The Swiss generally don’t make great archvillains. They love rules, they love regulations and they love when things are nice and orderly. The Swiss have world-class tennis players, philosophers, and actors but world-class criminals? Not so much.
However, Thanos, the Marvel Comics villain who is one of the most powerful villains played by Josh Brolin, has his roots in Zurich, Switzerland.
Wait a moment, isn’t Thanos American?
Not so fast! A crack team of high-tech commuter animators in Zurich were the ones who created a program that mimicked Josh Brolin’s facial expressions and captured it in computer animated form, giving the computer-generated character a new depth of complexity and realism that has never before seen in a superhero film before. The state-of-the-art animation is set to be the new standard for films and computer games alike.
Therefore Thanos may be the first Swiss superhero but he may not be the last.
The MeToo movement has seen an unprecedented amount of alleged abusers in the entertainment industry from Michael Jackson, John Lasseter, Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K exposed for their wrongdoings.
Production companies have been supportive of the victims have been quick to blacklist these performers and entertainers, even going so far as to recast actors like Kevin Spacey at considerable cost. But does that mean the audience should stop listening or watching their art? What about classics such as Billy Jean, Pulp Fiction or Toy Story? Do we just ignore them or can we continue watching them without a feeling of guilt?
When asked this question, most people feel divided. They love these artworks and often times grown up watching them as part of their childhood. Such attachment isn’t so easily disposed of. When these horrible abuses come to light, it feels like a betrayal. When someone whose music or film we used to enjoy turns out to have hurt and abused people, often on a frequent and systematic basis, it leaves us in a state of shock.
Some argue if art has imitated real life. In the case of R. Kelly, Kevin Spacey and Woody Allen, their work reportedly details their sexual abuse and maybe even encourages it. In the cases of John Lasseter or Bill Crosby, their best pieces of work aren't about them as artists. Many fans still argue The Cosby Show and Toy Story are classic family entertainment. In the case of The Crosby Show it paved the way for other black family sitcoms, like the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
Film companies are famous for protecting their scripts and film footage from being leaked to awaking audiences. Now with how fast things travel across the internet (it doesn’t take long for something to be shared millions of times) films need to be protected now more than ever.
Do you remember when the script for Hateful Eight Script, the Quentin Tarantino picture, was leaked? Tarantino was still early on in his writing process when he threatened to scrap the entire project completely.
With films the creation of so many different people, often across different countries, it’s not surprising that production companies are going to extreme lengths to protect shows such as Game of Thrones, Stranger Things and comic book franchises a Avengers.
In fact, there is a bunker room in Los Angeles where, if you didn’t know better, you would think was the U.S President’s west coast home. It is, in fact, mere a writer’s room for Amazon. It has all the windows blacked out, security guards at each entrance and a fingerprint scanner to get in.
The story Amazon is working on in its bunker is set in the realm of the Lord of the Rings. The streaming show’s adaptation is rumoured to focus on the character of Aragorn, the man (spoiler alert) who is destined to be King of Gondor. The storyline is a prequel to The Fellowship of the Ring before Aragon meets Frodo. The general consensus was largely that the security measures were a tad bit overkill and the efforts to protect this sacred information were unnecessary. Afterall, we know how the story of Aragon ends up so how much of a spoiler can there be?
If you’ve followed Amazon’s history, you now that they aren’t a company to take things lying down. But then again neither is Woody Allen. The film star recently filed a $68 million lawsuit in New York claiming that Amazon studios scrapped its four-film deal and is actively blocking the director’s artistic efforts. However, Amazon has filed a counter suit saying Allen sabotaged his own movies’ success with controversial comments about the MeToo movement and sex abuse allegations against him. In the lawsuit, Amazon wrote Allen’s statements came out just as Amazon and Allen were preparing to promote Allen’s latest film Wonder Wheel, effectively sabotaging those efforts. Wonder Wheel is about four peoples’ lives which intertwine amid Coney Island’s heyday and stars Kate Winslet.
