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August 26, 2015
[movies] How High Def Is Changing Your Brain—and Driving the Prop Master Crazy … a fascinating look at how High Definition video is changing the way TV and Movies are created … ‘In Cook’s phrase, the property master’s job is “to obtain acceptance for forgeries,” to give a sensation of reality within an illusion. That’s a bit different from mere fidelity to empirical reality. It’s a facsimile of reality plus a dimension of persuasion, reshaped over time by the progress of technology.’ [via As Above]
August 18, 2015
[movies] Dressing The Future … fascinating look at Moebius’ influence on the costume design of Alien … ‘The film reunited the Dune creative team, the other artists did not meet Moebius personally this time around – however, even though he was somewhat more removed from the project than Cobb, Foss, Giger, and O’Bannon (who all either worked on the project from its inception, or from the time it was greenlit) Moebius still turned in work that his co-artists found exemplary. “I was in contact with Moebius indirectly,” said Giger, “as he was designing the costumes for Alien. Those astronauts’ clothes and helmets were just like Ridley Scott wanted them. They looked like ancient divers. He did a fantastic job.” “Moebius did the designs for the astronauts,” Giger told Cinefantastique in ’79. “They wear a kind of Japanese armour and helmets which could belong to just about any period of time.”’
July 28, 2015
[movies] 2001 A Space Odyssey: Unwrapping the Slit Scan sequences‘While watching Kubrick’s “2001 A Space Odyssey”, I thought it would be fun to write some software to unravel the slit scan artwork in the psychedelic sequences of 2001, to see what they were.The technique used to unravel the sequences involved using an SGI’s real time video hardware, with a hacked version of ‘videoin.c’ (from the SGI example programs) to accumulate scanlines from the DVD and concatenate them back into the original artwork. So as the film played, the program ran, unrolling the scanlines in realtime…’

Artwork for 2001's Slit-Screen Sequences

July 21, 2015
[movies] League of Gentlemen Vs. 2001‘Hello Dave!’

June 30, 2015
[web] How Minions Destroyed the Internet … On the rise and rise of Minions … ‘Wait, no, wait I just got it. I figured out their appeal. Minions are basically emoji. They’re yellow, they run the emotional spectrum, they function as a malleable shorthand for almost indescribable feelings. Like, do you know what the nail art emoji means? It means a million different things. So does the prayer hands emoji. (This is an emerging area of academic study.) Okay, so… Minions are emoji with arms, legs, and goggles.’
June 28, 2015
[kubrick] Rejected ‘The Shining’ Poster Designs From Saul Bass, With Stanley Kubrick’s Notes … fascintaing look at Kubrick’s process … ‘While the final result is the iconic, yellow one-sheet, there were a number of iterations, and we can now see the rejected ones. Drawing from different aspects of the film, including the maze, the hotel, and the family unit, there’s some striking imagery, but we can see why Kubrick went with the one he did.’
June 18, 2015
[movies] The Cult of ‘Jurassic Park’ … a look at the long-term fascination with Jurassic Park from academic and amateur fans …

This is getting us close to the soul of Jurassic Park, so I make one last call to Phil Tippett. Phil — an Oscar-winning effects man who helped dream up Jabba the Hutt — was Jurassic Park’s dino-director. Phil says what makes Jurassic Park click is that “it’s a movie from a different age.”

Though we remember it for the effects, Jurassic Park feels … palpable in a way few CGI-loaded movies do today. When the T. rex smushes the Ford Explorer, that’s a real Ford Explorer. When the electric fence topples, that’s a real fence. Richards says perhaps 80 percent of her dinosaur scenes were shot with Winston models, allowing her and Neill and other actors to actually be with the effects.

Fanboy-dom is about something irretrievable, a lost world of childhood. And here, from the age of Avatar, we can see it clearly. Jurassic Park, along with The Abyss (1989) and Terminator 2 (1991), were the stars of an amazing in-between period of summer-movie history. An interesting couple of years between the Analog Era and the Computer Era. We were charging headfirst into the movie future, but we hadn’t quite left the past. Jurassic Park had 55 computer-effects shots; The Phantom Menace, released six years later, had around 2,000.

June 13, 2015
[movies] Christopher Nolan explains Inception’s ending… ‘The film-maker explained that he saw the concept of reality in the film – and real life – as entirely subjective. So DiCaprio’s character doesn’t wait to see if the spinning top drops because he no longer cares to distinguish between a possible harsh reality and a potentially wonderful dream.’
May 30, 2015
[movies] Most of Alfred Hitchcock’s cameo appearances

May 28, 2015
[kubrick] The 10 Most Outrageous Theories About What The Shining Really Means‘Stuart Ullman’s Paper Tray is Trying to Have Sex with the Audience – Top-notch conspiracy hunter Jay Weidner has many, many theories about the work of Kubrick (and other things) but some of the more eye-popping are his thoughts about how the director used the subliminal messaging of advertisers in his films. To wit: In the scene where Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) meets Stuart Ullman (Barry Nelson) in his office and, Weidner says in 237, his hips line-up perfectly with his paper try making it look like an erection.’
May 25, 2015
[kubrick] Stanley Kubrick’s Keys To The Shining … going far too deep on Kubrick’s The Shining and a conspiracy / cover-up by NASA‘Stanley Kubrick embedded the Narrative of a Murder in this Film. I believe it was His wish that it be found – by his Audience. I’m motivated to share this Narrative here, because ultimately it contains information that is profoundly pertinent – to All of Us.’

Kubrick - Ear, No Ear.

May 20, 2015
[movies] Surely you can’t be serious: An oral history of Airplane! … the creators of Airplace look back at the creation of the classic comedy movie …

Jim Abrahams: I always felt that part of what made it so endearing to have those guys in the movie was that everyone knew that [Robert] Stack and [Lloyd] Bridges and Leslie [Nielsen] and Peter Graves were having a laugh at the expense of their own images. That kind of self-effacing humor is endearing, and as we reflect on Airplane! and the fact that it’s lived so long, I think that’s part of the reason why: It’s not really mean-spirited, it’s actually sort of sweet.

Jerry Zucker: Everyone was terrific, really, but Leslie was the one who was just a fish in water. Leslie just loved it, every minute of it, and practically didn’t need direction, because once he got what we were doing, that was just his thing. He loved it.

April 25, 2015
[comics] Review of the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Trailer … from Andrew Rilstone‘Dark Batman is more interesting than the silly Batman (who never quite existed outside of the KAPOW television series). Dark Batman is more in keeping with the basic premise of a character built of rage. But just because Dark Batman is cool is does not follow that Dark Superman and Dark Spider-Man and Dark Paddington Bear would be equally cool. The darker the dark character is the more he needs a bright character character to stand next to. And the brighter the bright characters the darker and cooler the dark, cool one will look. (This is the point of Robin.)’
March 19, 2015
[comics] Art For Art’s Sake: Blade Runner special… the Forbidden Planet blog posts a great gallery of art inspired by Blade Runner. Below: Blade Runner Rachel by KR0NPR1NZ

Rachel From Blade Runner

March 15, 2015
[movies] Tears in rain? Why Blade Runner is timeless … a look back at Blade Runner … ‘Ford’s Deckard may or may not be as gripped by uncertainty about his job as Dick’s original blade runner. In any case, his brusque “lack of affect” provides one of the long-standing puzzles of the film: is he, too, a replicant? Certainly Ford’s perpetual grumpiness (it sometimes seems his default acting position), his curdled cynicism, put up barriers to feeling that suggest it is as disturbing for him as it is for the hunted Leon or Roy. Though some still doubt, it seems clear that Deckard is indeed a replicant, his imaginings and memories downloaded from some database, his life as transitory as that of his victims. However, as we watch Blade Runner, Deckard doesn’t feel like a replicant; he is dour and unengaged, but lacks his victims’ detached innocence, their staccato puzzlement at their own untrained feelings. The antithesis of the scowling Ford, Hauer’s Roy is a sinister smiler, or someone whose face falls at the brush of an unassimilable emotion.’
March 13, 2015
[movies] The Grantland Q&A: Errol Morris … big interview with Errol Morris … On Donald Rumsfeld: ‘But I think — and I could be just making excuses for myself — that there’s a portrait that emerges [in The Unknown Known] that’s very different and far more interesting than the portrait you would’ve gotten by having him walk off the set or repeatedly refuse to answer questions, which is what would’ve happened. There’s something about his manner that reveals to me much about the man. A refusal to engage stuff with any meaning is really frightening, and I think that’s part of who he is. There’s a whole class of people who love to push people around but don’t love to think about stuff carefully.’
February 11, 2015
[tv] Sorkinisms II – The Sequel … another supercut of Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue recycling on TV and movies. [thanks Feeling Listless]

