Jeremiah Kipp’s Short Films
Recently, I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with filmmaker Jeremiah Kipp. You might be familiar with Kipp’s work and not even know it. Having lent his expertise to such films as “I Sell the Dead” and “Somewhere Tonight,” in addition to having directed a plethora of critically acclaimed short films. Kipp is no stranger to the big screen and is currently completing his first-full length feature behind the camera entitled “The Sadist.” Kipp is well-known for his strict attention to structural detail, staggering visuals, and his ability to work extremely well with his actors. Speaking of which, Kipp has worked with tons of high-profile talent such as Ron Perlman, Dominic Monaghan, John Turturro, and Melissa Leo to name a few. Having several of his films screened at numerous festivals, including Cannes, and receiving rave reviews for his short film “The Christmas Party,” Kipp is one of the few directors to watch out for.
You can check out Jeremiah’s website here and his IMDB page here.
Now, Jeremiah has been gracious enough to provide me with several of his short films for my viewing pleasure. So, in my way of returning his generousity, below you will find my brief thoughts on these short, yet vastly entertaining vignettes.
Contact: 8 out of 10.
This Tense, unflinching, and brutal short, shot completely in black and white, is sure to catch you off guard. Right from the start, a wave of incessant uneasiness leaves a feeling of breathlessness and utter stillness. Eventually winding its way to a parallel tangent, “Contact” begins to unravel into a grim, decidedly honest story of addiction. Dotted with some violent gore and tasteful nudity, “Contact” isn’t merely appealing mentally and cinematically, but is also visually stimulating. Kipp does a sublime job using the story’s exhaustive power to full effectiveness and although at times it might not always be easy to watch. If you can stick it out, “Contact” is a very rewarding short.
The Days God Slept: 8.5 out of 10.
Hallucinogenic, disturbing, and thought-provoking. Kipp’s brilliant sense of direction keeps this complex short from straying too far from relevance and descending into chaos. Starring Lauren Fox, best known for her role in Darren Aronofsky’s “Pi,” containing a musical score written by Harry Manfredini, who you might know as the composer of the “Friday the 13th” soundtrack, and then toss in Kipp behind the camera, it’s easy to see that “The Days God Slept” is a hidden gem. While it might not be for everyone. If you’re looking for a superbly thought-out, intricate, and controversial experience, this might be for you. Sure to stir the pot and send you into an uneasiness that’s not easy to shake, give “The Days God Slept” a watch, but be forewarned, you’re in for a shock.
Drool: 7.5 out of 10.
At first glance, “Drool” might appear a little bizarre and monotonous. And the reason for this overwhelming feeling of simplicity and oddness is due to its intentional placement. With “Drool,” Kipp knows full well how to handle the apparent tediousness of this short’s premise and utilizes it as a lulling agent, then occasionally striking when the viewer is most vulnerable. Although it is not Kipp’s strongest short, the argument could be made that “Drool” holds more insight and underlying themes than some full-length features. Again, shot entirely in black and white. “Drool” offers a lot of the same shadiness and bleakness as Kipp’s other short, “Contact.” That being said, its distinguishability is unprecedented and is a must see for anyone looking to discover something out of the ordinary.
If you feel like checking out any of Jeremiah Kipp’s films, head over to his website (linked above) for information or links on how and where to watch. I’d like to thank Jeremiah for allowing me to watch and review a few films from his repertoire. Look him up, you won’t be disappointed.
Pacific Rim (2013)
Although it may ask the viewer to acquiesce a fair amount of inconsistencies and genre cliches. “Pacific Rim” ultimately rewards its audience with jaw-dropping visuals, bone-shattering action, and evoking genuine childlike wonder. It is somewhat of a let down that we are treated to only a small taste of what makes Guillermo Del Toro the revered visionary he is today. Nonetheless, without the aforementioned creator working behind the scenes. “Pacific Rim” would have undoubtedly fallen victim to the bombastic, over-driven destruction that has plagued and doomed countless others in the genre. While I didn’t expect the catchy slogan ”Go big or go extinct” to be the film’s structural criteria. Luckily for Del Toro and crew, you can’t get much bigger than 250 foot robot assassins piloted by humans duking it out with genetically-engineered alien war-machines in an intergalactic battle. Powered by Del Toro’s youthful inspiration and wide-eyed ambition, “Pacific Rim” is literally a summer smash.
