January 15, 2010

Getting under the animatronic skin

Filed under: Artists, Entertainment, Internet — Jonathan @ 10:41 am

Take a look under the hood of some animatronic creations with robotics film-maker John Nolan. His gallery not only shows off some wild creations but also gives you a peak at what is under their skin. It’s funny how even the cutest creatures look like something out of a nightmare when their skin is removed the reveal a harsh metal skeleton and veins made of wires.

More info: link

January 12, 2010

Pixar Easter Eggs

Filed under: Artists, Entertainment — Jonathan @ 11:13 am

Pixar Animation Studios is know by millions for their fun movies, lovable characters, and meaningful story lines. Behind it all is an intense team of writers, animators, programmers, etc all of whom just want to have some fun. As many times as you have watched Toy Story or Monsters Inc, I bet you missed the little things that were intentinally put there for fun. Did you know that WALL-E appeared in Ratatouille? Do you know how many movies the Pizza Planet truck actually appears in?

For those who have never heard of this before, an “easter egg” is an intentional hidden message, in-joke or feature in a piece of media. The term was coined – according to Warren Robinett – by Atari after they were pointed to the secret message left by Robinett in the game Adventure.

Check out this comprehensive list of Pixar easter eggs for all the answers: link

December 29, 2009

2009 in political cartoons

Filed under: Entertainment, Internet — Jonathan @ 11:20 am

From bailouts to bonuses, cartoonists try to eak some laughs out of a rough 2009.

Full slideshow/source: msnbc

December 17, 2009

RIP Roy Disney

Filed under: Entertainment, misc. — Jonathan @ 11:00 am

Roy E. Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney who became a powerful behind-the-scenes influence on the family business, died yesterday at age 79. His father, Roy O. Disney, and uncle, Walt, founded The Walt Disney Co. in the 1920s. Walt was the company’s creative genius but Roy Disney’s father played a vital role as head of its financial side.

The younger Disney, born in 1930, worked for the company as a writer and producer. But his most important influence was as a Disney shareholder who led two investor revolts.

In 1984 he led a successful campaign to oust Walt Disney’s son-in-law from the company. Nearly 20 years later, he launched another successful shareholder revolt against Michael Eisner.

He is survived by his wife Leslie, his four children, and his 16 grandchildren.

source: Eyewitness News

November 20, 2009

Tim Burton at MOMA

Filed under: Artists, Entertainment — Jonathan @ 11:02 am

Filmmaker Tim Burton’s visual art will be on display starting on Sunday, Nov. 22, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. His media include watercolors, line drawings, pastels, and sculptures. The exhibit features not only film concept work, but his independent, stand-alone projects.

You can expect to see some pictures from here posted in the next couple of weeks!

More info: link

November 5, 2009

Wu-Tang album covers redesigned as Blue Note album covers

Filed under: Artists, Entertainment, Internet — Jonathan @ 1:02 pm

Untitled-1Blue Note Records is a jazz record label, established in 1939 by Alfred Lion and Max Margulis. Historically, Blue Note has principally been associated with the “hard bop” style of jazz (mixing bebop with other forms of music including soul, blues, rhythm and blues and gospel). In 1956, Blue Note employed Reid Miles, an artist who worked for Esquire magazine. The cover art produced by Miles, often featuring Wolff’s photographs of musicians in the studio, was as influential in the world of graphic design as the music within would be in the world of jazz. Under Miles, Blue Note was known for their striking and unusual album cover designs. Miles’ graphical design was distinguished by its tinted black and white photographs, creative use of sans-serif typefaces, and restricted color palette (often black and white with a single color), and frequent use of solid rectangular bands of color or white, influenced by the Bauhaus school of design.

With The Wu-Note Project, Logan Walters redesigned the classic Wu-Tang Clan albums in the fashion of this Blue Note design. Amazing.

