Archive for July, 2008

Jamie Hewlett Fans

Check out his take on the classic “Journey to the West” story which is being used by the BBC to promote the Beijing Olympic Games!

I Want To Believe

X-Files movie:  Thumbs way up.

Caveat:  I wasn’t the hardest of the hardcore fans.

Also:  Xzibit has no business acting.

Wolverine [Links now Dead, nothing much missed]

For those who didn’t see it, and I think that’s most of us, check it out before it’s pulled (in two parts)

http://www.traileraddict.com/trailer/xmen-origins-wolverine/leaked-comic-con-footage

http://www.traileraddict.com/trailer/xmen-origins-wolverine/leaked-comic-con-footage-ii

Certainly “looks” nice, but I’m worried about the story already and the liberties being taken with a supposed “Alpha Flight” or “Team X”. Those of you who know the cannon a lot better than me are probably throwing up now. And yeah, Fox finally gave the fans Gambit. Yea! [sarcasm]. Carry on.

“New” Seven Samurai
“New” Seven Samurai

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Recently a series of commercials have been appearing on TV that seem to be Akira Kurosawa’s classic “Seven Samurai” updated. Now, the obvious reaction is “WTF?!!” But it’s also hard for me to ignore that it looks really well done. And it’s even more unsettling that the soundtrack using the Rolling Stones somehow works. When those guitar licks at the beginning of “Satisfaction” start, there’s something appropriate about it. So, when does this hip version come out? Well, that’s the most disturbing thing. The great production value. The all-star cast (including Sonny Chiba!). This was all assembled for a PR campaign for a pachinko company. Yup! Pachinko, that wonderfully inane game where people sit for hours trying to get metal ball bearings to fall through a maze of pegs and into the right holes to rack up points. Part of me thinks that this effort seems  like such a total waste; but the results speak for themselves and if the young kids are going to appreciate the classics, then updated versions might be the way to go. However, when the film companies are funding shabby “sequels”,  TV remakes and worse — “re-imaginings” of Kurosawa films, the fact that a pachinko company can foot the bill for something like this is a bit telling at the state of the Japanese film industry today. If I were 13 or 14 years old today, I’d check out this film. Your thoughts?

Click on the bottom right image for the full-trailer. The others are 30 second spots.

http://www.7-samurai.jp/#/index/JJSonnyChiba/TRAILER

Star Wars Galaxies Cards

Welp. Here they are. I think I got two decent ones in this set, mainly because of time and interest on the last two.

I’m getting a lot faster at this though.

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Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Have any of you been watching this? It’s a three-part webisode thing that Joss Whedon and his brothers put together during the writer’s strike. Pretty cool, very typically Whedonesque, much in the same vein as BTVS’s “Once More, With Feeling” episode. Neal Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day star. It’s only going to be viewable for free for TODAY, so go watch all three parts. After that, it’s available for purchase from iTunes ($4 for all three parts), and there will eventually be a DVD. But go catch it now for free, then come back and discuss!

Good Art, Good Cause

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Click the image to see some great art on display by some prominent illustrators and artists, including many from the Pixar fold. If you’re feeling truly altruistic, you might consider buying a piece. The site is also quite well-designed. I might consider getting the book if they offer it up online. Tokyo can certainly use more green, that’s for sure.

再見San Diego, 你好台北!

San Diego

I intended to keep details of current developments in my life as a surprise to you guys, but I feel guilty for having you guys as the last ones to know.

First, I quit my job at SOE last month. After 7 years of working there, it was way past time that I left, although having SOE send me to Taiwan last year was a great moment for me.

And that’s where that leads me to my next stage. I’ve moved out of San Diego. No wait, let me clarify, I’ve left the States entirely and I don’t when I’m moving back, if ever.

Because of my current interest in traveling and photography, I thought about traveling and living off of my savings for two years. You know, walk the earth like Kane. But I felt really guilty about indulging in my interests without being productive in some fashion. I would really like to come back to the working force without having to do animations again.

