Monthly Archives: June 2008

Remember Wacky Packages?

Wacky Packages are stickers (peel and punch-out) that were released by the Topps Chewing Gum company from 1967 to the most recent series in 2004. They parodied common household products and were extremely popular among children in the 1970′s.

 

Between 1997 and 2004, with the help of the internet, Wackys experienced a great resurgence of popularity as more and more people in their 30′s and 40′s, recall this childhood craze and desire to re-collect them.

 

In 2004 Topps brought Wacky Packages back and they did so with considerable success.  The definitive website regarding Wacky Packs is www.wackypackages.org which has an exhaustive collection of art, articles and check lists. I recommend you take a moment to check out our childhood’s first exposure to parody and stiff stale gum.

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Armando Ramírez’s Auto Part Chess Set

Heavy, rustic figures do battle on the chess field, conjured by Armando Ramírez’s limitless imagination. Combining art and function, Ramirez sculpts each piece from automobile parts — even the heads of the bishops are made of NGK and AC DELCO spark plugs! One of the most creative chess sets on Novica, this work is perfect for the chess lover that likes a rustic finish. It is important to note that the finish is rustic, as intended by the artist. The interior of the chess board makes a clanging sound from the moving of welded materials, and each of the pieces exhibits its own unique nature and finishing, depending on the auto part used. The knight, queen and king are particular favorites, finely tuned and sculpted, and the pawns made of heavy bolts and sprockets have a small and sturdy presence.  The set can be ordered for $207.95 here.  See Armando Ramírez’s other sculptures here.

 

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New Dark Knight Extended Trailer

 

Domino’s Pizza has now launched “The Dark Knight Vault” where you can watch an extended trailer with new footage. Watch the new trailer below.


The Dark Knight opens in theaters and IMAX on July 18. (From ComingSoon.net)

 

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Nike Hyperdunks – Back to the Future Inspired Sneakers

The Nike Hyperdunks (inspired by the movie Back to the Future II) will be made available by the end of July.  The shoes will not include the awesome air-pressurized auto-lacing mechanism from the film. Instead, the shoes will include ‘Flywire technology,’ which is really PR-speak for the latest and greatest of ultra light materials. They sport the same high-ankle boot style of the original movie and Kobe Bryant will be the main spokesman for the sneakers.

 

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Pixar Movies Quiz

How well do you know Pixar Movies?  Take the moviefone quiz here and find out.

 

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Preview: Stephen King’s The Stand Sketchbook

Marvel Comics has provided Newsarama with a peek inside this week’s The Stand Sketchbook, featuring art and thoughts about the coming project from Mike Perkins and more. Issue #1 of the first series, Captain Tripps, is slated to hit stores in September. The sketchbook carries no cover price.

 

You can see the sneak peek here. (From Newsarama)

 

 

 

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James Bond: Quantum of Solace Trailer

MGM and Columbia Pictures have revealed the new Quantum of Solace trailer! Opening November 7, 2008, the Marc Forster-directed 22nd James Bond adventure stars Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Gemma Arterton, Jeffrey Wright, Jesper Christensen and Joaquin Cosio.


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The Dark Knight is Fastest Fandango Seller of Summer

With less than three weeks remaining till “The Dark Knight” opens on July 18, at 12:01 a.m., Fandango, the nation’s leading moviegoer destination, is finding that dozens of showtimes for the film are already sold out.”The Dark Knight” tickets have been a hot commodity since they first went on sale on Friday, June 20 at Fandango.com. As of this morning, the film is outpacing “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”, “Iron Man” and “Sex and the City” as Fandango’s fastest ticket-seller of this summer.”We are currently seeing a surge in advance ticket sales for ‘The Dark Knight’,” says Ted Hong, vice president of marketing for Fandango. “It makes sense that there’s a rush for tickets, as it’s the perfect movie to see on the big screen, as supported by our strong ticket sales for both traditional screens and the larger format in IMAX. We believe the film is appealing to both comic book and action fans, as well as casual moviegoers.”The late Heath Ledger’s potentially Oscar-worthy performance as The Joker in “The Dark Knight” was cited as top reason for seeing the movie, according to 53% of respondents to Fandango’s online survey of moviegoers in June.

