"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Friday, April 05, 2013

Linkfest - RIP Roger Ebert

It has been a while since the last linkfest. Sadly this one starts with the dead of a legend, goes to a great Lego creations, then comments about Veronica Mars movie, Google Reader closure, and finally a fan made trailer for Calvin and Hobbes.

R.I.P. Roger Ebert (6/18/1942-4/4/2013)
Today the entertainment industry lost a legend in the form of long time movie critic Roger Ebert. The 45 year veteran of the Chicago Sun-Times didn't have an opinion he wasn't willing to share (about all forms of entertainment), died today from cancer. To say Ebert loved the movies would be an understatement. Probably not words in the dictionary that can describe that love. Even when he hated the movie, I suspect he loved that it existed and added a little bit to the collected culture even if seen by few. Ebert, the other half of Siskel &, rose to fame starting with his review television show in 1975 that eventually morphed into "At the Movies" with its famous thumbs up or thumbs down reviews. Even after losing his lower jaw in 2006 to cancer, the critic continued to share his opinions about all forms of entertainment. Well except video games which he didn't consider art to the consternation of video games fans worldwide. That his opinion on the subject matter shows that even the current generation of kids knew who he was and cared what he thought. There really doesn't exist a critic today of his caliber and fame and in this age of dispersed entertainment, I doubt there will be one again. While Ebert probably didn't influence many of our entertainment choices, I suspect his influence on Hollywood was quite large. So by relation, the impact of Ebert on our day to day entertainment choices will likely never be known. Condolences to his family, I suspect he will be watching from on high, watching ever movie that comes out from now until the end of time.

Awesome Lego Hogwarts Creation
The pic to the left is one of many awesome pictures of a huge Lego re-creation of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter films. The creation isn't just that outside look but inside includes lego re-creations of key scenes from each of the films. The final creation was made from over 400,000 bricks that took about 12 months to build. It seems small the size its much larger then it appears. Hit the link above for a gallery of images. An interview with its creator Alice Finch is here.

Does Veronica Mars Kickstarter Signal New TV/Movie Era?
On its first day, the Veronica Mars Movie Kickstarter project reached its goal of $2 million in all of 10 hours. Not bad for a critically acclaimed but little watched shows with such low DVD sales that its parent company couldn't even bother to consider making a direct to DVD movie from it despite the main cast being up for it. As of this post the project is now at $4.5 million with plenty of time to reach up to $6 million at current pace. Once deduct around $2 million for backer prizes, Kickstarter percentages and other factors, the $4 million that remains should be just enough for a decent movie. It might even be able to afford visual effects. Since then fans have dreams of new TV series or another movie for Firefly and more.

So back to the question. Is a new era dawning? Short answer...nope. At the end of the day TV eps are still too expensive (around $1 to $2 million each) as are the cheapest movies of mediocre quality. By this I mean pretty much every Saturday SyFy movie. So if you want a market swamped with those kind of movies, then...welcome to the return of the late 80s and 90s when direct to video, low quality fair was the norm. The only reason Veronica Mars might be the exception is the show was cheap to make to begin with and its roots as a detective story means that costs are much easier to control. It also doesn't hurt that the cast seems to be passionate about the project rather then looking at it as a financial windfall. Those kind of conditions are far and few between with few shows both past and present in a position to replicate them. So instead of dreaming of future returns that will never be, just be ready to enjoy this one when the movie starts filming this summer for a release sometime next year.

Google Reader Closing
A cry was heard several weeks ago as Google revealed they are closing Google Reader as of July 1st, 2013. Sadly a stay of execution seems unlikely. Reader is currently the best place the centralize your collection of RSS feeds from various websites so instead of having to go to all of them individually and try to remember where left off, you can just check your collection of new articles in Reader. Even better, thanks to its API it allows a whole host of apps and mods to be made for iOS and Android devices so you can keep up with your internet interests anywhere while keeping it all in sync. I used it each and every day and honestly have no clue what I am going to do without it. While Google blames privacy concerns, I suspect the higher ups didn't use it so had no interest in keeping it as I suspect most of the privacy and lack of revenue concerns could easily be solved. Fingers crossed that possible replacements like Feedly can pick up the slack.

Calvin and Hobbes The Movie
An interesting take on the classic strip the supposes that the now adult Calvin actually has the power to make his imagination real. Its a fan made trailer but the idea is intriguing.

Despicable Me 2 Trailer
Honestly I am only interested in this movie because of the minions.

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