Woody Allen has long been the subject of sexual misconduct rumours; but none of these rumours have ever been proven in court. The response from the film industry, however, has been damning with many actors expressing regret for having worked with Allen and many declared publicly that they would never work with him again. These actors include Freida Pinto of Slumdog Millionaire, who worked with the director in You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, and Colin Firth who stared in Magic in the Moonlight also directed by Woody Allen.
Amazon studios has said Allen would not rescind some of his most problematic public statements he had made. What the verdict will be, is anyone’s guess as Amazon’s new court motion is only seeking to dismiss four of the eight claims in Allen’s suit. Amazon also cites Allen’s response to accusations of sexual assault by his daughter Dylan Farrow, which he denied.
Canada has always been the neglected younger child while the United States struts across the world stage puffing his chest, Canada sits meekly alone.
But that is quickly changing as Canada content has made some splashes world wide – especially with hits like Schitt’s Creek, Working Moms, and Kim’s Convenience. Schitt's Creek, especially, has really broken through in a way that not a lot of even American-produced comedies have done lately. It doesn’t hurt that the main star, Eurgene Levy has been a successful comedic actor for decades and has stared in hits like American Pie and Best In Show.
Eugene Levy and his son Dan secured CBC secured as the Canadian broadcaster, but the shows producers thought the show’s concept could also do well south of the border — something that's eluded many Canadian-made comedies for decades, even as Canadian comedians such as Mike Myers, Martin Short, Seth Rogen, and Jim Carrey became household names. Schitt's Creek, in particular, is enjoying a rare combination of commercial and popular success.
Dan and Eugene Levy, the show's creators and stars, already had CBC secured as the Canadian broadcaster. But Schwartz, a Canadian well established in the U.S. TV system, thought the little show with the funny title just might work there as well.
It's a show that started with a wealthy family, a riches-to-rags story that in itself doesn't seem like anything we haven't seen before," says Schwartz. "But the writing and the acting is so phenomenal, that the little things happen in the episode and the characters learn from those little things that happen, that change them in the next episode, and change them in the next episode."
Hardly has there ever been a film that has entered into the general lexicon as the Full Monty. Although the term is now generally described as a strip show, the English slang, if you look it up in the diction is actually to do something “by whatever means necessary.”
The Full Monty was a blockbuster hit released in 1997 and launched the careers of some very important British actors including Robert Carlyle and Tom Wilkinson.
The story revolves around a group of steel mill workers from Sheffield who find themselves unemployed with the mill shuts down. One day, one of the former steelworkers, Gary, sees a lineup of outside a local club to see a Chippendales' striptease act. He gets the idea to form his own striptease group using local men in hopes of making enough money to pay off his child support obligations.
The first to join the group is a security guard at the steel mill where the men worked. Feeling depressed, Lomper attempts suicide, but is rescued and convinced to join the group. Next, they recruit Gerald, their former foreman at the mill, who is hiding the fact that he is unemployed from his wife. In total six men join the group.
Apple is getting ready to launch a movie streaming service to compete with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. The tech conglomerate is widely expected to unveil its offering at an event on Monday and it could give us a first look at some of the exciting original programming that’s in the works.
Apple is already behind their competition and will have to play catchup – with Netflix especially which is pumping out new content in what seems like new television shows and new films every week. However if anybody can dive into the content gave, it will be Apple.
One of the biggest internet debates among the nerds is what will the streaming service be called. Will it have a different name from Apple TV to distinguish it from the current device that is already available? Maybe Apple Stream or iStream? Or will it be seamlessly integrated into existing services.
The Apple TV app is probably going to be the access point for all the Apple programing. You will also likely be able to access the content via iTunes as well.
Disney is expected to unveil its streaming service, Disney+, next month, and NBCUniversal is planning to release a streaming service in 2020. Both companies will be able to rely on deep back catalogs of beloved movies and shows, making an entrance even harder for a Apple which is starting at zero.
Even though the Apple service has yet to be announced, movie acquisitions, rights deals, and orders for new TV series all get reported months before they debut. So we know a good deal about what Apple has in store for its upcoming service.
