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http://www.buzzfeed.com/adambvary/the-star-wars-the-force-awakens-trailer-is-here

I remember seeing the first teaser for 'The Phantom Menace' and I felt like a kid again. Funny how that's what a lot of folks are saying?  'Star Wars' is a cultural icon not just for geeks but for the entire freaking planet.  Hell, if we get a visit from aliens they'll probably go 'Yeah, we thought Jar Jar was a tool too.' 

As I watch the teaser again, I'm kinda mixed on this.

'Oh shit... here he goes...'

EASY FOLKS... easy!!!!! Like the Force there are two sides of me on this.  

There's the Dark Geek in me... the grumpy one. The one who's memorized tons of dialog, who tracks the development of 'The Matrix' from 'Metropolis' to 'Blade' with 'Dark City' and 'Equilibrium' and all points in between. The one who knows the full name of the X-wing is the Incom T-65 x-wing space superiority fighter. Yeah, THAT geek... the who goes from 'normal' to Sheldon in 2 seconds if you ask me the wrong question.

The who who looks at part of the trailer and goes 'eh'. For example the lightsaber thing still bugs me.  When Darth Maul first appeared with the double-ended lightsaber, we ALL looked and thought 'HOLY SHIT OH HELL YEAH WHAT A BAD-ASS DAAAAAMN!!!'  Um... this one... a long red blade with two tiny blades perpendicular to the main blade. As someone mentioned on a b-board somewhere the designers forgot what a cross-guard on a sword is for. It's like they're meant to be used as bottle-openers or something. 

Second, J. J. PLEASE... ease up on the freaking lens-flare, ok?   

On the OTHER hand, there's the Light Geek. The one who went to a midnight showing of one of the prequels. Even if the film was 'eh' it was still a blast being surrounded by so many peeps, all of us lost in the spectacle. The one who dragged my parents to the theater at 7 am to watch 'Return of the Jedi' and hanging with ANOTHER family who was there way too early as well. And we all had a fucking awesome time!

THAT geek watches this and goes... wow.  Seeing the Falcon soaring into the sky, a new generation of X-wings that looks REALLY freaking sleek and bad-ass.  Being introduced to two new characters.  And get past the dorky, red lightsaber and you realize... OMG OMG OMG THE SITH ARE BACK!!!!!

Yes, there's still a lot of time for things to go wrong.  Yes, we never expected, gulp, Jar Jar. But right now, it's a chance to just enjoy the magic, the moment, the glee.  Yes Virginia, there is a new 'Star Wars' movie coming out in about a year!
And here it is in all of it's freaky, painted, flocked glory! Bwahahahhahahahahaha!

As you've notice there are a ton of extra flourishes added to the piece. The idea behind this figure was an giant robot to fight Cthulhu-esque creatures... yes, you read that right. Hey, I'm a mecha and 'Pacific Rim' fan! GOTTA HAVE GIANT ROBOT TO FIGHT THE GIANT MONSTER! So there. Nyah. Well as I looked at the almost-finished piece it was missing something... Elder Sign! Hence the pentagram-shaped chest piece. And for some reason I always thought the Elder Signs were blue so I stuck a blue 'jewel' on it to give it a bit of 'pop'.

What other bits of bling have been thrown on? Well there are a few more 'jewels' added here and there, for instance on the giant sword and on the drone as well. The top of the 'bot with the drone detached also looked a bit 'light' unbalanced so I added the two gray pieces to the giant shoulder pads. If you can peek inside them you see green 'jewels' in there as well.

I also added a few 'horns' to the 'bot. These were originally on the drone like claws or legs. I trimmed them to stream-line the drone but kept them because you NEVER throw away cool bits like that! As the 'bot evolved it became less mechanical and more bio-mechanical and buggish. It dawned on me why not add them to the 'bot to give it a more 'organic' flair? So on the went.

The paint scheme is a tip of the hat to combining 'bots. I went with blue, yellow, black, and green. And no, I didn't go with pink! (To those in the peanut gallery, you know who you are. Sigh.) Sorry but the darker hues of the piece just didn't go with pink. Since the base Manga Spawn figure was already a very deep maroon this worked perfectly with the traditional base red used in Sentai combining robots.

I continued the color scheme with the base as well. The structure with the giant antennae on it has 'doors' at the base, each with one of the colors. Just worked perfectly. Woohoo! The building with the giant 'tower' on it is the stand. I hoped to create the illusion of the 'bot 'flying' by taking this piece of scrap plastic from a lightsaber and painting the top part of it black so it would 'blend' into the shadows created by the 'bots legs and torso.

'Um... so this is like a giant, bug-robot/ merger right?'
'Why yes it is!'
'So... don't you have to have separate bugs that merge into the giant one?'
'Why yes I do!'

Ah, more miniatures to build! Bwahahahahahahahaha!

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DVD review; 47 Ronin

Making a film is rough. Seriously, getting stuff together, hoping the money holds out, praying it doesn't suck, praying it makes some money of some sort. And then it's released for all the world to see and then... ouch. It happens unfortunately. No one purposefully makes a flop, well unless you're talking about 'Springtime for Hitler' but that's another story.

Take '47 Ronin'. It was going to be Keanu Reeve's big return to action films. The cast was a who's who of Japanese cinema. The budget was pretty freaking massive. It was based on the legendary Japanese story of the 47 Ronin! THIS WAS GONNA BE EPIC!

And then production started and things got wonky. Delays, delays, pushing back the release date, MORE delays. Now some films like 'World War Z' this isn't a big problem. What is usually a death-knell for a film, pushing back the release date, was actually a boon.

Not the case here. The trailers peeked out and I think most people thought... um... huh? Demons and monsters? Reeves is playing half-Japanese, half-European? Um... huh? The film got pushed to December and when it released it went... poof. World wide it made under $200 mill. Yeah, ouch.

I've been curious for the longest time about the movie. Hey, it's a samurai flick, it's got CGI, I LIKE Keanu Reeves. How bad can this be? Well my wariness was enough for me to wait for it to be on DVD and for me to have it sit in the Netlfix envelope for a while.

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooo how is it? Actually the film is a very, very pleasant surprise and I'm surprise it didn't do better. Is this brilliant? Um, no. Kurosawa it's not, however it's far from the most dreadful thing ever made.

Carl Rinsch and his band took on the challenge of telling the tale of the 47 Ronin BUT with a twist. Google 47 Ronin and read the entry and it's a story of epic, heroic, guys-will-sob-like-they're-watching-Braveheart proportions. Ok, done looking? Got your tissue? An amazing story which has been done a bunch o' times. For whatever reason someone somewhere decided this wasn't enough so they decided to throw in a bunch of demons who are part of the story. Yes, demons. And throw in a half-european, half-Japanese character who joins the fight. Yeah, done scratching your head?

The GOOD news the story is a pleasant surprise.  Frank when I heard the premise of the film, throwing in a bunch of demons and other silliness into the story, i was kinda pissed.  How do you think Texans would react to a fantasy version of the Alamo?  Yeah, you see what I mean.

Ok, ok, so the original source material is awesome enough. However the film manages to squeeze in these extra flourishes and hammer it all together so it works. If you think of the film as a 'Lord of the Rings' take on the story, it's actually fun.

Lord Kira is the smarmy lord trying to make a big name for himself. While visiting Lord Asano, Kira gets a witch to place a spell on Asano, causing Kira to attack him. Major loss of face so maintain the honor of his family, Asano commits seppuku. (Ritual suicide. Wanna piss off an old-school samurai fan? Call it hara-kiri. That's the slang term for it and is like saying 'and yo mama made me breakfast this morning.') To keep the peace between the clans the shogun order's Asano's daughter to marry Kira. Yeah, Kira is a major d-bag.

Naturally Asano's troops do NOT take this well, so 47 of them quit. Oishi, the leader of the troopers, comes up with a plan; wait a year, then plot their attack against Kira to bring honor back to Lord Asano and to keep Asano's daughter from being married to to Kira.

'Um, so where does Neo, er, Reeves fit in?'

Well many years ago as a boy he was discovered by Asano in the woods, running away. Kai's parents, who we assume were a European sailor and a Japanese woman, abandoned him in the forest. Woodland spirits called Tengu found him and adopted Kai. Unfortunately the adoption would lead to a life of endless combat so Kai cut and ran and was found by Asano.

'Dude, that's a LOT of stuff jammed into the original story!'

Almost done. So Neo, er, Kai has been trained for combat and gets drafted by Oishi to help in the plot of revenge against Kira. Kai, Oishi, and a band of 47 ronin hatch the plot of take out Kai and a bunch of demons, monsters, and a bat-shit crazy witch right out of 'Macbeth'.

Gasp gasp gasp gasp. This is also the biggest problem in the story. Yes, the dots all do connect in a freaky, crazy way, but dear lord why not just stick with the original story? Ugh.

Visually the film is stunning.  And I don't just mean CGI demons and what-not, which are pretty cool.  Remember what I said about 'LOTR' version of the story? The film has a big-budget, epic look. Giant castles, large armies, just a LOT of eye-candy. The costuming is amazing.  I so want the samurai costumes form this film!  And the fight scenes are a joy to watch.  Nope, no crazy wire-work, mostly just straight-up, bad-ass sword fighting. 


The cast is phenomenal.  Yes,yes, Keanu Reeves gets the top billing because he's The Face people in the US will recognize.  And yes, he's his usual self... not great, but hey he's playing a samurai, he's supposed to be kinda wooden. Just the same he's not phoning it in. As usual he's not going for an Oscar but he's solid as Kai, the guy who doesn't belong anywhere trying to do what's right.

The rest of the cast however is outstanding. Rinko Kikuchi is freaking insane as the witch. Sexual, hot, and freaking crazy! Yep, from sweet Mako in 'Pacific Rim' to this demon in the blink of an eye.

Tadanobu Asano is great as the slimy Lord Kira. The hot-shot lord trying to make a name for himself any way possible. You can't wait to watch him fall.

Hiroyuki Sanada is freaking awesome.  Most of you remember him as Ken Watanabe's bodyguard in 'The last Samurai'.   Remember the guy who kicked Tom Cruise's butt with the bokken? Yep, that's him. If you wanna peek at some Japanese samurai films he was outstanding in check 'The Twilight Samurai'.   Here he is amazing.  So much grief, fury, and rage but so understated, just as a samurai should.

