All posts for the month January, 2014

Face Off Season 6 Episode 3: Dragons!

Published January 30, 2014 by vfdpixie

As Corinne and George discuss her win, George expressed how he wanted to do and individual challenge to show his skill.  Ask and you shall receive, sir!

This time around, the artists head to Point Dume State Beach in Malibu which has been featured in films like Iron Man and the original Planet of the Apes.  McKenzie told them the beach could also be the perfect home for dragons.  She presented them with shields damaged by the following:  freezing, corrosion, charring, quills, sandblasting, slime, or tarring.  For the first individual Spotlight Challenge, they were to pick a shield and create a dragon that could have caused the damage.

Daniel created a dragon that had slimed a shield.  His character had been outcast from the other dragons, and waited to reunite with its mate.  The judges did not like this makeup.  They thought the chest looked like armour, and the palette was “uncomfortable”.  Neville thought the kimono costuming ruined the concept.  Glenn also added that there were no dragon elements like horns, teeth or wings.  In fact, one of the judges thought it looked like a sea creature.  He ended up in the bottom looks.

Rashaad picked tarred and created a thick and heavy-looking dragon.  That dude has talent! I really liked this character. It looked like it was straight from a video game.  The judges were floored by all the work he did in such a short amount of time.  They felt it looked like a team effort.  They thought he had a great sense of form, splendid paint technique, and they liked the wings as well.  The sculpt, paint and volume of work really blew them away.  He was in the top looks.

Chloe chose the sandblasted theme.  She created a seahorse type dragon.  Her concept was plagued with problems.  From locking molds to a cowl she had to cut in half, this makeup was barely completed in time.  She was “heartbroken” and felt it was one of the worst makeups she had ever done.  Sadly, she was right.  It was a bit of a mess, but the judges acknowledged the detail in her sculpt.  She was terrified that she was going home, but miraculously, she was safe.

Tyler went with the frozen shield, and created a vulture-like scavenger dragon.  He was really good with his time, and finished his sculpting in such an efficient way that he was able to make wings for his concept.  He also used the vacuform to create icicles for the creature’s head.  His love for dragons showed because it was a great concept.  I really loved the paint job and the teeth.  The judges loved this concept and thought it had “creepy elegance”.  They thought he made intelligent choices and that he had created the best set of wings on the show.  Because of this brilliant concept and smart decisions, he was in the top looks.

Graham picked the slimed shield.  His concept was a gross, slobbering, and dog-like dragon.  He also used vacuform to create bubbles and multiple eyes for his dragon.  I liked how he incorporated slime and stuck debris on the creature.  It was a pretty solid look and kept him safe for this week.

Niko worked on a quilled dragon who was a slave and wanted revenge.  His chest piece cracked, and after helping Chloe with her locked mold, realized he was a bit behind with his time.  I didn’t like the paint job.  The judges liked the profile of the quills at the side and back of the head, but thought the sculpting and application was rough and the design not proportionate.  Glenn also pointed out that the eye couldn’t find a place to go.  He was in the bottom looks.

Matt (tarred), Tanner (charred), and Daran (corrosion), all ended up safe.  I liked Daran’s creature.  It looked rusted and I loved how the jaw was corroded down to bone.  The other two makeups were kind of a mess (sorry, not gonna lie!).  I am surprised that Matt was safe as I thought his middle eastern concept had nothing to do with his tarred choice, and the dragon wasn’t dragon-like.

Corrine worked with corrosion and created a treasure hoarding dragon that spit acid to protect its treasure.  Her dragon had a nice profile, but she was not happy with it.  Lucky for her, she was safe. Cat picked the frozen shield, and created an almost pretty dragon.  I liked her colour choices and the face sculpt.  This design kept her safe as well.

Tess also chose quilled.  She was having trouble sculpting and ended up behind.  Her concept was a dragon that used its quills and feathers as arrows.  Her leg pieces were not coming off the forms, and she had to cut them off.  The judges liked the concept but felt that the gluing and paint was rough.  The head-piece was also crooked and they would have liked to have seen the model’s chin integrated into the makeup.  She was in the bottom looks.

