Category Archives: Film/Video

Best of (What I Saw of) Resfest

I took a long weekend this past weekend and went down to San Francisco for a bit of a change of pace. Friday night I went to a couple of the screenings that were part of Resfest. One screening of short videos, and one of electroncic music videos (preview clips at both of those links).

The shorts ranged from heavy CG and animation to basic hand-held documentary style video. By far, the most moving was Dimmer, a video portrait of a blind teenager and other outcasts growing up in a decaying suburb.

The shorts screening the next day (which we didn’t get to) had the heavily buzzed new Chris Cunningham short, “Rubber Johnny” lined up. It was easy to find online and quickly creeped the hell out of me.

Some (definitely not all) of the music videos had higher production values, and bigger names powering them, but they still ranged from ragged animations to CG compositing with live-action footage (that seemed to be a big theme across all of the videos). Since music videos are essentially promotional tools for the artists and musicians, they’re pretty easy to find online. Here are some of the better videos from the screening…

Alias “Sixes Last” (40mb QT) – Eerie, but beautiful combination of nature video footage and CG.

Basement Jaxx “U Don’t Know Me” – This one got a good laugh out of the crowd.

Chemical Brothers “Believe” and “Galvanize” – A more paranoid blend of CG and live action, and then kids that just want to krump, respectively.

Fredo Viola “The Sad Song” – Beautiful song and a creatively simple video shot with the short video feature of a cheap digital still camera.

Faithless “I Want More” – Awe inspiring (and rather frightening) footage of North Korean stage and stadium performances. I had to give this my vote for audience choice music video

With a bit more Googling and checking the Resfest lineup, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a lot of the other mainstream stuff.

Andre the Giant Walks the Line

In my last post I mentioend the popular street artist turned fashion designer, Shepard Fairey, in a sell-out sort of context (I’ve always hated calling creative people sell-outs, regardless of their actions. I’ll have to return to this thought in another post). Well, checking out the trailer for the upcoming film, Walk the Line about the life of Johnny Cash, I noticed the art credit on the promotional graphics was none other than Mr. Shepard Fairey. Alex may have said it best with, “Huh, he can actually do something other than Andre the Giant.” Indeed, the promotional graphics include a poster, desktop image, stencils, stickers, and the essential AIM buddy icon, all based on the same stylized image of Cash and his guitar. I like the design and style, and the movie itself looks quite good (Joaquin Phoenix learned to play guitar, and sings all his own songs, and sounds dead-on in the trailer).

But… and there’s always a “but,” stencils as part of movie promotion? I doubt even the king of viral stencil design himself can pull that off. I do think it’s a good sign that movie studios are getting more experimental, at least with their marketing, but they’re still a few years behind. I see it as similar to the “virals” that advertisers have attempted. The very nature of a meme or viral in this sense is almost that it’s accidental. Trying to create one from scratch is oxymoronic. I don’t think we’ll be seeing too many of these Johnny Cash stencils around, Shepard Fairey designed or not.

Lesser, and More on Video

So here I was just hitting the recent Waxy Links and I checked out the funny, banned marketing virals for the videogame Destroy All Humans. At the end of the third one, I was surprised when I recognized the face of the guy in the Yoda-ear hat. It was none other than the brilliant Frank Lesser (director of the hilarious Danny Bot short film), who I shared a number of classes with in college.

And while I’m reposting Waxy links, I might as well point you to this Andy Dick video about President Bush’s Speechalist.

There’s also a trailer out for a little movie by the name of King Kong, and another movie about the dirtiest joke in all of comedy, The Aristocrats.

Now, More Than Ever

First, watch this teaser for Comedian, which has been around for a while.

Second, laugh as you watch this brand new teaser trailer for The Da Vinci Code.

After looking at the cast line-up for The Da Vinci Code, and after seeing the trailer for Cinderella Man, I’ve determined that Ron Howard has created an entirely new film genre that his pictures fit into: the “Oscar contender” genre, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. It’s starting to get painful now. Please stop, Ron.

