Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Wholphin No. 5

Wholphin is a "DVD magazine of rare and unseen short films" put out by McSweeney's. You can buy the DVDs individually or you can purchase a subscription. They come out quarterly and usually have a dozen or so short films. I received No. 5 in the mail recently as the first one of my year-long subscription (a wedding gift from my beloved sister and brother-in-law). Upon viewing this, I realized I need to purchase the 4 previous issues and also that 4 times a year isn't nearly enough because the whole DVD was viewed within the span of a couple of days.

While all of the shorts on No. 5 were fantastic, there were a couple that really stood out. Death To The Tinman is the first one on the DVD and it's one of my favorites. It's a black and white narrative about a guy named Bill who slowly replaces various body parts with metal, becoming a strange cyborg that still retains all brain functions. Meanwhile, all of his previous body parts are gathered together and composed into the Meat Puppet, a body that looks just like Bill, but without a brain or eyes. Obviously, his girlfriend wants to be with the Meat Puppet instead of his tin version, and thus forms a bizarre love triangle.

House Hunting was another good short story. It stars Paul Rudd and Zooey Deschanel as newlyweds who are out house hunting. Their real estate agent is a strange, strange man and the three of them have all sorts of issues. I'm not sure if this would have as much appeal if it wasn't for the casting but regardless, it's still interesting.

Piece By Piece is a short documentary about speed-cubing. For the uninitiated, speed-cubing refers to people who complete Rubik's Cubes as fast as possible. There are all sorts of characters in this short from young schoolchildren to tattooed couples. This was one of my favorite docs on the DVD.

There were so many other great shorts on No. 5, it's hard to talk about them all. There was the really bizarre Echos Der Buchrucken Parts I & III from Spanish filmmaker Cesar Velasco Broca and there was the animated Chonto, a story about a burned out rock star who acquires a monkey he names Chonto. There's docs about drunk bees, the Sudan Liberation Army, the Western Shoshones, and tree-hanger John "Kung Fu" Wang. This is a great collection of short films and I look forward to getting more of them. There's something on here for everyone, so I highly doubt anyone could be disappointed with this.

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