Tuesday, June 27, 2006

In a world...

Yesterday was one of those days were, what you think, your going to be doing all day, is not at all what you end up doing.

I was suppose to clean the house all day. Mrs. Geek found that, if you want to have a clean house when people come over you have to clean the house before anyone you invite shows up.

As the house was thrown into disarray on Sunday it was my...Responsibility, duty, heck my obligation to clean on Monday. Like a good house bitch, I did. Until I go a call from J.J. Rocketfeller.

"What up, with you today?" He started.

"Cleaning!" Hoping if it sounded cool enough he might want to come over and help me then swim in my pool, like I use to get the neighbors to do when I had to cut the grass.

"You have to see this movie I'm going to today at the LA Film Festival. It's a documentary about a group of LARPG'er who live in Baltimore and keep boundary lines of the different kingdoms, based on the success and failures of battles they wage." He described.

"....Huh?"

"Live Action Role Playing Gamers." He explained.

"I know what they are. But I don't understand why they are." I was perplexed. Adults? Gamers? Losers? LARP's? Sure even for a geek I put a stigma on LARPG-er's. That they might be a little on the plushophile side of geek society. But really my biggest factor is the community theatre aspect. Drama for drama's sake. I was worried not that I might like it, but that I might feel embarrassed for the people I see doing it. Not very accepting I know.

See the geek world/community tends to be very accepting. A lot of us started out with D&D and with that comes an outcast branding. A lot of us didn't fit in with the "cool" crowd. So, we kept to ourselves. I'm sure a lot of you can identify with not fitting in at High School or at least feeling that way. A gamer who's social group is small and familiar might not find him or her self the most socially capable person. Especially in the awkward teen years.

But behind closed doors as you chucked your dice, a gamer you could role play your character and change who you were in real life for a short time and become the hero who will perform great acts and heroic deeds. But you were only in character part of the time. I always thought to make it believable you would need to embody the character more.. In other words, I wanted the LARPG to feel more like a Ren-Fair then a game.

"Good, your curious. See you in a bit." and he was gone.

I have to admit my first thought was this was going to be a comedy. I mean how do you make a movie about Live Action Role Play Games and not fear the high dork factor that comes to mind. I have predisposed judgments. I just know I'm going to be embarrassed for the people on the screen. That's one side, the gamer in me thought about the G in LARPG. Really my biggest problem with RPG'ers is the rules. How do you factor in who gets hit? Who keeps score? Who judges what's a hit? Who and how do you move the story line forward? Obviously, I had lots of questions.

The movie was Darkon.

"DARKON is a feature documentary that follows the real-life adventures of a group of weekend "warrior knights." These fantasy role-playing gamers whose live action "battleground" is modern-day Baltimore, Maryland, re-imagined as a make-believe medieval world named Darkon. They costume themselves and physically act out their characters’ exploits both in intimate court intrigue and campouts and in panoramic battle scenarios involving competitive strategies, convincingly real props, and full contact "combat." Because real life so often gets in the way, it’s easy to understand these players’ motivations. Everybody wants to be a hero." www.darkonmovie.com

I have to tell you I loved this film. The film makers, Luke Meyer and Andrew Neel,
do great job of capturing real humans in there real lives. Skip Lipman who is one of the main subjects of the film is a stay at home dad, cleaning the house doing the laundry caring for the kids, while his wife holds down a job. (Remind you of anyone?)

On weekends though he is Bannor of Laconia.
Ruler and just king of a land in the make believe world of Darkon. Skip's honesty and the willingness to show so much of his personal life on film really makes you root for this hero. He is a bright and hard working man who's life is not bad just not full of the adventure so many of us crave. His story works best as he is the motivator behind the story of the Darkon. Some of the smaller kingdoms of Darkon no longer like the way Keldar of Mordum is slowly concoreing the lands of Darkon. Bannor will stand for no more! TO WAR!!!

This is the driving storyline of Darkon. The directors do a great job of balance in the documentry. Balance between the real world and the fantasy. We see shots beautiful vistas and then suburbs. Players dressed in armor smoking cigarettes. The balance between the stay at home dad and his decisions as a leader for his kingdom. How his passion and love for gaming in general is also linked to a lot of strife in his family. We learn how Keldar/Kenyon has learned to become a leader in real life by being a leader in role playing.

The directors also do a great job at telling the viewer what gamers love about gaming and RPG's. As a D&D player and are huge MMORPG player I can identify with the sense of community and drama being played out in there imaginations. The mind can make things real for us. Playing a role is a part of life. They also discuset this with our players of Darkon. That role playing is going on all the time. We all have rolls we play in our lives so how are these heroes any different or unacceptable.

This all helps draw us into the drama of Darkon and the real dramas of life. I was rooting for our hero Bannor/Skip cause I want him to win. He is standing up for what is just and right. A Noble cause that we can do something about other then send a check to some random person who is part of a company who job it is to call up and get money from people to help there cause.

The film concludes as all great epics due, with a great battle! As a spectator I was excited to see how it would all end up.

I can tell you that after seeing this movie and going to make you want to break out the 20-sider and look for your Graff Paper. See this film if your a gamer of any sorts.

FOR DARKON!!!


Friday, June 23, 2006

And were back

The site went down for a bit while I jumped through some renewing hoops. Turns out you can still call a company and get help from a real person when something dosen't seem to be working right on the web...

