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‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ in the style of Picasso
06.09.2016
01:30 pm

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Art
Movies
Science/Tech

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A team of developers named Gatys, Ecker, and Bethge recently developed an implementation of a technique known as a “style transfer,” which involves taking a specific pattern and “applying” it to a piece of video, such that the available surfaces in the video take on the texture of the original pattern. It’s kind of like a face swap only more ambitious.

A few months have passed, and a clever individual named Joshi Bhautik has tried to apply the technique as a way of mashing up great art and classic cinema. Specifically, he took a painting by Pablo Picasso, one of his “Les Femmes d’Alger” (Women of Algiers) series, which looks like this:
 

 
... and used it as the base image for a deep neural net-based style transfer on Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is full of striking images to say the least.

Once you do that, the generally stately, slow cinematography of the movie becomes a shimmering kaleidoscope, as seen in the following image:
 

 
The method has the peculiar effect of turning the entire movie into a version of the phantasmagorical, psychedelic journey Dave Bowman goes on for several minutes at the end of the movie, a sequence MAD magazine once compared to “crashing through the brand-new 105-story Jupiter Museum of Op Art.”

Here’s Bhautik’s description of what this is:
 

‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ rendered in the style of Picasso using deep neural network based style transfer. The cubist style had mixed results in the transfer; you can see that big empty blocks of colour didn’t map coherently between the frames. I’m working on a solution for that :]

 
See it after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Photos of Mae West sporting bat wings, spider legs, butterfly wings & more!
06.09.2016
10:23 am

Topics:
Heroes
Movies

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Mae West in a publicity photo for the 1934 film, ‘Belle of the Nineties.’
 

Ten men waiting for me at the door? Send one of them home, I’m tired.

 
There are so many reasons to love the great, boundary-smashing Hollywood starlet Mae West, it’s hard to know where to start as the iconic blonde pretty much did it all. Not only was West an early supporter of women’s liberation back in the 1920s, she was also openly supportive of gay rights. West penned a play called The Drag whose storyline featured homosexuality and cross-dressing (The production was closed down in 1927 after a two-week run due to its controversial subject matter). From a very young age, West’s mother (a former model herself) helped encourage her daughter to perform, which she did starting around the age of seven in talent shows. By the time she was fourteen West was already a professional taking the stage in New York in productions put on by the Hal Clarendon Stock Company under the moniker “Baby Mae.”
 

A vintage show poster advertising Mae West’s controversial 1926 play, ‘Sex.’
 
Penning under the name “Jane Mast” West gave herself her big break by writing, producing, directing and starring in Sex in 1926. Sex played to packed houses until the venue was raided by the police (after complaints from religious types that don’t want anyone to have any fun), and West and the entire cast were arrested. And, since this is Mae West we’re talking about, instead of coughing up the dough in order to avoid sitting behind bars—West was given a ten days in jail on the laughable charge of “corrupting the morals of youth”—the willey platinum blonde bombshell decided that going to jail was better (and free) publicity. West only served eight days of the ten-day sentence due to “good behavior.”

By 1932, West was under contract with Paramount and would go on to star in numerous films, with two of her best alongside Cary Grant in 1933; She Done Him Wrong, and I’m No Angel. That same year in a review for I’m No Angel (published in October of 1933), entertainment magazine Variety said that West was as “hot an issue as Hitler” (who had been appointed Chancellor of Germany in January that same year).

West is also well known for her over-the-top costumes that she wore in her films. Legendary costume designer Edith Head created West’s looks for She Done Him Wrong that according to West were ‘tight enough so I look like a woman, loose enough so I look like a lady.” A look that West would continue to cultivate during her career that no other actress at the time could ever quite equal.

I’ve included many of West’s outlandish getups from photo shoots and films such as her “lion tamer” look from I’m No Angel, and her jaw-dropping looks from 1934’s Belle of the Nineties where she dons bat and butterfly wings, as well as a set of eight spider legs in her role as a fictional vaudevillian Ruby Carter. The images that follow are vintage visual treats for your eyes of a woman who always played by her own rules. If you’d like to learn more about Mae West, the 1997 book by Emily Wortis Leider Becoming Mae West, is a fantastic, in-depth exploration of the whip-smart, cinematic icon.
 

A publicity photo of Mae West from the 1934 film, ‘Belle of the Nineties.’
 

Another publicity shot of West in butterfly wings from ‘Belle of the Nineties.’
 
