Tupac performs one more time at Coachella

April 17th, 2012 by Doogs

Lookin' good.

Anyone who can’t go wishes to be at the yearly Coachella music festival. It’s one of those names that matches that of Woodstock in the late 60′s. It’s always the big names that you really wanted to see but never managed to take the time off of work (or be in the same country).

I would’ve loved to be there, as well as any other massive music festival I might add, but I instead tried my best to see and hear what I could.

There was one event that happened during Snoop Dogg‘s show that I really wished I was there for.

And, as I’m sure everyone felt when they were there, I think everyone wishes the man of the hour I’m speaking of was there to see it too.

Using an estimated $100,000-$400,000 according to MTV, the special effects studio Digital Domain managed to create a lifelike hologram of Tupac Shakur.

Taking about four months to complete, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg finally got to rap with their idol. It’s a combination of amazing use of technology, and a fascinating concept.

The hologram projection isn’t what we exactly imagine it when first hearing about it, and the concept isn’t entirely new, but it still gives a lot of science fiction fans something to keep interest.

The idea of constructing “What if…” concerts with this style of recreation could mean something great. But of course this power could be used for evil. I mean, what would you all think of a hologram Jimi Hendrix playing with Justin Bieber? I know that’s a terrible match, but I’m sure it won’t get to that point.

It’s also a little unsettling to know something like that could be done, so doing it in the future should be handled carefully.

Perhaps we can get to a point where these projections won’t be pre-recorded, and somehow we can get a live feed. Meetings would be so much more involved when you can tell the other person’s yawning.

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More (and rare) Jurassic Park behind the scenes

April 16th, 2012 by Doogs

Young Steve

When the first days of DVD special features turned our home theatre systems into behind-the-scenes gateways of the films we were watching, we were all given another reason to love our movies.

Granted, these features came with the bad movies as well, but the idea of being witness to the deleted scenes, the bloopers, the featurettes with the cast and crew talking about the film, it offered another level of appreciation.

But what of the films that came before people thought to document the production process for DVDs?

Think of an epic film like Jurassic Park. A marvel of technology and cinematic storytelling. There has been a great collection of extra scenes added for the DVDs, but when anything is found that is extra to the extras, thats…like…double-extra.

Apparently this clip was from a press pack for the media before the film was out. And while it doesn’t say too much, I still find it amazing. I’m not sure how long this’ll be on the internet, but I’m definitely going to watch Jurassic Park tonight.

The Augmented Reality version of Jurassic Park is out next week. If you don’t own it already, I suggest you scoop this up.

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Sometimes less makeup is more

April 10th, 2012 by Doogs

"But I still love technology...always and forever."

Transformations from actor to character can be a daunting process of hours upon hours of prosthetics, makeup and costuming that result in an amazing change. Mystique from the X-Men series, Hellboy from the Hellboy films, and Lindsay Lohan in Herbie Fully Loaded come to mind.

Wait, she wasn’t the car? I take that back then.

And even now, that process is being replaced with technology. Green Lantern‘s suit, for example, was all digitally added to the film, which makes me wonder what Ryan Reynolds looked like before the effects were on.

One film that I loved for its resonating characters reminiscent of everyday life was Napoleon Dynamite. Sure, the stereotypes were there, but it felt like casting was done juuuuuust right.

When I saw a photo of Kip, Napoleon’s older brother, out of character, it was initially a shocked reaction. And for obvious reasons above, they did a great job at transforming Aaron Ruell. But the part that got me was the, for what it seemed, simplicity of the transformation.

It may have only been combing the hair back, changing the facial hair and squinting the face, but for some reason I thought the actor would’ve looked even close to Kip and his quirks.

I can’t say the same for Jon Heder. I think it’s the voice that ruins it. Give him George Clooney vocals, and he could possibly be a superstar (for a bit).

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Nothing better than more Muppets

April 9th, 2012 by Doogs

He's a gorgeous amphibian

There’s something about the Muppets that never gets old, and I can’t really understand their winning formula.

Kids growing up love the crazy colours and the kooky characters, and kids all grown up like the crazy colours and the kooky characters.

It’s one thing to talk about how a show can be great for kids and adults, and another to personally say it’s been a great show as a kid and an adult.

With the latest film The Muppets pulling in cameos galore to ensure adults don’t feel the age of their loved characters, it makes me wonder how in the world of 3D cartoons and technology taking over that something as ancient as puppetry can still reign supreme.

A lot of it has to do with that invested time we as the older (but not THAT old) generation have with the series. Jim Henson’s work with all things Muppetry has stood the test of time with such strength, that it makes you wonder how such a show was ever pitched to TV executives in the first place.

Well friends, the video doing just that has been found:

The video pitch for The Muppets Show is a demonstration on how an ordinary-looking puppet in comparison to most characters can still make you laugh.

You can see a lot more interaction with the Muppets and the internet the last year or so, with music clips remade with Muppets singing kid-friendly versions without ruining the experience. This again comes into the play with nostalgia, but really, is that ever really a bad thing?

