Saturday, March 23, 2019

"I Flew 10000 Miles to Meet His Parents": Not exactly in outer space, but just winter in Ontario

I Flew 10000 Miles to Meet His Parents”, a little short (10 min) by Anthony Cushion.

Actually, Anthony says he lives on the English coast, so if his husband is near Toronto, it’s more like 3500 miles. He says he flew a lot of other places.

The movie is in three parts. He arrives, he meets the dog and gets the dog’s approval. 
Then both men work out, in the middle section.

Then they go snowboarding, on a hill behind their home.  This may be somewhere around Waterloo, I suspect. It’s about 7 degrees F outside at about sunset, in February.

There’s one letdown of the whole idea of visual suspense, if you go to the Instagram linked on the video. The Before and After gives away too much.

You'd think the husband would live away from home as a young adult. But it's tough these days with the economy and low wages. 
Wikipedia attribution link for Waterloo picture by Andre Recnik,. CCSA 3.0.

Friday, March 22, 2019

"Unplanned" creates controversy before release with its "duck and cover" strategy, and gets an R rating for nothing

Chrisitan Toro of the Washington Times makes a lot of the way the film “Unplanned”, by Chick Konzelman and Cary Solomon, is being kept out of the public eye until just before release on March 29.

It’s also controversial that it got an R rating from the MPAA.

The film was shot in Oklahoma and distributed by Pure Flix amd stars Ashley Bratcher and Brooks Ryan. The film is based on the life of a former Planned Parenthood director, Abby Johnson.

The pro-life movement focuses all of its concern over the value of human life on the unborn, when you can pose the same questions in so many areas – although it’s true that there has been attention to end-of-life issues and the idea that the pressure to end life with severe disability or severe age could increase if it were permitted.
Maybe there is a deeper problem in the way our culture leaves so many people behind, “left to die”, as Alexandria Octavio-Cortez says.  But the changes aren’t just institutional, they are personal.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

"Why Do It? Why the Caravan?" LGBTQ migrants from Honduras and El Salvador make the trip in late 2018

Why Do It? Why the Caravan?”.  Now This presents an 11-minute short film (dir. Melissa Fajardo) tracing several LGBTQ migrants from El Salvador and Honduras, through Mexico all the way to the border.

At the end, the film covers the DHS refusal to allow those into the country to ask for asylum. Trump wants to hold them in Mexico so they don’t become a political responsibility for individual Americans (whom the latest information suggests could step up as sponsors after all).

Humam Rights campaign had a forum on the LGTBTQ migrant issue tonight. The possibility of sponsorship is greater than we had thought, as once in the country, is no longer restricted to relatives.
HRC showed its own similar six-minute video from Honruras on gay and transgender migrants.

USGS public domain picture of Hurricane Mitch damage to Honduras in 1998, wiki 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Alex Cohen's "Honor Among Thieves"

Here’s another short film, character driven, this time not so funny, by Alex Cohen, “Honor Among Thieves”. It appears to be set in Cambridge, MA.

Liz Kantor and Ben Sorscher play clean-cut college kids who seem to have a habit of nighttime cat burglary, looking for specific items they want.  

The scenes where they try rationalize it seemed to go nowhere.  Is this the beginning of nihilism, to deny moral compass? (a favorite term on AC360).   Liz has a line about “breaking the rules”.

Grant Hoechst provides the background piano score, somewhat impressionistic.

The dialogue, especially Ben’s, is hard to hear sometimes;  is this deliberate, or am I supposed to use earpieces for smartphone viewing? Like on an Amtrak quiet car?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

"Gay and in Love at an Evangelical Christian College", from New York Times op-docs

The New York Times op-doc offers this 17-minute short film “Gay and in Love at an Evangelical Christian College”, directed by Jared Callahan and Russell Sheaffer.  

Santiago Gonzalez IV and Austin McKinley are the two characters, and the narration is through Santiago’s (first person) voice.   Aaron Michael composed the music.

Santiago says he is of Mexican descent (apparently US citizen) and Latino, but he looks white and speaks with no accent. This is very common. The two men will graduate soon from a small college in San Diego.  

Santiago ponders inviting his parents for dinner with his lover or intended husband, and his parent have said they love him as a son but will try to convince him to renounce his identity. Santiago talks about the tribal nature of his culture and that members of the group expect to count on all young men to join in on strengthening the group, including protecting women and fathering and raising children.

The idea that everyone can count on this reinforces marriages within the tribe.

Santiago talks about “truth” like a “feminine” in Rosenfels terminology.

The film on YouTube shows on extremely wide screen, with one-third of the width of the picture often showing a second image.

Annapurna pictures makes some of the NYTimes short film documentaries;  I don’t know if it is part of this one.  The photography is extremely professional and sharp and the film may be intended for a 360 virtual reality device.

Picture: San Diego at night, near gay bars and University Blvd, my visit, 2012 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Alex Cohen's "Swedish Fish Man", a brawl on the Harvard campus for snack food

Here’s a curious little comedy, “Swedish Fish Man”, apparently filmed on the Harvard campus.