More Mae after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
For the Monty Python fan who has everything: How’s about these ridiculous Black Knight slippers
06.08.2016
11:06 am

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Amusing
Movies

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“Tis but a scratch!”

Okay, so these Black Knight slippers celebrating one of the most famous scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail are as goofy as hell looking, but Father’s Day is just around the corner. If your dad happens to be a a big Monty Python fan, might I suggest these puppies? I mean, they’re much cooler than the boring ol’ tie you probably give him every year, right? Maybe it’s time to switch it up.

They’re for sale on Monty Python’s online store for $38.99.


 
Below, the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Cool shirts wth Hayao Miyazaki storyboard art on them
06.06.2016
12:54 pm

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Fashion
Movies

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I wish I understood Japanese, because then I’d have much better shot at navigating a series of pages on Japanese Amazon that purports to offer some really excellent-looking button-down shirts and T-shirts featuring storyboards drawn by the great animation master Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli, a.k.a. the best thing to happen to little kids since the creation of the Muppets

The storyboards all appear to derive from a 1978 TV series called Future Boy Conan (also called Conan, The Boy in Future) that originally aired on Japan’s NHK network.

Future Boy Conan isn’t as well known in the English-speaking world as later Miyazaki masterpieces like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, but the series has a special significance as Miyazaki’s directorial debut, on which, Wikipedia states, he “also contributed to character designs and storyboards.” Ahem.

A company called graniph is responsible for the shirts. All of the T-shirts cost 2160 yen (slightly over $20) and the one instance of a button-down shirt I found—I think I like that one the best, actually—costs 4838 yen (slightly over $45).

For English-speakers, it’s often difficult to use the search function and bring up the correct item. We’ve posted pics and links to a good many of these Miyazaki shirts, but we didn’t include all of them. If you want to find them, your best bet is that “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” row—if you click around with enough persistence, you will hit all of them, as far as I know. This is a good starting point.
 

 

 

(Graniph) graniph collaboration short-sleeved shirt / storyboard pattern (Future Boy Conan) (White)
 
Much more after the jump…....
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Amazing movie posters for films by Hitchcock, Kubrick and Lynch that we’ll never get to see
06.06.2016
11:06 am

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Art
Movies

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Salvador Dali’s ‘Giraffes on Horseback Salad’ (1937)
 
Most film directors have a list of movie projects they never manage to make. Some are started like Orson Welles’ Don Quixote but never finished—though posthumously released in a re-edited form. Others like Hitchcock’s R.R.R.R. never quite make it from idea to script to studio green light.

L.A. based artist and designer Fernando Reza has created a stupendous selection of film posters for movie projects by directors like Hitchcock, Welles, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch and even Salvador Dali that were discussed, planned, and even partially filmed but never completed.

Take for example Salvador Dali who planned to make a movie with the Marx Brothers called Giraffes on Horseback Salad in 1937. Dali was friends with Harpo Marx and the pair decided to work together on a film project. Dali had already made two short films with Luis Bunuel (Un Chien Andalou and L’Age d’or) and would later go on to collaborate with Walt Disney and Alfred Hitchcock designing dream sequences for Dumbo and Spellbound.

Dali and Marx concocted a story about an aristocrat played by Harpo falling in love with a woman whose face is never revealed. The great Surrealist intended to use the film to show:

...the continuous struggle between the imaginative life as depicted in the old myths and the practical and rational life of contemporary society.

The film was to include scenes with a “horde of burning giraffes wearing gas masks, and Harpo catching dwarves with a net.” A script was apparently written but the other Marx Brothers nixed the idea thinking the idea a stinker and the script not very funny.
 
fro-design-company26.jpg
Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Kaleidoscope’ aka ‘Frenzy’ (1964-67).
 
Alfred Hitchcock wanted to make a prequel to Shadow of Doubt with another “Merry Widow Murderer” luring women to their grisly deaths. As with Psycho, Hitchcock had devised three set pieces to focus on the three gruesome murders carried out by the deviant sex-fiend. The first murder was to take place by a waterfall; the second on board a disused warship; the third in an oil refinery against brightly colored oil drums. 

