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About Digital Art / Hobbyist Josh Gilbert33/Male/United States Recent Activity
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Bowie. Rickman. Prince. Darwyn Cooke. All gone.

George Zimmerman. Alive and free.

Fuck you, 2016.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is the best Avengers movie yet, and it's not even billed as an Avengers movie. The Russo Brothers pull off a masterful balancing act with a crap-ton of characters - including some scene-stealing newcomers in Spider-Man and Black Panther - and craft an engaging, impactful adventure where nothing feels superfluous. Yes, I'll say it: This is the sort of movie Batman v Superman should have been, for while both movies cover very similar ground, Civil War covers it in far more robust, meaningful detail. The Infinity War movies could not be in better hands.
The Making of HIGHLANDER by shokxone-studios
The Making of HIGHLANDER
All the bits and pieces that went into the Highlander poster. I put this one together is largely the same way as the Django Unchained piece, except I used black colored pencil in the shading process rather than watercolor. Also of note, I shaded each of the elements individually before reassembling them in the same arrangement as the black-and-white composition. The celtic knot design is the hilt engraving from the original 1986 Clan Macleod sword (rather than the revamped design as seen in Highlander Endgame); I was certain hi-res detail shots pretty much didn't exist except for blurry screencaps from the movie, until I happened upon an old auction page for an OG prop from the movie with photos that gave me everything I needed.
Highlander by shokxone-studios

Prints available on Etsy!

I'll make no claims that Highlander is the greatest fantasy film ever, or even of the the year it was released. But it is a movie that literally changed my life. Before, I had only a passing knowledge of the music of Queen - like any lad raised right, I was familiar with the Bohemian Rhapsody scene from Wayne's World - but they were otherwise a non-entity. Then by chance I caught Highlander on TV one afternoon in the summer of 1999, and from the thunderous opening vocals of "Princes of the Universe", I was hooked. "Who is this magical group that just shot a lightning bolt straight through my brain?" I wondered. And so began a new musical love affair that persisted even through the disappointment in learning Freddie Mercury was long dead. The film too, though its seams and frayed edges show more and more in recent viewings, has stuck with me and a loyal fanbase, surviving a string of terrible sequels, an okay television series, and a surprisingly good anime. And all are agreed on one thing: There can be only one. And this, unquestionably, is it.

Happy 30th anniversary, Highlander. Don't lose your head.


Keanu Reeves is one of modern cinema’s great oddities. No one might accuse him of being a master thespian, or even being particularly versatile, and depending upon whom one asks his acting skills range from passable to nonexistent. But once in a while, a character so well tailored to his particular strengths appears on his resume that proves why Reeves in the power player he has become today. Neo was such a role; John Constantine another; Klaatu of 2008’s The Day The Earth Stood Still remake might have been yet another had the film around him been up to snuff; and now along comes John Wick, the lead of a slick, no-frills shoot-em-up that’s sure to please fans of old school revenge flicks.

Our first introduction to Wick is the subdued, stoic Keanu we’re most familiar with, still in mourning over his wife (a there-and-gone Bridget Moynahan) whose relationship with John is illustrated in a few short, wordless flashbacks and an intimate iPhone video used to bookend the film. With the arrival - and subsequent loss - of a special pre-arranged gift, however, Keanu runs the gauntlet of human emotion and sells Wick’s turmoil like a pro. Even before a monologue late in the movie spells it out in plain and simple terms, the audience knows full well it isn’t so much the loss itself, which is tragic enough (animal lovers beware, this film will not be kind to you), but what the loss represents that drives Wick over the edge, and once that switch is flipped, any attempt at story complexity goes straight out the window to make room for as much carnage as humanly possible. In this, John Wick does anything but disappoint; Wick moves with cold, swift precision, wasting few movements and intending every shot as a kill. The camera is also kind to the audience in this respect, following the action with a minimum of obnoxious close-ups or quick editing. The film is shootout-heavy with a few hand to hand scuffles, but in such case favoring rough-and-tumble brawls over choreographed dances.

