500 Posts! Thank you!

 

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 500 posts since I started this thing three years ago! Thank you so much to everyone that has been a constant reader or even those of you that are new! I wouldn’t be here without you!

Here’s a look back at the most popular reviews since this whole thing started.

 

  1. Turbo Charged Prelude (2003)
  2. Poltergeist (1982)
  3. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
  4. Frankenstein (1994)
  5. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
  6. Leprechaun (1993)
  7. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
  8. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
  9. Horror Express (1972)
  10. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

 

You keep reading and I’ll keep writing…

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Short Film Sunday] The White Helmets (2016)

Director: Orlando von Einsiedel

Cast: Khalid Farah, Mohammed Farah, Abu Omar

41 mins. Not Rated.

  • Academy Award Winner: Best Documentary Short Subject

 

Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you hadn’t heard of The White Helmets before. Maybe you had. For me, I’ve always felt like my knowledge of what’s going on in the world is rather limited. It wasn’t until I watched this documentary short, winner at this year’s Academy Awards, that I had my eyes open to the bravery of this group.

The White Helmets tells the story of the first responders to the airstrike victims in Syria. This group, called the Syrian Civil Defense, do not get paid but rather volunteer, risking their lives to save countless others.

This documentary short is not an easy one to watch, but director Orlando von Einsiedel doesn’t hold back when confronting the dangers that these volunteers have to face every single day in the line of duty. The most important aspect presented comes in the form of statistics that The White Helmets ends with. After seeing what they go through to save lives, the impact of the film is all the more hard-hitting.

The White Helmets is an impressive look at a part of the world that needs more spotlight. Through the lens, the director and his team present a painful yet hopeful look at humanity in the form of the Syrian Civil Defense. This is important film-making.

 

The White Helmets is available on Netflix.

 

4.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Short Film Sunday] Frozen Fever (2015)

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Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad

Screenplay: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Marc Smith

8 mins. Rated G.

 

Frozen Fever is perhaps the best title for this week’s short film. It happens to embody the main plot of the piece and also the ongoing love for this small but mighty franchise. Everyone is apeshit for Frozen (and I mean that in the best possible way, I also really enjoyed the film).

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In this short film continuation of the original movie, released as an opener for last year’s Cinderella, we see that some major changes have to come to Arendelle since the finale of Frozen. Today is the 19th birthday for Anna (Kristen Bell, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Zootopia), and her sister Elsa (Idina Menzel, Enchanted, Rent) wants to throw a massive party to make up for the last several years of isolated birthdays. The problem: Elsa has a fever, and she can’t stop sneezing little snowmen into existence. As Kristoff (Jonathan Groff, TV’s Looking, The Normal Heart) and Olaf (Josh Gad, Love & Other Drugs, Pixels) struggles to maintain the little critters, Anna desperately tries to convince her sister to cancel the whole thing.

Frozen Fever is a cute little one-off slice of life. I liked the addition of the Snowgies, as they are termed, as they provide a little chorus for fan-favorite Olaf. I also really enjoyed the closer examination of Elsa’s powers, as it doesn’t detract from the magic of the original film. Sadly, the short doesn’t carry much weight and is, apart from the above wins, largely forgettable. “Making Today a Perfect Day,” the new song, isn’t all that entertaining or catchy upon first glance, and the short feels like more of an afterthought of unused ideas for a Frozen sequel.

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All in all, I like my franchise shorts to feel like something special for the fans, an addition to the larger mythos of the regular series that adds and progresses the story in some way. To that note, Frozen Fever both meets and misses the mark. I enjoyed it mildly and can see why any other fan would too (mostly the younglings), but it isn’t the near-perfect display that its predecessor is.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Short Film Sunday] Lava (2014)

 lava2014a

Director: James Ford Murphy

Cast: Kuana Torres Kahele, Napua Greig

Screenplay: James Ford Murphy

7 mins. Rated G.

 

This week’s short film is Lava, a 2014 film most widely recognized as the Pixar short released with this year’s Inside Out.

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Lava is the story of Uku (Kuana Torres Kahele), a lonely volcano who wishes for someone to share in his song. He sees the wildlife all around him enjoy the company of others, and for millions of years, he waits for his loneliness to end. The short is set to a song written by writer/director of the film, James Ford Murphy.

Lava received a lot of flack upon release, many Pixar fans discussing the film’s underwhelming appeal. I, on the other disagree. The film is beautiful in its simplicity. It’s the classic tale of patience and features a stunningly graceful musical number. The low amount of dialogue allows for a deeper appreciation of the imagery, which is gorgeously crafted.

All in all, I loved Lava, a film packed with emotional triggers throughout its 7-minute runtime. See it now.

 

4.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

300 Posts! Thanks to the Fans!

Hey there everyone. Yesterday, this blog passed 300 posts, and I cannot be happier. This year has been a particularly great one for the Goatman, and I have you, my loyal fans, to thank! 300 Posts is a lot. Without the support from you readers, this wouldn’t mean nearly as much. Here is my Top 10 Most Viewed items from the last 300. You keep reading and I’ll keep writing.

