Archive for May, 2012

Movie Reviews: Jan-May 2012

Been really slacking on these, so here’s me trying to catch up.

One of the reasons I’ve been hesitant to write about movies is simply because I’m trying to land work in the film industry right now and I don’t want to come across as a critic. But upon digging through my past reviews, I found I normally don’t bash on movies anyway. I just like to pick them apart and see how they work. But I will be approaching these from a more positive light now.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Why it took me so long to get around to watching it: Because every time I looked up a review or film synopsis, all I saw was the word “rape” everywhere. I really didn’t want to see a movie about rape.
Why I bothered watching it in spite of that: Because that catchy Led Zepplin remix kept coming on the radio. That marketing strategy REALLY works well for them.
What it was really about: It turned out to be a murder mystery! It was pretty good. Had a few disturbing scenes in it, but the overall theme felt very “Shutter Island” meets “The Da Vinci Code”, minus the insane asylum and religious conspiracies. And I like the character of Lizbeth Salander. I’d watch a sequel.

Chronicle
What it is?: Three teens get super-powers! One of them films everything! Stuff hits the fan! Akira happens!
Akira?: Yeah, it pretty much turns into Akira at some point. It works very well for the film, actually, but it only makes me feel worse for the actual live-action Akira movie being developed. There’s going to be so many comparisons drawn between both stories, and in all fairness, “Chronicle” got finished first (not counting the actual finished Japanese anime, but American audiences won’t count that one). Personally, now I’m hoping the new Americanized Akira changes the whole story and becomes ultra-hip and happenin’.
But it’s still good?: Oh, yes. The battle sequences are especially snazzy. To Akira’s credit, Chronicle doesn’t contain any amazing motorcycle chases. Maybe we’ll see what happens in the sequel, though.

21 Jump Street
What is it?: A perfect 1:1 remake of the 80’s cop-drama.
Really?: Nah. The guys who made “Clone High” and “Cloudy with the Chance of Meatballs” decided to re-invent the cop-drama as an R-rated buddy comedy. Also, it’s already one of the year’s best films. Not lying here – I was laughing from beginning to end. I haven’t seen anything this funny since “Anchorman”.
What’s “Clone High”?: Gah, really? Seriously – go watch it. It’s the best cartoon ever made. Watching “Jump Street”, I could spot all the typical “Clone High” trademarks in every other scene. I’m so happy they even managed to work in the double-docks (re-created as double-benches for this movie) and cram their multi-color disco ball in here. I love how these movies are like scavenger hunts for the fans. Phil Lord and Chris Miller are geniuses.

Wrath of the Titans
Not gonna lie here: I really dug this movie. Like, ten times more than the original. The sets were huge, the monsters were huge, the action was huge – some parts felt like a “God of War” movie come to life. I especially like how they handled places like the labyrinth and Tartarus. There was definitely more of a Greek myth vibe to this one than the last movie.
God of War?: Yup. I actually like the trend of Hollywood making their own video game-inspired movies instead of licensing and potentially ruining established game franchises. Let the game industry have their “God of War”, and let the film industry have their “Titans” movies. Just like how “Act of Valor” is the film knock-off of “Call of Duty”. Even the “Prometheus” trailer looks like “Mass Effect” to some extent. It’s cost-efficient in terms of rights, it’s non-alienating, and Hollywood doesn’t have to worry about rabid fans when they do it this way. That being said, I still want to see a Brutal Legend movie. “But who will we cast as Jack Black’s character?” Pft. Taylor Lautner – d’uh.

Cabin in the Woods
What is it?: It’s “Evil Dead” meets “The Truman Show”. That description alone should have made this the highest-grossing film of all time, but clearly, some people need to loosen up and let more awesomeness into their lives.
So horny teens getting slashed?: And more so. In the last half-hour of the movie, the story ramps up into some of the most epic scenes ever put into a horror film (or horror-comedy? I’m not sure how to classify a horror movie that scares me, makes me laugh, and then totally blows me away with one of the greatest finales I’ve ever seen.)
You’re just another Joss Whedon fan!: Uh-huh. Yeah. There’s good reason. Joss’ stories always take established cliches and pull twists on them at the best of times. But, yeah – Whedon fans will have to dig this, if not for the whole “try and spot the cameo actor from one of his shows” game. To be fair, I have a huge crush on Amy Acker, and I approve of anything that puts her on the big-screen. Just look at her adorable face. Now imagine that beautiful Texan visage, but two stories high. This is why I like going to theaters.

