Put in your diary for 2115: go and see the premiere of “100 Years”

Wednesday, 25 November, 2015

Where did I park that time travelling DeLorean again… John Malkovich and Shuya Chang star in a short film called 100 Years, directed by Robert Rodriguez, that, wait for it, will not be released until 2115.

This isn’t some joke. They’ve made a film, called 100 Years, which is being placed in a special time-locked safe that won’t open again until November 18, 2115. Why? Well, because it’s promotion for Louis XIII Cognac, an ultra-luxury liquor that is aged 100 years. Bottles currently on shelves were made in 1915 so they decided a piece of art that speaks to their commitment to quality was something worth doing.

If you don’t possess a time machine take solace in the fact that one of your descendants may be among the lucky one thousand people to sent – somehow – a ticket for the screening in a century’s time.

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Wuher: A Star Wars Story, and other films you may not live to see

Thursday, 19 November, 2015

If a single movie, Rogue One, a Star Wars “spin off” story, slated for release in late 2016, can be spawned by way of a few words taken from the opening crawl of A New Hope, then imagine what else seen in the six films released to date, has the potential to inspire? A point that’s not lost on current series producers, the Walt Disney Company:

And if the people at the Walt Disney Company, which bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012, have anything to say about it, the past four decades of Star Wars were merely prologue. They are making more. A lot more. The company intends to put out a new Star Wars movie every year for as long as people will buy tickets. Let me put it another way: If everything works out for Disney, and if you are (like me) old enough to have been conscious for the first Star Wars film, you will probably not live to see the last one. It’s the forever franchise.

I think Wuher, the gruff bartender in the canteen at Mos Eisley, is worthy of a film. In fact, I’m of the opinion that the significance of his role in the saga has been greatly understated so far. Read his profile. I think you’ll agree there’s far more to him than meets the eye.

And on that note… four weeks to go until you know what.

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What inspires good sci-fi languages? Not so good sci-fi languages

Friday, 16 October, 2015

David J. Peterson is a US linguist who creates languages for a job. If you’ve ever tuned into Game of Thrones, then you’d be familiar with his work. It was a scene from Return of the Jedi however, that inspired Peterson’s interest in languages though:

The part that always struck me is this weird kind of language that Leia is speaking. She basically says several of the same things twice, and they mean different things each time. The first time, she’s saying, “Yaté, yaté, yotó.” And that means something like, she’s coming to sell the Wookiee. Then the next time, she says, “Yotó. Yotó.” It’s exactly the same word as the last one from the previous one, but now it means that she’s demanding 50,000, no less, after Jabba’s offered her 25,000 – which is a really bizarre way for a language to work.

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A goal tracker that fines you for failure to achieve, and other links

Friday, 25 September, 2015

Working at a motel in a small town can be tedious sometimes, especially if you’re a teenager. How to liven things up then? Spy on the guests, of course. That’s what happens in Blood Pulls A Gun, the latest short film from Sydney based film director Ben Briand. Via Hypnophant.

How many ways are there to tie shoelaces? Two? Four? Seven? At least eighteen, according to Ian Fieggen, who also includes instructions as to how to tie each and every one. Check out the special purpose knots for occasions such as Halloween.

It’s best things like this do not go unquestioned… the holes at the centre of donuts, or doughnuts, have been shrinking, or at least are far smaller than they once used to be. Now why would that be? Vox is on the case though:

Smithsonian’s history of the donut provides a comprehensive look at the food, and from it we can draw a few guesses about why donut holes shrank. Donut holes are shrouded in legend, but they probably exist to help fry the donut more evenly – without a hole, the center of the donut would end up more raw than the outside.

The problem with conventional “strong” passwords, that should include letters, numbers, uppercase and special characters, is the difficulty in remembering them. The people at xkcd have a better idea for devising secure passwords, that are also a lot easier to remember, in that they adopt what I call a story format. The thing is, how many systems will actually allow their use?

Photo by Agne Gintalaite

Lithuanian artist and photographer Agne Gintalaite doesn’t just see a garage door, she sees but part of a colour palette, and went about photographing, from what I can gather, two hundred doors, for a series called Beauty Remains. See more images here.

The speed of light is the ultimate speed limit of the universe, at least as far as we understand the cosmos at present. In a vacuum, light moves at 299,792.458 kilometres per second. That’s pretty swift. But why does light move at that particular speed? Why not faster, why not slower? That, as it happens, is a very good question…

A further breakthrough came in 1905, when Albert Einstein showed that c, the speed of light through a vacuum, is the universal speed limit. According to his special theory of relativity, nothing can move faster. So, thanks to Maxwell and Einstein, we know that the speed of light is connected with a number of other (on the face of it, quite distinct) phenomena in surprising ways. But neither theory fully explains what determines that speed. What might? According to new research, the secret of c can be found in the nature of empty space.

Anthophobia is a morbid dislike, or fear of flowers. Buy why would anyone be afraid of flowers? Well, if they were ever to rise up, and attempt to subdue us, then there might be something to worry about, an idea that is explored by Valentin Petit, in a short film titled Anthophobia.

Follow these seven simple steps and you too may have a creative breakthrough. Actually the process may not be quite that straightforward, but hopefully it will help set you along the path towards whatever goal you are seeking.

And on the subject of creative breakthroughs and achieving goals, being focused, and having sort of accountability mechanism is vital. For assistance in that regard, look no further than Go Fucking Do It, which allows you to submit a task or goal, a deadline, and then a monetary fine, if you fail to achieve what you set out to do. How does that sound?

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“All Things Must Pass”, the rise and fall of Tower Records

Wednesday, 16 September, 2015

All Things Must Pass

Any customer, regular or not, of the Tower Records megastore in Piccadilly Circus, London, during its heyday in the 1990s, would have had little trouble imagining that the sprawling shop was destined to take its place alongside retail institutions such as Harrods and Marks & Spencer.

And why not, there’d always be demand for records and CDs, wouldn’t there? Not to mention that any visit was more of an experience. Bruce Springsteen’s words, “everybody in a record store is a little bit your friend for twenty minutes or so”, aptly sums up the aura of being there.

Originally founded by US entrepreneur and art collector Russell Solomon in California, in 1960, the Piccadilly Circus store was but one of two hundred stores worldwide, that, at the height of the record store’s empire in the late 1990s, were taking in one billion dollars at the registers.

Yet today the landmark shops, such as the Piccadilly Circus store, where I once whiled hours away, are gone, and the franchise is all but a distant memory. So what happened, what went wrong? Many point the finger at the internet, and Napster like file and music sharing services.

While having some impact, they were only part of the story, which is explored in All Things Must Pass, a documentary by Colin Hanks. The usual suspects of mismanagement, increasing competition, and heavy debt, seemingly contributed more directly to the collapse in 2006.

All Things Must Pass, trailer, opens in US cinemas on 16 October 2015. To date I cannot find any information regarding screenings in Australia, but if it’s something that interests you, then keep an eye on the official film website, or the Facebook page, for any news in this regard.

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Some (but not all) of film’s most beautiful scenes

Thursday, 13 August, 2015

It’s no small task, listing one hundred and twenty-nine of the most beautiful shots in movie history, but BuzzFeed writer Daniel Dalton gives it his best shot.

And as if that were not impressive enough, there’s not an animated GIF to be seen.

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Philippe Petit’s high-wire Twin Towers walk reenacted in “The Walk”

Wednesday, 15 July, 2015

The Walk, directed by Robert Zemeckis, of Back to the Future fame, is a dramatisation of the death defying 1974 attempt by French high-wire artist Philippe Petit, to walk between the two World Trade Center towers in New York City, on a tightrope slung between both buildings.

The illicit undertaking was also the subject of a documentary, Man on Wire, made in 2008 by James Marsh. Aside from what I imagine will be protracted scenes of Petit making the walk, some six hundred metres above the ground, it’ll be interesting to see what the Zemeckis production, that stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit, can add to the story.

There is no actual motion footage of Petit’s… walk, the accomplice charged with its filming was too tired to operate the camera, when the time came. Knowing that somehow made “Man on Wire” a little easier to watch, though I’m not sure I could sit through an actual reenactment, something the trailer for “The Walk”, offers a glimpse of.

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The (old school) film projector, quite the feat of engineering really

Wednesday, 15 July, 2015

Once upon a time, before movie projectors at cinemas became digital, people called projectionists were required to oversee the entire screening of a film.

Not only did reels have to be changed at various points, depending on the length of the feature, someone probably needed to keep an eye on the actual projector, and the many moving components they consisted of, should something detach or derail unexpectedly. I never realised just how complicated a device a film projector was

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“Sundays”, a short science fiction film by Mischa Rozema

Friday, 10 April, 2015

And to end the week, Sundays, a short science fiction film, written and directed by Mischa Rozema. In a word, amazing.

The end of the world seems like a nightmare to Ben. A memory of a past life that doesn’t belong to him. When Ben starts to remember Isabelle, the only love he’s ever known, he realises she’s missing in his life. An existential descent into confusion and the desperate need to find out the truth begins. This reality depicts a stunning, surprising and dark world. A world that is clearly not his.

Best seen in full screen mode, by the way.

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“Growth Factor”, a short animated film by Ryosuke Oshiro

Friday, 27 March, 2015

A short film, Growth Factor, by Japanese animator Ryosuke Oshiro… a subject matter that seems quite familiar.

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