Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bigger Faster Stronger

I had the chance to check out a screening of this documentary film at the Arclight in Hollywood last night. Bigger Fast Stronger takes a hard look at steroid use in American culture and how it affects our self image. Its a very thought provoking and well laid out story told through one family's struggle with the moral and ethical implications of doping. Its a very socially responsible film which allows the viewers to really make up their own minds about the issues presented. It had 100% on rotten tomatoes yesterday when it opened in LA and New York, which is amazing. I really feel like it earned this mark and I'm not just saying that because one of my good high school friends Brian Singbiel was the editor on this project. It really is eye opening. Everyone should check out this film. Here is the trailer:

Big Buck Bunny: Open source aniamtion

*I posted this video a couple weeks ago, but it turned out that it hadn't been officially released yet, so now that it has, I am re-posting. Enjoy!

Big Buck Bunny from Blender Foundation on Vimeo.

This project was created completely with software available for free on the internet. Pretty amazing. The story animation and rendering are top notch. It shows money does not create good movies. For more information about the film, go here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Presto, a Pixar article

There is an awesome article over on about the new Pixar short "Presto", which will play in front of Wall-E in June. It details the creative process that was utilized to bring this slap-stick comedy to life. Its a good read.

Just saw this clip on cartoon brew from Presto. Looks awesome!

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Little Aniversary

Memorial Day and the week following it mark a special anniversary for me. During this week, five years ago, I moved to LA from my hometown of Allen Park, Michigan to start my adventure in Hollywood.

Looking back, its been quite a journey. I wasnt even 22 yet and fresh out of college. Starting out, I was living on couches and scraping to get by. I rediscovered my love for animation and found out who I really was.

The best part of it all is the variety of creative, passionate, inspirational, and crazy people I have met along the way. They make my life worthwhile. Even if they are miles away or right next to me at work everyday, I am so happy to have them all in my life. So thank you to all my friends for keeping my life rich.

I am very fortunate to have everything that I have, and continue to take nothing for granted. I cant wait to see what the next five years will bring.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

My latest animation reel

Animation Demo Reel from John Vassallo on Vimeo.

My character animtion demo reel for 2008.

Monthly Find:May

This month, I came across this band courtesy of one of my fellow animators at work. Its his brother's band. I really liked both the video and the song so here it is: The Sam Roberts Band, "Them Kids"

Saturday, May 24, 2008

DA da DA DA!! Indy makes his return to the big screen

I went into this movie really excited. I had high hopes. Maybe too high. I mean come on - its been 20 years since this franchise was in theaters, but the impression it left on my generation is profound. Would it live up to my expectations?

I went to see this film on Friday, a day after its long anticipated release. It opened well, everything felt right, but then, it happened. About 3/4 of the way through the picture, after stretching the already loose sense of reality that is the Indiana Jones legacy, Shia LeBouf got snarled in a dense tangle of vines and began to swing from one vine to another, along with a family of monkeys. At that point, I was taken out of the film. Really? He's really swinging like Tarzan above the jungle? And he lands perfectly amidst an ongoing car chase/battle? Give me a break. I had to laugh. At that moment, the movie jumped the shark and the rest of the ocean and never really looked back. The plot continued to get more and more ridiculous and as much as I enjoyed watching it, I dont think I would sit through it again. Or maybe my hopes were a little too high.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wall Painted Animation

This is amazing! Just thinking about how long this must have!

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Go Speed Racer

(image: yahoo movies)

In keeping up with the summer movie season, I went to check out Speed Racer this past weekend, the new anime adaptation from the Wachowski "siblings". Although it got a good deal of bad press and only pulled in a lousy 20 Million at the box office over the weekend, I actually like this movie quite a bit.

The pure imagination that went into this film is what really struck me about it. I was thinking to myself while I was watching it - "This is so impossible. A car could never do that, the G force would be too much, gravity doesnt work like that...etc." But thats what makes it so great! If you are going to go over the top on a movie, go all the way. And thats just what the Wachowskis did. You dont go to see an action adventure movie like this hoping that it could all take place in the real world. Its an escape. A glimpse into another universe.

Speed Racer was fun and worth seeing in the theater if not for the colors, then for experience of the speed and danger that it brings to the screen. Don't take my word for it though, you can watch the first 8 minutes online courtesy of yahoo movies.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Iron Man

I've been pretty excited to see Iron Man for a little while now, at least a couple months. On friday night I finally had the chance to see it with a bunch of friends, and it didnt disappoint! I loved this movie. It was action packed from start to finish, with enough of a storyline to keep it going. I had the feeling that this movie was going to be big. It turns out the it did around 100 million in ticket sales this opening weekend. I can only hope Hulk, Marvel's second movie produced will do as well. The new trailer played in front of Iron man and it got a pretty good response. Its gonna be a great summer movie season with Indiana Jones and Speed Racer coming up as well. I cant wait!