Film: Rian Johnson’s “Looper”

I am a HUGE fan of Rian Johnson. From his films, “Brick”, “The Brothers Bloom”, to even his episodes of “Breaking Bad”… for folks like me, he is a really inspiring talent, writing and directing all of his films. His recent film “Looper” teams him up again with the always wonderful Joseph Gordon-Levitt in what looks like a high octane, brain melt of a scifi flick.

I liked the first trailer that came out a while ago, but you gotta check out this new international one that dropped today. If that doesn’t get you stoked to see what Johnson has put together for us all, I honestly don’t know what to do with you. :)

At very least consider giving it a chance. If anything to support new and original film-making/story-telling.

 

Design: WTHR – A Simpler, More Beautiful Weather App

Hey guys,

This popped up on the ole radar this week and I thought I would share. If you know the intricate inner workings of my mind (poor, poor you…), you will know that I have an amazing soft spot for weather and, by proxy, weather apps.

WTHR iPhone APP

Well, a new one dropped this week called WTHR and it’s design is just too good not to share with you all. What I love the best? The screenshot above pretty much tells you everything that the app does! It gives you the weather of where you are at in a simple, clean and beautiful way. No radars, not barometers, no ten day forecasts… just the vitals.

Love the style. Love the delivery. Love the app.

One important note: It does have some issues with its first release. It leaves the GPS search running even AFTER you’ve closed the app. Pretty big bug, as that can lay waste to your battery life, but I am more than confident that they will fix that in the next release (a lot of weather apps have delivered with this bug). So, wait for the next release or snag it now for 99 cents (?! – link above).

If you love good app design and aesthetic, this a bit of a no brainer.

UPDATE 07/11/12

The developer for WTHR released an update to iOS app store, just yesterday (tookWAY longer that I would’ve thought) that fixes the issue above. You do have to reset your locations services though which can be found in:

Settings>General>Reset (bottom of the list) >Reset Location Warnings.

If you are just buying it now, you don’t have to reset a thing. Just use it an enjoy!

It’s a shame this bug slipped through the testing process. Oh well, it works great now!

Film: Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master”

One of my all time top five favorite films is Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood”. There isn’t one single frame that I can find fault with in that film. The acting, the stunning wide shots, the cinematography, Jonny Greenwood’s soundtrack… from the opening shot, to the closing seconds, it is simply perfect! I’ve loved his other films too (Boogie Nights, Punch Drunk Love and Magnolia all come imediately to mind), but TWBB takes first place in my head. No contest.

So after that movie came out in 2007 I naturally clamored for his next and finally,finally, there are some signs of life that it even exists in 2012 beyond set reports and rumors. At this year’s Cannes film festival the Weinsteins unveiled some sneak peaks of films they were unloading on all of us this year. Anderson’s next, “The Master”, was one of them (along with a first look at Tarantino’s much anticipated “Django Unchained”). Here’s that teaser:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WTM8eO1Oec]

Now, I don’t know about you, but this is how a trailer should be made. Simple, perfectly paced, beautiful photography, no distracting music, simple on screen fonts… giving you just a nibble, but not the entire entree. You are simply intrigued after you watch it.

This week they released another teaser and I just figured I’d post them both here since, after a couple viewings, they continue to amaze, and I wanted to share. Pheonix looks absolutely amazing, along with Hoffman, who I think has been in every single one of Anderson’s films. And for good reason too, he’s one of the best actors alive today in my humble opinion.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U8eyMFCpJw]

So there you go, in a world of explosions and nudity in cinema, we finally have a large studio-backed, slow burn of a film that isn’t another god damn remake of a movie from my childhood.

Honestly? I can’t wait for what’s coming out in the theaters this year! It’s a good feeling to have for a change wouldn’t you agree?

Interesting Ideas: ClamBook Android and iPhone Laptop Dock

Now here is a pretty interesting alternative to my writing setup. I’m definitely curious to see the implementation of it and how it works with the iPhone (or Android device). Does the touchpad create some kind of custom mouse pointer on the screen (that’d be kind of cool!)? Or do you still have to touch the iPhone screen in the dock to navigate, rendering the built in touch pad completely useless (that would be kind of lame.)?

Official product page can be found right here!

Writing: 750words.com

What is it?:

750words.com is a site dedicated to writing, yep, you guessed it, seven hundred and fifty words a day. The concept behind it all comes from “The Artist’s Way” and the act is referred to as “morning pages”. The idea being that if you can type out at least 750 words during the day, it will clear out the cobwebs and get you ready to approach anything with a clear head (or at least a clearer one than you had before). The service itself is entirely online and private. It provides an online editor (that is spartan, but surprisingly configurable) that gives you a word count as it auto-saves your work while typing and that’s about it.

There is a community aspect to it all, but it’s not forced on you. It is simply there if you need it. There are also merit badges you can receive as well for reaching personal benchmarks in your daily practice (because that is purely what it is: practice). They give you nothing really, but it is nice/fun to have something to shoot for other than the personal satisfaction of reaching a certain typing speed, or that illustrious moment when you completed your daily entry for the thirtieth day in a row!

If this all sounds pretty simple, it is. That is the aim after all! The service’s entire function is to provide you a nonjudgmental forum for you to brain dump ideas. There are no rules, no structure and no limitations. It’s not blogging. It’s not supposed to be. No one will read this except you (though there are opportunities to share if you choose to).

How I use it:

I fire up an external editor, separate from the 750words site. Preferable one with a word count that has a distraction free, full screen mode available.

Here are some favorites of mine that cater to many different writing setups:

  1. iA Writer (iPhone/iPad, Mac)
  2. Elements (iPhone/iPad)
  3. Scrivener (Mac, Windows)
  4. Omm Writer (iPad, Mac, Windows)

After I’ve followed my writing idea to it’s inevitable completion, I stop, see how many words I’ve written and if I have over the coveted 750, I highlight it all and it paste into the editor on 750words.com. I quickly verify the site saved my words and then log out and go on with my day.

I used to try to make this a morning ritual but, to be honest, I am not much of a morning person. So I often write my words whenever I find a block of time. It doesn’t really matter when you do it, just that you do it.

Why I like it:

The idea behind the entire site is to get you to write every single day and, hopefully, make it a daily ritual. It might sound like a lot (it is actually about three pages), and somedays it totally is, but if you can do it and stick with it, it becomes an immensely rewarding experience. I am currently on my forty eighth consecutive day!

The way I always aim to start, is to come to the keyboard with an idea ahead of time. If I don’t have one (hey, it happens) I pick the first thing that floats into my head. Literally. Once I have the idea, I write and let the idea take me where ever it decides to. Sometimes it ends up veering WAY off topic. Sometimes a beautiful short story comes out of it! Sometimes it takes the form of more of a diary entry. But, at least for me anyways, it’s always an exploration. The fleshing out of an idea. It’s me taking a concept/topic and thinking it through entirely.

And, most importantly, it’s me giving myself permission to.

Our days are filling to the brim with time suckers, diversions and stupid, menial distractions. It’s gotten to the point where I often need to stop the world, unplug and do what I love to do: simply write. I shouldn’t need a reason, but having one helps.

If I don’t have my 750 words? And I promise you, this will definitely happen. I stop, take a breath and see if there is anything else I have to say. Maybe there’s another angle, or something different entirely that weaves into the topic. Point being, the act of stopping and listening to yourself is always precious, both in writing and in life.

In Closing…

The tag line of 750words.com is perfect. “Private, unfiltered, spontaneous, daily”…

I have honestly been shocked at how much those aspects of this site have benefited me. I’ve had some great ideas shake out of it and, in a lot of ways, it’s been an unexpected kind of therapy for me. Add the frequency to all of this and the fact that you are simply writing WAY more than you were before and it becomes an invaluable task to my day to day. I no longer look at it as “one more thing I have to do”. I actually look forward to it.

So if you are looking to kick start your writing into action again or for the first time,sign up for 750words account. It is literally a definitive “win-win” and will never steer you wrong. I can’t recommend it enough.

And if you end up loving it, support it!