Archives for posts with tag: film

This week’s short film is amazing.

It’s a funny little French film about a satyr who can’t catch a break.

Definitely check this out if you like Greek Mythology.

This month I watched the film Visioneers, starring Zack Galifianakis and Judy Greer.

visioneers

Jeffers morning to you all.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I selected this movie. Really, the thing that made me pick this one was the cast. I like ZG. He’s a funny guy. He’s also kind of weird, so I figured that any movie featuring him as the starring actor is going to be a little off-beat.

Welp. I was right. This one is definitely well off the beaten path.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy this movie. It’s just…different.

Visually, I would place this somewhere between American Psycho and American Beauty. There are many scenes that are just…barren. Austere offices and homes with neutral tones. For the first half of the movie, colors are washed out. The only time they ever seem to pop is on a television program or in a dream sequence.

In terms of narrative and plot, this movie reminded me of Mike Judge’s work. It was a little more heavy handed in some respects, but there was definitely a clear sense of social satire similar to Idiocracy‘s or Office Space.

Basically, Visioneers is about a world where intimacy and independence are rapidly disappearing commodities. People spend all their time worshiping television personalities, binge eating, and being productive employees.

Everyone lives in constant fear of…well…exploding. I don’t mean that as a metaphor- people fucking explode in this movie.

And what’s great about this plot element is that everything is permeated by a thick layer of tension and anticipation. It could happen at any moment and people go to great (absurd) lengths to avoid it.

It’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as people explode because they’re stressed (and repressed, and forced to behave as a cog in a machine) and they’re stressed because they might explode.

A lot of the humor in this movie comes from the sheer absurdity that is played with a completely straight face. The very first scene has the main character greeting his coworkers at the Jeffers Company with a good morning and a middle finger, which has become the “Jeffers Salute.”

There were some issues with pacing, and as I said before, things were pretty heavy handed in some respects. But in all, this is a pretty good movie. I would say if you’re looking for something watch and reflect on a little, Visioneers would be a good choice.

 

This week’s short is very dear to me.

I saw this short film waaaay back in high school and it has stuck with me ever since.

Not only is it well shot with a poignant message, but it also has an amazing original song, which you can download on iTunes.

This film is about the nature of happiness, drugs, and how others perceive our emotions. It grows more relevant with every passing day.

Enjoy!

 

Changing this pace with this week’s pick.

It’s about a camera crew that follows around two serial killers who attempt to kill sixteen victims in twenty four hours.

This one is a little more artsy than some of the other shorts I’ve featured- it’s in black and white and all of the dialogue is in French. That’s about as artsy as you can get.

However, there’s some interesting history with this film.

First off, it’s based on the Kid Cudi song “Maniac” off the album Man in the Moon Pt. 2.  Kid Cudi actually stars in this movie as one of the serial killers (you’ll never guess which one). He also did all the music, which really shouldn’t come as a surprise.

The film was directed and written by Shia LaBeouf before he went completely insane. He even has a brief cameo at the very end.

What I find so interesting about this film is that it’s an interpretation of a song. I love seeing art beget art and I think it’s very cool that Kid Cudi had a direct hand in making this movie.

To me, Maniac takes the genre of the music video a step further. Instead of focusing on the music and lyrics, it’s reinterpreting things by taking the themes and feelings the song embodies and communicates them through another medium, not necessarily featuring the song at all. It’s a kind of translation and it’s certainly something you don’t see every day.

Shia and Kid Cudi did a great job with this short film.

I have decided to change the name of this monthly segment to “Nothing to Watch on Netflix,” as I thought of it when I wasn’t hacking up a mouthful of blood.

robot_and_frank

In my period of sickness, I got the chance to watch the movie Robot and Frank.

Keeping with the theme of old people meeting robots, Robot and Frank is much happier than the short I shared last week.

This one tied for the  Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

Taking place in the distant future, Robot and Frank is about an old man whose son buys him a robot helper. Frank is the epitome of a grumpy old man. He grumbles, he rolls his eyes, and he goes on about how he doesn’t need help from some newfangled bucket of bolts.

However, Frank is slowly slipping into senility and actually does need the help. He is resistant until he realizes that Robot doesn’t have to obey the law. Frank, being a retired jewel thief, realizes that Robot is the perfect accomplice.

Going on in the background is the political implications of widespread use of robots. Frank’s daughter is an avid anti-robot activist and gets thrown into the mix while Frank and Robot are planning heists.

