Recent Viewing: Fast and Furious 6

I was never really a fan of the Fast and Furious franchise until my job in college was working on cars. One of my friends was excited for the Tokyo Drift movie and I decided I’d check it out too. It was a solid film that kept me entertained, so I checked out the rest in the franchise and kept loose tabs on the other films as they were released. I watched Fast Five for the first time a few months ago, and it raised the bar of the films (in my opinion). So I decided I had to check out Fast and Furious 6 in theaters.


Synopsis- The film starts with a great opening credit montage of the previous 5 films, acting as a refresher or prologue to people that my not have seen the other films. Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is tracking down a well known criminal Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and gang who have made off with some military equipment. In order to help catch Shaw, Hobbs finds Torreto (Diesel) and tries to convince him to help find Shaw. As added motivation, Hobbs shows Torreto a picture of his girlfriend who was thought to be killed in a blown undercover assignment.

Torreto is on board, and he gathers the rest of the crew for the job. They have a location on Shaw and the first conflict between Shaw’s crew and Torreto and O’Connor’s (Paul Walker) crew. The drivers tear through the streets of London, with some in Shaw’s crew driving cars that look like armored Formula 1 cars. Shaw’s crew gets away, but the chase provides valuable insight to the kinds of technology and cars that Shaw’s group has access to. They gain access to the person that designed the cars, but more people from Shaw’s group turn up, including Letty (Rodriguez), Torreto’s girlfriend. A gun fight ensues between the two factions. Who comes out alive and will Torreto be able to get back to Letty? Will Torreto and crew be able to bring down Shaw’s crew?

Review- Fast and Furious 6 picks up where Fast 5 leaves off. All the characters reprise their roles and the movie feels more like an extension of the previous film. I had questioned how this film could have been better than Fast 5, but it delivered. Another question I had going into the film was how were they going to spin Letty still being alive, when she was supposedly killed in the fourth film. The revival of her character seemed a little forced and misleading, but somewhat believable.

The action sequences were on par with Fast 5, with only one sequence that was pretty unrealistic. It was so over the top that it literally took me out of the movie, but doesn’t ruin the film, just a little bump. Comedic timing in the franchise is starting to become magic, the reaction between characters and the jokes they make at other characters expense are well timed and are just like jokes that people crack at each other that are that tight-knit.

I was curious how they were going to close out the franchise and how the Tokyo Drift film was going to fit in. The end of the movie did a good job of sewing up the 6 films and had a nice ending that winks at the first film.

As a motion graphics artist I always look forward to the credit design of the films and also the potential to a lead in to a potential 7th film. I won’t spoil anything, but don’t leave the theater right away.

Music- The soundtrack to this franchise is easily one of my favorites. The mix of music that they get for these films is always something I look forward to.

Production Update 45

Production update time is here once again, as always, my favorite thing about Monday’s is writing these. Even on weeks where much doesn’t get done. This week was a little bit of a mixed bag. The week started of well, I finished up another drawing for the prologue and by my calculations, there is one last one remaining. However, I am traveling and I don’t have my scanner or tablet along to ink/color/shade the work. I also haven’t received a new updated audio track. As much as I wish Cosmic Rage was my full time job and some of my team could work on it full time as well, that isn’t the case and it is important to be patient.

The middle of the week was pretty heavy with client work and revisions, and I have always lived by the notion of my client work before my own. I wrapped up 2 projects and was very close to wrapping up a 3rd. I had a great time working on these projects, I love making things move and adding life to them. Reading emails and hearing about how excited clients are when they receive a final is very rewarding.

At the end of the week, I started having really bad migraines. Once or twice every year I get a bad week or so of migraines, probably from computer and contacts. So I have been rocking my glasses for the last few days and giving my eyes a break. It’s part of the reason I work so hard, no one can be sure when their body can’t do certain things any more and if the day comes where I cant work on a computer for a full time career choice, I want to know I made the best projects I could for my clients.

Enough with the sentimental stuff though, I started working on episode 1 again and have a new shot designed. I am hoping to get it animated in the next couple days and get it rendering and start on the next batch. Also looking forward to going to A-kon at the end of the week as well 🙂 Stay Tuned for more updates!

