Tag Archives: movies

What We Do in the Shadows

what_we_do_in_the_shadows_ver2_xlg

Reid Dickie

After years of negotiations the New Zealand Documentary Board was granted safe access to the secretive world of modern-day vampires. What We Do in the Shadows follows the daily lives of four vampires who live together in a ramshackle old house and confront the realities of 21st century life: paying the rent, keeping peace among roomies, getting into nightclubs and doing five years worth of dishes while maintaining the sanguine requirements of being a vampire. It’s one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in years.

This fresh take on vampires is the creation of Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi (Eagle whatvs. Shark, Boy), two young New Zealand filmmakers. Clement and Waititi play Viago and Valdislav to the hilt as older vampires while Jonathan Brugh is Deacon, a younger less responsible vampire. In a vault in the catacombs of the house lives Peter who is thousands of years old and represents a traditional view of vampires as simply bloodthirsty. Add in all the classic abilities of vampires – flying, hypnotism, silver allergy, etc – and the result is tumultuous fun.

Of course it’s not a documentary; it’s a full-blown comedy, one of the best indies in recent years and a darling at recent film festivals. The screenplay is wonderful, keenly written with a natural comic eye as the men try to explain their lives and deal with each other, various undead and humanity. The lead actors construct characters who are consistently absurd yet possess enough human qualities to create empathy for their modern dilemmas which aren’t that different from us non-vampires. Their encounter with the werewolves made me howl – “We’re werewolves, not swearwolves.”

Watch the trailer and decide if What We Do in the Shadows appeals to you. I found the movie on icefilms.com. Thanks to my friend Kevin for making me aware of it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ancient Wisdom, Film, Humour

Of Pomegranates and Southern Wild

Reid Dickie

Recent movies on my monitor include these two unique visual adventures. beasts 1Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

Once there was a Hush Puppy and she lived with her daddy in The Bathtub. Seen through the eyes of a nine-year-old girl, this mesmerizing meditation on the meaning of home and family took me someplace I’d never been before. I’ve watched it three times and each time it draws me into its breaking and broken world – a small land mass off the Louisiana shore known as The Bathtub that’s being drowned by the rising ocean.

Beasts of the Southern Wild - 6

The lead actors, nine-year-old Quvenzhane Willis as Hush Puppy and Dwight Henry as Wink, her dying alcoholic father, give seamless convincing performances. Due to her astonishing performance, in 2012 Willis became the youngest actor ever nominated for a best actress Oscar. Films rarely glimpse into a child’s world, watching her gather knowledge and mythology, as intensely and sensitively as Beasts of the Southern Wild. Plus it has aurocks! Don’t miss this one.

Watch it free at http://putlocker.is/watch-beasts-of-the-southern-wild-online-free-putlocker.html

color pomogranates The Color of Pomegranates (1968)

Filmed in the Soviet Union in 1967/ 68, director Sergei Parajanov tells the life story of 16th century Armenian poet Sayat Nova in a series of surreal tableaux. I was immediately drawn into the  dream-like quality and unpredictability of the unorthodox images. There is no camera movement and no dialogue. Nova’s poetry accompanies the images along with wild sounds and music. Bizarre scenes arise and fade, the realm of dreams rules and sometimes the bright glowing edges of dreamless sleep break through the darkness.

I was reminded of Fellini, especially Satyricon (which came out the year after Color of Pomegranates) and Roma; and Jodorowsky, both El Topo and The Holy Mountain (both post-Color). The startling image of the man with the peacock beak in his mouth (above) is but one of dozens of quizzical and enthralling images in The Color of Pomegranates.

Much of the visual content is based on traditional Armenian folklore, design and clothing and stylized to make it feel alien yet comfortable. Horses, books and antlers are prominent motifs. colorIts 73-minute length makes it just long enough to stay focused on both the style and the story. The actors of all ages are convincing, the subtitles sparse but adequate and the soundtrack wonderfully diverse and curious.

