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Anthony Hopkins To Play Odin In Thor Movie - #film

Happy Halloween!

I don't know what you dressed up as over the weekend, but I was in work clothes all throughout -- the idea of being away from work was scary enough. It was enough for me to see the young ones (and the once young) dress up as superheroes, but I was rather disappointed not to find even a half-decent Wonder Woman. Oh well, there's always next year.

Speaking of superheroes, I've been following the buildup towards the 2012 Avengers movie. This is obviously a mammoth undertaking for Marvel, since they'll obviously need to get the casting and writing just right, otherwise critics will have a field day spotting plot holes.

I have mixed feelings about Marvel's most recent casting decision for the "Thor" movie -- the legendary Anthony Hopkins has been picked to play Odin, the king of the Norse gods and father of Thor and Loki. While I have no doubt he'll make a great Odin, I'm a little worried about his health -- the last time I saw Sir Anthony, he was skinny. I sure hope he can keep up with the rigors of shooting more than a few superhero movies in the near future.

Image+photo+of+Sir+Anthony+Hopkins+Odin+Thor+Film+EngineAlpha+Chris+Gomez

Image credit: Found on Wikipedia - Link -

The rest of the Thor cast seems to be falling nicely into place -- Chris Hemsworth will play Thor, Tom Hiddleston will play Loki, and Natalie Portman will play Jane, Thor's love interest on Earth. (* I still think Triple H would have been a good Thor.)

In any case, it would be interesting to see how Sir Anthony would look like as Odin. I think he looked pretty good (well, his CG avatar, at least) as Hrothgar in "Beowulf," so with Gungnir in his hands, he should be quite a sight to see when "Thor" hits theaters on May 20, 2011.


* OK. You're right.  I  don't  really think that.

Happy Birthday, Internet | #media #technology #internet

Many people think the Internet is technology's most recent innovation, but it actually began almost 40 years ago. US scientist Leonard Kleinrock had the idea of using an "interface message processor"(IMP) to access a computer from another location back in 1969, and while the first test was rather dismal, it was obviously the beginning of something new.

Back in October 29, 1969, Kleinrock hooked up a computer to the IMP and began to type the word "LOGIN," to be sent to a colleague in Stanford. But after typing the first two letters, the system crashed. So accidentally and aptly, the first word sent over the Internet was "LO" -- and behold!

happy+birthday+internet+xkcd+wrong+on+internet+Chris+Gomez+Engine+Alpha

Image credit: Found on xkcd.com


The Internet has come a long way since that first word was sent over the first connection. Most people think the Internet only started out in the 80's, because that's when its more primitive forms first became commercially available. What do YOU remember about the Internet's early years?

I remember how e-mail changed the way people communicated. Telegrams were all of a sudden obsolete, and people now had an inexpensive way of communicating with their loved ones and colleagues out of town.

Sometime years later came the browser wars, Google, Wikipedia, and the row over music copyrights (and later general file sharing). Whether we liked it or not, the Internet was here to stay.

I think the biggest impact the Internet has made so far comes in the form of -- okay, I'll say it just this once -- social media. All of a sudden, it opened the doors for a tech-savvy underdog US Senator to reach unprecedented numbers of people and raise unprecedented amounts of money, wresting power from an otherwise immovable opposing party.

But for the rest of us, the Internet simply makes life a lot more interesting. Work is almost always more efficient with the Internet, and productivity levels haven't increased this much since the advent of air conditioning.

Many people say that, at 40 years, the Internet is still a teenager. If life truly does begin at 40, let's see what the next 40 has in store for us.

Archon Defender -- Feature Film Created On Second-hand Computers

Archon+Defender+premier+poster+Engine+Alpha+Enginealpha+Chris+Gomez

Image credit: Found on Digipendence.com   - Link -

If you were into movies or video games when you were growing up, you probably fantasized about coming up with your own feature-length production all by yourself. Later you may have realized that there's a reason why the credits at the end of a movie can last a full half-hour -- you get the idea that to come up with a good feature, you'll need a team. No, not a team -- an army.

David T. Krupicz busts the myth.

David is an ordinary guy who works in a call center as his full-time day job. But during his free time, he tinkers with obsolete animation software and second-hand computers to create animated shorts. If you've come across the "Rocketmen vs. Robots" series on YouTube, then you're familiar with David's work.


But now, David has finally finished his first feature length animated film -- the 65-minute masterpiece, "Archon Defender." The film is set in a sci-fi/fantasy world called Echelon, where the evil Empress Lucia is waging war against all who oppose her, particularly the magical "Shard Sensitives." Collette, a young girl whose Shard powers have recently awakened, must set aside her feelings of loneliness and isolation to face the Empress.

What's great about "Archon Defender" is that it's totally free for viewing -- David posted his entire film on YouTube, and is now offering paid downloads of the movie. It's a great way of sending the message, "If you like this movie and would like to see more in the future, please buy a copy." That way viewers would be funding David's next project. Brilliant -- it pulls the chair from under video piracy.

Sure, the animation may look "unusual" to the masses, and the computer-generated voices (in the YouTube video, though David has hired voice actors since then) may be a little monotonic, but David still shows what old software, second-hand computers, and three years' worth of free time can do.

N.B.: I strongly urge you to support Dave's work by purchasing a copy of Archon Defender here: http://www.filmbaby.com/films/4289

My Take On Roman Polanski

You're probably well aware about the case of Roman Polanski. The visionary filmmaker is currently under fire for his 1977 conviction of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old. That was 32 years ago, shortly before he fled to Europe to avoid jail time. Now, under arrest in Switzerland, everyone has their own opinion on whether Polanski should go free or do the time.

Polanski was born in 1933 as a Polish Jew. As a young boy he escaped and hid from the Nazis, even as his own mother died in a concentration camp. But after the war, Polanski went into filmmaking, and eventually struck gold with his 1968 masterpiece "Rosemary's Baby." He went on to create great films such as "Chinatown" (1973), "The Pianist" (2002), and "Oliver Twist" (2005).

Except for those in and around the filmmaking business, those achievements seem to pale for that one mistake he made over three decades ago. Since he fled to France in 1977, there's been a pending US arrest warrant for him (and an international one since 2005). He was only arrested in Switzerland, at the request of US authorities, when he stepped onto Zurich to pick up the Zurich Film Festival's "Golden Icon Award," a lifetime achievement award.

I think child molestation is wrong however way you look at it, and sexual predators do belong to some of the lowest tiers of humanity. To some people, this one mistake is enough to negate all his achievements and contributions to world culture and send him to the pits of Hades. It seems these people believe that if you make one slip, you're through.

Naturally, Hollywood is much more forgiving (which I think is one of its very agreeable cultures). Michael Vick got into trouble by being involved in a dog fighting gambling ring, but he's back in the NFL playing football. Mel Gibson has had more than a few scandals in his time, but he's still out there making great films. Mike Tyson. Robert Downey, Jr. Kanye West. Should Polanski's case be any different?

Besides, I believe that ultimately, if you want justice, you deal with the victim. The 13-year-old girl, now 45-year old Samantha Geimer, had already forgiven him six years ago. On no less than CNN's Larry King Live, she wished that the whole thing would be buried, and that she never wanted Polanski to go to jail.

I think it's time to bury the hatchet and send the man back home to his family.

Guillermo del Toro Heads To Disney

Guillermo del Toro, the acclaimed filmmaker responsible for "Pan's Labyrinth" and the "Hellboy" movies, is heading into a partnership with Walt Disney Studios, launching a production label called "Disney Double Dare You." It's a production outfit that's out to create new animated films that are more edgy and thrilling than the usual Disney fare -- and about time.

Del Toro is known for his fantastic storytelling skills, often coming up with engaging fantasy worlds and gripping plots. Disney Double Dare You seems to be tailor-made for Del Toro's style of filmmaking, and many people in the industry are thrilled at the new development.

The launching of Disney Double Dare You comes off the heels of Disney's $4-billion acquisition of Marvel Comics, which leads many of us to ask -- just what is Disney thinking? It does seem that, with last year's addition of the male-audience-friendly Disney XD channel, that Disney is reaching out to other demographics and coming up with features that can be enjoyed by all ages.

I personally think these are good developments -- after all, if "The Princess And The Frog" was Disney's only major offering this year, I'd probably think twice about the company's future in the animation industry. The addition of the Marvel superheroes and Guillermo del Toro is a step in the right direction.

What I particularly like about Disney Double Dare You is that Disney is bringing a storytelling powerhouse in del Toro into their roster. Del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth" was nominated for six Oscars two years ago, winning three. Currently, del Toro is directing two feature films on "The Hobbit," J.R.R Tolkien's prequel to the "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy.

Great news. Great news.

Ashton Kutcher Neck-And-Neck With CNN In Twitter Battle

As if I haven't written enough about social media this week...

If you haven't kept up with the news, Ashton Kutcher earlier this week challenged CNN to reach the coveted 1,000,000 follower mark on Twitter first. No single Twitter account has ever reached that many followers, but it would seem that both Ashton Kutcher and CNN will be reaching that mark in less than 24 hours from this writing. (It's about noon Hong Kong Time as I'm writing this.)

Ashton (@aplusk) has pledged to give his 1,000,000th follower a copy of the popular video game Guitar Hero, plus donate 10,000 mosquito bed nets to the Malaria No More charity. He's also promised to ring the bell on Ted Turner's home if he wins the race.

Soon after Ashton threw the gauntlet, CNN's Larry King gamely issued a video statement accepting Ashton's challenge, even going as far as saying “We will crush you,” and letting the young actor (and the rest of the oblivious world, apparently) that Ted Turner no longer runs CNN.

What's funny is that CNN wasn't even running the CNN Breaking News Twitter account (@cnnbrk) when Ashton issued the challenge. It was being run by San Francisco-based James Cox, who very recently sold the account to CNN for an undisclosed sum. I'm sure he's very happy.

To make things a bit more interesting, EA Sports just upped the ante by offering to include Ashton's 1,000,000th follower in their upcoming Sims 3 game, as well as giving them a copy of every game it makes in 2009. This should give Ashton a boost in the race, probably leaving Britney Spears – who also jumped in – in the dust.

Oh, this just in. Ashton Kutcher's account just passed CNN in the follower race. As of this writing, he has 990,051 followers, a wafer-thin lead over CNN Breaking News's 989,991. That's 60 followers. Dude!

Now, I'm not a compulsive Twitter user and I have to admit I don't have a compelling need to recruit Twitter followers for myself. Nope. I didn't invent the wheel, and I have not discovered the cure for male pattern baldness. Really. I don't have any secret formula here. Those who follow me on Twitter, I follow in return.

Anyway, for now, I'm probably going to sit back and watch this race as it grinds to the finish. Who am I rooting for? I think I'll go with CNN (shows you my age). I like Ashton, though I am secretly hoping CNN punks him for taking Demi away from all of us.

OK, I'm kidding. This is Chris Gomez wishing you all a good weekend.



UPDATE:
Apr 16, 2009, 9:32 AM (GMT +0800)

Damn!

So much for supporting CNN. Anyway, congrats to the winning side. I'm gonna stop watching Larry King for a month! ;)



Reference Twitter message links from CNN Breaking News:

  • Congrats @aplusk. Ashton Kutcher is the first twitter account to reach 1MM followers.    - Twitter link -
  • Ashton Kutcher is first to reach 1 million followers in Twitter contest with CNN.    - Twitter link -



Reference Twitter message links from Ashton Kutcher:

Here's Susan Boyle!

If you’re having a bad day... watch this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY

How did I find this fast before most of the mainstream international press?

Simple.

This should be, and is, Susan Boyle's day... but I can't pass the opportunity to showcase how shallow, utterly insensitive and inconsiderate Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan are. :)

Perhaps at the back of their minds they think their tasteless behavior on the shows they’re on can be remedied with their charity work and schmoozing with television royalty or politicians, but as the saying goes, the camera doesn’t lie.

You gotta’ see these quack's (and some of the audience’s) expressions in the Britain’s Got Talent video above. Of course by the end of Susan’s amazing presentation Piers and Simon were clearly floored (you can clearly hear it in their voices).



UPDATE:

So just how good was the performance?

1 day on...

- Youtube user: macraeman
"TRUE BRIT. Self-depracating, accepts the jibes, then gets on with the job - brilliantly, in this case - and has the last laugh."

