Closed for business

I'm retiring the old Island Zero blog for the time being. I'll leave the site up in case anyone wants a glance back into historical curiosity.

I'll be sharing Internet ephemera over on my tumblr which you can find here.

And the longer film pieces will mostly be hosted on the AFI FEST blog.

Thanks for stopping by!


MIchael Cain's Starck Club?

Filmmaker Michael Cain is taking a slight hiatus as the Director of the AFI Dallas Film Festival to direct another documentary film. Details are still scant, but the film seems to be focused on the legendary Starck Club in Dallas in the 1980s. Known for its ultra-modern design (it was the first major effort by designer Philippe Starck) and rampant ecstasy use, club lasted five years, from 1984 to 1989.

Cain's last directorial effort was the very successful TV JUNKIE which premiered at Sundance and went on to win numerous awards and acclaim around the world.

More details to come as they become available.


Pizza Box technology advances again

It's very similar to the "World's Best Pizza Box" I reported on back here. Watch the video for the new innovations in pizza box technology. I love the idea but sadly I don't see myself ever caring enough about this to make my pizza order choice based on it. But convince one of the delivery giants to switch to this design and your golden! (Sadly I'm sure the bottom line would win out over innovation here.)

Why putting Bioshock on hold is great news

According to various news sources, the planned film adaptation of Bioshock has been put on hold, possibly indefinitely. The film adaptation of this award winning video game was to be directed by Gore Verbinski and was budgeted at around Eleventy million dollars. (The budget is being oft cited as the reason for the production’s troubles.) I loved Bioshock probably more than any other game last year, and I love movies. However it's clearly a good thing that this adaptation will most likely not come to pass.

I was as excited as anyone else to see the movie version of Bioshock. It was without a doubt the best-written, designed and conceived game of the last year. But because it was so good, doing a movie version does damage to serious game innovation. Once a great source material is co-opted into a film it can really tarnish the image of said source (see Watchmen.)

This is obvious, but while comics are getting more and more mainstream respect every day and have a serious level of proper criticism these days, the game world seriously lacks such introspection. Chuck Klosterman recently wrote in Esquire about this very issue. He wonders aloud where is the Lester Bangs of games journalism and how much longer will it take for him to arrive?

So as we search for better game criticism in the world, it will inevitably be games like Bioshock, the best of the best which call out for a deeper appreciation and understanding of game design. When these games are then converted into film it makes it all the easier to write off the need for serious game criticism. After all, people with serious critical faculties can then just wait for the inevitable linear adaptation, which is much easier to apply standard critical tools to. The constant adaptation and re-appropriation only further delays the creation of new critical thought for the interactive medium. Klosterman himself acknowledges this difficulty in analyzing artwork, which takes on different form for every audience member.

Therefore, yay to Mr. Verbinski's troubles. My apologies for the Scradenfrude.


World's largest deliverable pizza

It requires 24 hour notice before ordering. It costs $200. And I need to throw a party ASAP for an excuse to order this monstrosity. Did I mention, they just opened a new branch right in my neighborhood? Looks like I'm about to lose $200 bucks sometime soon. It serves 50-70 normal people but I'm sure I can find a dozen more gluttons to throw this party with. Click here to order from my new masters.





Alright as much as I hate to admit it I’m trying to quit smoking. Now that I’m sharing this online I’m sure I’ll immediately relapse. I was having trouble breathing, probably from allergies but it sucked so I thought I’d bail on my sweet smoky friends.

Really the hardest part for me is he psychological, I’ve so many moments I my life when it just seems right to smoke, driving especially. Or coming out of a movie. Plus no one is more annoying that people who used to smoke and no longer do. I’ve been smoking for 17 years no and I’ve seen a lot of quitters come and go in that time. Losers. And now I am aiming to join their ranks.

I’ve enlisted the aid of a prescription drug called Chantix to help me quit. (Here is a scary story about the side effects, 2 words: horrific nightmares.) I don’t notice any physical difference if I take the pill or not but mostly its just useful to have something to do, to look forward to instead of smoking. It helps to fetishize the pills too, I take them when I want to, not on a set sched like medication but more like how I smoked and sometimes I even pretend I am getting high or something, crack them in half and wash them back deliriously.

