Archive for the ‘entertainment’ Category

How’s That For a Slice of Fried Gold?

May 7, 2008

Spaced is probably my favorite sitcom of all time.  It’s better than Seinfeld, it’s better than Arrested Development, it’s better than the Simpsons.  And it’s finally, FINALLY going to be available to American audiences.  Created by the same team that brought us Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Spaced has been held up in production limbo for years due to music-rights issues (fans of the State, I feel you), but things have FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY been sorted out, and the Region 1 discs will be out in July.  Truth be told, I already own the Region 2 Complete Series, which I bought while I was in school in Scotland, and actually purchased a region-free DVD player in order to watch the series again here in the states, only to be thwarted by the fact that it was not, in fact, a region-free DVD player.  Balls, huh?  Oh well, I’ll get my chance come July, and don’t be surprised if I try to harangue some of you into watching the entire thing, marathon style.  I’m proselytizing this shit from the mountaintop, y’all.

FPS – First-Person Soccer

May 1, 2008

Nike’s advertising department does it yet again.  I don’t know how these guys continue to make such original,  effective spots year after year, but I’m not complaining.  Hell, it almost makes me forget about their abysmal human rights record.

Like a Young Marvin in His Hey

April 21, 2008

Saw this video on the Fader last week, and figured it was awesome enough for me to post, too.  Go on, Barry, brush ya’ shoulders off.

Thematic Variations

April 15, 2008

All the tubes of the internets are clogged today by the glut of people posting this video of the Super Mario Bros theme as performed by an RC car/row-of-bottles combo. Pretty cool, sure, but there are literally a hundred-million-trillion covers of the Mario theme song on YouTube. So I figured there was no better time than the present to collect all of my favorite Mario theme renditions. Join me after the cut for videos of people with far too much time on their hands. (Real Mario via  Pixeloo.) (more…)

Primer

April 10, 2008

I consider myself a reasonably bright guy. I’m no scientist, but I’ve read a few pop-sci books (A Brief History of Time, The Elegant Universe) and I feel like I understand the concepts well enough. Not only that, I’m a pretty big sci-fi nerd, and have loved the concept of time-travel since I was a little kid. That being said, the first time I watched the movie Primer it made my brain go “ow.” The plot follows the exploits of two Dallas-area engineers named Abe and Aaron, who stumble upon the ability to travel backward into time by accident while attempting to construct a gravity-degrading superconductor in their garage. They become aware of the enormous space/time implications as they become more brazen in their use of the machine, which causes some serious time-fuckery. I really thought I was following everything just fine for the first 2/3rds, but by the last half hour I was wallowing in a puddle of my own mind-goo. Abe and Aaron travel backward in time again and again, creating duplicates of duplicates as the plot’s comprehensibility (and the quality of their penmanship) disintegrates. As the movie wore on, it became increasingly unclear which timeline I was watching, and which copy of the characters were acting out the increasingly byzantine script.

And I loved every second of it. I watched it again shortly thereafter, and understood a bit more. A few months ago, I watched it for a third time, and just recently for a fourth — enough to think that I have a pretty decent grasp of the film’s machinations. It really is a sneaky little fucker, but there is a lot of pleasure to be had in unraveling its structure. Which makes this temporal map of the movie’s time-lines such a great resource. Taken by itself it’s nearly as confusing as the movie, but used in conjunction it can be an invaluable, ah, Primer primer.

Also worth checking out is this A.V. Club article about Primer and the “New Cult Canon.” It has a few clips from the movie and provides a more thorough explanation of the film’s creation and plot.

“Aww Boy, I’m Just So Tired of All These Star Wars.”

March 3, 2008
This was too incredible NOT to post. It’s the end credits for Star Wars done in the style of Saul Bass (who created the title sequences for The Man With the Golden Arm, Vertigo, and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, among others.) (via kottke.)

Alive in Joberg

February 28, 2008
After my last post I thought I might share another video by the director of Yellow, Neill Blomkamp. This short is titled “Alive In Joberg,” and it is an interesting inversion of the traditional Alien Invasion genre. In this case, the extraterrestrials arrive in South Africa circa 1990, their kilometer-wide ships blotting the sky and siphoning energy from power plants through a series of strange, black tendrils. And yet the creatures themselves are forced into the squalor of the South African slums, their equipment apparently so dilapidated that they are unable to leave. They suffer through the daily indignities of the incredibly impoverished, begging for water and electricity so that they might survive. The aliens thus become a canvas on which to project the atrocities carried out under Apartheid.