Recent Viewing: The Thieves

I recently watched the second highest crossing tim in South Korean history, The Thieves, which was released in 2012. In the U.S.A. the film is owned by WellGo I have recently been on an asian film spree and have been pleased with some of the titles I have seen. Check out the trailer below for a look at the film.


Synopsis-The film starts with a group of Korean burglars, executing an art heist. A young woman named Yanicall is introducing a young rich tycoon to her fellow thief acting as her mother, by the nickname of Chewing Gum. While the fake mother distracts the young man, Yanicall is able to spring into action and steal an expensive piece of Chinese art. She is able to complete the heist throughout he help of Popie and Zampano. After the heist they are visited by the police and decide that they must leave South Korea for a bit. The group teams up with a group of Chinese thieves and plan on one last group heist. The heist will involve a piece of jewelry that they can sell for $20 million.

Everyone in the group starts to reveal their own agendas and plans to do with the money from the heist. It’s every thief for them-self as the plan starts to fall apart.

Review- The Thieves has a nice mix of action and comedy. There are certain characters that have the comedic relief role and play into those roles well. The film has a nice pacing to it and doesn’t seem to bog down in areas like some films tend to do, I think the comedy aspect helps in times with this. Since the film is an action movie at it’s core, there are several amazing stunts that are well shot.

The two gangs of thieves have an interesting chemistry together that adds an interesting dynamic to the thief/big heist films genre. It’s almost as if they took the buddy cop film and turned it into a buddy gang film. The true value of the story is the depth of the overall story.

On the surface it is a heist movie, but each character has their own backstory and motivation which is the added value. Throughout the film some of the characters will drop hints of their motives, requiring the viewer to choose which thief they are pulling for.

If you are a fan of action films, make sure to check out The Thieves on Netflix.

Dub Quality- Subbed on Netflix.




Production Update 44

I apologize for the late production update. First off, there is new production art up from the prologue. I also have a new audio track for the prologue as well. There are a few minor tweaks, mostly adjusting a few levels on some sound effects that are currently left over. The downside of the week, is that I didn’t get a chance to finish up the last couple drawings. I plan on getting some drawing done tonight yet after I write up this post.

I have some traveling coming up this week, so the drawings will have to wait to get scanned in and inked/colored. I am also hoping that the audio can get locked in as well. I assure you the prologue is making progress and will be completed as soon as possible to give you a peak into the Cosmic Rage world.


Recent Viewing: Jeff Who Lives at Home

I have a fascination with that whole fate/destiny thing, and it will always fascinate me. It has made it’s way into a few of my previous projects and it will no doubt show up in Cosmic Rage as well, but that’s a story for another day. So with my fascination with this fate/destiny element I tend to watch movies that tackle the subject and see how they perceive it. I recall looking at trailers on my trailers app on my phone and running across the trailer for Jeff Who Lives at Home. I’m a fan of both Jason Segal and Ed Helms, so I put the film on my watch list since it didn’t make it to many theaters.


Synopsis- Jeff (Segal) lives in his mothers basement, is unemployed and smokes weed. He also believes in the rationale of everything happens for a reason. The film starts with Jeff receiving a phone call asking for Kevin, no one lives there with that name so its a wrong number. But not to Jeff. Jeff goes to a hardware store for some glue to fix one of his mom’s shudders after a stressful phone call between them.

On the way to the store, Jeff sees a man with the name Kevin on the back of his basketball jersey. Believing in things happening for a reason, Jeff follows Kevin instead of going to the hardware store. This triggers a dayful of events that are strung together by chance or fate (depending on your view).

Along his day, Jeff runs into his brother Pat (Helms) and again, through chance or fate, they discover that Pat’s wife may be having an affair. Is this all that Jeff’s life was for, helping discover an affair?

Review- As much as I am interested in the fate/destiny element, there are very few films that I believe show that element in a new light or don’t have a cliche ending. Jeff Who Lives at Home, does not fall into that category. The film has a nice blend of comedy and the fate/destiny doesn’t come off as over the top or too far fetched.

Through the characters journeys they all evolve and we can see the depth of the family including Jeff and Pat’s mom and Pat’s wife and the evolution of the characters occurs in a short (about 85 minutes) length film, which is well paced. One area the film could have expanded on was a little more of the history of the family or the mom character, but it’s not necessary. I think leaving some of the family history out actually makes the ending more satisfying, but it depends on how much explanation you like in your films on matters like that.

