Beautiful film of plates and glasses smashing to a Bach soundtrack

"The film is an exploration on the nature of time, the relentless violence of entropy and creative energy and its relationship to music itself," write the filmmakers at Optical Arts, a London creative studio.

While it has the feel of digital trickery, this is the real deal, shot on high-speed video. Watch the making-of video below.

Toccata (via Kottke)

Toccata
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"Tingle Monsters" is an incredibly unsettling ASMR feminist horror film

If you don't get chills from the ASMR audio experience of Tingle Monsters, then you'll definitely get them from the looming tension and sheer overwhelming sexist dread that oozes throughout this ten-minute short film (especially in the expertly-created comments section that helps to drive the plot). It is weirdly kind of relaxing, until it's absolutely not. Here's the official synopsis:

An ASMR vlogger with a devoted fan base returns from an extended absence with a livestream that spirals out of control.

Writer/director/actress Alexandra Serio had this to say as well:

I was compelled to make "Tingle Monsters" because I believe that violence against women truly starts with words. With this in mind, I designed the film’s unconventional viewing experience to feel like a real ASMR livestream.

Shot in screenlife format with no extra score or sound design, the film is designed to transport viewers into a scenario they are already familiar with—the harassment of women on the internet—ultimately inviting the audience to examine the link between what we say and think about women affects their real-world treatment.

I firmly believe that through gender parity and telling women-driven narratives we can begin to change the world. But we must start by taking a sobering look at where we currently are. Tingle Monsters aims to do that.

Serio also did a great interview with Pasteoffering a behind-the-scenes perspective on this creepy little capsule of awful internet intersections.

The movie is only ten-minutes long, and definitely unsettling. I haven't much followed the ASMR phenomenon, but Serio uses the genre conventions deftly here to create a creeping experience that — I suspect — accurately reflects the horrors that often accompany simply being a woman on the Internet. Read the rest

Budfoot, starring psychedelic fantasy artist Skinner, delivers 420 cult movie excellence.

For all of us sheltering in place, the claustrophobic cluttered workshop that serves as the sole location in Budfoot -- a film where one eccentric man quickly loses his biscuits -- may feel all-too relatable. Meet Joe Carver, an indie toy designer whose penchant for manufacturing toys using sketchy chemicals unleashes the latest character in the killer doll genre of horror, Budfoot.

A spiritual heir to the cursed figure from Trilogy of Terror, watch as Budfoot transforms from mild-mannered cannabis mascot to Exacto knife-wielding menace who turns on his creator. The psychedelic stop motion is reminiscent of the late, great, Bruce Bickford if Bruce had ever had a budget, that is. The slick production value of the VFX are just as impressive as they are revolting.

Pair Budfoot with Cheech and Chong’s “Next Movie” for a midnight movie experience at home tonight.

Starring Skinner and Henry Zebrowski (Last Podcast on the Left). Directed by Tim Reis and James Sizemore. Special Effects by Shane Morton & VFX by Derek King. Read the rest

Watch this award-winning stop-motion short film about the second oldest man in the world

Second To None is a new short film by Irish writer/director Vincent Gallagher that I can best describe as "What if the first 20 minutes of UP was written and directed by Quentin Tarantino?" Here's the official synopsis:

Frederick Butterfield has always been runner up to his twin brother Herman. When Herman, the older by a mere minute, becomes the world’s oldest man, Frederick finally sees an opportunity to be first place.

Frederick will stop at nothing to claim the top spot in the most inventive way possible.

It's a delightfully bleak dark comedy. I found myself actually laughing out loud numerous times as the children's book-like characters moved silently from adorable ultraviolence to adorable ultraviolence, while still being delightfully crotchety old man. On a technical level, the intricate stop-motion work is truly impressive as well; it took them six months just to make a 7 minute short film.

If you're still not convinced to spare those seven minutes of your time, Second To None has already garnered a ton of awards, including "Best Animation" at the Irish Film and Television Awards, as well as recognition at the Austin Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival, and even Whoopi Goldberg’s specially curated animated shorts program at Tribeca. It's currently a Staff Pick at Vimeo as well.

Second To None [Written and directed by Vincent Gallagher; animated by jason Watts; character design and fabrication by Pierre Butler; sets by Aoife Noonan of Bowsie Workshop]

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Watch this housefly do amazing tricks (1910)

In this 1910 film, a housefly perched (glued?) on a matchstick, demonstrates fantastic feats of insect strength and agility. From the British Film Institute:

This truly delightful (or singularly repellent) film is the work of Percy Smith, pioneer of a particularly engaging early form of natural filmmaking. 'The Acrobatic Fly' is one of a series of Smith films on similar subjects around this time, and near identical to, though briefer than, a sequence in his 1911 release 'The Strength and Agility of Insects', which also features similarly impressive accomplishments by a scorpion, a flea, a grasshopper and a praying mantis. Viewers might worry about the techniques used to secure such performances, but Smith always insisted that his stars were none the worse for their moment in the spotlight.

Learn more about Percy Smith at the British Film Institute's Screenonline site.

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Hiccups: a cute/scary one minute film seen on Clive Barker's Short Screamers and AFV

Michaem Schmitt's (very) short film Hiccups was featured in Clive Barker's half-hour TV special "Short Screamers" (2003) and won on America's Funniest Home Videos in 2005. It reminds me of Albert Brooks and Dan Aykroyd's excellent prologue from Twilight Zone: The Movie, below.

(via r/ObscureMedia)

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Magnificent new music video from Afghan Whigs' Greg Dulli

My old pal Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs will release his first proper solo album, Random Desire, on February 21. Above is "Pantomima," the first single/video for the album, and it's a beaut. Directed by and starring Greg's longtime collaborator Philip Harder, this magnificent short film is a take on the "All That Jazz" tale of choreographer/dancer Bob Fosse.