People have always loved true crime stories but it was really Truman Capote with his book ‘In Cold Blood’ that really ignited the genre, exposing a wide range of readers to this kind of long-form journalism. Now Netflix has brought out several documentaries and dramas based upon real life events which has sparked new interest in the genre.
Recently Netflix released an eight-part series ‘The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann’. It was preceded by the Oscar-nominated short documentary, ‘Detainment’, about the two boys convicted of killing James Bulger, and it will shortly be followed by a three-part BBC Four series on Peter Sutcliffe, otherwise known as the Yorkshire Ripper. The streaming service also recently came out with a documentary on serial killer Ted Bundy but also a biopic staring Zac Efron.
What is the purpose of stirring up all these painful memories – some of which are real stains on modern history? Are they important contributions to journalism, to understanding human behaviour and will they help prevent a repeat of the past? Or are they merely capitalizing on our fascination with grizzly and bloody crime, tormenting the victims’ families?
Documentaries are important. They allow us to explore the world outside of our own narrow lenses, giving us knowledge and insight to different cultures and events. It’s unfortunate crime is often part of life and society. As such, it’s impossible to write about, record and document crime as it occurred. Part of it is for our own knowledge and part of it is to record history. People are naturally hurt and effected by these reports – in whatever form they take place. But should that prevent journalists and producers from reporting on them?
Most great men need a number two. Sid Sheinberg was that person for Lew Wasserman who was the revered head of MCA and Universal Studios . Sid Sheinberg, who died at the age of 84, served for more than 40 years as president and Chief Operating Officer of MCA, Inc and Universal Studios and helped build the company into an entertainment conglomerate.
Sheinberg often had to play bad cop that allowed his his boss, Lew Wasserman, to assume the role of nice guy when needed. The plainspoken Sheinberg helped lead MCA Inc. and Universal through a phase of prosperity, expanding the company’s entertainment, theme park and publishing divisions and ultimately helping to mastermind its sale to Matsushita for more than $6 billion in 1989. It was a rocky affair for the two executives who were used to free rein. In 1995, Matsushita sold 80% of its holdings in the company to Seagram, and soon thereafter Wasserman and Sheinberg stepped down.
Despite Sheinberg’s considerable success, his most notable achievement was discovering and nurturing a young Steven Spielberg, giving him his first directing job, one of the most commercially successful directors of all time
When Jaws ran over budget and critics were questioning Spielberg’s directing ability, Sheinberg stood by an inexperienced Spielberg. Sheinberg pushed for Jaws to be completed and it went on to redefine how blockbuster films were made.
Wasserman and Sheinberg transformed MCA from a traditional talent agency into an international entertainment empire that included the development of 420-acre spread that would become Universal City and another one in Orland Florida, building the highly successful theme parks that would be the envy of the other major studios.
It’s hard to believe that it was fifty-two years ago this Spring that S.E. Hinton wrote one of the best-selling young adult novels of all time – her era-defining book, The Outsiders. The Outsiders took after another great coming-of-age story The Catcher in the Rye, which was published in 1951. And like J.D Salinger’s novel, the Outsiders took away the adults’ perspective and focuses purely on the teenager experience. In other words, The Outsiders is about teenagers and spoke directly to young readers.
What is perhaps even more amazing is that the author, Susan Eloise Hinton, was an Oklahoma high school student when she completed the manuscript she was then calling “A Different Sunset”. The novel was a major feat for Hinton, who started writing it when she was 15 and sold it two years later. Her mother had to co-sign the contract because Hinton was still considered a minor.
The Outsiders—which still sells half a million copies every year—forever changed the way books are written for young readers. The Outsiders depicts a group of lost boys including the orphaned Curtis brothers and their gang called “greasers”.
Hinton has acknowledged that she borrowed from life which is probably why it feels authentic and real. Her first-person narrator, Ponyboy, and his friends were inspired by a true-life gang. Yet their world of drive-ins and drug stores, freight trains and churches, could be anywhere in middle America. Perhaps that is what makes the book so universal and appealing.
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