Great little video directed by Chris Milk. I can still remember the first time I saw panties and was punched in the face by an angry Pauly Shore. Ahh the good ole days.

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My friends from Lifelongfriendshipsociety sent me this a week or so back and I forgot to post it. They were tasked with putting together an experimental video promoting Google’s new web browser, Chrome. The end results of which was the quirky storytelling and kick ass style that LFS is known for and why they continue to grab big-name clients.

Here is a brief description of the project:
“Helmed by LFS director Brian Close, Caged Rage 3: Binary Budokan is a frenetic, stylish, romp through mediums including eye-popping computer animation, live action and stop motion animation. Infused with elements of Japanese Anime and 70’s martial arts movies, an office worker turns samurai on his to do lists, using the power of Google Chrome to accomplish near heroic tasks in record time.”

Good stuff guys. Miss you guys. Thanks for the creepy video Bridget (it made me kind of sick to my stomach). I want to come up and visit you guys sometime before the end of the summer (maybe I can bring Lee along).

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Neil Blomkamp and Peter Jackson have teamed up for the upcoming film District 9. Wow, does it look amazing. I cannot wait to see this. I didn’t even know about it until today.

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Edited by Eclectic Method and some damn fine editing at that. Go easy if you are watching this at work by the way, the juicy parts are not cut out (which makes it even better).

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I didn’t realize the power that 42 seconds could wield over my deep desire to travel to Tokyo. Awesome little video. Please someone send me over there. I will generate all manner of design/art/illustration if you just put me in a hotel for a week and let me go crazy in that city.

More about the maker here: Davidleedop.com

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I am a big fan of both Sci-fi and Sam Rockwell, so I am definitely going to see moon when it hits theaters here in June.

Here is a brief synopsis of the film:
Directed by Duncan Jones and starring Sam Rockwell. Plot: Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet’s power problems.”

Director Duncan Jones is actually the son of one of my all time favorite rock and roll front men, David Bowie. From the glowing reviews the movie is so far receiving on the festival circuit, it doesn’t sound like Jones will need the nepatism connection to validate his talent. However, I must admit to being a little bit extra excited about the super duper triple threat combination of a connection to one of my favorite rock stars of all time, science fiction and one of my favorite actors. From what I have heard, much of the film’s effects were done in camera versus digital, and from the trailer I do get a more tangible sense of environment than the normal modern digital effect movie fare. I have already read crys of ‘2001 Space Odyssey’ rip off in the movie forums, but I think the film looks like it will stand on it’s own two legs. And I can’t say personally that I am bothered by that accusation since 2001 is probably my favorite movie of all time. Regardless, I am definitely seeing this one.

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I know it was a long long while back that I wrote about Psst but all of the short films on their roster are now loaded for your viewing pleasure. There is some really amazing stuff to pick through.

Here is a little refresher about Psst:
PSST!3 is a collaborative film project of 17 films made by 51 teams of Designers, Directors, Animators and Composers.

The mission of PSST is to produce original short films through the collaboration of Designers, Directors, and Animators. Each film is comprised of three sections produced by three different teams: the beginning, middle & end. This process is the whole idea behind PSST! – a technique derived from the Dadaist game of Exquisite Corpse and the children’s game Telephone and applied to the arts of motion graphics, animation and film-making.

PSST! is curated and organized by Bran Dougherty-Johnson of Grow Design Work.

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Rob wrote me to tell me that Little White Lies (a fantastic magazine all about good film) is now available in a digital edition. From the looks of the publication it is still probably worth ordering in print. The covers are all beautiful and so is the inside (judging from the digital edition).

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Bathtub IV from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

This video is apparently all real footage of real people and events which makes it all the more bizarre. This film technique is fascinating. Everything looks like stop motion animation. To learn a little more about the project you can visit the Vimeo page here.

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The preview finally dropped yesterday and director Spike Jonze appears to be in top form so far from the looks of the trailer. Where the Wild Things Are was an obsession of mine as a child. I used to draw the monsters and dream of going off by boat to a far away land just like in the book. I am really excited to see this brought to the big screen. I just hope they release a director’s cut of the movie when it is released on DVD.

