Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Yes, it’s that time again for the most prestigious and sought after award by those who are cool. Here’s the best of 2007:
Best Film - Hot Fuzz directed by Edgar Wright, written by Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg. I know what some of you are thinking, “Howard, you come off as this pretentious, pseudo-intellectual snob. Why did you choose a populist type of film instead of something like No Country for Old Men, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, or Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead?” To which I reply, “Say that to my face, bitch! I’ll do you like Michael Vick did Iggy! Wu-Tang!”
You can see the love of film and filmmaking that Wright and Pegg have in Hot Fuzz. It’s cleverly written and made. It’s a joy to watch and hilarious.
While I also like No Country for Old Men, I can’t get beyond its ending. I’m not against ambiguous or unhappy endings - I tend to write those myself. I am opposed to endings where I think it just stops awkwardly. While watching the ending to No Country, I thought we were in a transition scene and was eager for a character to stop yapping so we didn’t lose momentum and get to the ending. Little did I know the scene to follow this was credits.
Creepiest Film - The Orphanage. What an amazing debut by writer Sergio Sanchez and director Juan Antonio Bayona. This is a suspenseful movie where you’re not sure if the paranormal exists or if it’s just in the character’s head - quite like what Henry James did in his book The Turn of the Screw. The film has great atmosphere and mood. You need to see this film in a big dark theater. I don’t care how big a TV screen you have. Watching this at home won’t have the same effect. I predict continued strong work from these two talented Spanish filmmakers.
Musical - Once. Once is not a typical musical where characters break out into song for no apparent reason. It’s about a boy and girl in Ireland who are musicians. They meet cute and the singing comes mostly through the process of song writing or making a CD. My description probably sounds boring, but it is really a good and entertaining film plus the music is well done.
Director - Joe Wright (Atonement) - How and why is cinema different than other art forms? Wright shows the reasons in Atonement.
Cinematographer (Atonement) - Seamus McGarvey. Great lighting and beautiful shots. Simple, right? If it was that easy everyone would do it. McGarvey is a master.
Comeback Filmmaker - Tamara Jenkins. I liked The Slums of Beverly Hills when I first saw it around nine years ago and was eager to see what its writer-director would do next. Nothing came from Tamara. What happened to her, I wondered. A super bad case of writer’s block? Too busy clubbing with her frenemies: Paris, Britney, and Lindsay? One hit wonder? Decided to become a recluse like J.D. Salinger? Well it turned out Tamara was spending her time with Paris, Britney, and Lindsay, but managed somehow to squeeze in a new film with The Savages. I’m glad she did and hope she won’t take as long with the next one.
Actor - Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd). Not only is Johnny Depp the coolest guy I have ever met (yeah that’s right, I dropped Johnny’s name - so that makes me cool by association - oh, wait I’m surrounded by comic nerds so that negates it. Damn nerds.), but he’s also the greatest actor of his generation.
Actress - Ellen Page (Juno). She won’t have to do tripe like X3 anymore.
Screenwriter - Diablo Cody (Juno). Diablo kicks major ass. I love how she doesn’t follow Hollywood rules and formulas.
Television Show (comedy) - Extras. Ricky Gervais is brilliant. He shows that from pain and sadness can come great comedy. He is a rare true genius.
Television Show (drama) - Lost. A strong season this year. I honestly think the writers are actually going somewhere and have a point to it all. I like how they apparently don’t care what their fans think (they shouldn’t). On an earlier episode in the spring, I thought a Hurley episode was filler and had nothing to do with the overall story and was glad to be proven wrong. The mythology on this story is pretty intricate and to do this on episodic TV and to do it well is difficult. This is all very impressive. Kudos to the writers!
Animated TV Show - South Park. Still great after all these years with no drop-off. No one can match Trey Parker and Matt Stone with their cutting satire.
President - Nicolas Sarkozy (France). I have no idea what his policies are or even if he’s doing a good job. I do know that he’s dating Carla Bruni which makes him Kennedyesque.
New Musical Act - Paramore. My drawing is of lead singer Hayley Williams. I think other chicks should follow her lead and wear T-shirts with my signature on it (sorry no fatties).
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Here are some photos from my camera. I still have another roll to develop. Yes, I still shoot on film. I'm not opposed to digital, but I like shooting with SLR cameras and a digital equivalent to mine is out of my range at the moment. If Canon wants to give me one for free, by all means do so.
