I didn’t think there was much that could make me more excited for a new short film by Stephen and Timothy Quay (aka The Brothers Quay). But then I saw this trailer for Maska, and discovered that the film is not only a new animated short from the brothers, but seemingly one of their most colorful pieces of work, and an adaptation of a Stanislaw Lem story to boot. Check it out after the break. Read More »

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The twin animators Stephen and Timothy Quay made their name based on a stunning set of short films such as The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer and Street of Crocodiles. The latter was based on the short story collection of the same name by Polish author Bruno Schulz. Now the Quay Brothers are embarking upon the production of their third feature film, which will be based upon Schulz’s other published work: Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass. Read More »

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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, sans The Tooth Fairy, that offer proof. /Film’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review, or an interview…

For all of the world’s fireplaces used to stack skateboard videos and DVDs, it’s increasingly strange how few, if any, feature films exist to directly reflect the ubiquity of the sport and lifestyle in pop culture. The new indie film, Machotaildrop, might be the only across-the-board example. Not only does it have a skateboarder named Walter (played by skater/actor Anthony Amedori) as its main character, the movie’s plush fantasy world serves as a metaphorical backdrop for a modern skater’s journey from passionate amateur to paid-and-jaded pro. After Walter is recruited to the hedonistic dream estate of a major skateboard corporation called Machotaildrop, he’s soon ordered by its shady overseer, The Baron, to tour the base of an outlaw skater gang called the Manwolfs. Herein lies a moral dilemma and awakening: help Machotaildrop establish its kooky skater theme park on the Manwolfs’ sacred turf and “fulfill the dream.” Or bail.

Machotaildrop is already stirring curiosity online for its attractive cinematography and for surreal imagery that evokes the prim-and-proper stylings of Wes Anderson, the offbeat humor of Spike Jonze, and the acid-tab abstraction of Alejandro Jodorowsky. Accessible to fans of those directors, Machotaildrop still glows with the esoteric yet stonerish attitude synonymous with a lot of skate culture. Veteran and current pro’s like Steve Olson (as a baker-skater) and Rick McCrank (as a snobbish, injured icon) get laughs in supporting roles and the plot lends itself to well-shot bouts of skate tricks. I interviewed writers/directors, Corey Adams and Adam Craig, about what they wanted to accomplish, their film’s themes, and all of the skater-and-cineaste history that inspired it. Trailer and images included after the jump.

Hunter Stephenson: We are seeing skate video culture assimilated into indie films more and more, as seen in the work of directors like Spike Jonze and Jody Hill. Do you agree? And what discussions did you and Alex have before making the film in regard to contributing to this cinematic/cultural bridge?

Corey Adams: Well the one discussion we kept having was that we didn’t want the film to look anything like a skateboard video, that all the skateboarding we shot in the film was done so in a way that it didn’t over glorify it. No wide angle lenses or handheld shots—except for some of the skateboard video elements, which we had no control over as it was all actual footage from the kid.

Alex Craig: Even though we both come from a skateboarding background, it was always our intention to approach this project cinematically as opposed to using skate video conventions. I think it would have been foolish to try and recreate a skate video vibe in the film mainly because it wasn’t appropriate to our idea but also because we could never do it justice. We wanted the film to stay in a farcical world.

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Once upon a time, the reunion of Juno playpals Ellen Page and Olivia Thirlby was set to be the werewolf romance Jack & Diane. Unfortunately, the filmmakers had difficulty getting the film going and, the last we heard about it, the project was delayed. At that point, Page said:

It’s a drag that we, as of yet, haven’t filmed it. But it will happen.

And indeed, it appears that it will – though, and rather sadly perhaps, without Ms. Page. According to the film’s official website (found via After Ellen), the project is still “in development”, though now Ellen is out, and Alison Pill is in, while Olivia Thirlby’s involvement remains unchanged. Further corroborating this report, Paste also filed on the film today:

[Director Bradley Rust] Gray is busy on Jack and Diane, a picture about two teenage girls who fall in love (expressed partially through a monstrous creature, earning it the early tag “the lesbian werewolf movie”). The film will have a special-effects budget and animation, a first for Gray. “It’s going to be gross and scary,” he says.

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