Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book of Eli

My brother and I went to Book of Eli on Saturday. This movie was the visual opposite of Avatar. Set in a post-apocalyptic world thirty years after the 'flash' where everything is bland, used, dirty and grey (where everything in Avatar was bright and colorful) we follow Eli on the last leg of his journey to deliver a book. The story was fantastic. Denzel was great and Gary Oldman was, as usual, a fantastic villain. There were some great humorous moments (like some of the characters having no idea what a TV was). And the ending had such a great payoff.


The camera work during action was interesting. It seemed like it was either one static shot showing the whole fight without any cuts and sometimes entirely in silhouette. Or, like in one particularly fantastic gun fight, the camera man was running around between the crossfire focusing in on certain characters in the fight and then impossibly moving through set walls to cover the other characters. It was so amazing that I found it humorous in its impossibility, and yet they retained the live feel of a guy with a camera on his shoulder trying to cover the chaos of the battle.

There was a lot of swearing and a truck load of violence. But no sex. There was sexy, however. Mila Kunis was wonderful in her role. I had not seen her in anything other than the 70's show and was quite impressed with her performance.
The spiritual side of the film was great, too. There is a feeling that a subtle supernatural influence is going on through the film. The ending comes about in such a way that all the events of the come together in the end. Quite difficult to really emphasize just what without spoilers, so just know that this movie's ending is worth every moment building up to it, in my opinion.

I also liked the lack of love for cats in the film.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

The One Ring


Cubicle 7 just released the newest Doctor Who RPG. The production quality was outstanding. They've just announced that they'll be publishing taking on the Middle Earth setting, as well.


For immediate release.


Cubicle 7 Entertainment and Sophisticated Games announce that they are developing The One Ring: The Lord of the Rings® Role-playing Game.


Cubicle 7 Entertainment and Sophisticated Games are proud to announce that they are jointly developing The One Ring: The Lord of the Rings® Role-playing Game.


“We’re tremendously excited about The One Ring,” said Dominic McDowall-Thomas, Cubicle 7 Director. “Our aim is to give our audience an authentic Middle-earth gaming experience, one that really captures the feel of Tolkien’s world.”


The designer and lead writer of this project, Francesco Nepitello, is a games industry veteran, best known for the hugely successful and critically acclaimed War of the Ring strategy board game, which he designed with The One Ring co-designer Marco Maggi and Roberto di Meglio. A recipient of the International Gamers Award, War of the Ring is recognised by many ‘Lord of the Rings’ enthusiasts and hobby gamers alike as one of the most engaging recreations of the world-renowned fantasy saga by J.R.R. Tolkien. Francesco and Marco are the designers of other immersive board game titles like Marvel Super Heroes and Age of Conan, but started their game-designing careers creating Lex Arcana, the most successful and popular fantasy role-playing game published in Italy.


Francesco has designed the new LOTR RPG game system to make sure that players are completely immersed in Middle-earth from the moment they begin creating their characters. As an experienced designer of games based on JRR Tolkien, as well as being a lifelong devotee of the Tolkien works, Francesco brings a dimension -and a depth- to this RPG which has probably never been seen before in a LOTR game.


Robert Hyde, head of Cambridge (UK) based Sophisticated Games said, “When we first acquired the rights from Tolkien Enterprises to publish this RPG - as part of our wider LOTR book based board game license- we had no hesitation in approaching Francesco to conceive a completely fresh LOTR and The Hobbit RPG, and for him to be the writer. We knew that he possessed both these skills and that the game would be in very safe hands. His presentation of Middle-earth, along with stunning artwork from John Howe and others, brings this incredibly evocative and exciting world to life.”


“We also approached Cubicle 7 to be our publishing partners on the new The One Ring RPG because we loved the quality of their previous publications and felt that Dominic and Angus (Abranson) had both the experience, and with the creation of Cubicle 7, the role playing game resources, to bring LOTR and The Hobbit to a very wide audience.”


For more information on The One Ring: The Lord of the Rings® Role-playing Game please contact Cubicle 7 on info@cubicle7.co.uk




The One Ring: The Lord of the Rings® Role-playing Game will be published in the second half of 2010.


