Monday, April 25, 2011

Thoughts on Recently Experienced Media!

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.

4.7.11 - Volcano Bakemeat!


Traumador said...

You didn't happen to see How to Train Your Dragon did you? I noticed it didn't make your list of the top movies of the past year, and it came out this time last year. Way better than Scott Pilgram (and I saw Pilgram twice in theatres!).

As for the Princeton Field Guide, you NEED to emphasis it is a must buy for the pictures, and NOT the text. Everytime I make the mistake of reading something in there my eyes bleed. The man keeps making changes to Dinosaur names and classifications at a whim with no explanation, and harps on descriptions I don't think he has even read before based on his dismissals on inadequate remains.

The Ceratopsian and Hadrosaur sections in particular are just painful! All of them are either Hypacrosaur (if your a Lambeosaurine), Centrosaurus (if your a Centrosaurine), Chsaosaurus (if your not Triceratops but a Chasmosaurine)... Yet the Igunadonids have a million different names and don't get clumped?!? Seriously!!!

I'm in the middle of a big post on using Gregory Paul, specifically from the Princeton Field guide on AE. Love to hear your thoughts (when I get it up... hopefully later today).

Trish said...

^ Yeah, I kind of dashed this post off in a hurry. I'm thinking of doing a longer post later about last year's animated films (if you're in suspense, I thought "How to Train Your Dragon" was wonderful) and maybe one on all the Greg Paul books... whenever, *IF*-ever I finish reading _Dinosaurs of the Air_... <:(

Zach said...

How to Train Your Dragon was shockingly good. I went in expecting a fun, but throwaway experience and came out the other side extremely impressed.

The Field Guide is something I still look through from time to time. Ironically, I don't like the addition of color (via colored pencils) to Paul's life restorations. I'd rather see more of his pen-and-ink work that looked so great in Predatory Dinosaurs.

I didn't like "9" either. The story didn't make any damn sense, and the most interesting things were the mechanical hybrid monsters. I really couldn't STAND the new "Alice in Wonderland." I disagreed with every. single. art direction decision made in that movie. Nothing worked. Not. One. Thing. The bandersnatch was especially terrible. Something a lot of directors/screenwriters don't understand is that the world of Wonderland is DIFFERENT than the world of the Looking Glass.

Now, somebody needs to hurry up and make a movie version of American McGee's "Alice." Now THAT was a unique, interesting take on Wonderland.

Peter Bond said...

Great post, but ugh, I didn't like Alice in Wonderland at all. It had a very very strange feel to it and I felt the relationship between Alice and the Mad Hatter was really creepy.

Loved How to Train your Dragon too!

As for the Princeton Guide, I don't think I'll be buying it... Call it a protest against Paul.

ABSOLUTELY LOVE the little blue and yellow crocodile guy! So cute!

Albertonykus said...

Those Pokemon videos had me laughing so very hard.

JerkyD said...

OK, breaks over. Time to post on your blog again.

"You didn't happen to see How to Train Your Dragon did you? I noticed it didn't make your list of the top movies of the past year, and it came out this time last year. Way better than Scott Pilgram (and I saw Pilgram twice in theatres!)."

It's not often that I watch a new movie on back-to-back nights. That's how much I liked "How to Train Your Dragon".

"As for the Princeton Field Guide, you NEED to emphasis it is a must buy for the pictures, and NOT the text. Everytime I make the mistake of reading something in there my eyes bleed."

In 1 way, it's good to know that I'm not the only 1. In another way, it's bad to know that my suspisions have been confirmed: Greg Paul is the new David Peters (I.e. He's a talented paleoartist gone mad &, as a result, the butt of online jokes).

JerkyD said...

"Art Of the Day!"

The Pokemon in the top left corner looks like it's based on some kind of rauisuchian. Is it?

Trish said...

^^ It's the second-gen water Starter (Totodile!) whose final stage is a big, badass Godzilla-looking Kaiju. So... sort of a rauisuchian, maybe...?