Robot and Frank

Directed by Jake Schreier
Produced by Lance Acord
Sam Bisbee
Jackie Kelman-Bisbee
Galt Niederhoffer
Written by Christopher D. Ford
Starring
Frank Langella
Susan Sarandon
Peter Sarsgaard
James Marsden
Liv Tyler
Music by Francis and the Lights
Cinematography Matthew J. Lloyd
Editing by Jacob Craycroft
Studio: Park Pictures
White Hat Entertainment
Dog Run Pictures
Running time 89 minute

Check this out.

Be sure to send recommendations for next month to my email

 

I picked this one because it made me weep like a twelve year old girl.

It’s about an old woman who gains a new robotic housekeeper.

Enjoy!

Your Lucky Day from Daniel Brown on Vimeo.

I actually saw this short a while back, but it has stuck with me for so long that I decided it needs to be made the short of the week.

This one is a little different from last week’s, as it is live action instead of animation. The production value is definitely pretty high for a short film, and it even has a familiar face in the cast- Rider Strong (Shawn from Boy Meets World).

It’s also pretty long for a short, running a little over 15 minutes, but I assure you, it’s really good.

Your Lucky Day is about greed and how the possibility of wealth and power will drive people to commit unspeakable acts.

This one is also pretty violent (I promise this won’t be a running theme) and kind of sexual, so maybe look over your shoulder before checking this one out.

Enjoy!

What’s this? A new post? On a Wednesday? HAS THE WORLD GONE MAD?

No. But I have decided to start writing a WEEKLY segment here creatively titled (shut up) Short of the Week.

As it turns out, there is a wealth of amazing short films on Youtube. So every Wednesday, I am going to spotlight one of these shorts.

It works out for everyone- you are entertained for 5-10 minutes, the creators reach a new audience, and I get those precious, precious site views.

The first Short of the Week is called The Blackwater Gospel by The Animation Group.

It’s a cool little film about a desert town. Very stylized and aesthetic. There’s also a really great original song. I will warn you that it’s pretty violent, so I guess don’t watch it at work.

I was struck when I first saw this because it tackles a lot of big themes in the short run time, like fear of death, religion, and the herd mentality.

Post your thoughts in the comments.

Pictured here: nothing to watch.

Pictured here: nothing to watch.

I have decided to start a new monthly segment called “What’s On Netflix.” Not the most clever name, but at least it’s to the point.

Have you ever found your looking at the Netflix browse screen complaining that there’s nothing to watch? If so, guess what? You’re a fucking asshole.

There are literally thousands of hours of media on Netflix to enjoy, all available at the push of a button, and you have the cojones to piss and moan about there being nothing to watch?

Well, I got news for you, you spoiled little brats, you’re not going to be able to complain much longer.

Because, really, what you mean when you say “there’s nothing to watch” is “I don’t feel like stepping out of my comfort zone.” And fine, whatever, you don’t want to gamble with two hours of your life.

So, I’m doing the gambling for you. In this monthly segment, I will watch a relatively obscure movie on Netflix (recommended by YOU) and then review it, thus saving you from the bad movies and pushing you toward the good ones.

This month, I watched the movie Pi, recommended to me by my roommate, Dan.

Pretty much what the movie is like.

This poster really captures the experience.

Pi is the breakout film of Darren Aronofsky. You might remember the name because he also directed Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan, and the newly released Noah.

Pi was his first film to hit theaters and you can definitely see the flight path of his work.

Pi is shot in high contrast grainy black and white, making everything seem all the more surreal, as though it were a fuzzy memory or a bad dream.

The film follows Max Cohen, a brilliant young man with a mind for numbers. However, Max’s passion borders on obsession as he works to find a pattern in the apparent chaos of the stock market, which is somehow connected to a mysterious 216 digit number.

As the movie goes on, Max becomes more unhinged, experiencing nightmarish hallucinations and bouts of paranoid psychosis. While he struggles to keep his head, he is also pursued by people who are interested in using the 216 digit number for their own ends.

Now, I’m not gonna give everything away, but I will say that Pi’s ending is way less depressing than some of Aronofsky’s other films, so there’s that.

I definitely enjoyed this film. Even if some scenes were slow, the pure aesthetic of what was on the screen was enough to keep me entertained.

