Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Ew, Gross!

Welp, it's official! Thanks to Disney and that whole Covid-19/End Of The World thing, Bad Boys For Life is the Highest Grossing Movie Of 2020!

We truly are living in the Darkest Timeline.

After being closed all spring and summer, theaters attempted to lure moviegoers back with Warner Bros. sci-fi action film Tenet. Unfortunately for Hollywood, the public didn't feel like risking their lives to see a confusing and muddled time travel heist, and stayed away in droves. 

Tenet pulled in an anemic $41 million here in the States, which is downright embarrassing. It didn't do much better overseas, where it only raked in $243 million. 

That may sound like a lot, until you consider it cost a whopping $205 million! Due to marketing and other hidden costs, most films need to gross twice their production budget just to break even, so Tenet is a certified BOMB.

Seeing that the Tenet experiment was a colossal failure, Disney yanked its upcoming Black Widow movie from the schedule, moving it to May 2021. Other studios soon followed suit, pushing their films back to 2021 as well.

With no new product to exhibit, cineplexes were forced to shut down again. Meaning there are no more contenders for Top Grossing Film. Which is why Bad Boys For Life is the #1 contender. Oy.

Here's a look at the Top Ten Highest Grossing Films Of 2020. Note that these are all worldwide totals— they made considerably less here in the States. Holy Crap! 

What a sh*tshow of a year this turned out to be at the box office! Years from now (if there's anyone still alive), people will look at the charts and wonder what the hell happened in 2020.

And if you don't believe me, then take a glance at 2019's top money makers. At Number One was a little film called Avengers: Endgame, which raked in an astonishing $2.7 BILLION! Heck, even the tenth place film grossed nearly twice as much as 2020's top contender!

So congratulations to Bad Boys For Life as Top Grossing Film Of 2020. Heck, the way this year's going, there's a strong possibility it'll win Best Picture at the Oscars as well!

Monday, September 28, 2020

R.I.P. Ron Cobb

R.I.P. Ron Cobb, who died last week at age 83. 

Cobb was a production designer and conceptual artist on many of the most important and popular sci-fi and fantasy films of the past forty years. You may not recognize his name, but you've definitely seen his work on the big screen. 

I've been a fan of Cobb's work for decades, and have spent hours devouring and studying his designs. He had a real knack for drawing bizarre creatures, but his true talent was in designing spaceships, robots and futuristic tech. Somehow his imaginary hardware looked both outlandish and believable at the same time. He taught me more than a lifetime of art classes ever could. To say he's inspired me would be an understatement, as his work has been a huge influence on mine. I'll never be a thousandth as good as he was, but that won't stop me from trying!

Born in LA in 1937, Cobb landed a job at Disney Studios in Burbank when he was just eighteen. He worked on Disney's Sleeping Beauty, leaving shortly afterward to serve in the Vietnam War. After his service, he tried his hand at a series of political cartoons for the Los Angeles Free Press and Mother Earth News.

In 1974 he worked as a designer and special effects technician on the low budget sci-fi film Dark Star. In 1977 he went on to design several alien denizens of the Cantina in Star Wars-- a move which cemented his career as a production designer. 

He also designed the ecology symbol, that was used on a flag seen in the 1970s.

Cobb's work can be seen in such films as Dark Star, Star Wars, ALIEN, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Conan The Barbarian, The Last Starfighter, My Science Project, Back To The Future, Robot Jox, ALIENS, The Running Man, Leviathan, The Abyss, Total Recall, True Lies, The Rocketeer, Space Truckers, Titan A.E., Timeline, The 6th Day, Firefly, District 9 and John Carter.

Here's a look at just some of Ron Cobb's amazing body of work:

Ecology Symbol: Cobb designed the Ecology logo by combinging the letters E and O, which stood for "environment" and "organism." Later on the symbol was incorporated into the green-striped Ecology Flag, which should be familiar to anyone who grew up in the 1970s.

Dark Star: Cobb designed the eponymous ship seen in the film.

Star Wars: Cobb designed several of the alien patrons of the Cantina bar, including Hammerhead (the top one), who became one of the most popular characters in the whole sequence.

ALIEN: Cobb most definitely made his mark on this film. He designed the iconic Nostromo cargo ship.

As well as various storyboards and color studies.

He designed the interiors of the ship as well.

Along with various shuttles and escape pods (some of which were used in the final film, some not).

Conan: Cobb seemed to work on quite a few of Schwarzenegger's films. Here we see his poster, icon and costume designs for Arnold's sword & sorcery opus.

The Last Starfighter: One of my all-time favorites, Cobb designed the many alien races seen in the film.

As well as the spaceships, including the Gunstar.

Back To The Future: Cobb took the existing DeLorean car and modified the exterior and interior into a time machine.

Robotjox: A guilty pleasure of mine, Cobb came up with all the mechs seen in the low-budget sci-fi action film.

ALIENS: As he did in the original, Cobb designed the various vehicles and hardware for the riveting sequel.

The Running Man: Another Arnold film! Cobb came up with the movie's many outlandish armors.

Total Recall: Yet another Arnold actioner! Cobb designed the vehicles and hardware for the mind-altering opus.

R.I.P. Ron Cobb! I'm really gonna miss his work.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Time's Running Out!

Just a reminder that according to Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets, the International Space Station should currently look like THIS.

We'd better get busy, as we've got a lot of catching up to do.

This is a perfect example of why I hate movies that depict impossibly advanced technology, but are set just a few years in the future (which has now become the present). Would it have killed them to have the caption read "2080?"

Timeline flub aside, I still contend that the first five minutes of the movie are absolutely brilliant, as it wordlessly tells the story of how the Alpha station came to be. I loved the scenes of the station commanders greeting various Earth cultures to the station, then gradually transitioning into welcoming assorted alien representatives. It was definitely the highlight of the film.

If only the entire movie could have kept up this level of awesomeness!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Space: The Desolate Frontier

Saw this in an old issue of DC Comics Presents. According to this panel, space is really desolate. In fact you can go light years before seeing another celestial body.

Bodies like those planets, moons and nebulae clearly visible in the background.

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