Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cool Shit 4/30

Sometimes when a movie is bad, the people involved will apologize for it.

A really good article on what it took to catch the Boston Marathon bombers. From the Boston Globe.

Not sure if there is some sort of law that speaks to the idea that all bands who break up will eventually reunite at some point in the future; regardless I'm extremely excited for the recently announced Neutral Milk Hotel reunion. Not familiar? Here's a song...

If you're a Star Wars fan, you'll love these set photos from The Empire Strikes Back. Then, head over here for an article on how they shot the speeder chase in Return of the Jedi.

So there's this movie Snowpiercer that I'm kinda of intrigued about. It's about, well I won't do it justice so just go here. There's no release date, and no trailer. So this, to my knowledge is the first footage of it...

You can get anything on the web if you know how to use it. Silk Road everyone!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Cool Shit 4/29

I'm not sure how much these 10 spooky videos will scare you on a Monday morning, but you never know.

The (remaining) Beastie Boys are writing a memoir.

For all us wining pairing impaired, here's a handy chart the next time we're at the liquor store.

Great, I can see it now, thousands of craft sake bars popping up all over America.

Ugh. I love the article title: "Why No One Can Stop the Wu Tang," but then the article delves into reporter whining about how the Wu Tang Clan never calls him back.

I've also believed it, but now scientists are looking into whether different alcohols can make you feel drunk differently.

Well, if you ever find yourself a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, you can at least look forward to these books.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Cool Shit 4/26

In case you missed it yesterday, I shared some thoughts about The Walking Dead and Hannibal.

Take a look at these crazy photos. You won't know what's what.

Not all great movies are considered great while they're being worked on. Take these 9 for example. And then take a look at what these movies could have been like with some different choices for endings.

Wait - Hitler had a diary? No, no he didn't.

Marc Maron has a new show coming out, about a...podcast? I'm really not sure what it is.

This is a great look into the world of apples. And no matter what you think, you don't know everything about apples.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Catching up with TV: The Walking Dead and Hannibal

Life often gets in the way of the best intentions. And living in this "golden age" of television, means sacrifices have to get made. So, yes while I want to watch Justified, Breaking Bad, Mad Men and any number of other critically acclaimed shows, I find that there just isn't enough time in my life. 

Luckily for me, we also live in an age when pop culture is readily available in a number of different ways. The idea of "primetime" television is rapidly dissolving, with onDemand, web and DVD options filling the marketplace and allowing the viewer to customize his/her primetime. 

Which is exactly what I did with season 3 of The Walking Dead. 

I had no specific reason. I was/am usually home on Sunday nights when it airs. And I don't have a good explanation why I didn't stay up-to-date with the show when it aired "live," other than I missed the first two for whatever reason, and knew I could catch up all at once. 

Unfortunately, I'm not sure that was a good idea. 

While overall I enjoyed season 3 of The Walking Dead, I felt it was radically uneven; peaking and valleying sometimes from episode to episode. Some episodes were great (Clear may be the best episode of the entire series, other than the premiere, and sadly made the season peak too early for me) while some seemed simply like transitional episodes to get from point A to B. Season 3 especially felt as though it slowly crawled along to the showdown between the prison people and the town of Woodbury. We all knew it was going to happen, and as a result, episodes lost their tension. Obviously, the show has shown few, if any characters are safe, but for Rick or the Governor to have died before the finale wouldn't have made sense. 

That said, the show did what it could and I'm happy we had more to deal with than zombies. I'm not sure how they're going to continue to develop and create meaningful story arcs for the show, but then again, that's my problem. I think it definitely took a step up after a plodding season 2, but they lost their showrunner again, and I'm not sure what that will mean for the future of the series. This article seems to suggest Robert Kirkman, the creator of the series, will at least get more control, which...I'm not so sure that's a great idea. Having read the comic (at least the initial run of 30 or so books) I felt Kirkman ran out of ideas and routinely tried to top himself with cheap gimmicks and absurd premises. It also got extremely bleak - way bleaker than the show has been - and that's saying something. So, while news that Scott Gimple, the writer of Clear, is going to be the new showrunner has some promise, I don't think giving the Kirkman more control is the best direction. Time will tell of course. It seems the public eats up zombies, regardless of the quality of this show. 

