Friday, December 27, 2013

Twelve Dorks a Dueling

Where will you be two years from now?

I know where I’ll be: in the theater watching Star Wars VII.  But if you’re like me, and need something to carry you over until then, might I suggest some good You-Tube light saber films?  I’ve sifted through hours and hours of the lame stuff, and brought forth the twelve best.  It’s hard to say which of these is my favorite, because each one has something unique that really makes it stand out from all the other stuff on the net. 

So, in honor of the twelve days of Christmas, I give you You-Tube’s twelve best light saber scenes.

This one is very short.  It’s got good energy, and the aircraft junkyard adds a desolate feel to the scene.  Something about this film makes me think of two cowboys squaring off, Jedi style.

Duel of the Dorks made a reference to this film at the very end, and it caught my attention.  This one is pretty good.  Lots of emotion, no acting, just two dudes trying to kill each other in a parking garage.  At the end is a cameo of Ryan Wieber, from Ryan vs Dorkman, and Ryan vs Brandon.

This one has a really interesting story idea.  The hero goes up against an evil sorcerous villain, who tests his strength in a series of trials.  The timing feels a little slow in some of the sequences, but the choreography is really good, and the camera work is solid.  This one is worth watching, just for the twist at the end.

This one starts out with a nice kick-boxing fight.  The two work each other over a little, then they break out the sabers and start slicing each other up.  Kind of reminds me of the Matrix.  Good energy, although the camera work could be improved in places.

This is exactly what it sounds like.  Two nerds battle it out in the theater / bowling alley where they work, in an effort to prove who is the biggest nerd.  The film doesn’t take itself too seriously, but the fighting is pretty intense and the camera work is right on.  It even has some scenes that made me laugh.

This one has got some great parkour stunts in it, and the hand-held camera work gives the video a more intense, up-close feel.  Two dudes trying to slice each other in half with deadly weapons.  Good stuff.

This is an awesome two on one fight, gang-land style.  The single guy wields a dual-bladed lightsaber.  It has some cheesy moments where the timing feels slow.  I like the Marilyn Manson soundtrack.  It adds a dark, sinister feel to the work.  Nicely done.

This one is very worthy of my list.  It takes place in a railway yard.  The video is ten minutes long.  It’s full of original stuff, and overflowing with intensity.  ¡Me gustó, mucho!

This one is a good follow-on to Ryan vs. Dorkman 2.  It takes place in a machine shop as well, and has some great camera work.  You-Tube also has a video where you can watch the making of Ryan vs. Brandon 2, which is well worth the watch just so you can see all the work behind the scenes that goes into making one of these videos.

This is definitely one of the best all-time pieces of fan-art.  Two dudes tear apart a machine shop.  It’s full of intense fighting and has spots of humor that still make me laugh.  It’s one of the longest videos, and its got loads of original moves.  This video earned Ryan Wieber a career as a professional CG artist.

This is probably my favorite film after Duality.  Two Chinese brothers go at each other Kung-Fu style.  The sunglasses and black jumpsuits add to the look.  I wish I had a link to a higher-quality video than this one.  It’s such a good fight scene.

Maybe I’m a sentimentalist, but this video is one of the most authentic-feeling pieces of fan-art I’ve ever come across.  I have yet to see a fight video that feels so completely immersive in the Star Wars universe.  This one shines above the others for its total appeal.  It’s got camera work, lots of CG effects.  Enjoy.

So, that’s my list.  Feel free to send me a link if you know of another video that ought to be on here.

Monday, December 23, 2013

My Reading List for 2013

Most of my time in 2013 was spent finishing up the third draft for my novel, Mage's Craft. In spite of it all, I managed to find time to enjoy some really good books. I'm a nerd, so I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy.  I'll pick up anything with a speculative element.  Here is a list of what I read (in no particular order):

The Casual Vacancy, by J. K. Rowling.  I wanted to see what kind of writer Rowling was when she wasn’t doing Harry Potter.  Rowling is good.  She’s Stephen King good.  That said, I didn’t finish the book.  The plot kind of goes all over the place.  This novel is more character-oriented.

The Strange Case of Oragami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger.  I’ve read all the books in this series now.  Angleberger is so creative the way he tells his story.

Dark Lord: The Early Years, by Jamie Thomson.  This is another middle grade book.  The main character is a dark lord who gets banished to our reality, and he takes on the body of an 8th grade boy.  Light reading, and very fun.

Spellbound, by Larry Correia.  I really like this series.  It’s kind of diesel-punk, kind of like Heroes the TV series, and a lot of fun.

The Rithmatist, by Brandon Sanderson.  Brandon Sanderson can really write, and he is so endlessly creative.  I had no problem staying hooked on this till the end.

White Tiger, by Kylie Chan.  Didn’t finish this.  The plot was sooooooooo tedious, and so repetitive, and took so long, and nothing is happening.

Red Harvest, by Dashiell Hammett.  I really liked The Maltese Falcon, so I picked up an anthology of novels.  This one was pretty good.  Kind of like Yojimbo, set in prohibition-era United States.

The Dane Curse, by Dashiell Hammett.  Didn’t finish.  Hammett resolves the plot ¼ the way through the story, then leads the reader on a second plot, which he resolves completely half-way through the story.  I’ve still got 15 chapters to go…how many times is this story going to rise up again and again and again?

The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle.  I’m researching an idea for a sequel to Mage’s Craft, which is now finished.  I like Holmes, but he gets under my skin the way he plays his cards so close to his chest and then dumps everything on the reader in the last chapter.  And quite often it’s not anything as stupendous as you anticipated.  That said, Holmes and Watson have a lot of chemistry between them.  They are Batman and Robin, and even though Holmes can be infuriating at times, he is always praising Watson for how much assistance he provides.

The Dead Zone, by Stephen King.  A man wakes from a coma, and discovers that he has extremely powerful clairvoyant powers.  I like reading Stephen King just because he’s Stephen King.  His characters are so vivid, and so human.

The Death of Kings, by Bernard Cornwell.  Another Utred book.  I love Utred.  Cornwell does a supreme job of transporting you into Anglo Saxon England.

Cold Days, by Jim Butcher.  Butcher keeps cranking out Dresden Files books, one after the other.  This one is his 14th.  He’s got another due out at the end of May next year.

So, got any ideas for 2014?  Leave a comment below.  I'm always looking for something new to read.