Fusion: One (2000)
"I've fallen, and I can't get up!"- from Every Night and Twice on Sundays.
Other Stars: various
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (films are individually rated by content)
Run Time: 02h:25m:30s
Release Date: 2000-09-04
DVD ReviewFusion One is the first in, hopefully, a series of DVDs focusing on independent short films and student works. It is, of course, comparable to the Short series, but this first disc seems, to be completely honest, far less concerned with image and fancy presentation. Instead, it's a collection of excellent short films in a variety of styles and genres. The following films are presented:
Director: 'Rusty Nails'
This a music video for a sort of punk/grunge type band. It's entertaining, though I didn't like the music, and an additional director's commentary is included.
Director: David Tarleton
This 20-minute short is a extremely well made and funny take on the Guess Whose Coming to Dinner genre. A "Goth" guy thinks that he's a shoe-in to be liked by his girlfriend's family because they're all fairies and goblins, but it turns out that prejudice can even intrude the domain of the mystical! An informative and fun director's commentary is featured.
Every Night and Twice on Sundays
Director: James Michael Hughes
This is a wonderful 'mockumentary' of the woman who did the "I've fallen and I can't get up!" commercials and her career. Although it doesn't actually star the real actress from those commercials, it's still a great short with an original concept. A director's commentary is included.
Flying With the Angels
Director: Richard Newton and Nancye Ferguson
This is a surreal, black-and-white piece about a woman's subconcious thoughts. The musical score was provided by Mark Mothersbaugh, most recognizable for his work with the band Devo. Three different commentary tracks are included: one with Richard Newton, one with actress/director Nancye Ferguson, and one with composer Mothersbaugh.
Director: Kate Judge
This short deals with a woman who tries to piece together a mental image of her mother's life, simply from things she's heard about her. A commentary with the director is featured, as well as another commentary by the film's score composer. An additional audio-only track of a song by the composer, Chris Cunningham, is here too.
Director: Brian Whitley
Running at about 20 minutes, this is a surreal and disturbing film about a young boy who is haunted by memories of his late sister as well as her ghost. Director's commentary is found on an alternate audio track.
Director: Christian Schaefer
This is a good, roughly 25-minute feature about a writer who gets lost inside his own subconscious. Oddly enough, it plays out very much like a short story I wrote back in high school. Another director's commentary is included here.
Director: Noah Kadner
I had the pleasure of the seeing this short film during it's initial theatrical tour during a local short-film festival. It's a very well made, excellent piece about a deep space satellite manned by a human in cryogenic stasis. When he is awakened, he only remembers fragments of his real life and past. For a student project (in which everyone had to participate in building sets and filming duties) it features some 'Hollywood quality' special effects and set design. A director's commentary and a behind-the-scenes featurette are included.
Director: Cyrus Helf.
There isn't much to say about Zitlover since I didn't watch it. Well, to be precise, I watched about 2 minutes of it and found it utterly unsuitable. It's basically a film designed to be extremely gross, tasteless, and extreme, but it also lacks anything remotely likable. Now, I love "taste pushing" movies like John Waters' Pink Flamingos and Peter Jackson's Bad Taste, but this is just disgusting without being very funny. Regardless, it has a director's commentary and a short, isolated score portion of the Zitlover theme.
The disc is rounded off by an intro from members of Indie DVD and a very strange trailer for a low-budget film called After Dusk. Unless I missed something, there were no credits for what Dusk is, or who makes it. Overall, the disc is superb entertainment (other than Zitlover) with some extremely fine example of up-and-coming filmmakers. If the quality standards and content length are upheld in future editions, this will easily surpass the Short series.
Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Though not anamorphic, the disc features superb image transfer all around. While most shorts use 1:75:1 (or 1:85:1), some are full frame and one is 2:35:1. Everything you can imagine as far as image quality goes is absolutely stellar. The only thing preventing me from giving it an A+ is that some of the shorts used weird film effects (like added-in grain) that tends to bring out a few brief moments of slight blur or pixelization. That aside, this is a very, very impressive disc. Of course, it probably helps that the disc runs at a CONSTANT 10mbps bitrate, without faltering.
Image Transfer Grade: A
Audio Transfer Review: Most of the shorts are 2.0 Surround, but a few decode as Dolby 5.1. None of the shorts really use the surrounds much or the LFE channel. They do, however, sound really good in their basic stereo format using some minor directionality. Dialogue is sometimes a little hard to hear, but then most of it was recorded with on-set sound systems. The quality of the overall sound is clean, undistorted, and very immersive. No complaints here. The only 'weird' thing is the After Dusk trailer, in which the dialogue only came out of the left surround speaker.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 0 cues and remote access
Extras Review: As previously mentioned, each movie has at least one commentary. On top of this, the keepcase insert features mini-bios on the directors and some of the cast members. In general, the presentation is superb, focusing solely on presenting the movies quickly and efficiently. Also worthy of note is the fact that each film is separately rated so that you'll know what to expect in each film, something missing from most compilations. Make sure you take the extreme warnings seriously as far as Zitlover goes; they aren't kidding.
Extras Grade: B+
Final CommentsIt is often said that first impressions are the most important. If that's the case, Fusion One is kicking off a superb series of short film celebrations with this entertaining collection of work, presented with professionalism and simplicity. Highly recommended.
Dan Lopez 2000-10-25