Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Classic Horror Makes the National Film Registry

The Library of Congress has announced its annual list of films to be included in the National Film Registry, and Universal's original 1933 version of The Invisible Man, starring Claude Rains, has been included.

This is happy news for fans of Universal horror. James Whale's classic will now be included with other Universal gems like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein that are already on the registry.

The National Registry is a listing of films that have been deemed worthy of being indefinitely preserved in the Library of Congress. Check out the complete list here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hoth Base Diorama Lego Custom


I know I know. This is the millionth lego custom I have posted but they just seem to be getting better and better!
The 5' x10' Hoth base diorama consists of 60,000 pieces and has cool features such as 50 real LED lights and a remote controlled mechanism that deploys troops from the AT-ATs. Created by Mark Borlase, he spent about $3,000 and over 4 years in the making to complete this diorama. What a beautiful loser!
(Click to enlarge and see that he has also added footprints to the snow!!!! WTF!)

Overall view of interior of Echo base. Lights from "Life Lites"


He tried to match some of the interior views that I found in the book "The Art of Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back".

Interior view with custom down lights, runway lights, custom walkway.

Sick bay with cutom medical droid and bacta tank.

Hoth battle with 2 custom ATAT walkers


See more of Brickplumber's custom works HERE.

[VIA]

Os Gemeos Go Big


Those mischevious twins go big under a bridge in Brazil....

[VIA]

Graffiti Is For Life Not Just For Christies



Cept kills it with his latest piece on Sclater St, East London

Pics [VIA]

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mickey Mouse X Transformers


Wow! Another slightly retarded crossover project involving a Disney character and some other 'cool' brand. Retarded as it may be, I'm still a fan of its weirdness! Apparently, for Tomy Takara's 25th Anniversary, they decided to team up with legendary character Mickey Mouse to do a special collab toy which is set to be released feb 2009 for approx $45 USD! (Look out for the limited grey edition too)





[VIA]

Clear Cut Robot To Combat Forest Fires


Designed by Jordan Guelde & Daniel Shankland II, this robot is aimed at fighting raging forest fires and going where firemen can't. By clearing belts of wood and debris around the inferno, it is possible to stop it from spreading any further. Armed with buzz saws, extinguishers and various tools, this bot is one high-tech momma! Although only in concept phase, this could prove to be an invaluable fire-tool...





[VIA]

Requiescant in Pace 2008: Part 2


Ben Chapman


Don LaFontaine (voiceover pitchman)


Bill Melendez (animator)


Ray Ellis (composer)


Forrest J. Ackerman


Nina Foch


Michael Crichton (author/screenwriter)

Black Sheep's Top 10 of 2008

I will always remember 2008 as the year I stopped sleeping. Oddly enough, from day one, I developed some very erratic but very effective insomnia. I am still dealing with it to this day but I can feel it falling away with every passing night. Many people offered advice – warm milk, booze before bed, meditation. My favorite trick though was to lie still and think back on the day that had just ended. I would lie there and stare up at the ceiling and recall all the blessings, no matter how small, that I had been fortunate enough to encounter throughout my day. And so, as 2008 enters its final hours, I would like to lie back on my pillow and remember 10 of the best film experiences I had this last year. When I’m done, I will say goodnight.

In alphabetical order, here is Black Sheep’s Top 10 of 2008 …

THE DARK KNIGHT


If you’re going to be big, you have to think big from the start. Director Christopher Nolan did just that with his second Batman picture. It is grand to behold and exhilarating to experience. Aside from laying claim to Heath Ledger’s unforgettable last performance, THE DARK KNIGHT can also assert itself as the most accomplished superhero movie of all time.

THE DUCHESS


Saul Dibb’s little seen film may have been dismissed as just another period piece where a woman is sold off by her family for financial gain and stature but I assure you there is so much more to see here. The Duchess of Devonshire endured many a hardship behind her castle walls and Dibb, along with the lovely Keira Knightly, strip the period drama of its binding costume to show the naked person barely breathing underneath.

ENTRE LES MURS (THE CLASS)


Director, Laurent Cantet, along with screenwriter and star, Francois B├ęgaudeau, invite us to take our seats in this year’s winner of the Palmes d’Or at Cannes. Shot like a documentary, THE CLASS is an important lesson about the state of today’s classroom. Sure, we all know the situation isn’t great but B├ęgaudeau wants us to feel the reality of what it means to have a seat at the back of the class. Pay attention because the test will follow immediately after.

MAN ON WIRE


In 1974, Philippe Petit crossed New York’s twin towers across a tight rope eight times. Documentary filmmaker, James Marsh, was not there to capture it. And so a new style of documentary is born where all the players from back in the day are on board to tell their stories while actors reenact the events of 34 years ago. Pieced together as though it were a narrative piece, the story itself is a caper that will leave you hanging on the edge of your seat as though it were one of the towers.

MILK


This is Gus Van Sant’s masterpiece. It is a soft and tender piece about bravery and strength, that had me enraged one moment, laughing the next and crying practically throughout. Harvey Milk fought for the simple human rights of gay men and women in California as the first openly gay man to be elected to public office and he was killed for this. Telling his story today is heartbreaking as gay men and women are still fighting for these same rights some 30 years later.

