Archive for December, 2010

2010 film mash-up

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

G-Whiz Productions has taken more than 250 films and edited together a 6 minute video that is sure to make you remember the great movies that have come out this year and to ponder those gems you might have missed. Luckily, there’s already a list of the films so you can track down those that pique your interest from these brief samples.

The video re-mix is reminiscent of the Oscar’s clip reels that playing during the Academy Awards. Though I doubt Legion will make the cut this year, even though Paul Bettany is an ass-kicking, stud-machine.

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First half of SPN season 6 ends in cliffhanger

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Supernatural‘s showrunner Sera Gamble didn’t want fans to think the writers have forgotten about Death’s prophecy last season that it would force Dean into a deal. With the episode “Appointment in Samarra,” Death’s reappearance may in fact provide another linchpin for the turbulent season’s main conflict: Souls.

Dean heads into a sketchy, unlicensed surgeon’s office on top of a butcher shop. We can see nothing is wrong with Dean, but he’s about to die — voluntarily — and he’s about to stay dead for about 7 minutes.

In this brief amount of time, Dean runs into Tessa, a reaper he met back in the first episode of season 2. Death soon shows up to demand his ring back, but Dean uses this opportunity to ask for Sam’s soul back, as well as his half-brother Adam’s soul. Death makes it clear to him that Dean has no leverage and that Dean can’t hide anything from this all-knowing force that claims to be older than God.

Death gives Dean an ultimatum: Wear Death’s ring for all of 24 hours, collect souls of dead people and do not take the ring off till the end. If Dean complies, Sam’s soul goes back with a sort of barrier, not really a permanent one, that will keep Sam from dying from his soul’s trauma in the cage. If not, no more soulful Sam forever.

After he is revived, Dean tells Robo-Sam an Bobby what he must do. Robo-Sam become aware that his messed-up soul might get jammed back into him with no assurance that it won’t kill him, so he begins plotting of ways to not let this happen. Invoking Balthazar, Robo-Sam learns of a way he can cast a spell to make his vessel uninhabitable for Sam’s soul. He basically has to commit patricide, or rather…. kill Bobby (cue the “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NOT BOBBY!”)

Dean resists playing Death at first, but he gives in when he realizes stuff like botched convenience store robberies and unexpected heart attacks happen. When it comes down to taking a little girl in a hospital with a rare heart disease, however, Dean refuses to do his job. This dereliction of his Death duty causes a chain reaction that ends up killing many more people, at one point causing him to take his ring off to save a grieving drunken driver’s life. Even though he failed at Death’s task, Dean puts the ring back on to take the little girl, saying that he realizes now how people not dying when they’re supposed to can “upset the natural order of things.”

This discovery was the lesson Death was trying to teach him all along, and this fact is the reason why Death can only bring back one person from the cage. Dean chooses Sam, of course, and he has to run back to save Bobby before he is sacrificed to Robo-Sam’s own selfish end.

The episode closes with Death taking Sam’s soul out of a medical bag and telling Robo-Sam: “You might feel a bit itchy. I’m warning you: Do not scratch at the wall… Trust me, you don’t want to know what’s on the other side.” The screen goes black with Sam yelling as his soul is plunged back into him.

Death was just as chilling and overwhelming as last season. But why was Death so cool to Dean? After all, Dean failed the challenge, Death always has leverage in that it can take Dean at any moment (he’s way overdue and has “upset the natural order of things” so many times himself). The explanation comes in the episode’s biggest revelation: Death explains to Dean that he and his brother need to “Keep digging.”

In short, there’s something “about the souls,” that is of monumental importance. We’ve yet to understand what exactly, but as this episode showed, even Death’s quasi-omnipotent powers can’t control “the order of things.” I suppose there is something about a balance of souls, a situational kind of power that nobody controls.

Whatever it is, SPN has me on the edge of my seat once more. Too bad we have to wait till Jan. 28 to see the real Sam again, or learn anything new about this extraneous yet oddly compelling season.

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Inside A Game of Thrones

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

We’re a little late with this — I probably should follow George R.R. Martin’s livejournal a little more closely, but there are just too many NY Giants posts to handle — but, anyway, this is a ten minute (10!) preview of HBO’s upcoming series, based on Mr. Martin’s book of the same name.

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Zebra Imaging’s digital holographic map of Seattle

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Zebra Imaging is a spin-off from MIT’s Media Lab. In addition to making digital holographs, they have clearly invented time travel, because there’s no way you can convince me that the above technology has NOT been brought back from the future.

[via Super Punch]

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Daft Punk ride cyber steeds to video game war

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Daft Punk has just released this video to promote their new Tron: Legacy soundtrack.  And let me just say: it really outdoes itself.

What’s cooler than Daft Punk wearing rhinestone-studded jackets?  Daft Punk in Tron suits.

What’s cooler than the members of Daft Punk dueling on cyber steeds? A Daft Punk joust with lightning lances.

What’s cooler than one of the Daft Punk members turning out to be the beautiful Olivia Wilde?

Nothing.

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Cinematic concept art — “City of Exiles” by Martin Kalimukwa

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

I love this simple flyover of a futuristic cityscape set against a haze-covered ocean and an ochre-tinged sky. It was created by amateur digital artist Martin Kalimukwa, 20, who hails from Lusaka Zambia.

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Inside The Walking Dead episode six, “TS-19”

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

AMC has been kind enough to release a behind-scenes look at the final episode of the series’ first season (warning — the vid contains SPOILERS).

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Indie game Techno Kitten Adventure will kill you with cute, and mutilate your body with techno

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Xbox indie developer xMONOx released Techno Kitten Adventure back in September and — amazingly — it has not become Xbox Live’s top selling game in that time. Even more amazing, a cursory search on Google News reveals that the game has NOT caused thousands of seizures in children across Japan. Huh. (Jump to the two minute mark — that’s where things get crazy).

Find it on the XBLIG channel for 80 MS points ($1).

[via DIYGamer]

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Virtual J-pop star pushes genre to new heights of artifice, annoying

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

The number one factor contributing to my descent into madness this week is “the world’s first virtual diva,” Hatsune Miku. In case you don’t keep up with the steady flow of crazy oozing out of Japan (I admit it’s quite hard—one person can only handle so much) allow me to inform you of what I’m talking about, and maybe you too will wake up tomorrow morning singing nonsense songs about vegetable juice.

Hatsune Miku is a synthesized singer from a Japanese music program called VOCALOID. Basically, you can buy this music composition software, make up your own songs, and then get this robot voice to sing them. The first time I encountered Miku, I had no idea her voice was a robot. Sure it sounded artificial, but what pop music doesn’t these days? I’m not making a value judgment here; I’m just saying that this is the direction we’ve been headed for a while now.

Screen cap from Hatsune Miku video PoPiPoThe cool thing about Miku is the so-called “democratization of pop music.” The Japanese pop music scene is (if you can even imagine it) even more of a commercialized, capitalist machine than the music scene in the US. Think back to the late nineties boy band thing, where companies were picking up pretty boys and throwing them into random groups with horrible names, and then extend that absurd concept into infinity and you will have an idea of Japanese pop music. I mean this group has 48 members for fuck’s sake. So the fact that regular nerds sitting in the dark with their computers can make hit songs is pretty cool. They can then post them to a website like Niko Niko Douga and have other nerds animate videos for their songs, and it turns into one of those neat collaborative experiences that is native to the internet. Now, I’m not saying this is some awesome communist utopia enterprise, because it’s obviously still making a shitton of money for some executives at Yamaha, but it’s still kind of neat.

So anyway I’ve been researching this phenomenon for my own morbid curiosity, and in the meantime have come across some of the most irritatingly catchy music I have ever heard. You know the kind of mind-destroying poppiness that only Japan can produce? Well Miku seems to have taken this concept to whole new heights. Check it out at your own discretion—you might be singing Levan Polka for like a year after this.



And this last one is from her “live show,” which is just crazy. CRAZY.

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A lego recreation of the first Star Wars movie set

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

At the Eurobricks forum, poster Yatkuu has posted a collection of pictures showing his LEGO rendition of the set of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

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Click through to see the whole post, and all the pics.

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