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NZIFF: Under The Skin (UK, 2013)

Scarlett Johansson is an otherworldly being who seduces Glaswegian men to their otherworldy doom. It’s shot, framed, told, and paced as an art film, but the narrative itself is fairly straightforward. (Which is good! That’s not a criticism!) There are many mysteries, mostly unexplained, although the shapes of answers are given. There’s a lot of improvised stuff where unsuspecting Glaswegian locals found themselves interacting with Johansson in seduction mode. The whole sequence on the beach is one of the most upsetting things I’ve ever seen.

I loved it. Best thing i’ve seen in ages. But this is really not for everyone.

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Deep Breath Linky

Oh man this comic strip wrecks me. (Pixar related.)

Lots of fruit and veg never makes it to retail because it doesn’t look perfect. One supermarket chain has figured out an ingenious way to reduce this food waste: they, um, just sell it anyway. Lovely. (via Craig N)

Cinefix’s top 10 most effective editing moments of all time

Is Neko Case mocking nerds, or mock-mocking nerds? U DECIDE!

Weird Al doing Weird Al stuff, releasing a bunch of new videos in a rush. The man is a treasure. I particularly enjoyed this one:

Grantland intereviews Al and wonders how relevant he is in this digital era

What is weird? What is cool? (both of those via the excellent Nextdraft – I recommend signing up to the emails!)

Women just don’t have much upper body strength, and so there are certain things they just cannot – er, wait just one second while I watch this – oh. OH.

Billy’s come across some interviews with a fascinating scholar with a surprising perspective on many things – trees decide to take psychotropic drugs? Bacteria build roads? Wild stuff, read his summary.

Classic album covers minus their deceased members.

Neat 10-minute short film about a basketball agent making an offer to a promising high school player. Watch the film before you read the (great) interview.

And finally, via Robert Whitaker, wrestling promos edited so only the sound of breathing remains


Love 2 Hate Linky

Love 2 Hate: A party game for inappropriate people, kickstarter for my friend Colm’s game has just launched. It’s a little bit Apples to Apples, a little bit Cards Against Humanity, and it sure looks like fun times to me. Take a look and consider backing it!

(Huh, just checked the preview of this post – there sure are a lot of videos this week. Oh well!)

Frankfurt airport reimagined as a Star Wars starport

via Jamie N: “a preview of a show of Star Wars done with shadow puppets, as a
way to promote traditional Malaysian culture.”

More good news on the climate change front: solar energy is kicking ass in Oz.

Analysis of the visual techniques of Michael Bay, film stylist. Interesting and convincing as far as it goes, but kinda doesn’t mention the fatal incoherence of his editing. (via Mike Foster)
Also Michael Bay: Transformers 4 is a master class in economics (via Pearce)

Guy kickstarts making a potato salad. Spins wildly out of control. All I can think is, this guy is gonna be sick of potato salad by the time he fulfils all those rewards. IF HE EVER DOES.
Update: wow, this was at about $2,000 pledged when I wrote the above. it’s now at… substantially more. The Awl explains how this potato salad is a darkness alighting upon our souls.

Via Campbell March: The Gentlemen’s Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness (mid-19th C)

45 minutes of Whose Line bloopers and outtakes (NSFW) (via Phil Berghan-Whyman)

Japanese Doctor Who has been turning up all over:

So has American Doctor Who:

But only Craig Oxbrow pointed out this Arabic/Indian/something Doctor Who:

Posted without comment, because it would take more than I have to comment with any nuance: if you love science this will make you angry, says io9

What if Ingmar Bergman directed a movie about comicbook superhero The Flash?

And finally, via Robert Whitaker, the goals from that Germany-Brazil World Cup slaughter given the perfect commentary: from wrestling legend Jim Ross.


Emotion Contagion Linky

So Facebook ran a big experiment on their users, filtering the feed one way or the other and measuring emotional effects. It’s been a huge disaster in just about every way – this Guardian column sums it up smartly. But the most amazing thing, for me, is that this ongoing disaster – which is really hurting Facebook because it crystallises lots of pre-existing concerns about them – is for research that sounds, well, weak as hell. Here’s a ruthless takedown of the actual research. (For what it’s worth, I’m not exactly morally outraged about what was done – I think it was silly and wrong in the same way Facebook’s interference in the feed for commercial reasons is silly and wrong.)

All about the live-action Fantastic Four TV show from the early 60s. Totally true and genuine.

Cory Doctorow summarises Piketty. Good stuff.

For Lizzie Bennet Diaries fans, check out these NZ teens doing a vlog-adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing.

Authors cosplay as their favourite childhood lit characters – via Marguerite

The house used by David Lynch for Laura Palmer’s family home is for sale. Some of the furniture is still there from shooting in 1988. Many comparison photos

Dice shaming

This Blackwater stuff is bananas. They took control of operations in Iraq then threatened inspectors who raised concerns – and the reporter behind that story is currently being threatened with prison for not revealing his sources. USA! USA!

Cleanse your palate from that, with this Aaron Swartz doco, free under creative commons. (It’s part of the NZ Intl Film Fest, too.)

John Oliver’s show “Last Week Tonight” is buried somewhere in NZ’s weird pay-TV structure but they put big chunks of it (all of it?) online. Watch some. It has an interest in the whole world – rare enough anywhere – and a big heart. It favours long, sustained stories, really getting into its subject matter in a meaty way. And it is HILARIOUS. Maybe start with this great piece about the US evangelical influence on Uganda’s homophobic laws.

9th Wonder’s 11-track tribute to Bobby Womack (free download)

38 wonderful moments in closed captioning history (via David R)

A theory of Star Trek economics

Women who cycle and wear skirts: here’s one neat trick

Interview with Morag and Erin, creators of the lovely Manfeels Park

Lionel Messi is impossible (via d3vo)

And finally, Nicolas Cage as Disney Princesses


Manfeels Linky

Unexpectedly, for the first time in literally years, I’m having twinges of hope about fate of the planet this week. Prompted by these two things:

(1) A new Al Gore piece in Rolling Stone, in which he points out that the climate change battleground is shifting, using Obama’s recent moves to point out a whole lot of significant positive changes like rapid changes in solar.

(2) Climate Voter, an apolitical initiative by a number of NGOs (350, WWF, Greenpeace, Forest & Bird, Gen Zero, Oxfam) to basically build up a petition of people indicating how climate will drive their voting behaviour. This is a really elegant way to put these issues on the table. They’re hitting 15K as I write which is pretty solid but if climate change is an important issue for you I urge you to sign up as well. Do it now! I’ll wait!

Grantland has a great account of a convention for Diplomacy players – this game’s reputation as “the game that destroys friendships” is well-deserved.

I wondered out loud when someone would write about how Tumblr has changed comics. Kieron Gillen pointed me at this great article on how Marvel Comics is being shaped by Tumblr. I think there’s more to say – like how gender-bent/race-bent cosplay pics are changing the visual vocabulary of supers storytelling – but this covers a bunch of good stuff. Recommended to comics nerds of course but also anyone interested in social media as a phenomenon.

David R celebrated the 25th birthday of Tim Burton’s Batman with this supercut of Batman mentions:

Manfeels Park – hilarious new webcomic mashing together Pride & Prej images with man-pain internet comments. (by Marrog & Erin, hello Marrog & Erin)

Make up routine to make you happy. I have never learned as much about the intricacies of feminine psychology. (via Sophie O’Doom)

Charting the adaptation of Game of Thrones – which chapters to which episodes

Pugs as Game of Thrones characters

Homemade Hoth

Being a neocon means never having to say you’re sorry

This story is amazing: guy who ended up irrevocably lost when he was 4 years old later tracked down his home by searching google maps for familiar scenes (via Sarah E)

And finally… Nick Offerman narrates this very funny short about an intrusive narrator in an old west saloon


Flick Kick International


Flick Kick Football Legends, the football-kicking free-to-play mobile game I wrote for, has updated and is even more fun. I particularly like the International Cup, where your team goes to Brazil to compete after your national team gets abducted by aliens. I wrote almost all of the dumb dad-joke commentary, and the absurd little storylines that run in-between matches. I love every character, but I think I love the mad Doctor most of all.

