31 August 2014

If You Have Never Wanted to Visit Los Angeles, You Will After Watching This

This amazing time-lapse photography project, TimeLAX, by iVideoMaking shows the Greater Los Angeles area from many angles. It covers views of Downtown Los Angeles from skyscrapers, the super moon, the strawberry moon, the Vincent Thomas Bridge, the Hollywood Sign, the StubHub Center, the Staples Center, and Downtown Glendale.  It just makes me want to get on a plane right now… taxi!

Are We There Yet?

Are we there yet? On a long car journey, do you have any idea how to stop the kids from saying those words twenty times a minute? Kinder-rocker, Joanie Leeds, sings about family vacations on the road and makes a few suggestions along the way about how you might placate those sweet little angels of yours who for some reason turned in to monsters at the start of the journey. It is accompanied by animation in a juvenile style by Glen Blitz.

If You Live with Someone Who Just Will Not Answer the Phone - This is for You

My grandmother used to maintain that my grandfather has something called selective hearing, meaning he hid behind the partial deafness he developed in his later years and only chose to hear what he wanted to hear.

From the evidence presented in this gentle and funny short movie by Morbid Films, she wasn’t alone. Starring Anka Bevc and Zlatco Bevc (surely, they must be married in real life too?) this shows the life of quiet irritation that many women go through for decades. If you are in your thirties, female and still single this may persuade you that yours is not entirely a condition about which you need or should worry.

30 August 2014

The Mystery of Death Valley’s Sailing Stones Finally Solved to the Satisfaction of All

You have probably heard of the sailing stones - rocks which move and inscribe long tracks along a smooth valley floor seemingly without human or animal intervention.  Well, forget all that scientific gobbledegook that you have heard: there is an obvious explanation to this mystery which has been staring us in the face all this time.  Thanks to Po-Chen Chia of The University for Creative Careers all is now clear.

29 August 2014

This Drone Video of the High Arctic is Spectacular

Peter Cox, a landscape photographer, recently visited Svalbard and the High Arctic with his cameras and his DJI Phantom 2 drone.  The result is what you can see here – some breath-taking footage of the high arctic wilderness captured with the drone as well as some remarkable camera-captured wildlife photography.  For me the highlight was the incredible Brasvellbreen ice wall and its otherworldly waterfall.  Find your own by watching the video.

ROA – Mysterious Belgian Street Artist

You may not be aware of the distinctive art of ROA but the first thing you will acknowledge is that this mysterious Belgian street artist likes animals. No, let’s put it in a better way – there is an obsession here. Growing up in Ghent, Belgium in the eighties the artist had modest artistic beginnings, with art under bridges and walls.

25 August 2014


We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent on its vulnerable reserves of air and soil, all committed, for our safety, to its security and peace. Preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work and the love we give our fragile craft. Adlai E. Stevenson

Porcelain was created by Erik Andersson of Teal and Orange.

Niako: Child of Rhythm

Michael Lamarre, best known as Niako, is a multidisciplinary dancer who started dancing Hip Hop in 1998. He took to the stage in 2001 with the Dalton Posse.  He incorporates many styles in to his dancing, from capoeira through to salsa, and after a diverse career in the arts is recognized internationally.  Here are some of his voyages around the world, continually evolving his dance through his travels.

Death of a Nation: This Poetic Spoken-Word Response to Ferguson Will Blow Your Mind

Almost a 100 years ago in 1915, the film Birth of a Nation shocked America with its portrayal of black men (particularly) as unintelligent and sexually aggressive towards white women.

Death of a Nation, a powerful, eloquent response to the events in Ferguson by Matt Berry (featuring Julian Walters, Ngijol Songolo and Koko Songolo) usurps the movie’s title and asks us some difficult and perhaps uncomfortable questions.  It also reaches out to a generation of young black Americans - and the nation to which they should by all rights feel integral - in crisis. A dream deferred (from the poem and a melancholy echoing Martin Luther King Jr's most famous speech) makes a good subtitle for this extraordinary piece, filmed by the poet and his friend Sachin Dharwadker. I am guessing you will watch this more than once. It speaks not just to young, black Americans but to all of us.