It’s on a short film channel of Alex Cohen, writer and director.

Three undergrads chase a lonely man who likes this particular fast food (Andrei Ciupan), who is seen as a physical challenge to three young men played by Ben Sorscher, Tim Waddick and David Frankle.

There are battle royales galore with a lacrosse raquet.  In a couple scenes Ben’s handsome character just seems to be cruising.  Or you could think of the men as like tomcats just chasing their share of the food. Humans are primates, are mammals, are animals, and they can’t make their own food.

 The woodwind music score is by Harvard percussionist Grant Hoeschst; it is lively (often in a 6/8 tarantella-like meter) and accessible, and tonal (which is unusual these days).

Somehow you think about the days when Mark Zuckerberg invented “The Facebook” on campus.

Picture: My visit to the campus, Aug. 2015

Sunday, March 17, 2019

"I Am Puma": a Russian couple adopts a mountain lion cub who grows up to be a typical house cat

I_Am_Puma” is a series of videos from Russia about a couple, apparently on the Arctic coast, who adopt a puma cub, Messi, because he is too small to survive in the wild.

He grows up to be a normal puma, slightly smaller than normal, and has a companion, a white hairless domestic cat.

In the video shown here, both cats have a GI-tract infection and are coming back to health but have to get shots at home.

Messi makes a lot of different sounds and behaves like a house cat.

In another video, he messages (grooms) the husband when the husband has a sore shoulder and back.
By Cm0rris0n - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Thursday, March 14, 2019

"When You Find Out He's a Trump Supporter": Eduardo's (ideological) present to Tim Pool and "Economic Invincibility"

Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell offers the comedy short film (four minutes) about a hookup, “When You Find Out He’s a Trump Supporter”, co-starring Max Emerson.

OK, this film stays barely within PG-13 territory.  Really just barely. Eduardo may be getting put through a hidden gauntlet.

Eduardo discovers MAGA stuff in the home of his date and gets a political lesson.  There’s nothing inconsistent about being conservative and gay, if you’re a cis male.  Maybe it should be right-leaning libertarian.

Could billionaire Peter Thiel, who spoke at the 2016 convention for Trump, be brought into the conversation?  What about his immortality or longevity project?  I think there is something about sea communities.  Thiel also wants to build a floating city to deal with climate change (or maybe he can build an O-Neill cylinder with artificial gravity and place it at the right LaGrange point).  That sounds like Dubai. He founded PayPal, which has become involved in a potential collusion scandal with the deplatforming of a few “conservatives” following Sargon of Akkad’s fall from Patreon (covered on my main blog).

Eduardo’s films demonstrate a quantum tautology: men are men. Even a John Fish video on quantum entanglement doesn’t change biological fact.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

"Into the Streets": LGBT history in Cinerama at the Newseum

I visited the exhibit at the Newseum today called “Rise Up” on level 6.

On level 5, in the superwidescreen auditorium, the theater played a 30-minute short film giving gay history since the 1950s, “Into the Streets”, directed by G. Wlliamson, essentially filmed in Cinerama, as in the 1950s.

The centerpiece of the film is the course of the Stonewall Rebellion at the Stonewall bar in NYC on 7th Avenue and Christopher, on June 28, 1969, with emphasis on the silly and negative way the press covered them.

The film also went back to the 1950s with the Truman and Eisenhower purges of gays from the government and the history of Frank Kameny.  In the mid 1960s, the atmosphere started to change, although you wouldn’t have realized it from the CBS special with Mike Wallace, “The Homosexuals”. Starting in 1970 in NYC (and 1972 in Dallas) there were big pride marches.

Homosexuality as practiced in private became much more acceptable in the 1970s, despite Anita Bryant.  The film covers the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and Reagan’s indifference, and the surprising fight over gays in the military, up to the time of Obama’s repeal in 2011.

Lou Chibbaro, from the Washington Blade, seems to do most of the narration.

There was also an eight-minute short film “The Hollywood Effect” in one of the booths on Level 6.

The short showed that gay material became acceptable on cable television and then indie film sooner than in large Hollywood films.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

"Just One Tree", short film from The Outsidely

A new website from Australia, "The Outsidely",  set up to work on climate change offers a short film, “Just One Tree’, by Ramsay Taplin.

The film presents the tree as nature’s major tool for balancing the right amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

He also discusses the depletion of insects.

The bad news is cutting down of forests, in Australia, and in Brazil in the Amazon under a new right wing leadership.

The one question I would have is, large trees too close to a house can fall on them in storms.

When we played back yard softball in my childhood, there was a large poplar tree that knocked down a lot of home runs.  Then it was struck by lightning in 1986 and barely missed the house.

Monday, March 11, 2019

"Captain Marvel" and Hollywood's blatent but necessary consumerism

OK, Tim Pool gave “Captain Marvel” 4/10 on Twitter.  Indeed it comes from Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Pictures, directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.

Brie Larson becomes the superhero;  we remember her from “Room” (Nov. 3, 2015).

Marvel Studios give a good synoptic gospel trailer  starting with an image of a defunct Blockbuster video store; later Carol Danvers questions whether her life is “real”.

I’ll skip it, but mention the controversy over the deleted Rotten Tomatoes “pre-reviews”, as Metro-UK and then Cinemablend explain things.   

The film seems to have done rather well at the box office.

But I can’t go along with the idea of seeing another comics movie that seems made just to push casting “diversity” as a new diversity Law.

“Economic Invisibility” has an interesting perspective about this film as becoming an example of “forced consumption”.  He even speculates about a future “Hollywood subsidy tax”. Well, as Nassim Nicholas Taleb pointed out (“Skin in the Game”), more of is need to return to the “real life” transaction economy rather than mull in the lucid dreams of the attention economy.

Picture: Reno, my picture, 2018/9.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

"Leaving Neverland" (HBO) stokes the problem on "unpersoning" people from history for distantly past misdonduct

I don’t think I have time for the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland”, but here is a  first hour from the Documentary Channel , or the HBO-sponsored trailer here for Dan Reed’s four-hour opus.

Now some men speak up about what they allege was going on.  But of course we had heard this at the time of the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray in 2009 for involuntary manslaughter for a cocktail of sleep medicines including propofol.  At the time, there was a lot of talk of inappropriate behavior on Jackson’s part with kids, which led to charges and an acquittal.

But the most interesting commentary comes from Tim Pool “Erasing Michael Jackson, Unpersoning Is Here and Is Getting Worse”.

The video has a cartoonish picture of a Book Burning Mobile (“Fahrenheit 451”, etc).  When a person’s moral reputation has been tarnished by revelations years later, they are to be removed from history. In fact, the radical Left wants to start over with its own pretend history.

Flickr photos of the Neverland ranch in the past are here.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Chemistry set art work: "Recreating One of the Weirdest Reactions": a solution shimmers in patterns and then turns to coca-cola

Recreating One of the Weirdest Reactions” reminds me of an old art project in New York by Stewart Lamle back in the 1980s, mixing odd paints and chemicals to get bizarre recursive patterns to put on fabrics.

Science teacher (?) Tim Kench, on a YouTube channel by NileRed, presents an interesting experiment that creates a solution with recursive patterns (fractal, almost Mandelbrot-like) in reddish colors, like a design – that get overridden by bubbles and turn blue.

This would make chemical art work for a museum.

The chemicals include sulfuric acid, and complicated oxidated salts with iron and bromine, and one organic acid. But the experiment would probably appear in an undergraduate course in advanced inorganic chemistry (or descriptive inorganic).

Like the ingredients for many experiments in a typical academic chemistry laboratory, many of the ingredients are toxic.

When I was a senior in high school, I accidentally got a little bromine on an index finger.  If formed a dark sliver of a burn that took about three months to heal completely.

Jack Andraka’s book “Breakthrough” (Book reviews blog, March 18, 2015) has an appendix with some home experiments (like making a lava lamp) that are simpler and safer than this.  Nevertheless, this film demonstrates the possibility of chemical abstract art.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

"Midnight Cowboy", classic film from 1969 (time of Stonewall) about gay hustlers, provokes controversy over airport name

I remember seeing John Schlessinger’s “Midnight Cowboy” in 1969 at the Post Theater at Fort Eustis VA (when I was in the Army), where an officer in the waiting line said it is about “homosexuality and all that”. It’s based on a novel by James Leo Herlihy.

The United Artists film (now Criterion Collection) became a cult classic quickly, as a country hick Joe Buck (Jon Voight) befriends a city hustler Ratso (Dustin Hoffman). The film, shot at 1.37:1 often in black and white, has a restroom scene that at first earned it an X rating.

The film attracted attention in the media recently when John Wayne’s son fought off attempts to remove John Wayne’s name from the airport in Orange County CA over concern of Wayne’s criticism of this classic movie and his supposed homophobia, which the son denies in context.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

"Goodbye Charley": a gay highschool athlete experiences the afterlife, only visible to his lover

Goodbye, Charley”, a six-minute short film by Nate Trinrud, with Austin McKenzie as Charley, is a supernatural story about the afterlife.

Charley, a star baseball player, is shown transparent walking around the high school, walking through students as they prepare for his memorial assembly.

Only his lover, also on the team, can actually see him, as they say goodbye in a final scene.

The film was shot at the University of Southern California.

The film does not specify the cause of death.

The film is loosely based on the 1964 comedy by  Vincente Minnelli for 20th Century Fox Cinemascope.  Charlie (Debbie Reynolds) is first a male screenwriter who is shot by a jealous husband at sea and comes back to life as a woman, while his best friend, a novelist (Tony Curtis) puts his affairs in order.  The transgender theme is definitely ahead of its time, which was quite homophobic still. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

"Oblivious": short film shows how parents in a "good home" fail to notice a daughter lured into trafficking online

Mikey Hardesty presents “Oblivious”.

The film claims to have won Best PSA in a Colorado Film Festival for Youth. Does it really show how an upper-income privileged teen would fall for trafficking?  

