George Lucas Astride a Mountain of Cash

If this is a joke or a spoof then someone is leaving it rather late in the day to spring a surprise on us all:

If the universe somehow arranged for a time traveller to pay a visit to young George Lucas just before he started filming Star Wars and show him that video1 then – after giving young George a few minutes time of jubilation at how handsomely his bright idea would pay off – wouldn’t even young George suggest that perhaps this adulation for all things Star Wars had all gone just a bit too far?

[Via @caitlinmoran, RT by @cstross]

Casting

It’d be nice to think that we live in the timeline where the most noteworthy effect of Deepfakes will be to swap one Hollywood actor for another but somehow I doubt we’re going to be that lucky:

In some parallel universe, there’s a version of Casino Royale with Hugh Jackman playing everyone’s favorite suave British agent, James Bond. And one in which Matthew McConaughey took the Leo role in Titanic. And DiCaprio and Brad Pitt co-starred in Brokeback Mountain. And Saved by the Bell’s Tiffani Thiessen played Rachel in Friends.

That being said, I have to confess that the biggest effect of my watching Neo-as-played-by-Bruce-Lee having Morpheus ask him if he thinks that’s air he’s breathing now in the digital dojo was a powerful urge to see the best film the Wachowskis ever made again, as it’s been way too long since I last saw The Matrix and it was definitely indisputably very good, whatever you might think of the two sequels plus The Animatrix 1 that followed it. So from Hollywood’s point of view that’s a success, insofar as right now The Matrix isn’t on Netflix and my DVD copies are long since gone so I’m going to have to go and pay someone some money to watch it again. Ka-ching!

[Via The RISKS Digest]

Cap’s PR

Somewhere down the line I do hope Disney find the time – in between building up whichever cosmic-scale threat is going to close out Phase Six of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – to fill in some of the gaps in the story they’ve shown us so far.

Tell me this fanfic about life as Steve Rogers’ publicist wouldn’t work well as at least a short set in the wake of the Battle of New York, when the world has just seen Steve Rogers being the hero his nation needed:

[…] Eva lived in fear of the day a reporter thought to get Steve’s opinion about abortion. Or, God and all the angels forbid, gun control.

She breathed a sigh of relief when he was invited to speak at an anti-bullying conference; what could be more of a crowd-pleaser than siding against bullies? The sigh was short-lived, however. Steve kept to his prepared remarks for about a sentence and a half, and then spent the rest of his allotted time railing about the need for better protections for LGBT kids.

“How is this a hard job?” Yumi said that weekend over drinks. So many drinks. “C’mon, Steve Rogers, he’s such a boy scout.”

“Oh god,” Eva muttered, rubbing her temples, “don’t get him started on the Boy Scouts.” […]

I know Chris Evans claims to be done with the role, and Avengers: Endgame gave his character a send-off that worked pretty well, but come on: this is an open goal, surely?

[Via jwz]

Tactical Evaluation

An essential read as the Marvel fan base prepares for Avengers: Endgame, courtesy of The Angry Staff Officer:

The world is blessed that Steve Rogers never made it past captain. The Battle of Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War is a master class in how not to use an infantry battalion. However, from his failure, we can extract some fundamental lessons[…]

[On Steve Rogers’ willingness to send his vehicular support away before battle was joined…] It is true that the transport craft were unarmoured and open-topped. If fighting an adversary with strong anti-armour or indirect fire capabilities, sending them away would be reasonable. However, the Thanosian forces lacked this entirely. Their troops were incapable of using ranged weapons, or indeed, higher brain functions. They traveled on foot and bit the opposition to death.

Captain Roger’s disregard for vehicles is perhaps excusable as being on brand for a career light infantry officer. […]

Excellent, level headed work.1 The thing is, I’m not sure any of the Avengers are terribly good generals: not unless it’s revealed at the end that everything has transpired according to Doctor Strange’s grand strategic plan.

[RT via Charlie Stross]

Before the smartphone

Coming soon (with any luck) to a screen near you: General Magic, A Documentary Feature:

Judging by the trailer, John Sculley is not going to come out of this smelling of roses.

General Magic, the upcoming documentary, is a tale of how great vision and epic failure can change the world. The film features members of the original Mac team along with the creators of the iPhone, Android and eBay.

These designers, engineers and entrepreneurs saw the future decades before it happened. General Magic captures the spirit of those of us who dare to dream big and the life-changing consequences when we fail, fail again, fail better, and ultimately succeed.

I realise it’s not going to be showing up in my local multiplex: I’ll settle for it eventually turning up somewhere I can (legally) pay for it, download it and watch it.

[Via Cake, via Extenuating Circumstances]

Best Films of 2018

David Ehrlich’s latest annual medley of imagery from The 25 Best Films Of 2018 demonstrates once more that there’s plenty of good work out there every year, it’s just a question of how hard you have to look to find it.

By virtue of this list being published towards the end of the calendar year, there’s invariably a bunch of the films on Ehrlich’s list that either haven’t opened in the UK yet or that I didn’t catch during their relatively brief release window outside London. Some I know I’ll not get to see any time soon because I refuse to fork out £10 a month to every streaming service out there, but a list like this at least focuses my attention on what might be worth making some effort to track down.

[Via kottke.org]

Alien(s)

I knew that there was a long-standing strain of fandom built around the core concepts of Alien vs. Predator, but I had no idea it was set in stone like this:

I do love this response from @tafkao:

In 800 yrs time, architectural historians will be locked in furious debate over whether the sculpture is Alien school or Predator school.

11:30 am · 10 Jun 2018

(Further reading: see, for example, this.)

[Via Sentiers #43]

Dancing in Movies

When I first saw a link to Dancing In Movies a week or so ago I wasn’t all that impressed: yes, someone had put a lot of effort into stringing together clips from nearly 300 films but I wasn’t getting a thrill from it. But now I’ve taken (several) further looks at it and I love it! I think on the first viewing I was too obsessed with identifying the sources of the clips, and as they’re such short clips I found myself overwhelmed by the need to try to mentally catalogue them in real time and was too busy to get round to appreciating the art of the compilation itself.1

Fortunately – perhaps it caught up with me on a day when my case of trainspotter’s syndrome was in remission – I saw it again the other day, and this time I just settled back and enjoyed the quirky spectacle of it all. Magnificent stuff, strongly recommended.

2001 remembered

Stephen Wolfram, on the legacy of seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey when he was eight years old:

It’s hard for me to believe it’s been 50 years since I first saw 2001. Not all of 2001 has come true (yet). But for me what was important was that it presented a vision of what might be possible-and an idea of how different the future might be. It helped me set the course of my life to try to define in whatever ways I can what the future will be. And not just waiting for aliens to deliver monoliths, but trying to build some “alien artifacts” myself.

[Via Sentiers No. 37]