Friday, October 31, 2014

Brent Sims' Grave Shivers





In honor of Halloween, today's short film is called Brent Sims' Grave Shivers and it is a scary one. Supposedly. Or three, actually... Three short horror stories in one short-ish film. I don't know how scary they actually are, but looking at the images, I'll be honest, I have my doubts. Also, I have no idea who the hell Brent Sims is, despite the fact that he put his name in the title like we're all some how supposed to know: "Oooo... Brent Sims! Oh, boy!" said his mother. I kid, but like I said, I have my doubts... But then, fuck it, what do you want? It's Halloween and we're all under contract, right?

Here's the synopsis from the official Brent Sims homepage:
Grave Shivers is a sci-fi/horror anthology that weaves three tales of monsters, killers, and things that go bump in the night. It has been an official selection of over 16 film festivals and taken home multiple nominations for best director and awards at the New Orleans Horror Film Festival as well as the audience award at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Los Angeles. Dread Central called Grave Shivers "...An anthology…”

So let's do this, people! Be prepared to piss yourself with terror!



Hmmm, well... the last bit was all right, but... I don't know about you all out there, but I did not piss myself in terror. I didn't even pee-pee in panic, not even a dribble or a drop, let alone tinkle in shock. Brent Sims, you let me down, dude. Bummer. I remember when your name in the title used to mean something, but now, I don't know what I'm supposed to think. After seeing this... I don't think I even know who you are anymore, Brent Sims. I'm not sure I ever did.

Another Halloween down the tubes...

Boo,
Jon

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Tale of Momentum and Inertia





Today, we've just got something light and fun.

At only a minute long, A Tale of Momentum and Inertia is a short film by the animation studio House Special. It's the simple tale of a Rock Monster who tries to save a small town from getting crushed by a boulder and ends up learning a valuable lesson as a result. Filled with drama, action, and a wicked sense of humor, this is definitely worth taking a minute out of your day to watch.

Seriously. This is good stuff.


Hilarious. I love it.

Jon

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ambition





The unoffical short film week continues!

Today we have a joint effort from Director Tomek Baginski and the European Space Agency that stars Aidan Gillen, who you might know from the movie Shanghai KnightsAmbition tells the story of a Master and his Apprentice using the rubble and ruin of the Wastelands to create a Universe. How did someone like Littlefinger end up in this random six and a half minute short film? I have no idea. Also, why is the ESA involved? Again: No idea, but I would guess it's probably due to the mention of the Rosetta Probe Comet mission, an odd detail which leads me to suspect that some of the nerds over at the ESA got scammed out of a portion of their funding by your typical opportunistic Hollywood cool guy. I imagine a moment akin to something out of Van Wilder... But then, Baginski was nominated for the Best Short Film Oscar in 2003 for Katedra, so there's that too. It didn't win, of course, but it is an impressive thing to have on one's resume. Something like that can go a long ways toward convincing folks to pony up some cash for a project, and it looks like the ESA has done just that, and in spades too. Either way, here we are, and the only question that really matters is a simple one: Does Ambition have what it takes to end up fairing as well or better as Katedra?

Let's watch and see what we think...



Not bad. Not bad at all. I really liked the kind of vague hints of world-building they had going on here. It was a nice mix, a little bit magical, a little bit super science. I really liked that. Iceland is an amazing looking place too, right? Like New Zealand, it seems to look like Heaven on Earth at one end and like the most alien place imaginable in another, and it's not that big a country. Littlefinger was great, but then he's always great, of course. The design and effects were surprisingly good. That might be enough to send it on to the Oscars actually. Maybe. Well, probably not. It's a bit lacking in the story department and, let's be honest, that's because it's mostly a humble-brag on the part of the ESA, right? Not that they don't deserve to brag a little, the Rosetta Probe is pretty fucking amazing, but yeah, that's pretty much what this is. Not that that really matters either, of course, because "humble brag that's light in the narrative department" or not, it's still pretty cool.

Also, I like the poster,
Jon

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mouse-X






Today I've got a short film by Writer/Director Justin Tagg. It's called Mouse-X. It's about 15 minutes long, so clear a little time in your schedule. Hopefully it will be worth it.

Here's the synopsis: A man named Anderson wakes in a building with no idea where he is or how he got there. He slowly discovers that in each of the rooms are a thousand clones of himself, all of whom woke into the same mysterious scenario. To escape he needs to outwit his 'selves' whilst overcoming the realisation that he is not the only Anderson...

Boy... been there, amirite?

Let's check it out...



That was fun.

So, in the end, the film turns out to be your basic moebius loop sci-fi mystery with a heavy--but not too suffocating--Dark City feel. The simple set-up brings you up to speed on the rules quick enough and establishes the stakes so that the ending has the proper impact. I liked the end, it wasn't all that surprising really, once the film got underway, but sometimes all you've really got is the "Last Shot" punch when it comes to short films. They're just too short, y'know? I would have liked to have gotten a glimpse of who it was exactly that pulled him off the big air-bag. Was it more of him? Or was it someone else? That might have given a bit more closure to the set-up's whole mystery, maybe.

