Jan 28, 2015

Catfish Deluxe Releases Final 'Sidera' Short

Last month, France-based production house Catfish Deluxe released the first of four shorts they created Julien Neel's Lou! Journal infime. Titled Sidera, the shorts recounted the intergalactic voyages of a scantily-clad defender of justice launches herself from the boils of her gigantic space-whale headlong into the grips of danger and intrigue. Catfish has finally gotten around to releasing the final climactic clip from the movie, though two and three are suspiciously absent. Guess we'll have to see the actual movie to check those out!
I absolutely loved the original short and this one is no different; A brightly colored confluence of muscular visor-wielding centaurs, holographic dobermans and monolithic space women. It's like Jem and the Holograms by way of He-Man pitted in a fist-fight against Kill La Kill in a battle for the title of supreme absurdity. So long Sidera, hope to see you again someday!

Nesskain's Harry Potter Comic Tributes Are Phenomenal

We've spotlighted Nesskain’s aptitude for tackling dreamy, atmospheric subjects and otherworldly coloring before, and his fan artwork for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series are certainly no exception.

His tribute strips, one for each of the seven books in the series, easily ascend to the heights of some of the very best Potter-related fan art out on the web to date. Every panel is infused with an aura of high adventure, brilliantly-rendered cerulean pallets and dynamic composition that makes every page feel definitive and climactic.

It should come as no surprise that the story of "the boy who lived" has inspired whole mountain-ranges of fan art since its debut in 1997. But Nesskain's are just leagues ahead of what I've seen lately, reminding me a lot of Kazu Kibuishi's work on the 2013 re-release covers.

Scholastic Books would do well to offer him a license to adapt the entire series. These panels are proof alone he would do the books justice. Check out the rest of the pages after the break (the caveat of spoilers should go without saying). Nearly each one is better than the last.

Worth Checking Out - Children of Morta

Children of Morta is a "narrative-based roguelike" being developed by Dead Mage, known for creating similar hack’n slash titles such as Shadow Blade and Garshasp: The Monster Slayer. Players assume the roles of the Bergson family, the ancestral guardians of the Mountain of Morta, who must battle their way along the mountain's peak to discover the source of the corruption transforming the wilderness into a host of blighted abominations and dispel it once and for all.
Let me tell you of the days of high adventure...
What really strikes me about this game besides its beautiful, densely pixelated art-style, is how the family members each represent a prototypical class of top-down RPG occupations (John the Father is the swordsman, Linda the Daughter is the archer, Lucy the Mage and Kevin the Rogue, etc.) and the ability to switch between them over the course of the game. The procedural-generated dungeons coupled with an emphasis on a strong narrative elements throughout add a nice twist to the mix too.

The game is currently sitting on over $46-thousand of its initial 65-thousand dollar goal, with the potential of expanding to the current-gen consoles (i.e. PS4, Xbox One, and Wii-U) post-release. Backer incentives include a download of the game's soundtrack and access to an exclusive family member. If the trailer piques your interest, throw some support their way!

Jan 27, 2015

Brainstorm Breathes New Life Into The Dark Lord of the Sith

Klaus Wittmann
Darth Vader. Savior-turned-slaughterer of the Jedi Order. The Dragon of Darth Sidious. A name synonymous with the labored exhale of a respirator and the silhouette of a hooded executioner marching through the smoking chasm of a laser-blasted airlock door. From the moment he premiered on-screen in 1977, Darth Vader had captured the collective imagination of popular culture at large with his unpacifiable ruthlessness and impenetrable aura of unwavering stoicism.

Vader has been re-imagined so many times it almost seems like a rite of passage for any fledgling Cintiq art-padawan. So when the Brainstorm page announced that they were hosting a month-long community challenge to re-interpret the fallen Jedi Knight and the Imperial Storm troopers, I knew we were in for something special.

And I wasn't wrong; Out of the hundreds of illustrations submitted, these are but a few of the most jaw-dropping entries to be submitted this month. The Force is strong with this post.

