Avatar review: D. Ryan Reeb

still frame from jim camerons avatar

I just got back from seeing Avatar at the Sherman Oaks Galleria Arclight. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The visual effects have definitely raised the bar for many studios. I now see how outsourcing is not the problem but a solution to making film on this scale. This film will be the first of many of its kind. It will take a worldly effort to make more pictures like this, I fully expect this type of film making to succeed and become a standard. The 3D stereoscopic technology is still new and has a ways to go but it was not inhibiting whatsoever, lets get past the whole wearing the polarizing lens on our face and well be good. This is coming from a guy who was wearing his vision glasses during the movie along with the stereo glasses. My hat was more annoying that the glasses were.
As a CG artist / aspiring director I’d love to talk about the CG first but I have to comment on the story. I have read a few articles pinning the film into a category like 2012, Transformers Star Wars etc. Yes its was a high octane ram it up your ass movie firing on all 8 cylinders, but it is also a spiritually awakening humanitarian film that the environmentalist inside of me came all over. If the majority of the population actually gets the moral of this story our culture may still have some hope. I don’t think its irony that this movie came out the same week as the UNFCCC in Copenhagen. Its great timing! The message and story in this film is so utterly important as we move into the next decade. Thank (god?) someone like Jim Cameron has the ability to make this film. This story needs to wake people up that these are times to change over from the old system and focus on the new way of living in harmony with our environment. I have heard people say that this is Jim’s last dying breath at trying to make a film. I don’t think you can believe that after seeing this movie. I think if he is going to tell this story correctly that he will have to maybe spend the rest of his life buried in this franchise making sure it stays true to its story and characters. That isn’t a bad thing. George Lucas did just that with Star Wars. At least Jim Cameron told a bunch of other stories before he opened a can of worms like Avatar.
Technically there were many things I have never seen before at the level that Avatar brought them. Definitely raised the bar. The fluid dynamic effects specifically were more believable than I have seen before. The scene where one of the Navi 😉 is being wiped down with a white liquid all over its body as a right of passage looked so real. It interacted between the two characters so realistically. Typically its the things that interact dynamically in cg with the real world that throws me off and loses me. Another great example is the scene where one of the Navi bite into a piece of native fruit and the fruit just peels open spilling out its insides. It looked the opposite of the goop coming out of shreks ears. Since im referencing other cg films I should take a moment to mention that this film and Delgo should never be mentioned in the same sentence again. Delgo was a small puttering fart next to this massive cannon. They captured the essence of human skin on something as outlandish as a blue biped, the subtle imperfections and the way light is distributed with the SSS was not your typical blown out tips of the ears and fingers. The facial movements were for the first time captivating and came across as adding character instead of instantly pulling away from the character. I think that performance capture has matured to a point where people can sink in and believe instead of judge and doubt its possibilities.
This film is a must see! I am so tired of this string of post apocalyptic dystopias. All those films do is plot out how we will end. I personally would like to see our cultures as humans survive. Not just survive but survive harmoniously and thrive. If we shift gears and start thinking of positive outcomes, hopeful endings then we may be able to artistically help steer our way of life out of an inevitable demise. I will try to see this movie again hopefully in IMAX next. I would also like to see it in 2D just to make sure I wasn’t just wowed by the tech. Although, if it was the tech that sucked me in then I expect to see a lot more stereo projects in the future.
9.5 out of 10

My beautiful boy

I had the best bonding experience with my son tonight. he finally let me put him to sleep. What a blessing, what a beautiful boy! I love him so much. His baby blog link is babyReeb.tumblr.com

My youth on vinyl

I’d like to repurchase all of my old favorite punk/emo bands on vinyl. Found my old “promise ring, Texas is the reason, Hudson” records as well as others. looks like amoeba will get some more of my money! I would like to press my old punk bands songs on vinyl and give it away to anybody who sends me money for shipping.