February 4, 2015
[movies] Typeset In Space: Alien … a wonderfully done blog post on the design and typography in Alien … ‘Back to the action. Ripley is safely on board the shuttle, with no sign of the alien. But wait – just when we think all is rosy, it turns out that the damned thing has also stowed away on the shuttle. Gah! Thankfully, this shuttle comes equipped with a system that pipes highly toxic and flammable SPECIAL GASES into the main cockpit at the press of a button: It’s not immediately clear why this is a particularly useful or safe feature to have in a shuttle. Nonetheless, it certainly comes in handy when there’s an alien hiding in the wall.’
December 23, 2014
[movies] How the Death of Mid-Budget Cinema Left a Generation of Iconic Filmmakers MIA‘Francis Ford Coppola made four of the finest films in motion picture history, but he can’t get a movie produced anymore; after a ten-year exile, he made three films between 2007 and 2011 that were basically self-financed (via his lucrative wine-making business). “You try to go to a producer today and say you want to make a film that hasn’t been made before; they will throw you out because they want the same film that works, that makes money,” he said at the Marrakech International Film Festival.’
November 13, 2014
[herzog] Werner Herzog Discusses His Unique Career‘Actually, I was completely stoned once with the composer Florian Fricke in Popol Vuh. I was at his home and he had pancakes and marmalade. And I smeared the marmalade and he started chuckling and chuckling. And I ate it and it tasted very well and I wanted another one and took another good amount of the marmalade and the marmalade had weed in it. He didn’t even tell me. I was so stoned that it took me an hour to find my home in Munich. I circled the block for a full hour until finding my place. So I have had the experience.’
October 21, 2014
[movies] Deckard: Blade Runner, Moron … amusing analysis of how bad Rick Deckard is as a Blade Runner … ‘I’m not sure how I’ve never noticed this before, but Deckard is an idiot. He’s given all the information he needs on a plate, nothing bad happens unexpectedly, and every lead falls into his lap. He has photo ID of everyone he has to kill, he’s told about their physical strength, he has a gun, they’re all unarmed, and he’s legally allowed to shoot them dead in public. Yet in every case, he lets them get into a hand-to-hand fight with him that he can’t win, and the only way the film can even keep him alive is for his targets to suddenly stop fighting or get killed by someone else.’
October 7, 2014
[movies] The League of Gentlemen Vs. 2001‘Dave, my wife tells me there is a block in your toilet!’
September 28, 2014
[movies] The 10 Best Quotable Films‘Airplane!, 1980 – It’s not just about “Don’t call me Shirley”, surely. Airplane! made shameless use of repetition (“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking / smoking / sniffing glue”), misunderstandings (“Nervous?” / “Yes” / “First time?” / “No, I’ve been nervous lots of times”), and fnar fnar jokes to create one of the most juvenile films of all times – and one that regularly tops “funniest film of all time” lists. Its rapid-fire wordplay is as cringe-inducing as it is amusing, but the deadpan delivery by Leslie Nielsen and co ensures they don’t seem aware of their own comedy.’
September 23, 2014
[movies] Jamie Zawinski watches all nine Hellraiser movies… ‘Hellblazer #9 – Revelations: Despite the reviews, I must say, I enjoyed this one! Maybe I was a little punch-drunk by the time I made it this far, though. And anything would be a step up from Hellworld. It starts off with some shaky-cam nonsense, but fortunately they didn’t keep that up. A couple of jerky bro teens go to Mexico, murder a hooker, and pick up a Lament Configuration from some dude in a bar, you know, like you do. Most of the movie is told as a flashback at a dinner party with their jerky family, when one of them escapes from hell and shows up skinless on the veranda. Antics ensue.’
September 22, 2014
[movies] Ghostbusting Lovecraft … great analysis of how the movie Ghostbusters beats back H. P. Lovecraft’s worldview …

