A teenager is trapped with a hovering mother and toxic friends as the lake in their courtyard begins to rise.
The Department of US Flora Communications tries to coax plants into talking by putting them through constant physical and psychological torture.
Director Matty Brown decided to work on a passion project with a few friends about anxiety and depression. The spot-on depictions of the subject make it his weirdest short to date.
In this spot-on X-Files parody, a division of the FBI connects to animals’ minds in order to solve crimes.
Just some computer dog and cat stories.
Japanese teen pop idols promote their work a little differently, as seen in this bouncy video where Kyary Pamyu Pamyu happily vomits ravens and eyeballs. The director is uncredited (at least in English), but Yasutaka Nakata wrote and produced the music.
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PLOT: A detective interrogates a monkey suspected of murder.
COMMENTS: David Lynch made the curious short “What Did Jack Do?” in 2017 for a French museum exhibit, and screened it once more at his own Festival of Disruption in 2018. Other than that, this bit of monkey business was an overlooked footnote in his filmography, until Netflix dropped it onto their streaming service on January 20, 2020 (on Lynch’s 74th birthday).
Shot in Eraserheadian black and white, with Lynchian signatures like coffee and a left-field musical number1, “Jack” is basically a two-hander (almost a one-hander, since Lynch not only plays the interrogating detective, but also provides the monkey’s voice). There is a plot, of sorts, but mostly, its the detective and his simian suspect trading absurdist quips that occupy a space between the ineffably sinister and the ambiguously cliched: “Don’t worry. I’ve heard the phrase ‘birds of a feather flock together.’ A perceived fundamental. There are, of course, exceptions.”
“What Did Jack Do?” is, in essence, Lynch futzing around with the Surrealist potentialities of Syncro-Vox—the technique pioneered in the 1950s in which human lips are superimposed over animals or animated characters. Lynch’s experiment is extremely sophisticated, with his usual attention to detail: visually, the lips are blended so well that they almost pass as a real feature of the Capuchin monkey, remaining just off enough to supply an uncanny undertone that harmonizes wonderfully with the overt absurdity of a talking monkey in a suit and tie. Jack’s face is, of course, blank, and his gaze flits randomly, but depending on dialogue Lynch chooses to put in his mouth he can appear lovesick, resentful, or nervous. That’s a wonderful surrealist illusion. The result, while arguably slim, is still arresting and worth your time—and it goes without saying, a must-see for Lynch completists.
I showed it to a young Lynch neophyte; her main takeaway was “Jack is cute!”
Netflix’s business practices give them a lot to answer for, but they deserve credit when they get it right. “What Did Jack Do?” is a super-niche offering that won’t be bringing the streamer new subscribers, but they’ve done a hell of a service to the cinephile community by making it available at all.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY: