Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Return of the Western

                   For years it seemed as though the western was slowly dying out, maybe getting one to premier in theaters once a year, if we're lucky.  It wasn't until about two years ago when the western became popular again with the release of the remake True Grit (2010).  The movie grossed over 170 million dollars domestically, the second highest grossing western behind Dances with Wolves (1990).  There haven't been to many memorable westerns in the last twenty years besides a select few such as Tombstone (1993), Open Range (2002), and the remake to 3:10 to Yuma (2007).  To many, the western is the last romantic period, its the American version of Shakespeare if you will. 
                  The 1800's were a time of simplicity, but as simple as some might think it was probably one of the hardest centuries to live through.  Law was scarce in some areas of the new nation, giving many the freedom to kill and take as they please.  It wasn't all about the unlawful though, it was also a time when the word family and love meant more then it does now.  Blood was thicker than water and family was always there for you when they were needed.  Today we as a whole seem to have lost some sense of this, and its something that I'm reminded of after watching a truly great western.
                 This past Monday was the premier of, in my opinion, one of the greatest mini-series to air on television.  Hatfields and McCoys was a three night event that aired on the History channel, the series broke records in most watched non-sport show on basic cable with an average of 14 million  viewers a night.  The show is based on the true story of the two families who feuded for more than 20 years.  A total of thirteen family members died before the feud ended and went down in western folklore as a metaphor for any bitterly rivaling parties.  Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton play the patriarchs of the bitter families.  The miniseries will be released on dvd and blue-ray in July of this year if anyone has missed it.  Below I is a preview of the mini-series.

                I do believe that the western has come back to stay for awhile, and hopefully we get to see more epic stories told that will show us that simpler time when cowboys roamed the countryside and family was more than just a word. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Latest Thing I've Made

Lately I've been doing some welding, only a week and a half at doing it two, and I've made a totally of seven things.  The last piece I created was a table made out of golf clubs and a shelf I ripped apart, the top is a piece of plywood.  What do you think?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Movie I'm Looking Forward Too

What would you consider the most influential movie of the summer?  I'm sure most people would say The Dark Knight Rises or even The Avengers.  To me though, the one movie that I'm looking forward to the most is a movie I really didn't care about seeing six months ago.  For some reason, watching the previews on television and in the movie theater has won me over, and I find myself excited now when I see even a scene from the film I'm referring too.  Is everybody curious now as to what movie I'm speaking of?  Prometheus has grown on me, first thought to be an Alien prequel but is now referred to as an original story based in the same universe as Alien. 

I was excited to here that Ridley Scott had taken the reins of a franchise he started back in 1979.  A movie that had changed the way we look at movie monsters, space, and the future.  In the past monsters and aliens were created with little imagination, most looking a lot like a man in a suit with bug eyes and a big cranium.  The concept for the alien came from H.R. Giger, an artist whose work was the main focus for the world of Alien.  The two images below is where the primary alien and face huger designs came from.
 The movie was a box office success and spawned several sequels, but the franchise has basically gone dormant, thanks in large part to the Alien vs. Predator films.  When news came out that a new film to the franchise would be hitting theaters in 2012 I was pumped to see what the original director would have in store.  Months after the news of a new Alien film, Ridley Scott said in an interview that the film is now an original story based in the same universe, and the creatures in the film will have the same DNA as the Aliens we all know.  I lost interest after the change in the story came about, that was until I watched the trailer for Prometheus, giving me a glimpse of whats to come.  The trailers have left us in the dark as to whats going on, only getting news that there's a message left on earth at historical sites all around the globe.  The message is supposedly an invitation for mankind to learn the answers of our origins.  Of course we know things don't go to plan and there's more to the message than we first thought.  It's the first time, watching a trailer, that I really have no idea whats going on or can even tell what the movie's about.  I really hope that when the movie is finally released in June, I get something that truly is original.
Earlier this month their was news that a Blade Runner sequel is in the works, which is also a film directed by Ridley Scott.  Originally the film was going to spawn two more sequels, but of course like most things in Hollywood, things never go as planned.  Here's hoping something good comes out of this news. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Pencil Drawing

I've done a few pencil drawings lately but I'd like to post the most accurate portrait that I have ever created.  What do you think?

