The Adjustable Cosmos

April 12th, 2014

The Adjustable Cosmos:

In the fifteenth century, three worthies come together to tackle the Emperor's disastrous horoscope. They lift themselves to space in their medieval vessel, braving the terrors and wonders of the of the Ptolemaic universe, to reach for the stars…

[Via MetaFilter]

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Best of Björk

April 6th, 2014

Perusing a recent Guardian article listing 10 of the best tracks by Björk, I came across a mention in comments of her performing a David Arnold arrangement of You Only Live Twice. I'd never heard this before (for some reason it didn't show up on David Arnold's Shaken and Stirred album of Bond theme cover versions) and it's fantastic:

That said, I'm not sure that this would make it into my personal Top 10 Björk tracks; not a slight on this performance, more a consequence of Björk having spent twenty-odd years making distinctive and frequently surprising music so that there's a lot of competition for the honour.

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Moses Supposes…

April 4th, 2014

義足のMoses is pretty much the cutest thing I've seen all week:

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Lucy

April 2nd, 2014

It's entirely possible that Luc Besson's Lucy, a story of an unwilling drug mule who inadvertently gets dosed with the contents of her package and finds herself gaining what amount to superpowers – will be completely terrible. Goodness knows, the man is a phenomenally uneven director. But then consider how much stylish, pulpy fun his best work has given the world…

.. and contemplate this trailer, and the cast involved …

… and tell me that doesn't look like a pretty fun way to spend a couple of hours of your time.

I know, Besson's best work is mostly back in the 1990s (though I really enjoyed The Extraordinary Adventures… when I finally caught up with it last year) and Morgan Freeman's presence in a film isn't exactly an infallible sign of a quality product, but still. This may not be good, but it sure looks like good fun.1

[Via The Dissolve (again!)]

  1. And yes, the "we only use 10% of the brain" schtick is awful science that would normally make me cringe. But delivered by Morgan Freeman, in the midst of an unhinged Besson action-fest, I'm willing to let it pass.

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Story Of Your Life

April 2nd, 2014

Good news from Hollywood: Amy Adams In Talks To Star In Alien Movie 'Story Of Your Life'

[...] Amy Adams is in early talks to team with Prisoners helmer Denis Villeneuve on Story Of Your Life, the sci-fi thriller based on a short story by Ted Chiang, a top contemporary author in the genre. Scripted by Eric Heisserer, the thriller takes place after alien crafts land around the world. An expert linguist is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat. As she learns to communicate with the aliens, she begins experiencing vivid flashbacks that become the key to unlocking the greater mystery about the true purpose of their visit.

Two important points to keep in mind. First, Ted Chiang's story is a lot more interesting and unconventional than that summary makes it sound.1 Second, the role Adams is up for would suit her down to the ground. If the screenwriter and director can translate Chiang's story into something that works on screen, Amy Adams could absolutely find herself finally picking up that elusive Best Actress Oscar.

Or, alternatively, this one goes back into development hell six months from now, Amy Adams gets her reward for another performance, and Ted Chiang never gets to become a household name.2

[Via The Dissolve]

  1. See this old interview with Chiang, published back in 2002 just after his first collection of short stories, including the one that is being adapted for Adams to play in, was published for a sense of how wonderfully varied his work is.
  2. Which, in fairness, would quite possibly be fine by him.

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Christopher Walken Dance Now

March 22nd, 2014

Christopher Walken Dance Now: a neat concept, greatly enhanced by some sharp editing…

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A classic fairy tale

March 15th, 2014

I'll confess to never having read The Princess Bride, but from what I understand the film is a generally regarded as a reasonably faithful adaptation. Which makes me wonder who thought that this was a suitable cover for the first paperback release of S Morgenstern's William Goldman's book:

The Princess Bride paperback cover

[Via this comment thread at More Words, Deeper Hole]

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Godzilla Returns

February 25th, 2014

Judging by the first full trailer, this year's take on Godzilla looks bigger, meaner and a whole lot scarier than the version who chased Matthew Broderick around New York back in 1998:

They're gonna need a bigger Jaeger.

[Via MetaFilter]

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Periodic Table of Storytelling

February 1st, 2014

James R Harris has constructed a Periodic Table of Storytelling and it is awesome.1

[Via LinkMachineGo!]

  1. Warning: contains links to TVTropes. Do not follow that link if you had plans to get anything important done in the next three hours.

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'Either put on these glasses or start eatin' that trash can.'

December 21st, 2013

Glass.

[Via fuck yeah, science fiction!]

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Try to have fun, Otherwise, what's the point?

December 12th, 2013

Final Cut 2013 – A Cinema Tribute:

[Via The Dissolve]

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Visualising Morphology

December 11th, 2013

I wish the creators of Visualizing Buffy and Rocky Morphology could combine forces to bring us a Buffy Morphology.

[Visualizing Buffy via Extenuating Circumstances, Rocky Morphology via Flowing Data]

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Throwable and edible, but not soluble

December 4th, 2013

Food Stylist Chris Oliver's work in film and TV doesn't just involve preparing food for people:

On Boardwalk Empire, I had to do an edible arm that they have to throw and the alligator eats it in the scene. They are heavy, 50 pounds easily. I had to make a cast of it and make it so it's throwable and wouldn't dissolve in the water.

(See also her story of a close encounter with a tiger that wasn't going to be satisfied by fake food.)

