Monthly Archives: March 2015

What makes Interstellar resonate with viewers?

Interstellar, the latest film to be written and directed by Christopher Nolan, releases on DVD and Blu Ray today. Christopher Nolan has been responsible for some of the most high-concept films coming from Hollywood in the last few years, and Interstellar is no exception. After reimagining and rebooting the Batman film franchise with his Dark Knight trilogy and exploring the possibility of planting ideas in people’s dreams in Inception, Interstellar, a film that went through a long journey to production before Nolan took over, became the film that everyone was talking about in connection with Christopher Nolan. Perhaps more than any other of his films before it, Interstellar explored the vast possibilities of the human imagination in a way like never before, capturing the combined sense of hope and dread at the prospect of the end of human existence.

While the film never reached number one and wasn’t even nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards, the film was, nevertheless, a box office success. This is likely due to the massive following Nolan has gained of fans of his work. Interstellar wasn’t just about seeing a potentially great movie; for many, it was about seeing Christopher Nolan’s latest potentially great movie. Because the film explores the idea of worlds beyond our own, it required a significant amount of visual effects, and Nolan, who firmly believes in creating visual effects on camera as much as possible before relying on CGI, took the opportunity to exercise his expertise in the realm of visual effects. So impressive was the film that it won Best Visual Effects at the 87th annual Academy Awards.

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Pretty impressive for a guy who only had three relatively low-budget films under his belt only a decade ago. Nolan’s films have always explored themes that get people thinking. Even with The Dark Knight trilogy, there were deeply embedded threads of questions like what it takes to be a hero, how much people need to know for their own good, what people will do when forced to choose between their lives or someone else’s, and what it is that marks our identity in the world. When you watch a film by Christopher Nolan, you’re not just watching a carefully designed story; you’re plunged into an often intense exploration of some of the most agonizing questions that people have. Nolan films are the kind of films that you walk away from, knowing more about what it means to be human.

What makes Interstellar a film that resonates with so many people is the exploration of our future and the relationships we hold dear. The film is, after all, about finding a way to preserve the future of humanity when the world we inhabit becomes less and less capable of supporting human life. In a unique post-apocalyptic world, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is driven by his desire to not only find a new home for the human race, but a home for his son and daughter. In many ways, this film is more about the relationship between Cooper and Murph than it is about interstellar space exploration. Viewers are forced to feel the strain of being separated from the person you love most in watching Cooper leave his daughter for a mission from which he’s not sure he’ll return. As a viewer, you’ll likely be holding on to the those you love just a little tighter after watching this film.

matthew-mcconaughey-mackenzie-foy-timothee-chalamet interstellar

Interstellar is a science fiction movie that’s backed by a lot of real-life science. The whole idea for the film was conceived from the work of theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, who served as the film’s scientific consultant and an executive producer. The film features a lot of science-related material when it talks about wormholes and black holes, and Nolan worked closely with Thorne to make sure they created a film that was as faithful to scientific accuracy as possible. This, of course, gives the film an added feeling of authenticity.

Additionally, the film explores the relationship between faith and science. Throughout history, people have often placed faith and science on opposite ends of a spectrum, pitting them against each other in a never-ending battle. In many ways, Interstellar is about the reliance upon both faith and science, with no underlying contradiction between the two. It’s interesting to see Cooper trust in all of the science that is simply a matter of fact surrounding him, and yet also relying on faith that what he’s doing is for the best for his daughter and all of humanity. When it comes to the forces that drive Cooper forward through nearly impossible situations he finds himself in throughout the film, Nolan presents a unique marriage of faith and science to explain Cooper’s motivations, and it works remarkably.

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True to the high-concept nature of the film, the Blu Ray release will feature over three hours of bonus material. Those interested in the scientific foundation of the film can check out a documentary that explores the theories behind wormholes and black holes. There’s also a documentary about the long production journey of Interstellar from a film that was once to be directed by Steven Spielberg to the film it became in the hands of Christopher Nolan. Viewers may also want to check out some of the important elements of the film such as the spacecraft Endurance, the dust that marks life on earth in the film, the sounds and score of the film, and much more.

Nolan has no doubt grown as a filmmaker since filming the low-budget yet highly intricate film Memento in 2000. Interstellar is yet another example of Nolan’s expertise in telling a truly compelling visual story.

Pick up the DVD or Blu Ray of Interstellar out now.

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What makes Interstellar resonate with viewers?

Why the current trend for horror remakes should be encouraged, not shunned…

This article was first written in 2010, but even now, 5 years later, the intent and the message remain as pertinent as ever.

