Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Walking Dead COMIC BOOK (spoiler thread)

Since the season ended I "got a hold of" the entire 90-issue run the first 90 issues and started reading it them. I came out of a daze at four in the morning last night, lying in bed bleary-eyed, and realized I was on issue 73 (!). From a narrative addiction standpoint, comic book series on an iPad are even more dangerous than TV series on Netflix or DVD sets. You get to the "to be continued" panel (usually with Stan Lee writing something ridiculous about how impossibly exciting it's going to be when you return next month), and when the "open next file" button floats up, you just touch it. You don't even have to take your head off the pillow.

Anyway this is a great comic; much better than the series in many ways (as everyone's been saying). Meet me on the comments page for discussion (bearing in mind that I have no idea where any other readers are in the story; I am not "current" but am only up to issue 75 am up to issue 94, which means I've read them all except for the three or four that have been published in 2012).

ADDENDUM: Just in case anyone's starting at the beginning of the comic series, let me point something out that you may not realize (and that I wish I'd known when I started): namely that the art changes after six issues (From Tony Moore to the vastly superior Charlie Adlard) and it's immediately a whole new ball game. Moore is competent but there's an element of caricature that belies the hyper-realistic dialogue and style; as with all great comic-book-artist takeovers (like the famous Daredevil switch from Roger Maczkenzie to Frank Miller's penciling debut in 1981) there's an instant deepening and broadening of the story. (I can't think of an equivalent in any other medium -- exempt maybe those Twin Peaks episodes directed by David Lynch himself.)

The family that plays together...

You can't see it but Julie's on a Pac-Man machine.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Terrifying New 2.5" Wasp Has Jaws Longer Than Legs

From geekology, RETROACTIVE WARNING: Scary wasp picture above.

This is a new species of giant wasp discovered in Indonesia, effectively canceling my plans to ever visit the country. It grows over 2.5" long and has jaws longer than its legs. That...ain't right. Same goes for longer-than-leg genitals.

Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, says 'Its jaws are so large that they wrap up either side of the head when closed. When the jaws are open they are actually longer than the male's front legs.'

'I'm going to name it Garuda, after the national symbol of Indonesia,' Kimsey said.

Garuda - known as 'King of Birds' - is a powerful mythical warrior that's part human and part eagle, boasts a large wingspan, martial prowess and breakneck speed.

'The large jaws probably play a role in defense and reproduction,' she said.

OMG -- my jaws play a roll in reproduction too! Get it? "Like licking nipples?" Well that too but I was gonna say like eating nachos off each other's bodies. "Con queso?" OF COURSE CON QUESO.

Battle Royale Blu-Ray trailer

There has been a lot of chatter about The Hunger Games lately and my sense from the reviews, including our very own JSP’s, is that the film is a missed opportunity. Apparently the violence is underwhelming, watered-down and takes place mostly off-screen to satisfy a PG-13 audience. I am therefore posting this Battle Royale trailer to remind everyone why the Japanese do things better.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New York city schools want to ban 'loaded words' from tests

From CNN, New York (CNN) – Divorce. Dinosaurs, Birthdays. Religion. Halloween. Christmas. Television. These are a few of the 50-plus words and references the New York City Department of Education is hoping to ban from the city’s standardized tests.

The banned word list was made public – and attracted considerable criticism – when the city’s education department recently released this year’s "request for proposal" The request for proposal is sent to test publishers around the country trying to get the job of revamping math and English tests for the City of New York.

The Department of Education's says that avoiding sensitive words on tests is nothing new, and that New York City is not the only locale to do so. California avoids the use of the word "weed" on tests and Florida avoids the phrases that use "Hurricane" or "Wildfires," according to a statement by the New York City Department of Education.

Full article here

John Carter of Mars

2012 **


Somewhere deep in the blog vaults there's a draft of a post I've just called "Barsoom post," about the Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars books and how I've been into them since I was young and all the art they've inspired in the world at large. Someday I'll put that together and post it, but not today. Last night I saw John Carter of Mars because they finally made a movie of this character after 100 freaking years, and I had to see it for myself.

