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  JULY 2009

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07.25.09
* Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland' (2010) ..... You likely know about the annual big 'shindig' known as Comic-Con that is happening right now in San Diego. A big convention orgy where studio/suits also participate in. They time their genre Sci-Fi/Fantasy movie teaser trailers for the Comic-Con, and so, Disney has released teaser of Tim Burton's version of the 'Alice' story. In all the previou months of publicity about 'Alice', it was stated that this flick would use a mixture of special effects methods, and supposedly, also include Stop Motion.  Personally, I always doubted that Stop Motion would be used in Burton's 'Alice'. Remember 'Mars Attacks' (1996)? Tim Burton was going to use Stop Motion but back then (1996) the new upstart CGI militia forces cornered Tim and they heavily lobbied him to use ALL CGI, and Tim 'caved in' . For me, that nailed the coffin shut on 'Mars Attacks'. In my view, specifically for the Pulp/Campy style of 'Mars Attacks', CGI is antithetical to the 'Retro' look. Stop Motion would have been a much more applicable & potent special effects method to create that B Movie Flavor.

So, for you 'Stop Moes', here is the bad news per an MTV online newsbyte about 'Alice'. Quote: "Burton said the movie combines several types of movie technology to arrive at its unique style, although very little stop-motion animation ended up being used". If I ever go see 'Alice', I am going to wait when it is on Dvd. Nowadays, I rarely see mainstream movie first run theatrical releases as I cannot see them all (too many & pricey tickets) but they go to Dvd release very fast. Here is the 'Alice in Wonderland' teaser, another CGI in your face 'high'. Depp/Burton Preview: 'Alice' at Comic-Con - Alice's Adventures in Mediocrity EDIT: 07.26.09

* 'Sinbad: The 5th Voyage' Stop Motion Buzz ..... Maybe there is some 'hope' here. An independent production company called Giant Flick Films who I never heard of before but they state that they have been around since 2003. This is Giant Flick Films Statement: "We provide high-end feature films, not of the same old mainstream commercial type films but of ideas and stories from around our wonderful planet and from artists that are fresh, with fresh ideas. Our core genres include: Fantasy, Sci-fi, and Action-Adventure with a unique independent spirit".  I am guessing their goals are to produce good entertainment genre films with good stories and characters that are at higher level production values than the B-Movie gory blood & guts stuff. Well, there are some Rumors out there that Giant Flick Films are possibly considering for their in pre-production project, Sinbad:The Fifth Voyage, the use of Stop Motion Special Effects. In this era of CGI over saturation, this is rare indeed, using Stop Motion in the true tradition of Ray Harryhausen-esque. This would be the highest homage & tribute to Uncle Ray, and I personally sense that he might appreciate it more than the 'Gordon E. Sawyer Oscar' he received years ago (1992). Last year we attempted to lobby the 'Suits' doing the 'Clash of the Titans' Remake to possibly consider the use of  some advance Stop Motion, but we already knew that was a lost cause. That remake appeal was more about making a statement and to bring public awareness to counter the mainstream media's (also from Studios) ignorant and uninformed soundbytes-newsbytes about Stop Motion being supposedly old & dated (NOT).

As I stated, this is only 'Rumor' so far. You can sit on your butts OR do something. Here is Giant Flick Films Facebook page and their Website where you can find contact information and leave them comments or feedback. Let them know you want Modern - Advanced Stop Motion that is in the Spirit of the Classic Harryhausen works of the past. Tell them you are sick & tired of the CGI oversaturation & excess. If you (yes YOU reading this) have your own website or blog, then you MUST spread the word about this new in production Sinbad feature. If you do not, then you are a Stop Motion traitor . You can maybe temporarily run from the 'Gods' 1 & 2, but you cannot hide . So, get your arsses moving! There is also a free Sinbad Newsletter you can sign up for to receive updates. EDIT: 07.27.09
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07.17.09
* 'Ghostbusters 3' Buzz going around ..... Looks like they are throwing out rumor to see if it maybe gets any interest.  Harold Ramis, one of the original writers and actors in original Ghostbusters (1984) did a recent video interview and conjectured about possible new Ghostbusters. What was interesting to me with regards to special effects, Harold said that he would prefer not to completely rely on Computer Effects. I infer from that, maybe using some traditional effects but obviously should be more slicker than the effects in first Ghostbusters.  You know, maybe advanced animatronics, live action puppetry and stuff. Do not get your underwears or panties in a bunch, he did not say anything about Stop Motion. If you are not familiar with the first Ghostbusters, Randy 'Lord of the Rings' Cook oversaw the Stop Motion 'Terror Dog' scenes. I am not saying that you should lobby or contact (only if you want to Harold Ramis and encourage him to consider Traditional Special effects enhanced with CGI Digital, or to use Advance State of the Art Stop Motion 'Ghostbusters' game spurs remake buzz - Harold Ramis talks Ghostbusters 3  Other optional stuff indirectly related Original Terror Dog Molds FoundAuctioned Terror Dog Stop Mo Puppet - Who you gonna call? - Theme music trivia facts and here too EDIT: 07.18.09

* Damn it! I do not want to do more 'Fantastic Mr. Fox': Clearer New Photos ..... Are these much better images possibly leaked by the Studio/Suits, this time?? What the hell is taking them so fugg'n LONG? Stop censoring publicity about it and get your 'studio butts' moving with the marketing/promotion ENGAGE with the PUBLIC & FANS. Two new, larger photos and they are more clear & detailed Photo 1 - Photo 2 - Photo 3

* DRAGON STOP MOTION for Windows ..... Kind of known as the 'Porsche' of Stop Motion capture/recording  software. Originally created for Macs, and now being offered for PCs. Some information I cannot reveal at this time but Dragon Stop Motion may have a possible endorsement by well known familiar name in the animation biz. The Dragon people when they are ready, might let you know when they are able to reveal it later. Messageboard discussionDragon Stop Motion website
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07.11.09
* 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' Photo: Stop Motion Puppets ..... I already did plenty of keyboarding in the past about Wes Anderson's Hyper-SECRETIVE Stop Motion 'Fox' feature' and I am plenty brain fried on it .  Hmmm ..... you would think with a multi-multi million dollar movie, the public relations people would post much higher quality images of the puppets, sets, miniatures, etc.. Instead, we get a low resolution small singular picture. Just being honest, maybe it's the bad picture quality but I just do not know what to make of it. Maybe if we see some teaser trailers with the puppets in motion and 'in context' with dialog, soundtrack, music, editing, etc. .... it will look better? Again, as I Yoda/Gandalf-ically 'Observated' many months ago; obvious Studio/Suits suppression of 'news' about W. Anderson's Stop Mo flick. The audience/people are WAITING for some morsels of behind the scenes, quality images, or teaser trailers. I suggest that 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' publicity department should maybe hire the 'Coraline' marketing people?? Take a look here - 1 - 2

* Ethan Marak aka Angry Puppet Films ..... Through the grapevine , I hear Ethan is apparently still 'alive & well'. He is one member of a clique, which I affectionately  call 'The L.A. Underground Stop Moes'. The members consist of an Elite Stop Motion crew that inhabit the area around 'Tinsel Town'. They are sworn NOT to communicate at messageboards & blogs and forbidden to mingle with the general public and thus, the stealthy behaviors of the underground Stop Moes projects an Aura of Mysteriousness & Etherealism. Yes indeed, I remember Ethan years ago when he use to be somewhat 'normal'  before he went over to the L.A. Underground Dark Side . Anyway, check this out, a personal Stop Motion creative piece for his portfolio. It is not an actual commercial ad but created as spec project to further demonstrate his skills, not only as a hands-on Stop Mo animator but especially his directing skills. Watch Guitar Hero. Also, it looks like some of the  'L.A. Underground Stop Moes' are part of the talent pool that contribute to Buddy Systems Studios  
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07.04.09
* At Subconscious level I believe very little of what I see now in movies ..... That is a paraphrased quote from author of article I just read and perhaps he makes much better observations than I have tiraded in the past. This is not necessarily about the CGI technique itself, but maybe the oversaturation use of it, shutting out all other kinds of cinematic visual imagery styles & aesthetics. I cannot argue the power of CGI especially in creating cityscapes, architecture, landscape, water/oceans, in additional to weather elements special effects. The discussion here is in reference to maybe realistic style creature 'character animation' and certain kinds of digitally synthesized special effects. Actually, this might be somewhat related to last month's SMW News, about Mike Brent making some observations on Harryhausen style Stop Motion.  If it is too slick perfect which is usually the signature of CGI, does that take away from its believability?  I strongly think that it does. The CGI brand has a certain homogenized quality (signature) and subconsciously, the general audiences, I believe can sense it. Have modern visual effects robbed us of reality? EDIT: 07.05.09

* Stop Motion Magazine coming out in August '09 ..... This has been brewing for some months now. John Ikuma, who is passionate about Stop Motion, has decided to volunteer his personal time as editor-in-chief to produce this electronic form of magazine. It will be in PDF format. John says he intends to offer it for free and looking for advertising and/or donations. Sure, you may be excited and all that, but I know the cheap side of lurkers & info spongers on the internet . Will you be just as excited if there were a small subscription fee? John is intending this to be a bi-monthly magazine. IMO, Stop Motion is extremely niche and difficult to keep fresh with subjects. I know, I have been doing this SMW News thing for about 10 years now. I sometimes use a little creativity and use Stop Motion to expand into other societal, political or worldly issues and impart my cogent observations , like in the next topic below . Visit Stop Motion Magazine website

* Supplies, materials, cams, equipment & general living costs may Skyrocket ..... This is primarily for USA 'Stop Motionists' and of course any lurkers reading this. I am guessing you might have been distracted by Michael Jackson's death last week. Yes, he was a pop cultural musical icon but his personal life was kind of messed-up as with many celebrities in the fast lane of 'life', excess ego-centricity, narcissism, and glutonous self indulgence (like Elvis & other 'god-like stars').

While the M. Jackson stuff started last week, the Congressional USA House (Democrat majority rule), RUSH-voted last Friday, 6/26/09 (and it barely passed) for the most Draconian 1200 page, 'American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009' (Bill HR 2454 aka Cap & Trade regulation). This sweeping iron fisted legislation will eventually control & diminish your lifestyle level by increasing costs of goods & services, ALL of which are impacted by Energy price. This President/Administration through the rule of congress, will mandate the regulation & control of an invisible vapor called Carbon Dioxide (CO2) which will eventually be traded like a stock market commodity  aka  selling of Cap & Trade 'Carbon Dioxide' Permits. So, when these 'Cap & Trade' permits are in SHORT supply, that means energy costs will eventually be hyper-volatile.  There is more: At the  last minute, a 300 page amendment was added to HR 2454 which will require ALL States to be under the RULE of Federal Building Codes. Yes, your HOME will be subject to 'Energy' Inspection & Audits by the FEDERALE 'GREEN' POLICE before you can sell it or if you ..... Continue >>  EDIT: 07.05.09

*  JULY SMW Random Cinema:  

> ROBOCOP (1987) 20 year Aniversary (2007) Making oF
> The Gate (1987) The entire frigg'n movie online in 8 chapters?


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