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An open letter to J.J. Abrams about making Star Wars VII

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There’s nothing coming out of the London based Star Wars camp, as of late, that has me even remotely interested in how this will all turn out. No one really knows how or what, J.J. Abrams, will do with this beloved franchise. All we have to go on are his previous films, which aren’t bad, but they weren’t all that great either. This humorous open letter to the God of lens-flares, is the work of Prescott Harvey an employee at Sincerely Truman, a marketing company in Portland Oregon.

The short video talks about what every Star Wars fan has gone over and over in his or her head since the prequels “What made Star Wars great?”. I am posting this video because, for the most part, I totally agree with the films critiques. My only question is why didn’t someone do a video like this for George Lucas before he embarked upon raping our childhood with rusty tools?

Was it because we thought the film was in good hands, even though the introduction of the Ewok‘s foreshadowed the apocalypse? We should’ve been equally as hard on George, but we trusted him through three prequels, each time hoping it would eventually get better and it didn’t.

So now, in the year of our Lord 2013, we’ve decided to say something, well…for the sake of those that made this video and fans like me, I hope it gets heard. I especially hope J.J. Abrams pays particular attention to the part in the video about the mystery of the Jedi (an idea I proposed in a previous article on MITNG).

It’s important to keep in mind, for  those of us who grew up on A New Hope, The Empire… and Return.., that at the end of the day, it’s about money and no one has ever crossed the mouse and lived to talk about it.

J.J. Abrams, I give you all the respect in the world for taking on something like this. God Speed…you fool.

Video for One by Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

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This morning I woke up to take my dog out, came back and decided that I wasn’t going back to sleep and started browsing music videos online and came across this amazing one called One by Yamantaka // Sonic Titan. Needless to say, I was blown away visually and aurally, so I had to do some research on this group and here’s what I found.

As suspected they are from Canada and are art students. Yamantaka‘s founding members are two girls Ruby Kato Attwood and Alaska B, the rest sounds more like rock opera, you’ll understand what I’, saying in just a second

(taken from Wiki)

The supporting members are John Ancheta on bass and acoustic guitar, Ange Loft and Walter Scott on vocals, Shub Roy on guitar, Brendan Swanson on keyboards, Alana Ruth on lights, Daniel Ellis and Chase Lo as dancers and Aylwin Lo as a projectionist.

To answer your question, they are as much a performing troupe as they are, one hell of a rock band. The makeup they wear is worn to signify Ruby and Alaska’s “Asian/Canadian” heritage. I’m guessing Japanese heritage, to be more exact, since they call the style of music they do Noh-Punk, a term that blends the traditional Japanese Noh theater  with punk rock, but I’ve been wrong before.

I’ll admit, after seeing this video, that I thought they were First Nation. The Native American vibe runs strong through this track, bouncing of the skies like an ancient horn summoning the elders of their tribe. It’s  all too provocative, engaging and WHY AM I JUST FINDING OUT ABOUT THEM??!!

While writing this article, I’ve been listening to their self titled 2011 release and it’s nothing short of genius. Strangely enough, it reminds me of Genghis Tron, very complicated, but emotional. This could easily become one of my new favorite bands.

I couldn’t find this single anywhere, so this may just be a sneak peak on a new release, but there’s no info on …wait…I lied.

(via. http://www.ytstlabs.com)

YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN have just announced UZU, the highly anticipated followup to the self-titled debut, YT//ST. Out October 29th on Suicide Squeeze Records (US) and Paper Bag (Canada), UZU exhibits a diverse range of influences, from bands like Sleep and Boris to art and cultural references like classical Japanese drama and the “nihilistic art-punk scene of pre-Giuliani New York City.”

“One” is a way to pay tribute to the extended group’s indigenous upbringing and leads off with a traditional Iroquois song. The introductory chant is a social song calling people together and is traditionally performed by people of the Mohawk tribe.

YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN will be touring North America this fall. Dates will be announced soon.

So there you go, I found this band interesting, to say the least and well worth a listen or two. Let me know what you think.


