Pixar's Up Floats to Life

07-Mar-11 3:37 PM by
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Pixar films wonderfully meld the familiar with the fantastic: whether it's a childhood spent with favorite toys, or an incredible family that bonds over a shared challenge, the stories create characters and scenarios we recognize and to which we relate.

But what if, instead of taking the realistic and making it magical, we took the fiction and made fact? That's what some engineers were inspired to do after seeing the 2009 film Up. As part of a new National Geographic television series called How Hard Can It Be?, they set out to make a house fly:

If a house is designed to be lightweight enough to fly, then it's not all that surprising that it should be able to fly. That realization does nothing to diminish the smile brought to my face at the sight of an actual house floating across the sky.

(Hat tip to Alexa Lash)

The Films of 2009

30-Dec-09 12:27 PM by
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As we prepare to kick 2009 to the curb, it seems an appropriate time to review the films that marked the year. Building off my list from two years ago, here's a rundown of my theatergoing habits over time:

Theatrical outings 1995 - 2009

My visits to the cinema have been fairly consistent this millennium at just over a dozen outings per year. In 2009, films taken in ranged from the independent documentary The Accidental Advocate to the classic American Graffiti to an original take on Plan 9 From Outer Space. Of the few mainstream films I saw, the best were Star Trek (which composed three of my sixteen theatrical outings) The Soloist, and Up; good but not great include Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Surrogates, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and Night at the Museum 2; while the stinkers consisted of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Terminator Salvation. Also of all the mainstream films I saw this year, the only original IP was Up.

There were a lot more films released than these few — 342, by one person's count. This enterprising individual has tried to compile all the year's releases into one montage. I don't know if his sources were limited to theatrical trailers, but he references some films multiple times, which makes getting around to all of 2009's contestants even more challenging. Some of the transitions and juxtapositions are clever, though:

What were your cinematic highlights of the decade's final year?

Super Bowl Trailers

02-Feb-09 12:13 PM by
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So I guess there was some sort of game on television last night, and it was supposed to be a big deal. Or something. I must've missed whatever it was — but when I woke up the next day, I found a bounty of newly-released movie trailers. Let's take a look at a few of the geekier ones.

First up is G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Though I'm encouraged to see one of my favorite actors, Dennis Quaid, the team he's leading does not have much chance to shine in this particular trailer. We see too little of the colorful heroes and villains like Snake Eyes (played by Ray Park) or Destro that made the cartoon so memorable.

Next up is the return of G.I. Joe's Eighties contemporaries, those robots in disguise, in Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. Readers to Showbits will recall that I absolutely loathed the original film, and nothing in the sequel's trailer indicates a departure from that model — though the scope of the new robots piques my interest:

Finally, there's yet another adaptation of a television show, this one a live-action series from the mid-Seventies: The Land of the Lost. With few exceptions, almost anything Will Ferrell stars in is going to be a silly spoof, and this film looks to be true to that trend. Though the original series could definitely be described as campy, it was no Gilligan's Island, which this version appears to be:

The above movies are just three of the many upcoming films being adapted from television shows. Other trailers that debuted yesterday and are now available online include a mix of new and old: