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    • WITCH DOCTOR Thoughtblog 10: A cover

    • Posted by Brandon Seifert on 20 Mar 08
    • Witch Doctor is a horror/medical drama comic grafting horror archetypes to really sick shit from real-world medicine and zoology. This is the book's workblog thoughtblog. For more information, read the first entry.

      The 'demo' issue, Witch Doctor: First Incision, is coming April 2008 from writer Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner.

      Witch Doctor: First Incision will debut, online and in print, in a month and a week. And here's a peak at our cover.

      Every time I post a piece of Lukas' art, I want to talk about how cool it is. This time, I want to talk about how cool it is, squared.

      I also want to thank Mark Sweeney, who does the colors for Warren' Black Summer and colors the covers of Doktor Sleepless for being really very nice to us. On his blog he declared Witch Doctor "the comic book I'm most looking forward to this year," and said "Lukas Ketner's art is fantastic and Brandon's Seifert's writing is fucking brilliant. I can't wait to see where they go with this book." I've already totally stolen that quote and stuck it on our MySpace.

      Thanks again everyone who's said nice things or expressed interest in Witch Doctor! Every kind word so far has been fuel for the fires for me and Lukas.

      Previous Entry: 9.5: Pull Quotes and Postscripts :: 11: A cover, but colored this time
    • Reviews Updated with Images

    • Posted by Andre Navarro on 20 Mar 08
    • I've added the covers of each film or game to my reviews, with the exception of Sweeney Todd and There Will Be Blood, because it exceeded the allowed character limit for single posts. The first There Will Be Blood review doesn't have an image because I want it to be forgotten. The review, not the film.
    • Movie Review - Carlito's Way (part 2)

    • Posted by Andre Navarro on 20 Mar 08
    • But the supporting cast isn't forgotten: John Leguizamo creates a sure-of-himself, impulsive Benny Blanco; Luiz Gusman plays Pachanga as if he's constantly on amphetamines (which is good and also funny); and Viggo Mortensen has little screen time as Lalin, but easily leaves his mark.

      Finally, we come to Brian De Palma, fantastic as director. This is how you visually tell a story: long takes with no cuts and creative camera movements that don't get in the way of story but instead keep it going: the first-person-view of Carlito entering the club for the first time; the camera rotating in the middle of a table, alternating between four characters in a tense sequence of the film. And of course, the foot-chase at the end of the film, which is breathtaking, filmed with extreme accuracy. If this sequence shouldn't be forever remembered, then no sequence in any film should. Actually, the whole superb third act of "Carlito's Way" is an example of outstanding direction. De Palma's helped by Stephen H. Burum's great cinematography, Kristina Boden and Bill Pankow's masterful editing and especially, Patrick Doyle's excellent music, which avoids melodrama and enhances the action scenes immensely (the already mentioned foot-chase, for example). By the way, the songs that play in the nightclubs in this film are all excellent.

      And finally the end, which I won't spoil for you. I'll just say it's an ending so beautiful that it's the only - the only - ending that has actually made me cry - like a baby, I might add - just now that I re-watched the film after years since I watched it for the first time, and I've loved it even more. I mean, the billboard "Escape to Paradise" was a touch of genius. This is Cinema at its best, a movie about the past chasing after you and of that dream every person has - and that some try to reach and others can't or don't even try. Add Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful" to all this and you've got a masterpiece.
    • Movie Review - Carlito's Way (part 1)

    • Posted by Andre Navarro on 20 Mar 08

    • There are only two films I put above all others, two films I call my favorites. One is very recent, "Oldboy", by Chan-Wook Park. And the other one's "Carlito's Way". When you have Al Pacino on the lead, David Koepp on the script and Brian De Palma on the direction, it's impossible to go wrong.

      It's 1975. Carlito Brigante is a puerto-rican criminal big-shot who was sentenced to thirty years of prison, but thanks to his skilled lawyer and best friend David Kleinfeld, was released after five years. Determined to leave crime forever and go to Miami to live a simple dream (managing a car rental), he starts running a nightclub in order to get the money he needs to go. In the meantime, he meets Gail again, his girlfriend before he was busted. But as he tries to start his life over, the street's still out there waiting for him, to drag him back into crime. And he needs to resist until he has the money and his dream is just a train away.

      David Koepp's script, based on Edwin Torres' novels "Carlito's Way" and "After Hours", should be framed and put on the wall of every aspiring screenwriter. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but it's a magnificent script with subplots that converge into a full, rich story. The narrative flows with the sharp dialogue, Carlito's brilliantly constructed voice-overs (the opening monologue and the ending monologue are both beautiful), the characters - all of them interesting, no exceptions - and the relationships between them. Koepp writes Carlito and Gail avoiding cliches. Their conversations feel natural, and the scene where he visits her late at night in her apartment is one of the best scenes in the film.

      Carlito himself is fascinating. At the same time he wants to leave crime, you can see his instincts still follow him around. His confidence when dealing with things, the way he notices little details that can become a serious problem (the first shoot-out in the film, for example). His sharpness, experience and loyalty to his friends make him a enormously likable character, no matter his past. And the fact Gail is another great character makes you wish the two of them stay together, which is vital for the film (especially the third act). Al Pacino is, as usual, formidable as Carlito. He becomes the character, completely different from Tony Montana or Michael Corleone. Definitely one of his best performances, and this is Al Pacino we're talking about. Also, his sarcasm is, as always, impeccable:

      BENNY: Maybe you don't remember who I am. I'm --

      CARLITO: Maybe I don't give a fuck. Maybe I don't remember the last time I blew my nose either.