At least now I end up with lighters at the end of the night mysteriously. I used to just lose one every other day. So all along it has been the fucking quitters who have been walking off with them. Assholes.

But anyway, quitters suck, now I have become one of them and I hate myself.

(I know I should not smoke here’s the proof: According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, between 310,000 and 580,000 of us will commit suicide by cigarette this year. But I still wanna smoke.)


Obama orders pizza from St. Louis, snubs Chi-town

Obama made pizza news again this week. The President invited 140 people over to the White House for deep dish pizza and had it brought in from a place called Pi in St. Louis. This is of course of note since deep dish is one of his hometown's claims to fame.

The incident was reported via this AP story which is hilarious because it kinda quotes Marc Malnati, owner of Chicago's famous Lou Malnati's pizzerias in Chicago. (You can also order Lou Malnati's to be delivered packed in dry ice to anywhere in the USA.)

The only other thing to be assumed is that that St. Louis pizza place is fucking delicious. A cursory glance at the restaurant's website would seem to confirm that assumption.


Webisodes and The Streamys

On Saturday night was the first ever Streamy awards! The Streamys recognize excellence in entertainment created specifically for online broadcast. Normally award shows seem to be a very self congratulatory affair, but this was different. Mainly for the reason that most of the nominees are relative unknowns. The awards served as a great introduction to some really inspired content being shown online this year.

Here are a few of the most interesting shows I found in the weeks leading up to the Streamys:

Dr. Horrible is probably the best know of all the web series nominated this year. It also won the most awards, natch. If you don't know this show you really need to stop everything and go watch it now. The coupling of Neil Patrick Harris and Joss Whedon alone should be reason enough. But throwing in Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day make this one a no brainer.

Who is Felicia Day you might ask? Well, she is the star and creator of The Guild. The Guild is about a group of online gamers who really would rather never venture outside their games but are reluctantly forced to once or twice. The creation of The Guild is an inspiring story as well, the creator, an unemployed actress in Los Angeles, decided to stop waiting for someone to cast her and instead went out and created something herself. Day's acceptance speech on Saturday said something to this effect as well and it got the biggest ovation of the night at the show.

There was another show related to The Guild that was up for a number of awards last night. The Legend of Neil is created by one of the stars of the Guild, Sandeep Parikh. The subject matter is similar as well, it's about a man who falls asleep and finds himself living in the game world. Like TRON but with more masturbation jokes.

Sometimes you get sucked into these shows and end up watching 20 episodes in a row. That’s what happened when I found Dorm Life. This (like the above two) is a classic sort of web series since it features a fresh faced cast and crew. College life comedy is a well worn path but Dorm Life really stands out with killer characterizations and performances. If you spent your entire first year of college doing absolutely no work you will most likely relate to this show.

On the flip side of the emerging talent trend, many shows online boast impressive amounts of recognizable talent. One of the best known being Children's Hospital which is created by Rob Corddry and features many, many other comedic actors. Simply the image of Corddry in bloody scrubs and clown makeup was enough to get me into this show (and he wears that in every scene.)

Another celebrity centered show, which I enjoyed but might be too rough for some audiences, is Star-ving created by David Faustino. You might know him as Bud Bundy and this series depicts his life post stardom in a twisted fun house mirror image of tinsel town. It’s reminiscent of the TV series Action and like I said is not for everyone but I'm sure it has an audience out there. (Mark Lisanti I'm looking at you.)

It's interesting to watch the trends in entertainment evolve but it's much more interesting to stop reading news stories about it and simply enjoy some great performance and great writing. Thanks Streamys for showcasing such great shows, there are literally dozens more I have to delve into still.



Congrats to my buddy Duncan! Variety reports today that his screenplay SWINGLES has gotten Cameron Diaz attached to it! It's an excuse for me to type more exclamation marks and for me to post this picture!