Monday, August 31, 2009

Fight Club. Comics. Work.

I am actually at work right now, we started NightShift tonight, but the job got postponed until either sunday or monday night. So we sit. And I write a blog because I am bored. And we play stupid word games, like spelling the word backwards and trying to figure out what it is. Or the question game, where you can only speak in questions. It's called Nuclear, and sometimes it can be really boring.

I have been reading Fight Club, which is an awesome book. If you've seen the movie, the book is just as good, if not better in some ways. It's the only Chuck Palachniuk book that I have read so far. I plan on reading more of his works, I just haven't figured out where to start. There's nothing dull about the book Fight Club, there's just as much action and nastiness as the movie has.

I also have read the comic series Madame Mirage by Paul Dini with artwork by Kenneth Rockafort. The storyline is fantastic and very original, but its the art that drew me into this book. Kenneth Rockafort's art style is one of the most beautiful displays of art I have ever seen. Much like I am with Talent Caldwell, Micheal Turner, and Jamie McKelvie art, I will read anything Rockafort's name is attached too. If the story's bad, oh well, the art's perfect. The art is what got me reading comics anyway. I happened upon an issue of the late Micheal Turner's Fathom. And that was it. I now own over 100 issues of Fathom. That, Zenescope's Wonderland and Grimm Fairy Tales Series, and The Boys are my favorites. Batman and Phonogram are a close second. ( I hope Jamie McKelvie returns for a second series of Suburban Glamour ). But Madame Mirage is an interesting story featuring a bold and fearless heroine. Paul Dini writes a compelling storyline and creates vivid characters that Kenneth Rockafort brings to life in his unique style. I've heard rumors of a second volume in the works. I only hope that they bring back both Dini and Rockafort for it.

Top Cow is the company responsible for alot of the comics I read. Witchblade, The Darkness, The Magdalena, Freshmen, and Wanted. Wanted makes a much better comic than it does movie. There is none of the Loom of Fate or purpose to anything, the Fraternity does what they do because they can and because they want too. The storyline is good, the art is good, and there's none of that "everyone has to die at the end to make it right" bs. It's just a feel good, kill everything, blow shit up comic.

I haven't had time to do anything. On Sunday we drove down to SC and got everything set up at my dad's house. Then we drove home on Tuesday night, since we don't have to be at work till 6pm on Thursday. So we drove back into work today to get out Badges and start on NightShift. Hopefully, I will be able to stay at Oconee and continue working into next year.

I've been looking into Clemson University. They actually have programs for Digital Production Arts. If I work there for a year, then I would be able to get in-state tuition. They have the best program for what I'm looking for. Well, that I've seen so far. They offer a Masters in Fine Arts for the program, which is what I'm going for.

I had all these great ideas while I was at work today. I can't remember any of them. I hate days like that. They were intelligent thoughts as well. I have got to start writing things down.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Inglourious Basterds

If you don't know who Quentin Tarantino is, I'm sorry. And slightly disappointed. By far Tarantino is one of my favorite directors. His movies include Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, From Dusk till Dawn, Kill Bill Volume 1, Kill Bill Volume 2, Deathproof, and a few other assorted bits. An now included in the list is Inglourious Basterds. If you haven't seen a preview, a poster, or at least heard of this movie, obviously you have no tv, no Internet, and don't get out much. If you get the chance, go see it, actually make sure you go see, cancel dinner with grandma if you have too. It may be my favorite Tarantino movie. Close to being my favorite Brad Pitt movie. And no doubt is it my favorite Eli Roth movie. Roth plays my favorite character in the movie, Sgt. Donny Donowitz.

It starts out with a plain intro for credits. Just the credits. Nothing else. The music is a huge part of the movie. The names are great. The characters are extraordinary. It's long, but I can't think of a part I would cut to make it shorter. It runs at 2 hours and 32 mins. The end is the best ending I've watched this summer. The very last scene is the perfect last scene. The entire movie is poetic justice at it's finest.

