Thursday, February 27, 2020

25 Years Later (2020) directed by Vincent-louis Apruzzese

This took a while and a lot out of me. Lots of sad memories and a few happy ones thrown in for good measure. Thanks again to Mike Luce for his wicked laugh, and he didn't even ask what it was for!

This is sort of more "epic" as well as personal for me in animation. 15 locations that all had to be designed and made and then populated with two real-ish looking humans.

This is not a documentary. I wish I was still in shape like the cyclist in the animation is 25 years later after taking care of my friend but many of the events did happen. I won't bike to Boston as I planned but I will go there this spring/summer. A bike tour would take almost a week and I don't have the funds for a week in hotels, then time in Boston and then find a way to get back home with my bike. In a way this is my attempt to come to terms with the events all those years back, it was a very tough time and I though I helped out one friend for six years, there were  others for shorter periods and some of that is reflected in this as well.

Some of you might recognize certain locations... like my office, street, the bridge and several locations in Boston. Nothing is slavishly reproduced but even the biking scenes are based on several trips from Boston to Montreal.

If you see this and have opinions, tell me and watch it on You Tube, give it likes etc. I would like it to be seen and promoted somehow so please refer others to it if you think it's appropriate.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Divided by One ()2020 directed by Jacob Kafka

This short film was made by a developer of the app "rough animator" which I own but haven't used yet. It has a lot to recommend about it.  T

he short poignant and very done and since we always encourage these one man bad sort of projects here in the Slammer, I thought it would be nice to share it here.

If you have even a passing desire to try out 2D animation... BUY IT! It's only 5$ and well worth many times that!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Behemoth media demo reel 2020

Update for 2020, includes some unfinished projects I thought might be interesting. 
Hire me !

Saturday, February 1, 2020

28 Young Men (2020) directed by Vincent-louis Apruzzese, narrated by Michael Z. Keamy

28 Young Men, a short poem by Walt whiman read by Michael Z. Keamy and animated by me (Behemoth media).

The project has been several years in the making. Originally we wanted to do live action and scouted and filmed several locations. As time went on, it became clear that getting 28 make men to splash around on a beach for free was not really a realistic option. We needed a secluded place and no trouble from local authorities. So animation was the voice in the end.

The men barely move, (and no there are not really 28 of them but I am not exactly Pixar so we never see them all at once), the idea being they are frozen in the woman's fantasy as she imagines herself moving amongst them. The beach and house are loose representations of Newburyport where Keamy are up and had specific locations in mind. So the advanced filming came in handy when it came to making the sets.

The water effects were done with X-particles for Cinema 4D and look pretty good to me. they are not meant to look like real water and match the cartoon look of the ocean waves.

Warning, I guess... cartoon nudity.

Hail Satan (2019) Directed by Penny Lane

When you hear the word Satanism, what do you think? Since the ridiculous "Satanic Panic" in the 1970s, the word has brought to mine child abuse, murder, demons from board games and  variety of other things that - to be clear - have NO basis in fact.  So promoting the Satanic Temple as positive force in the world seems like an uphill battle, to say the least. Penny lane's excellent documentary does just that, however.

Started more or less a joke, the temple has expanded by leaps and bounds, mostly due to their work in promoting religious freedom in the USA. In some sense they are the ultimate trolls, when a city or state decides it needs a 10 Commandments monument or giant cross on state property, something that is 100% illegal and against the constitution, the Satanic Temple steps in with a massive, beautifully done Baphomet statues to go beside the Christian symbols. It is an effective way to get the point across that one religion should not be promoted over all others.

The spokesperson for the Temple is Lucien Graves and while he looks the part, talks the talk and walks the walk, you get a clear impression he does not like the role or the attention on him personally.   "Are you excited about the protest today?"the interviewer will ask. "No" is the one word response from Graves. He does, nevertheless make an effective spokesperson for the movement and handles hostile interviewers with a reasonable calm I am not sure many other people could.

