Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

The Celestials

August 5, 2014
Celestials_(Earth-9997)

The Celestials

Celestial Gardener

Celestial Gardener

So, I mentioned in my post a few days ago that I was heading out soon to see Groot & Co. in their movie debut, Guardians of the Galaxy. Such a great movie, and I keep thinking about it…

I guess I should say that this here post may contain spoilers. Its hard for me to tell for sure what others might consider spoilers, because I kinda like it when people spoil movies. Ha! Weird, I’m sure, but true.

Anyway, what I have been thinking about the most is The Celestials. Although their appearance in the film was short but sweet, it was so damn good to see them there, and something I never expected. I never thought I’d see one of Marvel’s Celestials in a movie.

Knowhere

Knowhere

I was probably first introduced to The Celestials way back in Thor 300. I think I’ve written about it before, but I love that comic so much I’ve had it since I was 9 or 10, and the Celestials are a big reason why. I may have lost pretty much every other comic I’ve ever owned, but I still have Thor 300. It was probably that comic that introduced me to all of Marvel Cosmic, and I’ve loved it all ever since.

Although I think they are being used a bit more in modern Marvel titles, when I was growing up seeing a Celestial was kind of like seeing Bigfoot or something. It was very rare and pretty special.

2213199-combine003Probably my very favorite Celestial related comic series though would be Earth X. Again, spoilers (on a 15+ year old book) but the idea put forward there was fantastic. Galactus comes to devour and destroy the earth because it is a Celestial egg and Galactus wants to destroy the threat before it is hatched. Although it wasn’t part of the Earth X story, I also loved how the Celestials basically were what started life on earth, according to their mythology. And they would come back every few hundred thousand years to check on earth’s progress and evolution. Cool stuff to blow my pre-teenage mind, ha!

Anyway, I just wanted to write about how happy I was to see the Celestial movie stars

 

Marvel Cosmic

Marvel Cosmic

The Destroyer VS. The Celestials

The Destroyer VS. The Celestials

Galactus VS Celestial

Galactus VS Celestial

Thor VS Celestial

Thor VS Celestial

Fantastic_Four_604_05

2174431-the_end_with_dying_eyes

861636-gargal016013scol

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I am Groot!

August 3, 2014
"Oak Tree" - David Inshaw

“Oak Tree” – by David Inshaw

Off to see Groot and Company later today. Trees are such good buddies!

"Landscape with Two Figures" - by Pablo Picasso

“Landscape with Two Figures” – by Pablo Picasso

Egyptianizing figures on either side of a tree with a winged disk - 8th–7th century b.c. Neo–Assyrian Mesopotamia, Nimrud

Egyptianizing figures on either side of a tree with a winged disk – 8th–7th century b.c. Neo–Assyrian Mesopotamia, Nimrud

"The Druid's Grove- Norbury Park Ancient Yew Trees" by Thomas Allom

“The Druid’s Grove- Norbury Park Ancient Yew Trees” by Thomas Allom

Tree of Life

Tree of Life

itjiUY2zVy74F

by Piero Ciafferi

by Piero Ciafferi

"Three Figures Under a Tree" by Pablo Picasso

“Three Figures Under a Tree” by Pablo Picasso

"Alchemy Tree"

“Alchemy Tree”

"Adam and Eve standing on either side of the tree of knowledge with the serpent" by Albrecht Dürer

“Adam and Eve standing on either side of the tree of knowledge with the serpent” by Albrecht Dürer

"Grey Tree" by Piet Mondrian

“Grey Tree” by Piet Mondrian

"I am Groot?"

“I am Groot?”

Mindscapes, Talking with Gods, and Captured Ghosts

July 27, 2014

mindscapecover

I still love ‘em, but I have fallen far behind on my comic book reading this last year or so. I still try to keep up with B.P.R.D, Jonathan Hickman’s Avenger stuff, and a few others… but yeah, not sure I am doing the best job keeping up with it all.

One thing I like to do while I draw though is have a documentary playing. I’ve seen some really good comic related documentaries these last few weeks and, because the San Diego Comic Con always makes me follow comic books a little more closely and news coming out ‘o there keeps them on my mind, I thought I’d blog about those documentaries.