Get the game!

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Leopold Linky

It was Bloomsday! Here’s Jung writing to Joyce about Ulysses.

Aucklanders – The Black Hoof, restaurant/tapas bar/gastropub/place – opens in August. These are my friends, so maybe think about checking it out sometime? (Facebook page)

As a child I thought I knew what the coolest thing in all the universe was: Boba Fett. But, this photo.

58 cognitive biases that screw up everything you do. I quibble over some of the specifics, but the length of this list should give you pause. We are no so smart. (via Stephen Fox)

FBI lexicon of twitter slang. The existence of this document is delightful. In my mind’s eye, Albert Rosenfeld is trying to describe it to Gordon Cole.

I dip into Rookie Mag from time to time because, although I am not the audience (teenage girls) I appreciate the fact that Rookie is pretty much perfect. Here’s another example of why: they reposted for father’s day “Ask A Grown Man” featuring special guest advice guru Steve Gevinson aka the father of Rookie founder Tavi Gevinson. It’s kind of perfect. Hits a peak about 3 minutes in, if you just want the quick version.

Amazing graduation photos mocking movie posters. The Captain America one is gorgeous.

Rap Battle from History – featuring Weird Al as Isaac Newton. The man is a legend.

Where to get coffee in Edinburgh? A blog. For y’all in Edinburgh. (via Erik)

Grab your next desktop background from here – cells from Miyazaki movies (via Mundens!)

Well-researched essay on how “mana”, a Polynesian word and concept, ended up used in loads of video games to mean “magic points”.

The Ruminator reviews a sausage

Key & Peele’s Mexican Standoff is amazing.

The internet means long literary novels will die out, says grumpy old white man. Sharing this one for the lulz.

Ah, Tony Blair, you do make it easy to keep my rage white-hot. The money quote: “We have to liberate ourselves from the notion that ‘we’ have caused this.” This is completely wrong, and staggeringly poorly-phrased. Yet there is some sense to the claim – the invasion of Iraq was not the sole cause of the troubles of an entire region. Witness how self-serving Blair is, however, in drawing his big picture: “Poor governance, weak institutions, oppressive rule and a failure within parts of Islam to work out a sensible relationship between religion and Government have combined to create countries which are simply unprepared for the modern world.” And yet no mention of Western exploitation and interference in the region, from the celebrated (e.g. the Balfour Declaration) to the criminally ignored (e.g. the British and American overthrow of Mossadegh in ’53). I do not know what punishment could possibly fit Blair’s crimes, but I am confident he will be forever incapable of comprehending his own wilful blindness.
(see also Giovanni Tiso‘s acidic rewriting)

Sad footballers (via Bruce, who says “you just don’t get to see things like this in rugby”)

Why didn’t Harry use Avada Kevadra vs Voldemort? Answered on stackexchange’s new SF/F platform (via d3vo!)

Insane record collections & their people

And finally…

even more finally, via Jenni Talula:


People’s Poet Linky

Rik Mayall, eh? Bugger. This is the clip to watch – my first thought was to seek it out but then lots of other people had the same thought before me (including you Jet). The Bottom stage show, when Mayall and Edmondson go a bit off-script. (Some of this out-of-character banter was apparently scripted, but they both corpse out completely about halfway through.) It’s marvellous stuff. NSFW of course.

VERY well done – Aliens in Lego

Marvellous – Bill Watterson, of Calvin and Hobbes fame, emerged from retirement to secretly be a guest artist on another comic strip. (WaPo coverage)

Mark Hamill does the Joker meets Luke Skywalker

Many, many recreations of classic photos and paintings using Star Wars figures

19yo blogs watching Star Wars for the first time

Game of Thrones characters as 80s yoofs… some of these seem to absolutely nail the characters, and some seem really really wrong to me.