  1. Turbo Charged Prelude (2003)
  2. Poltergeist (1982)
  3. No Xenomorphs in Prometheus 2? What Has This All Been For?
  4. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
  5. Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
  6. Leprechaun (1993)
  7. Star Wars-Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
  8. Independence Day (1996)
  9. Big Hero 6 (2014)
  10. Tales from the Crypt presents Demon Knight (1995)

Thanks again, and as always, I invite the fans to feedback, what do you like to see? What could you live without? Comment and let me know!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Short Film Sunday] Monster (2005)

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Director: Jennifer Kent

Cast: Susan Prior, Luke Ikimis-Healey, Trash Vaudeville

Screenplay: Jennifer Kent

10 mins. Not Rated.

 

This week, we will be looking at the short film that inspired the 2014 hit The Babadook when I review Jennifer Kent’s Monster.

In Monster, a single Mother (Susan Prior, Animal Kingdom, The Rover) cares for her difficult son (Luke Ikimis-Healey) as he constantly describes his encounters with a terrifying Monster (Trash Vaudeville). It isn’t long before the mother starts to realize that the monster is very real and is all around her.

I happened to prefer this short to the feature-length The Babadook. I like the simplicity of the monster here and I think the pacing was pretty spot-on, whereas The Babadook tends to drag on a bit. I liked the turn from Susan Prior before she made it to American films, and Australian director Kent’s placement of the camera is in the right places to get the most effective mood for the short.

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Monster is a pretty solid short film that you can find quite easily online without much trouble. If you saw The Babadook or not, you should check it out. While the performance from the child isn’t nearly as engaging as Prior or even Trash Vaudeville as the monster, but this is the kind of short that provides perfect tone and is easily watchable and rewatchable again.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

[Short Film Sunday] Los Bandoleros (2009)

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Director: Vin Diesel

Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Sung Kang, Tego Calderon, Don Omar, Mirtha Michelle

Screenplay: Vin Diesel, T.J. Mancini

20 mins. Not Rated.

In Los Bandoleros, we see where Dominic Toretto’s life after he escapes police hands. As he ends up in the Dominican Republic, he takes a break from his life of crime to share time with some old friends as well as his love Letty (Michelle Rodriguez, Avatar, Machete Kills) before embarking on a new job: hijacking a gas tanker in the short film leading up to the events of Fast & Furious and directed by star Vin Diesel (Strays).

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I wanted to like this short a lot more than I did. I still enjoyed it more than the Turbo Charged Prelude. I think that Diesel really cares about this character and this material, so I respect that he wants to stop the action and just take a character beat to learn more about his character’s sensibilities and personality before jumping headlong into Fast & Furious. The short just didn’t do it for me. It felt a bit too much like the opposite of the preceding short film, but rather than giving too much info, it gives too little. It’s an exercise in what is needed in a franchise.

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I would have enjoyed a much-shortened version of this slice of life in the actual film as opposed to this short. Diesel has the capabilities to do something as a director, but it isn’t here.

2/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

For my review of Rob Cohen’s The Fast and the Furious, click here.

For my review of Philip G. Atwell’s Turbo Charged Prelude, click here.

For my review of John Singleton’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, click here.

For my review of Justin Lin’s Fast & Furious, click here.

For my review of James Wan’s Furious 7, click here.

[Short Film Sunday] Turbo Charged Prelude (2003)

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Director: Philip G. Atwell

Cast: Paul Walker

Screenplay: Keith Dinielli

6 mins. Not Rated.

Hey everyone, and welcome to a brand-new column I’m doing called Short Film Sunday. Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest in many cultures, and what better way to do so than to review some short films. These are meant to be quick analysis on short films, which ones are worth it and which ones are not. We start today with a short created by Universal Pictures to bridge the gap between The Fast and the Furious and 2 Fast 2 Furious. It doesn’t really have a title, so we will go with the Turbo Charged Prelude.

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Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker, Brick Mansions, Hours) is on the run from the cops. He broke a hell of a lot of laws by letting Dominic Toretto escape his grasp, and now he has nothing. He begins street racing for cash to keep himself out of the public eye while using the very thugs he was infiltrating to keep him out of trouble. His journey takes him to the streets of Miami where it leads right up to the beginning of 2 Fast 2 Furious.

This short is quite worthless to me. We see no character development for Brian which is bad since his character at the beginning of 2 Fast 2 Furious is quite different from the one we met at the end of The Fast and the Furious, but he seems to enjoy the fact that he has left his entire life behind him and essentially failed in every way in his previous mission. There is no internal conflict, though that can be blamed on the poor script utilizing no dialogue and quick images of events that don’t appeal whatsoever. Shame.

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The Turbo Charged Prelude is meant to bridge the films, but it does nothing that the opening on 2 Fast 2 Furious didn’t do by itself in less time. It feels like filler meant to sell DVDs, because it is. Not worth your time.

1/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

For my review of Rob Cohen’s The Fast and the Furious, click here.

For my review of John Singleton’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, click here.

For my review of Vin Diesel’s Los Bandoleros, click here.

For my review of Justin Lin’s Fast & Furious, click here.

For my review of James Wan’s Furious 7, click here.