Friday, August 28, 2015

Movie Review - Shaun the Sheep Movie

Shaun the Sheep Movie



Starring: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Omid Djalili, Richard Webber, Kate Harbour, Tim Hands, Andy Nyman, Simon Greenall, Emma Tate, Jack Paulson, Sean Connolly, Nick Park, and more.

Directed by: Mark Burton and Richard Starzak Written by: Mark Burton and Richard Starzak Based on Characters Created by: Nick Park Cinematography by: Charles Copping and Dave Alex Riddett Music by: Ilan Eshkeri

Premise: Bored with the daily grind at the farm, Shaun decides that what they need is a day off. In order to get it, he orchestrates an elaborate plan to distract Bitzer, the dog, and lull the Farmer back to sleep. At first going off without a hitch, things soon go in unexpected directions, especially when the small trailer they put the Farmer in suddenly rolls off down the road towards the Big City. (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: If any of you have seen the movie, you may be raising your brows at this point. Yes, no coherent words are spoken in the film except for one or two, but the meanings of what they are saying is implied, which means Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Omid Djalili, and the rest had to rely on inflection on nonsensical murmurings to make themselves understood. And they did a beautiful job of it. Because these are animated sheep, not everything could be conveyed from just their expressions, so the voice actors had to work at getting the moods and feelings across and they did it very well.

2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Aardman Studios has been making stop motion animated films for many years. They also use many other techniques to get their stories across aside from stop motion animation - though that's where they started back in the 90's. You've probably seen their work and never realized it. Though their roots are in England, they've done work for groups all over the world.

Their stop animation work is lovely. The main art style they use for these is very apt for the medium. Lots of great detail and smooth motion. The visual gags run really well, and keep an eye on the backgrounds for subtle jokes - like the sign for Big City saying "Big City" in several languages as if it was an actual name. Or the one saying "Convenient Quarry."

The first sequence when the film begins is priceless. The happy days and the drudgery now felt by all is evident and humorous.

Using pop culture references in different, imaginative contexts served them very well. The whole sequence at the Animal Containment Center even borrowed bits from Silence of the Lambs. (How could they resist? It's a sheep movie! Ewe?) That section alone was full of prison movie references as well. Great job.


3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: Shaun the Sheep comes from a well beloved series on British Television. (You can actually see episodes of it on Amazon Video and other show carriers.) It's mainly a kids' show, but one with enough 'meat' that it is still entertaining enough for adults to enjoy.

The film takes us back to the beginning - so it's a prequel of sorts. The topics covered are actually rather deep - living only to work, losing sight of what's important and who you love, taking things for granted, realizing that actions have consequences - and most importantly that there's no place like home. Yet these topics are presented in such a way that kids may not entirely realize what they're being shown (not to where they realize the true darkness they harken) but the adults definitely will.

There pace is brisk, so the kiddos are well entertained. The adults will have fun with the phenomenon of Mr. X and also the Animal Containment Center's A. Trumper. He's a hoot.

The humor seemed somewhat more spartan than usual in this particular film. A bit more would have raised the overall enjoyment.

It is a film for kids, so there so expect plenty of fart jokes. :) Shaun's inventiveness at a couple of spots were totally amusing.

Conclusion: Shaun the Sheep Movie is a nice compliment to those already acquainted with the series and characters. For those not acquainted with them, it's a rather nice introduction. Deep subjects for the adults, fun for the kids, but it was a little light on the humor. Still, a nice enjoyable bit of animation.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Better for Matinee)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Picture Kaleidoscope 8/26/15

I can physically feel the weather changing this morning. Pressure! Wooooo!




The Sun King by Christian Spencer at Earthshots.org - the timing on this had to be incredible! For the hummingbird to be at the right angle and position? Dang... That's really working for a shot. His is full of other nice shots. He's got paintings, music, and film as well. Very busy!


The Outbreak by Artur Stanisz at Earthshots.org - love the title. Plenty of vamps who would think of it as an outbreak. heh heh.



Hidden Underworld by Artur Stanisz - lots of mountains and other lovely shots at his site. (I'm liking these long pics and I then have room to can make them bigger for the post!) :) He also does Photo Adventures




I had to share this. My daughter made it over the weekend. Isn't it cool? 


100 Cameras Were Given to the Homeless in London. Here’s What They Captured at PetaPixel article by Michael Zhang. They got some lovely pics! The group doing all this is Cafe Art. What a cool concept!






This Talented Street Photographer Spent Two Months at a Swimming Pool in Prague - article by Michael Zhang at PetaPixel. Photography by Rishabh Kaul for his Wet Paradise series. 









Happy Wednesday!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Mind Sieve 8/24/15

Monday is BACK! Boo!



Fan Fun


Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse Trailer - NSFW! Horror comedy. Could be amusing. :P



Turbo Kid Official Trailer #1 - pulling from way too many movies! Lol. Lots of Gore. I seem to be on a pattern today...



The Final Girls Official Trailer #1 - lol. sucked into a bad horror movie. Lol. This could be a lot of fun. lol. 



Jenny LeClue Detectivu - ran across a preview and free level play of this indie game. Quite cute!




Social Media/Author Platform

6 Google+ Features to Promote Your Business by Priya Florence Shah at The Social Media Examiner.

How to Optimize Your Tweets for Search by Greg Miller at The Social Media Examiner.




Writing Advice

What’s Your Author Self-Esteem? by Jami Gold - great post on self-esteem. Of course we must always keep in mind not to go too far the other way as well. Heh heh. (Oh, I've met a few!) lol.


Have a great week!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Virtual Tourist - Skyrim 8/23/15

Morning all!

