Category Archives: Short films

Pegg and Frost do Star Wars

This short film is quite old (2009) but I somehow missed it and it made me laugh. Basically, while filming the movie Paul, Simon Pegg and best bud Nick Frost decided to recreate Star Wars scene by scene. Or at least that is what the blurb says. They were probably just in a desert and felt like having a laugh. The result is this short but funny scene.

Pegg and Frost apparently met over a love of Star Wars and they are always great to watch. This is essentially funny fanboys arguing in a desert. Enjoy.

Blade Runner 2049 – 2036 Nexus Dawn short film

I have been trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to curb my excitement for the upcoming Blade Runner 2049 movie. This is made considerably more difficult when they go and make short movies like “2036 Nexus Dawn”. It is one of a few short films that Villeneuve commissioned/asked people to make. It is essentially backstory that is happily also marketing. It stars Jared Leto as Niander Wallace and he is suitably creepy. I liked it, so thought I would share.

Over to you Mr Villeneuve:

Into the Unknown – Exhibition at the Barbican

I saw ‘Into the Unknown – A Journey through science fiction’ a couple of weeks ago. If you like science fiction and are in London, I highly recommend it. It consists of quite an eclectic group of science fiction artefacts, pictures, installations, models and videos. Here is the blurb:

“The genre-defining exhibition of art, design, film and literature.

From the 19th century cabinet of curiosities, to the vastness of space. Through future cities, into the inner landscapes of human perception.

Uncover the mysterious lands of Jules Verne and Ray Harryhausen where Science Fiction narratives first took root. Venture on an odyssey into our solar system, with vintage artwork promoting Soviet visions of space alongside immersive work by Soda_Jerk. Visit a gallery of aliens, and stand alongside iconic spacesuits from a galaxy of blockbusters including Star Trek and Interstellar.

Imagine dystopian worlds with Margaret Atwood and 28 Days Later. Then, with nowhere left to explore but human consciousness, delve deep and experience the transformation and mutation of the body through the eyes of Jack Kirby and Ex Machina.

Curated by historian and writer Patrick Gyger, this festival-style exhibition consists of more than 800 works, many of which have never been seen in the UK before. Continuing across the Centre, it includes artwork from Isaac Julien, Larissa Sansour and Conrad Shawcross, and an installation from the creators of Black Mirror.”

I struggled a bit to find a common theme at ‘Into the Unknown’ but maybe there wasn’t one. Just lots of science fiction goodness.

The main room has a huge smorgasbord of stuff – old magazines, video clips, models, props, outfits, books, comics and more. I really enjoyed it and even spotted a couple of books I hadn’t read. There is an interactive bit from the Martian, which was quite fun and some superb models from Harryhausen and designs based on the awesome HR Giger. Near the end are the spacesuits used in films like Star Trek and Sunshine.

The exhibition continues elsewhere but they were a bit hit and miss for me. In the Pit, there is a kind of robotic arm that moves around shining a light. It was kind of cool – more like an art installation that looked scifi-ish than anything else. There was a short film in another room that was ok. In the entrance/exit there is an installation by Black Mirror which is intriguing if you haven’t seen the show – if you have, then it just makes you want to rewatch them all again.

On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Into the Unknown’ and would recommend it. The main room is the best bit and although it feels a bit random, the stuff on display is great.

Here are some more pics. Enjoy.

 

Rakka – Neill Blomkamp’s short starring Sigourney Weaver

Director Neill Blomkamp (District 9) has started something called Oat Studios, which is a creative venture focusing on monsters, aliens, and general weirdness. Which sounds bloody great to me. His idea is to create short experimental films and be funded by people online rather than go through the studio system or crowdfunding. The first such offering is called Rakka and it stars the always superb Sigourney Weaver. I won’t give too much away as you can watch the 20-minute film below. Basically, aliens invade and they are really, really mean. Sigourney is trying to kick their alien asses and let’s face it, she has a history of success in this kind of endeavour. Blomkamp’s Alien 5 is officially not going to happen, so this is a great way to fill that Sigourney/Alien shaped hole.

I am a big fan of Blomkamp, especially District 9, and Rakka has a similar feel to that film. I also think it is an interesting experiment that he is trying with his Oats studio creation and want to support in my own minor way. Rather than simply do a Kickstarter or go to a Hollywood studio, he is hoping people will be interested enough to fund further work. Have a look at what is happening and a way to contribute yourself on Steam by clicking on this link.

Without further ado, here is Rakka. (Warning: it is a tad violent and not for kids.)

