[PHOTO] Natalie Portman

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The Prince Of Darkness: Miles Davis, 1958

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What Day Is it?

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[PHOTO] Chet Baker by Bruce Webber, 1988

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[VIDEO] It’s Hulk vs Iron Man In New ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron‘ Teaser Trailer

Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters on May 1, 2015

The trailers for Avengers: Age of Ultron have so far given us hints of an epic, city destroying, to-hell-with-the-clean-up and insurance costs battle between the Hulk and Iron Man and a new TV spot teaser from Marvel gives us just that little bit more.

We still have no idea why Iron Man dons the Hulkbuster armor to take on his rage-filled fellow Avenger, but we do get to see more of Black Widow, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Captain America and Hawkeye and Nick Fury all look equal parts concerned, confused and a little afraid….(read more)

The Hollywood Reporter


Uh Oh: Eddie Murphy Says He’s Returning to SNL After 30 Years

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What Could Go Wrong?

It’s been more than 30 years since Eddie Murphy has appeared on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ but the comedian confirmed his return to Studio 8H for the show’s 40th anniversary special.

Murphy broke the news in a phone interview with News One Now. “It just never worked out where the timing was right for me to do it,” Murphy said, explaining his three-decade absence. “They’re having a 40th anniversary. … I’m going to that. And that will be the first time I’ve been back since I left.”

Murphy last stepped foot on the ‘SNL’ stage on Dec. 15, 1984 as a host, 10 months after ending his stint as a cast member… (read more)

TIME


Matthew Braun: ‘Unlike the War Films of Generations Past, ‘American Sniper’ Actually Has to Explain Onscreen That al Qaeda Insurgents Were (and Still Are) Bad’

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What ‘American Sniper’ Tells You About Its Critics

A veteran reviews ‘American Sniper

 writes:  I am not at all surprised that Michael Moore and Seth Rogen don’t like American Sniper . For them, the idea of military sacrifice is absurd. We get an idea of how badly they understand the motivation of the modern American fighting man and woman when they can’t tell the difference between someone like me, with 15 years of experience in law enforcement, military intelligence, and counterterrorism, and a Nazi. No. Seriously.

That movie is “Nation’s Pride,” the faux Nazi propaganda film-within-a-film directed by Eli Roth that plays during the film’s climactic theater scene. Moore, for his part, offered these thoughts:

“The American Left has never been able to find the line between patriotism and jingoism.”

He later said, implausibly, he just happened to tweet this while “American Sniper ” was pulling in a massive $105 million opening weekend box-office haul and wasn’t talking at all about “American Sniper .”

An Oscar statuette earned by Frank Capra's 1942 documentary "Prelude to War," the first film in the United States Army Special Services' seven-picture "Why We Fight" series, has been removed from the auction block and was returned to the care of the U.S. Army.  Pictured: Frank Capra and John Ford during World War  Two

An Oscar statuette earned by Frank Capra’s 1942 documentary “Prelude to War,” the first film in the United States Army Special Services’ seven-picture “Why We Fight” series, has been removed from the auction block and was returned to the care of the U.S. Army.  Pictured: Frank Capra and John Ford

“Where John Ford and Frank Capra once did propaganda films during World War II, Hollywood today is irredeemably corrupted by a worldview that blames America for all the ills of the world.”

Moore’s experience with martial matters is exactly zero, and his understanding of snipers is based on a tragic anecdote from World War II. Moore never allows for the possibility that Nazi snipers might have been cowards, and that American snipers might be saving lives.

Newsflash: Like the Nazis, Al Qaeda Is Bad

War movies have changed a lot since the 1940s. War movies in the 1940s didn’t have to explain that the Nazis were bad. We take Nazis as evil for granted now; with 65 years of hindsight there are far more people around now who were never alive for Hitler’s Reich, but all of us understand that Nazis are bad.

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“The American Left can’t imagine a person who actually fights to protect other Americans, who actually believes America is the greatest country on Earth, and who does it all with a Bible in his pocket. That’s a farce to them.”

