Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I wanna OWN this!!!


The Olucus is a very futuristic looking yacht from Schöpfer Yachts. Its 250-foot, can accommodate 12 guests and can travel at speeds up to 25 knots. It got a double-height dining room, an elevator and a special area for ‘the owner' + a lot more.




Friday, June 26, 2009

The Drinking Bird: physics phenomenon

This is a cool demonstration that not even Einstein couldn't figure out. I kinda understood what he was talking about but I couldn't repeat it in a class or anything. Nonetheless, it's cool stuff. To defy the laws of science by using it's own laws against itself is fascinating to me. It justifies the theory that rules are meant to be broken when it is understood and studied.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

R.I.P. Michael Jackson


Today Michael Jackson was pronounced dead at UCLA Medical Center as a result of a cardiac arrest at the age of 50. This is a sad day for everyone who was influenced by his music. Here's to the king of pop.

"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" Review


If you liked the first Transformers movie, you’ll enjoy this one just as much for what it is: an entertaining popcorn action flick. Michael Bay brings us the same energy and enthusiasm as it’s predecessor. Megan Fox is as hot as ever and Shia Labeouf’s vigorous performance once again kept me feeling like doing something drastic as soon as I got out the theater. But I just ended up going home and making smores with my cousins. Hey, that’s pretty ballsy. We made ‘em in the microwave. Who knows what that kind of radiation can do to marshmallows. The Stay Puft Marshmallow man could’ve busted out of there.  We live on the edge. Radioactive smores… oh yeah..

 

…wait, A.D.D. is kicking in…

 

OK, I’m good…

 

…here’s the synopsis:

 

The movie opens in 17,000 BC with primitive human beings discovering “The Fallen,” an army of robots who end up attacking them. An event that is short-lived on screen in order to flash forward to modern times where Sam Witwicky (Labeouf) is packing to go off to college. He soon discovers a piece of the AllSpark, the cube rock from the first movie that turns machines into robots, in his closet and all hell breaks loose. But even though his house is blown into pieces, his parents (the coolest parents in the world) still manage to pack his things and take him to his new college. No problem, the insurance will cover the damages. When Sam gets to his dorm room, he meets his roommate, Leo Spitz (Ramon Rodriguez), who conveniently runs an alien conspiracy website and just found footage in China of robots attacking a town. Sam plays it off as though he doesn’t believe in that kind of stuff. He’s so modest that Sam. 

Back in the land of government stuff, we see that the Autobots made nice with the humans and formed an organization called NEST to fight against the Decepticons that are still on Earth. The robots eventually find Sam who is starting to see coded numbers in his vision. Throw in some Megan Fox, who surprisingly has somewhat of a purpose in the film, and you got yourself a movie!

You see the thing about a movie like this is that you get what you ask for, an exciting action film. It is exactly what it’s trying to be and it’s not asking for forgiveness. I enjoyed this film, and my little cousin did too.

Sure they could’ve been more visual with the historical things in the story and I would’ve loved to have seen that. Instead Bay keeps it very modern, as he did in the first, touching on a lot of aspects of pop culture: the blogger culture (HOLLA!), the designer clothes that are on the protagonists that manage to withstand hell and high waters, and even their references to our new President Barack Obama. (If you recall in the last film, it was very anti-Presidential, intentionally poking fun at George Bush in one scene. An interesting commentary I think).

Shia Labeouf’s performance seems to have been contagious because all of the protagonists’ performances were kicked up a notch in this film. Ramon Rodriguez does a good job at playing the “stupidly scared” sidekick. You can see him in a film that my friend Juan Caceres produced "The Startup." John Turturro is funny and exciting in his new role as a former agent turned deli owner. 

The special effects were naturally incredible. A little too detailed at times as I couldn’t tell who was winning the robot fights when they went into close-ups. The robots were valid characters in the story though. The only thing is that I felt they went a little over-board with the accents in their voices. In the first film they introduced the logic that the robots got their speech patterns from different radio and television personalities that they picked up from satellite signals. But the fact that all the robots had New York accents was kind of obvious. But it did offer good comedic relief.

Overall "Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen" is a good popcorn movie and I would recommend seeing it at the theater. It’s probably the only way to do justice to the incredible sound design by the same Oscar nominated team from the first film.

