Ramblings & ephemera

Best Denise quote ever

We went to see Troy last week. At the end of the movie, the Trojans drag the Trojan Horse into the city. They party, celebrating what they think is the abandonment of the war by the Greeks, and everyone collapses into a drunken stupor. Cut to the waiting Greek ships, hidden a few miles away, […]

Portable music turns life into cinema

From Farhad Manjoo’s “iPod: I love you, you’re perfect, now change” (Salon: 23 October 2006): Levy writes that when this happens, the music becomes a “soundtrack” for the scenery, which is a good way to put it. The iPod turns ordinary life — riding the bus, waiting in line at the post office, staring at […]

1st book written to be filmed

From Claudia Roth Pierpont’s “Tough Guy: The mystery of Dashiell Hammett” (The New Yorker [11 February 2002]: 70): In March, 1928, [Hammett] had written to his publisher, Blanche Knopf, about his plans to adapt the “stream-of-consciousness method” to a new detective novel. He was going to enter the detective’s mind, he told her, reveal his […]

The HOLLYWOOD sign as multi-user access-control system

From Bruce Schneier’s “Hollywood Sign Security” (Crypto-Gram: 15 January 2005): In Los Angeles, the “HOLLYWOOD” sign is protected by a fence and a locked gate. Because several different agencies need access to the sign for various purposes, the chain locking the gate is formed by several locks linked together. Each of the agencies has the […]

AACS, next-gen encryption for DVDs

From Nate Anderson’s “Hacking Digital Rights Management” (Ars Technica: 18 July 2006): AACS relies on the well-established AES (with 128-bit keys) to safeguard the disc data. Just like DVD players, HD DVD and Blu-ray drives will come with a set of Device Keys handed out to the manufacturers by AACS LA. Unlike the CSS encryption […]

How DVD encryption (CSS) works … or doesn’t

From Nate Anderson’s “Hacking Digital Rights Management” (Ars Technica: 18 July 2006): DVD players are factory-built with a set of keys. When a DVD is inserted, the player runs through every key it knows until one unlocks the disc. Once this disc key is known, the player uses it to retrieve a title key from […]

The first movie theater

From Adam Goodheart’s “10 Days That Changed History” (The New York Times: 2 July 2006): APRIL 16, 1902: The Movies Motion pictures seemed destined to become a passing fad. Only a few years after Edison’s first crude newsreels were screened — mostly in penny arcades, alongside carnival games and other cheap attractions, the novelty had […]

‘Thomas Crown Affair! Thomas Crown Affair!’

From Improv Everywhere’s “Missions: Best Buy” (23 April 2006): Agent Slavinsky wrote in to suggest I get either a large group of people in blue polo shirts and khakis to enter a Best Buy or a group in red polo shirts and khakis to enter a Target. Wearing clothing almost identical to the store’s uniform, […]

Alcatraz: reality & Hollywood

From Dashka Slater’s “Lights, Camera, Lockdown” (Legal Affairs: May/June 2003): The first two Alcatraz films, Alcatraz Island and The Last Gangster, arrived in theaters in 1937; the most recent, Half Past Dead, came out last November. In the 65 years in between, Alcatraz has been the subject of some two dozen movies and has made […]

Success of The Shawshank Redemption

From John Swansburg’s “The Shawshank Reputation” (Legal Affairs: March/April 2004): Yet even King didn’t think [The Shawshank Redemption] stood a chance at the box office-and he was right. Though the movie got good reviews, and seven Oscar nominations, Shawshank in its original release grossed only about half of the $35 million it cost to make. […]

More movies made from Stephen King’s books than anyone else

From John Swansburg’s “The Shawshank Reputation” (Legal Affairs: March/April 2004): Fifty-eight movies have been adapted from his writing, not as many as from Dickens, but more than from any other living author.

Tragedy in film

Modern tragedy in film: one man’s death invites the gaze & sympathy of millions, ignoring the other deaths that occur all around us all the time.

From P2P to social sharing

From Clay Shirky’s “File-sharing Goes Social“: The RIAA has taken us on a tour of networking strategies in the last few years, by constantly changing the environment file-sharing systems operate in. In hostile environments, organisms often adapt to become less energetic but harder to kill, and so it is now. With the RIAA’s waves of […]

New technologies & the urge to control

From David L. Hudson, Jr.’s “Update on the Internet and the First Amendment“: For example, as First Amendment scholar Rodney Smolla explains, when Gutenberg developed the printing press circa 1450, the Archbishop of Mainz created a censorship body, and the Venice Inquisition issued a list of banned books. The expansion of printing led English officials […]

Best entertainment news headline ever

From Yahoo! News (March 2004): Zombies Push Jesus from Top of North American Box Office

The Forbes Fictional Fifteen

If fiction can be regarded as a culture’s subconscious, then it’s clear that we are a nation obsessed with the very rich. From avaricious caricatures like The Simpsons’ Montgomery Burns to literary character studies like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby, our culture — both high and low — is littered with images of billionaires and […]

Movies in the night

Another image that enters my mind unbidden: My brother and I are spending the night at Grandma & Grandpa Scott’s house. We’re pretty young … I might be 8 and my brother 6 or 7. It’s the mid-70s. At our grandparents, we go to bed pretty early … say by 10 p.m. This night, Gus […]

Denise-ism #234

Another quote from my wife Denise in May 2003: So we’re sitting in the theater a while back watching the X-Men movie, and Denise leans over to me and whispers, in all seriousness: “Wow! This could be a comic book!”

Movie studios and their genres

From Neither the Power Nor the Glory: Why Hollywood leaves originality to the indies, on Slate: Back in the old days of the studio system, the brand of a Hollywood studio meant something to the moviegoing public. Each studio, with its roster of stars under contract, came to be identified with a particular genre of […]

Secret movies in the Paris underground

From Jon Henley’s “In a secret Paris cavern, the real underground cinema” (The Guardian: 8 September 2004): Police in Paris have discovered a fully equipped cinema-cum-restaurant in a large and previously uncharted cavern underneath the capital’s chic 16th arrondissement. Officers admit they are at a loss to know who built or used one of Paris’s […]