Friday, August 26, 2011

Camera Obscura: How Steve Jobs Changed Movies; Tucker and Dale Finally Released

The impact Steve Jobs and Apple have had on technology, communications, business and more takes massive work to catalog. The Moveable Fest offers just 5 ways Jobs changed movies and the industry as a whole:

The most obvious and most important moment of Jobs’ movie career was purchasing LucasFilm’s computer division, which counted future Pixar prexies John Lasseter and Ed Catmull among its employees, for $10 million initially and continuing to back it out of pocket through the lean decade that followed to the tune of $50 million. As mentioned in Karen Paik’s “To Infinity and Beyond! The History of Pixar Animation Studios,” had the company been sold to Philips Electronics, the Pixar name would’ve been adorning medical equipment or in the service of automotive design if they had gone to GM, as it almost did in late 1985. But Jobs was content to let Lasseter and Catmull pursue their dream of creating a completely computer-animated film and as a result, we not only got Pixar, but countless innovations that would affect productions well beyond the company’s walls."

Also mentioned:

" ...
Apple democratized moviemaking for the masses, just one distillation of Jobs’ belief in how if people have the technology, they will be able to do amazing things with it. Certainly, iMovie and its progenitor Final Cut Pro (first developed by Macromedia) weren’t the first video editing software products out there. But alongside the rise of cheaply available digital video cameras, consumers finally had the ability to shape their films with ease using the same software that could be used by professional filmmakers."


After winning awards and critical praise at Sundance and SXSW, the horror comedy "Tucker and Dale vs Evil" has finally found distribution into theaters and is available On Demand too. I've mentioned the movie a few times before, so here is the new trailer to remind you that this comedy deserves to be seen.


Stephen King's masterwork, "The Stand" may get the Harry Potter treatment from Warner Brothers. News that Potter director and writer, David Yates and Steve Kloves are reviewing plans to make the huge novel into two or three films has fans talking.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

When I Twitter, It's Serious

As I wrote earlier this month, I've taken up The Twitter again, and today I did have much fun with it, but if said fun had any value, I am not sure what it might be.

It started when I saw a mention via The Food Network for readers to send in their titles for a morphed out movie and food mash-up -- the example I first read was "Frying Nemo".

So easy, I thought, firing off my first Tweet with hashtags, even (#foodmovies) - "The Texas Cuisinart Massacre". (Hashtags sounds like a food but apparently is Rather Important When Tweeting.)

Others quickly followed, "Fistful of Fritters", "Lord of the Onion Rings", "Who Fried Roger Rabbit" and I tried like hell to stop.

When The Food Network mentioned their favorites, mine, alas, was not among them. Of their choices, the only one I liked was "I Know What You Cooked Last Summer".

And all day, I kept thinking things like:

"When Harry Ate Sally" (a zombie movie)
"The Long Good Pie"
"A Clockwork Orange Salsa"
"Dude, Where's My Carp?"
"Enter The Dragon Roll"

AT&T Accidentally Tells Truth

The facts of the $39 billion dollar buyout of T-Mobile by AT&T reveal how much AT&T is willing to strangle the truth to get what they want.

An AT&T lawyer accidentally posted a letter which shows AT&T has been lying/lobbying from the get-go:

Earlier this summer 76 House Democrats were misled by AT&T.

They signed on to a letter circulated by Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) that was so packed with AT&T talking points and spin that it’s worth wondering who really drafted the letter.

In it the 76 Democrats repeated AT&T’s argument that merging with T-Mobile is the only way that it can extend its mobile network to 97 percent of the population. They also signed on to the AT&T notion that this merger will "create thousands of jobs … which will greatly contribute to our continuing economic recovery."

But here’s the rub. Neither of these claims is true.

An AT&T lawyer recently leaked a document that revealed AT&T can accomplish its network buildout for one-tenth the cost of acquiring T-Mobile. And despite AT&T’s insistence that the deal will spur job growth, the merger will cost an estimated 20,000 Americans their jobs.

Being wrong on the facts has never stopped AT&T’s relentless drive to get Washington to bless this disastrous deal. AT&T is hitting other members of Congress with the same misinformation, and the same AT&T lobbyists who misled the “Butterfield 76” are trying to drum up additional support for the merger.

AT&T’s believes that the truth doesn't matter in a Washington where fact checking takes a distant second to check writing."

Given the way the FCC and Congress and the telecommunications industry has been working, this deal will likely get approved and the consequences will be left to someone else (mobile phone users) to handle. Nothing to see here, move along bucko.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

R.I.P. Jerry Leiber, An American Songwriter

Songwriter Jerry Leiber passed away Monday and has left an enormous legacy of American music for the world to enjoy. Leiber and writing partner Mike Stoller began working while still teens and soon rocked the world with tunes like "Hound Dog" for Elvis Presley, "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King and that was just their beginning days.

Via their offcial website:

"Leiber and Stoller have been the recipients of countless awards and honors, including inductions into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But the greatest compliment to any songwriter is to have his songs recorded by the best in the business. Artists who have recorded songs by Leiber and Stoller include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, B.B. King, James Brown, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beach Boys, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Joe Williams, Tom Jones, Count Basie, Edith Piaf, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Luther Vandross, John Lennon, Aretha Franklin, and over a thousand others."

Their catalog of music continues to bring musician to the studio. Director Quentin Tarantino used a hit written for The Drifters. "Down In Mexico" for a scorching scene in his movie "Death Proof", and in "Pulp Fiction", the song "Stuck in the Middle With You" became even more astonishing, a song produced by the songwriters.

The duo made many powerful musical moments - Peggy Lee's "Is That All There Is" for one, "Jackson" by Johnny Cash and June Carter for another. Here's just one of their tunes I've always liked. .

Monday, August 22, 2011

Revolution In Libya and Beyond

The Washington Post (and others) today are highlighting this photo above, taken Oct.2010 - noting that African-Arab leaders (front row) like Tunisia's Ben-Ali and Egypt's Mubarak, all smiles with Gaddhafi and embattled Yemen leader Saleh, are smiling no more today.

Building on resident-led revolutions across these nations, rebels in Libya were aided enormously by NATO air strikes (especially in the last few weeks and days), arms supplies and troops on the ground to train and coordinate rebels.

President Obama has been ridiculed for his policies directing military actions in Libya - but the real possibility of transforming Libya into a more democratic nation is on the rise.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich writes of his deep concerns that the U.S. and it's allies in NATO have been making more war at an ever-rising cost too:

The leading donor nations of NATO – the US, France and Great Britain – have been free to prosecute war under the cloak of this faceless, bureaucratic, alphabet security agency, now multinational war machine, which can violate UN resolutions and kill innocent civilians with impunity. War crimes trials are only for losers. The prospective conquerors, the western powers and their rebel proxies, will then expect to be able to assert control over Libya's vast oil and natural gas reserves."

More battles and many more changes are likely across the region - but the results? Time will tell.