Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day: Dress Blues

I think I posted this before...  No worries.  This is one of those things worth posting more than once.  The song is "Dress Blues" by Jason Isbell; it's about a friend he grew up with.  The video is from the funeral procession of another Marine, Jason Rogers, who paid the ultimate price.

Thank you -- all of you.  I'm flying the flag out front in your memory.  And I'll drink a cold one for you.

Van Halen: Dreams

Van Halen (or, if you prefer, Van Hagar) and the US Navy Blue Angels in the video for Dreams.

Memorial Day: Point Shooting

Another vintage video of shooting with the M1911 .45 pistol.  Proving that the "Old Guys" of yesteryear were badasses who could shoot too.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, Christopher Lee!

I'm sure the fact you have played Vampire Lord Dracula, Sith Lord Count Dooku, and dark wizard Saruman has nothing to do with the fact you're 90 years young.

He's to the right side of the album cover.  I swear...

Moviefone compiled a list of awesome things about Christopher Lee that is well worth reading.

A couple of my favorites?

36. He's the only member of the "Lords of the Ring" film production to actually meet J.R.R. Tolkien.

38. He received Tolkien's blessing to play Gandalf if there was ever a film adaptation.  [Whoops!]

47. Throughout his career, he has starred as, Mephistopheles, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, the founder of Pakistan and voiced both the Jabberwocky dragon and Death itself.

Memorial Day: Vintage Instructional Film on the 1911 Pistol

The .45 ACP M1911 pistol has been the work horse close combat tool of the United States Military for more than a century.  Although newer designs, from Beretta, SIG Sauer, and H&K and even Glock,  have tried to replace it, the pistol soldiers on and continues to be a favorite among our most elite units.

The Muppet Show: In the Navy

The Muppet Show had a unique twist on Vikings.  I wonder how the Swedish Chef felt about it?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pegaso's Berserker

Okay, technically he's an Ulfhednar, not a Berserker, but it's still an awesome model!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

GI Joe: Retaliation release date is now...

I know better than anyone that GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra was a "disappointment" to the fans.  But rather than dwell on the downside (Can anyone really explain to me the purpose of putting the nanobot warheads in the particle accelerator was?), I chose to focus on the positive: Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow had an epic duel, and Sienna Miller looked hot as a brunette with glasses.

I was more than a little surprised to learn they were pressing ahead with a sequel/reboot, but I rejoiced that one of the most influential franchises of my childhood was being given a second chance.

I even got excited when the movie actually didn't look half-bad.  Bruce Willis was in it.  The Rock was in an action role I was interested in seeing.  (Please, Rock, don't ever dress up as the Tooth Fairy again...)  They got Ray Park and the Korean Guy who's name I can't spell to come back as Snak Eyes and Storm Shadow.  Ray Stevenson was playing Firefly.

This looked like fun to me.  I even had people who didn't bother with the first iteration tell me this looked like a GI Joe movie they would go see.

But all that was before The Avengers released.  Three weeks on top of the box office, in May, plus good reviews is huge.  I mean it won't win an Oscar, but it has raked in the cash and that's THE most important thing in Hollywood.

So if you're a studio with a team-based franchise movie about to be released, you can't be blamed for looking at that success and trying to figure out how to capture a little of that lightning.  But at this point, what can you do?

Convert your movie to 3D, of course.  Obviously that was the secret to The Avengers' success.  (To be fair, an honest case can be made that The Avengers made $1B partly because 3D and IMAX tickets are more expensive)  So that's what's being done to GI Joe.  But conversion takes time, and that means we need to bump the release date of the movie just a teensy bit.

GI Joe: Retaliation will now hit screens in March, 2013.

You read that correctly, folks.  I couldn't believe it either.  Here's some proof:

It's not the 3D.  It's the fact that this Summer has become obviously crowded: The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus, Brave, even The Expendables 2.  Assuming for the moment that GI Joe is good (and I know that's a big assumption) it was not going to pull in the kinds of numbers those movies will.  John Carter tanked, Dark Shadows bombed, the numbers look horrible for Battleship...  This Summer people are still going to the movies, but they will go to the quality product and they will do it over and over again.

There's also the fact that Channing Tatum is starring in a movie about male strippers called Magic Mike that will be released this Summer too.  I'm sure that unintentional cross-promotion didn't help.  Nor the news that Tatum was a stripper in an earlier career.

Of course, it's also likely the movie sucks...

