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  • Star Apps: Michel Gondry

    French director Michel Gondry has been repeatedly praised for his visually sophisticated but playful cinematic style, from Bjork's "Human Behavior" video to Oscar-winning "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." But until now, Gondry never directed features in French."For a long time, I was too shy to write or direct a movie in my native language," he says. "The English put some layers on top of it, so I wouldn't feel so shy and so naked." Gondry's French-language debut, "Mood Indigo," stars Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris as a couple whose poignant love story is interrupted by a life-threatening illness. I chatted with Gondry about directing his first French feature, working with Audrey Tatou, his personal connection to the film, and his favorite apps.

    Colin (Romain Duris) proposes a kiss in Mood Indigo.

    (Credit: Courtesy of Drafthouse Films.)

    "Mood Indigo" is based on Boris Vian's cult 1947 novel. How is the story still relevant? Here comes this very imaginative, crazy world with very pure emotion. You also don't want to be fooled by happy endings. So I think that every generation thinks it's their book.

    What is it like to work with Audrey Tatou? She's very honest and a very hard worker, and you don't have to direct her too much. Her performance is great and really move... [Read more]

  • Star Apps: Wiz Khalifa

    From Ice-T and Chuck D in the '80s to Tupac and Nas in the '90s, every decade has its hip-hop prophets and beloved lyricists who interpret the signs of their time in inspired verses. The '00s belonged to Wiz Khalifa. I chatted with the rapper about his new album, "Blacc Hollywood," and lead single "We Dem Boyz," as well as his Under the Influence of Music tour, thoughts on Kanye West fans, and favorite apps.

    Nobody beats the Wiz.

    (Credit: Miko Lam)

    You've released multiple mixtapes since 2005's "Prince of the City: Welcome to Pistolvania," including 2014's "28 Grams." Why does an established artist continue to issue mixtapes between album releases? On an album like "Blacc Hollywood," we're focusing on making a complete project that's going to be around for years and years and years and make people happy and let them know where we're at, at a certain point in time when I'm making this project. I want the hits; I want to make big songs that speak to people around the world, songs that turn into videos that later turn into mini movies and lifestyle s---. There is a lot of thought process that goes into making a... [Read more]

  • 6 comics and manga apps for superfans

    Comics aren't just for kids, and they're not just for print, either -- comics are on your TV and movie screens, in your games, and in apps as well. This week 130,000 comics fans are heading to San Diego for Comic-Con, which sold out in less than 90 minutes. If you're not one of the lucky badge holders, you can still connect to Marvel and DC's latest and greatest -- and manga, too -- with these top comics apps for your phone or tablet.

    Comics by ComiXology (Android, iOS)

    ComiXology's app is hands down one of the best reading experiences available on Android. Not only does it come with full-screen, letterboxed, panel-to-panel transition animations, but its high-quality comic files look great on the most high-resolution displays. The ComiXology store offers a mix of titles from popular vendors like Marvel, DC, Viz, and more.

    (Credit: Comixology)

    DC Comics (Android, iOS) and Marvel Comics (Android, ... [Read more]

  • Star Apps: Richard Linklater

    Nothing dates a film like technology. However, the iMacs, Game Boys, PlayStations, social media, and video games in Richard Linklater's groundbreaking new movie, "Boyhood," are a welcome way to contextualize 12 years of action. I chatted with Richard Linklater about "Boyhood," which stars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, and its use of tech as a structural device.

    Richard Linklater's Boyhood traces Mason's (Ellar Coltrane) development from boyhood to manhood.

    (Credit: IFC Films)

    You typically make movies that span 12 to 24 hours, yet this film spans 12 years. Why mess with your signature style? It blows my average out of the water, if you adjust the baseline. With each film, you have a story to tell, and I spend my time thinking about how to tell it. What's the right form for it?

    In a lot of my films, I'm trying to create some reality, and I think I've largely replaced traditional plot devices with time-structural devices that feel a little closer to how we go through life or process time. It's innate in the human brain to create structure, and it's the same with these stories. There's a large structural component and not as much plot. The idea for this is fairly simple, so this idea came to me that broadened a certain cinematic canvas to tell this story.

    Knowing you'd be working with these actors for 12 years, which considerations were particularly important during cas... [Read more]

  • Software week in review, July 18

    Microsoft's layoffs are bad news for Nokia, Xbox Entertainment, and Windows phones that run Android. Google is going after zero-day threats and is fixing Chrome's security and power-hogging. And vulnerabilities have been found in everything from Teslas to the stock market to hotels. Read on for more updates, and to get the latest reviews and features from our editors in your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.


