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Quickband presents
Short 6: Insanity (1999)

"Everything's OK."
- A lying little hamster

Review By: Robert Mandel   
Published: May 07, 2000

Stars: Franky
Other Stars: Michael Bay, Billy Bob Thorton, Liv Tyler, Bruce Willis
Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (some violence, some sexual situations, language)
Run Time: approx. 02h:00m:00s
Release Date: October 26, 1999
UPC: 085393679927
Genre: compilation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- B+CC+ A-

DVD Review

Section 1: MARQUEE

I. The Bad Plant (NA/133:1/FF/DS2.0/03m:20s): Bill the plant plots against a cow, a hill, a house, and his owner, Eloisa McGill. This includes black and white sketched storyboards arranged with the narration, production notes, and full-length director's commentary by UCLA student, Amy Winfrey. The 3D animation was created by using 3D Studio Max, and items she found with interesting tectures and patterns such as a placemat.

II. Blue City (NA/1.85:1/WS/OAR/DS2.0/12m:30s): A suicidal man, a boy and two car thieves are inexplicably linked by fate.This section includes the trailer for the long awaited The Shawshank Redemption, production notes, and full-length commentary by director David Birdsell. The 35mm film short received over 11 "Best of" awards at festivals around the world after first appearing at Robert Redford's Sundance Festival.

III. Billy's Balloon (NA/1.33:1/FF/OAR/DS2.0/08m:00s) This may be the most sickening, tasteless, repetitive, and disturbingly funny thing I've seen since Trilogy of Terror. I will never look at a balloon the sameagain, and the Balloon Makers of America may arise to crush director Don Hertzfeldt, and his anti-balloon sentiments. Show this not to your children, for fear shall arise from their bosoms upward and throttle their little brains. Be scared, be very scared, indeed.In fact, Mr. Hertzfeldt, cult animator and anti-balloon propagandist, may have run scared, leaving Frank Chindamo (who?) to do the semi-annoying yet poignant full-length commentary instead. The production notes point out that this little evil ditty won the 1999 Sundance Film Festival Jury Award for best short film. Another of the anti-balloonist's works, Lily and Jim, can be found on Short: 4. And guys, don't overuse the chip eating!

IV. El Banquete (NA/1.85:1/WS/OAR/DS2.0/19m:00s): Sorry, that moment when reality meets this slice of Salvador Dali, directed by Evarado Gout, doesn't do it for me.

Section 2: HELLO, DALI

I. Bovine Vendetta (NA/1.33:1/FF/OAR/DS5.1/02m:33s): Director Bob Judd sends us on an acid flashback with bad teeth, crawling child, flap-winged flies, and a Clutch Cargo, Conan Obrien-like talking cow spewing the anti-social nonsense of none other than convicted mass murderer Charles Manson, around the time his last reprieve. Judd, who created this short while in school, is—not to our surprise—a lipsync animator on Southpark. Meant to poke fun at the pop-icon status murderers like Manson have achieved in present day America, Judd's vision is simultaneously awkwardly amusing and frighteningly annoying. Winner of Best Experimental Short at our very own Chicago Film Festival, Salvador might have liked this one, but I'm filing this puppy into the "Whatever" or "I'm really artsy-fartsy and I'm going to prove it to you no matter that you'll never be able to buy back the time you wasted watching even if you're rich" category. Yes, I just made that up. Shoo fly. (Note: Judd's commentary can only be heard if you remotely switch to the DS2.0 track.)

Followed by another very cool Quickband commercial for Circuit DVD Magazine.

I. Midnight Dance (NA/1.33:1/FF/OAR/DD5.1/06m:18s): This may be the crown jewel of the entire disc (although I'm not through yet), and certainly worth the price of admission. It is hard to believe that chalk colored animation with an unusual reliance on the gray scale can be so visually stunning, but one gets the feeling of a blue filtered mixture between the Tim Burton classic A Nightmare before Christmas and his darkly amusing Sleepy Hollow. The waltz of the skeletons, Danse Macabre, takes place at midnight in a cemetery that becomes full of life as the violinist begins to play. There is no information given as to the film's accomplishments, but the stylization and incredible movement earn this reviewer's highest praise. It is a lifting, soaring, dancing masterpiece of light and shadow, artfully creating collaboration between music and action. The only downfall was due to my disappointment not having a commentary track included with director John McCloskey. Racklefrackle. (Note: no clock time is available for this track)

Section 3: Reality

One of the two Timex commercials also on the Circuit:3 DVD. Hmm, not to Oliver Stone, but do I smell a conspiracy? Is this the last time Timex made a commercial or what? Do they even make Timex watches anymore? I guess they do (go to http:www.timex.com!)

I. Franky Goes to Hollywood: A Dogumentary (NA/1.33:1/FF/OAR/DS2.0/12m:00s): Directed by Brendan Kelly, we follow the newly crowned king of Hollywood, Franky the dog, who has been catapulted into the glamourous life of high-price hotels, restaurants, and limousines after winning a part in Michael Bay's Armageddon by default after the lead mastiff died of a heartattack. We follow Franky through his rigorous training, actor-to-actor advice from Billy Ray Thorton, the purchase of his chick-magnet mobile, his big action scenes, and the afterglow of success with his hot girlfriend, Alison Armitage. This piece is a tremendous amount of tongue-in-cheek fun with heightened by cameos of Michael Bay, Billy Ray Thornton, Alison Armitage, Eddie Griffin, Liv Tyler, Steve Buscemi, Jerry Bruuckheimer, Bruce Willis, and others). While there is no director's commentary, there is the shocking production note revelation that the Kelly's runt of a dog wsa paid $20,000 to attack a doll. It's a good thing that Armageddon made so much damned money, otherwise Bruckenheimer would have had a hard time explaining Pentagon-like expenses such as this. Yeah, right.

