Software, Hardware, Silverware

Entries tagged: Film

If I was a filmmaker and I could only make one film, it would be “Little Miss Sunshine”.

Repeat Stuff

I’m an on-again off-again fan of Bo Burnham. His TV show on MTV was amazing, one of the highest quality, funniest single seasons of television I have ever seen. His latest special, “what.”, was terrible. This song, “Repeat Stuff”, was one of the only decent moments from the special. The video is out today and I think it is his best music video to date.

Carpe Diem

In light of events, I’ve been thinking a lot about this scene from my favorite Robin Williams film, Dead Poets Society.

‘Star Wars Episode 7’ Set Photos

TMZ got their hands on photos from the set of Star Wars: Episode VII:

Earlier this month in a galaxy far far away, known as Abu Dhabi, JJ Abrams began filming ”Star Wars: Episode VII” … and TMZ has obtained pics from the ultra-secretive set — including one GIANT creature.

Jedi sources tell us the new alien was manned by 5 men inside it’s belly … and was used in two scenes taking place in what looks like a Tatooine marketplace (Star Wars nerds get it)

According to reports, producers intend to use less CG in the new movies — instead, relying heavily on practical effects like the original trilogy … which is evident in these photos.

I’m trying not to, but I’m getting excited for this.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Peter Jackson:

Our journey to make The Hobbit Trilogy has been in some ways like Bilbo’s own, with hidden paths revealing their secrets to us as we’ve gone along. “There and Back Again” felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo’s arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived “there” in the “Desolation of Smaug”.

When we did the premiere trip late last year, I had a quiet conversation with the studio about the idea of revisiting the title. We decided to keep an open mind until a cut of the film was ready to look at. We reached that point last week, and after viewing the movie, we all agreed there is now one title that feels completely appropriate.

And so: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” it is.

Five bucks says after this one comes out, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” is announced for December 2015. It’s three hours of Bilbo in Bag-End making tea and sleeping, some of it recorded on a GoPro strapped to Martin Freeman’s forehead.

The Motion Picture Organization

My side project with Jesse DeWeerth relaunched a couple days ago with an awesome new name and an awesome new URL and an awesome new WordPress-powered backend. I present to thee, The Motion Picture Organization (née Bad Movie Reviewers).

The Astonishing Triumph of ‘Her’

M.G. Siegler on Spike Jonze’s Her:

By not feeling the need to dive into the backstory of how Samantha was created, Jonze is able to take back that screentime and use it to further the actual story. Too many films these days feel the need to handhold us through some new future technology — even though we all use technology each and everyday that we don’t fully understand the inner-workings of. And more often than not, these explanations are so laughable that they all-but ruin the intended “wow” factor of the new technology.

I saw it last week. It’s fantastic and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is my favorite movie of 2014.

Harry Potter Coming to the Stage

J.K. Rowling:

Over the years I have received countless approaches about turning Harry Potter into a theatrical production, but Sonia and Colin’s vision was the only one that really made sense to me, and which had the sensitivity, intensity and intimacy I thought appropriate for bringing Harry’s story to the stage.  After a year in gestation it is exciting to see this project moving on to the next phase.

The First Trailer for Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’

Christopher Nolan’s next film, Interstellar, isn’t due out for another year but the first trailer is here and it looks great. Yes, yes, yes! to more space movies.

The New Glif

Studio Neat has a new Glif that’s adjustable. They made a video with Adam Lisagor and it is inspired by Wes Andersona and it is beautiful.

“Like a Rolling Stone” Official Video

48 years after its debut, Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” (Rolling Stone’s #1 song of all time) has an official video. It’s interactive and (sadly) Flash-based — best viewed in a desktop browser.

“Think You’re Being Funny, Do You?”

A little boy dressed up as Harry Potter and wandered around Penn Station asking strangers for directions to platform 9¾. This kid’s parents are wonderful people. (For other great parents, see “Dinovember”.)

Alfonso Cuarón’s Ikea

“Life in Ikea is impossible.”

