Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we ponder the sociological importance of the selfie, get morally confused with Joel Edgerton, have a gay old time, step out on our animated wife, and try and understand why music can dust the cobwebs off the elderly.

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ABCs of Death

The horror anthology V/H/S did well enough that a sequel went into production pretty fast, and you can already see the red-band trailer for V/H/S/2 from Magnet. Now another Magnet-released anthology, The ABCs of Death, is also going to be followed by a sequel.

The hook for The ABCs of Death was that the film featured 25 directors (and a 26th crowd-sourced entry) making short films based around a single letter. The sequel will take the same approach, and as with the first film the hook isn’t the concept, but the people bringing it to life. The new crew includes animator Bill Plympton, Day of the Beast and The Last Circus director Álex de la Iglesia, and Room 237 director Rodney Ascher. More participants in the gruesome sequel are listed below. Read More »

I’m not sure how long this has been online, but judging by the reaction I see it getting on Twitter today, either it hasn’t been long or no one realized what MTV had done. But for those who spent late nights with MTV in the early ’90s, when the channel celebrated the unusual corners of pop culture as well as the fat, chewy center, this is going to be one hell of a trip. And for younger animation fans that haven’t had a chance to experience some of these shorts, it’s a goldmine.

Liquid Television was a ground-breaking animation anthology that featured some very early computer animation and very strange and funny shorts by noted animators and designers such as Charles Burns, Richard Sala, David Daniels, and Bill Plympton. It ran from 1991 to 1994; some of the included shorts were new, and others, like Mike Judge‘s Frog Baseball (the introduction of Beavis and Butthead) were sourced from traveling animation festivals like Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation. Liquid Television was also the home for the original Aeon Flux series.

The series has been collected in a couple of VHS and DVD releases over the years, but those are all long out of print. Now a great deal of the show is archived online, and presented in great quality. Check out a few clips below. Read More »

Awards season is definitely upon us, with the Gotham awards and Independent Spirit nominations kicking things off. Now the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the shortlist of ten animated and live-action shorts that will be considered for Oscar nominations. Three to five nominees will be selected from each category, and the nominations will be announced along with all the other Oscar nominations on January 25 2011.

Check out the full list of c0ontenders after the break. The 83rd Academy Awards will take place on February 27, 2011, hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Read More »

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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