The comedy in the film is well timed and the interactions between Jeff and Pat come off as typical sibling rivalry, which helps with the films almost voyeur aspects at times, coupled with the cinematography. There are several moments in the film that feel very real life, from the above mentioned sibling rivalry to the cube job of the mother.

Production Quality- The cinematography of the film was great, even if i felt the sudden push ins were a little overused in an 85 minute film. Otherise there wasn’t any special effects, animation and such in this film. Several great shots from unique perspectives, usch as the sprinkler scene in the cubicles. The handheld camera added to dramatic scenes in the film as well, that you will have to watch to find out what I mean.

Extras- None, I watched it on netflix

Production Update 43

Things started to get back to normal this last week. I finished up one of my freelance projects and made the drive back home as well. After busy period I decided to unplug quite a bit this last week and get away from the computer as much as possible and only working on the remaining projects I have.

The weather here has started to turn to spring time so I have been embarking on a few city-wide treks and catching up on some podcasts and just enjoying nature. This past winter seemed to last forever and there were several days that were nice out and I was stuck indoors working on projects. Must be the spring fever that teachers fear every spring time when students seem to be disengaged in their studies. I certainly recall teacher telling us to not give in and finish the year strong.

Nice weather aside, I didn’t crack into Cosmic Rage this week at all. It has been a nice week of relaxing and enjoying time away from the computer, but I can start to feel to desire to make stuff rising again. This week there will for sure be work on Cosmic Rage and I am excited to tackle the last bits of the prologue and get past the previous shot I was working on. Nobody can immerse themselves into anything forever and every so often it is nice to take a break and enjoy other hobbies such as hiking, reading and cooking.

Since I haven’t had much progress the last couple of weeks, next week I will share new production art to prove I am back at it 🙂

Recent Viewing: The Chaser

This is going to be my first review of a live action movie, but a few years ago I saw the film The Chaser on IFC. I recently decided to give it another watch on Netflix. The Chaser is a film from South Korea released in 2008. It is director Na Hong-jin’s directorial debut and is inspired by true events. For more information on the film and crimes you can venture down the wikipedia hole.  However, I strongly suggest watching the film prior to that. So let’s dive into the film.

Synopsis- Joong-ho is a former cop turned pimp and at the start of the film he is having trouble finding a woman to go to a clients. It seems he is having issues with girls running away after paying them up front. Joong-Ho is forced to contact Mi-jin, a single mother who currently is suffering from a fever. After a brief discussion, he convinces Mi-jin to accept the job. Joong-Ho gives her specific directions of what to do, because the client, Yeong-min is suspected of taking his girls and selling them. Joong-ho only knows his client by the last 4 numbers of his cell phone number, 4885. Once in the house, Mi-jin starts to execute the plan only to make a startling discovery. Mi-jin is unable to execute the plan and it is up to Joong-ho to do what he can to save her.

Joong-Ho must now rely on underhanded tactics to try to track down client 4885 (Yeong-min) and prove to the cops that he is selling his girls. A thrilling series of events unfolds and a race against the clock ensues. Check out the trailer below to see more.


Review- The Chaser is one of the first Korean films I can recall watching several years ago and I must say that it is better than I remember it being. The film was inspired by true events, and the gritty feel of the film gives you a glimpse of how gruesome the events were. In American cinema it is some kind of ratio between the movie 7 and the Saw films. There are a few scenes that are a little bloody but if your immune to fake cinema blood then you should be fine.

There are several unique shots in the film and you actually see a couple of them in the trailer. The story is well paced and doesn’t feel slow at any moments. While it’s not all non-stop action, there doesn’t seem to be any filler to make it a longer film. I anticipate that some people may not like the ending of the film. Personally, I didn’t see a problem with it and if you research the real life events briefly, you can see why the film was made the way it was. If your a fan of checking out new types of films, I really suggest The Chaser.

Dub- I watched the subbed version on Netflix.

Production Update 42

A few weeks ago I was hoping that Update 42 was going to be the closing update on the prologue and it was going to be done, but its not. This week I hardly touched anything, I have been living on my computer working on a few freelance projects so Cosmic Rage hardly got touched. I did get an extended track for the prologue and I did get it dropped in one night. It’s coming together well, a few slight refinements and the audio should be locked in. I have some other projects going on next week that I should be able to close out and maybe get some time back in on Cosmic Rage.

