If only this were real. During one of this week's episodes of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, one of his guests was filmmaker Spike Jonze. The show opened with a special opening short film, which starts with a title card saying Jonze had an "idea" for the opening and this is the result. I know I'm not the only one anxiously awaiting the next feature film from Spike Jonze. While we wait for something to happen, he went on Colbert's show to promote the launch of a new TV channel called Viceland, opening this week - see here. In the meantime, this amusing short featuring Colbert and an old friend is worth a quick watch. Enjoy.
"It's toxic… like human begins. I don't know what's going to kill to me - this filthy air? Or those fires that's eating me from the inside." Today's must watch short film is a martial arts sci-fi short called Temple, from director Nguyen-Anh Nguyen, the same guy behind The Akira Project previously. Set in the future where cybernetic enhancement as common, one desperate man fights another to take his bionic arm in order to help someone else who needs it to survive. There are some sleek visuals, and at least one okay fight scene in this. It's all designed to sell a full feature, so of course by the time it's over you still want to see more. Enjoy.
With the Academy Awards just a few days away, there's no better time to watch one of the five nominated Best Animated Short Films. In addition to our top recommendation - Don Hertzfeldt's World of Tomorrow (which you can watch here) - one of the other shorts available online is We Can't Live Without Cosmos from Russian filmmaker/animator Konstantin Bronzit. The short follows two cosmonaut friends training for a mission in space. As Wired points out, this is "for every kid who went to Space Camp (or wanted to) and dreamed of one day doing real astronaut training with their best friend." The short is entirely dialogue free and yet still conveys plenty of emotion. It's now available to watch in full for free below - take a look.
"I don't understand what drives you. I would love so much to be able to live your life." It's rare we ever see a sequel to a short film, but this is one worth watching. Back in 2011 we featured a thought-provoking short called Lost Memories that addressed how this world is progressing into the digital realm. This sequel from filmmaker Francois Ferracci titled simply Lost Memories 2.0 follows up and takes place in an augmented-reality-filled digital world after the collapse of the cloud, now known as AC - "After Cloud". This sequel is much longer than the original (which was 2 minutes), running a full 15 minutes with some very sleek VFX work (see the breakdown). Rewatch the first short again and then give this sequel a watch below.
"Pick on someone your own size!" Everyone is talking about the insane success of Deadpool last weekend - breaking box office records and earning the appreciate of audiences. The movie is directed by a first-time filmmaker named Tim Miller, who co-founded a VFX house called Blur Studios in 1995, and has often worked with David Fincher (e.g. on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opening titles). Miller got the offer to direct Deadpool thanks to a cinematic short made for the DC Universe Online game that impressed an exec at 20th Century Fox. The short features various DC superheroes/supervillains like Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and Joker fighting it out. The film is viewable below to see what it was that got him the job.
"On the day they were going to kill him, Jun Seo did not arrive at his liquor store until 5PM." It's always hard to introduce short films without giving away too much about them. I prefer to say the least possible before simply encouraging watching the short in full. This one is titled Los Angeles 1991 and is set in Los Angeles in 1991 and is a real-life story about a shooting at a local liquor store. It's a very powerful drama that makes you think about how different lives intersect and interact in a tragedy like this. The short is made by "Zac&Mac", directed by a filmmaker known as "Macgregor", also known in real life as Miguel de Olaso. He's definitely proving that he can handle real-life drama and emotions with this short. Watch below in full.
"They destroyed our home!" Now this is must watch short film. There's a new unofficial Star Wars fan film available to watch online made by a filmmaker named Joe Sill that is about a father and daughter. It's one of the first fan films inspired by Star Wars: The Force Awakens (so far) that really captures the spirit of that movie, specifically how amazing Daisy Ridley's character Rey is. In this film, Andra Nechita stars as Kara, and there's a really big reveal with her near the end that makes this even more exciting. To top it off, this has impressive technical aspects including outstanding VFX work (X-Wings, Tie Fighters galore!) and tons of futuristic action that actually feels real. I'm so impressed I had to watch it twice. Give it a look.
