Showing posts with the label Short

Pucca, Season 2, 3 Christmas episodes (2006)

I came across this searching through Amazon's instant view options (having pretty much exhausted Netflix last Christmas), and selected it out of sheer curiosity. I feel like I've seen this referenced before, but had absolutely no clue what it was when I watched it. Honestly, I don't think I even bothered reading the description first.

After, I hopped over to Wikipedia to grab some context. Apparantly, this was a web series about a village of ninja. The animation's highly stylized; I guess the characters are supposed to be cute.

While I didn't really find them all that adorable, I really enjoyed the comedy, especially in the first of the three episodes.

I should mention the episodes are extremely short - about eight minutes each - meaning three together come out to about the equivalent of a half hour show (minus comercials, of course).

The first, "Tis The Season For Revenge", is by far the best, re-imaging Santa as a repentant ninja. His ex-partner has re…

Jack Frost (1934)

Yet another short on a collection we found for next to nothing on Amazon. Going in, I didn't know what to expect from this eight minute cartoon about a young bear ignoring advice about staying in for winter, but I was really quite smitten.

The character of Jack Frost is presented as sort of a nature spirit who shows up to paint the changing season and warn all the animals it's time to get in out of the cold. He warns the main character - the aforementioned bear - about Old Man Winter, but the bear's convinced his coat of fur is more than enough to keep him safe. Long story short, Old Man Winter (personified as a creepy ice-man) is a bit tougher than the bear was expecting.

It's not particularly complicated, but it's my favorite of these eight minute shorts so far. Not surprisingly, it's readily available on YouTube, as the embed below suggests. Once again, if you're no fan of old cartoons, this isn't for you.

For those that are, it's kind of awesom…

1950s Hymnalogues

I've never heard of a hymnalogue before, but apparently back in the stupid ages, these were sing-a-long video recordings with words superimposed over them. I had an opportunity to subject myself to a pair of these, one for "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and the other for "O Come All Ye Faithful."

To call these uninspired feels like an understatement. These are black holes in which inspiration is sucked then never seen again. They're vapid, boring, and pointless videos. Hey, geniuses in the 50's: you know what the advantage is of video? That it allows things to MOVE. So, next time, why not recording something that isn't standing still. Just a thought.

The audio recordings weren't bad, but neither were they impressive. Just generic, uninteresting versions of the songs.

Don't believe me? Have a look for yourself. I can't find a video of Bethlehem, but here's O Come All Ye Faithful, for your viewing "enjoyment."

Christmas Comes but Once a Year (1936)

I know I've seen this eight minute short from Fleischer Studios before. It's relatively simple in concept: a bunch of orphans' Christmas is ruined until Grampy (one of Fleischer's reoccurring characters) breaks into their kitchen, transforms a bunch of stuff into toys, then disguises himself as Santa Claus to hand out the gifts.

It's a simple concept, but the execution was ahead of its time. Like Grampy, Fleischer Studios invented some tricks of their own. Half a century before computer effects, they were developing innovative methods to create the illusion of 3D environments, as evidenced in the opening shot.

Like most old cartoons, if you're not interested in animation and its history, you won't find much to like here. If, however, you appreciate the art form, this is a great piece.

Old Spice MANta Claus

We're not the only ones in the holiday spirit.

This week, The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (spokesperson/actor/action hero Isaiah Mustafa) is giving away 7 billion holiday gifts on Youtube.

Click here:
for the full playlists with each day's announcements.

Here's a sampling:

Russia, Switzerland, Billings Montana, women named Lorraine and Matt Lauer also already have their gifts. Do you?

You're Welcome.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1948)

Note the year of release - this isn't the famous Rankin/Bass stop-motion special, but rather a short directed by Max Fleischer. It's only about 8 minutes long, and it's an earlier adaptation of the song.

I've known for a while that there were multiple versions of Rudolph out there, but somehow I missed that this was directed by Fleischer. If you're not a big fan of animation, he's the guy responsible for the Popeye cartoons, as well as the extremely influential Superman animated shorts.

His take on Rudolph is, if nothing else, extremely bizarre. The story starts with Rudolph shunned for his nose by his peers, as you'd expect. What I didn't expect was the level of anthropomorphism used. These Reindeer walk upright, live in houses, and speak. The coach's whistle in the Rankin/Bass special seems realistic in comparison.

In fact, Santa's the only human in the short. He comes across Rudolph when he's dropping off gifts in his town then enlists h…

The Sith who Stole Christmas

I've seen the Star Wars Holiday Special. Twice.

I've heard the 1980 album, Christmas in the Stars more times than anyone should have to.

This is the direction they should have gone instead.

Lobo's Paramilitary Christmas (2005?)

This one isn't an official release: instead, it was put together as a fan video and released on YouTube. At thirteen minutes, it's pretty substantial, and the production values are pretty solid, all things considered.

I've never read the comic this was based on, but it's a pretty safe bet they adapted it more or less faithfully. This is more or less exactly what it should be. I'm not really sure that's a good thing, though.

Whether or not you should press play comes down to whether you like Lobo. Personally... I don't, at least not when he's the protagonist. As a supporting character, he can be a lot of fun, but on his own, I find the attempt to shock and repulse me kind of tedious.

That said, I can understand the appeal of twisted humor. If you're a fan of the character, you'll want to check this out: it's probably the closest thing you'll get to a movie for a long, long time.

If you don't know who Lobo is or what I'm talk…

Simon's Cat in 'Santa Claws'

This pretty much just tells it like it is.  At two minutes and change, you can't lose.

Special thanks to Beth for pointing this out.

Prep and Landing: Operation Secret Santa (2010)

This is a BRAND SHINY NEW Prep and Landing short.  It's only about 7 minutes, but it's 7 minutes of pure win. If you didn't see Prep and Landing last year, you missed the best new Christmas special probably for decades.

It's from Disney, now that they've had a heart and charm upgrade courtesy of Pixar.  What else would you expect? This new addition to the world introduces Betty White as Mrs. Claus, and she's got a special mission for our favorite Prep and Landing team.

So see the original first, and then add to your cheer with Prep and Landing: Operation Secret Santa.

Streaming on both Hulu and

The Spirit of Christmas: Frosty Vs. Jesus (1992) and The Spirit of Christmas: Santa Vs. Jesus (1995)

I'm not sure whether the titles for these shorts were inspired by the 1950 Bell presentation, "The Spirit of Christmas," but given Parker and Stone's love of puppetry, I can't rule it out.

If you're not familiar with these shorts, you are familiar with their legacy: cut out of construction paper, these are the first two South Park shorts.

As a show, I have conflicted feelings about South Park.  On one hand, I've seen some episodes I absolutely love.  At its best, the show is clever, cunning, and subversive in a way that's both original and shocking.  The thing is, whenever I've tried getting into the series in any serious depth, I always stumble across an episode containing images or ideas I can't stomach.  The fact they manage to disturb or offend me using what amount to paper cutouts is something the show should be commended for.  Still, it limits my interest.

At any rate, while I've never gotten too involved with the series, I love thes…

Rudolph, sort of

This is video is freaking hypnotic.  Thanks to Nils for the heads up.

The Stranger

Good God.  This mash-up from Gratuitous Art Films goes too far.  And yet, it goes there with such style, such grace, that it's impossible not to admire the twisted brilliance that made this:

A new classic? Perhaps.

A Holiday Melody

Fair warning: some of the language in this song might not be appropriate for all occasions:

I think this little ditty sums up the spirit of holidays better than just about anything I can imagine.

Special thanks to Beth for the heads up.

Santa Is Coming

The similarities between this video from Gratuitous Art Films and my nightmares over the past week are simply too numerous to be dismissed as coincidence.

Thanks to Gratuitous Art Films for sharing.

Santa Claus (1898)

I don't know how to classify this - technically, it's a movie.  In fact, it's one of the first movies ever made.  But it turns out that back in 1898, they didn't expect movies to have three-hour run times.

This one, for instance, clocks in at a minute and change.

There's no real story, per se.  The short film shows some kids getting tucked into bed, we see Santa show up (featuring some early special effects), he leaves some gifts, and he's on his way.

It's interesting to see an early version of Santa, sporting an outfit - and waistline - more reminiscent of his origins as a bishop than his current incarnation as a Coke-drinking, cookie-scarfing, overweight elf.

Some of the effects are also intriguing.  To simulate the lights being dimmed, they use a curtain that covers most of the set.  I find it fascinating to look at movies from when they were still incorporating stage techniques.  You get the sense that this was directed more like a puppet show or magic …