31 August 2009

Tarantino Rewrites History in "Basterds"

Source: Gaye Gerard/Getty Entertainment Images via NPR

Saw Inglourious Basterds this weekend. Amazing movie...so great to see a spaghetti western in today's movie scene.

I hope this inspires Quentin to try to bring more westerns to the silver screen.

Here's a great NPR interview with Tarantino on his new movie:

Behold...The Nerd Bracelet

Once I saw this in my Twitter stream a month ago...I had to have it.

The price alone was worth it for a 8 GB drive...but to then have it in bracelet form...awesome.

Today...the 8 GB drive arrived.

Check it out below...am I crazy for loving this? It's hilarious, incredibly useful and a steal @ $12 with Free shipping. End Geek Rant.

28 August 2009

Visual Effects: 100 Years of Inspiration [Epic Video]

Image: Green Screen Setup from Adobe.com

We've come a long way, baby.

This incredible video found on Gizmodo chronicles 100 years of visual effects magic on the silver screen in only 5 minutes.

Amazing stuff...and inspiring.

Check it out...it's only 5 minutes of your time:

Here's what the info on the clip reads:

A "5th-grader-friendly" collection of clips and making-of footage from notable visual effects films of the past century.
Originally intended for educational use as an introduction to a classroom lecture.
The music track is "Rods and Cones" from the album "Audio" by Blue Man Group.

1900 - The Enchanted Drawing
1903 - The Great Train Robbery
1923 - The Ten Commandments (Silent)
1927 - Sunrise
1933 - King Kong
1939 - The Wizard of Oz
1940 - The Thief of Bagdad
1954 - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
1956 - Forbidden Planet
1963 - Jason and the Argonauts
1964 - Mary Poppins
1977 - Star Wars
1982 - Tron
1985 - Back to the Future
1988 - Who Framed Roger Rabbit
1989 - The Abyss
1991 - Terminator 2: Judgement Day
1992 - The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
1993 - Jurassic Park
2004 - Spider-Man 2
2005 - King Kong
2006 - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
2007 - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
2007 - The Golden Compass
2008 - The Spiderwick Chronicles
2008 - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

27 August 2009

The Nature Of 'Boo!'

The following is a great article from the fanastic Monkey See blog on NPR:

The Nature Of 'Boo!' or: What Does It Take To Really Scare The Pants Off Of You?: "

Janet Leigh in the shower scene in 'Psycho.'

This is a pretty scary scene, right? Or is it?

We're wondering what really scares you. (Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

by Linda Holmes

There are two scary-movie franchises putting out new chapters this week: Rob Zombie's Halloween II is opening against The Final Destination — which is actually the fourth movie in the Final Destination series.

(Believe it or not, The Final Destination is a different movie from Final Destination, making it literally only one-half as creative as the 'let's drop two instances of the word 'the'' approach to sequel naming that was pioneered by Fast & Furious.)

Horror movies of various kinds are huge business, but are they scary?

The difference between unease and assault, and some spoilers about Psycho, after the jump...

I ask this in the context of having recently watched Psycho again. What struck me was how very leisurely that film actually is. Not only is there a long prologue involving Marion and her lover and her embezzlement scheme that ultimately has basically nothing to do with anything, but there are sequences — like the cleaning of the bathroom after the shower scene — that proceed with an odd and maddening normalcy. Nothing jumping out at you, nothing about to jump out at you. Just a guy cleaning up after a killing — and it goes on and on and on.

While you can certainly argue — in fact, it's hard not to — that Psycho takes a bizarre wrong turn in about the last five minutes with that endless 'Dr. Exposition, I Presume' speech, what does work about it is the unease it creates throughout. Something is vaguely wrong, all the time. Wronger and wronger as things progress, but for much of the time, there is a general unease that only gradually becomes legitimate horror, first for Marion and then for the people who come looking for her.

This is why I always (always, to the point of mockworthy repetitiveness) call Wait Until Dark, with Audrey Hepburn, my favorite scary movie. You're less likely to have seen it than Psycho, so I'm hesitant to spoil it. But suffice it to say that while the end is a classic horror sequence in many ways, most of the movie involves nothing more gruesome than a woman gradually figuring out how much trouble she's actually in, which is the way it generally feels in real life when something frightening happens.

At the same time, as much as I'd like to claim that only languid suspense frightens me effectively, there are plenty of viscerally scary things that I couldn't even begin to explain. Like so many other people, I was terrified of Pennywise the clown in the book (and the movie) It. I don't like spiders. I'm not great with loud noises. Anything happening to anyone's eye is a problem. (A film of people putting in their contacts would suffice as a horror movie in my book.)

So here's my question: What do you consider scary? Don't overthink the question too much — I'm not talking about how scary An Inconvenient Truth may have been for you. What works on you as scary?

Has the sight of blood been ruined for you? Does the classic 'close the medicine cabinet and see someone behind you in the bathroom mirror' shot do anything for you? Does explicit horror still horrify you, or are you more unsettled by uncomfortable situations?

Feel free to think broadly: is it the music? Dark rooms? Car accidents? We're talking about the nature and execution of a good movie scare here, so fire away.

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25 August 2009

Chiefs Coach Todd Haley - Wired All Access

I haven't seen much of the KC Chiefs preseason, if at all.

Living in SW Florida will do that.

ArrowheadPride.com does a great job of keeping me up to speed with what's happening with my favorite team.

One thing I do know: That's the kind of guy I want coaching my favorite team. If he can whip them into shape...I'd love to see who could.

21 August 2009

Hot Band 'The Beatles' Has New Video Game, Movie Deal, Broadway Show

Hot Band 'The Beatles' Has New Video Game, Movie Deal, Broadway Show: "

The Beatles in May 1967.

In May 1967, The Beatles celebrated the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. They probably didn't know they'd still be making news 42 years later. (Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

by Linda Holmes

You may have heard about a hot emerging band with a lot of irons in the fire right now -- 'The Beatles,' anybody? I'm pretty sure they're going to be the next big thing.

Today's Beatles news is that Disney is working out a deal for Robert Zemeckis to access Beatles tunes to remake Yellow Submarine. Not only is a movie remake planned, but there's interest in a Broadway show.

In September, The Beatles will undoubtedly make huge headlines with the release of The Beatles: Rock Band, the new video game that will allow you to play along with the band. (For a whole lot more about the game, and about the Beatles, and about why people pick on guys who like to play Guitar Hero and Rock Band, see this marvelous recent article by Daniel Radosh from New York Times Magazine.)

All that is not to mention, of course, the fact that remastered versions of their entire catalogue on CD are scheduled for release in September as well.

Need more? 'Why The Beatles Broke Up' is the cover story in the latest issue of Rolling Stone.

There's even some speculation that the Beatles' records could finally be coming to iTunes, but that still looks like wishful thinking as much as anything.

There tends to be a certain ebb and flow to interest in The Beatles, but this does seem like an interesting little uptick. I don't think there's any question that Guitar Hero has wildly increased the familiarity younger kids have with hair bands (I base this in part on my nephews' shockingly advanced knowledge of 'Rock And Roll All Nite'); I'll be curious to watch for an increase in the visibility of Beatles tunes among ten-year-olds.

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15 August 2009

FoxHurricane.com: Ana now Bill in Atlantic

Ana now Bill in Atlantic:

This morning Ana reformed from the remnants of TD2 and then Invest 90L became TD #3 and quickly upgraded to Tropical Storm Bill at 5pm today.

Tropical Atlantic

Tropical Atlantic

At the same time there is a tropical wave moving thru Florida bring thunderstorms across the state and more widespread across the southern part of the state. This is an area that has a slight chance of developing and we are watching. Ana has been struggling this afternoon after a burst of convection early on. She is now experiencing a bit of shear along with moving into a very dry air mass to the west. Water vapor imagery shows the large area of dry air just to the west of Tropical Storm Ana.

Water Vapor

Water Vapor

With that in mind the intensity forecast for Ana is still highly uncertain since some computer models continue to show very modest strengthening over the next several days. The WRF model which is run in the FOX 13 weather center continues to show slow strengthening of Ana as wind shear should lessen. The WRF is also in agreement with the GFDL in a more southerly track compared to many of the other models. At the same Bill continues to gain strength as he moves towards the Lesser Antilles.

WRF Model Saturday Evening

WRF Model Saturday Evening

The WRF model shows both storms continuing West for the next couple of days with a gradual turn more northerly.

WRF Model Tuesday Morning

WRF Model Tuesday Morning

By Tuesday morning Ana is approaching the eastern tip of Cuba which may be a bit too fast. The official forecast track has it moving slower than the WRF model indicates. The official forecast track also shows Ana approaching the southern Gulf of Mexico on Thursday. A word of caution in this forecast…this is a 5 day forecast and the error in this forecast is quite large. This storm could go anywhere from the Yucatan to Daytona to miss the U.S. completely by brushing the Carolina coast. This will become more clear over the coming days.

