We had a night out on the town alone, the wife and I, and we saw “Red Dawn.” It was a toss-up between this and “Life of Pi,” but the game of ‘paper, rock, scissors’ never fails in making these hard decisions. What I can tell you about this film is that it stands apart from the original, of which I am quite fond of. That was a classic piece of my youth, and I’m happy to say that this had no part in destroying it for me. The movie changes in some pretty major ways – thematically even. It was also modernized and made relevant in today’s political environment. “Life of Pi” would have been a better pick, but I’m glad we got to see this together as it was. Besides, “Life of Pi” is actually something the kids should see.
Lennart Green, the foremost close-up card magician of the world, dazzled the audience of TED 2005. I caught the video today on my Zune and was thrilled. His show is very entertaining, quick witted, and his foreignness is close to my heart (Green is from Gothenburg, Sweden). The TED video is around 30 minutes of goodness. Green had me laughing often, and his hand work is second to none. If you ever wanted to be a magician, watch this video and give up on your dreams. You’ll never amount to anything!
Clear your calendars for 2010. Tim Burton is making an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland beginning in May 2008. It’s currently scheduled for release in 2010, so it may actually be too early to put together solid plans.
I haven’t heard much, but I know it’s supposed to be animated 3D – not quite like Beowulf. Synthespian is the term I believe they’re using. The main character(s) will be realistically animated while the others are much more cartoonish. The idea being that this will give the realistic characters more believability because of the contrast between styles. It sounds stylistic to me. I’m all for creative ventures in the style department, I just hope it doesn’t mean less time is spent on the actual story and acting.
Tim Burton will be working with Disney to create the piece. I would have otherwise been worried about the duo, but Disney’s films are taking a more “edgy” quality to them as of late. The recent Pirate’s of the Caribbean trilogy makes me think that Disney’s production studio might be able to handle the macabre nature of Burton’s imagination. Though, I’d really be intrigued if Paramount and Mandalay were involved such as their contribution to Sleepy Hollow.
My mind was working on a few different angles while watching this film just now. I saw the advertisement on YouTube and had the 70 minutes free time. Well, actually I was busy working on a wedding video and wanted a distraction – how apropos.
At once I will congratulate the creators on a job well done, an exceptional use of YouTube and media marketing, and an interesting “first date” story for the kids.
The story was a relatively simple one with a very “indie-feel”development. There was nothing too unexpected, though the touch of reality certainly holds to a current, popular interest. To that, knowing the whole story on how and why this film was created gives the audience a greater appreciation for the work as a whole. Having this uncommon insight in a film makes the story a great deal more interesting. The real story here is something more than what a trailer can summarize.
Four Eyed Monsters is a respectable résumé for its creators, Arin Crumley and Susin Buice. While a surface examination of the plot will demonstrate nothing unimaginably different, the 10,000 foot view shows us who Arin and Susan are. It develops a curious interest – celebrity – in the directors and stars of the film. It establishes a certain fondness and caring within its audience; we want to keep watching them and we want them to be well.
The first thing that struck me about the film was its descriptive use of cinematography. Each theme, though often unspoken, was presented in well-delivered visual allegory. I was reminded of “Hero” and the distinct use of color to deliver separate story lines throughout the film. As a résumé piece, this film generates a rich example of Crumley and Buice’s creative and technical work.
By the end of the film, I was in great appreciation for the presentation as a whole. The “rawness” of what the audience is allowed to see is fantastic. A tight sense of inclusion is with you throughout the story; as though you may know Arin and Susan. Maybe they just live in the area and you see them time-to-time. From introduction to closing comments, the audience is brought into the success or failures of the directors. Venues such as this allow for a progressive conversation from the community on all aspects of comments and the work itself. A Film 2.0, to be sure.
You might have guessed at this headline. With the news of the Virginia Tech shootings so fresh in everyone’s mind, debate about weapon laws entered into this morning’s conversations at work.
Yeh – an Asian man with grand visions of America’s wild west compares those good ole days (notably via Hollywood entertainment and the likes of John Wayne) to what life could be like in modern society. His idea is simply that, while he doesn’t feel a need to carry a weapon, he would feel safer knowing that a percentage of other citizens do.