Unlike Psycho or Shadow of Doubt there was no moral counterpoint to the “relentless sex and violence” shown onscreen. A script was written and test scenes shot. Among the actors considered for the lead role were Michael Caine, Robert Redford and David Hemmings. The film was basically a slasher movie a decade ahead of its time. Universal Studios vetoed the idea—thinking Hitchcock’s movie too amoral and too dark.
 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
What if Quentin Tarantino’s movies actually were pulp fiction?
06.06.2016
10:56 am

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Books
Movies

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It’s not news that Quentin Tarantino is a lover of hard-boiled crime fiction. His most successful movie is, of course, even called Pulp Fiction, which memorably featured a character (John Travolta’s Vincent Vega) who liked to read the first installment of Peter O’Donnell’s Modesty Blaise series while using the toilet.

Tarantino’s follow-up to Pulp Fiction, 1997’s excellent Jackie Brown, was based on Elmore Leonard’s 1992 novel Rum Punch. Tarantino threw in a shot of Robert Forster’s Max Cherry reading Len Deighton’s spy thriller Berlin Game while waiting for Jackie to be released from prison.

And Tarantino’s interest in Leonard doesn’t stop there: it’s been rumored that Tarantino has shown an interest in adapting the crime fiction master’s 1972 western 40 Lashes Less One—but considering that Tarantino’s last two movies were westerns, that didn’t seem too likely, but Tarantino brought it up again as recently as last December—it seems he might want to do it as a TV series.

Tarantino’s strengths as a filmmaker track those of the dime-store fiction category, so a French art director named David Redon had the bright idea to concoct a bunch of paperback covers for each of Tarantino’s movies. The quality is a bit variable (the Pulp Fiction one isn’t good, and come on, you have to misspell INGLOURIOUS the right way!), but I like most of ‘em just fine.

The iconic poster for Pulp Fiction actually is a dog-eared paperback cover, so this makes sense on a number of fronts.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…....
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
David Lynch ‘Eraserhead’ dolls!
06.03.2016
12:13 pm

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Movies

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Ever thought you’d see a Jack Nance, a Lady in the Radiator or that creepy-but-still-cuddly baby from David Lynch’s Eraserhead in doll form?

Me neither. But here I am blogging about them. They’re handmade by an Australia-based outfit called Slice of Mod Pie.

There’s hardly any information about the dolls in the listing so I’m not going to pretend to know anything about them to use up extra characters here. Because I don’t. I do like them very much, though. They look happy, too. I like that.

The price for each one is $55.84.


 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
When the Monkees (and Jack Nicholson) gave us ‘Head’
06.02.2016
12:58 pm

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Movies
Music

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The Monkees’ feature film Head was written and produced by Bob Rafelson (co-creator of The Monkees) and Jack Nicholson, and directed by Rafelson. The film aimed to deconstruct the “manufactured” image that the Monkees wished to leave behind far behind them by 1968. The group wander through a number of surrealistic scenes, Hollywood sound stages and trippy pop art musical production numbers. Along the way, they encounter the likes of Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, Annette Funicello, Terri Garr, stripper Carol Doda, Frank Zappa, Toni Basil, fighter Sonny Liston, and weirdo character actor Timothy Carey. Victor Mature, an over-the-hill actor known for appearing in biblical epics and sword and sandals films, played a King Kong-sized version of himself (I’m not old enough to have much context for Victor Mature, but the way I take it is that he’s playing himself in a “human punch-line” kind of way, something that will no doubt be completely lost on future audiences for whom he’ll just appear to be some weird old giant guy who appears, apropos of nothing).
 

 
Head was initially released with a mysterious advertising campaign that never mentioned the Monkees and instead featured the head of a man apparently unconnected with the film (John Brockman, future literary super agent was in fact the film’s press agent and devised the campaign). It could have been about anything. The Monkees’ teenbopper fan base must have been mighty confused. These were still the Monkees they loved, but what was with all the lysergic Marshall McLuhan stuff, the Vietnam footage and the hookahs?
 

 
Head is an audio-visual mindfuck.
 

 
Head was a total flop when it came out.
 

 
Head’s reputation as a cult film grew during a couple of national CBS late night TV airings in the mid 1970s. A VHS was released in the mid-80s during the revival of interest in the group brought on by MTV screening The Monkees for a new generation. Today Head is properly considered a odd milestone in Hollywood history—it’s one of the highest budgeted rock films of the era and one of the first counter culture films to be produced by the studio system. And what a stylish time capsule of the era it is. In his liner notes to Criterion’s America Lost and Found box set, Chuck Stephens called Head, “the Ulysses of a hip New Hollywood about to be born.”

