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Shorts Round-Up #3 - August 2023

Navel Gazers (2021) *** - Slightly tongue-in-cheek dystopian short about the evolving use of technology. Comes across as a cheap Black Mirror episode, but its no less valid for that as the message is a salient one, hinting that humanity is on an ever-decreasing spiral to something that even as recently as the last century, we would have pointed and laughed at. Now, its apparent inevitability is the real dark comedy. Go out, lift your head out of your phone and smell the flowers.

Zilly's War (2019) *.5 - Budget-defining sci-fi can sometimes be very tricky to pull off and you see hints of this here, despite the makers best efforts, in the 23 minutes we're afforded. The argument being that what can you really expect from next to nothing? A woman's four year spacefaring trip to the newest (and only other) habitable planet is serene more than exciting. A solitary trip she relishes, getting away from a life she doesn't feel she fits in with at home, represented through a backstory we don't really have time for. The cost is dressing this up as something it isn't. Not bad, per se, merely misleading. Defined as Chapter One, which maybe explains the reason why there's no 'war' to speak of. We'll see, I guess.

Phoenix 9 (2014) ** - Post-apocalyptic sci-fi short presented by DUST. Weighing in at around twenty minutes this is far shy of ground-breaking but none too shabby. The acting performances are maybe better than this story deserves or than we should really expect. Even at this length, this drags in moments, with seemingly pointless exposition. however, but the FX are nice.


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