Thursday, May 31, 2012

1970 Sesame Street: My Digital Recreation

My father worked for Children's Television workshop through the 1970s, starting as a public relations consultant and as the speechwriter for Joan Ganz Cooney, the founder of CTW and, basically, the creator of Sesame Street. He was involved in the earliest stages of the show's creation and evolution in 1969-1970, when the idea of publicly-funded programming for children that was firmly grounded in academic principles of pre-school education (as well as a sociological and political/economic understanding of the needs of modern children, particularly in inner cities, where television often took the place of parenting or schooling). Dad worked closely with Cooney and others to develop the presentational materials that were used to draw attention to the project and even attended the White House Conference on Children and Youth in 1970. Sesame Street was very much a product of the social upheavals of the late 'Sixties, and its ideas and methodology (including the Marshall McLuhan-esque idea of creating "advertisements" for the numerals and letters of the alphabet which "sponsored" the show), while commonplace today, were groundbreaking and revolutionary at the time. Also, not least, Sesame Street introduced the world to Jim Henson's Muppets (which, to Joan Cooney's decades-long chagrin, could at one time have been bought outright by CTW but were not).

In 1971 or 1972 my father brought me to Sesame Street to see the set and meet the cast. It was, to say the least, an unforgettable experience. I still vividly remember our first arrival there, on a rainy day, heading East on 81st street to the grimy, windowless side-door (the Vaudville Theater's original exit door) which was opened from the inside (by some mysterious pre-arranged signal) and gave on a dark corridor of black-velvet draperies that led to a brilliantly-lit space where I saw something that blew my mind for good. I had been expecting to visit a street (the actual, fictitious place I imagined that I was seeing on our black-and-white television), but, instead, I was inside a brilliantly-lit room where the vividly-colored buildings had been (apparently) re-built at an arbitrary angle and surrounded by painted backdrops and dozens of pieces of theatrical equipment. I was allowed to wander around the set for a long time, looking up-close at the wooden construction, the painted sidewalk, the plastic trees, and at some point it fully sank in that this was Sesame Street -- that the imaginary, sunlit stretch of Harlem I was so familiar with was where I was standing at that moment. I went back several more times, but I think that first visit was one of the most important moments of my childhood; an entire raft of cinematic and architectural ambitions and obsessions (which still burden me now) were ignited on that day.

In April 2006 I visited the New York State Museum in Albany (with my friend Brendan Kennedy and his daughter Annabella), where the original 1970 "123 Sesame Street" building fa├žade is on exhibit, along with a display panel depicting a reproduction of one of the original construction blueprint floor plans. At that time, I was just beginning to teach myself digital CGI modeling and rendering (I had not yet done my animated "Buehrig Design" film (for the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum's gallery of my grandfather Gordon M. Buehrig's revolutionary car-design methods) and the Sesame Street facade and plan (which I photographed exhaustively on that day) were the basis for my first large-scaled Maya project, a full reconstruction of the original Sesame Street set.

[Click here for more]

DC Comics characters have goofy names

I began to notice this as a kid, or, rather, I noticed the converse: Marvel Comics characters have cool names. There's something about the Marvel names that just sounds so good, so right. (I would guess that I'm reacting to a forced lack of ethnicity -- which is interesting given that all the characters were created by Jews -- except that I don't think that's quite it.) Anyway, DC gives us:

Clark Kent
Bruce Wayne
Hal Jordan
Wally West
Bart Allen
Oliver Queen
Dinah Drake Lance
Billy Batson

I mean, "Clark"? "Bart"? Oliver "Queen"? I have never met a "Clark," ever.  Meanwhile, Marvel provides:

Peter Parker
Tony Stark
Jane Foster
Reed Richards
Ben Grimm
Matt Murdock
Rick Jones
Bruce Banner

Right? Now those are some names. (Maybe I'm not playing fair by omitting Donald Blake and Johnny Storm -- or "Pepper Potts" -- but those are still pretty cool. I mean, "Johnny Storm"? I can get behind it. And "Pepper Potts" is just so ridiculous that you can kind of dig it, you know?)

Iron Patriot Is In ‘Iron Man 3′

From thesuperficial, probably should’ve added NERD ALERT in the headline.

Presumably to show off that Disney will use all the characters in the Marvel stable however the hell they want, here’s James Badge Dale in character as Iron Patriot on the set of Iron Man 3 in North Carolina today which is surprising because a.) if you’ve been following the movie it was just assumed he’d been playing Coldblood since his character is Eric Savin and b.) during Marvel’s “Dark Reign” Iron Patriot was the alter-ego of Norman Osborn a.k.a. Spider-Man’s Green Goblin who Sony still owns the rights to.

Translation For People Who Have Sexual Intercourse With Women:

Iron Man is totally going to fight this America Iron Man in the new Iron Man which is apparently a big deal to that dude who’s always in the LEGO aisle in Target but you can safely say isn’t a pedophile because you once saw a six-year-old beat the shit out of him for the last Captain America set. (That kid was easily eight.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Masters of Horror should do a biopic on these two.

From the Daily Mail UK: "A U.S. cage fighter ripped out the heart of his training partner while he was still alive after becoming convinced he was possessed by the devil, it was alleged today.

Jarrod Wyatt also cut out Taylor Powell's tongue and ripped off most of his face in a brutal assault that police said looked like a scene from a horror film, officers said."

