Archive for July 2010

San Diego Comic-Con 2010 Wrap Up   Leave a comment

Hey Everybody,

For the last decade late July always means Comic-Con time in San Diego. A hundred and twenty thousand plus humans a day descend upon the San Diego convention center to preview everything in the world to do with movies, comics, art, collectibles, dolls  and a lot more.

I always get a kick out of the picture from the floor, Comic-Con is the place for people watching. There’s something refreshing about people who don’t give a shit about what others think of them or have lost a serious bet. It can only be one of the two,  you be the judge.

I really like The Street Fighter game series to, but MY GOD!!!!  This guy’s got balls of steel to leave to house that way. Even if it was Halloween, that would still take king kong balls to pull this one off .

Without seeing their faces, was it the kid or the dad’s idea to dress up in full plastic costumes in July during a heat wave? You can almost make out what the kid is thinking by the way he’s standing. Two words, HEAT STROKE

And Freddy the chef. I’m not even sure what to say about this one. I guess the positive thing to say is that he’s being really creative with his time at the hospital. or maybe not?

I guess after showing you the fat guy in his red undies I should throw  in some hot girls, but I really couldn’t find any this year, so I opted for the Leia in gold bikini twins. I think a couple nerds head exploded upon seeing these two make out for about 15 seconds. Seriously.I guess they never had Cinemax as Kids. Where good looking people just bump into each other for some casual sex. I miss the late 80’s early 90’s. Average girls in skimpy costumes seems to be the norm here in San Diego. Imagine that in a College town.

As always there is a large amount of movie collectibles and large film props about the convention floor. I can’t wait for the new Tron movie. I think a lot of people are going to be very surprised by what they see. The bikes look super sick (that means really really neat o) .

Looks like Gentle Giant Got the license for Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch. starting thing of with four 1/4 scale statues. looking pretty interesting. Looking  more forward to seeing the movie now after seeing the visuals form the trailer. The characters look cool.

Gentle Giant is also bringing us something different with the Star Wars license this year…

They have taken the ’77 Kenner figure designs and made them all 12″ tall. You see the size comparison with the original figures. These look very cool. I think it is a great idea, very nostalgic.

Over at the Sideshow Collectibles booth they always have some super cool stuff to check out.

These are all 1:1 scale. Amazing work done on all of them.

Newest 1:1 bust announcement for the Con. Love the desert weathered 3-PO. The eyes light up as well. SICK!

Pictures don’t do this one justice at all. The weathering on the helmet is very very impressive. The head also swivels to place the head in different positions. I think I maybe be in love…

1/6 scale Yoda and Dagobah Environment  looks amazing. Wasn’t expecting this one at all. Strong Work Sideshow. I think the Star Wars 12″ line is only getting better.

The new Hammerhead figure looks great and  the cantina environments are great. I like the idea of building a 1/6 scale set.

And of course Han with always be the one who shot first. None of this digital, “shot out of no where” shit.

Nothing like a little green hot dog meat. The Gamorrean Guard looks pretty on point, snotty nose and all.

Nothing that the kids want more than an old man in his deluxe lazy boy, pretty fancy for sure. Boy that recliner looks extremely comfy right about now.

Hot Toy is doing the Predators license of course. Starting off strong with the Berserker Pred. This guy is huge, accurate scale for 1/6 scale. The body is done beautifully, great detailing on the figure and accessories.

The Royce figure looks good. The outfit and weapons are top notch. Adrien Brody apparently wasn’t very happy with the sculpt so that should be worked on for the final  productionpiece.

Hot Toys bring us another character from Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards Col. Hans Landa. Look nice. Not a hundred percent convinced on the head sculpt yet. Need to see more angles. But the Aldo rains was so good I’m betting this one will be a great piece in hand.

It look like Hot Toys is hitting the Marvel universe hard this year with the long rumored Ghost Rider figure finally making an apperance. Ready to hit the pump jack in all that leather. As well as a sick bike to go with your Johnny Blaze figure, flaming tires and all.