It was a complete waste of time. The green Martians (above) were the best part about it, but otherwise it was pretty irredeemable. It's not worth going into in detail, but suffice to say that every bitter article about bloated budgets and crappy results is spot on with this one. I'm not saying "wait for it on dvd" as much as I'm saying "if you wander across it on cable, maybe check out the green Martains." Really poor stuff.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

George Lucas‘ Early, Experimental Art House Films

[via slashfilm]

Don't order this drink

From foodio54, You just kind of need to stand back to appreciate this one. This drink is an entire days worth of calories, two days of fat, and enough sugar to jump-start Rosie Odonnell’s heart. There should be a health warning and an age restriction on this drink.

See the 5 worst drinks in America here

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

9 of the Best (Worst) Fictional Games in Actual Movies

5) Space Paranoids in Tron

From toplessrobot, Even before the game industry started outselling the movie industry, Hollywood was inventing fake videogames to be plot points, backdrops, objects of terror, cheap jokes, and more -- and because Hollywood wasn't really in the business of making games, they weren't particularly good at making them up, either. Here are nine of our favorite movie videogames that we also have no real desire to play.

See them all here

Total Recall 2012 trailer

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What would 1980s villains look like today?

Full gallery here

What Happens In An Internet Minute? SPOILER: A Lot

From geekology, This is an informational graphic from Intel showing some of the things that happen in a single minute of internet time. I was honestly surprised that some figures were as low as they were. Only 20 identities stolen? Those aren't the Nigerian scammers I know! Not included on the list: 80,000 moms forward spam emails, 30 dudes sign into Chatroulette with the intention of showing their dongs, my roommate maxes out our bandwidth downloading porn and brings my internet connection to a crawl, enough Viagra to pop a 1,000-year boner is purchased, and like five million people read Geekologie. "Five-million, really?" You heard me, five-million -- like a five with two zeros.

Monday, March 26, 2012

'Hunger Games' devours the competition at box office

From usatoday, The Hunger Games thundered to the third best debut in history this weekend with $155 million, launching a franchise that could challenge the Twilight series.

Hunger's haul exceeded most analysts' highest expectations and marked a huge opening for a movie that is not a sequel. . The two films with bigger debuts are Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 ($169.1 million) and The Dark Knight ($158 million).

The film, based on Suzanne Collins' popular trilogy about a dystopian future and starring Jennifer Lawrence, broke from the gate at midnight Friday, earning $19.7 million and seventh place in the midnight screening record books. Hallows remains the runaway champ, collecting $43.5 million in its midnight shows last year.

Gitesh Pandya, an analyst for Boxofficeguru, says that teen fans of the 2008 novel propelled the hit. "A massive built-in audience has been hungry for this movie," he says.

In the long run, Pandya says, the Hunger trilogy could challenge the Twilight series by appealing to both genders.

"One major difference is that (Hunger) has more male appeal," he says, adding that distributor Lionsgate "has been emphasizing the action in its male-skewing TV spots, and the romance is a minor part of the story, anyway."

Males and females responded strongly to the film, promising a healthy run through March and much of April. A whopping 95% of moviegoers recommended the movie, according to survey site Critics weren't far behind; 86% of reviewers gave it a thumbs-up, the site says.

The studio plans to release part two, Catching Fire, on Nov. 22, 2013. Analysts say at least a three-part series is inevitable.

Hunger "is the first true event film of 2012," says Tim Briody of "This is largely unprecedented for any franchise, much less a new one. It's the sort of behavior you'd expect from a sequel, not the first entry in an unproven series."

No studio challenged Hunger this weekend, leaving the remaining slots near the top of the box office to holdovers.

The comedy 21 Jump Street took second with $21.3 million, followed by the animated film The Lorax with $13.1 million.

John Carter, the $250 million sci-fi flop, was fourth with $5 million. The fantasy film has made $62.3 million in three weeks.

The action film Act of Valor rounded out the top five with $2.1 million.

Hunger helped propel movie attendance to 22% over the same period last year.

Final figures are due today.

Friday, March 23, 2012

'The Hunger Games' earns a record-breaking $19.7 million at midnight screenings

From ew, The Games have officially begun!

Last night, The Hunger Games grossed a truly staggering $19.7 million from midnight showings across the country — the highest midnight total ever for a non-sequel, and the seventh highest midnight total ever (behind three Harry Potters and three Twilights). After only a few hours, it’s clear that the film is already a smash, and it’s almost certainly headed for a debut well above the $100 million mark.

Sure, the overnight figure can’t compare to the $43.5 million that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 conjured up at midnight shows last year (on its way to $169.3 million — the highest opening weekend of all time), or the $30.3 million that The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 found at midnight on its way to $138.1 million, but it’s likely that The Hunger Games, which doesn’t have the same amount of built-in sequel anticipation, won’t face the same weekend frontloadedness as those titles. Saturday and Sunday grosses should prove quite sturdy. Back in 2008, The Dark Knight earned $18.5 million at midnight, but still managed a stunning $158 million debut — the second highest debut of all time — proving that not every blockbuster makes a full 25 percent of its opening weekend gross at midnight.

Based on this $19.7 million figure, The Hunger Games should take in at least $50 million on Friday and could reach as high as $150 million over the full weekend frame — although that estimation is very bullish. My fellow box office prognosticating colleague John Young is predicting a more sensible $130 million weekend. We’ll have to wait and see see how high it climbs, so stay tuned to for box office updates throughout the weekend.

Wes Anderson's Stop Motion Ad For Sony Brings An 8 Year Old's Vision To Life

[via cinembblend]- What we [have is] the vision of eight-year-old Jake Ryan which was, unsurprisingly, a perfect match for Anderson's oeuvre, again highlighting the childlike voice behind the director's sense of humor, attention to detail, beautiful tableau compositions and imaginative retro-designs.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Papa Boogedy By Thomas Kuebler

You have to go check out these sweetly bizzarre little figures by artist Thomas Kuebler.

Study: People with lots of Facebook friends more likely to be narcissists

Do you have tons of Facebook friends and often update your status? If so, you may be a narcissist, a new study suggests.

Research from Western Illinois University showed a link between the number of Facebook friends you have and how active you are on the site to the likelihood of being a “socially disruptive” narcissist.

The study — which was recently published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences — was conducted among 300 participants, who took a Narcissistic Personality Inventory questionnaire.

Those with more Facebook friends, who tagged themselves in photos and updated their status throughout the day were more likely to have narcissistic traits.

“People who have a heightened need to feel good about themselves will often turn to Facebook as a way to do so,” study author Chris Carpenter from Western Illinois University told Mashable.

“Facebook gives those with narcissistic tendencies the opportunity to exploit the site to get the feedback they need and become the center of attention.”

Carpenter said that Facebook users that self-promote themselves on the site show signs of two narcissistic behaviors. The first is called grandiose exhibition (GE), which refers to people who love to be the center of attention. The second is a category that involves entitlement/explotiveness (EE), which indicates how far people will go to get the respect and attention they think they deserve.

“There isn’t a baseline of how many friends a person has or how often they update their status that would qualify as them to have these narcissistic characteristics,” Carpenter said. “However, it’s interesting to note how often these people use first-person pronouns such as ‘I’ and ‘me’ on the site.”

This isn’t the first time a study has been conducted about Facebook narcissists. In 2010, a study published from York University highlighted the differences between how men and women self-promoted themselves on Facebook.

Men tended to promote themselves in the “About Me” description, while women used pictures that “include[d] revealing, flashy and adorned photos of their physical appearance.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Some comic book movies

[Moved up for purposes of shameless comment-trolling]

After watching the Japanese Avengers trailer, I went completely bananas and rented Blu-rays of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Iron Man 2 (as well as Batman Begins -- I already have a Blu-ray copy of The Dark Knight). The Marvel movies are all so good! It's such an amazingly high level of consistency and quality, combined with a fantastic diversity of style. Really, it's amazing that the Marvel Universe is getting such a cinematically high-toned treatment (with all these Oscar-level actors, great directors etc.) The pressure to make each movie a hit on its own (rather than, say, simply as parts of a "Harry Potter" sequence or whatever) has created what the Avengers fusion retroactively makes into a series (or anthology) of movies of unusually high quality; they fit together like contrasting pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

The DC movies (from the 1970s through the 1990s), by contrast, are pretty weak stuff. I mean, Richard Donner's Superman remains a classic film, very well done, but by modern cinematic standards (and modern comic book movie standards, which have risen to ridiculous levels nobody could have predicted back then) it's pretty childish, with absolutely no attempt to reproduce anything "real" from the comic books. Also, there was no CGI, so rather than (for example) Kenneth Branaugh's amazing Asgard, we got a "Krypton" that was basically Logan's Run-level sci-fi, with "ice crystal" prop walls and obvious miniatures. (The rest of the Christopher Reeve movies are just awful--he's great, but what a bunch of crap!) And the less said about Tim Burton's Batman movies, the better (I feel vindicated in that I was one of the few people who hated them at the time and didn't understand why they were getting so much credit for being "dark" and "visionary" when they were just more Tim Burton toy-store fetishism and Nicholson's ridiculous performance that was as far from the Joker as you can get while using the same name). (With the "built-in smile" prosthesis...and remember him and his henchmen formation dancing to the Prince song? Heath Ledger didn't do any dancing.) I was a little overdosed on The Dark Knight, but watching Batman Begins again (which I'm doing right now) is getting me psyched for the third one. I'd forgotten what a truly fine movie it is.