Absolutely gorgeous and moving tribute to the cosplayers of Dragon Con 2013

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So I know you’ve seen a lot of cosplay videos from conventions as well as smart ass geek-youtubers interviewing/hurling insults at cosplayers and groping women, for the sake of their ignorant fans…well this is not what this is. This is an outstanding tribute to those who dream of other worlds and once, twice or three times a year, they become the physical manifestation of that idea. I know because I used to cosplay…quite frankly I don’t know why I quite, but watching this video makes me want to do it again.

The footage in the following video comes from the annual Dragon Con held in Atlanta Georgia. In recent years Dragon Con has grown to epic proportions and shows no signs of slowing up.

I won’t say to much more cause you really need to see this…and for those who mock their friends and family for doing what they love….schools in bitches and the cosplay is here to stay!!

Beatdown Boogie’s YouTube Channel

 

Has the Jedi mysticism in Star Wars been lost over the years

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The years have not been kind to the Jedi, a once benevolent group of mystics who occasionally had to do battle with the forces of evil to create balance in the universe. Remember when Star Wars was just about Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Darth Vader? It’s been a very long time since I’ve been able to say those names and actually feel that same level of honor, one might feel, being inducted into a secret society.

This was another one of my random thoughts, I had while slinging hash at my job and thought “hey…maybe there’s others out there who feel the same way”…so I decided to expound on it.

Call me crazy, but when you watch Star Wars: A New Hope, didn’t you get the sense that the Jedi’s were still a bit aloof, even when they were accepted by the Republic. They still seemed nomadic in their ways and very hard to understand at times and like searching for a new Dalai Lama, a Jedi seemed to me to be very…very hard to come by even before the slaughter, but not anymore.

How many Jedi’s does this Star Wars really need?

For me, the answers simple, but for those hellbent on making JEDI-star-wars-jedi-23833947-1024-768money off this franchise, the answers “there can never be too many”. Now with the Star Wars :The Old Republic MMORPG, everyone and their uncle can be a  Jedi, as if in Ben’s time, they were just handing out lightsaber’s  like government cheese.

Perhaps it’s because I haven’t read any of the spin off novels and comic books, except Timothy Zahn’s “Heir To The Empire”, but hasn’t this always been about the movies and not the books?

Sure, I too envision a world of yet unheard of Jedi, all with new and fascinating force skills, and belonging to interesting new races, but one must draw a line between recklessness and tangibility…yes, even in fantasy, this is what makes fantasy great. Isn’t it?

I didn’t need to see the Jedi Council in “The Phantom Menace”. Why couldn’t it have been just another level of the myth, one that we all subscribed to, but didn’t literally have to see? I mean can anyone, outside of the hardcore, name the members of the council or the race they belonged too? I know I can’t.

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This wasn’t the only thing that bothered me, assuming the Jedi were the Templar’s of their time, there was nothing to suggest a monk lifestyle other than the robes they wore, which brings me back to Ben, in the first film. He was unlike any of the so-called Jedi we saw in Episodes I, II and III. He was like the “Oracle” in The Matrix. Simple, careful, always aware of his emotions and above all…humble. Certainly not the order we saw in the prequels with their spacious penthouse view of Coruscant. There’s nothing about the Jedi’s in the new movies that says ancient or mystic. In that way, I could see why something like the Sith would want to destroy them, but I highly doubt George was thinking about this when he embarked upon creating that reheated piece of fodder known as ‘the prequels”. He was just going for flash, forgoing any of the mysticism we became fond of in “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back” and replacing it with smoke and mirrors. Now everyone has the force, Leia, Han Solo, their kids and all the while, the ones who’ve remained more benevolent, clandestine, and shrouded in secrecy is the Sith.

I will even go as far as saying that “the “Sith” is the last bit of true Star Wars left, ironically enough”.

They are the one’s Hollywood unknowingly have made an “anomaly” in all this mess. We got bit’s and pieces of who they are in every film, but no visit to their planet or meeting with the council or glimpses into what it takes to become one. Again, if you’ve read any of the Dark Horse comics you already know a lot about the Sith, but for the majority of moviegoers, there’s nothing. This is the model the Jedi’s/George Lucas, should’ve followed before he decided to blanket the screen with so many meaningless characters and colorful light sabers. This over saturation made the loss of their kind even more unceremonious than it already was. Not only were thousands of Jedi slain, we only knew the names of only a handful of them.

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What’s real important to understand is that when George Lucas wrote A New Hope, back in the seventies he, as a film student, was deeply into Akira Kurosawa films like “Rashomon”, “Seven Samurai” and “Ran”. He peppered “A New Hope” with all sorts of Japanese inspired aesthetics like Luke and Ben’s Hakama garb and even replaced Samurai katanas with light sabers. The colors white and black, used in the Tao symbol for balance, are also represented throughout the film, demonstrating duality and then there’s Yoda, who was essentially a small green version of Pat Morita from The Karate Kid. Course there’s the blatant Nazi symbolism embraced by the Empire, but I  want to get into that.

What I’m saying is it took Luke Skywalker three films to become a full fledged Jedi. He had to learn how to control his emotions and discipline himself, a fact that was done away with with the introduction of Medichlorian’s in the prequels. The images of Luke doing the handstand in the swamps with Yoda and him taking the shots from his impromptu blast-shield training on the Falcon, are still etched in my mind. Now, no longer is this rigorous training necessary when your born with this ability. Really? Could they have made the Jedi anymore elitists?

Look, for every short coming the Star Wars franchise has faced in the last decade, there are a million more yet to come, but can we at least agree that the franchise has lost that bit (I use that term lightly) of magic that made the original great? No artist, I know, has ever finished a song, painting or script without stepping back several times to look at what he or she has done and asking themselves “It this still me?”, “Is this still inspired?” These are questions, I’m afraid, George never asked himself, instead, as if he had no idea what he’d created two decades ago, he proceeded to go more west with the storyline than east, like he originally intended.

I won’t even ask you if whether approaching Star Wars from A New Hope point of view, is even worth it anymore, but it would be nice if the reigning science fiction/fantasy mutilator J.J. Abrams, would take this into consideration as he begins work on Star Wars Episode VII, but given his track record with Star Trek, I ‘d say don’t count on it and with that I leave you with the immortal words of C3PO…”We’re doomed.”

Lukesaberanh

Hit Girl owns Kick Ass 2

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Just left Kick Ass 2, and I’m feeling really good about using my AMC free pass on this film. It’s been little over three years since director Matthew Vaughn (X-Men:Days of Future Past), spit out the surprisingly bloody debut “Kick Ass” into theaters. That film, based on the Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. comic book, ushered in a generation of superhero films that begged the question “what if superhero’s were ordinary people?” Although there have been a lot of films trying to put a middle-class coat on this multi-million dollar business, no one has done it as well as Kick Ass.

So it was with high expectations that I went into Kick Ass 2, having loved the first film and I’m pleased to say…it delivered! I know…I know…there’s a ton of mixed reviews already out there about the films ability to “do it again”, but fuck that! It’s a boy hood superhero flick with just the right amount of everything as to not spoil the pot.

SYNOPSIS:
After Kick-Ass’ insane bravery inspires a new wave of self-made masked crusaders, led by the badass Colonel Stars and Stripes, our hero joins them on patrol. When these amateur superheroes are hunted down by Red Mist — reborn as The Mother F%&*^r — only the blade-wielding Hit Girl can prevent their annihilation. When we last saw junior assassin Hit Girl and young vigilante Kick-Ass, they were trying to live as normal teenagers Mindy and Dave. With graduation looming and uncertain what to do, Dave decides to start the world’s first superhero team with Mindy. Unfortunately, when Mindy is busted for sneaking out as Hit Girl, she’s forced to retire-leaving her to navigate the terrifying world of high-school mean girls on her own. With no one left to turn to, Dave joins forces with Justice Forever, run by a born-again ex-mobster named Colonel Stars and Stripes. Just as they start to make a real difference on the streets, the world’s first super villain, The Mother F%&*^r, assembles his crew of evil doers.

The story essentially picks up where the last one left off. Everyone going about their respective lives, trying desperately to Film Title: Kick-Ass 2ignore the chaos from the last film and they do so…almost to a fault. If I was going to hate this film, it would’ve been in the first twenty minutes. It takes a little for the pace of the film to pick up, but when it does, it does so methodically. Never taking any cheesy chances to turn it into what it’s not, you can feel the same writing/pace, from the first film permeating this script. The current timeline is deeply rooted in character driven synopsis. Hit Girl played by Chloe Moretz , is struggling with life in high school, Kick Ass played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, tries to come to terms with what he’s started and Morris Chestnut, who plays Hit Girls surrogate parent, works diligently, trying to tame the demons lingering inside his adopted daughter Hit Girl.

Red Mist played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, on the other hand is still tormented by the death of his father and acts out, accidentally killing his mother early on in the film while she’s in a tanning bed (the only really cheesy part in the film). Red Mist or Chris D’ Amico is shepherded by one of his fathers loyal associates played by John Leguizamo. The two never get that moment, but what we do get is believable.

Film Title: Kick-Ass 2You couldn’t casts this film any better, everyone was so believable in their roles, lending weight to a story that gets much more serious than the first…real quick. My MVP award must go to Chloe who showed us a authentic self conscious side of Hit Girl. One that was vulnerable, something we never really got to see from the first film. There are several scenes in this film that will have you looking up, that means trying hard to get those tears to roll back inside your macho-ass eyeballs. She’s a titan in this film and the real reason people will stay and watch this film over and over.

On the other hand, there were times that it got a bit “Clueless” not the script, but the 1995 movie and I’m okay with that. The film pokes fun at what kids have become, which after watching the trailer for the One Direction movie just before Kick Ass, I personally got a real thrill from. It’s important to understand that within the confines of this film and the world it’s created, what more could one expect? It’s often times hard to put a finger on why you loved something to begin with, but I think fellow geeks and the like, will agree this is solid.

How do I know this, cause everyone that needed to die in this film did…bear with me. How often do you see scripts hang on to character’s just because the studios want people to come and see their stars..a lot right? Well, what Kick Ass 2 did was made the big stars pivotal, made them great and most importantly, made you care about them and then wham! Gone… but what it did was help motivate both the Kick Ass and The Red…excuse me…The Mother F@#ker, to take this war to Olympus, which happens at the very end. I’ve heard some people say there wasn’t enough Kick Ass in the film, well I say good…we got a ton of him in the first film and yes there was as a matter of fact. The whole movies about the guy, well him and his friends, who are a cute and highly lovable bunch…to say the least.

Film Title: Kick-Ass 2

Jim Carrey’s Colonel Stars and Stripes, Night Bitch (Lindy Booth), Dr. Gravity (Scrubs’ Donald Faison) and his buddy Marty,Kick-Ass 2 now dubbed Battle Guy ( Clark Duke), make up the core of this dollar store version of The Justice League known as Justice Forever. They do a tremendous job of playing weekend warriors who are sometimes in way over their heads. I loved those guys.

I’ll admit missing some of the little things that made Kick Ass great, mainly watching a lone vigilante work it out, but this is a sequel and needed to go a little deeper. Just like The Dark Knight, people had to die and now there’s some real weight to the matter. Weight that, given the ending, we hope will be resolved with Kick Ass and Hit Girl teaming up again to crack a few skulls.

And so I will leave you with this quote and wherever you see a masculine reference, put a feminine one in and after you see the movie tell me I wasn’t spot on.

“So, we’ll hunt her, because she can take it. Because she’s not our hero. She’s a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A Bad Ass!! (Okay I added that last part)

 

 

The Creators Project brings Dungeons and Dragons and Couture together for a whimsical fantasy

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This short may be too hipster for it’s own good, but Frodo is in it. What better way to add some legitimacy to this strange fantasy, in what would otherwise be a runway show in Bryant Park, than to add Elijah Wood into the mix. It’s quiet and looks a lot like a M83 video, but not as cool. That being said, electronica group Beach House rocks the soundtrack on this one adding another level to the caldesactacon of the round table. The clothes these kids are wearing probably cost more than my car, but I’m not bitching. Enjoy this slice of sudo-middle class elitism…you 99 Percenter.

(via. VICE)

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NOISEY gives us the lowdown on Hair, Style and Music

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How much does your look determine how well you will be accepted by the masses? That’s one of the questions, I think, NOISEY tries to ask, as they interview the likes of Sleigh Bells, Tegan and Sara and Rye Rye.

From David Bowie to Karen O , the image of the Rock Star has always played a pivotal part in the commercialization of rock, whether you suck or not. Plus it’s a security blanket for a lot of artists, as you’ll find out. I will say this, watching this video is like sitting in a hair salon filled with annoying people talking about themselves. Good Luck guys and I apologize ahead of time.

BTW…anyone else think these artist are too sober?

Image Comic’s “Pretty Deadly” gets a release date

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IMAGE COMIC’S rolled out a press release today for a new comic we thought you guys might want to know about called Pretty Deadly. The story is written by Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel, Ghost, Osborn) and illustrated by Emma Ríos (The Amazing Spider-Man, Osborn). The story centers on Ginny, Death’s daughter, who rides on a horse made of smoke dispensing her gift on those unfortunate enough to cross her path.

Via Image Comics.
Simultaneously beautiful and savage, PRETTY DEADLY will unfold over the course of an ongoing story that DeConnick and Ríos developed together, creating a world and characters that are entirely their own. At the same time, DeConnick and Ríos say, it’s almost as if PRETTY DEADLY has a will of its own that guides the action.

Having worked together on Marvel’s Osborn, DeConnick and Ríos found common ground in their love of Westerns and Japanese cinema for PRETTY DEADLY. DeConnick was inspired by spaghetti westerns, Japanese “pinky violence” films, and Grimm’s fairy tales, while Ríos found her visual language for the series by absorbing both Westerns and samurai films. Colorist Jordie Bellaire (THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS, NOWHERE MEN) maintains the earthy, dusty atmosphere of the art, as well as the magical tone of the story, thanks to a subdued palette punctuated with bursts of vivid color.

“We wanted a very Leone feel to it. As we worked, I felt we were straying from that original notion and though I came to love the direction the book insisted on going, I felt a twinge of grief at the loss of the Leone connection. I don’t know why, but I did,” said DeConnick. “Then a friend of mine quoted this Leone line to me: ‘The important thing is to make a different world, to make a world that is not now. A real world, a genuine world, but one that allows myth to live. The myth is everything.’ So in the end, it seems we haven’t strayed at all.“

Death, guns, the wild west and two talented women at the helm, I’m all in.  PRETTY DEADLY #1 will be in stores on October 23 and can be pre-ordered from the August issue of Previews (AUG130504).IMAGE COMICS

 

The iconic science fiction magazine OMNI is getting a reboot

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There were many factors that contributed to my imaginative growth as a child, one of them was my dads monthly subscription to OMNI magazine. The magazine, started by PENTHOUSE magazine mogul Bob Guccione and partner Kathy Keeton in 1978, was so ahead of it’s time that a kid like me could barely get past their, amazing and sometimes sexual cover art, much less the actual stories contained therein.

Years later, I only now realize that, for my dad, it sparked his imagination. He is a skilled artist and would always draw things like space ships and what not, some he copied from that magazine and some he created on his own, but he chose the pulpit instead of art, which when I think back, were actually quite good.

I know for a fact this magazine was a muse for him as well as for millions of American‘s in the early eighties. I lump OMNI magazine in the same category as Heavy Metal magazine, Cracked or National Lampoons, when it comes to cutting edge art and writing. Those books did what some websites have been, unsuccessfully trying to do, with the internet for years…spark a cult following.

