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Surviving Life - Jan Švankmajer (GIRAF 6)

Švankmajer's introduction to his own film

Thank god for GIRAF. Where else would you get to see something like this? Not quite animation, not quite live action, it’s the newest (and rumoured to be the last) film from long-time influential Czech animator Jan Švankmajer. Absurd and elaborate as always, it’s a huge stylistic departure for Švankmajer, replicating the 2D cutouts of Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python shorts for the entire duration of the film.

Švankmajer even self-referentially jokes about this at the film’s intro. Animating himself into his film, he explains how he was intending to shoot a live-action film, but didn’t have the budget — so they animated most of it. Then he explains that the only reason he included the opening intro is that the movie wasn’t quite long enough … Read More

Add comment      more in Film Reviews     |     posted Nov 7th, 2010 at 6:25pm

2010 Spike & Mike's Sick & Twisted Animation Late Show - giraf 6

Fantasie in Bubblewrap - Arthur Metcalf

The title is all you really need to know. Perhaps it's too much to ask for some taste. Some restraint. But is it really too much to ask for some humour alongside the vulgarity?  Most of these shorts, often a minute or less, came off more like Robot Chicken rejects.

Pollination as an extended rape scene. Bodily fluids (and solids) as a food substitute. Phallic murder weapons. Paris Hilton and bald Britney jokes. At best, dated, and at worst, desperately hoping for the credits to roll. It's a shame for some of these animators — having acquired a large enough budget and talent for top-notch computer graphics — to spend their efforts on an extended one-note fart joke. Or the precise physics of a stretched booger.

The one anamoly — and thankfully so — is  … Read More

Add comment      more in Film Reviews     |     posted Nov 6th, 2010 at 4:02pm

giraf 6 shorts package - Where is My Mind?

Amy Lockhart's The Collagist (Canada)

Animation shorts screenings — always fertile and fascinating grounds for experimentation, both good and bad. The good: an often a dizzying showcase of technique and style. The bad: the subsequent shortchange of substance, or in some cases, no substance at all.

So let's focus on the good. The sheer variety on display. Links are provided for videos available online:

  • Armour For A Boy (Corey Lee & Micheal Welchman/Canada) - Unfords like a japanese B&W samurai comic, complete with shifting panels and speech bubbles.
  • Dialogos (Ulo Pikkov/Estonia) - a disturbing little mash-up of visual gags, wordplay and scratchy sound effects. The jokes (ie. two flies romancing: "I love you more than shit") coming and going almost too fast for its own good.
  • La Fete
 … Read More
Add comment      more in Film Reviews     |     posted Nov 6th, 2010 at 1:44pm

The Room: Friday August 27, The Uptown

The Room has been painted with plenty of different strokes. Wikipedia calls it “the Citizen Kane of bad movies.” Entertainment Weekly agreed, anointing director Tommy Wiseau as “the Orson Welles of crap.” Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 36 per cent rating, which is generous, considering Slate called it “physically trying to watch.”

Either way, it’s the 2003 indie-cult flick that made Wiseau a star on the midnight movie circuit and a veritable comicon A-lister (and hey, it also landed him a guest-directing slot on The Tim and Eric Awesome Show Good Job! Just sayin’). And if you’re going to catch one midnight screening all year, there are few that can rival The Room, playing at 11:00 pm on Friday, August 27 at The Uptown. Don't sleep: It's a one-off … Read More

Comments (5)      more in Film Reviews     |     posted Aug 26th, 2010 at 12:39pm

The best worst movie of the summer

Last year I shared with you the magic of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. Continuing that tradition I give you my pick (so far) for the best worst movie of the summer of 2010. The Piranhas may not be giant or mega but there sure are a hell of a lot of them. And it's in 3D! Thanks to Mark Strowbridge for passing this one to me.

 Read More
Add comment      more in Film Reviews     |     posted May 31st, 2010 at 4:01pm

Scary but true: I really liked Edge of Darkness


If I were feeling particularly honest, I’d have to confess that I didn’t think Edge of Darkness would be any good. Director Martin Campbell did direct two of the best Bond movies in recent memory (and maybe the best one ever with Casino Royale), but the presence of Mel Gibson was a major turn-off — not because of his film presence, which I actually enjoy, but more because the assorted scandals of the last few years soured me on him. That one South Park episode didn’t help my biases, either.
The movie’s opening didn’t help much, with Gibson’s Boston accent and his powerful fatherly love providing ample targets for cynicism. But then it got me. The story started unfolding, the tone got increasingly grim, and I found myself wondering why I was … Read More

Add comment      more in Film Reviews     |     posted Jan 29th, 2010 at 9:55am

Drag me... to the movie theatre!

Post Hero Image

You see what I did there? Oh, shut up, you're no fun. 

Anyhow, I've just returned from seeing Drag me to hell with the lil' lady (and, uh, this other guy), and I've got to say I enjoyed it quite a lot! If you're regrettably both uninformed and too lazy to visit IMDB, DMTH is Sam Raimi's latest effort, a lovably schlocky horror film that is--and it's very open about this--basically just Evil Dead 4

Now, if you're thinking of checking out the trailer before you go, don't. Some bozo in the marketing department decided to sell the film as the latest Sawalike, nothing but fetishized violence and base body horror... But, well, that is kind of accurate, actually. What elevates it, I think, is that it's a film that very much knows it's nothing but hours of fetishized … Read More

Add comment      more in Film Reviews     |     posted Jun 10th, 2009 at 3:24am

Radiant City

I recently read a blog post by Ryan at the New Resilient which got me interested in a film called Radiant City, filmed right here in Calgary about urban sprawl.

Some of the facts were astonishing. The average suburban home is now 2200 square feet. Over 90% of kids are now driven to school. Suburbanites are, on average, 6 pounds heavier than their inner city counterparts.

Some of the attitudes in the film were depressing, mostly because they are a true representation of how some people in Calgary view life. The two most recent examples are a Calgary Herald article about the 62 new officers assigned to the downtown beat to help "clean the core" as the chief said and a CBC story about attainable housing. This is an actual quote from the … Read More

Add comment      more in Film Reviews     |     posted Jun 9th, 2009 at 4:11pm

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