Kick-Ass 2 Drawing

This weekend (including Friday night), I watched three movies in the theatre – Jobs, Madras Cafe and Kick-Ass 2.  Out of the three, the most entertaining one was undoubtedly Kick-Ass 2 and I had a real blast watching it.  Hence, this drawing, done today –

Kick-Ass 2 - Drawing by Karthik AbhiramI drew this one in pencil, then scanned it in, added the paper texture in the background and the text.

I like how they expanded upon the storyline established in the first movie.  The movie shows us how Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) inspired other people to fight crime in costume.  Kick-Ass joins a Justice League-type outfit led by Col. Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey).  Meanwhile, Mindy Macready (Chloe Grace Moretz) is trying to adjust to life in high school and trying not to be Hit-Girl.

Gangster kid Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) reinvents himself as the super villain The Mother Fucker after Kick-Ass killed his dad in the first movie, and starts assembling an army of thugs to take over the city.

Kick-Ass 2 is a proudly A-rated movie (and I was overjoyed that it was released uncut in theatres here), it’s crude, ultraviolent, and a whole lot of fun.  Christopher Mintz-Plasse was absolutely hilarious as The Mother Fucker, Jim Carrey was great, and as expected, Chloe Grace Moretz was outstanding as both Mindy and Hit-Girl.  I liked the new superhero characters – Doc Gravity, Night Bitch, and the villains Mother Russia, Black Death, Genghis Carnage.  Loved the action scenes and the one-liners.

I read some of the original Kick-Ass comics by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr, but not Kick-Ass 2.  My cousin tells me that the movie follows the book pretty closely.

Kick-Ass 2 has more action than the first and there’s a lot going on.  I liked both movies about equally.  This one I’d rate an 8/10.

Kick-Ass 2 - Artwork by Karthik AbhiramAbove is an in-progress version of the drawing.  The completed poster of mine has the working title for the movie, Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall (I wonder why they changed it).

Check out the extended Red-Band trailer here:

There are two good pieces of music from the soundtrack.  The first one is a version of “When the Saints Go Marching In”:

And this one is a version of “Korobeiniki (Traditional Russian Folk Song)”.  I didn’t know it was a folk song.  You might know this music better as the theme from the game Tetris!

Stay back for the credits of the movie – there’s a short scene afterwards.

Evil Dead 2013 – Another Drawing

The Evil Dead 2013 Drawing post on my site seems to have become one of the most popular pages here, thanks to everyone who retweeted and shared the link at various places.  I think it was one of the earliest pieces of Fan Artwork to be put online for the movie, and that’s why it got noticed.  Besides, I think that’s a pretty good poster for the movie, if I do say so myself!  I did another piece of artwork based on the movie, this one done entirely digitally, on my Micromax Canvas HD phone.  Here it is –

Evil Dead 2013 Fan Art - Drawing by Karthik AbhiramThis was done using a few apps – the basic drawing itself was done on Sketch Guru (the app seems to have been renamed to Paint Joy now), I then got it into Snapseed and added the textures, grunge look and the frame, and then finally took it into Pixlr Express to add the text.

The drawing is based on the opening scene of the movie, that shows a possessed girl.  That scene is probably up there on the list of effective movie opening scenes – it really gets you into the movie!

Here is the drawing sans text, if the language is not your cup of tea –

Evil Dead 2013 Drawing 2 - Artwork by Karthik AbhiramMany months after I did that early fan art for Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead 2013, I finally got to see the movie.  Sadly, the movie was not theatrically released in India, due to the graphic violence and blood, so I had to wait till it was released on disc.  The movie is very well done, I will write a detailed review of it in another post.

[UPDATE 13-AUG-13]:

Here is a video showing how this drawing was made –

I filmed it on my Nokia 808 PureView phone.  The music used is a remix of “Closer/Last” by Nine Inch Nails.