As far as a rating system, I wanted to do something different and creative but I think I’ll just keep it simple and give it a star rating. 

So with that said, I will give this popcorn flick a 3 out 4 star rating.

Hasta la proxima. Ciao!

Cool optical illusion (I love this kind of stuff)




What color(s) are these spirals? If you said something like a blue and a green you are wrong! Will you believe me if I told you that those two spirals are the SAME COLOR! It's true! I confirmed it. All you graphic designers, load this image up into Photoshop and measure the color of each spiral and you'll see that they are identical!

What's going on? Our brains being eff'ed with. If you take a closer look:



... the orange lines (they are legitimately orange) is what's causing all this havoc. you see how they go through the "blue" spiral lines and not the "green" spiral lines. When they go through the "blue" they sabotage the color by manipulating our brains into seeing a darker shade of green. But it isn't blue, it's green! Just like it's twin brother spiral.

Whoa, I'm getting a headache.

Oscars going back to 10 Best Picture Noms (I know I'm late)


The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced yesterday that they will be extending the nominees list for Best Picture from 5 to 10. I think this is a good move that will generate viewership and give more films a shot at the big prize. Now this isn't an entirely new idea. From 1931 to 1943, ten was the magic number for Best Pic nods as well. It looks like they had it right back then.

Many people are speculating that the outrage that fans expressed earlier this year at the lack of Best Picture nominations for "The Dark Knight" and "Wall-E" was what prompted this change. Which is totally valid. I was too one of the people who felt that "The Dark Knight" had all the qualities of a Best Picture Nominee. I also thing that year after year it is always so predictable who will win Best Picture half way into the show. When the screenplay and director wins the award, the winning movie is almost inevitable. It will be interesting to see how this change in Best Pic to Director to Actor, etc. ratio will effect the outcome of the awards if at all. Hopefully the ceremony itself is not extended. I mean it's long enough. Perhaps having a musical number for each film could be skipped next year.

Another good thing about this decision is that it will address the changing of the times. With the advances in filmmaking technologies, there are so many more films produced each year that are worthy of the statue. Making room to celebrate these achievements is totally appropriate.

All in all, I can't wait to see the outcome of this decision. Kudos to the Academy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Eugenio Recuenco - Photographer, Artist






For pics pics go here:
http://www.eugeniorecuenco.com/images_010.html

Teaser trailer for "The Last Airbender"

M. Night Shyamalan's new movie due out summer of 2010. His last few films were bombers but this one looks like he's trying a new formula. Granted it's just a teaser trailer.


Monday, June 22, 2009

George Lucas, the young film rebel


I got put on to this documentary from one of my favorite blog sites, themovieblog.com. Here you will see a young, rebellious George Lucas talking about his earlier filmmaking efforts and expression his scorn for Hollywood. This documentary features Lucas' student film "THX 1138," which has influenced my own work a great deal. The interviewer, Gene Youngblood, is a highly regarded film scholar who has theorized about video as art. It gets interesting towards the end when they start discussing the future of cinema as an art form.



New "Inglorious Basterds" Trailer

Whenever Quentin Tarantino puts something out, it always goes up in my to-watch movies list. Even though "Basterd's" reception at Cannes wasn't impeccable, this is still something I'd go to the movies to see. Below is the newest trailer for Tarantino's World War II pic due out August 21st.

Here's the synopsis:
During World War II a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as "The Basterds" are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis. The Basterds soon cross paths with a French-Jewish teenage girl who runs a movie theater in Paris which is targeted by the soldiers.


video

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nike Hypermax NFW “Marty McFly”


If I didn't mention this before, 'Back To The Future' is my all time favorite movie. Real talk.

Now, the Nike McFlys have been circling the internet for well over a year now. Kanye West's McFly-inspired Air Yeezy's was released back in April but the price for it was a bit steep for my pockets. So now we have Nike's latest McFly edition of the Nike Hypermax. They look pretty dope. Hopefully I'll have a job by the time they come out :-/

http://www.highsnobiety.com


Darth Vader In Love

When I started watching this, I thought it was one of those edited videos put together with footage from the movie and mock-up voices. But it seems as though someone took the time to make this and did a damn good job with it. The look of this is strikingly similar to the original Star Wars movies. Not sure where it came from or who made it though. 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Joy Ride Bicycle Art Show

This week New York City hosted the Joy Ride Bicycle art show as a part of the  Bicycle Film Festival. The art show was being held at four different venues throughout New York's Lower East Side and Soho area. Those that know me best knows that I love to ride my bike. So to see a film festival dedicated to bicycles should've been something quite exciting for me. But I'm not gonna lie, unfortunately I was unable to attend any of the screenings and was only able to catch one of the venues last night for the Joy Ride Art Show. It turns out that being unemployed has made me much more busier than I was before. Go figure. 

