Author Archives: Jeffrey Lamar

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.

MUST WATCH: Before The Dawn of The Planet of the Apes

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In a brilliant marketing move before opening night of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Fox has released three short films give us all the goodies leading up to the Dawn. In a nutshell, the films gives us the low down on the Simian Flu and what it does to the human population.
These films were done in cooperation with MOTHERBOARD and are pretty good in filling us in on the ten years leading up to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Check it out!

1.SPREAD OF THE SIMIAN FLU (YEAR ONE)

Amidst a widespread viral outbreak known as the ‘Simian Flu,’ a mother is quarantined after testing positive for the virus, leaving her husband and daughter to fend for themselves. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes presents this moving short film directed by Isaiah Seret in a series inspired by the ten years between The Rise and The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes http://www.dawnofapes.com/.

 

2. STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE:BEFORE THE DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (YEAR FIVE)

Five years after the Simian Flu all but wiped out humanity, an orphaned teenage girl survives by bartering things she has stolen from dead people’s homes. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes present this short film directed by Daniel Thron in a series inspired by the ten years between The Rise and The Dawn Of The Planet of the Apes http://www.dawnofapes.com/

 

 

3. STORY OF THE GUN: BEFORE THE DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (YEAR TEN)

The journey of a shotgun through the hands of several ill-fated owners as the ‘Simian Flu’ ravages the world around them. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes present this ambitious short film directed by “thirtytwo” in a series inspired by the ten years between The Rise and The Dawn Of The Planet of the Apes http://www.dawnofapes.com/

 

How The World Was: A California Childhood is another triumph for Emmanuel Guibert

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This is how one should be remembered! A company should be created that pairs great artist and writers with people who wish to have their lives turned into graphic novels. In 2012, we had the extraordinary opportunity to read Alan’s War, the story of Alan Cope and his tour of duty in France during WWII. It was riveting and truly one of the best autobiographies I had ever read. Continuing in that tradition is the second installment of Alan’s story How The World Was: A California Childhood. In this intimate and whimsical story, artist Emmanuel Guibert, once again, exquisitely does with paint what can best be described as a waking dream. Emmanuel’s passion for this subject matter goes well beyond the actual story and bridges on supernatural.

How the World Was is Emmanuel Guibert’s moving return to documenting the life of his friend. Cope died several years ago, as Guibert was just beginning work on this book, but Guibert has kept working to commit his friend’s story to paper. Cope grew up in California during the great depression, and this remarkable graphic novel details the little moments that make a young man’s life…while capturing the scope of America during the great depression.

A lyrical, touching portrait, How the World Was is a gift for a dear friend in the last moments of his life… and also a meditation on the birth of modern America.

A simple story, but wonderfully complex and bursting with nostalgia, How The World….holds nothing back. Like Alan’s War, this story is told using Alan’s words and at times, some of his actual pictures. The story is brilliant in recreating Alan’s world as a youngster growing up in a post-depression era California. We are blessed to have had this union of writer and narrator happen, many of Alan’s recollections are so vivid and honest, my heart bursts with empathy and respect.

Alan’s way of dealing with the world paves the way for his love for human connection, a trait we see a lot of in Alan’s War. How The World…helps put Alan’s War in context. How did this young man from California become as compassionate and as introspective as he was? The answer…family. An intricate networks of connections peppered young Alan’s life with paths that he could take, paths that molded him into the man he became.

How The World Was, is an immense success in paying homage to an American, veteran and human being.

Trailer for the Jimi Hendrix biopic All Is By My Side starring Andre 3000 arrives

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So it’s finally here, the trailer for the Jimi Hendrix biopic All Is By My Side directed by Academy Award Winning screenwriter John Ridley (12 Years a Slave). If you remember, we posted a scene from this movie featuring Andre (Hendrix) and Imogen Poots (Linda Keith) and it was fabulous, but then this trailer hits and I have mixed emotions. Not because it doesn’t look good, but the scene the director chose to leak to the fans had a level of intimacy that I feel the trailer looses. This trailer looks like every other movie about a late musician and that bothers me. Not so much that I wont see the film, but enough to give me pause.

Another reason why I might be feeling this way is because the film couldn’t secure rights to Jimi’s catalog. So the film is basically filled with covers and what not. It’s frustrating when you consider how long so many of use have waited for a legitimate Jimi movie and now we have one with a good writer/director and great cast and BAM…no Hey Joe, no All Along the Watchtower. You feel me?

OutKast’s André Benjamin stars as Jimi Hendrix in this revealing biopic from Academy Award-winning writer-director John Ridley (12 Years A Slave). Covering a year in Hendrix’s life from 1966-67 as an unknown backup guitarist playing New York’s Cheetah Club to making his mark in London’s music scene up until his Monterey Pop triumph, the film presents an intimate portrait of the sensitive young musician on the verge of becoming a rock legend.

The Magic Cube’s latest EP “I Hate Them” hits hard

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British born EDM producer Kevin Tye a.k.a The Magic Cube, is one hell of a busy man these days. In addition to finishing his palatial home studio (ground zero for his Critical Imprint Label), he’s been doing remixes for Arizona dance artists Miss Krystle, and he, most recently, teamed up with Zak Hughes on the prophetic post-apocalyptic banger DUST. As if that wasn’t enough, he spends his free time doing sound work on films, so when I received the link for Kevin’s latest “I Hate Them” I was thrilled to know that he was keeping up that break-neck pace and delivering “sound” high-energy dance music.