    Last week Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella published a 3,100-word memo about "bold ambition" (or "turgid drivel," per linguist Geoff Pullum). This week another memo (also decried for failing to get to the point) predictably announced mass layoffs of up to 18,000 of Microsoft's staff worldwide, with about two-thirds of the cuts coming from Nokia. The other third will nick many divisions, from marketing to Windows testers, and ... [Read more]

  • Star Apps: Zach Braff

    Zach Braff is used to having doors shut in his face. An actor since the age of 13, Braff didn't get his big break on "Scrubs" till he was twice that age. There was initially zero interest in his first major movie, the indie breakout "Garden State," or his new film, "Wish I Was Here." Naysayers warned that he'd never get the latter film funded via Kickstarter. But Braff has persevered. His "Wish I Was Here" character, Aidan Bloom, hasn't been quite so lucky, struggling to make it as an actor while his family's emotional, physical, and financial health deteriorates. I chatted with Braff about his controversial Kickstarter campaign, mean-tweeting Internet trolls, and his top mobile apps.

    Zach Braff co-wrote and stars as the struggling patriarch of an unorthodox family in Wish I Was Here.

    (Credit: Focus Features)

    You received a lot of flack for launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund "Wish I Was Here." What did you learn from that experience? I learned that you never give up and not to listen to naysayers, because everyone said it wouldn't work and that it would be humiliating and that it never works for a new title. And then when it was funded in 48 hours, the Internet went crazy, opining for or against it. It ... [Read more]

  • Star Apps: Fitz and the Tantrums

    Don't let the name fool you: Few bands brighten a bad mood like Fitz and the Tantrums. The LA-based neo-soul group's sophomore release, "More Than Just a Dream," has already spawned hit singles "The Walker" and "Out of My League." Now the band is spreading the sunshine on its summer and fall tour. I chatted with lead vocalist Michael Fitzpatrick (aka Fitz) about how music uplifts him, musical influences and inspirations, and his favorite apps while on the road.

    Fitz and the Tantrums always brings the party.

    (Credit: BB Gun Press)

    Your music is so celebratory. What can fans coming to the current tour expect to see and hear? We always try to bring the dance party. Our shows are high energy from start to finish. We always try to make the audience another member of the show with call-and-response. What we have found over the years is that sometimes people need to be given permission to let loose and go crazy and not worry what they look like or be too cool for school. We're playing songs from our first record and a lot of the new al... [Read more]

  • 7 Android launchers to refresh your home screen

    Your home should be comfortable, and so should your home screen. With an Android launcher, you can replace your phone or tablet's boring factory settings with themes, widgets, and other customizable options to make your home screen more homey. Here are our top seven picks to help you renovate your Android experience.

    (Credit: Google Now Launcher)

    Google Now Launcher

    Google Now Launcher is one of the most direct ways of getting the original Android home-screen experience. First introduced with the Moto X phone, the Google Now Launcher preserves the visual experience of KitKat for those with custom-themed versions of Android, and it comes with an always-on listening mode that detects Google voice commands.

    (Credit: Nova Launcher)

    Nova Launcher

    Want to customize every incremental aspect of your Android home screen? Then Nova Launcher is for you. Nova lets you edit icons, set the grid size, and enable overlapping widgets, so that you can fit more on one screen than Google envisioned. For even more detailed control, you can define screen animation, system fonts, and bar colors.

    (Credit: Go Launch... [Read more]

  • Star Apps: G-Eazy

    G-Eazy is not passive about his career, as his new album title, "These Things Happen," might imply. "No, they don't just happen," said the Bay Area rapper in our recent interview. "That's one of the twists to the title, that you have to kill yourself for 10 years, working so hard at something, to finally see something happen." I chatted with the Billboard chart-topper and MTV Artist to Watch, who is finally making his mark, about his rhyming style, his fan base, and his favorite apps.

    It ain't easy being G-Eazy.

    (Credit: The Chamber Group)

    On Wikipedia it says that you were born in Oakland. Is that accurate? I don't know if I've ever answered this in an interview. I traveled a lot when I was a kid and got to the Bay when I was five.

    How did you end up there? My parents split, and my mom brought me and my brother up there. We were living in Fresno, California, when my parents split. My grandparents had a house in Berkeley with my uncle and aunt. It was kind of a family home with open doors, where anybody who needed a place to stay could move.

    At what point did you realize you had an affinity for hip-hop? The Bay Area is such a melting pot, and that's what I identified with. It was what they played on KMEL, and it's what everybody around me was into. The Bay ... [Read more]

  • Software week in review, July 11

    Microsoft is still trying to woo users away from Windows 7 and XP; Apple's next iPhone has a sapphire screen, and the phone after that may have a smart lock; and Google is killing apps and bad site certificates. Read on for more of the week's software news, and to get the latest reviews and features from our editors in your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.


    Yesterday CEO Satya Nadella declared that Microsoft is no longer a "devices and services" company, but rather will reinvent productivity, with a focus on mobile and cloud. He also said that July will be dedicated to discussing Microsoft's future, so look for more news this month. Meanwhile, some things we do know:

    • Support ends on January 13, 2015, for Windows 7 and the 2003 and 2008 editions of Windows Server. Half the desktop and laptop users worldwide are using Windows 7, according to Net Applications, so that's a lot of people who will have to update to Windows 8 or go commando.
    • With that in mind, Microsoft is trying to make the next version of its OS, Threshold (possibly Windows 9), more ... [Read more]

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