 

 

 

Raw Deal

I am a big fan of 1980s action movies, and as a kid, I used to idolise Arnold SchwarzeneggerCommando, Predator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day I think I would have seen about 50 times or more.  Well, recently, I was looking up some 1980s music tracks on YouTube and I came upon the track “Kaminski Stomps” from the 1986 Schwarzenegger movie Raw Deal.  This is one of Schwarzenegger’s lesser-popular movies from that era, and I had only seen it a few times, many years ago (watched it in the theatre when I was in school, and then later on on VHS, and on TV).  So I rewatched it a couple of days back, and while not up to the standard of those other movies, this was pretty fun.  That inspired this drawing –

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Raw Deal - Drawing by Karthik AbhiramThe drawing was done in ballpoint pen mostly.  I used a bit of red gel pen to add the blood splats, and the gun was done with a black marker pen.  Nothing that fancy.  I scanned the image and then added a paper texture to it, and then the text, in Helvetica Neue font.

You may notice that the title of the movie is different in my poster – it says Triple Identity.  That was one of the working titles for the movie, before it got retitled to Raw Deal.  I thought that sounded stylish, so I used that instead.

The movie stars Schwarzenegger as Mark Kaminski, an ex-Federal Agent working as a Sheriff in a small town (doesn’t this sound very similar to his 2013 The Last Stand?), after a legal case forced him to resign.  He is approached by the FBI’s Harry Shannon (Darren McGavin) to infiltrate the gang of Chicago mobster Luigi Patrovita (Sam Wanamaker) and take the whole operation down.  Kaminski enters the gang posing as the criminal Joseph P Brenner, and what follows is a fun outing as he carries out what he was asked to do.

I’d rate the movie overall a 7/10, as the action quotient is a bit less here, but one thing to enjoy are the one-liners.  I also liked the music by Cinemascore (which I guess is an umbrella term for the people who contributed music to the movie – Chris Boardman, Tom Bahler, Albhy Galuten).

In-progress Drawings

Here are a few in-progress shots as I was drawing this.  These were all taken on my phone (Micromax Canvas HD) camera and processed in Snapseed.  The collage was made with the PhotoGrid app and I finally posted both of them on Instagram.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in RAW DEAL - Artwork by Karthik Abhiram - In-ProgressThis below picture I call “Kaminski Stomps”, after the name of the track that inspired me to do this entire drawing.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in RAW DEAL - In progress artwork by Karthik Abhiram

Soundtrack

You can find music from the soundtrack uploaded on YouTube.  Below are two of my favourites.

“Kaminski Stomps” – this is the track that plays during the end credits –

“Brains & Trains” – this is the track that plays during the opening scene of the movie –

The movie is good fun.  Nobody Gives Schwarzenegger a Raw Deal!

Selected Photos from 9-Aug-13

Sharing a selected set of photos from yesterday –

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A shot from a window, converted to Black and White with Snapseed’s Red filter, to enhance the skies.

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A turtle (maybe teenage, most likely not a mutant, definitely not a ninja).  Went to Eat 3 for lunch yesterday, took this picture there.

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The street near home was lit up for Bonalu festival.  I stood in the middle of the road to get this shot.

Guitars

Trying out the WordPress app on my phone, posting an image.  For the last couple of months, I’ve been taking and posting photos every single day on my Instagram feed. Thinking that I’ll post a picture a day on the blog as well.  Here is a collage I did a few weeks back.  The photos were taken at Full Volume Music Store, Banjara Hills.  I used Snapseed, Instagram and PhotoGrid apps to edit.

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Sherlock Drawing

Recently, a teaser was released for Series 3 of the TV show Sherlock.  It’s an awesome show and being very inspired by it, I drew this picture –

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This was drawn on my Micromax Canvas HD phone, entirely digitally (in fact, I am making this post also from my phone). I drew it using the Sketchbook Express app, and edited in Snapseed.  The text was added in Pixlr Express.  The words are the clues to the three episode titles that will be part of Series 3.

