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.
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/.
Sadly Peter Botwright has passed away last week after a lifetime of providing leather costumes and goods to the film and entertainment industry. Hard-core Indy fans will know of his work, but for the rest, Peter made Indiana Jones’ iconic leather jacket for Raiders of the Lost Ark and Last Crusade.
Designed by Deborah Nadoolman, Peter made up fourteen jackets for Raiders based on a modified James Dean pattern. There’s a good write-up of the full circumstances around the jacket over at IndyGear, with some additional background at TheRaider. Peter’s company Wested Leather continued to make replica jackets but the website is down as a mark of respect. In addition to Indiana Jones, he’d worked on Das Boot and both the Bond and Mission Impossible franchises.
Peter’s passing was announced on Wested Leather‘s Facebook page and the business hopes to continue once affairs are in order. I’ve personally bought a few leather items from them (not an Indy jacket!) and I can thoroughly recommend them.
Asked to name an industrial designer, most Apple lovers will come up with Sir Jonathan “Jony” Ive, designer of iconic products such as the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Go back a few decades, and it was Braun and Dieter Rams that were synonymous with industrial design. From coffee makers and toothbrushes to calculators and radios, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen or used one of his designs.
Rarely seen in the public eye, there’s a fantastic opportunity to learn more about this great designer, famous for his “Ten Principles for Good Design“. Film director, Gary Hustwit, is recording a feature-length documentary about Dieter Rams which is currently looking for funding on Kickstarter. The director has previously produced Helvectica, a documentary about typography and Objectified which looks at the relationship between objects and the designers behind them..
The project has already reached its target of US$200,000 with another two weeks to go. There’s some cool rewards (including your own private screening with the director at $5,000) but a $15 digital download is more reasonable.
To underline Dieter Ram‘s significance, there’s a trail that goes from mid-century modern straight through his work to today’s designs from Apple and Ikea. If you want to understand the consumer products you buy now, this is a must-see documentary….though you’ll have to wait until 2017.
You 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-John. His 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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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.
Incredibly, it’s been 21 years since the first commercial SMS text message was sent, and appropriately the message was, “Merry Christmas”. It was sent from Neil Papworth to Richard Jarvis on 3 December 1992 but it was a little one sided as Richard’s phone didn’t have a keyboard to reply on. I know how Neil must have felt as I never get a reply from my parents when I text them either….
To celebrate the amazing advances in technology since then, LG are showcasing their latest mobile devices at a pop-up cinema this weekend at Westfield London, UK. Instead of the silver screen, cinema-goers will be able to watch the latest films on LG’s G2 smartphone and the G Pad 8.3 tablet. Between 13th-15th December, the pop-up cinema will feature luxury seats, buckets of popcorn and the latest films in the palm of your hand.
Now showing is LG’s premier smartphone, the G2, featuring a 5.2″ full HD screen and tiny 2.65 mm bezel, giving owners a larger screen in the same overall dimensions.(Don’t you love the juxtaposition of imperial and metric units?) The IPS display keeps colours accurate and clear, perfect for the latest blockbuster.
But if that’s too small, the new G Pad 8.3 is step up from the usual 7″ tablet fare, with an 8.3″ screen to enhance the cinematic experience. The 1920 x 1200 WUXGA goes beyond full HD and the 1.7 GHz quad core processor makes sure that the G Pad keeps up with the action.
LG have partnered with Sky TV, to bring Now TV to their range of Smart devices and visitors to the cinema will be able to view a selection of the latest films using the Now TV app, which is available from Google Play.
If you are still wondering what to get your loved one and you are near Westfield London, pop round and munch some popcorn at the LG pop-up cinema. Apparently it’s near the Disney store….that’ll keep the kids quiet for 10 mins.