Archive for February, 2006
Dammit, Apple. Wi-fi, not hi-fi. What do you think this is, 1973? I’ve seen frickin’ iPod speakers.
So, three shows on Adult Swim that I’ve been TiVo-ing:
|Samurai Champloo. This show is directed by the guy who made Cowboy Bebop. Both hinge on a central creative juxtaposition. With Bebop, it was space cowboys and jazz; this time, it’s 17th century samurai and hip-hop. Obsessed with the intro sequence.
|Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. This show is as verbose as its title. And, in truth, it’s usually kinda boring. But somehow, I can’t stop watching. It’s the setting that sucks me in: a blandly realistic future Japan where refugees are the issue of the day and everybody’s got a cyberbrain.
|Full Metal Alchemist. Talk about settings: This one takes place in a kind of alternate-history Europe where alchemy, not science, rules the day. The byzantine plot hinges on the alchemical law of equivalent exchange: to get what you want, you’ve got to sacrifice something of equal value. That idea kicks off the plot and keeps the story running.
Last week I saw Roving Mars, the IMAX movie about Spirit and Opportunity — with actual giant images from Mars. And it reminded me: It is really hard to make a bad IMAX movie. The experience is just so overwhelming that even a so-so documentary becomes visceral — and a good one becomes enthralling.
But of course the big thing now is that a lot of mainstream movies are making the leap to IMAX; this is part of the company’s new strategy, which is less Roving Mars and more Return of the King. Indeed, I saw Return of the King on IMAX. It was rad. And profits seem to be up.
Now, the next big thing for the format might be James Cameron’s return to narrative film. Inspired by the canvas (he’s done a bunch of underwater documentaries in IMAX) and spurred on by the game-changing special effects in Peter Jackson’s movies, he is trying to do a live-action, CGI-infused 3D IMAX (!) movie based on the Battle Angel manga. I predict that, if made, it will be totally awesome.
It’s an interesting dynamic: As our millions of little living room theaters get better and better, the only public venues that can compete are the ones that completely blow the doors off the moviegoing experience. Forget stadium-style seating; you need a stadium-sized screen.
I think this thesis is generalizable, too: In the new media galaxy, it’s good to be on the low end (Rocketboom on my TiVo) or the high end (Return of the King in IMAX). But the middle (studio movies, network sitcoms) is the prehistoric desert landscape where you get killed.
File Under: Best invention ever. GE has made a cheap plastic so water-repellent even honey slides right off it. Check out the video at GE’s Global Research Blog (side note: check out the rest of the blog too; pretty interesting). You may have to right-click on the video and download it to view the full thing.
What does this portend? For one thing, ketchup (or shampoo or honey, etc.) bottles where all the ketchup slides right out with no coaxing. Technology Review imagines self-cleaning buildings and cool medical applications. (via Everywhere)
If you’ve seen previous versions of EPIC, maybe you’ll love this as much as I do: EPIC 2015 in German!
Columbine-area teen in custody after MySpace.com posting showing guns. Best headline ever. It condenses almost all the over-hyped media youth-bashing of the last five years into one succinct line. If only the copy editor had thrown in some stuff about video games and goths.
Seriously, though, this is getting ridiculous. I was on a local radio show this morning being interviewed about MySpace. (Some might call me a media whore. I prefer to think of it as being democratic in my approach to granting interviews.) I did my best to cut through the hype and talk about how slightly modified versions of this exact same narrative have been circulating through the press forever. Poisoned Halloween candy. Dungeons ‘n’ Dragon cults. Grand Theft Auto. I’m guessing the number of these stories has increased since the arrival of the Internet, but I’m not even sure. As far back as I can tell, the overriding media narrative about youth has been, “Your children are in grave danger. Panic.”
Yes, your children are in grave and perpetual danger. Welcome to existence. Over time, we’ve exchanged sabre-toothed tigers for more sophisticated predators. And most of those are far more dangerous, far more sophisticated, and far less well-known than your standard neighborhood MySpace pedophile/stalker. Now you may panic.