24 August 2014


Roberta lives alone with her cat Marbles.  Old and increasingly in poor health she bumbles through her days with a somewhat perplexed good humor.  Everyday  mistakes are becoming more regular and it seems that old age is finally taking its toll.  What future for souls like Roberta? This gentle comedy drama, directed by Anna-Marie Ramm, addresses some of the issues facing the elderly in the UK today. 

I must say, too, that the performance by Abigail Hamilton as Roberta is top notch. If her face is familiar it may be you have seen her as Mrs Cosgrove in the James Corden vehicle One Chance or her numerous other appearances in British TV and film.

True Family Story

Sometimes parents have to make difficult decisions and this little story is a great example.  What would you do if your son is bitten by a squirrel which may or may not be carrying rabies?  This is what one family did – and it’s based on a true story.  Written, directed and animated by Chris Walsh of Mad Lab Productions it shows that, perhaps, children are concerned, the absolute truth is not always the right thing to adhere to.

23 August 2014

Survive: New Zombie Short Film

Jon Chu’s production company offers second unit directors (who were stunt Coordinators) the opportunity to direct their own short films which matches story and action.  However, there is a catch: they are only allowed one day to prepare and a second to shoot their short.  That’s quite a tall order by any standards – and these are high.

This is Ben Bray’s project – and it is extremely good indeed.  Survive features three people on the run from a new breed of zombie (including one whose sheer height will make you wince).  Holed up in a cabin, one of them inadvertently draws the zombie horde to their hideout.  As you might expect from what is effectively a showcase for Bray’s talents both as a storyteller but as a stunt coordinator, the action starts right away and doesn’t stop.

 The project managed to attract a great cast, too.  Harry Shum Jr (from Glee) and Caity Lotz (from Arrow).   Having seen another short with Shum – the excellent 3 Minutes (watch it here on Kuriositas) I can’t help but think that he would make a pretty good go at an action lead given the opportunity.

22 August 2014

What This Little Boy Draws in Chalk will Have You in Bits

This is a very simple, short film by Navin Kumar but despite its brevity it packs an almighty punch at the end.

A little boy searches for chalk and proceeds to draw in the playground.

However, what he draws may well have a slightly lachrymal effect on your eyes.  Hankies out, folks...

Doctor Who - A Visual History - 1963 – 2014: From Hartnell to Capaldi

As we get closer and closer to seeing just what Peter Capaldi will do with Doctor Who I thought it might be a good idea to present this video to you, lovingly put together by Joe Siegler. I originally shared it a few years ago but Mr Siegler has now updated it, up to and including the introduction of Peter Capaldi.

Although it is over an hour long (which means slightly longer than your average modern episode) it gives a whistle-stop tour of each and every single adventure the Doctor has had on the television. As there are so many you will only get a brief glimpse of each but it is enough to give even the newest of Who neophytes a taste of what has been happening to our time traveling Time Lord over the last fifty and a bit years.

Each and every regeneration is included plus you get to see all of the companions, old and new. Of course you will get to see how your favorite monsters looked in the 60s, 70s and 80s too – before CGI and the BBC bothered to give the show an effects budget.  What is interesting is the way that Joe has bent the timey wimey thing so we see McGann regenerating in to Hurt in the order in which is (should have) happened - all the doctors are in their correct order (if there can be such a thing when it comes to time travel!). 

My advice is go get your preferred beverage and snacks and settle in for a real treat! In fact, for people like me (and you too I hope), this is heaven!

21 August 2014


Abiogenesis is the natural process of life arising from non-living matter such as simple organic compounds.

In this breath-taking science fiction spectacle, a strange mechanical device lands on a desolate world and uses the planet to undergo a startling transformation, that has profound implications for an entire galaxy. It was created by Richard Mans.

19 August 2014

How Do Beans Cause Gas?

You know when you tuck in to those beans on toast that there will be a consequence – every action having a direct reaction, as it were.  So, just how and why does an innocent snack become such a fart fest?  This animation by Giant Ant (created originally for Men’s Health) takes us on that journey from hole to hole as it were.  There you go, something else you really didn’t care to learn imprinted forever on your brain. Ta da.

