Category Films

Jameson First Shot Presents Three Great Shorts Starring Willem Dafoe

Willem Dafoe Posters

Some of you may recall the excellent Jameson First Shot competition that was launched last year. Created in tandem with Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti’s production team Trigger Street Productions (The Social Network, 21, Fanboys), the project invites budding writer/directors from the US, Russia and South Africa to submit short scripts in the hopes of getting the chance to have their film made.

Last year, each of the winning films starred Kevin Spacey (we loved The Ventriloquist), this year the winners had the opportunity to work with the excellent Willem Dafoe. It’s a great competition and it’s always good to see such inventive and original work in film. My personal favorite is Shirlyn Wong’s Love’s Routine but all three are worth checking out. You can take along below:

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A ‘Very Semi Serious’ Cartoonist Film

'Very Semi Serious' film logo

The new documentary Very Semi-Serious gives a rare glimpse behind-the-scenes of the New Yorker, specifically the cartoon department. An active part of the magazine since 1925, the cartoons have come to define the publication with their sardonic wit and wry take on humanity. Filmmaker Leah Wolchok tried to get the documentary project off the ground years ago only to receive a “no” from New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff. But in the last six years, she’s continued her plight taking on producing partner Davina Pardo in the process. They were finally granted access to the magazine’s cartoon department and archives, and editor Bob Mankoff, which is a rarity, and are currently in production to tell the story of legendary cartoonists in the past, present, and future.

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‘Stoked and Broke’: A DIY Surf Film

Stoked and Broke

In continuing my fascination with surf films, and in honor of handmade week, I’d love to highlight the DIY cinematic magic of Stoked and Broke, an independent film made for zero dollars. Dubbing it a “staycation surfari epic” by director Cyrus Sutton, the movie follows Sutton and fellow surfer Ryan Burch on a 30 mile foot and surfing journey throughout their hometown of San Diego. Created as a response to the increasingly expensive world of surfing documentaries and to further promote the spirit of independent filmmaking, the duo make their own boards, construct bamboo rickshaws to carry them, and build solar cookers and “hobo stoves” to cook their own food along the way.

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Invisible Artists – A Preview of ‘Sign Painters’

Sign-Painters-Movie-Po

My theory about signage and typography has been proven true countless times. It predicts that no matter how perfect a new business is set-up, if they use a questionable font for their signage, the business will suffer and eventually close within six months. Okay, maybe it can take up to a year, but inevitably it comes true, I swear. Unfortunately, in most cases signage has become a thoughtless second to other branding materials. But artful, hand-painted, hand-crafted signage was once the shining star.

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Polygamy Meets God in L.A. – A Film Review of ‘The Source Family’

TheSourceFamily_Poster

Apparently, the Age of Aquarius has been in full swing since 2012, and as you can see, it has had a great effect on all of us. Well, not me. Not even a little bit actually. But I also don’t belong to a family that forces you to ingest the ‘Jewel of Truth’ and the ‘Wisdom of the Ages’. My family are meat and potatoes kind of people, although I can fully accept that family means something different to everyone. Dysfunctional, urban, organized, nuclear, blended – a family becomes exclusive through the bond (whatever that may be) that is shared among its members. For members of The Source Family, subject of the 2013 documentary, that bond is whatever YaHoWha says it is.

Who is YaHoWha? He is the Earthly Spiritual Father, also known as Father Yod, who was, at one time just plain old James Baker.

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Isn’t It Femmantic? – A Film Review of ‘Frances Ha’

Frances Ha poster Noah Baumbach

I have a problem with the word platonic. It defines something that is way more interesting than what it seems to be. Male friendships have now become widely accepted as a ‘Bromances’, yet the bond between females, equally as deep and meaningful, is stuck being defined by the old lifeless descriptor, platonic. A non-sexual love. Snoozer. I’m hoping Greta Gerwig, the lead in Noah Baumbach’s newest film Frances Ha, will be remembered as the femme that helped shed platonic from its drab and stuffy skin. Be it, ‘Femships’ or ‘Bromances’, Frances Ha, actualizes what every woman feels inside for her best friend, love in its lightest form.

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Life for ‘A Band Called Death’

A Band Called Death

It’s summer blockbuster movie season, but for those of us interested in eschewing loud spectacles in favor of the smaller cinematic wonders, I’d like to recommend A Band Called Death for the top of your must-see list. In theaters on June 28, but available via iTunes VOD on May 24, the documentary tells the story of three teenage brothers—Bobby, David, and Dannis Hackney—from Detroit, Michigan, making punk rock before there was definable punk in the USA. Not only was this trio of misfits making killer original music at a time when disco and Motown were each having their respective moments, they were blasting the typical labels placed on artists at that time. And even though they disbanded before finishing their first album, going so far as to lock up their master tapes in an attic, they have since gone on to acquire the most unique semi-posthumous fame.

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Space Suit of the Week: 2001: A Howard Johnson Space Odyssey

2001 A Space Odyssey - Howard Johnsons Childrens Menu - 1968 4

2001 A Space Odyssey - Howard Johnsons Childrens Menu - 1968 5

Let’s do launch! This week we’re serving up an intergalactic adventure from 1968 care of the hotel chain Howard Johnson, which gives a child friendly look at the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. John Sisson, on his blog Dreams of Space, recently scanned in a menu and comic book which was released by HoJo as a promotional tie-in, featuring iconic moments from the film.

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