If anyone had told me back decades ago that comic book movies would ever get even close to the artistic heights they've reached (as well as shaking off every vestige of their former "campiness") I would never have believed it.

P.S.: For those of you who dislike origin stories, I refer you to Tim Burton's Batman, wherein they just skip the part where he, you know, becomes a superhero. Christian Bale's first "I'm Batman" -- a full hour into the movie -- is so much more satisfying than Michael Keaton's "I'm Batman" in the first five minutes of Burton's silly version.

P.P.S.: Remember how Michael Keaton's Batman suit was made in such a way that he couldn't move his head? His entire neck and skull were fixed in place within that rigid cowl/collar piece--in order to look upward, he had to tip his entire torso backwards. That's got to be great in a fight, or while driving, or, really, doing anything. (Keaton worked it, though; he did lots of great silent-movie-style eye moves and sidelong glances, trying to make his immobilized neck look natural. Despite my dislike of those movies, I've always genuinely admired his performances.)

P.P.P.S.: While on the "costume" tip: Remember how, in Batman Returns, when he tore off his cowl at the end of the movie (to reveal his face to Catwoman), all the black makeup around his eyes suddenly went away? And, when Catwoman was doing flips, her high heels suddenly became flat shoes, and then turned back into high heels when she landed? Because, who cares! It's a Tim Burton movie!

P.P.P.P.S.: Ed Wood was pretty brilliant (and beautiful to look at). I'll totally give him that one.

AHAHAHA: Daylight Savings Time To Blame For Droughts

From geekology, This is an article written to an Australian newspaper's 'Points of View' section where Chris Hill of Albury (who I suspect is a high-ranking public official) explains the cause of Australia's droughts is the extra hour of "hot afternoon sun" caused by daylights saving time. You can't argue with that science! Also, please don't get this guy started on any sort of miles-per-hour word problem. "What about magnets?" *slapping back of head* NOT A WORD.

Duel of the Hates

From toplessrobot, Remember how the lightsaber duels were the only decent thing in The Phantom Menace? Well, you remember wrong. They sucked too, as clearly demonstrated from this instructional video about how fight with a lightsaber, i.e., swing the lightsaber near your opponent, just not too near. Warning: Do not watch this if you want to keep any good will for TPM, seriously.

Poster for 'The Wolverine'?

From slashfilm, In a story that’s so crazy it just might be true, a photo reportedly taken in the offices of director James Mangold and placed on Instagram could be our first look at a poster for The Wolverine. Screenrant made the discovery on the picture sharing service, which has now been deleted.

Perfect Excuse for the East Coast Horrorthonners to Visit California this October

This was brought to my attention by my friend Courtney:

Run For Your Lives is an apocalyptic 5K obstacle race. But you’re not just running against the clock — you’re running from brain-hungry, virus-spreading, bloody zombies.


- Before the race, you will be given a flag belt, just like the overly intimidating game of flag football. These flags represent your health.
- The zombies want to take your flags and maybe eat your brains.
- If you lose all your health flags, you die. And the zombies win.
- Health bonuses will be hidden throughout the course. If you find one and carry it to the finish, it will save your life.


- Throughout the 5K obstacle race, there will be a series of man-made and natural obstacles for you to complete. Runners may choose NOT to complete an obstacle, BUT any runner who skips an obstacle will not be eligible for prizes.
- There will be zombies. Their job is to chase you and eat you — but mainly go after your health, in the form of your flag belt. Avoid the zombies to keep your health flags.
- Use speed, strategy and your intact brains to make it to the FINISH LINE “alive” with at least ONE FLAG INTACT (or a health bonus pack). If you finish with zero health flags, this means the zombies have successfully transformed you into the “undead”; your time will be recorded, but you will not be eligible for awards.