Feeling Lazy? Then Try Out the World’s First NON-Interactive Video Game

If you like video games but sometimes just can’t muster up the energy to power up the playstation then Journey Alpha may be just for you.  As the world’s first non-interactive video game all you have to do is sit back and watch the action as it progresses – simple as that.  Created by Patrick Poelchau at the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, this may well be the answer to so many prayers.

18 August 2014

If You’re a Thirty Something Single Woman with Kids, You Should Watch This

…because even if this isn’t your particular dream you can at least take heart that in this case it came true.  This is Beverly.  She gets a little wrapped up in her thoughts when it comes to getting the man that she wants – but that’s cool – we get to share them.  Yet will she or won’t she get the man? It won’t be for the want of trying, that’s for sure! Directed by Eliaz Rodriguez and starring Wanjiku Kairu this is based on the true story of a woman called Beverly Scott.

17 August 2014

Girl #9 – A Dark Short about Perils Online

Every actor has to have a showreel and Eme Essien is no exception.  However, when she approached Studio Hansa for a little assistance they politely declined- but offered instead to collaborate with her in creating Girl #9.

It certainly shows that Essien can portray a wide range of emotions and maintain a narrative story and she held my attention throughout in this chilling 8 minute short film (watch till the end for the reason why the film has the title it does). As showreels go, this is one of a kind – I suspect we will be seeing a lot of Ms Essien in the future. It sets a new benchmark for showreels too - and before you ask, unless your is better than Girl #9, no, Kuriositas will not...

16 August 2014

If You Have Never Wanted to Visit Paris, You Will After Watching This

Paul Richardson recently spent three weeks in Paris, capturing it in all its quintessentially French gorgeousness and the result is this incredible time-lapse (with an amazing hyperlapse up to the Arc de Triumphe being my favorite part as I drove that road at about the same speed as a teenager).  While he was there, Paris experienced some massive storms, so if you like photography which captures lightning, you are going to love this.

15 August 2014

Wilfred Owen: Futility

Just a few short weeks before his death on the battlefield, Wilfred Owen wrote Futility. As he fought in the First World War, Owen was no stranger to death and he thought it almost inevitable that he would meet his own on the fields of France. 

The poem tells of the discovery, by a group of soldiers, of one of their comrades. He has died and although no reason is given, one might surmise that it was the cold which killed him or perhaps (if you want a more colorful story) a German sniper.  The narrator exhorts his comrades to move him in to the sun – perhaps that which originally stirred life on earth can prevail and bring their friend back to life. 

The poem saw something of a departure for Owen in as much as it is not as angry as many of his others.  I personally feel that the red heat of his fury at the enormous carnage inflicted on ordinary men has not cooled – rather it had been tempered in to something icily blistering instead.  Owen by this point in his life may have learned how to restrain his language but there is a sense of hopelessness in the final lines which thrusts his point home in a profoundly moving well.

In my real world life I am a lecturer and it is my pleasure each year to teach some of Owen’s poems (I mostly teach IT – it’s a long story) – and I always try and include Futility. This video is something which took me a little while to create (a very off and on process) but I hope you ‘get’ what I have done with the poem.  Perhaps it is best to allow people to imagine the visuals for themselves when it comes to poetry but if this enables anyone to more deeply appreciate or understand Owen’s poetry, then job done.

If you happen to be a teacher or student of Owen's work, you can find more of my resources around him (including the original PowerPoint of this video with additional notes on each line) on my site Teaching Resources For Me.

14 August 2014

Watch 1 World Trade Center Rise Over Three Years in this Amazing Time-Lapse

Benjamin Rosamond must be a very patient man. He began this time-lapse in February 2011 and completed it in 2014. It shows the tallest building in the western hemisphere, 1 World Trade Center as it slowly but surely comes to dominate the Lower Manhattan Skyline. If you can draw your eyes away from it, you can also see the construction of the Barclays Center Arena in the lower right corner. Shot in the golden hour, this is renaissance in motion.

Watch the Brilliant New Alien: Isolation Game Trailer

Alien: Isolation is the upcoming first-person survival horror stealth game and it looks like it might be the best of the year.  