The First Teaser for the Fantastic Four Reboot Looks Intriguing

When news first broke of Marvel's attempt to wipe the slate of Tim Story's Fantastic Four series in the wake of the MCU's second wind, I was understandably reluctant to pronounce interest. The first two films, however well-meaning, strayed too far from the spirit of their source-material and ran along the spectrum of being either nauseatingly campy or frustratingly unfaithful (Galactus is a storm cloud?!). However, the release of this first teaser trailer does look interesting, so let's keep an open-mind, hmm?
Déjà vu à la Mass Effect, anyone?
Josh Trank is the director behind one of my favorite superhero style movies in recent memory (Chronicle) and Simon Kinberg's got a decent track record for screenwriting.The film looks decidedly more "edgy" than its predecessors, the casting of Michael B. Jordan and Toby Kebbell as the Human Torch and Dr. Doom respectively has me intrigued. We'll have to wait until August 7th to see if these decisions will pan out into a great film, but for now my verdict is cautious enthusiasm.

Jan 23, 2015

The Art of Yuanda Yu

Yuanda Yu is an eight-year veteran concept artist with over twelve collective years of experience in digital illustration, and boy does it shows. His meticulous attention to detail is superb, his subject matter covers the gamut of hard line post-apocalyptic and speculative sci-fi tropes.

The subtle incorporation of pronounced yet careful visual cues to a variety of different culture precedes the temperament of an artist who devotes himself to the passionate study of world culture as well as illustration. Yu is currently working as a senior artist for Barajoun Entertainment and has done work for CCP and Webzen. Check out a sampling of his work after the break!

This 30-Second 'Apocalypse Now' Student Trailer is Ridiculously Impressive

Apocalypse Now is one of Francis Ford Coppola's most storied and critically-acclaimed films and a sobering depiction of the ravages of war on the human psyche. The only thing more iconic than the film itself is it's subsequent documentary Heart of Darkness, wherein we get a glimpse at the process behind producing the film that nearly drove Coppola himself to the brink of insanity.
The best part of waking up is napalm in your cup!
A class of students from The Animation Workshop,Denmark's leading animation institution, have released this epic 30-second trailer depicting Captain Willard's journey into the dark heart of the jungles of Vietnam to kill the demented Colonel Kurtz. I think it manages to succinctly capture the psychological gravitas and iconic imagery of one of cinema's most enduring classics. Great job guys!

Vandroid's Graphic Novel Trailer is Pure 80's Pulp-Adrenaline

Vandroid is a limited-series graphic novel written by Tommy Lee Edwards and illustrated by Dan McDaid published by Dark Horse late last year. Golden Wolf, a London-based production company whose work we have featured before with their music video for Dog Blood's "Chella Ride", produced this brazenly cool promotional trailer for the novel's release. After watching this, I'm definitely planning on snatching up a copy on my next comic-store run.

Official site
The year is 1984. Washed-up mechanic Chuck Carducci is contacted by an old roommate from his MIT days to team up on a new project using cutting-edge artificial intelligence. With salvaged electronics from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, high-performance van parts, and a plutonium- ion battery dubiously procured by a mysterious financial backer, Chuck builds a robot so human, yet so powerful, it can only be called VANDROID! Chuck puts everything he ever wished he was into Vandroid, and the robot now has a chance to fulfill his creator’s lost potential.

Way Out

What happens when our over-dependency on virtual communication takes on a life of it's own? This is the central conceit behind Yukai Du's MA graduation film inspired by Sherry Turkle's novel, "Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other".  The short combines Du's distinctive chalk-pattern aesthetic with beautifully engrossing ambient sound design courtesy of Angus MacRae.

I can't help but reflect on my own over-reliant social media habits after watching "Way Out". The ease-of-access of modern information technology has made us lax in the categorization of that information between that which is edifying and that which is stunting. And what happens when human interactions are lost in the mix? Still, I think it's possible to navigate the ubiquity of the modern age while still bearing in mind what's really important.