A teenage girl in a nice home in Colorado still keeps connecting with johns on the Internet. When she gets to the motel, unbeknownst to her “oblivious” mother, it’s apparent she’s under a pimp’s financial control, but why?  She just needs to keep her life secret.  

With FOSTA on the books, the operator of the website the characters use and possibly their webhost would be liable for civil damages and possibly criminal prosecution. What if the website operator didn’t know?

Wikipedia attribution link, picture of San Juan desert in southern CO, CCSA 3.0.  I drove through the area in 1984.  I didn't recall that the area is a basin with no water outlet.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

"Flower Man": a straight man has to offer himself to get a discount for his wedding bouquet, and he has so little to lose

Rocco Fallon presents a 3-minute short film “Flower Man: Love in Shop when Buying Flowers”.

A straight man about to be married has to talk down the price of the wedding bouquet.  The gay flower shop owner wants something in return for the discount.

The gay owner looks a little more masculine at sight. The straight guy doesn’t really have anything to lose, even if the final seconds.

The film is by “TV Love”.

Friday, March 01, 2019

"A Good Student" but not a good teacher

Kate Saxton’s “A Good Student” popped up quickly as I searched for "short films".

Peram Hasibi plays a young (male) high school teacher taking money (actually cash in envelopes) for grades, and a (female) student decides to “end it”.  He looks like a graduate student, but dressed in coat, shirt and tie.  The film doesn't say what he teaches (maybe math?)  Maybe this is more like a community college environment.

He doesn’t ask for intimacy (which would be more predictable).  And he doesn’t expect power over students.

A relatively straightforward film, which seems to be a film school project.

I was an assistant math instructor at Kansas University in the 1960s and I gave hard tests.  At that time, I could have power over who might get drafted because of the student deferment system of the time. That could make interesting fodder for short film.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

On "Your First Grindr Hookup" don't take yourself too seriously

To close out an all too-short month, here’s a 3-minute micro film by Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell, “Your First Grindr Hookup”.

It borders on “R”, but it makes a real point – what do people look for? What should they.

The other buy says, “I’m going to make this easy for you” and invites Eduardo to consider leaving.
Good reason.  Eduardo is forced “into the closet” literally because Ben is hiding something (and "he thmooth").

Pic: Fort Lauderdale Beach, my pwn "luxury" stay in Nov. 2017. No hookups.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

"Those Who Fight: A Call to Action": 2014 short film from News2Share

Those Who Fight: A Call to Action” (2014) is a five-minute short film about the death of an inmate in a prison in Burlington, NJ, directed by Ford Fischer and Trey Yingst from News2Share, a media company that the directors formed while undergraduates at American University in Washington DC.

The homeless person was Robert Taylor, 74, who had been homeless.

The film has interviews (it starts with another previous inmate, who seems pretty intact) and a court hearing.

The film could be compared to some work by Andrew Jenks on wrongful conviction issues (like “Dream/Killer”)

Picture: Scene in Atlantic City, NJ, March 2013, my trip after Hurricane Sandy

Monday, February 25, 2019

Oscars 2019 not really that controversial

OK, the Oscars, with no host, gave out more “best” awards to women and PoC than ever before.  Here is the Oscars link and watch-on-demand.
Not that I paid that much attention. But I might have to in polishing my own DADT screenplay (“Epiphany”).

Shallow”, sung and played by Lady Gaga, with Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born” remake), is one of the most passionate songs ever.  It comes across as a tesseract of my own life.  And here is a nice anecdote of what was said between them.

Ford Fischer, one of the founders of News2Share and producer of the upcoming “Transhuman”, supplied some footage to “BlacKKKlansman  (the Charlottesville footage), which had many nominations. Spike Lee played bad sport on that film not winning.  Chris Cuomo mentioned the footage tonight on CNN (Monday, after Bernie Sander’s town hall) in discussing Trump’s indifference to Charlottesville, but didn’t give Ford credit.

As far as making a statement, it’s OK that “Green Book” won best picture.   It is a valid history re-enactment.  I don’t think a comics movie like “Black Panther” would have been made appropriate for best picture just because of the cast.  

Sunday, February 24, 2019

"Time for Love: Homopobia in 2018" in Scotland, short from BBC

Time for Love: Homophobia In 2018”, from BBC the Social.

In a park in Glasgow, Scotland, two gay men walk in the park and contemplate what others think of their PDA.  Do the heterosexuals feel a little less secure in their own lives because of the gay men’s freedom?

That’s what this comes down to.

Friday, February 22, 2019

"Alternative Math" satirical short film where a "hard math teacher" gets fired for insisting on getting it right, hurting kids' feelings

Alternative Math”, by IdeaMan, directed by David Maddox (10 minutes), as a satire on post-fact, post-Trump, post-Kellyann-Conway America.

A grade school teacher (Allyn Carell playing Mrs. Wells) insists that her pupil understand that 2 + 2 = 4, when he insists it is 22.

The alt-right, anti-intellectual parents and school board get her fired.  But she demands $22000 in severance rather than $4000.

You can set up a vector space where [2, 0] + [0,2] = [2, 2].