This brings me to where I am now. As some of you may have heard from me, I’m horrible with languages (I already have a tough time with English as it is). But I was surprised by how much Chinese I picked up during my 4 months in Taiwan last year. So, I’m going to give it an academic effort this time by attending a summer session at a University in Taipei, Taiwan. I initially was looking at teaching English to get me to Taiwan, but my searches had no results, so I opted to register for school, which grants me an extended visa. This actually may turn out for the better. My current goal is to study in Taiwan for two years while I visit the neighboring Asian countries during my school breaks. I’m hoping that if I can be semi-fluent in Chinese, then that may open new opportunities for me. Of course, I may fail miserably in my studies, so I’m keeping my life flexible.

I’m still doubting my actions right now. But I know I need to do something to break this endless cycle that I’m in. All through my life, things just came along my way. I envy you guys for having either specific goals that you wanted to pursue or to not be afraid to welcome change.

I can’t believe geographically, Ben is the closest person to me now. Hopefully, I’ll be able to visit Japan at some point.

Taiwanese locals

Russian Rock Video

Please watch it. You won’t be sorry.


GORBACHOV: THE MUSIC VIDEO – BIGGER AND RUSSIANER from Tom Stern on Vimeo.

-JR

Circles

So, here’s where life kind of gets “funny”. 1 month ago, my friend Carlos (Brazilian dude at my wedding who speaks fluent Japanese) calls me up and asks me if I had any interest in architecture. I naturally asked him why. He tells me that he’d started a construction company (I hadn’t heard from him in a couple of months) and that business was doing quite well, so much so that developers were now asking his company to come up with original housing projects. He knows I am a designer and wanted to approach me to create “image” representations of potential development projects. Now many of you may not (and Carlos definitely did not) know that I spent 3 years studying architecture before going into art/graphic design. That’s actually how Steve and I met.

Upon learning this, Carlos then asked if I’d be interested in actually designing the homes. Oookkkay. I had to remind him that I actually don’t have a degree in architecture and I am not a practicing architect so I was leary of this proposal; additionally, I haven’t kept up with the industry so I don’t have a clue as to the latest construction technology, practices and laws…and that’s in America, let alone Japan. He assured me that I would just need to come up with a general concept that he would then take to the developers’ architects to see how it could be made. They would draw up all the technical plans and such. Oookkkay. Now I have to admit that I still like architecture a lot. The reason why I didn’t continue with it was all the things that ultimately stimey creativity in that field: laws, physics, politics, clients, etc. It’s hard enough pleasing your client in the graphic design field, but when you have to satisfy a whole other list of people on top of that, then the work becomes less satisfying

With these hindraces out of the way, however, I was intrigued by the possibility. Given that Carlos’ company as well is rather “new” we decided to make the development project he is going after simple and easy to construct. So, we decided on a cube type home, four of which would sit on a land near a river. I was lucky enough to find a fantastic program by Google called SketchUp which lets you make 3D architectural models in a snap. So, I quickly built a model of what I thought would be a good design considering the location and Carlos’ experience level, rendered out some TIFFs of the plot of land with all four homes situated on it and went into Photoshop to produce both a sketch version and a photorealistic representation of how the houses would look like once completed.

Total time spent on this was less than 24 hours, but it was a load of fun and I began to remember how enjoyable designing living space was. If Carlos gets this project and he’s asked to do more, this could be a new gig for me. If anything, I can utilize some of what I studied for those 3 years in addition to all the damn years of experience I’ve built up planted in front of Photoshop. You can view sample JPEGs after the break.

Read more »

Lucha VaVoom
Lucha VaVoom

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/91031100@N00/sets/72157605930489180/

Mexican Wrasslin. I had crappy seats because Andy was late with our tickets(general seating), so not many great pics…but we had a great time. It was really fun. The midget in the chic suit, and the Gay pride vs. Mexico, vs. America matches were awesome, the trapeze girls may have stolen the show too…or maybe the Luchador named “Dirty Sanchez”. Lots of striptease with a surprise cross-dresser. Fun for all. A beer and a shot of Tequila were 16 bucks though :(

-JR

A Preview

of things to come…

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I would watch out for an upcoming edition of Entertainment Weekly focusing on Comic Con for a bit “more”.