In the near future, extraterrestrials dubbed “Kaiju” enter through a portal in a crevasse deep beneath the Pacific Ocean and begin destroying Earth’s major cities. To combat these monsters, humans create massive weapons known as “Jaegers” which are humanoid fighting machines that stand roughly 250 feet tall. These “Jaegers” are controlled by two pilots simultaneously through a neural link that allows each co-pilot access to inner thoughts, memories, and reactions. Soon, the human race begin to take the upper-hand, but are quickly knocked back down by bigger, more complex “Kaiju” and must find a way to close the portal between worlds.
Similar to J.J Abrams “Super 8,” Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” was conceived upon childhood nostalgia and a yearning to rebirth the creature feature. Having rekindled a long-dormant fascination with classical foreign monster films. Del Toro and crew set out to instill that feeling of childish giddiness into a generation who’ve been rotted with endless pedestrian and vapid blockbusters. And as far as big-budget action-thrillers go, you’ll find none better than “Pacific Rim.” Establishing new heroes with timeless qualities that get the job done or die trying, a slew of immense, godly fighting robots equipped with inventive, resourceful weapons, and a plethora of monstrous, grotesque extraterrestrials. It might be a tad predictable, even stereotypical. Yet, ”Pacific Rim” is a breath of fresh, rejuvenating air into a faltering genre that was failing to inspire and bewilder.
It’s easy to see that in any other filmmakers hands, at least a majority of them, “Pacific Rim” would have faced a rather swift extinction so to speak. That being said, it would have been nice to see Del Toro infuse a bit more of what makes his previous releases so compelling. While there are tiny bits of his repertoire sprinkled throughout “Pacific Rim’s” rather modest (roughly) two-hour runtime (only when stacked up against the films scale). One can’t help but feel that it lacked his ambience and atmosphere, the unwavering human element. Undoubtedly, we are subjected to the brilliant diversity and growth of Del Toro as a filmmaker and it is astounding to say the least. I just can’t help but conclude that “Pacific Rim” would have been infinitely better if Del Toro took an extra half-hour, added his usual artistic detail and firmly grounded this flick. However, it’s still one hell of a ride.
Now, inevitably, more than a few will draw comparisons between “Pacific Rim” and the “Transformers” franchise, amongst other big-budget action blunders. But don’t mistake my clamouring for typical Del Toro as a sign of skeletal, visual, and sympathetic weakness. It’s actually quite the opposite. What sets “Pacific Rim” apart from these brain-dead blockbusters is its strength in the aforementioned categories. I’m simply stating that Del Toro could have done it better, it’s still phenomenal in every sense of the word. The visuals are stunning, Oscar worthy and the story’s progressive form, formidable characters, and connectivity is sturdy enough to stand on its own. “Pacific Rim” is essentially pleasing to all cinematic senses. If you find yourself unable to enjoy it, odds are your inner-child suffocated under your pretentiousness a while ago.
As for the film itself, you’ll find no shortage of witty humour, deceptively charismatic and humanized characters, and of course gargantuan battle weapons built by two rival races deconstructing one another using any means necessary. Still, what makes “Pacific Rim” so utterly admirable and atypical is its ability to separate from what is slowly becoming a modern convention. Amongst the abundance of comic book films that depict superheroes struggling with their own mortality and moral obligation. “Pacific Rim” reinstates the solidified, courageous, head-held-high heroes who live and feed off of the battle, albeit somewhat cockily. Not to mention, Del Toro and crew make excellent use of the underdog premise and play it out flawlessly. However, most importantly, “Pacific Rim” portrays belief in humanity, something cinema has gotten away from.
Now, not just anyone can control these immense Jaegers or understand the Kaiju and that’s why “Pacific Rim” has such a diverse, talented, and somewhat obscure cast. Starring Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman, Charlie Hunnam, and Rinko Kikuchi, this crew of tenacious, at times ruthless individuals is not to be trifled with.
Out of everyone cast in this film, Charlie Day struck me as an odd, risky choice. Having only seen the actor in various comedies, a high-profile role in a serious action-flick seemed like the last place he’d be effective. Well, I was wrong. He does a fantastic job providing some much-needed comic relief and even surprised me with his capabilities a few times. Idris Elba is as intimidating as ever and continues to be one of the most underrated actors currently in cinema. Adding his usual style, suave, and dramatic flare to a rather limiting role. Ron Perlman, although sparsely used, still manages to steal every scene he’s in and he’s as hypnotic as ever. Carlie Hunnam definitely stole the show, for me anyway, and that’s due in large part to his chemistry with Rinko Kikuchi. The two really know how to give and take, while remaining independent enough to stand-out on their own.
