Normally, I wouldn’t post actors interviews for upcoming (or existing) films. Since however I’m incredibly excited for Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac and Shia LaBeouf doesn’t say the usual, expected things in this clip, I thought I’d post it. Zentropa, the Danish studio founded by von Trier and behind Nymphomaniac, has been posting a lot of goodies, so if you are on YouTube I’d recommend subscribing to their channel. Continue reading
First Stars I See Tonight is a black & white animated/live-action cross-over short film. It narrates the story of a girl (Elle Fanning) with night blindness and how her dad (James Patrick Stuart) gets her these military goggles to see the stars. It’s a lot of voice-over narration, incessant I should say, but it’s quite a sweet story and it’s less than 3 minutes, so if it even sounds mildly interesting to you: Check it out! Continue reading
15 Seconds of Horror is an Instagram series created by Tim Buel and Cody Rhyse. They are encouraging filmmakers and film fans to join in on the fun and make shorts and so I did. I randomly came up with an idea this past weekend to make an extremely short short. It’s actually not as easy as it sounds to tell a story in 15 seconds, but I always like a challenge. Unfortunately, not being very practical with Instagram, I shot this with a normal consumer camcorder and then uploaded it to Instagram. However you really should shoot with your iPhone (or iPod), because otherwise Instagram will just crop your video. So anyway long story short we ended up putting it on YouTube.
Our short is a home invasion flick and I didn’t use any particular inspiration for this one. Usually I think of a director or style I want to reference, but this time I just followed my own instincts. The result is something slightly less stylish, but hopefully effective. Of course having seen tons of genre films I can now see some Giallo and Eastern European influences, but they’re mostly unintentional. Editing the film down from one and a half minutes to fifteen seconds was the real challenge, but my brother is a fantastic editor and so he helped me out a great deal. My other brother plays the villain or il pazzo, as he likes to say and my little sister is the victim. Kinder Sorpresa is just Italian for Kinder Surprise, the delicious chocolate egg by Ferrero, which in our case however is a pillow i.e. the murder weapon.
Quirky indie director Wes Anderson made a new short film financed by Italian fashion brand Prada. The almost 8-minute long short is about an Italian American (played by Jason Schwartzman) race car driver crashing his car during a race in a (fictitious) Italian small town (Castello Cavalcanti) in the 1950s. Of course the film/ad looks beautiful as only cinematographer Darius Khondji is able to do. The story was co-written with no one other than fellow Academy Award nominee Roman Coppola and has a very Italian feel, while at the same time feeling unmistakably Wes Anderson.
As an Italian I was thrilled to hear my language spoken in a Wes Anderson film. Prada and Anderson are of course a great fit. He has worked for them before doing a commercial for Prada Candy L’eau (with Léa Seydoux). This isn’t the first time Anderson has worked with luxury brands (in general), for example on The Darjeeling Limited where all the luggage was designed by Louis Vuitton. He’s also done his fair share of Adidas product placement in films such as The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
Personally, I’m all for directors working with big brands if it helps them getting money to finance more of their art. Especially art house directors and auteurs who sometimes struggle with getting their projects financed are able to do something creative in exchange of a bit of “selling out”. Other notable examples I’d love to mention are David Lynch’s Blue Lady Shanghai (for Dior), Wong Kar-wai’s BMW short The Follow and any ad that has Sofia Coppola’s name on it of course.
Birger Andersson (Sten Ljunggren) is a retired Volvo employee that has nobody to talk to. Feeling lonely and isolated from society he visits his former workplace everyday in hopes that ex-colleagues might still have time for him. But everybody’s busy and nobody has time for a boring old man. Birger doesn’t give up. He starts randomly calling people in the phonebook, but soon that’s no fun either. Miraculously, a young
Jehovah’s witness Hare Krishna recruiter, Mahapadu (Cecilia Frode), shows up at his door. Briger isn’t interested in religious talk, but he is looking for companionship. After a couple minutes Mahapadu realizes she probably won’t make a new disciple and decides to leave, but Birger has something else in mind. Continue reading
Ever since watching Heroes, when I still watched television, I fell in love with Kristen Bell. Since then she hasn’t done a lot of good movies, in fact with every new project I felt like believing a little less, that she might ever come back. The Lifeguard seems like the turnaround. Gaining positive buzz at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and with a currently solid rating on IMDb, this could be the Kristen Bell film we’ve been waiting for (whatever that phrase means).
The Lifeguard looks like your typical “arrested development” type of movie, with a young adult (yes, that’s a reference) never wanting to grow up. While this topic might be presented to us so much because most moviegoers are teenagers I still find it very topical of our times and subject that allows for great drama and cinema (like Jason Reitman’s film starring Charlize Theron).
This trailer looks like your charming little Sundance indie, with blending comedy and drama, and even throwing some romance in there: It’s all about finding yourself.
The film comes out on VOD July 30 of this year and will be out in limited release August 30th, 2013. I’m excited for it not only because of Kristen Bell, but also because it’s a debut feature from a female director (Liz W. Garcia), and I’ll always say we need more women at the helm. If it’s half as good as Young Adult I’ll be happy. I won’t tell you about the story, because: Watch the trailer. It tells you all you need to know.
