Del Toro At the Mountains of Madness

mountainsofmadness We have already discussed Guillermo Del Toro’s thoughts on The Hobbit (here) and Frankenstein (here).

With regard to At the Mountains of Madness, I'd love to see you tackle H.P. Lovecraft in a way that hasn't been done.

Del Toro: Me too. Me too. ... Part of the arrangement with Universal--in being essentially there for now until 2017--part of the arrangement was they would finance research and development for Mountains of Madness. And we are doing it. There are many technical tools in creating the monsters that don't exist, and we need to develop them. The creatures, Lovecraft's creatures, the tools that exist for CG and the materials that exist for makeup effects, you need to push them to get there, and we're going to push them (Scifi Wire).

If you have read any of H. P. Lovecraft’s books, then it is easy to see what Del Toro is talking about.  All of Lovecraft’s creation are like anything that has ever been done in a film before.  If you have ever seen any of the films based on any of Lovecraft’s books, then you know how far from the originals they have gone away from the originals so they could make them producible for the big screen.

What is the effect you want to get?

Del Toro: Well, the fact that the shape-shifting implicit in the novel and implicit in the creatures, ... if you think in technical terms, digitally, that means normally you generate, for example, one model per creature. If you talk about shape-shifting to the degree that these creatures do, then you're talking about, essentially--if you're using traditional tools--you're going to need to generate 30, 40 models fully rendered per creature. That's, A, limiting and, B, incredibly expensive. So what we are trying to do is we're developing sort of a Swiss-army-knife approach to modeling. The details are going to be evolving, but it's almost like a Chinese box approach to the models, where we can encase one model on another one and make them modular. And the tools that we need for that to be fluid don't exist. We're going to need to write digital code we need to develop, the way Peter [Jackson] had to develop software for Lord of the Rings. ...

It took so many movies to develop intelligent fire software to the point where Peter could render the Balrog or to develop Massive software to do the crowds in Lord of the Rings. By the same token, we're going to need to develop a new tool that will be. We are thinking of calling it the Howard. For Lovecraft. ... (Scifi Wire)

I think they made major strides toward Lovecraft style creatures in Hellboy 2, but there is a long way to go before our rendering capacity catches up with his imagination.  If anyone can make this happen, it would be Del Toro.  He has the clout and the creativity to do it.

Filk: "SF Fans" Bittersweet

This is a new filk that makes me feel a little sad inside.  I sometimes wonder if the SF fan is being replaced by FX fan.  I can see myself sitting in a filksing belting this song out.

Title: SF Fans ttto: Where Have All the Flowers Gone by Pete Seeger

Where are all the SF fans? Long time passing Where are all the SF fans? Long time ago Where are all the SF fans? Gone to work cons, every one When will they every learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the CONsters gone? Long time passing Where have all the CONsters gone? Long time ago Where have all the CONsters gone? Gafiated every one When will they every learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the ex-fen gone? Long time passing Where have all the ex-fen gone? Long time ago Where have all the ex-fen gone? They are all geeks, every one When will they every learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where are all the science geeks Long time passing Where are all the science geeks Long time ago Where are all the science geeks Shunned by mundanes every one When will they every learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where are all those shunned by most Long time passing Where are all those shunned by most Long time ago Where are all those shunned by most They do fanac, everyone When will they every learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where are all the SF fans? Long time passing Where are all the SF fans? Long time ago Where are all the SF fans? Gone to work cons, every one When will they every learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?

My lyrics copyright 2008 by Arthur Tansky. License granted for non-commercial archiving and performance as long as: 1. copyright notice is maintained, and 2. no money changes hands.

New filk SF Fans :: NNSeek

Toni Becker Concert Review

I am sorry I didn't get this out sooner. The concert took place on the 22nd. Toni gave me 2 CDs to review and I hoped that I would have the time to review them with the concert, but my time is at a premium, so I worked on the book. I will get the album reviews up soon, but I don't feel that it is fair that I sit on the pics any longer. Her you go:

Toni Becker is a Dove Award Nominated singer/songwriter from Southeast Missouri.

Find more photos like this on Project: Shadow HQ

After a lot of the bands that I have seen at the Wine Rack/Java Stop, it is refreshing to see someone come in with nothing but a stool, a guitar, and a microphone. The intimate nature of the setting, mixed with the great acoustics in here should make for an interesting show to say the least.

The light touch of her fingers on the strings and her rich yet somehow innocent voice resounds in the room. There is a joy and a life in her music that I have rarely heard. Even in a room full of people, she manages to make you feel like she is singing just to you.

Her husband Brian joined her to sing. There is something magical about a husband and wife singing together. A part of there love floats on each word.

