Introducing: Short Film of the Week series

January 22, 2010

This marks the beginning of a new series here at Something Offensive.  Pretty self-explanatory if not exceptionally original (that’s fast becoming my M.O., I know).

I think this will provide a nice outlet for myself and others to expose ourselves to and discuss more experimental works and help us better appreciate the cinematic form.

I plan to watch a fair amount of shorts every week, by filmmakers known and unknown, with content and ideas ranging all over the map.  And come each weekend, I’ll post my favorite find.

If there are any short films you would like to see featured in the weeks ahead, let us know in the comments below, and I’ll be sure to check them out.

This week’s selection: “There’s Only One Sun”  (2007)

director: Wong Kar-wai

I wanted to kick things off by getting an obvious choice of filmmaker out of the way.  I’ve often touted WKW’s more well-known feature work, and in case you haven’t seen Fallen Angels or In the Mood for Love, this might serve as a good primer.

Philips commissioned the director to showcase their new HD TV’s capabilities, and couldn’t have possibly made a better selection.  Here we’re treated to Wong’s brand of narration, his striking use of light and color,  tragic romantic characters, very particular soundtrack, bold titles, notes of interpersonal isolation, etc.   I find both the French language and the futuristic neo-noir set-up are natural fits for the director; the central concept really allows him to demonstrate his craft.  My only major critique is that I  wish the narrative had maintained a greater sense of mystery.  The first minute or two had me fully intrigued, so I couldn’t help but feel somewhat letdown once it sort of revealed its hand.

All in all, between this and Wong’s somewhat aesthetically-similar 2046, I’d be greatly interested to see him tackle a feature-length of this or something close in line provided he had a more refined story.  It’s just a painfully beautiful vision to behold.

What are your thoughts?

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My Decade Wishlist (in Film)

January 9, 2010

Now that everyone’s exceedingly sick of recounting the odd events, great successes, glorious failures, and myriad other memorable moments of the last ten years, I think it’s time we make concrete our visions for the duration of this presently virginal decade of ours.

Below are ten things I’m hopeful will occur (or not occur…) these next ten years; none too terribly original, but things I still have my fingers crossed for nonetheless.

1) Christopher Doyle and Wong Kar-wai reunite, matching their 1st decade’s output.

2) Bill Murray writes his own feature, maybe directs a small indie.  He formerly wanted to be a playwright. I’d like to see what his imagination would conjure.

3) A comic book movie hiatus.  Realistically, this wouldn’t take effect until 2013 or 2014 with the current slate.  But point is most of them have been trash.  Maybe put an end date of 2020.  Let it sit dormant for 10 or so years.

4) Studios more supportive of concepts, wise spending, new talent, new ideas, promoting ‘smaller’ fare.   Tired of the 1-2-3 franchise glut.  Rural theaters should be aided in playing and nurturing foreign/indie works.

5) Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah’s Ark” movie.  Would be amazing.

6) Rangier animation, style-wise and content-wise.  Love Pixar, but it’s going to wear thin if Dreamworks remains its only “competition.”

7) A push for more experimental features.  40-minute shorts of acclaimed directors finding programming (television perhaps?).  More international casts, playing up international venues and international stars, and non-English languages.  Wes Anderson has the right idea, venturing into stop-motion.  Tired of trends.  Just because of Avatar, I don’t want to watch 3-D video games every summer for the next 15 years.

8) Let foreign directors shoot their scripts within our studio system.  Our resources.  Our budgets.  Send more of our writers, directors, actors overseas for collaborations.

9) The Academy Awards will never regain relevancy.  Awards coverage should move toward focusing on the world stage.  Domestic networks should air coverage from the Cannes film festival, allowing critics to do the reporting/interviewing instead of entertainment correspondents going on ad nauseam about fashion flubs and other shallow crap.

10) With the demise of print, many questions surround the future of film critics.  Unquestionably, they’re our connection to a world of lesser seen films that would otherwise never see the light of day.  We need to find a way to preserve and continue to support the work they do.

How about you, faithful readers?  What are some items on your own personal decade wishlists?


Top 50 Movies of the Decade – part 3

December 23, 2009

Part 1 (#46-50)

Part 2 (#41-45)

And…

As promised, here’s our next 5 selections.  Visit tomorrow to see picks 31-35.

(trailer)

Taos: Oh man, I love everything Mamet does. Not even Tim Allen could bring this movie down.