Read the (awesome) rest here

Apparently, there's been a ramping up in the potency of psychedelics. The cage fighter was tripping on mushroom tea -- and stunningly, his story is the *second* instance of hallucinogen-induced violence this week. Yesterday, a homeless man on LSD was caught eating another homeless man's face just off a Miami causeway.

"Rudy Eugene, 31, pictured in an old police mugshot was shot dead in Miami, Florida yesterday following the horrific attack where he ripped pieces of flesh from his victim. His victim, another naked homeless man, was in a serious condition in a Miami hospital today suffering from 'some of the worst injuries staff had ever encountered'."

For more to chew on, click here.

Oh Yeah, That's Not Terrifying: Bees Surround Enemy Wasps In Giant Bee-Ball, Cook With High Temperatures

From geekology [excerpt], "Bee-balling," the act of Japanese honeybees surrounding an enemy wasp and then all vibrating their flight muscles to raise the internal temperature of the ball high enough to cook their enemy, has been known about for some time. And now researchers at the University of Tokyo believe that the bees may actually be using their brains to act collectively to take down the threat. Honey: it will never taste the same again.

Set off if bees posted as "guards" at the entrance to the colony detect an intruder, the move evolved because the bee's stingers aren't strong enough to penetrate the hornet's tough exoskeleton, researchers said.

The research team, whose latest research on the phenomenon appeared in the scientific journal PLoS ONE in mid-March, was astounded by the fact that the collective heat generated by the group, while fatal for the hornet, leaves the bees unaffected.

"When an outsider enters, the honeybees are immediately on their guard. Then, all at once, they gather to attack," he said.

"So, it isn't one commanding all the rest, we believe in this moment of emergency they're acting collectively."

'Avengers' is one for the record books

LOS ANGELES – With The Avengers taking second place at the box office last weekend, analysts are examining where the film will settle in the record books.

History, they say, will be kind.

The $220 million film scooped up $47 million over the Memorial Day weekend. Though it marked the first time The Avengers didn't capture No. 1 since its release May 4, the haul brought the film's domestic gross to $523.6 million.

That puts the comic-book all-star team adventure at No. 4 all-time, behind only the Batman saga The Dark Knight ($533.3 million) and James Cameron's sea and space epics Titanic ($658.5 million) and Avatar ($760.5 million).

Though analysts doubt The Avengers can topple either Cameron film, Batman is dead in the water. The Avengers will overtake Knight this weekend, if not before.

Even for a second-place finish, "The Avengers was still very impressive" this weekend, says Ray Subers of, who notes that the film was easily the fastest to reach the $500 million mark, doing it in 23 days. Avatar held the record at 32 days. (Forecasters expect The Avengers to slow down amid fierce summer competition; Titanic and Avatar were December releases.)

Worldwide, the numbers are just as impressive. At $1.31 billion, The Avengers will overtake Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 ($1.32 billion) in a matter of days. Again, it will likely take third place on the all-time worldwide charts behind 1997's Titanic ($2.2 billion) and 2009's Avatar ($2.8 billion).

Paul Dergarabedian, box-office chief for, says the key to The Avengers' success was its throwback aesthetic.

"I'm not sure I've seen people talk about a movie the way they did like this," he says. "It was an old-fashioned cinema experience: popcorn, larger than life, fun. This may be the greatest word-of-mouth movie ever."

Some wonder whether The Avengers has become too powerful. Privately, studio execs at Sony, which is releasing The Amazing Spider-Man on July 3, and Warner Bros., which has The Dark Knight Rises on July 20, worry that their superheroes will be caught in a box-office contest they'll never win.

Last week, the trade website called the movie "the blockbuster that ate Hollywood."

"In the past, the superheroes' moneymaking powers would have been good news for other summertime movies, like Dark Shadows, The Dictator and Battleship," the column said of films that challenged and fell to Avengers. "Instead, those movies have struggled to stay afloat."

But Avengers executive producer Jon Favreau, who first referenced the film in his 2008 hit Iron Man, says the film's legacy will have been to raise the bar.

"It sets a new level for what people can expect from franchises," Favreau says. "A lot of work went into making this pay off, and there was a lot of buildup. But we still had to stick the landing. I think this shows what the payoff can be when you put the time in to do it right."

First Report from "Iron Man 3" Set, Villain Revealed?

From worstpreviews, "Iron Man 3" is now filming and Robert Downey Jr has been spotted on the North Carolina set, shooting at the Cape Fear Club. While security was tight, several people were still able to get inside and have reported on what they saw.

According to ComicBook website, there were extras dressed in military uniforms and suits. The ones wearing suits were described as Secret Service men. In addition to Downey, there was supposed to be another major actor on set, but no one was able to identify the other star.

One source involved with the production revealed that [spoiler] was definitely the villain, adding that in the movie the [spoiler] has a set of twins who do most of his dirty work for him. Another source said that sets are being built that include [spoiler] storefronts.

And the other piece of news is that at least part of "Iron Man 3" will be set in Miami, Florida, since vehicles with logos of the Miami Police Department have been spotted.

Go here to learn who the new villain is and to see some (boring) behind the scenes shots.

Is Will Smith still the box-office king he was a few years ago?

