Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Making of "Ms. Friday Night" by Work It Work It!

25 year old women from Long Island are going NUTS right now. Summit Drive has reunited....kinda...sort of. Former members, Mike Lombardo and Evan Loewenstein have teamed up with Graham Watson, Meagan Brauer and Tim Kubart of Tim and the Space Cadets (check out their LOST inspired video- 2nd Grade Show) to form Work It Work It.

Work It Work It's first single is titled, "Ms. Friday Night". The story behind the video are the five band members experiences at a party with "Ms. Friday Night". According to Mike, "Ms. Friday Night" is "a girl who does whatever she likes, she's very unpredictable and is just looking to have some fun". In the video, Evan spends his time at the party finding "Ms. Friday Night", but she winds up running off on him in the end. Mike's story is that he is overconfident when it comes to picking up girls, though never successful. Meagan is just there to party and have a good time. She spends the night Workin' It Workin' It in the exclusive bathroom party until she wears her self out and comes stumbling out in the end. Graham Watson starts off wandering through the party and comes across a delicious bowl of nachos. He winds up spending all of the party eating them. When the other party goers find out he's trying to finish the entire bowl, they cheer him on in his efforts. Tim's character is the complete opposite of Mike's. He is a ladies man and he's really good at it. As the party ends, all the band members find each other after their little adventures and come together to end the night. The End.

"Ms. Friday Night" took about 7 months to complete. They filmed the house party portion of the video in one 15 hour day. They emptied Mike's apartment of all it's furniture and everyone came over at about 8 in the morning (it was really hot in the apartment too, they filmed it in June--everyone was dying).  A few weeks later, the band rented out a studio in Astoria for 5 or 6 hours and had a camera guy tape them playing the song over and over again.  Very much like the first time, the studio was extremely hot.  Once again, they were dying due to New York City's record high heat. Evan and Mike edited the video over the next month and a half.  By the time they finished that, Mike's good friend from work Andy Milkis (check out his website here) offered to do all of the color correcting and color grading, which was a major success.  Mike would sit with him a few nights after work in the office and they'd play with the colors and mood and tones. Many moons in the making and it's finally done.  They had a small launch party at Mike and Evan's apartment and the video was uploaded the following night.

There you have it, the making of the next big hit!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Top 5 Things We Want to See in Star Wars Episode VII

Star Wars being sold to Disney is the best news I’ve heard in film in a while. It seemed like the sequel trilogy was dead in the water after the prequels were almost unanimously disliked (I think they were decent movies. If separated from episodes IV, V and VI, they stand as pretty decent sci-fi movies, though certainly flawed). But the resurrection of the franchise and bringing in both Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, which he won an Oscar for, Toy Story 3, and the upcoming Hunger Games sequel) and JJ Abrams (if you don’t know who he is then you probably stumbled on this website by mistake and don’t belong here at all) is extremely exciting for a Star Wars geek like me. First off, I know there are thousands if not millions of people who think a new Star Wars movie is a bad idea. I couldn't disagree more, especially under these circumstances. The new movies are being produced by the most successful company in the history of companies, penned by an Academy Award winning writer, and is going to be helmed by a director with some serious geek cred who grew up as a Star Wars fan (just watch any of his TV shows or films for proof of this) and wants to make a movie that will make Star Wars fans proud. I think I've made my excitement clear. We already know there is going to be mind-blowing interstellar dogfights, state of the art effects from the folks over at Industrial Light and Magic and back flipping, saber-spinning, seizure-inducing lightsaber battles, so let’s get into the Top 5 things I want to see in the new Star Wars movie. 