Dammit, now I want to see Gravity again.

Trailer for Noah

I guess if you’re going to make a movie about a Bible story, you go with the most ridiculous one. (Fun fact: ancient Mesopotamians were white and also British.)

‘Princess Bride’ Stage Show in the Works

David Rooney for Hollywood Reporter:

Disney Theatrical Productions has announced plans to collaborate with William Goldman on a stage work based on his 1973 fairy tale, The Princess Bride, and on his screenplay for the beloved 1987 Rob Reiner film that became a cult classic.

The deal was shepherded by Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn, who was involved with the screen version during his tenure at Castle Rock. No timeline or creative team for the show has been announced. Nor has it been decided if the project will be a musical or a play, though given the Disney stage arm’s predominant history with musicals, that seems a good bet.

Yes yes yes.

Baz Luhrman Is ‘Sold’ on Samsung Galaxy Gear

Well, there you go: proof that the guy behind such masterpieces as Romeo + Juliet and The Great Gatsby is an idiot.

Homeward Bound

Saroo Brierley lost his family when he was left alone on a train in India. Using Google Earth, 26 years later he found his way home. “It was a needle in a haystack,” he said, “but the needle was there.”

The Final Ride of Shuttle Endeavour

A beautiful time-lapse of the Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final mission from Florida to LA. How one could watch and not tear up at the shuttle program’s end is beyond me.

Dear J.J. Abrams

Han always shoots first.

Making Gravity

Dan P. Lee with an excellent feature for Vulture on Alfonso Cuarón and his new film, Gravity, out next week:

“If the fox has been chased by hounds and gets away with it,” Alfonso Cuarón, 51, said a few weeks ago, sitting across from me at a tiny table at a restaurant called Ducksoup, overlooking Dean Street in London, not far from his apartment, “is the fox happy?”

My only experience with Cuarón was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which I loved. I love the whole Potter series, but Azkaban is the best and my favorite. I can’t wait to see Gravity.

Star Wars Opening Crawl in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

Tim Pietrusky has recreated the original 1977 Star Wars opening crawl in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and put it up alongside the source code for all to see. You’re nerd of the week, Tim.

Warner and J.K. Rowling Reach Wide-Ranging Deal

Michael Cieply for The New York Times:

Warner Brothers is doubling down on the J. K. Rowling business. The studio, whose blockbuster “Harry Potter” films have generated billions of dollars for the company, announced on Thursday that it had concluded a deal with Ms. Rowling that will include new movies, distribution rights to a television mini-series and new theme park attractions.

A new film series centered around Newt Scamander that Rowling is writing and is “very excited” about, distribution rights for The Casual Vacancy miniseries in production by the BBC, and continued theme park deals. These are exciting times, my friends.

Ben Affleck Is the New Batman

Trey Barrineau for USA Today:

Ben Affleck will replace Christian Bale as Batman in the highly anticipated Batman-Superman movie that’s scheduled to be released on July 17, 2015.


A Day in the Life of a Container Ship

A time lapse film (set to a really great song) of a Rotterdam container ship as it navigates a harbor, loading and unloading large shipping containers.

A Eulogy for 2D Animation

Ironically, it’s been John Lasseter who’s championed 2D animation within Disney. Since Lasseter became the Chief Creative Officer at Walt Disney Animation Studios, they’ve released two traditionally-animated films to critical acclaim: 2009’s The Princess and the Frog and 2011’s Winnie the Pooh. Unfortunately, they weren’t financial successes, and CEO Bob Iger has no plans to continue the program. The bottom line: CGI films are making more money.

Cinderella’s Castle Set Against a Blue Sky

The past century taught us to expect more of Disney. From the Apple-like attention to detail in their early animated films to their equally detail-oriented theme parks, Disney built a corporate identity that didn’t look all that corporate. The Disney we love isn’t focused on profits, it’s focused on art.