So last call? I really wish I saw this on the big screen. No, this is not perfect. I would have preferred the original story minus the CGI bling. HOWEVER if you GOTTA do this, at least the story managed to keep things to the idea of the original. Visually the film is pretty freaking stunning. And the cast? OMG awesome. So no, this film didn't do well, which is a shame. It's a lot of fun.

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NFL update!

Boy does the season move fast! One minute we're talking about the chances of the 'Hawks repeating and the Browns sucking, next thing you know we're almost 10 weeks into the season and the 'Hawks are HOPING for a play-off shot and... the Browns... ARE LEADING THEIR DIVISION?

Sooooooooooooo many funky stories this season, and so little time. Hey, play-offs aren't that far away...

Dallas… and the bandwagon hit a big bump
Ouch.  Amazing how two weeks changes things.  One moment, SB contenders, best team in the NFL, blah, blah, blah.  Now?  Well…. Injured, wondering if Romo’s back really is healed or whatever, how cranky is the locker-room getting… ah, these are the ‘Boys we’ve become accustomed to over the years!   
Thing is for most teams a two-game losing streak like this is kind of a ‘good’ thing.  A few players are injured, a chance to remind yourself you aren’t invincible.  Get healed up by December and then continue to kick the snot outta people.
 
For the Cowboys?  Ouch.  Because this happened during their traditional swoon in November so talk about baaaaad timing.   Are they doomed?  Too hard to say.  IF Romo and everyone else heals up, IF they don’t lose their mojo, then it’s no big deal.  Just a bit of drama to add to the end-of-season DVD.
 
IF though.  Like Vin said in ‘The Magnificent Seven’, IF brother… and for the ‘boys who have had years and years and years of play-off futility, to see this opportunity start to slip again… yeah, a LOT of ifs.
 
Patriots; wanna Be the man, gotta BEAT the man
I’m paraphrasing wrestling legend Rick Flair, but the sentiment is so true.  It’s been a while since they won the SB.  Their last two games in the SB ended up with Brady on his back and losing to an ‘under-manned’ Giants team which happened to have the perfect defense against the Pats high-octane offense. 
 
But just the same the Patriots myth cannot be denied, and this season has been a great example of how vulnerable the team is BUT when they are driven… motivated.. hell, just pissed off, they are NOT to be trifled with.  Since getting smooshed by the Chiefs the Pats have gone on a tear, most recently making Peyton look like he should just retire. 
 
So are they the new front-runner?  Hard to say since there is a ton of football yet, but this run is a reminder the Pats are still the Pats… be afraid…
 
Cards: holy crap!!!!!!!!
So is Arizona a reclamation team for ‘has-been’ QBs?  Warner goes there, has a pretty dang good albeit brief run and is one shoe-string tackle away from one of the most improbable SB wins ever.  Now Carson Palmer is playing like the second coming of… Neil Lomax?  Jim Hart?  And yes, you yung’uns have no idea who those guys are.  Yes, those QBs are THAT freaking old. 

And then just when it seemed like a miracle may come along again and the Cards would become, gulp, SB contenders... Palmer's knee gives out. AAAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! I imagine the gears of the cosmos couldn't deal with the Browns AND Cards doing well in the same year. Isn't there something about the world ending if that happens?
 
Niners and ‘Hawks; ouch
Ok, ok, for the ‘Hawks, the swoon isn’t a surprise.  This happens to teams after winning a championship.  Players leave, the bullseye on your jersey is REALLY big, you get the picture.  The Niners?  Actually not a surprise either.  All the talk about Harbaugh’s contract, the constant pressure over the last few years of being THE team… well, almost.   Eventually you’re gonna start to crack.  Are they doomed?  Not by any means, again still LOTS of football left.   However this is a reminder of how tiny and precious the window of opportunity is to get to the SB.
 
Browns; PLEASE tell us this is a good sign
This year was gonna be one of those years of breaking in a new QB (Manziel) and hoping you DON’T break him in half like a loooooooooooooong list of other QBs.  What normally happens is things don’t work out, the hot-shot QB gets thrown behind a horrible line with no weapons whatsoever and goes from promising rookie to cowering in the fetal position as the pocket collapses.
 
This year?  Is this a sign of the Apocalypse? THEY'RE LEADING THE DIVSION! A bullish defense continues to wreck havoc against teams and a punishing running game keeps things simple for the offense. Bad news is it's only November so there's way too much time for things to go wrong. And it still begs the question if this is sustainable. Just the same it's great seeing Cleveland have something to cheer about this time of the year.

Detroit??????
Speaking of teams which have made a habit of disappointing their fans, DETROIT LEADING THEIR DIVISION TOO? And frankly the quietest one too. The Cards and Browns are leading the hurrays but people forget that the Lions are also sitting rather well on top of the NFC North. On the other hand they may be suffering the same problem Dallas has; so much talent but nada return. Notice even a certain D-lineman has managed to NOT get in trouble so far.

Bottom dwellers...
Oddly enough no one is talking about the Raiders much. There's usually a count-down of some sort if another team will join the Buccs and Lions as being winless during the season. Then again watching the Cards, Lions, and Browns all do so well may be over-whelming everyone.

NFC south; speaking of bottom dwellers...
Sure, you'll have a team or two who kinda suck, but an entire DIVISION? Ouch! What compounds matters is the Saints, Falcons, and Panthers all aren't that far away from having great seasons. And the Buccs? Wow, how long ago was that SB win? But all being this bad simultaneously?