In the same way that George A. Romero utilized the Zombie to “…criticize real-world social ills — such as government ineptitude, bioengineering, slavery, greed and exploitation — while indulging our post-apocalyptic fantasies,” the Alien could be used to explore ideas of racism, classism, immigration-anxiety, and general social inequity, while at the same time providing the opportunity to make stuff blow up real good. Get on it, Hollywood!

Where the Wild Things Aren’t

February 21, 2008
Where the Wild Things Are
Where the Wild Things Are

We are staring into the abyss, people. Word is that the Spike Jonze/Dave Eggers adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are is in big trouble. The folks at Warner Bros are apparently unhappy with both the child-lead, Max Records, and the tone of the film itself (which is being described as “too dark,” “too scary,” and “subversive”) and are considering massive re-shoots. The movie has already been pushed back to 2009, and I’m starting to seriously worry that it might slip into development hell, never to emerge. A possible silver-lining: there’s a chance that Jonze has a final cut provision in his contract, which would mean he could refuse the re-shoot demands, but then WB could always replace him with a director more willing to cooperate. Either way, we lose. Fuck you, Warner Bros, leave this one alone. Let it see the light of day.

Monster Mess

February 16, 2008

Roar!

Since its release, internet nerds (and I use that as a term of endearment, considering I’m fucking King Dork) have complained that Cloverfield was nothing more than a shaky-cammed  cocktease.   The fact that we never got a true reveal of the oh-so-mysterious monster was a real sticking point for a lot of people.  Personally, I thought it added to the experience — these critics are the same people who complain that they never get any answers from LOST, all the while ignoring the fact that this type of entertainment is enjoyable because of the mystery, not in spite of it.  It’s the means, not the end, people.  It’s an inevitability that whatever answer is provided simply won’t live up to the image in your head.  Which is why the above image is such a disappointment.  What you’re seeing is the Cloverfield monster in $99, 70-points-of-articulation toy form.  And it’s just not very cool looking.  I would have been perfectly happy never knowing that it’s just some pasty, daddy long legs/praying mantis amalgam.  But whatever, killjoys.  There you have it.  ROAR!

Kiss!

The Audacity of Dope

February 15, 2008

Barack!

That Obama. So considerate! (via kottke)

Fuck Planet Earth

February 1, 2008
Marginally funny video using footage from the staggeringly awesome Planet Earth documentary series.  Also reminds me a bit of this old Far Side cartoon:

 Hey!  Hey! Heyyyyy!

 (video by Max Goldberg Online.)

Drink Slusho, Make Monsters

January 31, 2008

Lopped Off Liberty

I loved Cloverfield. Absolutely adored it. I had been following the project since the first teaser premiered before Transformers, and going into the theater I was incredibly nervous that my anticipation would inevitably lead to massive disappointment. But boy, oh boy, my fears were entirely unfounded. I had none of the motion sickness problems that others have mentioned, nor did I have trouble suspending disbelief and allowing that the film’s 20-somethings were simply going to make awful decisions. Instead, I was entranced by the fulfilled promise of a truly post-modern monster movie. Cloverfield was a pitch-perfect homage and reinvention of an entire genre.

Which is why I’m so goddamn disappointed by the news that they’re making another one. Director Matt Reeves recently commented that a sequel could be made by exploring a different perspective of the same event, an idea that I think is incredibly stupid. The shaky-cam style was pretty much done to perfection already, and any attempt to re-visit it would result in a watered-down rehash of the original. Now, if done correctly, it might be interesting to see the attack through the lens of a “traditional” monster movie, which would specifically address the goverment and military response to the monster(s). On the other hand, that would pretty much defeat the entire point of the first film. Sadly, there appears to be no way around this sequel business; any successful movie in this day and age will be mined for every possible dollar. How disappointing.

Sweet Sassy Molassy!

January 31, 2008
This video is part of a new promotional campaign by EA Sports for the game FIFA Street 3. A good spot in its own right, but I definitely prefer this 2005 Nike commercial featuring Ronaldinho. It takes the same concept (incredible soccer skills via CG soccer ball) but the finished project appears at least somewhat possible:
And of course, Powerade had a similar advertising shtick a few years back featuring Michael Vick and LeBron James, among others. (FIFA link via Adverblog.)

