31 December 2015

Rocketship


A young boy befriends an old man, much to his parents’ consternation.  However, the boy and the old man have a bond – a fascination with space travel. Together, they transform a vintage vacuum cleaner into a rocketship for a surprising journey. This heartwarming short film was written and directed by Alfred Thomas Catalfo and was   inspired by the rocketship sculptures of artist David Random. This may leave you with a lump in your throat…

30 December 2015

Can You Match the Minor Character to the 2015 Blockbuster Movie?

You may be a movie buff but how closely were you watching? Match the minor character to the correct movie and find out. 

Even if you haven't seen all the films you could probably make a few educated guesses... Good luck!

29 December 2015

Metroid: The Sky Calls


Ever wondered why Metroid has never been made in to a live action movie? It didn’t occupy too much of my time either, but having watched The Sky Calls by Rainfall it certainly does beg the question.

If you are a fan of the series of science fiction action-adventure video games by Nintendo my guess is that you are going to love this.  This non-profit film is not associated with or endorsed by Nintendo or its subsidiaries but it takes the adventures of Samus Aran in to a whole new dimension.

Hollywood Nights Time-Lapse


Welcome to Hollywood - from the Hollywood Boulevard, the Sunset Strip and the Hollywood Hills not to mention the Hollywood Tower, this time-lapse by iVideoMaking has the lot.  You may think that this was all filmed in one hectic evening but even these masters of time-lapse couldn’t quite manage that – all told this took approximately 60 nights to capture.  The result is, however, amazing.

20 December 2015

The Online World Quiz: How Much do You Know about the Internet?


The Scottish Fold – The Owl Cat

The Scottish Fold is something of a special breed of cat.  Seeing one for the first time you are drawn to its round facial features and, in the back of your mind, a thought nags you that something seems to be missing. Then you realize – it’s all about the ears.  Our sibling site, the Ark in Space, has the story of this owl cat extraordinaire with, as you might expect, lots of fantastic photos.

Image Credit

The 25 Best Films of 2015 – A Video Countdown


Ever felt like you’ve missed out? You will after you have watched this list if, like me, you have only seen a handful of the amazing movies this list contains. It was created by Rolling Stone Staff Writer David Ehrlich. However, just as entertaining is the intro to the list which includes a lot more films that I did manage to catch as the year went on. Time to put those gift vouchers to good use!

Drink Along with Martin - Animated Christmas Card


I knew I would have to acknowledge the coming of Christmas at some point so it is with some relief that I can do so by sharing with you this wonderful animated Christmas card which popped in to my inbox a short time ago. It is from London based animation production studio Trunk and it celebrates the most important aspect of Christmas to any self-respecting Brit – drinking.

Created by Layla Atkinson, this awesome animation features Martin who I am guessing is a rabbit (with an English accent no doubt). He likes to drink, but not just alcohol – anything that can pass between his leporine lips does so. Plus it comes with a soundtrack by the gone but fondly remembered Bow Wow Wow. Altogether this makes for one of the more unusual Christmas cards I have received this year -so thank you to Layla and all the folks at Trunk. Enjoy – and remember to drink sensibly: the contents of a potty does not qualify.

19 December 2015

How Not to Tell Your Kid the Truth about Santa


There comes a time when every parent has to get ready for The Talk.  You know the one, about a certain elderly gentleman who visits about this time every year and leaves surprises under the tree?  However, perhaps it’s best left to the mother’s after all: this dad’s effort goes so horribly wrong you may even squirm a little in between the laughs.  The Talk was directed by Joe Otting and stars John Hoogenakker and Isabella Crovetti-Cramp.

More Stuff!


Want to know the true definition of Christmas?  Why, more stuff of course!  This joyous animation by Blue Zoo, a multi BAFTA award winning animation studio in central London takes us to Santa’s Sweatshop where the elves are just about to revolt in the most amusing way.  I’ve heard of people taking off their clothes for peace but never to dissuade people from being too greedy at Christmas. Nice.

