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Animation Documentary Features Live Action Movies

Claydream

Director – Marq Evans – 2021 – US – 96m

****

The rise and fall of stop-frame Claymation pioneer Will Vinton and the Portland, Oregon animation studio that bore his name – out on digital from Monday, November 21st

Will Vinton, founder of Will Vinton Studios and the man who made Claymation a US household name, is in the middle of legal proceedings between himself and Phil Knight, founder of multimillion shoe company Nike. How could these two very different individuals have come into contact with one another? Well, they had a number of things in common. Both were residents of Portland, Oregon who had built up businesses there based on a successful brand name.

In the sixties, while studying architecture at Berkeley, Vinton discovered Gaudi’s organic sculptured shapes which were to influence his animation work. Borrowing his dad’s 16mm camera, he started shooting anything and everything going on around campus. At an experimental film community he set up tabletop clay animation sessions, which would often turn out pornographic footage. He became fascinated by the magical process which imbued this material with life.

Closed Mondays

He built a studio in his house where in collaboration with artist and sculptor Bob Gardiner he made the short film Closed Mondays (1974) as an excuse to show off the techniques developed by the pair.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

All Is Vanity

Director – Marcos Mereles – 2021 – UK – Cert. 15 – 72m

*

A photographer, an intern, a model and a make-up artist unite for a photography shoot that goes horribly wrong – out in cinemas on Friday, October 14th

What went wrong, exactly,? asks the opening voice over. He’s referring to a day, a night and a day when a photographer (Sid Phoenix) with an unpaid intern (James Aroussi) in tow, a model (Isabelle Bonfrer) and a make-up artist (Rosie Steel) gather in a London studio to do a photographic fashion shoot for the All Is Vanity clothing brand. There’s a degree of tension and drama between the four. The photographer has the intern’s introductory letter on his phone and tells him he takes himself far too seriously: no-one wants to know his internal conflicts or motivation. He doesn’t have nice things to say about he model either, noting before she arrives that she can be a bit of a bitch.

It doesn’t bode well when she arrives late and holds up the shoot. The photographer likes the clothes and the décor in the studio that the brand has chosen, but doesn’t think the two work together. Something strange is going on because at one point the power goes off and the problem doesn’t appear to be blown fuses.… Read the rest

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Books

Sam Peckinpah: If They Move…Kill ’em

David Weddle, Faber & Faber £11.99 Pbk.

*****

Published for the first time ever in Britain, Weddle’s tome is a compelling read whether one’s familiar with the movies of Sam Peckinpah (among them The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, The Getaway) or not. Like the man’s uncompromisingly violent movies, this lovingly penned sketch never soft soaps its subject. It’s as strong on roots and early upbringing as on final career years. The latter saw first booze and then (as the drug became increasingly available in Hollywood circles) cocaine addle Peckinpah’s ability to make coherent movies; ironically, the atrocious Convoy turned out his biggest box office hit.

Peckinpah’s numerous battles with the major Studios are documented in detail. Early efforts like Major Dundee is shown as a half-scripted mess that the director liked to cite untruthfully as ruined by the studio, but others like Noon Wine (a now destroyed ABC TV drama), his arguable masterpiece The Wild Bunch and late contender Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid are pulled from the wreckage and intelligently defended as great art. At the same time, Peckinpah’s often unfairly vicious treatment of technicians on the set and friends and family (including three wives) in life leave a nasty taste in the mouth.… Read the rest