a month at entropy

Entropy Magazine is the coolest place on the internet, and it’s been going on for about a month. I’ve contributed four column articles about short films, which I’ll link here:

Fathoms

Dark Noir

Posthuman

The Backwater Gospel

What I’ve been doing is talking about short animated films, and there are a few reasons why. I love animation. I love film. It really is that simple, but the reason I chose short films is because it’s something the reader can experience right then and there. Doing normal film reviews leads to a separation, wherein you can read the review, go see the movie, come back and agree or disagree. Here that happens all at once, and most of the films I’ll be writing about are going to be under ten minutes [though Fathoms is about twenty].

I’m also a part of an ongoing conversation about the aesthetics of videogames.

Part I

Part II

And then some editor lists:

Best films

Best videogame villains

Unfinished books

And that’s all I’ve been a part of so far. I’ll be doing a new short film every week, and then every fifth week will be an off day. Other than that, there will be various other posts, including the weekend lists. But be sure to check out other posts on the site. Some way smarter people than me are writing there and are well worth checking out.

ANyrate, that’s it for now.

things to talk about

Many things, as it turns out, but I’ll probably be brief, because that’s just how I am.

First and most importantly: Entropy Magazine has launched! There’s seriously so much great content on there, and though I’m an editor, I can’t really take credit for any of it, though I did write about Fathoms by Joe Russ in my weekly column about short films.

I chose to write about short films because it seems like no one ever does, and because I wanted to engage with people about such a vibrant and awesome artform. It’s largely ignored, I think, but I’m hoping writing about it every week will grab some attention. So talk to me in the comments there. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Seriously though, there’s so much great content on Entropy. I’d link it all, but that would take too much time, so I’m just going to keep telling you to go to the website and enjoy the brilliance there.

Kyle Muntz, friend and possible genius, was interviewed by Literary Orphans today too. He talks about his own writing and video games, which I’ll probably make a post about soonishly.

My brother was on the front page of the Pioneer Press website today:

My first and possibly only reading ever will be this Saturday at The Beat Coffeehouse in Uptown. J Alexander Genz will be performing and Anthony Jacques arranged the whole thing.

And, finally, Twilight of the Wolves is officially released on Friday, but you can get some copies early on amazon. I’m hoping to have them sell out before the release, because that’d humor me.

But, yeah, not much else. Check out Entropy and buy my book!

film lists

This is going around the social media, and while I shared one list, I think I’m going to dump a few more here. I’m going to make some rules, though. Each list will focus on a different continent, with the exclusion of Africa, Australia, and Antarctica because I’ve not seen enough films from those continents to have any real opinion. The other thing is that I’ll only name each director once, though I’ll probably cheat and include too many films by each director under the same post. Also, I think I’ll count Russia as Europe because whatever. The Asian list is identical to the original one I made, but without the Russian films. It’s mostly stuff made in my lifetime, which means it’s missing a lot of great older Japanese films, but that’s the way it goes. Also, still missing a lot of awesome Taiwanese film.

But, yeah, let’s begin?

Asian

  1. In the Mood for Love & 2046 – Wong Kar Wai
  2. 3-Iron – Kim Ki-duk
  3. Last Life in the Universe – Pen Ek-Ratanaruang
  4. The Good, The Bad, The Weird – Kim Ji-woon
  5. Ran – Akira Kurosawa
  6. Dolls/Sonatine/Zatoichi – Takeshi Kitano
  7. To Live/Hero – Zhang Yimou
  8. Farewell, My Concubine – Chen Kaige
  9. Fist of Legend – no idea who actually directs it, but it’s all about Jet Li
  10. Legend of Drunken Master – again, no idea about the director, so Jackie Chan
  11. I’m a Cyborg but That’s OK – Park Chan-wook
  12. The Chaser – Kim Yoon-seok
  13. Infernal Affairs – Andrew Lau and Alan Mak
  14. Pulse/Cure – Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  15. Memories of Murder – Bong Joon-ho

Europe

  1. Hiroshima, Mon Amour – Alain Resnais
  2. The Passion of Joan of Arc – Carl Dreyer
  3. The Return – Andrey Zvyagintsev
  4. The Russian Ark – Alexander Sokurov
  5. Solaris/Stalker – Andrei Tarkovsky
  6. Persona – Ingmar Bergman
  7. Une Femme est une Femme/Pierrot le Fou – Jean-Luc Godard
  8. Le Belle et la Bete – Jean Cocteau
  9. Pan’s Labyrinth – Guillermo Del Toro
  10. Talk to Her/Volver – Pedro Almodovar
  11. Reprise/Oslo, August 31st – Joachim Trier
  12. Hunger/Shame – Steve McQueen
  13. La  Double Vie de Veronique/Trois Couleurs – Krzyzstof Kieslowski
  14. In Bruges – Martin McDonagh
  15. Nights of Cabiria/La Dolce Vita/8 1/2 – Federico Fellini

Okay, so Europe is too hard to do properly, and I really only touched the very surface. Didn’t even get to Germany or most of eastern europe, or even much of anywhere. Should’ve done this by country. Should’ve done all of the lists by country, but so it goes.

