Sunday, July 5th, 2020
Poolside.FM, the lovely Mac throwback to 1997.
Sunday, May 17th, 2020
The Making of Prince of Persia
Video game maker Jordan Mechner wrote a rich diary of his life in the mid-1980s. This book covers the creation his second hit game, Prince of Persia, so we gain access of unique immediacy to the heroic tale of producing a universe-dent-making hit.
I wanted this book, which I discovered via Tyler Cowen’s most recent What I’ve been reading, as inspiration during a small lull in morale as I work on a digital product of my own.
Thirty years on there is some poignancy in that this early period of Mencher’s life was the peak: after graduating Yale, already dreamily successful, he shuttles between San Francisco and Hollywood creating video games and pushing screenplays, a digital Orson Welles (in his later game The Last Express, Mechner combines these passions, relying on cinema to produce an impressive commercial failure).
That said, perhaps it is no failure at all that one can point to the creative peak of a life — Mechner’s arguably was working within the memory constraints of the Apple II to create a foe, Shadow Man, based on the hero character. Here I’m reminded of Ken Kocienda’s not dissimilar Eureka moment when up against a constraint, that of using a dictionary to help create the iPhone keyboard.
Perhaps it would have been a better book if he had fleshed out the journal with an italicized retrospective written now, but count me a late-arrival Jordan Mechner fan. And don’t get the Kindle edition lacking the illustrations; I think I’m gonna need to buy the actual book.
Sunday, March 1st, 2020
Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of an Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
Brent Schlener and Rick Tetzell
Although the simple thesis gets repeated interminably, nonetheless it’s a nice one: that Steve Jobs’s greatness stems muchly from his constant becoming, constant learning, constant trying to overcome himself (hence the title, which can be read as descriptive).
It’s great to be in his company, which you feel you are, as one of the authors was himself repeatedly so for decades.
One thing new to me was Pixar’s role in maturing Jobs; we don’t often read about who and what shaped the shaper.
Thursday, February 20th, 2020
Mike and Rich of Red Letter Media do a re:View of Star Trek: Picard. I hadn’t articulated to myself why I chose not to watch beyond the first episode — they explain it. One criticism though: they mock the term positronic, seeming not to know it comes from Asimov’s robots.
Tuesday, December 31st, 2019
In r/saltierthancrait and posted by u/yellowdawg299, In your opinion, who is the worst character in Star Wars?. Great stuff.
- “I tell you what, if Rose had killed Leia in TROS and monologued about what idiots the Rebels were for buying her ‘save the people you love’ bullshit, I’d be dragging everyone I knew to the theatre.” —rothbard_anarchist
- “Snoke continues to shrink in intrigue until he is in a fetal position in a jar.” —Wiffernubbin
- “Replace Holdo with an emotionless machine that locks their escape behind a passcode/override that no one but Leia knows after the bridge destruction, and the story becomes more coherent since that’s a matter of procedure rather than a person making active decisions that contradict themselves and their own goals.” —Hylian-Highwind
- “Jar Jar, because the others aren’t in Star Wars.” —JBlitzen
Thursday, November 7th, 2019
A view to the best bit of Bond fan art I’ve seen maybe ever: David Reed’s 007 film title anagrams.
Monday, October 7th, 2019
Monday, September 9th, 2019
You’re a very talented young man, with your own clever thoughts and ideas. Jeffsum, a text placeholder generator of Jeff Goldblum lines.
Saturday, August 31st, 2019
Thursday, March 21st, 2019
James Bond: 50 Years of Main Title Design at Art of the Title. It’s by Ben Radatz, a partner at MK12 and co-director of Quantum of Solace‘s.
Wednesday, September 12th, 2018
Premieres for the Rams doc by Gary Hustwit (of Helvetica) are being held all around America. The only cities where it’s sold out are: NY, LA and SF.
Monday, May 28th, 2018
Having just seen Sam Smith on a televised weekend concert, I was reminded of Spectre and went and found a podcast episode where they satisfyingly eviscerate his lazy theme song, “The Writing’s on the Wall”.
Revenge of the Audience. In the comments after this Variety article about Solo, people consider why this movie is a box office disaster.
Watching Carrie Fisher tell her son about his Dad in Catastrophe, s3e6, she removes her glasses and her bitter old character eccentricities and we see just her face and eyes and she is as glittering onscreen as ever. Yet in the two new movies they gave her static scenes, which I think is a significant reason for Star Wars fatigue: what they did to the original troika in these new movies is distasteful.
I know why I didn’t see Solo: because The Last Jedi.
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018
Joss Whedon on making The Avengers: “There’s very little that I didn’t look at. It’s like, This is a Dr. Strangelove moment. This is The Abyss. This is His Girl Friday. It’s constant. You have to have all that stuff sort of in a blender in your head.”
“Jon [Favreau] said, ‘Look into his eyes. If you look into his eyes you will know. Is he being asked a question or is he asking the question?’” On the making of Iron Man’s HUD.
Sunday, March 25th, 2018
Vincent Gallo Sings by one Vincent Gallo. “I know what I look like. It’s certainly not how I would have made myself look. Don’t blame me.”
Saturday, March 17th, 2018
Check it out, How We Made, a weekly series by The Guardian interviewing two collaborators on a seminal work of art — from 2001: A Space Odyssey to the Swatch watch.
Wednesday, February 28th, 2018
Paglia on #meToo: “Treating women as more vulnerable, virtuous or credible than men is reactionary, regressive and ultimately counterproductive.”