On a few lighter notes

After two morbid posts in a row, I thought I’d go a little more light-hearted in this one…

Unused Audio Commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, for the Return of the King DVD

Banksy installs paintings in NY City museums (posted by Wooster Collective, and disseminated by kottke)

Stereogum posts the hilarious Ashton Kutcher as Kevin Federline underwear commercial from SNL.

I haven’t even watched it yet, but I already give it my official stamp of amusement to the trailer for, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigalo.

On screen

I really ought to start a new blog/site specifically for posting links to videos and trailers on the web. Until then, here’s some more crap…

Apple has the TV spots aired during the Superbowl online, including Batman Begins.

FoxSports.com has got a summary of the Superbowl ads, with links to web versions of a bunch.

If you haven’t seen the trailer for Kingdom of Heaven yet, I highly recommend you check it out. In spite of the flood of mediocre sword-and-sandal epics that followed his Gladiator, I think Ridley Scott will once again show us how it’s done.

The Academy Awards are getting close, and I’ve realized that I’ve seen none of the movies nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and only one (Eternal Sunshine) in the Best Actress category this year. I do have two out of the three Best Animated Features covered. Maybe I should go see some of the others.

Just remembered I wanted to add a link to academy films (not related to the above-mentioned awards at all). Head to music videos -> Daniel Askill -> We Have Decided Not to Die

Trailer-iffic

Some new trailers/video on the web, worth checking out…

Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
Nightmare Before Christmas redux? It’s great to see them get the same look with CG.

Appleseed
Looks like it’s got some amazing visuals, but I don’t know if the writing/voice-acting will be able to keep up.

Kung Fu Hustle
Wow! From the same guy that brought us the hilarious, Shaolin Soccer. I can’t wait.

Oh, and you can also watch that creepy new Nike ad.

Whoopsie-daisy in Rio

Heard the news that our good ‘ol boy, Sal, has made it to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I won’t say he’s there “safe and sound” because just the other night I rented the movie, City of God, and well, good luck Sal. Try not to piss too many people off.

But seriously, the movie was incredibly good. It told the true story of a boy growing up with the dream of being a photographer in Rio’s “Cidade de Deus” (City of God) neighborhood, which is it’s most notorious slum. It was one of the more violent movies I’ve seen, and it painted an incredibly gritty picture of life in that section of Rio. Most of the actors were young kids who were growing up in Rio slums themselves, and much of the emotion and conflict was ad-libbed. The narrative tricks (leaping foward and back in time, narrator dropping hints about plot twists, etc…) also added to the fast-paced and gripping nature of the film. I highly recommend it.

Heroes and Fables

This past weekend I got out to see Hero. It was beautifully shot and it used color in some stunning ways. I was also impressed by the way the narrative was presented. The storytelling aspect, and the delivering of plot twists by different accounts of the events. It all sucked me in and made for a great Chinese epic.

Last week I picked up a copy of Fable last week. This game was pretty much the biggest reason I bought an Xbox two years ago. Unfortunately it fell a bit short of it’s original goals. Peter Molyneux is a genius when it comes to game design, with past games such as Black & White and Populous, but he couldn’t deliver his original vision with Fable. It’s biggest strength was supposed to be in it’s open-ended world, where you could be as good or as evil as you wanted. This is still there to some extent, and it’s pretty neat to see your character grow and change in either direction, but it isn’t nearly as open as it could have been. There’s a lot more I want to write about it, and role-playing games in general, but I think I’ll save it for another post.

This, that and the other thing

Wires On Sky

Spent a lot of time in the past few days working on Lopolis, adding some photos to the galleries, and adding a new series.

Also finished a short video for the WeeklyDV theme this week, “one minute,” which you can find linked at Lopolis. Thanks again to Skyler for walking so slow, and getting most of the weird looks.

Last week I helped Tim Swope get Pimpleberry online. Check it out.