“Lilith & Thatch”animated short film

A close friend of mine Gunnar came to me with an idea he had for an animated short film called “Lilith & Thatch.” It was dark, creepy, fun filled, loving and scary. The best part is that Gunnar was willing to complete the majority of the concept art himself. I love Gunnar’s style. I have been a fan of his art ever since he designed my friends band “New Found Glory’s” album art. I read Gunnars initial short story and fell in love. He let me run with the idea and I turned his poem into a screenplay. Today we’re halfway to having a completed cgi animated short.

With the help of talented artists such as Jean Choi, George Mehlan, Rob Burton we have been trying to assemble this cg short since January 2009. We have hit a small road block and initiated a fund raising event through the web site http://www.kickstarter.com in hopes of raising the funds necessary to complete our film.

I hope you will all go to this site and re post the link or possibly donate to our cause. We are deeply invested in this project and have to see it through to completion. If we meet our fund raising goal we should be in a good position to finish the project. We need your help.

Please click this link below to navigate to our fund raising site.

Halo 3 ODST

This video represents the hard work of a handful of talented artists from Asylum VFX. This spot was VFX Supervised by Jens Zalzala and turned around in record time. I think you can all agree that if there were a Halo live action film that it should look and feel like this. I helped on this spot by doing a lot of the match moving and camera tracking as well as texturing the Banshee ship. The banshee is the purple ship that crash lands with a plume of smoke. So happy to have worked on a property such as Halo. Hopefully bungee will pick me to direct the feature and Jens to VFX Sup the entire feature! 😉

Sun Kil Moon – Modest Mouse cover songs

“Sun Kil Moon” has an entire album of Modest Mouse covers. “Tiny Cities” brings me back to Art School circa 2001. I remember sitting in the labs with my friends untill the wee hours of the night working on our stupid little projects listening to Modest Mouse. This SKM record brings back awesome memories of being poor as hell just slaving away on projects. One night we decided to pool all of our money and see how many .57 cent cheeseburgeres we could get from McDonalds. Wow, we must have bought like 50 burgers. Scarfed them all in one sitting. Oh memories.
The sun of south Florida, falling in love with Alice, driving my grandfathers 88 grand am, best friend Ron passing away, Jen Jason, John Stuart, NIck Hiatt. Forever and a Day, Good times.

Why Arclight Cinema’s 10 minute late policy is self destructive & How two pathetic employees lost their employer 30 dollars.

