“The Office” has churned through essentially every imaginable station of sitcom-related public opinion. It has been the ill-advised adaptation of a British classic; the clear and tired rehashing of something we’ve already seen; the surprisingly solid, decent-but-not-great sitcom missing a few pieces; the very, very good sitcom built around a likable burgeoning movie star; the great sitcom of the moment; the show that is on the decline; the sad, former shadow of its former self; the beloved institution; and, finally, the show we’re going to miss, even if we stopped caring about it a few years back. Continue reading
Genuine knowledge gained through hard work and a keen intellect is not a MEME. We all have instant and constant access to the infinite range of human understanding, and it doesn’t mean anything because we wouldn’t even know what to do with it if we found it. But here comes a dude who actually does, and that, it turns out, is the neatest thing of all.
This Gabe Delahaye post at Videogum about the great Neil Degrasse Tyson, and about how Neil Degrasse Tyson isn’t just a great astrophysicist and a prominent museum director and a popular Internet guy but how he is also just a guy who knows lots of things, is really terrific.
(The post is vaguely tied to the news that Neil Degrasse Tyson will host Seth MacFarlane’s “Cosmos” reboot, which was first mentioned in 2011 and which was re-confirmed this week. If you were curious.)
Vin Diesel chatted with Entertainment Weekly about the “Fast and the Furious” movies and “Riddick” and other things, and because he’s Vin Diesel he said some amazingly modest stuff about how Facebook became FACEBOOk because Vin Diesel used the site to talk to his fans. (I’m going to excerpt this at length, but again, you can read more over at Entertainment Weekly.)
So! Vin Diesel is the star of the “Fast and Furious” movies. He also has a lot of Facebook fans. Let’s dive in:
You’ve developed a big following on Facebook. What do you attribute that to?
Did you ever see the movie Social Network? Do you remember what they said the reason was to make Facebook?
To meet girls?
YOU GOT IT!
Let’s pause and appreciate Vin Diesel shouting “YOU GOT IT!” at the interviewer while discussing “The Social Network.” Continue reading
Here’s the first trailer for “Gravity,” the highly-anticipated Alfonso Cuaron movie about two astronauts (played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) trapped floating in space after their space station is damaged. It’s really just about two people isolated in the middle of nowhere and what happens, only the middle of nowhere is the unending abyss of space, which is a horrifying concept if you stop to think about it. The trailer masterfully sells that idea, while giving us just enough of the plot and the mood without telling us too much about how the story progresses.
Cuaron’s last movie, “Children of Men,” came out in 2006. It was very good, as Cuaron’s movies tend to be very good, and it featured several prolonged sequences without any cuts. These scenes are technical nightmares to stage and shoot but are phenomenal to watch, and Cuaron is reportedly planning on similar scenes for this film. I mention all this to say that it’s been far, far too long since a new Cuaron movie landed. “Gravity” arrives in October.
I used to approach this period on the TV calendar with quite a bit of apprehension (the kind of apprehension where I knew it was just about TV shows, not about anything of any actual personal or material importance, but a kind of apprehension nonetheless), because typically, most of the shows I like have always been either on the bubble or on their way out. There’s no real reason for this. I don’t intentionally eschew shows with big ratings or anything. We can’t control what we like and what we don’t like, and when it comes to television — a medium where, if you opt to watch a show as it airs, you’re deciding to commit yourself to a certain numbers of hours each year (unlike, say, watching a movie or listening to an album, where the time commitment isn’t so large) — the vast majority of shows fail, so the odds of you happening to find a new show and realizing it’s for you and that show being renewed repeatedly are fairly slim.
In recent years, as most of the network shows I watch have either wound down or become unwatchable, this has been less and less of an issue. Most of my favorite shows — the shows I feel like I have to see — aren’t on the broadcast networks. The shows I liked on the broadcast networks this season are, for the most part, ending on their own (“30 Rock”) or are safely returning (“New Girl”). There are shows I used to like, and those became poor shadows of themselves (“Community” and “The Office,” which is also ending). There are really only two shows on the so-called bubble I really wondered about: “Happy Endings,” a delightful live-action cartoon that remains in limbo (though I’m oddly confident in the reports that it will be picked up by USA), and a show that I really like and highly recommend but also a show that is just very entertaining; and “Parks and Recreation,” the best show on network television for a few years now. I like “Happy Endings.” I love “Parks and Recreation.” And so the fact that NBC has opted to bring it back for a sixth season is just terrific.
Sure, the Miami Heat throttled the Chicago Bulls by 37 points on Wednesday night to even the semifinals at 1-1, and that’s great and I’m sure somewhere else on the Internet someone is discussing just what it all means (it just means that the Heat and Bulls are tied at 1-1, and also that when the Heat get into an offensive groove they are essentially unstoppable, and oh also based on all of the technicals and the ejections the rest of this series will probably be nothing but calm and placid basketball with lots of friendly repartee between the teams). Me, I’ll just be over here staring at this picture taken when Joakim Noah was ejected, trying to figure out the secrets of the universe. [UPDATE: Good lord, her real identity is somehow crazier than anything I imagined.]
I’ve written before about David Foster Wallace’s 2005 commencement address at Kenyon College (of course, so has half of the Internet). It’s a really great speech and even if Wallace isn’t your particular brand of whiskey, I highly recommend giving it a read.
But if you don’t feel like reading it, perhaps you’d enjoy this short film created by the folks over at The Glossary. It doesn’t cover the entire speech, instead using an audio excerpt to bring some of it to life:
You can listen to audio of the entire address here.
As I’ve written before, “Man of Steel” has potential. The initial trailers and information made it look perfectly fine, but there are some aspects (namely, Zack Snyder and Superman as a big-screen character) that have kept me from being too excited.
This trailer, which arrived on Tuesday, moves me firmly into the excited camp. It’s a really good trailer! And at the very least, it looks like they found a different way to tackle Superman. (Having Amy Adams and Michael Shannon in the cast, in addition to Christopher Nolan’s involvement, does inspire confidence.) I still feel like we have no idea how the actual movie will work if it’s a two-hour exegesis of Superman’s tortured psyche, but I am curious to see how they mix that with a superhero origin story.
Neill Blomkamp’s last film was “District 9,” a wonderful movie and probably the best sci-fi film to land over the last several years. So quite a few of us are eagerly, hungrily anticipating his follow-up, “Elysium,” which arrives this summer. We know he has assembled quite a cast — Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, William Fichtner and Diego Luna, among others — but today we got our first look at the movie:
Well, that definitely looks terrific. I like how the scenes on Earth evoke the similarly lived-in feeling of “District 9,” that sense he created of a world with its own texture and history, rather than another cold, polished CGI construct. Remember how Blomkamp almost directed the “Halo” movie, but that fell apart, so he went ahead and wrote and directed two sci-fi movies instead? I’m sure his “Halo” would have been interesting to see, but instead we got a pair of original films: a phenomenal one in “District 9″ and, now, a very promising one “Elysium.” I can’t wait.