Brandon – a good friend of mine now for over seven years always has an informed perspective on issues of law, politics, and their possible effects on society morale. He sees that modern society has a tendency to escalate situations to the point of violence too often for him to feel comfort knowing citizens are carrying concealed weapons.
Damon – the minister by night, techie by day; new(ish) guy. He generally has a specific slant to his interjections – one of Godliness and a faith-based perspective. His statement is one of idealism…we should all just love each other more.
I see validity in all of their statements. Unfortunately, I don’t see drastic changes occurring to society as a whole based upon this event. Brandon said it best, “any law that is created based on these events would be a knee-jerk reaction.” Love and peace go without saying. The days of the wild west, as portrayed in the movies, seem orderly enough – that is, the majority of violence was kept between two men. Or at most a man (Clint Eastwood) and a marauding gang. In an idealistic way, I can agree with Yeh because I want to believe that most people are good. Most people are reasonable. And as Yeh says it, the knowledge that anyone could be carrying a gun prevents the “bad guy” from outrageous exploitations of the innocent. Alas, I live in the southeastern United States where I think that pondering fails experience. It’s likely a global fault, to be sure.
So what’s the answer? How do we protect the innocent without inflicting the very rights by which they can protect themselves? Clearly the issue is less about enforced justice and instead one of individual righteousness. Just when you think (hope) everyone is decent, your theories are dashed by a frenzied, yet incapable member of society.
I just bought a new DVD player to replace our perfectly working existing version. But this one is so much cooler! It has a USB port on the front, which most people gloss over at the mere mention of interrelations between household electronics and computer technology. However, I see the potential here. With a USB input, you could plug in a pen drive or an external hard drive loaded with MP3’s and video files to be displayed on your TV. In my rather unorthodox case, the computer monitor is actually larger than the family TV. Not that my computer monitor is that impressive, it’s just that the TV in the living room is quite inferior. At any rate, I have a collection of videos – err…they’re home videos – that have been encoded with DivX. They’re much smaller than what a DVD can hold and encoding to MPEG DVD’s would take forever. Instead, I can simply load up the pen drive (they’re running 8GB’s now) with a few movies – two hour flicks run about 1.5GB each – and pop it into the front of my new Philips DVP5960 to have instant access to the movies contained within. An intuitive file browser pops up with filenames for anything I could play with the player.
I’ve only just started using it tonight, though I did discover a problem rather quickly. I’m having an audio sync issue. It may be related to the audio channel embedded within the DivX format, but for some reason my simple stereo out setup isn’t sounding correct. There’s even some lip sync setting within the DVD setup menu, but it doesn’t seem to correct my problem. There’s also a fair amount of echo in the audio channel – not so much that it’s impossible to listen to, just so much that everything sounds dramatic. Any hints on this little problem would be greatly appreciated!
I got a Zune for Christmas – a wonderful gift, really. I really wanted to get into the iPod/Zen/etc. scene, but I wasn’t that interested in the whole iTunes thing. I also want video to be a comfortable size and 4:3 aspect ratio. The Zune has that, and is still pocket size and relatively inexpensive. The device does exactly what it’s supposed to do, so no one can really complain about features and capabilities. They all play MP3’s, many play AAC’s, many play WMA’s…whatever. I chose a Microsoft product because I know they have to put a lot on this to compete in the iPod space. The Zune Marketplace is also pretty hip for local/unknown bands. They seem to have put a lot into the Marketplace right up front, which is a good deliverable. I’m anxious to see how it grows before investing in the subscription just yet. If they can help me justify the price by providing things like audio books, movies, TV shows, and other little tidbits beyond just DRM’d audio, I will probably bite. The only real want I have for the Zune is software type of stuff. It would be nice to have usable wireless for synchronization and/or Marketplace downloading, but it’s not a requirement at this point. The software could be a little more robust. I’m used to MediaMonkey, so I have the desire for more ID3 tagging glory and I like MediaMonkey’s Amazon.com tagging. Zune does a good job of this through the MediaPlayer API’s, but it lacks in real innovation. The whole Zune hardware and software modus operandi seems to be around intuitive interaction and simplicity. That’s a good thing, I just wish there was an advanced button hidden somewhere to give me the technical stuff I like for certain functions. Another software nicety would be to link EQ settings to wherever you set them. That is, add the ability to EQ a song specifically and memorize that setting. Regardless of the wish or want, the Zune is said to be very software upgradeable. I’m holding out final judgment to see how some of the first “service packs” go for the device. I expect to see some new functionality coming out for the device within the first quarter or so – whether by Microsoft or others. I won’t be putting Linux on the device just yet, but seeing what people can do leaves me hope. Oh – and there is no built-in FM transmitter in case there’s still some confusion around that. There’s an FM tuner, but the transmitter is supplied by a third-party and probably sucks unless you get it hard-wired into your car. I bought a cheap one ($50!), though I didn’t realize I was going to have to spend in excess of this to get the functionality I desire. Where I live, the stations seem to come and go throughout town and I can’t lock onto a single station and expect it work for more than a couple of minutes while driving. It takes on too much interference too, and I hate that. I realize I could probably make it work most of the time, but the random interruption of static or another radio station will drive me insane. I’m resorting to a hard-wired FM transmitter for the car, which I already own but don’t have installed in the Mazda3.
