Trailer: The Monkey King – 3D

Donny Yen (Ip Man 1, 2, Black Mask) is one of the great Kung Fu stars of Asia and now takes on the iconic role of the Monkey King in this lavish version of “Journey Into the West”. One of the great classics of literature. I am really looking forward to this and Stephen Chow’s version coming out this year as well.

3-D Printed Arms – $100

I’ve talked about the wonders of 3D printing many times on this blog in the past. The day is coming when you can go to a local store and order up darn near anything on demand and it can be manufactured right there. But already 3D printing is being used to make everything from construction materials to prosthetic limbs. In the Sudan, a company is making them for the victims of war and they are only $100!

When you tale out the overhead inb manufacturing, the cost of goods becomes really inexpensive. Think about it. No factory, no mass of labor costs and so on. Just a small company with a 3D printer and the materials used to print it. Then shipping.

A company called Not Impossible Labs has come up with one of the best uses for 3D printer technology we’ve ever heard of: printing low-cost prosthetic arms for people, mainly children, who have lost limbs in the war-torn country of Sudan.
The project was the brain child of Mick Ebeling, founder of Not Impossible, a company dedicated to “technology for the sake of humanity.” Not Impossible is probably best known for its “Eyewriter” eye tracking glasses, created with free open source software, that helped a paralyzed graffiti artist draw and communicate using only his eyes.

Project Daniel started in 2012, when Ebeling read a story in Time magazine about Daniel Omar, a then 14-year-old Sudanese boy who lost both his hands from a bomb.

It inspired Ebeling to assemble a team capable of creating a low-cost, 3D-printed prosthetic on consumer-grade 3D printers. The team included the South African inventor of the Robohand, an Australian MIT neuroscientist, a 3D printing company in California and was supported by Intel and an engineering company called Precipart.

The arms they developed are inexpensive enough to be available to anyone who needs one, costing around $100 to produce, and can be printed in about six hours, reports Time’s Harry McCracken.

Thief Returns in March

One of my all time favorite computer games returns/ The original couple of games were set in a shadowy medieval city with steam punk technology. Two deadly forces were competing for power and you ended up having to take on one of them. Garrett is a master thief with some gadgets up his sleeve and you have to use them to sneak past the guards. This game invented the “sneaker” type game where you have to get by without getting caught. You can’t get into fights or you will lose. This made the game a lot more suspenseful. The writing and atmosphere was so good it was intense at times. Moreso that a lot of horror or action games. I hope this new version lives up to the old games which came out over 10 years ago.

Hell’s Reward Casting

Happy New Year!

I used to do new year predictions on this blog and they were usually right except for one year. I stopped doing them for now but I decided to do another kind of speculation. I noticed a lot of reviews of my novel say it would make a great movie (up to 13 five star reviews now!) So for the sake of fun I thought I would do casting for a hypothetical movie if I could pick the actors. It might give you an idea who I thought might fit which character.

A lot of these choices are in their 40s and I would probably prefer someone in their 30s, but these actors have the right qualities I was thinking of.

Drake: I don’t see Drake as particularly handsome so I would want someone more down to earth looking. I do think that Jason Statham would be good because he’s got the moves. Lately, though I have taken to actor Eddie Marsan who is extremely versatile.

Wex: Karl Urban would be great. Possibly Clive Owen.

Conor: I would like someone who is good at playing rough characters and does a good Scots or Irish accent since I was thinking of that as his regional sound in my head. So I would cast someone like Gerard Butler or Kevin McKidd. They both showed they can bring the intensity in 300 and Rome respectively. I am also a fan of Robert Carlyle, though he’s kind of short. But that could work.

Glinda: For Glinda I was thinking someone like Lily Collins. The poor girl needs a good movie role. Her last bunch of films were pretty bad but I think she would be good.

Luko: OK, to me Tom Hiddleston would be my first pick but I know there’s no way in hell he would do it. Luko is a trickster and so is Loki. I doubt he would be willing to take the role. So someone like James McAvoy or John Simm might work. He was great on Doctor Who as the Master. Ewan McGregor or David Tennant and both do comedy and a sparkling personality really well. Luko has to be able to light up a room or be a attention whore that’s funny.

Aerwyn: Aerwyn is a straight man to Luko’s comedy act. And he’s also the conscious of the two. So someone more serious and grounded. I think Orlando Bloom or Tom Mison or Luke Arnold. Also, Arthur Darvill would be good.

Mael: I would like someone who could play a regal character and also looks heroic and can be intense. Actors who spring to mind are Michael Fassbender, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Also Benedict Cumberbatch.

Reyne: She plays a bigger role in the next novel. After seeing The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug I think Evangeline Lilly would be really good. She has both a great screen presence and can do action very well. I also think Jenna Coleman would be good.

I’m sure more actors will come to mind but these are my gut instincts off the top of my head.

American Hustle: Best Movie of 2013

I saw American Hustle today and its definitely my favorite movie of the year. An amazing cast with a fantastic script. It felt like a great Scorsese movie, but David O Russell was the director, who made Silver Linings Playbook and Three Kings. Really a great film maker in his prime. He co-wrote the movie as well.

This story is based on some real events, but is the fictional account of a couple of con artists roped in by the FBI and used to go after some politicians in the ABSCAM bribery sting. It’s a glorious account of late 70s America done with very accurate styling. Loved it.

From the Future with Love

Check out this amazing SF short and a bunch of others here. There are some amazing films being made these days by people that blow away Hollywood stuff.

Kung Fury!

This looks awesome. A film financed by Kickstarter that is some kind of ode to 80s badness. Sweet!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended

I bought the extended version of the first Hobbit movie on DVD and I’m glad I did. It was much improved from the theatrical version. Admittedly, I am a big Tolkien fan and I realize a lot of people didn’t like the first Hobbit movie even though it made over a billion dollars in a month’s time. You can’t please everyone. But this extended version fleshes out the characters more, adds some missing context (like among other things, hints why the dwarves and elves have this rift), and even adds two songs from the book, and they are well done. Especially the Golbin town song which you only got a snippet of in the theatrical version., The full song is actually pretty decent.

If you are a fan of Tolkien you definitely want to check out the extended version. It makes me very interested in the extended version of Desolation of Smaug now. I just wish they’d have cut the stupid drug references and scatological humor of the first movie, because it’s very unTolkien and also lame. Ah well.

Examiner Review of Hell’s Reward

I got a five star review today for Hell’s Reward from the Nice!

One of his greatest unfinished works was “Age of Heroes” with artist John Ridgway. The fantasy series lasted only six issues before vanishing. Hudnall and Ridgway remained attached to the series over the years though. Ultimately, Hudnall decided to continue the work not as a comic but as prose.

“Hell’s Reward” is the result. The first in a series of novels based on his original “Age of Heroes” comics, the book introduces a wide cast of characters in a grand fantasy tradition. The book stars a one armed swordsman, an archer and a thief, a mage, a blind bard and more. They live in a world where the gods have vanished, leaving only grand statues and machines behind. But their presence is still felt, even as dark forces gather in the shadows.

Tolkien and “Dungeons & Dragons” fans will see some homage in Hudnall’s world, but he builds a unique world from parts both traditional and original. It’s a new world and a new story built on a grand tradition of fantasy.