Isle of Dogs

Isle of Dogs is worth driving to the single, secluded theater in your state to see it. People will move in front of the screen and switch seats 400 times, but you will still be engaged by the film.

Wes Anderson put lots of tiny details into the film that make it awesome to watch. I really enjoyed the “fight clouds” that appeared throughout the film. I have seen many stop-motion films, but I have never seen that classic cartoon gag used before. Anderson pays homage to Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai both visually and with the score) a few times throughout the film which is fun for Kurosawa fans.

Although it sags a bit in the middle, I found the story to be a clever and creative twist on the standard dog storyline. The characters are fun and have enough depth to be invested in (except a select few).

The visuals are awesome. The scenery perfectly melds real-world grit with the cartoon-y whimsy. This is definitely a film that you want to see in the theater because there are many tiny details and jokes you might miss.

Isle of Dogs is definitely going to be one of the best films of the year. Don’t miss it in theaters because of its terribly handled opening!

 

Why You Should Get FilmStruck (and the Criterion Channel)

“When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, ‘no, I went to films.'”

-Quentin Tarantino

FilmStruck contains acclaimed films from unique filmmakers such as Yorgos Lanthimos, while The Criterion Channel hosts the iconic and classic films that shaped the medium of Film. Both channels also have video essays, commentaries, behind the scenes footage, and interviews with the cast and crew on many of their films.

When the Criterion Collection left Hulu I was heartbroken. It was the only reason I had Hulu. Netflix and Amazon are great, but they don’t traditionally have a lot of classic films to stream.

I remember trying to find an HD version of Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless and I stumbled upon FilmStruck. It was exactly what I was looking for and more!

I believe that you shouldn’t wait for inspiration. Inspiration is a fire that you must keep burning inside your soul. If you are a filmmaker, there is no better way to fuel that fire than by watching films by the masters of the medium.

I have had the service for over a month now, and I am thoroughly pleased. The continually refresh their library so you never run out of things to watch.

I would highly recommend this service to anyone who is interested in Film!

 

*This is not a sponsored post. I just really love the service!*

Joint Security Area

Joint Security Area is the third feature film from acclaimed, Korean director Chanwook Park.

When a group of North Korean soldiers are murdered on their side of the border, presumably by a single South Korean soldier, an investigation is led by a team from the neutral countries overseeing the border. During the investigation, the team discovers a web of lies, terror, and brotherly love.

The film is simply heartbreaking. I watched it on a whim and was utterly shocked by how tragic and profound it was. This film needs to be seen.

I said that Tower was the most important film of the 21st century, but Joint Security Area may be just as important. This film showcases the tragedy of war in a more personal way than I have seen it portrayed before.

Balancing Act

“As a human being the artist may have many moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is ‘man’ in a higher sense – he is ‘collective man’ – one who carries and shapes the unconscious, psychic life of mankind.”

-Carl G. Jung

I’ve been trying to more flexible with my work. I tend to over prepare for everything I embark on. It is the way I cope with anxiety about uncertainty. Unfortunately, I talk myself out doing things and I remain rigid.

The best things I have ever made, writing, film, or anything else, have come from fluid spontaneity. However, if I become too spontaneous the piece turns into garbage.

I find it very interesting that any good pieces exist and that any artists have any degree of sanity. In order to make something worth while, your consciousness and unconsciousness have to communicate with each other simultaneous and at the right time. It is a sleight of hand maneuver that fools both the audience and yourself at once.

If you are lucky enough to pull this magic trick off, the stiff, shallow feeling starts to appear in your heart. It is doubt, the doubt that you can replicate such a feat a second time. You spent all your time anticipating failure and once thing start going well, you panic. You never considered such an outcome. When someone fails they hang their head and go on their way, but when someone succeeds, that’s basically uncharted territory.

Fear is what ultimately stops me from creating anything. My head spins with millions of ideas for projects, but I just I lay in bed staring at the ceiling. Fear is useful in most respects. It colors my projects both negatively and positively. I’m not one to take irrational risks, but I’m not one to take rational ones either.

I am glad to report that I am getting better. I am creating things more regularly. The dull color of fear has left my vision and merely accents my frames. My consciousness and unconsciousness have been talking and have become friends. I can look myself in the eye and truly see.

 

 

The Making of ‘Weeb’

The idea behind Weeb was to make “Kung Fu with a weeaboo,” but having the brain that I have, it became this video.

Production went pretty well, considering what we were making. It is often difficult to direct people in a project like this because of its over-the-top style. The hardest scene to explain was the opening. Luckily, Sean and I had gone to school together and even if he didn’t understand the purpose of the opening, he did trust me enough to know it would make sense in the edit.

Something I have discovered while doing these type of little projects is that you can’t always articulate your vision completely to everyone involved. What I mean by that is that you explain it differently to each person involved. To the DP it is how the image makes you feel, and to the actor it is how the character feels in the scene.

I played with the color in this video more than with previous projects because I wanted to to make the viewer feel like they were in a different world. Also, when I think of Anime, I think of vibrant colors both within the character’s dress and the background.

My Neighbor Totoro (1988) 

I wanted to add a sense of child-like wonder to the way that Sean’s character perceived the world, so I thought a super saturated achieved that.

Outtakes from the video:

 

Tower

I made a video essay about the documentary, Tower. It is one of the best films I have ever seen and I would recommend that everyone should see it at least once. It was the most visceral experience I have ever had watching a film.

The film deals with controversial subject matter in an even-handed and rational way. Most documentaries of this ilk are glorified propaganda pieces, but Tower does not fall into that category. This is a very human story, told in a very human way.

The film is mostly rotoscope, similar to Waltz with Bashir, but that doesn’t make them film feel any less real. In fact, I would say this technique adds to the overall rawness of the film.

I would recommend this to anyone who is interesting in documentary filmmaking. This film is perfectly executed.

Tower didn’t get the love it deserved upon release, so please give it a watch. You won’t regret it!