But all in all, it was pretty well done.

I really appreciate the small budget sci-fi projects that know they're a small budget sci-fi project and don't try to over-reach, y'know? Nothing kills a film dead quicker than when the seams are showing simply because they don't have the money, the lighting, or the talent to pull off their big space epic. Small first, people, big later. Write that shit down.


Not bad,
Jon

Monday, October 27, 2014

Future Relic 02


Today we have a short film by Daniel Arsham. It's called Future Relic 02. It's about a worker--played by James Franco--who spends his days underground, indexing and destroying objects from a past civilization. And that's just about all I've got on that. I mean, except for Franco, of course, I couldn't really find any information about this project at all, except what you just read and an overly arty website that wasn't any help at all to anyone.

But, y'know... Franco is cool, so let's check it out.


Yeah... That was sure something, huh? According to the legend of the press release, it took them four days to shoot that in Arsham's Brooklyn Studio. That last sentence is very illuminating after having seen the film, right? Yep. Anyway, so it's a little arty and unfocused, at least narrative-wise, but it looked good, so there's that. But other than that, there's not much else going on, I guess. In the end? Ephemeral wisps, people. Ephemeral wisps.

I suppose it's part of larger series, but... ppphhhbbbtttt...

A Freak AND a Geek,
Jon

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fortress




Fortress is a short film (only 3 minutes!) by a Russian film maker named Dima Fedotof. He describes himself as a "CG Enthusiast from Russia." That's about all I could find on him... not that I tried that hard. Whatever. Here is the synopsis. I'm pretty sure English isn't his first language...

This is cartoon parable. Despite the fact that mankind is killed, the war still continues. War continued with automated system left by people. One of the last surviving bomber and its pilot still performs its task. The city is dead for a long time. Dead people who built it. Dead people who gave the order to destroy the city. And war will continue until subside echo of humanity.But life will always find a way to survive. Cassette bomb submunitions became a fortress for the grass.

Well... that sounds interesting... I think.

Let's check it out.


Huh... not bad, right? It looked cool, there was some good designs. He tried a little too hard for poignancy at the end, but his intention is good. So, yeah: Thumbs up. This was fun, short, and kinda cool. 4 stars. Would recommend.

What do you think?

Jon

Thursday, October 23, 2014

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


Obviously I'm looking forward to this movie.

Obviously. I mean, duh, right? It probably seems almost a little cliched at this point, huh? I'm sure when you saw your local Internet explode yesterday with news of the leaked trailer, the first thought in your mind was probably: "Jon is gonna shit." Well, congratu-fucking-lations, Carnac, because you were right: I watched the trailer and I totally shit. Totally.

Let's watch it again.



Woo!

That right there is 100% pure awesome, people, that's what that is.

Granted, this is just a teaser, but from what I saw going on here (and from every little scrip and scrap of information I've read), this film is gonna be huge. Huge. And I can not wait. Seriously. What I see happening in this teaser, I can't believe it. It's all so familiar to me, and yet like nothing I have ever seen before. It's just so exciting to see it all realized. I'm sure some of you out there are like me, so you know, you understand, but for the rest of you, I don't think I can describe what it's like to see these things happening on film. Things like the Marvel movies, the Lord of the Rings films, and Game of Thrones on HBO, these are all things that for a long time were considered to be on the same list: The "Shit That's Never Gonna Happen" list. You loved them. You wanted to see them done, but they were just too big, too involved, too geeky. It just wasn't gonna happen. And for years, it seemed a pretty safe bet that none of them ever would. Honestly, even if/when one ever would get made, they'd end up under-funded, arbitrarily altered, terribly cast and written, in a word: they would suck, so you were almost afraid to see anyone even try.

And yet, now... here we are.

These favorite stories and characters have not only jumped off the "Never Gonna Happen" list, but they've done it bigger and better and more amazing than any of us could have ever dared hoped. Simply put, it's a great time to be a fan.

So, yeah... Anyway, what's the deal with this movie, you ask? Well, it breaks down like this... 

The Avengers have arrived and things will never be the same. Whether they want it or not, their very presence means they change everything, and the world has to scramble to keep up. They are powerful. They are strong. But that means greater threats, harder choices. With so much hanging in the balance with every decision, triumphs can easily become tragedies, and even the smallest mistake can end up destroying people, friendships, legacies. Everything.

Ultron has become self-aware. He does not approve.


And he has brought friends...


The Avengers are screwed. A new Age is upon them...

And it's gonna be awesome. Seriously, I apologize in advance, folks, because I'm probably gonna talk about this a few more times in the coming months.

I can't wait,
Jon


Friday, October 17, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Inherent Vice


With noticeable--and admittedly, perhaps avoidable--shades of Big Lebowski coming along for the ride, here is the latest from Paul Thomas Anderson. When it comes to his work, I am both a huge fan and not a fan at all. He generally makes movies I love, even if I never need to see the majority of them more than once. So, the art and beauty is high, but the re-watchability is low, I guess is what I'm saying. Not always, of course, but often. At least for me. Your own opinion may vary. Whatever the case, he's undoubtedly a fantastic film maker, and after seeing this trailer, I can't wait to see the film. Great cast. Great look. Seems funny. I'm interested. Inherent Vice is based on a book by Thomas Pynchon of the same title (available here). I haven't read it, but it's on my list now.