I recently took up welding.  Ever had a flash burn from welding, not fun but its a price I had to pay.  Now that I think about it, kind of dumb of me but lesson learned.  Here's what I made out of some horseshoes. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Random Thoughts

You ever stop and think to yourself, Where will I be in the next five to ten years?  I've been thinking about that a lot lately, Where will I be?  Where am I going to go?  What am I going to do?  Every question that I've asked has gone through everyone's mind at one time or another, well the most of us I'm sure.  I've been out of a job now for close to a month now and of course you begin to wonder, whats around the bend?  I try to keep busy with sending out resumes, writing a book, and doing odd jobs around the house; I've also done a few jobs based on my art work, hoping to get some more in the near future.  I guess I just feel a little stuck right now, in a rut as some would say.
A few things I'd love to happen in my life in the next few years:  find something that I love doing for a career, have a place of my own to call home, and find someone whose worth getting to know and spending my time with.  For two weeks now, every night I wake up around midnight with a nervous feeling.  I get headaches from over thinking what I'm supposed to do.  I guess this is just me venting somewhat, I wish I had the answers to the questions I have but I guess that's why they call it life.  It's supposed to be hard, so when we do actually get to that place we want to be, we look back and go wow I did it; I made it happen and nobody else could take that away from me.  Up to this point in my life, I've had a pretty easy road, I won't deny that; There have been a few bumps along the way and I'm sure there will be plenty more.  I'm sure reading my blog, most have realized that I'm a movie nut, and would love the opportunity to make one, which I plan on doing later this year.  I guess its time to take a chance, which is what I'm going to do.  I'm sure if ever I get to that place in my life that I find total bliss, everyone who reads this will know about it.  Until that time though I'll keep writing in my blog, keeping everyone posted with the projects I have coming up, whats going on, and posting random facts and stories about the things that interest me.  I hope you'll tag along.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Lost Art of the Drawn Movie Poster!

Here recently movie posters seem to be Photoshopped or a freeze frame is taken from the film and placed on a poster.  It just doesn't seem as artistic to me to have a freeze frame as a movie poster, it's lazy really.  I love the movie posters from the seventies and eighties, they just have more to give than a one sheet of a scene in the film.  A drawn poster has more to offer and is more original.  Lets look at a few examples and maybe you'll see what I'm talking about.  This first example is a poster for the 1977 film Star Wars: A New Hope.
Now there are several different posters to select from when it comes to this movie, three to be exact, but this one speaks to me more than the others.  The next one is from the latest Star Wars trilogy, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.
 Now the first poster just seems to have more going on and has a more cinematic feel than the second poster, which has digital, as well as, photographed characters.  It's all a matter of opinion and I'm sure some will go for the Attack of the Clones poster, and anyone who does has every right to think that.  What I'm saying is just my opinion, take it or leave it.
Now my favorite character in all of cinema would just not look right to me in a poster if he wasn't drawn.  Indiana Jones has been drawn in every movie the character has shown up in.  Raiders, being the first in the series, was drawn by Drew Struzan.  He is one of my favorite artists, not because he does movie posters, but because he does his art so well.  The man has done everything from Star Wars to Blade Runner and even a few recent releases, one being Cowboys and Aliens.  A few examples of his work are below.
The first Indiana Jones poster in 1981, and in my opinion the best poster to ever be published.
 All three Back to the Future Movies were created by the artist, though the poster design hadn't changed all that much, it gets the point across with costume changes, an addition of a character signifying what movie it is, and a change in the time machine to give us a view of whats to come.
Last up on our little tour through some of the best posters is a favorite of my dads, not the poster itself, but the movie.
If you don't know this movie than go to your local video store, if one still exists around you, or go to you nearest computer and rent Big Trouble in Little China; it's an eighties movie, and its a bit cheesy, but if you don't like Kurt Russell with a gun fighting monsters and demons then your not American.  My point is, a drawn poster just seems to have more life than one Photoshopped together.  What do you think?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Evolution of the Vampire

Just a few days from the release of Dark Shadows, I thought it would be interesting to look at the evolution of the vampire in cinema.  The first most successful vampire to show up onto the scene was the 1922 German film Nosferatu, which featured the first film appearance of Dracula.  The film and characters names were changed, due to the German studio not having the rights, but the story is basically the same as the one we all know. 
Vampires didn't hit major success until the release of Dracula (1931), starring Bela Lugosi.  This film went on to be a classic, which became the platform for sequels and other vampire movies.  Bela Lugosi's take on the undead prince became the iconic version of the character and for vampires in general. 
 For decades after the release of Dracula, movies have tried to top what was done in 1931.  In 1966 though, Dracula was brought back into the spotlight with Christopher Lee's take in Dracula: Prince of Darkness.  The character didn't have any lines but still proved to be a success among fans. 
It took another twenty-five years before the character was transformed into something that was totally different than what we've seen before.  Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula (1992), starring Gary Oldman in the title role, gave us a different take of the vampire.  The movie was a box office and critical success, bring vampire's back from the dead and starting a craze that seems to not have ended.
 Of course this whole article isn't about Dracula, I did say vampires in general.  It seems though that vampire's didn't start getting really popular until the nineties, when other stories began to emerge.  Anne Rice brought another character into the mix with her Vampire Chronicle's novels named Lestat.  The first movie in which he appears is Interview with the Vampire.  The story revolves mostly around the character Louis, played by Brad Pitt, who was transformed into a vampire by Lestat, played by Tom Cruise.  Lestat shows up in one other movie called Queen of the Damned, which was a modest success, and the character has basically gone into hiding since then. 