Thanks Girish Kumar for telling me about the words.

Sherlock Holmes was a fiction created the moment I was awoken by your Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to help him advance his cause. A smoke screen to conceal my true identity. My name is… Khan.

Benedict Cumberbatch has played a role in the following franchises – Sherlock Holmes, Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings.  Now all he needs to do is to appear in an episode of Doctor Who and a Star Wars movie and he’ll have covered all the major fandoms!  (the above quote inspired by Kashyap Chandra.)

David (2013 Hindi Version) – Review and Drawings

Ever since I saw the trailers for the Bejoy Nambiar movie David (a couple of months back), I have been eagerly waiting to watch the movie.  I really liked the director’s debut feature Shaitan, and from the looks of it, this movie seemed to be bigger and more ambitious.  I finally got to see the movie yesterday (at Cinemax, Banjara Hills) and thought it was very good, and that inspired me to do four drawings (all of them in this post).

David - Drawing by Karthik AbhiramFirst about the movie – David consists of three stories, each with the protagonist named David.  These are presented in an intercut fashion (as was done in Cloud Atlas), that come together by the end.  The first story is set in 1975 London, with Neil Nitin Mukesh as David, a gangster and an adopted son of Iqbal Ghani (Akash Khurana).  The second David is played by Vinay Virmani in a story set in 1999 Mumbai.  This David is a musician and lives with his Christian father Noel (Nasser) and his sisters.  Everything changes when a Hindu fundamentalist, Malti Tai (Rohini Hattandgadi) orchestrates an attack on Father Noel.  The lightest segment of the three is the one set in 2010 Goa, about drunken fisherman David (Vikram) who falls in love with a deaf-mute girl Roma (Isha Sharvani), who his friend is going to marry.

The acting by the leads and supporting characters in all three segments is very good, and the movie is well written.  It’s a little long though and the stories themselves I thought, were good but not anything extraordinary.  However, where David absolutely excels is in its storytelling – the way it is all put together.  In Shaitan, Bejoy Nambiar used stylish camerawork and music wonderfully – here he just takes everything one step further.

David is one gorgeous looking movie.  Three different cinematographers worked on the movie – “Gangster” is shot by Sanu Varghese, “Mumbai” is shot by P S Vinod, and “Goa” is shot by R Rathnavelu.  The work by all three (and their respective crews) is absolutely stellar – featuring beautifully composed visuals and wonderful lighting.  The colour palette is different for each sequence, so you always know which story any particular scene belongs to.  The 1975 scenes are in B&W, the 1999 scenes have a muted colour scheme, the 2010 scenes have a bright and colourful look.

The Production Design (Rajeevan) and Costume Design (Ameira Punvani) also are very well done.  Like Shaitan, David is also edited by Sreekar Prasad.  This is also very well done, since switching between multiple storylines thematically is not an easy thing.

Like Shaitan (remember “Bali – The Sound of Shaitan”, the remix of “Khoya Khoya Chand”?), David also uses music brilliantly.  I love the dramatic “Ghum Huye – The Theme of David”, which opens the film, the light “Maria Pitache”, Anirudh Ravichander’s “Yun Hi Re”, and the English track “Out of Control”.  Of course, as you’d have seen in the trailers, this movie also features a remix of an old song – “Mast Kalandar”.  There is a rock version with an aggressive electric guitar sound.

Overall, I really liked David.  Sure, there are some flaws, but I’d rather take an original piece of filmmaking like this any day, over a “lazy” blockbuster movie.  Many filmmakers would probably kill to have a second film as good as this.

Rating: 8/10

Additional Notes:

Tamil Version

  • David was simultaneously shot in Tamil, with actor Jiiva playing the guitarist David in the 1999 story.
  • The Tamil version features only two stories (the “Gangster” one is not featured, since apparently it didn’t suit the target audience).
  • As of today, the Tamil version has not been released in Hyderabad.  I had earlier tweeted wondering which version to watch first – I am glad I saw the Hindi version first, because I’d have missed the beautiful B&W segment and the “Mast Kalandar” song otherwise!  I still want to see the Tamil one.