13 August 2009

How The Luscious 'Mad Men' Is Making Cheap And Ugly Television Look Bad

Love this show...so awesome.

How The Luscious 'Mad Men' Is Making Cheap And Ugly Television Look Bad: "

Mad Men cast members Rich Sommer, Elisabeth Moss, Aaron Staton, Bryan Batt, Vincent Kartheiser, Michael Gladis, and Christina Hendricks in the conference room.

From left to right: Rich Sommer, Elisabeth Moss, Aaron Staton, Bryan Batt, Vincent Kartheiser, Michael Gladis, and Christina Hendricks are part of the Mad Men cast that's raising the stakes for visually satisfying television. (AMC)

by Linda Holmes

The fawning over the attention to detail on AMC's Mad Men, which returns for a third season on Sunday night, can get a little precious, there's no question. When The New York Times spends an entire article discussing the creative process of simulating period cocktails and House Beautiful offers Mad Men-inspired decorating tips -- including a lead on a great typewriter for $140, because who wouldn't want that taking up some room? -- it feels a little fussy.

The thing is: it's all deserved, because this is the show that has made it harder than ever to claim that television is cheap-looking because it's television, and that it cannot be visually imaginative or interesting. It's the first show to build its reputation on its perfect look since HDTV came along and made that perfect look a much more important element of a high-end hour-long drama.

Christina Hendricks of Mad Men.

Christina Hendricks plays Joan Holloway. (AMC)

Look at office manager Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks). To see Joan is to understand Joan, from the bold color of her dress to the red hair to the pen necklace. But mostly, just look at how everything down to the curve of her eyebrow communicates something. Joan has not just been made a woman of the 1960s; she has been made a very specific woman of the 1960s. It's not just about period pieces. It's about how a character's brand of energy is delivered in visual language.

There are a lot of shows that are good, and well-made, and well-written, and lots of them undoubtedly have hard-working prop masters and costume people who are brilliant and unappreciated. But it has been Mad Men that has, over its first two seasons, brought the idea of rich visuals to the forefront of television production and criticism like nothing else since the widespread adoption of bigger and better televisions.

The kitchen of the Draper family on Mad Men.

This is the kitchen where the Draper family lives, far from the Sterling Cooper offices, where you know you would never see wood this color. (AMC)

The show's aesthetic is so important to its relationship with viewers that it fueled AMC's wildly popular 'Mad Men Yourself' campaign. It's one thing to get people interested in what they'd look like as a cartoon person on The Simpsons or as a Christmas elf, but it's another to simply have them so invested in your way of visualizing blood-and-bone, non-sci-fi human beings that they want to know how they'd look through your lens -- even if it's as a drawing.

It wasn't long ago that a frequent shorthand for the notion that a movie looked cheap was that it looked like television. But particularly in an era when a decent number of people either see HDTV or see shows like this on DVD or Blu-ray, there's no earthly reason television should look cheap unless it actually...you know, decides to look cheap.

Mad Men -- and, for that matter, Lost and Burn Notice and a number of other shows -- now feature distinct visual signatures that pop into your head whether you mean them to or not -- Lost is a leafy green show, to me, and Burn Notice is beachy and bleached out. This is more than the trendy Miami Vice flamingo stuff. It's not about having a look; it's about having a look that's been thought through.

More than ever, the best shows on television, like the best movies, have to think through visual style as well as scripts and performances. And what Mad Men has done to make it fashionable to engage in serious discussions about the rich look of a TV show can't be overestimated. Not every show can be a glamorous period piece and not every show can be shot in Hawaii (like Lost). But we've officially matured past 'TV looks bad because it's TV.' If it looks bad, it's because it looks bad. And if it looks like this, it's because somebody is working very hard.

The offices of Sterling Cooper, the ad agency on Mad Men.

The curves, corners, and glass walls of Sterling Cooper offices say a great deal about what goes on in the place. (AMC)

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03 August 2009

August Metal and not so Metal Music Mix

I love how random this is...enjoy:

Mouth for war

Too Fast for Love
Motley Crue

By Devils Be Driven

Lazy Eye
Silversun Pickups

Raining Blood

Balls to the Wall

The World You Love
Jimmy Eat World

Sex Farm
Spinal Tap