Get more ‘Head’ after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Marc Bolan, Ringo Starr and Elton John jam in ‘Born to Boogie’
06.01.2016
01:54 pm

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Movies
Music

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Although I have always appreciated his music (“Ride a White Swan” was one of the very first 45s I ever bought), I have never been what you would call a major Marc Bolan/T.Rex fanatic. Don’t get me wrong, I am indeed a fan, but I’ve always put Marc Bolan in the same category as I do Chuck Berry, Little Richard or Eddie Cochran. Translation: a decent “greatest hits” is probably all I really need to own (Bolan also stole shamelessly from each of these artists, of course).

In actual fact, I do own quite a few T.Rex albums. Probably my favorite song by Marc Bolan is the comparatively little known “Jasper C. Debussy.” It’s not like I’m ignorant of his work, it’s just that a lot of it sounds pretty formulaic and “samey” to me. Bolan had “a thing” that he did quite well, but he just kept doing it and that’s the problem I have with his music.
 

 
Having offered the above disclaimer, I don’t think that I ever truly “got” Marc Bolan until I picked up a used Japanese import copy of the “deluxe” Born To Boogie DVD box set from a few years back in the bargain bin for a mere $7 bucks. A friend of mine had the film on VHS in the 80s and I saw it 25 years ago and quite enjoyed it, but the DVD version, with a monstrously powerful 5.1 surround mix done by the great producer Tony Visconti, totally blew me away. It must be the apex of Bolan’s artistry. Nothing short of stunning.

You know there’s always one guy on every block who has one of those huge fuck-off audio systems that the neighbors for a quarter mile radius can hear? I’m that guy. After watching Born To Boogie with the sound cranked up so loud it would have drowned out a airplane landing on my rooftop, I finally “got” Marc Bolan, and can see clearly why the flame of eternal fan love for him will never die. 
 

 
And now at long last, the Demon Music Group will be releasing Born to Boogie on Blu-ray, for the first time in HD on June 13th. There are tons of extras and both the earlier, late afternoon concert and the full evening show that was used in the film are included. 10/10 for content, audio/visual quality and overall “wow factor.” If you are wondering if you need to replace your old DVD, you probably do. There is no regional code on the disc, despite what it says on Amazon.

Born To Boogie was directed by Ringo Starr and produced by Apple Films. The concert segments were filmed at the Wembley Empire Pool in 1972 at the absolute height of T.Rextasy. Bolan’s guitar is just FAT sounding here and the 5.1 mix is outstanding. Listening to it cranked up is like having, well… a Tyrannosaurus Rex stomp all over your head… in a good way!
 

 
There’s also a stellar jam session sequence with Elton John and Ringo that was captured at the Apple Studios on Savile Row and some “surreal hijinks”—like the Mad Hatter’s tea party bit which was filmed on John Lennon’s estate—that bring to mind Magical Mystery Tour. Still, it’s the concert segments that dazzle the most with Bolan’s 500 megawatt charisma in full effect.

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Labyrinth’ becomes a board game, complete with ‘Goblin King Jareth’ figure!
05.31.2016
01:49 pm

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Movies

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I recently checked up on the progress on the excellent looking board game adaptation of the 1986 film by Jim Henson, Labyrinth by game maker, River Horse and boy, am I glad I did as it appears that the game is nearly finished. Squeee!

Today is the last day to pre-order the game which is set for release this summer in the US, UK and EU. Game play has two stages—one has players traveling through the labyrinth in search of the Goblin King while trying to not fall into “oubliette” (you know, the place where you put people to “forget” about them?), and the second stage pits players against David Bowie’s character in the film, Jareth the Goblin King, in an effort to set Sara’s baby brother free from his clutches.

In addition to the highly detailed game board and a replica of the clock Jareth uses to count down the thirteen hours he gives Sarah to solve the puzzle of the labyrinth, there are also five game-play figures modeled after key characters in the film, loveable Ludo; the dwarf Hoggle; the worst babysitter ever, Sarah (played by actress Jennifer Connelly), Sir Didymus and his four-legged pal Ambrosius; and of course, Jareth the Goblin King, as played by David Bowie. It appears that the game will retail for about $50 and as I mentioned earlier, can be pre-ordered through the end of today, here. Images of the soon-to-be greatest board game ever, follow.
 

Game board and the sculpted figures from the upcoming board game, Labyrinth.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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