Cinematography

  • If you observe the end credits of the movie, there are logos for both Kodak as well as Red.
  • As I read, the Goa sequences were shot digitally – and if IMDb is right, Rathnavelu used the Red Epic on that.  The other two sequences, I am assuming, were shot on 35mm film followed by a digital intermediate.
  • P S Vinod is the cinematographer for Panjaa – which I liked a lot.  I mentioned the cinematography in this post from a year ago.  I happened to see Panjaa on an IMAX screen – and it looked great!
  • Sanu Varghese is the cinematographer for Karthik Calling Karthik and also Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam, which I am seeing today (the Telugu version is playing on the IMAX screen too, which is what I have booked tickets for).

Now about the drawings I did. I did four of them in all – one for each David character from the movie, and one of the director, Bejoy Nambiar as well.

These were all done digitally on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.  Previously, I used the Sketchbook Express app for doing some drawings (see this post and this post).  But a few days back I got another application called Sketch Guru, which has some nice “sketch”-type brushes.  I did all the drawings using that application, and with my fingers (since I don’t have a stylus that works with my Tab).

The drawings were then opened up in Snapseed to add some effects (grunge and the organic frames).

I put them together in Photoshop Elements and then added the text.  The movie’s title is in the font Sketch Block.  The other text is in the font Agency FB.  Agency is also the font actually used in the titles for David.

A few months back, I mentioned that font in this post of mine, with a drawing based on the fifth season premiere of Fringe.  The same font was used in the opening sequence of the show, and I used it in my drawing also.

Here you can see the individual drawings of the three Davids –

Vikram as David - Art by Karthik Abhiram Vinay Virmani as David - Art by Karthik Abhiram Neil Nitin Mukesh as David - Art by Karthik Abhiram

And this is the drawing of the movie’s writer-director Bejoy Nambiar –

Bejoy Nambiar, director of "David" - Drawing by Karthik Abhiram

I am eagerly looking forward to what the director does next!

Trailers and Music for the movie:

You can listen to the songs from the Hindi version of the movie here:

The theme from David:

Hindi Version Trailer:

Tamil Version Trailer:

Only God Forgives Drawing

Here’s my very first drawing of 2013 – just completed!  This is a picture of Ryan Gosling from the upcoming movie Only God Forgives, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (who directed Drive and the Pusher trilogy).

Only God Forgives - Drawing by Karthik AbhiramThe drawing was done on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 with the Sketchbook Express app.  The image you see above was cropped in Photoshop and the text was added.  Otherwise no other editing was done to the actual drawing.

The drawing is based on the poster for the movie.  You can read more about it on the Wikipedia page.

Here is the first teaser for the movie, on YouTube –

It looks like it will be a violent action thriller – I am looking forward to seeing it!

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 Drawings – Sandman, Ma-Ma from Dredd, The Collection

This being the first post of 2013, here’s wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!  (I started writing this post last month, so it’s not designed as a New Year post.)

In the beginning of November, I bought myself a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.  Now, this was an impulse purchase, I didn’t really need a tablet but I got one anyway, and am very happy with it.  This is the first Android device that I bought, and I really like the OS (it came with Ice Cream Sandwich, and I recently got an upgrade that pushed it to 4.1 Jellybean).  I’m using it for reading comics (in CBR or CBZ files), watching videos and taking photos with Instagram.  Another application that I got for it, was Autodesk Sketchbook Express.  It’s a great drawing app, and I have done three drawings so far with it.  It takes a little getting used to (I’m not quite comfortable with it yet), and so far I’ve only been drawing using fingers (no stylus – I tried some pens turned backwards but they didn’t work).

