you experienced a case of vomit reflux at Tom Six’s The Human Centipede . . . this statement on how far one will steep into the Seven Deadly Sin for their own personal gain . . . well, there’s no cup of rice tea that will sooth your soul or stomach.

Written by multi-award winning and Oscar-nominated writer Lillian Lee (aka Pik Wah Lee) of 1993’s Fairwell My Concubine fame, Dumplings is a film that’s incorrectly lumped in with the J-Horror cycle. And it’s a film that will forever remain untouched by the American obsession to remake all things J-Horror to a lesser and lesser effect. There’s never going to be an Aunt Mei cycle of films competing with tales of Toshio (Ju-On, aka The Grudge) and Sadako (Ringu, aka The Ring). There’s no way to boil this this graphic-filled dough ball into a good ol’ red, white & blue banality snack, homogenized for the post-Saw “Hard-R” marketplace.

I’ve lost many a film geek debates analogizing the Hong Kong-boiled Dumplings as a neo-giallo film. But this is my film review and I hereby christen this film as Asian Giallo. For if Dario Argento was in his “Animal” and “Three Mothers” trilogy prime—today—and not creating films in the puritanical ’70s, Argento—and not Lillian Lee—would have created Aunt Mei’s ersatz Erzsébet Báthory, the 17th century Countess of Transylvania who created a personal youth elixir from the blood of virgins. (Then Maestro Dario would have screwed it up with some over-the-top volumed Iron Maiden tunes, then blamed the bloody hijinks on a monkey with a straight razor.)

Mrs. Li (multi-award winning actress and musician Miriam Yeung) is a former actress pushed to the limits of vanity by her vain, wealthy husband in an affair with his maseuse. To save her marriage, she seeks the services of Aunt Mei (Bai Ling, Southland Tales), an underground chef famous for her rejuvenating dumplings—and the secret ingredient is more than just blood.

And we’ll just leave it at that.

You can watch the short version of “Dumplings” as part of the Three . . . Extremes anthology on Shudder, but there’s a free-with-ads stream on FShareTV. You can stream the feature film version of Dumplings on Shudder. But if you’re not a Shudder member, you can watch 11 clips from the film that will give your the full story arc, courtesy of Movie Clips on You Tube.

This a must watch and must have for any horror movie hound’s collection. And it’s a giallo . . . damn it!

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

This Life, I am a flower pot (2018)

If there was ever a film that definitively proves film is a universal art form that defies the roughly 6,500 languages in our world, it is this 38th directing effort from Chun-Ku Lu: This Life, I am a flower pot.

Unknown in the United States, outside of the most discriminating martial arts connoisseur, director Chun-Ku Lu is a respected, major star in China and the Pacific Rim territories with 80-odd combined credits as a writer, actor, and director. He’s best known to U.S audiences for his work during the martial arts heyday of ‘70s cinema for The Black Dragon’s Revenge, along with the popular ‘80s video rentals Bastard Swordsman (1983) and its sequel: Return of the Bastard Swordsman (1984).

After a 20-year retirement from the business in the late ‘90s, Chun-Ku Lu returns with this touching, beautifully-shot drama about a single mother and her portly, young son who leave Taiwan to live in the U.S. The title of this Mandarin language short out of Taiwan is pronounced Zhè bèizi, wǒ shì huā pén, which is also understood as: This world is a small bonsai.

Even without subtitles, this voiceover-related story is easy to digest by understanding the universal symbolism of the art of bonsai: a minimalist approach practiced in Zen Buddhism where one strives for peace, harmony, and balance; a maintaining and ordering of thoughts, so as to remove clutter from one’s life; an art that teaches man—like trees—must fight against the elements of nature (and his unbalanced fellow man).

The voiceover is provided—it seems—by Jimmy, who tells the story of how he and his mother left Taiwan for a better life in the United States. Of course, in their new land, they are “Guizi”: a xenophobic slang in their language to describe a foreigner. Jimmy quickly becomes the target of bullies; his mother is also a “ghost man”: one who lives an invisible existence, in her case, as a janitor, to provide for Jimmy; she can provide him only the simplest of birthdays (in Buddhism the candle represents the aware, enlightened mind). The receipt of a small wooden box—with three gold symbols—for his birthday from a relative in Taiwan becomes the catalyst for the next phase of young Jimmy’s life.

The Canadian cinematographer behind this stunner is Jimmy Wu. Relatively new to the film world, Wu made his debut three years ago with the 2017 Canadian-Chinese language short, The Molecule. He’s since shot seven shorts, served as an Assistant Camera and 2nd Assistant Camera on eight more, produced two, and has also composed music for the 2017 surrealistic, animated comedy, Love Ninja. You can view Wu’s superb reel featuring scenes from those projects on his You Tube page.

The bright lights of Hollywood aren’t far behind for Wu: we’ll be seeing more from him very soon. You can watch his and Chun-Ku Lu’s This Life, I am a flower pot in its entirety on You Tube.

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

Disclaimer: This movie wasn’t sent to us by its production company or PR department. We discovered the movie all on our own—courtesy of its Chun-Ku Lu connection—and genuinely enjoyed the movie.

Tales From Six Feet Under (2020)

Nicholas Michael Jacobs, the director of Night and Urban Fears is back, this time with an anthology film that follows a character named The Visitor through a graveyard as he tells the story of how three people died.

This time, he has a $1,500 budget, which is about $500 more than last time. Let’s get into it.

As you may have guessed from Nicholas’ films, he loves extended sequences where people do menial tasks while swearing and being stalked. This movie opens with another of those and at this point, three movies in, I’m actually excited when these things happen.

He’s also gone a bit meta here, as long stretches of the film have him wondering exactly what movie he should make. Perhaps these are the kinds of discussions that should be thought of before the movie is made. I mean, I’m nineteen minutes in and the movie has mostly been an autobiographical story of Nicholas cleaning his basement and dealing with the unknown while trying to make a movie.

That said — his movies do get better each time. They still aren’t any good, but there’s forward progress.

This movie is up on Amazon Prime today, so if you have any interest in seeing it, go for it. I can only imagine how people that have never seen one of Nicholas’ films before will react.

DISCLAIMER: Nicholas sent this to us himself, so you have to appreciate that he’s a go-getter.