Electric Shadow

Rian Johnson Sings "Yoda", Also Writes/Directs STAR WARS

He's writing and directing Star Wars: Episode VIII, and at least doing the treatment for Episode IX. Deadline's report conflicts with what The Wrap says (that he's only confirmed to write treatment on IX), but it's early days.

He also brings the house down when he sings Weird Al at karaoke. This was shot by a mutual friend. I was front of stage center singing my head off.


MacRumors reported a while back on the alleged second update to the Thunderbolt standard since introduction. This news is the reason that even if fancy new Macs I otherwise want come out later this year, I won't get them if they don't have the new "Thunderbolt 3".

The computers I use have Thunderbolt 1, and accessories that use Thunderbolt 2 are only just becoming available. It's also a new form factor connector:

The site says Intel's new Thunderbolt controller, code-named Alpine Ridge, will see power consumption reduced by 50 percent, support for PCIe generation-3, and charging capacities of up to 100 watts. Backward compatibility will be maintained through the use of connector adapters, but the new Thunderbolt connector itself will be reduced in size.

Thankfully, I'm in no danger of needing new computers any time soon. I would be tempted by an amazing new take on the MacBook Air. I've wanted one of the new Mac Pros since they dropped last year. I did buy a new i7 Mac mini back in March for ESN, and only because I couldn't wait.

I hope they don't announce something amazing that has "plain-old" Thunderbolt 2. Then again, the move to an even slimmer MacBook Air would require a move to slimmer Thunderbolt and USB (if there is USB at all) ports, as they're the thickness limiting factors now.


Trailer for Soderbergh's Showtime Series THE KNICK

Looks sharp, brutal, and above all, interesting and worth my time...unlike most of what gets cranked into cinemas these days. A synopsis:

Set in downtown New York in 1900, THE KNICK centers on Knickerbocker Hospital and the groundbreaking surgeons, nurses and staff, who push the bounds of medicine in a time of astonishingly high mortality rates and zero antibiotics. Steven Soderbergh directs Clive Owen in the entire ten-episode season of the Cinemax original series which debuts August 8, 2014 at 10pm. André Holland, Eve Hewson, Juliet Rylance, Jeremy Bobb, Michael Angarano, Chris Sullivan, Cara Seymour, Eric Johnson, David Fierro, Maya Kazan, Leon Addison Brown and Matt Frewer round out the ensemble cast. The creators and writing team of Jack Amiel & Michael Begler also serve as executive producers, along with Gregory Jacobs, Steven Soderbergh, Michael Sugar and Clive Owen. Michael Polaire produces. Steven Katz serves as supervising producer.

Heart of Hartnell (Frame 178)

I finally watched An Adventure in Space and Time, a BBC telefilm made about the beginning of Doctor Who. David Bradley's performance as William Hartnell (the first Doctor) is absolutely brilliant. The whole thing is pretty great all-around. After the fact, I realized why I got emotional in a couple of places watching kids in the movie "playing" Doctor Who. In real life, one of those kids was Peter Capaldi.

An Adventure in Space and Time 020.png


THR is reporting Sony circling the duo who previously worked together on The Beach. They're two of the biggest heavyweights in their respective fields, and I'm into them both to the point I'd pay to watch their adaptation of a phone book at this point.

Sources caution that deals are not done. And DiCaprio has committed to star in Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu’s thriller The Revenant for New Regency starting in September.

I met Danny Boyle the year Slumdog Millionaire played the Austin Film Festival in the lobby of the Paramount Theatre. He was warm, humble, and extremely generous with his time speaking not just with me, but many others. In his post-show Q&A, he talked about how "electric" a movie-loving city Austin was, and how he loved screening movies in a city like this (of which there are very few, he noted).

The movie was not the Oscar frontrunner it would later became (this was mid-October), but I told him "if there were an 'awards' narrative I would find compelling, in an age when I've stopped caring about awards shows, it would be this movie coming from behind the pack and winning". I meant it, and I share that because his response was, "I would just love for people to see it and be uplifted and motivated by it, d'you know what I mean?" He grew up very poor and with none of life's advantages early on, and he just hoped it'd be successful enough that some poor kid in a slum in some remote part of the world would be changed by it for the better.

I'm not the biggest fan of the source material, but I'm a huge fan of Boyle's movies because of the infectious energy he bottles in them. Sorkin is a big deal, but in Joe Biden's words, to me, Boyle is "a big fuckin' deal".

How to Avoid iOS Battery Drain

My pal Greg Scown passed this along. Written by a former Apple Genius:

During this testing, Facebook kept jumping up on the process list even though I wasn't using it. So I tried disabling Location Services  and Background App Refresh  for Facebook, and you'll never guess what happened: my battery percentage increased. It jumped from 12% to 17%. Crazy. I've never seen that happen before on an iPhone. The iPod touch exhibits this behavior, to my memory, although I haven't tested it in a while. For the iPhone, the battery percentage is usually pretty consistent.

I have confirmed this behavior on multiple iPhones with the same result: percentage points actually increase after disabling these background functions of Facebook.

Bad, Facebook, bad.

Various things on the list I knew, but I definitely learned a lot reading this.

Disc News Digest: 2014-03-21

To support the site, pre-order/order things on Amazon.

April 1

Fargo is reissued on Blu-ray with a newly-remastered transfer and needlepoint cover art.

May 6

Sony is releasing four post-1990 Godzilla double feature Blu-rays just in time for Garth Edwards's revival of the franchise. Each movie is on its own Blu-ray disc. All movies include their original trailers, with the only other extras being a featurette on Tokyo S.O.S. and a behind-the-scenes featurette on Final Wars. The movies as they're paired:

  • Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) + Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992)
  • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993) + Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)
  • Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995) + Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)
  • Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003) + Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)

May 13

Special ID, starring the incomparable Donnie Yen as a deep-cover cop on the inside of a gang. Wait until you see what he does with the chain wallet you see on the poster.