Ghostface Killah - Ray Gun ft. DOOM

Director Rob Schroeder and Lodger Films' music video for Ghostface Killah and DOOM's collaborative track "Ray Gun" is certifiably funkadelic. Odd Future lieutenant Left Brain plays "The Mask"; A hard-nosed, trench-coated police detective on the edge with a Kamen Rider-esque helmet hailing from another dimension.
"Take Me To Your Leader"
He's on the case to rescue a young woman who's fallen in with some shady looking ne'er do wells. But can he really save a girl who might just not want to be saved, and will he ever return to his home-planet? Ray Gun is a delicious blend of Exploitation-era aesthetics and awesome visuals that perfectly complement Ghost and DOOM's killer bars. I'd love to see a follow-up short film if it matched the bar of quality set by this!

Vitaliy Shushko's 'X-Story' Already Looks Incredible

I couldn't rightly tell you what X-Story is about, which is wholly owed to the fact the only information released so far about Russian-based animator Vitaly Shushko's first independent short film is the trailer above, a broad tentative '2015' release date and...the announcement that it's his first film.
Quite the climb.
Still, this teaser offers more than enough to wet our appetites before the main course drops later this year. The teaser flashes images of a young man with a robotic arm riding through the desert on a crimson hover-bike, delving into the catacombs of some ancient underground labyrinth facing off against some lumbering anonymous monstrosity. Sounds like one hell of a ride, can't wait to see it in full!

Jan 22, 2015

It's Happening: Starr Mazer Launches Kickstarter Campaign!

Last April, I did a write-up for Jérémie Périn's epic concept-game trailer Starr Mazer before shouting from the rooftops into the vacuum of space hoping against hope that this ludicrously entertaining mash-up of bullet-hell Shoot 'em up and pulp sci-fi point-and-click mechanics manifested into something actually playable. 

Well, it looks like the long arch of the universe is smiling in my favor because Imagos Softworks has finally launched a kickstarter campaign to bring this modern-day opus of retro gaming to fruition.

I think my spaceship knows which way to go...
The team includes Périn who's back on-board doing concept-art; The pledge page promises an original chip-tunes soundtrack courtesy of the talented Alex Mauer (Serious Sam: Random Encounter), Manami Matsumae (Mega Man), The Protomen, and Virt (Shovel Knight), a colorful host of characters, and a multi-choice branching storyline that results in interesting subsequent play-throughs.

I really don't know if it gets much cooler than this. It's like if Space Ace, Commander Shepherd, Space Dandy, and Guybrush Threepwood got mashed all up into one guy who was then thrown into a black hole and then spat out into a Gradius Level. Go back this asap!

Yuki Yuki Goes Sari

What begins with a young anime girl materializing from a patchwork of pastels and brushstrokes à la Duck Amuck and Rabbit Rampage quickly becomes a hallucinatory trip through alternate realities collapsing over one another in a cascade of screen-tearing colors and ambient electronica.

Yuki Yuki Goes Sari, or as it is titled "(ゆきすすみさりゆき) Yukisusumisariyuki", is the creation of seemingly one mysterious animator who goes by the name "kwgt". We've reached out to him to learn more about the technique and influences that went into this clip, though in the meantime, let's just enjoy this psychedelic experience on repeat.


Mathijs Demaeght's graduation film "Flow" was released over four months ago, though for some reason it seems to have re-entered into the orbit of the blogosphere after detouring in the space in which all hidden treasures reside.

A beautiful and near-seamless combination of 2D and 3D animation, Flow depicts the story of a young girl who, in the depths of mourning a lost loved-one, follows a white wolf into a mysterious realm of forests and spirits.

"Go then; there are other worlds than these."
The animation here inspires favorable comparisons to the aesthetics of such works as Journey, Sword & Sworcery, and the Gobelins student film Myosis. With the exception of backgrounds, storyboards and score, everything was created and animated by Mathijs himself. If this film is any indication, I'd say he's got a quite the promising future ahead of him.

Throwback Thursday: Throne - Tharsis Sleeps

Nicos Livesey's video for UK-band Throne depicts an epic drama of interplanetary conquest and cosmic collision seemingly embroidered into the very fabric of space and time. Three astronauts are sent to the planet Mars on a mission to last open the volcanic crater dubbed "Tharsis" and seed a new foothold for human civilization. They end up getting more than what they bargained for when their bomb punctures a rift in reality, allowing for a whole mess of inter-dimensional prog-rock nonsense to spill out into the void.