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The Disposable Film Fest has uploaded the entire library of their 2009 Shorts Program to Vimeo. 26 videos total that you can personally vote for in the running for the Audience Choice Award by LIKEing your favorite. Each voter will be entered to win a PLEO and the winning filmmaker will receive a Nokia N95. It’s a really cool little idea and exciting to see the net being used for something like this. What a brilliant way to put the filmakers in front of a global audience.

Uncovered via Yewknee which has become a daily check for me lately as a really great personal overview of interesting and happening culture written from a really likeable perspective.

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This is really nice.

film by Jeff Desom
music by Hauschka
Song issued from the album “Ferndorf” released by FatCat Records

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It’s rare that I actually want to see a movie twice, but I sat through a second viewing of the Watchmen today and I was glad I did. The movie was honestly something I did not expect. I read part of the graphic novel as a kid, but more skimmed the surface of the material as opposed to actually really reading into what the story was really all about. In a way I am glad I didn’t reread the source material before watching the movie. I think it allowed me to take the movie in more as a work of film in and of itself and judge it more on those terms.

Watchmen is a much more densley layered movie than I expected and actually left me wondering and thinking more than the normal feeling of completion felt when taking in a relatively mindless blockbuster comic book action movie. There is spectacular visual effects in the Watchmen, so many in fact that you almost begin to disregard them entirely, and then you are either lost or completely absorbed by the story. I could definitely  see how some people would determine that the movie feels disjointed in parts, but I think if the film had been forced into an easily digestible mold it would have been yet just more Hollywood bullshit. And I don’t think the Watchmen fits that mold. Besides there are plenty of those movies coming out this summer. I am glad the Watchmen came out when it did so it wouldn’t be lost in that drivel.

Many are saying the film lacks a solid narrative voice, but I think that narrative has to be filled by viewer interpretation. Translation: Watchmen just isn’t for everybody and some people simply will not like it. If the film had been overly linear, I think it might have threatened some of the raw genius of the movie and the story. I am sure though that some will end up really hating this film, but I think when something or someone reaches for the level of art they often end up being hated by at least a few, if not many.

Its hard really to even write a succinct review of the movie.Violence abounds and the violence in the Watchmen is incredibly intense and absolutely unapologetic. I wondered though, especially after the second viewing, if the violence wasn’t there to make a point that the world we currently live in is incredibly violent and most of us just like to pretend that isn’t so, when honestly, that’s an absolute fact. The greatest thing about the Watchmen though is where it picks at some very deep questions about humanity and society. Its really a fairly sincere attempt to try to realize what it would be like if there were superheroes and how they would see and judge this world. If there was a person out there who was in effect a God and could do anything, how would he or she view humanity and this world? Would they deem us worth saving or are we already a lost cause? Why bother with saving us when we do almost nothing to save ourselves? If you could see and truly understand that time is relative and therefore all time (past, present and future) were happening simultaneously, would it even matter to you if humankind destroyed itself? In the context of the entire universe, what difference would it make? If you refused to compromise your ideology and believed in absolute justice, could you even survive in this society?

Yes, if you look into it, the Watchmen does ask some of those questions and go that deep. I really do think it is a brilliant movie that reaches much further than it can probably grasp, but I also think that’s a great thing. Its a quantum leap for director Zach Snyder, and I hope he can continue into deeper material after this.

My only bone to pick was with some of the performances. There is some wooden acting in the movie and the most responsible culprit is the female lead, Malin Akerman. You can feel the energy and sincerity sucked out of several of her scenes just as soon as she opens her mouth and begins reciting her lines. Not to say that she is an absolutely terrible actress, but it would have been nice to see someone cast that was able to bring needed depth and conflict to her character. Especially in her scenes with the wonderful Billy Crudup (who plays the God-as-man true and only superheroe in the movie, Dr. Manhatten). Crudup’s character has some pretty profound things to say about the human condition, and it is hard to truely appreciate some of it when it is propped by Akerman’s sexy but empty backdrop.

Regardless, I still think the Watchmen is definitely worth a viewing. Yes it is long, weighing in just shy of 3 hours, but if you can hang in there and stick with it, there is a great movie there to appreciate. I think it will find a relevant place in film history and has definitely brought something new to the genre. Just don’t go to it expecting the normal mindless rollercoaster ride. And please, do not take your kids. This is a comic book movie made for adults and asks some serious questions that I think more people in this day and age should be thinking about.