Mark Hamill, or Meatloaf on a diet?
5. Go Easy on the Vets. Look, a bigger Star Wars fan you will not find but let’s face it, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill are no Meryl Streep and Marlon Brando, and certainly less so in their old(er) age. These two have not gotten any more attractive as the years have passed and their performance creds have lingered around the Kathy Griffin level of acting (that is to say, not acting). While I absolutely love the fact that Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa Skywalker Solo Cougar Mellencamp will have parts in the new movie, I really believe it should be relegated to minor ones. I mean, I want to see them. I want to see what they’re up to and by all means I want them to play important roles, but I think limited screen time would probably be best for the pair. And this is certainly possible; think how important a role Emperor Palpatine played in the movies, and was really only given 3 or 4 total scenes were he didn't appear as a blurry hologram. Shit, look at Boba Fett, he has probably 5 scenes and says a total of 15 words and has since become one of the most popular characters in the history of science fiction. Harrison Ford on the other hand, we could probably stand to see a bit more of. He has been steadily acting (successfully) since Star Wars ended and is a legend in the field starring in some enormously successful movies. Just as long as his role isn’t that of a desperate father or husband trying like hell to clear his name or save his family. And as long as he doesn’t utter the words to a Russian terrorist aboard the ship that made the kessel run in twelve parsecs: “Get off my Millennium Falcon!” 

Sexy Mara Jade
4. A New Jedi Order. Who doesn’t love a good light saber duel? The strongest sequences in the entire prequel trilogy were the lightsaber duels (particularly the Darth Maul vs. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon scene from the first movie), so we certainly need to have some newbies who know their way around a lightsaber.  With Luke (and Leia) being the last Jedis in the entire galaxy after the death of Vader, the new movies seem to be lacking the Jedi or Sith adversary it so desperately needs. And with Luke and Leia being old farts now (how cool would it have been to see Leia as a Jedi in her prime?) their clearly has to be some new Jedis coming up in the minor leagues. I think the obvious route to go is have Luke and Leia opening a school for young Jedis to come and train under the only two Jedis left in the galaxy. With that, a pretty decent idea would be to have one or several of their students go rogue and betray Luke’s New Jedi Order. It’d be a good way to establish a sexy young villain that could last through the sequel trilogy. I’m also curious how many (if any) of the characters from the Expanded Universe will appear, and in what capacity. Mara Jade (Luke’s eventual wife with a somewhat troubled past) is one of the most complex female characters in the entire Star Wars Universe (much more so than Princess Leia) and has so much depth. I’d be surprised if they were to use some characters from the Expanded Universe (like Han and Leia’s kids Anakin, Jaina and Jacen [a possible candidate for the student who goes rogue]) but left out Mara Jade. 

Walter Bishop enjoying a cool Slusho
3. Some Sweet JJ Abrams Easter Eggs: JJ Abrams is famous for inserting Easter Eggs (or intentional hidden messages) into his work. Hidden Lost mentions in his works like Person of Interest, Fringe, and Cloverfield, the appearance of Slusho in Cloverfield, Star Trek, Fringe and Alias, the name “Kelvin” (Abrams’ grandfather) in Star Trek, Lost and Super 8 are all fun little hints that JJ Abrams drops into his works. We, as fans have come to expect Easter Eggs in all his works (one of which may play particular importance in my number 1 thing I want to see in Episode VII). I hope it is safe to assume that some of his frequent collaborators will also make an appearance (whether behind or in front of the camera). Greg Grunberg has appeared, in some less obvious ways than others, in almost every JJ Abrams Joint since Felicity. Damon Lindelof (another gargantuan Star Wars fan, see the little known TV show LOST for further references) has collaborated on multiple JJ Abrams projects and could potentially bring some fascinating new ideas to Episode VII (while Michael Arndt is the primary writer for the new movie, Lindelof is no stranger to rewrites, having rewritten my favorite Sci-Fi flick of 2012, Prometheus). It would be great if Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, and the satisfyingly chilling Let Me in) were brought in in some capacity, and eventually direct Episode VIII or IX (as Abrams is only signed on for VII). My suggestion for an Easter Egg would be for a character to say that he found a blue planet with a mysterious island that is responsible for keeping all of the evil in the world in and that moves when you spin a Frozen Donkey Wheel. 