These days, of course, everything has to have a trailer and so Axis Animation and director Ben Hibon have created this intense glimpse into SEGA and Creative Assembly's new game featuring Ellen Ripley’s daughter Amanda (it is set in 2137, 15 years after Alien but 42 years prior to Aliens).

The Ripley women just can't seem to get away from alien threats.  One can only imagine how her mother would have felt had she known her daughter shared her own fate.  That said, the trailer is so beautifully made it really bodes well for the game..!

Soylent Green Returns to Shelves in UK Supermarket War: Unemployment Drops

Great to see that Soylent Green, so rarely seen these days on shop shelves, is back and being promoted by all the discount supermarkets. A tasty and inexpensive snack is once more being made available to the great British public which is great news for all of us who need to feed a family but watch the pennies at the same time. 

True it isn’t to everyone’s taste but this alternative to the other processed foods on the market gives the customer more choice and it can be cooked using a variety of delicious recipes (if you haven’t tasted it, most say it is like a cross between pork and chicken). Now it has returned the question many are asking is why has it been away so long?

So, just why has it made a return now? If you live outside the UK then you might not be aware that there is something of a war going on between the supermarkets there.  As the economy has stubbornly resisted efforts to recover (in my opinion a country spends itself out of a recession, making cuts doesn’t work and only drives people in to poverty) the top four supermarkets have discovered that their once loyal customers are going to cheaper supermarkets who have rather cleverly rebranded themselves through an appeal to the innate inverse snobbery of British shoppers.

Soylent Green fell out of favour as British tastes developed in the seventies and eighties (coinciding with the massive reduction in the number of mine workers in the UK and the return to a booming economy).  It simply disappeared off the shelves. However, it’s marvelous to see the choice made available again, even if it was a recession that caused it. A household staple returns! Already a number of economists have pointed out a possible correlation between the return of Soylent Green and the recent drop in unemployment figures.  Whether this trend continues is yet to be seen of course, but any positive news about the economy should be welcomed.

It’s great to see, too, that the makers haven’t tried to update the image of this once cherished product.  Retro is very fashionable these days and this will no doubt appeal to the baby boomers out there.  After all, who of a certain age, can fail to be nostalgic about all those happy memories of settling down in front of the TV on a Saturday evening to watch Doctor Who with Soylent Green on toast, hoping the lights were not going to go off because of the miner's strike? It seems almost like a kind of wonder comfort-food for these recessionary times.

For more information about Soylent Green, you can visit the homepage of Id-Iom, currently the only supplier in the UK.

Lake Natron – Tanzania’s Amazing Salt Lake

Here you can see two amazing photographs of the Lake Natron taken recently by Valentin Rüst of Don't Complain Travel.  This incredible salt lake is located in northern Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border. Here is a taster from Valentin's feature.
What had started off as a short message from a friend, quickly turned into my newest obsession: Lake Natron in Tanzania. I just could not believe it. It had to be fake. It had to be photoshopped. A lake so bloody red, so desolate, so hostile and yet so little known.
Click on either of the pictures to go to Valentin's in depth report on this amazing place. 

13 August 2014

Duck, Death and the Tulip

This is a gentle and profound story about friendship, albeit an unusual one. A duck who meets Death who, as it turns out, has been following her all her life. The two become friends, discussing life, death, and what any afterlife might be like.

Directed by Jorge Sandoval and Ella Yoon, this is a beautifully  animated version of the Wolf Erlbruch book of the same name.

Let's Be Civil, Kenneth!

This tension building 1950's domestic drama is told in one consecutive shot, delving into Marjorie and Kenneth's struggle with their respective roles in the marriage.

The short has a somewhat macabre approach, illustrating the the social restrictions of the American Dream. Written and Directed by Eric Pumphrey, the movie stars Beth Riesgraf and Luke Baybak.

12 August 2014

If You Think Time-lapses are Amazing, Take a Look at this Hyperlapse

If you want a visual definition of hyperlapse, then you have come to the right place.  Geoff Tompkinson and his team have very kindly put together this amazing compilation of some of their work from the last few years under the title This is Hyperlapse.  Think time-lapse but where the position of the camera is being changed between each exposure in order to create a tracking shot and you get the idea. Better still, just watch the video!

