Monday, March 30, 2015

Sundays







I know, I know, I've posted a lot of these type of things lately. What can I say, it must be short film season. Regardless, this is the last one for awhile, I promise. Maybe. We'll see.

Whatever, let's get to it.

Sundays is another proof-of-concept sci-fi short film. It's from PostPanic Pictures, directed by Mischa Rozema, and written by Rozema and Kevin Koehler. They're aiming for a full feature, of course, and it sounds like Warner Brothers is going to grant their wish. We shall see. Best of luck to them.

So what is it? 

Here's the official synopsis: The end of the world seems like a nightmare to Ben. A memory of a past life that doesn’t belong to him. When Ben starts to remember Isabelle, the only love he’s ever known, he realizes she’s missing in his life. An existential descent into confusion and the desperate need to find out the truth begins. This reality depicts a stunning, surprising and dark world. A world that is clearly not his.

Okay... well, that doesn't tell us too much...

Let's watch.



Huh...

Well, like most Proof-of-Concept trailers, this one basically delivers on some interesting visuals, but little to no story or character. There's so little, in fact, it feels a bit presumptuous of them to list anyone as the "screenwriter" really. Not to say that this short film is bad or anything--like I said: It looks great--but more so than usual, this short film seems to lack a narrative thread, so it just doesn't seem fair to lay claim to the title of screenwriter when the entire point seems to be barely connected visuals of a dystopian/oppressive society, one that may or may not be a computer simulation... Did you catch that part?

Anyway, yeah, there's definitely some cool visuals, but it all feels barely connected.

It was certainly no Leviathan, that's for sure.

Jon

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Awareness





This short film is called The Awareness. It's by writer/director Henry Dunham, his first project, and one that plays deep within the shade of some classic sci-fi tropes.

Here's the synopsis: On the eve of a technological breakthrough, an insignificant janitor and a prominent engineer are faced with a decision that will alter the course of humanity: the release of the first aware computer system into the world.

That sounds like good stuff; let's check it out...



In a nutshell, I like where this film went. It's a well done twist. It took a little too long to get there, maybe, and it really got a little clunky with the exposition toward the end especially, but in the end it worked out nice, I think.

Jon


Thursday, March 19, 2015

C (299.792 km/s)



Today we have a short film called C (299.792 km/s), it's by Seaquark Films. It's... an odd film. I'm not really sure how to describe it for you before you've seen it. It's not bad or anything, just kind of... odd. Here's the synopsis: C is the story of Lieutenant Commander Malleck and her radical act of mutiny during an interplanetary cold war.

All right, if you say so...

Let's watch.



Okay, so... first off: There's a really odd cadence to this film, isn't there? It's almost like it's an old BBC show, or maybe some sort of a music video, but with the song missing? Or maybe it reminds me of an old video game cut scene where English is not the first language, or where the dialogue was programmed by a computer? Maybe? Kind of? I don't know. That's not really it, but I can't really put my finger on what it puts me in mind of. Maybe it's all of these at once. Either way, it's an odd duck, that's for sure. I do think it looked pretty good for an obviously "made on the cheap" sci-fi film. And, while the story is pretty vague in the larger sense--Interplanetary Cold War... What?--the characters and their relation to each other was sketched out pretty well. This was fun. I enjoyed it.

It's no Space-whale Hunt, but all in all...? Not too bad. Odd, sure, but not too bad.

Check it out,
Jon

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Leviathan







So yeah, this has been flooding the Feeds as of late, so you may have already seen this. But if not, what's three minutes out of your day? What are you doing that's so important?

Nothing. That's what, so read on...

The Leviathan is a Proof of Concept Teaser for a film that probably won't ever happen, but who cares because it's a pretty god damn awesome Proof of Concept Teaser. It's by Director Ruairi Robinson and Screenwriter Jim Uhls. You'll see that when you watch the short, because they have totally front-loaded their names on this thing, they're super grandiose about it. I mean, sure... it's their film, so why not, but still... shit, man... talk about blowing your own trumpet.

Maybe it's just me.

I guess I can understand being proud, it's a hell of a good looking little teaser.

Seriously. It really does look great. It sells its world, and the action is tense and well done. I'm not sure what concept they think they're proving, because there's basically zero story to speak of beyond: Hunting Sky-whales on an alien planet can be dangerous. That's cool, but it's not a lot of meat to build a feature out of, really. Some places are calling it "Moby Dick in Space", but I don't think that's a fair summation, mostly due to the absolute dearth of actual characters, or motivation, or story. Whatever. Either way, it's still definitely super entertaining. I've watched it twice so far.

Let's watch it together...



See? That was pretty great, right? Cool. Imaginative. But like I said: Almost zero actual story. Still, they can definitely hang their hats on: Looks awesome. I love the light on the clouds, and the design and execution of the creature. That's great stuff. It's so evocative of a whale in the ocean, obviously, and the classic imagery of a whale hunt, and yet, it's still so alien. Also, I'm a huge fan of the industrial-looking future technology style, that whole Firefly/Aliens/Blade Runner type of look, where everything looks like it was definitely built, and is used daily, by humans, so I love the look of the hunters' gear and vehicles.

In the end, yes, there's no story or characters. It's basically a video game cut-scene, but that isn't really all that detrimental to the end product, at least, not this time out, in my opinion. This film is short but sweet, and it definitely leaves me wanting more.

It's worth a look.