David: A quiet David Mamet. There’s a lot in Redbelt that could be criticized. But the protagonist’s arc–by movie’s end–just the stuff of greatness. Solidified Chiwetel Ejiofor as one of my favorite actors.

(trailer)

David: [note: the flip of a coin, and 2046 may as well be here instead] The ever-wistful In the Mood for Love is the first of a more refined Wong Kar Wai. I prefer his early-mid summer period (maybe that’s because I myself am still young), but I still adore his late summer now autumn flags. A great piece of cinema in its own right, once seen in the context of its loose trilogy (Days of Being Wild, Mood, 2046), another dimension of allure–something mysterious–amplifies in the mind.  Aaaaand… another Chris Doyle photographed pic makes the list.

Taos: Cinematography looks amazing, but I haven’t seen it yet.

(trailer)

Taos: Finally a sci-fi film that doesn’t forget the science. Duncan Jones might be the next big thing. Especially if he gets to make the movies he wants. Not much can be said without ruining it. In the case of this movie: more is less. (Duncan Jones is David Bowie’s freakin son!)

David: Supposed to be better than it looks. I’ll find out come its dvd release next month.  A score by Clint Mansell can’t hurt its chances.

(trailer)

David: One of the most visceral movie experiences I’ve had.  Apart from the spotty prehistoric stampede, I was there for the ride the full three hours topside.  A supreme beauty of an epic.

Taos: Hard to like at first, but grows with reflection. If I were to pick a movie I hated at first but grew to love, I probably would have went with War of the Worlds instead.

(trailer)

David: Letting Matt Damon kick ass for six hours was one of the best decisions of the decade. Simply enough, what really pushes this one past its bookends (and by a sturdy margin) is its emotional primacy, succeeding, too, at what Quantum of Solace later failed to make happen for 007.

Taos: The Bourne films run together in my mind. I know the action was great and the story was outstanding, but I cannot tell you the individual storylines. Influenced half a decade of action films: nuff said.

Until tomorrow!


“I’ve heard that there’s a kind of bird without legs that can only fly and fly, and sleep in the wind when it is tired. The bird only lands once in its life… that’s when it dies.” (Film Draft)

July 27, 2009

Days of Being Wild

I didn’t intend on selecting another Wong Kar-wai. I scooped up Chungking Express a few weeks ago and thought maybe I had already grabbed In the Mood for Love, too (I hadn’t).

And yet here I am. Even the WKW films I don’t become particularly attached to possess elements or scenes that refuse to detach themselves from me. DoBW, for example: its dreamlike, seemingly disconnected epilogue that further enriches in the context of Wong’s future works.  (Dreamlike. There’s an adjective apt to WKW’s entire body of work.)

But it’s a 90-second sequence set down a path of palm trees, an empyreal shot by Christopher Doyle (his first of many, now almost legendary collaborations w/ Wong), that urged me to make this selection. Experiencing it sends you to the clouds.

Wong’s loosely set scripts have a charm to them, certainly infused by lush, living photography and vintage pop culture conceits, however also a room to color one’s own imagination into being. If you like what Wong paints on screen, off screen castles in the air will leave you in a perpetual subdued euphoria.

Days of Being Wild (goddamn, I love that title) lifts a kind of bittersweet inflection with lead Leslie Cheung’s untimely passing several years ago.  Like the works of a Ledger or Dean, right or not, the performer’s demise lends a new, singular allure and appreciation to this and other past pieces.

Pour yourself a rum and coke some slow weekend afternoon and give it a look.


At the high point of our intimacy, we were just 0.01cm from each other. I knew nothing about her. Six hours later, she fell in love with another man. (Film Draft)

June 23, 2009

Chungking Express

Not a flawless movie by any stretch.  Nonetheless, this quick one-off project for Wong Kar Wai pretty much defines the term ‘infectious.’

Tarantino said it best when he called it a movie for people who love film. He also had it right by saying it’s impossible to watch Chungking Express and not fall head over heels in love with Faye Wong. Her half of the split narrative, alongside Mr. Epitome-of-Cool Tony Leung, is the primary draw here.

And still, there’s no confusing it serves its weight by virtue of the anchoring segment which possesses plenty charm (and expired pineapple) of its own. Two great stories in one sumptuous parcel.

Altogether downright likable I tell ya.