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The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration Collection DVD

Paramount has announced The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration Collection which includes fully restored editions of Godfather Part I and II and a newly remastered version of The Godfather Part III. The 5-disc collection will include all of the features of the previously released collection, along with a 5th disc of bonus material. This will include multiple featurettes (Godfather World, The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn’t, …when the shooting stopped, Emulsional Rescue Revealing The Godfather, The Godfather on the Red Carpet), and four short films on The Godfather (The Godfather vs. The Godfather, Part II, Cannoli, Riffing on the Riffing, Clemenza). Retail will be $72.99. Titles will also be available individually for $19.99.  The collection is due on September 23, 2008.

 

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Retro Kid Cereals

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel recently posted a fun gallery of retro cereal boxes.  This nostalgic flashback highlights the kooky packaging and crazy cereal ideas of our childhood. Please click here for the slideshow link.  

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50 Amazing Skyscrapers

Chicago lays claim to the world’s first skyscraper. The 138-foot-tall Home Insurance Building was built in 1888 and was the first building to use steel beams as support. Soon after, builders in Chicago and New York were competing with each other to build the world’s tallest building.

In the early years, the world’s highest building seemed to change from week to week as architects, engineers and business magnates raced to design, build or own the biggest, best and tallest building in their city’s skyline.

It was a race that started in the United States, where the Empire State Building won the race and held the title for more than 40 years after Depression called a halt to the building boom. The US picked up the ball again in the 1970s with the construction of the World Trade Center and the Sears Tower. But in recent years, Asia has thrown its heart and soul to the race: Taipei 101 in Taiwan is currently the world’s tallest building, but Dubai’s Burj Dubai will take the title later this year. And more buildings are in the works. Here’s a look at some of the more noteworthy skyscrapers of the last 100 years or so.

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Top 10 Music Moments In Movies

A movie without music would most definitely be flat, boring and unfinished. Music is essential to a film – it provides color, creates emotion, establishes mood, or simply just reminds you to have a good time. Some of these moments are definitely more memorable than others, so let’s take a look at some of the best, shall we?  Please click here.

 

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WALL-E Easter Eggs

Pixar is known to fill their films with fun easter eggs and WALL-E is no different. Here are some of the things you may have missed.

The Pizza Planet Truck: The truck has appeared in every Pixar movie since Toy Story (although its pretty hard to find in The Incredibles as its pretty much a blur in a car sequence). “The Pizza Planet actually has a very obvious shot, it’s just probably so quick people aren’t paying attention to it.” The truck can be found in the first 20-minutes of the film as EVE scans the truck as part of her “directive”. It’s really big, almost the full frame on screen. 

Hammy: The character John Ratzenberger voiced in Toy Story appeats in WALL-E’s truck. See the photo below, Hammy can be found right to the left of EVE’s head. John Ratzenberger has been in every Pixar film and is considered their good luck charm.  Ratzenberger voices one of the few human characters in WALL-E whose name  is also John.

 
 
A113: What started as an inside joke of CalArts alumni (a reference to the classroom number that was used by Animation students) has been present in not only every Pixar film, but Disney movies, Iron Giant, The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, Powerpuffgirls and Tinytoon Adventures. “A-113 is obvious in this film,” Stanton told /Film. “It’s the most obvious we’ve ever made it.” In Wall-E, A-113 is actually part of Auto Pilot’s “directive” outlined by BuyNLarge CEO Shelby Forthright’s (Fred Willard) video recording. “Directive A-113” is also one of the tracks composed by Thomas Newman for the WALL-E soundtrack.

 

 

Eve was actually designed by Apple’s behind-the-scenes design guru Johnny Ive, the guy responsible for the design of the iPod. Andrew Stanton told Fortune: “I wanted Eve to be high-end technology – no expense spared – and I wanted it to be seamless and for the technology to be sort of hidden and subcutaneous. The more I started describing it, the more I realized I was pretty much describing the Apple playbook for design.” Auto’s voice is the creation of MacTalk, Apple’s text-to-speach program. An old mac keyboard can also be found in WALL-E’s truck.

Button: A BuyNLarge advertising jingle can be found at the conclusion of the credits, right after the Walt Disney Pictures logo is displayed.

Orange Caution Cones: The Orange Cones from Toy Story can be found all over abandoned earth, and inside WALL-E’s truck. See photo below.