Here are some pics that I took from the Collective Hardware venue located at 169 Bowery Street in NYC. The artwork here is fascinating. I will have to make it an obligation to catch next year's Bicycle Film Festival events.

http://bicyclefilmfestival.com/
 






For more pics of the Joy Ride Art show go here:
http://www.coolhunting.com/archives/2009/06/bicycle_film_fe.php

... and here is a trailer for the Bicycle Film Festival:


Friday, June 19, 2009

The latest in funny treadmill video

What is it with these people and treadmills? They're like dogs chasing cars, they wouldn't know what to do with one if they actually caught it (Joker line from "Dark Knight," I know).

Here's the latest in dumb people who don't quite understand Newton's laws of motion as they apply to moving belts:


Here are some other funny ones from the past that most of you may remember:




But then there are the smart ones:


video

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In case anyone is actually paying attention...


Had some issues with the video compression. Looking for a web designer. If anyone knows one, shoot me a note.

Super Mario Bros Artwork

I remember breaking my Nintendo remote control trying to rock this game. And the fact that you couldn't save til you conquered a board was annoying. But the logistical nuances of the primitive game is nothing to judge it by. Any 80's baby can trace back a memory to Super Mario Bros. It taught me how much fun mushrooms can be. Here is some interesting artwork that stimulated my imagination and hopefully yours too.





for more pics go here:
http://thedesigninspiration.com/articles/top-45-unusual-stylish-super-mario-brothers-artworks/

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pics from Election Protests in Iran


Now I'm not too keen on politics. I know sh!t's ducked up and that we should all be aware of current events. As we already know, there are massive protests going on in Iran with people saying that the election was rigged. A scenario that we here in the U.S. are all familiar with. But our protests were never to this scale. Yesterday it was Twitter, today are journalist's photos. Many of them risking their lives and freedom to get this story out. I can always appreciate good journalism like this...






For more pics go here:
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/06/irans_disputed_election.html

Monday, June 15, 2009

How Colors May Affect Your Productivity and Success


Like, I said, I'm a pretty random person. While I'm a big movie guy, I also find some other things fascinating, such as the human mind and how it can be manipulated or controlled. This article tickled my fancy. It talks about how certain colors can make you feel certain ways. A similar thing to this is a thing called chromotherapy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromotherapy)

This chromotherapy video is pretty cool too: http://vimeo.com/3239192

My upcoming short film "Lovebug" refers to some of these elements of how the human brain works. (you see, it all goes back to the movies).

So the next time you're trying to choose what outfit to wear, ponder this: 

http://www.dirjournal.com/business-journal/how-colors-may-effect-your-productivity-and-success/


MY WEBSITE IS UP!

After weeks of annoying video compression and gathering material to design this thing, I'm proud to say that my filmmaker page is finally up! 

Here you can find some of my work including short films and commercial work. You can also tune in to see updates on my latest sci-fi short "Lovebug," which is in post-production.

Check it out:

http://alainalfaro.com/

Movie Review - "Drag Me To Hell"


Sam Raimi returns to horror filmmaking with his latest effort “Drag Me To Hell.” Now I’m fairly unfamiliar with his horror work having never seen the “Evil Dead” series, which should tell you a lot about what I think of this film. There is obviously an inside joke here that I didn't get and unless your a hardcore fan of horror films and Sam Raimi, you probably won't get it either.

Now here’s my thing about horror films, there are two kinds: those that scare you, and those that startle you. This one is a startler. I hate being startled. When something pops up accompanied by a loud sound I think it’s just rude. But that's just me. What do you I know? So I obviously have a bias right off the bat and with that said, here's the synopsis:

Bank loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) gets a curse casted on her by a misterious gypsy lady, Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver), after “shaming her” by refusing to renew the mortgage on her home after she begged on her knees. Her reasons for doing so, she wants the Assistant Manager position that is open at the bank. Otherwise she totally would’ve given it to this woman who she just saw stealing candy from her desk and has been granted two previous loans in the past. I don't know, to me that's a character flaw.