The first film, and my favorite, is called The Mindscape of Alan Moore. This is an auto-biography where Moore’s talks about growing up in Northampton, breaking into comics, his characters and stories, and his philosophies. I bought this program years ago, but it is a favorite and I go back and watch it again from time to time. Alan Moore is probably best know for his comic Watchmen, but is it his comics creations like Swamp Thing, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Birth Caul & Snakes and Ladders, Promethea, V for Vendetta, From Hell, and many others (along with his novel Voice of the Fire) that have made him one of my very favorite writers in comics.

talkingwithgodsThe next documentary would be Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods, which covers Morrison’s pretty strange but interesting life, his interest in sigil and chaos magic, and the inspiration behind his work. I love Morrison’s comic, The Invisibles, so that was another good reason for me to watch. He also wrote other favorites like All-Star Superman, Animal Man, Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery, and The New X-Men.

2full500And finally, there was Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts. I am a fan of Ellis’, and enjoyed this interview style film. His creation Planetary ranks up there among my favorite comics ever.  But Ellis also created fantastic books like Transmetropolitan, Global Frequency, and worked on another favorite, Hellblazer.

Anyway, I love to hear what inspires creative people, listen to their insights and world-views, and see how strange they can be. All of these documentaries are well worth your time.

www.facebook.com | OfficialAlanMoore

www.grant-morrison.com

www.warrenellis.com

Jodorowsky’s Dune

July 20, 2014

jodorowskys_dune_xlg

Frank Herbert‘s Dune is definitively up there among my favorite books of all time. I mean, I know there are a whole lot of people love these books, but I do too!

Over the years we’ve all been teased with film adaptations of Dune, but they’ve never turn out all that well. To be fair, I guess there have only been a couple film adaptations as far as I know, but both kind of suck.

Well, I watched a documentary this week called Jodorowsky’s Dune. It was a pretty good film about what director Alejandro Jodorowsky had planned in the ’70s for his adaptation of Dune… about the the Dune movie that was never made.

Like I say, the film was pretty damn good. What interested me the most was seeing how much goes into getting a film made (or not made, in this case). Writing the script, drawing the storyboards, creating set designs, putting music together, interfacing with the studio. Crazy crazy time consuming.

Who knows, Jodorowsky may have been the one who made a Dune movie worth seeing. I’m really not too sure about the changes he had planned for the story, but I do know he had some very talented people working on the project with him. With the late great Mœbius working on the film’s storyboards (which, my goodness, I’d love to own the hardbound storyboard drawings shown in the documentary!), H.R. Giger (of Alien fame) working on the sets, Salvador Dali hired on as an actor, and Pink Floyd planning on scoring the music (this right after finishing their masterpiece, The Dark Side Of The Moon)… well, it is had to see how any project could go wrong with talent like that working with ya.

But it did go wrong I guess, because the film was never made. But this documentary about the unmade film was made, and I liked it.

Artwork at the Mustang Temple

June 22, 2014
Wisdom and Compassion The Sacred Art of Tibet2
Last fall I saw a documentary on the restoration of a Tibetan Buddhist temple in Mustang, Nepal. It was very interesting to see the effects of time on this all-but abandoned temple, and how the art and architecture were brought back to life.
I like to look at all different kinds of artwork. But typically what my eyes like the most are flat color fields. Throw in some history, gods and artistic talent and you’ve got my attention.
Although I saw this documentary a few months ago, my mind kept wandering back to it and the images. So beautiful.
library.brown.edu
www.youtube.com| PBS | Lost Treasures of Tibet
133P
painting-06f65ba1eee9ac6adfb2c3bb9e631688_h

Let’s Rap With Cap About Conspiracy!

May 11, 2014

hydra.trace.1

First off, I should say this post has spoilers for the new Captain America movie, so quit reading if ya don’t like that sort of thing. Second, this post contains a number of “real life” conspiracy theories that were addressed in the new Captain America movie, so quit reading if ya don’t like that sort of thing.

The new Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an entertaining movie, which is the most important thing in the end. Its just a movie. A superhero movie. But I’m kinda partial to superhero flicks. Turns out, this has easily become a favorite.

In addition to it being a great film though, I saw a whole lot of what many people believe to be real-life conspiracies being played out on the screen. I don’t necessarily buy into all of the good old conspiracy theory stuff, but I don’t dismiss out of hand either. At the very least, I think it is important to stay informed and be able to see the issues from multiple angles. And its plain to see that there is a whole lot of bullshit going on in the world now.

Anyway, seeing these conspiracies play out on the screen was kind of like a slap in the face the first time I saw the movie. When I saw it again, I decided I’d write about it.

