On the face of it, the documentary short The Politics of Competitive Board Gaming Amongst Friends doesn’t sound like such serious business: A group of friends get together to play Settlers of Catan, and occasionally get on each other’s nerves. Really, it’s difficult to think of anything more frivolous. But as anyone who’s ever gotten competitive against a loved one can attest, these things have a way of just blowing way the hell out of proportion.

Directed by Jay Cheel (Beauty Day, How to Build a Time Machine), The Politics of Competitive Board Gaming Amongst Friends is a half-dramatic, half-comedic look at the high-stakes emotions that can spill out during a low-stakes game. Fans of Cheel’s work on the Film Junk podcast will additionally be amused to see that the short prominently features recurring Film Junk guest Reed Farrington, a.k.a. Gerry Eng. Watch the ten-minute video after the jump.

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The story goes something like this. In the year 2036, a man calling himself John Titor was sent back in time to 1975 to retrieve pieces of a rare, early IBM computer for use in rebuilding an America that was decimated by nuclear war in 2015. Twenty-five years later, Titor began posting on the Internet about his experiences. And this absolutely happened. Or, at least, an Internet posting by someone using that name and offering that story happened.

Sounds intriguing, no? Well a documentary called How To Build A Time Machine is currently in production to try and uncover the truth’s of Titor’s mysterious and famous claims. Since there’s obviously not actual footage of any of this, director Jay Cheel (Beauty Day) has created a trailer to entice people into contributing to high quality re-creations. And even if you don’t have money to do that, you’ve got to watch this trailer. 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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You had to think while MTV was making stars out of the guys from Jackass and Tom Green, there was a guy sitting at home thinking, “Hey, I did that years ago.” There was and his name was Ralph Zavadil, the star of The Cap’n Video Show on Canadian public access TV from 1990-1995. On the show,  Zavadil basically brutalized his body for the audience’s amusement years before that became cool or could make $50 or $60 million in a weekend at the box office.

In a new film called Beauty Day, filmmaker Jay Cheel has not only chronicled the rise, fall and cultural impact of The Cap’n Video Show, he was on the scene for the comeback. The film will premiere at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of their Canadian Front series next month but right now you can check out the trailer for the movie and more after the break. Read More »

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