Happy waaaaaaaaaaaaay belated Halloween!

'Um... dude... Halloween was like a few weeks ago...'

Er... yeah, I know. I meant to post this, really! Doh!!!! Halloween is a fun time for me. Costumes, chocolate, spooky stuff, a bit more chocolate, you get the idea. Hehehehehehe! So just a few thoughts about Halloween films and stuff.

Ah, the memories...
My first entry into horror films was pretty lame. I was about 12 years old, had cable in my room, and one summer I decided to watch one of the bad 'Friday the 13th'' sequels... at about midnight. Now looking back that movie was HORRIBLE. But back then? Me having no familiarity with the genre? Oh hell no! I was SPOOKED. I know, pathetic. Sigh.

So for a loooooooong time I was thoroughly petrified by horror flicks. And then I caught 'The Ring' and discovered something; watching with folks is an EVENT. Granted still kinda creepy but it was no longer this solitary thing that you braved at night. It was a shared experience with other folks and you all screamed and laughed and just had a good time. Granted I'm still a major wuss when it comes to horror films, but now there's a certain glee to watching them... with the lights on... with lots of people.

Movies that DON’T freak me out much
As much as I will be a wuss over horror movies, some films just don't do it for me. For example ‘The Shining’.  Yes, You read that right. 

'But, but, dude, NICHOLSON IS AWSOME!!! HE'S SO FREAKING NUTS!!!'

I know, let me explain. No, let me summuraize. (Yes, I'm crossing streams with 'Princess Bride'. Ha.)
You don’t wanna be around me when the film is playing.  I LOVED King’s book.  What drew me was Jack Torrance, the tortured soul who was trying to get his crap together and failed miserably.  In the novel you see him struggling to conquer his demons for himself and his family. He's been basically a screw-up for a while and this feels like a last chance at redemption.

The movie?  It’s Jack.  ALL JACK, ALL THE TIME.  Sure, that’s fun to watch UP TO A POINT.  After that it’s, well, all Jack.  Being weird, creepy, threatening. The fun of the film is watching Jack go nuts with that creepy stare. The power of the novel was watching Jack try and fight, try so hard to face his alcoholism, and the tragedy of watching him lose.
 
Another is 'Ringu', the original Japanese film that became 'The Ring'.  Yeah, yeah, I'm one of those grumpy old guys who loves the original, usually. I love the American remake so I figured the original would be outstanding.  The original actually wasn’t bad until the big reveal.  In America Samara is a CGI force-of-nature crawling out of the TV like a demon from hell and she still scares the crap out of me. 
 
In Japan?  Well at this point in filming someone ran out of effects money.
 ‘We gotta do the money shot!’
 ‘Um, we got nuthin’ to use!’
 ‘Come on bring us something!’
 ‘Um… ok… well, got this blow-up doll..’
 ‘Bring it!’

Yes, one of the creepiest demons in film looks like a Jenna Jameson blow-up doll being shoved through the TV. Yes, this is a spoiler. I'm trying to spare you. There is no fear, no terror... ok, technically you are gonna die a horrible death but while you're dying you are laughing your ass off.
HP Lovecraft alive and well influencing film.
Bad news; still no 'At the Mountains of Madness'. Doh! Yes, I'm one of those geeks who still whines about it. Sigh. 'Ok' news; there are a number of fan films, such as the black-and-white 'Call of Cthulhu' and 'The Last Lovecraft', that are a wonderful homage to HP's work.

Good news; there are a number of films which take cues from Uncle Howard to scare the crap out of us. For instance 'The Thing'. Not just any nightmare monster in the dark, but one that can look like anyone. And when it's in it's normal form it... looks... like... AAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!
 
'Alien' also has that wonderful HP feel. The mysterious warning. A spacecraft that looks less like a ship and more like the spleen of a giant dinosaur. The monolithic space-jockey. And... oh yeah... THE FREAKING XENOMORPH! Yeah, H R Gieger must have had some interesting nightmares.

And then there's 'Event Horizon'. Haunted ship, a creepy power-source which even Rod Serling would say 'Um, oh hell no!' And the eternal question; so when a spaceship goes into hyper-space/warp/freaky-interdimensional-thingy, where exactly is it going? YOU'RE GOING INTO HELL YOU IDIOTS!
 
‘Jason vs Freddy’: WWE meets horror
Yes, I LIKED this film!  Nyah.  No, this is not the most brilliant horror film ever made. It's campy, it doesn't take itself too seriously. Just the same there's a lot of fun here. It’s refreshing to see the film tried to have a logical connection between the characters… well, as logical as a film like this can be. The final clash between the horror icons is pretty cool.  Silly?  Sure.  Ridiculous?  Duh.  But there’s a part of you that wanted to see this.  What would happen if Freddy and Jason met? Fine, fine, so it's just me and I'm a dork! Nyah times infinity!  
 
Found footage films
A long time ago when films were affordable 'The Blair Witch Project' blew up theaters. It dared to use this funky thing call the Inter-something-or-other to promote the story. The ads on TV made you wonder if this was just a movie, a documentary, or what. And then there was the film, done in documentary/shakey-handy-cam/will-possibly-make-you-vomitt style. Either you loved it or you thought it was the stupidest fucking thing ever done. Theater owners didn't care because it made TONS AND TONS AND TONS AND TONS AND TONS of money.

