Weird & Wonderful: The 5000 Fingers Of Dr. T

A while back I waxed wondering why no one or no place has set up "The Festival Of The Weird & Wonderful". I would be there in a heartbeat (not as an exhibit mind you, but just as an audience member). We still need some help programming the first edition but I imagine that "The 5000 Fingers Of Dr. T" would screen, even if it is now up for free on Crackle.

Let's Remake Star Wars!

Hey, let's say you have nothing to do. Now we know that's not true, because you are reading this, and there's hundreds of things to do right here in Our Bowl. But let's just pretend you had nothing to do.

Why not remake Star Wars with a little help from some friends? Some folks with plenty of good ideas decided to do this and you and your pals can join. 472 people (or teams of people, that is) each have the opportunity to remake 15 seconds of the film. When all is completed it will be stitched together and there will be a new version that YOU MADE! How cool is that?

Two Great Films Not To Miss

I had been wanting to post about a couple of films I've seen and was really impressed by -- but time has been short and I haven't been able to do a lot of things I had hoped.  So when I got an email from director Jim McKay urging me to check out the two films I wanted to post about, well, I thought why not let him tell you about them instead of me.

Hey, folks -

I'm a little bit late on this one, but I finally got out to see it last night and if you're in New York it's still playing at the great IFC Center and if you're not, it's either on its way to you or on IFC On Demand...

The movie is HUNGER and it's British artist/director Steve McQueen's first feature film about the IRA's early 80's in-prison protests (no clothes, no wash, and, ultimately, hunger strikes) and Bobby Sands' role in them.

The film has qualities about it that can come only from a) an artist from outside the film world and/or b) a (first-time) director who is either unaware or unconcerned about "the rules" and has the artistic integrity to insist upon a method of storytelling that is powerful and unique. A perfect film? No. A very complete and confident vision that will shock, inspire, and move you? Yes, absolutely.

Characters are explored who then disappear from the story altogether, other main characters aren't introduced until late in the film, there's a jump in time toward the beginning of the film but then that doesn't become a motif and the device is not repeated.... All things that in the U.S. film-making system would've raised red flags of narrative concern from investors, producers, and all the other people whose job it is to make sure a creator makes a film that will be "marketable" (of course 90% of these movies tank anyway....). It's interesting that another visual artist-turned-filmmaker, Julian Schnabel, has also become one of our more important filmmakers - these are artists who are used to making work for themselves and not for studios or financiers or bean-counters. And the work shows a boldness and independence that is often missing from the typical new narrative filmmaker. Let us give thanks for filmmakers who say "screw you" to those who might say "but that isn't the way things are done."

The film is definitely hard to watch at times - violence, torture, etc - but especially now, in the era of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, it's the kind of stuff that we need to be reminded of and need to make ourselves watch. And for all its inherent artsiness, it's also a fiercely political film that calls up all the anger and bitterness toward Margaret Thatcher that would in later years inspire Morrissey to ask in his song Margaret on the Guillotine "Oh, when will you die?" and Elvis Costello to sing "When they finally put you in the ground, I'll stand on the grave and tramp the dirt down." The film made me very, very angry. In a great way. And I can't stop thinking about it.

Because of the subject matter, I put off seeing this film for a bit, which was a mistake. I highly recommend it.

peace,

Jim

(PS: I also saw Goodbye Solo this past week and thought it was great. I'm about to head out of town and can't summon up the time or brain power to write about it right now, but I will when I return but in the meantime, put it at the top of your must-see list).

Inside all of us....

some wild thing.  

We are hesitant to post trailers in our bowl, but we have been waiting too long for this film and it seems like they may have done everything right!  We are going to get our time machine working this weekend and hop on over to Oct. 17th.  Unfortunately, when we return our memory is always wiped clean so we won't be able to tell you how great it is quite yet.  Luckily we can enjoy this right here and now.

Learn To Fly

We all have to start sometime, right?  Every nose picks itself up and waddles out into the real world, leaving all the other schnozolas behind.

The Blue Crane is the national bird of South Africa.  It began a sudden population decline from around 1980 and is now classified as vulnerable.  Here's two of them just starting out.


Learn To Fly from Christian Letruria on Vimeo.

Pixar's UP


Where were we?  How'd we miss that this was Pixar's next?  And no robot?  No cute creature?  A grumpy old man?!  I guess it's clear we didn't go to ComicCon.  Still it looks pretty neat.

Here's the description we found:
Carl Fredricksen spent his entire life dreaming of exploring the globe and experiencing life to its fullest. But at age 78, life seems to have passed him by, until a twist of fate (and a persistent 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell) gives him a new lease on life. UP takes audiences on a journey where the unlikely pair encounter wild terrain, unexpected villains and jungle creatures.