Pi

Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Produced by Darren Aronofsky, Eric Watson, Scott Vogel
Screenplay by Darren Aronofsky
Story by Darren Aronofsky, Sean Gullette, Eric Watson
Starring Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman, Samia Shoaib
Music by Clint Mansell
Cinematography Matthew Libatique
Editing by Oren Sarch
Studio Protozoa Pictures
Distributed by Artisan Entertainment
Release dates July 10, 1998
Running time 83 minutes

Check this one out.

Be sure to send recommendations for next month to my email

Like most people, I have an abundance of time. Eighty or so years left to fill in with whatever I feel like doing. Sometimes I do things of a scholarly nature like studying Russian, writing, reading, ect. Things that’ll generally make me smarter, if not then at the very least make me appear smarter. But most of the time I waste my life with stupid-ass distractions. Facebook, Twitter, Call of Duty, looking at pictures of cats on the internet, making blog posts. These things can be described as massive fucking wastes of time. Really really fun, but massive fucking wastes of time nonetheless.

Among the things that I enjoy wasting my time on are movies. And movies are one of those things that toe the line between Massive Fucking Waste of Time and Beautiful Work of Art. Some movies go beyond entertainment. Some movies are right up there with Classical literature.

Take Black Swan for example. Black Swan was all about Natalie Portman’s descent into insanity, due to her pent up sexual frustrations coupled with the paranoia that her understudy, Mila Kunis, was trying to steal her part. Beautiful movie with tons of thought and symbolism put into it.

However, the movie that I saw this weekend was not of the likes of Black Swan. Not even close. The movie that I saw this weekend was called Sucker Punch. And before you raise your eyebrows and give me that judgmental look that I’m so used to seeing. Yep. That one right there. Fuck you. I knew going into it that Sucker Punch was by no means going to be as good as Black Swan. I knew that it was going to be an action movie. That is, tons of violence, big tits, and flimsy, if not non-existent, plot.

But Sucker Punch was so bad that I can’t help but bitch about it on the internet. And yeah, I’m spoiling the movie, but believe me, you’ll thank me for having saved you two hours of your life better spent looking at pictures of cats on the internet.

First off, every action scene in this movie doesn’t actually happen. They are all actually metaphors for…wait for it…. the main character’s dancing. Let me just say that again. The action scenes in this movie were a metaphor for the main character’s dancing. And not just any type  of dancing, either. Her dancing was so sexy, so stimulating, that she was able to hypnotize men while her hooker friends steal shit from them in order to escape.

That is seriously the plot of this movie. Some whore dances for guys and imagines an epic battle while her friends steal shit from them so they can escape the whorehouse. Now, the movie didn’t start with this plot. It starts with the main girl (who isn’t named until the hour and a half mark) getting taken to an insane asylum, where she is nearly lobotomized. Then the setting suddenly changes from insane asylum to whorehouse. Literally just like that, making the twist at the end painfully obvious. That is, the entire whorehouse ordeal (90% of the movie) was all in the main girl’s head and she actually just gets a spike in the eye.

Now, this movie wouldn’t be that bad if it wasn’t for all of the typecasting of genders. All of the women are vulnerable little bitches and all of the men are raging sexist douchebags that can’t keep their dicks in their pants for two seconds. Seriously, there’s like three attempted rapes in this movie. But all that changes when the main girl comes along. She empowers her beat up hooker friends with her dancing and gives them the courage to steal shit so they can make their daring escape. Meanwhile, she has crazy violent fantasies of shooting German zombies and killing dragons with her katana. Seriously.

Did I say that the movie wouldn’t be that bad because of that one thing? Man, was I fucking wrong. The acting was god-awful. The lead looked like one of those creepy Japanese sex dolls made to look as realistic as possible but is still clearly not human. You know the ones I’m talking about. Plus, there was no characterization. Like at all.  The characters had the same amount of personality throughout the whole story. No growth of any kind. So, scenes that were supposed to be really dramatic and heartfelt, like when one of her hooker friends die, didn’t mean anything to me. I was just like “Eh, what’s one more dead hooker?”

Shit, there was barely any dialogue. It was like the writers of this movie planned to get together to write the dialogue, but instead got really fucked up the night before and were too hungover to get to work, so they made the barely literate intern do it. Or they just said “Fuck it, we’ll throw in tons of CGI and everything will be fine.”

This movie was a waste of two hours. The action sequences were alright, I’ll give them that, but they were too few and too interspersed with absolute horseshit to have any redeeming quality. If I had paid to see this movie, I think I would’ve had a rage stroke.

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