Saturday, August 2, 2008

Batman Returns Movie Review

Batman Returns Movie Review

I figured I might as well get another comic book movie review in. Batman Returns was lofty in it's look and design, as I expected, but I got the feeling that I was duped again by the critics who proclaimed it the best thing since sliced bread. Somehow, I got the feeling some of them were selling tickets. It could have been MUCH shorter, like maybe an hour. It had about eighteen endings. All of the performances were excellent, but the length of the movie dragged them down, and I found myself not caring what happened in the end. I get the point of Batman being a somewhat reluctant hero, and I understand his connection to the citizens of Gotham, but I liked the approach in Spider-Man 2, when the people are carrying him out of the train. I got tired of watching the Joker's henchmen suddenly appear and know exactly what they're doing. I know it's fantasy, but what the Joker is able to do with his loyal, apparently highly trained thugs is so preposterous that it lost it's dramatic appeal. Even if the Joker is supposed to be a metaphor, I found the film over the top, and TOO violent. I believe it suffers from what most studio films are suffering from. There's so much money involved that it becomes an exercise in pulling out all the stops. Despite this, here is a heartfelt congratulations to the most talented people involved in the film, which are the designers and special effects artists and sound artists--anyone and everyone involved in the look and sound of the movie. Well done.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Iron Man Movie Review

I recently saw the Iron Man movie. I liked much of it but I thought they missed out on good performances by the entire cast. It could have been a much better film. It's the ending that really killed it for me.I love the transformation Stark goes through. I thought the writer and director were wise not to make Iron Man an anti-war movie, but more of a play it smarter war movie. I think it rightly points to the notion that even huge defense contractors with a staff full of geniuses can get too complacent in their strategy and find the easiest way to make a buck by building more destructive bombs. Some people felt the Stark International logo on the weapons was too much, but I thought it was appropriately comic-book like. I rarely think of superheroes in comics as Science Fiction. To me they are pure fantasy, and when fantasy is done right, it's fully embedded in the period in which it is created. For that reason, I didn't mind a company logo on every bomb in the film.
I thought it was great that they identified Muslim against Muslim violence, as well as American against American, Muslim against American, and American against Muslim. I also liked that none of the characters come across as having some better knowledge of exactly how to fight the war on terror. Everyone is searching for answers by the end of the movie.
You can see how the instincts of Robert Downey and Jeff Bridges can really make a film. They just have the right touch in every line. They are believable and compelling--except for Bridges at the very end, but I believe that's not his fault. His motivations changed. At first he wanted what was best for the corporation and maybe the country. By the end he just became a screaming, jealous murderer. I thought the script was patched together at the end.
Beautiful special effects. Beautiful closing credits. When I saw the trailer for Iron Man I said that it would be as big as Spider-Man. I think I'm right. We're looking at 3 movies at least.
I won't see Hulk. When I saw the cgi in the commercial I just hated it. I don't think there will be as many Hulk movies.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Always Have A Muse

Always have someone near you who inspires you creatively. My muse is my wife Ilona:

I took this at W Hotel in Manhattan.

Cover and Splash Page

Here's the cover for the first issue. I'm learning about digital painting as I go along. I think for the next one I will start in Illustrator and finish in Photoshop, and keep it a little more transparent. It might look more like watercolor. I will consider starting with the base tone and removing color with the eraser tool. This one looks like oil. It also has more of a traditional look. I'll go a little more modern, less Pulp in the next one, though I like this and I like the logo in this color scheme.

This is in progress. It's the only splash page in the first issue. I will show the finished inking and then color. We have to cover too much ground in the first 22 pages or so to allow for more than one. Originally, I was not going to give Corvus a necklace or feathers on her wings, but Steve wanted her to appear more eccentric. I thought her eccentricities would be more apparent when she was "out of costume" but I'll go with Steve's instincts. He is slowly wrapping his proverbial fingers around the characters. He is developing thoughts about what each one will do or say, in addition to the main plot. Things like. "I'm gonna kick your aaasssss."

Or, "Look OOOUUTT!!"