July 14th, 2014
Guillermo del Toro has some bad news for those of us hoping to see another live-action Hellboy film one day. In a Reddit AMA he responded to a question about the film's prospects:
It is a question that I myself ask of the world many times, but we have gone through basically every studio and asked for financing, and they are not interested. I think that the first movie made its budget back, and a little bit of profit, but then it was very very big on video and DVD. The story repeated itself with the second already, it made its money back at the box office, but a small margin of profit in the release of the theatrical print, but was very very big on DVD and video. Sadly now from a business point of view all the studios know is that you don't have that safety net of the DVD and video, so they view the project as dangerous.
Creatively, I would love to make it. Creatively. But it is proven almost impossible to finance. Not from MY side, but from the studio side. If I was a multimillionaire, I would finance it myself, but I spend all my money on rubber monsters.
That's a very del Toro way to wrap up that explanation.
[Via The Dissolve]
July 13th, 2014
Susan Doll's piece about the tag lines employed on movie posters The Power of a Well-Placed Exclamation Point, or Would You See a Movie Based on This Tag Line? is well worth a read, not least for this little gem:
The poster for the b-movie Canon City (1948) is trying convey that the film is based on a true story, while still titillating audiences. Instead, the tagline merely mixes its metaphor: "Filmed with the naked fury of fact!"
[Via The Dissolve]
July 11th, 2014
I'm indebted to Chris Williams for bringing to everyone's attention that today is the feast day for Saint Olga of Kiev:
Princess Olga was the wife of Igor of Kiev, who was killed by the Drevlians. At the time of her husband's death, their son Svyatoslav was three years old, making Olga the official ruler of Kievan Rus until he reached adulthood. The Drevlians wanted Olga to marry their Prince Mal, making him the ruler of Kievan Rus, but Olga was determined to remain in power and preserve it for her son.
The Drevlians sent twenty of their best men to persuade Olga to marry their Prince Mal and give up her rule of Kievan Rus. She had them buried alive. Then she sent word to Prince Mal that she accepted the proposal, but required their most distinguished men to accompany her on the journey in order for her people to accept the offer of marriage. The Drevlians sent their best men who governed their land. Upon their arrival, she offered them a warm welcome and an invitation to clean up after their long journey in a bathhouse. After they entered, she locked the doors and set fire to the building, burning them alive.
With the best and wisest men out of the way, she planned to destroy the remaining Drevlians. […]
Basically, it's A Game of Thrones without the dragons.
[Via Chris Williams, commenting in a thread on diplomacy at Blood & Treasure]
July 10th, 2014
You've disrupted the world. Now it's time to disrupt your outfit.
You're a rich white man.
You're used to being listened to. But while you're jabbering away, all anyone can see is your garbage shirt that you bought for twenty bucks and have been wearing all year, shoved nastily into your shiny off-the-rack suit. Why would you do this to your brand?
We're opinionated homosexuals.
Your days are busy. In the morning you're going to a sympathetic tech blog to defend yourself from charges of sexual assault; in the afternoon you're explaining to your board why it's fine that you're dating a direct report in your organization. Well, you should stop doing all that, but at least you should stop doing that while looking like a fucking putz. That's where we come in. We're the gays of Shirterate. And we're the first startup with a target audience of rich straight men. (Haha, JK, we're not the first, we're just the first to say it.) […]
[Via The Awl]
July 9th, 2014
Calvin has one last talk with Hobbes. I'm not going to quote a single line from this: if you know who "Calvin" and "Hobbes" are then you want to read this in full.
The only improvement I could possibly desire would be to have Bill Watterson draw the story, but then I'm not sure I could bear to read that story with Watterson's art.
[Via Extenuating Circumstances]
July 2nd, 2014
xkcd: Surface Area
Space Without the Space
The Solar System's solid surfaces stitched together
July 2nd, 2014
Craig Mod answers the question – especially relevant in the light of yesterday's post – How are apps made?
The first pass should be ugly, the ugliest. Any brain cycle spent on pretty is self deception. If pretty is the point then please stop. Do not, I repeat, do not spent three months on the radial menu, impressive as it may be. It will not save your company. There is a time for that. That time is not now. Instead, make grand gestures. General gestures. Most importantly, innumerate the unknowns. Make a list. Making known the unknowns you now know will surface the other unknowns, the important unknowns, the truly devastating unknowns – you can't scrape our content! you can't monkey park here! a tiny antennae is not for rent! You want to unearth answers as quickly as possible. Nothing else matters if your question marks irrecoverably break you. Do not procrastinate in their excavation.
July 1st, 2014
App: The Human Story is seeking funding via Kickstarter:
App creation has become the new art form for our generation. This is the story of the cultural phenomenon that touches all our lives. […]
I've backed it, even though I'm slightly wary of the possibility that the whole thing could turn into a happy-clappy paean to the wonderful world Steve Jobs gifted to us all with the release of iOS 2.0 back in 2008. I'm hoping that impression is just the effect of their cramming so many brief interview snippets into their teaser; in the full film, with more space to expand on their subject, here's hoping we'll get a more nuanced prespective on the story so far. We'll see.
June 30th, 2014
You might have thought that the Internet Movie Database had cornered the market in film-related data. You'd be wrong. Sometimes the Trivia section of the IMDB just isn't up to the job, and there's nothing for it but to consult the Internet Movie Cars Database. Seriously, this exists and seems to be ridiculously thorough.
For sentimental reasons I asked it for appearances in film and TV by the Vauxhall Chevette and it brought up two pages of results, with screencaps, confirming that between the mid-1970s and the 1980s you couldn't walk up a streets anywhere in the United Kingdom without seeing a Chevette parked. It even had a starring role in an episode of The Likely Lads and a bit part in Christopher Eccleston's season on Doctor Who.