Make the pain stop!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Streets of Fire: Nowhere Fast!



This is a miniature vignette by Andrea Miniatures of a Viking father making a model of a longship for his son.

Friday, May 18, 2012

There Can Be Only One?

Rumors of a Highlander reboot have been circulating for years now.  In theory, this is a reboot I could get behind.  Do the story right, planning a trilogy form the beginning.  Of course, there are some long odds on this working...

But here's the latest bit of rumor: Ryan Reynolds may be the lead.  I can't decide if this is a good thing or not.  What do you all think?

I could see this if they go in a slightly different direction and make the story as much a Romance as it is an Action film.

BTW, I'm convinced the real important point here is to make the swordfighting a centerpiece.  It not only has to look good, there should be authentic styles, and clever staging.  Rehash the hack-and-slash and it's a cheap grab at cashing in on the original idea.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

CuChulainn: The Demise of the Hound

Here's another take on the death of CuChulain.  The epic hero's death is one of several favorite motifs visited and revisited by artists.  Perhaps on of the most famous depictions of CuChulainn's end is the statue in the Dublin GPO.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Dear Joss;

Curse your sudden, but inevitable, betrayal!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Modern Super Soldier 1:6 scale

Not one of mine.  But very impressive interpretation.

This features an excellent paint job and weathering.

CuChulainn: The Great Challenge

Queen Maeve of Connaught got what she wanted, one way or another.  And what she wanted was a magnificent bull in Ulster.

Cattle raiding was a regular occurence in Ireland for hundreds (if not thousands) of years.

But this raid was different, because Ulster, and the bull, were protected by CuChulainn.

Countdown to the Avengers: Thor's Day!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Countdown to the Avengers: Wednesday

CuChulainn: In Love and War

Once he was old enough, CuChulainn was sent to a finishing school for warriors.  There he learned the "feats" which would make him famous, and earned his dreaded special weapon, the Gae Bulga.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

CuChulainn: Setanta & the Hound

So I've been posting the BBC shorts about Cu Chulainn.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate the next one in the series, which is really one of the more important ones: How Setanta got the name Cu Chulainn.

As we saw, Setanta went to Emain Macha and pleaded with King Conor to let him take his place among the Boy's Troop.  Setanta became a favorite of the King.  He also became an outstanding Hurling player.  (Hurling being an Irish sport similar to field hockey, or lacrosse if you're so inclined.)

One day the King went out to visit his smith, Cullen.  Cullen was known for his viscious hound which protected the homestead and smithy.  As he went out, the King saw Setanta playing Hurling in the field with the other boys and invited him along.  Setanta said he would come visit after the game.  The King went on his way to Cullen's hall and was entertained as evening fell.

Suddenly, there was a commotion outide!  The King remembered that Setanta was yet to arrive, and then noticed that the doors were bolted shut.  Cullen had locked them after he thought all the guests were inside, and then let out his massive hound to patrol the grounds.

The King feared the worst for Setanta... 

Ok, so this video subverts the story...  Setanta was found outside with the dead dog.  He had killed it with his Hurley, the stick used in the game.  Some versions have him batting the hard ball down the hound's throat.

The King was overjoyed to see Setanta was still alive.  Cullen, on the other hand, was very upset that his unique dog was now dead, and no longer available to protect his possessions.  So Setanta offered to come to Cullen's home every night for a year -- the time it would take to train a new guard dog -- and protect the property.

And so Setanta was given the nickname, "The Hound of Cullen" or Cu Chulainn.

GI Joe: Retaliation

So while I am eagerly awaiting the release of The Avengers, there is another classic comic book team I can't wait to see this summer.

I'm talking, of course, of the reboot/sequel GI Joe movie.  I hope this one manages to strike the balance a little more on the gritty side than the last one did.  I made peace with the fact that the GI Joe franchise was always more than the comic book and the cartoon was silly (e.g. Cobra-La?  Cold Slither?).  Why shouldn't the movie play both ends?  But the first movie was a little too silly for my taste.  And it messed with some of the relationships between the characters.  That...  I had serious problems with.

Anyway, this movie seems to go back to what made GI Joe so great: action; big, honkin' guns; and hot ninja-on-ninja action.  It also adds heaping amounts of The Rock and Bruce Willis.

Please, for the love of God: Don't suck, GI Joe: Retaliation.

Countdown to the Avengers: Tuesday

Please don't kill Agent Coulson, Joss!

one year

For some things, you can never say, "thanks" enough.