Friday, September 9, 2011

Bookmark Stew (Part 3)

As you should know by now, I've been tryin' to clean up a bunch of the items that have been filling up my bookmarks. Most of these are thing that I've got more to say about than will really fit in say, a Facebook status, but not really enough to warrant their own post here. So,instead y'all get what I'm calling Bookmark stew. And today it's all about movies and TV. Videos and other links that have caught my eye, and that hopefully you'll enjoy too. So check 'em out, and once you're done, let me know what you think.

ITEM! This looks like a good place to start: Amy Sedaris attempting to understand/explain The Internets. Part 1 is embedded below, or you can just click through to here to watch the whole thing.

Watch the full episode. See more Make Em Laugh.

Actually, this video makes the perfect accompaniment for this book, coming early next year, which will be an expansion of this article.

ITEM! Are you ever watching a TV show or movie and when you see a character do or say something and you think "Haven't I seen that 100 times before?" Well, yeah, you probably have. And TV Tropes is here to help you figure out just exactly where and when.With entries on everything from the Negative Space Wedgie to the Southern Fried Genius to Fridge Logic, this is one of those sites where you can lose a LOT of time before you know it.

ITEM! The Mercury Men is, in the words of Craig Engler, "a kick-ass new Web series made for under $10,000 in Pittsburgh with ray guns, evil aliens and even a brain in a jar. It's a modern homage to the black-and-white serials of the early 1900s featuring a (literally) mild mannered engineer who normally toils away at an office in obscurity until he stumbles on a plot by The Mercury Men to destroy Earth." It has been picked up by SyFy and can now be watched in its entirety here. The trailer is below.

ITEM! Panic Attack is a short film created by director Federico Alvarez. Actually, in my eyes it's not so much a short film as it is a scene showing what Alvarez can produce on a very limited budget, and for that it's quite successful. What makes it of particular interest to me personally is that Alvarez was apparently able to use it to convince Sam Raimi that he was the right guy to helm the upcoming remake of The Evil Dead, one of my all-time favorite horror flicks. Now personally, I don't see the connection between this video - full of giant robots and massive explosions - and an intimate little "spam in a cabin" slasher, but then since Raimi went from Evil Dead to Spider-Man, maybe he sees something of the reverse in Alvarez. Anyway, watch it for yourself, and see what you think.

ITEM! Below is part one of a very long and very interesting interview with famed animator Chuck Jones, the man responsible for some of the best Looney Tunes cartoons, including many many great Bugs Bunny / Daffy Duck features. Watch this part then click on through for the rest.

ITEM! From Bugs Bunny's animator, we go directly to the other man who could be considered just as, if not more, important in his success, the man who gave him (and so many other great characters) their voice,the great Mr. Mel Blanc, as he asks the question "Wanna Buy a Record?"

ITEM! If you're someone who likes reading about films as much as watching them, you should definitely check out the Bright Lights Film Journal. Once a print magazine, now completely online, BLFJ is chock full of articles that delve deep not only into mainstream films, but also those fringe/art house/cult movies that often receive very little press elsewhere, and it does it with a very unique editorial voice.

ITEM! Those of you who, like me, grew up during a certain period of time will remember the concept of the "horror host". When TV was local it seemed like every city had their own horror host who would, usually late on a Friday or Saturday night, present basically any movie they could get their hands on. They would also often begin the show and provide little skits and such during the commercial breaks. Think of it largely like Mystery Science Theater 3000 without the snark during the actual film. Of course now most of them are gone, but at least one horror host has found a new home on the internet - Count Gore De Vol! He still hosts a weekly web program and also has a terrific website with interviews, book reviews and other great features. Below is the first part of one of his recent shows, and the rest along with more info and a link to the website can be found here.

ITEM! If you've only seen the film version of the musical Hair, or if you've never seen it at all, then the stage version may come as quite a surprise. For those unfamiliar with it, Hair was definitely a product of its time, a celebration of the 1960's hippie counter-cultural revolution which gave us songs such as "[The Age of] Aquarius",  "Good Morning Starshine", and "Manchester England", along with, of course, the title song. Now, as you might well imagine, the show, with its profanity, its depiction of the use of illegal drugs, its loose treatment of sexuality, its depictions of inter-racial relationships, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy whenever it was performed, and was especially not well received in the south of the time. Craig Leake has produced a fascinating film which documents one such production, Memphis Hair. Watch it below:

Memphis Hair from Django's Ghost on Vimeo.

ITEM! Another magazine for those who are looking for something beyond the usual hype about the latest blockbuster or who the latest recipient of the J-Lo-down is is Video Watchdog. Since 1985, editor and writer Tim Lucas has brought together an eclectic group of writers to put together what he has subtitled "The Perfectionists Guide to Fantastic Video". One of the things that makes V. W. worth reading each month is that while they are willing to cover whatever's new on home video, the writers are also given rein to write about what interests them. Also, all of the articles, whether long-form essays or short reviews are written with an eye not only to the movies themselves, but to their presentation. How do they actually look on DVD? Is the new blu-ray edition worth picking up or is it the same as what came before? What supplements are there? Have there been cuts other change made to the movie? That's where the "perfectionist" part of the subtitle comes in, and again, it serves to give the magazine its own unique voice.

ITEM! What is it exactly that makes a movie a cult film? Daniel Krone explores this topic in his short documentary A Cult Influence:

ITEM! For those of you who love going behind the scenes in movies to see how the special effects and creatures are created (or at least how they were done before everything was cgi and green screens), the series Movie Magic is the thing for you. Originally consisting of some 70 episodes, the series has apparently never had a proper release on video or DVD. Fortunately, the first 12 episodes have found their way to YouTube. The first one is embedded below, and the rest have been compiled on this page thanks to the good folks at /Film.

LAST ITEM! Ok, let's finish up with a truly ambitious project. Born of Hope is a 70+ minute independent film inspired by the Lord of the Rings and produced by Actors at Work Productions in the UK. According to the producers "This 70 minute original drama is set in the time before the War of the Ring and tells the story of the DĂșnedain, the Rangers of the North, before the return of the King. Inspired by only a couple of paragraphs written by Tolkien in the appendices of the Lord of the Rings we follow Arathorn and Gilraen, the parents of Aragorn, from their first meeting through a turbulent time in their people's history." It truly is quite good and is a wonderful example of what can be done with a small budget and a large imagination.

Alright, that's it for this go-round! Obviously, I'm always on the lookout for new and intriguing film/videos/documentaries/etc. that pop up on the web, so if you have any suggestions of new (or not-so-new) items that you want to share, please let me know about them in the comments section. Also, I'm curiouabout t you thought about these. any that you particularly liked or didn't like? Again, hit the comments to let me know.

Up next:  The bookmark cleanup continues with Food Links

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