Twilight Zone to return as BBC radio drama

Original Twilight Zone and Rod Serling

Original Twilight Zone and Rod Serling

‘You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!’

There are numerous versions of the above opening but they are all pretty similar and are all pretty damned awesome. I love the original black and white Rod Serling-helmed Twilight Zone. Maybe the newer ones were good – I never saw them – but the fact that channels like Syfy and streaming services like Netflix always play the original shows, makes me wonder if the newer ones might not be the best. I saw the 80s film and it was ok, as far as I remember, but certainly no better than watching several original episodes in a row.

Maybe I am just a fan of Rod Serling or maybe it was that the stories were written by some superb talents. Writers included Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, Serling (obviously) and many more. There were also stories adapted from the brilliant tales of writers like John Collier, who wrote the superb short story collection ‘Fancies and Goodnights’, and Ambrose Bierce who is probably most famous for his ‘Devil’s Dictionary’ and also for a great story called ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’.

Which is my rather long winded way of introducing the first Twilight Zone radio play in a new series on the BBC. ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’ was first published in 1890 and is a non linear tale set during the American civil war. It was then a short silent film, and was then adapted to an ‘Alfred Hitchcock presents…’ episode, then a Cannes film festival and Academy award winning short film. It was this latter version that was then adapted for the Twilight Zone. It is a cracking tale and will be the first of a series of 10 adaptations that will air on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

I highly recommend Radio 4 Extra and I highly recommend the Twilight Zone. According to the Independent the new radio series will feature actors like Jane Seymour, Jim Caviezel, Michael York, Malcolm McDowell and Don Johnson. As you can tell, I am pretty damned excited about all this. I love “Golden Era” scifi stories with a twist in the tale and Rod Serling’s Carl Sagan-like voice is a superb start to any show and I am sure Stacey Keach, his replacement, will put in a pretty good effort.

The radio series starts in March and will will air on Saturday nights. Check BBC Radio 4 Extra for details.

 

TIE fighter wars short film

TiefighterThis has been all over the internet already but in case you missed it, here is the much discussed TIE fighter wars short film by Paul Johnson. Basically, the premise is to show a Star Wars space battle from the point of view of the Empire and TIE fighter pilots, done in the style of 80s anime. It is superbly animated.

To be honest I am not a 100% keen on the music but given it’s harking back to a Gundam-esque style of animation, I guess it fits.Anyway, who cares. This is great. Go TIE fighters! Go Empire!

 

New Power Rangers short

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 11.24.45 AMDo you remember the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers? If so, poor you. It sucked. I recently worked for a kids TV channel and had to watch a ton of the different Power Rangers on a daily basis and they were all dire. I grew up in Hong Kong and masked heroes from the 70s on kids’ TV were generally a lot cooler – Gatchaman, Masked Rider V3, and so on.

If you never saw the Power Rangers, the basic story is this: an evil alien witch, who had been imprisoned in a space container, escapes and decides to attack the nearest planet – Earth. Usually using robots or weird creatures. Another alien picks five teenagers and gives them the power to morph into a giant robot. They could also fight really well, which is what you want in a load of angsty teenagers.

Got that? Right. Well here is a short film starring Katie ‘Starbuck’ Sackoff, and James Van Der ‘Dawson’s Creek’ Beek in a gritty reimagining of how the whole story may have played out, if the annoying Power Rangers grew up to be attractive adults twisted by a life a violence. This new Power Rangers short movie is pretty well done, given the source material. Enjoy.

 

Cloud Rise short film

Cloud Rise

Cloud Rise is a superb animated short film by writer/director/producer/animator Denver Jackson. He spent 4 moths of his life putting this all together and crowdsourced the money needed to get the actors and sound recordist he wanted. I think it’s pretty amazing that a driven individual can do this sort of thing and am happy to provide support by showing the video.

There really isn’t any need to say any more. If you want more information about the Indiegogo campaign and the story behind it all, click here.

Watch the whole video as the story develops and the art is great. Hopefully Mr Jackson will be encouraged to do more. Here is Cloud Rise. Enjoy:

 

 

Robots on Film

Sexy Metropolis robot

This two and a half minute clip shows almost a hundred years’ worth of robots on film and is pretty damn cool. Everyone loves a robot and I’m gutted the nearest I am likely to get to owning one in the next five years is if I buy a robot vacuum cleaner. Personally I think the robots from Metropolis, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet still hold up pretty well. But then I am a fan of all three films and may be a bit biased. Anyway, here are some robots on film. So many scifi classics… so little time… Enjoy!