I lost my objectivity when she began singing Landslide. This is probably my favorite song of all time. While her voice has a warmth to it that Stevie Nicks' doesn't, it added to the song, rather than taking away from it.

She has sincerity about her that connected with me. Her voice had a familiar quality, like I had heard it somewhere before, but I am not sure where.

Her cover of These Dreams reminded me of the one on the "The Road Home" by Heart. A great concert, if you get a chance to see her, go check her out.


"Storybook" (Toni Becker)
"Thin Blue in Between" (Toni Becker)

Check her out

The Official Toni Becker Website

Toni Becker's Myspace

F/X Oscar Nominations

SCI FI Wire has a list of the flicks nominated for a best F/X Oscar, and I just cannot help but think this was not the best year for SF movies.

Out of the Running

I have to be up front and say that these these films are out of the running because I either have not seen them or do not plan to see them.

  • The Bourne Ultimatum

I liked the first one didn't like the second one,this one is on my Netflix list.

  • I Am Legend

I have a general rule that I will not see in the theater any film starring Will Smith that is based on a book that I like. Even though I like Will Smith, very few good things come from this combination. I may rent it.

  • 300

I liked the comic and have been told that this film will disappoint me more than Doom did, so on advice of friends, I have not seen this one either.

So I am limiting my discussion to the films I have actually seen.

51kAGAPJL0L._SL210_Evan Almighty

Good film, but the F/X were anything but spectacular. They are like the film itself, worthy of cable television, but not up to the standard I expect in a feature film. This is the "man gets hit in groin by football" nomination, except it wasn't a football it was a dog.

The only major effect I can remember is at the end of the film and it brought the story to a proper climax, but is failed to wow me. It felt like something I had seen before, and to me, that is a not Oscar worthy.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

61VqjwC27LL._SL210_The F/X in this flick were extraordinary, but again, they did not wow me. I may have been distracted by Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom, and that might have caused me to miss things that I ordinarily might not have.

The biggest thing that this movie has against it in the race for the best effects is that I saw them all in the last two Pirates movies. They were all cutting edge the last time I saw them, but not in this film. I am not sure why it was nominated other than its popularity. That said. I think it deserves the prize more than Evan Almighty.

poster_01 The Golden Compass

This was probably the best fantasy film of the year, and it has some of the best special effects I have seen in a long time. The artistic style they chose for the film worked well and stayed consistent throughout the film, but at no point did I feel they were real.

The Golden Compass felt more like animated film than a live action film. This is the films only real flaw, and the only thing that keeps me from saying it should be the winner. I am if it were not for the successful integration of the actors into this film I would have to object to it being on the list.


51xbz6iJJ9L._SL210_ I know what you are thinking, "How could you say that Transformer is worth and Oscar?"

But of all the films on the list, this is the only one that made me believe that the impossible was possible. The robots feel real, and not added to the picture. I have to say even with all of Michael Bay's nauseating jitter cam, the combat and the machines still, what was the magic word?? They wowed me.

I doubt it will win, but of the nominees, The Transformers should win the award.

Transformers Rocks!

Just got back from watching the new live-action Transformers flick.  OMG, it was better than I could have imagined. We got to the theater minutes before the film started.  The lights dimmed shortly after we took our seats.  The previews started and... the film burned through!  It actually burned through, ripped, and the lights went up.  The horrid commercial slide show started up again and we had to wait...  after about five minutes, they switched the reels up and the films preroll trailers began.

The movie opens with Optimus Prime explaining the origin of the Allspark, and the fate of Cybertron.

The pace was fast and furious from the destruction of a US air base in Katar, and the search for answers.  Amazingly for a modern film, there was only one reference to how the events were like something out of a comic book.  Other than that, the story was treated seriously, as a proper action film.  The intensity of the opening was continued into the events that followed, with the exception of a brief interspersion of comedic scenes to introduce Sam Witwicky and his family history that connected him to the Allspark.

The FX are amazing.  ILM out did themselves in the quality and integration of the titanic robots into their real world setting.  The only scene that felt CG was when Optimus and the other autobots were talking under a bridge.  A brief interruption of an otherwise seamless film.

I cannot imagine the work ILM put into the last 45 minutes of the films.  A nearly constant series of fight scenes through the city.  Devestator and Starscream were amazing.  Megatron's menacing appearance and voice made me wince as he spoke.

Ironhide, Jazz, Bumblebee, and Ratchet were very well played.  I particularly liked the update of Jazz into a more urban character.

DO NOT LEAVE TOO SOON, there are some further scenes cut into the credits.

A great movie that will blow you away.  I highly recommend it.  I cannot wait to own it.  I really want to see it again.