The Wu-Note Project: link

October 23, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

Filed under: Entertainment — Jonathan @ 2:03 pm

where_the_wild_things_are_poster2

For those who don’t know about this, I’ll use a blurb by James Rocchi as a quick summary:

“Based on Maurice Sendak’s 10-sentence 1963 children’s book, director Spike Jonze’s movie manages to build a slim, slight thing of grace into a feature-length film by burrowing into the book, not by blowing it up until it breaks. With a script by Jonze and author Dave Eggers (“A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”), “Where the Wild Things Are” does not add to or expand on the plot of Sendak’s book but instead creates a series of moments — conversations, adventures, silences — that fit within the story Sendak created.”

I have been looking forward to this movie for some time now. It was a pretty exciting experience and definitely had its ups and downs. There aren’t many films in a year that I get this excited, and this opinionated about. I’m going to try and highlight my favorite and least favorite moments in this film by splitting it into three categories that I felt were important:

Story:
It was good, but it lacked. Two words can sum it up: manic depression. I felt like I was going to see a Pfizer logo pop up throughout the movie; it easily could have been sponsored by Ritalin, Lamictal, or Zoloft. I understand (or perhaps interpret) the point of this story as most do. Simply enough: kids will be kids. The conflicted feelings of growing up. How happy, how sad, how crazy, how rambunctious and of course, how wild we are. But I think a lot of it was taken to the extreme. Within the first 5 minutes I couldn’t help but think that poor Max had severe psychological problems and that I was watching a PSA for tourette syndrome. Even the role of Carol was taken to a bit of an extreme. Traditionally, the Wild Things are large, intimidating and incomprehensible, like adults, but they’re moody and mercurial, like children. They show a child trapped in a grown-up body. There were many times in the film when Carol felt like less of an emotionally confused child and more like an alcoholic father on a violent bender. There were too many situations that just felt uncomfortable. It was a feeling the seemed tough to shake throughout the movie, even when things were beautiful.

The best scene in the movie? Without spoiling anything: when Max left the island. It brought some tears to my eyes and highlighted one of the rare moments in the movie that I actually felt any emotion.

The majority of the film lacked substance, but I think that’s okay. It gave you a chance to take everything in, to enjoy the moments as they passed, and to think about what was going on. With all of the action packed thrillers these days, simple contemplation and absorption of the movie is something that the industry never lets you do. It was nice to have that.

On a similar note, the message that should have been conveyed was weak. The idea that children and adults alike need to know they have feelings in them: empathy, sympathy, love and forgiveness, is drowned out by anger, being angry, breaking things and yelling. There was definitely something lost in translation.

But, with all that said, I don’t think the story was really the focus of this movie..

Visuals:
One word: Perfection. Everything and anything that appeared on the screen just looked amazing. Cinematography, costumes, lighting, scenery, editing.. everything. It all exists in a world of wood and wind and wave, of sunlight and stone. The characters of Sendak’s drawings were given life in the most beautiful way. This is really no surprise; In fact, this was why I was so excited for Where The While Things Are. Lets put Spike Jonze aside for a second; Just to see Jim Henson Productions in full swing made the movie for me. I am a long time fan of the Jim Henson Creature Shop and the fact that they were used over CGI was one of the best decisions, ever.

I think my only criticism, which isn’t really a visual flaw, were the actors voices. From the first words muttered by Carol, in the distance, it just didn’t feel right. James Gandolfini sounded more like Jon Benjamin, and that combined with the creatures shape and size made me feel like I was watching a live action, not so funny Coach McGuirk. Catherine O’Hara as Judith didn’t really do it for me either. Forest Whitaker as Ira? Nailed it! There should have been more of that.

Soundtrack:
Question: What is one way you can make Karen O even more annoying then she already is? Answer: Have a chorus of kids join her so it sounds like Kidz Bop: Crappy Indie Rock Edition. I guess for the most part, the music was pretty much okay; especially when Karen O kept her mouth shut. It helped convey the feeling most of the time while distracting the rest. Considering it was Karen O and her band of talent less indie rock idiots, I thought it was going to be much, much worse. I actually came out of it feeling pretty satisfied with what I heard. I even downloaded the soundtrack to give it all another chance.

Said and done: I am a fan. I’d give it 7.5 out of 10.

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