Spike Jonze's Her. Blu-ray featurettes include all of the following (DVD only has the boldface one):

  • The Untitled Rick Howard Project
  • How Do You Share Your Life with Somebody
  • Her: Love in the Modern Age

Orange is the New Black: Season 1 comes to 3-disc Blu-ray and 4-disc DVD with the following features:

  • “New Kid on the Cell Block” featurette
  • “Mother Hen: Red Runs the Coup” featurette
  • “It’s Tribal” featurette
  • “Prison Rules” featurette
  • Gag Reel
  • Episode Commentary “I Wasn't Ready” with Producers Jenji Kohan, Tara Herrmann and Mark Burley
  • Episode Commentary “Can't Fix Crazy” with Producers Jenji Kohan, Tara Herrmann and Mark Burley

June 10

The Spike Lee Joint Collection (Volumes 1 & 2) drop on Blu-ray. Volume 1 includes The 25th Hour and He Got Game. Volume 2 includes Summer of Sam and Miracle at St. Anna. According to the studio, each movie is on its own separate disc.

All four movies retain all previous DVD extras and add newly-recorded commentary tracks with Spike Lee and a cohort as follows:

  • The 25th Hour: Spike Lee and actor Edward Norton
  • He Got Game: Spike Lee and actor Ray Allen
  • Summer of Sam: Spike Lee and actor John Leguizamo
  • Miracle at St. Anna's: Spike Lee and screenwriter James McBride


Fox Cinema Archives is releasing another wave after wave of MOD DVD oldies starting this week. They star everyone from Cesar Romero to Linda Darnell (playing a version of herself in Star Dust) to Spencer Tracy to Adam West to Natalie Wood:

March 18

  • Sodom and Gomorrah (1962)
  • Esther and the King (1960)
  • Dante’s Inferno (1935)

March 25

  • Cardinal Richelieu (1935)
  • I’d Climb The Highest Mountain (1951)

April 1

  • The Gay Deception (1935)
  • Bachelor Flat (1961)
  • The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker (1971)

April 8

  • The Pleasure Seekers (1964)
  • Footlight Serenade (1942)

April 15

  • Marry The Boss’s Daughter (1941)
  • Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1948)
  • That Other Woman (1942)

April 22

  • Good Morning, Miss Dove (1955)
  • Star Dust (1940)
  • Decline and Fall of A Bird Watcher (1968)

April 25

  • Kentucky (1938)
  • Forever Amber (1947)


Disc News Digest compiles chunks of disc announcements, including relevant feature and version comparison information for the discerning collector.

Search Analysis: March 2014

One of my favorite things about the metrics I get on the site are the sometimes bizarre search terms people use to find the site. Yet again, the most search engine traffic I get is from people trying to subvert region coding on Blu-rays.

"so many flash points is the planet on the brink"

Hope you've packed a bag. #supertrain

"pocahontas tattoo ideas"

They either ended up on this Frame post, or the super-huge and images-heavy Best in Blu-ray 2012 article I posted last April. There is a 2013 installment coming, and it technically isn't "late" yet. Those things take time.

"moises chiullan brother's death"
"moises chiullan brother's autism"

Whoever searched both of these used Bing.com, and that the most I know about them. This was a weird thing to see, but not as day-derailing as I think it would've been even a year ago.

"does peter weller have a phd?"

Hell yes he does, that's Doctor Peter Weller to you, citizen. I'm posting a Q&A I moderated with him at Dallas SciFi Expo as a Screen Time soon.

"jiro horikoshi evil"
"the wind rises moral repugnance"

Three months ago, I hit back at critics who accused Hayao Miyazaki of artistic thought-crime. People are still talking about this whole "moral repugnance" thing.

"the world's end marmalade sandwich"

Some people are obsessed with this trio. They're like robots.

"expanding earth theory podcast radio interview"

In the coming months, all these interviews from the old Giant Size (like the one with Neal Adams) and the old Screen Time will move over to the Artist Edition and (new) Screen Time feeds at ESN.

An Open Response to Ultraviolet CTO Jim Taylor

I got a surprise the other day when I read the comments section of the MacWorld posting of an article I wrote about Veronica Mars, Kickstarter, and Ultraviolet. The Chief Technology Officer of UltraViolet parent company Rovi chose to respond publicly and call into question my basic journalistic integrity. After the cut, I've included his lengthy response, and my 1300-word shredding of said response, both of which can be found on the original MacWorld post.

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Señor Cagamilliones' Fun in a Chinese Laundry

The latest dispatch from Steven Soderbergh's Extension765 mailing list announces him as "Señor Cagamilliones" or, "Mister Shitmillions" in English. This made my day/week/epoch.

His latest "blog" "post" gives an infuriatingly terse and potent bit of appreciation to the genius of Josef von Sternberg. In so doing, Soderbergh reveals how another great filmmaker may have been directly inspired by something we would now consider a mere "DVD" "Special Feature".

The footnotes include favorite quotes from von Sternberg's autobiography for those who can't be bothered to read it (me):

“I have always found it less troublesome to conquer myself than to attempt the conquest of others.”  Josef von Sternberg, Fun in a Chinese Laundry 

“In our work money has often stood in the way of something that might have lasted a little longer than money ever can.”

“And often I recalled Whistler’s words, whenever I was faced with a task which could not have been foreseen by me when first I read them: ‘It takes endless labor to eradicate the traces of labor.’ "