Saturday, May 16, 2009

Webcam: Canada goose nest near Edmonton

I love this sort of stuff and, yes, I watch action like this for hours on end, though I do tend to be embarrassed during courting season when I wish all concerned would simply get a room.

Friday, May 15, 2009

One Picture Tells a Thousand Stories

Short films still get short shrift in the commercial marketplace. While we junkies have specific film festivals, cataloging sites like Short Film Central, You Tube, Google Films, AWNtv and a multiple of other internet viewing locations (when permission is given) to keep us abreast of this wonderful perverse world, the short film remains the step-child of the business, given its eye blink of allotted time during the Oscars. True auteurism can exist only in the short film.

Gems surface, burn brightly for a short period of time, then disappear, like some pharaoh's tomb, into the shifting sands of obscurity. Most of my gold strikes occur late at night when forced to retire to the couch due to some minor indiscretion of months past finally coming to light, sleep becomes impossible over the crying and banging of suitcases being packed. I thought the belief in Jesus, like the picking of Supreme Court justices, was all about empathy, but I digress.

Currently the National Film Board of Canada (wish we had an organization like this in America), the Cannes Film Festival and You Tube are sponsoring the Fifth Annual "internet eyeballs choose the winner" competition from a selection of ten award winning short films. Viewing them all in one sitting (I think my friend walked out on me during selection number three, but I'm not sure as my headphones were on), made me laugh and cry and fall in love all over again.

My favorite of the ten is The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow, a hauntingly mesmerizing piece of such virtuosity that I kept coming back to it over and over again. If Sherlock Holmes were a film maker, this would have been his masterwork to jerk around the guys from CSI. For any serious student of film, this little diamond is must viewing for its use of camera and single frame movement .

Coming in a close second is Sebastian's Voodoo, a piece of creepy animation so Christ-like in its implications that perhaps I might be reading a tad to much into it. The ending is a true Kleenex moment.

Rounding out the top three is the stutter framed Walter Ate a Peanut, a testament to man's ability to withstand any inhumanity except food on the kitchen floor. If marriage is a box of chocolates, I'll stick with my peanut allergy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sandbox: The Real Men in Black

I was reminded of this clip several days ago when I overheard several young gamers discussing the merits of the latest killer videos out there. According to them, game animation has reached such exquisite levels that you could all but smell the sweat of bleeding terrorists and the dust of exploding mud huts. Makes me want to go out and learn how to work my opposable thumbs again.

Sandbox is directed towards those armchair warriors whose closest brush with death is shaky hand eye coordination as a first person shooter playing Sniper Elite or safely watching authentic Iraqi and Afghan footage on You Tube over a couple of cold ones. This short powerful piece of animation, adapted from Colby Buzzell's Iraq memoir, My War: Killing Time in Iraq should preface all war games that first need a wall socket to activate. Directed by Richard Robbins, this emotionally draining segment is from a 2007 documentary entitled Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience.

The book is a must read; the film a must see. For the young testosterone filled barbarians out there, however, far too little viscera of the enemy is shown to rate this high on the popular play value scale.