Monday, December 28, 2009
Cloverfield Charrua style
You simply have to look at this video!
This is an internet sensation, made in Uruguay by a young commercial director. Reportedly the production cost was around 300 dollars, not including the software of course (3-D studio and After effects). This just shows than when you have what it takes (creativity) all you need is talent and support. Kudos to Fede Alvarez, the director, and the best of luck in his upcoming movie (he signed with Ghost House, Sam Raimi's production company).
Maybe he needs a storyboard artist?
Sunday, December 27, 2009
UP IN THE AIR
I was finally able to watch the only movie I was expecting this season, and I have to say; ‘I was right’ it is the only movie worth watching right now.
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) works for a company that fires people when their employers lack the backbone to do it themselves. This keeps him in a very busy schedule that takes him out of home for the better part of the year. He flies all the time, and has his whole life set around those parameters. He’s a very practical person detached of everything, that includes baggage, material stuff, people, even relationships. In fact, the only kind of relationship he has is with Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga) who also happens to be a road dog, just like him. Their scheduled meetings (product of their similar flying patterns) become the closest thing he has to a regular relation.
Everything changes when his company hires a young new talent just graduated from Cornell to improve the methods they use to do their job. Enter Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) who has devised a new system that uses web cams and an internet connection to do what was usually done in person, i.e.: fire people. Ryan feels threatened by this and before he knows it he is assigned to show Natalie the ropes of the business, and thus, they become road buddies.
Here we get to see the differences between both, and they go way beyond the mere age gap, they have very different approaches to both, life and work. Here we get to know each other and the way they act by themselves and around others.
The central theme of the movie is change and how it happens before our eyes even when we don’t want it or are not prepared for it. We can see change happening in Clooney’s face when something major happens or when he comes to the realization that something is not right.
The fact is that we all change, we are not the same person we were two or three years ago, but we are not always aware of how we have changed, this movie offers the chance to take a look at ourselves and explore the past with fresh eyes.
We are all three characters, Ryan, Alex and Natalie, we are or have been in their emotional shoes at one point or another of our lives. We were young idealists with a mapped out plan for our future, and as we come of age we discover that life doesn’t work in those terms, it doesn’t have deadlines, and just like everything else, life and its priorities change, and we also have to do it in order to keep up with it.
At one point Ryan says “moving is living” and that’s just what we have to do, we have to move on.
This is also about alienation, most importantly, about self-alienation and how it affects our lives and our relationships. We all need to make connections, because as they say, life is better with company.
This is what movies should be, for once we are able to care for the characters, when Natalie (in a groundbreaking performance by Kendrick) disappears from the picture for a while, I missed her. This is more than just mere escapism, these are real people, and as such, we care for them. I mean, how invested can you be about Sherlock Holmes when you know for a fact that he is going to solve the case and catch the bad guy? His name is on the title of the movie for crying out loud!
Here is an opportunity to go to the movies, have a good time and get something out of it.
At the end of it we can just go back to our daily routines, but it’s not the same, because in the end, we are the ones that changed.
Up in the air. Paramount pictures. Rated R (for language and sexual content). Running time: 109 minutes.
Directed by Jason Reitman (director of Thank you for smoking and Juno)
This is sort of a sketch I did a while ago. Some of the pages are to be funny, some of them are meant to reflect certain moods I might be going through. Self deprecating humor is a must in this territory, the act of mixing it with less comical things is what proves to be tricky.
The thing looks the way it does because is one of my first attempts at doing everything in a digital way, and as you can see, the human-tablet interface wasn't all that good.
More to come.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Welcome to this new section/column about movies!
Here is the first official post, let's take the Avatar critique as a preview. Now let's go back and take a look at 2009 in what I like to call:
The year in review.
This was a very uneven year regarding movies. There were a lot of releases, but most of them were really poor excuses for motion pictures. In my personal opinion most of them were just awful, jumping from bad to worse, with only a handful of good ones and a batch of mediocre ones that look good only when next to the really bad ones.
Let’s make a distinction right here and right now, all this is personal and the box office grossing for ANY particular movie has nothing to do with where they fall, after all, quality is independent of revenue, and one does not necessarily reflects the other.
Let’s take a quick look:
Harry Potter and the half blood prince, Where the wild things are, Inglourious Basterds, Away we go, Funny people, Star trek, It might get loud, The Blindside, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Watchmen, I love you man, The Hangover, Up, Zombieland.