The main plot has Hydra infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. and that is a good place to start. In Marvel Comics, Hydra begins as an arm (or hydra-head) of the Nazi party during WWII. Hydra begins to take on a life of its own over time, but it has its roots with the Nazi. In the movie, Hydra infiltrates S.H.I.E.L.D. through coercion and deception in order to take over the US government. Okay, so that is Marvel’s history. In our real world, it could be said that something similar has been going down.

Its well established that during his rise to power, Hitler got a huge bulk of his funding from many American corporations and banks. It is a historical fact that some of these corporations were involved with eugenics research, gave money, support, provided raw materials and weaponry to the Nazi party and Hitler. A side note, but it also well established that George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush (former President George W. Bush Sr.’s grandpappy and father, dis-respectively) helped Hitler rise to power. Another side note, it is also known that Prescott Bush helped plan a government coup in 1933 meant to topple President Franklin D. Rossevelt, because Bush believed that fascist policy would get America through the Great Depression.

Fast forward a little bit. In the movie, after the end of WWII, a number of Nazi scientists were brought over to America where they were allowed to continue their research. Well, in the really-real world this also happened. Hundreds of Nazi scientists were brought over to work with the American military under Operation Paperclip. Many of those (former? current?) Nazis rose to positions of power in our own government, probably most the famous being Wernher von Braun, who went on to become a director of NASA. I’ll leave it to you to imagine how deep their influence went.

Alrighty, back to the movie where S.H.I.E.L.D. is run by a world council which decides the fate of nations. Well, that looked a lot to me like the much anticipated New World Order back here in our world. Or maybe the Bilderberg Group? Actually, the whole Captain America movie seemed to be a story about how the New World Order might rise to power.

I’m kind of skipping around, but back to the movie and how it begins. Cap and a bunch of agents are sent to free hostages and recover stolen data from a hijacked warship. As the film progresses they discover that the kidnappings were part of a government sanctioned operation. Back in our world these are known as False Flag operations, and there are many people who believe our government uses these False Flag operations to manipulate the People into giving away their freedom. This is, to my mind, where you have to tread very lightly and keep a healthy dose of skepticism.

I personally am not one of those people who buy into “9/11 was an inside job” hook line and sinker, but there are many people who do, and it is easy to understand why. There are so many unanswered questions and things that were covered up. Whatever you think about the tragedy, its plain to see that our world is completely different since that infamous date. Unending wars against an undefined enemy, post-traumatic national fear (there is a terrorist under your bed!), the self-proclaimed “Patriot” Act, economic collapse (in spite of what we’ve been told, we can’t afford all of this war. Can’t afford it financially or morally), Citizens United, government surveillance… and on… and on.

That paragraph above reminds me of Arnim Zola‘s point about how we have traded in our freedom for security, comfort and convenience. Sounds about right to me.

Speaking of Zola and government surveillance, didn’t Arnim Zola’s monitoring of American citizens in the film sound very similar to what Edward Snowden revealed about our own government?

And didn’t those new S.H.I.E.L.D / Hydra helicarriers sound an awful lot like government drones? Granted, they were fancy drones, but their function was the same. That is, anonymous death. Killing people from the sky.

I thought this might be a long post, but this has gotten L.O.N.G.

Another observation about the Winter Soldier himself. Didn’t his conditioning sound a lot like CIA sponsored MKUltra? Oh yeah, George Bush Sr. was a CIA Director. Haha, go figure.

One last thing… We should all remember what Italian fascist Mussolini said: “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” Sound familiar, ehh? I guess Mussolini would know. With government bailouts, the Fed, Corporate Personhood, Citizens United, and many of our new policies written down by lawyers on little scraps of paper stink of fascism. Its plain to see that corporate interest and big finance trump the People pretty much every time. Can you say “Hail HYDRA”?

Anyway, it is great to be a skeptic. And I am skeptical about conspiracy :) Very much so. But its also good to remember, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you!”

Geek Out!

Under African Skies

January 19, 2014

Under-African-Skies-423x630

It’s hard to believe that Paul Simon released his album “Graceland” over 25 years ago. Crazy, but true… That album has and will always be one of my favorites, just like Paul Simon will always be one of my favorite musicians.

I saw that there was a documentary called ‘Under African Skies” coming out about the making of the album a while back, and have looked for it off and on since. I’ve wanted to buy it on Amazon, iTunes and tried to find it on NetFlix. Not available (Well, I guess Amazon had this on BluRay, but I don’t have a BluRay player. If I can’t stream, I guess I don’t watch). Then this last week I saw it was on Hulu Plus. Well, I’ve never had a Hulu account, but I wanted to see the documentary and signed up.

