Friday, November 28, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to: Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

My story is no different from many of those like me...

I first saw Star Wars in 1977 and my brain exploded. That was it. At that moment, the first of the three Georges (Lucas, Miller, and Romero) took up permanent residence in my head. Now, Lucas and I have had our disagreements in the years since, but despite his constant and seemingly deliberate efforts to run me off, the franchise has never really left me.

Which brings us to this new teaser, the beginning of a new era.

Obviously, this has hit the Internet like a bomb, which is not surprising really, so you've probably seen it already. God knows I've watched it more than a few times at this point.

But let's watch it again...

That was pretty awesome, man.

Quick, but pretty awesome. We don't see much, just some glimpses. We get to see our most of our new heroes, but almost none of the old... We see John Boyega as a Stormtrooper. Daisy Ridley as some kind of dessert scavenger, I guess. Oscar Issac flying an X-wing. We see a few extra details tossed in there, like a cool new roller droid, maybe a new version of an R2 Unit? And we see some of the new gear and ships and worlds, of course. We also get a glimpse of one of our villains carrying a very distinctive lightsaber, which is probably what everyone is going to talk about the most in the wake of this teaser, and is also--probably--Adam Driver, maybe... maybe it's someone else...?

And then they hit us with the famous fanfare from the classic Williams theme and we see the Millennium Falcon taking on some TIE fighters, and well, that basically seals the deal, right?

It certainly did for me.

But here's my problem: The Prequels, of course, because they were fucking awful. In fact, the less said about them, the better, right? Right. But still, their legacy is there. The taint of it exists. And then there's J.J. Abrams. This is my biggest worry, to be honest. I'm not the biggest J.J. Abrams fan in the world, y'see, and I can't help but be afraid that we might be seeing exactly why that is on display right here right now. Abrams is really good at making stuff look super awesome. He has a fantastic eye. He's also really great at coming up with  some pretty cool and attention-grabbing set-ups, but then once you're into the actual film itself, I've found that his stories rarely stick the landings, at least for me. I mean, I don't want to bring up the last Star Trek film, but... after that piece of shit, after the nonsense of Cloverleaf and Super 8, I think it's fair to say there's a good chance he could blow this. Besides, it's happened before, right?

We shall see.... we shall see.

Here's hoping they get it right this time,

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to: AVENGERS 2 - Trailer #2

A slight longer version of the trailer for Avengers 2 was released a while back. Did you see it? I have. Shocking, right? Yeah. Well, here's another shocker: I'm still super excited.

Here, take a look...

Still love it.

Yes, yes, yes, okay, fine... it's mostly the same stuff as the first trailer with a little bit of new footage. Whatever. Who cares? Not me. Drink it in, people. I watched the shit out of this. I love it. I can't wait for the film. I'm totally geeking out for it. Like I said: Super excited.

Do you know what intrigues me the most? ...Of course you do. There's a rumor go around that the Avengers team at the end of this next film is going to be very different from the one the movie starts out with. Now, the comic fans out there are very familiar with this idea. It's classic Avengers. Switching up the rooster is something the Avengers do often, it's something they have always done, I think the first line-up change happened with issue #16 way back in 1965. It probably also bears mentioning that the first line-up change featured characters we know are in the movie.

That's a big plus in the probably-gonna-happen column, y'know?

Also, keep in mind that one of the many keys to Marvel's current success is how they're embracing the tropes of the source material, and like I said: Line-up changes are classic Avengers. Then, you add all of that to the recent release of the upcoming Marvel Phase 3 slate of films, and suddenly the idea of roster change seems very likely. So, the question suddenly seems t switch from: Will it happen to How different will the new line-up be?

Will it be something like this:

Or... is it going to be radically different? Dare we hope? Could the current direction of the comics have any bearing on the Cinematic Universe at all? It might be highly unlikely, but imagine if we got something more like with this:

Maybe it will end up somewhere in between? I can't wait to find out.

We shall see,

Monday, November 24, 2014

Scribblerati Updates

Hey y'all,

Just a quick additional note to let you know that I've also got a post up over on the Scribblerati blog today. It's all about the group, where we've all been lately, and just what exactly we've all been doing with our time. It's fun AND informative.

Go take a look,

ORPHAN BLACK Season 3 Teaser

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy...

Watch this. It won't take long.

It's not much. It's barely anything at all, really. Honestly, it's just a 21 second long teaser that doesn't show anything at all from the show, but still... it's also a signal, people, a signal that Season 3 is finally on it's way. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. I'm excited. Are you excited? You should be. You've seen the show, right? I've talked about it before... a couple of times. Let me tell you, last season was great and insane. Seriously, if you aren't watching it, you really need to be.


Get with it,

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


This is the last short film I have to post--It's been a long list lately, right?--and judging by the few pictures I've seen, this one is either Post-apocalyptic, or it's set in Australia. Written by Julius Avery and Directed by Michael Spiccia, Yardbird is the story of a young girl with a secret power. It's a power that terrifies her, so she hides out in junkyard, until the day she is forced to come out of hiding and take on some local bullies tormenting her father.

So... Carrie, right? That's what we've got here? It's basically Carrie, right?

Let's find out.

So, yes... Carrie. Kinda. But a good version, really. I liked this one. It was good looking, spare and grimy (Australia), and focused on a single story with clear motivations, and told it really well. There were good performances too, and the effects were well done. The CGI was a little clumsy around the edges maybe, but not too much, and it was used judiciously, so big thumbs up all around.

This one is worth watching.