Thursday, February 8th, 2018
Quincy Jones on Michael Jackson’s bullshit and everyone else’s too. Oh and famous friends.
Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
Another Tim Ferriss Show link, this time a joyful 2-hour interview with Terry Crews, artist, athlete, movie actor, taboo-dispeller, celebrity, self-help book aficionado.
Sunday, December 24th, 2017
Mark Hamill on The Last Jedi: He’s not my Luke Skywalker. My prediction: this movie will be what elevates the reputations of the prequels. And Poe Dameron that of Jar Jar Binks.
Friday, November 3rd, 2017
Drew Pierce, Iron Man 3 co-screenwriter with director Shane Black, discusses the writing of the Trevor Slattery reveal in this Vulture article. There’s also a jpg of the screenplay! This is one of my favorite Marvel movie scenes. And jeez, I just discovered All Hail the King — where have I been?
Monday, October 9th, 2017
Reflections on Tarantino by Tom Shone, film critic and author of a new book about the director.
Saturday, August 26th, 2017
According to this meretriciously entitled New York Post article “Millennials don’t really care about classic movies”, the only 4 overlapping movies among the top 10 most common movies that both millennials and over-50’s have seen are: 1) Forrest Gump, 2) Back to the Future, 3) The Silence of the Lambs, and 4) The Godfather. That’s Zemeckis in 1994 and 1985, Demme in 1991, and Coppola in 1972. No Spielberg, Hitchcock, not even James Cameron. Interesting.
Thursday, August 3rd, 2017
Sunday, July 30th, 2017
Slant Magazine is once again in Jerusalem, this time for Jerusalem Film Festival 2017. By Greg Cwik.
Monday, July 17th, 2017
Now this you should see. Via Andy Serkis the motion capture king, Gollum reads a couple of Trump tweets as his own. Ah, excellence. [via motherjones.com]
Wednesday, July 5th, 2017
Just the insight I was seeking on Jim Carrey as a performer.
Thursday, June 15th, 2017
David Arnold speaks to collaborating with Chris Cornell on “You Know My Name”, the theme song for the James Bond movie Casino Royale: “We needed someone who could sing the way Daniel acted…” This has become my #3 favorite, after Carly Simon’s Marvin Hamlish number and Nancy Sinatra’s John Barry one.
Tuesday, January 31st, 2017
“Yesterday we had a fight about whether I’d been dismissive about him saying his feelings had been hurt by my dismissing his feelings during a previous fight…” From the amusing but very dark Narcissism: a reflection by Laura Kipnis in Spiked.
Monday, January 30th, 2017
It seems to be a deceptively hard song to cover, but here’s a good one with a man, a woman and a ukulele on a living-room sofa, deceptively casual, deceptively perfect. Nobody’s done it better, not even Radiohead. And for something completely different: a great ‘Nobody Does it Better’ series montage by Rik Moran.
Friday, January 13th, 2017
At Den of Geek is Max Williams’ revisit of all 24 James Bond movies.
Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
David Cripps, the London Symphony Orchestra’s horn soloist, on playing the Star Wars music, and particularly “Leia’s Theme”. Seems clear from this and an interview I read on “Rey’s Theme” that John Williams is inspired by charismatic actors.
Wednesday, August 24th, 2016
Tuesday, August 16th, 2016
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
Slant Magazine attends the 2016 Jerusalem Film Festival, witnessing the audience versus Miri Regev, Minister of Culture & Sport.
Tuesday, April 19th, 2016
(All YouTube links…) You’ve heard the accordion, now hear:
- the piano: Rey’s Theme
- two oboes (sweet though sound isn’t great even to my ear)
- mocked-up full orchestra (awesome)
- two harps (not quite as sweet as I’d hoped, but still, harps)
- a nice composite of all the theme’s appearances in the movie
- the coolest (video of this one’s worth watching too)
- some conspiracy theory musical analysis
And in the LA Times, an interview with John Williams about the soundtrack.
Thursday, April 14th, 2016
So the neighbor Brian is playing his and I thought, you know what, John Williams’ “Rey’s Theme” from Star Wars: The Force Awakens kind of lends itself to the accordion. And here it is on YouTube, very nicely done by Adam Matlock in his bedroom. Commendations to you, sir.
Monday, January 18th, 2016
Friday, December 18th, 2015
Tuesday, December 8th, 2015
If you were troubled by the song persuading Ariel to remain under the sea, here’s why.
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015
A romp through the current state of thespian-American affairs with fear and loathing of the English invasion, particular emphasis on Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a conclusory celebration of Jake Gyllenhaal.
Sunday, April 5th, 2015
Martin Scorsese remembers shooting Taxi Driver. Do you see the woman in the window? Someone else was supposed to do that bit.
Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
Both Hitchcock and Dickens were “fantasists who insisted upon meticulous detail in the unravelling of their plots; they were both poised between art and commerce, with a keen taste for the making of money.” An obvious yet hitherto unmade comparison of two master contemporary English storytellers.
Friday, December 26th, 2014
A little treat: David on David, Foster Wallace on Lynch.
Tuesday, December 16th, 2014
Everybody, everybody, you’re gonna love this account of the making of Boogie Nights, long enough to read like a small book. My only qualm is that they totally should have put Michael Penn’s final comment at the end.
Friday, December 12th, 2014
The New Yorker review of Zero Motivation wherein the writer, herself a deeply unimpressed Bogeret Tzahal, notes the film’s homage to The Breakfast Club.
Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
Wednesday, July 9th, 2014