Overview: Ever see a short movie and wished it could be made feature-length? OK, 9 made that jump in 09. Now, a new short has similar designs. Thieves made its debut in film-festivals in July, claiming audience choice at the Mitten Movie Project with a nomination for short of the year, and is now available for online viewing (like above).
The Story: America has created a new prototype energy cell that is now powering New Detroit. To protect both the cell and the city, an agency known only as “Butterfly” is formed to foster patriotism and stability, and to “recruit uniquely skilled people” to make it all possible. However, a terrorist organization has taken the prototype cell and plan to dismantle it. While the world waits for Armageddon, Butterfly has captured a high-value terrorist and plan to “recruit” him.
Sheldon Simmons: Remember his name. I got a feeling his name will be called at some future Oscar ceremony.
A Piece of a Larger Puzzle. Fourteen minutes hardly makes for a feature, so this short may make you feel like you’re missing a lot. THAT was intended:
From the beginning, Thieves was conceived as an excerpt from a much larger saga of feature films. As such, Thieves is not a self-contained piece. It’s made quite clear from its opening moments to its closing frame that there is most certainly a hell of a lot more going on before and after the events showcased in the short film.
Of course, there is the danger that if Thieves does become feature length it may become another Snakes on A Plane. But as long as the Zenisphere crew keeps true to their vision (and creative control of the project), that danger should be minimal.
Conclusion: If you haven’t heard of Thieves before, be ready to hear more of it in the future. Zenisphere has made a slam-dunk short that’s going to leave you wanting more. Already gathering high praise from indie film bloggers, Thieves is set to garner even bigger accolades (like ours), and possibly become the next Blade Runner, or at least The Matrix.
Overview: Our forum member Burnt Lombard brought this net short to my attention earlier this week. Actually, I had a bookmark to it on Vimeo for a while, but that version is now password locked. More recently, I seen the trailer for it on Kovac’s screener of UCF: Abstract Messiah. Now that I’ve invested the 17.5 minutes to watch, I got to give Lombard his creds for getting me to watch. Imagine, if you will, a little of what a live-action System Shock movie could be like…
The Story: ASEMS pilot James Donner has spent the past 1000+ days (3 years) in space and is now on his way home for some hard-earned R-and-R. Then he gets a call from some corporate dick:
“We’ve been out of contact with the Valley Isis colony for eight months now. We just received a distress signal and…”
So much for vay-kay. Against his better judgement, Donner boards the colony when he hears a female survivor, Ora, over his radio.
I’d rescue that for a dollar!
When Donner finds Ora, that when he has to make a choice…
But, is it cyberpunk? Rust Valley has been tagged as cyberpunk on Vimeo, and it does make its case well. We have the ASEMS corp, though the full extent of their power and influence wasn’t revealed. There’s a bit of man-machine fusion (won’t say where due to spoiler possibility). But it’s the visuals that makes the short cyberpunk. Let’s just say that there’s a reason why it’s called RUST Valley.
The audience is now deaf. Being an amateur production, and shot on 35mm film, some technical glitches are expected. But when you have to turn up the volume to hear the monitor voices, you might want to consider amplifying the microphones for the monitor actors.
UPDATE: Burnt Lombard has uploaded the official video on Vimeo, with improved audio. It’s a bit different in other ways as well, but with the improved audio I’ve decided to upgrade its rating to 7.
Conclusion: While not the most polished production, this short still manages to make for good cyberpunk viewing. And for a bonus, there’s an alternate ending that was supposed to be the original ending. This could make for a good feature… just pray that it doesn’t become the next Snakes On A Plane.
Synopsis: With Terminator: Salvation coming this Thursday, it’s time I got my review circuits ready by doing a short review of a short movie, Maya. I found this short while searching for cyberpunk music on YouTube. A vid for a song called “Organics (Slowmotion Mix)” by Evil’s Toy had a link to MetaCafe and Maya. Note: The version embedded and reviewed here is the Final Cut version.
