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Tuesday, Jun 15, 2010
After six years and 68 re-enactments, the popular internet shorts take a break.

Chances are, at some point in the last couple of years, you have seen animated rabbits re-enact at least one famous movie in thirty seconds. This is because of Jennifer Shiman. In 2004, the independent animator’s website, angryalien.com, already had novel, interactive Flash-animated shorts such as Pigeon Kam, which showed the world through the eyes of a pigeon, and Amy’s Diary, a re-telling of a child’s diary. It was just a tiny blip on the internet’s radar until she debuted a new feature, The Exorcist, as re-enacted by bunnies in 30 seconds. Slowly but surely, the success of this short, and its hilarious follow-ups of Jaws, The Shining, and most notably, Titanic, led to international attention. Spotlighted on CNN and the Today show, the “buns”, as Shiman lovingly refers to them, garnered praise and requests from internet visitors from all over the world.


This led to a deal with Starz, who got exclusive first access to newer send-ups of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Sixteen Candles, No Country for Old Men, March of the Penguins, and others, which they aired on their website and during airings of the original movies on their cable network. In 2005, the Titanic short was included as a bonus feature of the 1997 movie’s four-disc DVD re-release. As her website won Webby awards for Online Animation and the people’s choice, Shiman denied rumors that the buns would move on to their own TV series or movie, saying that she hardly had the time. Still, the bunnies became quite an internet presence, with annual animated holiday “cards” featured on the website and official Twitter and Facebook accounts.


Now after six years and 68 re-enactments, Shiman announced that the upcoming Evil Dead II short would be the bunnies last, but “Never say never; we may be back some day with our interpretation of more movies.” Stating that her partnership with Starz had ended, she left no reasons as to why, but revealed that she would continue work on other projects. Though this could start rumors about an upcoming TV special or series, all bunnies fans can do for now is see most of their work on the “30-Second Bunnies Theatre Collectible DVD”, available at Amazon.com.



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Thursday, May 6, 2010

A little less than a year ago, PopMatters columnist Rob Horning eloquently revisited “the listening conditions of (his) 11-year-old self” in a piece that celebrated the simple pleasures of playing records. While the surge in vinyl interest has these days surfaced in more mainstream media trend pieces than we can count, it’s reassuring that people are buying and enjoying music—and are even frequenting their neighborhood’s independent record stores.


Director John Lyle doesn’t attempt to hide his authentic appreciation for LPs in a 90-minute “musicmentary” he calls To Have & To Hold: A Film About Vinyl Records. Lyle’s film is still in the production stage, but its interviews with musicians, collectors, label chieftains (such as Bruce Lundvall of Blue Note), and more will likely prove to be an enriching experience—like dropping the needle on your all-time favorite record.



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Thursday, Apr 15, 2010
by PopMatters Staff



To celebrate the release of AK 100 and the 100th anniversary of Akira Kurosawa’s birth, Image Entertainment has provided PopMatters with these exclusive Kurosawa stills from films never before released on home video, including The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail (1945), The Most Beautiful (1944), Sanshiro Sugata (1943), and Sanshiro Sugata, Part II (1944).


Product details from Image: The creator of such timeless masterpieces as Rashomon, Ikiru, Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, and High and Low, Akira Kurosawa is one of the most influential and beloved filmmakers who ever lived — and for many the greatest artist the medium has known. Now, on the occasion of the centenary of his birth, the Criterion Collection is proud to present this deluxe set celebrating his astonishing career. Featuring 25 of the films he made over the course of his 50 years in movies — from samurai epics to postwar noirs to Shakespeare adaptations — AK 100 is the most complete set of his works ever released in this country, and includes four rare films that have never been available for home video.


Images after the jump…


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Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010

For a truly geeked-out experiment that Dublab has deemed Secondhand Sureshots, two filmmakers followed producers J-Rocc, Daedelus, Nobody, and Ras G on a thrift store trip for dollar vinyl. Directors Bryan “Morpho” Younce and Mark “Frosty” McNeil laid out a specific plan: the West Coast crate-diggers would each build a beat using no more than five “dollar bin” albums (no instruments, no additional source material), pulling drum breaks, strings, vocals, etc., strictly from these records. While the musical results are a bold, kaleidoscopic success, we’re sure none of these guys are really smitten with the idea of being filmed as they’re chopping samples. The mini-documentary, available from Stones Throw, is enlightening and often humorous. It’s packaged with a CD of the finished beats, and both discs offer lots of bonus stuff. Check the trailer and download J-Rocc’s Secondhand Sureshots podcast.



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Monday, Apr 12, 2010

Ah, the DVD commentary track. It can enhance the viewing experience, highlighting artistic subtleties that deserve to be appreciated. It can also just be kind of distracting. Either way, the commentary will always include soft-speaking voices recounting cute anecdotes from production and how so-and-so was such a pleasure to work with. The people over College Humor went a little farther with this and came up with a film that’s entirely DVD commentary.



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