Top Chinese Director, People’s Daily Fight It Out Over Reality TV Movies


The spat began earlier this month, when director Feng Xiaogang lambasted the popularity of a spate of recent Chinese movies based on popular reality television shows

Lilian Lin reports: An unusual public spat between a famous director and the Communist party’s main propaganda arm is shining a light on the state of pop culture in China.

The spat began earlier this month, when director Feng Xiaogang lambasted the popularity of a spate of recent Chinese movies based on popular reality television shows. Such movies, he said on a local television program, are “shot in five or six days” yet make quick money. That hurts genuine filmmaking, he argued, because it draws investor money away from more serious movies.

Dad, Where Are We Going?

Dad, Where Are We Going?

The apparent target of his criticism was a new film called “Running Man,” which is based on a popular reality show of the same name. The TV show, which is based on a South Korean program and is similar to “The Amazing Race” series in the U.S., pits celebrities against each other in random tasks. (The losers face indignities such as Running_Man_2015_film_posterbeing flung into a swimming pool.) The movie, which has a similar plot, has taken in over 400 million yuan ($64 million) in ticket sales after only two weeks, according to the local film research company EntGroup.

“Is film censorship really based on rule of law and letting the market call the shots? Of course not.”

– Zou Xiaowu, marketing director of theater chain Dadi Cinema

Another movie based on a hit Chinese reality show, “Dad, Where Are We Going?,” took in nearly 700 million yuan and was the country’s third highest-grossing domestic film last year.

Mr. Feng himself made his name initially with light-hearted comedic films that became major box office successes. But in recent years he has turned to more serious films, including 2010’s “Aftershock,” about a deadly 1976 earthquake, and “Back to 1942,” a 2012 film about a famine that killed up to three million people.

 “The films that really should be criticized are those films that put people to sleep. At least ‘Running Man’ is logical.”

– Wang Zhengyu, a producer of “Running Man”

His critique of the new reality TV movies is a familiar one, and not just inside China. (A spokesman said Mr. Feng didn’t have more to add.) But the counterargument came from a surprising source: The People’s Daily newspaper.

"Running Man"

“Running Man”

In an editorial last week, the Communist party’s main newspaper said the films are “the choice of audiences and the market.” The challenge for filmmakers like Mr. Feng, it said, is to “complain less but make more good films.”

A separate, later editorial on the paper’s Weibo social-media account suggested such criticism is hypocritical. “Directors of commercial films looking down upon variety show film is kind of like a crow accusing a pig of being black,” it said. Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] Prank: Unsuspecting Bachelors Set Up On Blind Date With Attractive Woman Who Turns Out To Be Professional Stunt Driver

Ford pulled another commercial-turned-stunt by setting unsuspecting bachelors up on a blind date with an attractive woman, who also happened to be a professional stunt driver.

After chatting at a cafe, the couple take off in a new 2015 Ford Mustang and the woman lets the men know that she’s not very experienced at driving a manual transmission. Then, right when the first date banter reaches peak boredom, the driver dips off into an empty parking lot to take the dates for an unexpected thrill ride…(more)


[CHART] Here’s Why Jon Stewart’s Quitting The Daily Show Is So Painful for Democrats



Hemingway: Brian Williams Is No Exception. Media Lying, Exaggeration Are The Rule


  writes: NBC NewsBrian Williams is taking a few days off from his anchor chair at the Nightly News. The Most Trusted Name In News (TM) is in a spot of trouble. He admits he lied when he claimed he was in a Chinook helicopter forced down by rocket-propelled grenade fire in Iraq in 2003.

There are also concerns about dramatic stories he told about gangs attacking his hotel in New Orleans during Katrina. Whether he saw a dead body floating by him in the French Quarter. Whether he got dysentery on that trip.


Or witnessed someone commit suicide in the Superdome. Also about whether he actually saved a puppywhile on duty as a voluntary firefighter. Whether he was really “looking up at a thug’s snub-nosed .38 while selling Christmas trees out of the back of a truck” in the 1970s. And whether a helicopter he was in during Israel’s war with the militant group Hezbollah in 2006 was nearly hit by Katyusha rockets.

