Posts filed under “Digital Media”

Blade Runner: The Final Cut at the Ziegfeld

I am going this evening to see my favorite sci-fi movie at my favorite movie theater with my favorite movie buddy.

I’ll update this later . . .



Blade Runner Update October 10, 2007 10:42pm:

First the good news: The movie looks fantastic. As ahead of their time as the retro-future effects were back in 1982, they still look great today: They pop off the screen (and the Ziegfeld is a pretty big screen). The color is wonderful, the perception of depth, the visceral sense of living in an over-polluted, never stops raining dystopian Los Angeles works even better than before.

Whatever digital work that was done on the film print is just marvelous. Even the opening green tree logo that scans line by line looks fantastic. All in all, the technical work was tremendous.

Br_vangelis The Sound is also worth noting: Its crystal clear; the sound effects and the darkly gorgeous Vangelis soundtrack are wonderful — beautiful, brilliantly rendered, dramatically enhancing the film. It also sounded as if additional Vangelis music was added here and there (short clips/segues). I have owned the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack for years, and its simply a must have.

Now for the not so good news: 

I first saw the movie while working in the campus cinema at Stony Brook as an undergrad; must have seen it 5 or 6 times the first weekend (showtimes: 7, 9:30 and 12) then another a few more times at a campus Sci-Fi festival. The version I fell in love with had the  hard boiled film noir Harrison Ford voice over — and its not in the Final Cut.

As much as purists claim the film is better off without it, I have to disagree. First, it fills in some details that the complex narrative was otherwise missing. If you do not know the book, there is a complexity to the future world that the movie alludes to, but does not cleanly explain. Second, it creates a void — there are long moments where the voice over is simply not there — and needs to be. Lastly, it humanizes the main character, as he his struggles with himself as a Blade Runner.   

As to the ending . . . Not much of a spoiler alert, as this has been written about plenty — but if you don’t want to know, stop reading here.







Is Deckard a replicant?

Director Ridley Scott has always argued he was. The Unicorn scene, plus the origami at the end certainly implies as much.

I could give you dozens of arguments why Deckard isn’t a replicant — he gets the shit beat out of him constantly, the other replicants would recognize him as one, he quit his job, he’s a drunk . . .

Rather than go down that road, its simply easier to say that Phillip K. Dick, author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, wrote him as a human. In the book, Deckard takes and passes the Voigt-Kampff test.

Between Ridley Scott, a director whose work looks beautiful, but has trouble telling a great story, and Dick, who was all about creating wildly compelling narratives, I have to go with PKD.

And as my friend Ralph argues so eloquently in the comments, the movie loses much of its appeal once the main character is no longer a person seeking redemption, trying to find his humanity. Instead, it becomes a story about the interaction of biorobotic devices.

Category: Digital Media, Film, Technology

Soon to be worthless: Nielsen Net Ratings and comScore Media Metrix

Category: Data Analysis, Digital Media, Financial Press, Venture Capital, Web/Tech, Weblogs

The Hold Steady

Category: Digital Media, Music

WSJ: Free or Paid? (Yes)

Category: Corporate Management, Digital Media, Financial Press

Listener Determined Download Prices?


Interesting story about Radiohead’s new release, "In Rainbow’s."

Their pricing scheme for downloads is designed to give the Music Industry — especially major labels — fits. According to their website, IT’S UP TO YOU.

Notes Salon:

"This weekend the band announced that its new album, called "In Rainbows," will
go on sale on Oct. 10. They still haven’t signed with a label, and the album
won’t be available in record stores nor on iTunes or any other online music
shop. You’ll find it only on the band’s site, and if you’re looking for a
digital version, the price is very attractive: Whatever you’d like to pay.

You can pre-order the new album here.
Click to purchase the download and you’re presented with a simple screen at
which you’ve got two boxes to fill in, quantity and price (in pounds). "It’s up
to you," the site says."

For those of you who, like me, prefer the physical media, you have a high priced, rpemium option:

"If you’d like something physical, the band is also selling "In Rainbows" in
something it calls a "discbox," a beautiful package that includes a CD, two
vinyl records, digital files, album artwork, and lyrics booklets. It sells for
40 pounds, about $81 (the price includes shipping anywhere in the world). If
you’ve got a Radiohead superfan in the family — and who among us doesn’t? –
your holiday shopping just got easier."

