Thursday, July 29, 2010

A sudden realization...

Wow. So, after pulling back a bit, to take a general assessment of the bigger picture presentation going on around here, I can only make one conclusion: My Blog has been GEEKY lately. (Lately?)

I need to start talkin' about some boobs, some cars, or some football soon, man...

The Thor Trailer



Obviously found at Io9.

Hmmm... I like the tone and the mix of the different worlds alot. I like the designs. This might be good. Really? Could it be good? Branagh is obviously unafraid of the Kirby created aspects of the character, he showcases them even, but will that unbridled God-like wackiness turn around and bite them in the ass when it comes to both the critics and the wider audiences alike?

Who cares?

Really? Who cares? See, this film is happening. Captain America--barely a couple of weeks into shooting--is happening. The Avengers film is happening and it's got a phenomenal cast. So who gives a shit if Ma and Pa Kettle from Butthole Bible-World, Middle-of-Nowheres-ville understands, likes, or even thinks about going to this movie? Not me.

Because the films are happening. By 2012, I will have seen them, the first Mega-Event, the first shared Cinematic Universe. The first Cross-over. It's hard to believe, who would have thought it was possible, but it's happening, whether the Non-geeks out there attend or not... the deals are done, the ink is dry, and we're plowing ahead, baby!

WOOO-HOOOO!

I am a True Believer.

UPDATE:

Oh, shucks, it looks like they yanked the footage. If you missed it, too bad, so sad... These things happen, kids, try to be a little quicker next time, okay?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

DC done cool


Am I interested? Yes, I am.

Check this out: DC Universe Online Cinematic Trailer


Found at Io9

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

This warms my heart


Awesome. Simply awesome. You stay classy, San Diego.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Again with the Thor!


So, the flow of images and whatnot has pretty much started, although I imagine the Official Marketing Festivities Kick-Off will be after SDCC ends and we finally get to see a teaser trailer, but with that day quickly closing in, this will probably be my last Thor post for awhile--except for the trailer debut, natch--because after the trailer hits, we'll pretty much be saturated in all of this until the day the movie finally opens and there would be no need to even try to keep up with all of that crap.

I'm just one man... One Man!

So, anyway, being that we all saw the Mighty Hammer Mjolnir in the New Mexico desert at the end of Iron Man 2 (SPOILERS!), this is what I assume is going on in this picture...

Ahem, ready?

Ok, so Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, (see above) is a cocky jerk. His father, Odin, the King of the Gods, casts him to earth in order to learn some humility. Upon reaching earth, Thor discovers that since he was cast down, Mjolnir no longer considers him worthy, so he can no longer wield his Mighty Hammer. Boo, Mjolnir, Boo! As a result, most of the movie will be Thor hammerless, maybe getting in a dusty (and possibly wacky) bar fight or two with some lippy rednecks, or maybe some kind of Norse ghost warrior/spirit thing that Loki (his jealous AND evil trickster God half-brother) sent after him... or perhaps some kind of bear... plus, he'll be laying plenty o'pipe with Portman (Natalie, that is) until finally, Loki shows up and starts wrecking shop. This leads to Thor finally realizing his destiny (hitting things with his hammer), probably after getting beat up a little bit. Upon realizing, he immediately goes to where Mjolnir has been waiting for the last 80-ish minutes (where SHIELD, meanwhile, has been trying unsuccessfully to lift it), as a raging monster of a... wait for it... THUNDER storm builds overhead (see what they're doing there?). He grabs his Mighty Hammer and--KA-BOOM!--He is the Mighty Thor once again, hitting stuff, which is the moment we're seeing here. Ass whoppings a'plenty soon follow, hopefully while "Bodies" by Drowning Pool is playing. Loki is defeated, Odin accepts Thor home again. He macks on Portman and the credits roll, hopefully while "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin plays. After the credits end, they'll tease the upcoming Captain America/Avengers movies.

Bet'cha.

Speaking of teases...


Oooooooh...neat...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Modern Ruins


This is one of my favorite links.

It's a bunch of articles from Io9; all of them are tagged with "modern ruins". It's an incredible, continually growing collection of shots from all over the world--abandoned places, ruined places, the left behind, the lost, and the forgotten. They're absolutely striking. I find them fascinating and beautiful.

I love places like this...

How did they get like this? What did they used to be and what the hell happened? At what point did we all just pull up stakes and leave these places to their own fate? It's incredible to me to think that, at some point, someone just shut the door and walked away and that was it--they were the last one. How does it get to that point?

I'm fascinated by the idea that, at one time, all of these places used to be something important to someone, that people used to gather here and live their lives, and now they're all gone and here is the leftover debris, this is all that's left, nothing but gray and disquieting ruins.

I'm equally as fascinated by the idea that these places just sit there, done, that's it, all this haunted wreckage and ruin, and no one does anything with them, nothing except let them gradually fall into a state of irrevocable disrepair. There's something about the idea that just pulls at me, the thought that all over the world, maybe just around the corner, there's these forgotten corners of neglect slowly crumbling into dust--these places we've moved on from.

I want to sit and listen to the surf as it beats at the beached wreckage this ship has left behind, watch it work at the rusted metal, bits and pieces flaking away under the efforts of salt and sun. I want to walk around these places and imagine what used to be, they both beckon to and terrify me. There's an incredible sense of loneliness, a feeling of a lost and failed history and a reminder of just how transitory our world is, how little we leave behind, nothing but vague and confusing snapshots into what used to be.

I love it.

So click that link and browse, man, check out a world that once was and maybe get a little inspired along the way.

Monday, July 19, 2010

And more Thor


Yeah. Now, this looks a bit better.

This makes me a little more interested. This makes me think that we might have some potential to actually go somewhere good. At the very least, I feel a little more assured that Branagh hasn't decided to explore a more "classic comic book-y" type of design aesthetic, thank the Christ, because I think we can all agree, the last thing we need is another Batman and Robin, or worse... Ang Lee's Hulk.

Also, good news, take a gander down there in the lower left hand side... Oh my, it's Loki's crazy horn helmet. That's awesome.

Yeah.

Yeah, the more I look at this, the more I'm for it. All we need now is the final decider: The first Trailer.

Picture found at Io9

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Walking Dead

I don't post much about the Walking Dead comic.

I love it. I buy it every month. I have from the very first issue and I read it religiously because I really enjoy that type of story--obviously--and this one, in particular, is pretty entertaining. Another reason I obviously enjoy this type of story is the fact that I've written a similarly set story of my own. "Similar" is the rub, though. I know some people out there tend to avoid interacting with anything that resides within their chosen genre for fear of accidental plagiarism, but I generally consider that bullshit. Ideas are a dime a dozen, cheap and easy to come by, it's what you do with them that is important.

So when I read Walking Dead, I do so safe in the knowledge that Robert Kirkman and I may both enjoy a good old fashioned zombie Apocalypse populated by the classic Romero established type of zombies, but other than that... we like to do things there a little differently. Kirkman generally likes things a little more "realistic", while I prefer a more noirish, two-fisted, neo-western type of setting. Hard boiled, as it were, a kind of Dawn of the Dead meets Mad Max.

So... we're different, get me?

The problem is: I know this is true and if you asked Kirkman (and if he was as familiar with my work as I am with his), he would probably say the same (I assume). But to the great unwashed, the uninitiated masses, they might not see it, or they might refuse to see it, and spend their time instead hunting for every single little piece of similar minutiae they can possibly find, just so they can hold it up accusingly and scream "plagiarism!" first or whatever, and that sort of thing, it just annoys the piss out of me... The Internet, man... let's just be honest here, it mostly sucks. If it were a real place, it would probably be kind of greasy... and smell.

So, anyway, I'd like to avoid that kind of interaction as much as possible and for that reason, I generally distance myself publicly from the Walking Dead or World War Z or the Zombie Survival guide or any number of the endless multitude of terrible, terrible self published zombie "novels" floating around out there. I just don't want to get into that conversation, I'm not interested. So as a result, I don't talk about them much or spend too much of a critical eye on them here as any criticisms I make will obviously be looked at as having come from a certain unsavory place.

The point is: There are others that wander in the same wilderness as I, and for the most part, I give them space.

BUT...

The Walking Dead was recently picked up by AMC and it is barreling ahead on production like a house a'fire. It'll air this October (otherwise know as: When Jon finally breaks down and pays for cable) and Frank Darabont is directing the pilot. I'll be honest with you, I'm excited, and I'm excited for two reasons.

1. To the people who hold the keys to the Kingdom I want access to, popular zombie stuff with a high profile means there is a market for more zombie stuff. Which means they could have room for my book. Which means: Yay for me.

2. I wrote the book because I wanted a post-initial-couple-of-weeks-past-the-zombie-apocalypse story. I went looking for it, and besides a few notable exceptions, I was severely disappointed at what was available. This part of me drove me to write the book and this same part of me is giddy at the thought of an ongoing TV show. Plus, the Walking Dead comic is really good, so all in all: Fun, fun, fun, kids.

So.... what was it that brought this all up exactly? What made me violate my "you stay over there and I'll stay over here" rule?

This.


The Walking Dead cast photo (from Io9).

GIDDY!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Winter's Bone: A Review


I walked into Winter’s Bone nearly blind.