2. Keep George Lucas Away: I love George Lucas. He is responsible for the best and most complex universe since… well, the Universe. His ideas have spawned incredible movies, fascinating video games and complex literature in the realm of science fiction. Not to mention his saga has created an entire generation of visionary scientists, filmmakers and writers (I would not be interested in science fiction or perhaps even writing itself had I need seen Star Wars and had my imagination expanded for the first time). All that being said, George Lucas should really have a minimal role in these movies. Yes, it’s his vision. Yes, it’s his franchise. Yes, it’s his universe. But look what happened when Lucas was allowed to write, direct, produce, edit, compose, distribute and basically have violent congress with Episodes I-III. The prequel trilogy was a substandard inception of the story of the Skywalker clan (as I discussed before, not bad as a standalone series, but as a predecessor to perhaps the most iconic trilogy ever conceived?).  As much as I love the man, I’m perfectly happy only seeing his name next to “Based on the characters created by:” and nowhere else. What worked about “Empire” and “Jedi” is that they were Lucas’ brilliant ideas brought to the screen by more capable directors and writers. That is what I believe we have here. A much more talented director in JJ Abrams and a brilliant up-and-coming writer in Michael Arndt, who has now been entrusted with three of the biggest franchises in recent memory (Toy Story, The Hunger Games and Star Wars). 

R2D2 outside the Enterprise
1. A Shared Star Wars and Star Trek Universe: I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not sure how feasible this idea really is. I mean Star Wars is set “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” (I still get chills when I see those words) and Star Trek is set in the 23rd century, the distant future. But the mere fact that JJ Abrams is responsible for rebooting the two biggest space-based franchises ever, presents us with a unique opportunity: set Star Wars and Star Trek in the same universe. Really, how cool would this be? I’m certainly no Star Trek aficionado so I couldn’t really begin to theorize how this could really happen. And by no means am I saying: “Hey! What if Captain Kirk and Han Solo opened a bordello together called Captain James T. NerfHerder’s??” or “How about Data is actually a much further advanced model of C-3PO?!” (I actually kinda like that one). But, in the same way JJ Abrams drops little hints and Easter Eggs into his work (like R2D2 in Star Trek), why not drop a random Romulan in the background of the New Republic? Or why not have a planet designated"Ceti Alpha V"? I'm just saying JJ, it's something to think about.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Game of Thrones: Season 3

Are you ready for the new season of Game of Thrones?????

 According to several sites, Season 3 is based on the first half of George R. R. Martin's A Storm of Swords. A Storm of Swords is the third book in the A Song of of Ice and Fire novels. Season 3 airs on March 23, 2013 on HBO.

In preparation to Season 3 here are several videos focusing on the new season of Game of Thrones.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Superior Spider-Man #1: Why Doc Ock is a Better Spider-Man than Peter Parker

For the past few weeks, Spider-Man fans worldwide have been throwing rocks at the former writer of Amazing Spider-Man, and current writer of Superior Spider-Man, Dan Slott. After today, the fans will put down the rocks, and shout “You rock, Dan Slott”. Superior Spider-Man #1 had one mission, and it was to explain the key differences between Doc Ock and Peter Parker as Spider-Man. Superior Spider-Man has an inflated ego, is not very interested in being a superhero, and has a very psychotic sense of humor. Doesn't that sound fun and interesting? By the way, I’m not being sarcastic. Dan Slott is doing something bold and he should be applauded for that. Twice in one issue, Spider-Man was on the verge of crossing the line in which no pure superhero has returned from. Also, Spider-Man used his wall crawling ability as a weapon. That's pretty bad-ass. 

When Peter was Spider-Man, he used his unique gadget but never really thought outside the box when he planned on defeating his villains. I consider Peter a spontaneous go-getter. Doc Ock is the quite the opposite. Doc Ock is a strategizer, which worked perfectly for this issue.   The main villains for this issue were the New Sinister Six edition #10, maybe #12. Unlike Peter, Doc Ock’s genius transformed the nano-spider-tracers from a simple GPS to an audio transmitter. Also, his traps were hilarious and unique for a superhero. In the past, Peter’s traps were flawed and usually came back to bite him in the ass. I'm beginning to believe that Doc Ock is the more interesting, and smarter Spider-Man than Peter Parker. He is indeed the Superior Spider-Man. Yeah, I said that. Please, do not throw any rocks at my windows. For all those that refuse to read this because Peter died, you should buy the issue just based on the final page.

I do not enjoy critiquing art because I’m not an artist but I do enjoy Ryan Stegman’s art. His action scenes > any action scene you watch in any Transformers or Expendables movie. 

Score 10/10