George picked the charred shield, and went with a volcanic look.  His dragon was a knight who had fallen in love with a wizard’s wife and was thrown into the pits of Hell.  The judges really liked the forms, design and horn placement.  Ve thought it looked like a Chinese dragon, with the fire bronzed metal look.  Neville thought the idea wasn’t new but it was a beautiful makeup.  He was in the top looks.

The winner out of the top looks was Tyler.  They thought he had a brilliant concept and made smart decisions.  The person to go home was Daniel.  They thought that the makeup was confused with the sculpt and colour and the didn’t see a dragon in the makeup.

I really enjoyed this challenge. I love dragons, and the contestants really showed their skills this time around.  I can see that despite the nerves, this is a really strong bunch.  Really enjoying the fact that there isn’t any drama too (hope I’m not speaking too soon!).

Face Off Season 6 Episode 2: Alien S.O.S.

Published January 24, 2014 by vfdpixie

At the start of the second episode, Matt expressed a bit of remorse because of Margaret’s elimination. He felt bad that she got voted off even though he took responsibility.  The judges have their reasons, and this is a competition.  People have to be eliminated.

Without a moment to lose, the artists went to a farm with crop circles to find out what their next challenge was going to be.  McKenzie presented the fact that over the last 30 years, 10, 000 crop circles have been found all over the world.  Some think that they are intergalactic distress signals.  With that in mind, there were 7 briefcases with a photo of a crop circle design and a dire message.  The artists were to choose a briefcase and work in teams of two to illustrate a life form that could have sent this distress message.  They had to make sure that there was evidence of the dire circumstances in the makeup.  Their guest judge for Elimination Day was Scott Stewart, writer and director for films like Priest, Dark Skies, and the T.V. series Defiance.  He thought everyone did a great job, considering the limited amount of time they had.

Rashaad and Tyler picked “global famine”.  Their concept was a greedy race that looked frog-like.  The two guys worked really well together and created what I though would be a top look because it was a great alien!  Their colour scheme was interesting and the look was cohesive, but the judges had little to say about it.  At least they were safe and made it to next week.

Niko and Corrine got the message “we need water”.  They created a dehydrated creature.  Niko was concerned that they weren’t going big enough, but ended up in the top looks.  The judges really like the paint job and the back of the alien’s head.  Ve also loved the green fingernails and Scott Stewart found the look to be seamlessly cohesive.

Tess and Daniel got “overcome with disease”.  They wanted to have an alien with mushrooms and fungus growing from its skin.  They judges felt they could have used more surface area for mushroom placement, but these two were safe.

George and Bethany got the message “polluted and toxic environment”.  Their concept was an alien that was a gatherer scavenging the land for food.  the cowl George made ripped right down the middle, so he improvised by turning the rip into a wound.  He was terrified that he would be going home.  the judges felt that from afar, the makeup looked impressive, but up close, the details in the face were unrefined.  Ve also wanted to see the character with evidence that she had been gathering food.  They ended up in the bottom looks.

Cat and Matt worked with the message “the sun is dying”.  They had trouble coming up with a concept and design.  What they eventually came up with looked too much like an animal, or “too elephanty” as Cat put it.  After some though, they came up with an alien that had to adapt to a planet that got hotter and hotter.  Their paint job was pretty terrible and took away from the work, as the judges pointed out.  Glenn also noted that the character had a “Swamp Thing nose” that was better left, well, on the Swamp Thing.  I thought they didn’t quite mesh together on this challenge, but tried their best to cooperate.  The judges thought that they didn’t do their solid concept any justice with the paint job and sculpt.  As a result, they were in the bottom looks as well.

Tanner and Daran worked with “ice caps are melting”.  Their concept involved an alien that used its fingertips to filter water.  I liked how they got forms for the hands, with Tanner using his own hands for a mold.   I wasn’t sure about this one myself, but it definitely was unique.  The judges thought the face of their alien was creepy and weird in a good way, and that the look was organic and rational.  They found it adventurous, fascinating and a well executed makeup.  They were in the top looks.