This is the first drawing – a picture of Morpheus or Dream, from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman series (done without reference – I was actually waiting idle after a conference and drew this) –

The Sandman - Art by Karthik AbhiramThis is the second one, a drawing of Lena Headey as “Madeline Madrigal” a.k.a. “Ma-Ma” from the kickass movie Dredd

Ma-Ma from Dredd - Drawing by Karthik AbhiramThat movie was one of the most entertaining yet underrated movies of the year in my opinion and Ma-Ma was a great movie villain.  While doing this one I filmed some video footage, so I’ve posted that as a short clip on YouTube –

The third drawing is based on the Marcus Dunstan-directed movie The Collection.  This also was a very entertaining (and quite violent!) horror/action movie, and I was pleasantly surprised that they released it theatrically in India!

The Collection - Art by Karthik AbhiramWhile the earlier two drawings are straight from the tablet (I’ve posted the PNG files that I copied off the device), this one was edited in Photoshop to darken it a little and add the text.

I posted this one on Facebook and sent a tweet to the director of the movie about it, and was pleasantly surprised that he replied to me!

I still prefer pen or pencil and paper for drawing (you don’t have undo or customisable brushes, but that is easier to control and doesn’t require charging!), but this is also interesting to use.  I will post more drawings as I do them.

T is for Turbo Drawing

Recently, a trailer for The ABCs of Death was released, and it looks great.  Related to that is a drawing of mine that I wanted to post.  Keep in mind, that this is a year old, but I never wrote in detail about it, so I’m posting it now.  Explanation will follow.

The ABCs of Death

The ABCs of Death is an interesting project – this is an anthology horror movie consisting of 26 segments (each around 4 minutes long), one per letter of the alphabet.  Each segment is about an instrument of death starting with that respective letter of the alphabet (say, “K is for Knife”).  26 different directors worked on this movie!  More details can be found on the Wikipedia Page or this page on JoBlo, where you can view the trailer.  Warning: Contains Blood & Gore, not for kids!

The people behind this anthology project left one slot free, for which they invited submissions from filmmakers from all around the world.  This was the slot for the letter “T” and there were more than 100 shorts that they received (you can view them at this site).  Out of all these films, “T is for Toilet” by Lee Hardcastle was selected to be in the final film.

T is for Turbo a.k.a. Turbo Kid – The Film

One of the top 3 finalists among the submitted entries was “T is for Turbo” by team RKSS (Roadkill Superstar – consisting of members Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell).  I absolutely LOVED this short film, and in fact I felt that this would be the winning entry that’d make it into the final The ABCs of Death film.

Here, you can watch the short film (contains violence, blood & gore, not for kids!) –

I loved this film since it so very closely matched the look and feel of the 1970s/80s post-apocalyptic movie!  Specifically, I think they were referencing the loads of cheap Italian-made knock offs that came out after bigger-budgeted movies like Mad Max.  The costumes, the make-up/gore effects, the cheesy dialogues, all make for a wonderfully nostalgic experience.

The filmmakers have come up with interesting characters also (the villain Zeus, Shandella, Beardman, the Skeleton mask guy, etc).  The Turbo Kid himself reminds me of an older version of Commander Keen.

I liked the cinematography in the film (by Jean-Philippe Bernier).  The film was shot on a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR, but using an anamorphic adapter.  The camera shoots video in 1920 x 1080 resolution, which results in an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 1.78:1.  However, a lot of productions use a wider aspect ratio like 2.35:1, which gives a more cinematic look (since that is the ratio many films are presented in theatrically).  One way to achieve this would be to film in 16:9 and then crop off bits from the top and bottom.  This means that we’re not effectively using all the information that the camera has captured (the resulting image dimensions might be 1920 x 800).  An anamorphic adapter optically distorts the image horizontally, so it squishes a wider image into the 16:9 frame.  Later on, the image can be un-squished in post-production, so what this achieves is an image width of roughly 2500 pixels and a height of 1080.