I enjoyed the documentary and thought I’d post about it here. People who were around when that album came out probably remember the controversy that surrounded it. Back then, South Africa was in Apartheid hell, and there were all sorts of boycotts against that nation. One of those boycotts included Artists Against Apartheid, which strongly discouraged musicians from visiting, recording, or touring with South African musicians. Paul Simon seemed to think that it would be more productive to go to South Africa and record his new album “Graceland” in a South African Studio with South African musicians. Then he went on tour with those musicians in support of that album. I can see both sides of the controversy, Apartheid was an incredibly ugly thing, but I personally am glad Paul Simon chose to do what he thought was right. “Graceland” is a gem! And if you like the album, I’d definitely recommend you watch this documentary too.

www.pbs.org | preview

www.hulu.com | watch

graceland_album

Chasing Ice

December 29, 2013

chasing-ice

esq-chasing-ice-120512-xlgI just watched a movie that I think everyone should see. A documentary called Chasing Ice. The film follows photographer James Balog and his team as they travel to and through the Arctic in order to capture on time-lapsed photography the effects of global warming and the glacial retreat. I heard a really good podcast interview with Balog a year or two ago (can’t remember which podcast though, dag-nabbit) and meant to see the film, but since it wasn’t out quite yet I guess I kind of forgot about it. This last week I saw it was on Netflix and I had to watch. I’m glad I did.

This may seem a little off-topic, but I don’t think so and its something I have felt for a long time… In my life I have come across two different mentalities and approaches to Nature pretty regularly that make no sense to me.

ChasingIce_filmstill2_by_James_Balog-Extreme_Ice_SurveySMThe first is an attitude that each of us are all too familiar with. That is, Nature is just a resource to be used, put up for sale, and exploited by man. The idea that Nature was created just to benefit our own materialistic greed actually does damage to me physically, psychically and spiritually. This approach, which has seeped into pretty much every aspect of our personal and civilized life, damages all of us. But not only us, it also damages every plant and animal we share this world with (wasn’t the world created for them too?). The idea that we can pollute the skies, fill the ocean with oil and plastic, tear and stab at the mountainside for coal, gas, and minerals, not to mention torture animals for their milk and meat… Hell, its obvious there are still some people who see other people that way too. As a resource to be exploited. Well, that attitude seems so ignorant I can’t even believe it. Its inevitable that there are consequences. Boggles the brain.

chasing iceThe other side of the coin is just as disturbing though. I’ve met many many people who sincerely believe that the world would be better off without human beings. Like we are not a part of this world, that we are somehow apart. But we belong here. I don’t mean that we have more rights than anything else to the air, land, and water, but just as much right to it at the very least.  Its a gift to each and every species that share this world. Sure, I also find it disgusting that we’ve exploited Nature too. This is a huge mistake. Whatever your beliefs, atheist, religious, nudist, we were created by Nature or God or Whatever to live here. We belong here. My feeling is we’re not a mistake. Even if you think it all happened by dumb luck and chance, I’m sure you’re still able to see how incredible it is that you can think that thought. And your ability to think that thought is one of Nature’s gifts to you. Whatever you believe, its plain to see we are Nature’s children and rely on Her for our existence, however our existence came to be.

I love Nature. You could even say that I am in love with Her. Whether its a cloud, a tree, a stream, a bird flying over my house, a mountain, another person’s face, or something that other person has created, I see Nature everywhere and She is beautiful (yeah, gotta capitalize Her beautiful name. Can’t be helped). If I don’t spend at least an hour or two every day with Her just walking up the canyon under some trees, I feel like I am going to go crazy.

chasing-ice-melting-glaciers-6I look at the human species as a whole almost in the same way I look at an individual person. That statement probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense without some long-ass explanation, and this post is already long enough. But yeah, sometimes I see our species in the same way that I see an individual. Humanity wakes up for the first time in this strange world and looks around, learns to walk, learns to talk, tries to find its place and meaning, discovers things along the way, gets a little older, and we will eventually die. I know, as an individual, I certainly have made many mistakes in my life. Collectively, we’ve also made many mistakes along the way too. But Nature still gives us Her gifts, and I do believe we can learn from our mistakes and change.

Anyway, a bit of a tangent. You may ask what all these words have to do with the documentary. Well, I guess a good documentary makes you think.

