Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Project H.E.R.O.

Long term readers of this blog will know that I never walk out of a film no matter how bad it is. Well, tonight I broke that rule and walked out in the middle of Date Movie. Quite simply, I have too much to do to waste my life watching this rubbish. This film was showing in Screen 1 of my local multiplex and what screen are they showing Seven Swords, also released this week, in? They're not showing it...at all! Grrr....arrgh... Basically, Date Movie is like watching a clip show comprised of bits of all the romantic comedies of the last few years. But...not the best bits of those films...just random bits. With all their humour and charm removed. There's little worse than watching one of your favourite actresses humiliate herself by performing in such excerable pap. I'm not doing a full review because I didn't see the full movie, but from what I saw I'd give it 0/10.

Anyway...on to the real reason for this post. I'm now the official artist for the Project H.E.R.O. one-shot from Visionary Comics Studio (publisher TBC). As such, I thought I'd give my faithful blog readers a sneal peak of the project. Here are my character designs for the three main characters in the book - Xerxes, Gawain and Bruno.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Young Gods #1: Page 2

One of the biggest problems I have when it comes to digital art is that no matter how good the computer I'm using is, or how good the software I have is, I always seem to test the technology at my disposal right to its very limits. And sometimes beyond.

The script for this page called for three panels. Panel one is an aerial shot of the sity, no problem. Panel two is a shot of "The Chariot" (the Young Gods high-tech jet thing) in the sky...again, no problem. The description for panel three simply read, "Paladin, Impact and Juice can be seen at the controls of the Chariot." So...I load in the model of the Chariot, then the models for Paladin, Impact and Juice, and pose them at the controls. Then I click "Render" and the system freezes. Sigh...

Of course, the end result is better, now instead of one panel, which didn't really work because the three cockpits of the Chariot are too far apart, we have the triptych you see here. I think it looks great (yeah, go me!) but it took a whole evening to get right...because the three panels had to really work together as one image. So, whereas this page was going to be finished last night, it's now gone 2am on the following night and it's finally done. Still, this is one of the biggest differences between the original version of #1 and this new version - I'm taking more time to get it right.

I've had some great feedback from page 1 already, feel free to post some comments on this page, I love hearing what people think.

In other news, I've just said "Yes" to doing the art for a forty page one-shot from Visionary Comics Studio called Project H.E.R.O. It's quite a daunting project and will really stretch my abilities as a digital artist, but it's just too good an opportunity to pass up. I've pointed out to them, though, that it will take me a long time to produce 40 pages, and I'm just waiting to hear back from them as to wether or not I should go ahead with it. Of course, that will slow production on The Young Gods up a bit, but anything that raises my profile as an artist will only serve to help The Young Gods in the long term. The goal is still to have YG#1 ready for the Bristol Con (assuming I can find somewhere to stay...but that's another story...) and that's looming ever closer. Now if only I could win the lottery and quit work, I'd have enough time to get everything done then...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Young Gods #1: Page 1

Well, the all-new version of The Young Gods #1 has finally moved into the artwork stage. Presented here for your amusement is a low-res version of the first page, which I've just completed.

As you can see, the order of events has been changed from the original version, and the scene we now open with originally took place on page five. A direct comparison with the same scene in the original will show you just how far my artwork has come since then.

I'd like to point out, once again, that if you click on the pic you'll get to see a much bigger and clearer version. Although, of course, the proper, full, high-res version that will appear in the finished book will look even better.

That's really all I have to say right now. It's been a long day and it's set to be a long weekend, so I'm going to go and chill for a short while and then get some sleep.

Look out for more Young Gods images tomorrow.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Movie Review: Aeon Flux

Before I get into the review, I've just categorised the links in the "Links" section on the right. As you can see, there are some interesting additions to the new "People I'm Working With" section. I can't say too much about that right now, but watch this space.

Okay, on to the review. Aeon Flux is based on an animated series that was originally shown on MTV in 1995 (although, I'm sure it was longer ago than that...). It was shown on BBC2 in the UK, and, to be honest, I seem to remember it as a one off, but, apparently, it was a series. What sticks in my mind was Aeon catching a fly with her eyelashes in the opening sequence, and that's recreated at the beginning of the movie. As for the plot of the original, I honeslty can't remember any of it, for me it was a purely visual experience. At the time the animation was ground breaking. Something very new and very different, although obviously influenced by Japanese anime.

The plot of the film is fairly interesting. Ninety-nine percent of humanity has been wiped out by a virus. A cure was found but only 5 million people remained alive to carry on the human race. Four hundred years after the cure is discovered what's left of humanity lives in a walled city which has been run by the family of the man who created the cure since its discovery. Although it appears to be a utopian society anyone who opposes the ruling family "disappear" and there is a deep and disturbing secret at the heart of the society.

