Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Science Friction (Documentary) 2022 directed by Emery Emery

 


Brian Dunning's company, Skeptoid media has produced a couple documentaries and educational films to promote skepticism and critical thinking over the years. This one is a little different in that, while promoting sketpiism, it does so by interviewing scientists and experts whose words have been manipulated and their expertise exploited for the ever expanding market of dubious documentaries that look more to entertain and make money over actually disseminating real information. 

Emery Emery has set up this doc to look in some ways like the shows and films being exposed without sinking to their level, and in doing so I think proves that you can have real information along with an entertaining product. The basic premise is simple and impossible to ignore after hearing some of the interviews.... TV shows will change what anyone says as long as it promotes whatever controversy, film tie in or ideological idea that have decided on ahed of time. The victims, scientists and experts and those mislabelled as such, are sometimes aware that this is likely to happen but take the chance that some of the truth will get out there as well. Many if not most of those ghost, alien, cryptic shows are not there to inform anyone. They are there to get enough viewers to sell ads and the people who make them don't have the slightest idea what reputation and accuracy can mean to an expert in any given field. I think they those familiar with the larger skeptical movement will be surprised at how many leaders in that realm have tried but fallen short of getting their message out there no matter how careful they are to avoid the well known traps set for them. There is a real struggle with them to take the chance or just avoid interviews altogether.

The movie does not wallow in self pity or anger or even deal with some of the weird claims directly It rightly stays on  track and shows how words were twisted and edited to mean the complete opposite of was said and it exposes a few well know "documentaries" that are nothing but propaganda pieces that use dishonesty and editing tricks to fool viewers. ("Vaxxed" and "Expelled" are examples). The pace is quick and the lightness helps keep the outrage down while at the same time revealing what a big problem entertainment and ideological goals are when they overtake the need for facts and truth. 

Free on Tubi so there is no excuse to miss it! 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Selected for 2 festivals: Whistle and I Will Come

 


At the Warped Dimension film festival May 14, 2022 (Online Festival)

https://www.ahith.com/mrholeheadwarpeddimension

I will be doing a Q&A over Zoom the 14th so sign up! 


New York Istanbul Film Festival

The event is May 6th but I don't know much more than my film is one of the selections! 

http://www.newyorkistanbulshortfilmfestival.com/About/

 The film is off Youtube temporarily so it can premiere officially at the Warped Dimension festival! 

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Encanto (2021) directed by Jared Bush and Byron Howard, co-directed by Charise Castro Smith

 


Encanto is the lightest film about transgenerational trauma you might ever see. It manages to be fun, musical (thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda) and still gets a pretty deep message across about how terrible events in the past can still affect the present, even effect those who were not alive at the time of the event. 

As expected from any Disney film recently, the animation is flawless, the skin tones and the colour palette is really complex and beautiful. They have a way of making the most complicated animated scenes look effortless and every frame brings you deeper into the film's world of magical realism. 

All the members of a family have been granted magical gifts after being chased from their homeland a generation or two ago but these powers seems to be fading. One family member, Mirabel, was not granted magic powers and it comes down to her to find out why things are changing and discover how to fix them. I won't spoil it, but the lives of her siblings are not was magical as one would be led to believe. 

I like how the time and place of the film is never defined and even the traumatic event is very broadly defined so it could be anywhere anytime. Well, anytime after photography was invented as they use a camera in the movie a couple times. 

A well done, well acted. and well sung film with a deeper side if you care to look into it. 

Friday, April 8, 2022

The Eternals (2021) directed by Chloé Zhao

 


The Eternals is an odd property for Marvel to give the multi-million dollar treatment but they did it a few times before and often that risk makes for an entertaining film. I would say this is not exception, it' IS an entertaining film even if it is a bit of mess with plot and character motivation. Spanning thousands of years, the back stories of a group of... robots?... not clear what they are exactly but it is said they were programmed at one point so robots will suffice have been put on Earth to protect it from one threat - the monstrous deviants - and NOTHING else. These creatures have all been destroyed and the group separates waiting to be taken back home now that their work is done. More deviants appear and it is discovered that their purpose is more than they were led to believe. Follow that purpose and everything on earth dies or go against it at huge cost and only a small chance to succeed.