Well paced and not one sided, in the sense that is covers schisms in the Satanist movement and goes over it's often spotty history, the film give the viewer a solid sense of what the actual beliefs of Satanism are and what they are trying to achieve in a country the reads of christian religious privilege. Satanists are not perfect as a religion by any means but their rules to live by are more than reasonable, fair and based in the real world. If you read them without knowing they were the rules of the Satanic Temple, you might think all religions should adopt them immediately.

Satanist as promoters of justice and equality might seem like a strange idea after decades of misinformation, but you will likely be convinced by the end of the 95 minute run time. You may not want to run out and join your local Satanist Temple chapter, but you will more likely than not agree with most of things that are trying to accomplish.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Dracula (2020) Netflix series by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss

Spoilers galore.

This version of Dracula can be lauded for playing with all the tropes and original story elements in new and surprising ways. As a three part series, each 90 minutes, there is plenty of time to horrify, shock and surprise even someone like me who is sort of a fan of Vampire lore. What the show does best is it takes some barely touched on sections of the Stoker Novel and expands them into a new main story. The first past takes place in the convent where Johnathan Harker is recovering... well recovering is not the right word in this version. In the novel he just spends some time there and then goes home to his fiancĂ©. In this version, he is basically dead and turning into a vampire after having been feasted non by Dracula and then "killing himself" but jumping off the castle tower and into the river below. The set up is very much like the original story and then takes this turn into batshit craziness. He does not survive the first episode.  Sister Agatha, Agatha VanHelsing we find out is questioning him until Mina stakes him and Dracula arrives to collect Johnathan? It's not really clear why he is there but it works.

The second part starts with the good sister and Dracula playing chess and him explain to her how he survived on so few people while travelling from his home to Britain on the ship "The Demeter" which before a bloody game of "ten little Indians"  as the passengers and crew are quickly used for food and become suspicious, not of Dracula, but of the mysterious guest in room 9 who no one sees. As it turns out, it's Agatha who's chess game with the count is in their minds as he uses her for a steady food source. She does get the better of him as they try and hang her killing the missing crew when she spit blood at the vampire and his true nature is exposed. The episode is not fast moving but I thought it was effective and again, it's turned a detail in the novel into a main story. It ends in the most crazy way possible. The ship is blown up, Agatha drowns and Dracula hides in a remaining coffin on the ocean floor until he walks to shore where he is met by a helicopter, military looking personnel and... Agatha?

So now in modern day the end of the series pits Dracula against the ancestor of VanHelsing who has him imprisoned in a high security vampire facility. Well not all that secure, and thesis where the series starts to fall apart, as Dracula is somehow allowed to go free because... the law? Plus Zowie the new VanHelsing manages to just take a vile of vampire blood and drink it for... reasons. She is dying of cancer, but it doesn't help with that. It does let her communicate with the count in some sort of dreamworld. Meanwhile the Count Dracula falls for an egotistical millennial chick who let him feed of her for the eventual gift of eternal life. She gets her wish in the worst way as when she dies and is laid to rest... she get cremated, something Dracula didn't know was a "thing" in this new era and she escape, but is quite the gory mess. Up to this point the story is getting messier but it is still interesting and it remains that way, mostly due the excellent performances of Claes Bang (Dracula) and Dolly Wells (VanHelsing). The ending, to me a least, was a big letdown. Dracula throughout has been an unfeeling monster. Cold, cruel, inhuman. Seriously, he deserved to go out with bang and be punished for his actions, but instead he drinks the blood of Zowie which is poisonous to him after she reveals he ashamed of his immortal existence and most of his mutation, including being burnt by the sun are mostly self imposed.  It's a let down. When VanHelsing tears down the curtains in the vampires penthouse exposing him to the light he should have exploded in the rays of the sun, or suffered in some way that punished centuries of unforgivable behaviour. Nope, they lie in each other's dying arms in the light of the sun.... WTF?

Should you see it? I would say yes because it's pretty great until the last five minutes. there is much to recommend about the the majority of it. It is a shame the ending just doesn't live up to lead up.