Casting Oscar

Short article on the making of the statuettes handed out at the Academy Awards.

02.26.2017Tagged with:    

Where Oscar Best Picture Nominees Are Liked Most

Interesting look at which area of the US each oscar nominee was most popular. Since studios don’t release that kind of information, Facebook “likes” were used to generate the maps.

We wanted to find out for a few reasons. There has been an increasing disconnect between films that are hits and films that Hollywood honors. The last three best picture winners (“Spotlight,” “Birdman,” “12 Years a Slave”) went unseen by most Americans, at least during their theatrical runs.

With the country so politically divided, we also wanted to know whether audience support for nominees fell along similar urban-rural or coastal-heartland fissures.

02.26.2017Tagged with:    

Y-O-D-A, Yoda

Weird Al had Lin-Manuel Miranda join him on stage to sing “Yoda.”

02.19.2017Tagged with:    

Castle Rock

Teaser for Castle Rock, a new Hulu series from Stephen King and J.J. Abrams. Castle Rock is the fictional Maine town where King set The Dead Zone, Cujo, and “The Body,” among others.

02.19.2017Tagged with:    

The Case for Sugar

Many books and studies are asserting that sugar causes or contributes to multiple fatal illnesses, costing billions of dollars in health care each year. I dispute none of this. But I would like to add that sugar tastes really, really good.

02.04.2017Tagged with:    

The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The official title of the next Star Wars film was announced today. Episode VIII will be called Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and will arrive in theaters on December 15, 2017.

01.24.2017Tagged with:    

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, January 2017

01.22.2017Tagged with:    

Steven Soderbergh: Seen, Read 2016

All the movies, TV shows, books, and plays Steven Soderbergh saw and read in 2016.

I love this. I’ve been logging books and movies for most of this century, and it’s fun and humbling to look back at the list from time to time. I’ll need to live a very long time to get through all of the stuff I’d like to. Plus, it answers the occasional question, like “Did I read that?,” or “When was the last time I read/saw that?”

01.08.2017Tagged with:    

Plateau Trail, CVNP

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Plateau Trail

01.07.2017Tagged with:    

The Data Formats of Star Wars Suck

I liked Rogue One quite a bit. Still, there’s some silly stuff at the end. Spoilers ahead.

A key plot point in Rogue One is that the file size is so large that they need to commandeer a giant antenna and knock out a planetary shield in order to upload the files. But for some reason they can send regular communications just fine without doing either of those things?

What on earth is being stored on that magnetic tape cassette? Is it 5000 .bmp images loaded into slides in Powerpoint with accompanying animations? Why is DEATH_STAR_final_final__FINAL.dwg.doc.gif.pdf so big?

01.06.2017Tagged with:    

Pixar’s Finding Dory Trailer

11.13.2015Tagged with:    

New Episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000

MST3K creator Joel Hodgson has launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring the show back for another season, as many as twelve episodes. His goal? $5.5 million.

Hodgson said the original cast will be invited back to write, produce, and cameo in the series, but that the idea is to introduce new cast members and new voices for the reboot. “Basically, I’m trying to blend the old with the new,” he said. “Mystery Science Theater has already refreshed itself once with a completely new cast, so I think it deserves to do that again.” After Hodgson left in 1993, Michael J. Nelson took over as the human captive, while everyone from the mad scientists to the voices and controllers of the iconic puppets Servo and Crow all saw various levels of turnover.

And while they will do new episodes if they raise as little as $2 million, and hope to be able to do a full season of 12, the ultimate goal is to get the ball rolling again and continue on with even more seasons after this first new one.

And why do this now, 15 years after getting cancelled?

Even though we’ve always wanted to bring MST3K back, it wasn’t that easy. Thanks to the Last Will and Testament of one eccentric old heiress, the rights were tied up for years. It took time to work those issues out, but with the help of my friends at Shout Factory, a special chokehold I perfected in WuDang that I like to call “The Persuader,” and a night I had to spend in a haunted house as a term of the the old lady’s will, we succeeded.

This summer, we finally got all of the rights cleared up… and now, like Orpheus, we can now descend into hell to hang out with a couple of wisecracking robots.

11.11.2015Tagged with:    

Sylvan Pond

Sylvan Pond at dusk

11.10.2015Tagged with:    

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Supercut

Science vs. Cinema co-creator James Darling revisits his Star Wars: THE FORCE AWAKENS Supercut–incorporating all of the latest footage, including the 3 domestic trailers, the Comic-Con BTS reel, the new TV spot and the international trailer–to make the definitive #SuperDuperCut!

New trailer for The Force Awakens from Japan

Featuring new footage not included in the US version.

Defying Japan, Rancher Saves Fukushima’s Radioactive Cows

Masami Yoshizawa has returned to his ranch after fleeing the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Though it lies within the evacuation zone, and it is illegal for him to be there, Mr. Yoshizawa has returned to care for the cows abandoned after the 2011 accident.

Entire herds died of starvation in the weeks after the residents left. The cows that survived escaped their ranches to forage for food among the empty homes and streets, where they became traffic hazards for trucks shuttling workers and supplies to and from the stricken plant. Proclaiming the animals “walking accident debris,” officials from the Ministry of Agriculture ordered them to be rounded up and slaughtered, their bodies buried or burned along with other radioactive waste.

Outraged, Mr. Yoshizawa began returning to his ranch soon after to feed the remnants of the herd he had been tending. He eventually decided to return full time to turn the ranch into a haven for all of the area’s abandoned cows. Of the approximately 360 cows at his 80-acre spread, more than half are ones that others left behind.

Although he describes his protest in mainly political terms, his explanation for returning despite the possible danger is tinged with a hint of emotion. He describes his horror on visiting abandoned farms where he found rows of dead cows, their heads fallen into food troughs where they had waited to be fed. In one barn, a newborn calf hoarsely bawled next to its dead mother. He said his spur-of-the-moment decision to save the calf, which he named Ichigo or Strawberry, was his inspiration for trying to save the others left behind.

He still searches the evacuation zone for the often emaciated survivors, which he often has to pull by their ears to get them to follow him home. He tries to dodge police roadblocks; it is technically illegal for anyone to live inside the evacuation zone. Nonetheless, he has been caught a half-dozen times and forced to sign prewritten statements of apology for entering the zone. He has done so, but only after crossing out the promises not to do it again.

01.11.2014Tagged with:    

Star Wars: The Apprentice

Great short film set in the Star Wars universe, made as a proof-of-concept without the involvement of Lucasfilm.

12.02.2013Tagged with:    

Pennsylvania paper retracts editorial panning Gettysburg Address

In advance of the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, retracted an editorial from 1863 dismissing Lincoln’s speech.

“Our predecessors, perhaps under the influence of partisanship, or of strong drink, as was common in the profession at the time, called President Lincoln’s words ‘silly remarks,’ deserving ‘a veil of oblivion’,” the newspaper said.

“The Patriot-News regrets the error.”

Monty Python Reunion

The stage show will be the first Monty Python project in 30 years.

All of the surviving members of comedy group Monty Python are to reform for a stage show, one of the Pythons, Terry Jones, has confirmed.

“We’re getting together and putting on a show – it’s real,” Jones told the BBC.

“I’m quite excited about it. I hope it makes us a lot of money. I hope to be able to pay off my mortgage!”

11.19.2013Tagged with:    

Alfonso Cuarón’s “Ikea”

Parody of director Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity by Daniel Hubbard.

11.18.2013Tagged with:    
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