From ew, It has been over three years since we last saw Will Smith on the silver screen in 2008′s Seven Pounds. Regardless of the profession, three years is a long break. But in the movie industry, it can be an eternity. So it was only natural for many to wonder whether Smith’s previous box-office dominance would waver at all when Men in Black 3 hit theaters last weekend. Could the movie star pick up where he left off in 2008 and continue selling a gazillion tickets as though his sabbatical simply never occurred? Well, sort of.

Men in Black 3 opened to $54.6 million last weekend (or $69.3 million if you include Memorial Day). While that’s slightly better than the debuts of 1997′s Men in Black ($51.1 million) and 2002′s Men in Black II ($52.1 million), Men in Black 3 actually sold far fewer tickets. If you adjust for ticket-price inflation, then Men in Black and Men in Black II opened to $88.2 million and $71.2 million, respectively. Furthermore, the first two MIB movies debuted on Wednesdays and would have scored even larger figures had they been held until Friday, like Men in Black 3 was. And Men in Black 3 was the series’ only entry to benefit from 3-D surcharges.

So Men in Black 3‘s performance was actually something of a disappointment, especially when considering its gargantuan $230 million budget. But to what extent, if any, is Will Smith to blame here? After all, we’re talking about a threequel that was released a decade after the last installment — and Men in Black II was a very poorly received installment to boot. Even if Smith had continued acting these past three years, it would probably be unreasonable to expect Men in Black 3 to perform significantly better than it did. Also, according to the market-research firm CinemaScore, 50 percent of moviegoers listed Smith as their reason for buying a ticket to Men in Black 3. So the actor was still the main drawing factor for the film.

Take a look at Smith’s five last features: Seven Pounds, Hancock, I Am Legend, The Pursuit of Happyness, and Hitch. Yes, Men in Black 3 failed to compete with the likes of Hancock ($62.6 million debut) and I Am Legend ($77.2 million). But if you averaged the openings of all five films, it’d come out to $45 million — or $52 million when adjusted for ticket-price inflation. In that light, Men in Black 3‘s $54.6 million debut isn’t so disheartening. Disappointing for such a pricey sci-fi action franchise? Sure. But a stain on Smith’s box-office report card? Not really.

The real test for Smith will be his next film, the M. Night Shyamalan sci-fi thriller After Earth, which will costar the actor’s son, Jaden Smith. It’s an original project, so franchise fatigue won’t be a viable excuse this time. And it won’t be released for another year (June 7, 2013). But while we wait, it’s nice to see a movie star of Will Smith’s caliber back on the big screen — even if his star is shining a tiny bit less brightly than it used to.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

7 Cereals That Have Inexplicably Changed Mascots

3) Lucky Charms

From toplessrobot, Ever wonder what made Lucky Charms "magically delicious?" That's because in the mid-'70s the leprechaun was temporarily phased out for Waldo the Wizard, a perverted-looking man with flush cheeks wearing a green robe and black sneakers. Wonder why it didn't work out.

See the full list here

Marvel Comments on Alcoholism and The Hulk in "Iron Man 3," Hints at Mysterious 2014 Film

From worstpreviews, Empire magazine sat down with Marvel head Kevin Feige to find out if we'll see the "Demon in a Bottle" storyline, which focuses on Tony Stark's alcoholism, in the third "Iron Man" movie.

"He's not an alcoholic in the movies. Maybe one day that's a deeper story, but we're not going to do it unless we can make it a full-focused plot," he explained, adding that "Iron Man 3" will be the best in the trilogy. "It's Tony's most personal journey since he was trapped in a cave in the first half of the first movie, but it'll also have the largest spectacle of any of the 'Iron Man movies."

He was then asked about the rumor that the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) will show up in "Iron Man 3." Feige denied it, but said: "We will see the Ruffalo Hulk in the future. I don't know when or how exactly, but he's an interesting character, and so many new avenues have opened up. But now in the movies, who's gonna pop up where? You're never quite sure."

Feige also commented on the mysterious 2014 movie that has yet to be announced. "Our next step will be to introduce a character outside the Avengers' world," he hinted.

Box Office

From ew, Will Smith returned to theaters for the first time since 2008′s Seven Pounds with this weekend’s Men in Black 3, which put the A-list celeb back on top of the box office. Sony’s $230 million (some reports suggest a much higher budget) alien-zapping sequel earned an estimated $70 million over the extended Memorial Day weekend.

Men in Black 3 will easily become Smith’s thirteenth film to earn over $100 million at the box office — a truly impressive feat — but its opening weekend actually leaves much to be desired. Over the three-day portion of the weekend, MIB 3 grossed $55 million, which was higher than the debuts of Men in Black ($51.1 million) and Men in Black II ($52.1 million). (Due to higher ticket prices, 3-D surcharges, and IMAX fees, though, it sold far fewer tickets than its predecessors.) The original Men in Black earned $250.7 million in 1997. Men in Black II scored $190.4 million in 2002. Adjusting for ticket-price inflation, those totals soar to $432.6 million and $259.6 million, respectively. In today’s frontloaded box office culture, Men in Black 3 won’t likely reach those heights.

Sony says the film has taken in $133.2 million overseas and topped the box office in 104 countries. That gives the sequel a worldwide total of $203.2 million, and hopefully sets the stage for a lucrative run, because — between production, marketing, and distribution costs — MIB 3 likely needs to take in at least $650 million just to break even. That means the sequel will need great word-of-mouth from audiences (57 percent of which were above the age of 25) who issued MIB 3 a “B+” CinemaScore grade.