…the busters’ typical enemies are ghosts of the Poltergeist persuasion, the Big Bad of the movie, a formless alien god from Before Time summoned by a mad cultist-cum-art deco architect, is basically Lovecraftian. From Gozer’s perspective—or the perspective of the Gozer cultist—human beings are small mammals clustered close to the firelight of their pathetic “reason,” etc. etc. etc. Standard Lovecraftian spiel. The skyscraper (and by extension New York and all human civilization) is the illusion. Scratch its skin and you’ll find a heartless alien reality beneath.

But Gozer loses. And the shape and consequences of his loss undercut the Lovecraftian dichotomy between apparent reality and actual horrifying reality. In Ghostbusters that horrorscape isn’t the truth either—it’s a mistaken interpretation of an underlying world that’s gross, evolving, playful, social, compassionate, and way more interesting than the dry surface layer.

September 19, 2014
[movies] How ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Went From In-Joke to Blockbuster … on the comic book origins of the TMNT franchise … ‘The Turtles literally started out as a joke. Co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were comic-artist wannabes when they spent a November 1983 evening doodling the masked, weaponized reptiles to entertain themselves. Each adjective in Turtles’ title represented a hot superhero-comic trend at the time — mutants were the stars of Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men; DC’s New Teen Titans had teenage protagonists; and future Sin City impresario Frank Miller had stuffed his groundbreaking run on Daredevil full of ninjas. By throwing it all together atop a funny-animal framework — which, from Carl Barks’ Donald Duck to Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck, had long been a route to comic-book gold — Eastman and Laird simply obeyed the Spinal Tap doctrine of cranking it to eleven.’
September 17, 2014
[funny] Werner Herzog’s Note To His Cleaning Lady‘I have conquered volcanoes and visited the bitter depths of the earth’s oceans. Nothing I have witnessed, from lava to crustacean, assailed me liked the caked debris haunting that small plastic soap hammock in the smaller of the bathrooms. Nausea is not a sufficient word.’
September 14, 2014
[people] In conversation with Werner Herzog: ‘Facts do not constitute truth’ … highlights from an evening with the eccentric movie director in Brooklyn …

Holdengräber reminded him of the dictum, attributed to Blaise Pascal, that opens Lessons of Darkness, Herzog’s 1992 documentary: “The collapse of the stellar universe will occur – like creation – in grandiose splendour.”

Herzog repeated it. He said, “Actually, Pascal didn’t write that. I wrote that.”

Holdengräber said: “But it sounds so very like Pascal.”

“Pascal should have written it,” Herzog said, of the 17th-century philosopher. “That’s why I signed his name.”

September 3, 2014
[movies] ‎Man On Fire: The Top 10 Films Of Tony Scott … interesting list of essential films directed by Tony Scott‘Day of Thunder – If you call this TOP GUN on the race track I am going to punch you in the face. This has nothing to do with TOP GUN and doesn’t even come close to resembling that story. Cole Trickle doesn’t have anybody really fighting for him outside of Randy Quaid, and if that’s all you have you’re fucked.’
September 1, 2014
[people] Werner Herzog On Chickens‘The enormity of their flat brain, the enormity of their stupidity, is just overwhelming.’
August 16, 2014
[films] What author/writer has had the most film adaptations?‘Bob Kane, the creator of Batman, has 100 credits to his name.’
July 13, 2014
[movies] A Whole Bunch Of People On Facebook Thought Steven Spielberg Killed A Real Dinosaur‘Internet humourist Jay Branscomb posted it on Facebook with the caption: “Disgraceful photo of recreational hunter happily posing next to a triceratops he just slaughtered. Please share so the world can name and shame this despicable man.” A lot of people didn’t get the joke, and thought Spielberg really had shot a dinosaur. This person called him an “inhumane prick”…’
July 3, 2014
[movies] Dressing The Future … a fascinating look at the costume design process on the movie Alien … ‘When Sigourney Weaver turned up for dress rehearsal, she found something other than grimy space-wear. “When they first dressed me up as Ripley it was in one of those pink and blue uniforms,” she said. “Ridley Scott came in and said, ‘You look like fucking Jackie O’NASA.’” Luckily, Scott decided to improvise…’
June 28, 2014
[movies] Mandy Patinkin on playing Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride‘And in my mind, I feel that… when I killed the six fingered man, I killed the cancer that killed my father. And for a moment he was alive…’
June 25, 2014
[tv] Say Mrs Brown’s Boys Again…

Say Mrs Brown's Boys Again...