The intro to “I Hate Them” features the voice of his young daughter speaking to, what can be best described as, a minion of some sort. It reminds me a bit of The Prodigy’s intro for Jilted Generation, but I think I can speak for Kevin, when I say, that’s not a bad thing. Having known Kevin for a couple of years now, he makes no apologies about his love for British dance music and his taste for danceable London-based hardcore dance music pervades “I Hate Them” with all the ferocity a track can muster.

“I Hate Them” includes three remixes including a moombhaton remix and another outstanding and more late-night banger under his other pseudonym London Social Club. A highlight on the EP is I Hate Them (people who),maybe it’s because I have always been a fan of break beats, but this remix is down right nasty. The “people who” is an excerpt taking from the “intro” conversation Kevin’s daughter has with this minion. It’s absolutely epic and foreboding, at the same time. Maybe one day I will ask Kevin who “the people” he mentions on the EP are, but I think it goes without saying that “haters” would be pretty high on that list. But honestly, if “I Hate Them” does as good as I anticipate…they have every right to.

I Hate Them on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Hate-Them-The-Magic-Cube/dp/B00KVYO2A4

I Hate Them on BEATPORT http://www.beatport.com/release/i-hate-them-ep/1321544

CRITICAL IMPRINT on FACEBOOK

Trailer for Dracula Untold gives us a very unique look into the backstory of a legend

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There’s been many stories about Dracula. The real Dracula that is. My favorite being the Francis Ford Coppola film Bram Stokers Dracula, but after watching this trailer for Dracula Untold directed by first time director Gary Shore and starring Dominic Cooper (Captain America:Winter Soldier) the legend seems to have a new chapter.

In this take on the popular gothic novel, a prince, in order to save his family and people, goes the Faustian way and makes a deal with the undead that would guarantee victory for his bloodline forever. Okay, sure you’ve seen that before, but pair that up with great cinematography and acting and you have something very interesting.

Dracula: Untold also stars Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The First Avenger). It will be released on October 17th.

Short film The Gunfighter is like The Assasination of Jesse James…on WEED

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I must start browsing Vimeo Staff Picks more often. This short film, The Gunfighter, directed by Eric Kissack and written by Kevin Tenglin is a brilliant comedy! The story is a spoof, of sorts, to some of those Ken Burns documentaries and other History Channel goings on, where there’s always narration to a dramatic historical reenactment.

In The Gunfighter, an unseen voice narrates a “Ballet of Death” in an old west saloon. The story goes all pear shaped when the voice begins spilling the beans on every one in the bar until a full on gunfight ensues. It’s very very funny stuff. Enjoy!

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The Gunfighter from Eric Kissack on Vimeo.

Trailer for the new videogame CUPHEAD is too good to be true

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What do you get when a game designer has a love for vintage cartoons…. CUPHEAD bitch! This outstandingly brilliant XBOX ONE game has taking things into the truly innovative direction. The game house MDHR has created a game that looks like something your great grandparents watched on television. They’ve even gone as far as to use actual cells and inking by hand (whatever that means), to create the vintage animated 1930′s look. The game also features live recorded jazz. I feel all like Steve Buscemi’s character in Ghost World right now. I am all about this game and I don’t own a game system. but God as my witness, I will own this game and if need be, it’ll be the only thing I play in that XBOX.

According to The Daily Dot  CUPHEAD is all apart of a new initiative by XBOX ,to step up their originality game and try to harness a new demographic. I can’t agree more. There are numerous things that they could be doing with these machines instead of serving up the same things. The processors in those game units are limitless and it’s a shame cause most of the more creative stuff, like CUPHEAD, wouldn’t even need a processor that strong. We’ve almost gone beyond what we need. Check out the trailer below. It’s awesome!!!

If there ever was a reason to spark one up and play a video game….THIS IS IT!!!!

Sony/Columbia Pictures just bought a Captain Nemo script

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Captain Nemo or as the Jules Verne story is commonly known “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, has been up for grabs for quite sometime. Mostly because of the renewed interest in old science fiction or what is now called Steampunk. It kinda started with the adaptation of Alan Moore’s classic Vertigo title “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” and plateaued there. There was also talk of David Fincher doing a 20,000 picture with Brad Pitt to star, but that too fizzled. Course there was a shit ton of anime, but not many Americans watch anime.

But now it appears, according to The Hollywood Reporter, that there is indeed a script being considered by Sony pinned by Smallville creators Alfred Gough & Miles Millar , and with any luck it’ll wash the taste of those Pirate movies out of your mouth, at least that’s what I’m guessing they are trying to do. I sure as hell would like to see a cool franchise made from this source material. It could be epic. On a side note, Disney has an adaptation in development too. I bet they feel kind of stupid that they replaced the 20k Leagues ride with Finding Nemo. Silly Disney, what comes around goes around.

(Via. THR)

Sources say president of production Michael De Luca made a pre-emptive move for the spec, which offers a new take on the iconic antihero who was first introduced to readers in 1870 in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Nemo also appeared in the author’s The Mysterious Island and Journey Through the Impossible. Nemo is a scientific genius who roams the depths of the sea in his submarine, The Nautilus, which was built on a deserted island.

Sony declined to comment.

Joe Roth and Palak Patel are producing Captain Nemo. The pair have the Angelina Jolie starrer Maleficent in theaters now and are in preproduction on Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland follow-up, Through the Looking Glass. Gough and Millar will executive produce Captain Nemo.Sony isn’t the only studio interested in bringing the iconic character to the big screen. Disney has a Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea adaptation in development. David Fincher had been attached to direct, but he exited after he couldn’t come to terms with Disney over the film’s budget. Still, the Nemo character continues to entice tentpole-minded studios and is fair game for any creator given that the book is in the public domain. Disney already spawned a Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea theme park ride.

 

 

 

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