There have been several different takes recently on vampires, some more evil than the last few I've mentioned, and others that, well, they sparkle.  30 Days of Night was a graphic novel that was published in 2002 and made into a film in 2007.  The vampires in this film are considered more monster than romantic, coming out of there holes for 30 days of feasting on a small town in Alaska.  This film remade vampires, and how they should be depicted, of course not many fell in love with this version.
 The next style of vampire has taken over the vampire genre, and has reinvented the way we look at the mythical species.  The Twilight Saga has made the vampire less of a threat compared to past incarnations.  Some aren't happy with the fact that this take on the undead sparkles in the sunlight rather than burst into flames; you can't argue with a billion dollar franchise, nor do I think studios care as long as their pockets are filled to the brim.  Even if it isn't what most vampire fans think of when they think of the fanged demons that have become so popular over the years, its still is the most successful vampire franchise around.
Lastly we have the newest vampire to show up into theaters, but this vampire has been around since the 1960's.  Barnabas Collins has been a part of pop culture since 1966 when the show Dark Shadows first aired on ABC.  The show lasted for five years and since then has developed a cult following.  The show was remade in 1991 but was soon cancelled after the ratings declined due to the show being moved to different time slots.  In 2004 the show was going to be revitalized but it fell apart in preproduction, never airing a single episode.  This year we get a film version of the once popular show, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp as the main character.
  Well there you have it, a brief history of vampires over the years.  Of course I've left some vampires out of the mix, I've just named some that were more noteworthy than others.  If you care to give a few more examples, respond to the post.  Love to hear which vamps I missed. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Do We Really Need Movie Critics?

Since movies have been around there have been critic's to state their opinion's and announce it to the public.  Do these people really need to get paid so we can hear what they have to say about the latest film?  It seems as though a good portion of films with bad reviews still get droves of people to see what the big deal is.  Some of the most popular movies of all time have received some very poor reviews, but why do they gross so much money?  The Transformers films all have grossed over a billion dollars domestically, the last one grossed over a billion dollars worldwide, and it had terrible reviews.  Why would a bad movie, based on the critic's opinion, get such a massive audience?  Because we, the public, want to see for ourselves what the big deal is.  Constantly, we hear people say I'm my own critic, and most people are.  We like what we like, not worrying about what a writer says. 
The other funny thing is critic's seem to love movies that flat out do terrible at the box office, for example 2008's The Wrestler.  The Wrestler made twenty-six million dollars domestically; but on Rotten Tomato, a website with critic reviews, it has 98 percent positive feedback.  With such a high percentage, why wasn't The Wrestler a major box office success?  The answer is simple really, most of the movie watching community go out to see a movie, not because its an Oscar worthy film, but because its mindless entertainment.  A lot of those films that are deemed Oscar worth are usually the most boring thing you'll ever watch in a theater, but critic's eat it up leaving a lot of people who watch the Oscars saying to themselves, why did that movie win?  Sometimes we just want to go to the movies to see things that go boom and not listen to dialog for two hours.
Now do critic's ever like what the public likes?  Of course they do and one example was just released this past weekend and even broke the record for biggest opening weekend of all time.  The Avengers made 200 million dollars at the box office, beating out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 which had $169 million on it opening weekend last year. The Avengers has had some of the best reviews for a super hero movie and seems to be liked by everyone.  Not all movies that the public likes are butchered by the critic's.
Some actor's and director's can been seen in interview's discussing their film and the question that always comes up is either the critic's love this movie or hate this movie, what do you think?  A good portion of them will reply with I try not to follow the critic's opinion.  Why should we follow what they say?  Now I know a good portion of people out their go by what their favorite critic says; if its a bad review they won't go see it, if its good they'll give it a look, and that's okay.  I'm not saying its a bad thing to go by a critic's opinion, but I am saying sometimes what you like will differ from what someone else enjoys.  All I'm saying is be your own critic.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Why Put Scene's After Credits?

