McSweeney’s quarterly DVD magazine Wholphin aspires toward wonder, specifically the wonder we feel upon learning that wholphins exist not only in our imaginations but also a tank at Hawaii’s Sea Life Park. Issue six features a gripping lineup, topped by Matthew Lessner’s twisted high-school dating short “Darling Darling,” which stars Superbad’s Michael Cera, a horsehead, and the best slo-mo metal guitar solo played in front of fireworks by a horse ever. Actually, Wholphin features two alternate version of “Darling Darling,” the ones with improvised voiceovers from John Cleese and Daniel Handler. Handler is hilarious, spitting out the word fuck like a man born to it.
Other inspired entries include Catherine Chalmers’s exquisitely filmed “Safari,” a surreal short about the lives of insects, in which she put her critters onto a controlled set and followed them around with a tiny camera for ages; it’s more dazzling than creepy, though the praying mantis eating a fly, back to front and nibble by nibble, will destroy you. Steph Green gets the narrative prize with his miraculous “New Boy,” a perfect film about starting a new elementary school, adapted from a story by Roddy Doyle. Weijun Chen’s doc “Please Vote for Me” will leave you speechless at how quick bribery and coercion come into play during an election, especially one for a third-grade class monitor in China. And delicious conspiracy theories pile up in Adam Keker’s “On the Assassination of the President,” which presents the government’s bizarre top-secret file on what to do when the president is killed. Like most of these films, the issue ends way too soon. Watch it tonight at the Wholphin 6 Screening in San Francisco.
Thu., June 19, 7 p.m., 2008