In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb mv5bnda4ymmwmgity2mzos00odjilthmzdetyza5ngu4zjq5yjhixkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjk5nda3otk . v1 sy1000 cr0 0 674 1000 al

Geostorm

God knows how many millions of dollars and hours of manpower went into making and remaking Geostorm but it turns out to have been all…

Thumb same kind of different as me

Same Kind of Different as Me

It can be hard to disagree with the heart and events of this true tale, except for when the movie reveals itself to be mighty…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Journal Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives
Primary strange beasts sfif 2017

Short Films in Focus: "Strange Beasts"

I admit “Strange Beasts” had me fooled at first. Maybe writing that is robbing you of the same experience I had with it, but the experience of being fooled is part of what makes the film work. Tricking the audience, though, is not the reason for its existence. “Strange Beasts” has a lot to say and it does so in a very clever, mischievous way that—and I realize I say this a lot about these shorts—I wish it were longer. 

The film starts out as a convincing infomercial on a computer product that creates virtual creatures as pets. We watch a demonstrator tap on some graphics that appear to be floating on his desk. He pushes some buttons and a small cat-sized beast appears on his table that he can play with. He can throw virtual balls around the house for the creature to fetch and even take it out for a walk. How far can this concept go? The second half of the film explores the idea even further until it reaches its dark conclusion. 

Advertisement

Director Magali Barbé, who is a visual effects designer for blockbusters (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” being just one), has a lot of fun with the infomercial aspect of her film and knows exactly when to reveal the absurdity of her concept. By the end, she makes the case that perhaps this idea is not absurd, but perilously close to our current reality. It’s just the means to accomplish having a strange beast in your house that is the weird part that would make most people take pause.

By now, we have all gotten used to seeing people walking down the streets, eyes forward, having one-sided conversations. I still find myself looking for the earpieces on these people, just in case. We’re getting very close to where “Strange Beasts” is coming from and if one were to show someone the first couple minutes of this film, there is no question the viewer would think to themselves “I want that.” I happen to own one of those Star Wars BB-8 Sheero toys. It’s a cool little gizmo and has a fun personality. Yet when it sits on its charger, every once in a while its head will turn, completely unmotivated. Cute, but also creepy. A strange beast indeed. 

Strange Beasts from Magali Barbé on Vimeo.

Popular Blog Posts

"Blade Runner" vs. "Blade Runner 2049"

A Great Movie is hidden somewhere within "Blade Runner" and "Blade Runner 2049."

The Fall of Toxic Masculinity and the Rise of Feminine Consciousness

A special edition of Thumbnails detailing the recent sexual harassment cases in the entertainment and tech industries...

Oscars Could Be Facing Dearth of Diversity Yet Again

A column on the lack of diversity in this year's potential Oscar nominees.

Tears of a Machine: The Humanity of Luv in "Blade Runner 2049"

No character in “Blade Runner 2049” is more relatably human than Luv.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus