lunes, 23 de mayo de 2011
As I’m a humble person, my word is my bond. And I promised all of you, long ago, that we would post and interview with legendary director Ralph Bakshi, so here it is. Every one of us in the studio is very proud of this interview. I am very proud of having the opportunity to talk with such a rich man.
I don’t know if Bakshi is one of the greatest artists alive today, but he certainly is one of the artists I respect the most. I admire his lack of compromise with anything but his own worldview and the crude sincerity with which he expresses it. These are clearly not the political trades of businessman and it’s no wonder that it’s been more than ten years since his last movie, but there are still people, like me, who appreciate this kind of honesty. Kurt Vonnegut said “Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.” I often feel this is one of Bakshi’s trademarks.
Throughout the last year, I’ve written at least five articles about the man and his works. Some of them are in Spanish and some in English; most of them are unpublished. But he always comes back to me as a cornerstone not only of my views about animation, but of art in general. So, yeah, it’s with great honor that I present you this interview.
At first, what he says might come off as kind of downer, but that’s mostly because we had to edit out the brightest parts of his gloomy discourse and his jokes due to time constrains. Check out his movies and see for yourself that he’s a jolly man. And a wise man.
I especially like what he has to say about writers :)
domingo, 15 de mayo de 2011
After a couple of years of studying literature (yes, I don’t think there is no actual equivalent for what I majored in in the English-speaking world, but that’s close enough) my interest in animation and comic books as forms of narrative resurfaced. Back then, my re-introduction in this world were Yuri Norstein’s works. At the risk of sounding snobbish, I must admit I worship this Russian’s oeuvre. Like Tarkovski and many other Russians before them (ok, I admit I am a filthy snob), their works mesmerize me. I found them incredibly deep; so deep, indeed, that I feel often lost in their crude beauty. And the first Nortein’s film I watched was Tale of Tales, where a folkloric wolf somehow plays the leading role.
I’ve been gone for a while now. I started teaching Language and Literature to small children (awesome job, by the way) and that left with little time for this blog. Today, in a conversation, Cartoon Saloon’s Old Fangs came out and I realized it was time I resumed my duties. If you haven’t done so, you should probably watch this vimeo version, in beautiful HD.
I won’t be here as often as I used to be. But I thank this wolves for pulling me back into animation again and again.
lunes, 28 de febrero de 2011
Before starting to comment on Attraction, the short movie that Studio 4°C made as a PSA for The National Institute for Preventive and Health Education in France, I must say that it freakishly cool!! For those not in the know, the piece is an interactive short meant to teach you the dangers of smoking. It is interactive, yeah, but the cool part is the way you interact with it. I don't want to spoil the experience for anyone, so go to the site and check it yourself.
On a side note, the music was made by the amazing french artist Danger, which I interviewd some time ago and you can read that interview over here. Studio 4°C is also working in the remake of ThunderCats, that's supposed to come out sometime this year.
Strictly speaking, I don't know if I'm more aware now that I watched/played with the short. I don't know if it was patronizing their public in their depiction of smokers. It probably was, by demonizing tobacco companies in a childish way and making everyone less intelligent and more ignorant in the process. But it was so blantantly awesome that I almost find it hard to critique. The tragic irony lies in that they're raising a critique to the "coolness" with which tobacco brands are being marketed. It employs the same strategy as their competitors to get their point across, rather than focusing on raising awareness or educating their public.
So, in the end, it is superficial at best and manipulative at worst, but it certainly manages to be the coolest PSA I've seen in my life. At least it is not this crap.
domingo, 27 de febrero de 2011
I have just spent my whole afternoon watching film art. There are a lot of great things out there, things that, from an artistic point of view, put our regular movie posters to shame. But among such many great works, I would be negligent to name just a few. So I'll just post these two that re-imagine their movies as if they were comics. The first one is from Easy Rider, by Scott Campbell, and I like the indie-comic approach that. The second one is a rework on The thin red line by Jeremy Jusay and, even if I find it less inspired, is noteworthy nonetheless.
viernes, 25 de febrero de 2011
Today Megamind's DVD is out for sale, but that's not what I want to talk about.
Have you noticed that, during the movie, the rock songs never quite get to that part of the lyrics that you would say aren't appropiate for children? For example, "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC gets interrupted right before the world "Hell" is spoken. In the movie this is done through what I recall is a boombox going on and off the track. But that's not the only example, just the most sparkling one.
During Guns N' Roses "Welcome to the jungle" (here performed by the industrious Richard Cheese), the lyrics go "we are the people that can find/whatever you may need/if you got the money, honey/we got your disease"; but in the movie the last two verses are interrupted by dialogue from the characters.
I didn't find this interupted my experience with the movie at all, but found it curious how they managed to choreograph whole scenes in order to censor one part of the lyrics.
Anyways, these are the examples I remember. I didn't go back through the whole movie to see how much this happened. If anyone got more examples from this or other movies, I'm all ears.
jueves, 24 de febrero de 2011
Black Coffee: Chapter 1 of Trails of Tarnation from New Picture Agencies on Vimeo.
Do you remember the Perry Bible Fellowship? It suddenly stopped updating and I just forgot about it's existence. What's even stranger is that his creator, Nicholas Gurewitch, has done some animation work for the BBC. Yes, everyone I love leaves me for the BBC.
Elite Fleet Ep. 2 - The Broken Code from New Picture Agencies on Vimeo.
Anyhow, it also seems that he will be making a live-action webseries, now, and I, for one, am very excited about it. The whole story:
Nicholas Gurewitch is the mad cartoonist genius behind the Perry Bible Fellowship comic strip, one of the only web comics ever worth reading. He’s now turned his eye to a live action web series called Trails of Tarnation, a 12 parter about Derek and Jeff, two cowboys on the run from a corrupt Sheriff.Via: Badass Digest
In the first episode, Black Coffee, the boys seek out a good strong cup of joe.
Here’s the official site.
martes, 22 de febrero de 2011
I think it's pretty sweet of him. And I love Mark Hamil. He'll always be my favorite Joker. The whole story goes as follows:
So out of the blue last night, Nathan Hamill sends me an e-mail sharing some cool art with me. In case you couldn't tell by the last name, Nathan is the son of Mark Hamill, better known as that one guy from Star Wars.
The image was "born out of [Nathan's] love for Star Wars and Nintendo" and it's based on the moment where Han Solo and Chewie won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in a game of Sabacc. Get the Zelda reference? Nathan originally created the piece for the So Analog Show at Designer Con last year where you can see the image on a custom created Nintendo Entertainment Cartridge.
Nathan's blog has a lot of cool art on it in fact, including this disturbing DuckTales image.
It's strange that his dad ain't in the picture. But I won't get all freudian about it.
I’m through with The Simpsons.
I’m not going to enter a cynical speculation about how they have outlived their own creativity a long time ago. Throughout the more than twenty years I’ve been watching them, we have some good times and bad times together. They have changed, and probably they’ll keep on changing, but so have I. It’s not anyone’s fault, really, our relationship just grew cold and stale and routine started caving in between us and we just grew tired of each other. We grew apart and I suddenly noticed that the things they do now aren’t meant for my amusement anymore. I tried really hard to make it work, but I’m just tired now.
viernes, 18 de febrero de 2011
I know it's been a while since our last interview. As a matter of fact, due to personal reasons, it's been some slow weeks.
But enough of that. Here we have an AMAZING interview with the AMAZING Tomm Moore (Secret of Kells, from Cartoon Saloon). I'd like to offer mad props to Pablo, who edited the video. And I know it sounds cocky coming from us, but it really looks great. I'm trully thrilled!
He even did subtitles. Sí, ¡subtitulos en español para todos!
Hope you enjoy watching it as we enjoyed making it.
jueves, 17 de febrero de 2011
Since last Tuesday, after the Valentine’s Day sugar-hangover, we were in the Kidscreen Summit in NYC. If you’re around you can probably find Max who’ll delight you with his suave presence and will be able to talk about our IPs and projects at ease.
If you’re not there, you can join me on envying Max from afar. But no, seriously, I’d like to formally wish Max the best of lucks on his journey.
viernes, 11 de febrero de 2011
Did you know that MTV has their cartoon properties from the nineties online? I spent last night watching The Maxx once again on their website and, for the first time in my life, in a quality superior to VHS or crappy cable signal. About The Maxx, I still prefer the cartoon over the comic. The story closes quite well leaving some ambiguity and mistery about Maxx's and Julie's relationship, and I don't have to face Mr. Gone's backstory, which still gives me nightmares (Good God! It cannot be unseen!). Did you know that The Maxx was in a Sonic comic? I mean, THE MAXX! A character that's involved in stories of rape and children without eyes is in a Sonic comic. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Oh, well, I think that later today I'll be watching Aeon Flux and I'll try to get rid of the memories of that awful movie.
martes, 8 de febrero de 2011
So, Brad Bird received an Annie not long ago. He was not there to receive the price himself, but we can see the talented Simon Pegg helping out Bird in the wording of his sentences on his acceptance video. It's nice to see talented people playing along.
Oh, there was a certain famous scientologist helping him out too!
Axe Cop: The Movie - Part 1 from Peter Muehlenberg on Vimeo.
A fan made a fan-made movie based on legendary badass Axe Cop's titular webcomic. Axe Cop is a webcomic writen by a 6 year old called Malachai Nicolle and drawn by his 29 yeas old brother, Ethan Nicolle. And it is awesome. In one episode, Abe Lincoln becomes a nuclear god as part of a convoluted plan to change his sex and marry Axe Cop. I'm not kidding.
The movie tells the story of Axe Cop's first episode, where we get to know the origin story of this character.It was directed Peter Muehlenberg.
jueves, 3 de febrero de 2011
This is the coolest thing I've seen all week. We're pretty used to sketches of animated series and features popping here and there, but video games, in this aspect, are a rara avis (yeah, I handle Latin, bitches!). They might come as an extra in some fancy DVD, pre-order, golden or platinium or plexiglass edition. But what about indie games? Well, now we can take a peek at those too! Thanks to amazing site GAMESTORM, you can start fulfilling all your voyeuristic indie pleasures! I know I will.
martes, 1 de febrero de 2011
Three worlds explode:
FYI, the two persons in the first photo are Steve Carrell and Ricky Gervais, who play the same character in the different versions of The Office and are doing a little opening sketch for the US version of the aforementioned show. In the bottom picture we can see three versions of Mark Zuckerberg (of Facebook fame), including the allegedly original, opening for SNL.
martes, 25 de enero de 2011
A few weeks ago I did a feature about the TOP 5 BEST CHRISTMAS SPECIALS OF 2010. But at the time, I was completely oblivious the fact that Rare Exports was released in December. For those not in the know, Rare Exports were a couple of mockumentaries shorts that told the story and security measurements of a company dedicated to hunt and domesticate the deadliest of marks... no, not men: Father Christimases.
The movie itself is kind of a letdown. It abandons the mockumentary approach to tell us the story of how the company was created. But doing so destroys the great mysteries of its own mythos. Where do Father Christmases come from? How come there are so many? In the end, is it a bizarre twist on fairy tales or a bizarre twist on biology? What are the personalities of the of the three misterious viking-like hunters that take this dangerous task upon themselves? What's the natural habitat of this lordly creatures? This and more questions that made the original so charming find the answers that shatter that charm.
They say that the better spoofs are the ones that don't downplay themselves, that play it straight and serious throughout the experience. That's what I loved about the shorts. The feature length film has a personality disorder, it doesn't know if it wants to play a serious monster movie or a goofy one. Actually, I think somewhere along the second act it goes for the goofy option, which completely demolishes everything that the shorts have accomplished.
It's not a bad movie. Well, actually, it's pretty bad, but that's part of its charm. It still is one of the best monster-movies-where-the-monsters-are-actually-naked-old-men from last year. I could easily give it the number 5 rank in that top 5. The office was there to fill up space, anyway.
Check out the shorts. They're still pretty sweet.
miércoles, 19 de enero de 2011
Oh, Duckman, how I love you.
Duckman is a great means for age verification. If you ask anyone if they know what Duckman is and they say yes, they're probably in their late twenties or early thirties. If they don't know who he is, then they must as well be underage and you better run, because that conversation is quickly going nowhere.
I used to watch Duckman as a kid (pre-teen, to be more precise) and it scarred me for life. No, it wasn't the adult themes that the show covered WAY ahead of its time, it was that over-the-top, cliffhanging last episode. I waited and waited and waited until torrents were invented (the series was never released in Argentina and was not available on DVD at the time) that I realized that was supposed to be the actual ending of the show. Not unlike that OTHER SHOW with the Alien Life Form.