Greg tours Europe and the US starting in March. Black out the windows, it's party time.

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David Lynch's bizarre new Netflix short is a perfect companion to this quinoa recipe

David Lynch celebrated his 20th birthday by dropping a delightfully bizarre new short film on Netflix called WHAT DID JACK DO? The 17-minute-long murder mystery, which originally premiered at the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain in Paris in November 2017, stars Lynch as a grizzled detective interrogating a capuchin monkey named Jack.

It's weird, and wonderful, and totally worth watching. After all, it's only a 17-minute investment.

But the black-and-white footage and incongruous tonality of hard-boiled grit and strange comedic circumstances also reminded me of one of my favorite Lynchian gems: this 20-minute video of Lynch cooking quinoa.

That's it. That's the whole movie. A surreal, moody, atmospheric cooking show for something as simple as quinoa, in a way that only David Lynch could do.

WHAT DID JACK DO? [David Lynch / Netflix]

Thumbnail Image via JVoves/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) Read the rest

Wonderful video: blowtorch + hair dryer = popcorn

Filmmakers Zita Bernet and Rafael Sommerhalder, aka CRICTOR, created this delightful short as a cinematic holiday card. Read the rest

Watch the new Star Wars film "Kenobi"

Jason Satterlund directed this short film, "Kenobi." Not canon.

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A lovely film of spinning tops by Charles and Ray Eames

In 1969, visionary designers Charles and Ray Eames directed this cinematic ballet of more than 100 spinning tops from around the world. The score is by famed Hollywood composer Elmer Bernstein (The Ten Commandments, The Magnificent Seven, Airplane!, etc.). From the Eames Office:

Tops had its genesis in an earlier film produced for the Stars of Jazz television program in 1957. The Eameses decided to make a longer, color version in 1966, which they worked on in spare moments between other projects.

The film is a celebration of the ancient art and craft of top-making and spinning. One hundred and twenty-three tops spin to the accompaniment of a score by Elmer Bernstein. Using close-up, live-action photography, the film shows tops, old and new, from various countries, including China, Japan, India, the United States, France, and England.

Charles’s fascination with spinning tops went back to his childhood; in this film he found a perfect vehicle for demonstrating their beauty in motion and for making visual points about the universality of tops, the physics of motion (MIT physics professor, Philip Morrison, often showed the film to students and colleagues), and the intimate relationship between toys and science.

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Check out these amazing sf movies made by Nigerian teens

The Critics Company is a collective of Nigerian teen afrofuturist filmmakers who make incredible looking, smart science fiction movies with camerawork courtesy of old, busted mobile phones and VFX generated in Blender. Read the rest

"Meet David," an unintentionally weird educational film clip from 1959

Context is everything, especially when it's missing.

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Watch Madonna, at age 16, star in a high-schooler's experimental film

In 1974, Wyn Cooper, one of Madonna's fellow students at Adams High School near Detroit, invited the 16-year-old pre-material girl to star in his experimental film. The Super 8 short is titled "The Egg." "We developed a friendship and hung out," Cooper, now a poet in Vermont, has said. "I had a Mercury Capri with an eight-track tape player. Madonna and I would hop in the car, drive around and listen to Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars while enjoying a little marijuana." (via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

"Mona Lisa Descending A Staircase," a wonderful claymation from 1992

Joan C Gratz's animated short "Mona Lisa Descending A Staircase" is a lovely and trippy 2D claymation of iconic artworks transforming one into another. After spending a decade on the piece, Gratz won the 1992 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Gratz called her animation technique "clay painting." From Educational Media Reviews Online:

“Clay-painting” is a unique process that blends film and painting, and an innovation that garnered Joan Gratz’s Mona Lisa Descending A Staircase a 1992 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. In this true landmark of animation, numerous famous and iconic paintings from 20th century art are “reproduced as exactly as possible but the transitions between these paintings [are] used to communicate the relationship of artistic movements” as Gratz has stated. “In the clay painting technique, which I began developing in 1966, I work by painting directly before the camera, making changes to a single painting, shooting a frame, repainting and shooting, etc. In the end there is one painting with the process recorded on film, the product is the process.”

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Watch Spike Jonze's short film about cannabis

Trailblazing filmmaker Spike Jonze made this short film, titled "The New Normal," about how America's relationship to cannabis has changed from the days when George Washington grew hemp. Co-written and starring Jesse Williams, it's a commercial for MedMen Cannabis Dispensaries. From AdWeek:

"We had a desire to create a commercial with a profound message,” said (MedMen CMO David) Dancer. “Our core value is around ensuring that people can lead safe, happy, healthy lives with cannabis being a part of it. … Here we wanted to not only destigmatize and normalize but really, as you’ll see in the spot, highlight what has been unjust about the treatment of cannabis whether it is stop-and-frisk and unjust criminalization, whether it is this propaganda in Referer Madness, quite frankly leading to the Schedule One classification of cannabis as a federally illegal substance sitting next to heroin."

Dancer said (the film has) been in the works for roughly four months, adding that the company worked to make sure everyone involved with the spot had a tie to cannabis.

"The highly selective criminalization of one plant, with flagrantly harsher punishments for one community, must be acknowledged and left behind for something more reasonable, realistic and fair,” said Williams in a statement. “It’s pretty clear that Americans are ready to exist beyond a few inherited hypocrisies. We deserve the opportunity to make this right. We can do, and feel, better."

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"Recorded Live": a short film about murderous video tape reels

SS Wilson's fantastic 1975 film, "Recorded Live," was a classic of early HBO's interstitial "Short Takes" segments.

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