Brief Reviews of Random Stuff!
Strathmore Windpower Watercolor Pad - Fantastic little Sketchbook. It's very short (only fifteen pages), but the small size is perfect for travel, and at just under three dollars at Dick Blick's, it can't be beat. Plays well with watercolors, pencils, and inks.
"9" - So this guy, animator Shane Acker, makes a really awesome short film that gets the attention of Tim Burton, who takes Shane under his sketchy, striped wing fresh out of art school to make his first feature-length film. So this film has a pretty awesome story behind it. The short film in question is fantastic and it is worth renting the DVD just to watch it. The sad thing is, the feature adaptation of the short is not remotely as interesting. The world and the creatures that inhabit it is cool, but the story is incredibly dull, confusing, and obvious and populated with bland, interchangeable characters. On top of that, and this is the mildest of spoilers, you may well rename the film, "Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: the Movie!"
Speaking of Tim Burton...
"Alice in Wonderland" - Um... it didn't suck as much as I thought it would, I guess.I wish there was more I could say here. I really do. I can't recommend this film, but I can't hate on it too hard either. Tell you what, it's better than "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". But if I'm going to watch a "takeoff of a beloved fantasy children's book where the hero returns to the magical land and saves it from a new evil" movie, I'm going for "Return to OZ". At least that one's weird as hell.
"Voyage of the Unicorn" - Ever run into an adaptation of a book you liked as a kid that's SO different from what you liked in the book, yet gets so much stuff right, that it just ends up being frustrating? Yeah. (And yes, this is apparently based off Voyage of the Basset; I guess unicorns are a bigger draw than historical puns.)
"127 Hours" - Stop being such a sissy and watch it already.
OK, seriously, this movie is very good and is currently running neck-and-neck with "Scott Pilgrim" as my favorite of the past year. (No, I'm not sure exactly why these films either.) My gore-disliking aunt and mom are both crazy about it. You will believe a half-finished bottle of orange-flavored Gatorade that has been sitting in the back of a car in the Utah heat and cold for days and days will look appealing.
"Black Swan" - I told you feathered dinosaurs were scary! But you didn't believe me! WHY didn't you believe me?!?
(OK, seriously. Not among my favorite movies this year, but very good.)
"Tales From Earthsea" - I know a little bit about the rather sad story behind this particular Studio Ghibli film although the special features skip over it entirely. The film itself is... decent. It isn't fantastic, but that's only because Goro's father has set the bar so damn high. Also, the Earthsea books (which I have a rather odd relationship with; maybe I'll tell that story later) are turned into a rather ordinary stereotypical fantasy/Anime plot. There are some neat moments towards the end, like an effectively monstrous bad guy.
The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs, copyright 2010 written and illustrated by Gregory S. Paul and published by Princeton University Press - It is, I will state again, very sad to see a favorite artist of mine who influenced me so greatly suddenly turn into such a... yeah, I'm sticking with douche. (At least a douche is clean; younger readers, it means "shower" in French.) But let's ignore the deluge of controversy Greg Paul has stirred up in the past few months, because I am also sticking with my initial Clint Mansel-scored animated-in-a-rush-past-Midnight reaction. You need this book in your library. For an animal anatomy reference (yeah, I went there), it is indispensable.
And it is also... not quite as good as Predatory Dinosaur of the World. It doesn't have as many anatomical studies, has far, far fewer life restorations, and seems to have fewer skeletal studies (which is especially odd, as this book supposedly covers more species). And, yes, Paul gets... eh... just a little lump-happy. (In that people who misunderstand the Triceratops/Torosaurus thing would bleed out of their eyes reading this book.) That said, I read the whole shebang, cover-to-cover. There aren't many giant textbooks I can say that about.
Art Of the Day!
I got a little hooked on watching this.