All in all the movie is entertaining. It's funny. It's full of action. Full of drama. It's got a touch of romance, in a way. It's got history. It's even got Samuel L. Jackson. A good chunk of the movie is subtitled. So if you don't like subtitles, sit through it anyhow. There's so much to this movie that just plays out perfectly at the end. There is a calmness to it, and like most Tarantino films, there is also the sudden punch of action. Visually, it's exceptional. The scenery is stunning. The dialogue in the movie is excellent and contributes just as much as the action does. If you get confused about anything, it usually clears it up within the scene. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering, what will happen next. How is this going to end? The tension is almost unbearable in some scenes. Keeping the length and the shear amount of content that has been crammed into the film in mind, Tarantino delivers a wonderfully written script. For being so long, it doesn't instill a sense of boredom in you. And for such a mass amount of events going on, it doesn't leave you thinking "What's the heck is happening?"

I can't really tell you everything about the movie. That would be unfair to you. It would be like telling you who Tyler Durden is in Fight Club or what's so great about Bruce Willis in the Sixth Sense (if you hadn't already seen those movies). If you haven't seen those movies, Tyler Durden is the narrator and Bruce Willis is dead. It's you own fault.

I couldn't believe how genius the movie was. It's the best movie of the summer. The Hangover was excellent, but this, this is just magical. It if doesn't inspire any feelings in you, I would seriously consider having your pulse or heart rate checked. If you don't laugh, you must be a humourless person with no resemblance of a soul. If you don't enjoy the movie at all, I dare say you would be a zombie, but even zombies would enjoy some parts of the movie.

If you haven't seen it yet, get to it. It's worth whatever you'll pay.

"You see, we're in the business of killin' Nazis, and boy, business is boomin'" - Lt. Aldo Raine

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Books. Drawing. College. Zombies.

I haven't seen any new movies lately. I haven't even rented new movies. I'm behind. I have however finished a book-Strange Candy, which is a collection of short stories from Laurell K. Hamilton. Strange Candy is a great collection of Hamilton stories ranging from two Anita Blake stories to fantasy stories involving wizards and such. It's the 24th book by Hamilton that I have read. I also finished Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness (volume 3) by Bryan Lee O'Malley, as well as Beyond Wonderland from Zenescope Comics. Scott Pilgrim is being adapted into a movie right now. I can't wait. Micheal Cera is playing the part of Scott Pilgrim. It's actually a pretty interesting comic, it follows Scott Pilgrim, but in a Video Game Style Way. He has to fight Ramona Flower's 7 evil ex-boyfriends in order to date her. It's very original. I love Knives Chau. She's one of my favorite characters.

As for Beyond Wonderland, if you don't read comics, I suggest you pick this one up. It actually starts with Return to Wonderland, and then is followed up by Beyond Wonderland. They are publishing the third book in the series, Escape from Wonderland in the coming months. It actually centers around Alice's daughter, Calie, and her adventures into Wonderland. It's definitely my favorite version of the Wonderland Tale. They also have a series called Grimm Fairy Tales. Which re imagines classic fairy tales with new and sometimes frightening twists.

I applied to WestWood College, but I've decided not to go. I read alot of reviews on the Internet on how the college was a fraud and a scam. I've also read alot of good reviews, but I'm still not convinced. It's a nationally accredited school but not regionally accredited. Which basically means, that the credits won't transfer if I decide to go to another school. So I've decided to wait. UNC Asheville has a design program and so does UNC Wilmington. I'm checking into other schools as well.

I started drawing again, but I have also joined a forum with a Comic Publisher where they have Drawing Challenges every week. Everyone votes at the end of the week and offers critiques on each other's pieces. It's not a huge thing, but it's fun and is kinda nice to have other people to talk to about comics. Alot of the people I hang around with aren't big comic fans, so sometimes it can be like a one-sided conversation. I'll post the pic, and the link to the website. It's for AspenComics. Which produces the titles Fathom and Soulfire, as well as a few others. I have a bunch of other drawings on my facebook if you want to check those out.

The main problem I have been having with drawing is style. Any fan of comics can look at the drawings I have done for the most part and tell that it's based off of someone else's style. I'm been trying to get away from needed to look at other artists work in order to draw my own. I'm still using some drawings, but just for reference, like what does Superman uniform look like? Things like that.