13 December 2015

Retrofit


Retrofit is set in the near future when death is simply a new beginning; for those who can afford it. Dylan, driven by his need for reconciliation, brings his father back from the dead, and houses him in a shabby utility robot 'acquired’ from the black market. Having proceeded without his father's consent, the two must come to terms with their situations. The film was produced with the collaboration of various visual effects artists primarily focused in the UK.

If You Have Never Wanted to Visit Rome, You Will after Watching This


Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions and the city of yearning.  So said Italian painter and architect Giotto di Bondone (who was from Naples so it’s unbiased!).

Yet sometimes it takes those from even further afield to truly capture the spirit of a city.

In this short, Febian Nurrahman Saktinegara, and Galih Mulya Nugraha of Embara Films, both 6,000 miles from their native Philippines, beautifully encapsulate the eternal city, Roma Eterna, in just under three minutes.

The Ventriloquist starring Kevin Spacey


How are you supposed to compete with your best friend when he’s a dummy? That’s the challenge faced by Kevin Spacey’s shy ventriloquist here.  Yet there are times in our lives when we have to learn to live without something – or someone.

Written and directed by Kevin Leavitt, this short was the Jameson First Shot winning film for the USA.

28 November 2015

Eternal Flame Falls

At the base of a waterfall deep in the forests of the state of New York an eternal flame burns. A small grotto between the layers of shale protects this everlasting fire. Although it glows brightly throughout the year it radiates light and warmth more on Midsummer’s Night than on any other time on the calendar. Then, it is said that the fair folk…

The Trial of Barnaby Finch


To swat or not to swat? That is the question posed to eager interviewee, Barnaby Finch in this fast-paced, metaphysical short film featured on The Sundance Channel and winner of Best Writer from The One Show.  The Trial of Barnaby Finch was written by Sorrel Bara and directed by the writer and Sam Stephens.  This perhaps might not be the best short film to watch if you have a job interview in the near future… or maybe it is.

Master of Suspense: A New Hitchcock Movie


Perhaps this was only a matter of time.  However, director, screenwriter, operator and editor Fabrice Mathieu has done it with great panache.  Alfred Hitchcock was renowned for appearing slyly in his own movies and here Mathieu has stitched Hitch’s appearances from 30 films and trailers and made them in to a murder mystery which tells its own tale.  Add a new sound design, mixed with eerie tones of the music of Bernard Herrmann and you get this. Joy.

The Test of Time


When Time and Space enter the ring for the title of ‘Fourth Dimension’ who can say who is going to win?  This very entertaining animated extended metaphor (I think) is cleverly scripted and put together – not sure if I got all the references but I think I did!

The Test of Time was the graduation thesis film for Ringling College of Art and Design student Michael Ropple.

16 November 2015

Aimer: Paris, We Love You


Paris holds a special place in my heart – I’m sure the same can be said for millions of people the world over.  A group of animation students and alumni at the Savannah College of Art and Design wanted to say something simple but unambiguous after the events of the last few days. They came up with this – and it’s just lovely.

They also point out that this piece is not meant to exclude other nations that have been struck by terror; it is meant to serve as an inspiration for others to fight hatred through love and poetry. Well said.

31 October 2015

Hey! A Dog isn't just for Christmas - it's for Halloween Too!

Over at the Ark in Space they are getting in to the Halloween mood too. It seems (and quite rightly so) that a dog isn't just for Christmas - it's for Halloween too.

So, they have brought together a very funny compilation of pictures of lots of dogs dressed up in Halloween costumes.  Now, before people jump up and say that it is people being cruel to animals, let me just say one thing.  All the dogs I have ever had (three in total over my life, which doesn't make me an expert, but!) had the opportunity to dress up over their life times.

For the most part they were quite willing because of all the additional attention it garnered them.  When, on the rare occasion, they did not like what they were going to have to wear, believe me it was off their backs before I could turn round!  Make your own minds up anyway - take a look at this cool collection of Halloween pooches.