The other Timex commercial. Drats.

DVD commercial by Warner Bros. trumpeting the Matrix as the "DVD of the millenium." I guess I better take mine out of the plastic in the next 2 weeks!

II. Black Coffee (NA/1.33:1/FF/OAR/DS5.1/13m:00s): Reality may not be the best square category to fit this round peg of a sexy, comical short, which gave me the sense of watching a commercial or the french version of an MTV short. What happens when you go away to an exotic locale with a "Sexsi" woman you just me on a gameshow? Almost as much excitement as occurs on the trip home. I was amused by this little farce, but I felt it lacked some ingredient to make me buy into it. Directed by Dirk Beilien. (no time indication). Audio pops

Section 4: Sound Bit

More Timex!

I. 60 Channels (NA/1.66:1/WS/OAR/DS5.1/13m:00s): The DD5.1 is an overdub by KCRW DJ Garth Trinidad as promo for The Angel, a Los Angeles DJ, sound mixer and founder of 60 Channels, born in Brooklyn, studied in London, and arrived in the mecca of everything bizarre, LA. "Hip hop, trip hop meets electronic bass," the narrator calls The Angel's and 60 Channels' new album: Give Me Your Love for "beat fanatics" and those who like eclectic music. Switch to the DS2.0 track to hear the actual short documentary. This appears to be an interesting group of people with an original and upbeat sounding music mixes. Angel has also added her touch to films such as Gridlock'd, Til There Was You, and Playing God.

Timex must be stopped! (They must be paying a pretty penny, eh?)

Section 5: MINUTES

I. Me & Will (NA/1.85:1/WS/OAR/DS2.0/7m:00s): A Quickbands produced interview with Sherrie Rose and Melissa Behr about the mad passion they had for the near impossible making of their movie, Insanity. From getting Keanu Reeve's band Dogstar at the Viper Room in the movie by accident (while paying parking meters, getting tattoos, moving the equipment and props, and running back to the bar to try to act), to losing their line producer and art department three days before shooting. I guess I'll have to track this movie down to find out what this is all about.

Section 6: JUNKDRAWER

I. Opening movie (NA/1.33:1/FF/OAR/DS2.0/34s)
II. Fire (NA/1.33:1/FF/OAR/DS2.0/02m:12s)
III. Fire / asleep (NA/1.33:1/FF/OAR/DS2.0/)
IV. Fire asleep with intruder (NA/1.33:1/FF/OAR/DS2.0/)
V. Fire reflections (NA/1.33:1/FF/OAR/DS2.0/)
VI. Camp Fire (NA/1.33:1/FF/OAR/DS2.0/)


Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyesyes
Anamorphicnon/a


Image Transfer Review: Well, to put a label on this disc is to describe a civilization with a single word or phrase. No, there are no anamorphic transfers. No, many of the film school quality sources are not of the highest quality. Yes, this disc looks better on my 4:3 rear projection television than it does on a 16:9 front projection system played through a progressive scan player. Is this a reference disc in terms of transfer? No. Damn.

Image Transfer Grade: C

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Again, there are a variety of mixes throughout, and to noone's surprise the DD5.1 mixes win out over any of the DS2.0's. However, none of these mixes are reference quality either, but the mixes for The Midnight Dance and 60 Channels are the most vibrant, making the most use of the discrete channeling available in the DD5.1 mode.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 0 cues and remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Shawshank Redemption, The Matrix, Circuit
1 TV Spots/Teasers
Production Notes
4 Feature/Episode commentaries by various (see above)
Packaging: Snapper
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The main menu is not as interesting nor as long as Circuit:3, and if left on too long may drive you insane, especially if you're real close anyway. Still, with that said, it's better than plenty of the thoughtless, sedentary DVD menus I've seen. But you have to remember there are menus inside of menus inside of menus on these discs, and they get more interesting as you get along, not to mention the rooster on the terlet by which the credits roll. As for the other menus, I think it was Plato who said, "There is something scary about hamsters." Karl Jung followed this sentiment up a couple millennia later with, "Innately, we seek solace from hamsters." Seriously, the folks at Quickband appear to take pains at creating new and interesting menus and lead-ins to surround their strange, eclectic but interesting content. Although I despise strangeness for strangeness' sake, I really don't get that feeling much here, more of an odd sense of humor that reflects my own comic perversity. Regardless, we get production notes on nearly every entry and director's commentary on many as well.

Extras Grade: A-

 

Final Comments

Short (and its sister publication Circuit) encapsulate everything that is great about DVD. Whether its putting lots of content on a single disc, or its ability to give the artist a voice unknown before, or to simply have fun with your consumer through thoughtfulness and humor in the every detail of your product's presentation. Sign up for a subscription at Quickband's website.

 


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