I'm not a big fan of Charlize Theron, and wasn't expecting much of this movie, but she's really good as the moody assassin/spy, Aeon. The rest of the cast are great too, especially Marton Csokas (who genre fans will know as Celeborn from LOTR, and, apparently he played Poggle The Lesser in Episode II). He plays the chairman, Trevor Goodchild, the leader of this oppressive society. Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting) plays his slightly unstable brother, Oren. There is a complex relationship between the three main protagonists and the three main actors gte the balance spot on.

I've read other reviews where the script has been heavily criticised. Personally, I didn't have a problem with it, but maybe I was just distracted by the fantastic production design. It's reminiscent of the sci-fi films of the early to mid seventies, such as Logan's Run and THX-1138 (a movement that Star Wars was both a part of, and brought to an end). It's characterised by the use of lots of brutalist, concrete architecture, and form fitting bodysuits. It's a gorgeous film and will, to a certain generation, have the look and feel of a "proper" sci-fi film. It reminded me of a period in my youth when I discovered my parent's collection of old sci-fi paperbacks by the likes of Philip K. Dick and Poul Anderson and I'd spend lazy summer afternoons devouring them on the sofa.

Ultimately this is a good sci-fi film, probably not a classic, but definitely worth seeing if you're a fan of the genre.

Rating: 7/10

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The 50th Post!

Well, here we are, 50 posts, 335 hits, 5 months.

Okay, okay, on with the news...

...I am now officially a part of Supreme Knight Studios!

There...that's it. What that means for me, basically, is that I get to work with a lot of great people on some exciting new comic books. Also, as they are based in the US, it means that I will have a presence at the US conventions, despite not being able to get there myself, which is very important. It's early days at the moment, so I don't know exactly what I'm going to be doing - lettering, colouring, inking, CG art, or all of them - but, obvious I'll be posting here as soon as I know.

We've talked a little about the possibility of The Young Gods coming under the Supreme Knight banner, but there's certainly nothing concrete there. I expect we'll discuss it more once Derek and I have produced something a bit more concrete.

On the subject of The Young Gods, Derek's tells me he'll have at least 5 pages fully scripted for me by the end of the week. So, hopefully, I'll have some actual artwork from #1 ready to show off after the weekend. After much thought and thanks to the positive reaction to my CG work on the Markosia forum, I've decided that the reworked Young Gods #1 will be completely CG. Ultimately, it's going to be quicker and look better. So it makes sense on both counts.

To accompany this post we have a pic' of the new look Impact from The Young Gods. Entitled "Do You Feel Lucky?", this picture was really the clincher for me in making the decision to produce The Young Gods in Poser rather than inking over "pencils" produced in Poser. Personally I think my renders have really stepped up a notch here in terms of lighting and atmosphere.

Well, that's it for the 50th post, it's been an eventful five months, who knows where we'll be at by post 100?!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Movie Review: Chicken Little

Well, my news is now all official but I've decided to save it for my fiftieth post. It's just a little more dramatic that way. So, rather than hearing what I've been dying to tell you all for days, you're going to be treated to my review of Chicken Little. (I wonder how many people have just surfed off with a mental note to check back tomorrow for the news...).

Well, what can I say about this movie? Thankfully my mother never said to me "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all," otherwise this review would be incredibly short. Not unlike the movie itself. The tag line is "The end is near" and how right that is, at only 81 minutes in length, this film does really fly by, which is one of its few redeaming features.

To be fair, I took my two kids, aged two and four, to see this film, and they both really enjoyed it. For the two year old it was mainly a good excuse to eat sweets and sit with mummy for an hour and half, but Zak, who's four, got a lot more out of it. Unfortunately, what he got out of it at one point was bordering on terror.

Hmm...to cut a long story short, Chicken Little tells the town the sky is falling, creating wild panic. His dad doesn't believe him and tells everyone it was just an acorn and Chicken Little never lives it down. A year later everyone is still talking about the incident and they're even making a movie of it. Then it turns out that it wasn't the sky, or an acorn, but a piece of an alien ship. Cue alien invasion and war of the worlds type sceens and a four year old boy quivering with fright next to me. This film is so unbearably cute and schmaltzy that when the genuinely menacing aliens pop up it's like a kick in the face to preschoolers. What's up Disney? You usually get this stuff spot on.

This is, of course, Disney's first attempt at a computer animated film since Pixar struck out on their own. Having seen it, I now understand why the House of Mouse just blew the GDP of a small European country buying them back. Pixar killed Disney's cell animated films, and they simply can't do CG without them.