And just think -- we can all go out to a movie together afterwards. Have the first full-cast review. I mean, am I right or what?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Look: Toby Jones as Alfred Hitchcock in ‘The Girl’

From slashfilm, Toby Jones is going to get a bit of good screen time this weekend as Claudius Templesmith in The Hunger Games. (Well, sadly, only a little bit of good screen time.) But we’ve got a new pic of Jones in one of his next projects: The Girl, a BBC TV movie written by Gwyneth Hughes (Five Days), and directed by Julian Jarrold (Red Riding: 1974).

Jones plays Alfred Hitchcock in an account of the director’s turbulent professional and personal relationship between Hitch and model turned actress Tippi Hedren, who starred in The Birds and Marnie. Below is the first image of Jones as Hitchcock and Sienna Miller as Hedren.

The Daily Mail (via The Playlist) has the image, which is clearly meant to suggest one of the well-known promo photos for The Birds, for which Hitchcock plucked Hedren from the modeling world to groom her as a sort of replacement for Grace Kelly, who had left acting for life as the Princess of Monaco.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Disney will lose $200 million on 'John Carter'

From ew, After its underwhelming $30.2 million opening two weeks ago, things weren’t looking too hot for Disney’s Mars-set adventure film John Carter, which reportedly cost $250 million to produce and an additional $100 million to market.
But there was still some hope that the sci-fi/Western hybrid, which earned an encouraging “B+” rating from CinemaScore audiences, would sport box-office legs as sturdy as its protagonist’s. That wasn’t the case, as John Carter plummeted 55 percent last weekend. Consequently, Disney released a statement today announcing that the studio expects to take a write-down of $200 million as a result of the expensive flop.

“In light of the theatrical performance of John Carter ($184 million global box office), we expect the film to generate an operating loss of approximately $200 million during our second fiscal quarter ending March 31,” Disney said in a statement. “As a result, our current expectation is that the Studio segment will have an operating loss of between $80 and $120 million for the second quarter.”

Since studios split box-office grosses with theater owners, John Carter reportedly needs to earn at least $600 million worldwide just to break even — and that’s clearly not going to happen. It’ll join such other recent Disney misfires as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Mars Needs Moms (another Mars-set bomb that just happened to be released almost exactly one year prior to John Carter).

Understandably, Disney was quick to point out its promising slate of upcoming movies. “As we look forward to the second half of the year, we are excited about the upcoming releases of The Avengers and Brave, which we believe have tremendous potential to drive value for the Studio and the rest of the company,” concludes the studio’s statement. While there’s no question that John Carter will negatively affect Disney’s bottom line, the studio will almost certainly bounce back this summer. For one thing, neither The Avengers nor Brave takes place on Mars.

Every Itchy and Scratchy episode ever

Box Office

From cinemablend, From the moment critics started seeing it and admitting it was way, way funnier than they were expecting, 21 Jump Street seemed destined to be a hit. But even Sony might not have let themselves hope for quite this big a hit. According to the weekend numbers at Deadline, the R-rated comedy earned $35 million over the weekend, coming very close to making up its $45 million production budget. That doesn't quite make it the biggest opening R-rated film of the year-- that honor goes to Safe House-- but it's nothing to sneeze at, particularly with rave reviews and a B CinemaScore indicating it'll keep doing well down the line.

If it's not enough of a surprise to hear that 21 Jump Street did so well, how about this-- Will Ferrell's Casa de mi Padre, an absurdist comedy that's entirely in Spanish, did so well in limited release that it cracked the nationwide top 10, making $2.2 million from just 382 theaters. Given that the movie just cost $6 million to make, that's a really nice sum, especially for a movie so strange with such a seemingly limited appeal.

John Carter, be warned: it didn't get much better this weekend. The movie took what's usually the standard 55% drop between first and second weekends, making $13.5 million over the weekend to bring it to $53.1 million total domestic. It continues to get creamed by The Lorax, which added another $22.8 million to its gross this weekend, and is now at $158.4 millions domestic.

Let us know in the comments what you saw this weekend, and prepare for a box office bonanza next weekend-- The Hunger Games is imminent!

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter trailer

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Holy shit, check out the new Prometheus trailer!

[Octo adds: I don't regret watching that, but I don't recommend it for those who want to avoid spoilers with this movie. It seemed like the quick-cut montage part at the end gave away some stuff. Looks freaking amazing, though.]

Nerdy Knitting -- R2D2 knit hat

 When I read the subject line "R2D2 Intarsia" in my email inbox this afternoon I nearly leapt out of my seat.

