Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hi, there.

Interplanetary is now available on DVD from Shock-O-Rama Cinema! Order it from Amazon.com today!

I've retired the "Everybody on Mars is Dead" blog. If you'd like to read the latest Crewless Productions and Interplanetary news, please check out the "Tacos and Beer" blog.

The official Interplanetary website is at http://www.interplanetarymovie.com".

You should probably follow me on Twitter, too.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Moving out.

Since Interplanetary is finally, you know, done, I think it's time to wrap up "Everybody on Mars is Dead" and start a new, less Mars-specific, blog.

So I hope you'll join me at my new WordPress site, "Tacos and Beer."

I'll continue to write about Interplanetary at "Tacos and Beer," of course. But I'll also be writing about other movies, like Trap's biker movie and the anthology. And I'll be covering non-movie projects (like my various bands) and gadgets and whatever else strikes my proverbial fancy.

(For up-to-the-minute Interplanetary and Crewless news, be sure to follow me on Twitter.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's really happening.

As far as I'm concerned, a movie's not really done until it is available for pre-order on DVD at Amazon.com.

Well, my friends, Interplanetary is done.

That Amazon link is pretty bare at this point. There is significantly more info about Interplanetary at our distributor's website.

A few notes...
  • Looks like our flick is being released by Shock-O-Rama Cinema, not Camp Motion Pictures as I've written previously.
  • The commentary track also features producers Stacey Shirley and John White.
  • Aspect ratio is actually 1.85:1 (which is so close to 1.78:1, I don't know if anyone will notice the difference).
  • Region 0! Playable worldwide, baby!

Be the first kid on your block to own an official Interplanetary DVD... pre-order yours today!


If you'd rather not deal with Amazon.com or the distributor, Interplanetary is available for pre-order at Buy.com, CD Universe, and DVD Empire.

Fangoria has done a little online coverage of Interplanetary here and here.

And, lastly but not least-ly, here's a positive review from DVD Verdict!

Monday, January 17, 2011

...A Movie of Facebook?

Watched on January 13...

The recently-released Social Network Blu-ray and DVD sets include the excellent feature-length making-of documentary, How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook? The only problem... from what I can tell, it isn't available for rental at Blockbuster, Redbox, or Netflix.

Still, it's well worth tracking down for students of filmmaking and David Fincher fans. I bought the Blu from Amazon just to watch the doc. After I lend it out to any interested parties, maybe I'll sell it on eBay.

Watched January 15...

Not as classy or in-depth, but worth a look for fans of 20th Century Fox's X-Men franchise, is the unfortunately-titled The Second Uncanny Issue of X-Men! Making X2. I just noticed this hour-long making-of doc was included on the X-Men 2 two-disc DVD set that I've had for years. There are several other behind-the-scenes featurettes on that set, including an enlightening "multi-angle study" of X2's Nightcrawler-Attacks-the-White-House opening scene.

Watched January 16...

There's not much left to say about the Harry Potter movies at this point. After seven of them, the mythology has gotten a little too convoluted for my taste. And I'm still annoyed they killed off Sirius Black in... whichever flick it was that happened.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is another solid entry in the series. Well, half an entry (Part 2 arrives later this year), but Part 1 ends on a decent enough cliffhanger (just don't go in expecting Han Solo frozen in carbonite or anything).


Get your week off to a great start with the trailer for a new John Carpenter movie!

How did I miss this? A new version of Handbrake (best free OS X video transcoder of all time!) was released earlier this month. And Firefox 4 Beta is now available.

This is one of the best Blu-ray covers/cases I've ever seen:

It's the Social Network Blu-ray case. Not sure if you can tell from this photo (taken with the iPhone in low light, sorry), but it's black with the movie's tagline embossed on it. It forgoes the usual floating heads... heck, it forgoes the title of the movie. Kind of reminds me of the old Beatles "White Album" LPs.

I want to try this out at some point: Recording a Skype Call for a Podcast for Free (Mac).

This looks simple enough: Escape from "web-safe" fonts using CSS.

The real problem with Google's Android phone OS. And the problem with Facebook.

Wow. If this is true, the screen resolution of the next iPad will be 2048x1536. That's a lot of pixels! (via Dwight Silverman's excellent TechBlog)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Making of Star Wars.

When I was a young science fiction fan, way back in the 1970s, I thought Star Wars was just about the coolest thing ever. But it lived mostly in my mind. Since this was a time before VCRs became ubiquitous (never mind DVD players), the only way to see any relatively current movie was to make a trek to an actual movie theater. Star Wars had a long first run and a few theatrical re-releases. But I grew up in a rural area an hour away from the nearest movie theater, so I "only" got to see Star Wars three or four times.

I had some of the Star Wars toys and a well-read Marvel comic book adaptation of the film, and I'd occasionally find some kind of Star Wars-related book or magazine at the grocery store. All that stuff was nice, but, again, it was leaving a lot to my imagination. So I was thrilled when I learned about a Making of Star Wars TV special that would air in late 1977 (I seem to remember it being on CBS, though Wikipedia says it was on ABC). I probably checked the TV Guide repeatedly to make sure I had the correct date and time, then I sat down in front of the television, hoped for good reception (we were so rural we didn't have cable), and watched the special live as it aired (no one in those days could have even dreamed about Tivo).