A Hedgehog's Visit

A painfully shy and lonely hedgehog arrives at a neighbor’s bearing a gift yet what does he have to offer when his spines always seem to get in the way.  This short for Cartoon Brew by Kariem Saleh is a tour de force in how complex emotions can be conveyed through animation.  As such it tells an incredibly touching, wordless story which is repeated the world over, in one shape or form, many times each day.

Goodness Newness Oldness Badness

New stuff is good stuff and old stuff is bad stuff, so good stuff becomes bad stuff when new stuff becomes old stuff. Or so it goes.

This hugely entertaining short from East London based studio Parabella is something unusual which catches the eye and the ear – although I have to admit that I had to watch it more than once to take it all in.  What’s next, I wonder, once this becomes old?

Robin Williams – Take a Look Back at his Career through Movie and Interview Clips

Robin Williams died yesterday and many people are in shock at his apparent suicide.  How can a man who has brought so much joy and laughter to millions of people take his own life through depression? The reactions seems to be a combination of shock and, almost, guilt – that none of us who have had our own lives brightened by his onscreen presence could help him when it came to his hour of true need.

No doubt the newspapers will be full of the reasons why Robin Williams took his own life and so we will leave that to them.  Let’s remember him through some of his memorable screen moments – not to mention the very amusing interviews he would always give when promoting his movies.

His career was far from over.  Below is a slightly risqué clip from his 2009 tour which presciently was named Weapons of Self-Destruction.

10 August 2014

Free Local Childcare in the UK Arrives at Last

This time of year school is out and many parents who hadn't contemplated becoming bald until later in their lives have pulled out most of their hair.  If only childcare were a little less expensive.  Well, if you are a parent living in the UK then look no further - free childcare has arrived at last in the form of the self-service child minder unit.  In London at least there is now a cheap childcare option which won’t break the bank.  As you can see from the picture, it is made affordable by the incredibly low overheads – no expensive activities to stump up for either, just pop your child in to the daycare facility and off you pop!

OK, it’s a wheelie bin but I am fairly sure a number of parents might consider this an option, given the fact we’re almost a month in to the summer holiday! This is the latest work by artists collective Id-Iom, whose by-line is dropping the bomb with absolute aplomb.  With many more examples of their work available on their Flickr photostream, this is art for those who want to smile when they see it.

Watch an Artist’s Drawings Come to Life Before Your Eyes

Artist Luis Pastor keeps a journal and every day he draws something new which is enough to make most of us non-artistic types quite green.  However, he decided that when his latest one was pretty much complete to share it and, not only that, with the help of a little software to nudge his drawings in to life.  The result, called simply Drawings, is quite charming (as my grandmother might say on a Sunday afternoon with a cucumber sandwich and a cup of tea).

Moving Yerevan

Take one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities as a backdrop, get together almost 50 of its best dancers and ask them to engage with their surroundings - and you might get something like this.  Directed by Jevan Chowdhury, who describes this as playful filmmaking meets the hidden language of dance, some of the moves here will simply take your breath away. 

6 August 2014

Honey in the Hood

In the Bronx, a little girl lives her everyday life while trying to reconcile her difficult relationship with an alcoholic father and her passion for baseball.

That short précis may sound a little depressing but this short, directed by Amandine Durand  and Nicolas Wax is really rather upbeat in an understated way.

Ten Thousand Days

If you think that your family is cursed then spare a thought for the Duncan clan. Five generations of the male line have died on their ten thousandth day and now it’s Darby’s turn.  At least he has company, however.  He meets Arabella at the funeral of his cousin (guess when he died) and could it be something called love at first sight?

You will have to watch to find out but this is a short film with a rich (but dark) comic seam and more than a few laugh out loud moments.  This may sound weird but Ten Thousand Days gave me the impression of being the illegitimate child of Monty Python (circa Holy Grail or even Palin’s Ripping Yarns era), a Quentin Tarantino movie (circa Kill Bill) and perhaps a pinch of a young Richard Curtis thrown in, script wise.  Look, read the news, anything can have three parents these days... Or perhaps it’s just me having a slightly odd Sunday afternoon momento mayor.  Either way I do believe you will thoroughly enjoy Ten Thousand Days – but watch out for the magpies.

