Crayon Physics Deluxe

A demonstration of Crayon Physics Deluxe:

I’m not big on games, but this one intrigued me: the goal is to get a ball to touch a star by drawing objects that obey the laws of physics. Draw something in the sky and it will fall; draw a wheel and it will roll; draw a pendulum and it will swing.

Here’s an imaginative solution for one of the simpler levels: Continue reading Crayon Physics Deluxe

Revisiting “Psycho”

Roger Ebert writes that, “Hitchcock deliberately wanted Psycho to look like a cheap exploitation film. He shot it not with his usual expensive feature crew (which had just finished North by Northwest) but with the crew he used for his television show.” Subsequently, Psycho feels like the best episode of The Twilight Zone ever, and seeing it projected like I did last night effectively cranks the thrill-o-meter up to 11. It’s a creepy, entertaining movie that isn’t nearly as much fun on TV as it is in a theatre.

Things that make it work — #1: The performance from Anthony Perkins as a shy, seemingly-harmless but kind of odd motel manager. I’ve met people like this and Perkins plays it convincingly. #2: The famous shower scene where Janet Leigh is murdered. Everyone in the theatre knew it was coming and it still made everyone jump. It’s unexpected. #3: The sudden, deafening soundtrack that cues each murder scene. From Wikipedia: “The soundtrack of screeching violins, violas, and cellos was an original all-strings piece by composer Bernard Herrmann entitled ‘The Murder.’ Hitchcock originally wanted the sequence (and all motel scenes) to play without music, but Herrmann begged him to try it with the cue he had composed. Afterwards, Hitchcock agreed that it vastly intensified the scene, and he nearly doubled Herrmann’s salary.” My only complaint is the basement scene near the end of the movie that should have been the big, shocking reveal but turns into a laugh-out-loud joke because somebody is wearing a dress and it just looks silly. Psycho does have its dated qualities (especially in that basement scene), but it’s one of Hitchcock’s most exciting movies. It definitely stands out from the rest of his work.

Pop Culture Quiz (I scored 16%)

Do a quick read of CBC’s Top 100 “pop culture mementoes of 2008” and see how many you’ve heard of before. A quick copy-and-paste from the list and I score 16 out 100, and most of those 16 are pretty weak points. (My score would be even lower for popular music.) I am so out of touch. I like #14 the most.

1. There Will Be Blood. — Saw the movie.

2. I’m F**king Matt Damon (YouTube video). — Saw the video.

3. The fifth and final season of The Wire. — Saw it and loved it. It’s so good you don’t even know it’s good. It’s that good.

4. In Bruges. — Read reviews for the movie.

5. Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. — Read about it.

6. Electric Arguments, The Fireman. — Heard about it (Paul McCartney’s new band).

7. Tina Fey. — Big deal. She does Sarah Palin.

8. Robert Downey, Jr. — I saw him a in a couple movies. He’s a good actor.

9. Tropic Thunder. — Saw the movie and could have done without it. Ben Stiller doesn’t make me laugh. (Flight of the Conchords makes me laugh.)

10. Slumdog Millionaire. — Read about the movie.

11. Andrew Lloyd Webber on How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? — Didn’t see the show, wouldn’t if you paid me, but I’m aware it exists.

12. Man on Wire. — Read reviews about the feature documentary.

13. Cloverfield. — Saw the movie.

14. “Mexico City” by Jolie Holland. — I have the album, but didn’t see the video until now. It looks like it was shot behind J-Walk‘s house.

15. Burn After Reading. — I saw this Coen Brothers movie.

16. Happy-Go-Lucky. — I read about this Mike Leigh movie.