Sitting in a coffee shop in a major city where the streets today have been littered with just as much trash as they have with scantily-clad green teenaged girls "celebrating" remnants of a holiday that many don't understand (I include myself in that category), I hope you all can imagine my glee in uncovering yet another way in which nerds unite their affinity for science fiction and crafts.
Intarsia is a knitting technique where you simultaneously knit more than one color of yarn in any given row. The "right side" of the work looks neat and orderly but the "wrong side" looks like a tangle of stranded colorful fibers, as if a rainbow had diarrhea on your garments.
See what I mean?

Anyway the full Interweave Knits article is here. A Google search for "R2D2 knit hat also yielded Vulcan-ear hats and Death Star hats, among others (such as a baby hat with giant Yoda ears).

Friday, March 16, 2012

S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier

Man oh man, did I love that S.H.I.E.L.D. "helicarrier" when I was a kid. Top image is the very first time it was ever shown, in a splash page from Strange Tales #165, which is Nick Fury's 1963 origin story (written by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby, of course). ("Origin" isn't quite right, since the Fury character existed in a successful WWII series Marvel had going already.) Below that is Bill Sienkiewicz' wonderful watercolor rendition of the helicarrier silhouetted against the haze of a Washington D.C. sunrise, from Frank Miller's mind-blowing Elektra Assassin (1986), one of my favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. stories (just because Fury is presented as a "boy scout" figurehead who's got no idea what evil things the agency's up to).

Below that are shots from the Japanese Avengers trailer which reveal the delightful information that the helicarrier is in the movie. That must be the new helicarrier: Cal posted about this and sounded drily nonplussed and excited about the design, so maybe it looks like that now. Who cares! It's still totally wicked.

The helicarrier is such an exuberant example of comic book elements that don't make any real sense at all but get lovingly created and presented anyway. Notwithstanding the usual George Lucas/Roland Emmerich/Robert Zemeckis problem of "how the hell does it get off the ground" (little round fans in the corners aren't going to cut it), can you imagine how much fuel that thing must use up? Just to get some aircraft into a tactical launch position? I mean, the whole point of an aircraft carrier is that you can't fly that far... Never mind; it's a comic book. I get it. I wish we actually could make building-sized machines just float around like that (as in so much great sci-fi imagery).

Jurassic Park to be re-released in 3D

From darkhorizons, Universal Pictures has confirmed a 3D re-release is in the works for Steven Spielberg’s original "Jurassic Park" with a July 19th 2013 release date set - a little over twenty years after the original opened in June 1993.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tim Burton's 'Dark Shadows' trailer looks awful

Lots of new footage in the Japanese trailer for The Avengers!

Comedian Gallagher suffers heart attack at Texas club

(CNN) -- The comic Gallagher, known for smashing watermelons, is "slowly recovering" from a heart attack suffered just before he was to perform at a Texas club, his promotional manager said Thursday.

"We will not know the outcome until sometime tomorrow," said Christine Scherrer.

Gallagher, 65, is listed in stable condition at an undisclosed Dallas-area hospital, Scherrer said.

He was about to go on stage Wednesday at Hat Tricks, a Lewisville, Texas, club, when he fell ill and was taken to a hospital by paramedics, she said.

"His family is with him and Hat Tricks has been unbelievable with the help and support with everything," Scherrer said.

His shows in Texas, Oklahama and Oregon scheduled through next week have been postponed, she said.

Craig Marquardo, who said he manages Gallagher's "bigger deals," said this is the comedian's third heart attack.

"He's weak," Marquardo said. "He's having difficulty."

Scherrer, however, told CNN any information from Marquardo is "100 percent inaccurate," saying he is not Gallagher's manager.

Gallagher's family is "fuming" over reports quoting Marquardo, she said.

More really cool home videos from Roddy McDowell

Spinning off of JPX's post below - here is one of a slew of videos that Roddy McDowell took of a whole bunch of famous people hanging out at his beach house. Hellllooooooo Paul Newman!! And a very beautiful Natalie Wood...

