These vintage music billboards from the Sunset Strip will blow you away

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I wasn’t alive when L.A. was this cool, but I wish I was. It’s hard to believe, when looking at these awesome music advertisements, that L.A. or even America, was this cool at one time. But then again, there were probably some folks who ran some underground music zines at the time, that were saying “this is bullshit”. Flash forward several decades and I bet they wish things were like they were back then…now. Photographer, Robert Landau, grew up on L.A’s Sunset Strip. These music billboards were what he saw everyday and they changed quite often, but the creativity in the designs seemed to have always remained the same. Armed with a camera at 16 years of age, he decided to take pictures of these billboards starting with the billboard for Abby Road. Those photos began to grow and grow til one day, while hosting his own gallery showing of various images, folks began raving about the billboard images in particular and voila!

The images are awesome and will immediately harken you back to a time when music was good and artist i.e. record labels, were way more creative than they are today.

If your interested in buying this “must have coffee table book” here is the LINK

Trailer for AUTOMATA starring Antonio Banderas just might save science fiction

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I really hope this film is as good as it looks. Directed by Gabe Ibanez and starring Antonio Banderas, Automata appears to be stepping out on territory that, up until now, had only been exquisitely touched by Ridley Scott’s 1982 masterpiece Blade Runner. This trailer has all the makings of a really good science fiction story, if it doesn’t start taking itself too serious and begin confusing people, a pitfall films like Strange Days, Johnny Mnenomic fell into.

Synopsis:
The year is 2044. Earth is in political and ecological turmoil. An insurance agents of a robotics corporation routinely investigates the case of manipulating a robot. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future of humanity.

I don’t hold Robo-apocaplypse films near to my heart, but I’m always down for something fresh, and Automata, could be just what the doctor ordered.

Meet the rest of your day. SID and NANCY mashed up with Growing Pains

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I love this shit! I especially love it when classic films are mashed up with 80’s sitcom themes. This is another brilliant example of pure eighties ingenuity! Editor Robert Jones has one up’d the Star Wars/Dallas mashup, with this amazingly edited Sid and Nancy film put to the music of Growing Pains. It’s quite hilarious, especially considering how depressing this film was. Enjoy!

Robert Jones Facebook

The Guardians of the Galaxy is what kids, thirty years from now, will be talking about

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First things first…who the fuck is James Gunn and where the hell has this director been all this time? Oh yeah, he’s been honing his craft like a true auteur, laying back and learning what’s most important “writing a good screenplay”.  In the early 2000’s James wrote films like Tromeo and Juliet, Scooby Doo, Scooby Doo: Monsters Unleashed and the 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead directed by Zack Snyder. Stop right there…Dawn of the Dead was awesome!

In 2006, he switched gears and started directing, his first project which was the 2006 horror film Slither. He also got together with his brothers Brian and Sean to create the web series James Gunn PG Porn. In 2010, he teamed up with actor Rainn Wilson for the movie  Super and this was it before he The Guardian’s of the Galaxy, before he seriously ROCKED OUR WORLDS!!

How long had he been campaigning for this job?! Every frame of this film oozes with his undying passion for the content, like he had been dreaming about this day since he was a child. Guardian’s is filled with tropes that reflect films he clearly loved growing up and  he cleverly squeezed them into almost every scene. You’ve no idea how hard it is trying to stifle my enthusiasm in the theater as director James Gunn pays homage to all the same films I enjoyed in the 80’s, but as if that wasn’t enough, he pairs that imagery with the sounds of the seventies. Bowie, J5, The Runaways and The Five Stairsteps are just some of the amazing tracks I heard while watching the most amazing “3D friendly” visual effects I’ve ever seen. The marriage between sight and sound has never looked better!

SYNOPSIS:

Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” finds space adventurer Peter Quill the object of a bounty hunt after stealing an orb coveted by a treacherous villain, but when Quill discovers the power it holds, he must find a way to rally the quartet of ragtag rivals hot on his trail to save the universe.

As we all know, the 80’s was filled with films that were over the top, most of that over the topness came through in the acting, but that level of cheese, although “grates” on me now, looking back, still etched itself in my mind. Well this is were a bit of now-ness comes into play. The films star Chris Pratt who plays Quill, isn’t Jack Burton (Big Trouble in Little China) nor is he Buckaroo Banzai, but he eases into a part that he’s smart enough to know, has to be played with honesty. For the most part, the majority of Americans didn’t know who TGOTG were up until now. So here’s the chance for everyone to make the roles their own like Star Wars (minus the completely unknown cast) and if the cast and director James Gunn, intend to get the most mileage out of this new franchise, they all have to bring that level of honesty that’ll make kids, thirty years from now, go “I fucking loved that film” and thankfully… they’ve all done just that.

