Escargots JGL

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. This weekend sees the release of two major films directed by former child stars. There’s Rush by Ron Howard, who got his true start as a boy on TV shows like Dennis the Menace and The Andy Griffth Show, and Don Jon by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who got his true start as a boy on TV shows like Family Ties and Roseanne. So, given the link, I thought it would be worth it to double up on the latest column. Both actors eventually became directors (Howard made the full switch while Gordon-Levitt is actually still a rising screen star), and before the made features they directed a few shorts. Howard’s are more like home movies made with his brother Clint and friends. Gordon-Levitt’s are mostly animated collaborative works produced through his hitRECord company. Let’s look at Howard’s first. In 1969, he shot three amateur Westerns, which he also appears in. Maybe he directed others in those teen years, but we only know about Old Paint, Deed of Daring-Do and Cards, Cads, Guns, Gore and Death because they were included on the DVD of The Missing. Because of the genre. Cards, etc. is the only one I can find online, and man is it adorable. And very bloody. The plot is your basic cliche card game that get out of hand when someone is accused of cheatin’. Young Ronny […]


Aural Fixation - Large

You may have watched, or even just heard of, the slightly strange video featuring Shia LaBeouf and dancer Denna Thomsen that hit the web a few months back. The video features the pair dancing, fighting, and losing themselves to the almost sad sounding piano refrains of Sigur Rós’ “Fjögur Píanó” from the band’s latest album, Valtari. But even though the duo may have been performing to the music, the production was clearly more than a simple music video. Clocking in at a little over eight minutes, the video was directed by Alma Har’el (Bombay Beach) and is one of seventeen videos commissioned by Sigur Rós to be a part of their Valtari Film Experiment. Rather than simply going on tour to bring their latest album to the public, Sigur Rós had various filmmakers and artists take each of Valtari’s tracks and create their own visions inspired by them. Music and images have long gone hand-in-hand, with music used to score a film or images are used to depict the meaning behind a song, but when paired together, their impact becomes even greater. Sigur Rós, a band that has never shied away from experimentation, has taken the first step by creating the music and then released it to be re-imagined by others. Bands usually create music videos to accompany their songs and give fans a greater look at the song’s meaning, but this experiment allows those outside of the band have complete creative control to see what that freedom yields.


After hitting the stage to conduct a live show version of his hitRECord website (dedicated to open collaboration production with his users) at last month’s Sundance Film Festival, it looks like Joseph Gordon-Levitt is finally adding a very expected title to his already long string of occupations. Gordon-Levitt will make his feature directing debut with a still-untitled comedy that he has also penned. Moreover, he will also star in the film alongside Scarlett Johansson. Deadline Brentwood reports that the film is “a sexy comedy about about a modern-day Don Juan, and his quest to become less of a ‘selfish dick.’” Gordon-Levitt is, of course, cast as that “selfish dick,” with Johansson grabbing one of two female lead roles. Gordon-Levitt also told the outlet that “his major motive for returning [to acting] was a burning desire to direct.” You don’t say! He went on to say, “I spent a year working with Chris Nolan, Rian Johnson, Steven Spielberg, and I did my best to pay attention. I’ve also been making short films for a long time now, I’ve directed a ton of them, and that is a huge part of why I feel comfortable and confident in this.” Well, he’s got a point there.


This Week in DVD

Welcome back to another jammed to the gills edition of This Week In DVD! Once again there’s a lot to love hitting shelves today including new movies like Bridesmaids and Bride Flight, TV on DVD releases like Modern Family, Castle, and Happy Endings, a new Bruce Willis movie that never saw the inside of a theater, and even a few re-issues of older movies you may never have heard of before… like the one starring a young Charlie Sheen as a mass murdering punk from the Midwest. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. HitRECord Recollection Volume 1 Joseph Gordon-Levitt is well known and well liked as an actor from TV and films like Third Rock From the Sun and 500 Days of Summer, but he’s interested in more than just a life in front of the camera. HitRECord.org is his web-centered creation that sees projects small and smaller develop from the ground up as collaborative efforts with friends and strangers alike. Everything submitted is up for remix and recreation. One person’s short story can see pictures, animation, voice-overs, a score, and more added by any number of people. It’s an intriguing concept, and while some of the end results have premiered at Sundance and SXSW, this collection is the first retail release. The book itself is very McSweeney’s-ish, which is awesome, and includes a wraparound half-sleeve, creative text and artwork, a CD, and a DVD of short films, videos, and more. […]


Why Watch? Because you might just love splurt because of this one. HitRECord is such a brilliant project – one of the few that really understands crowdsourcing and the artistic merit found by people not on the payroll of the majors. HitRECord produced this short, and everyone involved deserves praise. It may be a hallmark of their ideals, but it’s also a serious reminder that movies are the art that combines all arts. With silent film era style (there’s even a Mélèis moon involved) and cut-out artwork setting the stage, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and co-star Lexy Hume navigate a live-action/animated dating world that seems written by a wine-happy George Orwell, and designed by the lovechild of Charlie Chaplin and the Squirrel Nut Zippers. What does it cost? Just 5 minutes of your time. Check out Morgan M. Morgansen’s Date With Destiny for yourself:

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published: 04.20.2014
published: 04.20.2014
published: 04.19.2014
published: 04.19.2014

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