[Read the full text at The Federalist]

I could go on. The point is that he’s beginning to resemble Jen from the IT Crowd:

Obviously you can’t tell tall tales and keep your title as the most trusted name in news. But as a friend 5159tELPeUL._SL250_asked, and pardon the French here, “Is Brian Williams a liar, or a bullshitter?”

[Check out Neil Postman’s book “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business” at Amazon]

If Brian Williams were just a dude at the bar, he’d probably be your favorite dude at the bar. He has great stories and tells them well. The loquacious Williams is just an obscenely well-paid news reader. As Neil Postman put it in his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves To Death, “A news show, to put it plainly, is a format for entertainment, not for education, reflection or catharsis.” And that’s how we like it — here’s a promo Marx-TVfor a new CNN game show featuring anchors competing against each other. (Show ‘em who’s boss, Tapper!)

A Far Worse Kind Of Exaggeration

Some journalists have responded to the Williams spectacle by running defenses they’d never imagine using on others — such as that Williams had ordinary false memory syndrome. Others are just waiting for him to be pushed out or quietly get back to work.

Williams lied. I’m not defending him. But in a world of serial exaggerators and distortion artists, he’s the least of mainstream media’s problems.

Exaggeration and distortion is de rigueur for many political journalists.

Exaggeration is kind of what our media do. Now, part of this is defensible. At one of my first newspaper jobs, I would write unbelievably spare copy that accurately described the event or situation I was reporting on. My editor used to take his big red pen and scrawl, “So what?” across my copy, double underlined. It was a great edit. I had to learn how to make a story interesting and how to pull out the parts a reader would actually care about.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Premiere of ‘Breaking Bad’ Spin-Off ‘Better Call Saul’ Did Not Disappoint

The Walking Dead Watch: ‘What Happened and What’s Going On’

Originally posted on TIME:

The second half of the fifth season of The Walking Dead begins with a slow, contemplative episode, “What Happened and What’s Going On.” This season, which began with savage, nihilistic fireworks, has gotten more moody and broody with every episode. Still, for a mellow installment, a few interesting things happen:

“What Happened…” begins with a burial. Presumably, the group is laying Beth to rest. The climax of the mid-season finale came when a botched Mexican standoff resulted in her death as well as the fatal shooting of Dawn, the dictatorial leader of the group of survivors in the hospital. The group decides to head to a gated community, Shirewilt Estates, former hospital orderly Noah tells them has strong walls. On the way, Tyrese uncorks a little road wisdom, concluding that keeping one’s eyes open to the horrors of the world (you know, like flesh-eating zombie hordes) is simply “the…

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Critics: Hong Kong’s TV Industry Hits New Low with Derivative Talk Show Clone of Shows Like David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon


Vivienne Chow reports: Hong Kong’s television industry has hit a “new low” as TVB’s latest talk show Sze U Tonight was accused of copying popular American hosts such as Jimmy Fallon and David Letterman.

 “A TVB spokesman said Lee had already announced that his show would ‘take references’ from U.S. talk shows. But Lee insisted the show did not copy US shows entirely.”

Critics said the TVB show, hosted by comedian Johnson Lee Sze-chit, reflected the lack of creativity in the city’s TV productions – and even warned the alleged similarities in format and set designs could lead to legal action.

Sze U Tonight, which debuted on TVB Jade on Sunday, features Lee behind a desk interviewing celebrities sitting on a sofa, against the backdrop of Hong Kong’s skyline. It apparently bore a striking resemblance of the likes of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC and Late Show with David Letterman on CBS.


Lee’s desk, complete with an old-fashioned microphone, a pencil holder full of pencils and a coffee mug, was said to look like Letterman’s. The show also has a live band, a signature of Letterman’s show.

“Sze U Tonight risked falling into copyright traps, but it will depend on whether the U.S. networks decide to take legal action.”

Sze U Tonight achieved 16 rating points on Sunday – an equivalent to a TV audience of more than a million, accounting for a 93 per cent share. A TVB spokesman said Lee had already announced that his show would “take references” from US talk shows. But Lee insisted the show did not copy US shows entirely as it featured local content.

The South China Morning Post contacted NBC but the broadcaster has yet to comment on allegations its show has been copied.


Barrister Albert Luk Wai-hung said it was common for TV stations to customise foreign shows. ATV screened quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? while TVB broadcast The Weakest Link in the 1990s. But ATV and TVB acquired the rights from foreign stations which had originally broadcast them overseas.

Mainland China has also acquired the rights to foreign shows, such as South Korea’s Running Man and Dad! Where Are We Going?

However, it is understood that TVB did not acquire the rights to any of the US talk shows for the production of Sze U Tonight. Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] SHOCK: TV Advertising That Doesn’t Demean, Mock, Diminish, and Insult Dads


[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


Pundit Planet Media: Inescapable


Pundit Planet Disclosure: Our Cranial Electrodes Monitor You in Your Sleep


Yvonne Craig as Batgirl, 1960s


[VIDEO] Bill Clinton on Muslim Immigration and ‘The World’s Greatest Double Standard’

Big Water-Cooler: Fox Business To Replace ‘The Independents’ With ‘Kennedy’


Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery will be the host of “Kennedy,”  which will launch January 26 at 10 p.m., after the conclusion of an episode of the network’s new” Strange Inheritance” reality series that night. “Kennedy” will feature an opening monologue from the host, followed by interviews and discussion segments. Fox Business is billing the program as focused on “big water-cooler discussion topics.”…(read more)


Prime Instant Allen: Woody Allen to Create a Television Series for…Amazon?


“I don’t know how I got into this. I have no ideas, and I’m not sure where to begin. My guess is that Roy Price will regret this.”

Angela Chen reports: Inc., fresh from its Golden Globe wins for its original show “Transparent,” has signed filmmaker Woody Allen to write and direct his first television series.B7PdXL_IAAE5r4f

“I don’t know how I got into this. I have no ideas, and I’m not sure where to begin. My guess is that [Amazon Studios Vice President] Roy Price will regret this,” Mr. Allen said in a news release about the project, which is still unnamed.

[An outbreak of mockery ensues at Twitter ]

Amazon has commissioned a full season, with half-hour episodes available on its Prime Instant Video. The will be the first television project by Mr. Allen, who has worked on films such as “Annie Hall” and “Midnight in Paris.” He has won four Oscars.

On Sunday, Amazon’s “Transparent”—about a California family whose father comes out as transgender—took home two Golden Globes at the 72nd annual awards: best musical or comedy TV series, and best actor in a musical or comedy series for actor Jeffrey Tambor. This is the first Golden Globe win for an Amazon show. Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] Wheel of Fortune Host Pat Sajak is a Transhumanist?

Peter Rothman reports: Alex gives a great explanation of transhumanism around the 1:00 minute mark and goes on to win the game. Long time Wheel Host Pat Sajak quips that “we transhumanists have to stick together” at 17:05. The episode aired January 6th in the U.S.

Amazing! Alex’s smile at the end says it all… Read the rest of this entry »

Le Monde, France Télévisions/Radio Pledge To Keep Charlie Hebdo Alive

Originally posted on Deadline:

While France reels from Wednesday’s deadly attack on the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, and the country emerges from a minute of silence that’s just passed, there’s a strong sense of solidarity at home and abroad. Many thousands of people assembled last night in town squares throughout the country and as far away as San Francisco. Here in France, major local media groups have now stepped forward to offer their support to the satirical magazine which lost several of its key staff yesterday, and it was just announced that Charlie will come out next Wednesday.

France Télévisions, the holding group of the country’s national broadcasters, along with the state-run Radio France and leading broadsheet Le Monde said last night they would provide Charlie Hebdo and its various teams with all of the “human and material resources necessary” to keep it going. Titled “So That Charlie Lives,” the pledge…

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Batman & Robin Managing their Calendar


Batman & Robin Managed their Calendar Online Before Most of Us, but at the Time, it Required an Entire Batcomputer

Via Twitter – Harry McCracken



Monster World Magazine #6 Jan. 1966


[PHOTO] Boris Karloff: Speaking Voice for Dr. Seuss’ ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’


Boris Karloff (who narrated the film and also provided the speaking voice of The Grinch) in a publicity still for Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)



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