"So much space, so little time." As always, it's nice to come across a short film that puts you in a good mood by the end. Boldly Gone is a short written & directed by Mark Buchanan that has been playing on the film festival circuit most of last year. It's finally online in full (running time of 12 minutes) for free and it's worth watching if you've ever built your own rocket from scratch (I remember building one in middle school and at Cub Scouts back when). The film is about two estranged brothers who try to figure out how to launch a rocket with their father's ashes into space. It reminds me of October Sky, with Jake Gyllenhaal as Homer Hickam, who builds his own model rockets while Wernher von Braun is working on the Apollo program.
This is badass! The Raid 1 & 2 director Gareth Evans has released a short film online that he produced entirely on his own. It's a short samurai film shot in Wales that is a test sequence to prove that they can film action similar to The Raid films but with a PG-13 rating. The main cast includes Hannah Al Rashid, Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman. This isn't anything more than a test sequence, but it's awesome to see and hopefully good inspiration for filmmakers trying to figure out how to shoot action. I dig the black & white style, as it allows the viewer to appreciate the composition. I'm a fan of Gareth Evans (watch my interview from a few years ago) and I think he's one of the most talented action directors making films today. Enjoy!
"Rachel?" Some nifty sci-fi to kick off 2016. Director Simon Brown has debuted a short film that plays as a teaser for a full feature called Traveler, about four friends who develop a teleportation system in a sleek jet-powered craft. This is much more exciting than you thank, and you will definitely wish there was more to it by the end, which is the whole point. It's a helluva pitch. I really love the setup, and the vehicle looks cool. Plus the sudden twist in this is awesome. Once you get through it, if you want to learn more about the story and where it's headed there's info on their website. Give this short a watch and let us know what you think.
"I remember the first time I tried it… I thought to myself: 'Wow. I'm never going to be bored again.'" If you're into the virtual reality craze, you must see this fascinating new short. It's called Uncanny Valley, which is a reference to the point at which you feel uneasy noticing that a CGI creation isn't really real, from Argentinian director Federico Heller. It explores a future where VR junkies have become so addicted to the virtual worlds, they truly have become junkies, jacking in most of the day. There's some great VFX in this, and strong world-building, with a major transition to sci-fi action in the second half. Beware of VR addicts.
"I can fight the monsters!" Time for an excellent throwback to "The Twilight Zone". Monsters (not to be confused with Gareth Edwards' breakout sci-fi film) is a short film from director Steve Desmond about a family living in an underground bunker, away from the monsters that roam the world above. It is a full-on "Twilight Zone" homage in the way the monsters are exactly who/what you expect them to be (we are all the monsters! oh no!) and yet there is still a twist ending, all within about 12 minutes. It's good, an entertaining short film discovery that is worth your time to watch. Especially if you appreciate "Twilight Zone". Enjoy.
"Can you just be supportive?" Here's another short film to watch whenever you have the time. This one is called We'll Find Something, and it actually starts Shane Carruth and Amy Seimetz, as well as Julia Farell. The two play a couple on a trip to New York City looking for somewhere to get some food, all the while discussing various relationship topics and other random trifles. This short is fresh out of the SXSW Film Festival, where it initially premiered earlier this year, as well as the Maryland Film Festival, and is now available online in full for free via Vimeo below. It's nothing spectacular, but it is a nice little short to enjoy.
How many points can you rack up? We recommend watching this fantastic four minute short film called Trick Meter, from Weta VFX artist and filmmaker Simeon Duncombe out of New Zealand. The very creative, very fun short follows a skateboarder who gets sucked into some funky game where he must do tricks and dodge obstacles to survive. It has some great FX setup behind it, and a fresh vibe to it. The short was featured on Short of the Week, where they wrote that "Duncombe manages to succeed where so many special effects film fail by crafting a dynamic, fantastic world dominated by a ticking clock." Fire it up below.