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Friday, April 29, 2011

The nose,
preliminary studies shapes and color schemes.


Color studies


Character color keys.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I'm not a basher and I am not a hater. I am usually very easily entertained... but you have to entertain me in a clever way.
I am not even the kind of person who's trying too hard... to be what? Me?
If I like things I like them and if I don't I can't help it.

I am going to start by saying then I am still stuck at minute 23 of Sucker Punch... that the movies still gives me motion sickness and that it's a collage of too many other things and not good ones either. Okay, you know when I say... if you copy from one you are copying but if you copy from many you are referencing? Well their referencing lacks 2 things: a reason and attribution.

I've tried to watch the movie twice. It's supposed to be entertaining, I love trashy entertaining movies but this one was too damn slow for me, too serious, not ironic at all... the first 5 minutes are an MTV and the camera does not stop a single minute. The shots look ill composed and flat too, hence the motion sickness. I stopped at the temple scene because it was like watching my friends playing videogame, there was nothing absolutely new or kick ass in what I was seeing (actually in fighting games my friends come up with more choreographic combo moves too). Again the shots were very flat and ill composed... but if we are watching this thing for the visual... there ain't nothing you won't find on Deviant Art already, which, btw, is doing a great job at creating ONE type of art, one single look, one common mind. In short it's a borg community for matte painter and texture artists but there are very little illustrators and, most of the time, they are doing traditional art.

What got me completely off the movie was the lack of motivation in the character... why does she decide to kick ass? I don't know. At least get pissed at the smeared lipstick!
But two things I don't like: invincible characters and sinkable characters.
She is both of them at the same time with no transition in between, which makes her the flat and boring type.

I'll give it a third shot just for the heck of it but, so far, it's pretty boring and all I get is this feeling of "been there, seen that" it gray but not grayscale.

I also watched Ugly Americans... and find it brilliant.
The animation and the look of the show are very poor but the good writing sure performs miracles.
Is it just me or the profession of becoming a writer for sit-com is getting more and more sophisticated and creative? I think that ongoing series are pretty challenging, and managing to stay IC for more than 12 or 18 episodes truly becomes difficult. If you don't know the character well, are too afraid of your audience or don't read the styleguide Hell breaks loose XDD
(Criminal Minds was full of these loopholes and Glee too, bends the characters to the plot and is too influenced by the fandom so you have betrayal upon betrayal of the characters and their personality - it's like even the writing is auto-tuned!).

Ugly Americans, so far, has played it right... more or less like The Big Bang Theory (see? Sheldon gets a girlfriend the Sheldon way. That's what you write brilliantly about when you know your characters, without any fashionable or questionable exploits).

The other show I found to be absolutely hysterical is Archer.
Again... this show does not have great animation or looks (although the retro looks in both is really really fantastic to me, but the common audience might think them to be bad, not cheesy in a funny way).
Auto ironic and with great dialogues... and voice acting that, dear God, can knock your shoes off (I think they ad-lib but definitely to be able to talk on top of each other like that you must be either timed up in a fantastic way or recording all together in the same studio, or improvising somehow... or somebody please tell me how they do it but overlapping is one of my favorite things).

Sorry I did not enjoy Rio very much.
Actually in this case the looks and animation are veeeeery nice! The rigging is amazing too and it must not be easy to animate characters whose eyes are on the side like that. Lots of 3/4 view could look weird but they don't. The eyes, though, aren't moving enough... it's the usual flaw of 3d animation (with the only exception of Rapunzel).

The movie left me a bit cold because because, yeah, the formula is perfect and it's applied the way it should but, let face it... no memorable lines, no memorable moments, the side characters aren't that appealing and I was really hoping not to see Madagascar again but... yeah, it is Madagascar in Brazil... with birds... and monkeys/lemurs.

So far the one I liked best this year, story wise, is still Megamind (it was kinda refreshing) and it didn't even make it to the Oscars... yeah... I haven't watched the Illusionist yet, though.

I also watched a bunch of other movies: Elvis and Annabelle (great start, absolutely loved Joe Mantegna... the story is a little watery, the solution... eh, what can I say, I don't like divine intervention), The Rite (supposed to be a thriller/horror movie. It's not. It's a great advertisement for the Catholic Church... I bet they invested in the movie too. Yet another weird depiction of Italy), The dilemma (could not be more meaningless), The assistants (had a very good concept, nice storytelling too but it was a dry slice of life... no humor, no drama... it was kind of sad because if it had picked a second genre it could be really something), I love you Philip Morris (yes, I had not watched it, I am not a big fan of Jim Carrey... and in this movie, again, my attention was completely taken by Ewan McGregor and boy he made me love Philip Morris too, screw the other guy hahahaha, but pretty clever little film), Elizabeth and Elizabeth the golden age (somebody please tell me how are those movies any different from a BBC show. I did not find them historically accurate and all it made me think of was: God, would they make and holofilm 300 years from now about Berlusconi and its bunga bunga and will also manage to make him look like a Saint or a savior? That's what worries me most about when historical movies portray the gossip of those century and call it history - the costumes were awesome though and I loved the location and the choice for the music), No Strings Attached (Natalie Portman as lost as ever in roles that really don't look good on her - I hate the final part of chick flicks where they all bail out of relationships and don't fight for them and waste a full montage moping about what they've lost), Lars and the real girl (again very nice story, interesting concept but the slice of life stayed dry and away from any other genre... very hard to feel for characters if you cannot laugh at them or with them), I was trying to watch The sweetest thing (I think it was supposed to be a contemporary version of How to Marry a Millionaire... but took off too slowly and had bad dialogues).