The Dharma Initiative Welcomes You to Season 4! Namaste!

January 30, 2008

FINALLY. Tomorrow night marks the first new episode of LOST in 253 days (not to mention the Season 3 Finale re-airing tonight with bonus information.) Sadly, we’re being shorted half a season due to the ongoing writers strike, but we still have eight straight weeks of LOST to look forward to.

Previously on LOST: Charlie’s dead. The Looking Glass is flooded. It’s not Penny’s boat. Locke saw Walt, has work to do.  Jack’s got a beard and an alcohol problem. In the future. “We have to go back!” Oh man, oh man. It’s on.

LOST, explained in 8 minutes:

 

And the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 in chronological order and from multiple perspectives:

Lint Licker!

January 29, 2008
Hilarious ad from Orbit Gum. I wish people would use elementary school euphemisms all the time.

Lakai Fully Flared

January 28, 2008
Gorgeous slow-motion intro directed by Spike Jonez for the skateboarding movie “Lakai Fully Flared.” Things go boom. (from Avenues, via Kottke)

Cubist Calvinists & Tyrannosaurs in F-14’s

January 28, 2008
Why So Serious?
Calvin & Hobbes is perhaps the greatest comic strip of all time. Bill Watterson’s strip ran in syndication from 1985- 1995, which happened to almost perfectly coincide with my childhood. I read it in the paper every day for as long as I can remember reading anything not bound in brightly-colored cardboard. I mentioned a few posts back that Picasso’s Guernica and Hokusai’s The Great Wave were the two greatest touchstones of my development as an artist. That statement was categorically false. My bad. Calvin & Hobbes would have to top the list, no question. The strip managed to continually exhibit unrivaled reservoirs of imagination, wit, and vomit jokes. I can remember spending an inordinate amount of time in elementary school drawing my own mis-proportioned versions of Watterson’s Killer Snowmen, Slime Monsters, and Time Machine Duplicates. In fact, Calvin & Hobbes was probably my first exposure to the idea of Cubism (and described the style more succinctly that any art history professor I’ve seen.)
Cubist Calvinist
Adding to the value of the strip itself is the attitude of its creator, Bill Watterson. Refusing to go the route of numerous comic artists before him (I’m looking at you, Jim fucking Davis), Watterson refused any and all attempts to commodify and market the little boy and his stuffed tiger (and can you imagine the literal MOUNTAINS OF GREENBACKS that mass-produced Hobbes dolls would create?) Those “pissing Calvin” bumper stickers you see? All illegal appropriations (there’s that sticky word again.) Watterson is also a notorious recluse, refusing most requests for interviews or statements, though in October he did pen a very nice review of the Charles Schultz biography for the Washington Post. Sadly, not much of his work outside of Calvin & Hobbes has been exhibited. Luckily, this website features a collection of rare Watterson art, mostly culled from his days at Kenyon College and his short career as a political cartoonist. It gives a small glimpse at the immense talent behind the strip that served as the spark for thousands of imaginations (well, at least one.)
Tyrannosaurs in F-14s

BONUS! More Shoe Advertising!

January 25, 2008
As an addendum to my previous post, here is a 2005 Adidas spot directed by Spike Jonez. The music in this one was written by Jonez’s brother and sung by Karen O (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs fame.) It won two Gold Lions at the 2005 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, three 2006 Silver Clio Awards, and a 2006 Gold EFFIE Award. Well deserved, I’d say.

The Greatest Commercial of All Time

January 25, 2008
Created by Nike for the 2002 Winter Olympics, the above commercial is quite possibly the greatest advertisement of all time. It functions less as a commercial and more as a short film — the editing, the music, all perfect. The long jumper –> baby –> snowboarder transition (:55 seconds into the clip) is goddamn sublime. Am I the only one that would happily purchase a DVD filled entirely with advertisements like this? Throw in some other Nike spots, a few Volkswagon ads from the past decade, ESPN’s “This Is Sportscenter” campaign, and you’d have yourself a great collection.
I suppose this is a bit of a contentious subject, so what do you guys think? What’s the greatest commercial of all time? And don’t give me any of that Apple 1984 bullshit, OK? OK.