Another show I have caught up on is Hannibal airing on NBC. Starting at the beginning of the long sordid tale of Hannibal Lechter, this series aims to tell the greatest untold story of the Hannibal universe: how the man was caught. Now, entrusting such a juicy narrative to NBC to shepherd doesn't sound like a great idea, it seems, so far, that we're in capable hands. Hannibal's showrunner, Bryan Fuller seems not only like he knows what he's doing, but how to do it. 

Basing a show around serial killers is tricky. I've watched my share of Criminal Minds, and agree with Mandy Patinkin's take about the boundaries (or lack there of) that show. To show and develop new and different types of evil week after week, with no sense of morality or closure (I'm speaking more to the idea that every episode is going to trot out new evil, not that the people solving the crimes are evil or immoral) to me, got very boring very quickly. I've never seen Dexter but have a hunch that it works because Dexter, while being a serial killer has a code of morals (from what I have heard at least) and at least the majority of his killing is other bad people. This at least gives the viewer a moral compass to clutch onto while watching and justify the murders of people. 

Hannibal too has a fine line to walk, as it deals with not just one serial killer, but other cases the FBI's Behavioral Unit investigates. In fact, the show revolves around these cases, and has, to date, put the Lechter character off to the side, as a supporting story. But so far the show isn't simply about catching a serial killer...it's about what it takes to catch a serial killer and the trauma and pressures and emotions of the people behind the catching. Will Graham, the central figure of the show, is an emotionally damaged, possibly mentally ill person who happens to be good at "getting into the mind" of depraved individuals. This talent takes its toll on Will. With other shows, that might simply be in the three sentence blurb describing the show before he goes off willy nilly, guns-a-blazing to catch his latest target. But on Hannibal, it's a significant chunk of the show. In the three episodes so far, Will is a fragile individual, and not your typical hero whatsoever (It doesn't hurt that the actor, Hugh Dancy, is playing the shit out of him).

And notice I haven't mentioned Hannibal Lechter yet. That's because, while the show is named after him, it isn't about him. At least not yet. Fuller has done a great job utilizing Hannibal to flesh out Will Graham and to build suspense. I think Fuller knows that we, as the audience, already know Hannibal, and therefore don't want to see yet another story about how he is what he is, or how he became what he is. Because there's enough other material that already came along that did all that. So Hannibal can be more effectively used as a tool here to establish the other characters. 

Do I have concerns? You betcha!

While Hannibal has been judiciously used so far, it's only a matter of time before he gets some more playing time. And with the way Mads Mikkelsen plays him, while creepy and understated right now, I can definitely see some scenery being chewed on in the near future. Which is fine if it isn't a well they continually go to often. It's one thing to chew scenery in a 2 hour movie. It's quite another to do it in an ongoing television series. 

(This next part delves into some spoilers, so if you haven't watched yet, do it now and come back!) I'm also not sure what to think about Lechter involving himself in the one murder investigation. And by "involving" I mean carrying out a copycat murder and then helping a teenaged girl cover up a murder of her own - it seems a little excessive so early on. Now, can I talk myself into thinking he did it because he was testing Graham to see just how good of an investigator he really is? Yes, yes I can. But I feel like they may be moving just a little quickly, and would rather see some of these reveals develop a little more slowly and organically. Of course, they never came out and actually showed Lechter to be the copycat murderer, so I guess there's wiggle room, but...

They style Fuller uses on Hannibal is also something different than what us broadcast television viewers are used to, but that shouldn't be that much of a surprise coming from the creator of Pushing Daisies:

And yes, the show is violent and gory, but no much more so than some of the cable series from the recent past, nor is it any worse than FOX's The Following, a show that shows exactly how not to do a story about a serial killer. And again, the violence holds an additional weight with the characters on Hannibal, so none of it feels cheap or sensationalized.

