I grew up in a Southern evangelical household which means I’m not religious at all as an adult (trust me, if you’d had an attempted exorcism performed on you as a teen, you’d be wary of religion too). I DO love reading & learning about religions though; probably because I’ve always had a fascination with mythology and to me these are just more mythical tales. I’m quite familiar with the story of the angels’ Fall from heaven (am actually studying the Book of Enoch at the moment for something that I’m writing) and all that came after. There are different versions of the tale but John Milton’s Paradise Lost might be one of the more popular ones.
LOST + FOUND, directed by Jeremiah Kipp, is a short shot entirely in black & white that retells Paradise Lost in a modern, elegant way. Jenn Plotzke is a delight as Satan – all holy fire (or unholy as the case may be) and sensuality, ready to destroy God’s favored creatures in revenge. Ari Rossen as Beelzebub makes a good sideman, silent but ready to do whatever his master asks of him (and looking oddly like the angel from SUPERNATURAL…). I felt like Carl Hendrick Louis as Adam wasn’t in this enough at all. There was only a glimpse or two of him; he was an afterthought. (Sorry, Adam. Not your story.) And our Eve, Pia Haddad, seemed less innocent and surer of herself than one might perhaps consider her as and very, very willing to go chill in the garden with a lovely lady. (Sorry again, Adam!)
The costumes were simple (angels as accountants – why is that the universal standard? Who started this thing? I demand to know.) and the dialogue is sparing (the first couple of minutes consist of Satan explaining her whole “let’s corrupt the world’ idea, then the rest is a voice over from Ari – also, excellent job, Ari). The acting and direction are really what made this film; and the use of black & white instead of color. You’d think that with the Garden of Eden, you’d need lots of bright colors to portray the “magicalness” of it all. Instead, Adam & Eve each have a shimmer of glitter over one of their cheekbones – between that and the b&w you get a dream-like quality that draws you in more than any vivid colors or magical realism could. It was an excellent choice to make.
Essentially, this is a cool retelling of Paradise Lost. Dreamy, sensual, and elegant, it’s a sight to behold. 10/10, would recommend. (I don’t really have a rating system. Just go watch it.)
You guys know how I LOVE well-made short films, right? Like, I have a hard-on for that shit. Particularly thought-provoking ones that tackle difficult issues. Pink Moon is totally in that category. TOTES.
Pink Moon is the story of a boy and girl living in a society where heterosexuals are persecuted. As if having to hide their relationship wasn’t enough, the girl gets pregnant (oh, did I mention abortion is forbidden?). It’s a pretty simplistic description for a film that evokes such complex emotion. While the overly-obvious plot device of twisting certain civil rights issues on their heads might be cause for some initial concern, in reality you’ve got a relevant-to-us-all story that needs to be told.
And Pink Moon tells this story with a quiet kind of aplomb. It’s not overbearing in its story-telling, never heavy handed as it could have been in lesser hands than Sal Bardo’s. Brandon Tyler Harris and Cole Johnston as the teenage couple are breathtaking; their chemistry amazing and deeply affecting. The raw honesty here has the potential to shift viewpoints. Beautiful is really the best way to sum up watching this.
My only issue with the film was confusion on my part on how/why people can still have/are having children when heterosexuals aren’t meant to be together. Is it all accidental pregnancies? Insemination? Are there specified “breeders”? I realize there are different ways this could be done but the unclearness here, especially in the hospital scene, drug me out of the story for a moment. That was it though. Apparently a full length version of this movie is being made right now or in the near future (which I cannot WAIT to see!) so I’m hoping things are made a bit more clear in it.
My recommendation is that this be required viewing but since it’s a *free* world, I’ll just highly suggest it instead. 😉 Links to the website are above and Facebook links are in the photos and the movie is online and free. Approximately 17 minutes can give you a helluva lot to ponder.
Hey guys! The latest issue of Rogue Cinema has just hit the web and there’s tons of good stuff in it – here’s a few of them. Enjoy!
If you’ve been a reader of this site for awhile, then there are at least three things you know about me: 1) I love horror 2) I’m a pretty big and pretty dedicated fan of Jeremiah Kipp’s work and 3) I am a fan of Edgar Allan Poe. At least, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned my love of Poe before (my memory is just the worst…). I started reading dear old Poe when I was 8 (not sure why my parents allowed that but hey, it gave me my first foray into horror lit and into the horror genre itself!) and “The Cask of Amontillado” was always my favorite. Something about being walled up for eternity just totally creeped me out (that 8 year old imagination probably came into wicked play there…). My friend, Jeremiah, has taken one of Poe’s short stories “Berenice” and turned into an deliciously creepy short film. It’s his little piece of the upcoming horror anthology Creepers, debuting on Blu-ray and VOD on October 7.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story, as I was (and thank goodness I didn’t read this one as a child, is all I gotta say), there once was a boy named Edward who had a lovely cousin named Berenice (names updated for our modern audience) who came to live with him and his parents. Edward (Thomas Mendolia) is a bit awkward and obsessive compulsive. He has to turn lamps on a certain number of times and tinkers with small mechanical parts at his desk, alone in his room. Social he is not. Then along comes Berenice (Cheryl Koski) who is everything Edward is not – sociable, graceful, roaming carelessly through life. Except there’s a catch. Isn’t there always? Berenice is ill, dreadfully ill, with a mysterious malaise that we, at best, know causes seizures. And then there’s Edward’s mother (Susan Adriensen), who while being a bit of a stiff actress, manages to be absolutely terrifying. I’ve no idea if she’s in love with her son or just extremely overprotective and overpowering but I would not cross that woman. Edward’s father (Bob Socci) is rather unassuming, although he too comes off as a bit stiff. Edward is eventually told that he must be the one to take care of Berenice as she worsens, which he seems to be fine with as he’s seemingly…charmed by her, shall we say? And from there, I’ll let you either watch the film or go hunt down the story because what happens next is at times gruesome and then creepy.