Image Credit Flickr User istolethetv

Houses to Avoid on Halloween - And How to Die Quickly if You Can't

You may be planning to go out this Halloween, perhaps trick or treating with friends. In case you really must, here is a short pictorial guide to the kind of houses you should really avoid this Halloween. There are a number of tell-tale signs to look out for. If you just know you're not the type to make it to the end of a slasher pic, follow our advice: stay in (not that it will help you if you believe in predestination). Otherwise you may well just become part of another urban legend, the stuff of future horror movies. Yet although your life might be over but there are a few ways to ensure your demise is as swift and as painless as possible.

25 October 2015

The Unpeeled


There is one for you if, like me, you tend to allow fruit to get a little overripe instead of eating them when they are ready.  Their optimal ripeness never seems to coincide with my desire to taste their flesh but as we can see in Hillary Galvin’s entertaining short it can sometimes work the other way around.  These bananas, it seems, are not for the peeling!

Floating Points ~ Silhouettes


Trunk’s director Junior Martínez and Pablo Barquín have created a stunning and mesmerising video for Floating Points, aka Sam Shepherd. The music in the video is taken from 'Silhouettes (I, II & III)', an eleven-minute overture that is also the second track on Floating Point’s forthcoming debut album. It was shot in the vast Rio Tinto copper mine, using an incredible light rig to create amazing 3D light paintings.

The Pigeon, the Antenna and Me: Robert Wilson


There are always pigeons willing to get in the way… Radio-astronomer Robert Wilson recalls a pair of pigeons who almost thwarted the discovery of cosmic background radiation. Wilson’s discovery, “the echo of the big bang”, earned him a share of the 1978 Nobel Prize in physics. This little slice of avian (not to mention scientific) history was Illustrated and animated by Dog & Rabbit's Joanna Boyle with sound by Nigel Manington.

Ben Steel as Shakespeare’s Juliet


You might not automatically relate cast members of the long-running Australian soap opera Home and Away with Shakespeare but here Ben Steel, who played Jude Lawson gives the role of Juliet a damn good shot.  Eyebrows raised? In the bard’s day Juliet would have been played by a young man, despite what you saw in Shakespeare in Love. This short, directed by Sally McLean, gives an old speech a thoroughly fresh and modern take.

18 October 2015

File Compression Definition


What is file compression? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Here we define what file compression is and take an introductory look in to algorithms and indexes, the two elements which make up the essence of file compressing, otherwise known as zipping.

This video was created for students and teachers doing the BTEC L2 Diploma in Information and Creative Technology, specifically Unit 1 - The Online World.  As I teach this in the real world I thought I would include it on Kuriositas!

Cropped


If you are going to conduct guided tours around an area infamous for crop circles then it’s probably best, for your clients’ sake, to drop the cynicism. Not so Barbara, however, who treats the latest minibus of UFO tourists as a cash cow to be treated with the utmost sarcasm. Her tune, however, may have to change when – as darkness approaches – the engine of the minibus mysteriously fail.

The truth is out there and it’s about to show itself...

This entertaining short was directed by Chris Thomas  and written by Allan Macleod.

Driving


If you have ever driven through a large city then you then this short by director and animator Nate Theis will probably resonate with you.  It shows the inexorable journey from simple, straightforward rage to homicidal frenzy experienced by drivers every day as they try to navigate their way home while trying the avoid the red lights. This will probably not increase your desire to get behind the driving seat again one little bit!

10 October 2015

Pay Per Click Explained


What is Pay Per Click? Everyone who has a go at running their own website or selling a product online has to unlock, at some point or another, the mysteries behind these three little words.  This video hopefully explains in a straightforward an informative way the ideas behind pay per click and what the advantages and disadvantages are for advertiser and publisher alike.

Royal Flush


Some jobs will never change and the role of the pest controller, although enhanced by new technologies, will probably remain simple: locate the pest and exterminate it.  In this exceptionally well realised student film by Sarah Amrani, Aline Lesage and Lucy Vallin, two such men go about their business.  It isn’t exactly optimistic about our attitudes towards other life forms but considering our track record at home…

Space Rocks


There are lots of names associated with all the rocks floating around in space so what is the difference, for example, between a meteor and a meteorite?  Fortunately we have the folks over at the Royal Observatory Greenwich (and if anyone knows, it should be them!) to simply and clearly explain which is which and what’s what in outer space (and occasionally, of course, down here on our own pale blue dot).