What's most impressive is that this wasn't just computer-generated to resemble embroidery. Every frame was physically stitched and digitally-composted in post-production. Our hats off to the folks at Lucky Features and Dazed Digital for creating such a kick-ass music video!

Jan 21, 2015

Mondo's Limited-Edition Iron-Giant Figure Hits Us Right in The Feels

Mondo, known for creating exquisitely bad-ass novelty movie posters crafted by some of the world's greatest commercial artists, is now edging into the collectible figure business with their 16" tall Iron Giant figure.

Priced at $300, it comes complete with over 30 points of articulation, light up and sound effect feature, Hogarth mini-figure accessory, and detachable hand-cannon, red-eyed head variant and magnetic "Superman" chest plate; with an additional walking-hand attachment for the additional price of $15. Pre-orders go on sale tomorrow(!), so snatch one up while you still have the cash and time.

Brad Bird's 1999 directorial debut The Iron Giant the film not only asserted himself as the director who would go on to direct subsequent classics such as The Incredibles and Ratatouille, but it also introduced us to Vin Disiel's proto-Groot role as the movie's titular iron-plated Goliath with a heart of gold. We may not have that long-awaited Blu-ray release yet, but at least we have this gorgeous figure to tide us over with.

Worth Checking Out - Strafe

It's sometimes a bit difficult for me to see clearly when I'm flooded with overwhelming nostalgia, but Strafe may have hit perfection with it's Kickstarter trailer. The amount of 90s cheese is amazing and already has me ordering a new fanny pack and a 20-year-old box of Ecto Cooler.

Strafe is a rogue-like with an FPS and resource gathering twist. With procedurally generated levels, players need to make the most out of gathered resources in order to survive the unknown levels. In a world with endless indie rogue-likes, it takes a lot to stand out, but Strafe definitely has the aesthetic to do so.

I'm really digging the art style, which sits somewhere between Doom and a voxel-style game with loads of bloody giblets. The dripping pixels of blood in the above gif really wraps it all up nicely.

The game, which currently has 28 days remaining in it's Kickstarter campaign, is sitting at a healthy $42,000 of it's $185,096 goal, but that doesn't mean it doesn't need your help. For more info and to help fund it's creation, check out the Kickstarter page over here. This game is looking totally radical.

Jan 20, 2015

The Art of Minovo Wang

Minovo Wang is a concept art machine, plain and simple. The bar of quality throughout his work is so consistently high, combined with the almost otherworldly speed he updates with new illustrations, it's profoundly intimidating. A professional concept artist born and based out of Shanghai, the major subjects of Wang's paintings up until recently have been hastily rendered junk-cobbled automatons with retro-futuristic insignia floating through the ether of space.

But from the outset of this year his body of work has shifted to that of sartorially savvy mercenaries stomping through terra-formed outer colonies and portraits of cybernetic matriarchs with gazes so sullen and fierce they could give Sharbat Gula a run for her money. I've drafted this post over three times and it never gets easier choosing which of his illustrations to feature. This guy's definitely getting a redux down the line.

Jan 16, 2015

Figma's God Warrior Figure Is The Stuff Of Nightmares

Holy crap. I mean c'mon seriously, look at this thing. Is this not one of the most terrifying and awesome figurines you've ever seen? Based off of Studio Ghibli's 2012 live-action collaboration with Hideki Anno, A Giant God Warrior Descends on Tokyo, this limited-edition figma figurine was once sold exclusively through the Tokyo's Museum of Contemporary Art and is now up for sale at online retailer GoodSmile for 3,600 Yen (translated roughly to $30). With a price like that, I'll might just snag one up myself!

The way that this figure was cast is especially cool; Taking the original life-size puppet into a 3D printer, scanned, shrunken down and then handed off to resident Figma sculptor Takayuki Takeya for the final polish! The figma also comes with the typical array of alternate head and hand styles, a plasma mouth cannon, light spear, translucent stand, a pair of very Eva-esque energy wings!

Check out more photos of the figure after the break!

Marvel's 'Run The Jewels' Variant Covers Are Unbearably Cool

Holy cow, Run the Jewels are just moving from strength to strength nowadays! A scant three months after releasing one of last year's best hip-hop albums, coordinating a massive world-wide graffiti project, and embarking on a tireless tour across the U.S., The abrasive rap-duo are set to be canonize into the annals of comic-book stardom with the announcement of two radically awesome variant covers courtesy of Marvel!

