These six short films are part of distributor Soda’s New British Cinema programme. All six are filmed at professional levels, all six have employed good actors, and all six are talent showcases.
The credits are nearly as long as each of the movies, and again are talent showcases for title designers.
I have seen a number of student film end of year sessions, and this is what this is, just a few years on with better equipment. Throughout the six, the credits are full, listing every specialist on the short film. On most of them, the roles of producer, director and writer are shared, which is why every short gets it wrong. Like camera operator, make-up artist and titles designer, scriptwriter is a specialized job. Except with scriptwriting every budding producer / director assumes they can do it. Not.
Two of these pieces, Long Distance Information and The Ellington Kid are merely extended jokes. I’m not knocking that. Having written a couple of hundred five to ten minute sketches vignettes myself, I know the extended joke is a useful source. But that is what these are.
The Judi Dench Friend Request Pending is the one that draws people in, and in spite of expert lighting and filming is mediocre. The conceit is that wow, old people can use Facebook! Patronising and boring and pedestrian scripting, and Judi Dench does basic Judi Dench.
Scrubber which combines OCD / cleaning fetish with what appears to be dogging is weird veering into distasteful.
The two best pieces are Man in Fear (with another well-known face, Tim Healey, as the unsympathetic desk sergeant) and A Gun For George about a mad Austin Allegro fetishist and would-be self-published pulp fiction writer. It has a 70s weird charm.