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Face Off Season 9 Episode 10: Sideshow Freaks!

Published September 30, 2015 by vfdpixie

It was time for the artists to work for immunity again.  For this Foundation Challenge, they would have to create their own intimidating tribal warrior by mimicking scarification, tattoos, piercings and body paint.  The makeup would have to be applied to the model’s entire upper body instead of just the face, and they would use the unique and treacherous weapons each model carried as inspiration.  Their guest judge was makeup artist Robin Mathews, who won an Oscar for The Dallas Buyers Club.  She told them for that film they had a low budget, so she had to use “paint and powder” to highlight and contour the actors instead of facial prosthetics.  She would be looking for resourcefulness with their use of products. They all did some great warrior makeups, but the ones that stood out for Robin were Meg for her simple but detailed and realistic magenta warrior, and Scott for his organic, earthy cracked clay warrior.  The winner was Scott for his ingenious use of the clay.  He now had immunity for the Spotlight Challenge and was definitely relieved.

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The Big Top was the inspiration for the next challenge.  Like over the top carnival sideshows, the artists would have to create their own sideshow freaks, but with a more fantastical approach.  Their choices were put on a carnival wheel, and they spun it to get their characters.

Stevie got Icicle Irma.  She went with a woman who had a blue skin condition with a melting icicle face.  She realized the icicles would be tough to sculpt, and Mr. Westmore pointed out that her icicles looked more like boils.  He suggested that she do only half the face as well.  She revised the icicles by using dried hot glue drippings and added them to her face sculpt.  She had to apply them to the model’s face as well as paint and do a beauty makeup in last looks.  The judges liked the concept and she was safe.  Jordan did an Elephant Lady makeup.  To create this look, he used sheet foam, foam balls and spandex to create a lumpy elephant arm.  The judges thought he did a nice paint job, although Neville thought the finish looked more like stone than elephant hide.  He too was safe this week.

Scott created a look for Twisted Tom.  After Mr. Westmore tweaked his eye sculpt to look more twisted, he took his time with the makeup because he had immunity.  He sculpted an arm and chest piece, and used a freckling technique as he painted the makeup.  He went for details and even though the judges felt there could have been more skin disease used to cover his edges, they liked his vision.

Nora had Lobster Larry.  Once again, she needed a bit of time to figure out her concept.  She came up with a mobster lobster who was raised by the mob and had to hide out in the circus freak show.  Mr. Westmore told her to sell more lobster with her sculpt, and she created some cool lobster claws.  I loved this look!  The judges felt it was a clean application, excellent sculpt and good story.  Glenn thought it worked for the challenge, and even though Neville thought the face didn’t quite read lobster, he liked the gold grill on Larry’s teeth, calling him a “grilled lobster” which got some groans from the panel.

Meg got Inside-Out Oscar.  She wanted to create an exposed brain for her character who had a disease that made him shed his skin.  Mr. Westmore told her she needed a good muscle sculpt and muscle striation for the paint to stand out. After getting her stuck mold open with Scott’s help, Meg painted away, but felt it wasn’t the best representation of her work.  Her gooey character got no love from the judges.  Ve thought it was too simian looking, and there was no focus due to too many details.  They thought looked more like a ripped off skin instead of an inside-out character, and the skull sculpt didn’t quite make the cut.  She was in the bottom.

Evan worked on Moon Girl.  He went for a swollen acne/crater face with a piece of meteor in the head sculpt for some humour.  Mr. Westmore told him that the acne was too subtle and he needed a more aggressive sculpt.  Evan had to start over and unfortunately his face piece ripped.  He had to fix it as much as he could, and work out the rest with paint.  He was worried because it looked terrible to him up close.  His hillbilly Moon Girl missed the mark with the judges.  They thought it was rough, and although they liked the trailer trash beauty makeup, they thought his funny idea was a mess.  Evan agreed with them and he ended up in the bottom.

Ben’s concept for the Human Peacock was an M.C. for the freak show.  He sculpted a beak-like nose and created a collar with L2oo, warbla and layers of peacock feathers.  He also had to fix his face piece, and patched it in enough time to do a layered paint job.  The judges loved this makeup.  They thought it was the best thing he has done on the show.  Neville loved the texture, balance of the nose, lips and profile, and Ve loved the paint.  Glenn thought he captured the heart of the challenge which was to incorporate fantasy and human elements.

