Fuck 2009 →

I don't know about you, but I thought that -- as years go -- 2009 was fairly shitty. There were a few good points (awesome birthday party, Primavera, holidaying around Italy with my wife), but when I look back, I can see a whole bunch of shit that I really didn't want to have to deal with. So hooray for 2010.

Except when my wife asked me what I was most looking forward to about 2010, I went blank. The joke about it being the year we make contact is getting a little old. The only thing I could think was "at least Lost will FINALLY be over."

The AV Club lists 32 of their most anticipated movies, games, books and albums of 2010, and that's a pretty good start. I'm pretty psyched for Shutter Island and Tron Legacy, but I have to be honest, I'm not particularly fussed about Bioshock 2.

Most of all, what I'm looking forward to about 2010 is that it won't be 2009. That's good enough for me.

Nicolas Cage, Goodwill Ambassador →

This is just bizarre, Nicolas Cage has been appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. My favourite quote from the press release:

"Until today, justice has been a cause without a rebel. Now we have one," said [UNODC Executive Director] Mr. Costa.

Cage has said that he will "use the performing arts as an engine for global justice and victim support".

Now, let's take a look at a couple of Nicolas Cage's movies that are coming out in 2010.
Drive Angry - "A vengeful father chases after the men who killed his daughter".
The Hungry Rabbit Jumps - "After his wife is assaulted, a husband enlists the services of a vigilante group to help him settle the score"

This is Nicolas Cage's interpretation of "global justice"? What next? A right-wing homophobic actor with a history of drug use and sexual assault being elected governor of California?

Wait, what?

Nicolas Cage, Goodwill Ambassador →

This is just bizarre, Nicolas Cage has been appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. My favourite quote from the press release:

"Until today, justice has been a cause without a rebel. Now we have one," said [UNODC Executive Director] Mr. Costa.

Cage has said that he will "use the performing arts as an engine for global justice and victim support".

Now, let's take a look at a couple of Nicolas Cage's movies that are coming out in 2010. Drive Angry - "A vengeful father chases after the men who killed his daughter". The Hungry Rabbit Jumps - "After his wife is assaulted, a husband enlists the services of a vigilante group to help him settle the score"

This is Nicolas Cage's interpretation of "global justice"? What next? A right-wing homophobic actor with a history of drug use and sexual assault being elected governor of California?

Wait, what?

Glee →

What does it say about me that an hipster indie film like Away We Go -- a film which seemed to be tailor-made for people like me -- completely failed to move me, despite the fact it was violently tugging at my heartstrings for the better part of two hours, whereas populist, cliched fluff like Glee had me bawling in 42 minutes?

It ends with a slow clap, for fuck's sake. I am completely powerless against the slow clap.

Lady Gaga is My New Hero →

I've always had a lot of respect for Lady Gaga. She's completely batshit insane, but unlike most of those self-consciously 'quirky' artists out there, she's actually has the talent to back that up. You have to admire her courage. Or, at the very least, her ability to keep a straight face.

But her appearance at the MTV VMAs was so amazing that she's now become my personal hero. She was, by far, the most entertaining person on there. I mean, who else could sit behind Beyonce and completely steal the spotlight? That takes some balls (no pun intended).

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Flavorwire have a great article deconstructing Lady Gaga's VMA ensembles. My favourite is the Carrie/Burger King one.

Hitlers Must Die →

Cryptic Sea's No Quarter is a series of indie games described by the developer as "an album of original games inspired by arcade and console classics. Think of it like an album of music except with games instead of songs."

Quite.

Part of this 'album' is Hitlers Must Die!, a "run and gun where you play a Soviet special forces guy assigned to kill Hitler clones." Basically, a 2D shooter, with some neat John Woo-style stunts in there, like sliding backwards while shooting. But there's the question: why not just have some cookie-cutter space aliens or monsters? Why Hitler?

But the answer is obvious. Why the fuck not?

Proof that, like Philip Glass, Moonlight Sonata makes any video infinitely cooler.

iPhone on Flickr →

99_graph_main_32d01074e4 According to the site's public data, the iPhone (green line) is the most popular camera on Flickr, having just passed the Canon Digital Rebel XTi/EOS 400D (pink line). It's also interesting to see how the iPhone ranks in the percentage usage among camera phones (read: it's virtually the only game in town).

I had really not been a fan of convergence, since I thought that any device that tries to be all things to all people will end up doing a piss-poor job of everything. But the iPhone is definitely making me rethink this.