Zak's favourite part of the film was the baseball part, which feels like it's an entirely seperate movie. Between Chicken Little disappointing his father with the sky is falling incident and his father realising that his son was right all along when aliens invade...we have a whole sequence where Chicken Little joins the school baseball team and wins his father's respect and admiration by scoring the winning home run in the final of some tournament or something (it's really not explained at all). This is such a weird mish-mash of a film, and it really doesn't hold together as a whole.

Probably the worst element in the whole film is Chicken Little's relationship with his father. Chicken Little's father is a bad father. He's terrible. Where the film fails, is that it gives him an opportunity to redeem himself and stand by his son, and he still lets him down. It's only when aliens are actually invading the town that he's forced to accept that his son was right all along. Then Chicken Little turns to him and says "You're never there for me." And he kinda' says, "Gee, I never realised you felt that way" and they hug and make up. It just all feels wrong. And this is exactly the sort of thing that Disney usually get so right. Like the relationship between Lilo and her sister Nani in Lilo & Stitch. Even though, from Lilo's perspective, Nani lets her down, the viewer can always clearly see that Nani loves Lilo and always just wants what's best for her. We never get any feeling other than that Chicken Little's dad wants to save face and avoid his own embarassment. He comes across as selfish, stupid and incompetent. The simple fact is that any father will tell you, if your son says the sky is falling, and the whole town is furious with him, you say, "That's ok son, I believe you, if you say the sky is falling then it must be falling." Why? Because it doesn't matter if the whole town thinks you're an idiot, just so long as your son thinks you're a hero.

Chicken Little is passable entertainment if watched with kids, but with so many great kids films like Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Shrek to name a few, which stand up on their own merits as great entertainment for any age, that's simply not good enough.

Rating: 5/10

Baptism of Fire

Just a quick one today, mainly to post this new pic' of Paladin from The Young Gods. I've titled it "Baptism of Fire," for obvious reasons (i.e. it has fire in it).

Paladin will probably go back to his regular swords in the book, but I just went with the laser-sword (not a lightsaber...definitely not...) for this pic' to see if I could pull it off.

I still can't share my news, but this will be post number forty-eight, so hopefully I can make the big announcement in post number fifty!

Well, that's really all for now, I'll try to get round to posting a review of Chicken Little (which I'm sure everyone has been dying to read) sometime tomorrow.

'Till then, enjoy the pic' (remember you can click on it to get a better view) and please, feel free to post a comment or two to let me know if you like it...or if you don't like it.

Bye now....

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Long Weekend

Well, I'm slap bang in the middle of a very long weekend here. I had to go to a wedding yesterday, today we took the kids to the cinema and tomorrow we're going out to dinner with my mum. Busy, busy, busy. On top of that things are mad at work right now, so I had to bring work home with me! Oy vey!

It was awesome to see the amazing Kat, Black Queen of the Cyber Hellfire Club, finally return from the wilderness and post here. Kat introduced me to the wonder of fluffernutter sandwiches...and she gave me Cooties.

I also have some really cool news that I'm dying to share with you all, but I just can't yet, because it's not 100% definite yet. That's partly why I haven't posted in the last few days, because I've been waiting until I can share my news. But, you'll have to wait a little longer.

For the time being, you'll have to make do with my latest piece of digital art. I call it "The Supreme Knight." Now...there's a clue...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New milestone reached!

Well, just a small post to celebrate the fact that the site has reached 300 hits today! Woohoo! It wasn't very long ago that we reached 200 hits, so the hit rate is definitely accelerating.

To celebrate, here's another pic' from Ultraviolet. The official site for the movie lists the release date as March 3rd, but the BBC's Film 2006 diary lists the release date as June 30th. So, either one is wrong, or, more likely, it's released in the US in March and the UK in June. If that's the case then you have to wonder if Sony Pictures actually care about combatting DVD piracy at all. The fact that we in the UK have to wait for so long for some movies is absurd. I've known some films get an official DVD release in the US before being released in theatre's here. How much of a gift to pirates is that? People, don't buy pirate DVDs, they're rubbish! Studios, stop making UK film lovers wait for months and months longer than our friends in the US!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Serious Moment

I'm sorry to interrupt the fun with such a serious post, and it's always been my intention to keep things generally lighthearted here, but 9-11 was truly the defining moment of our generation. There can be no doubt that the world has been a darker and more dangerous place since the collapse of the Twin Towers and as such I feel it's imperative that we know what truly happened on that day.