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The winner was Ben.  His was the only top look due to his clean makeup and blending of the traditional and fantastic.  He felt redeemed after a few bad spells.

Meg’s bad choices and improper anatomical sculpt sent her home.  She made it far into the challenge and she was proud of herself.  She did well and the judges could see only improvement from this point on.  Best of luck to her!

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Face Off Season 9 Episode 9: The Four Horsemen

Published September 23, 2015 by vfdpixie

After Evan got a boost from his win, and the gang regrouped after the grueling Gauntlet, the artists geared up for what McKenzie called one of the most intimidating challenges.  They met on a ruined set with crumbled buildings and abandoned, burned out cars to find out what the subject of their next Spotlight Challenge would be.  This time, they would be dealing with the end of the world and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  They would have to pick one of the four horsemen:  War, Famine, Pestilence and Death, and create their own horrific interpretations.  Resident judge Glenn Hetrick was there to give his advice since he was the makeup designer behind the film Legion.  He told them to find contrast and range with their characters.  The artists chose from survival kits adorned with the names of each horseman character, and even thought they would be creating individual makeups, the 8 artists would be split up in groups of two, each with four horsemen shown together on the reveal stage.

In the first group, Jordan, Stevie, Scott and Meg would tie their characters together with pocket watches.  Jordan picked War and created an armoured look complete with a war mask.  His horseman would also have a terrifying hole for a face that absorbed souls.  He waited until last looks to put his makeup together and the result was pretty creepy.

Stevie’s Famine would have an emaciated look.  This horseman would kill everything with a touch.  She planned on a face and chest piece, and was advised by Mr. Westmore to change his mouth so it didn’t look so healthy.  This would be the first time she made a chest piece, and she was the last in the mold room, but managed to get it finished.  The starved ribcage was a key look to her makeup, so she was lucky!  Her gothy Famine horseman got a nod from the judges with the colour palette she used.

Scott wanted to create an empathetic Death character.  He would incorporate a burial shroud look, and as usual, had his strategy planned out well.  He also made an hourglass from scratch for Death’s timepiece and to imply an aged look for her.  His clean face prosthetic, planning and consistent confidence was behind my favourite horseman of the night.  The mummified face was brilliant!

Meg worked on Pestilence.  She would create a female character that brought death instead of life, and make her impish.  She used some interesting techniques like latex and salt for a boily textured skin, and her character was really gross.  The judges liked the lower eye area.   Group one was safe for another week.

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The second group consisted of Kevon, Nora, Ben and Evan.  They linked the characters by having collars that Death held onto with chains.  This group held the best and worst looks of the week.

Kevon wanted a bacterial look to his idea of Pestilence.  This horseman would serve Death, and would have the key feature of a rotting, sore-like mouth.  He also wanted tendrils around the mouth, but was afraid it would look too alien.  Mr. Westmore agreed and told him to add boils.  While he did add the boils, Kevon also kept the tendrils.  It ended up being a little weird, and the judges thought they didn’t work with his story.  The obscure choices he made created what Ve called “the Goonies sloth and The Fly baby”.  He had too many ideas that didn’t work, and that put him in the bottom looks.

Nora would go for a skeletal Famine.  She had trouble once again with her sculpt and concept, but with some encouragement from Evan, and working out a cool barbed wire detail, she finally came up with something she liked.  This was also a favourite of mine, and the judges liked that her skillful paint job showed with the matching skin tones of both Famine’s face and body.  The barbed wire detail was used to wire the character’s mouth shut, which impressed the judges as well.  Neville loved the forms and textures, and Nora was in the top looks.

Ben went big with War.  He aimed for a Kevlar chest piece, and mapped it out with paper.  This would prove to be a huge time eater, especially with his time for painting.  He felt defeated, but didn’t give up even though the look was not what he envisioned.  He was disappointed and cringed when the judges inspected what he called a “total turd”.  They thought it looked too dry and too red, and even thought it wasn’t horrible, it lacked passion and clarity.  The poor decisions got him placed in the bottom looks.