Take a short vacation and watch it free at https://archive.org/details/ColorOfPomegranates-SayatNova1968

The Color of Pomegranates is on archive.org which has hundreds of other feature length films spanning the silent era through to the 21st century, along with shorts and trailers, all available to watch free. Classic films in most genres are just a click away. https://archive.org/details/feature_films

Leave a comment

Filed under 1960s, Film

Working Conditions for Wolves

        Linda always inspired me, sometimes in obvious ways, often in small, subtle ways but ever lovingly. Her job as Film Liaison for the City of Winnipeg required Linda to be up to speed on all film activity in the city. She sent me this one pager about wolves on movie sets with a note at the end saying she couldn’t wait to read the story it inspired. Though it is rich with potential and aroused some ideas in my head, I never did write a story based on this curious bit of movie minutiae. Instead of a story, I’ll share the information she sent me. 

WORKING CONDITIONS FOR WOLVES

 Here are guidelines for all crew members to follow when working around and with WILD ANIMALS to ensure a safe and successful shoot.

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT THESE ARE WILD ANIMALS THAT HAVE BEEN USED IN MANY FILM PRODUCTIONS. THESE ARE NOT “PETS.” PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TOUCH, OR ASK TO TOUCH ANY OF THESE WOLVES (UNLESS YOU ARE A TRAINER). THE TRAINERS THAT WORK WITH THEM HAVE WORKED FOR MANY YEARS USING THE WOLF’S NATURAL INSTINCT TO THEIR ADVANTAGE.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ALLOW THEM TO BE “PREPPED” IN THE LOCATION THAT WE ARE FILMING IN ALLOWING THEM TO FEEL COMFORTABLE IN ANY NEW SURROUNDING SO THAT THEY ARE CONFIDENT IN THEIR WORKING ENVIRONMENT.

BECAUSE WOLVES ARE PREDATORY ANIMALS IT IS VERY IMPORTANT  WHEN FILMING AT NIGHT THAT WE FILM THEM WITH MINIMAL CREW AND ARE ALWAYS AWARE THAT CREW ACTIVITY MUST STOP WHEN WORKING AROUND THE WOLVES TO ALLOW THEM TO FOCUS ON THE TRAINERS.

WHEN WORKING WITH WOLVES;

-WOLVES WILL BE PARKED AS CLOSE TO SET AS POSSIBLE KEPT IN OUR TRANSPORT TRAILER, IN SEPARATE LOCKED CAGES.

-ALL SHOTS/SET UPS, WILL BE DISCUSSED PREVIOUSLY.

-WE WILL NEED TO HAVE A CLEARED PATHWAY TO BRING WOLVES IN AND OUT OF SET SAFELY. THERE SHOULD BE NO CREW AND NO EQUIPMENT ON THIS PATH WHATSOEVER. LOCKDOWN WHEN WOLVES TRAVEL TO AND FROM SET.

-IF ANY EQUIPMENT EG. LIGHTS, FLAGS, RIGGING NEEDS TO BE MOVED OR ADDED WHEN WOLVES ARE ON SET, PLEASE ASK TRAINER IF IT IS O.K. LET US BE AWARE SO WE CAN MOVE THE WOLF AWAY IF NECESSARY.

-MINIMAL CREW WHEN WORKING WITH THE WOLVES, VIDEO VILLAGE, CREW ETC. IS BEST TO BE KEPT IN GROUP AREA OFF  TO THE SIDE, KEEP IN MIND WOLVES HAVE VERY ACUTE HEARING AND SIGHT, IF WE ARE FILMING AT NIGHT IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO BE CAREFUL NOT TO DISTRACT WOLVES WHEN THEY NEED TO FOCUS.

-AFTER EVERY SHOT PLEASE CHECK WITH TRAINER MAKING SURE THAT ALL THE WOLVES ARE SECURED INSIDE CATCH/RELEASE CAGES OR ON LEASH BEFORE CREW STARTS TO MOVE AROUND.

THERE ARE NO STUPID QUESTIONS, IF ANYONE HAS ANY QUESTIONS FEEL FREE TO ASK TRAINER. HE WILL HAVE A SAFETY MEETING WITH CREW BEFORE WOLVES COME ON TO SET TO WORK.

.PLEASE NO FOOD ON SET.

Leave a comment

Filed under BEAUTY, Critters, Film, Linda, Winnipeg