- Youtube user: macraeman
cont'd...
"Favorite moments: the performance, obviously, but also at 2:28, Piers Morgan swallowing back his emotion, at 4:01 Simon Cowell smiling and relaxing into a moment that looks like a kid at Christmas, and towards the end, Amanday Holden (who really needs to be my wife) shouting 'Oy as Ms. Boyle starts to leave the stage prematurely. This just shows that God/Life comes in many packages. Here is one Yank who sends Ms. Boyle his very, very best!"



4 days on...

- YouTube user: leafnut420
"jesus christ! over 12 mil views and 65k comments in 4 days. that's retarded"



6 days on...

- I don't know if this is genuine (I have not been able to verify this), but it's worth a listen:
Susan Boyle - Cry Me A River - 1999 Recording (From The Scottish Daily Record Newspaper)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI2DxkrgpgQ

Who's Your Favorite Movie President?

Barack Obama has just taken office as the 44th President of the United States, and no one doubts the enormity of the tasks he has to face right on Day One. The previous administration left behind one big beautiful mess for him to inherit, what with two wars, an ailing economy, and tense international relations to take care of. Is it any wonder that Hollywood would portray America's highest official in some of its most notable roles in history?

Hollywood has come up with some of the most memorable movie presidents we've seen, and a CNN author recently asked the website's readers who their favorite ones were. The author also came up with a list of their favorite movie presidents – some played magnificent roles, others brooding ones, and still others were just plain goofy. Who's your favorite movie president?

If you ask me, I have four. OK, actually I have four I wanna poke fun at from that list. I am gonna' leave "Dr. Strangelove" and "The American President" out of this "favorite list", because of the enormous respect I have for Stanley Kubrick, Peter Sellers, Rob Reiner, Aaron Sorkin, Martin Sheen (did I hear someone say, "Jed Bartlet"?) and my schoolboy crush on Annette Bening. Yes, I know that was a long list of people. Yes, I still have a crush on Annette Bening. Yes, shut up.

Anyway, a man's gotta' do what a man's gotta' do, so here goes:

Movie President #1:
Bill Pullman as Pres. Thomas J. Whitmore, Independence Day.

Pullman portrayed Pres. Whitmore, a young President faced with something no one in the world has ever before – protect his country from aliens out to destroy humanity. Conveniently, this President used to be a fighter pilot, and led the human resistance in thwarting the alien invasion by doing a bit of Top Gunning. Pullman's features and voice were very presidential throughout the entire movie, as well.

The only gripe I had about his role in the movie was that he had the bad luck to deliver the pre-battle speech on the morning of July 4. While a lot of people found it pretty moving, a select few – evidently the most intellectual of the moviegoing audience – found it horrible. I personally think it's the cheesiest 5 minutes I've ever sat through in a movie, but Bill's performance over the rest of the film more than made up for it.

Movie President #2:
Morgan Freeman as Pres. Tom Beck, Deep Impact.

Sure, a fighter pilot turning President is pretty much fiction at its best. That's why Morgan Freeman makes it to my list for playing the President in Deep Impact, tasked with the grim job of telling the world that a meteor is about to destroy the earth. His TV appearances and speeches in the movie were quite presidential – much more real than Pullman's, that's for sure. I wouldn't be surprised if Freeman decides to forage into politics one of these days. (I hope he's Democrat.)

Movie President #3:
Jack Nicholson as Pres. James Dale, Mars Attacks!

Going to the other end of the spectrum, I loved Jack Nicholson's portrayal of the dimwitted President in Mars Attacks! As real as Freeman was in Deep Impact, Jack was hilariously unreal in this movie. Hardly presidential, but still worth a mention.

Movie President #4:
Harrison Ford as Pres. James Marshall, Air Force One.

Four words: “Get. Off. My. Plane.” That's pretty much the closest a Movie President can get to being like Chris Gomez.


Note: I left "W" and "Frost/Nixon" out because I've yet to see either movie, and I left "Man of The Hour" out of this list, because everybody really believes Robin Williams will make a great president. And Robin, if you do decide to run, please keep me in mind for the post of lobbyist and your campaign fund-raiser **wink wink**.

Obama's Inauguration, From Every Angle

Chris Gomez - Engine Alpha - Photosynth


Image credit: Taken from the Photosynth blog - Link -


Great events in history have always been captured in great photographs, as has been the tradition of major publications like Life and Time. While there's no doubt that Barack Obama's inauguration is one of the most photographed events in history, CNN and the guys at Microsoft decided to take things a step higher – by Photosynth'ing the moment into a 3-D photo that's only going to get bigger and clearer with time.