Evan created a bare bone and muscle look for Death.  He wanted an interesting character and Mr. Westmore told him to look at his sculpting carefully.  He used vaccuform to create a mask that would reveal the skinless face once removed.  He tweaked his paint job and added a jelly for shine.  His risk with anatomy paid off.  Because it was treated with a graphic design approach, the judges loved his liberties with his facial sculpt.  The mask looked like metal due to his great paint job, and Glenn raved that Evan did exactly what the challenge called for:  a unique interpretation of the character.  He was in the top looks.

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The winner this week was Evan for his risky but gorgeous makeup.  The person going home was Kevon.  There was too much going on in his makeup and no presence of a terrifying horseman.  The judges would miss his high concept thinking and Kevon was pleased with how far he had come.  I can only see extreme weirdness (in a good way) for Kevon’s future.

Face Off Season 9 Episode 8: “The Gauntlet”

Published September 16, 2015 by vfdpixie

Face Off is always a whirlwind of makeup and tension, but it came to a head this week.  McKenzie described it as the most difficult challenge in Face Off history and she wasn’t kidding.  Called simply “The Gauntlet”, the artists would have a 3-staged challenge and the winning artist for each stage would be ranked from highest scoring to lowest.  Their overall ranking would determine who won the entire 3 challenges and who would go home, and our resident judges Glenn, Ve and Neville would determine the best and worst looks.

The first stage was inspired by films where characters were exposed to the elements like in Cast Away and Alive.  The artists had to create a look based models and their wardrobe, the major themes being frozen or sunburned.  They all did great jobs, and the top looks came from Nora and Jordan.  Nora ranked #1 this first stage, as her frostbitten look was the most accurate portrayal of exposure.  The bottom looks included Evan, Jasmine and Kevon.

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Stage two involved models who were already in costume and had prosthetics applied to their faces.  The challenge here was to create some incredible paint jobs.  Glenn advised them to not apply big blocks of colour and go for realism instead.

Stevie’s medieval goblin had a fantasy look, but the judges thought it was too flat looking.  Ben’s sea queen impressed the judges with pretty colours and soft variations of paint.  Jasmine’s fun alien had an overly airbrushed look like body painting but it was fun.

Kevon and Ben were in the top looks.  Kevon, who felt defeated by the challenge, ended up creating a paint job the judges loved and won him first place in stage 2, followed by Ben.  The bottom 3 were Scott, Stevie and Evan.

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The third and final stage had them create a hero or feature makeup and two background makeups, within the following randomly assigned categories:  Witches and Warlocks, Goblins and Angels.

Meg, Ben, and Jordan all got Witches and Warlocks.  Meg made a third eye with a taxidermy fake eye in the witch’s forehead to break up what she thought was a boring look.  The judges didn’t like it and they noticed that she did the same paint job as her last challenge.  They also thought she should have swapped out characters because her background male witch was a better makeup.  She was in the bottom.

Jordan went for a traditional Halloween trio of witches.  The judges thought the makeups looked rough up close, and needed more detail, colour range and gloss for dimension.  Ben did a skin abnormality that looked like a Rorschach test, which was weird but well done and kept him out of the bottom rankings.

Kevon, Evan and Jasmine did Angels.  Jasmine had a fallen angel and his 2 angel prisoners.  She wanted a metallic finish to the main angel, but the golden-bronze colour was too solid.  The judges thought it was too intense, like a street performer with no dimension and the female background characters too subtle.  Evan, on the other hand, got their approval for his two fallen angels and their angel prisoner.  They felt he had the strongest hero character and liked the beautiful female angel.  His “elegant array of characters” with lots of details got him top rankings.  Kevon also did well with his beauty makeup inspired angels, and although his brow piece was a tad low on his feature makeup, he was safe.

Finally, Scott, Stevie and Nora worked on Goblins.  Scott impressed the judges with all the detail he got done in such a short amount of time.  Stevie went for a fantasy look and had a male “pimp” goblin and his “ho-blins”.  She fixed her paint job from looking muddy to having dimension, and the judges noticed.  They liked her painting techniques down to the broken capillaries in the nose.  Nora really went for it and made my favourite trio of the night.  She painted the heck out of her goblins, adding translucent jelly for a gooey look.  She was inspired by the movie Legend, and Neville could see the influence.  The judges thought her choices were successful and liked that the goblins were cohesive.