She is presented as the neo-liberal. Conservative values consist only of social loyalty to your (white) tribe.

In kindergarten, I was ostracized (in 1949) for drawing pumpkins as red.  “Pumpkins are orange”, the teacher insisted.  I remained a “brownie” downstairs (yes, the teacher used that terminology in an all-white pre-school) and the “elves” go to go to the living room in the heavens upstairs.  Already we had a hierarchal social class.

The short has won many awards.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

"Sunspring": sci-fi screenplay with script written by a computer

Ars Technica has posted 10-minute short film, “Sunspring”, where a computer has written the screenplay, based on certain parameters, like a "48 Hour Film Festival" based on a line, a prop and a character.

The actual film (seems to come from the UK) is directed by Oscar Sharp and starts Thomas Middleditch, Elizabeth Grey and Humphrey Ker.

The characters are floating in a spaceship pod set up like a workshop inside and ponder whether they are real humans or robots or something in between, as a new baby is supposed to arrive – but the old-fashioned way?  It seems to matter what will happen when they get close enough to the next star whose solar system they will visit.   Middleditch is cute.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

"Anarcho-Capitalism: The Movie" from the Mechanical Shark Channel

The Mechanical Shark Channel presents “Anarcho-Capitalism: The Movie” (7 minutes).

In animation, it’s shown that the corporations have taken over all governments, and the “non-aggression principle” of libertarianism is exempted when the other guy strikes first.

People’s first names can be trademarked.

North Korea is conquered with a bloody nose, nuclear strike, and EMP, to protect the MacDonalds in the south.

The film is animated, but at least one character has artificial  body hair.

Monday, February 18, 2019

"War and Peace": 7-hour restored Russian film of Tolstoy novel opens at Lincoln Center

Joshua Barone describes (in the New York Times) the re-opening Feb. 15 at the Lincoln Center Film Society in New York, of Sergei Bondarchuk’s 1966 7-hour adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel “War and Peace

I recall seeing the 1956 VistaVision Di Laurentis version from Paramount directed by King Vidor, with Henry Fonda. Mell Ferrer, and Audrey Hepburn.

The novel and films correlate Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and retreat with the personal lives (love triangles and aborted births) of an aristocratic Russian family;  it is in some ways a kind of Russian “Gone with the Wind”, a period of history that arguable led to the development of Marxism.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

"The JFK Assassination: What Really Happened": Animated short runs through the conspiracy theories

The JFK Assassination: What Really Happened?” on the Infographics Show.

This block-animated 7 minute short makes three interesting points.  Trump has talked about the assassination and conspiracy theories. The Dallas police did not take good written notes in interviewing Oswald, as they normally would.  There was an “umbrella man” on a sunny day, who might have been there for a steganographic signal.  And J. Edgar Hoover behaved suspiciously.

I had not realized Oswald was from Belarus (then part of the Soviet Union). The film asks why Ruby didn't just shoot him in the leg.

A separate group in 1979, after I had moved to Texas, found a conspiracy to be likely, even though the Warren commission did not.

Friday, February 15, 2019

"Pro-vaccine vs. anti-vaccine": film within a film, of a debate

I’ll count this as a film within a film. Dr. Mike Varvhavski annotates another video debate “Pro-Vaccine v. Anti-Vaccine”.

This is an episode of “Dr. Mike”, a young and handsome physician.

Mike points out that children with autoimmune disorders or known reactions are not encouraged to take vaccines.  They are protected by the herd immunity from other children who are vaccinated. This is a subtlety of argument often overlooked.

A woman on Facebook once asked her friends how to protect her unvaccinated daughter from measles in an area with an outbreak (Washington state). But I don’t know if the child might have had a specific immune disorder.

Another Facebook friend used material from the National Vaccine Information Center that appears to be government, but is a separate and apparently biased non-profit, to justify exclusion from vaccines.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

"The Mexican": a mob border comedy from 2001 may not seem as funny now

Gore Verbinski’s 2001 classic for Dreamworks SKG, “The Mexican”, probably has a most politically incorrect title given today’s polarization over immigration and accusations of race bating.

Brad Pitt plays Jerry Welbach, who is challenged by his mob bosses to go into Mexico and retrieve an ancient gun called “The Mexican” and bring it back.  His girl friend Samantha (Julia Roberts) objects by Jerry wants to stay alive.

The scenery of the movie works as a palindrome, where a particular traffic signal in the early part of the film returns.

The gun indeed has a curse.

Picture: My trip, May 2018, actually a park in Harlingen, Texas near the border 

Monday, February 11, 2019

"Room Closet": indeed a metaphor for coming out

Room Closet”, From Entity Productions, is set in a micro-bedroom, very simple.

Rafael (Diego Der Vidts, the more assertive of an 18-ish male pair, is ready to “come out” but Dan (Joseph Keefe), his “best friend”, still wants the anchor of a girl friend first. But he gets a text that she is indisposed.

It’s a familiar situation from my young adulthood, an idea that would work in the 70s.

