"...From a film-maker’s point of view, the zombie has many advantages. It is not necessary to spend a fortune on special effects—a horde of extras spattered with fake blood can do the trick, and tends to look a lot more realistic than a computer-generated werewolf. Whereas vampires can be charismatic and sexy, zombies lack personality; audiences do not mind when they are killed since they are dead already. Indeed, “Zombieland” ends in a theme park, with Woody Harrelson mowing down row after row of attackers, like any teenager with a Nintendo..."
75: Friede - Frau im Mond (aka Woman In The Moon, By Rocket to the Moon, 1929) | RETURN TO INDEX
Not only is the rocket in Fritz Lang's precocious space outing a beautiful example of Art Deco sci-fi before the bulbous curves of Flash Gordon took over, but it's also an amazing foreshadowing of the 'staged' separation that would ultimately take man into space (you can see a video clip of that sequence here). Even thirty years later, Hollywood was still stuck on the 'single stage' ship when depicting space travel.
The film was very popular with Wernher von Braun and his associates, who would ultimately take America to the moon with very similar methods (even if they wisely chose not to launch the Apollo missions from under the sea, as with the Friede). The first successful V2 launch from the rocket research facility at Verein für Raumschiffahrt bore the logo of the Friede from Woman In The Moon. Consulting rocket scientist Hermann Oberth had originally intended to build an actual working rocket miniature for Lang, but was constrained by budget and schedule. Happily the Friede has actually flown since, several times.
Sean Carroll’s office at Caltech is a jumble of brainy flotsam. There are books with titles like Differential Forms in Algebraic Topology; five empty champagne bottles, one for each of his students who’s earned a PhD; and a NASA-approved blow-up beach ball of the universe.And on the physicist’s computer screen is a graph of the narrative progression of the time-bending movie Memento. “Memento does this combination of flashbacks and reverse chronology,” he says excitedly. “The later scenes are played in reverse chronology, the earlier scenes are played in ordinary chronology, and they meet up.” In January, Carroll will release his own pop take on the complexities of time with his much-anticipated debut book, From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time. Armchair Einsteins will geek out on his audacious thesis. He argues that our perception of time is informed by entropy — the level of disorder in a system — and that the movement from low to high entropy as the universe expands establishes the direction in which time flows. Furthermore, he posits that our cosmos may be a relatively young member of a large family and that in some of our sibling universes time runs in the opposite direction. Some others, he argues, don’t experience time at all; once a universe cools off and reaches maximum entropy, there is no past or present.
Abstract enough for you? That’s where Carroll’s common touch comes in. His writing is accessible and peppered with cultural references — quotes from Dumb and Dumber and Slaughterhouse-Five, for instance. But don’t be fooled by his mass-market approach: Carroll isn’t afraid to wade into topics that have befuddled even name-brand physicists. Though we may deal daily with time’s quotidian realities — deadlines and bus schedules and aging — most of us have trouble thinking about how it might exist outside our own experience of it. “We’re so used to the arrow of time that it’s hard to conceptualize time without the arrow,” he writes. “We are led, unprotesting, to temporal chauvinism.”