Here is a link with all of them.  Cool stuff!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dr. Zaius Has a Smoke, Cornelius Gets a Haircut, and More 'Planet of the Apes' Home Movies

From iwatchstuff, Last year's Rise of the Planet of the Apes marked the long-running franchise's move into CGI effects over practical chimp makeup, and that was nice for Andy Serkis, who is largely basing his career on the fact that hopefully no one else will put on a spandex jumper and pretend to be a revolutionary monkey that still cares for James Franco. But at the same time, we lost something. We lost the human touch that only comes from hairy latex hunks being carefully glued to a guy's face. And we also lost the home movies of an orangutan-headed man lounging around a beach, sipping a Mai Tai from beneath a straw hat.

Thankfully, Roddy McDowall's got enough of that to last us for a while. The actor brought his 8mm camera around the production of the original Planet of the Apes and got all kinds of footage of the film's groundbreaking makeup application. He also got a bunch of shots of apes sitting around having a smoke--JUST LIKE THEY DO NOW.

It's Happening, "Jurassic Park" About to Become Reality

From worstpreviews, A team of South Korean and Russian scientists have teamed up to try to clone a wooly mammoth, which has been extinct for 4,000 - 10,000 years, by using cells discovered from mammoths found in Siberia.

Controversial South Korean stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-Suk, who managed to produce the world's first cloned dog (Snuppy), as well as a cat, a cow, a pig and a wolf, is involved in the project.

The biggest challenge will be to find usable mammoth cells from undamaged nuclei to transplant into an Indian elephant. "This will be a really tough job, but we believe it is possible because our institute is good at cloning animals," said researcher Hwang In-Sung.

Encyclopedia Britannica to stop printing books

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- After 244 years, Encyclopedia Britannica will cease production of its iconic multi-volume book sets.

Britannica usually prints a new set of the tomes every two years, but 2010's 32-volume set will be its last. Instead, the company will focus solely on its digital encyclopedia and education tools.

The news is sure to sadden champions of the printed word, but Britannica president Jorge Cauz said the move is a natural part of his company's evolution.

"Everyone will want to call this the end of an era, and I understand that," Cauz says. "But there's no sad moment for us. I think outsiders are more nostalgic about the books than I am."

In truth, Cauz says, the death knell sounded long ago. Though the name "Britannica" calls the print sets to mind, Cauz says they represent less than 1% of the company's total sales.

Read more here

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

State(s) of the Art

I just got the Blu-rays of Beowulf and Tintin (and Sin City, but that's another, related discussion). The results are interesting.

In full HD, Beowulf suffers. The movie's definitely beginning to date. At the time, I applauded Zemeckis for going ahead and doing it even though the technology was still in its infancy: it reminded me of every other time that Hollywood's jumped onto a train that's not quite moving yet (including the early color-tinted films of the 1920s and 1930s, the "sound" films that didn't have full soundtracks, animated features that "cheated" by using photographic backgrounds, Tron, etc.) I stand by that: I still think I was right, and it's still a great movie that couldn't have been done any other way. Zemeckis himself makes some interesting points in the Q&A on the disc: he contends that motion-capture/CGI movies like his are comparable to graphic novels, in that they find a middle-ground between photographic reality (which he argues, persuasively, simply "doesn't work" for graphic-novel subject matter) and traditional cell-animation, which he argues is too "cartoony" for the dense, dramatic subject matter in question. Watching Beowulf five years later, though, the seams really show. The character animation suffers, because the faces are just too stiff to adequately convey the actors' underlying expressions and emotions. (Jolie comes closest, but I think that's because her features are so exaggerated to begin with, and her actual face is so expensively, flawlessly smooth and line-free).

Tintin, however, looks absolutely glorious. Peter Jackson's Weta Digital (the creators of Gollum) did their usual amazing job of just inventing a new system from scratch, and the results are better than Zemeckis' in absolutely every way. But there's an aesthetic difference, too: It's not just that the heads are caricatures (as in the Hergé drawings); it's Spielberg. It's just a vastly superior movie from a directing standpoint: the art design is far less garish and obvious; the timing and camera moves are more lyrical and serve the story more effectively; the entire project comes off as much less video-game-y and much more cinematic, and I think that's because of creative differences rather than digital advancements (although the digital advancements are obvious).

Anyway, I don't believe in the "uncanny valley" and I eagerly await the next stages in this amazing evolutionary process.