(Additionally, I see a lot of other Econ bloggers have weighed in on this natural experiment:  Free Exchange, Mankiw Blog, Truth on the Market, Freakonomics, Long Tail & Marginal Revolution . . .)

Read More

Category: Digital Media, Music, Web/Tech


Category: Digital Media, Film

Q&A: Ridley Scott on Blade Runner


Attention Blade Runner junkies: The offline Wired interview with Ridley Scott, which I mentioned in this weekend’s linkfest, is now online.

As we noted previously, the latest version of Blade Runner is in theaters in October, with a 5 DVD disc set to follow next year.

Here’s the Ubiq-cerpt:™

"It’s a classic tale of failure and redemption, the kind of story Hollywood
loves to tell.

Fresh off his second successful movie, an up-and-coming director takes a
chance on a dark tale of a 21st-century cop who hunts humanlike androids. But he
runs over budget, and the financiers take control, forcing him to add a
ham-fisted voice-over and an absurdly cheery ending. The public doesn’t buy it.
The director’s masterpiece plays to near-empty theaters, ultimately retreating
to the art-house circuit as a cult oddity.

That’s where we left Ridley Scott’s future-noir epic in 1982. But a funny
thing happened over the next 25 years. Blade Runner’s audience quietly
multiplied. An accidental public showing of a rough-cut work print created
surprise demand for a re-release, so in 1992 Scott issued his director’s cut. He
silenced the narration, axed the ending, and added a twist — a dream sequence
suggesting that Rick Deckard, the film’s protagonist, is an android, just like
those he was hired to dispatch.

But the director didn’t stop there. As the millennium turned, he continued
polishing: erasing stray f/x wires, trimming shots originally extended to
accommodate the voice-over, even rebuilding a scene in which the stunt double
was obvious. Now he’s ready to release Blade Runner: The Final Cut,
which will hit theaters in Los Angeles and New York in October, with a DVD to
follow in December.

At age 69, Ridley Scott is finally satisfied with his most challenging film.
He’s still turning out movies at a furious pace — American Gangster,
with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, is due in November — building on an
extraordinary oeuvre that includes Alien, Thelma & Louise,
Gladiator, and Black Hawk Down. But he seems ready to accept
Blade Runner as his crowning achievement. In his northern English accent, he
describes its genesis and lasting influence. And, inevitably, he returns to the
darkness that pervades his view of the future — the shadows that shield Deckard
from a reality that may be too disturbing to face."

Other goodies:  An interactive look at the Cultural Influences Before and After the Film in the Blade Runner Nexus , and a full transcript and Audio of Wired’s Interview with Ridley Scott.

Its a must read for fans — even if Ridley gets whether Deckard is a replicant or a human wrong . . .



Q&A: Ridley Scott Has Finally Created the Blade Runner He Always Imagined   
By Ted Greenwald  09.26.07 | 4:00 PM

Category: Digital Media, Film, Video

Amazon’s DRM-Free MP3s

Category: Digital Media, Music, Web/Tech

Look Who’s Blogging: Paul Krugman

Category: Blog Spotlight, Currency, Digital Media, Financial Press, Weblogs

New Project(s)

What a crazy week — and the market is the least of it!

We moved from our old space on Park Avenue & 49th (across from
the Waldorf) to larger quarters a few blocks over on 5th Avenue. I have been switching back and forth between Starbux and Bryant Park for internet access (and posting less because I have been out of the office more than in). The
furniture is in, the phones are hooked up, and tomorrow, rumor has it
Verizon will light us up with a big fat pipe, connecting us to that
series of tubes.

But what’s been really odd is that a dozen seperate projects I have been working on for a few years now — some big, some small, all eclectic — have practically all-at-once, simultaneously, lurched towards fruition.

These include:

A major media project

I may join a new BoD

A fun little web project (its potentially very, very funny)

A significant quant application (this is a very powerful tool)

A brand new video venture

Two fascinating blog related advertising concepts

An expansion of an earlier book blogging idea

A new private equity fund 

And that was just this week!

We will discuss more about these in the coming weeks; Just about all of them have a market/stock/economic component to them. I’ll keep you up to speed with these as they develop.

I expect/hope that at least 3 of these 7 close before Halloween. . .

Category: Digital Media, Hedge Funds, M&A, Video, Weblogs