  

Skinner’s Scooter: The scooter Skinner used in Ratatouille can be found in the trashpile early in the film. See photo above. (Article from /film)  

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The Anamorphic Art Of Julian Beever

Julian Beever got his start on pavement creations while he was attending art school; he would make two-dimensional chalk drawings and receive pennies from passers-by. He began experimenting with *anamorphic trompe-l’oeil chalk creations after seeing tiles being removed from a street, an effect he tried to recreate on paper. When viewed in a photograph, Beever’s creations appear amazingly realistic. Those who walk past them don’t get quite the same view, though. The 3D effect works only from one certain angle, the place where Beever positions his tripod-mounted camera. From any other angle, the work is distorted and odd-looking. In the almost 20 years Beever has been producing pavement art, he has worked in at least 12 countries. Several of his projects have been chalk advertisements for big brands (Aveeno, Levi’s, Sony), while others have been featured on TV shows around the globe.  You can see more of Julian Beever’s art here.

*Anamorphic means to be intentionally distorted.

Trompe-l’oeil is French for “deceit of the eye”.  It is an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects appear in three-dimensions, instead of actually being a two-dimensional painting.

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Clever Hot Wheels Ads

These clever Hot Wheels ads were created by the agency, Ogilvy in Mexico. The photographer was José Ramón Cagigas and the illustrator was Luis Mata.  The ad won the bronze Cannes Lions advertising award in 2008.  

 

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Trailer For Disney’s Bolt

 

Here is the trailer for Walt Disney Pictures’ new animated-adventure, Bolt, opening in theaters on November 26th, 2008. Here’s how the studio describes the Digital 3-D film:

For super-dog Bolt (voice of John Travolta), every day is filled with adventure, danger and intrigue—at least until the cameras stop rolling. When the star of a hit TV show is accidentally shipped from his Hollywood soundstage to New York City, he begins his biggest adventure yet—a cross-country journey through the real world. Armed only with the delusions that all his amazing feats and powers are real, and with the help of two unlikely traveling companions: a jaded, abandoned housecat named Mittens (voice of Susie Essman) and a TV-obsessed hamster in a plastic ball named Rhino, Bolt discovers he doesn’t need superpowers to be a hero. Miley Cyrus (“Hannah Montana”) brings her vocal talents to the role of Penny, Bolt’s human co-star on the television series.

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Candy Quiz

Can you identify candy bars by their cross-sections? Take this candy quiz to find out how you score!

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The Limited “Bowling Ball” Edition Of The Big Lebowski

Universal Home Video has announced a 10th Anniversary limited “Bowling Ball” edition of The Big Lebowskiwhich stars Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, and Steve Buscemi. The package will be available to own on September 9th, 2008 and should retail for $34.98.

 

DVD Extras include:


Introduction by Mortimer Young
Jeff Bridges Photographs
The Dude’s Life: Strikes and Gutters…Up’s and Downs…The Dude Abides
Production Notes
Theatrical Trailer
The Making of The Big Lebowski
The Lebowski Fest: An Achiever’s Story
Flying Carpets and Bowling Pin Dreams: The Dream Sequences of the Dude
Interactive Map
Jeff Bridges Photo Book
Photo Gallery

 

You can preorder this cool collectable here.

 

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iTunes Remote Control Application Revealed In iTunes 7.7

Alongside Beta 8 of the iPhone SDK, Apple posted a pre-release of iTunes 7.7 to registered, paid iPhone developers. In addition to featuring support for the MobileMe service and a new “Applications” tab in the iTunes sync screen to manage apps being loaded onto iPhones and iPod touches, the software’s Read Me file confirmed an earlier report that Apple has developed an iTunes remote control application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Read Me file states, “Use iTunes 7.7 to sync music, video, and more with iPhone 3G, and download applications from the iTunes Store exclusively designed for iPhone and iPod touch with software version 2.0 or later. Also use the new Remote application for iPhone or iPod touch to control iTunes playback from anywhere in your home—a free download from the App Store.” Further details about the Remote application have yet to be revealed.

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An Interview With Adam West

Was the Batmobile a lemon? Is the Batcape a girl-magnet? And how does the original Batman really rate the actors in the new films?  Find out here.

 

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An Early Look At J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Movie

Ain’t It Cool News’ Harry Knowles says that he has seen some of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. Here’s his report. The movie will be in theaters on May 8th, 2009.

 

 

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Rolling Stone Reviews The Dark Knight

Rolling Stone magazine has posted a review of The Dark Knight and they give the film 3 ½ stars.  You can read the review here.  The film will be in theaters on July 18th, 2008.