And I think that's the only time I ever saw The Making of Star Wars. I believe it was issued on VHS as some kind of giveaway in the mid-1990s, but I never got a copy. Even having only seen it once, I still remember a couple of things about that special: C-3PO and R2-D2 were the "hosts," and there was footage of an in-camera lightsaber effect--basically a stick covered with some kind of reflective material. And, of course, the special featured plenty of footage from the original movie, which I was more than happy to see in my own living room.

Now I have more Star Wars than I need. I have it on VHS, Laserdisc, and DVD. Heck, I think there's a digital copy on my phone. And I still think Star Wars (the original version--don't get me started on the "special" edition) is a fantastic film. But it's not as special as it was back in the late 70s, when I couldn't watch it whenever I wanted to, when seeing Star Wars on a screen, be it big or small, was an event.

If you'd like to watch the Making Of special that initiated all of this nostalgia, check out this GeekTyrant.com post. Hopefully the powers-that-be won't file a copyright claim and have the video banned from the Internet. Better yet, maybe the whole thing will get remastered and show up on the inevitable Star Wars Blu-ray set.


Want even more behind-the-scenes Star Wars info? Check out this book: The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film.

Directors Joel and Ethan Coen discuss True Grit, one of the best movies of 2010, on NPR's Fresh Air.

The iPhone is finally going to be available on a network other than AT&T. After years of rumors, the official announcement earlier this week struck me as anti-climatic. Jon Stewart, however, seems pretty excited.

You can watch Quentin Tarantino's unfinished first film, My Best Friend's Birthday, on YouTube.

And you can turn your real electric guitar into a Rock Band MIDI controller. (via Paul in the UK)

Last Exit to Nowhere has a new Escape from New York shirt.

Looks like the web video format fight is heating up as Google drops H.264 support from its Chrome browser. I'm okay with any kind of web video as long as it ain't Windows Media Video.

Get website traffic info and more at Alexa.com.

Like Andrew says, "All that anyone cares about is how good the CGI is."

When Kinder Surprise eggs are outlawed, only outlaws will have Kinder Surprise eggs. (via Stacey)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow day.

Alabama isn't really set up to deal with winter weather. So a couple of inches of ice and snow on the ground means Stacey and I have been trapped at home since sundown Sunday. Well, not literally trapped--we walked down to the Crestwood Tavern for a while last night. But the roads aren't suitable for driving.

The roads are suitable for sledding, though.


Great story over at BadassDigest.com about Hollywood's story problem--a story problem that seems to be getting worse.

If you're looking for some at-home entertainment on a snowy day, you can check out season 2 of the excellent Party Down on Netflix "Watch Instantly."

Monday, January 10, 2011

The need for speed.

T-Mobile is promising 42 Mbps download speeds on its wireless network this year. According to my math, that means you could actually access their network at max speed for about 30 minutes before you hit their 5 GB data cap and your connection gets throttled.

With a top speed of 42 Mbps, maybe T-Mobile's throttled speed is something like 6 Mbps, which would be pretty awesome for a mobile device, as that's faster than my old DSL wired connection. Or maybe they're throttling the connection down to sub-Edge speeds, which is not too awesome at all.

I'm just asking... What's the point of souping up your wireless network if you aren't really going to let your subscribers take advantage of that speed? And with wireless speeds at 42 Mbps, why am I still paying the cable company $45/month for 7 Mbps?

Watched on January 5...

It's by no means innovative, but The Fighter is a damn effective family/boxing drama. Christian Bale is getting accolades for his portrayal of the troubled Dicky Eklund, but I think Amy Adams steals the show (as she usually does). I was going to give the movie bonus points for featuring Led Zeppelin and 'Til Tuesday on the soundtrack, but that goodness got cancelled out by a Red Hot Chili Peppers song.

Watched on January 9...

It's kind of cliche to call a Pixar movie "a masterpiece" at this point, and the same can be said for a Coen Brothers movie. But True Grit is another masterpiece from the the siblings that gave us Miller's Crossing, Fargo, and No Country for Old Men, so what ya gonna do? On top of the wonderfully verbose screenplay and rock-solid cast, frequent Coen cinematographer Roger Deakins delivers amazing images of the snowy frontier wilderness.

Rio Bravo is a classic Howard Hawks western that features Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson as formidable gunslingers. John Wayne is top-billed as Sheriff John T. Chance (I think this might be where my parents got the idea for my name), and the Technicolor cinematography really pops (even on the non-HD Netflix streaming version).


Alabama Ice-pocalypse 2011 got underway last night.

Uh oh. If Roger Deakins (hey... didn't I just mention him?) is really saying "film is dead..." well, it might be time to start taking digital cinema cameras seriously. And I might never get to shoot that black and white sci-fi epic on 35mm with anamorphic lenses. As much as I respect Deakins (he's my favorite DP working these days), I'd like to check out the Arri Alexa for myself and see how it deals with quick motion and strobes/flashes.

Guitars 4 Troops is a charity that provides guitars for our military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. You can donate some cash to the cause or donate an old guitar.

DRM rears its ugly head again: How Hollywood strong-ARMed Intel and the CE biz.

Somebody is really making the iCade. Crap. Now I have to buy an iPad.

I found out about the iCade from Engadget's Twitter feed. I have a Twitter feed, too.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Here's a photo Stacey took of Delicate Cutters, one of the bands I drum for...

The Cutters will be playing in Birmingham tonight, opening up for Crooked Fingers at Bottletree. Stop by if you're in the neighborhood--it should be a fun show.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rock and roll.

I really love the Rock Band video games. They give people a pretty good feel for what it's like to play in a band without those people having to spend hundreds of hours learning an instrument and searching for other musicians. Plus, as a drummer, I can tell you that playing Rock Band drums on the "expert" setting is very close to playing an actual drum kit.

So I wasn't too surprised when Trap, after getting a taste of Rock Band drums, asked if I'd loan him my backup kit (an old Slingerland kit, which still sounds pretty great). I took it over to his place Tuesday night and helped him get it set up.

Happy rockin', Trap!

Another cool thing about Rock Band... if you get the Beatles version, you can play Side Two of Abbey Road as one big song. It's epic.

Watched on January 4...

Salt is a very well-crafted action thriller, and I didn't believe a minute of it. I mean, I believed the action stuff--Salt features some of the most convincing stunt work I've seen in a while. But none of the characters behave in a way that makes any sense. Except for maybe "Peabody," played by the always excellent Chiwetel Ejiofor. But all the other characters... oh, the inanity.


A frightening article about Netflix (via Andrew).

Interplanetary producer John White updated his blog right before he headed off on an African adventure.

A SyFy reality/competition show that might actually be cool.

I don't have a lot of time, but I need to get some merch ready to sell in time for the Interplanetary DVD release. I at least want to sell coffee mugs (just like the ones used in the movie!) and print and Kindle versions of the screenplay. Plus, soundtrack CDs (if the composers approve!), probably some "corporate"-style golf shirts, and original limited edition silk-screened posters.

Speaking of merch, I sure wish I could get Last Exit to make an Interplanetary t-shirt.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Just showing up is half the job.

Watched on January 3...

I'm Still Here: Joaquin Phoenix spent a year in character for this "documentary," playing what amounts to a really messed up version of himself. So it definitely gets an "A" for effort. But what was the point? Is the movie telling us all famous people are a-holes? Or is it a cautionary tale warning the audience, "don't quit your day job?"

(If you're unfamiliar with I'm Still Here, check out Roger Ebert's review and the follow-up he wrote after the movie was revealed to be a hoax.)


Cinemascope coming to your living room?

Use Firefox to convert your video to Ogg for HTML5 playback. Or brave the command line with ffmpeg2theora. (Note: regardless of settings, the former seems to create large files and the latter seems to create small ones. So I guess ffmpeg2theora is the better choice.)

Zombie or Supermodel? (via Andrew)

Since it is a new year, why not resolve to follow me on Twitter?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back on the horse.

Happy New Year, everybody. And I hope you had a good Christmas/Chanukah/Saturnalia. I spent the last days of 2010 recovering from surgery (hernia repair). Then I got the flu. So, yeah, good times.

But it's the first Monday of 2011, so it's time to get back on the horse, ready or not. I am actually excited about 2011, as it is the year Interplanetary will finally hit DVD (and VOD). Also, one of my bands (Delicate Cutters) has a new album coming out (probably around the same time as the Interplanetary DVD). And I'm planning to shoot a feature with Trap, finish up that anthology thing from last year, and write a story for non-filmic media (though I'll probably turn that story into a screenplay at some point).

On top of all of that, I'm going to try to watch more movies and blog more. Or at least mention the movies I watch on this blog. In that spirit...

Watched on January 1...

Femme Fatale: mostly inconsequential/completely entertaining noir homage from Brian DePalma.

Passenger 57: both worse (some of the dialog) and better (some of the action set pieces) than I remembered. Also: always bet on black.

Wild Wild West: didn't finish this one. It's about as bad as everybody says, though even a bad Sonnenfield movie has some visual charms.

Watched on January 2...

Cyrus: I guess Greenberg and Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World didn't kill mumblecore. Cyrus isn't terrible, but that "indie dramedy" aesthetic just irritates the hell out of me.

Stones in Exile: by the numbers examination of the making of an incredible album (the Stones' Exile on Main Street). The subject matter easily trumps the filmic shortcomings.

Poltergeist: hadn't seen this one in years. And the Netflix streaming version was cropped from 'scope to 1.78:1. Still, a fun 80s Spielberg (he produced, apparently in a very hands-on manner) flick. And I love the 80s cinematography and special effects.

If you're a Netflix fan (and you should be--at $8/month it's the best entertainment value out there), check out InstantWatcher.com. It's a great site for keeping track of what's available to "Watch Instantly."