It's difficult for me. I'm a very visual person. Usually I need to see something in order to draw it. I can pull things out of my head and just create them on paper. I just don't function like that when I'm drawing. I can write like that though. So while I decide what I want to do with the rest of my life, I'm going to work to improve my art skills. Maybe one day I'll be famous and those drawings will be worth millions. Be sure to keep them, just in case.

I had a really weird dream last night that my dog Alaska, who died in Jan of this year, came back as a Zombie. He was 10 and had surgery on one of his legs. He did fine during the surgery, but he died later that night. The vet said it was most likely because he was old and his heart couldn't take the stress. Anyways, maybe I need to lay off the Zombie movies for a while. I watched Shaun of the Dead last night before I went to sleep, so I'm sure that was a contributing factor. So no more Zombies movies for at least......oh let's say......a week.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Top 30 Movies.

in no order.
1. Fight Club
2. Jaws
3. Goodfellas
4. Jurassic Park Triology
5. The Dark Knight
6. Aliens
7. Snatch
8. Shaun of the Dead
9. Hot Fuzz
10. Kill Bill
11. Star Wars
12. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
13. The Godfather
14. Resident Evil
15. The Day After Tomorrow
16. V for Vendetta
17. Watchmen
18. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
19. Inglorious Basterds
20. Tropic Thunder
21. Because I Said So
22. Iron Man
23. Fan Boys
24. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
25. Pride and Prejudice
26. Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
27. Batman Begins
28. The Count of Monte Cristo
29. 300
30. The Hangover

If you don't know what you want, you end up with alot you don't.

Knowledge is Power, or so they say. And I suppose in this world, it's true. I have an Associates Degree In English and it's basically crap. I can't do anything with it, there's no job that I can get because of it. Which sucks. I know I'm going back to school, but I have never been completely sure for what. I can be indecisive at times, which causes problems when trying to plan for the future. But now I've made a decision. I'm looking into online colleges for Visual Game Art and Video Game Design. It's kinda like an extension of Graphic Design. Except with Games. It's a growing field, with more and more of the gamers out there being in the age range of 20's-30's, it's not just for kids anymore.

The school that I am most interested in is Westwood College. It's roughly 4300 a term, which is two months. There are 15 terms total before you get your degree. Plus supplies and lab fees. Which would probably sit you somewhere around the 66,000 dollar mark. So, now to the process of getting to the point where I could be a student there. I have to sit down and figure out the grants, scholarships, and loans I would have to use to pay for it. The time that would need to be put into it. The admission requirements. I think it'll help with the basic classes that I already have one degree. Maybe it won't take the total 15 terms and will cost a little bit less. I'm hoping I get the job working at Oconee Nuclear Station in South Carolina. That would help alot. I don't really want to move down to SC, but I can't really say no to this job. It's to much money to refuse. And it's steady work. Which is apparently unheard of in the Nuclear business.

Plus, I think a change of scenery would be nice. I'm fairly tired of Lenoir and Denver. It's a bit dull and everyone's just...not there. I would be able to do online school where ever I went. Which is a plus. If I don't get the job at Oconee, I'll believe I shall call it quits on my Nuclear Career. The money's good. But I'm really starting to hate the job. It's ridiculous. All the drama and bullshit. All the crap. It's really just gets old. It's not a job I would want to do forever anyways. It's fine for some people, but not for me. I've been doing it for a year now. And like it was with the paper route, I'm tired of it. Do you ever get that panic feeling when you think about something? Like maybe how some people feel before they fly? Not really fear, just panic. That's the closet description I can give to how I feel about having to go back to work at another Nuclear Station. I really don't want to do it, but alas the money is a key factor. Damn the dollar bill.