Is the film good? You betcha. Thomas and Cheryl both embody their characters in such a way that it’s almost painful to watch – which in this particular story is a good thing. I’m far from being squeamish but there were a couple of scenes here that made me squirm just a bit (although it has been a rather long time since I’ve watched anything other than a tv show binge on Netflix…maybe that’s why…). And the ending? It’s not even the ending actually; it’s just the last final shot that got me. *shudders* Pure cinematic horror goodness right there.
If you love Poe, if you’ve liked my reviews of Jeremiah’s other works, if you just like short horror films done well and if you like horror anthologies (cause I hear the other parts are pretty kickawesome as well!), then check out “Berenice” and Creepers on October 7th!
If you’re a long time reader of this site, then you’ve heard me mention Jeremiah Kipp a few times. His short films were one of the first things I ever reviewed here and I’ve also interviewed him for Rogue Cinema. I also may or may not have repeatedly begged him to cast me in something because I really love his work and I may or may not have completely embarrassed myself in doing so….ahem…anyway…. 😉
The latest thing he’s working on is something that is very exciting for me not only because it’s a horror thing but also because in the “About” video on Indiegogo they mention Hansel & Gretel which means it’s kind of a horror/fairy tale mesh which totally hits my sweet spot cause we all know how I feel about those two things! I mean, we do all know, right? I have made that pretty clear on this site, right? *giggles*
Anyway, they ARE running a campaign on Indiegogo so if you are so inclined, hit them up with a couple of bucks or if you have a friend you think would dig on this, give them the heads up. Because if this doesn’t get made, I might cry. 😦 You wouldn’t want to see me cry would you???
Coming Up Next on Cinema Schminema: Bad Milo, The American Scream, Velvet Elvis, interviews and more!
Imagine a world where you never have to die. How is that possible, you say? Why, by hooking up with your local vampire who can turn you in a hot second!
Lucius is old and while he dearly loves his dead wife, he doesn’t love her enough to spend eternity with her. So he hires Victoria, a vampire, to turn him so he can live forever. Of course he has to pay her cause you know blood sucking doesn’t come free these days! Victoria commences with her vampire magic but is interrupted by a call from her momma. Meanwhile, Lucius is seeing himself as a young child again and Victoria as a young girl. So does our guy become a vampire himself? Or is Victoria just playing him for a fast buck?
Another short film by Jeremiah Kipp, this one is much less with the experimental (and drool!) and more with the cute and funny. The kids in this one are tres adorable and the actress playing Victoria is cute in a “I’m a vampire and you’re wasting my time so I’m gonna be whiny about it” kinda way.
Favorite line: Lucius – “How long will it take?” Victoria – “Well, that all depends on you…..but you’re so old…..”
Today we have another Jeremiah Kipp short film, the experimental and NSFW Drool. While I loved Crestfallen, I don’t love this. However, I also don’t dislike it.
Drool leaves one unsettled and in my case vaguely grossed out due to the copious amounts of, you guessed it, drool. I may be unsqueamish when it comes to blood and guts but other bodily fluids give me the heebie jeebies. And I have issues with sticky substances and whatever was used here seemed a bit syrupy. So if you have issues with that sort of thing, I’d take a pass on this on. If you’re down with a little (a lot of) clear, sticky syrupy gel like substances then I definitely recommend this.
Stop telling us about your weird issues with substances and get to the point of the film already!
Another silent film and completely open to interpretation, Drool is shot in sepia tones with a stark background (that has a steam room feel to it). Minus the fluids, it’s really beautifully done. Featuring just two actors, my interpretation is: birth, life, sex and death. (All this in just under five minutes too!) There’s really not a lot going on here action wise but the actors really do a great job of storytelling with their entire bodies. They’re graceful and it’s almost like watching a ballet (although a ballet done mostly laying on the floor).
The full video is included below and if you like experimental film and aren’t particularly squeamish like me, then I’d definitely recommend a viewing. Drool is unlike anything else I’ve seen recently and that alone wins it major points in a cinematic world of remakes, sequels and just plain boringness.
There’s a severe lack of snark in this review because honestly the first word that comes to mind after watching the short film, “Crestfallen”, written and produced by Russ Penning and directed by Jeremiah Kipp, is exquisite. From the main character played by Deneen Melody to the cinematography, “Crestfallen” has a radiance to it all while remaining unsettling.
The film is silent, coupled only with a haunting score by Harry “Friday the 13th” Manfredini. The story follows a young woman (Melody) as she attempts to take her life. Told mainly via flashback, we see the devastation wrought upon her as she catches her husband with another woman and sees her daughter taken away from her. There are several disturbing yet beautiful images throughout and since it’s silent, one is able to form their own opinion about what exactly has transpired.
Melody is achingly vulnerable and the first slice of her wrist is reminiscent of Juliet (“Oh happy dagger, this is thy sheath.”) while the lighting and mood is reminiscent of “The Virgin Suicides”. Melody does a tremendous job of handling a heavy story with only one bit of minor overacting that had me yell “No!” at the movie. It only lasts for a millisecond though so I was relieved.
I can’t help but to want to watch more from director, Jeremiah Kipp, and lucky for me I have two more shorts to follow up with!