Here's the synopsis: It's been a while since Doc Sportello has seen his ex- girlfriend. Suddenly she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. It's the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that "love" is just another one of those words going around at the moment, like "trip" or "groovy," except that this one usually leads to trouble... 

I'm a sucker for a hard-luck PI, man. Especially in L.A. Jake. Fletch. Dude. And now Doc. Awesome. I love it. Now, unfortunately some people have taken to calling this type of film "Stoner Noir", but hopefully that's a term that never catches on, because it's stupid.

Fingers crossed. In the meantime, let's check out the trailer...



Can't wait. 
Jon

Monday, October 13, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Interstellar (Final Trailer)


My opinion of Christopher Nolan's various films often vacillates between frustratingly obtuse and out-right genius. Interstellar looks like it's going to fall on the genius side. I hope. I don't know if it was just his general disinterest that killed his third Bat-flick, or if it was just to hard to make a new story after the death of Heath Ledger, or maybe a combination of both, but the result was a terrible mess of a film. Ugly and stupid. It is everything that is bad with the genre. That, plus a litany of bad story choices and behind-the-scene decisions sunk the film. It was almost bad enough to sour a guy's opinion on a film maker. So, with Interstellar, it's good to see that he might be headed back into the realm of "good", and that this might even be his attempt at an Oscar film.

Maybe. We'll see. It certainly seems "epic".

I've mentioned this film before, of course (here and here), but in a nutshell, the story appears to be this: The Earth is dying. We've finally caused too much damage. Matthew McConaughey is an astronaut. He and a crew of other astronauts--including former It Girl turned creepy Glee Club Songstress and Social Pariah, Anne Hathaway--are sent on a mission into deep space, tasked to find a new planet, a new home, all while his daughter--who eventually grows up to be Jessica Chastain--waits for him back home on our slowly dying planet.

Here's the big "story" trailer (a concept I've talked about before).

Let's watch...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Entangled

Here's an interesting short film. It's called Entangled, and it's written and directed by Tony Elliot. He is one of the writers of the super awesome TV show Orphan Black, which I have professed my love for on more than one occasion.




Here's the film's official synopsis from the TIFF site:

Forced to care for her catatonic lover Malcolm after a secret quantum experiment goes awry, Erin is determined to uncover the cause of his condition — even at the risk of her own life.

Sounds interesting, maybe... but why is it called Entangled, you ask? Well, the big hint is the appearance of the word "quantum" in the synopsis. That makes me think the film will deal with something called Quantum Entanglement. It basically (kind of) work like this: One thing existing in two places at the same time. A little more complex than that, but whatever. It's a pretty neat idea, one that pops up in sci-fi stuff quite a bit actually. I think Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle figures in there somewhere, maybe. Not that that is really relevant, but y'know... Breaking Bad was a real cool show. Anyway, I've seen Quantum Entanglement used in stories as a kind of long distance information transfer, or as a type of teleporter or even as a cloning device type of thing. In fact, the first time I ever heard of it was in a JLA comic back in the mid 90s, but all I remember from that was the idea itself and the part when Batman vanishes--poof--during a critical moment. It's kind of hazy after that. None of these examples were probably all that technically accurate, but... duh. Whatever. Like I was saying, the film's probably called Entangled because of something to do with Quantum Entanglement.

Let's watch.


Hmmm. Not bad. Not bad. Nothing too flashing, but I liked it. Nice performances. And it looked good. Plus, I totally called it on the whole Quantum Entanglement thing. 

Kind of cool, right?

Jon

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Harris


You may or may not have heard by now, but... my short story HARRIS has been available for download to your various e-reader devices for a few days now... well, pre-order, but hey... why would you want to waste time, right? Beat the rush. The early bird gets the worm, as the kids say.

But now the long pre-order nightmare is finally over, kids. Today. Finally. Today you can go online, you can order my story, and you can get it, all within moments. Think of the instant gratification! You know how much you like instant gratification, right? I know I do.

And you can find it all right here.

Muy convenient, huh? You're god damn right it is. Check out my sweet cover too. Totally sweet, right? Now, some of you out there probably remember the last time I was talking about this story (remember?), back when it first came out in the local sci-fi anthology Cifiscape Vol. 2--which is still available here, btw--Well, this is the same story, almost the same. I've added some new content, nothing major, just a bit of fleshing out here and there. If pressed, I'd say it's a deeper experience... but if pressed. If you've read it before, you probably won't notice, so read it again, what are you doing that makes you so busy, huh? And if you haven't read it before now, oh boy, are you in for a treat. And let's not forget about the price? $.50 direct? $1.00 from Amazon? Come on, man! That's a bargain, baby... That's a bargain!

Also, if you love it, leave a review.

Thanks,
Jon