Sheldon (Andrew Garfield) is a lonely robot living in LA, where he works as a librarian. His life is repetitive and melancholy, until he meets the cute, but troubled humanoid Francesca (Sienna Guillory). Sheldon falls in love with Francesca. They go to parties and concerts together, but one night something goes horribly wrong and Francesca loses her arm. From there things escalate, until the inevitable end. Continue reading
It’s finally here! The BlackBerry financed short film directed by “Robert Rodriguez and you”. Or so the marketing says, because I don’t remember working with the guy.
Anyway, this is a fun eleven-minutes short about two sisters working on an ice cream truck as a cover for their real job: Saving the planet evil aliens and stuff. People are missing: Their father is missing. To find him, they have to beat a terrible one-eyed monster. Sounds like a chore? Not when you have the right piece of junk.
Mixing Russ Meyer‘s sexploitation aesthetic with Spy Kids gadgets and typical Robert Rodriguez humor Two Scoops (2013) is a nice little short, only spoiled a little by some really bad CGI. The ladies, Electra Avellan and Elise Avellan, are charming, funny and look incredibly hot in their tight little outfits. The action is engaging, the dialogues sharp.
Totally sexy, totally recommended!
Chloe (Audrey Kelly) is the school’s ‘queen bee’ obsessed with Virginia Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic. Bored with school and somewhat annoyed with the immature boys her age, she and the girls in her clique start scheming something strange. Lick the star is the name of their ‘extra-scholastic’ project involving the boy’s lunches, rat poison and raw eggs. However before Chloe is able to carry out her evil plan some false rumors about her are spread around school. All of a sudden she’s not the ‘superstar’ anymore, but the one being bullied. Sick of being made fun of, she decides to go the melodramatic route trying to end her life. Continue reading
Today I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Tim Buel’s short horror films are readily available on YouTube. Three of the Californian filmmaker’s shorts have been uploaded so far: Unaired (2009), On That Day (2010) and Outcast (2011). Every one of those is well worth checking out, especially if you’re a genre fan like yours truly.
Unaired (2009) is Tim’s spin on the found footage sub-genre. It revolves around a television crew, shooting a reality show on paranormal phenomena. Much like in Grave Encounters (2011), the troupe ends up being stuck in a real haunted house, unlike that movie (that came out 2 years later) this one shows you less, and that’s why it’s more successful. It’s also half the runtime and overall feels more fresh and fun. The filmmaker realizes the faux documentary angle is a gimmick and understands its limitations, but manages to respect the “rules” the format imposes and doesn’t sway from it.
I watched this one last (I started with On That Day and then went on to Outcast), but I would have to say this is my favorite of his. As a huge fan of the found footage/paranormal sub-genre I’ve seen a lot of formulaic and poorly executed films, but this one is actually quite intense and gripping. It really sucks you in and doesn’t let you go until it’s done, and that’s what you want from a good genre picture. If you know anything about sound design there’s also something for you to appreciate on that level.
On That Day (2010) is Buel’s vision of the classic zombie apocalypse, set in the suburbs. Unlike most zombie flicks in this one the characters are ready for it and seem to be excited about the idea of killing the undead. What sticks out in On That Day is the kickass soundtrack/score, composed by Tim himself. Again, although we’ve seen zombie films a hundred times, this one is definitely done with a lot of feeling, for what works and what doesn’t. Being a sucker for everything with a suburban setting of course I was going to enjoy this one. Clocking in at less than four minutes this is his shortest short.
Changing sub-genre once more with Outcast (2011) Tim does a vampire film. In his own words this is: “A short film about a normal young man who is turned against his will into a creature of the night. He must now live the life he didn’t ask for as an Outcast”. Personally I think that the vampire sub-genre is the trickiest one to succeed in, because of its complexity. This one managed to keep my interest because of the romantic subplot, which was handled and balanced very well with the horror elements in the film. The Trent Reznor-esque score and excellent sound design help enhance the experience, while creating a very specific mood and atmosphere. Being his newest available film I also noticed an improvement in the visual department.
All in all Tim Buel’s films are fun and refreshing takes on old and dusty horror tropes. His shorts distinguish themselves for their tone and atmosphere, but also their heart and genuine love for the genre while combining his passion for music. Besides being multi-talented he also seems like a very likable guy, which translates into his scripts and films in that you like spending time in the worlds he creates. His cameos are always fun to spot and prove that he has a sense of humor. He also seems to have a lot of fun doing these movies with his friends and family, which is always the key ingredient in crafting a successful film, or any piece of art.
Tim Buel is also the co-host of The Golden Briefcase podcast on FirstShowing.net with fellow filmmaker Jeremy K. Kirk. Every week Tim and Jeremy are joined by a guest that is as knowledgeable and charming, to talk new releases, trailers and topics related to the films hitting theaters on the respective weekend. Tune in for great recommendations and get to know their guests, through funny and insightful discussions.