There was no director given in the credits.  Certainly a very simple short film to set up.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

"The 'Learn to Code' Meme Controversy" with Joe Rogan and Tim Pool

OK, I’ll count “The ‘Learn to Code’ Meme Controversy” where comedian Joe Rogan interviews indie journalist Tim Pool in Los Angeles, as a “short film”, at least on a Sunday night.

Pool talks about the way some people who tweeted “learn to code” at some laid-off journalists from Buzz-Feed and other places, and how Twitter suspended them for “harassment”.

The “learn to code” meme is a distant reflection of Maoism, probably with inversion.  Back during the 1960s cultural revolution in China, intellectuals were made to take their turn becoming peasants, actually on the urging of activists, not just Mao himself. It’s like my applying for a job as proletarian letter carrier (or cab driver – now we have Uber) after my “career ending layoff” at the end of 2001 after 9/11.  Call it the “Learn to work meme”.

Then Pool gets into a discussion on how middle-range journalists blew it on the Covington boys scandal.
He talks about the Silicon Valley left wing bias, but actually it spreads to payment processors who are freaked out by the sudden rise of the alt-right after Trump’s election, and sensitivity to their possible complicity with the Russians. And “The Church of Jack Dorsey” seems to favor intersectional faith.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

"Iteration 1": Your eternal life might consist of repeated cycles trying to leave an escape room

Jesse Lupini’s “Iteration 1”, from Dust films (12 min). 

A young woman wakes up in a white room with a bed.  She has sixty seconds to escape before dropping dead and starting a reincarnation cycle with copies of her previous selves to help.

The cycles are called “iterations” and are numbered.  The time speeds up in the film, as she gets through twenty of them.

There are balloons, a tree that repairs itself, and drywall.  She isn’t alone.  Maybe she is supposed to be the mother of a new civilization.
This concept bears a distant relationship to my screenplay “Epiphany”.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

"Railroad Ties", short at Sundance 2019. traces family trees back to the underground railroads before the Civil War

Railroad Ties”, from the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and Ancestry, directed by Sacha Jenkins (26 minutes).

The film traces six or more families back to roots, including European immigrants and African Americans (including mixed), especially associated with the Underground Railroad.  People were arrested for assisting slaves fleeing north.

People with some slave blood maneuvered to be classified as "white". 
The Harriet Tubman National Historical Park near Cambridge MD also has a lot of related material.

Picture: Poor People's March, 1968, Smithsonian 

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

"Is the World Running out of Children and Sperm?" -- what if a virus could do this?

 The Good Stuff goes beyond population demographics: “Is the World Running out of Children (and Sperm?)

Geophysicist M. King Hubbert developed used the bell curve (in a manner similar to Charles Murray) to predict peak oil and other resources, and the same idea seems to apply to population, as richer countries now have lower birth rates. 

But the film makes the alarming suggestion that men are producing less sperm, or less effective sperm, which sounds like a sci-fi scenario (like “Children of Men”).  Theories include pollution, later marriages, more stress, and conceivably unidentified viruses.

TGS also offers “Why Are Violent Killers Almost Always Men?  Like the 90s film “Natural Born Killers”?
Picture: Smithsonian, American History Museum, draft physical

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

"7 Things to Know About Making Short Films", from Friday 101 (on a Tuesday)

Okay, for some advice, “7 Things to Know About Making Short Films”, by Russell Haussenauer, from 2013, from his Friday 101 series, for Indy Mogul.

He names a couple of examples where directors got started with short films, like Martin Scorsese and shaving.

The maximum length for a short film is supposed to be 40 minutes, but keeping them under 15 minutes, or even under 10, offers a better chance of their getting into film festivals – and possibly hitting the Oscar circuit.
It’s often useful to make a short film that is later made into a feature, to get investor money. Jorge Ameer did this with “The House of Adam” (2006). I think this could work with “Bugcrush” (2006).  What really happened to Ben?  You might want to redo the opening with younger actors.

Monday, February 04, 2019

NFL Films: "Super Bowl LI: The Greatest Comeback in Super Bowl History", by the New England Patriots, for the 2016 season

So NFL Films has its own movie studio.

So here is “Super Bowl LI: The Greatest Comeback in Super Bowl History”.  The game was played in NRG Stadium in Houston Feb. 5, 2017 (shortly after Trump’s inauguration) for the 2016 NFL championship.

The New England Patriots fell the behind the Atlanta Falcons  28-3 and wound up winning 34-28, after 8 minutes of the 3rd quarter, in OT.

The 39 year old Tom Brady led the rally, and there were two controversial catches in the game.
Brian Resnick explains what a lifetime of playing football does to the human brain.  Donald Trump doesn’t want his youngest son to play (Face the Nation) .

Wikipedia attribution link for stadium picture by eschipur from Flickr, under CCSA 2.0. 

Sunday, February 03, 2019

"Only Always You": a homely gay man worships a hunk, who then has a girl friend who is "in the way"

Brandon Rogers and Anthony Florian, with Baily Hopkins as the intruder, play mental games in “Only Always You”, a short film by Anthony Aguiar (all in anamorphic 2.35:1).