The thing that makes these movies good to my eyes is the fact that they show you that in today’s world and original idea is still valuable and that if you are going to make yet another remake or adaptation it can be done with some regard and/or respect for the original piece.
You don’t need to be expensive or have the latest in CGI to make a good movie; all you need is a good script and people with talent. All these exceeded expectations, and they range from highly expected blockbusters to the unexpected underdog. Quentin Tarantino made an outstanding comeback with the basterds after that horrible Death Proof he made as part of Grindhouse. All of these also do something that a movie is supposed to do but everybody takes for granted; they entertain.
Something that the ones on the lower section can barely say.
Sherlock Holmes, G.I. Joe, New moon, Paul Blart: mall cop, Avatar, Friday the 13th, Pink panther 2, Fast & Furious, Ninja Assassin, Inkheart, Bride wars, Couples retreat, Push, Street Fighter: legend of Chun Li, Miss march, Crank: high voltage, Night at the museum 2, Land of the lost, Blood the last vampire, The final destination, Gamer, Jennifer’s body, Fame, Orphan, Cirque du freak: the vampire’s assistant, A Christmas carol.
I’m sure that all of these looked like a really good idea during the production meetings, I mean we are talking about Hollywood here, these people wouldn’t back up a project without talent involved. I’m sure they are not gonna risk their reputation putting their names in something without a script, poorly acted, badly directed or with production values that make a subway commercial look Oscar worthy. I mean, c’mon, what are they, purely materialistic pigs that only care about putting crap out for people to watch regardless of quality?
Transformers: revenge of the fallen, X-men origins: Wolverine, Year one, Halloween 2, 2012, Terminator salvation, Dragon ball: evolution, Imagine That.
These are so bad, but sooo bad that in comparison they make any Paul W.S. Anderson movie look like Schindler’s List. One thing to mention though, is Roland Emmerich, who must be the most consistent directors in Hollywood history, everything he makes sucks. All these movies just prove the point that all you need to make money is some sort of established property, no script at all and flashy special effects. At least something good came out of Terminator Salvation, Christian Bale’s rant was, is and will be just priceless, 36 F-bombs in under four minutes. I will never get tired of listening to it.
Right now all I can say is:
Let’s just hope for a better 2010.
More to come.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
This is something that I planned for a few years back, let's just say I never got around to finish it. It's the intention what counts.
Esto lo tenia planeado para hace un par de años atraz, pero digamos que no llegue a terminarla. La intencion es lo que cuenta.
FELIZ NAVIDAD, MERRY X-MAS, FELIZ NATAL and HAPPY HANUKKAH! ^_^
Monday, December 21, 2009
This is a little piece I wrote a long time ago. Sometimes I just get inspired and start writing things like this, exorcizing the creative ghosts that live inside and pouring them into paper. There are a few more like this, very few in English and a lot of them in Spanish, in time they will see the light. I just hope they are not too boring.
Since my early childhood comics have always been an important part of my life. Even when I was too young to read my grandpa will buy me “The Smurfs”, with the subsequent years and the benefit of reading, other things came along, “Mortadelo y Filemon”, “Zipi y Zape”, “Sacarino the bell boy”, the magazine “Fuera Borda” (all from Spain) and the Argentinean editions of “Transformers”, “Thundercats”, “Challenge of the Gobots”, “Robotech” and “Mazinger Z”.
As time went by, the seed of creativity started germinating in me, and I started having the urge to make my own drawings. I guess that like everything in life, there is a time when you want to start making your own thing. It’s like having a guitar, you start playing, and then one day you listen to Metallica and the next thing you know you want to be the next James Hetfield.
At first I started copying from the comic books, until I got a hang of it, sort of. I started doing little strips, with made up characters that only I knew, little stick figures or funny animals, but one day, walking by a newsstand I had an epiphany. Sitting there, among the other magazines, there was a Batman Issue, looking my way. We saw deep into each other…my fate was sealed.
In those early years my only goal was that of being a comic book collector, so with that in mind I will buy everything published by “Editorial Perfil” from Bs. As. They will print a bunch of DC books, including Batman, Superman, Flash (under the nefarious name “Flush-Man” because another publication held the rights to the name Flash) and my two favorites, Justice League America and Europe.