arclight cinema logo

arclight cinema logo

Arclight cinemas(specifically Arclight Hollywood) has a “10 minute late, no admittance” policy. It needs to be revoked and here is why. This story is about how two angsty employees named “Assface Arron” and “Dickbag Donnie” caused the Arclight Hollywood to lose 30 bucks on Saturday night.
-We live in Los Angeles. Traffic is everywhere. From time to time we get stuck in it and there is no way around it. What quality of the film are you protecting by not admitting people ten minutes after the film has started? If you’re going to have a “10 minute late no entry” policy you should also have a “10 minutes into the movie no bathroom break” policy. Or better yet a “10 minute after movie starts no refill from the snack bar” policy. Fact of the matter is if you go to the theaters you should expect to be around people. For one reason or another people need to come and go. It is our free will and moviegoers should not be punished for being stuck in all to common LA traffic. Policies that I feel would be a more effective use of Arclight staff would be “NO FUCKING BLACKBERRY POLICY!” Or a “No talking through the entire film” policy.
-Saturday night a group of us decided to see Transformers 2 again! I reluctantly agreed to attend after having HATED it the first time. I figure why not give it a second chance. After all I did happen to work on it. We coordinated an effort to all meet 20 minutes before the movie started and my brother would get tickets for all. I was actually excited to see the film because we would be seeing it in “The Dome.” If you’ve never seen a film there, do so. “The Dome” is so freakin cool. Anyway. After getting stuck in ridiculous traffic on Sunset I arrived 9.5 minutes late to the movie with my good friend Elliott. We picked up our tickets from guest service and made our way into “The Dome” excited to see the film. When we get to the door, a squirmy little pea of a man refused us entrance b/c we were NINE AND A HALF minutes late. His name was Aaron. He looks like what a turd looks like after not being flushed for 48 hours but with acne all over it. This was the moment he has been waiting for all day long. I proceeded to tell him how many ways he can go fuck himself (which didn’t help one bit) and then I asked him to call over his manager. His manager (Dickbag Donnie)walks over with a smug little grin on his face and says “nah man, no entrance.” I tried to reason with this man. He obviously could tell our situation was dire and we had friends inside holding our seats for us. If he had any kindness in him at all he would have let us pass. He garnered an extreme pleasure from using his fraction of power to deny us access to the movie. This ten minute policy is totally retarded because it gives little piss head fuck faces like Dickbag Donnie the power to deny cinefiles such as myself the ability to do what I love most, SEE MOVIES.
-On the verge of being thrown off site I accept my fate and return my ticket to guest services. Elliott suggests we calm our nerves by enjoying a beer at the bar. We do so. Not having calmed my nerves, i say to myself. FUCK THIS. I get what I want. I ask Elliott how much cash he has on his person. Together we scrape up 5 bucks and go back to the entrance of The Dome. I smack the 5 dollars on the glass and point to it with a smile. The awesome dude behind the popcorn counter who witnessed my previous interaction with Dickbag Donnie came to the glass. I assume he shared the same distaste for Assface Aaron and Dickbag Donnie by taking my 5 bucks with a smile and granting Elliott and I access to the theater without ripping out tickets.
-My brother went to guest services after the movie and got his 30 bucks back and I got to see Transformers 2 AGAIN for free. Dickbag Donnie and Assface Aaron still work at the Arclight. I’m curious how many other times people have done the same thing as me and worked the system b/c we were treated unfairly. Things happen in a big city. Having a “10 minutes late no entry” policy is dumb and adds nothing to the overall movie going experience.

Trash Night

I made this short film with fellow “Kill, Zombie, Kill!” co-writers Adam J Wood and Mia DiPasquale, not to mention the amazing crew of Craig Bauer, Chris Ide, Seth Peschansky, Eric Ehemann, Cubbie Kile, Johnnie Hertline(ham), Francis (poi boi) Camacho, Chris Titone, and a bunch of others.

Rob Zombie liked our short so much he chose it out of the other hudreds of videos submitted. We won 4k and got the short aired a few times on AMC Fearfest.

Cant wait to do it again!

I filled out an email questionaire which later got butchered into an interview by AMC.

Q: What were you doing when you got the news that you’d won?

A: I was on my lunch break from work with my fiance and felt my phone vibrate. I almost choked on my lunch.

Q: Which entry — besides your own — was your favorite?

A: I felt that everyone who shot a video for this contest did a wonderful job… I must admit, I especially enjoyed the Ice Cream Man video.

Q: What was the most memorable moment in making your short?

A: One of the most frightening moments was from a scene we had to cut to make the time limit. My friend Keith Blum (who played the Green Goblin fish man) had a really cool shot crawling out of the water. Nobody could tell from the video, but the water was roughly 30 degrees… He was a champ, wanting to do more takes from different angles. He nearly froze helping us and we are truly grateful.

Q: What’s next in your movie career?

I have a couple other short film concepts I have been wanting to film. Me and the people who helped write Trash Night are involved in writing multiple feature length horror-related film scripts. One work in progress that we hope to bring to life is a “zombedy” titled Kill, Zombie, Kill!

Q: What do you plan to do with the $4,000 that you’ve won?

A: I plan on reimbursing everybody who spent their own money on the short and then throwing a wrap party. Everyone involved worked so hard, and this wouldn’t have happened without them. Whatever money is left will go into financing the next short we have written.

Australia does it again.

If you’ve ever been interested in graphics, 3d, cg , cgi, whatever you want to call it but just didnt know where to start. Its now one step closer to the general public. These awesome Australians have patents on their new software that will give anybody who is adept ad tracing the leverage to construct a 3d object to put into Google Earth or what have you. Watch the video on the following llink, its pretty bad AZZ!

Nerds Gone Wild!! Look what happens when you give smart people new toys!

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