Boiling Point

With what is being called a massive failure at the box office, pulling in just $25 million domestic dollars (or 12% of its budget), Peter Berg‘s Battleship is sinking, but not before firing a warning shot across the bow of stupid ideas. And by a “warning shot across the bow” I mean a giant, moronic cruise missile. Battleship wasn’t destined for failure – after all, almost any idea can be made good. If you ignored the title, the idea of a few naval vessels fighting off aliens sounds pretty cool and not altogether stupid. However, you slap the Hasbro logo in-front of the credits and include a sequence where a missile destroyer blindly fires into the ocean while a captain shouts out “J-11″ and the stupidity quotient rises exponentially.


The Best Short Films

Why Watch? In 1988, Pixar’s Tin Toy won the Oscar for Best Animated Short. The studio’s history after that is well known, but one of the shorts that it beat out for gold was just about as symbolic as you could ask for. Technological Threat, from Brian Jennings and Bill Kroyer, was a blend of rudimentary computer animation and hand-drawn traditional that told the story of computers taking over all the artist jobs. It predicted the future the very year that it started coming to pass. The movie itself is an homage to Tex Avery-style cartoons, with dogs in suits trying desperately to draw while burdened by exhaustion, sneezing fits, and a need to stay hydrated. The robots, of course, don’t face the same problems, and as the room fills up with them, one dog fights back. Of course, unlike the story, there was no beating the tide of computer animation, making this a bizarre historical object and a hand-drawn crystal ball. Plus, it was nice of them to thank Brad Bird in the credits. What will it cost? Only 4 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.


So one day you’re walking along when you find an alien pod where a strange watch-like machine attaches itself to you – giving you the power of 10 different extraterrestrials. These things happen. At least they happen to Ben 10 – the hit animated show that spawned several spin-off shows and a lot of merchandise. It’s no wonder Joel Silver has taken a liking to it. The producer has even found an interesting screenwriter to build the project for the big screen. According to Variety, Silver has hired Henry Poole is Here writer Albert Torres to bring the alien master to life. Henry Poole was definitely an underappreciated dramedy, but the real writing audition for Torres came in the form of a rewrite on the Akira remake. A bit more in the Ben 10 wheelhouse. What’s interesting is that Torres also wrote the script for the Chuck Palahniuk book adaptation Survivor back when Francis Lawrence was attached to direct. This guy sounds particularly versatile. What’s doubly interesting is that there have already been two live-action Ben 10 movies – both made for television, directed by Bill and Ted alum Alex Winter. It’s undoubtedly different, but does anyone else get the Green Lantern vibe off this? Aliens, a magic device on the hand, the color green everywhere. It feels awfully similar.


Why Watch? When Junaid Chundrigar set out to make this delightful short film, the goal was to pay homage to classic cartoons that could be enjoyed by all ages. He absolutely met that goal. With simple, effective animation, Sheeped Away is the story of a farmer battling a UFO that’s trying to take his sheep away. Despite an epic fight, he has to do it all without waking up his horrible wife. The result is something fantastic and charming. Can’t you see this playing in front of the next Pixar movie? What does it cost? Just 5 minutes of your time. Check out Sheeped Away for yourself:


Why Watch? Because he’s faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. No one uses the word “bound” as a noun anymore, but Superman is still alive and well. He’s a cultural phenomenon that’s unparalleled, and he’s even seeing Blu-ray releases this week. In honor of that, we’re presenting the Man of Steel’s first appearance on the big screen – as a short cartoon from Max Fleischer that ran before movies. Seven years after the first serial, the character would head to theaters live-action style with Kirk Alyn becoming the first actor to portray Supes. The animation is beautiful, the tale thrilling, and you can play along at home by spotting the character differences in his origin story and characteristics. What does it cost? Just 10 minutes of your time. Check out Superman for yourself:


When it comes to comic book adaptations, the big-budget Hollywood movies can’t hold a candle to their animated series counterparts.

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published: 12.23.2014
published: 12.22.2014
published: 12.19.2014

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