June 21, 2014
[movies] Mike Judge answers the question: “What Is a TPS Report?”‘According to Rolling Stone, Judge was asked this at a 10th Anniversary screening of Office Space. He replied, “When I was an engineer, it stood for Test Program Set. Isn’t that exciting?” A Test Program Set a document describing the step-by-step process in which an engineer tests and re-tests software or an electronics system. Before getting his start with Beavis and Butthead, Mike Judge earned a degree in physics and was an engineer and programmer for a subcontractor working on military jets.’
June 15, 2014
[comics] Five Great Comic Book Adaptations Of Movies … some great comics to watch out for on this list. On Kirby’s 2001: ‘It’s hard to imagine two sensibilities more opposite in tone than those of Jack Kirby and Stanley Kubrick. Kirby’s grandiosity acts as a stark contrast to the calculated distance of Kubrick and for this alone, his eight-years-after-the-fact adaptation of 2001 really shouldn’t work. Against everything, though, the adaptation succeeds by choosing to take a new path, mashing up three different versions of the material — novel, screenplay and final product — and adding Kirby’s off-kilter dynamism to create a final product that’s as wonderful as it is “wrong.”The original film is (obviously) full of space, figuratively and literally. Kubrick allows the camera to rest, giving the audience an opportunity to breathe in the recycled air and vastness of the universe. An absence of dialogue and narration helps further the film’s atmosphere, providing a base from which the stunning visuals stand out even more. This draws the audience in, forcing them to pay attention to what’s not being said just as much as what is. This sort of subtlety is exactly the sort of thing that Kirby has no interest in; he’s going to tell you the story. With words and pictures. Deal with it.’
May 31, 2014
[movies] The Shawshank Residuals … How the movie The Shawshank Redemption keeps making money… ‘On cable, “Shawshank” is at an age when the licensing value of many films diminishes, but its strength hasn’t wavered. “Shawshank” and other films are now being licensed for shorter periods to a bigger and hungrier universe of distributors. “Shawshank” has aired on 15 basic cable networks since 1997, including six in the most recent season, according to Warner Bros. Last year, it filled 151 hours of airtime on basic cable, tied with “Scarface” and behind only “Mrs. Doubtfire,” according to research firm IHS.’
May 30, 2014
[comics] Fan-Made Live Action Akira Trailer’38 Years After World War III…’