Run Them Jewels Fast!
The collaboration between the group and Marvel was spearheaded by none other than Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso who, after witnessing his son's appreciation for the group during a football game, got in contact with Jaime and Mike to make it happen. The covers, seen above, are set to release later this month. I'm still picking my jaw from off the floor in awe that this is happening.

'Playing With Power' Takes The Power-Glove To A Whole New Level

Nintendo's first foray into motion-control gaming, the Power-Glove, is simultaneously one of the most disastrous product campaigns the company has ever launched and one of the most iconic pieces of 1980's pop-cultural ephemera. And now, thanks to Dillon Markey, an animator at Stoopid Monkey Studios (Robot Chicken) and PES (Fresh Guacamole), it's the ultimate video-editing peripheral.

Though at first glance it looks like little more than nostalgic affectation for the aesthetics of yesteryear, Dillon's custom Power-Glove is a surprisingly practical, multi-purpose stop-motion animation tool. Equipped with blue-tooth enabled quick-keys, retractable tweezers for re-positioning small assets, and an suitably awesome fist-bump sound effect. Maybe Nintendo ought to get into the animation business?

Jan 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Horde

This week's throwback is the brilliantly intense Horde courtesy of France-based animation group The Brutus Collective. If you're having trouble matching a face to the name, I'll spoil it for you: The four directors are alumni of the Supinfocom computer animation university and were the guys behind 2013's gorgeously post-apocalyptic Contre Temps.

Horde follows a lone motorcyclist speeding down a dark country highway who is ambushed by a gang of ghoulish apparitions looking to separate his head from his neck in the fewest amount of steps possible. It's gritty and violent, and combined with music courtesy of Flairs, it echoes the tone and imagery of tremendous motorcycle fights seen in the likes of Tron and Akira.

'After You Die' Answers An Age-Old Question In The Cheekiest Way

Comedian Cartoonist Ramin Nazer's picture-book "After You Die" is a colorful and irreverent look at one of the otherwise most solemn and universal questions of the human condition; What happens after I die? Proudly proclaiming itself as non-denominational, After You Die combines robots, skeletons, surprise parties, the fourth dimension and Super Jail-esque visual to chart a hilarious road-trip through the annals of the after-life. Condensing the concepts of Ghosticism, Christianity, Existentialism, and Solipsism in a way that's both hilarious and easy to understand.

If you feel like having a physical book to flip through and show to your friends, Check out his personal website and order a copy!

Flying Lotus - Coronus, The Terminator

Coronus, The Terminator is the latest installment in Flying Lotus' ongoing onslaught of masterfully directed music-videos. One of the most celebrated highlight tracks off of You're Dead!, Coronus needed an appropriately epic and ominous video to accompany the track's narrative of an harbinger of death coming down to lay waste to the Earth.

What we got was the story of man's premature passage through the bardos of the after-life, fleeing from the specters of death and regret that inhabit his home, and chasing the image of his son through the catacombs of otherworldly highways before ultimately submitting to the inevitable conclusion of his mortality.

Try though you might, you can't run forever...
This video is so chocked-full of symbolism it's intimidating. There's the destination of "Pleroma" and "You're Dead!" scrolling on the bus' LED screen, the eruption of lotus flowers, the one-armed son who can't place his hand on the chest of his father.

After watching it multiple times, I can't seem to shake the timeliness of this quote from one of my favorite horror movies Jacob's Ladder, "...if you're frightened of dying and... and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth." Young Prodigy has joined the ranks of Hiro Murai, David Lewandowski, Kahlil Joseph, and David Firth as one of Flying Lotus' most formidable collaborators.

Jan 14, 2015

An Interview With Peter Mohrbacher & Eli Minaya of Angelarium

A couple weeks back, I had the tremendous opportunity to speak with Peter Mohrbacher and Eli Minaya about their collaborative, crowd-funded project Angelarium. A personal passion project of Mohrbacher for over eight years, the visual universe of the heavenly host has since found new life as a Patreon-backed art series featuring its own superbly bizarre canon of towering deities and lesser demons unleashed every Thursday for supporters to see.