About Cubicle 7 Entertainment Limited
Cubicle 7 Entertainment is a British-based publisher and events company, specialising in the games industry. Founded in 2006, by Angus Abranson and Dominic McDowall-Thomas, the company has published role-playing games from a list of licensed and home-grown properties including Victoriana, Starblazer Adventure (based on DC Thomson’s 80’s Starblazer comic series), SLA Industries, Qin: The Warring States and the recent Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space (licensed from the BBC). In June 2009 Cubicle 7 announced it had joined the Rebellion Group.


Cubicle 7 Entertainment: http://www.cubicle7.co.uk


About Sophisticated Games
Sophisticated Games is an international board game publisher, specialising in book based Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit games. It is also the publisher of Reiner Knizia’s Ingenious and Callisto, and has recently done Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, Shakespeare and a Horrible Histories game. Sophisticated Games is based in Cambridge UK.


Sophisticated Games: http://www.sophisticated-games.com


The One Ring, Middle-earth, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the characters, items, events and places therein are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises f/k/a Tolkien Enterprises and are used under license by Sophisticated Games Ltd and their licensees.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Torchwood America?

This Torchwood America seems to be a further spin-off of Doctor Who. From what I'm reading here, it's not one of these American remakes of a popular BBC show. This seems like a show about another branch of the Torchwood Institute. Fully connecting with the established Doctor Who series and everything. Or is that me wishing too hard and reading exactly what I'd want to happen.

Either way, is this a good thing?

Fox developing U.S. version of 'Torchwood'

Original producing team on board to adapt U.K. series

By James Hibberd

Jan 19, 2010, 10:00 AM ET

Huge news for sci-fi fans: Fox is developing a stateside version of the U.K. hit series "Torchwood."

The project is from BBC Worldwide Prods., with original series creator Russell Davies writing the script.

A more straight-faced spinoff of "Doctor Who," "Torchwood" is about a covert group that investigates and fights alien activity. Two series aired domestically on BBC America as well as last year's well reviewed stand-alone miniseries, "Children of Earth," which broke all ratings records for the network.

Unlike U.S. adaptations that have gone awry, "Torchwood" fans can take comfort that the original producing team is on board. In addition to Davies, exec producers include Davies' producing partner Julie Gardner (former head of drama at BBC Wales for the show's first season) and Jane Tranter (another BBC vet, now exec vp programming and production at BBC Worldwide Prods. in the U.S.).

Also, some of the current cast -- most likely John Barrowman, who plays the immortal Capt. Jack Harkness -- might star if Fox orders "Torchwood" to pilot.

As for the new show's plot, the U.S. version will contain a global story line compared to the more localized sensibility of the first two BBC seasons.


Tranter might try to reboot "Doctor Who" for U.S. audiences while departing "Doctor Who" star David Tennant stars in NBC's pilot "Rex Is Not Your Lawyer." "Torchwood" (which is an anagram of "Doctor Who") debuted in 2006 on BBC 3 and set ratings records, then was moved to BBC 1. Russell also reinvented "Doctor Who" in 2003 and was writer-creator of the series "Queer as Folk."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Freakangels

I've rediscovered a web community I used to frequent long ago, Post Apocalyptic Media dot com. Poking around there I discovered a web comic I had never heard about. Freakangels. This is a weekly comic written by Warren Ellis and art by Paul Duffield. Obviously, it is a post apocalyptic setting with a lot of elements of Heroes or BBC's Misfits. It reminded me a lot of Umbrella Academy.

The general plot is set in London after a major event has devastated England and the city is flooded. We have a group of young survivors with super powers of the mind who have formed a clan or gang called the Freakangels. They watch over and defend Whitechapel and the small group of people who reside there. Through the inter-relationships and events we discover the mysterious events that lead to the current state of the world.

