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   MARCH 2009

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03.28.09
* Watch 'In the Fall of Gravity' and Vote ..... Yes, for the very first timeRon S. Cole has posted online (limited time) the entire 11 minute short. Astounding Stop Motion with much character and spirit/soul that holds your attention (Laika Studio or Travis Knight reading this?) and especially the storyline, touching on the 'mysterious meaning of life'. You need to sign-up as member of BigStar.tv (it's free to join) to vote for Ron's creative animated work. I do not want to hear your whining that it is inconvenient for you to sign-up. Look .... you are watching it for FREE and you should give back.  If you do watch Ron's animation but do not vote, I shall 'will it' that you be CURSED . You cannot just take and take. Watch 'In the Fall of Gravity'. For registering to the  'BigStar' site so that you can vote, read this messageboard topic

* 'Mary and Max' making some noise out there ..... I heard about this in the past but not much publicity about it for awhile. This is a Stop Motion feature from Australia by director Adam Elliot who is known for his 'Academy Award' winning short 'Harvie Krumpet'. M & M has been making festival rounds but I am not sure what the current status of it is or whether or not they have any distributor. I am guessing that  'Mary & Max' does not fit the 'Suits' myopic formulaic & homogenized standards of  "Animation for Kiddies". M & M seems to delve into mature-serious subject matter. Interview with Adam Elliot - 'Mary and Max' Trailer clips - Official M & M Site Check out 'Ain't it Cool News' for an M & M review and release dates. EDIT: 03.30.09

* The 'Bubble' of CGI: 'Monsters vs. Aliens'? ..... This is related to my previous SMW News commentary on 3-19-09 about the 'Bubble Syndrome' (scroll down page, 'Rough Time for Visual Effects...'). Is the mainstream 'CGI Bubble' going to soon burst? You know, plethora of the same ol', same ol', homogenized and formulaic. Apparently, reaction by movie reviewers of 'Monsters vs. Aliens' has been lukewarm & so-so. See RottenTomatoes & MetaCritic. To those of you hiding in your closets and lurking out there, who silently Judge me; perhaps my past commentaries and tirades has some validity and is maybe starting to be confirmed? Why don't you come out here and 'engage and confront', and make your case that my observations are 'completely' wrong or that I am just crazy!?   'Monsters vs. Aliens' knocked out by the Critics - Critics on 'Monsters vs. Aliens' 3D: Thumbs down - Roger Ebert

Addendum: "Moral of Story Rant".... CGI and in this case, the additional drawing power of  '3D', IS NOT an 'Automatic Formula' for a GOOD MOVIE. When will the 'Tinsel Town Suits' ever get that through their thick dense skulls??? EDIT: 03.29.09
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03.19.09
* Mainstream CGI Animated Movie steals from Independent Stop Motion? .....  Apparently, the Disney blockbuster, WALL-E seems to have some similar story points to a Stop Motion 30 minute short, 'Spare Parts' which claims to have been produced in 2003-04. Take a look at the character concept of the robot 'locomotion on wheels', prominent eyes, short front arms, etc. A coincidence or what?  WALL-E was released in 2008. The Stop Motion short 'Spare Parts', was imagined & created by filmmaker and animator Paul Whittington aka 'Carrot Kid', a member of the Stop Motion messageboard. I can probably understand Paul's reaction when he saw the Disney movie. I have not seen WALL-E yet and I amnot taking any sides. Watch Paul's 'Spare Parts' and judge for yourself. Local filmmaker claims Disney copied work - Filmmaker eyes court action against Disney Disclaimer: I am not accusing anyone of anything! Only a court of law makes that legal determination. I am just commenting & reporting. Do not 'kill the messenger'! EDIT: 03.20.09

* Rough Times for Visual Effects: But is it the Recession? ..... That is the title of an  article written by a veteran in the field. His name is Jenny Fulle. There are a plethora of people in the special effects biz and  likely, most from Digital / CGI, therefore,  I have no idea who he is. In my view, take his pronouncements and soothsaying as being bias and one sided. Essentially, my interpretation is that Mr. Jenny is indirectly trashing traditional special effects work. He mentions the old optical printers and in same sentence says Stop Motion. So he equates Stop Motion with the antiquated & archaic optical printers.  Mr. Fulle describes his visions of a wondrous new business model of Special Effects in the tougher & downsized economic times and into the future.  His sole solution & answer  is 'Technology' and more, more, more of it, as the NIRVANA answer to all of humankind's woes. To me, a myopic perspective and he looks at it as black & white. It is so obvious there can be hybrid methods of Special Effects that combines the classic methods with the new.

Just remember, Mr. Jenny comes from the mega-mega million dollar arena of mainstream wannbie blockbuster movies which is mostly the same CGI mind numbing eye candy visual 'high' and many times with  minimal storyline plot. Mr. Fulle only focused on the mainstream theatrical side of it. I already tiraded in past, the other markets or venues for the independent filmmakers. I say, why the hell do these mainstream flicks costs up to 100 MILLION DOLLARS and more?? That has always seemed obscene to me. 'Tinsel Town' is almost the kissing cousin to 'Big Government' .... Inefficient & Waste! Where does all the money go? I see a pattern in society which I call the Bubble Syndrome: the dot.com bubble, the real estate bubble, the stock market bubble, the government bureacracy bubble, etc.; all of which will eventually BURST. So now we got the CGI visual effects bubble? What a dry, sterile and cold society if human's put all their faith in technology. I am too pissed off  and I do not have the 'eloquent writing skills' to do a slickified rebuttal. There were a few recent messageboard topics, that is kind of related to my tirade Current movies inspiring young minds?  'Coraline' and 3D Printers.  Nothing personal against Mr. Jenny Fulle. I do not know him. I am just giving you other side and bigger picture. READ Rough Times for Visual Effects: But is it the Recession?

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03.14.09

* 'Land of the Lost' 2009 ..... Here we go again, Remake-O-Mania from Hollywood. This feature starring Will Ferrell is loaded with CGI creature animation and effects, and of course, when you compare it to the original 1974-76  'Land of the Lost' TV series done with ol' school (no computer frame grabber) Stop Motion, the original is going to look kind of primitive and dated. The new 2009 'Land of the Lost' flick will have the usual Jurassic Park-style Dinos and some other digitally created creatures will be in glorious CGI that the public has been endlessly fed and they are accustomed to. Yes, CGI can do some things very 'slickified' and in homogenized quantities, but I am not concerned (read the next news item below)  'Lost' trailer promo - Original TV Land of Lost

* International Stop Motion Consortium ..... I have been privy to the ongoing inprogress work from the loosely knit members of ISMC. This is a prototype  production studio experimental workflow model. Separate artists geographically located all over the world and each working in their own studio contributing their skills & talents to a specific project. I cannot reveal anymore other than, we have the beginnings of Turbo-charged Ray Harryhausen about to be resurrected!  I get sick and tired pissed off by the general bloggers, little news snippets, or posts at messageboards, when they typecast or pigeonhole Stop Motion as only for the all puppet, cute, warm & fuzzy animation style. They say, Stop Motion is ol' style archaic for 'Creature Animation'. Well, I say, those critics can take their 'mouse clickers' and shove it up their 'hard drives' .  No question about it, as I have preached in the past, Stop Motion in the 'Creature & Fantasy' genre used in certain surrealistic visual aesthetics & stories, especially combined with 'live action', can still be very powerful and grab the attention of, and entertain the New Millenium MySpacey CGI Over-dosed Generation

* Panasonic LUMIX FZ50 Digital Cam for Stop Mo MegA-PixelHolics ..... I am not dissing high resolution, so do not accuse me of that. I already tiraded in past about my position. There is a time for high resolution Stop Mo and a time for doing fun Stop Mo  practicing & exercising or for YouTube entertainment.  Last year,a former Video-resolutionist went over to the 'Dark' High Resolution side; his name is Mike Brent; not a professional in Stop Motion but a devotee, tinkerer, deep thinker and study-er of this animation art. Mike went into an almost orgasmic high , announcing his purchase of the Lumix FZ50. Fortunately, Mike is not zip-lipped secretive (like some of the lurking Stop Moes out there) and shared the news to everyone. He researched the FZ50 cam and it appears to maybe be the best mid-range Digital SLR-like cams for those into hoarding frame by frame Mega-pixelized Stop Mo images 

Mike says, the biggest pluses are: This Lumix model does NOT Flicker & does NOT Overheat. The higher end Canons and Nikons seem to develop unpredictable Flickering and many complaints from the professional Stop Moes about it and PAIN in the BUTT extra work required in post production to digitally remove flicker. For the anal retentives types .... yes the Lumix has a FIXED non-changeable lens. So what?? With a bucket load of creativity, one can artistically pre-visulize and compose almost any kind of scenes with just basic lens. The general audience does not care what kind of lens you use!  Lumix has 12x zoom lens, which is like having a variety of fixed prime lens (all in one lens). So, the zoom feature helps in composing different sized (focal lengths) shots. One more thing, Ron S. Cole (aka Mysterious Ron aka Isomer) also purchased the FZ50. I just asked him for a recent update comment. A simple question to confirm again if he has any Flickering issues? So far .... NO FLICKER and he is still very satisfied with the camera. Okay enough of this. My 'carpal tunnel syndrome' is acting up . For all you info-holics, go pig-out .... 10 pages of messageboard posts about FZ50 
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03.03.09

* SMW Random Cinema: Patrick Boivin-O-Rama ..... Why am I promoting him? Geez, I should have my own works here!  1 - 2 - 3 - 4

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'Gerald's Last Day': Vote, vote & vote! ..... A Stop Motion short by Justin Rasch which was completed not too long ago and entered in various film festivals nationwide and has been successful and receiving some awards.  Here is Justin's announcement at messageboard. 'Gerald' was selected from thousands of submissions and entered in Delta's Airlines Fly-in Movie Competition.  'Gerald' along with 4 other shorts are currently being viewed by Delta flight passengers who are also voting. The passenger's and your votes will determine the winner to be entered in the Ultimate Tribeca Film Festival for the Best Animation category. Okay, follow my instructions: At Delta's site you will see similar to image here. You first click on the arrow in photo of Gerald the dog, to watch the 12 minute short. After you view it, close the player. You now give it a 5 Star Rating by clicking on the 5th star. All the stars will turn orange. You then click submit. If you have more than one one browser (Firefox and Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.) use each browser to vote. If you have computer at work, vote from that one too.  Show your 'enhanced voting support' for the Stop Motion cause! 'Gerald's Last Day' will be temporarily online from March 1 to April 12. So, DO NOT forget to VOTE. EDIT: 03.04.09

* Ann P. Smith's Robot Sculptures ..... This is kind of interesting. She is not really into 'stop motion animation' but more of a 'sculptor artist'. She creates & assembles poseable robotic-like figurines from broken electronics and machine parts. I would take a guess they are one-offs and so, maybe difficult to duplicate multiple copies. Hmmm ..... I do have reservations and undecided about the newest buzz thing in Stop Motion, called 3-D Printing but I can see where that might be advantageous in making duplicate parts to create & assemble multiple posable robot sculptures. Last month's SMW News, I also briefly commented on these printers and posted more thoughts at messageboard. To me, 3-D printing is another step that is reliant on computers & more software crap to learn. Then you got the radically high costs of the printers that is beyond the reach of most of us, and is somewhat opposite to the creative cost-effective 'resourcefulness spirit' of the Stop Motion Art & Craft. Oh, I am going off topic . Back to Ann. If you browse her website, you will see that she has done some limited animation examples of her robotic sculptures. Very cool and potential for some kind of unique specific projects sort of Steampunk, Jules Verne-like theme? Ann P. Smith website

* 'Her Morning Elegance' Music Video: The hidden secrets? .....  In January '09 SMW News posted the Morning Elegance music video at our Random Cinema. The Elegance vid was already starting to go 'viral' on the internet. 'Pixillation' is a stop motion variation where real people are single frame photographed. There is much pixillation online and sometimes it can get somewhat repetitive or dry, however, 'Her Morning Elegance' created something fresh & unique. The romantic rainy day style song/music of course, contributed to its success. A few things not publicized much about it. Some have said that the 'pixillation on a bed'  concept was maybe lifted or copied from another short film. Take a look at this, Mitchell Rose's Case Studies, a 6-1/2 minute film short made back in '02. There are some scenes where a male & female couple are stop mo pixillated on a bed. Coincidence or what? The other not so publicized fact at the music video's MySpace page: The frame by frame movements were pre-visualized animated in a computer, then they used that pre-animation as a reference to pose the real people 'frame by frame'. I am not saying these mentioned items are negative, but just doing some 'under the bed sheets' observations . EDIT: 03.04.09

*  March SMW Random Cinema:

Give me the Ol' better times: The soothing vocals of Jennifer Warnes   1 - 2 - 3 - 4  credits

Patrick Boivin-O-Rama  .... Why am I promoting him?  1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5


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