All the performances are good, the gang of super beings are all pretty unique and pretty fleshed out for a movie of this scale. It is a marvel film so the effects are top notch. The story is a little hard to follow or believe at points, it does ask you suspend your disbelief more than even other superhero movies do but the cast is endearing and pushes it along well enough that while you are watching you get caught up in the events on the screen and on't question it too much. I am not sure the ending makes much sense to be truthful and I did not like the "teaser" of a future reveal of one of the Eternals human lover being maybe more than that. Just tell us for once!  It was interesting enough to make me curious how they night fit into other marvel projects but it works as one off for me as well. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Poster illustration: Mad Love (1935) Staring:Peter Lorre

 


I haven't done a classic monster poster in a while. I think, obscure though this film seems to be these days, it counts as one. The image of Lorre with a the back brace and metal hands has been seen well outside the film it was featured in and the story is based on a book by Victor Hugo.  I think there has been as least 5 movies versions of the story starting with a silent film that influenced the costume in this later film. Unlike other versions, this one has many of Hugos story elements but  also wildly forgets all about other elements and replaces them with some pretty perverted stuff. Lorries fantastic and Colin Clive is great as well. I have read the book in the original French, it's long and I have to say, disappointing. Maybe if I had no seen this film first, my opinion would be different. 

Drawn in Krita and the logo was done in affinity designer. As it often the case with these projects, my image was composed from a mix of publicity photos and film frames plus some influence from the silent version. I am not sure sure that I captured the metal in the hands as well as I would have liked. They were harder than I thought! 

Saturday, March 19, 2022

The House (2022) directed by: Emma de Swaef, Marc James Roels, Niki Lindroth von Bahr, and Paloma Baeza

 



The House
is a stop motion film presented on Netflix which tells three separate, non-related stories. The unifying element is that all take place in the same house, but in wildly different locals and situations. 

And heard within, a lie is spun

This first story is about a family on hard times offered a newly built home by a mysterious benefactor. It quickly turns to gothic horror and can be interpreted in a number of ways. The characters are sort of fuzzy humans that seem to be made from lint.

The Lost is Truth that can't be Won

This one did not resonate with me much a t all. The characters are anthropogenic mice, the main one being some sort of real estate developer renovating a large house and trying to sell it. There is a bug problem and an open house where an interested couple just doesn't leave and an odd subplot of him making calls to a love interest that goes off in a direction I didn't expect. Grotesque imagery abounds and there is even a really weird dance number... 

Listen again and seek the sun

This was the lightest offering of the three and again the main character is renovating the house but this time the actors are all cats and the house is sinking into a flooded landscape. The two renters don't actually pay rent and the owner simply can't see that the house is almost cause. A new age guru type arrives and turns everything on it's head. overall it's a positive and funny story but the hippy dippy characters are more annoying to me by the end. 

Worth seeing? Sure, the animation is mazing and the voice work well done. The stories were super weird, something normally like, but rambled a little much for me to get too involved. So maybe a B or B- for this one. 


Thursday, March 17, 2022

Whistle and I will Come (2022) directed by Vincent-louis Apruzzese

 

Loosely based on the 1904 story "Oh Whistle and I'll Come for You My Lad" by M.R James. This film has no spoken dialogue and French translations of some written text. A woman living alone is joined by a surprise addition to her  isolated beach location where a hidden horror is revealed.


This was a much delayed project for many reasons. The pandemic made it difficult to create oddly because I didn't have enough isolation and family issues became a higher priority. It was also started, sets designed and a computer glitch made all the set files corrupted and they had to be redone. This made them much better in the end, I think. There is no spoken dialogue and the 2 instances to written text have French translations underneath for my local viewers. 


