When an (unofficial) Trailer Bests a Film

Jurgen Versteeg’s alternate trailer for the film “Into The Wild” succeeds in ways that the film itself does not. Adapted from John Krakauer’s book of the same name, this is the story of Chris McCandless, a young man who journeyed relentlessly, until he died from exposure in Alaska. The book reads like a mystery, as Krakauer uncovers McCandless’ journeys and ponders his motivations. The movie, directed by Sean Penn, is ernest but loses much of the book’s mystery, as we see McCandless’ wanderings directly rather than through Krakauer’s speculations.

This alternate trailer keeps the mystery, as we follow a solitary figure as he meanders through 2D renderings that play as a series of paintings, all set to Eddie Vedder’s great “Hard Sun.” Lovely work.

The Wall Street Journal’s invaluable investigation into website/advertiser tracking

The Wall Street Journal has taken a series of stories with a rather ho-hum elevator pitch (let’s expose the dirt on website cookies and advertising technology) and made the topic completely engrossing with some spectacular Flash infographics (HTML5, can you do that?). There’s a great radio interview with the editor of the series, Julia Angwin, if text and infographics aren’t your cup of tea.

Props to Thomas Keller for “ad hoc at home”

Ad-hoc-at-home-cookbook-cover

With the possible exception of its physical size, Thomas Keller’s ad hoc at home cookbook is uniformly great, and surprisingly accessible for cooks of all levels of experience. Keller’s signature restaurant, French Laundry, is known for its pricey prix fixe menu and impossible-to-get reservations. So the last thing I expected when cracking open this weighty tome was an accessible manner and clear explanations. Keller is clearly a culinary perfectionist of the first order, but he does realize that 99.99% of the home cooking in the world is done by folks with middling to fair skills in the kitchen and less-than-fully-stocked pantries. It is for those cooks that he wrote this book (thanks Thomas!). My only knock: the hardback is rather large for the average kitchen, and might feel more at home in the reference section of the Library of Congress. Perhaps the paperback version will be more counter-friendly