Good job,

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Overwatch Cinematic Trailer

There's a new video game on the way from Blizzard Entertainment, and it's called Overwatch. The internet is going a little nutso-crazy-pants over it. Myself, I'm only so-so on the game. From what I've seen of the gameplay, it doesn't really interest me. It looks okay, I'm sure it's fun, but it's not really my type of thing when it comes to games. I feel the same about the character design too. I'm just not that hot on the overall style of it, it's too cartoony-anime-ish for me.

So why the post, you ask? 

Well, while at first blush, it might sound like they don't have much to draw me in, that's not entirely true, because it turns out, they have a Cinematic trailer. If any long time readers actually exist out there, I'm sure they would all agree with me when I say: I love a good Video Game Cinematic trailer.

Which is what we've got here. 

Let's watch...

I love it. 

It's fun. It's fast. It sets up the story and then pays it off really nicely in the end. It features a clear theme and even a little bit of a character arc too. I think they made some good choices when it came to which heroes and villains to showcase, all of whom were clearly drawn personality-wise. Plus, come on, everyone loves a hyper-intelligent gorilla in small glasses, right? Also, I love the kid's reaction to Tracer saying her catch-phrase. This was good stuff. I'd totally watch more of this, if it were a show.

Too bad the game looks kind of meh...


Monday, November 10, 2014

The Life and Death of Tommy Chaos and Stacey Danger

Written and Directed by Michael Lukk Litwak, this short film is called: The Life and Death of Tommy Chaos and Stacey Danger and it is the tale of two star-crossed adventures who are madly, deeply in love. All they want is to be together, but whether in outer space or at the bottom of the ocean, conflict always finds them. And sometimes that conflict involves dinosaurs with lasers attached to their heads.

Sounds good to me. Let's watch...

It was a little Wes Andersony, right? 

Or a lot, really... it's a lot Wes Andersony, but without any actual Wes Anderson.

Okay, maybe that's a little mean. Maybe it's a little too easy to say something like that about a short film like this just because of some similar shooting styles and script choices and set aesthetics. It might seem a little flippant, and imply that the film is nothing but preening poses and glib witticisms ringing hollow. And I'm sure Michael Lukk Litwak probably hears that particular charge a lot too, just like I'm sure it's probably pretty upsetting to him, because it probably seems more than a little unfair, too off-handed and too curt, which is, honestly, a pretty fair assessment of that particular charge. Saying this short film is "a lot Wes Andersony, but without any actual Wes Anderson" is a fairly dismissive criticism.

But it's also kinda true...

Not that there weren't some good parts going on here. For all of the film's pretentious and (intentionally...?) faux-depth, there was definitely a lot of fun too. I mean, dinosaurs... with lasers on their heads? Come on. What about Tommy's reaction to the Megalodoons? Classic. And the big switch that turns the submarine to a spaceship? That was some real magic right there, kids.

But then the tone changes...

Oh, so it's a relationship metaphor, huh? Great... that's just great (sarcasm). And it's an incomplete metaphor too, huh? That's a bold choice (more sarcasm). Meh (not sarcasm).

I'm iffy on this film, your mileage may vary,

Friday, November 7, 2014


Today's short film is called PLUG, and it's the directorial debut of David Levy. Before this, David worked as a designer and a concept artist for films like Tron Legacy, Prometheus, Ender's Game, and even the up-coming Tomorrowland and Avatar2. This is an impressive resume, folks, because let me tell you, if there's one good thing I can say about all of those films (or expect to be able to say), it's this: At least they all looked really good.

So there's that possible plus in PLUG's favor.

But here's the thing that really grabbed my interest for this film, and that is that it is described as "a return to 1970's classics like Star Wars and Mad Max with a gritty universe made from mostly live props and real life settings." I really like the sound of that. I've been saying it for a long time now: CGI Ruins Movies. Not simply because it exists, of course, more so due to the over-reliance modern Hollywood has for what should be just one film-making tool among many. I'm all about the Practical Effects, my friends, with a little bit of CGI added in to smooth out the rough spots, but I digress...

Here's the synopsis:

"On a post-apocalyptic Earth, Leila Dawn (NatalieFloyd), is the only human survivor. Raised by Robots after humanity abandoned the planet they destroyed with nuclear warfare, Leila cannot forget her parents nor ignore her yearning to find other organic life. A hunt she sets out on with a Military Unit, Marker (Lex Cassar), leads Leila to discover the reality she’s been denied—a reality that sparks her ultimate quest."

Let's check it out...

Okay, so the dialogue/story really needs a bit more work, but hey, it looked good...

A little over-lit, maybe... but still good. Apparently this is just the extremely hopeful first 15 minutes of a possible TV Pilot, so that can probably explain away some of the more awkward big jumps/weird editing moments, otherwise--unsurprisingly bargain-basement acting aside--it wasn't too bad. The opening world set-up was done really well, succinct but still pretty explanatory, for the most part. The costumes are great. The proliferation of the humanoid robots should probably be explained a little more, at least be shown in the background of the opening crawl. I mean, where they built for this apocalypse? If not, what were they before? Soldiers? Domestics? Actually, what are they now? Janitors? Do they have a purpose, or are they just... loose in the world? Where the hell did they all come from? But maybe these questions would be answered if this ever became a real TV show... hopefully.

There was one thing that happened that I really fucking hate, and that's when characters try to shot their weapon, nothing happens, so they shake it once or twice and then just hurl it aside... What the fuck is that? I mean, guns can't be easy to come by. What if it's just out of ammo? What if just one part is broken? Don't just throw it away, you might be able to fix it later.

Drives me crazy.

Anyway, other than that, not bad,