One of the most decedent pieces of eye-candy I’ve ever witnessed, “Pacific Rim” is exactly what you thought it’d be…loads of fun.
Pacific Rim: 8 out of 10.
The Gushing Cinephile: July 8, 2013
Well, to say that this was a slow week in the world of film would be a serious understatement. It was Independence Day in the United States. In other news that surprised no one, Disney’s “The Lone Ranger” flopped harder than a fish fighting for it’s life on dry land. Let’s just get to it!
First up, check out the header image and it’ll be sure to put a smile on your face and a dent in your wallet. Set for release on September 24, 2013, Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy finally gets an Ultimate Collector’s Edition. The six-disc set will feature all three full-length features (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises) with their original special features, and two brand new featurettes (The Fire Rises: The Creation and Impact of The Dark Knight Trilogy, Christopher Nolan & Richard Donner: A Conversation). In addition, the set will include Premium Mattel Hot Wheel Vehicles of the Tumbler, Batpod, and the Bat, as well as a 48 page hardcover book featuring production stills and behind the scenes images. However, if this collection of Batman decadence catches your eye, you will have to pay dearly for it as this Ultimate Collector’s Edition is priced at roughly $100.
Next, the soundtrack for Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Inside Llewyn Davis” finally gets a release date, September 17, 2013. If you’ve seen the trailers, you know how epic the film looks and how incredible the soundtrack appears to be. The soundtrack will feature songs performed by cast members Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, and more. I’m really looking forward to this.
Up next, in my opinion, the best film of 2013 so far, “Mud” gets a surprising Blu-ray and DVD release date, August 6, 2013. If you’ve yet to check this one out, pick-up a copy or watch it on demand, you won’t be disappointed, I promise.
Next up, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are reuniting once again with director Michael Winterbottom for a sequel to 2010′s most underrated film “The Trip.” The film is currently titled “The Trip to Italy” and is already underway. Having been picked up already by IFC Films for US distribution, “The Trip to Italy” should be set for release sometime in 2014.
Finally, check out this viral video for “Pacific Rim” starring Ron Perlman. I am hugely excited to check out “Pacific Rim” on Thursday, but to be honest, I am still a tad skeptical. However, this video does give me hope that Guillermo Del Toro’s big-budget blockbuster won’t be a bust.
That’ll do it for this edition of The Gushing Cinephile. Everyone have a great week and look forward to a few awesome reviews I have scheduled to post this week!
This isn’t Twilight and this isn’t True Blood, this is plausible vampirism? If ever such a thing could possibly exist. From Guillermo del Toro, comes his first full length feature, Cronos. You may be familiar with Hellboy and the instant classic that is Pan’s Labyrinth, but Cronos was the launchpad for one of the most visionary directors of our time. Cronos features Federico Luppi (The Devil’s Backbone), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), and Claudio Brook (The Exterminating Angel). Cronos has proven over time to be a worthy opponent against Bram Stoker’s numerous interpretations and Let the Right One In as the prime examples of vampirism on film.
Jesus Gris (Luppi) an antique dealer nearing the end of his time stumbles upon a golden scarab. When Gris accidentally triggers the scarabs mechanisms, it drives several tiny spikes into this body. Soon after, Gris begins to suffer symptoms that are similar to that of a vampire. When Angel (Perlman) purchases a statue from Gris which once held the scarab, he returns it to his uncle Dieter (Brook) without the life altering device. Dieter is nearing his death bed and has tried numerous times to retrieve the scarab. When Dieter uncovers that the scarab has been withheld from him, he becomes excessively angry and sends Angel on destructive missions to recover it. As time passes, the changes the scarab inflicts upon Gris become increasingly more visible, painful, and strange.
Cronos will seep into your brain and force you to ask questions you never thought you would ask yourself. Can blood ever be that appealing? Could I ever murder to sustain my own life? What if I didn’t have a choice? Del Toro takes the audience back to the world of fantasy and makes the realm seem real if only for a couple of hours. With Cronos, del Toro proves that simplicity is sometimes the best policy and that when turned into something not of this world, love and kindness remain, not just a monster. Luppi achieves great strides as a caring guardian while dealing with the monstrous traits exploding from his body and mind. Perlman delivers a performance that is worthy of the audiences sympathy, even though at times he is menacing. Overall, Cronos is a well acted and superbly directed film worthy of the most cold blooded individuals.
Cronos: 7.5 out of 10.