So, if nothing else, I hope you at least check out Hannibal. I do feat that my enjoyment of this series will send it quickly to cancellation, just as my love for Life and Rubicon did.

Cool Shit 4/25

When comedians attack...each other!

Full admission (as though what I'm about to say is juicy - which it is most assuredly not) there's a not so insignificant chunk of me that would like to participate in the Iditarod. That my chances of making that happen are probably slim, reading this article about it is probably the next best thing. (Also, it's got a really cool interface, if my admission didn't hook you.)

Good lord, this guy had a lot of time and Legos.

A month to go before new Arrested Development episodes. Here's a look at some new character posters just released.

Here's a video of Tilda Swinton dancing to a Barry White song at Eberfest 2013. Pretty sure there's nothing more I can add to that.

(Really I just added this hoping someone would find this blog by searching "Tilda Swinton dances to Barry White.)

Ever wondered what it would take to recreate the roof scene from the original Matrix on a no $ budget?

And finally - before you insult the police for pulling you over, take a moment and recognize everything they have to deal with. At least it wasn't a panther...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cool Shit 4/24

Super excited to see the new Iron Man movie? Excited enough to think about building your own Iron Man suit? Hope you've go some cash lying around.

Throughout the years, there have been some weird video games made.

Sure, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I think when it comes to music, original artists might think royalties are slightly better.

Summer is always a huge movie season. Here are 33 titles to look out for in 2013.

Perhaps we won't go out with a bang, or a whimper, but rather a rip.

I know someone who is addicted to Sky Mall, which...yes, well. If nothing else, she would most likely score 100% on this test. Which is something.

Insane Werner Herzog quotes. #4 is now my email signature.

I'm not sure why anyone would suggest this is the worst movie trailer. I want to work with these guys.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cool Shit 4/23

I'm not going to lie, I'm a sucker for a good conspiracy theory. Emphasis on the good. What I can't stand are theories that start off great, but then have no payoff - as in what's the end game? Sadly, that's where most of the conspiracy theories fall apart. Example, the ones swirling around the Boston Marathon bombings.

(Note - I also find it interesting that people see the government being able to pull off these highly elaborate plans on the one hand, and are able to silence the hundreds, and sometimes thousands of people that were in on it, but then on the other hand accuse the government of being incredibly inept. I really wish they would just pick a side)

Currently unemployed? Why not try murder for hire in Medellin?

Awesome video of an avalanche/landslide taken by a rock climber.

Avalanches de printemps by Spi0n

If you maxed out at 5 for the amount of types of shovels you know about, you're most likely stupid.

R.i.P. Mr. Havens...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cool Shit 4/22

Is sherry the next hip, popular drink? And what the hell is sherry anyway?

Sometimes, fictional cities can be way cooler than real ones.

Anthony Bourdain, and the relationship he has with his producers, on all his travel shows.

Good grief do we spend a lot of time worrying about morning news. Specifically the Today Show. I guarantee I could produce a ratings winner. GUARANTEE.

Hammocks are awesome!

Daft Punk! New Song!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cool Shit 4/19

Donal Logue has been around the Hollywood block.

A decent breakdown of BBQ and what it means in different places in the U.S.

The history of Sriracha.

Genius is so very close to crazy.

I know its easy to hate Chuck Palahniuk; it's the cool thing to do. Thing is, I enjoyed his earlier books, and think Survivor is a great novel. Sure, I believe as he continued writing his ideas and plots became very similar, but that doesn't change the fact that he wrote some interesting fiction.

A cuban spy?

This sport exists and I still can't 1 Foot/2 Foot Football off the ground? Or Watermelon football?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cool Shit 4/18

Just when I thought I've been completely been desensitized to the Internet, it somehow reaches back and gets that extra 2-3 mph on its fastball and shocks me once again. In a world filled with false hyperbole, I think this is one of those rare occasions when "worst" is used appropriately.

While I enjoyed this 8 minute "diatribe" by Patton Oswalt on Parks and Recreation, I also believe I could do a similar job. Now, I have no training in improv whatsoever and am probably stupid for thinking that, but I DO know I have a plethora of useless knowledge to call upon should the moment ever arise.

I simply appreciate that someone out there saw a problem like this and came up with an app that could solve it. Soon, cousin fucking will be a thing of the past!

Audition tapes of famous people before they were famous auditioning for the roles that made them famous.

Gleaning all you can from a bomb.

New trailer for a movie called R.I.P.D. Something something zombie cops fighting the dead. Just assume a complete rip off of Men In Black. I predict this movie will fail miserably.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cool Shit 4/17

If you're looking for some adventure, and really don't mind not coming back, you could sign up to go to Mars.

New trailer for the upcoming Superman movie...

Cool video showing how simple light changes can affect a person's appearance.

While I don't think this will help you understand it better, this graphic will at least let you see which movie uses which specific time travel theory.

Ghostface Killah has a new album coming out. And GQ has a track by track breakdown of it! (If you had told me 15 years ago I would ever write that last sentence I would have run off and become a monk. And yet here we are.)

I always enjoy lists of banned books and the reasons given for their banning, simply because in the span of about 30 seconds, I can walk into a library and find a dozen books with way more questionable subject matter...books I had easy access to as a child. Let's say for example - the bible! Scandalous!

The Violent Femmes was my first concert, back in, oh probably 1989? 1990? And even then the band was fairly old. In the next few years after that I saw them at least 2 more times...maybe 3. The early 90s are a little smoky for me. Anyway, back when I was in college, their debut album was THE college album; the one album you could assume every dorm room had a copy of. I couldn't tell you why really...possibly the salacious lyrical content, or perhaps the rhythmic, simplistic tribal nature struck a chord deep inside. I'm not sure what today's goto college album is, but I'd bet whatever it is, its generation can't sing the songs like Generation X can to The Violent Femmes debut. And now it's 30!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cool Shit 4/16

I am generally not much of an emotional person. No excuses, it's just the way I am. But one thing that will get me every time is the standard trope of the unordinary acting extraordinary. As in, the story from yesterday that marathoners, upon finishing a race of 26 miles, a grueling test of endurance in which it is not uncommon for your nipples to bleed or for you to defecate as you run, went to hospitals to see if they could donate blood. Or the story of this man, who was at the race to honor his two deceased sons, and found himself administering triage to victims with blown off limbs.

Those are the stories that will always get me.

And will always remind me no matter what evils there are, good can and will triumph.

A quick summary of interesting things that happened at Coachella this past weekend (a huge outdoor concert in San Francisco). Sad to hear about the Violent Femmes appearance.

A good old fashioned murder mystery, from one of today's premiere non-fiction writers.

Is there too much good television on right now - and will that ultimately hurt it?

There are a roughly a billion awesome things in this story about Kobe Bryant trying to become a rapper. I'll let you discover them on your own.

Sounds like if you can get over the fact that the movie will have nothing to do with the book, World War Z could be enjoyable.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cool Shit 4/15

It takes a certain amount of hubris to believe that just because your ideas worked at one company, they can work at another company. Especially when those two companies don't share much in common. Is anyone else kinda annoyed by this? Just because you might have struck something cool at Apple in their retail sector doesn't mean it's going to work at JC Penney. In fact, it might actually do just the opposite.

Irvine Welsh, the writer who wrote Trainspotting, also wrote a novel called Filth, which I would call the Scottish equivalent to Bad Lieutenant. Anyway, here's a trailer (NSFW)- it remains to be seen if the tapeworm makes an appearance (read the novel):

Here are a lot of words about David Lee Roth, a man who has seen many an adventure in his life. And to his credit, I'm still not sure whether his actions and decisions come from his curiosity or a need for attention.

Dear Slo Mo Guys, despite your best intentions, your video of exploding paint is still interesting and cool to see. However, in the future, please light your set a little better, storyboard it out first so you know what your doing and remember, no one is watching the video for your banter. Thanks!

The new season of Arrested Development is just about 6 weeks away. Here's are interviews with Buster (Tony Hale) and Tobias (David Cross) to keep you moderately satisfied until then.

A great look at the history that was the failure of a movie called Super Mario Brothers.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Cool Shit 4/12

So east coasters, get ready for the cicada orgies this summer!

Terrance Malick (a film director if you don't know) apparently is pretty divisive when it comes to opinions about his films.

Just in time for summer, your own mead-making kit! From Williams & Sonoma of course, but what else screams "ancient, most likely awful tasting alcoholic swill" than them?

Spotify is awesome if you're music fan, and now it can be awesomer with these tips and tricks.

I'm a huge Ricky Jay fan, so I'm excited about this documentary on him. You may recognize him from his acting turns in David Mamet films, but he's also one of the best magicians around.

An in-depth look and breakdown of sampling in the music industry.

I can only strive to have a cool moniker such as, "The Mountain Man of Southern Utah."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cool Shit 4/11

A couple new looks at the new Arrested Development promotions.

Books you might not know that have sequels.

New Zealand is cool. Time lapse videos are cool. When you put them together, you have double cool.

A look at Star Wars action figures as though they were from a Russ Meyer film. Commissioned by Patton Oswalt! (Really, I have no idea what's going on)

There were some weird television series spin-offs through the years.

What's that, you say? You wish you could take existing Google Street View photography and create your own time lapse movies? Well, ok.

Here's an example of what the hell I'm talking about:

Ok. Where to begin with this one...it's a documentary called Sirius - which is not about the satellite radio company but: well, I'll just offer you the first line of the movie to help explain it:

"The existence of UFOs has been known for millennia..."

And from there, it only gets crazier. Seriously - each frame of this trailer is crazier than the previous one.

April 22 can't get here fast enough.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cool Shit 4/10

We're becoming the "all things Alec Baldwin" blog! Today's news: NBC might be considering him for late night television.

Aside from the effects, I thought District 9 was overrated. It's smash you in the face racism analogies didn't leave any room for nuances, and the second half of it played more like a bad Rambo sequel. So I don't have too much hope for Neil Blomkamp's new one, Elysium. But I'm sure there are people out there who are...

A look at what made Cheers arguably the greatest sit com of all time, and 10 episodes that prove it.

I bet a guy with a horrible personality but a big penis funded this study.

Listen, we all have our sexual quirks. Some people like physically toned women. Some like masturbating to women while driving at 90 miles an hour with their penis out the window. Who am I to judge?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cool Shit 4/9

If you're a Ron Swanson fan, these 18 quotes will make you chuckle. And if you don't know who he is...for shame.

It comes up at least twice a day for me...how difficult is it to dissolve a human body?

If you have enough money, you can make your dreams come true and spend an evening with Alec Baldwin. I assume that's everyone's dream, right?

The Bounty was a tall ship that found itself in the middle of Hurricane Sandy. How did that happen?

Are The Walking Dead and Toy Story essentially the same thing?

A look at the "20 year plan" of the Wu Tang Clan. They're smarter than you.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cool Shit 4/8

An oral history of Jurassic Park.

Louis CK fan? Howard Stern fan? Then this interview is for you!

Every few years or so, someone writes about Bill Watterson (the creator of Calvin and Hobbes) and how he is a recluse. Here's the 2013 version.

The story of how R.E.M. decided to break up. Full disclosure, I don't think I enjoy one R.E.M. song.

Abandoned mansions are cool!

This might be the worst article I've ever seen about Battle of the Network stars. Devoid of the nuances and emotions that made this show brilliant, it barely lays out any facts whatsoever. Please, if you would like to learn more, check out this summary of what Battle of the Network Stars was REALLY about.

Ok, but this photo gallery of the Battle of the Network Stars is pretty cool.

This story about Robert Parish and college basketball is crazy. It's one of those things that's barely spoken about (probably because of the legal ramifications and the idea that sometimes, people choose things over money).

Friday, April 5, 2013

Cool Shit 4/5

Only in America. The strange, sordid, sorry tale of Don King and his rise to the top - and his tumble to where he is now.

Talking with Louis C.K. and what it's like to be him right now.

The complicated balance between shark and surfer, and how each affects that balance.

I don't know... paying to be fake kidnapped doesn't sound appealing to me, and I wish we got a little more background in this story, aside from the experience. I want to know if business is good. The price also sounds a little low for it. I just don't think I could ever get around the fact that the whole experience was fake. I might pay someone to try to kidnap me. Make it more of a challenge for both sides.

A look at good trailers to bad movies. Of course, none of those trailers can meet the sheer brilliance of this one!

Coke Floats Trailer - watch more funny videos      

Kickstarter to make this fucker?

And finally RIP to a man who changed the way I watched movies, Roger Ebert. Let's celebrate him by reading this insane interview he did with Lee Marvin.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cool Shit 4/4

Has the Gate to Hell been found? Hope so, I can finally write a beginning to my movie script!

For Lord of the Rings fans and other curious folk...a translation of a Russian novel that tells the story of the ring from the perspective of Sauron. You can download it for free here.

Awesome photos taken at exactly the right time.

It was Mr. Alec Baldwin's birthday yesterday. Enjoy:

So it seems like May 26 is going to be an all nighter for Arrested Development fans.

Hannibal premieres tonight at 10 - the "prequel" of sorts to Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs. It's kind of difficult to set expectations. The novels Red Dragon and The Silence... by Thomas Harris were fantastic, as were the original movies (I'm talking about the Chris Elliot Red Dragon movie and not the Edward Norton one). But then the Harris got a little loopy, writing sequels and prequels and whatnot, and then movies based on those were uneven and well now, here we are - probably at some of the most intriguing source material (potentially how Lechter was caught), and we've got to watch it unfold as a television series on NBC. Such a strange trip we've taken, no? Anyway, here's a trailer for the show:

(2 asides - one: How unlucky is Will Graham to be sent to a serial killer psychiatrist for a psych exam while he's investigating serial killers? and two: Anyone else appreciate the "meta-ness" of having a Hannibal ad run before the Hannibal trailer on Youtube? Dear NBC: perhaps running an ad for ANOTHER show would be slightly more beneficial.)

I make no excuses for being a Huey Lewis fan; back in the 80s and today. Guy knows what he's doing and puts on a great show. And now, we get to see another side of him and recognize he has a good sense of humor about himself. Though, if you've never seen American Psycho, this might not really resonate for you...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cool Shit 4/3

Here's a neat little breakdown of popular conspiracies and the # of people who believe in them.

A look at what the skylines of cities would look like were there no light pollution.

Start planning now, because when you watch what will happen when the sun goes out, you're going to want some extra light.

New trailer for This is the End, the movie that stars all the movie stars playing themselves during the end of the world...

And yet, the inventors of these silly things are probably rich.

When regular television shows suddenly go science fiction.

Jam of the Day: Miracle Mile - Cold War Kids

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cool Shit 4/2

A look at the top 25 least visited countries. These are the kind of lists that get me itching to travel.

So, is Pabst Blue Ribbon really a blue ribbon holder?

I wouldn't normally share a link like this, but I found the title amusing, and the fact that it was in GQ of all places, even better. So, here's your chance to catch up on what's been going on with the TV show Castle. Because I'm sure there's a huge audience clamoring for this information.

We take it for granted, because after all, it's garbage. But someone has to deal with it.

It's gotten to the point that April Fools has become the biggest web "holiday," in that everyone has to one up one another with silly jokes. Here's a few that you may find semi-clever.

I'm not going to say I'm shocked that an investigation into athletes' charities has uncovered some suspicious activities.

Ever hear of the Dale? A futuristic car from the late 70s that has an "interesting" backstory.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Cool Shit 4/1

Enjoy these pictures of outer space. Deep, deep outer space.

When solo acts break up the band.

Yes it premiered last night, but here's a quick guide to what's happening with all the characters in Game of Thrones.

Sure the series finale script from Breaking Bad was stolen, but that's not the first time it's happened.

A look at Quentin Tarantino's favorite movies, and how they possibly may have influenced him.

I mean, there comes a point when we, as a society, simply have to say "that's too hot." Right?