The production quality is unusually high for a web comic. The series is published in trade paperback, but the whole story so far is available online for free. I usually try to avoid Ellis and what I have read of his was great. He's just too gory or dark for me. My bias for the genre was why I pressed on with it. Freakangels has a slow start and its hard to follow the larger cast at first. By the 2nd book the story became really interesting. While there is more gore than there needs to be, there isn't a lot of sex. I could easily see this as a BBC drama.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

DUNE

I am fond of the David Lynch film. It was my first introduction to the story, but I have since read most of the series and see the Lynch version as a feeble and incomplete interpretation. It's interesting that the article doesn't mention the Sci-Fi mini-series. I thought the mini-series was fantastic. There was some casting in the Lynch version that I preferred and I really like the Toto soundtrack, but overall the mini-series is so much closer to novel than Lynch's. This new film should be interesting. I'm not sure how they'll tell the whole story in one film.

New ‘Dune’ Director Pierre Morel Wasn’t Satisfied With David Lynch’s Movie; Has Big Plans


Dune

It hasn’t been long since Pierre Morel was hired to step in and direct the new film being based on the 1965 Frank Herbert novel, Dune. As you know,David Lynch was the director of a 1984 film of the same name that was based on the book, but don’t for one second think that this new movie has anything to do with that film — no, this is an entirely new interpretation of the story.

Morel spoke to MTV recently, where he was sure to explain his plans for this new venture.

The Taken director first explained that he was a big fan of the book, and that he really wasn’t happy with the ‘84 film:

Like many people, I was not fully satisfied with David Lynch’s movie in 1984. I do respect David, and I think his interpretation and vision was interesting, but not what we [fans] expected. And I thought I’d give it a chance, try to do this, make it faster and more modern. I think that now, in 2010, we have the technology to achieve much more than David could do twenty-five years ago. I think it will be cool to try something different.

After that, he got into the good stuff, discussing what he plans to change and why. Dune takes place 10,000 years from now, so Morel is concentrating on basic ideas now, like what to do with the clothing people will be wearing and the technologies we might see. We’ve all seen how films of the ’40s and 50’s perceived the “future” and, considering we’re in it right now and it looks nothing like they had it, you can imagine how difficult it will be to envision 10,000 years ahead.

Well, this is supposed to take place 10,000 years from now, so I wonder why people are still dressed like Captain Nemo. It feels very 19th century to me. I think the [character’s clothes] should be much more modern than that. That’s one thing [I’ll change]; that’s a basic thought.

We’ll try to figure out what things may look like 10,000 years from now; it’s all about reconfiguring the entire universe. Everything is going to be very different than [it is] now. And we know from the book that there’s no more computers, no thinking machines. So a lot of the technology is going to be different. We’ll be working with design concepts, futurists and scientists who will give us a vision of how technology may evolve with certain conditions. That might lead us to another vision of the future – it’s not David Lynch’s vision, it’s not ours either, but in-between.

Morel says that they’re starting completely over from whatever had been built when Peter Berg was set to direct, which includes rewriting the script. Even so, he hopes to be filming Dune next year, but it’s far too early to tell.

link

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Noob DM on Pathfinder

I've been gaming with the same group for about 3 years playing Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 and everyone kind of taking turns DMing the game. As we approached the holidays we also were coming to the end of our long term campaign and the question before us was- who's up? Who's going to run the next game.

It kind of felt like I should step up to the plate. I've been playing D&D for 15+ years and gaming in general for 25. But never did I run a game for these guys. Their gaming experience dwarfs mine. And they're really good at running a game. This intimidated me a great deal. My turn was inevitable. So I threw my hat in.

I also used my turn to promote our group moving up to Pathfinder. It was difficult to get some of them to go from 3.0 to 3.5 so I expected this to be more difficult! It wasn't actually. They were glad to convert which may be due to excitement about the noob DMing. I don't know. My idea was that while Pathfinder is very close to 3.5, it would give me slightly more level playing field having us all learn Pathfinder instead of me trying to DM a system these guys a lot more about than I do. While I've been playing for some time, I've never been one to min/max the crap out of the rules like they do.

I decided to start with a published module. The guys over at the Source suggested I use the Adventure Path series Paizo (Pathfinder) publishes. On top of that one of the Source employees ran out to his car (in the -20 degree MN cold) to dig out the first Adventure Path book for me to borrow!