4 October 2015

St Peter’s Seminary – Remains of the Pray

At first sight the ruins pictured here look as if they may have been a housing project of some sort and in a way that would be a correct assumption. Yet the ruins are of St Peter’s Seminary, a Roman Catholic Institution which was finally abandoned in the 1980s.

27 September 2015

Apostrophe Quiz – Can You Spot These 10 Mistakes?


Are you a stickler for the apostrophe?  Does public signage with the incorrect usage of this most understood of punctuation (and occasionally diacritical) marks leave you grimacing? Now you can show that you are in singular possession of the grammatical right stuff by spotting the ten mistakes included in the video above.  Or are there really ten? You might have to see the answers to make sure!

26 September 2015

King Kills


A spoiled young prince embarks on a hunting trip.  What awaits him is an encounter with the spirit of the forest and a decision which will change his life forever.  This beautifully made animated short was created by a group of students at the Russian State University of Cinematography.  The story is not complex but the aesthetics of the piece make it one to remember…

MTO – Street Art Labor Intensity

His mother calls him Mateo but most of the world knows the mysterious street artist whose extraordinary work you see here as MTO.   French born but Berlin based, MTO’s work is characterized by incredibly detailed renditions of über cool actors and musicians with a dash of red as his signature or around his work as a signifier of its boundaries (we are guessing to allow other artists to work around him).

A visit to the Spanish city of Barcelona was the kick-start for MTO’s work on the streets.  There, the vibrancy of the city’s exterior culture inspired him to create. Yet his work, although labeled street art, goes way beyond graffiti.

6 September 2015

One for the Road


If the world was going to end I think I might well head for the pub and have one for the road.  In this short film written and directed by Ben Chavda, one man decides to do just that.  It’s a great atmospheric piece and leaves you to fill in a lot of the detail yourself (which is perfect).  One slight criticism, however: if you head to the bar on your last day on the planet, the least you can do is drink!

Spectrum


Childhood nightmares, so real and vivid, can be forgotten in the daylight.  Yet for one young boy the day does not come as his dreams turn in to a terrible reality. Spectrum was directed by Cody James Ong and Joshua Tendero.  It is intended to attract investors to make it in to a full feature but it also stands on its own very well, leaving the ending very much up to your own imagination. Don’t have nightmares!

Drugo


This is interesting. Take the war on drugs and re-imagine it as a medieval allegory. There are kings, knights in shining armor and a dragon. Directed by Gabriel Nobrega for Lobo, Drugo puts forward an alternative policy (already adopted by a number of countries) for the real world, one in which a fairy tale ending could never have been expected anyway. This is a thought-provoking animated short to say the very least.

30 August 2015

Abaddon


If you enjoy our occasional forays in to dance here at Kuriositas then you are in for something of a treat.  This dark and atmospheric dance performance is Abaddon, a place of suffering, purification and sensuality.

It was written and directed by Rogerio Silva, choreographed and performed by Harriet Waghorn and Troy Savic with music by Alaskan Tapes.

Once in a Blue Moon


On the 31st of July, nature and landscape photographer Luke Taylor captured the rise of the full blue moon in Aquarius. As you can see from the video, it was a beautiful sight to witness. The video is made up of 1038 frames and slowed down as close to real time as Luke could make it.  The results are amazing.  It was filmed in Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia.

Frat


In a world in which the inhabitants are inexorably turning to stone one young boy has the ability to cure – but by sacrificing his own blood.  Yet the inhabitants of this world are as hard and unforgiving as the stone in to which they are turning.  Created by a group of students at ESMA in 2008 (Sebastien Durand , Aurélien Peis, Julien Limon and Cédric Trezeguet.) Frat remains an intriguing piece and has hardly aged despite the advances in animation technology.

23 August 2015

Nuttin Else Matters


When all you have on your mind is your next nut the last thing you want is to be captured by a nutty human girl who is intent on dressing you up as her heroes.  However, such is life for this poor squirrel in this funny animated short by Sebastian Pfeifer.