Remakes are seemingly everywhere. You name it, if it was made in the 1980s, chances are a 21st century version is in the works. Now, some people cuss Satan at the merest mention of them, but, as I’ve outlined many, many times in the past, some of the greatest movies ever made are retreads of earlier works (Man on Fire and Heat being two prime examples), with some movies I guarantee you’ve watched without even realising they were remakes. Remakes aren’t bad… it’s bad remakes that deserve scorn, just the same as bad originals deserve likewise.

However, with that being said, there is a growing trend for a particular genre that is, seemingly, being remade en massé; HORROR!

To coincide with the return of Freddy Krueger, let’s take a look at just a sampling of late-70s/80s horror movies that have been (or are being planned to be) remade –

  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • The Amityville Horror
  • The Hitcher
  • Friday the 13th
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Halloween
  • Hellraiser
  • Child’s Play
  • Black Christmas
  • My Bloody Valentine
  • 2001 Maniacs
  • April Fool’s Day
  • Carrie
  • Fright Night
  • Children of the Corn
  • The Fly
  • Near Dark
  • Dawn of the Dead
  • The Exorcist
  • House
  • The Omen

Of course, the quality of these have varied, but of the main three characters (Freddy, Jason, Michael), I’ve enjoyed their rebooted outings. I also thought The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead were really well done, with DotD, in my eyes, being absolutely fantastic from beginning to end.

Now, I said at the top of the newsletter that I was going to justify these remakes to you and, rather boldly, that I was going to put forth a convincing argument as to why they should be encouraged. To do that, I need to abandon the 1980s and go back to the 1930s. I need to go back to these guys…

classic-horror-characters

All of the above are legitimate horror icons, characters that have stood both the test of time AND various incarnations portrayed by various actors. Even though there were, in the case of Frankenstein and The Wolf Man, earlier versions, the ones considered the classics were made in the 1930s or 1940s. They’re still looked upon as classics even today, with their themes holding up after all these years and, in some ways, the special effects are even more impressive due to the limitations of the time.

Yes, they’re all old monsters, but they also share another trait; they’ve all been remade countless times over the years, none moreso than the Prince of Darkness, the one they call Dracula.

The thirties gave us what we see above, then the stories were remade for audiences in the 1950s, an audience who had different hopes and dreams from the previous generations, so the studios tailored these classics for their modern era, introducing a new generation to the story. Like our ancestors of yore, these were the equivalent of re-telling an old tale around the fire, but adding your own little twist as you go.

From the 1950s to the 70s and Britain’s own Hammer Studios revamped the characters once more, again to great financial and critical success. Christopher Lee staked his career (did you see what I did there?) on his portrayal of Dracula, while they also ventured into adaptations of other horror characters, including the other three listed above.

Moving on through the years once again and the 1990s find us in the midst of another retelling of these fabled monsters. Gary Oldman takes over the fangs of Dracula, Robert De Niro becomes almost unrecognisable as The Monster, Imhotep is reborn as a CGI masterpiece/Arnold Vosloo and Jack Nicholson gives the shaggy dog story of the Wolf Man a tweak as only he can.

These monsters (and other lesser creatures) have been brought back and revamped over and over again (for close to a century in some cases) and, as such, a new generation is introduced to them and the cycle begins again. In 10-20yrs time, they’ll be revamped once more, with each successive generation keeping the tales alive, while the remakes spur interest in watching the originals.

As you can see, horror remakes are not a new phenomenon. They’ve been around for a long, long time and serve a purpose – introduce a new generation to the wonder, the spectacle and, yes, the horror of these characters.

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And that, my friends, is why the current crop of horror remakes are a good idea. Freddy Krueger, Pinhead, Leatherface, Damien, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees are my generation’s horror icons and, with these returns, they’re being introduced and tweaked for a new generation, revamped for a fresh set of eyes.

It keeps these characters alive and will spike interest in the originals to boot. A Nightmare on Elm Street is the latest remake to hit cinemas and, in my opinion, it’s a great movie that adds to the mythology created by Wes Craven (and actually re-introduces aspects Craven had to leave out when he made the original). The character is treated with respect and retains enough of what made him an icon to begin with. Freddy is harder than Michael or Jason to get right because he’s a personality, he speaks, he interacts. Jason is a force of nature, so, with him and Michael Myers, the physicality is what’s important there.

Platinum Dunes are responsible for most of the mainstream horror remakes of the last ten years and, with that, they’ve taken on the responsibility of the camp-fire storytellers of old, entertaining us with tales of legendary monsters from our past and updating them to make them relevant for today’s affected youth.

Don’t hate the remake culture, embrace it, cherish it. It’s been around for a long time and it’ll still be around long beyond the time

Research Paper Aid Detailed Research Guide

Rhetorical Studies: Visual Rhetorics Visual Interaction websites Audiovisual Culture and Interdisciplinary Knowledge (UI access only) D.N. Rodowick Method in Movie Reports The University of Rochester – This essay was first posted in Fresh Literary History 26 (1995): 11-121. The current variation is enhanced with photos. Black Masculinity and Visual Culture (UI accessibility only) From Callaloo A Diary of Africanamerican and African Arts and Letters 18.2, Spring 1995 by Herman Grey, School of Florida in Santa Cruz.

