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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thoughtful filmmakers intent on making engaging experimental films in today’s cinematic climate are fearless. Only a handful of filmmakers, able to uncover the balance between formal abstraction and narrative fluff, succeed in making films that are a cut above the rest. Harmony Korine of course rules this utopia, as does David Lynch, Michel Gondry and to a certain extent Terrance Malick, with his rapturous depiction of regeneration. Hopefully, Shane Carruth, the writer, director and star, of his second film Upstream Color, will become the newest, most promising member of this crew.
If I were to take a guess as to what the next big fad in movies might be, I think I’d put my money on space. Last week saw the debut of two new trailers for films set in space, one which looks good, and one which looks extraordinary.