Alfie Allen as Iosef, essentially serving as a prop for which to draw Keanu from one action scene to another, is easy enough to hate, though the character isn’t vastly different from the one he plays on Game of Thrones; an entitled manchild with an inflated opinion of himself who manages to piss off all the wrong people and cause an awful lot of trouble. Adrianne Palicki appears as Perkins, a rival assassin with whom Wick shares a brief but amusing bullet-riddled “courtship” of sorts, bolstering her own action-movie credentials right on the heels of her debut as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s latest acquisition. Michael Nyqvist adds some welcome color to the otherwise hollow role as Viggo, Iosef’s father and Wick’s former employer. He garners probably the most of the film’s many unexpected laughs; the humor here is pitch-black, most often delivered in uncomfortable silences and single-word responses, and result from jokes about the dynamic of the “assassin’s life” - like how the question of “Where are the police during all this?” is swept out the way in but a few short sentences, establishing that even the cops know who John Wick is and want NO piece of his business.

Alongside a fanciful Ian McShane and an aggravated John Leguizamo, who are mostly accents to the film’s star-studdedness, John Wick boasts a surprising conga-line of cameos from asskickers of varying pedigrees - Keanu’s Matrix Reloaded costar Daniel Bernhardt, finally swinging fists and feet in a major motion picture again; former WWE star Kevin Nash; Mr. “Mayhem Like Me” himself Dean Winters in the odd role of Viggo’s non-Russian-speaking right hand man; even Legend of the Seeker’s Bridget Regan pops up as a sympathetic (and foxy) tattooed barmaid.

While the film revels in the simplicity of its plot, it leaves very little to spoil. As much fun as it gets watching the action unfold, major points of the story can be called well in advance, and Wick takes a few too many detours to reach his targets, though this is a minor issue next to the messiness of the film’s overlong final stretch, which could have been solved with some fine-tuning to the script. Once the main thrust of the story is concluded, the film rolls on for roughly another fifteen minutes to tie up certain loose ends, namely that of Willem Dafoe’s character. Dafoe’s Marcus is meant to have ambiguous intentions where Wick’s mission is concerned, but again, one can predict the role he plays fairly easily. The need to close the book on his part leads to several further action beats, which, while well-executed, close with a superfluous one-on-one duel with an antagonist who pretty much has a target for Keanu’s fists spray-painted on his face.

John Wick may not be deep, but it’s anything but brainless. It’s flashy without being ostentatious, and it strikes a booming emotional chord early on to get the audience in on the insanity and root for its hero without a shred of guilt. It’s not a game changer or anything meant to turn the genre on its head, but it succeeds big time at being a damn good tale of bad guys vs. not-quite-so-bad guys doing incredibly violent things to one another. And the moral is one anybody can get behind: Never mess with an assassin’s housepet.

  • Listening to: Lia Ices - Wish You Were Here
  • Reading: Jasper Fforde - Lost in a Good Book
  • Watching: NOT Gotham


Josh Gilbert
Artist | Hobbyist | Digital Art
United States
Graphic artist, film fantatic, wandering mind. Balding by nature, bald by choice. Smart car driver. I'm that dirty liberal elitist your Fox News-watching grandparents always warned you about.

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PhilipCruz30 Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
thank you very much for the fave !!! i super appreciate it, maybe you could also take a look at my gallery if you have the extra time and let me know what you think. tnx again and Godbless !! :D (Big Grin):D (Big Grin)::D (Big Grin):
joshanne Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
Can you do a Pacific Rim review? I'm dying to see that movie.
shokxone-studios Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Here's my review: "See this movie or I'll send Ron Perlman to EAT YOU."

joshanne Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
XD In other words you must have enjoyed it =P  Hoping to see it tomorrow
FreddyNightmare89 Featured By Owner May 27, 2013

Did U C my note?
shokxone-studios Featured By Owner May 27, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I checked my notes, I didn't see anything with your name on it.
FreddyNightmare89 Featured By Owner May 27, 2013
Sorry, I just sent it 2 the wrong user...
Anonnim Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2013
Neytiri and Dr. Grace Augustine's avatar kiss art please!
Neumatic Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Happy birthday Josh!
StarDragon77 Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013
Happy Birthday, :iconshokxone-studios:

Time for some :cake:, :party: and :airborne:
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