Film has been, perhaps, the best teacher of this simple truth. Nazis were just Nazis in movies, even when their evil was supernatural or no longer based in reality.

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“…It’s too far off from the people they have known and deal with every day to be real, so they think it’s propaganda for the Right, for America, for war.”

Unlike the war films of generations past, ‘American Sniper’ actually has to explain onscreen that al Qaeda insurgents were (and still are) bad.

The Left continues to think of the American military and foreign illegal fighters as basically being two sides of the same coin. Worse, they can’t seem to tell the difference between American service members and al Qaeda. Unlike the war films of generations past, “American Sniper” actually has to explain onscreen that al Qaeda insurgents were (and still are) bad. In explaining, and in depicting, Kyle’s firm and unflinching lack of remorse or understanding for the plight of the torturing, ambushing, child-murdering insurgent, we see a fun word on Twitter: Jingoistic.

The American Left has never been able to find the line between patriotism and jingoism. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] This Month’s Best News Bloopers

…blunders include video bombs — both intentional and completely accidental — along with plenty of technical mishaps. You also get Tom Brady talking incessantly about his balls and an anchor bravely letting a tarantula rest on her chest…(read more)

Also see –  Funniest News Bloopers of 2014

 


Settled Science: Jazz Periodic Table

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Diary Of A Radical Conformist

Paul Abrams: ‘Moon Over Miami’

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Moon over Miami by Paul Abrams

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[PHOTO] Tiny Banana

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Scott Mendelson: ‘Kingsman‘ Is Best 007 Homage Since ‘Austin Powers

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Fox may have a new franchise on its hands with this witty and occasionally spectacular homage to 1970′s-era James Bond adventures.

 Scott Mendelson writes: 20th Century Fox will be releasing Kingsman: The Secret Service starting in the UK beginning January 29th before eventually debuting in America and elsewhere on or around the February 13th. The film, directed by Matthew Vaughn and written by Vaughn and Jane Goldman, comes from Marv Films and Fox. I don’t have an exact budget for this one, but if I had to guess, I’d say over/under $40 million. At a glance, the initial tracking for the picture puts its domestic debut at $30m over the Presidents Day Weekend, which would be a fine score for this geek-friendly R-rated action romp. Especially considering that Fifty Shades of Grey (Universal/Comcast Corp.) will be sucking up all the media attention heading into the Valentine’s Day Weekend, a $30m debut weekend would be a big win for this comparatively under-the-radar picture.

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If you had asked me a month ago, even after I saw the film, I would have worried that the picture was potentially going to fall victim to the Scott Pilgrim/Dredd disease, by which I mean a geek-friendly genre film plays great on the online movie blogger circuit but was mostly ignored by the general audiences.

“Consider this a warning. If you’re seeing Kingsman: The Secret Service, stop watching the trailers right here and now. You’ll thank me later.”

Heck, you could argue that Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass, which like this film is an adaption of a Mark Millar comic book, suffered from the same fate, to the point where the R-rated cult comic book adaptation had to defend a “mere” $19 million debut weekend. But Lions Gate Entertainment’s Kick-Ass eventually made it to $96m worldwide and played well in post-theatrical, to the point where Universal/Comcast Corp. ended up with Kick-Ass 2, which earned just $60m worldwide in 2013. But I digress.

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Point being, Colin Firth is a known entity without being an out-and-out box office star, and Samuel L. Jackson hasn’t been an automatic draw since, well, Lakeview Terrace and/or Jumper in 2008. Oh, he’s the king of the added-value element, and he darn-well should have won his Oscar for Django Unchained, but most of the cast (aside from Michael Caine and Mark Strong) are little-known kids. Read the rest of this entry »


ENCORE! Feminist Blogger Posts 157 Abusive Tweets – Just From One Week


Vera Farming Fans, Start Your Engines

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Season 2 of Bates Motel is Coming to Netflix on February 7

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vera

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Pulp Fiction: ‘Murder of a Mistress’, 1957

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1957 Perma Books paperback original

Seattle Mystery Bookshop – flickr.com


[PHOTO] Charlie Parker & Thelonious Monk

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Katie Holmes Cast In Major Guest Role in ‘Ray Donovan‘ For Showtime’s Third Season

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 reports: Katie Holmes is heading to “Ray Donovan’s” third season in a major guest role, Showtime announced Tuesday.

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Holmes will play a shrewd and chic businesswoman named Paige who enlists the services of Ray (Liev Schreiber). She also happens to be the daughter of Ian McShane‘s billionaire producer character, Andrew. McShane was cast in a recurring role earlier this month. Read the rest of this entry »


‘The Great Snow Job of 2015′: New York Post Front Page for January 28, 2015

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New York Post front page for Wednesday, January 28, 2015


At The BBC, The Beatles Shocked An Institution: Interview with Kevin Howlett

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editor-commen-deskFrom today’s Fresh Air, a wonderful interview with producer Kevin Howlett. Worth a listen. Hearing about The Beatles early show business career, and early appearances on BBC radio programs, reminds me of interviews with members of Monty Python. As they described it, England’s radio and television landscape at the beginning of the 1960s, was buttoned-down and formal. The notion of performers talking informally in front of a microphone, improvising and being mischievous, was unprecedented. What the Beatles were allowed to do was — though it’s hard to imagine now — was revolutionary.

Also of interest, the BBC never preserved any recording of the Beatles broadcasts, in all those years. Producer Kevin Howlett had to seek them out from individual collectors who’d recorded the live broadcasts. Good thing he did!Beatles-remasterted

[Order Kevin Howlett’s remastered On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2 from Amazon]

NPR: England got a lot more of The Beatles than Americans did during the group’s formative years. Between 1962 and 1965, The Beatles were featured on 53 BBC radio programs, including their own series, Pop Go the Beatles. They performed originals and covers and chatted with BBC hosts.

[Check out The Beatles: The BBC Archives: 1962-1970 at Amazon]

The Beatles: On Air-Live At The BBC Volume 2 has just been released. Kevin Howlett produced both that and the newly remastered reissue of the first volume, which was originally released in 1994. For reasons he explains to Fresh Air host Terry Gross, Howlett had to search for many of these recordings, and they weren’t easy to find.

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[Listen here]

Howlett has written a new companion book called The Beatles: The BBC Archives,which includes transcriptions of the band’s BBC radio and TV interviews as well as fascinating internal memos about the Beatles and their music.

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Interview Highlights

On the challenges of his project working in the BBC archive

My quest to restore the BBC archive [of the Beatles] goes way back to 1981 when I joined the national pop network in this country, BBC Radio 1, as a young rookie producer. I was 24 years old. The management knew I was a Beatles fanatic, I was a child in the ’60s growing up with the Beatles, and they gave me this task. What a dream thing to be Beatles-BBChanded. They said, “Can you investigate what programs the Beatles performed music in and what songs they did?” And the BBC’s written archives are a wonderful place where they kept every single piece of paper relating to the Beatles’ performances, so when I wrote the book it was a magnificent source of material: memos, contracts, audience research reports — so that was fine, you could find out all of the information.

But then finding the music on the tapes? That was a completely different matter. Some of these recordings come from transcription discs, LPs that were distributed by the BBC to other countries for broadcast. Some come from producer listening copies. There were some producers at the time that thought maybe it is worth keeping this material, and in some of these cases, listeners who taped off the radio.

On The Beatles’ audition for the BBC

The very first thing that Brian Epstein did when he took over the management of The Beatles was to fill out an application form for the variety department of the BBC. This, again, reminds us that there was no rock business as we know it. This was show business and they would be on with all sorts of other acts, radio ventriloquists even, that kind of thing. Read the rest of this entry »


Are Netflix and iTunes to Blame?


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