To that end I'm posting this link:

BYU's Dr Steven Jones Blows The Roof Off A Utah Auditorium

It clearly sets out some of the major flaws with the official story, and, more importantly, these are not the ravings of some conspiracy nut, but the considered opinion of a physics professor. This is a man who knows what is and is not physically possible and should not be ignored. These are the facts.

Thank you for your time, normal service will resume shortly...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Movie Previews: 2006

I had originally planned to write a look back at the movies of 2005 but that never really got off the ground. So, instead, I thought we’de take a look forward to what’s coming to our local cinemas in 2006, and a sneak peak at 2007 too. This is by no means a comprehensive list of every release in the coming year. I’ve gone through month by month, and week by week, and picked out the films that have caught my interest, I doubt I’ll get to see them all, and I’ll probably end up seeing a few films that aren’t on the list.

2006 Movie Preview



Aeon Flux

This live action adaptation of the classic MTV commissioned cartoon doesn’t look like it’s going to live up to the original. It stars Charlize Theron, who I’ve never been a big fan of. Of course, going in with low expectations means that I’m certainly not going to be disappointed.


Ok, I’ll admit that the only reason I want to see this is for Sienna Miller, but, then, my wife wants to see it for Heath Ledger, so we’re fairly even. Maybe it’ll be good, but, hey, who cares, it’s Sienna Miller.


Date Movie

At the risk of sounding totally shallow, my main reason for wanting to see this Alyson Hannigan. But, it is written and directed by two of the six writers of Scary Movie, and the trailers look fairly funny, so we’ll see.

Seven Swords

This is a 17th century Chinese epic about a village who seek the help of a master swordsman and his disciples after the martial arts are banned by the ruling Ching Dynasty. Likely to be one of those blink and you’ll miss it foreign films at your local multiplex but looks well worth a watch.




By “comicbook genius Dave McKean” according to the BBC’s website (it’s written by Neil Gaiman…), this follows a 15 year old girl’s fairytale quest for the Mirrorwask. From Henson Productions….Gaiman….Henson…now this has to be worth watching.


Evil Aliens

British comedy horror set on a remote Welsh island…definitely one to see with the brother-in-law rather than the wife.


V for Vendetta

Long awaited big screen version of Alan Moore’s graphic novel starring Natalie Portman. I confess, I haven’t read it, although I’m surprised that this has made it to the screen before Watchmen.

The Pink Panther

Why have I included this on the list? I grew up with my dad constantly quoting the original and Steve Martin is playing with fire by trying to step into Sellers’ shoes. Could be truly awful.

She’s The Man

Another in a long line of Hollywood teen movies that are updates of Shakespeare plays. This time it’s Twelfth Night and Amanda Bynes stars as a girl and her brother.



New film directed by the writer of Dawn of the Dead. A virus transform those infected into monsters. Hopefully another great zombie-style horror flick.

Yours, Mine and Ours

Imagine Cheaper by the Dozen with six more children meets The Brady Bunch, only the kids don’t get on and…oh god…why? What’s next? A family with 50 children? Totally, totally wrong. So…uh….why should you watch it? Danielle Panabaker, from Sky High. ‘Nuff said.



Ice Age 2: The Meltdown

The first Ice Age movie was a surprise hit, and, I must say, my kids absolutely loved it. Hopefully this will recapture some of the magic of the first film, but, even if it’s rubbish, I’m sure it’ll amuse my kids again.

Alien Autopsy

Ant & Dec make their big screen debut. Seems to be a bit of an X-Files spoof. Only a decade late, then, lads.


Scary Movie 4

We have a strange kind of affection for the Scary Movie series in our house. This one is likely to be just as bad/good as the others.


American Dreamz

Hugh Grant does Simon Cowell in this American political satire from the director of About A Boy. Whatever you think of him, Hugh’s always great.


Flight 93

I don’t want to see this, but I’m intriqued. The first (of many) movies based on the events of 9/11. Likely to be a pro-establishement piece supporting the official story of what happened. So…a total work of fiction like most Hollywood films.


Jet Li in a biopic of a Chinese martial arts master. What’s not to love about this?

Tristan & Isolde

A medieval romance in the mold of Romeo and Juliet. One to take the girl/woman in your life to.



Mission Impossible III

Gah…Tom Cruise is evil….I’m boycotting this!



Teenage girls find a mermaid. I reckon this is going to be one of the surprise hits of 2006. People love mermaids. 2006 is going to be the year of the mermaid.


The DaVinci Code

Hmmm, surely everyone’s read this? I’ve got no idea how they can turn this book into a film well. Every line of dialogue in the novel is followed by about eight pages of exposition. So, the film will either make no sense to someone who hasn’t read the book, or will bear no resemblance to the book whatsoever. I didn’t like the book that much anyway. It’s very silly, and too many annoying people have confused it with non-fiction.


X-Men 3

Yay! Woohoo! At last! The summer finally arrives with the movie we’ve all been waiting for. Finally we get to see The Beast, Angel and, most importantly, Kitty Pryde on the big screen. With a new director and the general stigma attached to second sequels, this film is going to have a lot to prove. But it has Kitty, so who cares! (The list of good sequels keeps growing, so that there’s no longer such a stigma attached to any movie with a “2” next to…but can anyone give me a list of good “3” movies?).

Thief Lord

Based ona children’s novel by Cornelia Funke. I’ve not read it but my wife has and she loved it.

The Wild

Cgi fun with voices by Keifer Sutherland and Eddie Izzard. At last another film to take the kids to! It’s only when you have kids that you realise just how few kids films are actually released. It’s especially frustrating when you have small kids like me (4 and 2). The only kids films released last Christmas were Harry Potter and Narnia, neither of which were appropriate for my kids. So, you may hate this kind of family fayre, but some of us rely on it!




Another film for the wife. The Poseiden Adventure is one of her favourite films and hopefully this remake will be just as good.

Things To Do Before You’re 30

I had to include this Billie Piper starring Brit-com in the list for one simple fact – it’s released almost exactly a month before I turn 30 myself! Gulp!


Omen 666

Hollywood continues to tread old group, particularly in the horror genere, with this remake of the first Omen film. Released, predictably, on the 6th of the 6th 2006. The idea of people preventing the end of the world seems just as absurd to me as the Christian right actively working to bring it about. But, still, should be good for a laugh and will outrage the fundamentalists, which is always a good thing.


Nothing good coming out this week, perfect opportunity to take your loved one out to dinner instead of seeing a film to head off those “I’m fed up with going to the cinema” complaints.


The Benchwarmers

Rob Schneider ina film from the director of Happy Gilmore. An adam Sandler cameo is pretty much a certainty. Three no-hopers (surprise!) form a three man baseball team and take on kids. Um…yeah. Turn your brain off and enjoy.

The Lake House

Why did I include this?!? It stars Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves and a magic letterbox. Um…yeah…could be…oh…god…no…it’s going to be awful. I’ll probably end up seeing it anyway though.


Over The Hedge

More CGi animals! Yay! Kids love ‘em, god bless. This time they sound a lot like Bruce Willis and Jim Carey. Woot!


The sleeper hit of 2006. Milla Jovovich plays a futuristic vampire in this classy sci-fi romp. If you liked Underworld and Resident Evil then you’re going to love this. (And if you didn’t like them then what’s wrong with you?). This one will come out of nowhere to be a smash hit (you heard it here first).



Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly, Pirates of the Caribbean. Everyone is going to go see this, it doesn’t need me to tell you how great the first film was. It’s like a religion for my wife, she’s forever lending out our DVD of the first film to anyone who hasn’t seen the light (ok…the movie) yet.


Superman Returns

Technically a sequel to Superman 2, Bryan Singer turned down X-Men 3 to direct the Man of Steel’s return to the big screen. Still, I guess we shouldn’t really hold that against him. This can’t really fail to be good, can it? The question is can Singer make the physical embodiement of truth, justice and the American way appeal to a wider world that’s increasingly falling out of love with the U.S. of A.?



This is being billed as a spy version of Harry Potter (although, I hate thosesort of comparisons…it’s based on a children’s book…so it has to be compared to Harry Potter…sigh). With Ewan McGregor, Bill Nighy and Alicia Silverstone on board we’ve at least got a great cast, but it’ll live or die on the strengths of its teenage lead.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

While I could take or leave the first film, I really enjoyed the second. It should have the requisite number of stupidly fast, stupidly modded cars and being set in Tokyo we can expect even more guady neon lights than before.



Pixar finally release their follow up to the smash hit that was The Incredibles with this movie about talking cars. I’ll be honest, I know almost nothing about this, but I own every other Pixar film on DVD, I love them, my kids love them, this’ll be great.



Ant Bully

Someone thought it would be a good idea to release a CGi toon movie at the same time that Pixar have one out. Someone at this studio needs a good kick in the head. Ant Bully may be brilliant, but no-one is going to go and see it, they’ll all be watching Cars. Stupid…..stupid… And I bet there’ll be nothing for my kids at Christmas again…


Nacho Libre

Jack Black, Mexican Wrestling, Catholic Priest. ‘Nuff said…

Super Ex-Girlfriend

The furthern we get into the year the more obscure the films get. In this film Uma Thurman plays a super-hero who breaks up with her boyfriend. That’s the premise. That’s it, right there. I have no idea….