Marvel’s The Avengers grossed another mind-blowing $46.9 million over the four day frame. The Disney-distributed superhero ensemble, which on Saturday passed the $500 million mark faster than any other film, has grossed $523.6 million (by Saturday, it will have surpassed The Dark Knight‘s $533.4 million total to become the third highest-grossing film of all time), and has scored over $1.3 billion worldwide. It’s those sorts of numbers that justify Avengers‘ $220 million budget.

Full analysis here

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Octopunk will be featured on a collectible trading card... FINALLY!

No, I'm not kidding!

My friend Brandon is pitching for funds in this video, but it was made a few weeks ago and the project has already reached the minimum goal. Series 1 is gonna happen. Here's more info.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Marvel Creates New Superhero to Make One Little Boy Happy

From worstpreviews, It's always great to hear about a big company taking time out of their busy schedules to make one person happy. In this case, the person is the 4-year-old Anthony Smith, and the company is Marvel.

Anthony was born without a right ear and cannot hear from that side at all. He also suffers from hearing loss in his other ear, which is why he wears a hearing aid. But just recently, he decided he will never again wear the aid again, because superheroes don't wear them either.

His mother had trouble convincing him otherwise and decided to send an email to Marvel Comics for some assistance finding an example of a superhero with a hearing aid. Marvel responded with an image of Hawkeye, a superhero who lost 80% of his hearing and wears hearing aids.

But the company didn't stop there. They later sent a drawing of Anthony as a new superhero, called "Blue Ear," named after Anthony's hearing aid. And then, they also sent a shot of Blue Ear and Hawkeye together.

Ashes of 'Star Trek' actor on private rocket

(CNN) -- In the end, it was Scotty who got beamed up.

The ashes of late actor James Doohan, who played chief engineer Montgomery Scott in the original "Star Trek" television series and a series of subsequent films, were on the SpaceX rocket that launched a private spacecraft into orbit this week.

Full article here

Holy crap, a great white chomps on a shark

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The 20 Lamest Looking Aliens from the Various Star Trek Series

From toplessrobot, On September 8, 1966, Star Trek premiered on NBC and gave birth to a unkillable franchise that remains unlike anything else in popular culture. In the 46 years since, audiences have seen numerous movies and sequel series based on the show that have helped keep Gene Roddenberry's vision alive. An immeasurable part of Trek's enduring appeal are its wonderful alien races. From the logic-bound Vulcans (epitomized by Mr. Spock) to the cold calculation of Cardassians like Garak, these creatures have shown us how wonderful and diverse the universe could be. That is except when they are completely ridiculous. Yes friends, terrific though they may be, the various Treks have had more than their fair share of poorly designed, ill-advised and just straight up dumb looking extraterrestrials over the years. So for today's extremely subjective and totally superficial Daily List, I'll be offering up my picks for the 20 lamest looking aliens in Trek history. I'm sure your mileage may vary, so feel free to mention your least favorite creatures in the comments below. But for now, let's take a look at some aliens who should boldly go back to wherever the hell they came from.

See them all here

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

4 minute Simpsons short attached to Ice Age: Continental Drift

From worstpreviews, Just recently, we learned that 20th Century Fox is planning to show a new 3D "The Simpsons" short, called "The Longest Daycare" and directed by David Silverman (The Simpsons Movie), in front of theatrical 3D showings of "Ice Age: Continental Drift," which is set to hit theaters on July 13th.

Entertainment Weekly now caught up with "The Simpsons" producer Al Jean to get some more information. "[Executive producer] Jim Brooks thought we should do an animated short - a la the ones Pixar does before their features," he explained. "We just wanted to do this as a way of saying, 'We appreciate how much people have stayed with the show and watched it for 25 years.'"

He went on to reveal that "The Longest Daycare" revolves around Baby Maggie, who returns to the Ayn Rand School for Tots, where her lone friend is a butterfly. "They put each baby through an airport security-style testing machine to measure their future and hers says 'Nothing Special,'" said Jean. "So they put her in an area that's not great. For a four-minute plot, it has a number of twists and turns. It's very sweet, but funny."

He continued: "It's hard to do a 20-minute Maggie episode, but in four minutes it's great. She's like Charlie Chaplin. Some family members are in it. There are people from The Simpsons universe, including Maggie's arch enemy."

Jean also spoke about "The Simpsons Movie" sequel, stating: "There are no immediate plans for a feature, although as you see with this, you never know. It certainly made us excited to think that if we did another feature, maybe 3-D would be the way to go."

Is Iron Man 3's Budget Getting A $60 Million Boost?

From cinemablend, The Avengers has only been in domestic theaters for three weekends, but its box office totals are completely off the charts. Thanks to poor competition, the added bonus of 3D and the fact that it's one of the best movies the superhero genre has produced, The Avengers has already made $463 million in America. This puts it at number five on the all-time chart, and this weekend it's expected that the movie will overtake Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace for the number four spot on the list. Needless to say, the folks over at Marvel are feeling pretty damn confident right now, and they deserve to feel that way. What's even better is that extra confidence could lead to great things for Iron Man 3.

Latino-Review is reporting from an unnamed source that the incredible success of Joss Whedon's superhero team film has inspired Marvel Studios to bump Iron Man 3's budget up from $140 million to a square $200 million (for reference, Avengers made more than that in its first weekend). Production on the second sequel begins today down in Wilmington, North Carolina and is operating with the code name Caged Heat. The movie brings back Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Paul Bettany to play Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, James Rhodey and Jarvis, respectively, and has also reportedly added Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall and James Badge Dale to the mix. Shane Black, who last directed the amazing Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, is helming the movie and co-wrote the script with Drew Pearce.

Should this be true, it would be truly amazing. In the long run $60 million can be a gamechanger and could allow the filmmakers behind Iron Man 3 a lot of freedom. My only concern is that the money could go to their heads and a lot of waste and excess could be added to the movie, but the truth is that I trust Shane Black as a responsible director. Let's hope that this story is accurate.

Lenny got hit by a car

From cnn, Actor Michael McKean was hit by a car while walking along a New York City street on Tuesday, suffering a broken leg, the New York Post reports.

Harriet Sternberg, his manager, told the Post McKean was being checked out at St. Luke's Hospital.

“He has sustained multiple injures and we are trying to find out the extent of other injuries,” the Post quoted her as saying.

McKean, 64, played the lead singer for the band Spinal Tap in the movie "This is Spinal Tap" among numerous other roles.

He was to have performed on Broadway in Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man” on Tuesday night, the New York Daily News reported.

“It’s the first time he will have ever missed a curtain in his entire life,” Sternberg told the Daily News. “He’s never missed stage, screens in film or television. His understudy has never gone on in 40-plus years.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

That Little Droid Is Gonna Cause Liberty City a Lot of Trouble

From toplessrobot, It was bound to happen sooner or later. After 35 years of listening to 3PO's bitching, R2-D2 has finally snapped.This realization of the droid's long-simmering rage was created by gamer JMoorfoot, a Star Wars and Grand Theft Auto IV fan who wanted to make a mash-up of the two franchises. As a result, he created the mod for the PC version of GTAIV that you see above. There's something indescribably pleasing about watching R2 wreaking havoc throughout Liberty City, wouldn't you agree? Meanwhile, the ratings of The Clone Wars would probably go through the roof if the producers let Artoo spend an entire episode destroying Coruscant. Let's make this happen.

[start at the 45 second mark]

DC Comics: 'Established Character Coming Out Of Closet'

From geekology, DC Comics announced during a panel discussion at this weekend's Kapow Comic Convention in London that an established character will openly embrace their gaiety and become "one of our most prominent gay characters." Now I haven't been keeping tabs on how many gay characters there are in the DC Universe, but I imagine it won't be too hard to be "one of the most prominent" when there's like three. Aaaaaaand now begins the wild speculation as to who the character will be which I'll end right here: ROBIN. You know it, I know it, Batman knows it. And so does Green Lantern. BOOM -- two outings in one day! *cue rainbow confetti and ticker-tape parade*

New Dark Knight Rises poster

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Box office report: 'The Avengers' crushes 'Battleship' and 'The Dictator' with $55.1 mil

From ew, Once again, it was all about The Avengers at the box office, as three new releases failed to even approach the Marvel superhero blockbuster’s third-weekend gross of $55.1 million, according to studio estimates.

The movie dropped 47 percent — an admirable hold for a picture that’s putting up such huge numbers. By the end of Sunday, The Avengers will have made an estimated $457.1 million domestically, passing $450 million in a record 17 days. (The previous record holder, The Dark Knight, reached that milestone in 27 days.) Meanwhile, The Avengers also passed Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest to become Disney’s biggest movie ever both domestically and worldwide. It now sits in fourth place on the all-time worldwide chart, behind only Avatar, Titanic, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2.

The Avengers‘ continued dominance meant fewer moviegoers for Battleship, which sunk on arrival with only $25.3 million. That’s the worst domestic opening ever for a movie with a reported budget of at least $200 million. (Universal spent $209 million on the PG-13 picture.) It’s also a smaller debut that this year’s other notorious flop, John Carter, which started out with $30.2 million. To the dismay of Tim Riggins fans everywhere, Taylor Kitsch has now starred in two of the year’s biggest bombs.

Full article here

Careful Girlie, This Flower Will Eat You!

Check out the worlds largest flower here.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Iron Man and Nick Fury

Since everyone had so much fun derisively laughing at my childhood dreams (*sniff*) here's some more fodder for your ridicule: the origin stories of Iron Man (1963) and Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D (1965). Each of these comics is a one-shot story within a larger anthology showcase series ("Tales of Suspense," "Strange Tales") which should be understood to mean (as with "Spider-Man the year before) that Marvel did not have much faith in these two characters as commercial properties. It also means that they are very short stories (since each issue had a feature and a backup) -- 14 pages for Tony Stark's origin and only 12 pages for Fury's -- which, in my opinion, only adds to their quality.

The "Iron Man" story (which you'll recognize from the excellent 2008 movie that began the landslide which culminated in The Avengers this summer; they followed it extremely closely) should be interesting right off the bat because it's not a Lee/Kirby collaboration; it has a different writer (Lee's brother Larry Lieber) (Yes, "Stan Lee" is an invented name for yet another titanic Jewish comic book creator -- "Superheroes were all created by Jews," as Frank Miller pointed out) and a different artist, Don Heck, whose workmanlike, contemporaneous style, while very good, will help emphasize why Jack Kirby was so revolutionary. Tony Stark (and his "transistors" -- the precursor to today's "arc reactors" and "repulsors" -- which Octopunk found so amusing) is captured by the Viet Cong (the "Commies") rather than Middle Eastern revolutionaries (the "terrorists"), but it makes little difference to the story; you can be the judge of whatever profound meaning this suggests.