A homely man hides behind a tree in a park and draws imaginary scenes in a notebook of his making out with a blond stranger. Then the Nordic man’s girl friend arrives.  She spoils his fantasy, well, almost. The drawing scenes are in black and white, but what he sees and imagines is in color.

I suppose you could read race or POC issues into this 2013 film (winner at Philadelphia QFest), although the film was shot before society had gotten so polarized.
The playful music score sounds French and impressionistic.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

"How to Play 4D Chess" (Instructor loses both games)

Allen Pan and Sufficiently Advanced show us “How to Play 4D Chess

First, Allen shows us 3D chess, as 4 16-square boards stacked, which can be projected onto 3 dimensions. The moves of the pieces are derived algebraically.

Then 4D chess, on a tesseract (as from the movie “Interstellar” has a 256-square playing matrix as a projection of four 3-D stacks and again the same algebra (quaternion) defining the movies.
Allen loses with Black to Diana in 3D’s and then with White in 4D’s when he blunders a pawn to a knight. Petroff’s Defense doesn’t work quite the same way as what he was used to.

The term 4-D Chess has been applied to Trumpian politics.  You can check "Economic Invincibility" on "I'm Sick of 4-D Chess".  Note: chess piece team designation has nothing to do with race. 

Friday, February 01, 2019

"Why I Left BuzzFeed": Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell puts on the gloves to make his point

Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell presents his short film “Why I Left BuzzFeed” (5 min).  He even shot this film in anamorphic 2.35:1.  Maybe it will go to virtual reality. 

Eduardo (with the world's best body) boxes with a cartoonish caricature of the BuzzFeed head (seems to be played by Michael Henry -- but Zach Graves is given by the opening credits).  The film emphasizes Ubanell’s own physicality, although I don’t think he would favor a “Fight Club” (1999) or play “Cinderella Man” (2005).

He mentions the fact that BuzzFeed was willing to replace employees with interim “fellows”.
The factual evidence of the recent BuzzFeed article implicating Trump through Michael Cohen is controversial.  Andrew Cohen discusses this at Brennacenter.

BuzzFeed, like many media outlets (even large ones) jumped quickly on the Convington story, but then presented Nick Sandmann’s side later.  Later David Brooks opined what sounds like a reasonably balanced account while showing how easily social media viral spread of anger and misleading impression may damage lives.  BuzzFeed does NOT appear to be a target of litigation according to a Cincinnati Gannett newspaper.

Tim Pool has covered the layoffs at several mid-sized media companies including BuzzFeed in January, as related to business model sustainability problems that led the companies to indulge in click-bait.

Ubanell has an earlier film on his channel in April 2018 “Top Five Things I’ve Learned Working at Buzzfeed”. It’s easy to look up on the channel.  Main advice: be quick.

Ubanell appears in another short film reviewed here Oct. 23, 2018, “Pretty Privilege”.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

"Thylacine": gay short film by Lampsos about a relationship

A “Thylacine” is an extinct marsupial wolf-like mammal.

I’m not sure whether the term applies to Charlie (Peter Michael Bondillio) or Nick (Trevor LaPaglia) in this 2014 short film, apparently set on a California beach, by Alex Lampsos of the New York Film Academy.

The film migrates from library stacks to beaches.  This is about younger men wanting relationships, when sometimes if’s better to spend time alone.  This is all Ninth Street Center, Rosenfels-like stuff.

The French piano music (a Satie Gymnopede and Debussy’s Claire de Lune) seems understated.
Picture: near one of the Silicon Valley tech campuses (my trip, 2018).

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

"Bell's Theorem" and quantum entanglement and polarized lenses; and faster than light travel?

Bell’s Theorem: The Quantum Venn Diagram Paradox” from “Minutephysics”.
I remember seeing the experiments with perpendicular polarized lens in high school in 1960.  You get curious results as you turn them at various angles.
The video goes on to discuss quantum entanglement, and to come up with the idea that the universe cannot simultaneously work with both realism and locality.
Bell’s Theorem used to be cited in science fiction to justify faster than light travel.  I recall that in Jeffrey Mishlove’s book in 1978, “The Roots of Consciousness” when I was still living in New York.  There was another book by Isaac Bentov, “Stalking the Wild Pendulum” that expressed a similar theory.  

I tried their experiment with 3-D glasses and it didn't happen. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

"Traveling While Black": NYTimes and Oculus present a VR film supplementing "The Green Book"

Brent Staples, in a comprehensive New York Times article, presents a twenty-minute film by Roger Ross Williams, “Traveling While Black”, in virtual reality 360 (requires a smart phone with glasses;  on a computer it shows in normal Cinemascope). The film comes from Oculus, Felix and Paul (and I believe Annapurna).

Here’s a YouTube trailer.

Some of the people are Sandy Butler Truesdale, Virginia Ali, Samaria Rice.

Many of the participants discuss their experiences in Ben’s Child Bowl, at 13th and U Sts NW in Washington FC, near the Lincoln Theater. It opened in the 1930s.  In more recent times it has also become popular in the gay community (Reel Affirmations), especially filmmakers and artists.
Until the 1960s and the Civil Rights movement, black travelers were forced to the last car on a train when passing into Virginia, and were not allowed bathroom access.

In practice travel was very difficult.  Some say it still is.

The film supplements “The Green Book” (by Victor Hugo Green), which as an index of accommodations for black people during segregation, even in the North.  That became the basic of a film by that name (my review). 
The impressionistic jazz music score is by Jason Moran.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

"Schizophrenia Simulation": It isn't really multiple identities in the same body, at least not in this film

Here is a short film “Schizophrenia Simulation” from “That Rick 904”.

An attractive young man spends a day in a suburban home, experiencing odd visual perception and unwanted sounds and images from his subconscious (“voices”) which he cannot distinguish from reality.

A girlfriend arrives at the end looking for the package that he did accept.

The episode seems to present the idea that a schizophrenic may experience life the way one could experience a lucid dream.  You believe the dream while it unfolds, but you don’t know how you got into the situation in the dream. Yet you are the “same person” as in your waking life, but somehow you have migrated into a different, if temporary, reality.  In rare cases, there could be an intimate encounter with someone you “want”. A dream can simulate what something would be like (even a NDE, which is not pleasant).

The movie “Glass” (M. Night Shyamalan) presents a character played by James McAcoy with 23 personalities.  Is each personality a different person, a different colonel of consciousness?  In terms of the physics of consciousness, that could be a fascinating idea.  If each of the 23 personalities has a separate thread and does not know the other personalities or views them from the outside, this might be true.  But in the movie it seems as though McAvoy’s character is always are of all of the personalities, at least from the script.

Can someone really house someone else’s personality after that person’s passing at times in his body, maybe as dreams?  Sounds like a sci-fi idea.  I do explore it in “Angel’s Brother”.
Schizophrenia is not the same thing as schizoid personality.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

"Why I'm NOT a Libertarian": it's mostly about inherited (dis)advantages

I’ll let Stephen Woodford, on “Rationality Rules”, explain "Why I’m Not a Libertarian".

He doesn’t believe in natural rights, or free will, and he believes that we didn’t choose the circumstances of our birth or our talents, so we couldn’t have earned all we have.

He says libertarianism is more about “freedom from” than “freedom to”. He also mentions that a personal social contract is necessary for any kind of order. (Hope that doesn't lead to a social credit score!)
Yet he says he is a “liberal”.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Food Insecurity: short film shows how spoilage in a low-income community can be deadly

Here’s a rather alarming short with a life-saving warning. Chubbyemu posts a 6 minute short, “A Student Ate 5 Day Old Pasta for Lunch. This Is How His Liver Shut Down”.

The student, 20 years old, an African-American in California in a community college but with little money, was food insecure.  He accidentally left out a pasta and his roommate put it away in the refrigerator.

The pasta contained a common bacterium but an unusual substrain that makes a liver toxin because of slightly different biochemistry (like an extra ammonia radical or something).  The student started vomiting shortly after eating the lunch and passed out.  He died within 24 hours.  The liver toxin prevents the normal ATP metabolism from working in body cells.  The biochemistry resembles that of Reyes syndrome in children from aspirin. 
The film does show how food insecurity can be deadly in low income communities.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A film production company in Minnesota is sued for its content choices under a state public accomodations law (Telescope Media Group)

There is a case in Minnesota where a film or video production company is regarded as a “public accommodation”.  This is the Telescope Media Group in St. Cloud, and the case is Telescope Media Group v. Lindsey

Apparently the group emphasizes its own style of Christian films.  It apparently made a video arguing that marriage is only for one man and one woman, and was challenged legally under Minnesota’s “public accommodation laws”.

This case parallels Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, bur here the creative activity is filmmaking.

Now there would seem to be an issue as to whether the company produces films with “other people’s content” rather than its own (theoretically that could even have been my book when I was living in Minneapolis from 1997-2003). 

One the one hand, if I were to produce my own screenplay (“Epiphany”, derived from my three DADT books) with a company, where at the end only “the chose few” get to escape a dying Earth for another planet – could I be pursued to produce another film where there is no Darwinianism (or Specer-ism) and everybody survives and lives happily every after?  Theoretically I could be viewed as favoring “Nazi” philosophy materials otherwise.

On the other hand we expand out and look at cases where on the Internet, Patreon seemed to be de-platforming conservatives – it wasn’t a public accommodation (Jan. 16). But now there is information to the effect that it has come under the clandestine influence of payment processors, who will be investigated for anti-trust violations by suppressing competition.

James Gottry has a story about the company in the Minnesota Star Tribune. 

When I lived there, IFPMSP was active there and had monthly screenings at Bryant Lake Bowl on Lake Street in Minneapolis (Josh Hartnett was there sometimes).  So the group ought to be concerned about this case. 
The Center for the American Experiment wrote up this case in an article called “Opposite of Free Speech” on p. 18 of the Winter 2019 issue of Thinking Minnesota. 
The article defended free speech from both sides and did not oppose same-sex marriage per se.