Oddly enough it took DECADES before the style caught on, and even then it took the explosion which was 'Paranormal Activity' to get the sub-genre started up again. I still like the style.  Fine, fine, for some folks it will give you motion sickness.  However I love the sense of immersion the technique gives you.  3D is just popping out at you, this style actually feels like you are a participant in the film. 
 
Like all things results are mixed.  Some things are pretty creepy, like ‘Paranormal Activity’.  Some turn into cliches like ‘Chernobyl Diaries’. In between though are a number of gems. A very refreshing take was ‘Trollhunter’.  A European import which starts as a 'documentary' about a bear poacher. A few tree-huggers are trying to 'bust' a poacher. They finally corner they guy but discover he's NOT hunting bears... but something a lot worse.

A personal favorite for me is 'Grave Encounters'. The plot is a Canadian ghost hunting show hits the wrong haunted house at the wrong time. Part of the fun is the film captures in the beginning the goofy stuff you expect would be on film. A host who's being a d-bag. Cast and actors, er, CREW talking about day-to-day silliness. Even bribing someone at the site to say ANYTHING remotely scary. And then the investigation begins, and the gates of Hell open and there is no turning back.

'The Exorcist' still the ultimate scare
I've seen it three times. The first time was sophomore year with friends at Syracuse. The last showing was at midnight. Ok, how bad can this be! Next morning at sun-rise we all felt safe enough to go to bed. The film still scares the crap out of me. The spinning head. Regan's mutilated face croaking so many insults. The penultimate moment for me? The exorcism is going badly and Regan screams in agony kneeling on the bed as the shadow of the demon is behind her. It's a simple effect with smoke, back-lighting, blah, blah, blah. On screen? HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kit-bashing is a challenge. Do it right you've taken something and added bells and whistles to it to make it look even more epic, awesome and more importantly different. Do it wrong and it looks like you've hot glued a ton of crap on to something you found at the thrift store. So here's the latest kit-bashed creation from my skull. Hehehehehehehehehe! Ok, ok, not brilliant, but I kinda like it.

I just finished the Dunwich horror so me being me, I gotta have a good guy to match with the bad guy. Yes, I said it. It's the geek talking. Ha. So whatever it was, it had to be big, had to be mighty, epic, awesome, you get the idea. Hey, if you gonna have Ghidarah around you GOTTA have Godzilla. So along comes this piece.

It helps to start with a good base, in this case a Manga Spawn figure I scored a long time ago with a bunch of other figures. It's a great base for rehabbing since it's solid construction and has wonderful details. The kit-bashing begins with a few weapons here, a few bits of bling there. The main bits of augmentation are the 'jewels' here and there. Yes, I use them often but they're a fun, 'organic' bit of 'pop' to add to a piece.

One of the fun things about the base figure is the detachable back. It's a giant insect/drone thingy. So what to do with that? With a tip of the hat to Mazinger Z the back is still a detachable drone but with larger wings and massive 'jaws'.

The key thing is the paint job. I envision this as a combiner so I'm going to go with the usual primary colors of red, green, blue, yellow, and something else to give it that gestalt look. The paint helps to unify the entire piece, blending the different sections into one. It's also a great way to cover up the mistakes on the figure. That's a tip of the hat to 'Duff' Goldman; frosting on your cake covers up your mistakes.

Finally there's the stand. At first I planned the figure to be free-standing. Unfortunately as I constructed it I made it a bit back-heavy. Doh! What to do? Give it a stand, and in this case balance it on a spare chunk o' plastic so it looks like it's flying. The extras on the stand are 'buildings' to add a bit more 'pop' and scale... ok, I just made up the 'scale' part because it sounds like I had this planned from the beginning! LOL!

This isn't quite the final look. My brain is still looking at it and going 'Ok... yeah... yeah... that works... BUT...' However this is just about the final the product pending client approval, i.e. I get sick of it and just wanna paint it! Bwahahahahahahahaha!

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In the left corner, in primary gray and flesh-colored, slime tones the Dunwich Horror! In the right corner in primary red with all sorts of flourishes, a giant robot with no name yet!

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The giant 'bot in flying pose!

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Back view of the removable drone.

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Pic of the 'bot, the drone, and the stand.

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Just the 'bot and drone.

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The drone in all it's glory!

Geek project: The Dunwich Horror

Before Godzilla had his rogues gallery, before there was a menagerie of monsters for the Ultramen, before Geiger's Xenomorph and Carpenter's Thing, there was the mind-bending, stomach-turning, 'OMG OMG OMG WTF???????' creatures of H. P. Lovecraft. One of the most gruesome? The demonic, utterly alien monstrosity from the story 'The Dunwich Horror'.

My take, unfortunately, isn't quite as brain-exploding as other renditions I saw while peeking for inspiration. Seriously, if you're about to do a Google search, you're gonna see some pretty creepy stuff!
Although the monster is invisible the intrepid heroes of the story discover a formula allowing them to see the creature long enough to defeat it. What they see is... pretty messed-up. It's literally a mountain of flesh, limbs, tentacles, eyes, with a human face stick in there somewhere to REALLY mess with your senses.

'Um... Roy... you BUILT THIS THING?'

Yes... it's rather bad-ass and goes with the giant robot miniatures I've built. And besides, I'm a tad odd, remember?