I use some traditional Aztec instrument sounds for some of the effects and composed the music myself, if you can call that composing... I hope it works. I made the character with an app called "Make Human" which has is limitations and needed modifications but saved time and aggravation getting this thing finally off the ground. All of the visual compositing was done in Apple Motion, my choice for animation these days. I had a plugin that allowed me to do change the focus in post, but it was updated and that feature was deleted! I was able to get my money back but the old version wouldn't work with the current Mac OS so I had to improvise and while not perfect, I found a way to do essentially the same thing. I did make the lighting with After Effects. I could have done it in Motion but AE has a preset that makes it super easy and I felt super lazy about it. 


Librement basé sur l'histoire de 1904 "Oh Whistle and I'll Come for You My Lad" de M.R James. Ce film n'a pas de dialogue parlé et des traductions françaises de certains textes écrits. Une femme vivant seule est rejointe par un ajout surprise à sa plage isolée où une horreur cachée est révélée.


Ce fut un projet très retardé pour de nombreuses raisons. La pandémie a rendu difficile la création bizarrement, car je n'avais pas assez d'isolement et les problèmes familiaux sont devenus une priorité plus élevée. Il a également été lancé, les décors ont été conçus et un problème informatique a corrompu tous les fichiers du décor et ils ont dû être refaits. Cela les a rendus beaucoup mieux à la fin, je pense. Il n'y a pas de dialogue parlé et les deux instances du texte écrit ont des traductions françaises en dessous pour mes téléspectateurs locaux.


J'utilise des sons d'instruments aztèques traditionnels pour certains des effets et j'ai composé la musique moi-même, si on peut appeler ça composer... J'espère que ça marche. J'ai créé le personnage avec une application appelée "Make Human" qui a des limites et des modifications nécessaires, mais qui a permis d'économiser du temps et de l'aggravation pour que cette chose décolle enfin. Toute la composition visuelle a été réalisée dans Apple Motion, mon choix pour l'animation ces jours-ci. J'avais un plugin qui me permettait de changer le focus dans le post, mais il a été mis à jour et cette fonctionnalité a été supprimée ! J'ai pu récupérer mon argent, mais l'ancienne version ne fonctionnait pas avec le Mac OS actuel, j'ai donc dû improviser et, même si ce n'était pas parfait, j'ai trouvé un moyen de faire essentiellement la même chose. J'ai fait l'éclairage avec After Effects. J'aurais pu le faire dans Motion mais AE a un préréglage qui le rend super facile et je me sentais super paresseux à ce sujet.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Lost in Space - season 3 Netflix


 It's been a couple years since season two thanks to the Covid epidemic but the show has managed to keep it is fairly tight tone even if it couldn't keep its main character from growing up. Luckily that is explained by picking up not where we left off but a year or so later with the family split up between the children on a destroyed planet surrounded but the debris of it own destruction and the parents who are working on a an array of the other Jupiter spaceships while they look for an alien motor and alien robot to transport them all to the promised land planet. 

The episodes are of varying lengths and I found that a plus. No episode had to be padded to fill in the running time and I think the money saved on that went into keeping the effects work top notch. 

As this is the last season, I wasn't sure how it work out with all the characters, Dr. Smith in particular is not exactly on a redemption arc really as it goes on but I was happy with her final outcome. The war between the humans and robots gets resolved in a way I found a bit obvious. That said it was entertaining and all the actors were good in their roles even after the unplanned hiatus. There seems to be more integration of the original TV show theme music which worked really well. This is one show that knows what it is and doesn't try to be anything else. Might even rewatch the entire thing again at some point. 

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Festival showing: The Picnic at the Symbiotic Film Festival

 

Bad timing for my film but a horrible tragedy in Ukraine and the rest of the world. The showing is tonight and still happening as far as I know.