Last Link of the Day: Laser Cat

If you’ll excuse me, I need to find some tape and a laser pointer…

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Paris Through Pentax

This video from Maison Carnot combines two things that I find spectacularly beautiful: Paris and a Pentax 67. It’s simple, but effective, and subtly comments on how, ever since the invention of photography, we’ve loved looking at the world through a lens.

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Before They Were Stars: Jeremy Irons on “Play Away”

It’s amusing to see Academy Award-winning actors starting out as performers on children’s shows. Much like when Morgan Freeman was a cast member on The Electric Company, Jeremy Irons performed in the cast of a low-budget British children’s television series called Play Day during the 1970s.

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Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

The Huntresses
This film is essentially Charlie’s Angels, but set in medieval Korea. A trio of bounty hunters (huntresses, I guess) working under a Bosley-type boss character get more than they bargained for when they’re hired by the king to steal a strange artifact. The story here is pure formula: the trio consist of the mouthy, energetic girl, the brains, and the tough one. They each have their own little romantic subplots, there are several action scenes and moments of slapstick comedy…you’ve see all of this before. The Huntresses doesn’t transcend its genre tropes, but it does them well enough to keep you entertained for the duration. This is a fluffy, turn-your-brain-off-and-enjoy movie, and if you like this formula, you’ll probably have a good time.
3 out of 5

The Signal
The Signal made waves on the festival circuit and gained a reputation for being a cool and unusual sci-fi film. However, I feel as though its reputation actually does a disservice to the film, because The Signal would have been even more interesting and impactful had I seen it without knowing anything about it beforehand. So that is how I’m recommending it. There are lots of neat ideas on display here, and what the filmmakers were able to do with their micro-budget is astounding. But to compare this to any other movie only draws connections where there shouldn’t be any. The Signal is cool. It will bend your brain a bit. You’ll be surprised by its twists and turns. But cleanse yourself of all expectations before watching if you want to have the best experience that you can.
3.5 out of 5

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
The follow-up to the surprisingly good Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is likewise surprisingly good and far exceeds the quality of its predecessor. Set many years after a virus has killed off most of humanity, the world is overgrown and the intelligent apes from the first movie have started their own civilisation. When an encounter between some humans and apes ends badly, dissent begins to grow on both sides and a war becomes imminent. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is notable for a number of reasons. The story is well told, and deals with a lot of shades of grey on the scale of morality. The filmmakers made some gutsy decisions, such as opening the movie with fifteen minutes of ape scenes, with no dialogue except subtitles and sign language. Most of all, though, the special effects are top notch. All of the apes look photorealistic, and the performances created both by the digital effects artists and the actors sell the creatures completely. Caesar is easily the most impressive CGI creation in years. All of these elements combine to make Dawn of the Planet of the Apes a great blockbuster movie. It poses some philosophical questions, gives us some dark moments and some lighthearted ones, and genuinely makes us believe that CG apes are real beings with real personalities and emotions. If only every summer movie was like this.
4 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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Last Link of the Day: To the Batcoaster!

This new ride at Six Flags looks utterly insane.

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It’s been quite some time since the artwork for a game has gotten me excited before any other aspect of it, but such is the case with Firewatch. The game, created by Campo Santo, has had a barebones website up for a long time, and the image on the site is just utterly gorgeous. I’ve actually used it as a desktop background already, long before any footage of the actual game had been released. It’s that pretty. Anyway, at long last, we now have a trailer for the game, and it looks very eerie and mysterious. I’m getting an interactive novel vibe off of it more than a mechanic-driven game vibe, and that’s just fine by me. Can’t wait to play this!

Firewatch is due out in 2015.

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Before They Were Stars: Morgan Freeman on “Ryan’s Hope”

If I had to make a list of actors I could never visualize appearing on a daytime soap opera, Morgan Freeman and Ron Perlman would probably be right near the top. But just like Ron Perlman in 1979, Morgan Freeman once made a few guest appearances on episodes of the soap opera, Ryan’s Hope, before he found fame.

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Last Link of the Day: Smell Test

I know that smell.

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Jeff Bridges is Nicolas Cage in The Seventh Son

What is Jeff Bridges thinking these days? He just keeps getting involved with stinky movie after stinky movie – first RIPD, now The Seventh Son! Mind you, The Seventh Son has been delayed for so long that he probably filmed it right around the time of RIPD, so maybe he’s on the upswing now and we just don’t know it yet. Anyway, this looks like tripe – or rather, it looks a lot like Season of the Witch, hence my Cage comparison – but I had a good time laughing at the trailer. Maybe you will too.

The Seventh Son comes out February 6, 2015.

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Before They Were Stars (2-for-1 Special): Don Cheadle and Jack Black on “The Golden Palace”

I honestly had no idea that The Golden Girls had its own spin-off series, but in 1992, three of the four girls (minus Bea Arthur) returned to do The Golden Palace, which showcased their wacky misadventures running a hotel. It only lasted one season before cancellation, but is notable for featuring a young Don Cheadle in its cast as the hotel manager. In addition, an unknown Jack Black actually popped up for a bit part as a taxi driver in one of the episodes.

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