I figure, once I finish school, I can get to paying off whatever loans I have accumulated by then as quickly as possible. The only thing I'm worried about is the fear that I won't be able to find a job when I graduate. Everyone is pretty confident that I wouldn't have that problem, considering the field is an ever-growing one, and it's not slowing down. More and more people plug into virtual worlds to escape reality. 65% of American households play video games. The average game player is 35 years old and has been playing games for 13 years. By 2009, it is projected that the industry will support over a quarter of a million American jobs. The average salary for direct employees is $92,300, resulting in total national compensation of $2.2 billion. It's no doubt, an industry on the rise. Still, I worry, because you have to think every situation through before making a choice as big as this. $66,000 is a large chunk of pocket change. And a figure that large should be spent wisely. I'm thinking about buying a lottery ticket every week as well. Just in case. That's a terrible fall back plan. I've heard worse though.

Anyways, I'm going to start checking out all the options I have within my reach and figuring out the best one. I don't want to work for Duke Energy forever. And I'm almost 24. I think I've waited long enough to decide. Time to quit fooling around and get down to business. Eventually we all have to grow up, right? I suppose Peter Pan didn't, but I can't fly either.

And with that, I've seen another movie, The Goods. This weekend, hopefully, I'll get to see Inglorious Basterds. Quentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt. What a combination. One that will hopefully make for an awesome movie.

The Goods. Live Hard. Sell Hard. A pretty decent movie. As compared to The Hangover, it's not quite as funny, but still has some good laughs in it. There's not much plot to it: A car lot in danger of being closed down gets help from out of town sellers. Will Ferrel appears....with angels. Jeremey Pivens puts on a good show. There's a boy band involved. And the Trans-Am from Smokey and the Bandits. Although it's not on my 'to buy' list, it's a see it at least once movie, theater or DVD.

For those of your who don't know, Northlake Mall has $5 movies Mon-Thurs all day. The theater was practically empty when we went to the 2:00 showing of The Goods. Concord Mills also has this deal. And there's always the $2 theater in downtown Hickory.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Superpowers. Action Figures. Aliens.

Ah, to be young again. As we get older all we have are our memories....

I remember, back in my day, when I watched PUSH a few weeks ago and the walk to my car was uphill BOTH WAYS. PUSH was a decent enough movie. Nothing stands out to seperate the movie from all the other superhero movies that are on the market today. It's got the standard abilities that superheros have. The organization trying to control them, and the motive: Weaponry. Because that's where the moneys at these days. Right? It's a good movie though. Worth watching at least once. I'm not buying it. I usually only buy movies that have struck me as "Holy crap! That was awesome" or " I can't believe that happened!". You know the sort. Jaws or The Dark Knight. Something you could watch over and over again. Still, PUSH is pretty good, and I like the fact that you're almost doubting what's going on. It's set up for a sequel, so maybe the next one will knock our socks off.

G.I. Joe. I've no knowledge of the characters or the history of GI Joe. The only thing I ever knew about them, was when we were little and me and my cousin used to play, his GI Joes and Transformers were not nice to my Barbies and Polly Pockets. That being the case, I thought it was a good movie. Plenty of action. One lady at the theater called it "a steady stream of chaos". Which is exactly the case. The almost two hour movie had enough plot for two movies. There was the present storyline in which the characters are trying to save the world from evil and then there were the flashbacks. The long flashbacks. They gave you the "this is what happened to make the characters who they are in the present" side of things. I felt that they gave to much into the back story and made everything connected to a point where it was almost too much. They could have made more money if they made a GI Joe Orgins movie as well as this movie. The action sequences were awesome. I loved the accelerator suits. I thought they were pretty cool. However, there were some shotty graphics involved. More than once, the crafts they are flying look fake and computerized, and the metal mask that Destro wears at the end of the movie looks awful. It's almost as if they killed the budget with the action sequences and said screw it on a few minor details here and there. I've heard fans say that they varied from the original GI Joe storyline of the cartoons. And that the movie was awful. I don't plan on catching up on all those years of GI Joe cartoons so I'll never know. Overall, I thought the movie was good. Not the best of the summer by far but still worth a view.