Losing Focus →

If you're taking part in Infinite Summer and, like me, find yourself falling behind or losing focus, Kevin Guilfoile has some fantastic, inspirational words:

The first ten pages of this book are remarkable. The first 100 pages are very good (if sometimes frustrating) but the first ten are amazing, and [David Foster Wallace] deliberately put them there, right at the front, in order to make you a promise. ... He could have just said this: Listen up. I have a freaking great story to tell you.

If you feel yourself getting frustrated in parts, or lost. If you feel Wallace has lost your trust, stop, go back and read the first ten pages. You’ll find a promise.

All Things Considered →

NPR's All Things Considered is one of the few great news/current events radio shows out there. That's why it's so galling that they don't have an official podcast. You can only download snippets from their website, which is generous of them, but getting these onto my iPod was such a colossal pain in the dick that I decided, instead, I'd construct a podcast myself. So I did.

If you want to subscribe, launch iTunes, go to Advanced -> Subscribe to Podcast, and paste in the following URL: http://www.lowbrowculture.com/atcpodcast.php

Usual disclaimer: This is provided as-is, with no guarantees, warranties or refunds. It works for me. If it doesn't work for you, drop me a line. This podcast is completely unofficial and in no way endorsed by NPR.

Trailer for 'Get Smart' →

There's some inspired casting here - Steve Carrell as Maxwell Smart, Ann Hathaway as Agent 99, Alan Arkin as the Chief.

New J.J. Abrams movie →

This awesome teaser trailer is sometimes running in front of screenings of Transformers in the States. Now, as good as Transformers was, it would be hard to keep my attention after that trailer.

It's probably a movie codenamed "Cloverfield", which J.J. Abrams is supposed to have been working on for a while now. No real details exist except that it's a big, dumb monster movie. Hooray! 'Round these parts, we loves us some big, dumb monster movies. Even the Godzilla remake, but only for that one scene where Jean Reno's does his Elvis impression.

Cute thing - the official site, which isn't referenced anywhere in that trailer, or on any other official sources, is tracking visitors using Google Analytics. This word-of-mouth campaign is being dissected, one visitor at a time.

Update: High-res trailer on apple.com (including HD)

New World's Ugliest Dog →

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The King is dead. Long live the King!

Quigley said she rescued Elwood two years ago. "The breeder was going to euthanize him because she thought he was too ugly to sell," said Quigley.

"So ha ha, now Elwood's all over the Internet and people love him and adore him."

Well, let's not get carried away...

what happens next? →

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"I suppose it is funny when you realize you will always be known throughout your life as that bloke in that car where the cheetah pooped through the roof hatch."

Happy Bloomsday! →

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STATELY, PLUMP BUCK MULLIGAN CAME FROM THE STAIRHEAD, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned: ...

Oh, fuck it. Read the rest on Project Gutenberg.

I've never read Ulysses, and at this rate, I probably never will. Still though, as Sean Hughes says, "Great preface".

Sony launch an official PlayStation blog →

Or, as one little scamp puts it, "I've been waiting for a place for us PS3 owners to congregate and learn about the future of our consoles? You know, with only one bias."

Get a Monster by Mail! →

$20 gets you a custom-drawn piece of Zombie art. I know someone who needs to steal this business model.

YouTube - El Chupacabra →

Amazing! I don't care if this is a real Chupacabra, a crack addict taking a shit in the bushes, or even just a special effect - it's still going to keep me awake at night.

Don't cry, Paris Hilton →

(Update 20201111: Video was taken down from youtube and I can't even remember what it was)

Harry Potter Theme Park →

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Girding my loins today is Universal Studios' announcement that they will be developing a "theme park within a theme park" based on the Harry Potter books and movies. Covering over 20 acres, 'The Wizarding World of Harry Potter' will be a themed 'land' (like "Frontierland" or "Tomorrowland") within Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando Florida. Universal say this area will contain contain 'state of the art attractions' and 'experimental shops'. Which sounds slightly ominous.

I'm a huge theme park nerd. As I said before, I don't enjoy the rides as much as just walking around this completely artificial, fantasy world, soaking up all the simulacra. Combine this with the amazing production design of the Harry Potter movies, and you've got me hooked.

Click here to see the announcement video.

First picture of Heath Ledger as the Joker →

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Okay, so he may not have been my first choice of someone to play the Joker in Christopher Nolan's follow-up to Batman Begins, but I never though Heath Ledger would make a bad Joker. Now they've released the first picture of Heath Ledger in Joker make-up, and... my goodness, this is shaping up nicely, isn't it? I really like the move away from the traditional demented clown look into a more gritty, Ichi the Killer-style scar.

Although I still think it's a shame we'll never get to see what Vincent Cassel could have done with the role.

(via empireonline)