Outside of that I have been showing some of my friends the prologue and getting some of their creative feedback and such. I am getting some good feedback and I am really excited for when the prologue gets finished up. Hopefully we can get back to it this week and also looking forward to working with my great clients on finishing up some projects as well!

Recent Viewing: From Up on Poppy Hill

I recently saw From Up on Poppy Hill, the new studio Ghibli film to be released. Studio Ghibli is commonly referred to as the Disney of Japan, creating amazing stories and maintaining a high level of quality in their animation. From Up on Poppy Hill has a limited released so I was very fortunate to be in a city that had showings while it was out. The film was direct by Goro Miyazaki.


Synopsis- A young girl named Umi is living with her grandmother, her younger brother and sister and a couple others in Yokohama. Umi’s mother is studying abroad in America and her father died in the Korean war when the cargo ship he was on struck a mine. The film is set in 1964 when Tokyo was preparing to host the Olympics and a transitional period between old and new.

While at school, Umi meets a boy by the name of Shun, who works on the weekly school paper from the Latin Quarter clubhouse. Shun jumps off the top of the clubhouse and into the school pool as a stunt to promote the paper. The next day Umi’s younger sister wants to travel to the club house to get Shun’s autograph.

While at the club house Umi and Shun become friends and Umi starts helping with the paper. News starts to travel about the club house needing to be torn down and Umi comes up with a plan to clean up and restore the club house.

Throughout the process, Umi and Shun become even closer. While at a gathering Shun sees a picture of Umi’s father during the war. Shun has the exact same picture and starts to piece together his childhood. Do Umi and Shun share the same father and how does it effect their friendship?

Review- Studio Ghibli continues to make great films and this is no exception. The film revolves around the relationship between Umi and Shun who become friends after a crazy stunt and a purposed demolition of Shun and friends clubhouse.

The story is well paced and doesn’t have any drawn out areas and considering the film is 90 minutes that is a good thing. You could possibly argue that the start of the story is bit slow, but it is building the world that Umi is in. The story is set in 1964 Yokohama, Japan is still rebuilding from the war, it is post-Korean war, and they are preparing for the Olympics. We are also shown more of a glimpse of Umi’s everyday life, which consists of cooking the meals for the house, buying groceries and also taking care of her younger brother and sister. It depends on your attention span, I personally thought the beginning had some of the best composed shots of the film and enjoyed the beautiful artwork in the process.

The artwork adds the characters personality and emotions in crucial scenes as Umi and Shun’s relationship goes on a bit of a roller coaster. The relationship between Umi and Shun do not feel like a typical up and down relationship story. The time period combined with the animated aspect and the reasons why their relationship is up and down are a very unique combination. There is a bit of comedy in the film as well, ranging from witty one liners to exaggerated expressions on characters.

Production Quality- Poppy Hill had very well done animation with a few scenes that I would have to see again before I can decide if they were done in 3D or not. The environments are very well painted and have both nice daytime scenes, dusk and even night scenes. Scenes are painted with great detail and seem to be very layered at times.

The character animation is really well done, there are a few scenes of the kids running and walking into school that really help the kids come off as playful. There are a handful of other shots that are animated from an interesting perspective.

There isn’t really any kind of effects in the film since it is based in reality, the visual effects that are applied are used as accents in subtle ways. If you are a fan of well drawn 2D animation without a lot of heavy effects, Poppy Hill is a must see. As an animator, Studio Ghibli films are always must see.

Music- Very light hearted, fit the story of the film well. The choir scenes were a little awkward but that is also in part f the gap between audio and lip movements which is to be expected when dubbing a song for animation.

Dub- Very well done. There are a couple scenes with the students of the school singing as a choir and the singing not matching up that closely with the lip movements, but that is to be expecting in a song dub.

And of course there was no extras since it was in theaters. Check out their Facebook to see if it is coming to a theater near you.

1964 Tokyo Olympics picture from the Edo Tokyo Museum.

1964 Tokyo Olympics picture from the Edo Tokyo Museum. From my trip to Japan last summer, this is the period of “From Up on Poppy Hill”.