This animation features ‘appearances’ by Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Lee, Arielle, Alien, Hulk, Rambo, Wonderwoman, Darth Vader, Jason, Mary Poppins, Dr. Evil, King Kong, the Terminator, Psycho, Edward Sscissorhands and Raoul Duke.  It’s nuts.

Ex Animo


This is like one of those dreams that you have which you can never quite remember but what you can recall is their whole strange, surreal dislocation from real life.  Here, images conjured up by the animator create a reality of their own.  Creatures exist because they do; things happen because they do – it all makes perverse, inextricable sense. Produced by the Polish Film Board and Fumi Studio, Ex Animo was directed by Wojciech Wojtkowski. Watch in HD if you can.

22 August 2015

Ecdysis: When Growing Up is More than Skin Deep

Our sibling site, the Ark in Space, has a feature today about Ecdysis.  No, it’s not the latest strangely named Hollywood science fiction blockbuster, it’s something that many invertebrates go through.  Taken from the ancient Greek the word means, literally, to strip off.  It leaves behind an exuviae (often spelled with the final e omitted) which is the remains of the exoskeleton which has been shed, often with related structures still attached. For some invertebrates it can be a regular occurrence to facilitate growth.  For others it can be part of a series of instars which culminate in the emergence of the finished, adult form.

It is a fascinating process where beauty can be found in the grotesque. For these invertebrates, the process of growing up is far more than simply skin deep. Catch the whole feature over on Ark in Space.

21 August 2015

Disabled by Wilfred Owen


Wilfred Owen wrote ‘Disabled’ in 1917 at a time by which he had experienced the full horror of war in the trenches.  It is a long, narrative poem: vignettes of a young man’s life appear before us as he reminisces from his wheelchair.  Now, he is without arms or legs and he looks back to the time when he was ‘whole’.

Although Owen uses simple language throughout, probably to emphasize the fact that the soldier is just an ordinary man – and ‘everyman’ as it were, the poem uses a number of sophisticated poetic techniques to juxtapose the ‘then’ and ‘now’ reality of this soldier’s life. As the soldier’s life and body have been broken, Owen also deliberately breaks the rules of iambic pentameter to convey the man’s bewilderment about his current existence.  This video is an attempt to convey the soldier’s story, using images from the time (not all from Scotland, it must be admitted).

In my ‘other’ life I teach English and IT – and this is one of my summer holiday projects (which makes me sound quite sad, I suppose, but think of it as therapy!). I had been meaning to attempt to match images with the words of this poem for a while but it is so long I needed an extended period of time, doing a line or two from day to day.  I got there eventually and hope that it helps more people to become familiar with this very powerful poem.

17 August 2015

Hitachi Seaside Park – Tsunami Survivor

The Miharashi No Oka hill offers visitors the sight of the panoramic splendor of the Pacific Ocean. Yet it is not the sea views that people come to see in Hitachinaka, a small city on the east coast of Japan. It is the Hitachi Seaside Park, devastated by the tsunami of 2011 but now restored to its former, somewhat bizarre, glory.

The park is not large, it covers only 3.5 hectares yet the flowers draw people from all over the Ibaraki prefecture and beyond. There is something on offer all seasons. It is truly famous for the nemophilas which wash the whole area in to a blue hue.

15 August 2015

Dreams of the Last Butterflies


This almost defies definition but Dreams of the Last Butterflies is certainly this – something very special. Combining poetry, song, dance, and flame throwing among other things, this performance-film had me spellbound from start to finish.  It is a dark ‘faerie tale’ written and directed by Zina Brown and is told by the last of the butterfly queens (wonderfully –quite ravishingly - performed here by the actor-dancers).

The last of the queens tells the story of her many species, how one by one they are disappearing from the world because of human intervention.  Yet she is herself ultimately captured and the future of butterflies looks bleak…

Dreams of the Last Butterflies has wowed people at festivals across the world and has already won over ten awards. It was created in partnership with Saving Species.

Amung Feedjit
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