Chloe and Graham picked “gravity is changing”, and went for an alien that was dealing with an expanding gravity.  They made her a lanky, stretched out creature.  Chloe had some trouble deciding on a couple of design aspects, but in the end they came together to create a great alien.  I like the creature’s interesting, almost high fashion look  The judges liked the silver tones of the paint and thought it had good texture and depth.  They were safe.

The top team was Niko and Corrine.  The judges felt they worked extremely well together and executed one of the nicest paint jobs they had seen.  Corrine was the winner as they thought she was the driving force behind the team.

In the end, Bethany went home.  The judges felt that her face sculpt was an issue, but wished her the best.

I am always fascinated with what the judges look for in a makeup.  For the last few seasons, concepts that I thought were a top look ended up being “safe”, in fact, some of the winning looks have surprised me.  I have to remember that these industry leaders have an extensive background that guides them in their choices for camera ready concepts.   I still think that Rashaad and Tyler were robbed this episode.  That was a gorgeous alien!

I’m curious to see who will start to shine on the show.  Rashaad is really showing his skill and confidence with sculpting.  Chloe and Corrine both won a challenge, so looks like the ladies are leading the pack!

Rosemary’s Baby, Devil’s Due and the Favourite Child

Published January 23, 2014 by vfdpixie

rosemary's baby    devil's due

Rosemary’s Baby                                   Devil’s Due  

(1968, 2 hrs, 16 mins)                        (2014, 1 hr , 29 mins)

For my 100th post I wanted to write about my favourite movie.  A difficult choice, but it always comes back to Mia.  Rosemary’s Baby has always stayed close to my heart; it inspired the name for this blog, and it is chilling and comforting at the same time, fulfilling my ultimate horror need.  There is a mythology that comes with this classic film-from the original book by Ira Levin published in 1967, to the choice of director, to the actors; Mia’s infamous Vidal Sassoon haircut and finally the location that spins a near perfect tale.  The sets, the transformation of the characters, and the horror that builds from one scene to the next has yet to be duplicated.  There has been chatter of late on a new film about devil spawn, called Devil’s Due.  Many people see it fit compare the classic film to this new addition to the genre for obvious reasons, but it may not be as easy as pointing out the obvious.

No matter how many times I watch Rosemary’s Baby, I always get goose bumps at the ending.  Mia Farrow’s haunting vocals as the credits roll and the camera pans away from the iconic Dakota (starring as the Bramford in this film) always gets me.  After watching it for the umpteenth time, I have to correct myself. This film is not near perfect.  It is perfect.  From the first few minutes, there is a sense of gothic foreboding, even as Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse (Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes), the modern young couple in love, start their lives in a new apartment.  When Guy is offered success in exchange for Rosemary as the mother of Satan’s spawn, the temptation is too much for him to resist.  Most of us have seen the film and know what the outcome is, however, the plot is played out with such subtle horror that we can imagine this actually happening.  Key coven members Minnie and Roman Cassevets (played brilliantly by Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer) masquerading as nosy neighbours, coupled with Guy’s ruthless ambition and Rosemary’s vulnerability created a tale of supernatural conspiracy that grips you until the final frame.

In Devil’s Due, Zach (Zach Gilford) and Sam (Allison Miller) are happy newlyweds.  Zach has a persistent need to document every waking moment of their lives via video, giving us an intimate look at  their wedding, new life and unexpected baby news.  Yes, the happy couple is expecting.  Only problem is that baby is not Zach’s.  During a night out solicited by a suspiciously friendly taxi driver (Roger Payano) on their honeymoon, Sam blacks out and is taken to a subterranean ceremony where she has been impregnated by the Devil.  As we watch the couple prepare for the baby, we also see Sam change from a vibrant young woman to a sullen, short fused and voraciously hungry host to the demon seed.  They are also being watched by shadowy figures, and Zach begins to notice the change as well as weird things happening in the house.  Devil’s Due takes us on this couple’s journey to place where wedded bliss can’t rescue them.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this film.  While, I didn’t read reviews, I saw the occasional 2-5 star rating here and there, and the general consensus that it was a bad film.  I had no expectations, but the story held my attention.  I liked that it was shot from the husband’s point of view, and the paranoia came from him instead of what we typically (and unfortunately) expect from the female characters.  It was refreshing to see Sam’s character as the sinister one, succumbing to the evil she carried.  I really felt for Zach and his growing concern for his wife, mixed with happiness and fear over her condition.  It was an unknown that he tried to understand and support, with a supernatural complication that no father could expect.