[Via The Dissolve]

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Aningaaq

November 20th, 2013

The Hollywood Reporter has posted a copy of Aningaaq, a short film that serves as a companion piece to the scene in Gravity in which Sandra Bullock's character attempts to contact ground control but can only raise a man who doesn't speak any English and has no clue of what she's trying to say. It's rather good.

[Via The Dissolve]

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Was du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf morgen.

November 10th, 2013

I'm probably the last filmgoer over the age of 30 in the western world to have heard about this particular example, but I still think it's worth sharing. It turns out that Stanley Kubrick was something of a stickler for detail when it came to preparing for one of the pivotal scenes in The Shining:

Never one to stint on artistic integrity and veracity, Kubrick used no shortcuts for the relatively simple scene. As artists Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin discovered during recent research in the Kubrick archives in London, instead of having the sentence typed on only the few sheets seen by viewers, the director asked his secretary Margaret Warrington to type it on each one of the 500-odd sheets in the stack. What's more, he also had Warrington type up an equivalent number of manuscript pages in four languages – French, German, Italian, Spanish – for foreign releases of the film. For these, he used idiomatic phrases with vaguely similar meanings:

Un "Tiens" vaut mieux que deux "Tu l'auras."
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Was du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf morgen.
Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

Il mattino ha l'oro in bocca.
The early bird gets the worm.

No por mucho madrugar amanece mas temprano.
Even if you rise early, dawn will not come any sooner.

To be fair, I can see Kubrick's point. What if Shelley Duvall had improvised during the scene, really nailing her character and the moment when Wendy Torrance found out what her husband had been up to in a barnstorming take that absolutely, positively had to make it into the final cut … only for the cool, cruel eye of the camera to reveal that Jack Torrance had only been obsessively typing for five sheets?

All of a sudden, he's not a weak man who has succumbed to madness in the middle of a long, cold winter of isolation but merely a writer undertaking a few minutes of loosening-up exercises at the keyboard before getting to work on his novel.

[Via The Millions]

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Meet The Real Loki

November 9th, 2013

Guest-posting at Alyssa Rosenberg's blog, Max Gladstone wants us to Meet The Real Loki:

Let's talk Loki. Norse myths are some of the world's craziest, and while the good folks at Marvel have given us two solid cinematic Lokis so far, and look set to deliver a third, there's a lot of Loki that never makes it on screen.

You see, Loki's a weird character in the Norse pantheon. He's not evil always, or for its own sake – this is something Marvel's first Thor movie got right. He is, however, tricksy. And vengeful. And too smart for his own good. In Norse myths, Loki's as likely to take up the role of "only Norse god who can think his way out of a paper bag" as he is to present as "archenemy of Thor and all that is holy."

[...]

With that out of the way, here is one of my personal favorite Loki tales. Feel free to imagine the Triple-H of Hiddleston, Hemsworth, and Hopkins in the central roles below if that tickles your fancy.

Okay, so. Back at the beginning of time, the gods wanted a fortress. But no one wants to build a fortress themselves! The gods remain stymied until a nameless workman wanders into Valhalla and gives Odin an offer: "I'm really good at building fortresses, and in fact I'll build one for you – if you pay me with the sun, the moon, and Freia, goddess of beauty."

This being the beginning of time, Odin hadn't heard this particular scam before. [...]

Given the way Loki resolves the problem in this legend, I don't think we are going to see Tom Hiddleston acting it out in Thor 3, but I'd be delighted to be wrong about that.

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The Iconography of 'Alien'

November 2nd, 2013

iOS 7 and the Iconography of 'Alien'.

[Via Daring Fireball Linked List]

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His other time machine…

October 24th, 2013

His other time machine...

If only his TARDIS had a working chameleon circuit, his other time machine could be a DeLorean too…

[Via fuck yeah, science fiction!]

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Second time lucky?

October 23rd, 2013

When I read last year about Australian billionaire Clive Palmer's plans to build a new Titanic, I somehow failed to note the biggest hostage to fortune of all:

The Titanic II will also sail the seas for real, with a spokesman for Palmer's Blue Star Line promising that "It will be the most safe cruise ship in the world when it launches." How can Palmer be sure? "Of course it will sink if you put a hole in it, but it's not going to be designed with a hole in," he's said. "It's going to be designed so it won't sink and it'll be designed as a modern ship with all the latest technology to ensure that that doesn't happen." Period costumes will also be provided to help set the mood for passengers.

[Emphasis added]

The reason this story has resurfaced is that Palmer has announced plans to make a feature film to coincide with the ship's 2016 launch:

"In the third quarter of next year, we'll announce broader details about the new movie – a director, stars," he told the Sunshine Coast Daily. "It will be about Titanic II's first voyage. It will be a bit of a love story, so bring a hankie along. It's going to be bigger than the first Titanic from James Cameron. It's going to bring people together from China, Europe, the U.S. and Australia. It's going to bring about more peaceful co-operation and concentrate on what brings us together rather than what divides us."

How amazing would it be if the director could persuade Kate Winslet to star. At least this time she wouldn't have to spend weeks up to her neck in a giant water tank being shouted at by Jim Cameron.

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Carrie meets Cinderella

October 20th, 2013

Combining footage from Disney's Cinderella with the soundtrack from a trailer for the Carrie remake gets you this creepy little number:

I know the remake has been receiving mixed reviews in the USA, but I'm still sufficiently intrigued to see how it measures up to the original that I'll probably catch it when it opens in the UK.

[Via MetaFilter]

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