Out of all the Iron Man stuff Hot Toys have done (and it’s all very impressive)  this is the only must buy for me. I like the way they’ve approached the female figure as of late. The rooted hair worked really well on the Silk Specter figure form last year. I’m sure this one is just as well done, the sculpt is a knock out likeness of Scarlett and the body looked bang on. The superb work keeps flowing out of  Hot Toys in Honk Kong. Very excited for the future from this company.

And Triad Toys finally shows me something I might be interested in, 1/6 scale figures from the Lone Wolf and Cub series. If you’ve never seen any of the seven films from the 70’s  based on the Lone Wolf and Cub (子連れ狼, Kozure Ōkami?) manga series, you should check them out. Really good sword play with tonnes of spraying blood and quirky characters. They’re a lot of fun and crazy cool.

And I give you another interesting heat stroke victim above, Chef Vader serving up some Jar Jar head? Sweet! I wonder how many grams of mushrooms it might take to get someone in that suit, during a summer heat wave in California? Anyone?

Well Comic-Con 2010 has come and gone. As much as I jest about all  the humans at the convention center, you really do meet some great friendly people that aren’t too crazy. Just the right level of nuts, not the “I’m going to dress my four year old toddler up in a five hundred dollar plus costume so he can suffocate a slow death through out the day” nuts.

If you’ve ever wondered about going to San Diego one year for Comic-Con but aren’t sure if  you could handle the crowds of crazy fan boys and girls. I’ll share with you the one thing that helped me a few years ago when I had the fortune of going all expenses payed through a movie I was involved in…

Incredible Hulk s . Two different shots of high end cognac mixed together. A few of those with breakfast to start the day after 3 to 4 hours of sold sleep before hitting the panel rooms. A few more with lunch and the crowds don’t seem so bad. Imagine that. A hundred and twenty thousand humans a day through the convention center. What a show. The real key is to get a hotel booked that is close to the Con, that way you can retreat to your room or pool side if the humans get to be too much. Maybe even head down to the bar for another drink…

You never know when you’ll run into a legend and get to have few beverages together.

Trust me, it’s a blast. I can’t wait to go back again soon.

till next time. keep reading friends.

J.

Hot Toys Is Seriously Stepping It Up, DX04 Revealed   Leave a comment

Hey Everybody,

One of my favorite scenes from any Bruce Lee film has got to be the final fight seen in Enter The Dragon.

When I was 9 0r 10 my friend use to have that poster of Bruce with those three cuts on his torso up on his wall. Every time I looked at that image all I could think is “what a bad ass”. That was before even seeing the movie. That image made me want to see it.

After watching that I fell in man love with the “Bruce Lee”. He delivered a thousand times on that one poster shot and still does upon every viewing.

And now Hot Toys out of Hong Kong has Revealed the DX04 Bruce Lee From Enter The Dragon 1/6 scale figure.

Comes with 2 DX heads, a full rage of accessories and even two backdrops, one is mirrored just like the last scene. This thing looks beyond awesome.

The crew over at Hot Toys has been putting out some very impressive stuff as of late. The head sculpts keep getting better and more life like on each figure. Can’t wait to see what else they have in store for the near future.

till next time

J.

That shit is BAD ASS!!!

Marvel Studios “The Avengers” assemble for the first time.   Leave a comment

Hey Everybody

Well some serious news in the Marvel film world has been floating in the air as of late. With Comic-Con happening last weekend we get some solid information on some long awaited projects.

The larger news I figure is the recasting of Bruce Banner for a third time. Word of Ed Norton leaving the project the last few weeks are confirmed with the casting of Mark Ruffalo in his place for the Joss Whedon Directed Avengers Film. Jeremy Renner is also confirmed as Clint Barton better known as Hawkeye.

Joss Whedon is certainly putting together a stellar cast for what could be the most ambitious comic book film ever conceived. I think it’s about time Whedon got a decent budget and support on a feature film project. I loved Serenity and the Firefly series. I think both are highly under rated and under watched.

Whedon has been around for a while. His first writing job was on TV’s “Roseanne”, then made a good living as a script doctor on films for several  years. Returning to TV with Buffy the vampire slayer, which won an Emmy in 2000 for outstanding writing in a drama series. His series Angel did five seasons.  He did uncredited drafts on X-men, Speed and Waterworld, all which were pretty much thrown away. Joss co-wrote Alien:Resurrection which he claimed was a good script wrecked by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

Also no stranger to comics and their stories being the writer of Marvel’s “the Astonishing X-Men” series. As well as the writer of all the Buffy the vampire slayer/Angel and Serenity comics of course.