That Disney still exists, but only in one private division: Pixar. I’m not harping on CGI films at all. I love Pixar. Thanks to Pixar, quality animation continued into the computer age. Computer animation can be just as beautiful as hand-drawn, traditional films. But is anyone arguing that Wreck-It Ralph is superior to The Princess and the Frog? I don’t think so.

Pixar has its strengths, and it sticks to them. Brave wasn’t its best effort and Cars 2 didn’t do so well commercially, but that isn’t going to stop them from pushing on with their craft. Pixar (like Apple, hmm) is a company with a culture based on the quality and artistry of their product, and not on making money. Revenue is secondary, needed only to finance the next piece.

It’s fine if Disney wants to experiment. Experimentation is good! But it should be done for artistic reasons, not monetary, and not if it leaves your core culture in tatters. Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled are great films, but Disney need not abandon their roots. It makes good business sense, but it rejects their values. Here I’ve been harboring under this idea that good business sense isn’t Disney’s top priority. Maybe I’m deluded.

There’s still artistic value left in traditional animation, and Disney has traditionally been the only consistent purveyor of the form. It burns me to see this company I’ve respected, and whose products I’ve cherished, abandon the medium and values I associated with it.

“I Won’t Say I’m in Love”

From Hercules. A break from the usual, but this is just a really great song. I wish Disney would get back into making classic, two-dimensional animated films. The Princess and the Frog gave us all a little hope, and then nothing.

‘Avatar’ Sequels Upped to Three

Remember that terrible ripoff of Dances With Wolves with blue people and “unobtanium”? You know, the one was had, like, fifteen home video releases before it was finally given a 3D Blu-Ray? Well, James Cameron (the director) has just announced he’s going to do three sequels instead of the previously reported two.

I’m sure this is all about telling the story and not at all about leeching as much money from this overhyped franchise as possible. Stay classy, Jimmy.

The Pixar Theory

Jon Negroni:

Every Pixar movie is connected. I explain how, and possibly why. Several months ago, I watched a fun-filled video on that introduced the idea (at least to me) that all of the Pixar movies actually exist within the same universe. Since then, I’ve obsessed over this concept, working to complete what I call ‘The Pixar Theory,’ a working narrative that ties all of the Pixar movies into one cohesive timeline with a main theme. This theory covers every Pixar production since Toy Story.

Sam Mendes to Return for ‘Bond 24’

The BBC:

Skyfall director Sam Mendes is to direct the 24th James Bond film, due for release in 2015.

Skyfall wasn’t quite as good as Casino Royale, but still great. I can’t wait for the next one.

Inside Pixar’s Campus

Adam B. Vary for BuzzFeed:

All employees were asked to meet at the front of the building, most of them unaware that the awning — obscured with a special covering by Payne — had been updated to read “The Steve Jobs Building.” When it came time to reveal the sign, Payne pulled back the covering — and the “T” in “The” promptly fell on its side.

Netflix Ditches Silverlight for HTML5 in IE11

Emil Protalinksi for TheNextWeb:

Netflix today announced that it has finally taken the first step towards ditching Silverlight for HTML5, largely thanks to Microsoft, no less. The company has been working closely with the Internet Explorer team to implement its proposed “Premium Video Extensions” in IE11 on Windows 8.1, meaning if you install the operating system preview released today, you can watch Netflix content using HTML5 right now.

HTML5 video is definitely the right way forward for Netflix, but it worries me that these “Premium Video Extensions” are being pushed by Netflix and not a standards body.

iPhoto and iMovie in an Instagram World

Nathan Ingraham compared the relative successes of Vine and Instagram over iPhoto and iMovie on iOS:

It’s the “good enough revolution” all over again — while a six-second video clip may lack the depth of a more elaborately produced piece, it’s a quick, highly shareable piece of content. And while smartphone photos don’t yet match up to images from a DSLR, they generally look pretty great on other smartphone’s screens — and for a lot of people, that’s all that matters. To use Steve Jobs’ favorite phrase, apps like Instagram and Vine “just work.”

Anatomy of a Logo: Star Wars

Alex Jay examines the exceptionally long process that turned out the Star Wars logo.

Flickr and Vimeo Integration Likely in iOS 7

I don’t often link to rumors, but this one feels1 realistic. Vimeo and Flickr are already integrated into OS X and Apple TV. It actually seems odd they aren’t already sharing options on iOS.

  1. Feels, because I have zero inside knowledge. ↩︎


More great gun control stuff from The Daily Show.

The Following Previews

Shawn Blanc on spoiler-rich movie trailers:

I’ve always viewed trailers as film art in and of themselves. And while I certainly enjoy watching today’s epic trailers, I have more appreciation for the ones which maintain some self control, aiming to tell me just enough and no more.

The trailer for The Shining, as Mr. Blanc himself links to, is the pinnacle. It immediately tells you whether this is a film for you or not, without giving away a lick of the plot. I hate the trend, too, Mr. Blanc.

How Animals Eat Their Food

Animals are silly. Humans, sillier.

Roadtrip USA

Mike Matas and his girlfriend took a two week road trip from San Francisco to New York, and produced this lovely time lapse.

Roger Ebert Passes; an Era Ends

Legendary film critic Roger Ebert has died, just two day following his announcement that he’d be taking a break from writing full time. He was and remains an inspiration for all of us trying to make our way in this game.

Ebert, in 2011, on death:

My genes will not live on, because I have had no children. I am comforted by Richard Dawkins’ theory of memes. Those are mental units: thoughts, ideas, gestures, notions, songs, beliefs, rhymes, ideals, teachings, sayings, phrases, clichés that move from mind to mind as genes move from body to body. After a lifetime of writing, teaching, broadcasting and telling too many jokes, I will leave behind more memes than many.

The First Honest Cable Company

From “Extremely Decent Films”. I love that.

Louie Mantia Imagines Disney/Lucasfilm Fanfare

How the next Star Wars movie should begin.

Head Over Heels

A beautiful and Oscar-nominated short film.

Pain of the New

Kevin Kelly, writing about 48 FPS film:

This pattern of initial irritation followed by embrace has been found in other media introductions. When the realism of photography first appeared, artists favored soft lenses to keep the photos “painterly.” Drastic sharpness was startling, “unnatural” to art, and looked odd. Over time of course, the sharp details became the main point of photography.

Color TV, technicolor, and Kodakchrome all had its detractors who found a purity and monumentalism in black and white. Color was all too gaudy, distracting and touristy, not unlike the criticism of HFR now.

Best analysis of HFR (high frame-rate) film I’ve seen thus far. For once, actually explains why it looks so different.

Ohio State Marching Band Performs Half-Time Video Game Tribute

The highlight of last night the entire college football season was Ohio State’s half-time show. My freshman year of high school, our marching band tried something similar; it wasn’t quite as impressive.

‘The Blue’ by Mark Peters

A group of guys went tuna fishing, but wound up with something much, much better. Beautiful video.

The Amazing Tiny Wings 2 Trailer

Just go buy it. Seriously.

Could You Build a Scale Lego Model of the Death Star?

Rhett Allain:

Really, [putting it into orbit] is your only option if you want to build something like this.

Ages 14+.

Ralph McQuarrie Dies

From his website:

His influence on design will be felt forever. There’s no doubt in our hearts that centuries from now amazing spaceships will soar, future cities will rise and someone, somewhere will say…

“that looks like something Ralph McQuarrie painted.”

His art inspired one of the most visually-brilliant films of all time. He will be sorely missed.

Right vs. Pragmatic

Marco Arment:

Either way, a sign’s not going to solve the problem, because the problem isn’t that they didn’t know the right thing to do. They knew what they were doing, and for whatever reason, they didn’t care.

Best-written argument I’ve seen against the film studios. Bet they won’t listen.

That Menace in 3D

Shawn King:

At this point, is there any point in even discussing it? If you’re a fan, you will, if you’re not, you won’t.

Correction: if you’re a fan of Star Wars, you won’t.