      Sean Penn does the same thing: completely different from any other character I've ever seen him play (especially with the haircut), Penn plays Kleinfeld, a skilled lawyer and a weak person. His voice and mannerisms all help creating a full, real character and also unpredictable, due to his addiction to cocaine (which became the "drug of the moment" while Carlito was in jail). The strong relationship between him and Carlito is realistic and natural - you don't doubt for a second these man have known each other for years and years.

      Penelope Ann Miller (beautiful, beautiful, beautiful actress) plays Gail, and she manages to do something amazing: she plays Gail as a strong, determined woman... and at the same time, she has a sweetness that makes not only Carlito but the audience fall in love with her. Even when she's angry at Carlito, she's lovely. Her work is outstanding and vital for the film, since it wouldn't work if we didn't care about these two staying together. That's three very well-written main characters, all of them played by brilliant actors at their best.

      (continued in Part 2)
    • Sound files, please

    • Posted by roque on 20 Mar 08
    • ...for a creative project. lately it seems like all of the major wav sites on the net are owned by the same people and have the same stuff. I desire links to dialogue snippets from interesting/creative/different sources, please. preferably wav or mp3 files. thanks in advance.
    • Edited

    • Posted by Andre Navarro on 19 Mar 08
    • I had just written the review for Carlito's Way here, but I felt it was too rushed. I'll re-write it and then publish on a new post. Sorry about that.

      In the meantime, I dunno... cats.

    • Back and dumber than Ever

    • Posted by Rootfireember on 19 Mar 08
    • Back, and dumb enough to have deleted my soundcard driver controller (Soundmax audio controller) ...thingy. Thing. (OOPS I thought it was a secondary controller) to try and hunt down the audio controller multimedia audio whatsit blablabla.
      But ... I have internet. That has to count for something.
    • Game Review - Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3)

    • Posted by Andre Navarro on 19 Mar 08

    • In multi-platform games, the XBox 360 usually gets the upper hand, with the game performing better in it than in the PS3 (Orange Box, for example). But some of the PS3 exclusive games have impressed me. "Heavenly Sword" is a short but worth-every-second game, the graphics are simply stunning and yet there isn't a single framerate problem. And "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune" proves once again the power of Sony's console.

      You are Nathan Drake, descendant of Sir Francis Drake. At open sea, you find deep in the ocean the coffin of Sir Francis, only to find it empty except for his diary, which was the actual objective. In the diary, you find the location of El Dorado, the legendary city of gold. You, your partner Sully and a reporter called Elena Fisher start your journey to the city.

      Not original, not at all. But it's surprisingly well-written, with good dialogue and an excellent sense of humor. There's also several references to Indiana Jones, like the rival archaeologist who's after the same treasure you are. All that keeps the cutscenes fun and interesting, which is nice because I never skip a cutscene in any game unless it's dreadfully boring. Some games have a story too good for you to skip ("Mafia", for example).

      The gameplay has more ups than lows. The controls are very, very good. Thanks to excellent motion-capture, controlling Nathan Drake is easy and intuitive. The platforming is not as amazing as Prince of Persia's or Assassin's Creed's, but it's definitely great (Nate's jump is amazingly well-animated). During (the excellent) shoot-outs, you can take cover behind anything with the press of a button, blind-fire, etc. The camera goes over your shoulder to allow you to fine-aim. You can also fire from the hip, which proves useful against several enemies (you can shoot backwards while running forward, a particularly nice touch that allows you to escape while not giving your enemies a chance to get out of cover and shoot you).

      On the other hand, there's too many action scenes. You rarely can sneak behind your enemy and kill him silently. Usually, they just show out of nowhere in a scripted event. And in some occasions, in impossible places, like beyond a door only you gained access to. And near the ending, the game adds some survival horror elements that are ridiculously out of place, but fortunately, it's a short level and soon you're back in the normal action. The puzzles are simple, all you have to do is look at the diary and add two and two. But I prefer simple and far between puzzles than the countless and boring puzzles of God of War II.

      Visually, Uncharted is one of the best-looking games right now. The attention to detail is overwhelming. When a character swims, he comes out actually wet, with his clothes darkened, wrinkled and sticking to the body (to the polygon perverts: Elena wears TWO shirts at the same time, so give it up). The visual expressions are top-notch and the scenarios are maybe the best rendering of a 3D forest ever seen. Just look at the rays of sunlight intercepted by the trees, creating a pattern of light and shadow in the ground, and you'll see how much work was put in this aspect of the game. The animations are perfect, with the characters' feet always leveled with the ground and excellent ragdoll physics.

      The voice-overs are also efficient. Nate's sarcasm, Elena's persistence, Sullivan's cool, everyone fits their roles. The guns have powerful sounds, which enhances the action, and the background sound effects are very good. The music is fitting and nice, especially the main menu one.

      Despite some flaws at the end (the already mentioned survival horror element), Uncharted: Drake's Fortune's 8-10 hours campaign (rough estimation) is guaranteed entertainment with good replay value. Shame the developer Naughty Dog didn't include multiplayer, which would maybe justify buying the game instead of renting it.