When I’ve gotten more use out of this device, complete with car integration, I will write again on my more broken-in device and its associated software.
Davison launches “InventionLand,” not entirely dissimilar from Neverland – without Michael Jackson. The idea is simple, though the results sound very positive. Davison created InventionLand to host inventors in a creative environment where their minds can open up to possibilities as they did when we were children. The images and movies of the place are awesome, albeit seemingly distracting to the casual viewer. From the reports seen about their progress, however, it appears that they’re quite productive afterall. Time to polish up the old resume.
Flickr: InventionLand Set
Official George Davison Site (and intro movie): InventionLand
I took a morning stroll through man’s disturbing past and read some articles about Ed Gein recently. If you’re planning on reading through this man’s history, you should probably do so a little later in the day. Gein is the man who inspired such characters as Buffalo Bill (Silence of the Lambs), Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and (purportedly) Norman Bates from Psycho. I knew both the Chainsaw Massacre and Silence of the Lambs were based upon true stories, but I didn’t realize they came from the same person. History remembers Gein as a notorious serial killer. Gein wasn’t actually very notorious at all. The nature of his crimes were such that the news took a liking to the morbidity and peoples’ fascination with it. The entertainment business picked it up from there with books and movies. I always pictured a “notorious” criminal as being someone who had notoriety during the act of their crimes. Gein wasn’t really known at all outside of his local area of Wisconsin. His notoriety was actually America’s obsession with the grotesque ability of one man. I also had to check on the legal use of the term “serial killer” to understand what that entailed. I knew that police used terms like serial, mass, and spree for specific types of crimes. While Gein was certainly an insane individual and, in my mind, one who would undoubtedly be a serial killer – it doesn’t sound as though his crimes were quite to that level. No doubt he was developing the patterns that would inevitably lead him to serial killings. The investigations at the time were not to the level of forensic science we have today, and it sounds a little like there was pressure to wrap up some un-solved cases. My point is not that we mis-marked Gein, but rather that Gein’s crimes represented a sort of celebrity status in criminal cases; as such there was a certain sense of expansion to the situation. The horror movies we all know so well today certainly exemplify the weight of his crimes, but they overplay the malicious attitude of the real character. If they had made a movie about the Gein family from the beginning up to the point of Ed Gein’s first victim, it would have been more frightening. And Ed Gein’s heinus crimes might have been overshadowed by the seemingly more wicked upbringing he was subjected to. I know of only one writer that could write the story in a far too realistic manner of disturbing mental images…Chuck Palahniuk.
My new favorite metaphor:
Share the credit with others because a rising tide floats all boats.
Guy Kawasaki writes “Ten Things to Learn this School Year” and sums up real world examples of educational preparedness. I suppose it should be read as the top 10, because there are hundreds of other examples I can think of. Hell, they’ve written movies and TV series about it. The list is pretty good if not downright funny. Having never attended college officially, I cannot speak to the readiness of our college graduates. I can say however, that nothing but life itself can prepare you for the world. And by prepared, I mean simply that you won’t fall over dead from shock when something things come at you. Stupid birds.