This piece started as a companion to my mecha-Cthulhu figure from months ago. Hey, he was lonely! This behemoth is composed of two parts. The back is from a brachiosaurus figure I've had sitting around. I tried to create my take on the monster from there but it just didn't seem quite right. Then I remembered I had an extra Spawn figure sitting around waiting for a project. Bingo. From there it was a matter of slapping on a ton o' eyes and arms. The 'eye's in this case are colored glass pieces. Some are mounted on stalks, some are just placed on the creature. The 'tentacles' on the brachiosaur body are lengths of wire while the larger green 'tentacles' are chunks of power cord.

Is this as nightmarish as it could be? Unfortunately I wish it was a bit more ghoulish. Doh! The giant, extra torso rising in the middle of the brachiosaur? That was the original 'head' of the abomination. I decided to keep it there. The extra 'body' added another layer of 'WTF?' to the thing.

'Um... Roy... why are there weapons and stuff on this thing...'

Hehehehehehehe! Well, I came up with the insane notion (Which for those who are wondering is part of a fan-fic story I've been tinkering with for a few months.) what if a government, ANY government,
managed to get their hands on an Elder Sign and a few other items. What if this agency discovered the power available to them of they tried to tap it. What if they were able to add modern weapons to it. And what if some fool had the notion they could control it.

The silly, silly notions of humans. Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha!PICT0001
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So I've had this problem. Springsteen turned 65 on September 23 and this is one of those moments when you're supposed write this long, drawn out, articulate introspective kinda thing. This is a problem because at moments like this it's tempting to just ramble on and on and on to the point readers will look at the 20 pages of text and think 'Um... Roy... dude... that's a lot of shit to read for a BLOG.'

So what do you talk about when a rock star of all people reaches AARP age? The big question, how relevant is he? Oooooohhhh the big question that gets asked on VH1 and E during specials and interviews! And at this point artists barely old enough to drink talk about his influence and musicians in their 40s and 50s talk about old stories with Bruce, blah, blah, blah. That's what you're supposed to do.

But really, what is the impact for Springsteen after all these decades? Interesting question since he's still recording and putting out albums. Wow, albums, how quaint! Relevance is a quirky thing when it comes to someone like Springsteen. Is he selling as many albums as Adele? Um, no. On the other hand the 21st century business model for music looks at downloads of singles more then albums. Unfortunately Bruce is legendary for albums more then singles.

 Just the same the beauty of his work in the post reunion era (After the reunion tour of '99.) is he's not the same OCD record maker and song-writer who would take three YEARS to get an album out. I imagine he's the same pain-in-the-ass about getting things right but no longer getting them JUST right. Suddenly side projects like 'Devils and Dust' and 'The Sessions Band' albums flow easily and comfortably. Heck, he released 'Tracks' ages ago which was packed with nothing but out-takes!

Hey, not every painting Monnet did was a masterpiece! For every work of genius you're gonna get stuff that leaves you going 'Meh'. And it's a reminder of why Bruce did take THREE FREAKING YEARS TO FINISH ALBUMS. You want 'Born to Run' it's gonna take time so STFU!

So is he still the King of Touring? The trilogy of albums 'The Rising', 'Magic' and 'Wrecking Ball' have been well received, sold pretty well, and lead to tours that made a freaking ton o' money. Even the 'High Hopes' tour ran through the US, Europe, Australia, and dared to hit spots like Rio, Mexico, and New Zealand. So for Sony's sake the albums may not sell like crazy but the tours make The Boss' boss pretty happy.

Awards? Wow, Oscar, Golden Globe, a bunch of Grammies, although the Album of the Year has eluded him. Then again folks like the Who haven't gotten a lot of love from the Grammies either so fuck'em.

Has there been a run on people who sound like Springsteen? Not so much. Although folks from Bob Seger to Melissa Etheridge have all had the Springsteen sound attached to them, it never quite sticks. The dual keyboard with sax is a very unique sound. On the other hand John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band have made a career of hearing 'Wow, you sounda kinda like Springsteen!'

As much as folks like me love to talk about the stories from Back in the Day about the Boss' guitar work, he's not a guitar god. (Oh, but so many wonderful stories!) His style is neither as ear-warping as Hendrix nor as technically brilliant as Clapton. And yet there's a passion and fury to every solo he does. The solo at the end of 'Born in the USA' from 'Live '75 to '85' kicks ass!

Besides, how many rock and roll stars get recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors and hang-out with the President? Bruce was inducted a few years before and more then anything had the looks of a VERY embarrassed 60 year old thinking ‘Can we just get this over!’ 

'Um, dude, you've spent a lot of time saying Sprinsteen DOESN'T have a legacy!'

Huh... yeah, I kinda did didn't I? Well, let me rephrase things. He DOESN'T have a legacy in the traditional ways we talk about. He doesn't have a legacy as far as a bagillion albums like Michael Jackson. Nor does he have a legacy like Chuck Berry or Elvis by creating a unique sound which people have tried to duplicate over the decades. Nor has he led to a legion of imitators.

Then again that's a reflection of how Springsteen's style has grown to over the decades. That nigh orchestral sound created by multiple keyboards, a sax and now horn SECTION, and four freaking guitars, all driven by Max's drumming. The music and lyrics that he listened to over the decades taken from country, rockabilly, smatterings of metal, jazz, gospel, and all points in-between. The result, musically, is a sound that you can't pin-point but has power and style and flair and most importantly heart.