The Supreme Headquarters of the International Law-Enforcement Division (now the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Espionage Logistics Directorate) was invented by Stan Lee as a blatant attempt to get in on the mid-sixties James Bond craze, using an existing Marvel property: Nick Fury, a (Caucasian) WWII soldier who'd starred in several "blood and guts" Marvel war comics and was popular for his cigar, eyepatch, and down-home, John Wayne style. (He talks like every other "salt-of-the-earth" Lee character including Ben Grimm and Rick Jones.) This is twelve pages of 100% Lee/Kirby badassery, including a cameo by Tony Stark (and his "transistors") and the first view of the famous S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier (which, as a kid, I never dreamed would one day be painstakingly recreated for the movie screen by ILM). Admittedly not, as the cover claims, "The Greatest ACTION-THRILLER of All Time!" but still pretty good (and what would Marvel Comics be without insane degrees of hyperbole concerning what you were getting for your twelve cents -- just a penny a page?)

As I continue to point out, it all starts here, with tabloid-sized bristol-boards covered in blue pencil and India ink in Midtown Manhattan offices in the middle of the Don Draper era, against frantic deadlines for by-the-page fees by artists and writers who owned nothing that they wrote and drew; who moonlighted drawing magazine ads to get some extra cash; who thumbed through old high school mythology texts and Ian Flemming novels for material; who stuck around late in badly-air-conditioned offices through the hot New York summers just trying to get that week's pages off to the compositor. Of course the material has none of the decades of cultural seasoning that brings us Robert Downey Jr.'s van dyke and Samuel L. Jackson's leather duster and Weta Digital's millions of render-farm computing cycles getting the prismatic sunlight to refract properly through the ocean's fine spray as the helicarrier gets airborne, but, nevertheless, the mythos begins here. Enjoy!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Damage to NYC in The Avengers Would Cost $160 Billion to Repair

From gizmodo, In their most recent outing, the Avengers protect Manhattan from complete devastation. But disaster experts claim that the damage would still set the city back more than Hurricane Katrina or even last year's Japanese tsunami.

Kinetic Analysis Corporation, a leading disaster cost prediction firm based in the US, undertook some modelling for The Hollywood Reporter. They calculated that the physical damage alone would cost $60-70 billion, with economic and cleanup ramifications adding $90 billion. Which gives a total of around $160 billion, and that's to say nothing of the loss of lives. By way of comparison, Hurricane Katrina cost $90 billion, and the tsunami in Japan last year $122 billion.

While damaged buildings would be expensive to repair, the real effects lie underground. Damage caused to the Grand Central Terminal—as in the film—could, in theory, cause significant damage to sub-surface infrastructure such as gas, communications, and electrical systems.

And who'd pay for it all? Probably not insurers, actually: it's likely—though not certain—that such an event would be classed as an act of God, and therefore not covered. Better just add it to the national debt, then.

So Lou Ferrigno Was in ‘The Avengers’…

From screencrush, Marvel legend Stan Lee has a cameo at the end but otherwise, ‘The Avengers’ is very light on Easter eggs. Except when it comes to a very well-disguised cameo from a former Hulk…

As it turns out, when it came to creating the Hulk’s roar for ‘The Avengers’ sound designer Christopher Boyes went back to an old friend to help get just the right sound.

IGN has posted a new video interview from Sound Works Collection with Boyes, who served as Sound Designer, Supervising Sound Editor and Re-recording Mixer on the film. At around the 3:15 mark, he begins to explain how he arrived at the sound of the new Hulk. His mandate from director Joss Whedon was to make the Green Goliath sound less monster-like and more “superhuman” or even “human in rage.”

Boyes relates how he came up with about 15 different samples, of which Whedon picked the one he liked best. And that one, Boyes reveals, was a mix of his own voice, that of Mark Ruffalo (who plays Dr. Bruce Banner), two New Zealand actors…and Lou Ferrigno.

Yes, the first (and so far, only) actual human actor to get painted green and play the Hulk in the classic late ’70s TV series — who also, by the way, lent his voice to the character for 2008′s ‘The Incredible Hulk’ film — has contributed to the iconic role again, in perhaps his best incarnation yet.

New ‘Blade Runner’ Officially a Sequel, Original Writer Hampton Fancher on Board to Develop Story

From slashfilm, With Ridley Scott starting to do real press for Prometheus, word has been bubbling up this week about Scott’s other return to sci-fi: a new Blade Runner film. We gave you a slight update earlier today, but now a press release has gone out that clarifies a couple specific details.

First up, while Scott waffled for some time about when this new film would take place with respect to the original Blade Runner, he eventually got around to saying it was most likely to be a sequel. Indeed, the official line is now that the new movie will be a sequel.

Additionally, the involvement of original Blade Runner screenwriter Hampton Fancher is confirmed. (He’s also the man who was instrumental in the optioning of Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which led to Blade Runner in the first place.) But don’t take it as a given that he’s writing the new movie; the press release carefully says that he’s on board to “develop the idea for the original screenplay” for the new movie. Someone else could end up writing.

What will the new film be about? That we don’t know, but another comment from Scott suggests that a woman will be the central character.

Read more here

They Have The Technology

From BBC News:

Two British men who have been totally blind for many years have had part of their vision restored after surgery to fit pioneering eye implants.
They are able to perceive light and even some shapes from the devices which were fitted behind the retina.
The men are part of a clinical trial carried out at the Oxford Eye Hospital and King's College Hospital in London

Read the rest here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

5 Favors People Love to Offer (That No One Wants)

#5. Holding Doors Open from 30 Feet Away

It's typically a lovely gesture when someone holds a door open for you. It's a wonderful way of saying, "Hey there, tiger. Here ya go! Please benefit from the fruit of my labor as you journey from one location to another." Some sociologists say the tradition of holding a door open for a fellow pedestrian started in ancient Rome, when centurions would use it as a training exercise to build wrist dexterity and foster teamwork. OK, one sociologist says that. Well, actually just some guy I met at the bus stop who once took a sociology class. Fine. No one says that.

But no one likes it when you hold a door open for someone who's like 30 feet away. All it does is create 15 seconds of awkward. A door comes into view somewhere on the horizon, you make out the faint outline of a traveler far ahead of you and then light emerges from the next room as he opens the door to enter. Surely the door will close behind him, but wait, what's this? The door -- it's staying open and he's not entering. He couldn't be waiting for you -- you're like still 20 strides away. Good Lord, he is. Wait. Do you know this guy? Is it your dad? No, it's just a complete stranger staring at you. And waiting. Don't rush, he says. Take your time. But you quicken your pace. How can you not? Don't rush, he says again, and you do an awkward half-waddle with an arm outstretched in the final three steps to signal the impending hand-off, shaving a microsecond of discomfort off this inexplicably awkward and needless exchange.

See the rest here

Iron Man 3 news

From worstpreviews, James Badge Dale (The Grey, Shame) has been cast in Marvel's "Iron Man 3," joining a cast comprised of Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley and Rebecca Hall.

The film will borrow elements from Warren Ellis' six-issue "Iron Man: Extremis," which also influenced the first "Iron Man" installment, and focuses on the spread of a virus through nanotechnology.

Dale will play Eric Savin. In the Marvel comic books, he's a lieutenant colonel in the US Army put in charge of Project: Ultra. After he steps on a land mine, cybernetic surgery is performed on him, and Savin's resurrected as the cyborg Coldblood.

"Iron Man 3" will be directed by Shane Black and is set to hit theaters on May 3rd, 2013.

Skyfall teaser poster

The greatest photo ever taken of Earth?

From cnn, The picture you're staring at right now is believed to be the highest resolution image ever taken of our planet.

The ultra-crisp, 121 megapixel photo of earth was snapped from a Russian satellite floating 22,369 miles above the Indian Ocean.

There are two major differences between this photo and the ones we typically see from NASA. The first is that's a single snapshot. Most images from space are actually composites of several smaller photos.

The second difference, and a pretty obvious one, is that there appears to be a lot of rust in places where there used to be forests and vegetation. That's not an accident. The weather satellite's image was produced by introducing an infrared wavelength, which provides new levels of detail and has the effect of turning those typically lush green patches of the planet into shades of orange or brown.

There's also an interactive version of the image here, where you can zoom in on any region. One thing you can't do is see this same quality of photo for any other part of the planet. The Elektro-L No. 1 satellite which took the picture remains stationary above the Indian Ocean, snapping new photos every 30 seconds.

Disco queen Donna Summer dies after cancer battle

From uestoday, We should all get up and do a dance -- a last dance -- in her honor.

AP reports that the Queen of Disco, Donna Summer, died this morning in Florida at age 63 following a battle with breast cancer.

Her family issued a statement saying confirming the death (first reported by TMZ) and adding that they "are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continue legacy."

Summer was a five-time Grammy winner who shot to superstardom in the '70s with iconic hits including Last Dance, Hot Stuff and Bad Girls.

She is survived by her husband, singer and producer Bruce Sudano; their daughters, Brooklyn and Amanda; and Summer's daughter, Mimi, from a previous marriage.

Is Nick Stahl a victim of 'Terminator' curse?

From usatoday, Is there something about being in a Terminator film that leads to trouble? A curse?

Of course that's a crazy idea, but ...

Los Angeles police are trying to find actor Nick Stahl, whose wife Rose reported him missing on Monday. Rose says the 32-year-old actor has been troubled by drug addiction. She added that he had been frequenting Los Angeles' Skid Row area recently.

Stahl, 32, took over the role of young John Connor in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines from Edward Furlong, whose career was sidetracked by drugs after 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Other Terminator star troubles:

Thomas Dekker played John Connor in the television series spinoff Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. After the show wrapped in 2009, Dekker was arrested on suspicion of DUI after allegedly hitting a bicyclist. He was charged with misdemeanor reckless driving.

While filming 2009's Terminator Salvation, star Christian Bale made headlines when a tape was leaked of his four-minute f-word-laced tirade aimed at director of photography Shane Hurlbut. He later apologized.

The original Terminator (1984), Arnold Schwarzenegger, faced allegations by six women in 2003 that he had touched them inappropriately on movie sets and other settings over three decades. And in 2011 he and wife Maria Shriver separated after he admitted fathering a child with his housekeeper Mildred Baena.

