Tag Archives: Adi Shankar

In Service of Nothing (2015, Tyler Gibb)

In Service of Nothing doesn’t have a writer credit, which is unfortunate. Even though the narration is occasionally too heavy-handed, it still has its effect moments.

Nothing is an unlicensed James Bond “potential” short film. Director Gibb does it as a pre-visualization, which lets him get away with a lot. The unfinished format conditions the viewer’s expectations, all of it extremely gently. Likewise, the way Bond himself transitions–from Sean Connery to an older, balder Connery–is also gentle. There’s a lot less detail after the opening in the sixties, but it works.

The short runs about ten minutes, which is good. There’s only so much despondent old man Bond one can take. Christopher Gee voices old man Bond and does well. It’s a Connery impression mixed with an actual performance.

It’s a great mix of concept and constraint. Gibb and company tell a quintessential, impossible 007 story.

3/3Highly Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Tyler Gibb; based on a character created by Ian Fleming; produced by Adi Shankar.

Starring Christopher Gee (James Bond).

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Power/Rangers (2015, Joseph Kahn)

Just from the concept, Power/Rangers should be a lot better. Or maybe not. The concept–a gritty action movie “Power Rangers” adaptation, done as a short with a professional cast, professional effects–sounds really amusing.

The result, however, is way too mired in continuity to be amusing for its fourteen minute run time. Or eleven and change, minus the end credits. It’s funny to rely so much on continuity from a kids show without a cult following, but it doesn’t make for a good narrative. Not even an eleven minute one.

The short has bad grown-up Power Ranger James Van Der Beek interrogating good grown-up Power Ranger Katee Sackhoff. Both actors are game, but Van Der Beek has too much material, Sackhoff not enough.

It’s a funny idea and an unsuccessful short. Director Kahn does okay with Power/Rangers, he just doesn’t know how to execute it.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Joseph Kahn; written by Kahn, James Van Der Beek and Dutch Southern; director of photography, Christopher Probst; music by Brian and Melissa; production designer, Brett Hess; produced by Adi Shankar and Jil Hardin.

Starring Katee Sackhoff (Kimberly/Pink), James Van Der Beek (Rocky), Russ Bain (Tommy/Green), Will Yun Lee (General Klank) and Gichi Gamba (Zack/Black).

Truth in Journalism (2013, Joe Lynch)

Truth in Journalism is narratively broken. The gimmick is it’s a short French documentary about a New York city photojournalist (Ryan Kwanten), set sometime during the eighties. The setting isn’t immediately clear, which is a problem because otherwise it looks like director Joe Lynch just ran it all through a crappy video filter. Once the setting’s established though, the problems with the fake film stock go away.

Kwanten’s magnetic lead performance also helps the technical problems cease to matter. His morally bankrupt narrator is hilarious, getting past all the dialogue bumps.

But Journalism is actually a comic book movie (just not an official one). When they get to that moment–it’s horror oriented–things fall apart. The narrative structure breaks, the special effects just aren’t good enough. It’s a shame.

But then–breaking the narrative more–there’s another scene and it’s hilarious and it redeems the entire short. Well, almost.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Joe Lynch; screenplay by Lynch, based on a character created by David Michelinie, Mike Zeck and Todd McFarlane; director of photography, Will Barratt; produced by Adi Shankar.

Starring Ryan Kwanten (Eddie), Billy Khoury (Director) and Derek Mears (Lester).


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Dirty Laundry (2012, Phil Joanou)

Dirty Laundry might be the first of its kind. It’s Thomas Jane returning to a role he (somewhat) famously quit in an unofficial, self-financed short sequel.

Well, a sequel without any copyright or trademark infringements, which makes it all the better.

In many ways, Laundry is a proof of concept for adapting Marvel Comics’s Punisher character into a viable film. The previous adaptations were often disastrous or incompetent. In ten minutes, Jane and director Joanou show they can make it ultra-violent, extremely self-aware and morally ambiguous… yet Jane can remain likable.

It’s indescribably fantastic. There are a couple questionable lines of dialogue, but the authenticity immediately returns after them.

As for Jane? He takes it seriously regardless of budget and possible copyright violations. His performance, down to facial ticks, is great.

Joanou shoots wide–wider than 2.40:1–amplifying the reality.

Laundry is unexpected and awesome.

3/3Highly Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Phil Joanou; screenplay by Chad St. John, based on a Marvel Comics character created by Gerry Conway, John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru; produced by Adi Shankar; released by Raw Studios.

Starring Thomas Jane (Frank), Sammi Rotibi (Goldtooth), Brandee Tucker (The Girl), Karlin Walker (The Kid) and Ron Perlman (The Shopkeeper).


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