Enough blabber, bye. If you have to watch a movie don't just swallow whatever they show you... stop and think: you have the right to stand up, leave and get a refund. These people get money to produce crap and kill movie making originality by relying on a technology that flattens everything and make the world dull.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Queste sono le mie piantine di Papaya.
Su internet suggeriscono di ammazzare quelle piccole per fare sopravvivere le grandi ma... siamo realistici... la papaya in vaso cresce come una pianta stagionale (del resto già di suo la pianta non vive più di due anni, è come un cocomero ma su albero).

Per cui penso che userò questa cosetta come classico esperimento di scienze... un po' come feci coi vermi del cibo e la muffa e i girini.

These are my papaya plants.
I don't think they'll grow very big but I've heard that they can make very nice ornamental plants.
Supposedly they won't grow too big and will not bear fruits either.
Also will not live very long but papaya trees, usually, don't live longer than 2 years.

Leggevo che, come piante ornamentali, sono carine. Però non amano essere trapiantate.
Vediamo se riesco a farle combattere tra di loro - e vinca il più forte - e come funziona la natura in vaso.

Apparently they don't like being toucher or transplanted and I am supposed to pluck away the weak ones. But since this is my science project for the year I'll wait and observe them kill each other. Cruelly!

Questo invece è il mio germoglio di Durian.
Ora... a me una cosa perplime: sto cosetto che viene in alto secondo me è la radice. Sono straconvinta che il seme debba cadere dal lato opposto, un po' come fanno i semi di zucca.

Oggi guardava dall'altro lato. Vediamo se cerca la strada per il terreno o che. Forse dovrei estrarlo dal terreno, sul quale peraltro è appena appoggiato, e vedere se riesco a farlo crescere sul serio.

This baby here is my Durian tree.
Mhhh I am pretty sure the thing sprouting up it's the root (yeah, it's coming out the wrong way).
I wonder if it'll find its way to the dirt... or maybe I should just turn it around since it's not really into the dirt, I simply put it on the top and it sprouted.
It's very cute though.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Whatever happened to healthy curiosity?

I am always very surprised at the level of ignorance (as in Ignoring things, without bothering to research what's behind them) I see at times... it's like people never goes to school or has no curiosities. What came before them never existed. For instance I knew what "gentile" mean when I was 16... was it because I did not have internet and had read all of Shakespeare's plays? Was it because I had made a list of noticeable novels that everyone should read before they die and had already gobbled Sir Walter Scott?

I cannot tell... but for example at 16 I knew about the history of film, had watched Citizen Kane already, knew Sunset Boulevard by heart. I knew the names of all the actors of the past... the name of the first movie with sound, the first one in technicolor.... I had read Mauss by Art Spiegelman and Spirit. I knew Buster Brown and Barbarella. I had read Mickey Mouse comics from the 30's and saw that some scenes in Indiana Jones are taken from it. Anything I watched and saw, I had to know where it came from... are you original... are you copied...

If I questioned something or the relevance of it I would go and question it directly to find out WHY I was supposed to learn and do that and if I felt it was useful I would it else I would say: sorry, I am not going to learn this you can give me an F already. I know why you are doing this, it works with others but not with me.

I feel the questioning, nowadays, is a product of laziness: not to get out of stuff with a reason but because - gee - it's too much work! (and nobody ever wonders if it's useful or not, and in the end might be their loss).

When I watch or read something, today, I dismantle it right away... and I can retrace the step of its creation in such a way that I can then choose: I buy it or... sorry I am not buying it.

The products that are thrown at us, today, are all meant to make our brains go numb...

You take the train or sit at the table and suddenly you see everybody pulling out a smartphone and the fingers start moving, like orchestra directors, swing right or left.

And even though they point out how useful things are... I still do find places without a phone, I don't get lost and if I have a question and cannot surf the web now... surely I don't die!!!!

I wait... it's nice... I relax... then go back and look for it!

In short I feel like I own my time and I am not owned by it.

It's so nice to go and talk to someone in person... "let me see if she's in the office"... It's so nice to pull out a sketchbook or a camera while everybody is too busy looking at a screen instead of looking at you.

It's so the best being able to know how to search for things because I remember names and dates and preparing materials for this and that thing becomes a treasure hunt without frustrations.

Knowledge does not make you any smarter... it doesn't. But it does simplify your existence and help you step away from certain things, looking at them with a detached eye. Grinning at the stupidity of some choices... then getting upset because it's dumbing down the audience while educating it, it's always worth a try... then grin again because... because....

I hate when they talk about expendable generation who'll never fill the previous one's shoes. You want to keep them in darkness so they'll never get your jobs... you manipulated them and raised them to question everything in an useless way.

I want them out of this Hell you created for them because their heart is better than yours! è_é

But be curious! Don't just stop at the surface!

What does "gentile" mean?

Come on! Find out for yourselves!

Why do you always expect the solutions to fall from the sky?