Static

mcqueen_western_deep_02_l

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. Before he started making features, like his new release 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen was a celebrated visual artist known primarily for film installations. His “short start” was 20 years ago with a 10-minute work called Bear, in which he and another black man wrestled in the nude. After that, he made the shorts Five Easy Pieces (1995), Just Above My Head (1996), Exodus (1997) and Deadpan (1997), the last of which involved a recreation of Buster Keaton’s famous falling house facade stunt from Steamboat Bill Jr. You can see an excerpt of that film, with McQueen pulling off the dangerous bit himself, here. While many of his shorts can be seen in the occasional museum exhibit, most are otherwise pretty rare. Meaning not available to be viewed online. There are, however, a few instances of incomplete cellphone captures of his films from their installation projections. You can see parts of Girls, Tricky (2001), the 9/11-inspired Illuminer (2002) and Static (2009), which was made following his feature debut, Hunger. Others, including Charlotte (2004), featuring just an enlargement of Charlotte Rampling‘s eye, and Caribs’ Leap (2002), are only to be seen in stills. Interestingly, the latter is typically screened as a companion to the only film found in full on the web, Western Deep.

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disc much ado about nothing

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Much Ado About Nothing Leonato’s (Clark Gregg) home is visited by fellow dignitary Don Pedro and his two immediate officers, Benedick (Alexis Desinof) and Claudio (Fran Kranz). The latter falls in love with Leonato’s daughter Hero, while the former has a friction-filled and antagonistic past with the man’s niece Beatrice (Amy Acker). It’s not all foreplay and country matters, though, as Don Pedro’s manipulative brother, Don John (Sean Maher), is intent on disrupting political relations by destroying relationships. Let the romantic hijinx begin! William Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy comes to life yet again, and it’s the best screen incarnation yet. Joss Whedon can be hit or miss at times, but when he’s on the result can be pretty damn incredible. His first foray into the Bard’s realm falls into that category as Whedon retains the original dialogue while adding visual wit of his own. Add to that some perfectly nuanced performances and an attractive score, and you have a film that will leave you smiling for days. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, music video, commentaries]

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #56): “Static” (airdate 3/10/61) The Plot:  A bitter old man complains about a newfangled contraption called the television. Fortunately, he finds a radio that plays things without images. The Goods: Aside from this episode being shot in video, which makes it seem incredibly cheap, this episode is thoroughly annoying on its own. A 150-year-old version of Sean Connery named Dean Jagger plays a caustic elder gent named Ed Lindsay who can’t stand television and feels free to claim as much to all the people living in the boarding house with him. One of the inhabitants is Vinnie Broun (Carmen Matthews) who was supposed to marry Ed two decades ago, but the perpetual bachelor kept putting it off. Haunted by that regret, he hears music from the 40s coming through on a boxy radio he pulls out of storage. Funny how no one else can seem to hear it.

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