I say it was a seventies thing, but what’s to account for so many musician’s and authors nowadays sprinkling bits and pieces of what OMNI started years ago, on album covers or in lyrics or videos? Why now, this undying need to connect with the writings of Arthur C. Clark or Carl Sagen? Is it just nostalgia or is there something missing in our lives? A promise of the future perhaps? A future that fate has yet to deliver on? Well according to The Verge we are about to see.

OMNI is getting a reboot and is bringing on some of the heavy hitters that were responsible for the magazines success. The magazine is also bringing in some new heads like writer/actor Ken Baumann. This is going to be amazing! Read on.

(Via.The VERGE)

Omni’s resurrection comes courtesy of Jeremy Frommer, a collector and businessman who acquired Guccione’s archives earlier this year. Inside a warehouse full of production assets lie thousands of Omni photos, illustrations, and original editions, which Frommer plans to release as prints, books, or collector’s items. But he wasn’t content with mining the past. Instead, he hired longtime science writer Claire Evans as editor of a new online project, described as an “Omni reboot.”

So how did Claire Evans become the captain of this interstellar ship we call the Omni reboot?

Despite being chosen to take the reins of a nigh-canonized publication, Evans’ hiring as editor was largely a happy Claire Evansaccident. The chain of events began in April, when she wrote an effusive piece on Omni for Motherboard. A few weeks later, her editor approached her about investigating the recently resurfaced Omni archives. “As I was interviewing my current employer, Jeremy Frommer, about the collection, he essentially just offered me the job,” she says. “That was a little bit over a month ago.”

Unlike the original publication, OMNI will be a completely digital magazine, living solely in cyberspace, but as to the question that I’m sure is on everybody’s mind…”what about the art?”

Like the original magazine in its final years, the new Omni will live on the web, with weekly updates. It will publish a mixture of new fiction and nonfiction, but it’s also bringing back the art that helped define Omni, publishing old illustrations alongside the stories. That’s partly a pragmatic decision and partly a promotional effort by Frommer, who hopes to introduce his new art collection to a wide audience.

For the first issue, she’s assembled a mix of classic authors from Omni’s heyday with people who regret missing out on its golden era.

If this works and I’m sure it will, it’ll definitely give many science fiction sites a run for it’s money or maybe not, I still think the readers of OMNI were always the late thirty, forty somethings a.k.a people who like to read, but will that be the niche market Claire will target and will it just become another geek site, to keep up with pop culture? These will be questions that Claire will have to think about when considering the time that has passed from the seventies til now. We will just have to see, hopefully the fans and fans of fans, will restore this forward thinking magazine to it’s former grace.

To read the whole article click the jump

THE VERGE

Artist Kim Keever’s creates surreal dreamlike landscapes in a fish tank

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Kim Keevers has taken old school Hollywood effects into a modern art direction. Some of you might remember watching one of those “Making of…” documentaries about Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters or Ron Howard‘s Cocoon and seeing the VFX artists using this exact same technique to create strange clouds that usually introduced the mother ships in those films.

The technique involves dropping liquid, usually milk or something heavier, into a tank filled with water and jI__AANTV3KBZigv4GhxlryJoAQthen filming it at a very high rate to slow the image down. Slow equals huge and epic. But Kim not only uses this technique, but he creates the diorama style landscapes that sit beneath these strange clouds and eerie mists. It’s a trip looking at his stills…their so visceral.

A lot of his works look like physical representations of early American artist such as Jasper Francis Cropsey and Thomas Cole. His sculptures harness the vastness of the American landscape in the 1800′s, but then drops in the odd hues like bright pinks and blues, twisting the pallet and putting an almost psychedelic spin on all the majesty.

Could he be making a statement about the times we live in? You would like that wouldn’t you? The man can’t just be creating what makes him happy…RIGHT?!! You communist!!

All of Kim Keever’s work can be found on his website

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