Here's Randy, Tony Wong (big time Hong Kong publisher) and me at the opening ceremony.
Here I am outside the Cyperport waiting for a boat to take us to a restaurant on an island. Little did we know the boat took us instead to a secret island where they forced us to compete in a deadly martial arts tournament. Luckily we survived, but Randy now has a life long scar from a sword across his right thigh and is married to the island chief's daughter (don't tell his wife and kids back in the U.S.).
Monday, December 10, 2007
Atonement is the most beautiful film I have seen this year. It's directed by Joe Wright, written by Christopher Hampton, based on a novel by Ian McEwan, and the D.P. is Seamus McGarvey. It stars James McAvoy and Keira Knightley. It about how a misunderstanding of events (or also could be viewed as lying) ruins the lives of two people. Joe Wright shows the power of cinema with his use of visuals and sound. It's not often enough where filmmakers show the uniqueness of the medium and it's good to see Wright command it.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Here's a recent Arwen commission I did.
If you're looking for a good new film, check out Juno written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman. It's a funny movie about a teenage girl (Ellen Page) who gets pregnant and thinks about letting a yuppie couple adopt her baby. Diablo Cody is a writer to keep your eyes on. Her script is clever and her dialogue is sharp and witty especially Juno's which is full of sarcasm. I like stories where it's not obvious what will happen and I'm happy the characters didn't fall into or become cliches. I like that Juno's best friend is a cheerleader because in a typical Hollywood movie they would be enemies. That stuff is boring and been done to death. That's why Diablo is cool.
Ellen Page's performance is strong and she will surely get numerous acting award nominations. She deserves to win them too. There's good acting all around by the rest of the cast as well: Michael Cera, Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons, and Olivia Thirlby.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Aw, poor Mace Windu. At least he went out like a man and not some punk. Here are a couple Revenge of the Sith cards where I erased my previous pencil sketch and was commissioned to do a new image in color. Initially it was just supposed to be the one card with Mace, but after the collector saw it he wanted Palpatine and Anakin on a second card.
I saw "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" directed by master filmmaker Sidney Lumet and written by Kelly Masterson earlier tonight. It's a powerful film about two brothers and a robbery gone bad. Lumet is still at the top of his game. It's cleverly written and acted. Wonderful performances by Ethan Hawke, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Marisa Tomei. I think the reason Lumet is still able to make good movies at his age and in such quick succession while other guys who've been at it for a while can't match his quality and output because he isn't afraid of new technology (this one was shot with a Panavision Genesis hi-def camera) and he isn't afraid to take chances. Fear leads to weakness and complacency.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I have a new comic up on DC's online site. It's a comedy-adventure strip called Alpha Monkey. It's penciled by Matteo Scalera, colored by Oscar Celestini (yes, my talented crew from Hyperkinetic), co-created by Bobby Rubio, and written and inked by me.
Check it out and vote for it if you like it.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
I'm not sure one can quite understand the feeling of being in the zone if one is not an athlete, artist, or writer. If you're an athlete, you can score at will and no defense can stop you. As an artist, your lines are going down effortlessly and better than you expected. When writing, scenes come out better than in your head and dialogue is coming out cleverly and fast. You can't put yourself in the zone. It just happens. Sometimes when I'm in that state when writing or inking, I'll lose track of time and forget to stop and eat and stuff like that.
I was in the zone when penciling this drawing of Emma Watson as Hermione yesterday afternoon. Then I went to a screening and party. I wasn't in the zone when I inked and colored it. I like the drawing, but I wonder how much better it could have been if I finished it in the zone.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
I never got into Doctor Who as a kid. I don't know if it was because of the cheap sets and effects or because it was shot on video. When the new version came on with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor (and shot on film), I gave it another shot and was happy I did. The new version is quite good.
The latest episode (at least here in the great U.S.A.) "Blink" featured Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow. She pretty much carried this cleverly written episode. Surely the brain trust in Hollywood will soon recognize her talents and Carey will be starring in major studio feature films.
Friday, September 07, 2007
I dug Petra Nemcova's TV show A Model Life on TLC. I would like to see another season of it. Unlike other new model shows, the ones on Petra's show look like they could actually be fashion models. Petra also seems genuinely warm. This drawing is based on a photo.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
I know a lot of people in comics, but only few of them I consider friends and Mike Wieringo was one of my closest friends and confidant. He died yesterday. He was only 44.
