Friday, May 8, 2009

Robert Smigel - TV Funhouse

Known as a comedy writer for television and films, as well as for his canine alter ego (Triumph - the Insult Comic Dog) Robert Smigel also created some rather funny cartoon shorts first for Saturday Night Live's TV Funhouse segments and then he continued the cartoon chicanery by incorporating real animals, actors and puppets along with the animation on the criminally short lived series of the same name on Comedy Central.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Big Shave (1967) – early Martin Scorsese short

Martin Scorsese created this short film as a final project while at N.Y.U. in 1967. At an early place in his film making career, some very specific styles and themes are playing out on screen; such as multiple angle and repeated shots of action, pairing music that often seems incongruently linked to the scene unfolding or the unexpected outbursts of searing violence, which are recognizable in later Scorsese films.

Often interpreted as a gory indictment of the United States involvement in the war in Viet Nam, this film also arrived chronologically at a time when Hollywood had just opened the floodgates of bloody visual carnage in films such as Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and further evidenced a few years later in Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch (1969). If you're a fan of Martin Scorsese's films, The Big Shave provides some illumination into his early creative machinations and methods.