Which in the end explains his legacy best. This ISN'T about music, it's about a feel, it's about heart, it's about passion. Interviews abound from bands who have worked with him and the random fans he runs into. A legend who carries himself like just another guy with a ton of knowledge but also a willingness to pass on what he can.

Just as all those records from his youth helped him survive his nightmarish family life, he's continuing that all important legacy. To pass on his knowledge, his passion, reminding musicians and artists in general to listen to their muse.

Springsteen put it best at the end of his key-note address at South by Southwest;

...Be able to keep two completely contradictory ideas alive and well inside of your heart and head at all times. If it doesn't drive you crazy, it will make you strong. And stay hard, stay hungry, and stay alive. And when you walk onstage on tonight to bring the noise, treat it like it's all we have. And then remember, it's only rock and roll...

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-the-complete-text-of-bruce-springsteens-sxsw-keynote-address-20120328#ixzz3HGzJFy8D

He reminds everyone of the passion and beauty of art, creation, and life itself. As a way to express so much. A moment of bitterness and loss. A moment of beauty and joy. A commentary about political injustice. A bit of musical foreplay for your partner. All the things he has done over the decades is to connect us to the beauty of life.

In the end that's why fans like myself obsess as well. When there's talk of the Church of Rock and Roll and Springsteen we chuckle but we all nod knowingly that it isn't just a joke. It's the most lasting legacy he's created through his art and work for so many decades. The reminder that there ain't no sin to be glad you're alive.

'Age of Ultron' trailer unleashed...

Sequels. Yeah, the word makes you tremble if you like movies. Jaws 2. Reloaded and Revolution. Superman 3. And all those freaking Friday the 13th movies. But once in a while the movie deities smile and someone in The Bizz gets a clue and doesn't wreck things. Aliens. Superman 2. The Empire Strikes Back. Nolan's Dark Knight followed those films and managed to on-up them. He took the tropes of the superhero genre, added a lot of stuff and some secret ingredients and set the Ninja blender on warp 20 led to a hell of a ride and an Oscar for Heath Ledger.

It looks like Joss is ready to do the same thing with 'The Age of Ultron'. To be frank I don't think anyone thought the movie was going to suck, unless Joss lost his mind and thought combining the film with a documentary about Polish break dancers would do well. But there's good and then there's THIS.

Just as Nolan's Dark Knight took the usual and set it at 11, Joss appears to have set this one on 12. The frightening croak of Spader's Ultron. A world that's supposed to be protected by demi-gods being laid waste. Watching Ultron rip that one robot/Iron Drone/whatever apart. Even the makers of 'Ghost in the Shell' would be creeped out. And yes, the glorious shot of seeing the Hulkbuster armor made me squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. The reason your dog screamed in agony from some sound a few night ago? That was me.

But most breath-taking? The Shield. Yes, THE SHIELD... broken....

This isn't just another sequel that'll make Marvel/Disney BILLIONS and give WB/DC one more reason to hide in a bunker. No, this is Epic story telling. Epic with a massive 'E', the kind of Epic the likes of Cecil B. De Mille dreamed about. But that's not all. Giant effects and fight scenes are easy. Look at 'Transformers'. No, this is more. This is about what happens when the world gets bigger, and the dark side strikes back. This film is about facing the demons we mistakenly unleash due to our arrogance. And there's a bagillion other things out there that I can't think of because, well, this is just a freaking trailer but since this is Joss there's a LOT more stuff waiting to be revealed.

Less then a year away folks. Oh yeah...

Movie review: Gone girl

Gone Girl (2014)



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Gone Girl (2014)
Directed by David Fincher. With Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry. With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense me...
View on www.imdb.com

Preview by Yahoo

So at this point you've heard all this stuff about the movie. You're of two minds; you wanna know if this is good but no spoilers or you wanna know if this is good BUT you can life with spoilers.

Spoiler free assessment; GO SEE THIS MOVIE! Do NOT talk to anyone about the movie, tazer them if you must, but do NOT talk to anyone about this! Nothing!

SPOILER-SHIELD ON MAX!!!!!






















So are we safe? Sure? OMG BRUCE WAYNE BATMAN! Ha! You in the back, keep walking! Ok, are we safe NOW? Good!

The Twist! For decades movies have toyed with us with The Twist! She's a guy! He's Kaiser Soze! OMG SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE! M Night Shyamalan lived and crashed-and-burned with The Twist. He's a Ghost! He's the bad-guy! They can be killed with water! It's to the point you waste time looking for The Twist rather then actually watching The Movie. Is this a bad thing? Eh. The fact is in the 21st century we're passive viewers, turning into zombies just staring at a screen smiling, laughing, crying, whatever at the right time like Pavlovian Dogs. Why? There are a ton of sociological and psychological reasons I would imagine. In the end, though, we can be disturbingly passive watchers who just absorb what's on screen.

But every once in a while you run into a film that sucks you in. You see the threads of the story in front of you but instead of just idly watching and reacting you are truly drawn in. Thing develop and move forward and you become a participant trying to figure out things like the characters in the film. It's not just a Twist, it's a journey that you are eagerly waiting to see it's resolution... and sometimes... well, that journey is a journey into hell.

