Category Archives: Film

“Blade Runner” Designer Lawrence Paull Dies



In sad news, Blade Runner production designer Lawrence Paull passed away on 10 November aged 81. Along with Syd Mead, David Snyder and Ridley Scott, he was instrumental in creating the dystopian vision of Los Angeles in November 2019. A prescient world of incessant rain, neon and murderous replicants, it’s one of my personal favourites.

Nominated for an Academy Award (Best Art Direction-Set Decoration) for Blade Runner, Paull won the BAFTA Award for Best Production Design for the film, which was based on the Philip K. Dick novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” In a statement, Scott said, “I was always struck by his staunch and faithful support of the strange plan for the unique world of ‘Blade Runner.‘”

Outside of Blade Runner, his portfolio included many successful films from the 1980s including the time-travelling Back to the Future starring Michael J Fox and jungle caper Romancing the Stone with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. He also worked on on City Slickers, W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings, Blue Collar, Escape from L.A., Harlem Nights and Naked Gun 33-1/3: The Final Insult.

Hat tip to Randy Cassingham’s Honorary Unsubscribe for the best YouTube video selection.


LP Pop Culture Remix



Movies and music have been lynch-pins of popular culture going back to the middle of the 20th century, capturing and delivering on the zeitgeist of a generation. Many films and albums have become iconic, instantly recognisable from a scene, a track or an album cover…which makes them ripe for a send-up.

Steven Lear (aka whythelongplayface) takes on these sacred cows with some fantastic mashups of film characters and album cover art. Star Wars provides rich pickings and his Instagram account is full of album covers with characters from the films inserted into the scenes. Yoda as the baby in Nirvana’s Nevermind. Leia and Han Solo in John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy. massive at-at rather than massive attack. All instantly recognisable.

 

If you click through on the revised album covers in Instagram, Steven shows both his version and the original that inspired it.

  

Star Wars isn’t the only source of material – there are remixes from all across the film and LP canon. If there’s anything you particularly like, T-shirts and posters can be ordered via http://www.whythelongplayface.com/.

All images courtesy of Steven Lear.


No Owl Post for Muggles – Harry Potter Stamps



To celebrate the latest instalment of the Harry Potter story, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the UK’s Royal Mail has announced a special set of Harry Potter stamps and other collectibles based on characters and items from the magical series. Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Neville feature on the stamps along with Hagrid, the Hogwarts’ Express and the Knight Bus from the films.

An additional miniature sheet shows five Hogwarts professors superimposed on the Marauder’s Map. Mischief managed!

The stamps can be pre-ordered now, though I’m not sure about delivery outside of the UK. Prices are UK£6.70 for a standard sheet and £10.75 for a presentation pack.

Stamp designs courtesy of Royal Mail.


Oi! I Was Watching That



bluraylogoStreaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Sky’s Now TV might have overtaken DVRs, DVDs and Blu-ray but I’ve discovered that physical discs have one major advantage…..no-one can take away the film until you’re finished watching (excepting small children and drunken relatives). 

Our family subscribes to a streaming service, and while I normally watch a film or episode in a single viewing, there are some that I don’t get through in one go, perhaps because friends call round unexpectedly (yes, I have friends). Recently I’ve twice had the experience of returning to a film only to find that it’s no longer in my queue. The first time I thought I was mistaken as I couldn’t find the film but the second time was no mistake. I was very annoyed.

Streaming services take on new content and drop old content regularly as they license films from studios and other copyright holders for set periods. I can understand this but what bothers me is that they don’t feel it’s necessary to either email or pop-up the deadline on-screen. I would have made a special effort to watch the ending if they’d dropped me an email to say, “Hey, I see you’re watching Spiderman. Just to let you know that film’s going away at the end of the month so you’ve three days to find out what happens.” How hard would that be?

Anyway, if someone could let me know if Spidey saves the world, I’d be grateful.


Randal Kleiser Films “Defrost” in VR



Defrost VRYou might not know Randal Kleiser’s name, but you’ve almost certainly seen one of his films – he directed Grease with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-JohnHis new production is called Defrost and will be debuting at Sundance.

This is the most significant interview I’ve seen at CES in 2016. Up to this point, I’ve always considered VR to be ‘super 3D’, but when I listened to Randal Kleiser with the authority he brings as a screenwriter, director and producer, I realised that we were seeing the development of a new art form; part cinema, part theatre. Undoubtedly there are challenging  technical problems to be overcome, and a good story is still key, but this is a new way to immerse ourselves in the story like never before.

Watch the interview and let me know in the comments if you feel the same way.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.
Daniel J. Lewis is the host of the award-winning podcast about podcasting, The Audacity to Podcast. Daniel helps others launch and improve their own podcasts for sharing their passions and finding success.

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Schneider Optics Interchangeable Lenses



Schneider LogoDigital pictures and cameras on smartphones have changed the photography beyond recognition in the last twenty years and the quality of the imagery is such that innovative filmmakers are using iPhones to record footage. One restriction remains and that is the lens itself; there’s only one and it’s fixed in place. There’s no swapping in a macro lens, though Schneider Optics might have a solution. Todd finds out more from Don.

Schneider Optics iPro Lens systems provides a selection of high quality optical lenses for Apple iPhones and the Samsung Galaxy S4, including macro, wide-angle, super wide, tele and fisheye. The system works by fitting the smartphone itself into a case and then mounting the lens onto the case with a bayonet connector to ensure the best possible optical alignment. The smallest offset can lead to aberrations and a loss of picture quality, which the iPro Lens case and lens combination avoids.

The iPro Lens is available now for the Samsung Galaxy S4, iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5/5S. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus variant will be on sale shortly. Lenses cost from $39 to $99, the case is $31 and there are kits available too.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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A Beautiful End To My Day



As I was going to bed last night, I checked my Moto X for one last time before heading upstairs. To my surprise, a small blue ballerina twirled across the icon dock at the bottom of the screen before rolling into a round blue ball in the corner. How could I resist? I tapped on the ball….

…and was gifted a love story brought to life through a beautiful line drawn animation called “Duet”. Delivered from Motorola’s pre-installed Spotlight app it’s the third one to be shown on the platform, using elements of augmented reality to enhance the story-telling. The short is only a few minutes long but the timing was perfect and brought the day to a peaceful and thoughtful end. Thank you.

Motorola Duet
Motorola Duet
Motorola Duet
Motorola Duet