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Everything about this film is fresh and new (well that’s everything except the easter eggs), but those were respectfully done. You get a real sense, while watching, that you are in fact watching a group of misfits doing the best they can in seemingly insurmountable odds. It’s still a comic book film, but not in the Avengers/Spiderman/XMEN way. It’s fresh and undoubtedly material that studios wouldn’t have gone anywhere near ten years ago. My how time flies. TGOTG is living proof that even with a huge company like Walt Disney taking over MARVEL, there is still fresh property i.e ideas yet to be touched. The success of this film is a result of passion. Everything came together for this movie. The art direction, the brilliant cast, the director, the latest advances in vfx, the cinematography and above all…..DAH MONEY!!! This was marketing and PR done right! Again, no one except the fans, knew who TGOTG were and yet they broke 11 Million on opening weekend. There is something to be said about that kind of public relations.

(Via. THR)

Marvel Studios and Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy grossed a whopping $11.7 million on Monday, the best showing of the summer, save for Memorial Day. It’s also the best Monday gross for any Marvel title outside of The Avengers ($18.9 million).

Make no mistake, I will be seeing this film again “in the theaters”. It’s so worth the few dollars extra to to see it in 3D.  As I was saying to my wife ,while watching it, the nebulus backgrounds and colorful/visceral environments constantly popped and did what most 3D films don’t..it reminded me, all through the film, that I was watching 3D. Not like most where you forget why you paid the two dollars extra. Which in itself is more than enough reason to see this action packed, fresh and visually amazing film. I highly recommend The Guardians of the Galaxy and if you have kids bring them, this experience will hopefully stay with them forever!

An android Bonnie and Clyde story emerges in The Trail’s End

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I received an email containing a link to this unique film called The Trail’s End today. The story, written and directed by David Rosenbaum, puts two human-like androids in an 1930’s-1940’s setting and surrounds them in a Barton Fink-like scenario.  The Trails End kinda picks up where say…Blade Runner left off. The android character Clyde, played by John Scott Horton, lives a mundane life in a drab apartment, while next door a woman, Bonnie, played by Sara Fletcher, lives out her existence as an android prostitute.  It’s on one faithful night when the two finally meet, that Clyde develops a bond with Bonnie that winds up saving her life in the end.

Shot by Matt Egan, who brings, a serious Coen Brother’s gloss to the whole film, is clearly a master of lighting and composition. The art direction is super consistent and John Scott Horton work as Clyde, is beautiful as is Sara Fletcher’s work as Bonnie. The film is a fresh take on the android love story and worth a watch!

Official Synopsis:

On the final day of his life, an android has an unexpected encounter that alters the course of his existence. THE TRAIL’S END is a short film written and directed by David Rosenbaum that explores a re-telling of a classic; Bonnie and Clyde…or rather the prologue.   It highlights the moment that the two meet and how their journey together begins.  Sometimes the end, is just the beginning.

The Trail’s End *FULL FILM* from David Rosenbaum on Vimeo.

Trailer for MAD MAX:FURY ROAD arrives and Hard is an understatement

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Probably the one reboot I’m excited about happening is Mad Max. As a child, growing up in the eighties, I never quite got Mad Max or all the other films that came behind it. It had that foreign gloss, as did the music videos from that side of the world, that although I loved, never quite understood. It just seemed weird to me, at least with this reboot I can safely say that I may have a chance to rekindle this strange love affair that started so many years ago.

The footage your about to see first showed at this years comic con to a well received audience. Immediately after it premiered the blogs were a buzz with literary accounts of what they saw, scene for scene. It’s funny, it was like the internet was back in the 1930 for a couple of days. I felt like I was reading/listening, to someone recount the Hindenburg catastrophe…lol! It was quite funny! Their writing…not the Hindenburg.

Mad Max: Fury Road is directed by George Miller (Mad Max, Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome) and stars Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy. Miller is bringing a lot of that energy he captured in the original trilogy, but with a little something extra. This trailer is a sight to behold!

Mad Max: Fury Road opens nationwide in 2015.

Trailer for the documentary The Death of “Superman Lives” :What Happened? explores things

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Tim Burton was on a roll in the 90’s. At the time, he was one of the hottest directors in the world and the studio that he was contracted under, Warner Brothers, had pretty much handed him the keys to the kingdom. So what is a director, fresh off the success of Batman, to do? Make a Superman film and you know what’ll make that film even better? Cast Nicolas Cage in the role of The Man of Steel. Sounds crazy? It almost happened and director Jon Schnepp, with the help of a bunch of kickstarter backers with a morbid curiosity, are currently working on a documentary that explores one of the biggest geek “never was” there ever was.

Imagine, if you will, Nic Cage as Superman, Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen and Kevin Spacey as Lex Luther (eventually seeing that dream come true in the 2006 Bryan Singer film Superman Returns). It all almost happened. The storyboards and costumes in this trailer elude to a version of Superman no one has or ever will see, in our lifetime.

The doc doesn’t have a release date, but the campaign still exist and yes, you can still donate to see this project get backed.