Only time will tell with a project of this size. With all the egos and minds involved, I think Whedon has his work really cut out for him, good thing he knows his stuff and is a super geek. That’s exactly what The Avengers needs at the helm.

The Avengers assembles for the first time in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Com 2010

Robert Downey Jr/ Iron Man  , Clark Gregg/Agent Phil Coulson, Scarlett Johansson/Black Widow, Chris Hemsworth/Thor, Chris Evans/Captain America, Samuel L. Jackson/Nick Fury, Jeremy Renner/Hawkeye, Mark Ruffalo/Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Joss Whedon/Director

Wow! It’s hard to believe that this movie is actually happening with a giant cast, and a great director who cares about the source material. I don’t think Marvel could have done better than Whedon for the Avengers.  We only have to wait till May 4 2012 to see it. I’m sure for some it seems like an eternity…

Let the count down begin!!!

J.

WOW!!! Sucker Punch Looks Pretty Sick   Leave a comment

Hello Everybody,
After Comic Con in San Diego this weekend a whole whack of news to report.
First up Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch…

Snyder brings his heavy visual style to girls kicking ass in a fantasy world invented by the main character, Baby Doll (Emily Browning). She’s a young girl who’s evil stepfather puts her in a mental institution. She envisions a plan for her escape from the facility with the help of the other patient.

That’s pretty much the set up. The trailer looks like a mix of every geek boy fantasy all rolled into one movie.  Take a look for yourself and let me know what you think.

more news to come soon.

J.

Lighting Super Freak, NATHAN ALLEN   Leave a comment

Hey Everybody,
There’s once in a while you come across another human who is always putting a mass amount of attention and care into there work, and are real artists at what they do. One of those special individuals is Lighting Super Freak, NATHAN ALLEN.

Notice that MR. ALLEN is so engrossed into his job, pressed for time and so important, that he leaves his work gloves on at all times. Even while snacking at the craft service table. It’s a sign of status amongst the real technicians. Poised for anything with his three hundred dollar FBI style head set, he spring into action…

“CLICK” . And the light seems to be on. Problem solved.

Strong Work Nate.

Keep it up.

Now after a day of hard work we may all go out for a few beverages on occasion…

I think bringing the camera with us was a questionable idea.

What a BAD ASS.

LIGHTING SUPER FREAK NATHAN ALLEN, thanks so much for your hospitality on set and off, I could always see where I was going and never couldn’t not see something right.

Remember,  you keep givinr’ and never stop.

till next time

J.

Platoon Hot Toys Figures? Really? Apparently So.   1 comment

Hey Everybody
I’m a rabid collector and love the length some of these high end collectible companies have gone to for screen accurate dolls of my favorite movie characters. From Dark Knight to Godfather Hot Toys has delivered some unexpected  but awesome dolls.
Yes. Dolls.
One company I love out of Hong Kong called Hot Toys has done a number of movie figures in the 1/6 scale(12″) that are pretty amazing art pieces as well as being really really nice dolls.
Anyways, with Comic Con around the corner all these companies will be revealing new product and licenses. With a huge surprise it seems that Hot toys will be making Platoon 1/6 scale figures.
Here’s a spy shot of the Hot Toys booth at an Asian convention a month ago.  This will most likely  be revealed to the North American in San Diego in two weeks

Platoon : Chris Taylor ( Charlie Sheen )

Sideshow collectibles out of California did Platoon 1/6 scale figures almost 10 years ago now and even they were good for the time, but this Hot Toys Chris Taylor is dam cool. I never thought the license would ever be revisited by any company but it’s nice to be surprised. Now I can’t wait for the Blu-Ray.
Till next time.
J.

