"You picking this up, John?" Dang, this is cool. There's an animated short making its way around online (tip via Wired) titled simply Batman versus The Terminator. Enough said. That title alone should be more than needed to make you want to watch this, whatever it is. Well, it's a 5-minute long animated short film from a New Zealand-based filmmaker named Mitchell Hammond that does indeed pit the legendary Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, against The Terminator, aka Skynet, among other things. Set in the year 2029, three decades after Skynet's nuclear blasts, Wayne emerges with a vehicle called "The Stinger" to head out to find John Connor. I love the visual style of this, it's an incredibly well made short, great work. Enjoy below.
"It jelled the entire VFX community into being horrifically pissed off at how they were being treated." The full online short has debuted for a documentary on visual effects company Rhythm & Hues, which became the center of attention in 2013 when their work on Life of Pi won the Oscar, despite employees protesting on the streets just outside, still waiting for their paycheck. The doc is called Life After Pi and is made by the employees of the VFX firm, discussing the events that occurred, the troubles in the industry regarding VFX work, and hopefully the outcome of their plight and the next big steps in the industry. See the full doc now.
This might be something very cool, and potentially an awards winning short in the next year or two. SXSW has debuted a short trailer for an animated film called Confusion Through Sand. At first, Indiewire was billing this as the entire short itself, but the festival lists it as an 11 minute-long short, which means there's plenty more to see and this is just a tease. Confusion Through Sand is a hand drawn, animated short made by the 26-year-old filmmaker Danny Madden, made entirely on recycled paper, hence the look. The story follows a 19-year old soldier who finds himself alone in a hostile desert, scared as hell and trained to react.
Plenty of cinephiles love what the folks at The Criterion Collection do with films that deserve meticulously crafted special edition releases on Blu-Ray and DVD. But they may not know the hard work that goes into restoring films from decades past with negatives that may not be in the best condition for a high-definition transfer. Well, a nerdy little documentary short from Gizmodo (via The Playlist) takes the time to discuss the painstaking technical process with technical director Lee Kline. It's definitely very technical, which makes it perfect for any fans of real film, and it's an eye-opening look behind the scenes.
"Leo's got an army waiting for you!" "He's gunna need it. Today's new short film is a pulp western titled Domino Falling, that plays as a primer to a feature-length story focusing on the character of restless hit man in Mexico, played by Christopher Backus. The short is written and directed by Siavash Farahani and features some nice work all around, it's a good watch. It reminds me a bit of Kill Bill, in a way, and is quoted as having references to Peckinpah and Leone. I will say, by the end of this I do admit I really did want to see more. As something fun to watch for only 14 minutes, it's a worthy short to catch. Watch below.
"This is not our world... this will never be our world... we cannot stay here..." Another trailer for a short, but I can't help sharing this footage from the sci-fi short film titled Prospect, directed by Zeek Earl & Chris Caldwell. This is a short we've featured before, back when it was just a Kickstarter project looking for cash to finish. Well, here it is, at least close to being finished. Now it's in trailer format and it looks much, much better than before, I must say. Prospect, starring Callie Harlow, is "the unusual coming-of-age story of a teenage girl on a toxic alien planet." This looks solid for an indie short, and I'm anxious to see the full thing.
"Yo, it's Sunday...!" Here's the perfect bit of evening entertainment for Sunday, courtesy of a new short film by Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover. The short is titled Chicken and Futility and comes direct from a big Complex mag interview and feature he's a part of. It's a fun little short where Glover, and a few of his friends, are discussing weed, a moth's existence, Chick-fil-A and more while playing video games one Sunday. Childish Gambino's last album, Because the Internet, was released in December and he has been touring nationwide with concerts/shows as well. It's a fun short film to keep promoting Childish Gambino.
My city, my home, my love. In late 2012 I moved to New York City, one of the best decisions in my life, and I've fallen madly in love with the city and everything it has to offer. Many prominent filmmakers call NYC their home as well, and one of those filmmakers is Martin Scorsese, who has made a number of films set in/around New York. House of Nod has put together a quick 3-minute video featuring clips from 14 of Scorsese's movies, from After Hours to Gangs of New York to Goodfellas to Mean Streets to Raging Bull to Taxi Driver in a piece they call "Scorsese's New York". It's a wonderful tribute to the place I now call home.
There's plenty of praise to go around for Spike Jonze's fantastic love story Her, even if the box office receipts haven't been all that great. Our awards expert Joey Magidson even made the plea for the Academy to give it some love in their Oscar nominations, and the film walked away with several nods, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Now The Creators Project and Jonze's own friend and collaborator Lance Bangs has created a doc about love inspired by the film called Her: Love in the Modern Age. Interviews include co-star Olivia Wilde, writer Bret Easton Ellis and many, many others. In full below.
Last year, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas director Todd Strauss-Schulson delivered a darkly funny short film called Valibation that had flares of David Cronenberg. This year, the filmmaker is back with another short film, but this one is a little more personal. All's Fair... stars Thomas Middleditch (who you might recognize as a prominent bowtie-wearing broker from The Wolf of Wall Street) as a man whose relationship has just crumbled before him. As he has fantastical flashes of how his ex-girlfriend's new relationship is going, he decides to pay a prostitute for some company, but not in the way you might think.
If the Tomb Raider films starring Angelina Jolie just didn't satisfy your appetite as a fan of the Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics video game franchise, then a new fan film just might give you what you need. Trevor Addie directs and co-wrote Croft, a 20-minute short film based on female adventurer Lara Croft. Complete with a bow and arrow (which was added to the video game around the same time The Hunger Games made the weapon prominent again in mainstream action), Cassandra Ebner plays the title hero as she tries to save a young girl held hostage in the mountains by a group of mercenaries. It's pretty bad ass.
"A critic is a warrior." This short is surprisingly on-point. Actor Shia LaBeouf has been experimenting in filmmaking and one of his latest creations is a short film titled HowardCantour.com (which played in Cannes) that is, interestingly enough, a brutally honest take-down of internet movie critics (like the one currently writing this post). Jim Gaffigan gives a perfect deadpan performance as movie critic "Howard Cantour", spending his time flirting with freelancer cutie Dakota, played by Portia Doubleday. The film actually says some great things about cinema, but also does a nice job making fun of the movie critic world. That said, it's actually quite well done without being too condescending and an enjoyable watch. Have fun.
It's the most wonderful time of the year. No, not awards season (in fact much of the talent behind the films we love would probably agree it's one of the worst times of year), but Christmas. Whether you celebrate the holiday or partake in Kwanzaa, Chanukah, Festivus or Merlinpeen, it's just a great time for family, fun, hot chocolate, and some great movies. To ring in the holiday season, we've got this charming short documentary called Mr. Christmas, which follows Bruce Mertz, a Christmas enthusiast who decks out his home in Concord, California for people to check out form all across the country. It's perfect for Christmas. Watch!
"You always think you'd seen everything, you always think you would run out of stuff, but it's just not possible." While Blockbuster may be dead, the "video store" still lives on thanks to independent shops like Cinefile Video in LA, Kim's Video in New York and Scarecrow Video in Seattle. You may not be familiar with that last one, but this fascinating short doc/video will get you up to speed with Scarecrow. Produced by David Chen of SlashFilm, the video takes us inside the doors of the self-proclaimed "largest independent video store" in the world, exploring their massive collection with the help of enthusiastic employees. Enjoy!