May 28, 2014
[dystopia] The 10 Best (Worst) Dystopian Fictions‘Next to 1984, Blade Runner — and by extension the novel that inspired it — is one of the most referenced dystopias in contemporary discourse, largely due to its bleak, sorta-exactly-looks-like-1980s-New-York-but-with-flying-cars urban setting. It’s not so much a meditation on our reliance on technology as it is a criticism of übercapitalism and the evils of war — not to mention racism, ignorance and intolerance.’
May 19, 2014
[movies] The top 30 underappreciated films of 1999 …looks like 1999 was a great year for movies. … ’23. Mystery Men – Years before films like Kick-Ass and Super played around with the staples of the superhero genre, the lavish Mystery Men attempted the same thing – and despite a sterling cast (Ben Stiller, Geoffrey Rush, Greg Kinnear) and some laugh-out-loud moments, it somehow failed to charm critics or audiences. Mystery Men’s main problem, perhaps, was that it came out too early – had it appeared a couple of years later, after X-Men and Spider-Man revitalised the comic book genre, this amiable comedy may have found a more receptive audience. With the superhero blockbuster currently riding high, it’s arguably time that Mystery Men gets the reappraisal it deserves.’
May 13, 2014
[movies] Hollywood’s superhero movie binge explained in four charts‘It has been rare for fewer than six comic-book adaptations to be released in any one year. Despite the glut, audiences don’t seem to be losing interest. US box-office revenue generated by these films has cracked $1 billion on three different occasions. The Avengers, a film that packed as many comic-book favorites onto the screen as possible, made $623 million in the US alone two years ago.’
April 27, 2014
[movies] A View To A Kill: Occasionally Starring Roger Moore … an amusing look at the conclusion to Roger Moore’s run of movies as James Bond… ‘Let’s be honest: Roger Mortis has finally set in. This incarnation of cinema’s favourite secret agent is no more. This is an ex-Bond. It’s not even Rodge’s fault (he graciously noted that he was “only about four hundred years too old for the part”) – the poor bastard had been trying to escape since 1979, but Cubby Broccoli never had the balls to choose another Bond. As a result of that cowardice, and combined with the fact that Moore is nearly three years older than Sean Connery, James Bond went from a prowling, 32-year-old sex puma in 1962 to a shuffling, 57-year-old sex tortoise in 1985 without ever making reference to his own advancing years or behaving accordingly.’
April 20, 2014
[politics] The Certainty of Donald Rumsfeld (Part 1) … Errol Morris On Donald Rumsfeld … ‘Not just him but the entire building was in denial. Doug Feith — don’t get me started on Doug Feith — told me that they had a Marshall Plan all set to go in terms of rebuilding Iraq. And he pointed to this stack of huge three-ringed binders, all of them black. There must have been about 10 of them stacked up on top of a cabinet. And I asked to see them, and he said, “No, you can’t. It’s classified.” And I said, “Well, O.K., I understand that, I guess.” But I raised it to somebody else within the next couple of weeks. I said, “Well, Doug Feith showed me the Marshall Plan for Iraq.” And this person laughed, and he said, “Mik, that was the Marshall Plan.” It was a copy of the original Marshall Plan, not a plan for Iraq.’
April 19, 2014
[movies] Irrational Treasure … a look back at the last ten years of Nicolas Cage movies… ‘The main problem with the notion that Cage squandered his post-Oscar momentum on dumb action movies and thereby lost something irretrievable is that Cage’s sellout movies are more consistently entertaining than just about anybody else’s. His inherent absurdity infects and elevates them; Cage’s own expansive persona fills in the gaps in action-movie characters without qualities.’
April 12, 2014
[2001] 2001: A Space Odyssey (2012 Trailer Recut) … a trailer for Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as a modern summer blockbuster. [via Kevin Church]
March 5, 2014
[movies] The Original Robocop Was A Christ Allegory‘We could view Robocop as Verhoeven’s response to a kind of mythological or narrative challenge: retell the life, death, and resurrection of Christ (as an historical figure or a religious one, it’s up to you) in a way that’s relevant for our contemporary context. The idea that someone like Verhoeven might respond to that challenge by inventing a murdered cop who is brought back to life by technical wizardry, only to walk the Earth again as a robot, is pure genius, almost hilariously so. It not only suggests an awesomely freewheeling response to an ancient storyline; it also raises the absolutely gonzo interpretive possibility that the machines and devices around us, from police drones to television sets, are able to bear religious, mythic, or theological implications.’
March 2, 2014
[movies] Today is the Day Marty McFly Went to the Future … and tomorrow, yesterday and next week…
February 27, 2014
[movies] RoboCop writer Ed Neumeier discusses the film’s origins‘In both of the movies I’ve written for Paul, they both seem—and I would say this is mostly my fault—they are often called prescient, in that they seem to predict things that are coming. Certainly Detroit’s decline seems to be predicted very well, but that was already happening. I got to a metric, if you want to call it that, wherein I would say, “If you want to predict the future, just think about how bad it could be and make a joke out of it, and there you go.” And if you look at Starship Troopers that way too, it may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it was a projection of what’s already happening, and where things were going.’
February 19, 2014
[movies] 26 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About RoboCop‘Despite the image depicted on the iconic movie poster, Weller couldn’t fit inside his police cruiser while wearing the full costume. So in any scene where he’s at the wheel of the cop car, RoboCop is pantsless.’

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