Posted July 16, 2010 by JMC in The Toy Lab

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PREDATORS Is Worth A Look. Might Even Make Up For AvP Movies?   Leave a comment

Hey Everybody,

I had the chance to check out The Robert Rodriguez produced Predators directed by Nimrod Antal (Armored-2009, Vacancy 2007, Kontrol (Hungary)-2003). Without giving away too much or over selling it, I would say if you were a fan of the first Predator directed by John McTiernan starring Arnold, you will come away from this one feeling satisfied. Adrien Brody is great, playing against type and nailing the role. The whole cast is great even when no lines are being spoken.

The visuals are top notch and the effects are there, even if some small parts of the CG looked rushed(most likely to meet the release date). The gore level is high, as it should be for a movie of this type. Lots of well done blood effects. the characters are all pretty much anti-heroes but the director Antal seems to get you to care about them even as you are waiting to see the action involving the Predators. There were  good surprises for fans of the series, tying more stuff together about the Predator universe. I didn’t find myself once looking at my watch, like I did at least 10 times in each of the Alien vs Predator films.  I read another review that summed it up in the head line “Predators is the sequel the original Predator deserves”. So really the only thing left to say is go give Predators a look. You’ll at least feel like you got your moneys worth. Which now a days is a lot to ask from the studios apparently. At least they got this one right.

Till Next Time.

J.

Grindhouse trailer MACHETE gets feature film with all star supporting cast   Leave a comment

Hey everyone,

We are having some serious heat wave action here in Vancouver. And everyone is out in the shorts and bikinis enjoying the weather.

I’ve been aware of this news for a while now, but I still talk to people that have no idea this movie has actually been made. The Grindhouse trailer that Rodriguez did, Machete starring Danny Trejo has been made into a feature film with an all star cast supporting Trejo. Robert Rodriguez co directed with long time editor of his Ethan Maniquis. The cast includes Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, Robert De Niro, Lindsay Lohan, Cheech Marin, Jeff Fahey, Steven Seagal, Don Johnson and more. The new trailer look great. here it is to take a look at. Enjoy.

Looks like a fun time to me. Good to see more weird subversive projects still coming out of Troublemaker Studios. Keep it up Robert. We all look forward to what’s next after Predators and your 4th Spy Kids. Do we possibly get to see a 2nd Sin City movie? We can only hope.

Till next time Keep reading. Now go watch something.

J.

15 Blu Rays That Sold Me On High Def. Part 5 of 5   Leave a comment

So…

I have a lot of friends that ask me about the deal with Blu-Ray and whether it is worth switching over formats or is it all a big money grab by the companies? Well let’s get one thing strait IT’S ALL A MONEY GRAB. But saying that, if you are a serious film enthusiast and are in search for the best looking, highest quality video media available then Blu-Ray is probably worth investing in starting now with new release movies or old stuff you’ve wanted to own. I’ve viewed over 400 Blu-Rays at this point and they are all superior quality to any DVD prints.

You still must be choosy as a consumer. Some studios have released Blu-Rays with 5 year old HD masters ( Ridley Scott’ s Gladiator is a serious offender in this category. it looks terrible and unlike the theater viewing of the film. Where the visuals were much more detailed) HD mastering has improved so much in the last 5 years. which is why companies are already “double dipping” ( putting out an early cheaper transferred version of a film with no extras for a low price, then a few years later releasing a upgraded new transferred extra special edition and putting a $30 price tag on it. Usually coinciding with release of a remake or sequel in the theater) sometime it’s worth it for me to spend $5 or $10 dollars on a barebones(no special features) Blu-Ray movie to be able to see it in the best format available ASAP, knowing full well I will most likely replace it when a better updated disc arrives. for most of you this is probably stupidity at its highest level. I totally agree.

The 15 Blu-Ray Discs on this list are all of superior quality and far surpass the view experience of any DVD versions or old theater prints (I’ve seen almost all of these multiple times on 35mm prints at midnight shows and I was blown away by the visual quality of the discs versus those viewings) . If you lucky enough you might catch a viewing of these on a new printed digitally cleaned 35mm or 70mm print, but that is probably unlikely unless you like in L.A. Or New York. Each Blu-Ray after viewing I had to immediately play again to soak up the viewing ecstasy of seeing some of my favorite fiction and non-fiction jump off the screen as if I was seeing it for the first time. I WAS SOLD. here’s #3-#1

