Paperman: Disney’s Oscar-Nominated Short

Paperman is Disney's Oscar-nominated short animation for this year. Apparently animated with 3D software mimicking the hand-drawn look, it tells the story of an office worker trying to catch the attention of a woman by tossing paper airplanes from one New York skyscraper to another. The film is an example of that way Disney has always had of lending extreme curvature to all form and motion. Disney never moves things across a screen. They sweep them across. I enjoy hand-drawn styles even when they are not hand-drawn at all! Somehow it defeats the plastic look of so much computer animation. The story here is simple and sweet.

This film reminds me of a game I played near the top of a Wall Street building once back in the nineties. We opened a window and tried to hit a building one block away with various paper airplanes. There was a wind current making it possible to get very close to the other building, but invariably the little planes would veer off and go around the building without ever making the expected contact. So I sympathize with this cartoon character's seemingly useless efforts.


Missing in the Mansion: Horror Short Filmed in Disneyland

Josh and Jeremiah Daws directed this short horror film almost entirely during a trip to Disneyland. That's a form of guerrilla filmmaking I can appreciate because it actually uses all that time wasted in lines for a good purpose. So, three friends go to the Haunted Mansion and vanish. Someone then finds their video camera.

Dad, Can I Borrow the Car? 1970 Disney Driver Education Film

Disney produced this amazingly good drivers education film in 1970. It is one of those cheerfully playful experiments with common avant-garde techniques that were so much a part of seventies culture because of shows like Sesame Street. The filmmaking is generally quite good and sometimes even approaches brilliance. I've been working vaguely and lazily on a new film about cars and Los Angeles and I'm quite prepared to lift some things right out of this film or at least use it as a template for commenting on car culture in this great throbbing fast lane metropolis.
Kurt Russell of ham acting fame gives the narration and he's actually good, playing the young man in school who is about to go for his driving test and qualify for the license to kill that will get him lots of action as long as he looks out for little girls chasing big red balls into the street.
Enjoy a trip through Los Angeles of yesteryear and remember that cars just work better out here.

Trailer for Disney’s John Carter Film

Here’s the first official trailer for Disney’s upcoming film, ‘John Carter.’ It’s an odd way to retitle Edgar Rice Burroughs’ science fiction novel, ‘A Princess of Mars.’ But that’s what they’ve done. I don’t imagine there are too many people who will go see a movie named for someone called John Carter. But anything is possible. If you’d like to put up with some very bad writing by Mr. Burroughs, you can listen to Candlelight’s complete audio book version of the novel. I’m not sure why I recorded it at all. Burroughs turned what should have been a short story into a novel by making all of his sentences run the length of football fields.

The Dystopian Trilogy: A Film by James Schneider

James Schneider made ‘The Dystopian Trilogy’ in 1993, mainly through the use of found footage. Its three parts, ‘Faerie-Monition,’ ‘Oasis,’ and ‘Median Strip,’ convey modern Americans’ infatuation with closing off entire communities from the rest of the world for some theoretical benefit. The first part deals with the corporatization and homogenization of imagination through eerie footage of Euro-Disney. The second part focuses on a gated community near Las Vegas. The third contrasts and connects the freedom of the modern highway to the growth of our prison system and the fast-growing outrage of private prisons run for profit. This last part, when seen in light of today’s use of immigration law to fill corporate-owned prisons with people who are turned into a slave workforce, is particularly frightening.