Now that were back up and running, everyone here in the office is focusing on Comic-Con! Darth Amon and I have secured a room at the Wynn and will be making, steak dinner reservations for Friday or Saturday night. Join us won't you?

The mighty Mrs. Geek sent this in for all you local LA types...June 29th and June 30th JAWS
will be playing at Cinespace in Hollywood. I wonder if there serving Shark?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Korgoth of Adult Swim

I think Adult Swim has some of the best shows on TV. Robot Chicken, The Boondocks and Aqua Teen Hunger Force are all very funny and well produced shows. The network also carryies great action as well with Ghost In The Shell, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop.

There newest show Korgoth of Barbaria is the perfect combination of both genres. With the mythos of Conan The Barbarian and Thundarr The Babarian mixed with a juvenile sense of humor, all done in a colorful and detailed art that pays tribute to cartoons of the late 70's and early 80's. The art really is beautifully. I haven't seen animation this good on TV since Cowboy Beebop.

Here is how they put it. From Adult Swims upfronts: Korgoth of Barbaria: In a dark future wasteland, the cities have fallen, primordial beasts have reclaimed the globe and thieves and savages populate sparse, dirty towns. Korgoth emerges from the frozen north, and his merciless savagery may be his only key to survival. Korgoth of Barbaria is an animated fantasy-action-adventure-comedy from Aaron Springer. The half-hour pilot episode will air in September.

Here are some photos I found. All the women are sparsely dressed and have huge breasts. The action is bloody and over the top. The humor is well...let me see if I can....Korgoth after being tricked into eating a parasite to complete a mission for the "Master of Thieves" is given an antidote to kill the parasite. Only it gives him the runs. We see Korgoth sitting on a hollow stump reading the news paper while evacuating his bowels. The whole time the only sound you hear is flies and the rustle of the newspaper. The whole time the credits are rolling in a split screen. They even wait till the last second for the inevitable gas release.

Great animation and really fun to watch. Makes me wish for a new Conan movie. On a side note, I never understood why no one makes a live action Thundarr The Barbarian. You remember him don't you? Use to hang around with that hot brunette who was sparsly dressed and had big breasts and that wookie look alike named Ookla, the Mok. Here is a fun page if you don't.

Check out the show if you can put it on your Tivo, DVR whatever. I think you'll like it.

Monday, June 05, 2006

X3 and Some Big Blade Runner news!

In 1987 I drove a Pontiac Bonneville and worked at a small movie theatre in Norwalk CT. After movies started and I had time I walked down the road to a comic store were I would buy one of my favorite comic books X-Men. To this day I still have my entire collection starting with "The Fall of The Mutants." By that time it was called X-Factor.

Since I was coming into the series in the mid 80's I found that Marvel was releasing the original X-Men stores as a reprint called "Classic X-Men." My monthly purchase consisted of Classic X-Men, X-Factor and The New Mutants. I read them all and was drawn into the universe very easily.

The stories about these mutants with super powers were simple and fantastic and filled with adventure. I loved them from there team issues of how hard it was to work together to the teen angst of The New Mutants. The main themes of trust and how they were all outcasts really stuck a cord with this once loner teen who was trying to find his feet.

Later the Jean Grey/Phoenix Force story was great because of what it did to the group. A new character emerging out of a trusted friend shook everyone up in the series. This story line changed the characters because they were no longer dealing with an outside force but one inside there group. Jean was no longer the sweet Marvel Girl but a dangerous force that had to be dealt with. The X-Men would never be the same after.

Well, the movie X3 or X-Men: The Last Stand was released and I finally went to see it and I got to tell you it was, well, kind of, eh. The movie was, Eh. They just traveled to far off the path of the storyline that I knew to make a movie. Now, the argument that I know the comic and that this is a movie and its different doesn't hold water for me. The comic in structure is a soap opera. Most of the drama is extended and repeated at the beginning of every issue so people who pick up the comic can jump right in. Therefore there is not a lot of ground to cover when it comes to story.

Story is the problem or to much of it. The broad stokes are there, the reasons things happen are already spelled out in the comic for the writer of the screenplay. These characters are pained and live with pain. This movie is filled with crying heroes who almost NEVER cry. They spend there days getting the crap beat out of them. They watch people die and suffer all the time. Eh.

This movie is obviously a victim of what I like to call "studio touching." For those of you keeping score at home, this is a bad touch. (Reality show pitch: Follow a group of studio executives around and see how they conduct business. No one would do it cause studio executives don't want you to see the man behind the curtain. Do one about advertising executives as well.) The story is convoluted and they travel to far and tried to cover to much in a short amount of time. Brett Ratner is not to blame as a matter of fact, he did what he was told, Make a movie. However, if they want to keep this series alive they need new blood and new artistic control. Get someone in there who will rebreak the series. We need someone like Chris Nolan who can get back to the characters and get story from character. If you haven't seen the movie yet make sure you stay for end credits. There is a tease after them.

I knew Harry Knowles wasn't going to like this movie back when Brett was chosen to direct it. Harry is kinda soft. I read the site for Moriarty's opinion's more then anyone else's really. Harry seems really slanted to whoever treats him better, gives him stuff or agrees with him. But I do think he's a good writer. I think his disappointment with the film is well told check it out, won't you?

Blade Runner news!
Ok, some good news! According to those wonderful people over at The Digital Bits BLADE RUNNER is getting its due. This is there story so I will let them tell it. If this comes to light I have to tell you it is a good day to be a movie fan! Check out the whole story here. This is Daily Variety's story here.