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November 24, 2009

'The Abyss' — Good warmup for 'Avatar'

James Cameron's 1989 film preceded by five years the beginning of a 15-year journey to next month's "Avatar."

I vaguely recall seeing "The Abyss" a long time ago but the only thing I remembered when I watched the special edition on DVD the other night was the spectacular "water faces" special effect.

So it was for all practical purposes a brand-new film to me which I hugely enjoyed, even though some might find its length in the 1993 special edition (171 minutes) off-putting.

But isn't that why they invented DVDs, so you could stop the movie whenever you wanted to take a break or finish it the next night?

I read a whole bunch of reviews online before deciding whether to watch the original 1989 theatrical release (143 minutes) or the later edit.

Most of those who offered opinions and had watched both iterations said the longer one was better because the story made more sense in that version, so that's what I chose.

You can't always simply figure the director's version is better: for example, I thought "Blade Runner" in the theater was better than Ridley Scott's director's cut at home on DVD, even though the added footage in the latter made the story much more comprehensible.

But then, that film on the big screen with serious sound is a completely different experience from watching at it home, even with great gear.

But I digress.

Here's why "The Abyss" is worth $10.49:

1) Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio are just excellent as a once-married, now-estranged couple forced to work together in an extremely high-risk deep-water environment.

2) The underwater sequences and special effects are superb, especially a spectacular undersea chase to the death by manned submersibles, one manned by a Navy SEAL gone berserk with high-pressure-induced psychosis.

3) Cameron's efforts to recreate life inside deep-water habitats and vehicles are so effective you feel like the room you're in is part of their structure. The attention to detail makes your awareness of just how dangerous and subject to instant, unexpected catastrophe are these places harboring human life and an artificial atmosphere separated by only a metal shell from crushing pressures and temperatures.

4) The acting and the action are compelling enough that even without the discovery of an advanced non-human intelligent species living deep in the sea driving the story, it would still be a rattling good show.

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November 24, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Human Being T-Shirt

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Created by matt901, who "... graduated from the internationally renowned University of Spurtnip in 1968...."

Hey, that's what it says on his website so it must be true.

Right?

Flautist?

Bueller?

Anyone?

[via Milena]

November 24, 2009 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Low-Rise — Peter Root's Staple City

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Wrote the artist, "Low-Rise is a precarious assemblage of thousands of free-standing stacks of staples densely tesselated to create a city-like mosaic. Like a city, the staples are subject to the elements, on a micro scale. The slightest breath or vibration and the domino effect kicks in."

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Staples and mirror; 180cm x 80cm (71" x 31").

[via Ubersuper and Milena]

November 24, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Money to Burn Candle — Episode 2: Designer Jason Nocera speaks

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This just in from the protean creator, less than 48 hours after this past Sunday's Episode 1:

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Like the man said, a buck cheaper ($4.98) right here.

Tell Jason I sent you for a special surprise....

Still the Official Candle of Ini Kamoze:

"Money to burn baby, all of the time"

November 24, 2009 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Washington Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli needs to read bookofjoe

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I'm doing what I can to help the hapless MSM giant (full disclosure: I've been a daily subscriber for over 26 years) but it insists on continuing down the path to oblivion.

Latest signpost: in the paper's recent redesign spearheaded by Brauchli, much was made of how it's now realized the importance of directly connecting with its readers.

To that end reporters' email addresses now appear at the end of their stories.

Except online — where you'd be most likely to respond via email.

The email addresses appear only in the dead tree version.

Click on the names online and you're taken to the virtual principal's office (below)

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to fill out a gumption trap form (below)

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which may or may not ever be seen by the reporter addressed.

FAIL.

November 24, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it?

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Answer here this time tomorrow.

November 24, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Paper so beautiful you can't cut it

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That's precisely the dilemma Andrew Ferren found himself in this past summer after he bought some hand-painted paper at Madrid's De Papel.

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In his words, from a July 5, 2009 New York Times story, "... with scissors in hand, I couldn’t make the cut. The paper, an orderly arrangement of concentric turquoise and cobalt circles limned in gold and white, suddenly seemed like a brilliant modern redux of the bold blue-and-white Iznik pottery prized by the Ottoman sultans for centuries. It was too perfect to consider sacrificing even a strip of its loopy forms and is currently at the framer being put under glass."

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Montse Buxó i Marsá, the Catalan artist who made the paper (her work is pictured above and below), numbers among her principal clients "... an international coterie of artisanal bookbinders who make their living dissecting her work. 'I’ll sell several sheets to a binder who plans to cut them up for a specific project he’s working on, but when I come back a year later, there they are hanging on the wall in his office.'"

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Wrote Ferren, "Recently some bookbinding clients have quietly asked her to lower the quality of her work or to start selling the sheets she considered inferior, she said, because her inventory has become too beautiful and too expensive for their cutting and pasting purposes."

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"'There is no one else making papers like hers,' said María Cerezo of De Papel."

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Want to see something spectacular?

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Here's a link to a 79-page monograph about the artist featuring some 70 examples of her work.

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Simply breathtaking.

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It took me forever to choose the exemplars featured above.

November 24, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Robolamps — by Robert Matysiak

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The Croatian artist (below)

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uses plumbing supplies

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and light bulbs

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to create

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his compelling lamps.

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Bonus —

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they're for sale (€40-€110)

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directly from him:

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robolamp01@net.hr

[via reddit and Milena]

November 24, 2009 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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