Thursday, May 25, 2017

Gallery: Vanity Fair on Star Wars

(Inspired by the Vanity Fair Photo Shoot)

There's been a growing buzz surrounding the 40th anniversary of Star Wars since the beginning of the year, but today is the day!  On May 25th 1977, Star Wars made its debut in theaters.  Forty years later, the franchise is going stronger than ever, and fans are more fanatical than ever.
The Star Wars films are pretty much the cornerstone of geek culture, and if you're reading this blog, it's a sure thing that the franchise played a role in your life as well.

Tuesday, Vanity Fair revealed the covers for their Star Wars 40th anniversary issue.  Yesterday, they followed the covers up with  a behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot with the legendary Annie Leibovitz, along with interviews with the cast and crew.  The magazine's features are the first in-depth coverage of The Last Jedi, signalling that the summer's marketing train has officially left the station.

Needless to say, the photos of Carrie Fisher stir up the feels in a major way.  Seeing her intimately posed with Mark and her daughter raises the spectre of what might have been, especially in light of the recent revelation that Fisher would have led ninth Star Wars movie

Head on over to Vanity Fair to check out more gorgeous photos and behind-the-scenes stories. It’s a very interesting read, but be warned!  Some of the articles are mild spoilers.  There's at least one instances in which an actor describes a scene he shot with Fisher that clearly indicates a confrontation between the two actors' characters.

Video Essay: Superhero Movies Get Old

Vlogger Evan Puschak of The Nerdwriter examines the superhero franchises and how the seemingly permanent infallibility of characters can become tiresome.  Puschak compares the satirical humor of Deadpool and the hopeless desolation of Logan.
"In the end Logan makes the final turn into reaffirmation one last act of sacrificial heroics that reaffirms the myth even after exposing it as inadequate. You know it makes me wonder if this is the limit of superhero movies. It’s unclear whether a film that sought to fully demythologize this myth could ever really get made or if the genre itself is even mature enough to handle such a thing"

Video Essay: Arrival — Examining an Adaptation

Arrival was the most intellectually stimulating film to hit theaters of 2016.  Both epic and intimate, soulful and suspenseful, the movie was literary in way so few modern movies are.

In his latest video essay, Michael Tucker of Lessons from the Screenplay examines how Denis Vialleneuve's film departs from Ted Chiang's source material, Story of Your Life, transforming Louise's story from one of predestination into one of choice.

In the short story, Louise's daughter dies in a rock-climbing accident.  In the movie adaptation, she dies from an unpreventable illness.  In an interview on Jeff Goldsmith’s podcast, The Q&A, screenwriter Eric Heisserer explains “I think it’s more profound for me if she has a choice, if she has free will, and can change her future, and yet she chooses to have Hannah.”

The choice is a superb example of how adapting a story for the big screen can actually add depth, rather than gutting it.  Tucker elaborates on Heisserer's deft touch with an analysis of the movie's exposition and editing changed scenes, ultimately resulting in a more powerful narrative.

Posters: Star Wars Episode VII

"Star Wars Episode VII" by Ukraine-based AndrewSS7

Posters: Rey and BB-8

"Rey and BB-8" by Spain-based Sonia Matas (Sonia MS)
Prints available for purchase from Society6. US$20

Sci-Fi Round-Up: May 25, 2017


Director Milton Ginsberg Talks About His New Sci-Fi Film
Cory Doctorow On Cyber Warfare, Lawbreaking, And His New Novel ...
Neil Degrasse Tyson Talks Movie Accuracy With The Citizen-Times
Q&A: Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author
Sci-Fi author Nnedi Okorafor On Creating An Interstellar Coming-Of Story

Link Round-Up: May 25, 2017

"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" by Jonathan Burton
Limited edition prints available for purchase from Bottleneck Gallery. US$50

CNC Routing A 12 Foot Wide Piece Of Window Art

This Gorgeous 10-Second Milky Way Photo Was Shot Hand-Held

How many ways can you destroy a piano? Piano smashing contests were a UK fad in the 1960s, eventually crossing over to the US. Teams used sledgehammers to destroy an upright piano to the point where pieces of the piano could be passed through a 9-inch diameter hole. Infrequent piano smashing contests have been held in recent years although Guinness World Records has retired the category from active competition. Using sledgehammers is one thing, but composer Annea Lockwood has several creative ways to dispose of pianos.

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