Sin City 2

Why have I not seen Sin City yet? Surely that’s some kind of crime in and of itself? Anyway, I love the Frank Miller series, absulutely groundbreaking. I have to see the first film…this second is likely to be just as good. No struggling to come up with new ideas for a sequel here…

Lady in the Water

As I said, 2006 is the year of the mermaid, and now M. Night Shyamalan does mermaids. Presumably with a twist. Let’s see if we can all figure out what the twist is before we actually see the movie this time…


Another break in the schedule with nothing good on. Treat the wife/girlfriend/whatever to a nice meal out to head off those accusation that you never want to do anything but go to the cinema.




Can this really be a movie version of the popular beat ‘em up game featuring girls with impossibly large breasts and skimpy costumes? Can it really be starring Holly Valance? Apparently so. The mind boggles.


Nothing again! You might not want to take your partner out for a meal again so soon, so make the most of the last days of Summer and drive to the coast and enjoy fish and chips by the sea. Or maybe take a disposable barbecue and cook some sausages on the beach.


Southland Tales

The Rock, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kevin Smith and Miranda Richardson in a musical thriller set in the near future from the director of Donnie Darko. No, I’m not making this up.

Talladega Nights: the ballad of Ricky Bobby

Will Ferrell reworks the Anchorman magic but this time with NASCAR…and Ali G.


The Visiting

Nicole Kidman in yet another remake of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. Surely there are other films to remake. Still, it’s a classic.



Revenge/Undead film starring Lucy Lui. Again, I’m not making this up, these are real films.


Adam Sandler finds a mystical remote control with which he can fast forward and rewind his life. Comedy co-starring Kate Beckinsale. Sandler’s always funny, Beckinsale is always sexy. Not to be missed.



The Reaping

Hillary Swank plays a professional debunker who visits a town in texas suffering from the ten biblical plagues. I’m starting to think that Hollywood are employing some kind of random movie pitch generating software….


Open Season

Animated animals with Billy Connely and Ashton Kutcher….will have to really look good for me to suffer this.


Sci-fi from british director Danny Boyle. Spacemen go loopy on mission to the sun. Yes…it does sound familiar.



I’m going to be really sick of animated animals by the end of the year. Can someone please make a kid’s film that doesn’t involve animals? Please?!


Tenacious D

YES! Jack Black’s rock group make their big screen debut. They’re on a quest to find a magical pick that’ll transform them into rock gods. We heard them on the radio a few weeks ago and both turned to each other and said, “Waitaminute…is this Jack Black?” I think we’d watched School of Rock the night before. Jack Black rules. (Apart from in Kong Kong, of course).



The Children Of Men

Sci-fi from Prisoner of Azkaban director Alfonso Cuaron. Should be good.


Casino Royale

Bond is back. Will probably be rubbish. Will have to suffer much “He’s not as sexy as Pierce” comments throughout.




Dragons are cool. We have the book at home. Must read it….


And on into the next year, I’m getting tired now…is anyone still reading???


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Yay! The Turtles are coming back to the big screen in glorious CGi. Kevin eastman and Peter Laird are both involve din the project which should ensure that it’s a real treat for old school Turtles fans like me.


Ghost Rider

Nicolas Cage sets his hair plugs alight in anotyher movie based on a Marvel character. What kind of a world do we live in where we get a Ghost Rider movie before an Iron Man movie? Actually, wasn’t it Tom Cruise’s fauly, ultimately, that the Iron Man movie never happened…another reason to hate him….


Spider-Man 3

Spidey’s back! Looks like The Sandman will be putting in an appearance but don’t expect him to be the main villain. They’ve been teasing us with Doc Connors for two movies…will the Lizard finally rear his ugly head in movie three?

Shrek 3

Shrek 2 failed to live up to the first movie, but was huuuuuge at the box office. A third installment was inevitable, but have they run out of ideas?


Fantastic Four 2

More Jessica Alba in spandex. You can never get enough. Let the villain speculation begin! Is it too soon for Galactus? I’ve been waiting to see the Silver Surfer on the big screen since T2!


Eeep! It’s finally coming! And it looks like it’ll be out in time for my 31st birthday! Can’t….wait….going…to…explode….

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Movie Review: Zathura

Last night I enjoyed a rare trip to the cinema with my dad. Fittingly we chose to see the current big family movie - Zathura. The cinema was nearly empty, despite this showing in screen one, and it being a Wednesday (which brings in extra people to the cinema because of the ongoing Orange Wednesdays promotion). Why do I think the cinema was so empty? One word: Jumanji.