  • #3 – The Shining (Director Stanley Kubrick) 1980- It’s come to my attention there are still people who have not seen The Shining. It is a Masterpiece by any standard and a must watch for all movie lovers. I have seen it projected At least 25 times and not to mention the 150+ or moire viewings on VHS and DVD. The first viewing on Blu-Ray was  extremely eye opening. The visuals Kubrick employes are always one another level from all other film makers. (there is no other director who had there first cover shot on a major publication at 16 and a staff photographers job at 17 for Look magazine). His photography knowledge is always for front for those in the know, for others it just blend in to the perfect mood for what ever his subject might be. This presentation of The Shining is like seeing it again for the first time visually, you will notice subtleties that you have never seen before. Kubrick’s care and borderline obsessive film making style will be missed. At least we have the film he has made on the best possible format for home use thus far. A must buy for any Blu-Ray owner. Not to mention that this is one of Nicholson’s  all time best “crazy Jack” type of performance.

  • The Third Man Criterion Collection (Director Carol Reed) 1949- For those of you who have never heard of this or have never seen this picture I would recommend highly that you either rent this or buy it immediately. This really is one of the real jewels of cinema.More so even than Casablanca or Citizen Kane. It plays more like a 1970’s thriller that a movie made in the late 1940’s. Brilliant characters, direction, cinematography, acting and just plain amazing story telling at it’s best. And the presentation of the Blu-Ray is superb. Criterion Always put very special attention into there transfers and source print clean up. I owed the previous DVD version and that was an amazing transfer. I didn’t think that the new print would be that much better but it blew the DVD out of the water. It is mind boggling that Criterion can create such a beautiful looking disc from such an old source material and still have it look like a perfect first generation film print. this is the ultimate medium to see what the film makers originally intended. A MUST SEE FOR EVERYONE.

  • 2001:A Space Odyssey (Director Stanley Kubrick) 1968- There is some much about 2001 that makes it a revolutionary film. The effects, the story or lack of one as some may think, are all part of a real movie experience. I think many people look at this film to logically. This is defiantly one of those movies you’ve just got to let go and experience. It’s all about the experience. Being like no other studio movie ever made, Kubrick brings us through the dawn of man to the future/present onto the rebirth of man into a true energy being. Extremely esoteric story backed with amazing technical prowess behind the camera.There is no dialogue in the first 25 minutes of the movie (ending when a stewardess speaks at 25:38), nor in the last 23 minutes (excluding end credits). With these two lengthy sections and other shorter ones, there are around 88 dialogue-free minutes in the movie. The entire film contains only 205 special effects shots, compared to 350 in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope  (1977) and over 2,200 such shots in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith (2005). All of the special effects footage had to be printed on the original negatives. Kubrick thought using copies of the negatives would harm the visual quality of effects shots. This is why he had shot on/unexposed film in the fridge for up to a year before reputing it into the camera to get another component of his optical effects so he could expose the negative only once. Which achieved an almost seamless effect, still unable to tell where the effect plates are in the some shots. The Blu-Ray is so crisp  it slightly gives it self away with some of the effects if you know where  to look. One must also remember that the film was shot one hundred percent optically (in front of the the camera) .  Originally Kubrick had planned to shoot the film in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1. After consultant Robert Gaffney convinced the director that Super Panavision (aspect ratio 2.20:1) was a more visceral experience, Kubrick agreed and got MGM to pay for the photographic process. Since shooting a 70mm space film with monaural sound was frowned upon, Kubrick decided to mix the soundtrack in stereo sound. He also decided to use the Sinar Front Projection system for the desert backdrops during the animal/ape scenes. This method was selected because rear projection of the desert scenes would have proved too murky for Super Panavision. The use of the Sinar system explains why in the scene where the leopard is sitting next to the dead zebra (in reality a painted dead horse) the leopard’s eyes glow a bright color. The Sinar system used glass transparencies as backdrops; however, the projectors necessary for this system were so hot that a draft or a breath could crack the glass. As a result, crew members were required to wear face masks, which started a long-persistent rumor that Kubrick had a paranoia of catching infections.  The entire centrifuge section of the Discovery spacecraft was constructed as a single set. It was designed to rotate for shots such as the sequence in which Frank went jogging so that the actor remained on the bottom. That Set was built by aircraft manufacturer Vickers-Armstrong inside a 12-meter by two-meter drum designed to rotate at five km per hour. It cost $750,000. After seeing a documentary called To the Moon and Beyond at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Stanley hired one of its special effects technicians, Douglas Trumbull to work on this film. Trumbull developed a process called Slitscan photography to create the wild, kaleidoscopic images Bowman experiences going through the Stargate. It involved moving the camera rapidly past different pieces of lighted artwork, with the camera shutter held open to allow for a streaking effect. The overall effect gave the audience the sense of plunging into the infinite. According to Trumbull, the total footage shot was some 200 times the final length of the film.  Trumbull was also the effect supervisor on Blade Runner in the early 1980’s.  Early viewers of the movie wondered where Kubrick obtained such well-trained apes. It was later joked that “2001” lost the Best Makeup Academy Award to John Chambers for Planet of the Apes (1968) because the judges didn’t realize the 2001 apes were really people, but there was no nomination list at all, as the award was not created until 1981–Chambers’ award was merely honorary.  I’ve seen 2001 projected on 35mm 6 times and have owed all the DVD versions, I can easily say this is the first time I feel I get the full intention of Kubrick’s visuals. This print looks beyond amazing in 1080p being filmed in Super Panavision the colouring is lush and rich along with the starkness of the blacks of space. The film pops off the screen. I figure the only better version I would be able to see would be the 70mm prints of it, but not likely in Vancouver. This is one of my favorite movies and when I saw it on Blu-Ray I knew I had made the right decision in my purchase of my player as well as the disc.