Our first game of the year and my first DMing was today. We created characters and got started. In addition, we have a new player who joined us making our party the proper four players. He's a co-worker and it appeared the chemistry with the guys and the new guy was pretty good. I'm a new DM, but he's never played a lick of 3.5, so there was a good deal of noob-ness all around. It was clear I had under prepared and the storytelling was pretty rough and sloppy. I felt in over my head, but the fellows were encouraging and I actually had a blast. Every moment was valuable learning on how to do proper game mastering. Now I'm really looking forward to the next session.

The Adventure Paths are very involved and perhaps not the best choice for a beginner, but I think it'll be fine down the road. I can't wait to sit behind the screen again.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Game of Thrones

Took me about 4 years or so to read the series thus far. I loved every page. And now it's coming to HBO. I'm looking forward to this.

HBO: 'Game of Thrones' dailies 'look fantastic'

TCA -- HBO programming chief Michael Lombardo says the dailies for highly anticipated fantasy series "Game of Thrones" look "fantastic" and the project looks very strong for a series pickup.

"Everything looks fantastic," said Lombardo, who's become a fan of the George R.R. Martin books upon which the project is based. "The director got great performances. Unlike a lot of projects like this, everything was shot on location. It has such a rich texture that it looks more expensive than it actually was."

Game of thronesThe network spent $5 million-$10 million on the pilot to bring castle Winterfell to life. Lombardo says executives are "sitting on pins and needles" waiting for a rough cut in two weeks.

"The fantasy is so incidental, it has a very adult tone," Lombardo said. "You forget it's fantasy while you're watching it, and that's what I love about it."

The pilot will employ some CGI, for backgrounds, the story's "direwolves" (a mixture of real animals and CGI) and dragon eggs.

Also, like in the books, each family in the story will have its own color pallet for clothing and armor.

If all goes well, Lombardo said, "Game of Thrones" will be on HBO in spring 2011 -- "March or April."

"I would be surprised if it doesn't [get greenlit]," Lombardo said. "It has everything going for it."


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Indiana Jones 5

Harrison Ford talks about the next Jones movie with MTV.

BEVERLY HILLS, California — The beauty of Indiana Jones is that we always imagine him as being on the verge of another great adventure. It's impossible to imagine Indy sitting back in his porch chair with a glass of lemonade, screaming at kids to get off his lawn. Now, Harrison Ford is eager to pick up the whip and fedora one more time and get "Indiana Jones 5" filmed while he's still a convincing action star.

"I don't think I'll do it in a wheelchair," the legendary actor grinned Friday (January 8). "George [Lucas] is working on an idea, and if it comes to a fruitful stage, all of us are very interested in making another."

In 2008, after a 19-year absence, Ford revisited his classic adventurer alongside Spielberg and Lucas, all three of whom need to agree on any script in the "Indiana Jones" series. By many accounts, "The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" was a financial success but easily the weakest of the four films. Now, Ford is promising that the idea Lucas has for the fifth film is outrageous.

"Yeah," he said when reminded of a quote he gave saying that Lucas' idea was"crazy but great." Does he want to elaborate? "No," he responded.

"Some of the best ideas are crazy ideas, you know?" he conceded. "Well-wrought, well-manipulated.

"I think it would be interesting to advance the understanding of the character, as we always have had that ambition throughout the series," Ford said of what he needs to see in an "Indy 5" script before he's willing to step on the gas like Short Round in a Shanghai taxi cab. "I think it would be interesting to deepen the relationship between he and his son [Mutt, played by Shia LaBeouf] and play on that relationship. ... It's full of opportunity. The series is full of opportunity."

When talk turned to the biggest character development of "Crystal Skull" — Indy's marriage to Marion Ravenwood — Ford seemed amused by the concept that anyone would find scenes of their wedded life as exciting as the series' trademark stunts.

"Yeah, yeah," he deadpanned. "Really exciting.

"I think [scenes with a married Indy and Marion] would be nice grace notes," admitted the actor, who will next be seen in "Extraordinary Measures," a January 22 drama. "We'll see what we come up with.

"Karen [Allen]'s a wonderful actress, I've always enjoyed working with her," he added. "I'm hoping that there'll be a part for all of us in the next one."



link

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Live Action Battleship Yamato



A live action Battleship Yamato looks like it could be just simply awesome. So if it came to the US, would it be a live action Star Blazers film?
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