Short Film Review “Reflections In The Mirror” 1



First, the Recap:

Oh to be a fanboy. To be so wholly fueled by your passion for something that no matter what it takes, it becomes your world. We see it happen especially when it comes to movies and TV shows, where legions of fans fawn over the mere mention of their favorite project’s newest news, big or small, and collect every possible thing they can associated with it. Yes, it is a tad–obsessed. For one young man named Randy (Randy Bruce), the universe exists around his cult classic film “Return To Oz”. It’s trivia, collectables, DVDs, anything and everything about it, Randy covets.

However, one strange night, he dreams deeply and suddenly finds himself on a very surreal journey that is filled with a myriad of events associated with the film, primarily in the finding of objects in a park that are all from the story, as if he was becoming an actual part of the adventure himself. Things get even more funky when, later on the same dream, he “wakes” up 15 years later to an older, successful self (Jason Smither) who still appreciates the film (and his bulked up bod). After having a rather weird encounter with a disembodied Oz Witch (Marlena Richardson), young Randy wakes up to reality, happy to know he’s out of danger, still a fan of the film–and is now late for work.

Next, my Mind:

One truly wants to be able to give credit where credit is due when it comes to watching the end product of a filmmaker’s endeavor. In this case, while this reviewer more than understands the true struggle indie filmmakers have often in even getting a project to screen, then festivals, and anything beyond, this newest effort from director/co-writer/producer/editor Aaron Pacentine is really a mess. It perhaps should be clarified that unless you as the viewer are, like the young protagonist/narrator Randy, an absolute fan of “Return To Oz” and have seen it back to front multiple times over, you’re going to most likely have a difficult time relating to much less being engaged by this haphazard-feeling short film. The choppiness of the narrative’s course beyond just its base foundations, the very often awkward transitions scene to scene, the clumsy visuals (even despite an understandable lack of budget for FX), the sound editing likewise being sporadic and a little annoying–it’s actually a little confounding that a supposed $10,000 was spent and this was what came of it. Even an attempt to understand this is a first real effort being offered still doesn’t totally justify the wreck this is from an overall production standpoint. Now, the trivia aspects are fun, and it’s more than evident our narrator/host is passionate about his subject, which is very commendable. Just wished for better packaging for it.

Bruce as, well, himself/host/Young Man here is admittedly fun at times, as again, his genuine heart and passion for what he’s portraying/describing/experiencing comes from that place of total adoration associated with the subject matter and its associated proceedings.  But, from a total acting standpoint, it’s like we’re literally watching someone who grabbed a video camera and just started filming. Sometimes this can be fun to watch, but relative to the intent and purpose here, even as a pseudo-documentary, it becomes a little more tedious than entertaining. Still, Bruce has his whole being into making this effort, so this reviewer is willing to applaud his aforementioned passion, as that is a key element to possess when striving to gain ground, especially in the film industry. Supporting turns are present here from Smither as the older Randy, who actually is rather amusing as he initially portrays the character with the kind of reaction we think of in the classic film “Big” in being a kid waking up in a more adult form, and then mainly voiceover work from Denise Bryer, Rhonda Linda Clark, and Marlena Richardson, as well as an appearance from Deanna Pacentine. In total, “Reflections In The Mirror” truly might please uber fans of “Return To Oz”, but honestly otherwise, it isn’t a film what will have mass appeal even within the indie circles.  But, this only leaves room to grow and improve, right?

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

One comment on “Short Film Review “Reflections In The Mirror”

  1. Reply Keriane Sep 11,2017 1:05 am

    I completely agree with your assessment of this film Reflections in the Mirror. I am a professional film critic as well, and this film was brought to my attention by a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago. The first (and only) time I watched it, I swear I thought my friend was pranking me. I did not think this was really a serious independent film and it was definitely a challenge for me to come up with a review for it that was both honest and also tactful because other than pointing out his passion for Return to Oz, I couldn’t really think of anything good to say. And that is rare for me as a film critic. In fact, you were actually a bit more truthful than I was in describing it….while I appreciated his passion for the project, I called it a kaleidoscope of ever-changing time-frames and dream-like hallucinations that nobody in their right mind could ever comprehend.

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