If you could sum up Angelarium in one sentence, what would it be?

Peter: Angelarium is essentially "a world for angels". A compendium of paintings and poetry inspired by the names and aspects of heavenly entities as interpreted by Eli and myself. I started it back in college in 2004 and I've been updating it ever since. It's a core part of my online identity because its the body of work I'm most proud of as a digital illustrator.

We're currently portraying angels tied to our interpretation of the Tree of Life, but we have a lot more in store for the near-future!

Kepler's "Exoplanet Travel Bureau" Beckons Us To Vacation Among The Stars

A New Life Awaits You in The Off-World Colonies! Or at least, that's what these posters would lead you to believe. Nasa's been going through something of a boon lately, what with the announcement that the number of discovered exoplanets orbiting the habitable zone of neighboring stars now number in the thousands! That means there are just over 1,000 possible Earths out there...if we could only reach them.

To commerate the occasion, a group of artists at the Kepler astronomical labortory have released three stunning vintage-styled travel posters inspired by the "Visit America" Tourist campaign. Just looking at these makes me want to hop a ride on an orbital elevator and take a connecting flight from Olympus Mons straight on for the stars. Check out the rest of the posters after the break! 

Jan 13, 2015


Metamorphosis channels the anarchic satirical wit of Hunter S. Thompson and existential terror of Franz Kafka's titular novel to create a psychedelic cocktail of dark musings and lucid imagery. The short is an brilliant advertisement for Good Books, a book-seller whose proceeds go one-hundred percent to support communities in need through Oxfam International projects.

I think they absolutely nailed Thompson's paranoia-drenched prose and talent for off-the-wall analogies. Go check them out next time you're looking for something new to read, it's for a good cause!

Gabriel In The Dreamscape: Introduction

"I'm like sleepwalking through a lucid dream. Dream-walking, man. That's me...living the dream!"

Such is the life of Gabriel; Eric Lerner's imaginary living-tattooed, motion-graphic graffiti artist who inhabits the border-realm between what is and what might be. It's certainly one of the most attractive shorts I've watched recently, combining impressive motion-capture animation with stylish live-action editing. I would love to see more of Gabriel's musings and misadventures in the "dreamscape". I'm certain that this isn't the last we've seen of this bug-eyed yellow dude. If you like the track, check out Gabriel's bandcamp page!

Jan 10, 2015

Aesop Rock - Cat Food EP

New-York rhyme-spitter Aesop Rock is one of the most lyrically-gymnastic and stylistically divisive rappers I have ever listened to. Where some hear intricately woven rhyme schemes worthy of diving into a thesaurus, other's hear contrived garbled nonsense. Personally, I've been a persistent fan of his work dating all the back to releases such as Float, Labor Days and the Daylight EP, so the surprise release of this EP was nothing short of exciting.

Featuring production by long-time collaborator Blockhead and cover art courtesy of concept artist Justin "El Coro" Kaufman, Catfood is a solid two-track release chock-full of awesome lines for hip-hop heads to ruminate over. Check the tracks "Catfood" and "Bug Zapper" below.

Childish Gambino - Sober

The music video for Childish Gambino's latest mix-tape single proves, yet again, that actor/song-writer Donald Glover and director Hiro Murai make a creative force to be reckoned with. Sober opens with a disheveled and sullen-eyed Gambino staring at a young woman seated across from him in a take-out diner. After wrestling with the decision to go up and talk to her, he lurches over like the living dead to sit next to her.

No, he's a zombie, he's just really really high. Though the video does have an undeniable Thriller-vibe about it, with Gambino launching himself into a full-on phantasmagoric display of dance moves in an attempt to woo this mysterious young stranger.  Ian Eastwood deserves a resounding round of applause for his exquisite choreography direction.

Black Dynamite's Musical Season Finale is 'The Wiz' meets 'The Wire'

Tonight, Adult Swim is airing the one-hour Black Dynamite season finale "The Wizard of Watts". The Black Dynamite series, created in 2009 by Michael Jae White and directed by LeSean Thomas and Carl Jones of Boondocks fame, has never been a stranger to bizarre humor and brazen social commentary driven from off the beaten path. But this episode is something else entirely.