Thanks for reading. Till next time.

J.

Posted July 9, 2010 by JMC in On The Couch

Beans and Microchips   1 comment

About a year ago I was on a commercial for Microsoft Bing and had the opportunity to witness one of the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen filmed for a product. Fortunately I was able to get lots of pictures to help tell the story of decadent life in the entertainment industry.

A pale is a gallon. 5 gallons of baked beans in total were used for the shoot. Carrying beans pays pretty well believe it or not.

Director Marcus Nispel eyes up the set the Art department put together looking for the perfect mood.

The actress/model wonders exactly what emotion she must manifest to satisfy the physical requirements of the scene.

The pouring of the beans is done in ritual like fashion by professional bean wranglers, supervised by the Art Director Richard Simpson to make sure the looks is right for the Director’s needs.

Richard used to be a multiple title champion in the pro bean wrangling circuit in Mexico and parts of South America. Retiring undefeated to work in the entertainment industry in Vancouver.

Mr. Simpson tests the beans cannon himself. Being the inventor and engineer on the project , he is the best qualified to determine whether the rig was working properly or not.

Not liking the look of the pour. Marcus asks Richard to adjust the angle to increase the veracity of the pour.

With a slight adjustment Richard fixes the angle of the can.

What a nice pour!

Now that the flow is in the go and the Director is happy, the actress finds out the whole story.

Marcus delivers expert direction for any situation. This set of instruction was especially poignant.

After hearing her direction she only had one question.(and this is exactly what she asked. no paraphrasing here)

“How long should I choke before I say anything?”

The expert Art team stands by ready for action at the word of Richard Simpson and Marcus.

.

Byron the professional lighting expert stands by surveying the scene.

I  look at these two photos wondering what Byron is actually thinking. He looks like he is in some sort of a trance. Half between disbelief and a nightmare, really taking in the scene and then trying to wipe it from his memories.

And Here We Go!

Yes, this is what all you acting student have to look forward to…

if you are lucky.

I think this might have been the point she realized that the check probably wasn’t worth it. Then again maybe not. something tell me this isn’t the worst thing she’s been filmed doing or  been paid for.

And here comes the towel boy.

And the final shot turns out brilliant!!!

Do you think she was choking yet at this point? I think it might be a possibility?

There’s nothing like the feeling of satisfaction from a job well done. And nothing wrong with a little fun at the expense of other humans, right?

Well I hope if you enjoyed another story from the super glamorous world of work in the entertainment industry.

till next time.

J.