Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas Songs-a-Palooza 2

First off, this Christmas songs thing I wanted to have going on may be cut a little shorter because most of the songs I wanted to post are nowhere to be found on any site that allows embedding of their players. I'm just that underground (yeah, right). But I'll try to keep it up moderately and introduce you to a few new christmas songs.

Today I'll leave you with Relient K's version of the 12 Days of Christmas. It's from the 2007 album "Let it snow, baby... let it Reindeer", built up of Christmas songs all throughout. This song doesn't hold a candle to Fairytale of New York, but then again Fairytale of New York is so awesome that very few songs would be an honorable follow-up. Everyone is familiar with the song 12 days of Christmas, even if you don't know the lyrics, so this is a decent, upbeat and fun cover of that holiday classic.

12 Days Of Christmas - Relient K

Also, here's a new digital sketch for today's post. I basically did the same as in the previous one, very quick, cutesy lines and sloppy coloring to give it a really rough and sketchy look. The sketch stars my boyfriend, Mr. Cosmic, with some Iron Man flair, because if there is one guy cooler than Tony Stark, it's Cosmic for sure ;)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Time for a random sketch

Being without access to photoshop for a month left me a little rusty, so I've been trying to pick up my slack and practice a little.
I sketched up this little guy yesterday, with my trusty Stumpy Pencil tool (that's why it looks like pencil lines... I kinda love that brush for some reason), and threw some quick color farts on it. I didn't mean for it to look good, I just wanted to really just DO something, really quickly, try and use different brushes, etc. So, here it is!

It was also the first time I drew a fully digital complete picture. Woohoo for me or what? :B

Trailer Post: Coraline and Astro Boy

More trailers for you, this time dedicated to animated movies.

First off, Coraline.

Based on a novella by Neil Gaiman and directed by Henry Sellick, Coraline tells us the story of a little girl who unlocks a mysterious door in her house that takes her to a parallel universe, very similar to her, but also that much more fantastic, surreal and... dangerous?
I never read the book, but this trailer really made me curious. It looks like a fantastic tale with great animation, and definitely made me want to see it. Thanks to Captain Chants for the trailer tip!

Next, we have Astro Boy.

Astro Boy needs no introduction, but anyway... Created by " god of manga" Osamu Tesuka in the 1950's, Astro Boy is a robot kid, created to replace a scientist's deceased son. Being a robot, he is abandoned by his creator, and later adopted by the head of the Ministry of Science, who gives him a family and also calls him up when the earth and humanity need saving from a variety of threats.
I'm not very familiar with the Astro Boy manga or anime, having only seen a couple of episodes, but the trailer is looking good and I bet there's going to be a lot of people seeing it if only for nostalgia sake. And, who am I kidding, I might also be there too, if the next trailers keep being good.

What other trailers are catching your eye lately?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas-Songs-a-Palooza 1

The stores are putting out their christmas decorations, the streets are all lined up with lights and the malls all have their Christmas trees and fake Santas lined up to hear the kid's wishes for this year while blasting "Last Christmas" on the sound system - and all this means that, wether you like it or not, Christmas is creeping up upon us. And I don't know about you, but to me, t'is the season to start listening to a few Christmas songs. Not the usual run-of-the-mill ones, but covers of the classics or, even, totally original and maybe innapropriate stuff. I thought it'd be useful to keep erratically suggesting Christmas songs for you guys, so you could all make your very own unusual Christmas mixtape you can blast on your stereo while having dinner with your whole family on the 24th.

For suggestion numero uno, I'll leave you with one of my favorite Christmas songs ever: Fairytale of New York. The original is by the irish band The Pogues (awesome), and kick ass as it is, I'm going to have to suggest the cover by classic punk-rockers No Use for a Name. Why? Because it's still pretty cool and it has a 70% more chance of making your family uncomfortable with the noise.
If you don't know this song, you should go back to the rock you've been living under, but anyway, here is the No Use for a Name version. Feel free to listen to it and let that holiday spirit start rolling while you listen to this tale of a drunken man on the streets of New York, on Christmas eve.

Fairytale Of New York - No Use For A Name

Trailer Post - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Star Trek

Last week finished on a high note, trailer wise, with the release of a bunch of great movie trailers. Watchmen was the first, but Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Star Trek followed right after.

1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The first teaser for this movie was such a blatant disappointment that I was ready to quit on Harry right then and there. I mean, a teaser is supposed to TEASE, and I don't know about you, but watching a black screen for 15 seconds certainly doesn't make me want to see the movie. The full-length first trailer was actually neat and rekindled my hopes, but it was this one that really made me feel like I want to see this movie. Bad. The effects are great, and it looks like it's going in the dark direction that it should. I know that a ton of stuff will be cut from the movie, I'm not one of those fans that is shocked when they can't cram everything from a 500-paged book into a movie, but I hope they do a good adaptation and I'm looking forward to see it.

2. Star Trek

I think I already mentioned I was never much of a Trekkie, but I ocasionally followed the campy adventures of Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise crew, and seeing as this adaptation gives us the younger versions of characters we're all familiar with, it should be a decent movie-going experience. I admit it does look a bit strange to see such young versions of the crew, but they look faithfull to their characters - especially Spock, I love the way Zachary Quinto talks - and the whole thing looks like it's going to provide us with quality sci-fi entertainment.

Seeing so many awesome trailers at once just made me feel sorry for the slow movie season we're having - is it just me or there's hardly any movie on right now that REALLY makes you want to see it?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Watchmen theatrical trailer

I had planned to write a few more posts between Halloween and today, but I've been kinda busy, so I'll leave my opinions on Quantum of Solace and Dark City for another day. The thing is, the new theatrical trailer for Watchmen was released today and I have a moral obligation to share it with anyone that casually drops by this blog. This movie is seriously looking more and more awesome and I can not wait to see it!