Sometimes I think I need to be more of an activist, but I know that is not my role or calling. My job is to create, to make and share these sometimes strange pictures and ideas that fill my head. But maybe there can be a blending? Anyway, I truly appreciate that there are people like James Balog trying to open peoples eyes to the damage we’ve been causing this world. His film has helped me love Nature even more.

www.chasingice.com

ted.com

upworthy.com

chasing-ice-glacier

You Call A Tree A Tree…

December 7, 2013

The-hobbit-first-edition-dust-jacket-book-cover

I probably first read The Hobbit when I was about nine years old. And then I immediately read it again a couple more times. Thinking on it now, I really don’t know that I have read it since then though, but I do know the story by heart and its very special to me. By the time I was ten or eleven I had collected and read The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarilion, and The Unfinished Tales. At that time I think the last two books listed were beyond me, but The Lord of the Rings… I read that over and over again. Back then me and my family were living in Taiwan, and there was this book store up the street that had these beautifully bound hardcover copies (same dust-jacket as the one pictured above) with a giant map in the back that I could unfold and pour over. We lived in the heart of Taipei by the Chiang Kai-shek memorial. Even though that was a pretty public monument and park, there was this secluded spot with a small waterfall I’d climb up to. I’d go up there and read about Ents, Hobbits, and Elves. Good times!

Tolkien has been a great companion in my life. Even though I may go for many years not reading anything he has written, its inevitable that eventually I’ll pick up and read one of his stories again and thoroughly enjoy myself. I think it was last winter that I picked up Morgoth’s Ring and read that for the first time. It’s really good! These days, The Silmarilion is far and away my favorite work though. The mythology in there is mind boggling, and his creation story is definitely one of the best.

Tolkien was a very religious person, and it shows in his writing. Even though I am not religious and I don’t really believe in a personified supreme-power (its hard to explain what I believe. Some sort of animism I suppose), there is one thing that always came through in his work, and it is also something I agree with… Tolkien believed that you can experience God directly in his handwork. God (or Iluvatar in Tolkien mythology) moves through Nature, and by spending time with Nature you can come to know and understand the mind of God. And it is our creativity and imagination that allows us to participate directly with God and Nature.

The quote below, taken from a conversation between Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, is really the point of this post. I wanted the quote to appear here on ArtDuh!

You call a tree a tree, [Tolkien said to C.S. Lewis], and you think nothing more of the word. But it was not a ‘tree’ until someone gave it that name. You call a star a star, and say it is just a ball of matter moving on a mathematical course. But that is merely how you see it. By so naming things and describing them you are only inventing your own terms about them. And just as speech is invention about objects and ideas, so myth is invention about truth.

We have come from God (continued Tolkien), and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming a ‘sub-creator’ and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic ‘progress’ leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil….

You mean, asked Lewis, that the story of Christ is simply a true myth, a myth that works on us in the same way as the others, but a myth that really happened? In that case, he said, I begin to understand.

Geek Out!

middle_earth_map

Free Film

May 11, 2012

I want to invite everyone to see a free film. It’s called Addiction Incorporated, it hasn’t yet been released to theaters. It’s the story of a tobacco industry insider, hired to research how to make a safer cigarette, and then fired because he discovered the first evidence that tobacco is addictive. I know that sounds like old news today, but his discovery led to the first federal regulation of the tobacco industry, and the education campaigns that exist today. Here’s the screening schedule, tickets are FREE:

May 15
Brewvies Cinema Pub
677 South 200 West,  Salt Lake City
7:30 p.m.
Must be 21 years or older

May 16
Salt Lake Community College Amphitheater
4600 S Redwood Road, Taylorsville
8:00 p.m.
All Ages

May 21
Ogden Megaplex
2351 Kiesel Avenue, Ogden
6:15 p.m.
All Ages

May 21
Santy Auditorium
1255 Park Ave., Park City
7:00 p.m.
All Ages

May 22
Main Library Auditorium
210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City
6:30 p.m.
All Ages

May 22
Moab Arts and Recreation Center’s Stage Room
111 East 100 North, Moab
7:00 p.m.
All Ages

 May 23
The Price Theatre
30 East Main Street, Price
7:00 p.m.
All Ages

May 24
The Scera
745 South State Street, Orem
7:00 p.m.
All Ages

May 24
Salt Creek Cinemas
1101 East Highway 132, Nephi
7:30 p.m.
All Ages

May 25
The Electric Theater
68 East Tabernacle Street, St. George
7:00 p.m.
All Ages


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