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Short films pack big entertainment

"Matters of Life and Death," written and directed by Joseph Mazzello, is a remarkably polished and tightly constructed film. This is excellent filmmaking and it's one not to miss. The portrayals by Mazzello, along with Daniel Gillies, Nick Heyman and Rachael Leigh Cook are top drawer.

The film follows the lives of three siblings &

two brothers and a sister &

whose parents are abruptly killed on 9/11. The opening frame shows the three seated in the office of the family attorney who is reading their parents' will. They sit in stoic silence as the terms are delineated, too stunned to comment, all in the grip of a grief that threatens to unhinge them as individuals and as a family.

Though the film is only 29 minutes long, it fills every moment with a genuine intensity, the dialogue spot-on, with a nice backstory scene starring David Strathairn as the father, playing baseball with his two sons. It's a wonderful moment, both joyous and sad, for the audience knows what awaits them only a few years away.

"Full Disclosure" tackles the dating dilemma head-on. Everette, discouraged that he has yet to find a suitable mate, and insisting that he wants a wife and children sooner than later, decides that the best way to fast forward the process of getting acquainted followed by courtship is to make full disclosure on the first date. Hence, he decides to reveal every bad habit, every quirky hang-up and see what happens. The plan is just a tad flawed, at least until he meets Brinn who steps forward and paces him hang-up for hang-up. This is a nice short that will put a smile on your face.

"Dead End Job" features Abigail Slay, obituary writer who has an uncanny ability to predict the demise of the rich and famous before the sad event takes place. Often she wakens from a sound sleep and writes down the name on a notebook by her bed. But then one night she wakes and writes her own name and suddenly her world is turned upside down. Convinced that she is next, she begins to take steps accordingly. This is a charming film that looks at questions of mortality, eventually asking who will write the obituary of the obituary writer.