Why is it that studios or directors put a scene at the very end of the movies credits?  These scenes are referred to as post-credit scenes, easter eggs, stingers, tags, and credit cookies, which ever word you prefer really.  I'm just like every other die hard movie maniac, I sit and wait for the scene every time I know there is going to be one.  Marvel is the latest studio to do this, and its not as though I'm complaining about the scene itself, I would just rather have the scene show up after a dramatic pause at the very end of the movie or even after the first initial post-credits role, but why make everyone wait for ten minutes just to see a thirty second to two minute clip? 
Now they first started doing the post-credit tease in the sixties at the very end of a James Bond film with the phrase, "James Bond will return in...," then having the title of the next Bond movie show up, giving people something to look forward too. 
They didn't start putting scenes at the very end of the credits until 1979, which began with The Muppet Movie.  In the eighties, these scenes could be viewed at the end of some of your favorite comedies, one being one of my favorite post-credit scenes, Ferris Bueller's Day Off; not to sure if you could call it one due to the fact that a scene was rolling the entire time the credits were rolling, but having Ferris come out wondering why we're still watching comes to mind everytime I wait for a post-credit scene. 
Here and there, they would pop up in movies like the Pirates of the Carribean films or X-Men, but they didn't really become popular again until recently with Iron Man when we see Nick Fury standing in Tony Starks house wanting to disguss "The Avengers Initiative."  Most post-credit scenes, before Marvel films, were mostly for a gag or a laugh.  When Marvel came along they used these scenes to connect an upcoming Marvel film with the feature you just watched; this was all leading to the Avengers film, which just came out this weekend.
I still like these scenes, I'm just asking for studios to place them before the credits role, or maybe even during the credits when we're walking out of the theater, but not the very end for the love of god.  By the way, there are two scene's during and right after the credits in The Avengers, so stick around for ten minutes after the movie.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Why Are Some People Considered Artists? I Mean Really!

I sometimes go online and see some of the art shows that are being shown in galleries around the world.  Some of these shows I'm completely amazed by some of the detail I see in the pieces showcased; but a good portion of the time I'm completely shocked by what some people would consider art.  What is the definition of art really?  Well if you must know its the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture.  Now I'm all for art if it goes by that very definition, but could someone please tell me what makes the picture below artistic in any way?

Alright, now that you've had a minute to take in the artwork above, happily titled 'From the week in hell' by Tracey Emin, would you consider that art?  I would if a troubled five year old did it, and that's just my opinion, but I think most would agree with me.  The artist, Tracey Emin, has been a part of the art scene since she opened her own shop called The Shop in 1993, for reasons unknown to me.  People buy her work and hang it on their walls, and are in amazement by the art they just purchased.  Now I'm not bashing the woman, I'm bashing her artwork.  She is a very giving person who has raised money for charities such as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and HIV/AIDS charities.  She is a passionate person, and I'm sure she loves what she does, but I know people who spend hours on their art and they never get the notoriety she's been given.  Here's another example of the artwork she's done:

If you believe what your looking at is a penis with a bird perched on top, I'm gonna say your right.  Now lets look at another artist:

The painting you see above was painted by an artist named Sidney Eileen titled Ringo.  She's an unknown artist whose work you can find on  Now why isn't she a well known artist compared to Tracey Emin.  Maybe it's just me.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I'm Back With Some News.

Alright everyone!  I know it's been a good while since I've been on and I promise I wont wait so long again.  I have several updates for you guys, and well here it goes.  For the last few months I've been working in the film and television industry as a production assistant.  I've worked on such shows as: America's Got Talent, BBQ Pitmaster's, and BBC's Lovetown USA.  So far I have enjoyed working in the industry but I'm going to broaden my horizon's and shoot for a little higher.  I'm going to accomplish more in my life than following what others tell me to do.  My first objective to make this possible is finishing my first novel.  The novel is called Priscilla's Perfume, a story about a town called Holbrooke.  Holbrooke is what most people consider the American dream, but dreams can sometimes be nightmares.  A mysterious woman shows up and soon the town is tested, a test that will determine the fate of everyone.
I'm not going to give away to much about the book, but I'll give you a glance into some of the stories that you'll read.  Now the other prospect that's on the horizon is an independent film that I'm working on with a friend of mine.  He has written the script and at the moment we are touching it up and will soon be trying to get the word out, more on that at another date.  I just like to say I'm back and will be from now on.  Below is a picture of the cover of my first novel.  Tell me what you think.