Tribute to Hayao Miyazaki

July 30th, 2015

A Tribute to Hayao Miyazaki:

So many fantastic stories, so little time to get round to watching them all again…

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One-Minute Time Machine

July 10th, 2015

One-Minute Time Machine doesn't outstay its' welcome:

[Via MetaFilter]

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Advantageous

July 8th, 2015

The other week I made a note to myself to watch out for a recent science fiction film called Advantageous, an expansion of a previous short of the same name.1 This morning I came across a copy of the original short film on YouTube, and it's really very good:

Now I'm definitely going to watch out for the feature length version.

  1. I found out about the film via a Mike D'Angelo review at The Dissolve. Sad news today that The Dissolve has ceased publishing. Dammit, not only did they have a host of excellent reviewers who produced readable, insightful reviews and a range of essays and news stories that catered for a wide range of interests, but they also put out a pretty decent podcast. At least as importantly, in the space of not quite two years they'd attracted the second-best community of commenters of any site I visit regularly, second only to the folks who make MetaFilter so good.

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How is a dirty mess of dust, ice, and rock possibly that damn shiny?!

June 11th, 2015

io9 have started a new series with A Scientist Responds… To Deep Impact:

Premise #3: The giant comet headed towards us was not picked up by any of the agencies or researchers deep-scanning the skies, but a teenager with his backyard telescope did spot it.

The American military can't even keep the orbits of their clandestine spy satellites secret from amateur astronomers for long; a massive comet coming to destroy the planet would absolutely be noticed by everyone else, and the construction of the Messiah spacecraft would've been photographed in detail long before the President's speech.

The deeper problem though seems to be that astronomers in this movie don't actually look at stars. This is remarkably clear when teen astronomer Leo Biederman spontaneously decides the field of view for his telescope is greater than 10 degrees, the distance covered by two fists held at arm's length, and manages to find Alpha Centauri, a star not visible in the northern hemisphere. It doesn't get any better when we switch off to his doomed mentor, Dr. Marcus Wolf. By the time Wolf performs the world's fastest, tidiest orbital determination on virtually no data while munching on pizza before bolting off to make an instantaneous report on a comet that wouldn't arrive for over two years, I've already written him off as an alien from another dimension utterly lacking in night-vision rods in his eyes, an understanding of orbital mechanics, and common sense.

[…]

Verdict: No. Just no, not likely at all, and it makes me weep soggy tears for hard-working astronomers everywhere.

The sad thing is, I always had a bit of a soft spot for Deep Impact.1

Now, let's see them inflict The Core on some poor, unsuspecting sap.

[Via Extenuating Circumstances]

  1. Though if I'm honest, this was in no small part because of the contrast with Armageddon, which showed up the same year and made Deep Impact look like 2001: A Space Odyssey scientific accurary-wise.

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'Isn't it irresponsible filmmaking to teach young people in the audience that they can survive throwing electrical objects into the water the way Jay does?'

June 6th, 2015

Someone has been thinking about It Follows just a tad too much:

And for a horror film, there are surprisingly few deaths. Apart from the mystery girl's death that opens the film (we never find out how she related to the rest of the characters), the other main on-screen death is Greg, killed in his bedroom. Given that the creature walks toward the victim until it reaches them, how very convenient that it so seldom appears in the middle of the night while the victim is asleep! Where's the "don't fall asleep" warning à la invasion of the Body Snatchers and A Nightmare on Elm Street?

[Via Criticwire, via The Dissolve]

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I want to go on record as being against this.

May 4th, 2015

Scott Glenn talked with The Onion AV Club for their Random Roles feature, reeling off a stream of anecdotes about the many films he's been in and the people he's worked with. Like Ron Howard's firefighter drama, Backdraft:

Backdraft (1991) – "John 'Axe' Adcox," stunts

[…]

AVC: You actually have a stunt credit on [Backdraft.]

SG: I do. At one point, the stunt coordinator on that – a great stunt coordinator named Walter Scott – he and Ron came to me, and Ron said, "How do you feel about being set on fire?" And I said, "Not great. Why?" [Laughs.] And he said, "Well, this is the deal: We want to hang you about 75 feet up in the air, and we want to light fire below you in this scene, and we want to set the bottom part of your body on fire, and with harness and cables, it'll look like Kurt Russell is hanging from a beam, holding you." It's where I say, "Let me go," and he says, "You go, we go." And Ron said, "The only way I can really sell this shot is to shoot down over Kurt's shoulder, onto you looking up into the camera, hanging there, on fire. And I can't figure out any other way to do it that powerfully with a stunt double." And Walter said, "I want to go on record as being against this. You never set a principal actor on fire, and fire is unpredictable, and blah, blah, blah." But I did it. They say God looks after kids and idiots, and I think actors are probably a combination of the two.

Firestorm (1998) – "Wynt"

AVC: So after enduring all you did on Backdraft, what made you want to do Firestorm?

SG: A lot of money.

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Perfect

April 17th, 2015

Matthew Mcconaughey's reaction to Star Wars teaser #2:

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I really should watch 'Strange Days' again

February 15th, 2015

Strange Days (1995) – Trivia:

In a scene between Mace (Angela Bassett) and Lenny (Ralph Fiennes), Mace says "…Right Here Right Now." This is exactly where Norman 'Fatboy Slim' Cook obtained the sample from that is heard in his single "Right Here Right Now".

(Sorry, I can't remember where I saw this mentioned a couple of weeks ago.)

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Soderbergh's 2001

January 14th, 2015

Steven Soderbergh has posted his edit of 2001: A Space Odyssey:

maybe this is what happens when you spend too much time with a movie: you start thinking about it when it's not around, and then you start wanting to touch it. i've been watching 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY regularly for four decades, but it wasn't until a few years ago i started thinking about touching it, and then over the holidays i decided to make my move. why now? I don't know. maybe i wasn't old enough to touch it until now. maybe i was too scared to touch it until now, because not only does the film not need my – or anyone else's – help, but if it's not THE most impressively imagined and sustained piece of visual art created in the 20th century, then it's tied for first. meaning IF i was finally going to touch it, i'd better have a bigger idea than just trimming or re-scoring.

Well, now I know what I'm watching this weekend.

[Via kottke.org]

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Alan Bennett's (un-)steaming pile of manure

December 29th, 2014

A lovely piece from Alan Bennett's 2014 diary, on popping round to the set of the film version of The Lady in the Van:

27 October. Late going round to the unit this morning to find them about to film the scene when manure was being delivered to No. 23 whereupon Miss S. came hurrying over to complain about the stench and to ask me to put a notice up to tell passers-by that the smell was from the manure not her.

Having done one take we are about to go again when it occurs to me that the manure, if fresh, would probably be steaming, as I seem to recall it doing at the time. While this is generally agreed, no one can think of a way of making the (rather straw-orientated) manure we are using steam convincingly. Dry ice won't do it and kettles of hot water prove too laborious. So in the end we go with it unsteaming, the net result of my intervention being that whereas previously everybody was happy with the shot now thanks to me it doesn't seem quite satisfactory.

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