The Avengers
AWESOME MOVIE!: WHOOOOOO!!!!
How many times do you see it?: Only twice. :(
ONLY TWICE?!: I know. I’m horrible.
Dr. Horrible?: ha ha.
In all seriousness: To follow up from above, again, I am STOKED that I not only saw two Joss Whedon movies at the theater in a row, but that the second one is also the best movie I’ve seen since Jurassic Park, and is on route to toppling James Cameron’s Kitty-Smurf Pocahontas. What have fans been yelling all these years? “BRING BACK FIREFLY!” No, the other thing. “GIVE JOSS WHEDON A REAL BUDGET.” This is what he does with it. We knew it years before. He’s never skimped on the action sequences, even when he had no budget to work with. And now we’ve got “The Avengers”, a movie that shows us what “Transformers 3″ would have been like in the hands of a competent director. I can’t even name a favorite part – every scene just hooks me. The humor is great, the back-and-forth dialogue is great, the story arcs are great, the performances are great, the action is AMAZING. And it could even double as a “Hawkeye” movie considering his character arc is already more gripping than most superheros get in a trilogy. In fact, it’s great just to see each character sit and chat with each other. The film explores every character’s relationship with the other characters, and then shows us what happens when you mix and match them against different opponents or try out different combinations of their powers. Always something going on!
Joss Whedon Fan Gushing Alert!: This movie contains every reason that Joss Whedon fans are so rabid. Every time I spotted a trademark, the audience would follow-up with laughter or applause. And the way the characters all mingle together is very much like the Scooby Gang from “Buffy”. In fact, the whole movie’s pretty much a two and a half hour Buffy episode on steroids. Hawkeye’s Xander, Thor’s Buffy, Iron Man’s Spike, Loki’s Angelus, Fury’s Giles, Captain America’s Riley (likewise, he really does get the short straw in this movie), Black Widow’s Anya – maybe Tara, and Hulk’s Willow. I’d pick Oz for Hulk, but I think Willow’s transformations in seasons 6 and 7 are a little more hardcore and respectively appropriate to the transformations in this movie. That would also include her persona in the Season 8 comics. Oz would be more of an Edward Norton Hulk – er, well, Season 4/Episode 6 Oz, that is. Although Bruce Banner himself could easily be a Xander. Either way – Willow’s alter ego is definitely more Hulk. “Bored now.” SMASH!
Hulk?: KEEP MARK RUFFALO. I LIKE MARK RUFFALO. Look at him – audiences love the Hulk now! The Hulk isn’t some big scary monster – he’s an actual superhero now! All his best parts aren’t even in the trailer! Want more Hulk!

Boats vs. Aliens
Is that a real movie?: Of course of it. It’s about a bunch of boats and they’re fighting aliens.
I’m sure that’s Battleship: Based on the board game? Naaah. The board game was about people shooting plastic pegs at each other’s holes. This movie is about boats, and what happens when those boats meet aliens (spoiler: explosions happen.)
And how is Boats vs. Aliens?: I really, really enjoyed it. I liked the parts with the boats. And the aliens were all like “we’re gonna shoot you! But maybe we’re not! We don’t know our motivation, but we do know we hate boats!” I think the aliens were good guys – I’m not sure. But I do know that boats are really awesome. Especially the battleship boats that come with AC/DC music. Also, the girl in this movie looks great in a bikini. *runs off to google her* Bah! What do you mean “boats vs. aliens” isn’t a movie?! Curse you, Google! *googles Amy Acker instead*
For additional fun: Here’s every line of dialogue Rihanna says in the movie.

May 23 2012 | Movies | 3 Comments »

“Wasabi Guy” – the finished version

Here’s the complete cartoon with finished audio, as it was presented at the grad screening. Matt and Rob did a great job touching up the color and getting all those nice sound effects in there. I had a lot of fun on grad night, although I’m not too keen on writing anymore speeches. The class reserved the whole upper story of Ceili’s pub and then somehow we ended up going clubbing when we had a perfectly good pub right there all to ourselves. And then I went home and watched British sitcoms at three in the morning with my roommate and some friends from classical animation. The landlady complained about all the British the next morning. Anyway, here’s Wasabi Guy.

May 19 2012 | Cartoons, Stuff I Made, Videos | 1 Comment »

SpaceVenture Kickstarter

So… to follow up from the previous “the Two Guys have reunited” announcement, they’ve now got their own Kickstarter going for the new game. Personally, I’m already very excited for this one as they’ve not only got Gary Owens onboard, but also Paul Robson (Yakko from Animaniacs), Robert Clotworthy (Raynor from Starcraft), John Lowrie (Sniper from TF2), and Ellen McLain (GLaDOS from Portal) all providing voices. Not to mention they’re already in talks with Supertramp legend Bob Siebenberg to return and score the game. This is shaping up to be one of the more exciting Kickstarter projects.

The game promises to be in the style of Space Quest, with the same brand of humor, tons of the usual deaths, and with more modern sci-fi references. So check out their Kickstarter video and go give them a few hundred dollars.

(I swear, that animated intro looks so familiar…)

May 13 2012 | Awesomeness, Stuff Other People Made, Video Games | No Comments »

Vote for Wasabi Guy!

I wasn’t going to post this cartoon until the final audio was in place, but I think I’d like to take advantage of my site’s seemingly enormous web traffic. I just submitted my final project “Wasabi Guy” to the CG Students Awards, and I need your help in getting a ton of votes so I can win lots of cool stuff. And all of that cool stuff can be used to create more cool stuff for this site down the road. Everybody wins!

Click here to go watch my cartoon and then scroll down to the bottom to vote for it! (Registration required)

Kudos!

May 05 2012 | Art, Cartoons, Daily Life, Stuff I Made | No Comments »