So then weird stuff starts to happen to Christine. Her skeptical, yet caring boyfriend, Clay (Justin Long, yeah the Apple guy), doesn't believe in the weird events that she describes and thinks they are just coincidences. Christine seeks out the aid of psychic Rham Jas (Dileep Rao). But Christine doesn't have much time to spare. Will she be damned for eternity, or will she break the spell on time before being... dragged to hell.

While watching this movie, I wasn’t sure that what was happening was really happening. I was hoping that towards the end Raimi would give us a twist that would justify the rediculous occurances that I just sat through. In fact, the complete opposite happens. Without going into detail, basically everything that happens in the film really didn’t need to happen. The film could’ve really just skipped to the end from the moment Rham tells her she is cursed. There’s nothing more upsetting than sitting through a film and realizing that you really didn’t need to sit through it. Tim Burton did this in “Big Fish” and it ruined the beauty of the film for me. In this case, it just made me dislike it more. That's twice that a film with Alison Lohman in it does that. What's the deal? Is it an inside joke that i just don't get?

One of the many ludicrous occurances in the film was a scene where Christine digs out a six foot grave in the rain BY HERSELF... that's redicuous... I mean really? What's the deal with that. I guess I'm more confused because Sam Raimi was so dedicated to the form that this film took on. And we all know that he is a director capable of making a totally entertaining movie. So what... I...

There's another scene where she has a nose bleeds that squirts all over her desk, the floor and even on her boss and all he had to say was, "did I get any in my mouth?" She comes in the next day and it's as though none of it happened... but I... I... I don't get it.

There’s another scene where the Apple guy’s mother (yes that's what Im going to call him) calls him at his office and starts ranting about how he needs to find a good girl and stop dating those ditsy chicks, refering to his current girlfriend Christine. The whole time she is on speaker phone while Christine is standing right outside the hall. She just left the office so it’s obvious that he would know she is still close by. Hello! How about taking her off speaker phone! A non-credible way of establishing relationships. Yet Raimi dedicated to it and neve asks for forgiveness.

I guess you need people like me who just don't get it in order to keep this cult movie as just that, a cult movie. If you loved Sam Raimi's past horror films then you're going to love this. I guess it's sort of like my relationship with "Kill Bill." I loved it because I got it. I understood the movie references and I understood Tarantino's style as a filmmaker. Many people hated "Kill Bill" simply because the film references went right over their heads.

So while I understand that this is a horror movie for and by people who love the genre, I'm gonna have to give it a negative review. This one want right over my head. I'm gonna put Raimi's "Evil Dead" series in my Netflix cue, then I'll get back to this one.

I'm an iPapi

My cousin e-mailed me this video and it is hilarious! Thanks Jose!

video

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Shadow Art that will make you go, "huh... really?"

British-born and -based artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster skilfully skirt the boundaries between beauty and the shadowier aspects of humanity, playing with our perceptions as well as our notions of taste. Many of their most notable pieces are made from piles of rubbish, with light projected against them to create a shadow image entirely different to that seen when looking directly at the deliberately disguised pile.

read more about it here: 
http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/featured/incredible-shadow-art-created-from-junk/12265










Trailer for "Shutter Island"

video

It's Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. Need I say more?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Movie Review - "Departures (Okuribito)"


Now that I have more time in my hands, I am able to do more things that I never had time to do before. One of those things is catching up on those indie and foreign films that come out and I always want to see. So with this said, welcome to the first Unemployed Robot Movie Review!

First movie up is a Japanese film called "Departures" or "Okuribito," which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film this past February. The one Hugh Jakman hosted. Word, I thought he did a pretty good job...

... A.D.D. is kicking in...

... and - I - am - back...

Ok, great. Here's the synopsis:
Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki) is a talented musician who's orchestra abruptly disbands. Now unemployed (HOLLA!), Daigo moves back home to Japan with his wife Mika (Ryoko Hirosue) where he answers a classified ad for a company called "Departures," mistakenly assuming that he will be working for a travel agency. Turns out it's actually a business that specializes in preparing the bodies of the recently deceased for their trip to the afterlife. Daigo eventually but reluctantly accepts the position as a "Nokanashi" or "encoffineer" (the Japanese equivalent of an undertaker) and gradually gains a greater appreciation for life. He keeps it a secret from his wife and friends at first. They eventually find out and start to disown him. But his growing appreciation for the craft makes him a stubborn young fellow.