I met Mike early in my career. He was one of the few big name pencilers that requested me as an inker. We spoke to one another often and seemingly endlessly. We talked about what we liked and disliked about the industry, our dreams and aspirations, and a bunch of crazy stuff that had nothing to do with art or comics. Whenever I needed him, I could always count on him.
Mike was an amazing artist and great human being. There is goodness in his soul. He will always be my friend.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Having seen two Rogen/Goldberg flicks in subsequent days I noticed recurring themes: they have a fondness for homoerotic humor (there's a hilarious scene where Rogen and Franco try to escape from having their hands bound and end up in positions that look like they're having sex), male friendship is more important than the love of any woman ("bros before hos"), and they also set both their flicks in the town of Clark County (wherever the hell that is) where incompetent and/or corrupt cops seem to run rampant.
I like the two characters' idiocy and awkwardness in action such as when Franco has to kick out the windshield of a speeding car he is driving and gets his foot stuck instead. I would have liked to have seen that awkwardness applied to their use of guns in the big shoot out, but that's just a nitpick. The movie doesn't come out until next year so they might even reshoot that stuff. Whether they do or not, it's funny and worth watching.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Who were the two coolest dudes at this past San Diego Comic-Con? Clive Owen and Robert Downey Jr. of course. Since I don't have a photo of them, here's Pierre Bernard and me.
Speaking of cool dudes, I have seen Superbad twice already (one of the great things about living in L.A.). It's written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and directed by Greg Mottola. It's a funny movie about three high school losers trying to get alcohol for a party and score with chicks. Check it out.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Here's supercool model Alessandra Ambrossio based on a photo.
Comic-Con in San Diego was fun. The highlight was watching an advance screening of Shoot 'em Up written and directed by Michael Davis. It stars Clive Owen and Monica Bellucci. It's the best gun-action (or gun fu if you prefer) movie that I have seen since the Hong Kong maestro filmmakers (John Woo, Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam) were at the top of their game. Check it out if you like having fun at the movies.
I also got to meet my MySpace buddy Pierre Bernard (Late Night with Conan O'Brien) which was cool. I also ran into old pals such as Humberto Ramos, Randy Green, J. Scott Campbell, Gary Ham, Scott Tolleson, Alberto Ruiz, and Bobby Rubio as well as pretty much every one of my pencilers on my creator-owned books: Keron Grant, Kaare Andrews, Sanford Greene, Joey Mason, and Darryl Young (it's not a coincidence that I only work with super talented people).
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I'm going to be at Comic-Con in San Diego July 25 - 29, 2007. I'm splitting a table with my buddy Sean "Cheeks" Galloway at table #E2 in the Exhibitor's Area along with my pal Rajesh Bhavnani and Luca Tieri. I will also be signing at the Image Comics booth on Saturday from 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM and on Sunday from 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM.
Here's a drawing of Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man. I can't the following lyrics out of my head: "Spider-Pig. Spider-Pig. Does whatever a Spider-Pig does." - Homer J. Simpson
Monday, July 16, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
Here's Ashlee from a photo.
If you're looking for a funny new movie to watch, check out The Ten written by David Wain (who also directs) and Ken Marino (who also stars) (both formerly from The State). The movie is made up of vignettes based on each of the Ten Commandments. The funniest is the Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife one (with this wife being of the prison variety).
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Here's a scene from Before Sunset, one of my favorite films and highly underrated. Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke cowrote the film with director Richard Linklater.
It's interesting to see Ethan's growth of a filmmaker with his new film The Hottest State. I find his writing (in this and Before Sunset) to be emotional and personal. It's introspection one does not see often in films (at least not done well or interestingly). I can't help but to imagine him going deep into his life and extracting material for his writings. His new film is worth watching.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
I met the wonderful Frank Oz recently and he signed the original art of my CIV print. Check out his funny new film "Death at a Funeral." There is a hilarious scene in it where a character is helping an old guy in a wheelchair use the toliet. I was laughing so hard, tears almost came out of my eyes.
Speaking of my CIV print, If you wanted my limited edition Star Wars print and couldn't attend Star Wars Celebration IV, it is available now at StarWarsShop.com for a limited time. Go here for more info.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Sunday, June 10, 2007
The Three Stormtroopers.