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Wednesday, May 25, 2005  

Mining the Well
I had so much fun imagining what the directors that were suggested to helm more Star Wars films would do in Lucas' sandbox that I just had to write up some log-lines for films that will only ever exist in my head.

Robert Rodriquez directs a roto-scoped adaptation of Dark Horse Comic's "Dark Empire" with Nick Stahl as Luke and Michael Madson as Han.

Peter Jackson's "Star Wars: Galactic Darkness" is an epic adventure set in the Old Republic before the fall of the Sith and follows a cadre of Jedi Knights in their quest to combat Exar Kun and his legion of Dark Jedi.

Bryan Singer adapts the videogame "Dark Forces" and cronicals Kyle Katarn's adventures fighting the empire.

David Lynch tells the strange and dark tale of a mysterious woman who falls in love with a passing star-pilot in the Mos Eisley cantina.

In a daring re-imagination of "A New Hope" Jean-Pierre Jeunet casts Audry Tautou as Princess Leia and delves the untold story of how Leia acquires the plans for the Deathstar and of the forbidden love she fostered with an Imperial Officer.

Sam Raimi's sparse tale of paranoia and treachery onboard a damaged rebel blockade-runner asks the question, "How far will a group of rebels go to save themselves?"

David Fincher's "Highwaymen" tells the story of a daring smuggler and pirate plying her trade along the Imperial trade lines, stealing from the Empire and supplying the rebels alliance.

From the director of Election and Sideways comes, "Homecoming:" a young and worldly Twi'lek dancer with Max Rebo's band returns to her family's home town for a rare performance but finds the community she left is resistant to accept her return.

Tarantino's "Jedi" borrows heavily from the mass-produced Japanese samurai films of the 60s and places a new filter on the Jedi's role as galactic police when a group of knights tries to bring down a powerful and well armed crime syndicate before they can pull-off the ultimate heist.

Tarence Malick's "Clone Wars" is a gritty epic covering the years between Episode 2 and 3 told from the perspective of a squad of clone troopers on the front lines of a manufactured war.

posted by JMV | 5/25/2005 11:06:00 PM

Super-Jumbo Edition
1) Where do you go to get THE BEST cheese burger?
2) What is your "special hangover cure?" (alternately share your
favorite "home remedy" for whatever ails ya.)
3) What as the last thing you wish you had bought, but didn't. What
was the last thing you bought and wish that you didn't?
4) What director would you like to see make/remake a Star Wars film?
5)What is the worst part about being an “adult?” What is the best part of being an “adult"?
6) What has been your greatest cinematic disappointment?
7) (from Andrew:) What song from a band you love makes you cringe with embarrassment?

posted by JMV | 5/25/2005 09:50:00 AM

Tuesday, May 24, 2005  

John Digs
he Long Tail, both that site and the underlying economic theory. Who would have thought John would get into economics? But the long-tail is where economics meets the internet, where distribution isn’t a hindrance to the niche markets, where zero-sum becomes infinite-sum and where mainstream looses all meaning. The long tail is the next revolution in consumerism and it is where the smart kids are going to be making LOTS of $$$.

Star Wars Visual Dictionary these books are so phenomenally geeky. They cover all sorts of great minutia about the stuff you see on screen (like Dooku’s boots are made from Rancor leather!)

The New Weezer. Sure, it’s no Pinkerton, but it is a catchy, smart disc from the geek-kings of Emo.

Epson Picturemate. This diminutive photo-print really fills in the whole in digital photography. It can spit out fantastic 4x6 prints with indelible and waterproof ink (I’ve tested) in just a couple of minutes for less that 30 cents each. It has USB, a built-in card reader, and optional Bluetooth modules for all your connectivity needs, and it works great over a network went connected to a print-server.

posted by JMV | 5/24/2005 11:28:00 AM

Sunday, May 22, 2005  

Radiohead fans take note: May 28th the "NEXT" (an off-shoot of Showtime) is re-running a fantastic Radiohead live show at 3:35am. The show was taped during the Hail to the Thief tour and is really an amazing document of their live-show. So check it out it you can.

posted by JMV | 5/22/2005 08:08:00 PM

Saturday, May 21, 2005  

Running Tab
While I sit on the fence about Episode III I thought I'd post a list of what my friends from 'round the 'sphere thought of it (links to their reviews.) In no particular order:
Julie: Really liked it.
Matt Holohan: Hated it.
Meli also hated it, but didn't post a review...
Chun Liked it.
Paul: Loved it (a lot.)
John F: Loved it.
Brad (links to a 3rd party LJ's comment section): Hated it.
Iason: Liked it.
Andrew Liked it.
Catherine Loved it.
Did I miss anyone?

posted by JMV | 5/21/2005 08:17:00 PM

Friday, May 20, 2005  

It Is What It Is
Well, that was quite a movie. I’m still digesting it, and I don’t really even want to try and commit my thoughts to a post yet, but I will say I enjoyed the film and that it elevated the other 5 films. Some will (and have already) disagree with me, decrying the films stiff acting and laughable dialog. I really don’t feel like arguing the weak spots in the film and script. Revenge of the Sith is a very uneven film; it certainly would have benefited if Lucas had given the reigns to another director. That said it achieves the main-point of giving Anakin’s fall the gravitas that it deserved and filling in some of the holes in the logic of the series. It certainly has flaws, some worse than others, but it also has some really great moments. More thoughts to come…

posted by JMV | 5/20/2005 12:16:00 PM

Thursday, May 19, 2005  

Today is the Day
Just about 4 hours until our screening of Revenge of the Sith and I’m so very excited. We don’t have to line-up before the show thanks to the arclight’s awesomeness, but we are going to try and get to the theater a half an hour early so we can check-out the light saber duels that are being staged in the courtyard of the theater throughout the night. So excited…

posted by JMV | 5/19/2005 04:33:00 PM

Wednesday, May 18, 2005  

Midweek Quiz, All Star Wars Edition
1) Who/what is your favorite non-speaking/supporting/cameo character?
2) What color would your lightsaber be?
3) The coolest vehicle/spaceship is...
4) On what side of the great Clerks Deathstar debate do you agree with.
5) Ewoks or Wookies?
6) What is your favorite Star Wars related memory?

posted by JMV | 5/18/2005 12:01:00 AM

Tuesday, May 17, 2005  

Do Your Homework
Wikipedia's in-depth Star Wars entries. I especially like the info on the star-ships!

posted by JMV | 5/17/2005 09:29:00 PM

Monday, May 16, 2005  

Revenge of the Sith
Originally uploaded by OctopusHat.

Can you feel the excitement? The hype-machine is reaching critical mass and I for one am completely caught-up in it. I mean it is friggin STAR WARS!! And the final chapter of a sage begun some 30 years ago. I don't care what you think of Episode I or Episode II this is a whole different beast. Even if the film is sub-par and horribly botched by Lucas it is still a momentous event in pop-cultural and cinematic history. We will soon witness the birth of the greatest villain in the history of cinema.

I've been trying to compose a post about the legacy of Star Wars and what it means to me for weeks now, but it is just too big, it runs too deep into my core to easily distill into a weblog entry. Some of my earliest memories involve AT-ATs and Yoda and C3P0 alarm clocks. I am, at the center, the very image of the geeky Star Wars fan. I may not have a storm-trooper costume or Empire tattoo but I'm still pretty heavily invested in the mythos. (Which isn't to say I think Lucas is infallible but Iâ??ll certainly give him the benefit of the doubt.)

Anyway, the point is the last Star Wars film is happening this week and I feel like a kid on Christmas eve. Even the marketing onslaught (with the exception of the "Yoda wants my diet Pepsi" spot) is exciting to me. Iâ??m such a rube that Iâ??ll buy cheese-its just because Vader is on the box, and they will actually taste better to me. So if you are one of those ppl who are too-cool-for-school and have jumped on the hatin' bandwagon or have anything to say that isn't, "I'm so happy to be alive now because I actually get to see the lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan and Vader." then fuck-off and don't harsh on my vibe.

posted by JMV | 5/16/2005 02:30:00 PM

Friday, May 13, 2005  

Best News All Day week
New Radiohead Album.

posted by JMV | 5/13/2005 12:10:00 PM

Wednesday, May 11, 2005  

Der Kommissar
Fear the jack-booted quiz, for it will goose step into your hump-day and leave you wanting more.
1) Name one of your favorite bands, your favorite album and song from that band.
2) Do you always get your hair cut by the same person? Why?
3) What was the last article of clothing that you bought?
4) What is the best thing about your job (besides the obvious pay-check)?
5) Do you own a PDA (what kind)? Do you USE it? Do you use it to the point where your life would unravel if you lost it?
6) What question should I ask in next weeks quiz?

posted by JMV | 5/11/2005 11:04:00 AM

Tuesday, May 10, 2005  

John Digs:
My new Tuesday feature! Links! Micro-reviews! It is better than Coffee! (ok, that is a lie. It isn’t better than coffee, but it is better than decaf. A place for me to toss all the stuff that I've been meaning to get to, but haven't yet... First up:

I saw this film over the weekend on DVD after missing its ever-so-brief theatrical run last year. It is a (very) indie sci-fi feature about invention and time-travel, and the film was produced for a mere $7000 (on 16mm film no less!) If that figure means nothing to you then let me assure you it is stupidly small; almost inconceivably so. Not that a miniscule budget is any reason to praise a film, but the spirit and passion that went into its creation IS and the writer/director/producer/DP/star’s passion for his story is clearly evident on the screen. Not to mention the story is engaging and surprisingly tight for a time-travel film of any budget. I highly suggest checking it out, it may not be a film for everyone, but I want somebody I know to see it so I can talk about it with them.

The Bravery
I’ve been spinning this disc (actually that is a lie, I bought the album off iTunes, so there is no disc involved) for about a month now, and I’ve been meaning to write about it for just as long. The album is yet another shot in the volley of new-new wave (nu-wave? Nuevo wave?) bands that have been flooding the scene lately, and it blends the garage-rock-revival and new wave sounds in a way The Killers only wish they could. This would be the quintessential summer album if it had come out 3 months later, but considering how often I play it I’ll burn-out on it long before the dog-days are upon us. Still it is worth checking out, especially if it is still on sale at Best Buy for the absurdly low price of $6.99.

43 Folders
Oh man, I’ve been meaning to praise this site here at the Hat for months now. Mac-centric and geek oriented, 43 Folders is a clearing house for life-hacks, personal productivities systems, organizational tricks, and workflow management techniques. “Hints from Heloise for the Geek Set” as it’s author, Merlin Mann, says. Check out the FAQ then hit the archives.

iPhoto 5’s Slideshow Feature
iPhoto is one of my favorite apps on the Mac, and with the release of version 5 things just keep getting better. My favorite new feature is the improved slide-show interface which allows you to create slick and touching slide-shows, complete with music, transitions, and the always impressive “Ken Burns Effect, quickly and easily. Coupled with the video-out on my powerbook running to the TV it has made viewing the explosion of digital pictures on my hard drive a much more enjoyable event far beyond browsing the library or flipping through a photo-album. (and for thsoe of you on a mac w/ iPhoto 5 here is a handy tutorial on slideshows.)

posted by JMV | 5/10/2005 09:43:00 AM

Monday, May 09, 2005  

Mmmm Whisky
Turns out that whisky isn’t just for fighting in bars anymore. It also fights Cancer! Take that you stuffy wine-drinkers! Now somebody pour me three-fingers worth. Mondays are a bitch…

posted by JMV | 5/09/2005 11:07:00 AM

Saturday, May 07, 2005  

Spectatorship, Auteur Theory, and Dialectical Montage
Do those terms excite you? Am I weird because when I read about that stuff and I get all warm and fuzzy inside? I have a really skewed perspective of what the average person knows/should-know about film theory. And while my readers are categorically above average, I'm very interested to know what you think about it. Everybody that graduates high-school on a college-preparatory tract has a pretty solid grounding in literary theory and critical thinking, but at least my high-school experience had next to no film theory. And yet I'm willing to wager that 99% of teens spend a lot more resources on cinema than literature. As adults when we are presented with social interaction the first topic of conversation is often movies (or is this just an LA thing?) and yet few people (even in LA) know how to discuss film. Am I in the minority for wanting to have informed conversation about the dominant art-form of our time? God forbid I drop "Mise en scene" in casual conversation and get branded a film geek (or worse yet, film snob.) Do people who spent their college years pursuing a degree in something far more useful that Film Studies understand that term? I really have NO idea, but I think that is is important.

The point of all this is while film PRODUCTION is really the most exciting thing to me, film THEORY comes in as a close second. If it didn't involve 5+ years of crushing poverty, followed by decades of equally crushing debt I would be very happy to return to the scholarly pursuit of film-as-art because I truly believe that more people need a better understanding of film theory. So I'm counting on all of you, dear readers, to quickly stop me if you are disinterested, or feel that you know all that you need to know in this area because I've been working on some ideas and as it stands I'm going to use you as my guinea pigs.

posted by JMV | 5/07/2005 01:33:00 PM

Friday, May 06, 2005  

Spiders in my Shoes
Well, boots actually. Yesterday I went to put on my favorite pair, which I haven’t worn in a while, and the insides were crisscrossed with a fine lace of spider-silk. My head was still fogged with sleep, and I was behind the pace for a punctual arrival at work so I half-heartedly swabbed the insides out with an errant sock and wrestled the boots onto my feet, all the while thinking, “this is a great metaphor for …something.” This confluence of nursery-rhymes seemed to inform my whole day and I kept seeing strange connections between things.

posted by JMV | 5/06/2005 05:51:00 PM

Wednesday, May 04, 2005  

Quattro De Mayo
1) When at work, do you go out for lunch, order in, or brown-bag it?
2) Who would you cheer for in a fight between Batman and Superman?
3) What is your standard drink-order for the first-round at a bar?
4) What songs, genres, bands, etc to you most like to get-down and boogie to?
5) Why do so many stand-up comics die a tragic (and often drug-related) death?
6) What was the last album you purchased (or stole, or borrowed-and-ripped)? What do you foresee being the next? Anything you are particularly looking forward to?

posted by JMV | 5/04/2005 11:47:00 AM

Tuesday, May 03, 2005  

uhg. Work has been really. REALLY busy the past few days. And not that good kind of at-least-the-day-goes-by-quickly busy but rather the it-is-raining-shit-and-broken-glass busy where you can’t make any headway through the rising tide of tasks that keep-on piling up. So I haven’t gotten around to posting any of the pictures from Julie’s birthday celebration. I hope to get to that tonight.

posted by JMV | 5/03/2005 03:07:00 PM
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