The movie stars Morgana O'Reilly as Arabella and Benedict Wall as Darby Duncan.  It was written and directed by Michael Duignan.

5 August 2014

Hidden Treasures: The Socio-political Cartoons of Winsor McCay

Winsor McCay, cartoonist and animator died in 1934 but he set the standard in animated movie making that others, including Walt Disney, were duty bound to follow.

He was also well known for his newspaper comic strips, Gertie the Dinosaur and Little Nemo in Slumberland. However, his socio-political cartoons have been somewhat overlooked, perhaps because of the success of his strips and animations.

Here is a selection of those cartoons from the years 1929 and 1930 – in some ways very similar to our own. 80 years may separate the days the cartoons were drawn but has so much really changed?

The debate still rages today (both at home and abroad) about US interventionist policies in other countries.  At the end of the 20s isolationism - almost the opposite - took a significant hold on both the people and the politicians.  The crash of '29 made the country more inward looking and determined to fix its own problems rather than interfere with those overseas.  For McKay, who spent the last eight years of his life at The American newspaper creating editorial cartoons for Arthur Brisbane, his flair for cartoons put him in the right place at the right time. His job was to engage the reader’s eye and so persuade them to read the editorial. As such he was to tackle many of the social issues of the day, including the economy, prohibition and human nature in general.

4 August 2014


Two former classmates see each other on a train. One of them is cheerful and friendly, perhaps a bit pushy. The other has a tendency to have strange, explosive anxiety attacks that terrify the people around her. This is a story about their encounter. Created by Christina Skyles, this will remind you (if you need it) that animation can still deal with serious issues, thoroughly engage you and knock you for six at the same time.

We’ve All Been There

There are many films out there that make you shed a little tear because they are so desperately sad – and gaining the sympathy of an audience to that extent is a pretty difficult trick to pull off.

Perhaps even harder in terms of film-making is the ability to get your audience all lachrymose because the film has warmed their hearts so much.  Well, call me a big softy but We’ve All Been There by the Australian creative collective Truce Films, made me reach for the happy hanky – and all in just a little over seven minutes.

The recession, triple or quadruple or whatever dip we’re on at the moment has hit everywhere, even the hinterlands of Australia.  There, Jess, eight months pregnant and so far behind on her rent she has received an eviction notice, asks for more hours at the diner at which she works in a desperate bid to make ends meet.

Her request is not received with much sympathy by her manager but when an old lady arrives for a late night supper, a connection is made that will impact the two in ways they both could never have imagined.

We’ve All Been There won two awards at the Tropfest 2013 festival, Best Film and a very deserved Best Actress for Laura Wheelwright who plays Jess (who you may have seen as Electra in Underground: The Julian Assange Story).  Stalwarts of Australian film and TV Penne Hackforth-Jones and Ditch Davey play the lady visiting the diner and Matt the mechanic.  The film was written and directed by Nicholas Clifford.

You might well say you saw the end coming (I did but I didn’t and you will see what I mean when you watch the movie) but what’s that at the corner of your eye?

1 August 2014

Legend of the Flying Tomato

Once a victim of bullying, Frida finds a hero in the legendary luchador El Pirana. However she finds herself at her lowest once more when she's ridiculed during the biggest wrestling match of her life. Through an unexpected meeting with a mysterious taco salesman, Frida learns that she must find strength in herself to overcome her demons. Created by Michael Yates, Aurry Tan and Sharon Huang during their time at Ringling with music by Erez Koskas.

Ever Spent a Jumpy Night at Home Alone? Then This is for You

You might look forward to being the only one in the house every now and again.  You can move around more freely and the peace and quiet is just wonderful. Then the sun sets and little noises start to make you jumpy, you could swear you turned the hallway light off – and did you remember to lock the door? If you get spooked out being home alone then this horror short, by David F. Sandberg is not for you. Do not watch it, I repeat….