Seriously, I know most of us don't need to use a resource like the Internet Movie Cars Database on a daily basis, but it's good to know that it's out there, being maintained by people who care about making this sort of information freely available to the rest of us.
[Via Matt Patches, talking in the Fighting In The War Room podcast at the 15:36 mark while reviewing David Michod's The Rover. (Not talking about the Vauxhall Chevette specifically, mind, just about the existence of the IMCDb itself.)]
June 30th, 2014
A quick note for UK-based readers: BBC4 are starting a repeat run for Edge of Darkness later tonight at 10pm 11pm. Not the Mel Gibson remake: the original miniseries with Bob Peck (never better), lashings of paranoia, a bit of fringe environmentalism, and more than a dash of of sheer weirdness. Quite possibly the best miniseries produced by British television in the 1980s, rivalled only by Boys from the Blackstuff and The Beiderbecke Affair (if you don't disqualify the latter from the category of miniseries for having two followup series.)
I haven't seen Edge of Darkness since the original broadcast, and I'm curious as to how it'll look almost 30 years on. I have a horrible feeling that the answer will be "prescient."
[Via The Guardian]
June 29th, 2014
DataShine: Census provides a simple, map-based view of the UK's 2011 census data. I could browse this thing for hours….
The DataShine mapping platform is an output from an ESRC Future Research Leaders Project entitled "Big Open Data: Mining and Synthesis". The overall project seeks promote and develop the use of large and open datasets amongst the social science community. A key part of this initiative is the visualisation of these data in new and informative ways to inspire new uses and generate insights. Phase one has been to create the mapping platform with data from the 2011 Census. The next phases will work on important issues such as representing the uncertainty inherent in many population datasets and also developing tools that will enable the synthesis of data across multiple sources.
[Via Flowing Data]
June 28th, 2014
Experience the thrill of Bounce Below at Llechwedd Slate Caverns:
Bounce Below is the first facility of its kind, a set of three enormous nets within the Llechwedd caverns in Wales – bringing trampolines to whole new terrain…literally. Bounce Below is an underground playground for both adults and children, set deep inside an old mining cavern that is twice the size of St. Paul's Cathedral. […] a cavern that is lit up by an incredible display of lights and to a collection of 3 trampolines that have been interconnected by stairways and slides – the biggest of which is a 60 foot slide that just adds to the already awesome experience.
I have no head for heights so I don't think this is for me, but it does look pretty amazing.
June 25th, 2014
KILL BILL (Vol 1 and 2) – 8 Bit Cinema:
I was hoping it'd spend more time on the Crazy 88, but despite that omission this is a pretty fun tribute to The Bride's rampage.
June 24th, 2014
The man who hoped to die in a railway crash:
Money. Property. Land. Heirlooms. Whatever the mourners were hoping to inherit when they first gathered for the reading of the will, they were to be sorely disappointed.
Shock. Disbelief. Dismay. Indignation. That's what they got instead. The man they grieved, who had never given them so much as a penny while he breathed, stayed true to the habit of his lifetime.
He'd left everything – the whole kit and caboodle – to his killer. It wasn't a ghastly coincidence, nor the tell-tale sign of murderous greed, but a heartfelt gesture of thanks – appreciation for a job well done. […]
June 24th, 2014
I was vaguely aware that occasionally Google Maps deals with disputes over sovereignty between nations by showing different search results according to the searcher's location, but I hadn't realised just how frequently, and how rapidly this sort of action is required:
Abroad, Google Maps has waded into raw, tender issues of national identity. For example, take its depiction of Crimea on maps.google.com, where a dashed line reflects the U.S. view that the area is an occupied territory. But in Russia, on maps.google.ru, the boundary line is solid – Russia has officially annexed Crimea.
[Via Quartz, via Memex 1.1]
June 23rd, 2014
Reading Shawn Blanc's Command Space: A Review of LaunchBar and a History of Application Launchers, I could only nod in agreement:
Want to launch an app on your Mac? There is, ahem, an app for that.
Whenever I do a clean install of my Mac (which is less often these days), the first application I download is LaunchBar.
Because to me, my application launcher is how I get around my computer. Without LaunchBar installed it's like I'm at a friend's house, trying to navigate to the kitchen in the middle of the night and I can't find the light switches and I keep stubbing my toes on the furniture. […]
I've been using LaunchBar for 11 years and I hope still to be using it 11 years from now. It's the most solid, reliable and downright useful piece of software I've ever installed on a Mac.
I understand that for a lot of people the whole point of a GUI is that you don't have to use the keyboard to make things happen, but in practice there are times when dragging-and-dropping just isn't enough. The way LaunchBar teaches itself the abbreviations you type to select an application or action is just so much more efficient than selecting a file and picking options from the Services menu or the right-click pop-up menu.
The really sad thing is, I occasionally find myself trying to trigger LaunchBar when I'm at work, using a Windows XP computer. It's such a disappointment when I realise why that keystroke didn't do anything useful…
June 23rd, 2014
Having seen Oculus the other night, I was reading the comments at the IMDb and came across a mention of a short film made by Oculus director Mike Flanagan back in 2006 that was related to his feature film debut.
Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan uses many of the same story beats as the current film, so you probably shouldn't watch it if you have any thoughts of watching the feature film because Flanagan's full-length effort really is best seen knowing as little as possible about why these characters are doing this thing they're doing. For anyone who has seen Oculus, the short – which can be viewed in full on Vimeo, is an even more compact – and pretty effective – take on one portion of the same story.