One of the problems I had with the story was how they agreed to go along with the taxi driver, especially after a weird visit to the local psychic.  It’s just common sense to be aware that the locals may not have your best interests in mind.  And the dog.  Are we to assume that Maverick, their golden retriever, was at doggy daycare when the watchers tended to their business in Zach and Sam’s home?  Some pets will betray you by snuggling up to intruders, but I don’t recall seeing him when the watchers were mucking about the house.  I should also point out that if you get motion sickness, you may not want to sit through this film.  I found the shaky camera work to be distracting at first, but got used to it as I watched.  It also annoyed me that Zach brought the camera everywhere.  If he were my man, I would have dropped that camera in the toilet from the get-go.  Sorry, but I don’t like my daily life filmed, especially when I’m having a meltdown.

I did like how the other p.o.v. cameras were incorporated when Zach wasn’t around or behind his camera.  I was also pleased to see a diverse background cast!  From church parishioners to Zach and Sam’s neighbours, visible minorities were a part of everyday life without being forced.  And I loved the ending!  I won’t give it away, but as a perpetually (happy) single person, I kind of snickered because it sticks it to traditional values that I have been criticized or pitied for not adopting.

Character wise, even though Rosemary and Sam were the expectant mothers and their experiences were somewhat similar,  I thought Zach had more in common with Rosemary.  They both had good instincts.  They knew when something wasn’t right and stuck to their guns, even thought they cared about their spouses, and made sacrifices in order to work on the relationships.  The major difference with husbands Guy and Zach was that Guy knew what was happening and why as well as being totally self absorbed, while Zach was in the dark until the end like Rosemary.  I also felt that as a character, Sam got lost in the plot and became merely a device to present the demon birth.

It’s really interesting as I comment on the two films, how film has changed as a whole.  Rosemary’s Baby has such style, such ambiance.  It is said that Polanski wanted to make a classy horror film, and he succeeded.  His use of suggestion and intrigue created a monumental paranoia that is hard to duplicate and the performances of the veteran cast projected the story to cult status.  In contrast, Devil’s Due is a bare bones, sometimes sloppy, vision of the same subject, and although a seasoned horror fan may tire of the found footage genre, it seems appropriate for this age of reality based T.V., voyeurism and all its trappings.   The sloppiness kept the audience guessing even though the plot was fairly obvious.  Despite its appearance, it created a decent amount of dread and suspense and turned out to be a passable horror movie with a punch line ending.

In all truth, I don’t think it’s fair to compare these two films.  They convey a similar storyline, but that’s as far as it goes.  Devil’s Due is an entertaining film you should see on a Friday night; a film you may eventually forget once the hype dies down simply because this fledgling film doesn’t have a history, and the filming style may make potential viewers skip it.  Rosemary’s Baby is an incredible book adaptation that even the original author held in high regard.  It has stood the test of time, was directed by a master, and became a masterpiece.  Both films take the mundane of everyday life and make it haunting and sinister, one with timeless finesse, the other with an in your face guerilla style point of view.  But like most offspring, it’s not healthy to pit one against the other.  There is another baby brewing as well, a remake of the iconic film for T.V. starring Zoe Saldana.  Can’t say I’m thrilled at all.  Does anyone remember the made for T.V. sequel Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby?  Total ’70’s weirdness. Can we stop with the remakes already?!  At least Devil’s Due didn’t claim to be a remake, because in this case, big sister Rosemary will always be the favourite child.  So lay off people…it’s a hard act to follow!

