StudioADI And ‘I Am Legend’

I liked most of I Am Legend, based on the story by Richard Matheson, though my admiration stopped at the computer-generated effects, which tended toward the cartoony.  What makes matters even worse was that StudioADI was actually working on practical special effects on the movie for a time (which actually effected the way that I looked at the director, Francis Lawrence for awhile, and not in a good way).

Included in the video are concept drawings, clay maquettes as well as actually makeup tests on models (it got that far before the approach was abandoned).

The makeup work looks pretty awesome and would have made a decent movie significantly better, which is why I am mystified they didn’t go with it.

Comforting Skin – Review

Comforting Skin poster

“”Comforting Skin” is a decent movie, yet why do I feel gyped?”

Derek Franson‘s Comforting Skin is actually a pretty decent thriller, though its biggest problem is that it advertises itself as one thing, when in actuality it’s something else.

If you look at the trailer, it feels to me like a horror movie in the vein of Psycho or Magic (or some other movie where someone loses their mind, and goes on a killing spree).  As if that weren’t interesting enough, her tattoo talks to her (voiced by Victoria Bidewell, who also plays ‘Koffie’).

In theory it sounds like a great movie, that is till you actually see it, when it becomes fairly obvious that Comforting Skin, while a thriller, isn’t a horror movie.  Horror-adjacent maybe, but a horror movie?  Not at all.

Koffie is a single woman who who lives with a friend, Nathan (Tygh Runyan) whom she appears attracted to, though she doesn’t let on.  Nathan is an actor, which is fitting because his hair looked like he was in an Off-Broadway production of Streets Of Fire (which is a bit unfair though it was distracting as hell).

Bidewell is a pretty actress, though not incredibly so.  She makes up for being somewhat conventionally attractive by being very bold, and unafraid of nudity in service of the story.  It was refreshing to see, especially for a woman that has a few curves and doesn’t look anorexic.

Koffie was feeling a bit insecure, after going to clubs night after night, yet having no one to show for her efforts.  Seeking to shake things up, she gets a tattoo and hopes that it’s the beginning of a change.

And it is, though not of the sort she expected; which leads to the biggest problem with Comfortable Skin–besides not being a horror film, despite coming off as one in the trailer and the poster–namely that the whole tattoo subplot is unnecessary to the movie.  You could excise it like an unwanted growth, and things would unfold pretty much the same.

Which is a pity because the last thing that I recall seeing about tattoos that drove people to murder was the X-Files episode, Never Again.

So if want to see some killer tattoos, I guess I’ll have to watch it again.

 

 

Comfortable Skin is currently on Netflix.

The (Un)necessary Remake Dept: DeepStar Six

No, DeepStar Six, isn’t the latest Ultramarionation feature from Jamie Anderson, but a undersea horror movie from Sean Cunningham (Friday the 13th) that was followed in quick succession by George P. Cosmatos’ Leviathan, and culminated five months later in James Cameron’s far superior The Abyss.

DeepStar Six revolves around a US Navy mission to place an undersea missile sled on the ocean floor; an action that only makes sense when you take into account that the United States was approaching the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Dr. Van Gelder (Marius Weyers) is there to ensure that the missile platform is built before they leave the base, the time for which is rapidly approaching.

Unfortunately, the project is behind schedule, so he’s doesn’t have time to putter about.

The area where he choose to place the sled is suspected of having caverns underneath it, which Scarpelli (Nia Peoples) wants to take time to explore, though Dr. Gelder isn’t interested.  Sure, properly surveying the area could have saved them quite a bit of trouble, but what specialist worth their salt let’s safety concerns trump completing a project on time.

Which shouldn’t be a surprise considering one of their own crew, Snyder (Miguel Ferrer, who if James Spader was unavailable to play Ultron in the upcoming The Avengers: Age of Ultron, should have been on speed dial) is fraying at the seams and should have been evacuated to the surface weeks ago.

And speaking of Ferrer, he’s easily the most convincing character in the entire movie which is why it’s such a pity that he so explosively loses it toward the end.

Another awesome addition to the movie is someone whom you never see, but who’s presence is felt throughout the entire movie, and that’s the awesome score by Harry Manfredini (who’s theme for War Of The Worlds: The Second Invasion has to be one of the best television themes EVER.

Seriously.  It’s that good.

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The Avengers: Age Of Ultron Trailer – Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Edition

Kevin Feige, you cheeky bastard.  It appears that you pulled a fast one.  When the trailer for The Avengers: Age Of Ultron was leaked prior to it appearing on Marvel’s Agent’s Of S.H.I.E.L.D. I assumed that that was the end of this story.  Sure, Marvel Studios handed things pretty gracefully, but I thought it was time to move on.

How wrong I was.

The trailer that was released during S.H.I.E.L.D. is quite similar to the leaked trailer, but not the same, and as anyone knows, the Devil is in the details.  The fist, and most noticeable difference is that there’s an extended party scene (which the first trailer only touches upon), where Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr) and Jim Rhodes (Don Cheadle) attempt to lift Thor’s hammer.Tony and Rhody Attempt to lift Thor's hammer

Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) doesn’t bother, because she knows that boys will be boys.

Though things get interesting with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), otherwise known as Captain America, tries.

Thor's expression

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) appears mildly concerned, especially since he knows that one has to be deemed worthy by the magics that permeate the hammer to lift it, and who’s worthier than Captain America?

From that point on, the trailer mostly follows similar beats as the first one, though there are small differences.

Such as the image below of Black Widow staring at something…

Black Widow staring

Which was followed by this image of the Chituari scepter from 2013’s The Avengers (and what we learn give the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver their abilities from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Ctharia weaponCombined with earlier scenes of Captian America breaking into a castle, I believe that they show his his search for the origins of Winter Soldier, and that he finds the hideout of Baron von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann).

Though there’s an image that appears in both versions that I am very curious about, which is of an attractively-lit room that’s serving as a ballet studio, though why is it in the trailer?  Did Joss Whedon (who may not have cut it) want to add a scene of beauty to contrast all the larger-than-life heroics that proceeded it?

Ballet Dancers

Maybe, but I doubt it because it’s too obvious.  I suspect that the dancers may have something to do with the Scarlet Witch, if only because it’s not exactly the style of Black Widow or Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders).

‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ Official Re-release Trailer

The original 2001: A Space Odyssey trailer

I am sure that you have known a person that was not nearly as clever as they thought they were.  Such people tend to be a tad insufferable because they’re so convinced of the righteousness of whatever flag they happen to be flying that they don’t appear even cognizant that there is another side of a particular issue.

Well, 2001: A Space Odyssey is the movie version of that person.  It’s clearly a brilliant movie, with great model work by Brian Johnson (Alien, Space: 1999, etc) and showcases Stanley Kubrick at the height of his powers.  That being said, it’s not nearly as brilliant as it thinks it is, on top of being so demanding–and giving so little in return–that as a result it’s one of the most boring movies that I recall seeing.

A new trailer was commissioned by the BFI (British Film Institute) and Warner Bros. in celebration of a digitally restored release of Kubrick’s seminal sci-fi movie.  It’s a good trailer, but does little to add a pulse to what is a particularly cold movie.

The re-release 2001: A Space Odyssey trailer

‘The Evil Within’ Trailer

I have never been a huge player of video games, though recently I have been playing Penumbra: Requiem, and realized that enjoy it.  I don’t own any video game systems, though when I see trailers for games like The Evil Within it makes me wonder if perhaps life would be just a little bit better with a Playstation.

And I have no idea if the game is as interesting as the animatics, but if it is, the players are going to have a bloody good time (pun intended).

And isn’t that what gaming’s all about?  Good company, good food and mindblowing acts of digitized violence and gore?

‘Wolves’ Red Band Trailer

What it is about werewolf movies?  For every The HowlingAn American Werewolf In London or Dog Soldiers, you get twelve Skin Walkers and lots of crummy Howling sequels.

I don’t know know in which column David Hayter’s Wolves falls, but if the trailer is any indicator, lycantrophy is being used as a thinly-veiled allegory for a young man’s transition into adulthood.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, though it’s not exactly an uncommon theme as far as horror movies go.  That being said, plot and storyline are important, but a great looking werewolf transformation goes a long way toward, if not curing all ills at least making you forget about them for a little while.