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Over 6000 paintings were produced over the course of two long years to create this 5 minute film. That means every time you click the pause button you are facing an individual work of art. This is even more extraordinary when you consider that all of this was done for a student project. Its a pretty amazing effort and it shows by the long lost of awards the project has already received. Be sure to visit the individual Vimeo page to read more about the film and its director Reza Dolatabadi and animator Adam Thomson.

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The Paris-based production company Mr. Hyde has just launched an interesting new foray into the take on the short film festival. The project is titled, The Hyde Tube, and invites directors from all walks of the globe to submit work for inclusion into a juried online short film festival. Yeah yeah, woopteedo right? Well here is where it gets interesting:

“Clients will contact The Hyde Tube in order to pass on a project to a specific director, who is then free to decide whether or not to accept it. If accepted, the director will write a treatment or make an animated test within 3 to 5 days. For this work you will receive approximately 500€.

If the client is happy with the treatment and decides that the director will make the film, The Hyde Tube will connect the director with the client, and Mr Hyde or one of its affiliate studios will oversee the production until the film delivery.

The director’s fee will be 10 percent of the budget, the first half payable on the first day of production and the rest upon delivery of the finished film.”

I’ll be watching curiously to see how this works because if it does, I can bet you will be seeing more of this.

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Vicente Sahuc filmed the above video recently in New York City while roller skating with his inexpensive casio camera. The camera was mounted on a steadicam that was shooting at 300 fps. After color correcting it himself he reduced the frame rate to 24 frames per second to create the slow motion effect. The result is pretty incredible considering the home-made setup. Expect to see more of this kind of thing in the future as video technology gets better and even more affordable.

I can’t wait until people start shooting quality full length movies. I say do it yourself. Hollywood has got to be sweating. I think very soon the  internet will have them on the run.

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I saw a poster for the film Gomorrah today and also found out that it has the backing of Martin Scorcese. It looks like a pretty amazing film and after watching this trailer I am even more anxious to see it. I am a big fan of mafia movies and this looks like it is going to be a tough one to beat. No pun intended. It appears to be in a similar vein to City of God (Cidade de Deus) and Slumdog Millionaire. In other words, a real story about the reality of crime and poverty in the modern era. I have been really pleased to see movies like this garnering more mainstream support. I think now is a potent time to bring attention to films like this that shed some light on what is going on in other corners of the world and hopefully put a dent in the protective American bubble. I know a movie isn’t necessarily a strong enough catalyst to shift public perception and force a crackdown within the ‘real world’ but it can do wonders to raise awareness and maybe get at least a few people to act on an issue. Unfortunately the reality is often that crime can become culturally embedded and its impossible to avoid when there is so much widespread poverty.

I know, I am a hopeless idealist.

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I received an email about this the other day and it sounded like it could be a really great competition especially considering some of the judges involved.

TheCrane.tv, Discovery Campus and Reelisor.com are hosting a film competition for creative talents from all over the world in the categories: Culture, Art&Design, Lifestyle, Fashion, Ideas, Travel and “Green”. We reward creativity and encourage you to offer fresh, insider perspectives into your topic of choice. We would like to feel inspired and enriched by your contribution.

Launch: 18th November 2008 at the International Film School Festival, Munich
Deadline: 28th February 2009

Films: There are no boundaries to your creativity. The short videos can be non-fiction, fiction, animated or could be in a journalistic or documentary style

Ora Ïto (Product Designer, ORA-ÏTO)
Karl Lagerfeld (Fashion Designer, Chanel)
Flavio Albanese (Editor in Chief, DOMUS Magazine)
Fernando Sulichin (Film Producer, Central Films)
Kirill Razlogov (Director of the Russian Institute for Cultural Research)
Laurent Claquin (Senior VP CSR and Executive Committee member, PPR Group)

Specifications: Between 1 and 5 minutes long, preferably in English (or subtitled) and all standard file formats

Submissions: Electronically via the upload portal on www.thecrane.tv

Here you can also register your email address to receive the latest news on the competition.

The winning films will be selected by our accomplished jury and announced at the international launch of TheCrane.tv in March 2009. The rewards for Laureates include cash, equipment and TV broadcast. All entries will be available for viewing on www.thecrane.tv when the competition is over.

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