Hayao Miyazaki’s Swan Song, ‘The Wind Rises’, Rises to the Occasion

Miyazaki-WindRises-1

Hayao Miyazaki—writer, director, visionary, and all-around creative maestro. I love this man; having not directed a film since 2008’s Ponyo, his absence has been felt. 2013 marks the return (and sadly farewell) of Miyazaki, presenting his most recent piece of cinema, The Wind Rises. Having been out in Japan since July, it’s now making the festival rounds this part of the world (slated for western release February 2014). I had the pleasure of watching The Wind Rises at the 51st New York Film Festival last week. It was beautiful, it was captivating, and it left me walking away thinking, which is exactly what a good film should achieve.

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Nick Partyka

October 10, 2013 / By

‘Skhizein’, a short film about a man who’s 91cm from himself

'Skhizein' by Jeremy Clapin

What if, on any random day, you were suddenly strike by a giant meteor… that no one saw? And let’s say the meteor spatially moved your physical form 91cm away from where it should be? Would anyone believe you? Or would everyone think you’re crazy?

That’s the idea behind this short film by Jeremy Clapin called Skhizein. It’s kind of an odd story, but that’s also why it’s so charming. Plus the animation is extremely well done, especially the details of the main character charting out his perceived world in his apartment. Just watch it, you’ll understand.

Bobby Solomon

August 22, 2013 / By

The trailer for ‘Her’, the new film from Spike Jonze

'Her', the new film from Spike Jonze

You’ve gotta love Spike Jonze. He’s back with a new film called Her, about a lonely man named Theodore Twombly who finds companionship in a futuristic, Siri-like operating system. I love everything about this trailer – the cast, the music, the cinematography – I think it’s going to be a gem.

Set in Los Angeles, slightly in the future, “her” follows Theodore Twombly, a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive entity in its own right, individual to each user. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha,” a bright, female voice, who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other. From the unique perspective of Oscar-nominated filmmaker Spike Jonze comes an original love story that explores the evolving nature—and the risks—of intimacy in the modern world.

Bobby Solomon

August 7, 2013 / By

‘Moving': A Stunning Music Film for Travis by Wriggles & Robins

'Moving' by Travis directed by Wriggles & Robins

It should be noted that we are fans of the directing duo Wriggles and Robins, aka Tom Wrigglesworth and Matt Robinson. Bobby first posted about Wrigglesworth’s (with Mathiew Cuvelier) short film, Le Mer de Pianos, back in 2011, and we’ve all continued to anticipate new work ever since. Thus, when W&R’s latest piece of cinematic magic hit our inboxes, we were gleefully flabbergasted as it involved projected animation, warm breath, and the band Travis—not exactly a combination you can easily visualize—and the results are absolutely stunning. We spoke to the duo to find out more.

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Andi Teran

July 18, 2013 / By

Enjoying the Dreamlike Career of Richard Matheson

incredible shrinking man

“In a world of monotonous horror there could be no salvation in wild dreaming.”

Richard Matheson passed away Sunday. We lost a good one. The 1958 Hugo Award winner might be one of the few people in the world to find such success in books, television, and film. At thirty-seven years old he released his first story in the long running Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he moved to California in 1951 and took to writing short stories and books.

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Alec Rojas

June 28, 2013 / By

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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Philip Kennedy

June 28, 2013 / By

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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Andi Teran

June 20, 2013 / By

‘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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Andi Teran

June 7, 2013 / By

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