Welcome to 'Gone Girl'.

If there was a director born for this film, it's Fincher. The man behind two incredible twists in film gets a chance to take on this popular novel. The beauty of the story is it seems so obvious; wife disappears, husband is person of interest, her diary is found and the 'ideal' couple turns out to be far from it. A BILLION TV movies were built on this crap. To be frank when I heard the premise it was hard not to snort. Really? She 'disappeared' and the husband is the #1 suspect? Um... are we done yet?

In a nut-shell Nick and Amy met up at a party. Hot looking couple, they hook-up, get married. On their wedding anniversary Amy disappears, apparently kidnapped! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeek! As the cops dig into the case the 'ideal' couple isn't so ideal. Little things come up and all of a sudden the 'kidnapping' is something sinister! Cue dramatic music, bring out TV detective of choice and fall asleep.

But the best stories take the obvious and turn them inside out, re-stitch and dye them, and give you something so new and different your brain explodes. The story does that soooooooooooo well as we learn the 'obvious' crime is a cover-up. Woohoo! We have a twist! Bring out your TV detective of choice to unravel a brilliant crime which wasn't a kidnapping but a COVER-UP! Ok, nice touch... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

But then again, even THAT is pretty easy. Heck, I guessed she faked her own death! No, the REAL beauty of this film is just when you THINK you have it figured it out things go REALLY crazy from there. THAT is The beauty of the film. You get one thing that's obvious... ok, we'll give you The Twist. Yeah, nice trick, keeps you a little jumpy, fine. But NOW, the real twist begins, and you realize Nick has no idea the levels of hell he's dropped in to.

The story goes from TV movie bullshit and boredom to a nightmare really fast and doesn't stop. Nick slowly discovers his 'sweetheart' is a psychopath who would make Lector nod with respect and have a gun close at hand just in case. Simultaneously we watch Amy move her plan forward and learn exactly how brilliant and insane she is.

Part of the beauty of film is it would be easy to fall into cliches to keep things simple. The detective dealing with the case could simply go with the obvious but she doesn't. She doesn't automatically go with Nick as the killer until things do get inevitable but as the film closes and learns the truth she refuses to give in to the 'easy' stuff.

Nick in particular keeps things from falling into TV boredom. It would be easy to have him be the villain. Is he an ass? Yes. He's cheating on Amy and taken her for granted. BUT is he some ogre who needs to be dealt with? Um, no. Nor is he a paragon of virtue. He's a guy, just one of us who is actually a nice guy and you get to like him quite a bit.

Part of the 'OMG' factor in the film is the nature of Amy. As my girl-friend Traci pointed out Amy is NOT the typical villain. She's stunning and smart and sexy. Her 'type' in the story-telling handbook is either damsel in distress or plucky heroine. Nowhere is she Lector's hand-maiden from Hades. Just as seeing Regan twisted into a demon in the 'Exorcist' leaves you stunned, realizing Amy is really a stone-cold killer will mess with your mind.

'Dude, you've told us EVERYTHING!'

OH HELL NO PEOPLE! Remember, I said just when things go crazy, IT GETS WORSE. Yes, I've told you a lot, but that ain't NUTHIN' compared to how things go in the third act. Remember, YOU THINK YOU KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING! And just when you do... boom... another twist... Dante said Hell had Nine levels. Nick is discovering all of them by the time this film is over.

Visually the film jumps a round a LOT. Snippets of Amy's diary pop up to give us flash-backs into their lives as things go from idyllic to hellish. The same style is used to look into Amy's noggin to see how her brain works in all of it's demented glory.

The cast is freaking outstanding. Tyler Perry is a needed breath of humor as the attorney trying to save Nick's neck from the noose. He's a hot-shot attorney who gets paid a mint but loves a hot case. Gallows humor galore.

Carrie Coon is magnificent as Nick's supportive sister Margo. She's wonderful as she backs and loves Nick with all his faults but has no problem calling him a lying asshole. You will wish Margo was your sister when the film is over.

But the film revolves around Nick and Amy and there be awards galore for this pair. Rosamund Pike is oustanding as Amy. Watching her go from loving, sweet, sexy love of your life to the ultimate, bat-shit-crazy women is impressive. And she never gives into cliché and histrionics. It would be easy to turn Amy into a screaming, screeching nut. But that's not here. Amy is cold, calculating, thinking very, very fast, planning a few moves ahead. Moriarty would be proud, and also have a gun close at hand just... in... case.

Ben Affleck is amazing as Nick. The argument could be made he's just playing himself. A really nice guy who's stuck in the middle of a nightmare but that grossly misses the point. Nick could easily be the no-good husband who deserves what he gets or he could be the Prince Charming stuck with a horrible woman. Ben plays the razor's edge perfectly. He's a nice guy who has a snarky sense of humor which appears at the WORST time. He's a hot guy who knows it who also can't keep his pants up. Doh! He's also a guy doing what he can with a crazy situation and that is beautiful to watch.

The film isn't just opening night stuff, this is SCREAMING Oscar bait. This is the combination of things Oscar people eat up. Wonderful story that goes in all new directions, cast and crew going absolutely NUTS bring this story to life. Just when it seemed like films degenerated into giving us boring, horrific slop, we are introduced to a film that's new and dares to go to places few movies dare to go. Just beware, here there be dragons who remind us that there are fates worse then death...

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