Skyrim
Sweeping beneath the mountain toward the Monastery
Still making my way towards Ivargread


A cold but beautiful night


Wolves are a coming


Seems spiders roam outside of caves as well. DOH


I saw the Sign! Finally on a road going where I need to. lol


Thanks to a camp of Legionnaires, I was able to spruce up the quality of the vampire armor enough to make it worthwhile to wear.


Looks pretty good on me, no? (Though I think I inadvertently sold my helmet. lol)
This camp is also where I found that places like these don't mark property as being 'stolen' - so weird.


Ivargread - finally! Though that's when I got the weird message as the sun set...I'm getting very thirsty. Dang it! I think I've caught vampire cooties. Need to remember to see if I have a cure disease potion...

Hope you have a super restful day!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Movie Review - Hitman: Agent 47

Hitman: Agent 47


Starring: Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto, Thomas Kretschmann, Ciarán Hinds, and more.

Directed by: Aleksander Bach Screenplay by: Skip Woods and Michael Finch Story by: Skip Woods Cinematography by: Óttar Guðnason Music by: Marco Beltrami

Premise: Katya has been searching for someone most of her life, though all she has to go on are tiny bits of memory and little else. When John Smith shows up in her life, he tells her she is being targeted by Agent 47, an enhanced assassin, who wants nothing more than to silence her and her missing father and the knowledge he possesses. And though that seems true at first, is that what's really going on? (Rated R)

Review:

1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Rupert Friend does a great job being the stoic Agent 47. Even better was watching him bring out little ticks of 47's personality showing he's more than just a killing machine made of flesh. The awkward moments he has with Katya are hilarious on several levels.

Hannah Ware did a great job as the not so normal Katya. Dealing with particles of memory, avoiding the touch of anyone around her, and coping with overstimulated fear, she knows she's not normal, yet as she spends time with 47 you get the definite feeling she thinks she's found someone worse. lol. Zachary Quinto also did some great work as John Smith. (There's a point about his name that ends up truly having a lot of impact. After it's all done, think about him and his name. Heh heh.)

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Lots to like and love with the special effects. Plenty of cool gadgets and setups. The jet engine and the multiple ways it's used were quite nice and visually exciting. The CGI showed through at a couple of places, but not too badly, and was easily overlooked. The subsequent flames and chaos more than make up for it.

A ton of destruction ensues in different locations some very close up, others quite large!


3) Story - Thumbs Up: Way back in the day I played the original "Hitman" game. Hardest thing ever! lol. So hubby and I have had a long time fascination with the character of Agent 47. The red tie, the dark suit, the hairless head, the double .45s, these are all signature marks of the game and the man.

The Hitman game was turned into a film once before, back in 2007. Timothy Olyphant played him then, a man who has one of the best deadpan faces in the business. If you enjoyed that version, you should also like this one, as both were written by Skip Woods.

If you don't know anything about the game, no worries. They fill you in on some quick history at the start of the film. The beginning sequence/mission also tells you all you need to know about 47's mad assassination skills. From the start things are murky, the truth hidden, with much subtly implied and lots of red herrings - so stay vigilant!

As the film went along there were also several lovingly awkward moments, as we're shown little, unexpected bits of 47 as he interacts with Katya over time. The fact she starts picking on him as the film moves along gave a nice subcurrent implying things later made more evident by her father. There were a couple of moments that just made me laugh, they were so cute.

The bathtub scene with the rubber ducky was both cute and disturbing. Heh heh.

A few surprises, though on several of those you'll know something is coming if you pay attention to the signs. There's one, however, that should catch you by total surprise. :)

There's one tiny bit of extra footage right after the credits begin rolling at the end. But nothing after that.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: A ton of stunts, several which are helped along with some CGI, but many that are not. Lots of gun battles, car chases, and hand-to-hand combat. Some imaginative Fu as well. They chose to do shaky-cam during several bits of the close combat action, but it wasn't overused. Though I do prefer my hand-to-hand not shaken or stirred.

The chase scene in the parking garage was great! What happens after in the street intersection even more so.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: They chose some awesome filming locations for this one. Singapore was absolutely jaw dropping. The commercials had made it seem like the film was in the future, but it isn't. That's actually how Singapore looks right now! (Google for pics, you'll see.) The arboretum alone was fabulous!

Conclusion: Hitman: Agent 47 has everything you'd want from an action film - great stunts, decent story line, bullets, explosions, and a little more. And they left it wide open for a sequel.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Picture Kaleidoscope 8/19/15

So hard to get moving today....



We're headed back towards sunsets and sunrises again! Woot!


We've no idea what was going on, but there was a constant fire plume by some apartment complex constructions near the Irving Convention Center. You can see it just to the right of the building.


Beautiful layered interplay of light and shadow!


A nice surprise when we stepped out after dinner that day. :)


The light vs. the darkness!


I'd missed this so much!


The interplay of colors is always so much fun.


Alien Mothership seeking crashed child. Heh heh





The sky was doing fun stuff Monday morning. :)




Have a spectacular day!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mind Sieve 8/17/15

Another round!




Fan Fun


Westworld Teaser Trailer - HBO - Ooohhhh!!!!!!




SQUEEE! SQUEEEEE! SQUEEEEEEE! Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens Official Comic-Con 2015 Reel. SQUEEEE!!!!!! Behind the scenes awesomeness!




Colony - USA - Official Trailer - Looks interesting for sure! Sweet!



Into The Badlands Season 1 ComicCon Trailer - Oh this looks good! 




Social Media/Author Platform

Twitter Removes 140-Character Limit for Direct Messages: This Week in Social Media - article by Cindy King at the Social Media Examiner.

6 Ways to Improve Engagement With Social Media Content by Heidi Thompson at the Social Media Examiner. Yet more reasons on why I need a clone. Hah!




Have a great one!