Now to the real gem. District 9. I loved it. It was an excellent movie. Beware though, the first half can be boring if all you went for was mindless alien-human violence. It's shot as a documentry would be to begin with. And then it switches to the standard movie style. I like the handheld look (think Cloverfield or BlairWitch). It adds to the story. The commentary from random people is also a plus. The aliens are different from other aliens. They are have a strange obsession with cat food and want nothing more than to go home. But of course the humans in control have a different plan in mind. And once again its all about the weapons. I think this movie is a closer look at ourselves. It resembles the events from the 1970's of District Six. The experiments on the aliens, called 'prawns', resembles those of the Holocaust. The actions taken towards the aliens are nothing that humans haven't already done to one another. I might be over thinking it a bit, but some of the greatest movies of all times have underlying tones that most people never pick up on. Some people are there for the fact that a movie is two hours you don't have to think, just watch. I'm one of these people sometimes, and other times I like my movies with a little more intellect. Either way, District 9 is a enjoyable movie. There are plenty of explosions (mainly of people) and the gore is on a higher level than most movies, even splattering the camera lens at times. There's much more to be said about the movie. The line between duty and survival, the extent to which people will go to gain knowledge, power, wealth. The boundaries that are pushed when backed into a corner and the understanding of both sides of the conflict. The movie, like so many today, sets the end up perfectly for a sequel. Will they come back? What happens to the other millions of aliens left? What about Wickus? It's left off with a ton of questions and only one way for them to be answered: to watch the sequel when it's released. Darn you Hollywood, you sure know how to make those dollars!

Of course, there is always the possiblity of a MIB/District 9 crossover. Or maybe a Alien/Distict 9 Fight Club (Aliens win, no doubt.) Or District Wars: Episode II. Starship Troopers 4: District of Prawns. War of the Districts. Indiana Jones and the Golden Catfood Can. It could go on forever....

Four Movies and a Link

Let's start at the beginning. I wasn't loved enough as a child, which led to my love of movies. Plus it's genetic. But enough about me.

The Ugly Truth was pretty good. As one friend described it, it's "a guy's chick flick." Sexual Humor. Yes. Cat Lady. Yes. Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler. Yes. A girlie ending. Of course. But if you're a guy the humor makes up for the mushy love story ending. You knew it was going to end that way anyways. It is still classified as a Romantic Comedy.

Harry Potter and the long ass movie wasn't that bad. I didnt claw my eyes out. But my sister had to pay for my ticket. I would have eventually seen it when it went to DVD. I don't like Harry Potter, but i hate losing, especially if it's Scene It, and we have the DeLuxe Version (very nice) and the Harry Potter Version. I refuse to lose ( although i did lose the last time we played, but just barely).

Knowing could have been an excellent movie. I loved it, up till the last 15 mins, give or take a few mins. It was creepy, it was mystery filled, it had shiny black rocks, and creepy guys driving by and standing in the woods. Plus the music was freaky. I was happy with the way it turned out until the reason for all the hub bub emerged, i was sorely disappointed. It was no longer creepy, it was stupid. I would rather watch Harry Potter again. On the plus side, the movie did promise the end of the world, and it delievered that much at least.

Funny People was funny, and serious. Seth Rogen has been forgiven for Pineapple Express, and Adam Sandler shows that he can still make a decent movie. Lots of actors in the movie, including Eminem, Paul Reiser(Carter from Aliens, give me a break, it was a great movie),Sarah Silverman, Norm MacDonald, Ray Ramono, and of course Torsten Voges (ahem..."Are you mad you died at the end of Die Hard?"). Apatow's daughters are also in the movie, the same girls from Knocked up. It had some pretty good moments. I thought the Tom Cruise/David Beckham/Will Smith joke was hilarious. Go see it, actors need money too.

If you haven't seen Judd Apatow's other movies, I guess you've been living under a rock, but they are all pretty awesome movies. I suggest watching them at least once. Knocked Up, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Talledega Nights, Anchorman, and The Forty Year Old Virgin (he was also the writer for Don't mess with the Zohan, Walk Hard, and Pineapple Express, but everyone messes up once in a while). Here's some of his movies, I believe there is a tralier or a clip with each summary.

And if you haven't seen The Hangover, put your big boy pants on and step into the world. There are tigers a plenty (just one) waiting for your viewing pleasure.