RACHEL GETTING MARRIED


When I first saw this movie, I left the theatre and felt entirely disoriented. Rachel had just gotten married and I felt as though I were a guest at this event. The weekend was tumultuous but gorgeous and filled with deep love and all the hardship that comes with this kind of intimacy. The entire cast is so genuine that you feel as though they have known each other for as long as they would have had they been real. This is a true testament to Jenny Lumet’s subtle screenplay and Jonathan Demme’s beautifully spontaneous direction.

THE READER


Stephen Daldry is a very sumptuous filmmaker. He tells his stories with conviction and without apology for their nature. THE READER is a complicated, multi-layered work that may have missed its mark in someone else’s hand. Daldry forces us to face this tale of passion, betrayal and healing and asks us to go through our own personal interaction with these emotions. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes are there to hold our hands along the way.

THE VISITOR


Simple, understated and effective are just a few words that can be thrown at Thomas McCarthy’s second film and Richard Jenkins’ breakout performance. This unique story about a widower who walks around his own life as though it weren’t his own unspools in such an unexpected fashion that one feels like visiting again and again.

WALL•E


It only takes about four minutes to fall completely in love with WALL•E. No matter how many times I’ve seen this film (and I assure you, I’ve seen it a few times already), I am always in awe of what Pixar was able to accomplish. Not only did they manage to put out an eco-friendly film that criticizes humanity’s disposable habits and our growing reliance on conglomerate control but they also crafted one of the most endearing love stories in recent history. To create a genuine love between genderless, animated robots is what places Pixar out of this world compared with all their imitators.

THE WRESTLER


Darren Aronofsky should feel very good about this one. THE WRESTLER is not just his best film but it is also the best American film of the year. Like P.T. Anderson did last year with THERE WILL BE BLOOD, Aronofsky has reinvented himself as an American storyteller who understands its people and their convictions. It is a dirty, gritty experience that mirrors the hardships of so many and it never stops fighting.

Be sure to check back tomorrow to get all the details on Black Sheep's Best of 2008 contest. Happy New Year!

THE WRESTLER

Written by Robert D. Siegel
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood

For more information on THE WRESTLER, just click on the title anywhere you see it in this review.


Randy “The Ram” Robinson: I’m an old broken down piece of meat and I deserve to be alone.

I was never a professional wrestling fan as a child. My brother was and so I occasionally caught the weekly shows because I was too lazy to get off the couch when he would watch them. I never understood the appeal. How could grown men rolling around on the floor together in an obviously choreographed battle appeal to the straight male? Is wrestling the straight man’s ballet? And though I never understood why, my brother and legions of other men (and women) would watch religiously to see who would be smashed with a chair while the referee was lying unconscious on the floor. Amidst all of the spectacle though, it is easy to forget that the men in tights put on pants just like the rest of us when the show is done and go home to their lives. Darren Aronofsky is here to remind us of this and to show us the softer or more human side of THE WRESTLER.


From the moment it begins, with an opening credit montage highlighting the career accomplishments of former wrestling superstar, Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke) over a throwback hair-metal song, you know that you are in for a dirty ride. The Ram has got to be in his sixties at this point. It has been twenty years since he played Madison Square Garden and now he is the main attraction at local wrestling matches that are put up in high school gymnasiums and workout centers. He has no one of significance in his life; he can barely afford his trailer park home; and the steroids and numerous other drugs he has consumed and is still currently consuming have taken their toll on his weathered body. Yet still, he soldiers on. As long as he has his wrestling, he has purpose. Then one day, even that is taken away. Who does a man become when he can no longer be who he has always known himself to be?


THE WRESTLER is Aronofsky’s finest work. It marks the first time in his major filmmaking career where he did not direct a script that he himself wrote. That credit goes to novice writer, Robert D. Siegel. Siegel’s script is bare, honest and frank. It follows The Ram during this hard transitional period of his life and Aronofsky follows behind as though he were filming some trashy reality TV show. After all, this is a dirty story that goes back and forth between wrestling rings, strip clubs and trailer parks. Aronofsky does not sensationalize though. Instead, his newfound simplicity allows the humanity of all on screen to flow freely and freely is exactly how it flows from this immensely talented cast. Marisa Tomei plays The Ram’s love interest, a stripper named Cassidy. Not only does she look incredible working the stage but her off stage persona is a great mix of tender and tired. It is a welcome reminder that Tomei is one of today’s most underrated actresses. And then of course there is the wrestler himself. Rourke is revelatory. He is lonely and broken but still picking himself up and doing whatever needs doing. To watch a man of his age endure what he does in the ring makes you root hard for him but the horrifying violence also inspires intense sympathy.


THE WRESTLER is about purpose. After Aronofsky’s last film, THE FOUNTAIN, failed and fell apart quite publicly, it would stand to reason that he may have been questioning his own purpose. Just like The Ram knows only how to be a wrestler though, Aronofsky has to be a filmmaker. Whatever confidence he may have lost has been forgotten as THE WRESTLER is a brave move away from the visual trickery and style he had become accustomed to. It is the natural simplicity of his new direction that makes THE WRESTLER so relatable, inspires great caring for its characters and solidifies it as Aronofsky’s best work.

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