Saturday, April 21, 2007

DVD Review: Sneakers (1992)

"I really enjoyed sleeping with all you guys."

Redford. Poitier. Strathairn. Aykroyd. Phoenix (River, not Joaquin). McDonnell. Kingsley. What do you call this? A REAL dreamcast. That should be six reasons enough to enjoy this sleek and smart comedy caper.

Sneakers disguised as a techno thriller. Only, unlike movies which rely heavily on the technology ("Hackers", for example, was celebrating the advent of the 56kbps modem era. duh.), Sneakers reveals itself as an intelligent, engaging film with its unexpected twists and turns.

This movie is one great fun. Yeah!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Movie Review: Some Kind of Monster (2004)

This movie is a not your average rockumentary.

This is Metallica's story after their bassist for 15 years, Jason Newsted, left the band + the making of their chart topping (yet lowest selling) record (St. Anger) + James Hetfield's (lead man) rehabilitation for too much alcohol + the band member's egos which is all that's left of them + the finding of their new bassist Robert Trujillo.

Rottentomatoes gave it an 86% rating. What's not to like.. the lives of the band members are so engrossing, a bunch of egomaniacs and "refreshingly human".. well I've known that for eons already cos I WAS a fan. In fact I thought they were the biggest thing in music. The most radical, talented group ever. I remember banging my head to "Master of Puppets" and "Ride the Lightning" for years.. every single day listening to their records, stomping my feet mimicking Lars' "For Whom the Bell Tolls" while taking the FX ride from my house to work.. The thing is, no matter what they are, in the end it's their music that speaks the loudest. Literally and whatever-ly. Not their egos or their humanity. Just their MUSIC. Music that they did before half of that Black album came out.

I just felt sad for the guys though. They simply have lost their magic. When they released their Black album which ironically was their highest selling record ever, that to me was the start of their downfall. Their songs became too lame and too commercialized, James started to ACTUALLY sing and squeal when he used to have the grunt, Lars wanted to sound like Linkin Park, and the once essential Kirk decided to abandon his guitar solos.

And they cut their hair and started wearing Armani. WTF??

It didn't help that Lars rejected the advent of the MP3 era (which U2 embraced, and thereby making them my new favorites). I think if Cliff was alive he would've kicked their asses. Good thing Jason got out of the group. I wouldn't be surprised if Robert (the new bassist) left as well.

What Metallica doesnt realize is.. if they just continued what they did when they still mattered, they would definitely still rock. They never needed to change. They already shook the music industry with their own brand of metal. And I would still be a loyal fan. But.. I never thought I'd see the day when I would miss an album from them, and I did. I didn't buy St. Anger.

To the newbie, if you would like to watch a Metallivideo, might as well check out "Cliff 'em All". The best rockumentary ever. \m/

Metallica. Some Kind of Monster? More like Godzilla, the Japanese version. Pretty old and worn out.

Monday, April 09, 2007

3D Post No. 23 - Vray Toon

Didn't know Vray Toon came with the SDK package, i thought it was some separate plugin that functions the way the ink and paint material does in the default 3ds max settings.

Anyhow, got a chance to experiment with it, quite easy to use really. Just go to the environment settings in max and voila

The settings are pretty self explanatory.

So i experimented with one of my old stuff and here's how it came out:

Pretty neat. :) Reminds me of those old architectural rendering styles that we used to mimic in college.

Now here is something interesting -

We did a project in which the designer specifically wanted this effect, more of selling the concept rather than trying to do a photoreal, accurate rendering. In the course of developing the render, I always use a sampling of -1, 0 and super low settings (like .1 for my global subdivision multiplier) in my drafts. The designer surprisingly liked the effect (they sort of looked like brush - stroked filtered in photoshop) and the rawness of the image, that the final resolution was rendered using the draft settings. :)

Viva Vray Toon..