Monday, June 25, 2007

GEORGE LUCAS IN LOVE!


Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha-Ha Ha Ha-Ha! Most enjoyable take on the origins of Star Wars.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

MAD ABOUT THE BUOY!

(click on the image for a larger version)
A background design for nothing-in-particular. Complete with flocks of birds and red buoy. I think I was trying out water effects in photo-shop at the time. This was going to be a follow up to Zombie Kong with Zombie-Zilla rising out of the sea headed for the city but I really liked the buoy and the water's surface and got kind of distracted. So, technically speaking, this is a Zombie-Zilla picture only Zombie-Zilla's running a little late.

Monday, June 18, 2007

REJECTION


This weeks Illustration Friday Topic is "Rejection".

THE STATION AGENT

Over the weekend, I got around to watching The Station Agent, which I got as a present from my sister ages ago. It stars Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Cannavale as three strangers who become friends and the film focuses largely on the cementing of that bond between three very different people. Joe (played by Bobby Cannavale) plays man's-best-friend in this trinity. He loves life, hates being alone and just wants to have fun. Fin (Peter Dinklage) is quite the opposite, and for a while the relationship between these two men is akin to a dog (Joe) and a person who's not particularly fussed about the company of dogs (Fin). Most amusing. Joe follows Fin around asking what he's doing, what he'd like to do later etc, while Fin just wants to be left alone. He's inherited land with an old train depot on it in (making him The Station Agent of the title). Then there's Olivia (Patricia Clarkson) who's a lonely, divorced woman grieving the death of her son. Hers is quite a different need for social isolation to that of Fin's, for entirely different reasons. The endearing Joe serves as the cathartic dog, bringing Fin and Olivia out of their respective shells.

I usually avoid films with the word "uplifting" in the review because that, to me anyway, usually means depressing. Certainly true of quite a few films with that dreaded word in the review quotes. The Station Agent isn't "uplifting". It's life-affirming.

Friday, June 15, 2007

EAGLE VS. SHARK

Great looking film. Out this summer.
Jemaine Clement is one half of Flight of Conchords (Bret McKenzie being the other half of Conchords, who Lord of the Rings fans may recognize). They have a 12 part TV Series coming from HBO. You can watch the pilot here.

Here's a clip from a live performance of a great song of theirs, "Jenny".

Thursday, June 14, 2007

CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT .... WHAT MUSIC THEY MAKE

What sold me on Philip Glass was the incredible soundtrack he produced for the Universal horror classic, Dracula (performed by the Kronos Quartet). It's a score which provides the film a sense of longevity Renfield could only long for (the above clip doesn't include Glass' score unfortunately). There's a genuine sense of foreboding when Renfield (a stunning performance by the excellent Dwight Frye) first arrives at Dracula's cobweb riddled, rat infested manse. The scene where Renfield and Dracula first talk and Renfield cuts his finger is accompanied by a score of such sinister intensity; repetition complemented by soft, ebbing strings. There is also a scene where Renfield pleads with Dracula from behind bars not to go to Mina's room that night. The music here again is utterly breathtaking, not so much feeling modern as feeling utterly timeless.

There is nothing cliché about Glass' score. It somehow manages to re-cut the film without leaving a single foot of film on the cutting room floor, offering an entirely different sense of pace to what has gone before and bringing new meaning to a classic.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

LONDON 2012 ANIMATION + ARTS LOSING OUT TO OLYMPICS

This story is all over the place. An Animated promo for the 2012 Olympic Games has been taken off the organisers' website after it apparently triggered epileptic fits. Heard about this on the news last night and as soon as I did I raced to the batcave to see if I could catch a glimpse of it before they took it down so I could see for myself what it was that they'd done to it. But I was too late.

Rules on strobing in animation are pretty strict for obvious reasons. First off, there's certain frame rates you avoid - couple that with the percentage of the screen that's altered by the effect, there's definitely a clearly delineated no-go area that you should be aware of before you even start making stuff like this.

Images are tested through the BACC (a lot of the work I do goes through them I believe) or a Harding FPA before they go on air in order to ensure they comply with OFCOM regulations. So, how this got through in the first place is beyond me. Draw your own conclusions.

A very similar thing happened with a certain Japanese TV series called Pocket Monsters (Pokémon), when in 1997 more than 635 kids in Japan were taken to hospital with epileptic seizures caused by watching an episode of the show in which there was strobing blue and red color patterns. The publicity of course did the show no harm at all as most bankrupt parents can likely testify.

Now then, back to the Olympics. On the official website there's a sidebar that has a picture of Joanna Lumley in it with the title "Backing the Bid: Joanna Lumley" and a quote from her saying:
"Anything that helps young people become more involved in the arts, culture, sport and the spirit of personal achievement excites me. The Olympics isn't only a sporting feast - it's a celebration of culture and creativity too - and that gets my vote."
Well, here's the stinger. The arts are going to suffer because of the Olympics thanks to future PM and present chancellor, Gordon Brown. And here is why. There's currently a petition to stop this happening and the petition itself probably best describes what's going on, so I'm quoting it and, for your convenience, you can click the quote and that will take you to the petition itself (which is a very simple form to fill in):

Stop the chancellor using Lottery money to plug the funding gap in the 2012 olympics. If this goes ahead at least £900m will go from Big lottery, Sport England, Arts Council and Heritage Lottery much of this money would fund projects within the local voluntary and community sector. Services to disadvantaged people will be directly affected by the loss of this funding, people who will have no opportunity to benefit from the olympics directly but rely on local services provided by the voluntary sector.
This all on the tails of reports that Tax credit errors (the Tax Credit system Gordon Brown set up) is set to waste a further £1.4billion.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

THEY'RE MAKING BABIES ... ROBOT BABIES!!!


Over in Japan they're making babies ... robot babies - and they sound a lot like Anne from Little Britain.

The crazy thing about this is it has the intelligence of a 1-2 year old (which I guess must mean it's learning to walk and talk). It can sense light, has a sense of hearing and touch. The scientists are going to be developing the robot to three year olds intellectual level, which basically means it should have speech and walking down to a tee in four years time.

Quite scary. Are you scared? I'm scared. If this baby grows up to look like Haley Joel Osment, I'm outta here!