November 22, 1963.

This is a follow on by Errol Morris’ to “The Umbrella Man” short film commissioned for the New York Times last year (we featured it here.) In part 2 “November 22, 1963″ Morris continues his conversation with Josiah “Tink” Thompson regarding all things JFK.

50 Years.

Friday One Sheet: Castello Cavalcanti

Maybe I am hijacking my own column here, as the One Sheet on display this week is merely a well posed frame from the film with a red and yellow checkered flag along the top. But it it is a well posed frame from a Wes Anderson short film that popped up online this week, made with two of his usual collaborators, Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola, along with funding from Prada of all companies. Oh, and that checkered motif of course matches the uniform of the driver of the smashed sports car that happens to be on fire.

You can also watch the 8 minute short, as it is tucked under the seat.

Would you like to know more…?

TIFF Short Film “NOAH” [last day to view]

Just because you weren’t in Toronto the last couple of weeks doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a little of what TIFF has to offer. For example, I stumbled across this short film entitled Noah which takes place entirely on a computer screen (including the closing credits). It’s an interesting look at relationships in the digital age.

It’s only a few minutes long but I actually felt a little anxious for the protagonist while watching. So for me it was what I like to call “quietly intense.” Take a look below and see what you think.

**Today is the last day the video will be available for viewing on YouTube**

 

Watch It: Don Cheadle Makes Directorial Debut with “H8DES”

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A few weeks ago Vanity Fair announced “The Decades Series” to celebrate the magazine’s 100th anniversary. The series consists of ten shorts, each with a different director or team of directors, capturing a decade beginning with 1910. It doesn’t look like the videos are being released in any sort of order as the 1960s was posted earlier this week (a fun video of talking heads directed by Bryce Dallas Howard) followed today by the 80s but but today’s video is a little extra special.

Titled “H8DES,” this marks the directorial debut of none other than the great Don Cheadle and from the opening moments it perfectly captures the 80s, the laugh track accompanied opening scene feels like it could have been lifted from “The Cosby Show,” but the short manages to cover every major event and feeling of the decade, from Reaganomics to the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s really fantastic and well worth five minutes.

Watch Star Drunk, a modern sci-fi classic.

So, a bunch of writers in Portland, Oregon decided to get together, get drunk, and write a script for an epic sci-fi short film. While I think all of us wannabe writers have done this at one point (hey, Steinbeck, Kerouac, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, and Bukowski were all raging alcoholics, were they not?), these guys didn’t regret their decisions the next morning. Instead, they decided to take it a step further and they hired actors who would act out their film while equally as drunk as the writers had been while writing it.

The result is Star Drunk. And it’s as ridiculous as you’d expect – sort of like a sci-fi version of Drunk History meets Battlestar Galactica. It hilarious, especially if you’re a sci-fi nerd such as myself. Or maybe it’s stupid, but I also spend hours each week watching cat videos on YouTube, so I suppose it’s all relative.

I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see more of these. Perhaps with some drunk editing thrown in for good measure.

Shorts Programme: The Cub

“Hello Wolves, this is my daughter. She is five years old but reads at the level of an eight year old…”

Riley Stearns’ delightfully deadpan short film on bad parenting has a couple literally let their child be raised for a decade by a pack of wolves. The final shot has one hell of a closing beat. The Cub originally premiered at the Toronto short film series, Shorts That Are Not Pants (where I caught it originally), but has popped online today for everyone! Enjoy.

(postscript: according to Vice, Stearns is currently hard at work on a feature film about a man who is reluctant to de-program a girl rescued from a cult, because her family is crazier than said cult. )

Watch Werner Herzog’s texting and driving documentary

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We’re all big fans of Werner Herzog here in the third row. It’s impossible not to admire the man and his zest for life and love of using film to tap into human emotions. I mean, check out our post about him being the most interesting man alive and you’ll better understand our love for the filmmaker. Whether he’s making a documentary or a fictional feature film, he’s always has an uncanny ability to tap into the human psyche unlike any other filmmaker out there.

When AT&T approached him to make what is basically a public service announcement about texting and driving, one might have though that Herzog would think the idea beneath him. Instead, Herzog embraced the idea and turned it into a haunting, powerful 35-minute documentary that weaves together four separate stories related to texting and driving.

Herzog told Yahoo! of his decision:

“What AT&T proposed immediately clicked and connected inside of me. There’s a completely new culture out there. I’m not a participant of texting and driving — or texting at all — but I see there’s something going on in civilization which is coming with great vehemence at us. … This has nothing to do with consumerism or being part of advertising products. This whole campaign is rather dissuading you from excessive use of a product. It’s a campaign. We’re not trying to sell anything to you. We’re not trying to sell a mobile phone to you.”

You can watch the entire film below. Be sure to have your tissues handy and leave your thoughts (or confessions) in the comments.

The return of the Mickey Mouse shorts… sort of.

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The Mickey Mouse short films… without them, there would be no Disney empire as we know it. Before his feature length Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in 1937, Walt Disney was known for mostly for his cute, mischievous mouse creation Mickey who appeared before live-action features.

Walt Disney’s empire began in 1928 with what is still probably his most famous Mickey Mouse short, Steamboat Willie, after famously losing the rights to his beloved character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. The rest, of course, is history. Throughout the 1930s, Disney produced Mickey Mouse short after Mickey Mouse short. By 1940, over 100 Mickey Mouse shorts had been released. Many of these, such as Mickey’s Good Deed, Mickey and the Seal, and Mickey’s Trailer, I grew up watching over and over again on an old, worn-out VHS tape. I still adore them.

After Walt Disney’s massive success of Snow White, the company’s focus shifted to feature films and over the next two decades, less than 20 Mickey Mouse shorts were produced, before ceasing production on them completely. Mickey appeared in various other forms – TV shows, video games, comic books, but rarely again as an official Mickey Mouse short (in fact, after that, only one in the 80s and two in the 90s).

Now, Disney has decided to bring back from the dead the Mickey Mouse shorts – and boy, the Disney gang sure has been given a modern animation makeover. There is no doubt about it: the animation is slick, but for a old-school Disney lover, it’s a bit unsettling at first.

You can watch the short exclusively on Disney’s website. Check it out and chime in with your thoughts on the rather drastic animation changes.

Do you think that Disney should have stuck with the traditional style or do you believe that in resurrecting these shorts they made the right move by having their animation evolve with the times?