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The winner for stage 3 was Evan for his well painted hero, but the overall winner was Nora who showed growth and had the most covered and well-rounded makeups.  I thought she also showed consistency in all three stages.

The bottom three in stage 3 were Meg, Stevie and Jasmine, and unfortunately, Jasmine would be the one going home.  Her different approach to the first stage in which she created a poisoned look instead of a frostbitten or sunburned look; the airbrushed look of her fun alien; and finally the one-toned fallen angel kept her in the bottom too often.  Neville was inspired by her and sad to see her go.   The good thing was that she was inspired by the show and glad she got as far as she did.  She vowed to carry on and kick ass, which I’m sure she will very soon!

M. Night Shyamalan Surprises with The Visit

Published September 13, 2015 by vfdpixie

TheVisit

The Visit (2015, I hr, 34 mins)

 

Remember when The Sixth Sense created a buzz in 1999 and got all those Oscar nominations?  And then came Unbreakable (2000), which was a different take on the superhero, and Signs (2002), where aliens invade Earth while a grieving pastor questions his reason for being, both also critically acclaimed.  These films all paved a yellow brick road for M. Night Shyamalan, giving him the reputation for being a fresh voice in the horror, sci-fi and supernatural genres.  Unfortunately, he came out with more than a few misses, like The Village (2004), Lady in the Water (2006), The Happening (2008),  and After Earth (2013), branding him with an involuntary roll of the eyes when mentioned by the less than forgiving masses.  Thankfully, his latest contribution does the opposite by taking the already tedious found footage genre and pumping refreshingly new life into it with The Visit.

15-year-old Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and her younger brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are going to visit their grandparents for the first time.  Their mother (Kathryn Hahn) has been estranged from her parents for 15 years, and at their request, she is reluctantly sending the kids on a week-long stay at their farm in rural Pennsylvania.  Becca is a budding filmmaker and wants to create a documentary based on her mother’s life and familial rift in the hopes of a reunion in the future, so this trip makes for great content and she plans to catch everything on film.

When the kids meet their grandparents, they are excited and apprehensive.  The air is cordial and slightly awkward as they get to know each other, and they explore their Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop’s (Peter McRobbie) farm, trying get an angle on them, but things get stranger and stranger as the week goes by.  The seniors exhibit odd and disturbing behaviour, warning their grandkids to stay in their room after 9:30 p.m. because of Nana’s strange nocturnal afflictions.  This leaves Becca and Tyler baffled and soon terrified as a gruesome secret is revealed.

I was on the fence as to whether I would see this latest Shyamalan attempt, since I too was one of those eye-rollers.  I loved his first few films, and I think Devil was underrated, but The Village and The Happening left a bad taste in my mouth, and I became wary of the now expected twist with his films.  He regained my trust recently with Wayward Pines, where he directed the pilot and produced the series.  I had to give him credit with his efforts to tell this weird and wonderful tale, and now he has won me over again with The Visit.

It was refreshing that I didn’t know what to expect from seeing the commercials and the trailer.  I did wonder if it was a comedy because of Kathryn Hahn, who has a long comedic resume, and I was right, but there was no slapstick here.  Instead, there was a slow burn build-up of weirdness and Oxenbould’s brilliant portrayal of the nerdy and hilarious hip-hop enthusiast Tyler made the film for me.  His timing broke up tension in a way that mirrored audience reactions and added to the overall mystery of the plot.  Dunagan and McRobbie took the archetypical loving grandparents to a sinister place and didn’t hold back once the plot turned, and look out for some old school Brothers Grimm references.  Oh, and that Shyamalan twist is very present and will not disappoint.

As the end credits rolled for The Visit, I couldn’t help but think this was a cinematic raspberry blown at those of us who reminded him how terrible some of his efforts were, and to offset the many Golden Raspberry Awards he’s won in the past.  This time, with a mere 5 million dollar budget, Shyamalan redeems himself.  Aside from a couple of dead-end scares and a somewhat sappy ending, he successfully leads us down a road with blinders on only to rip them off and shove us off a pretty crazy cliff.  Go see it if you want a surprising horror comedy with Hansel and Gretel overtones and a decent found footage revival.

 

 

 

 

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