I had seen the trailer. I knew that it had taken Sundance by storm. I had read the reviews that gushed and praised and squealed with delight. I knew that it was the third film by writer/director Debra Granik, a director I’d never heard of, despite the fact that one of her films starred Vera Farmiga, and upon a little bit more research discovered that both of her previous films seemed to have focused primarily on “struggling with addiction”—which goes a long way toward explaining why I hadn’t heard of her before this. I also knew that this film starred an unknown young actress named Jennifer Lawrence, a new-ish talent that everyone in Hollywood seems pretty excited about right now. And finally, I knew that Winter’s Bone was based off a novel of the same name by Daniel Woodrell, a book I had never heard of.

So… despite the apparent deep wellspring of knowledge concerning this film that I possessed pre-viewing, I still didn’t know what to expect. I was excited.

And in a nutshell: It was fantastic.

Winter’s Bone is the story of Ree Dolly, a 17 year old young woman from Dirt Poor Hillybilly-berg, Missouri-ish. Ramshackle is a word that comes to mind. Destitute is another. Muddy, perhaps, is another or maybe: broken down. There is a clear and rampant sense of hopelessness everywhere, one born of determined ignorance stubbornly crouching down within a xenophobic culture, and it drapes everything like a wet blanket, heavy and suffocating. And although pervasive, it is a credit to Granik that she never dips into poverty porn or gets preachy or superior to the setting’s inhabitants, this isn’t a voyeuristic journey through an “oh-so-terrible-aren’t-we-lucky” world, no, this is Ree’s world.

It’s damp.

It’s chilly.

And it is filled with secrets.

Ree’s days are spent doing the daily chores at her parent’s crappy little house and taking care of her younger brother and sister. Her Mom is useless, mentally absent, depressed, borderline catatonic and her Father is a well known Meth Cooker, often absent, even when he isn’t off in the deep and misty woods of the surrounding hills. Ree is wistful for something else, but she doesn’t whine. She’s fatalistic, realistic, but when she drops her siblings off at school, she pauses, wandering the quiet halls between classes and trailing a feeling of slow detachment behind her. It is a palatable sense that her world is slowly but surely slipping away from those white tiled corridors and clean brick walls, never to return. You can see her inner struggle. She wants to join the Army—her only real hope for a future of her own—but how can she? Who will care for her family?

Then the Sheriff shows up at the house (Garret Dillahunt! Yay!). Her Father has skipped his bail and he has put the family’s house up as collateral. In three days, if he doesn’t show up at court, Ree’s family will lose the house and with that… everything. So Ree sets off into the woods, hunting her father, following a dark and twisting trail through a murky landscape of volatile meth heads and red necks as vicious as whipped dogs.

The worst of them, in terms of pure menace, the one who can cower whole groups with a glare, is her Uncle Teardrop (John Hawkes! Yay!). A skinny, weathered, hard as nails old bastard, he tries to turn Ree away, knowing more about her Dad’s situation than he lets on, but he soon gains a grudging respect for her and together they turn over stones and go where they shouldn’t, asking questions no one wants to answer. Is her Father alive or dead and why won’t anyone say? It gets hard and violent from there, and in the end, it’s just Ree—her Uncle was lost long ago to that culture, he is a part of it, his destiny is set. Ree has to see it through on her own. The best part is, she’s never treated as a superhero or special or above or even that clever, she just perseveres. She just refuses to give up, going farther and farther into a world she is not welcomed in. The answers she eventually finds are brutal and her choice—escape or family—is ultimately made, for better or worse.

All in all, this is a fantastic film. It might be hard to find, but it’s worth the effort. This is my vote (so far) for best of the year.

Go see it.

Jon

More Thor


Okay, for those of you who don't know on sight, what you see here is (from left to right): Thor, God of Thunder. His Father Odin, the All-Father, the King of the Norse Gods and his half brother Loki, the trickster God... from the upcoming Marvel movie: Thor.

And...

Hmmmm... I'm still torn.

And not because of the plasticene armor--well, yes, because of the armor, but not because it's necessarily terrible (although it kind of is), because honestly it looks pretty Jack Kirby-ish. And that's cool and all... I guess, but, I wonder if the Normals out there can handle it, the non comic folks who are going to make up the bulk of the ticket sales. And here's a second concern that just occurred to me: What if Kenneth Branagh has decided to go "comic book" for his design? As in: Remember the old Batman movies? Day-glo colors, anyone? I shudder and then puke a little in my mouth at the thought. Personally, I was hoping this film would have a little more of a Lord of the Rings type realism vibe going on in both costume and setting, but so far, all the pictures I've seen seem to insinuate a different direction.

I mean, I'll go, but... hmmm... concern...

Also: Where's Loki's crazy helmet?

Anyway, my fingers are still crossed, I'm still hopeful, I'll reserve my actual initial judgement for the day I finally get to see the trailer... but, hmmmm... I don't know, peeps... I don't know...

Yours,
Jon

The pic from the Thor movie was taken from the L.A.Times. BTW, you should follow that link. Or don't, because it's all about how they are planning on using the 3-D conversion process for both this and the upcoming Captain America movie... great...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Inspiring


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