And speaking about ALF, does anybody else find slightly disturbing that everyone calls him by that acronym insted of his real name, Gordon? I mean, imagine a show where someone from Korea was referenced just as "Korean" or, to be more blunt, Jewish people were called just "Jews". It would elicit an uproar, and with good reason.
But I digress. The video above belongs to a show I enjoy, mostly because its host clearly does careful research on his subjects but doesn't need to bloat about it. A Top 11 moments of Fluffy and Uranus, because you know what I think of PC messages.
miércoles, 12 de enero de 2011
Another thing that Martina called me off on this week is the fact that we’re always mentioning the death of people on the blog but never their birthdays. Now, there’s a good reason for this, and it’s that while death are unique occurrences, birthdays happen every year and they lose their novelty pretty quick. We would celebrate births but let’s be serious, we never know if the newly spawned brat is going to be the next Yuri Norstein, so, what’s the point?
martes, 11 de enero de 2011
We've mentioned Neil Gaiman a while ago and suddenly Martina pointed out to me this post where the man is coming out of the Marge Simpson Studio where he recorded his part for an upcoming Simpson's episode. I think he's the fourth comic book writer after the brief but epic appearence of Alan Moore, Art Spiegelman and (I think) Daniel Clowes. Can't remember if Stan Lee was ever on The Simpsons but, c'mon on! He's Stan Lee! He makes more cameos than comics nowadays!
And I'm probably forgeting someone else.
miércoles, 5 de enero de 2011
This somehow reminds me of last year's Jesse Schell's DICE conference. Video Games are everywhere. They're taking over. And we'll embrace our new digital overlords because we've been instructed to be oversized men-children by the corporations that educated us through TV. And thus, a new society of control is born.
Paranoia aside, even though I think the car is pretty cool, I wouldn't be caught dead driving that thing. Nothing personal, I just don't like driving. Or jelly fishes. Or snails. It's a good thing it's a convertible too, because the noises it makes when a door opens annoy the hell out of me. It's like those site that start playing music when you load them, or that diabolical Pac-Man banner that starts playing really loud whenever you accidentally stumble upon it.
But going back to my original comment, isn't it strange that everything now is subtly becoming a game? I mean, I feel really comfortable with it, but where does this obsession of ludosizing (that's the technical term for "making things more game-y", and I'm coining it) everything comes from? Where will it lead to? Will it be profitable in the long run? Will it become the norm?
I can speculate, but what do you think?
martes, 4 de enero de 2011
I hate sports. I actually don't mind playing most of them, even though it's been a while since the last time I did, but I hate the general cattle-mindset that seems to induce on people. Smart people. People that wouldn't flinch after Michael Bay savagely butchers a beloved franchise of their childhood or J. J. Abrams dumbs criminally down an otherwise smart product, suddenly find themselves torn apart when their favorite team loses a match. And they don't ever stop whining, arguing and being general asses about a topic that I couldn't care less about. Trying to drag me down, you half-chewed pricks.
And that's why I've got mixed feelings about this whole Quidditch-for-muggles thing. I know it is done in spirit of naive, clean and pure fun, but with a long, long rulebook and an international association pushing for an exhibition match on the Olympics 2012, I'm afraid thing's might get too serious. I love fan-made subculture as much as the next guy (actually, I know the next guy and I can say I love it more). It gives you that fresh sensation of unbound, raw creative energy. But within every manifestation of fan-culture there's a breaking point where it becomes too serious and stops being fun.
By the way, sorry about the video's language. There was an English version but I couldn't embed it.
lunes, 3 de enero de 2011
So, Terry Gilliam joined the production team of 1884, an absurdist animated feature about a British secret agent working for the empire. The movie is a said to be a recreation of the future (the titular year of 1884, to be more precise), made in 1848. I see what you did there, pulling the old Orwellian trick of inverting the 1848 into 1884.
Anyways, we all remember fondly Gilliam’s animation from his Monty Python days and, although the technique is completely different, the style of the movie reminds me of those days. The trailer also reminds of the original fake trailer for Machete, for the amount of information and twists it compiles in just four minutes. The film will be directed by Tim Ollive, who has collaborated with Gilliam in the past. Check out the trailer and draw your own conclusions.