Face Off Season 6 Episode 1: Beauty’s Beast

Published January 15, 2014 by vfdpixie

Face Off is back for its sixth season, and as resident and radiant host McKenzie Westmore announced, it will be the “Season of Extremes”.  There was no time wasted as things ramped up for first Foundation Challenge.  The contestants:  Cat and Niko (who are in a relationship-a Face Off first!), Chloe, Rashaad, Daran, Daniel, Tess, Tanner, Bethany, George, Matt, Margaret, Corrine, Tyler and Graham all greeted each other and headed to a runway where there were 15 models wearing elaborate and huge wigs.  The artists had to create an extreme character that represented themselves as an artist.  The winner would be granted immunity for the Spotlight Challenge.  Their guest for the 2 hour challenge was Tami Lane, Oscar-winning artist who worked on films like  The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey.  Her advice was to create good makeup to complement the hair so that the look would be cohesive.  Her favourites were Bethany’s Fairest Lady which was a balance of beauty and grotesque, and George’s golden queen for the use of prosthetics and colour choices.  George won, gaining immunity.

For the Spotlight Challenge, they all went to the Hollywood Castle where they met with 7 Belles and pictures of castles.  The artists had to create a Beast that matched not only the Belle, but the style of castle.  To give them advice was director and writer of The Mummy films and G.I Joe, Stephen Sommers.  He wanted to see a scary but sexy beast that Belle would want to kiss.

Paired up in teams, the artists headed to the lab, and after the initial glee of seeing all their supplies and workspace, got to work. Of course there were the first day jitters and stuck molds, as it to be expected with this show.  it was nice to see not too much drama on the first major challenge.  Let’s hope that continues, but I doubt it.  Stephen Sommers joined them once again to judge the final looks on Elimination Day.

Tess and Niko went for a dragon based beast.  When Mr. Westmore came around to check out their work, he cautioned them to make the scales large so they would show up and there would be areas to create shading.  The judges liked the head shape and they ended up being safe.

Tyler and Bethany created a beast who was a human sacrifice.  They incorporated elements of their castle (Taj Mahal) on the beasts head, and used red and a sky blue for colour.  Sorry, but I thought it looked like a booby head.  Boobs all over the beast’s head.  The judges didn’t like because it wasn’t huge, scary, terrifying or sexy.  I believe they used words like “mousey”, “teddy bear” and “a cat with blueberry ice cream on its head”.  They were one of the bottom looks.

Cat and Daniel decided on a more refined looking beast that had a partially human face.  After a slightly rocky start (I detected a bit of attitude on Daniel’s part), they worked well together.  The judges thought their beast looked a touch too horror with the blood defining the monster/human face.  I thought it matched their Belle, and they were safe.

Daran, Graham and George worked on a beast who was trapped in a castle with a 100 year curse.  The longer he stayed, the more he transformed into a castle.  This was a great design.  I thought the back of the beast’s head had great detail.  Glenn liked how the chest flowed into the wardrobe which implied bulk without being actually bulky.  They also liked the sculpt and back story.  They were in the top two.

Corrine and Tanner created an Abominable Snowman type beast.  Mr. Westmore advised them to use ice to signify where he was from.  The judges felt the ears were problematic and Neville felt the nose sculpt made it look diseased.  They were safe despite the errors.

Matt and Margaret had an alien concept that I personally hated.  I thought there was no dimension in the paint job and no real texture.  The judges thought the shape of the head was weird, not sexy, and Stephen thought the lips would not be kissable.  Glenn just said it was “beyond unacceptable”.  Yikes!  They too were in the bottom.

Finally, Rashaad and Chloe went for a lizard type beast.  It was really beautiful and had such amazing detail.  Although Rashaad did the body and Chloe sculpted the face, it was really cohesive.  The judges loved the detail and thought it looked really professional.  Glenn said it was “stellar”, and Stephen said it was scary but kids would like it as a toy.  They all felt it was the most complex and complete makeup for the first week ever on the show.

The winning team was Rashaad and Chloe.  With their beautiful work, they impressed the judges and proved their talent.  Chloe won the challenge for her incredible face sculpt. The bottom team was Matt and Margaret.  Margaret was chose to go home because her face didn’t make sense sculpturally or anatomically.  They told her to hold her head up high, since her sculpt would have made it through to the next week in a previous season (whatever that means).

So we are off to another whirlwind season, and this one involves international travel and what seems to be a lot of surprises and challenge twists!  Can’t wait!

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