Microsoft developed the Photosynth technology, which in this situation will compile hundreds (and, possibly soon, thousands) of photos submitted by those present during the moment when Barack Obama took the oath. John King showed the Photosynth of the moment a mere few hours after Obama became President, constructing a surprisingly clear photo that you could pan and zoom in very freely.

During King's first presentation, he had just a little trouble getting into certain angles and zoom points, but that's probably because the Photosynth was still composed of relatively few photos submitted by viewers in and around the Capitol platform. But the great thing about this Photosynth project is that viewers can keep submitting their photos to themoment@cnn.com and the guys at CNN will keep using them to create an even clearer and more comprehensive Synth in the days to come. You can view the synth at www.cnn.com/themoment.

It's actually surprising to me to see Microsoft come up with something that's actually cool. I'd have expected Google to come up with something like this (navigating the synth felt a bit like Google Earth), but Microsoft? I sure hope it's a sign of things to come from Bill Gates and company.

Although I'll admit, Wolf Blitzer sort of gave me the wrong idea when he and Anderson Cooper brought up references to the stuff we saw during the US election day last year. Back then we saw John King work the Magic Wall like a wizard, Jessica Yellin and will.i.am beamed up to the CNN studios (George Lucas must have been flattered to death), and a 3-D generation of the Senate and House of Congress. I suddenly expected something 3-D as well, which left me a little disappointed when the Photosynth came out one dimension short.

Still, it was pretty good, considering they came out with a very presentable synth in mere hours – and CNN only had about 10 photographers at the event. CNN did a bit of crowdsourcing by asking people at the event to submit their photos as soon as possible. It's pretty surprising to see how readily people are willing to help out, even if the only reward is an acknowledgment on the website.

In the end, these innovative new uses of technology made an already momentous occasion much more memorable. Although I'll concede that one of the most enjoyable moments I've had all day was when former President George Bush left the Capitol in a helicopter. Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye!

All Eyes On Michelle Obama

The whole world is tuned in to watch the inauguration ceremonies in Washington, DC today. It's Barack Obama's long-awaited rise to power, and people in the US and the rest of the world are very much anticipating a benevolent administration that's infinitely more willing to listen to them than the last one. But what makes Obama's presidency all the more interesting is the roles that everyone expects the First Lady, Michelle Obama, to play starting tomorrow.

Michelle Obama is pretty much up there with what the free world envisions the ideal woman to be. She's a lawyer, a wife, and a mother all at the same time, and now she takes on the daunting task of being a main occupant of the East Wing. What's in store for her, and what impact will she have on the country?

The Obamas have very close-knit family ties, which is quite impressive for a family that's deeply rooted in America. It's no secret, but the rest of the world views America as perhaps the most liberal place to raise a family. Kids are expected to move out of the house and lead their own lives by the time they're eighteen, while it's not unusual for kids in Asia to still live with their parents up till their thirties. The Obamas have such a stable family thing going that it's enough to put even Asian families to shame, and you can bet Michelle Obama has a lot to do with that.

Many people expect Michelle Obama to reinstate the values of “family first” to America, something that the country hasn't seen in a while. Previous First Ladies may have been influential in environmental and humanitarian causes during their husbands' terms, and Michelle Obama will most likely champion such endeavors over the next four years – but her family-centered approach to things will probably gain her a lot of admiration and support from family persons all over the world.

Oh, and for the record, Chris Gomez is a family person... contrary to popular belief.

Barack Obama has the kind of grassroots appeal that allows him to connect with people of all races, creeds, and income levels. Who's willing to take a guess that he got that kind of appeal from his wife? Michelle Obama, in addition to being the family woman everyone loves, also has her popular fashion sense that makes her so popular with the upper class. Her fashion style is so impeccably balanced that many have given her the title, “First Fashionista.” Apt!

Of course, Michelle Obama will never come off as haughty and arrogant – she knows better than that. What she has shown during those numerous interviews and campaign appearances is enough to convince most people that she means very well. All eyes may be on her husband today, but you can bet there's a fair share of the world's audience that's watching every move she makes.