There’s a reason most of Jared Hess’s films share titles with their lead characters. It’s because these films are meticulously constructed vehicles for unique personalities who are often more engaging than the situations in which they find themselves. advertisement advertisement Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre, and Gentleman Broncos all share a certain sensibility and homespun charm, but more than that, they all feature characters so fully realized and inhabited they practically jut out of the screen. Hess writes each of his creations with his wife, Jerusha, and directs them himself. Before one word is written down, however, the pair have hours of conversations mapping out every detail about the people at the center of their developing story. It shows in the execution. In the new Don Verdean, Sam Rockwell plays the eponymous biblical archeologist who may be past his sell-by date in terms of fame, and thus resorts to some questionable activities. Rockwell, who … [Read more...] about “Don Verdean” and “Napoleon Dynamite” Creator Jared Hess On Character-Based Movies
Opening night movie
Guillermo del Toro had quite a year, with his robots-vs-Godzillas blockbuster Pacific Rim doing brisk business on the world stage. Capping this achievement, the director was also invited to animate one of The Simpsons’ opening credits couch gags, an honor reserved for celebrated artists like Bill Plympton and Banksy. Considering how far del Toro knocked it out of the park, however, it seems like the honor is all The Simpsons’. advertisement In recent years, high-profile guests have made the couch gag an event–like when Banksy controversially depicted the South Korean animators of the show drudging under hellish conditions. However, whether viewers know who Guillermo del Toro is or not, they will likely be floored by his take on the opening, which doesn’t even wait until the couch makes an appearance for all sorts of twisted mayhem to break loose. Describing the animated sequence would turn anyone into Saturday Night Live’s Stefon: it’s got … [Read more...] about Guillermo Del Toro’s Couch Gag For “The Simpsons” Is a Monster (It’s All The Monsters)
Around 3:15 p.m. yesterday, a building in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood exploded and caught fire, injuring 19 people–three critically. As of this writing, at least two people are reported missing. advertisement advertisement The blast, apparently “caused by plumbing and gas work being done” in the neighborhood, according to the New York Times, shook nearby restaurants, drew crowds of people into the streets, and sent up a thick gray smoke plume that could be seen across the city. As often happens now, witnesses tweeted and Instagrammed photos and videos of the scene. But for the first time, people also flocked to two brand-new live-streaming apps: the month-old Meerkat and the then-hours-old Periscope. Live-streaming video has suddenly gotten easier than ever before–and as is the case every time social media takes a leap forward, a host of practical and ethical questions about using technology during times of tragedy have presented … [Read more...] about Is It Wrong To Watch?
“How about this, it’s fucking Christmas, and your whole family goes on vacation and they forget their eight-year-old fucking son.” advertisement advertisement Sound familiar? If you said it sounds like a (salty) adult’s retelling of the plot line of Home Alone, you’re getting warm. It’s actually Macaulay Culkin himself who’s doing the retelling, playing the grown-up version of Kevin McCallister in a new digital series :DRYVRS, created, written by, and starring Jack Dishel. In the episode that debuted this week, “Just Me in the House by Myself,” Culkin is just one of the drivers that Dishel meets using ride-sharing apps. In an immediate twist, Culkin confesses he doesn’t actually know how to drive, he’s just taking over for his wife who’s done “too much blow” the night before. Dishel takes the wheel while Culkin rides shotgun. The two strike up an uneasy conversation prompted by Dishel’s … [Read more...] about Inside :DRYVRS, The Digital Series That Brought Macaulay Culkin Back to “Home Alone”
Guillermo del Toro. Bill Plympton. Banksy. These are just some of the artists who have been commissioned to do sly, subversive couch gags for the opening credits of The Simpsons. Claymation master Lee Hardcastle may never get to hang out in this particular pantheon, but that didn’t stop him from offering a couch gag of his own. And holy crap is it disturbing. Hardcastle is known for making pop culture-heavy Claymation videos that juxtapose a generous serving of blood and guts with the cuddly animation style of Gumby. Previously, Hardcastle has reinterpreted John Carpenter’s The Thing with Pingu the penguin, earning props from John Carpenter himself, and paid tribute to The Exorcist. Considering his preferred mode, it’s pretty clear that not all body parts will remain intact when Hardcastle comes to Springfield. Sure enough, “The Simpsons Couch Gag [You’re Next]” mashes up the typical extended opener from the show with the 2013 home invasion … [Read more...] about This “Simpsons” Couch Gag From a Claymation Master Is Way Gorier Than You Expect