Trailer for Dear White People arrives

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Of course this is only a trailer, but SO FAR this looks like a pretty good film. Dear White People directed by first timer Justin Simien approaches race on a college campus in a post  “Higher Learning” world. The film stars Tyler James Williams , Tessa Thompson , Teyonah Parris, Brandon P Bell, Kyle Gallner , Brittany Curran , Dennis Haysbert  and Peter Syvertsen .

The Story:

Story of four African American students at an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over a popular ‘African American’ themed party thrown by white students.

It looks refreshing, and promising. I doubt it will get a full release, so I’m going to go ahead and say Dear White People hits theaters in limited release on October 17, 2014.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a mesmerizing work of art

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I’m breaking my own rule of waiting a day before giving you a movie review, but I had to write this while it was fresh in my mind. Nothing could’ve prepared me for the emotions I felt while watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Director Matt Reeves delivers a stellar story of human and simian will. The movie, which stars Andy Serkis as Ceaser, Jason Clarke as Malcolm, Gary Oldman as Dreyfuss and Kerri Russell as Ellie, is like watching an Greek tragedy unfold in front of you. You know how this ends, but don’t, at the same time.  Since the 2011 release of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, most fans of the franchise, have been waiting eagerly for the next chapter of this epic science fiction film and now that it’s here, I couldn’t be happier!

Let me be honest, I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t know it was going to be this good!  The script, written by Amanda Silver and Mark Bomback, Scott Z Burns and Rick Jaffa, does go in obvious directions sometimes, but that’s not where the script shines. The interaction between humans and apes i.e humans and cgi, are breathtaking, thanks to an outstanding cast. Everyone is so committed, especially the apes played by some really amazing actors!  The most bone chilling performance is given by Toby Kebbell who plays Koba. He’s the scarred chimp from Rise…who Ceaser made an example out of before making him his number two. I never thought I’d see the day when someone could “one-up” Andy Serkis’s performance, then this happened. Koba’s hatred for the humans pervades the whole film. It’s one of those things your waiting to see “break out” and when it does it’s absolutely amazing!

The story picks up where the last one left off, with Ceasar and his, now highly intelligent buddies, living in the forest on the out skirts of San Francisco. Ten years have passed and the serum that made the chimps highly intelligent has wreaked havoc on the human race as the by-product “Simian flu”, decimates the human population, but alas, some have survived and they are creating a new home in the dilapidated ruins of San Francisco.  Unbeknownst to the apes and humans, they both have unknowingly enjoyed a  truce seeing as how neither have had to encroach on each others territory until the humans, desperate and running low on power, must venture into the forest and try to reactivate a water plant that could  supply power to the city. This is when it all goes down. Let’s just say the first encounter with humans in ten years doesn’t go so well and sets the tone for the rest of the film.

For all the action and there is plenty of it, there are some moments that will leave you speechless, As a writer, I kept asking myself what are the writers doing that making me invest so much of myself in this film and I think I know what it is. The dialogue is good, it’s not Shakespeare, but give this dialogue to the right people and it turns into some of the most honest cinema you will ever see. Each character has their moment and those moments are handled with care. It’s so clear that director Matt Reeves needed for this to be a film we are invested in emotionally. Lasting impressions, needed to be made to help usher us into the franchise and Dawn…succeeds at doing this! For instance the choice to use sign language as the main form of communication among the apes was genius. Nothing says drama more than having apes talk using vestiges of human know how. The signing “ups the ante” and brings to the film, this primitive and gentle, energy to the apes. I can’t remember if I felt the same way about the use of sign in the first film, but there’s no question about it’s use in this one. It works brilliantly!

I don’t have anything flowery to say about the film as a whole. It’s a triumph, not unlike Gravity. It’s use of actor, technology and script, is flawless! I would even go as far as to say, some of the shots in this film were clearly designed to show off the visual effects and to remind the world, that very skilled individuals made this happen. Bravo to Matt Reeves for that!  Go see this film, it is solid!!

Skrillex’s Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites finally gets an amazing video

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It’s always a pleasure to roll out new work from talented friends. Some of you may remember my friend Miguel Ortega. He’s a VFX guy and professor at one of the nations best VFX schools GNOMON.  We became friends after I saw one of his films on Vimeo entitled The Green Ruby Pumpkin. It is an amazing piece! Our friendship sorta grew from there. Miguel has worked on films such as  Star Trek and countless more. He is currently finishing up his short film The Ningyo, which we featured in our Kickstarter segment. I recently spoke to him about the progress on The Ningyo and he assures me that it will be a sight to behold. You know MITNG will be bringing you all the exclusives  as they come.

Anyway, in addition to all that stuff,  Miguel and a talented team of designers, just finished this whimsical music video for SKRILLEX called Monsters and Nice Sprites. The track came out several years ago, but definitely needed a video like this to quicken it once again.

The video follows a sprite as it journeys into unknown territory, eventually coming in contact with a “monster”. The rest is a heart-stopping chasing that ends on a good note.

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