Microsoft Developing A 'Universal' Speech Translator

From geekology, Seen here looking suspiciously like the lightsaber dildo I found in my roommate's sock drawer (haha -- the truth's out, Derek! NOW CLEAN YOUR CAT'S LITTERBOX) Captain Kirk fantasizes about diddling Uhuru or whatever. Aaaaaaaaand now Microsoft has some relatively functional software that can translate a person's own voice into 26 different languages so that it still sounds like you. Because that's important. I don't want to just sound like some f***ing robot while my phone is translating 'I'm pooping liquid I need to go the the hospital' when I'm traveling internationally.

"The system needs around an hour of training to develop a model able to read out any text in a person's own voice. That model is converted into one able to read out text in another language by comparing it with a stock text-to-speech model for the target language. Individual sounds used by the first model to build up words using a person's voice in his or her own language are carefully tweaked to give the new text-to-speech model a full ability to sound out phrases in the second language."

I didn't really understand any of that, but that's okay -- I do all my talking WITH MY EYES. *wink* Know what I'm saying? *wink* "I get that you're winking, but you do realize you're still talking too, right?" That...explains a lot of embarrassing situations.

Monday, March 12, 2012


If you watched last night's episode and want to discuss it, meet me on the comments page for this post. SPOILERS.

P.S. (SPOILER-FREE PARAGRAPH): The above photographic still (from AMC's Season 2 ad campaign) is the single image that got me to watch the series. It's incredibly effective. I think the reason is that it exactly counters the only stigma the show's got: namely, that it's yet another zombie story, breaking into an overdone, glutted market. What possible reason could there be for more zombies? The above image got to me because it seems to answer the question, as powerfully and poetically as possible. There aren't any zombies in the picture; it could be happening any time, in any genre; it's just a rural cop running on a road towards a farm. There's nothing that overtly suggests a Zombie Apocalypse...and yet, AMC is saying that there is. Look again. Feel the tone, the vibe. It's the zombie apocalypse, all you've never seen it before. Gave me chills, and I immediately hit Netflix and watched the first episode (and I haven't looked back).

Indiana Jones coming to Blu-Ray with "a few new surprises"

Absolutely No One Likes 'A Thousand Words'

From iwatchstuff, Joining a small, hangdog group of films that includes last year's abysmal Bucky Larson: Born To Be a Star, Eddie Murphy's A Thousand Words today received the rare ignominy of receiving an outright 0% rating on RottenTomatoes. It really is as bad as it looked. And, worse yet, it has forced us to live in a world wherein, against all common sense, Norbit is by some measure the "better" Eddie Murphy movie. This is what we're leaving the children.

The Tunnel sequel and new audience funded film

From filmstalker, The makers of the horror film The Tunnel are at it again, first they are making a new audience funded film called Airlock, and secondly they're working on a sequel to The Tunnel with a film that carries a traditional funding model and won't be distributed for free.

For those of you who didn't know The Tunnel is a film that was paid for by people like you and me and then released online for free. It's still available to watch now and I do think it's a rather good film made in a very convincing way. So it's no surprise that the team are off to make another.

However it is a surprise to hear that they are going to be making a conventionally funded film, well actually is it? Considering how good The Tunnel (Filmstalker review) was it shouldn't be a surprise that they've been asked to make a film in the conventional model, for a studio with studio backing and a general release (one would suspect anyway), and I'm glad it's a sequel and not a remake.

REad full article here

[JPX] The Tunnel was one of my favorite films I watched last year - very creepy!

Box Office

From latimes, In what is certain to go down as one of the biggest box office flops of the year, the $250-million-plus "John Carter" debuted with a disappointing $30.6 million this weekend.

Instead, last weekend's No. 1 film, "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax," claimed the top spot yet again. The Universal Pictures film, an animated 3-D environmental tale for families, collected an additional $39.1 million. The movie has now grossed a robust $122 million in just 10 days of release.

Meanwhile, fanboys failed to gravitate toward Walt Disney Studios' "John Carter," a 3-D fantasy epic that has been eclipsed by bad buzz for months. But the movie starring Taylor Kitsch wasn't the only bomb at the box office this weekend. "Silent House," a thriller featuring Elizabeth Olsen, did not have an impressive debut, grossing $7 million -- but at least the movie was made for under $1 million. "A Thousand Words," an Eddie Murphy comedy that has been sitting on the shelf since 2008 and cost far more to make, brought in only a measly $6.4 million.

"John Carter," about a Civil War veteran who is transported to Mars, will likely force Disney to take a write-down, according to media analysts. Heading into the weekend, one Wall Street analyst, Evercore's Alan Gould, said the film could lose as much as $165 million.

Read more here