As those with good eyesight will be able to see from the poster, the tag line for this movie is "A new adventure from the world of Jumanji." Indeed, this film is adapted from a book by Chris Van Allsburg, who also wrote the book Jumanji was based on (along with The Polar Express). It shares the same basic premise as Jumanji too - a board game essentially comes to life and the players must complete it to escape and return their world to normal. It even includes a character who has been trapped in the game since he played it as a child, just like Jumanji. But this is NOT Jumanji 2 and, personally, I feel that the studio playing up the Jumanji connection has been a mistake. Yes Jumanji was successful, yes it spawned a fairly successful animated series - but people do not have fond enough memories of the film to want to see a sequel. Ultimately the marketing strategy seems to have been to tell the world tat the film is "A lot like Jumanji" and so people are staying away in droves.

It's sad, because Zathura is about a million times better than Jumanji ever was.

Let's start with the cast. The first thing that Zathura gets right that so many other family films gets wrong, is that they've found child actors who can act. Jonah Bobo plays six year old Danny who feels that he's constantly in the shadow of older brother Walter, played by Josh Hutcherson. Ten year old Walter blames Danny's arrival for everything that's wrong in his life, including the divorce of his father (played by Tim Robbins) and mother. Meanwhile, upstairs, is their teenage sister Lisa (Kristen Stewart), a slumbering, hormonal monster. The three young actors, Bobo, Hutcherson and Stewart are completely believable as sibling. They remind me of my own family when we were young, and the two brothers remind me of my own two sons (although my sons are much younger - I think I got a glimpse of what I have to look forward to). Hutcherson is particularly good as a kid struggling with the fact that he's almost, but not quite, a teenager ("I have a girlfriend") and yet he has to spend all his time with a six year old who, in his eyes, just can't do anything. The only disappointment here is that Kristen Stewart spends so much of the film in bed or cryogenically frozen, she's an excellent young actress who really lights up the screen and it's a shame that the script doesn't allow her to do more (oh, and if you find yourself racking your brain trying to figure out what else you've seen her in like I did, she was in Panic Room with Jodie Foster and also starred in the underrated Mission Without Permission/Catch That Kid).

The plot is well paced and while predictable at times, included a twist that genuinely took both my dad and me by surprise (a rare occurence!). While the ultimate end is that the two brothers (and their sister, to a lesser extent) learn to appreciate each other, it never becomes sickly saccarine or overly sentimental.

The effects are excellent, with some really good men-in-suits for the alien Zorgons. Jumanji (hate to mention it again) was notable for it's perhaps misguided use of CGI animals at a time when the technology really wasn't up to it. Hair is hard to do in 3D now, but back when Jumanji was made it was, well, impossible, and it shows. It's interesting then that in Zathura the director has chosen to use more traditional methods to realise the creatures. That said, there are undoubtedly some excellent digital effects in here too.

I hope that word gets around that this film is much more than just another Jumanji. It's really, really good. It's exciting, it's engaging, it's well acted and directed. The effects are breathtaking. It will fire your imagination and make you wish you could explore the Universe.

To close - don't wait for this to be shown on TV, don't even wait for the DVD - go and see it where it's meant to be seen, on the big screen.

Rating: 8/10

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A New Look For Eclipse

Derek and I had a very long and productive story conference today (that's a fancy way of saying we chatted online about the book a lot). Now I'm really looking forward to reading #1! We're putting a lot more thought into the pacing of the book and you're going to see the focus more evenly distributed around the members of the team.

While the interior pages of the book are now going to have a more traditional comic book look to them, we discussed keeping the cover art as 3D rendered pieces. As such, that means working up fully textured versions of the new Young Gods models. I thought I'd share the first of these here, so...um....here it is. This is, of course, the new look for Eclipse. In the original version of The Young Gods, Eclipse was sixteen years old. We're revising all the ages downwards for the new version, and so the new Eclipse is now thirteen.

I'll be working on the other characters over the next few days, and I'll post pictures here as I do them. Then I'll start working on some pin-up and cover art to promote the series with.

We've set ourselves a deadline of the start of the Bristol Comic Expo in May to get the first issue complete. By then we will hopefully have a finished book that we can start showing to publishers. It would be great to find a home for The Young Gods in the UK.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Karate Kid

Forgive me while I pause, for a moment, from reviewing movies and whipping you into a frenzy of excitement over my various comic book projects and simply take on the role of a proud father.

On Friday evening my four year old son, Zak, had his first ever Karate lesson at a local dojo. He loved it. I have never seen him enjoy himself more in his entire four years of life. I loved watching him, it was such a wonderful feeling. At one point during the lesson he stuck his hand up in the air and waited for sensei to call on him. "Yes, Zak, what would you like to say?" His simple, but exuberant reply was, "This is REALLY cool!" He followed all the moves as best he could and paid close attention to the teacher for...well...most of the lesson. He is only four, after all! On the way home he asked me to help him learn to count in Japanese.

