Thursday, July 31, 2008

Army Guy


Quarters are fed into a gaming device which spits out tickets which are compiled into a voucher which is turned into candy. If there are a few voucher-credits left, one can buy an army guy like this. He seems pretty happy to be throwing a hand grenade.

Proof! I Am Not a Space Cadet ...



... I am a Solar Captain!

Bucket On Bench Action

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bumping Fists Is So Wonder Twins

Article on bumping fists

You know who else bumps fists? Other than used car salesmen or the Wonder Twins? Toa, as in Bionicle heroes Toa. As below:


Even in the Bionicle universe, fist-bumping is a macho mannerism. The blue character is nominally female. She is politely ignoring her glad-handing fellows as they indulge their Neanderthal habit. In defense of the Toa, I think the animators just found fist-bumping easier to draw.

Classical Music on Vinyl Poll from Naxos

Here's the poll itself.
I can't quite grasp their intent, but just in case, I did leave some feedback to hopefully nip this in the bud:
re: poll. Is this meant to be humorous? I feel like I am responding to the Onion.
re: question 11. That sounds like the worst idea since "A Fifth of Beethoven." Honestly! I can just picture DJ Master Mashie McMashup beat-matching Sibelius and Telemann to a dee-lish trance-hop to get the LAY-deez down-down-down, I say, dow-wun! On the flow-oar! Whoo-oop, whoo-oop! The flo-or! Scratch dat Johannes Yo-yo-yo! Jo-HAN-nes Se-bitchin' Buh-buh-buh-buh Bach, bee-yotch!

Lego Clone Wars V-19

As soon as I saw the V-19 Torrent in the Clone Wars series, I wanted to render it in Lego. Due to a lack of skill, time, dedication or pieces, I never came up with anything nearly adequate. Some other builders made reasonable attempts but I haven't seen any I felt like copying.
The Lego designers, uninhibited by any limitations, have made a set that pretty much exceeds any reasonable expectation. The set is large, almost 500 pieces, and contains elements never seen before. That is a major advantage of being a Lego designer, being able to invent new pieces. The piece that will probably make this set really play-worthy are these syringe-looking hydraulic stays:



Lego Clone Wars has some surprising mini-figs:

The very stylized General Obi-Wan:



The aggressively tattooed Sejj Ventris:



The frankly alarming Plo Koon:



and Commander Cody, out-cooling the whole cast:



My Lego budget is broken forever.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bullitt

This movie didn't invent the cop-that-breaks-the-rules cliche but it is far and away the best of them. Steve McQueen brings his most intense cool beyond cool demeanor and director Peter Yates makes excellent use of it. The car-chase scene is famous – rightfully so – but I think the best parts of the movie are interspersed as he ponders clues. There's this odd little tic or perhaps absence of tic that he uses to show that he has had a brainstorm. The plot is barely adequate for a feature film but the deficit is made up in lots of interesting reaction shots of McQueen. Supporting roles are well done, too, except for the notably vapid performance by Jacqueline Bissett who has to say the stupidest things and does them stupidly. (In her defense, I think she was still a model at this point with her triumph, i.e., The Deep, still in the future.)

Terri Garr Interviewed on Onion AV

Terri Garr dishes and bitches - she's great!

The Sonics

I'm not a sports kind of guy, especially pro, TV-style sports, basketball extra especially. The NBA has always bugged me even when I was a little cynic on a tricycle. So I do not have an opinion about the Sonics leaving Seattle except that I am glad the city has weaned off one suckling from the corporate welfare teat.
A side effect, though, is that their current mascot, "Squatch," has been given the heave ho. It's always sad when a clown dies. Having said that, I know that whenever I see a Wookie on a snowboard my first thought is always, "Basketball!" So maybe the world is a little bit back on track now.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Matoran


Derived from a photo. The notion is that the kanohi has been merged with a krana ... yeah, pretty weird. Anyway, it was done with a tablet and came out better than I expected. The commission, such as it was, was for orange arms but I whoopsed that.

UPDATE: I have re-done it.

More Tablet Doodleage


Toa Maiden Finds Magic Sword


Made by elves!

Indiana Jones Glasses


Fun gift from delightful friends.

Kim

Technicolor location photography is the high point of this colorful adventure. Adults will be distracted and amused by the bizarre casting (Paul Lukas as a Tibetan lama is not the strangest instance) and the parade of politically incorrect tropes that whizz by. Dean Stockwell at his child actor apex. As true to the Kipling novel as is likely.

The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising

I haven't read the books but I have read their covers in the bookstore and even with such limited knowledge, I can say with certainty that the books have been done a disservice by this movie. Art direction is adequate but the limited budget was spent on a considerable quantity of acting talent who do their utmost to salvage what they can from a broken screenplay. Editing and direction are a complete bust. Aside from all that, it did provide a few moments of standard issue suspense. Lovers of the book should probably stay far away.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Primer

Sub-micro budget indie has many technical flaws and is probably a teeth-grinding chore for those impatient with low budget impedimenta (uneven sound, undressed sets, amateur composition, etc.). I was intrigued by the realistic approach to the what if ... In this case, time travel. Unsurprisingly, it is confusing immediately and never ceases to be a muddle but the impression that a puzzle is being worked out is entertainment enough. Many pitfalls were avoided including excessive philosophizing. There is a lot of talk and much of it is simply audio filler but it eventually adds up to being pretty OK.