Watchmen and Muse? Nerdgasm.

Monday, November 03, 2008

This year's Halloween was...

Brilliant :)

Watched a couple of horror movies that, while fun to watch, were not all that good. Me and Cosmic had about a million and one movies to pick from, but ended up going with Pumpkinhead and Zombi 2 (also known as Zombie Flesh Eaters, a title I can't help but feel is a bit redundant).

1. Pumpkinhead (1988)

I don't really understand what the "fairy tale" part of the tagline refers to, but oh well. Maybe because there's a witch in the movie? We all know fairy tales are crawling with witches. Moving on.
Pumpkinhead starts with a flashback. It shows us a man desperately running from something evil through the woods, until he gets to a house. He pleads for the people inside to help him, but the mother, father and child that are inside do not move. As the man doesn't go away, the family's patriarch grabs his shotgun and threatens he will shoot him if he doesn't leave the area. The man eventually runs away, and, through the window, the child sees a monster in the shadows killing the man who previously pleaded them for help.

Fast-forward a few years, and we find that kid all grown up: he's now an adult hillbilly, with a son of his own, a little cute blonde boy with oversized glasses. They live quietly in the country, until one day, a bunch of city teenagers stop by their grocery store on their way to a cabin in the woods. You just know something bad is going to happen, and when dad has to leave the store, one of the city folks 8the asshole of the bunch) runs over the little boy with his motorbike. Despite his friends want to help the poor boy, Biker Dude has been drinking, and if he gets caught, his ass will go to jail. So he ends up making his friends hostages in said cabin, stopping them from getting help for the dying kid. When dad comes back to find his young boy dead in the field, his only thought is revenge, and with the help of the local witch, he conjures up a demon, Pumpkinhead, to carry out his revenge for him.

It was directed by the special effects wizard Stan Winston, so you know the creature looks really good - although I heard that due to his directing duties he actually couldn't supervise the creature effects as much as he wanted. The plot is not bad, and it had great potential, but to me the movie kind of fell flat. The acting was, for the most part, pretty campy, and I don't have much against that in a horror movie, but there was almost zero suspense. The creature was scary, but that wasn't explored enough (although some shots of it lurking on the foggy forest were effective), and the killings were pretty boring, in my opinion (I know I'm sounding like those video fanatics from the League of Gentlemen...). The sound effects were really over-the-top cheesy, and made me laugh when they were supposed to scare me or make me feel unsafe. The cinematography was decent, and I actually think the blue and orange filters used in this movie really helped set the mood on different locations.

All in all, it wasn't the worst movie I ever saw, but it hardly impressed me. I think that, had I seen it a few years earlier, I'd probably dig it a whole lot, but for some reason, it just didn't do it for me this time. It was fun to watch though, and we laughed a whole lot.

2 out of 5 demons

2. Zombi 2 - Zombie Flesheaters (1979)

Oh wow.

Being a horror movie fan, I've heard a lot about Lucio Fulci, the italian zombie-master. His movies are not exactly easy to find, so I had only seen one of his movies before: Paura nella città dei morti viventi, or City of the Living Dead (just sounds fancier in italian, doesn't it?), and that didn't impress me much. But Zombi 2 is his most well-known movie, so I was pretty curious to see what the fuss was all about. Little sidenote: Zombie 2 was marketed in Europe as a sequel to Romero's Dawn of the Dead (marketed in Europe under the title Zombi), but it's absolutely unrelated to Romero's work. Well, except that it has zombies, of course.

The story starts with a boat sailing along the East River, apparently without any passengers or crew. When two coast guards go on board to check it out, we see there is actually a zombie inside. He kills one guard, and is then shot by the other, falls into the water - and we somehow know that's not the end of it. Next thing we know, the boat owner's daughter wishes to find out what happened with her father. On the boat, she finds a note stating her father is in the island of Matool and, teaming up with a jornalist currently investigating the case, heads up to Matool to find out just exactly what is going on there. They catch a ride from a couple on vacation and start looking for the uncharted, mysterious island. Matool happens to be a damned place, where the dead come back to life, and the 4 of them are in for more than just an investigation.

I can see why this is a classic. Despite the non-existing plot, the bad acting, and the lack of coeherence or logic, the violence is pretty high for 79's standards, and no doubt caused a lot of waves. By today's standards it's nothing that would make you flinch - but in 79, it could. It also has a lot of boobs.

Still, being a classic doesn't make it good. Yeah, it was fun seeing all the two-dimensional characters, the plot holes, the one prop-hand that was apparently used in all the scenes and the bad make-up job in so many of the zombies, but honestly I expected more. Not Citizen Kane, but you know, something better than a zombie fighting a shark. Yes, that does happen, and no, it's not as freaking awesome as it sounds - believe me, I thought I was going to see the coolest thing ever, but it just turned out to be kind of stupid and boring. The characters act in the most ridiculous ways possible, especially the women: they just stand there, screaming, whenever a zombie pops up. What, they're Banshee now, and will destroy them by sound? Heaven's sake, move those legs already. I also learned that when you throw a Molotov cocktail at a bunch of zombies, the flames go out once it hits the floor, which kinda defies the logic of the whole thing. The gore is okay, not much to complain about in that department. It's mildly entertaining trash.

All in all, there are FAR superior zombie movies out there that you should watch. I don't really recommend Zombi 2 to anyone but horror movie apreciators, or zombie fans who like to take a peek at the birth of the zombie genre.

1.5 out of 5 zombies

Let me know what movies you watched this Halloween.