Feeling in need of some well-deserved off time after a long stretch of solving cases and beating up drug dealers, Black Dynamite decides to take a holiday only to be serendipitously hit in the head by a brick. Dynamite's catatonic dreams transport him to the magical world of "Oz-Watts", a fantastical wonderland of foul-mouthed poodles (Tyler, the Creator), flying junkies, harpy hookers (Erykah Badu), a wizard Magic Johnson, and a benevolent fairy James Brown welcoming him to "the black version of the Wiz". Oh, and an army of pig enforcers hell-bent on beating the s#*@& out of him. What could go wrong?

It seems like New York production house Ars Nova is going all-out for this season's finale. Though I must admit I haven't watched much of the show save a few episodes of the first run, I'm genuinely looking forward to seeing this episode. Michael Jai White, Carl Jones, Kym Whitley, and Scott Sander of the Black Dynamite crew are also hosting a Google Hangout session before, during and after the episode's premiere. Check out the episode tonight and let us know what you think!

'Chappie' looks like a Promising, if Predictable Sci-Fi Action Flick

The second trailer for Neill Blomkamp's Chappie feels like a mild reprise of the first. With the exception of a few snippets of new footage, the trailer sticks to the story of a self-aware peacekeeping android with a heart of gold pitted against a harsh human opposition born out of fear of the unknown.

The on-screen entrance of sci-fi dame Signourey Weaver is predictably exciting yes, though it is disappointing to see the previously advertised comedy angle takes a backseat to trie-and-tired smash-cut explosions in the film's marketing. Hopefully, this decision is just a crowd pleasing bait-and-switch and Chappie will have a couple more surprises up its sleeve besides looking like a cross between Robocop and E.T.

Jan 9, 2015

New Arise-Helmed Ghost in The Shell Movie Announced for Summer 2015

The Ghost in the Shell news that's most been on everyone's lips lately is the announcement of Scarlet Johansson's leading role in the American adaptation directed by Rupert Sanders. Regardless on where you stand on the decision, take heart; we'll see more of Major Kusanagi and her counter-terrorist cohorts sooner than we might have thought. A new feature film tentatively titled 'Ghost in the Shell 2015' has been announced for release early this summer, produced by the team behind the Arise prequel tetralogy.

The first key visual for the film (shown above) features series protagonist Motoko Kusanagi in a pose typical for the franchise; The gorgeous technomancing cyborg warrior staring defiantly from behind a nest of wires and holographic overlays. To her left and right are near-identical prosthetic host bodies suspended in a ceaseless row of docking stations. What could it possibly mean? Will Motoko have to fight off duplicates of herself?

I thought that Arise was a serviceable re-imagining of the franchise's long-established relationships and depictions. I'm excited to see what Kazuchika Kise and Project I.G. bring to the table this time.

Jan 8, 2015

The Trouble Starts - Faulkner

The music video for The Trouble Starts' lead single Faulkner opens with a cabal of academics and literary critics exhuming the corpse of William Faulkner and performing an arcane ritual to resurrect his spirit so he can write another great work. What's not to like? What follows is a desperate chase through the streets of New York and beyond, as the ghostly luminary searches for his muse in a world that has long since moved on without him.

But seriously though, Anton Bogaty's Hanna-Barbera-esque animations, combined with the beautifully effective stock photo backgrounds, scratches my nostalgia-inch while also tickling the literature nerd in me. Check out his online portfolio, and if you're vibing with track go snatch up a copy of the band's latest album titled "West".

A Little Film About... Thomas Burden

A Little Film About... Thomas Burden is an inventive and inspiring look into the method and little madness of the film's titular 3D illustrator. In three minutes, Burden takes us through a day in his creative life, exploring the humble origins of his subject matter and style ( 60-70's National Geographic meets Argyll Story Catalog), the temperament of his quiet village home of Chichester, his home-life, and the intentions and motivations behind his work.