North America

  1. Tree of Life/The New World/Badlands – Terrence Malick
  2. Upstream Color – Shane Carruth
  3. The Fountain/Requiem for a Dream – Darren Aronofsky
  4. Post Tenebras Lux – Carlos Reygadas
  5. Videodrome/Eastern Promises – David Cronenberg
  6. The Thing – John Carpenter
  7. Memento – Christopher Nolan
  8. Synechdoche, New York – Charlie Kaufman
  9. The Fall – Tarsem Singh
  10. The Third Man – Carol Reed
  11. Magnolia/There Will Be Blood – Paul Thomas Anderson
  12. O Brother Where Art Thou? – The Coen Brothers
  13. Y tu Mama Tambien – Alfonso Cuaron
  14. Apocalypse Now – Francis Ford Coppola
  15. The Game/Seven/Fight Club – David Fincher

So, doing North America isn’t as difficult as Europe, but it presents its own problems, since I really like Mexican and american cinema. Canadian film is mostly unknown to me, oddly enough.

I decided not to include South America, because in the writing I realised my knowledge of South American cinema is pretty poor, but I like what’s been happening there in recent years, so send suggestions along. I’ve seen a lot recently, but they’ve all been one off films that I can’t remember the name of.

Also, because almost none of the films mentioned are comedies or horror, I decided to include special lists. Also, these will be more anglo-centric because I almost always forget foreign language comedies. Also, I can’t remember any old comedies, so this will mostly be newer stuff.

Comedies

  1. Withnail & I – Bruce Robinson
  2. Dumb and Dumber – The Farrelly Brothers
  3. Tommy Boy – Peter Segal
  4. Amelie/Delicatessen – Jean-Pierre Jeunet
  5. Woody Allen
  6. Adaptation – Spike Jonze
  7. Dr Strangelove – Stanley Kubrick
  8. Life of Brian/Quest for the Holy Grail – Monty Python
  9. Groundhog Day/Ghostbusters – Harold Ramis
  10. Be Kind Rewind/The Science of Sleep – Michel Gondry
  11. Rushmore/Royal Tenenbaums/Life Aquatic/Darjeeling Limited – Wes Anderson
  12. Submarine – Richard Ayoade
  13. Zoolander – Ben Stiller
  14. Mel Brooks
  15. The Marx Brothers

Horror

  1. Alien – Ridley Scott
  2. Diabolique – Henri-Georges Clouzot
  3. Audition – Takashi Miike
  4. [Rec] – Jaume Balaguero
  5. Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Tobe Hooper
  6. Them – David Moreau & Xavier Palud
  7. The Hills Have Eyes – Alexandre Aja
  8. Night of the Living Dead – George Romero
  9. The Shining – Stanley Kubrick
  10. Jaws – Steven Spielberg
  11. Silence of the Lambs – Jonathan Demme
  12. The Exorcist – William Friedkin
  13. Gojira – Ishiro Honda
  14. Let the Right One In – Tomas Alfredson
  15. 28 Days Later/Sunshine – Danny Boyle

And then this list is going to be all kinds of cheating.

Animated

  1. Hayao Miyazaki
  2. Perfect Blue/Tokyo Godfathers – Satoshi Kon
  3. Children Who Chase Lost Voices – Makoto Shinkai
  4. The Sky Crawlers – Mamoru Oshii
  5. Grave of the Fireflies – Isao Takahata
  6. Disney 1937-1940/1967-1981/1992-2000
  7. Pixar, with a few exceptions
  8. Dreamworks, with several exceptions
  9. The Iron Giant – Brad Bird
  10. Fantastic Mr Fox – Wes Anderson
  11. South Park – Trey Parker & Matt Stone
  12. Waking Life/A Scanner Darkly – Richard Linklater
  13. Ice Age – Chris Wedge & Carlos Saldanha
  14. Persopolis – Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Parannoud
  15. The Brave Little Toaster – Jerry Rees

I know it’s not fair to group studios together that way, but it’s the only way to even try to make this list.