I believe this is the source of the slight blur/distortions at the edges of the frames, which for some reason I find aesthetically very good looking, and it goes even further to enhance the feel of an old movie.

The submissions for The ABCs of Death were supposed to be kept to 4 minutes in length.  The longer (by few minutes) ‘director’s cut’ version of this film is called Turbo Kid.  I don’t think that version is online anywhere – I suppose you have to attend a film festival where it is screened, to be able to see it.

T is for Turbo – My Drawing

As is the case with things that I am deeply inspired by, I made a drawing based on this film.  I did this based on screenshots grabbed from the actual film, and the shot of the Turbo Kid was referenced from a behind-the-scenes still.

The drawing was done with pencil on an A5 size paper.  I scanned it and added the paper texture in the background and the subtle colours in Photoshop.  The fonts used are Helvetica for the credits, and the title of the film is in a font called Headline HPLHS (this font is designed to mimic the look of old woodcut headlines – I got it from the HP Lovecraft Historical Society site).  Perhaps not the most appropriate for a retro-futuristic film like this, but I think it looks good.  Cthulhu fhtagn!

Want to see a few in-progress / behind-the-scenes photos as I was making this poster?  Here is an album on Facebook which you can check out: T is for Turbo Drawing – Behind the Scenes [9 photos].

By the way, I posted this drawing on the RKSS Facebook page and even sent a message to them.  They liked it – and that made me really happy.

The Music – “58 minutes pour vivre” by Le Matos

Apart from everything else I loved about T is for Turbo, a standout aspect for me was the music in it.  It’s simply brilliant – the synthesizer-type music is exactly what you might find in a 1980s movie.

The track is called “58 minutes pour vivre” (translates to “58 minutes to live”) by the band Le Matos.  A little bit of trivia – “58 Minutes” by Walter Wager is the novel that Die Hard 2 was adapted from.

Here is a music video for the track, also edited by RKSS.  This video is called “58 Minutes dans le wasteland” which is very apt, as it is entirely edited together using footage from the very films that inspired Turbo Kid.

A full list of films featured in the video is there in the video description (if you view it on the Vimeo page).  Should be a nice list to pick movies from and watch.  And during the song, there is a bit of dialogue that comes up – that’s the voice of Bruce Willis and that’s a sample of dialogue from 12 Monkeys.

If you want to purchase the track, you can do so here (I did – I legally bought “58 minutes pour vivre”).

On a related note – you can also watch the grindhouse-inspired pulp horror fake trailer Demonitron: The Sixth Dimension by RKSS (it’s very good, and the look is again spot-on, though in some bits where they intentionally tried to emulate “unintentionally funny” – especially the ‘demon cake’ bit – I felt they went a little overboard, which kind of detracted from the experience).  The music used in that trailer is called “Sarah” also by Le Matos.  you can listen to the track and buy it here.

Other Notes

If you are on Facebook, you can view the “Making of T is for Turbo” album here (photos shot by Marie Raymond).  In that album, this photo is the one I used as the reference for the Turbo Kid in my drawing.  I think you have to “Like” the RKSS page to be able to see these photos.

There is an album with posters of their short movies.  In that one, you can see the digitally-created official poster for the film.  I love the look of the poster – I can almost imagine seeing this artwork on a VHS videotape and renting it immediately (back in the days when we used to rent videotapes).  I love the caption – “This is the future, this is the year 1997”.  Since Turbo Kid is inspired by those science fiction films made in the 70s and 80s, it makes sense that 1997 would be ‘the future’.  (For that matter, even John Carpenter’s classic Escape from New York, released in 1981, was set in ‘the future’ of 1997.)

The latest update about Turbo Kid is that it is going to be adapted into a full-length feature film!  This article has info about that.  Count me in as a fan!  I’m sure it’ll be a unique, quirky film that I will love.  I look forward to seeing it, reviewing it and drawing something based on it, in the future… in the year 1997.  “So what the fuck is your super power?”