"The Avengers" is Now Ninth Highest-Grossing Film of All-Time

From worstpreviews, Walt Disney Pictures is reporting that "The Avengers" is now the ninth highest-grossing movie of all time at the worldwide box office. The film's global take currently stands at $1.036 billion.

"The Avengers" surpassed the studio's "Alice in Wonderland" ($1.024 billion) and "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace" ($1.027 billion). It is now the highest-grossing film of 2012, passing "The Hunger Games" in just twelve days.

The movie should easily pass the next three films, which are all Disney films: "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" ($.104 billion), "Toy Story 3" ($1.063 billion), and "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" ($1.066 billion).

Suck It, The Avengers!: A Justice League Movie Poster

From geekology, This is a mock-up Justice League of America movie poster created by DeviantARTist daniel-morpheus in the style of the 1997 JLA Gallery cover by Frank Quitely, featuring some of the actors who have played the various characters in previous films and shows. It's good, but I'm not sure how I feel about Justin Hartley as Aquaman. He's just not -- what's the word I'm looking for? "Smexy enough." YES. He's just not smexy enough. Also, Green Lantern sucked and they should kill that guy off in the opening credits.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Infographic: Official Timeline Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe

From slashfilm, In the past we’ve featured an infographic — almost a too-detailed one — that shows the timeline of events in Marvel movies. Now the company has issued an official timeline, and at the very least it is easier to read. What might be interesting to some more casual fans who haven’t thought as much about the precise timeline of the convergent story paths is this: a great many of the events in various Marvel films take place in the span of one week.

See full infographic here

This is sad, but worthy

I saw this printed in the back of an issue of Cerebus a few months after Jim Henson died. One of those things that gets to me even when I just remember it.

Terminator 3's Nick Stahl is missing

From ew, Nick Stahl's family is deeply worried about his well-being.

The Terminator: Rise of the Machines star has been reported missing by his wife, E! News has confirmed.

According to the LAPD, Stahl's wife, Roseann, filed a missing-person report on Monday.

In February, she reportedly filed court papers stating that the two were living apart and seeking full custody of their 2-year-old daughter, Marlo Murphy.

In the court documents she expressed concern about possible drug use, requesting proof that he test negative for drugs 24 hours before seeing their daughter and asking that a professional monitor the visits.

Stahl, 32, hit the news earlier this year when he was arrested for stiffing a Hollywood cabbie out of an $84 fare.

He spent the night in jail and pleaded no contest to defrauding the cab driver. The actor was slapped with a $50 fine, which the judge subsequently suspended in light of his jail stint.

'Bait 3D' Trailer Drops a Shark in a Grocery Store

From iwatchstuff, "You have that knot in your gut... that feeling in the air... that voice in your head... Don't ignore it. Sometimes... it's the only warning you'll get." Such is the cautionary advice of the muttering narrator in this trailer. But he's not talking about just any threat, you guys. He's telling you to trust your instincts for a reason: what if you go to the supermarket, the entire store gets held up by masked men, then, unrelated to that, a surprise tsunami floods the place with sea water, trapping you with a 12-foot great white shark, because a 12-foot great white shark also just showed up. What if that ridiculously escalating, extremely specific scenario happens, in 3D? That would be Bait 3D, of course:

Jim Henson Died 22 Years Ago Today

[via slashfilm]

The Avengers #1

I thought you guys might like to read the first issue of The Avengers (November 1963), so here it is:

Octopunk, you're going to just hate it.

6 Iconic Scenes Ripped Off From Lesser-Known Movies

From cracked, Some movie scenes are more famous than the movies they come from -- did you know, for example, that there's a whole film of Dustin Hoffman crossing streets with a dude dressed like a cowboy? However, it turns out that the most iconic scenes in some classic films (or even in the entire careers of the guys who directed them) are totally lifted from other movies you probably haven't seen. Like ...

#5. Star Wars: A New Hope -- The Final Scene Is from a Nazi Propaganda Film

Go here for more analysis and the rest of the list.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Nutjob Rides Mountain Bike Down Steps Of A Mountain

From geekology, This is a video from the helmet-cam of Marcelo Gutierrez as he barrels down the stairs of Monserrate Mountain in Bogata, Columbia as part of the RedBull Devotos de Monserrate 2012 race. It kind of made me motion-sick to watch. Motion-sick AND feel like a sissy. Because there is no way you could get me to do that. One time I tried riding over the curb onto the street and wound up with a face that looks like overbaked lasagna. Plus two of my teeth went down a sewer. I tried training a neighbor's cat to go down there and get them for me but he said he couldn't find them even though the next day he was sporting this big ol' beaver-looking grin.

The Amazing Spider-Man 4-minute trailer

Kim Kardashian had a very forthright IMDb bio

From wwtdd [excerpt], Though it’s down now, up until today the bio for Kim Kardashian on IMDb was exactly what every bio on her should be; scathing. But here it is in all it’s former glory because uproxx thankfully saw it before her attorneys did.

Here’s how it began:

'Kim Kardashian is emblematic of the shallowness of American culture in the first two decades of the new millennium (whose fame) comes from the release of a sex tape and the canny exploitation of the resulting publicity.
…Kardashian is possessed of photogenic good looks but is short of any other discernible talents outside of the bedroom.'

Read it in its entirety here

Your Skills At Photoshop Amuse Me