Miss Piggy was on the red carpet, and had to fend off Daniel Radcliffe, one of many adoring fans.

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Twins? We may be expecting Triplets!

April 3rd, 2012 by Doogs

Heeeere we go again!

Sequels are a topic of many a controversy. They can make a film that was really good even better. They can also make a really good film go horribly wrong.

Then you can have sequels to films that were horribly wrong, and make them better (at being horribly wrong).

I do remember watching Twins at some point. Yes, the idea of short DeVito and enormous Schwarzenegger was just as crazy as Schwarzenegger being pregnant, but it was the ridiculousness of the idea that made the movies interesting. “How on Earth did the scriptwriter pitch this idea and get a deal?”.

But some films like that, or Snakes on a Plane, weren’t meant for sequels. Some films are better left as a “Oh hey, remember that ridiculous film with the short Italian guy and the tall Austrian dude who were twins?”.

When I read that Twins was possibly going to have a sequel, this got me super skeptical. Surely this news was fake. But then to make a joke, I suggested to friends that it’ll be called Quadruplets.

I was wrong.

It’ll be called Triplets. Sure, that was an oversight on my part. Quadruplets woud be too hard to explain.

But then I read who was going to be the third sibling, and I was shocked.

Eddie Murphy would be the lost triplet in this film.

I’ll just leave the rest up to your imagination on how they’ll explain that.

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Finally, MORE Mad Men

March 28th, 2012 by Doogs

Mad wo/men

At the moment, the internet’s buzzing about the season premiere of Mad Men. It’s been almost a year and a half since the last season finished, so I must agree with most when I say ‘Finally!’.

Big gaps between TV show seasons are normal. Usually it’s waiting for the studio to give another season the green light to film, or that it’s having issues with one of its main actors.

For Mad Men, a show I got heavily into, it was too long. It does sting a little when your weekly watching habits stop, but when you know a show has at least a year until it returns, it moves into dangerous territory.

Mainly, what would happen if fans simply forgot about the show? It’s not hard to begin to forget plot points, or even the show altogether, when there’s a massive gap inbetween.

I can remember the gaps between The Matrix trilogy bordering on too long for me to remember the previous film (though it turns out the scriptwriters may have done the same thing).

When Jon Hamm (AKA Don Draper) started appearing on a lot of American late-night TV shows and doing the media circuit, it then clicked that Mad Men should be on TV by now. And it also clicked that I forgot almost all the big plot points (I also forgot the ‘…previously on Mad Men’ bit).

That gap in-between series though is a great way of introducing the show to friends, letting them borrow your DVD sets and doing epic watch sessions to be ready for the season premiere.

Though some non-linear shows like Family Guy, that’s not necessary. Fun, but not necessary.

If you’re not a fan of the show, you’ll still like what I’ve attached below. It’s an interactive YouTube game of a fictionalised 8-bit Mad Men Nintendo NES game:

I don’t know how to be Don. No one does, except Don.

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My friends, expect MORE of Tenacious D

March 27th, 2012 by Doogs
Credit: Michael Elins

Tenacious D back in the ring

We posted on our Facebook page today the new music clip from the gods of rock, Tenacious D (if you haven’t seen it, click here).

Following in the footsteps of Foo Fighters’ success going back to the garage, The ‘D’s upcoming album ‘Rize of the Fenix’, has reportedly cost Jack Black and Kyle Gass $600 to record.

That’s no concern, because when you’re as awesome as they are, money ain’t no thang.

Given that most music now is heavily produced and fine-tuned with expensive repercussions (both financially and musically), perhaps the way forward is back. But not too far back. I like not having to flip cassette tapes around every 45 minutes.

Although that in itself may be an idea to appreciate music just that little bit more. We tend to get very trigger-happy with the ‘Skip’ button on our music players, skimming what we’ve got stored away in our vast libraries until we’ve got just the right track for that particular moment.

It’s become more of a regular occurrence listening to music on-the-go, without that experience of taking time to sit and absorb a new album. It does come down to having less time for ourselves in that fashion, but I do remember the procedures I went through to make sure I was prepared for my first listen of an album.

There’d be a really comfy seat, with a drink (dependant on the type of music) at hand just in case it was called for, but savouring the moment of discovering something new, without having the ability to flick through tracks until something caught my ear.

Thinking about it now though, it’d have to be a band I really really like to make that kind of dedication. I mean, I’m not sure if I could sit still listening to Madonna’s new album in one sitting.

Disclaimer: Not a fan.

She’s done well for herself lasting this long in the game, but she didn’t do any favours at her latest performance at the Ultra Music Festival, where she was trying to connect to her fans a little too hard.

Deadmau5 put it best with his Facebook post:

“seriously, i giveth not a fu**ing single FU** for slating on madonna for reaching an entirely NEW level of idiocy … i can appriciate her meteoric career, and all good deeds done, but WHAT THE FU** WAS THAT? That’s your big contribution to EDM? Thats your big message to ultra attendies? hipsterspeak for looking for drugs? fu** off you fu**ing IDIOT. fu**.”

