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About Robert Cortez

Robert is a design and publishing professional, serving as art director/creative director for Newtype USA and PiQ magazines covering anime and genre entertainment. He enjoys good movies (and even some bad ones), muscle cars, video games, rock and roll and talking about all of the above with friends over a burger and soda.

It’s smooth sailing to the #1 spot for Queens of the Stone Age

The new Queens of the Stone Age album …Like Clockwork almost caught me by complete surprise (h/t this episode of Mohr Stories with Josh Homme), but it’s been spinning constantly in my rotation for days now. It’s quality, no doubt, but it’s good to see lots of other folks are digging it too, pushing it to the top of the Billboard 200 chart. Such a great album.

via Queens of the Stone Age – Smooth Sailing Live – YouTube.

Screenwriter Michael Arndt on his first day writing Star Wars Episode VII

Since Disney scooped up Lucasfilm late last year, it’s been impossible to ignore the prospect of more Star Wars films, but the new generation of filmmakers at the helm clearly seem to have a different idea of how to keep things fun. This amusing, self-deprecating jab what must be immense pressure to turn out something that won’t make millions of man-children weep themselves to sleep at night feels like some new level of meta-commentary that might just be more entertaining than, well, the prospect of more Star Wars films.

Steven Soderbergh puts Hollywood on blast

Since helping to usher in the indie film movement in the early ’90s with sex, lies and videotape, Steven Soderbergh has seen enough of how the movie business works to know that there’s more wrong than right in the industry these days. His keynote speech at this year’s San Francisco International Film Festival lets it all hang out, including how big movie studios attempt to foster success by playing the odds instead of true talent:

If you give a certain kind of rodent the option of hitting two buttons, and one of the buttons, when you touch it, dispenses food 40% of the time, and one of the buttons when you touch it dispenses food 60% percent of the time, this certain kind of rodent very quickly figures out never to touch the 40% button ever again. So when a studio is attempting to determine on a project-by-project basis what will work, instead of backing a talented filmmaker over the long haul, they’re actually increasing their chances of choosing wrong.

Good for him. Soderbergh has made both smart and entertaining films in his career—including one of my all-time favorites, 1998′s Out of Sight—and although he’s already announced his eventual retirement, I’m glad to finally see there’s substantial reasoning behind it. It’s sad that such a talented filmmaker has become so discouraged by the business of it all (this all reminds me of fellow ’90s indie scene alum Kevin Smith’s recent change in direction over the last couple of years), but I like to think sentiments like Soderbergh’s will influence other dissatisfied filmmakers and artists to blaze their own trails.

More at Deadline.com