Moviemaking is a fundamentally collaborative process. But even by the standards of this all-hands-on-deck medium, Charlie Kaufman is a born team player. Possessed of a radical and almost limitless imagination, Kaufman cut his teeth in the writers’ rooms of network television, before breaking into Hollywood by penning the feature directorial debuts of Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), Michel Gondry (Human Nature), and George Clooney (Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind). These films belong both to their screenwriter and the filmmakers who brought his vision from page to screen; they are unique syntheses of sensibilities. All of which is to say, Kaufman works well with others, even if his neurotic, existentially terrified characters do not. But Anomalisa, Kaufman’s second film as both writer and director, is collaborative even by his standards. For one thing, it’s a feature-length stop-motion project, meaning that you can add a team of tirelessly toiling animators to the … [Read more...] about Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson on the soulful stop-motion of
Reason zoos are good
Hollywood's very own mountain lion is trapped in a basement right now. It's a bizarre wildlife vs urbanization conflict, but it's also indicative of what makes this city so special: its nature. Advertisement I was on the phone with a colleague the other day when it came up that she'd never visited Los Angeles. She lives in Maine and always thought the only only thing here was vacuous people with plastic surgery, frosted tips and leased Audis. I was sitting on my front porch (the only place I can get cell reception here in Hollywood) and told her that, from there I could see a mountain where lions and bears live and, beyond it, there's really not much but total wilderness all the way to Denver, 1,000 miles away. Directly outside my front gate, there's coyotes. Where Wiley and I hike everyday, there's rattlesnakes. Most people don't see either, but they're there. The only evidence of the coyotes you need are all the "Lost Dog" posters in the neighborhood; it seems like a new one … [Read more...] about Basement Lion Is What Makes LA Great
Most people take it for granted that we have yet to make contact with an extraterrestrial civilization. Trouble is, the numbers don’t add up. Our Galaxy is so old that every corner of it should have been visited many, many times over by now. No theory to date has satisfactorily explained away this Great Silence, so it’s time to think outside the box. Here are eleven of the weirdest solutions to the Fermi Paradox. There's no shortage of solutions to the Fermi Paradox. The standard ones are fairly well known, and we’re not going to examine them here, but they include the Rare Earth Hypothesis (the suggestion that life is exceptionally rare), the notion that space travel is too difficult, or the distances too vast, the Great Filter Hypothesis (the idea that all sufficiently advanced civilizations destroy themselves before going intergalactic), or that we’re simply not interesting enough. Advertisement But for the purposes of this discussion, we’re going … [Read more...] about 11 of the Weirdest Solutions to the Fermi Paradox
Laura and Mad Sweeney—two of the most messed-up characters on American Gods—spend some quality time together in the show’s seventh episode, and we see how the big ol’ wee person has done both admirable and terrible things over the last 300 years. “Prayer for Mad Sweeney” opens at the funeral parlor owned by Mr. Ibis and Mr. Jacquel. Jacquel is making a dead man’s body presentable for its final goodbye, setting a broken jaw back in place and spackling putty into gouged skin. Ibis fusses over how late his partner is working and Jacquel tells him that more deaths are coming, foretelling the overdoses of two women. Jacquel then refuses Ibis’ offer to help, saying that he can tell Ibis has a story to tell. “I can see it in your fingers.” Advertisement The tale Ibis scritches into his book with fountain pen happens in 1721. We glimpse Mad Sweeney right at the start of Ibis’ telling but the tale is centered on Essie … [Read more...] about A Corpse and an Asshole Somehow Make for
Everyone feels something when they're in a really good starry place a really good starry place on a really good starry night and they look up and see this: Advertisement Some people stick with the traditional, feeling struck by the epic beauty or blown away by the insane scale of the universe. Personally, I go for the old "existential meltdown followed by acting weird for the next half hour." But everyone feels something. Physicist Enrico Fermi felt something too—"Where is everybody?" A really starry sky seems vast—but all we're looking at is our very local neighborhood. On the very best nights, we can see up to about 2,500 stars (roughly one hundred-millionth of the stars in our galaxy), and almost all of them are less than 1,000 light years away from us (or 1% of the diameter of the Milky Way). So what we're really looking at is this: When confronted with the topic of stars and galaxies, a question that tantalizes most humans is, "Is there other intelligent life out … [Read more...] about The Fermi Paradox: Where the Hell Are the Other Earths?