Category Archives: Indie
I still remember it like it was yesterday. Me and my film school buddies were all in line at the Enzian Theater in Orlando Fla, to catch The Blairwitch Project! The air was thick with anticipation, not only for the mystery surrounding this movie, but because the movie was created by Florida film students from UCF.
This short documentary, presented by Academy Originals, chronicles that time in 1999 when two ambitious directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick, set out to create something the world had never seen before. Little did they know the style and formula for The Blairwitch Project would become the standard for science fiction and horror films for the next twenty years and then some.
My introduction to Takashi Miike’s film’s was the ultra-brutal horror film The Audition. I would later go on to enjoy other films of his like Ichi The Killer and 13 Assassins (classics btw). His latest, As the Gods Will (based on a hugely popular manga) visually, seems like something I have seen before, but I’ll hold out and see if it is. It is just a trailer and, as these things go, may not be showing much, but right now I’ll say what I’ve heard another movie blog say about this trailer in that it looks like a blend of Saw and Battle Royal. Then I read the synopsis and they might been right.
The basic premise is that a group of high school students find themselves in a situation where they have to play traditional Japanese games and those that lose die horrible deaths. As the Gods Will opens in Japan November 15.
Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards is “hands down” one of the most talented musicians of our times. This New England native continues to change her style and isn’t afraid to move into new directions with her sound. On May 5th the Tune Yards will release their new album Nikki Nack through 4AD, but they’ve released an awesome jam off of it to wet our appetite for the time being. Wait For A Minute is a little less weighty than most Tune Yard jams, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t stellar. Merrill is laid back on this track, but still funky and unpredictable. Let me stop talking…just listen to it.
I don’t know if this is a leak or how long this will be up, but this scene from the new Andre 3000 film All Is By My Side has got me thinking, we may have finely found our Jimi. I don’t know about the rest of the film, written and directed by Oscar award winner John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) , but this scene with Andre and Imogen Poots, who plays his muse, is quite impressive. I wrote earlier, last year, about this film and how it won’t have any of Jimi’s original works in it due to estate issues, but it will feature some covers of stuff he did during his time in England. I have high hopes after watching this. You tell me.
This film will screen at this years SXSW.
Alien visitation has seen many manifestations in Hollywood. I myself, am a huge fan of the 1984 film “The Brother From Another Planet” starring Joe Morton, but there’s been a slew of them in the last century. It just never gets old, especially when it’s a sexy alien femme-fetale, who lures dumb human men in and kills them, but not before making buc- stupid sex with them. Take that formula and add a heaping helping of Scarlett Johansson and Kubrick and you have Jonathan Glazer’s (Sexy Beasts, Birth) latest cerebral science fiction gloominess “Under The Skin”. The story follows Scarlett as an alien sent to our planet to destroy, but what happens is she gets all emotional about it and has second thoughts. Essentially like Commander Data’s emotional chip, but different? The trailer looks a lot like a recent film I saw Beyond the “Black the Black Rainbow” directed by Panos Cosmatos, but I’m only saying that cause visually this trailer steps on several toes…Kubrick, Jordorowsky,Lynch, but those are some of my favorite directors so no harm no foul.
In search of loners, Laura (Scarlett Johansson) drives around the exquisitely moody landscapes of the Scottish highlands. She’s an alien, sent from afar and equipped with enough human language and awesome seductive power to capture, destroy and presumably send home human males. And then, her curiosity about her human body and an accidental act of pity disrupt her mission. Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast, Birth) directs the film and co-wrote the script with Walter Campbell, based on Michael Faber’s novel. Under the Skin was acquired by A24 Films from TIFF 2013, and will begin playing with a limited release April 4th.
Throughout my time in Brooklyn, New York, there were a great number of bands who became the soundtrack to my life. Each band gave me sprinkles of what I needed for the train ride to work or the long walk home, but none of them, for me, were more impactful and all around transcendental, than School of Seven Bells. The brainchild behind the project, producer,guitarist and songwriter Benjamin Curtis was a monster at aural landscapes and used his expertise to create dance tracks like no other. Not unlike Anthony Gonzalez, Benjamin Curtis, along with the twin sister singers Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, carved worlds out of stone, so it was devastating to learn, back in February, that he was diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. The news of his diagnosis spread pretty quickly throughout the indie community. The group even set up a fund to help Benjamin with his medical cost, seeing as how being on a record label doesn’t guarantee you health insurance that’s worth a damn. Many New York bands such as Interpol, The Strokes and Devendra Banhart showed up to donate and help.
But on December 29, 2013, Benjamin Curtis lost the battle. He was only 35. It’s a devastating loss to the music community and I know he will be deeply missed.
Curtis was raised in Dallas, where he played in various local acts before he and his brother Brandon co-founded the rock trio Secret Machines, which rose to national acclaim with its 2004 debut LP “Now Here Is Nowhere.”
After leaving that group, he started School of Seven Bells in New York in 2007, with twin-sister vocalists Alejandra and Claudia Deheza. The group’s 2008 debut LP “Alpinisms,” for the indie label Ghostly International, won wide praise for its mix of ethereal vocals, heavily distorted guitars and atmospheric electronics.
- R.I.P. Benjamin Curtis of School Of Seven Bells (thescenestar.typepad.com)
- R.I.P. Benjamin Curtis of School of Seven Bells (hangout.altsounds.com)
- Benjamin Curtis (of School of Seven Bells), RIP (brooklynvegan.com)
- R.I.P. School of Seven Bells’ Benjamin Curtis (pitchfork.com)
- Benjamin Curtis of School of Seven Bells, Secret Machines Dead at 35 (rollingstone.com)
- School of Seven Bells guitarist Benjamin Curtis dies aged 35 (theguardian.com)
- Benjamin Curtis Of School of Seven Bells Dead At 35 (noise11.com)
- Support Benjamin Curtis Of School Of Seven Bells (thescenestar.typepad.com)
It is because films like this that I love Halloween! Directed by CGI animators Miguel Ortega (Jack The Giant Killer, THOR) and Tran Ma (Alice In Wonderland, G.I. Joe) The Ruby Green Pumpkin is a delight in that way that years from now you’ll be asking yourself “remember that one Halloween story…yeah that one. Wasn’t it awesome!” The story is a cleverly woven limerick about a woman/witch who lives in this wondrous world and gives candy to all who come to her door, dressed mind you. She dispenses these goodies from her ruby green pumpkin year after year. The story goes on to show all sorts of folks coming to her door for goodies and dressed in their Halloween best. It’s all pretty cheery until the three boys arrive, now I won’t spoil it for you, but that’s where the Tim Burton light heartedness kinda wanes, but still stays beautiful. My hopes is that every kid in the world gets a chance to see films like this, cause they are just plain good and filled with that level of simple story telling that’s hard to find nowadays.
The Green Ruby Pumpkin is a magical and fun short film that captures the enchantment of Halloween. It was a passion project that was created by two Senior visual effects artists. Miguel Ortega and Tran Ma. This Entire project was shot in the living room. watch the making of HERE
Currently Miguel Ortega and Tran Ma are working on a Lovecraft-esque feature called The Ningyo.
A 1909 period film about cryptozoology. The search for mythological or unproven creatures. A Faustian tale about loosing oneself in the process of achieving our goals.
A Ponce De Leon type adventure involving deep sea diving and underwater caverns.
Dr. Marlowe, a paleontologist and professor, finds a piece of a map pointing to the place where the Ningyo, the mythical Japanese creature, could be found. The legend claims whomever consumes its flesh will attain remarkable longevity. He presents the project to his peers, who mock and dismiss him as a fraud. He decides to risk everything and go after the Ningyo on his own in hopes to bring to light what could be one of the greatest contributions to science. What he could not anticipate is that, in his search, he is confronted with a choice that puts the very foundations of his morality to the test.
You can see our other visual effects work MONSTER SCULPTER
- Pumpkin Planning!! (thewellcraftedhome.wordpress.com)
- Perfectly Pumpkin Cocktails (manhattanwithatwist.com)
- Pumpkin Décor: Beyond Carving (seanpurcellphotography.wordpress.com)
- Where’s My Pumpkin Pie!? (thecarlosshow.com)
- Free Pumpkin Stencils for Carving or Etching, Just Print & Carve (thecrochetcrowdblog.com)
- Balloon Pumpkin Patch (thepartyconnection.wordpress.com)
Sharing the crown with other New York-based, synth pop duos like School of Seven Bells, Sleigh Bells and Purity Ring, PHANTOGRAM, Josh Carter (vocals, guitars) and Sarah Barthel (vocals, keyboards), are carving quite a reputation for themselves in the electronic scene. Their 2011 release “Night Moves” is a catchy variant on the sometimes too abstract “blips and blops” that have emerged out of the Big Apple. Instead they deliver a clever blend of hip hop, 80’s and pop. Today they released a new single called “Black Out Days” and although the production is tight, it’s not one of my favorites, but it’s still a worthy track and worth a listen. They still haven’t released word on when we can expect another album, but I think it’s safe to assume, they are in the lab right now.