It was then and there that I realized that a comic book was much more that just a bunch of drawings, that it was actually a universe filled with possibilities. That a story with really fleshed out characters was being told.
I was knocked out of my feet just thinking about the endless possibilities of this particular medium.
I decided it was time to start a collection that allowed me access to whatever it was that I founded motivating at that particular time. And so I did, but a flood took most of the books I possessed at the time. That teached me a vital lesson, never let anything you value at floor level. It took me a couple years to recover what I had lost, and still there were a few things I could never get back, but in their place new and exiting things made into my life.
This time I was decided to keep my re-built collection away from water’s harm, and to that end I placed all my books in a high place and kept it that way ever since. To this date the volume of books has increased exponentially, to the point of including books entirely made by me. Which might sound kind of silly, but to me is a big deal.
As the need to express my creativity took over I started to experiment making little cartoons and things like that. Early on I realized that my path laid with the art side of it. Writing was hard (it still is), but there was something about drawing, it was like I could feel it flowing out of my hand and into the paper.
With some time and a lot of practice I made it into the small leagues. I started to get some work published in a local newspaper. I was doing some illustrations to accompany feature articles, and every now and then I would put out a comic strip called “Fede & Rocky” about a kid and his talking dog.
That lasted a couple of years before it was time to move on in search of greener pastures and bigger fields.
They say that being an illustrator is probably the second best way to go hungry; the first one might be being a poet. They are right. Back then doing this was just like having a glorified hobby, the pay was almost non existent, and all I got from it was minimum recognition. I was as famous as the paper’s run allowed it, which wasn’t much.
Today the situation is pretty much the same. Think of it this way, for every artist working on the field there must be at least 20 trying to break in. Now, take a look around and see how many people is actually working right now (a lot), multiply that number times 20, do the math, that’s A LOT of people. This is a highly competitive field, and not in terms of quality (sadly) but because at any given time you have 100 people chasing the same paycheck.
So, it was ’97 (maybe ’98) and I was getting ready to move to Montevideo. I had just finished High School and was ready to start College. That summer I decided that it was time to give comics a chance and starter working on what later on became my book “El Angel Negro” (Black Angel). As I was working on the material I was also trying to wrap my head around the concept of getting a book published. Lucky for me I had an issue of WIZARD magazine that featured an article on how to print and get your book out made by the people of CHAOS comics. My English wasn’t very good at that time (some might argue that it hasn’t improved much), but armed with a dictionary I went to translate the article word by word and took it as my bible on the subject.
Then I went around looking for budgets and places to print the book. In a town like Carmelo it came down to three places. Obviously I went with the cheapest one, and that’s when the sleepless nights began.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Last night I was able to watch Avatar in a special showing. I’m not gonna tell you what the movie is about, as in the details of the story and the names of the characters and all that, you can find all that info somewhere else. My point is this, Cameron didn’t do anything since Titanic, like 12 years ago, or so, it’s the wait worth?
Is this the next best thing?
I’m not gonna lie, I was a little disappointed. I am a huge fan of James Cameron and everything that live in his little blue world. I was eager to see his latest ‘masterpiece’, or as the media puts it ‘the next best thing to ever happen to humanity’
And you know what?
I’m glad I did, so I got that out of the way. Now I can concentrate in movies that actually have meaning, ‘Up in the air’ here I come…
Avatar is just a visual feast running on steroids. I saw it in IMAX 3-D and all, and yet, It didn’t knocked me out of my boots. In a nutshell, it feels like going to church and being preached about saving the planet for three hours. The only difference is that here, things explode more often.
Yes, we are human, whatever we touch we destroy, we kill, we maim, we are materialistic machines driven only by greed, and we don’t have enough destroying our planet, we go around the universe destroying other people’s planets.
We go to Pandora, and because it has something shiny that we like we decide to kill everything in sight… and destroy the forest.
Cameron used Richard Taylor and all the people at Weta (the ones behind the effects on Lord of the Rings) to create an entire world filled with very weird and colorful creatures, the whole thing looks amazing, I mean, with this people involved that is a given, but still, it feels like a very nice looking egg with pretty much nothing inside.
It’s kind of sad for me to say this, but this movie feels more like a Roland Emmerich one, only with more money and talent.
Millions are going to watch it, the movie it’s gonna make a lot of money (although I doubt that it’s gonna cover the 300 million it cost to film) some people is going to hate it and some are going to love it. Hopefully most of us will walk out with our own impression and ideas about it after seeing it, and that is a good thing.
All I want to say is, if you are going to watch it, see it in IMAX, the difference it’s not gonna be too dramatic but at least the screen it’s bigger. If you are in doubt, let it pass, you can always watch it in DVD (it is going to look gorgeous in Blu-ray) in the comfort of your house, without paying 14 bucks a pop and the over priced candy, but it will still look good.
The rest, we can probably live without Avatar, the most expensive Greenpeace commercial ever shot.
Disclaimer: For those of you wondering. No, I'm not Roger Ebert, Axel Kuschevatzky, Guillermo Hernandez or even the ever lousy Jeffrey Lyons, but I like movies too and I'm not afraid to say what I think about them, if you don't like it, just don't read it.
Monday, December 14, 2009
I finally got Daytripper #1, the new book by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba. I was expecting this since the moment I saw it solicited on previews and it doesn’t disappoint. Moon and Ba are twins, they make comics together and they are from Brazil. If you want to know more about them I invite you to follow the link that you can find with the blogs I follow, you won’t regret it.
Now, to the book. The art is beautiful, but with them that is a given. The story flows smoothly and it’s very enticing, it makes you want more. The story happens in Brazil and this is a breath of fresh air. In today’s market, they grab you by the hand and take you on a trip to a real place, with real people. No superheroes or evil plots to take over the world, just a simple story about disappointment and shortcomings.
Wonderfully written and with artwork that looks very simple and yet is exquisite, this is a must read, not only for anyone who loves comics, but also for anyone who enjoys a good story.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
For those of you who don’t know about this, the week of December 30th it’s going to be “Indy Comic Book Week”. This is organized by independent artist to help sales and fill the void that diamond will leave on such date.
Follow this link http://indycomicbookweek.blogspot.com/search/label/Previews to learn more about this and the people involved in it. Here is also what this is all about in their own words.
“Indy Comic Book Week is not only an event but a call to action. Diamond Comic Distributors announced to comic shops that Diamond will not be shipping new comics for the last week of December. We challenge writers and artists to self publish new material for this week, and offer it to their local stores. We ask for retailers to take this as an opportunity to showcase local independent talent on the new release shelves. We encourage fans to break from their buying habits and try something new.”
We completely support this initiative at 3 Guys Making Comics, and we plan to offer ‘How to survive working in retail #1’ to any store willing to carry it in the States. To contact us write to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our sales rep Tony Shenton at Shenton4Sales@aol.com.
This is a great opportunity for independent creators all over the world to take their product and put it out there because diamond distributes comics all around the planet, so this emptiness will be all over. This is our time, take your books and talk with your local shops, spread the word and let’s make of this an annual event.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
It's very late at night (or very early in the morning) and as I'm working on some pages that are due soon I thought about giving to you guys a little show of affection. Here's a sketch about a previous job I had, this is going to be in the book, whenever that happens.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Since I started this some new and interesting things have happened. I suddenly find myself very inspired and I’m coming up with a lot of new material that suits the web site. As I have already said, ‘Beaten & broken’ was originally intended as an original graphic novel, but the whole process of writing it its more complicated than I thought. Most of it comes from anecdotes and recollections as loose things, stories that happen within one or two pages. As a writer my job consist on coming up with a story that makes sense, and I have to weave all this little pieces into the bigger picture. I have everything mapped out, I know how it starts and when and how it ends, I just need to commit that to paper. But there is where the conflict begins, the artist wants to draw, but the writer doesn’t want to write. I also have 3 other projects that I’m currently working on, HTSWR of course and two more that I don’t feel at liberty to disclose just yet. All this keeps me very busy and the whole writing thing gets neglected. Still, this little things keep coming at me all the time, and I get excited and make them. Sometimes I wonder if they are gonna make it into the final draft of the book or not, maybe I will keep a few as online exclusive. I really don’t know yet, only one thing is certain…more to come.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I’m warming up to start what seems to be a very exciting issue. Here’s a first look at Jess and her band ‘Time stands still’, they will make their debut in number 2. Thanks for all the support and for making this such a viable project (an also, my best selling book)
More to come.