It's hard to explain just how this one short hour spent with my son made me feel. I guess...like a dad. What more can you ask for?

You can rest assured that as soon as that white belt gets a red stripe added to it, I'll be posting a fresh picture of my little Karate Kid up on this site. So...my apologies to those of you who come here for the reviews....for those of you who are interested in comics or 3D art...or for the many of you who blunder in here in search of a Fan Club for Skander Keynes...you'll just have to indulge me every once in a while. At least until he reaches 8th Dan....

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Young Gods welcomes new writer!

The reworking of The Young Gods #1 kicked up a gear yesterday as I recruited Derek Hartley to take over the script writing duties for the series.

I think it's only fair that I acknowledge my own weaknesses, and "the words" are definitely not my strongest point when it comes to comic book creation. I'll still be handling the plotting of the series, the first six issues are fairly well plotted out already, but I'm sure that derek will ultimately have a fair amount of input where the plot is concerned too.

I think working with someone else will be both good for me and good for the project. For one thing it will give me more of an incentive to actually get the pages done.

We'll both be attending the Bristol Comic Expo in May and are aiming to have the first issue complete by then so we can pitch it to any publishers that are in attendance.

If anyone else is interested in getting involved in The Young Gods, I'm open to any and all offers. I'd particularly like to find a colorist and a letterer and I'll consider any offers from pencillers.

For now, however, I'd just like to welcome Derek on board and hope that we can raise the quality of the book to the point where it's picked up by a publisher.

I'll continue to post regular updates on our progress here.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

First look at The Young Gods new look!

This is my first attempt at my new method of creating the artwork for The Young Gods. The "pencils" were created using Poser, printed out and inked using the traditional method of brush and ink, then scanned and coloured in Photoshop. I'm not 100% happy with the inking, but it'll take me a while to get used to inking over the Poser images.

As you can see the biggest changes are Eclipse and Outrage, who are both now the ages that I orginally intended them to be. Everyone's a bit younger really, Juice is cuter, and Impact is a bit sassier. Paladin is fairly unchanged, his costume ahs been simplified, and Revenant is the most unchanged, although he's lost his shirt and his clothes and hair are now white.

All in all I'm fairly pleased with this is a "proof-ofconcept" kind of thing. The next step is to produce some sequential pages...well...the first issue...to see how it works.

As usual, click on the picture for the full size version.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The First Annual Cyber Hellfire Club Motion Picture Awards "The Cybies"

The nominations for the Oscars have just been released. Now, I usually disagree with the Oscar nominations, and with the winners too, but this time I've been left astounded by one category in particular: Best Visual Effects. The nominations are Chronicles of Narnia, King Kong and War of the Worlds. The effects in Narnia were good but there were several shots that were less than perfect, the effects in Kong were VERY patchy, with at least one sequence being awful; and as for War of the Worlds...the effects were good but certainly didn't stick in the memory. This would all be fair enough if there weren't two films whose effects really stood out as head and shoulders above everything else. The effects in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire were outstanding, and should have received a nomination at least. However, it's the lack of a nomination for Star Wars: Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith that really beggars belief. Not only should this film have been nominated for Best Visual Effects, it should win, hands down. Firstly there's the consistency of quality throughout the film. The effects in Episode 3 are consistently good...unlike King Kong which has some outstanding scenes, but is let down by a lot of sub-standard work. Secondly, there's the sheer quality itself. The opening shots alone set the bar for quality of SFX at a new high point. Personally, I feel that ILM managed to capture perfectly that same jaw dropping feeling that the opening shots of Episode 4 created.

So, without further ado I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and present the First Annual Cyber Hellfire Club Motion Picture Awards....The Cybies!

Best Leading Actor

Ralph Feinnes - The Constant Gardener

Best Supporting Actor

Skander Keynes - The Chronicles of Narnia

Best Leading Actress

Ziyi Zhang - Memoirs of a Geisha

Best Supporting Actress

Rachel Weisz - The Constant Gardener

Best Animated Feature

Howl's Moving Castle

Best Art Direction

Memoirs of a Geisha

Best Cinematography

Batman Begins

Best Costume Design

Star Wars: Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith

Best Director

Mike Newell - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Best Makeup

Star Wars: Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith

Best Music (Score)

Star Wars: Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith

Best Picture

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Best Sound

Star Wars: Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith

Best Visual Effects

Star Wars: Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith

Best Writing (Adapted)

The Constant Gardener

Best Writing (Original)