"Departures" is a film that I enjoyed very much. The story-telling was excellent, the insight on Japanese culture was stimulating, and the cinematography was simple yet sufficient. One of the things that surprised me the most was how humorous the film was. Director Yojiro Takita and writer Kundo Koyama were wise in their lighthearted approach to this material. This could've easily been a sad and depressing tale but instead the film celebrates the beauty of life by honoring death.

The opening scene, which takes place at a funeral, will draw you in immediately, showing you a ritual so different from our own that it makes you want to find out more. The way in which the body of the deceased is handled, washed and made up right in front of their loved ones is a thing of precise beauty. This somber moment is quickly broken by a comedic twist that sets the mood for the rest of the film. If I give it away now, it won't be that funny for you when you watch it.

Although I didn't care much for the acting, the characters in this film are well defined and sympathetic. The best performance in the film came from producer Tsutomu Yamazaki, who played Ikuei Sasaki, the owner of the undertaking parlor. His calm demeanor in preparing the bodies is intriguing. His motive for doing so adds a new level to the craft. We eventually discover just how much of a novelty his services are towards the end, making the character and the story something to cherish and respect.

Other than the acting, the only other negative note that I can think of is how harshly Daigo was looked upon when his line of work was discovered by his friends and wife. I just couldn't relate to why Daigo couldn't just tell his wife what he was doing instead of keeping it a secret from her. He was making pretty decent money and a, hey, a job's a job. But this critique can be easily written off as a cultural difference, which I can easily accept.

Overall, "Departures" is definitely a film worth seeing at the theaters. Wait, I don't have a rating system.... hmmm, I'll think of something for the next one.

Hope this review helps you make your next movie viewing decision. Take care.


Oh wait, one more thought:

Just a few years back Martin Scorcese won his first Oscar for the film "The Departed," which was a remake of the Hong Kong film "Infernal Affairs." "Departures" ---> "The Departed." I'm sensing some irony here. Is this a way of Asian cinema saying "screw you, American cinema. We can win oscars too with films that have 'depart' in the title." ... I'm reaching ain't I? :-/

HELLO AND WELCOME TO MY NEW BLOG!

Hey guys, my name is Alain, it is the Spring of 2009 and I've just been laid-off from work... HOLLA!

This would be my first posting so I guess I'll start off by saying: welcome to the "Unemployed Robot" blog page!

In this blog, I will post up things that interest me and hopefully you guys too. There is no real focus, just random things cause I'm sort of a scrabble brain. For the most part though, I like art, movies, music, and science so if you're into those kinds of things, then you should be able to get into this blog just fine. Oh, I make films too so to all of you film geeks: I'm one of you. (note: italics means I'm whispering to you... I'll try not to do it too much)

Prior to now, I worked for a music television company as a Junior Producer and am now in the process of graduating into bigger, better things with a little help from unemployment and some severance pay... HOLLA! You know, contrary to popular belief, being laid-off really isn't that much of a bumber.  Unless you worked in Wall street making six figures... then that sucks cause in New York the cap  for unemployment is something like $450 a week. Ouch. But, I'm pretty sure they got good severance packages too so there you go. 

I see this more like a time of re-building. A chance to take advantage of these unfortunate economic times by growing along with it. Folks, we will overcome this (cue inspiration music). I believe that we are a nation capable of great things. We have overcome greater obstacles. From British colonization, to slavery, to lip singing bands of the 1980's. I believe in change... change we can believe in... Barack Obama is our president... he's cool. I wanna play basketball with him. I'm sure he'd whip my ass. But I'd definitely whip his ass in NBA Live 2009. You can bet your best pair of sox on that one.

But ANYWAY, (I guess you can add politics to that above list of things I'll be discussing)... ANYWAY, thanks for checking out this blog site. I will try my best to post as many cool things as possible on a daily basis but this is my first time doing this so bear with me for a little while. Be easy, and don't forget to refuel every once in a while cause it's a long journey this thing we're doing here called living.

P.S. my website is coming soon where you can see some of my short films (shameless plug)