The Maltese Falcon / Satan Met a Lady

Who knew? There are earlier versions of the Maltese Falcon. The first Maltese Falcon is serviceable but merely slick with no oomph. Satan Met a Lady is pretty much hopeless except as an asterisk to the Maltese Falcon.

Murders in the Rue Morgue

Everything is a bit hodge podge, Bela's unibrow in particular. The quality of suspension of disbelief required has probably never existed (maybe a picosecond after the Big Bang, but no later) but it's still fun to watch. Gorilla suit / chimp stand-in have to be seen to be fully derided.

The Raven (1963)

Best. Wizard. Duel. Ever. Period.

The Raven (1932)

Connection to Poe poem is entirely incidental as mad neurosurgeon wreaks his terrible etc. Stupid but entertaining. Not to be confused with The Raven (1963)

The Black Cat (1932)

Oh my. Bauhaus castles built on top of war crime graves with munitions in the walls and dead omnibus drivers in the first act. Inamoratas in suspended animation and satanists (John Carradine!) in the second, what doesn't this movie have? Top notch all the way.

Pickup On Sixth Street

My new favorite director is Sam Fuller. McCarthyite McGuffin lets Richard Widmark deflate the stupid proles of their delusions. Thelma Ritter's performance exceeds all expectations. Many moments of noir effect. Lightning Louie stands out for me.

The Day the Earth Caught Fire

Superior doomsday movie. I thought it was going to be cheesy (see title) but I was completely mistaken. Leo McKern is great as always. Janet Munro dominates all her scenes with her energy, although Edward Judd keeps his head above water most of the time. He struck me a par-boiled substitute for Richard Burton. Interesting commentary with Val Guest.

The Invisible Ray

Mad scientists probe too far ... and so forth. Great sets, eccentric performances by everyone and a couple of unexpected turns. The connection between this and Kiss Me Deadly is pretty clear.

The 300 Spartans

Uniformly wooden performances. Ralph Richardson out-thesping the Thespians by a league. Richard Egan is about as stalwart as they get, but seems a little relieved to be killed by the Persians. In the more domestic scenes (all played standing on their feet) he is surprisingly OK. Not as bad as some of the initial set dressing might lead you to believe.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Sea Beast

Silent with John Barrymore is a weird funhouse mirror version of Moby Dick. Too much time is spent ashore with the requisite melodrama.

Mackenna's Gold

Has to be seen to appreciate the scope and breadth of its ineptitude. Weird second act stunt of casting several Hollywood legends does not pay off. The ending is stupid beyond credibility.

The Devil's Backbone

Great ghost story. Great images, good performances. A reasonable substitute for Pan's Labyrinth, if you can't stomach the violence.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Cynical and sad Mexican road movie. Interesting and sometimes compelling performances. Warren Oates' performance is unique. According to the commentary, which is worth the listening, Peter Falk was considered for the main role. The mind boggles.

Doomwatch

Cheesy, well-intentioned poppycock about maritime pollution. Starts off, teasingly, as a horror story and then decides that it's an eco-thriller but minus the thrills and degrades into a pretty sad cautionary tale. Ian Bannen always interesting to watch although he seems a bit off his game here. George Sanders appears just long enough to be huffy, then confused.

The Lady From Shanghai

This movie isn't about anything in particular. There's a bit of plot, but the reason to watch is for the cinematasmique in evidence. Rita Hayworth at her most beautiful, Welles at his most arch and tortured. Irish accent notwithstanding.

The Human Stain

Great title. Good cast. Bad movie. My BS detector activated during the title sequence when the Pick Up Truck of Obvious Portent appeared. Things became progressively more lugubrious and forced even before Nicole Kidman showed up. I started skipping chapters and I don't think the story telling suffered that much. I wil say that it's very likely that this movie is better than Crash. I didn't even bother skimming that.

Test of CSS Layers



If you see "YEE HAW!" and Bionicle then layers are working as expected. If you see "YEE HAW" and grey, you are probably using IE.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fooling Around with a Wacom Tablet

WALL-E

As everyone on the planet has already seen the movie, I will just re-assert the consensus that WALL-E is really good. That Pixar can evoke a wide range of emotion from a couple of ovals (EVE) is a worthy feat.
Anti-fatism activists (Antifatismistas?) might take exception but I suspect that they take everything personally already.

Hellboy 2

Like the first Hellboy movie, this one has too many finales. Visually astounding and generous with the spectacle, looser than the first and non-stop pell-mell, I was thoroughly entertained.

Student Protests, Government Tool Misses the Point

Reuters: Student pours cold water on school reform
"She could have thrown the pitcher!" True. She also could have knifed the government stooge, but the point is that she didn't. It was rude, not violent; a prank, not assault. The inability to make the distinction is telling. Blaming a third party just makes it ludicrous and embarrassing.

Interesting Moth and a Rock

Moth!

Of!

Interest!

And a rock:
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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bush pollution gaffe surprises G-8 leaders

I must disagree. No one, especially any of the G8 reps, was surprised that George Bush made an ass of himself and embarassed the US.

Apple(b)logue archive