 

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David Sedaris Book Signing

 

We had the opportunity to attend a David Sedaris book signing the other night.  Mr. Sedaris was promoting his sixth book, “When you Are Engulfed In Flames” at Third Place Books near Seattle, Washington. I had read a few Sedaris books and had listened to him on NPR but seeing him live and then meeting him upped my admiration for this very funny and generous writer.  David read two autobiographical short stories taking full advantage of his sarcastic deadpan humor, expert comedic timing and unmistakable high voice. At the conclusion of his reading and Q&A session, I better understood why the author is one of the most popular and humorous commentators today.

 

David Sedaris is a genuine rarity among today’s writers: He spent time with every single person who waited patiently in line (which are “circle-around-the-block” long) to get his or her book signed.  To break up the monotony of the book signing, Sedaris proposed that any men that were 5’ 6 or shorter and women 5’ 10 or taller could go to the front of the line.  This also held true for any females with braces on their teeth or legs.

 

Mr. Sedaris made a concerted effort to get to know each and every reader conversing with them as though they were at a dinner party.  While popping sushi into his mouth, David talked to our group for about 10 minutes asking where we were from, what we did for a living, was I Greek, our thoughts on Barrack Obama and what our evening plans were after the signing? My wife shared that it was my birthday and he reached into a crumpled travel bag and gave me a chocolate bar and soap from The Fairmont Hotel. I have never encountered another writer who sincerely bonded with (rather than keeps his distance from) his readers as Sedaris did. In each book, the author wrote lengthy, personalized inscriptions and sketched funny images.  He started signing books at 8 pm and continued into the late hours of the evening.

 

If he appears in your town, I highly recommend that you spend a satisfying laugh filled evening with David Sedaris. His current tour schedule is located here. 

 

If you have never seen or heard David Sedaris, below is a short clip from his last appearance on Late Show with David Letterman.

 

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“Ball Girl” Video Scores Buzz For Gatorade

Have you seen that wild ball girl video on YouTube?

Ball girl streaks down the left field line at a minor league baseball game and, with a Jackie Chan-like jump at the wall, snares a deep fly ball the left fielder couldn’t reach. Unbelievable.

Well, it is indeed unbelievable: The clip is a masterwork of “viral” marketing, essentially an ad aimed at touting Gatorade, but without actually mentioning the company. With viral video, marketers try to create a pop culture buzz that eventually becomes associated with a product.

Chicago-based Gatorade, an arm of PepsiCo, has done viral marketing before, but it’s never taken off like ball girl, said Jill Kinney, a Gatorade spokeswoman.

The video has had 11/2 to 2 million views on YouTube, she said. On Wednesday it was the most shared video on Break.com, another video-sharing Web site.

The ball girl video was posted June 3, and Advertising Age, an industry publication, published a glowing review of it a few days later. “This week, though, is definitely the tipping point,” Kinney said. “It has reached critical mass.” A plug Wednesday for it on “Good Morning America” certainly helped.

Viral videos are passed along via e-mail and shared on personal profiles at social sites like Facebook and MySpace. But they achieve must-see status at YouTube, the Web’s leading video site.

“Ball Girl” was posted on YouTube by a filmmaker affiliated with Element 79 Partners, the Chicago ad agency that created the spot. Element 79 has done Gatorade ads since 2002.

The original Ball Girl post had a clear reference to Gatorade in the text describing the video. But the video was copied and shared several times over without mentioning the Gatorade connection.

The video gives only the slightest nod to the beverage. When the ball girl sits down after the amazing catch, there’s a bottle of Gatorade near her feet.

“It’s subtle,” Kinney said.

The real payoff is the buzz generated by the video.

“Anytime your brand enters into popular culture discussions, it’s going to benefit,” Kinney said.

She added that even though many viewers thought the outlandish catch was somehow a fake—which, indeed, was the result of special effects—they were still entertained by it.

Viral videos are not just associated with commercial ventures, and some have achieved cult status, including “Lazy Sunday,” a music video parody from Saturday Night Live that was a key catalyst to helping YouTube build an audience.

 

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Dancing Matt

In 2005, a guy named Matt couldn’t dance. So, of course, he uploaded a video of himself dancing frenetically in front of famous places. Stride gum saw the video and sponsored him to go around the world and dance his strange, leprechaun-ish jig. Stride’s first Matt video, from 2006, has received almost 10 million hits to date. Last week, the follow-up, with fans dancing alongside Matt, was posted. It already has more than 2 million views. It’s the feel-good movie of the summer!

 

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