The shocking moment from the most recent Game of Thrones ep (s04e09), with appropriate musical sting (via Paul Wilson)

The More Things Change Dept: when playing Chess was going to make kids more violent (via Craig Oxbrow)

Amazingly this week a 13-year-old boy convinced some adults he was a human being.

Britney as feminist icon? Lengthy article about her Vegas residency musters part of an argument in this direction. I skimmed it, and mean to come back to it – the phenomenon of Britney is fascinating.

Also Vegas: man stuck at Vegas airport overnight makes a music video (via Nick Tipping)

Newspaper ad for an 1890s detective agency, the only one with “lady detectives”.

Can you identify the book from its map? (Guardian quiz, via Elizabeth Knox)

Shakesville: we need to talk about the abuse women receive when they are visible online. (That’s a conversation that’s been slowly starting to gain momentum in the last year or so, and I’d expect this post will be a significant moment when we look back say a year from now.)

Why the Dog Whisperer should not be your idol. (Includes: the surprising connection between Nazi science and dog whisperering!)

Chimps regularly beat humans in strategy games.

Disney Doctor Who (scroll down for the slightly adjusted version he made in response to feedback)

Western Art History: women ignoring men

And finally… The ultimate Nicolas Cage prank


Unboxing Linky

Get nostalgic for how we did nostalgia in the good old days: The Wonder Years cast reunited

This sounds craaazy. WaPo headline: Female-named hurricanes kill more than male hurricanes because people don’t respect them, study finds (Via Tom Crosby)
Of course, there are methodological issues, so maybe it’s all just a hurricane in a teacup.

Marvellous, unusual Ukrainian art for Lord of the Rings (via Craig Oxbrow)

The person who mapped Batman’s Gotham City

D-Day photographs – then and now

You stay here. I’m going out there alone to check it out. (A supercut.)

All of Star Wars, intercut with the sequences that inspired Lucas. Amazing. (I’ve only dipped into it but was very impressed with the bits I saw.)

Or, Star Wars, in alphabetical order:

Rankin-Bass does Star Wars

And finally… YouTube is full of “unboxing” videos. If you’ve ever seen one, and you’ve seen the film Seven (or “Se7en” depending on how frustrating you are), then you’ll appreciated this. Um, spoilers.


Legopunk Linky

Sam Burke found this neat description of a more effective way to win arguments than saying “I can prove you’re wrong!” Not suitable for all circumstances, but I’m adding it to my arsenal.

The 25 most underrated movies of the 90s (via Edel)

Cyberpunk city made out of Lego

Gustave the crocodile has his own wikipedia page. He is believed to have killed 300 people. (I discovered his existence through the Snap Judgment podcast’s Monsters episode.) (The Wee Beastie watched today an episode of a Disney kids show featuring an alligator called Gustov… coincidence or conspiracy?)

The worst waiter in history

Low-budget Beasts (shared with love, costuming the Beast is HARD)

A great 7-minute film pointing out how Edgar Wright uses all kinds of filmmaking tricks to make his films funny, while other comedy directors… don’t. (Via Dave Chapman)

Arthur Chu is a self-identified nerd who found a weakness in the design of the legendary US gameshow Jeopardy, and proceeded to become a (somewhat controversial) champion. He’s just revealed another talent, for the written word – and for clear insight into the troubling misogyny infecting nerd culture. I was going to make this linky clear of all references to the recent awful events in the US, but this one deserves a wider audience.

The science of Bruce Lee’s one-inch-punch.

On the latest This American Life, Molly Ringwald and her 10-year-old daughter watch The Breakfast Club together.

Chinese bootleg Star Wars comics (via Jamie Norrish)

Artists create works inspired by pages in an 90s X-Men coloring book. (via the Alligator)

Gem’s Wilder Web is always worth a look but this week’s crop of links is particularly genius. Homemade Disney costumes, Cliff Curtis interviewed, the Modern Maori Quartet doing the Game of Thrones theme, and moar! Go and check it out…

And finally, via Pearce, the many delights of Liartown USA (warning, often NSFW!)