The film starts out with Maya, decked-out in some near-future laser-tag gear, stalking a structure with some guards. She manages to take out one guard, but winds up getting shot dead, only to awaken back in reality… or what we think is reality. From there, we witness Maya “reawakening” with different outcomes, like a dream within a dream. [Obligatory “Yo, Dawg!” goes here]
While the philosophical use of VR is nothing new, this piece does make the best of its ten minutes of low-budget cyberpunk. It certainly fills a need for a shot of cyberpunk when you need more than a music video but you don’t have the appetite for a feature-length film.
Here’s the video that lead me to Maya. Lady-bots and gentle-borgs, I give you German EBM band Evil’s Toy with “Organics (Slowmotion Mix).” Enjoy!
High-end VFX production house, 1st Avenue Machine, has created some ads depicting robots and cyborgs as machines that can be atomized into similarly sized parts. As advertising often attempts to reflect simplistic notions of how society understands things, I wonder if this idea is coming in vogue regarding robots and cyborgs. This first sexy little piece was done for Saturn, a Best Buy-like electronics store in Europe:
Far less exciting, but specially interesting is 1stAveMachine’s ad for Adidas:
While definitely cool looking, both of these ads show a fairly strange notion of robots. Nope, no functional decomposition here - its all holographic interchangeable parts, folks. Anyone see this trope emerging anywhere else?
Welcome me back folks. BTW, here’s a cool little youtube video floating around now that uses the Matrix to make a commentary on Windows. Considering I just installed Ubuntu on my EEE PC, I thought it appropriate:
EDIT: Regarding the quality of this short, its terrific. Both funny and wonderfully thought out. I found myself laughing numerous times!
I found this juicy little tidbit at JWZ’s blog. As a viral video, I think it works wonderfully. It’s simple, well produced, and sexy enough to suck you in. It was produced by Wyld Stallyons and Lascivious (lingerie), who on Wyld’s site state:
The Doll is a short film about death, desire, and robots; made for boutique lingerie label Lascivious in 2007 by moving image company Wyld Stallyons.
Lascivious approached Wyld Stallyons in late 2006 with the idea of producing a collaborative short film which would act as a viral campaign for them, and also a promotional piece for Wyld Stallyons.
Inspired by the infamous Real Doll sex toys, a token dollop of Greek myth, and countless teenage evenings watching straight-to-video sci-fi b-movies of dubious quality, Wyld Stallyons quickly developed a concept based around the idea of a mail order sex robot, delivered in parts. Once assembled, the robot becomes sentient and takes a shine to its owner’s lingerie, with fatal consequences.
The whole “sentient robot wants to kill you” trope is definitely well understood by all at this point (the blue and red eyes switch most recently show up in I,Robot), so the connection is pretty solid. However, I’m not quite as thrilled about the usability of Lascivious’s website (pictures are too small to see the quality, and the cart works strangely). But the video definitely drew me there, so thumbs up to Wyld.
Created by USC Fine Arts and Animation student, Andy Huang (see interview here), Dollface gives us an interesting addition to the “face represents the soul” type robot-yearing-for-humanity situation. Great animation, interesting build-up. The ending is pretty telegraphed, but what do you expect for this type of story.
I can’t believe these have been out for over 6 months and I’m just now discovering them. I now have, thanks to Fargo posting them in Cadet SF’s Meatspace Forums thread, Robocop Vs. Terminator.
Terminator vs Robocop: EPISODE 2
AMDS Films did a terrific mashup job here, especially on the first film. Definitely fun watching! Also, feel free to participate in the poll listed in the Meatspace thread. Personally, I think The Terminator wins it going away!
I don’t know how many of you saw Samantha Bee’s Future Shock segment earlier this Wednesday on the Daily Show. If not, it’s worth a look. It had a number of rather funny robot and nanotech thoughts floating around.
Hmmmmm…sex with robots, coming to a product near you!
Peock over at Matrixfans.net has been working on a music video compilation of the Matrix movies for over two years now, and has finally completed it. The link for this is available online at MFN for easy download (the prefer you use bittorrent if possible, to keep down the throughput). While it is slightly choppy at times, otherwise this video is very well done and edited. The compilation of songs (listed at the end) work wonderfully with the matrix clippings used. Well done Peock!