Things of note for the week ending June 27th, 2014. (sorry it’s late)
1. Paper Later
Discovered via my friend Robbie last night (who had just taken delivery of his own copy). PaperLater is a super neat and super retro way of enjoying the articles that you save to your ‘read it later’ app of choice, e.g.: Pocket or Instapaper).
What it does is, for £4.99, pull all your saved-for-later articles, lays them out in a decent format, print them up on sustainable / recycled newspaper, and then delivers the whole thing to your door.
The beta is UK only for now and you can sign up right here.
2. Petit Tube
Like Forgotify before it, Petit Tube is a website that celebrates the esoteric content of the internet. In this case, bringing out the very best (or worst) of YouTube by digging up those videos that have zero [or close to zero] views against them. This is deep exploration of the the long tail; here be dragons.
Seriously super random.
3. Phases in Mobile
A characteristically great post from Ben Evans. This week, using the TV ads of the past ten years to analyse how much the face of the mobile consumer space has changed since 1994.
Zero to 2bn customers in ten years. What will the next ten bring?
4. Facebook’s ‘Experiment’
This story landed two days ago and it is spiralling like crazy. If you’ve not read about it yet, start with Marginal Revolution and click, click, click from there. This will not go away quickly.
5. Superman: DOOMED.
This isn’t an item about Superman. Well, it is. But that’s not what I mean. Guillem March is an artist working in comic books today. He uses his blog to demonstrate the process of creating, amongst other things, covers for different books.
2. How Broadway has changed
Alec Baldwin has a semi-regular column over on the Huffington Post and he is, in my opinion, one of the smartest and sharpest writers I’ve read in a long time, and a huge advocate for the arts. Yes he can be an offensive loose cannon but, from time to time, I enjoy him. You might too. This piece from last year, on why and how Broadway has changed so much is a great case in point:
A critic’s job is to evaluate two things: what you are attempting to do and how close do you come to pulling it off. Highbrow, lowbrow, Shakespeare, Williams, movies like The Hangover, movies like Lincoln, they all deserve the same fate. If it’s trash, then call it. But is it good trash or is the bar too low? Then call it. Is the piece ambitious and groundbreaking? Factor that in. But never say “why bother?’
3. The man who hugs LIONS
This video, from those epic makers and takers, GoPro, was published in November last year but for some reason only started to go viralget popular over the past week or so. If you’ve not seen it, it features Kevin Richardson – aka ‘The Lion Whisperer’ and… y’know what? Just hit play and see if you don’t end up watching the whole thing. It’s incredible viewing.
If you want to find out more about this work, or make a donation to help preserve the habitat for the animals in this video, you can at Kevin’s Lion Whisperer website. Give a little, it helps a lot.
4. Awesome Street Art is Awesome
Found via ‘10 street art images you need to see‘ – to me, the above is just so pure; the colour, the stance, the casuality of it all. It’s just perfect. Weirdly, it reminds of this punk girl I used to date back in college. I wonder where she is now.
5. DOOMED The story behind the it-was-so-bad-it-was-never-released(-but-wait-that-was-the-plan-all-along) 1994 version of THE FANTASTIC FOUR, is looking for support to help tell get the documentary put together.
Things of note for the week ending June 29th, 2012
1. Amazing Superman Art is Amazing Part painting, part sculpture; this pixelated masterpiece is just marvellous. It’s almost as if Kal-El has been made up of those tall buildings that he famously leaps in a single bound. I like.
2. Visit England
England lose on penalties. For more on our culture and traditions go to visitengland.com 😉
3. A 3D mapping project of the London Underground I found this the other day and immediately forwarded it to my friend (and avid London Underground blogger), Annie Mole. She blogged it, naturally, but I couldn’t help myself either.
There’s only a limited amount of stations you can view at the moment (as they’re being built from public drawings, plans and memory only), but it’s still worth seeing if only because you get to see why the Victoria to Bakerloo change at Oxford Circus (above) is just so darn quick.
4. The Star Wars that I used to know
This is especially timely as me and the girl are currently revisiting the series and, given the other half’s limited knowledge of said saga, we’re viewing them in MACHETE-ORDER.
Machete order makes perfect sense. In the mean time, and/or if you need any further justification, watch this epic Star Wars music video… which is just so good.
….so so so so so good.
5. Six terrible movie decisions (that gave us great movie moments)
There’s a few here that I knew already, but The Empire Strikes Back stuff is fairly cool (telling you exactly why Han was – SPOILER – frozen in carbonite at the end of the film, for example). That, combined with finding out why ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is such a Christmas classic makes this list worth a look.
*I don’t know why that’s a bonus thing of note this week, it just is. I was super-excited about it, but that seems to have worn off. Perhaps it’s the over-egging of the pre-release pudding. Maybe I’ve seen too much of the all-new, all-shiny amazing one himself… Maybe I’m just not as taken with it as I thought I’d be… *shrug*… watch this space.
No, not a goal line score from their last match up, more an amazing discovery of a whole bunch of cutting room floor footage from Superman IV.
You’ve all seen Superman IV right? If you haven’t you’re not missing out on much; I touched upon it recently as being ‘by far and away the worst of Reeve’s tenure‘ – and I stand by that (it’s still good though).
If you have seen it, then you’ll recognise the chap on the right above as Nuclear Man, the brawn created by Supes’ arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor.
However, on a recent journey around the more geekier corners of the internet, I happened upon an amazing nugget of footage that I never knew existed. Apparently, the Nuclear Man we know and love recognise is actually Nuclear Man V2. Version 1 was originally in the film too, and Superman (as you’ll see very shortly) disposed of him easily – hence Lex Luthor going back around a second time and coming up with v2.
Thing is, v1 was eventually cut (I can’ think why) and we only ever knew of v2.
What the HELL am I talking about?
Watch for yourself –
Just when you thought Superman IV couldn’t get any worse, right?
I’m just… lost for words.
Seeing Christopher Reeve as Superman is probably the earliest film memory I can muster and, although the fourth installment in the series is by far and away the worst of Reeve’s tenure, I still get chills when I remember my Dad surprising me with a cinema trip when we were off out to visit one of his building sites:
“Dad! Dad! Look!”
“What is it son?”
“That cinema! Look! They’re showing Superman IV!”
“Are they? We best go and see it then.”
It was planned. He knew what he was doing. Site trips were nothing new and going around with Dad in his truck was always great. There just happened to be some building works next to the cinema where we were (already) headed and I thought they were his.
As I’m sure my 9yr old self would say: it was brill.
Between then and now, on the TV front at least, we’ve had the quite frankly terribleLois & Clark as well as the up and down (but mainly up) ten seasons of Smallville.
Set in a world where Superman III & IV never happened, Superman Returns is pitched as taking place five years after the events of Superman II. In the original Richard Donner cut of Superman II, scientists discover that Krypton might still exist. Upon learning this, Superman sets out to find his home; a process that takes – you guessed it – five years.
On his return, things have certainly changed. The world has moved on, Lois is with someone else and oh, there’s the small issue of her son as well.
It’s no secret that I am a comic book fan and, on top of that, a film lover also. More often than not, when discussing these two subjects in unison, the conversation eventually arrives at Superman Returns: without doubt, one of the most divisive films I’ve ever come across. People either love it or they hate it.
I love it*.
First up, we need to talk about the fantastic effort that director, Bryan Singer, put into tying this film back into the previous four two. From digging out old footage of Marlon Brando as Supes’ father, Jor-El, through to embracing that score – this truly is an extension of the Superman canon that I (and by all accounts, Mr Singer) grew up with. However, to build this out successfully, you need more than just a few nods to the subject matter’s celluloid history – you also need a decent cast.
Let’s turn to the star of the show himself – Superman. Brandon Routh is terrific as a modern day Kal-El and at times, especially when he’s in costume (as Clark Kent – thank you Bill), it’s like he’s channeling everything that Christopher Reeve first brought to the character and more. The strength, the weight – it’s all perfect. Swell, in fact.
Next, the city of Metropolis [yes, a city can be a character – and in this instance, a very important one at that]. This isn’t Gotham City, there’s no need for darkness here. There’s a timeless romanticism about Metropolis that Singer manages to capture while still maintaining the fresh feel of a latter day thriving and futuristic city of tomorrow. The Daily Planet may be a newspaper from the 40s, but stuck in the dark ages they ain’t.
Which leads me to Luthor, Lex Luthor.
Revisiting the Superman films of old, you realise that Gene Hackman’s interpretation is good but not brilliant. He captures Lex’s mania quite well, and his villainy too – but the darkness that drives the character forward seems to be missing (and perhaps there’s a little too much humour for my liking too). This is where Kevin Spacey’s take steps up – you can see the twisted anger behind the eyes, the obsession with land (another carry over from the first films) is once again apparent, but this time driven with an undying urge to kill Superman. There’s a part, in the final third of the film where he manages to inflict genuine physical pain upon our hero and… well, it’s just plain nasty. Good job.
Someone is missing… and this where things aren’t exactly perfect. I set out to write this post as the final word on my defence of Superman Returns but, whenever this discussion is played out in the pub, there is one big elephant in the room that, when we realise it’s there, threatens to destroy every and any argument that SR is any good: Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane.
I mean, literally, the worst thing in the entire film. You could argue that the fact that the character has been given A SON probably threw the fans off a little bit but, even if you took that away, she’s simply fundamentally miscast.
There are two arguments here –
Lois Lane is supposed to be a tough-talking, no-crap taking bullish news hound. This is not the case in SR and it just feels like there was no time dedicated to the development of this character at all.
If you’re going to very clearly base SR upon and around the original films, then why ignore all of the fantastic foundation work that Margot Kidder laid out for you? OK, so her version of Lois is pretty definitive, but at least try and capture of those smarts? Please? PLEASE? No.
But seriously (and back to the point), Kate Bosworth aside, Superman Returns is a bloody good Superman film.
Alright you could moan that there isn’t enough action, and yes you could bitch about a certain plot device that seems to go against everything else that’s been set up before, but what would be the point? Sometimes it’s nice just to sit back and enjoy the view – and Superman Returns gives us that by the bucket-load. Steeped in nostalgia and soaked in a soft-focus vision of what a world could be like if Superman was real – it deserves a second look, easily.
“Well, I hope this experience hasn’t put any of you off flying…
Statistically speaking, it’s still the safest way to travel.”
Man of Steel is just over a year away and very soon we’ll have a new Superman to marvel at (and pick over). But, for now at least, go and give Superman Returns another look. It really isn’t that bad at all.
And finally.. for the fans out there…
If you followed the film during its shoot, there were rumours of a hugely expensive ($10m!) exploratory ‘Search for Krypton’ opener that Warner Bros cut from the theatrical release. It was denied, however rumours of its existence have long persisted and only recently – and coinciding with the Blu-Ray anthology re-release of all the films as one collection – the footage finally come to light.
A totally unscripted six minute journey through the remnants of Krypton, this pre-credits sequence would’ve set the film up in a totally different way.