His pieces capture a vibe of child-like abandon and Clokey-like aestheticism. Burden is a meticulous illustrator and an adventurous tinkerer, smashing shapes together to create oddball creatures and miniature worlds of wonder. Check out more of his awesome work at his personal website, and give the guys and gals at Handsome Frank a nod too for making such a gorgeously Wes Anderson-esque video.


Director and animator Johnny Wood's OOLYMPACS is a one-minute visual espresso shot of Web 1.0 era animation that conjures up nightmarish comparisons to Teletoon's pioneering 3D animated series Reboot and Graham Young's Nintendo: A Sad Story.

This isn't even my final form.
I think what really does it for me about this video, besides the hilariously out-of-sync audio and grainy flourish of pixelated colors, is the deliberately exaggerated body animations that manage to be just on the cusp of believability before nose-diving into horrific contortionistic nonsense. This rightfully deserves to be buried in the 4 a.m. time-slot on Adult Swim.

Jan 4, 2015

'Ex Machina' Looks Like A True Transhumanist Thriller

The latest sci-fi opus from director Alex Garland, responsible for writing such films as 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Never Let Me Go,  opens later this month in the U.K.

Ex Machina stars Domhnall Gleeson as Caleb, a timid programmer who, in a Wonka-esque twist of fate, wins the chance to spend a week with the reclusive CEO (Oscar Isaac) of the company he works for in his luxurious compound estate secluded in the mountains. However, Caleb soon realizes that he's been chosen to participate in a bold new experiment in artificial intelligence; An experiment that could yield profound and terrible consequences for both himself and the human race.

The film comes out on January 23rd in the U.K., with an official theater release run in the U.S. on April 10th courtesy of A24 Pictures. I would love to write-up a review on this one when or if it comes out via streaming.

I'm a little worn-down with immensely promising premises being diluted and squandered on SFX-saturated popcorn action-thrillers, but if Garland's track record is any indication we might have a true trans-humanist thriller on our hands. Besides, any film that has a trailer scored by DJ Shadow circa '96 is already a winner in my book.

Jan 2, 2015

Neil Blomkamp's Abandoned 'Alien' Concepts Reveal A Great Film That Never Was

If I could sum up my relationship to the Aliens movie franchise in two words, they would be "affectionately turbulent". The entire series has bobbed and darted at each end of the spectrum of quality, from Ridley Scott's masterful 1979 original and James Cameron's superb if tonally divergent sequel, to the series' last two sequels (and one prequel) that charitably run the gamut between 'scattershot' and 'unfortunate'. So when I saw these concept art pieces posted by Neil Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) related to a supposedly cancelled(?) spec-sequel helmed by the man himself, my heart broke a little.

Hello Mother.
Part of me is stubbornly holding out hope that this is all just a stealth-promotion campaign to drum up and demonstrate public support for his own iteration in the franchise, much like the 'leak' of the Deadpool sizzle-trailer that coincidentally led to the film finally be green-lit after witnessing the hype. At least, that's what I imagine this is when you have sheepishly implicit remarks like , "[20th Century Fox] didn't even know I was working on it haha...Woulda rocked. Was a mental stroll into the world Ridley Scott created...maybe I'll go back to it ....love the world". 

Check out the rest below the break. Shouts out to Meredith Woerner of io9 for breaking the story!

Jan 1, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Everything I Can See From Here

Salutations Awesome-Robonauts! I'm happy to report that we've successfully managed to survive another 365-day circuit around the sun. Now that everyone is coasting off a two-day stretch of toast-making and nursing hangovers, let's spare a moment to throwback to London-based animation house The Line's exquisitely bizarre short, Everything I Can See From Here.

Making friends is easy, if you know how...
It's a story as old as time. Two buddies are having tossing a ball around in a junkyard, marveling at the force of Earth's gravity, when a strange creature with luminescent dreads materializes out of the folds of space to join in on their game. To say things do not go as well is an understatement.

This short is a true diamond in the rough. The strong reliance on ambient sound design and pantomimic gestures, combined with the expert balance between soft and hard color pallets is powerfully reminiscent of Genndy Tartakovsky at his best. I'm pleased Everything I Can See From Here has finally made its way onto Awesome-Robo's radar. Check out the making of video below the break, and check out the Creator Project's interview with the directors discussing the origins behind the short!