There be whales here,
Jon

Friday, March 6, 2015

Films I'm looking forward to: Avengers: Age of Ultron - Trailer 3

Yeah, you've probably seen this by now. Or maybe you're one of those weirdos who don't watch trailers. Whatever, doesn't matter to me, because this is what I'm going on about today, so get in, or get out, get me? Yeah? Well, all right then. So anyway, just in case you've been stuck on a desert island--in which case, I say: congratulations on your rescue--the long and short of all the hub-bub is that in just a few short weeks, the Avengers are back.

See?

The living legend, Captain America

Tony Stark, the Invincible Iron Man

Thor, the God of Thunder

The Deadly Black Widow, Natasha Romonov

The Incredible Hulk

and... and Hawkeye.... He doesn't really come with an adjective, I guess...

Then there's our big bad, Mr. Daddy Issues himself, Ultron. He's a killer robot.

Plus, this time there will be a few new faces too, faces like the mercurial speedster, Quicksilver, and his twin sister, the Scarlet Witch... whose powers have never really made sense. Are they probability-affecting mutations, or magical powers? I don't know... She faints a lot. I'm not a big fan.

Holy shit, the Vision is in this film, too! I won't spoil who this is, but--for those of you out there not in the know--this is one of those characters, ones that are just too god damn weird to believe they would ever make it to the screen... and yet, here we are. Again. And Vision is not alone. There are whispers that there will be a few more surprise faces appearing in the film, as well, but... y'know how rumors go, so we'll just have to wait and see about those. I'm sure it'll be awesome either way. Fingers crossed.

Admittedly, I'm a bit predisposed to liking this.

I'm sure that surprises you, just like I am sure it will be equally surprising to discover that I've talked about this film before now. You'll pardon me if I don't cover the same ground (too late), but just so we're clear, basically everything I said then still applies. Maybe even more so.

Let's watch...



I'm just gonna list all the stuff I loved, okay?

First off, I love how easily they've switched Ultron's creation and raison d'etre from Hank Pym to Tony Stark. It fits perfectly in the MCU, which is of course, slightly different than how things went in the comics. Tony Stark is obviously central to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Hank Pym hasn't even shown up yet (but he will, played by Michael Douglas in Ant Man), despite the fact that both characters are founding members of the Avengers. That right there is a great example of why Marvel has been so successful as a brand. They've adhered to the spirit of their Properties, if not always the letter of the law, effectively preserving the core of these characters for the transition from page and screen, using the things that have kept them popular for the past 50-ish years, all while jettisoning the endless and unimportant nuances of long-term continuity that cling to all of this like rust and rot. Smart decisions. I like that.

I also love the global scope of the film, the feeling of a huge threat. This trailer makes it seem like the Avengers are back on their heels, and that's where they should be. The tag-line of the team, the introduction sentence at the top of the first page in every issue, has always been: And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes and heroines found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, the Avengers were born—to fight the foes no single super hero could withstand! This trailer looks like that is exactly what is going to happen.

Then there's Iron Man in Hulkbuster armor, fighting with a rage-blind Hulk. I love all the action with Captain America, trying to save people, dodging traffic, burying his shield in Ultron. That's great stuff. Black Widow speeding by and grabbing Cap's shield out of the street is fantastic. I'm glad that it looks like Hawkeye is gonna get more to do this time too. Quicksilver's speed effect is pretty great, but the Scarlet's Witch's powers look like they're still being portrayed somewhat inconsistently, which is--admittedly--actually pretty consistent. Then there's the shot of the whole team leaping together. That's just classic. You're gonna see a lot of that in the coming weeks. James Spader sounds great. No surprise, but still. And speaking of perfect? Joss Whedon. Another part I loved, but it wasn't in the trailer, was the party scene at Avengers Tower where Cap is almost able to move Mjolnir, and then Thor's face in reaction. That is so good. And of course, finally, there's the Vision. Unbelievable.

I'm super into this, man.  love all of it.

Can't wait,
Jon


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Le Gouffre







Le Gouffe is the first animated short film from Lightning Boy Studio, which is out of Montreal. They ran a Kickstarter to get this film off the ground, and it was ridiculously successful. The resulting film is a tense, ten minute long, dialogue-free tale about a pair of friends who need to build a bridge across a broad chasm.

Take a look...



Well, shit...

That was actually pretty good. I love that it didn't go like I expected it to at all. Nice. This was a great little short film about working against impossible odds. It's about sacrifice, the power of friendship, and hope. I really liked this. It looked good, the music fit, the characters were clear and well-drawn. It had a great ending. The story was tense and yet touching. It walked the line of being a little too sweet, too obvious, but I really think the film pulled it. All around, this was a very good job. The whole wordless thing was a little distracting at times, maybe, but whatever. In the end, that's a small complaint. You should definitely take the time to check this one out.

Good stuff,
Jon

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Films I'm looking forward to: The Dead Lands






Nope, it's not a zombie movie, The Dead Lands is actually about a young Maori tribesman, the only survivor when his people are slaughtered by a rival group. His journey of bloody vengeance begins when he teams up with an older warrior, and the two basically start whooping ass left and right. Honestly, that sounds perfect to me. Sometimes I love nothing more than a well-done, bare bones, straight-forward action film. It's classic. Plus, I'm a huge fan of the Haka, but hey... who isn't, amirite? Also, just fyi, The Dead Lands is rated R for one reason, and one reason only...

"Brutal, bloody violence"

Sweet. Let's do this...


Oh yeah. That's the stuff. That is the stuff right there.

April 17th, kids.


Can't wait,
Jon