Inside Industrial Light & Magic's virtual reality lab

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Industrial Light & Magic’s Experience Lab (ILMxLAB) is a newly-formed supergroup of artists, engineers, sound designers, and storytellers prototyping the future of interactive, immersive cinema for Lucasfilm. Over at Bloomberg Businessweek, I wrote about my visit to the xLAB where The Force is quite strong:

"The way we do technology development here is really hand-in-hand with the creative goals,” says (Lucasfilm CTO Rob) Bredow. “The R&D is always in service to the story.”

For example, to port the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars film universe into the interactive realm, the Advanced Development Group engineers first had to figure out how the VR hardware could render the massive 3D model in just milliseconds, compared with hours or days for a film shot. Then Skywalker Sound built a surround system that realistically rumbles and whooshes as a Corellian starship should. Meanwhile, game designers and the storytellers hashed out the most compelling way for a Jedi-in-training (you) to battle an army of Stormtroopers with a lightsaber.

"THE SUPERGROUP REMAKING STAR WARS AND JURASSIC WORLD IN VR" (Bloomberg Businessweek) Read the rest

Watch Jurassic Park, the delightful nature documentary

A feel-good film for the whole family. (Mashable)

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Review: 'Pee-wee's Big Holiday' (loved it)

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Last night my eight-year-old daughter and I enjoyed Pee-wee's Big Holiday. This is a fantastic return for Pee-wee Herman, and Paul Reubens has done a masterful job. Pee-wee's charm, innocence, and awesome moral compass are still keeping him out of trouble, despite a cast of delightfully troublesome characters that pop up along the way.

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Movie scenes before CGI effects often look very odd and ridiculous

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Above, "Game of Thrones" before the computer graphics.

Guardians of the Galaxy:

Pirates of the Caribbean:

Life of Pi:

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse:

See more at Design You Trust. (via Neatorama) Read the rest

Read Gene Wilder's feedback on Willy Wonka costume concepts for the 1971 film

After Gene Wilder saw early sketches of his costume for the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, he had some strong opinions to share with director Mel Stuart. From Letters of Note (via Dangerous Minds):

July 23rd

Dear Mel,

I’ve just received the costume sketches. I’ll tell you everything I think, without censoring, and you take from my opinion what you like.

I assume that the designer took his impressions from the book and didn’t know, naturally, who would be playing Willy. And I think, for a character in general, they’re lovely sketches.

I love the main thing — the velvet jacket — and I mean to show by my sketch the exact same color. But I’ve added two large pockets to take away from the svelt, feminine line. (Also in case of a few props.)

I also think the vest is both appropriate and lovely.

And I love the same white, flowing shirt and the white gloves. Also the lighter colored inner silk lining of the jacket.

What I don’t like is the precise pin pointing in place and time as this costume does.

I don’t think of Willy as an eccentric who holds on to his 1912 Dandy’s Sunday suit and wears it in 1970, but rather as just an eccentric — where there’s no telling what he’ll do or where he ever found his get-up — except that it strangely fits him: Part of this world, part of another. A vain man who knows colors that suit him, yet, with all the oddity, has strangely good taste.

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Dire Straits' "Walk of Life" is the best ending to any movie

Above, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Below, "The Graduate," "The Shining," and "Star Wars: A New Hope." Many more at The Walk Of Life Project" (via WAXY)

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See Spiderman in the new Captain America: Civil War trailer

I like how cartoony Spidey looks but he's got nothing on his late-1970s predecessor seen below.

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Movie cuts and transitions 101

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I enjoyed learning about match dissolves, cross cuts, jump cuts, fades, and many other movie cuts and transitions. The video uses examples from famous movies. Read the rest

Trailer for The Internet Wants, when the big hotels use psychopaths to disrupt Airbnb

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Indie sf movie kingpin Jim Munroe writes, "Ever wonder how the Hilton and the Marriott families feel about Airbnb? What would happen if the heir to a hotel chain empire gets fed up and decides to rebrand the sharing economy... as the scaring economy? A concept trailer for a new tech-horror webseries called THE INTERNET WANTS by Postopian Pictures, the guys behind HAPHEAD and GHOSTS WITH SHIT JOBS." Read the rest

Movies aren't just for rainy days

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Rain isn't the only reason to stay in and watch a movie.

Here is a list of films appropriate to watch based on the weather:

Overcast: Das Boot

Typhoon: Das Boot

Earthquake weather: Das Boot

Inter-stellar event: Night of the Comet

Santa Ana winds: Das Boot

Nor'easter: Das Boot

Derecho: Das Boot

Drought: Chinatown

Hail: Das Boot

Sleet: Das Boot

Raining Cats: The Cat from Outer Space

Raining Dogs: Reservoir Dogs

Heatwave: Das Boot

Cold snap: Das Boot

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Jason's Guide to Movies for Various Life Events

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Bad News: Das Boot

Ugly break up: Das Boot

Tired after a long day: Das Boot

Party at my place: Das Boot

Depression: Das Boot, Uncut miniseries version

Divorce: Das Boot, Directors Cut

Lost a pet or family member: Das Boot, German TV miniseries

Wrong party wins election: Das Boot

Registered to vote: Das Boot

New child is born: The Last Starfighter

Dentist appointment tomorrow: Das Boot

Taking over a Federal Wild Life Preserve to demonstrate whatever: Team America, World Police

Birthday, yours: Das Boot

Birthday, mine: The Magnificent Seven

First day of school, K-12: Das Boot

Jury duty: Das Boot

Road trip: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

I am sure there are more. Read the rest

Crowdfunding "The Haystack": an independent documentary on surveillance in the UK

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Edward Snowden said that Britain's spies have "some of the most extensive surveillance powers in the world," and those powers are about to be dramatically expanded if the Snoopers Charter passes Parliament. Read the rest

Review of Michael Moore's "Where to Invade Next," a movie about people being good

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Jon Schwarz, a former Moore staffer, reviews Michael Moore's first movie in six years, "Where to Invade Next," which Schwarz calls Moore's "most subversive movie." Read the rest

Laura Poitras's Astro Noise: indispensable book and gallery show about mass surveillance

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Laura Poitras is the Macarthur-winning, Oscar-winning documentarian who made Citizenfour. Her life has been dogged by government surveillance and harassment, and she has had to become a paranoid OPSEC ninja just to survive. Read the rest

The hyperviolent sport of Rollerball in Sports Illustrated, 1975

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The original Rollerball (1975) is a fantastic dystopian science fiction film in which corporations run the world and crowds go crazy for an ultraviolent sport called, you guessed it, Rollerball. (Watch the movie trailer below.) Just before shooting wrapped up, the movie teams played the game for real (apparently with less blood) for an audience of thousands at Munich's Olympic Basketball Stadium. Sports Illustrated covered the chaos for its April 21, 1975 issue:

(Director Norman Jewison... was delighted that the game devised for his film turned out to be one that can be played in earnest. "It can be played, if it's played with very strict rules..." he said on the set. "But it is still a very violent game, though maybe no more so than football. There is a gladiatorial aspect to rollerball that frightens me."

"Rollerball" article from Sports Illustrated (via Reddit, thanks UPSO!)

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Miles Davis biopic trailer and interview with director/star Don Cheadle

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Don Cheadle directed and stars in Miles Ahead, the film portrait of the jazz legend that opens in theaters April 1. How did Cheadle get the role? Well, he never auditioned or even talked to anyone about it before he was cast. Rather, Miles's nephew Vince Wilburn declared that Cheadle would play his uncle. Entertainment Weekly interviewed Cheadle:

The film jumps around, but the main thread of the plot is set around 1979. Why did you chose to focus on that time period? Just the fact that he wasn’t playing. The fact that he hadn’t played for five years, up to that point, and in a way, was either chomping at the bit to figure out what to say again, if to say again, or he was going down towards death very quickly. He was standing on that knife’s edge at that point, and I don’t think he even know which way it was gonna go. So for us, when we got to the period in all the research about how Miles didn’t play for five years, we were like, “What?” [Laughs] That was the part that was the most interesting from a human being standpoint to me. Musically and what he did with his art form was amazing to me all the time, for the most part. But for me, as a human and an artist and someone who’s a creative person, what happens when you just stop for five years? That’s why we picked that moment to sort of be the departure point: him on the verge of talking again, basically.

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Kickstarting "Uprising - A Post-Apocalyptic Robot Comedy"

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Ben Hansford writes about his Kickstarter campaign for a short film called "Uprising - A Post-Apocalyptic Robot Comedy,"On the surface it's a comedy - but at its heart it's a story about me (an idiot man-child) becoming a responsible father. It's also a one-man show, with me doing all of the development, production, post, and visual effects on a shoe-string budget. But most importantly, Uprising is my chance to do my film, my way, with my friends and family by my side." Read the rest

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