I bleeped the text just so you won’t get the wag of the finger at work. ;)

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MORE pencils than pixels

March 22nd, 2012 by Doogs

My Neighbour Totoro

I came across this video of Chuck Jones showing how to draw Bugs Bunny, and I got a hit of nostalgia.

Watching an older animated film like All Dogs Go to Heaven nowadays might differ from your normal viewing. You’ll notice the odd frame or misdrawn cheekbone or arm placement. I reckon this is actually the enjoyable part of older animations. Their imperfections resonate with the digital-over-analog argument the Foo Fighters sorted with their recent album Wasting Light.

Of course that’s not to say technology is eveil. In fact some of the most spectacular pieces of imagery ever imagined has come from the wielders of ’0′s and ’1′s, and there’s definitely a need to salute the evolution of the medium.

As I mentioned this week, after seeing the Adventures of Tintin film, I was still amazed at what can (and has) been done.

I would go on to say how the days of hand-drawn cartoons are long gone, but I would be a fool to mention such a thing.

There are still projects out there still tinkering away on a frame-by-frame basis.

Thank Japan for Hayao Miyazaki. The hand-drawn beauties that were Ponyo and My Neighbor Totoro are what makes a production house like Studio Ghibli really precious nowadays.

What I’ve been really looking forward to seeing, and probably sink my teeth into as soon as I can buy the English version (I watch both subtitled and dubbed, you’ll be surprised from getting two different movies), is The Secret World of Arrietty.

But now that I’ve talked about old-school animations, I might dig out my copy of Lady and the Tramp (it was my favourite cartoon when I was a kid).

Got any old cartoons you still can’t get enough of?

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Read MORE after seeing the film

March 20th, 2012 by Doogs

The Hunger Games

With the trailers for The Hunger Games popping out, I can no longer deny the shame that is my failure to read the novels by Suzanne Collins.

It’s fine to say to a colleague that you’ve “never gotten round to reading” a series such as ‘Harry Potter’ or ‘Lord of the Rings’ because of the films that sum up hundreds of thousands of words into nice 2-3 hour chunks, but I always have that sinking feeling inside that I’m not fully experiencing a story by film when I know the book was first.

It’s an unexplained phenomena, because wanting to be disappointed sounds ridiculous. Consider a person who has read a book series over and over, knowing every twist, turn, and everything in-between.

Watching a movie will never satisfy the image created in your mind when reading the book. Characters’ thoughts can’t be read out aloud, and certain parts of the book could be misconstrued, or cut out entirely.

And yet with all of this, there’s that tendancy to want to be in the ‘in-crowd’, the hipster’s “I liked it when it was cool”, to have been part of the world before it was encapsulated on to celluoid (or now digitally, I guess).

I watched the first three ‘Harry Potter’ films, which created a hunger to know the full story, bringing me to buy each book and chew through them all before the fourth film was released. I found it a fair middleground, knowing some parts were taken out, but generally the series was treated well enough.

Please tell me that I’m not alone (or that I am) in this strange habit. Then I can feel at ease knowing whether reading 374 pages in three days is something worth attempting.

Though I read the first Harry Potter in one seven-hour sitting on a train from Budapest to Prague. Should I jump on a plane to catch a train?

Check out Suzanne Collins’ work here.

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MORE than your average Belgian

March 19th, 2012 by Doogs

The Adventures of Tintin

I was extremely disappointed that I missed out on seeing Aventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn in cinemas. I was really enthusiastic with the project and the people involved, but it was quite a short run in the cinemas.

At first I wondered whether that was a reflection of the film itself, and that it could’ve possibly been a flop. Most of the time, our expectations can be crushed so harshly (flashbacks to the new Indiana Jones film comes to mind).

But I wonder whether it’s a case of Tintin himself that hasn’t had enough exposure to the mainstream. Les Aventures de Tintin started in the late ’20s in a Belgian newspaper, and grew into a massive series of comics, cartoons, and now a feature-film directed by Steven Spielberg. I still hold Spielburg in high light, aside from the said ‘Indy Incident’.

Theres Tintin-dedicated shops in the strangest of places (I saw a Tintin shop in Chinatown of Singapore for example), but it’s possible this character is not what kids know too well. Switch Tintin with Ben Tennyson of Ben 10 fame, and you’re sure to get sales.

Though the attraction for me and the Tintin series was its in-depth research (albeit in some instances a little off-the-mark) and thirst for knowledge and truth. Ben Tennyson turns into aliens, Dora the Explorer has a talking monkey and magical bag, and Phineas and Ferb don’t seem to ever go to school (though their intelligence isn’t really challenged, in fact that Tri-state area seems to have the smartest kids in the world).

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is out today, and I highly recommend you grab a copy. The amount of detail in the characters, as well as pacing of action throughout made it such an enjoyable movie. A delight for fans or no of the character.

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