T.V. and Movie Reviews by IG-88

Okay, I have reviews of the pilots for “Gotham” and “The Flash” coming up soon, but until then here’s something else.

We watch a lot of television in our house. It’s like a second job and it’s serious. In order to get through everything piled up on our DVR we need to be committed, diligent and have a strategy.  So every night of every week we discuss a plan, we debate it’s pros and cons and then we execute that shit. HARD. We’re like a soft, carb-bloated, couch loving Seal Team Six whose “Osama Bin Laden” is crushing this season of Orange is The New Black in a timely fashion. But sometimes, at the end of a hard night of battle, we’re still hungry for more. Lately, we’ve been sating that urge for excess by spooling up Vimeo on our Apple TV and looking for cool sci-fi related content. And, man, is there some amazing stuff out there.

As many of you know Vimeo is like the classy version of YouTube, with fewer kitten videos and more short films. But we’ve had a lot of luck finding cool sci-fi content as well, especially shorts that feature some fairly stunning VFX. But it’s not just about cool effects, because there’s some pretty impressive storytelling going on as well.  In fact some of the videos we’ve sampled have left us wondering why we just obliterated an hour of our lives watching Falling Skies.  Well, we often wonder that anyway, but you get what I’m laying down.

Below you’ll find links to just a few of the excellent shorts (and one trailer) we’ve come across. It’s all robots and astronauts, but served up with the ingenuity and attention to story that a limited budget tends to encourage. They remind me of some of the more thoughtful science fiction literature I’ve read and prove that the big budget, tent-pole, superhero obsessed studio popcorn blockbuster has not totally squelched the idea that we can use those futuristic robots and astronauts to tell some pretty potent tales about who we are right now.

Of course Vimeo isn’t the only place to find all this cool stuff. It’s a big wide internet after all. So, my droogies, when you’re done viddying these little nuggets, return the favor by letting us know what you dig up out there too. Enjoy!

Grounded:

This brainy short from director Kevin Margo features the tale of the lone survivor of a crashed spaceship on an alien world. From there the story gets a little less clear, but not in a bad way. Incorporating themes of aging and the cyclical trajectories of life, this one takes a pretty big swing and, I think, delivers. Very cool.

Construct:

Another effort from director Kevin Margo, this teaser for a (presumably) larger short to come, uses some amazing VFX to tell the story of a mild mannered robot construction worker who shows up to work and stumbles onto some gnarly doings. You’ll watch this over and over… I guarantee it.

Mis-Drop:

Told from the perspective of a mercenary about to be dropped into combat as a part of a colonial invasion, Ferand Peek’s short is pretty impressive. Using only a head mounted camera on the mercenaries space suit, it manages to tell a pretty complex story in an incredibly efficient way. Ferand Peek, please sell out and direct something cool for the big screen soon!

Robots of Brixton:

Though this one has been around for a while it’s worth looking at again… and again. In this VFX heavy effort director Kibwe Tavares re-imagines the 1981 Brixton Riots, replacing the London district’s poor African-Caribbean residents with robot laborers. It’s not a laugh riot, but it is potent stuff. And is another example of stretching the sci-fi genre to include difficult themes about violence, poverty, race and social justice.