2K Announces Development of First WWE Simulation Video Game for Mobile Devices with WWE® 2K

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2K Announces Development of First WWE Simulation Video Game for Mobile Devices with WWE® 2K

Weakness Seen in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE): Stock Tumbles 14.7% – Tale of the Tape

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. saw a big move last session, as the company’s shares fell by nearly 15% on the day. The move came on pretty good volume too with far more shares changing hands than in a normal session. This continues the recent downtrend for WWE, as the stock is now down nearly 18% since Mar 12.

Moreover, the company has offered disappointing data for first-quarter 2015 subscriber growth, suggesting that a spike in online TV subscribers might not be sustainable.

This slump shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to investors, as though this integrated media and entertainment company has seen no revisions in either direction in the past few weeks, its current year earnings consensus has actually moved lower over the last 30 days. This suggests there may be more trouble down the road. So make sure to keep an eye on this stock going forward to see if this recent slump will continue, as the earnings picture definitely suggests that this might be the case.

WWE currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) while its Earnings ESP is 0.00%.

A better-ranked stock in the same sector is RR Media Ltd. , holding a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report >>

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Weakness Seen in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE): Stock Tumbles 14.7% – Tale of the Tape

WWE® Network Partners with Seth Green, Jerry Springer and Jeff Tremaine on Three New Original Series

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WWE® Network Partners with Seth Green, Jerry Springer and Jeff Tremaine on Three New Original Series

WWE® Network Surpasses 1.3 Million Subscribers

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World Wrestling Entertainment WrestleMania Tops Records – Analyst Blog

World Wrestling Entertainment saw an extremely profitable weekend with WrestleMania 31 recording the highest attendance in its history on Mar 29. WrestleMania is produced by this leading player in the field of global entertainment.

Moreover, the 31st annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view event at Levi’s stadium in Santa Clara, CA, turned out to be the highest grossing live event in the history of the extravaganza. We remind investors that WWE had announced a partnership with Facebook last week for promoting WrestleMania 31.

WrestleMania 31 grossed $12.6 million with 76,976 people turning up at the stadium to watch the WWE flagship event. Apart from the stadium attendance, its TV viewership was also remarkable.

We note that WWE has had a highly successful 2015 thus far with the stock having gained over 38% year to date. The huge success of the event, the sport’s Super Bowl, should lead to further appreciation in WWE’s stock price. Levi’s stadium had an attendance record of 70,799 previously. Moreover, WrestleMania 29 at MetLife Stadium was the previous highest grosser at $12.3 million.

We note that the extravaganza generates huge traffic to the WWE digital network, a vital source of revenue generation. More than 665,000 new subscribers were added to the network after the event last year. The WWE Network, launched in Feb 2014, provides streaming access to all WWE events, including all 12 live pay-per-view events for $9.99 per month.

In Jan 2015, the professional wrestling organization had reported a record 1 million subscribers to its network. With the subscriber mark exceeding 1 million within a year of its launch, we believe WWE is poised for further record breakers going forward. Moreover, the success of the company’s flagship event is another huge positive.

Zacks Rank

World Wrestling Entertainment carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A couple of better-ranked stocks in the industry are RR Media Ltd. and The Walt Disney Company . Both stocks sport a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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World Wrestling Entertainment WrestleMania Tops Records – Analyst Blog

WWE WrestleMania 31 Results

11072014-wwe-seth-rollins-mitb-ring

The Grandest Cash-In of Them All.

For the 31st consecutive year, WWE would present the pinnacle of sports and entertainment as legends would be made and dreams will be realized as WrestleMania 31 came to you, live on the WWE Network, from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. Since making his WWE debut alongside Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins as a member of The Shield at Survivor Series in 2012, the intense Samoan known as Roman Reigns was regarded as a future main event star in WWE and a little over two years after his debut, Roman could be the right guy at the right time as, per virtue of winning the 2015 Royal Rumble Match and defeating Daniel Bryan at Fastlane to keep his opportunity, the second-generation star with the wrestling business in his blood would take his spot on “The Grandest Stage of Them All” as Roman Reigns would have to come face-to-face with a superhuman and seemingly unstoppable champion dead set on destroying anyone who tries to take his championship from him when Roman challenges “The Beast” Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship!

For fourteen years, Sting waited and watched as Triple H rose through the ranks of WWE by any means necessary, manipulating and backstabbing whoever stood in his way to become the COO of the company. Now, at the height of Triple H’s reign of terror over WWE, “The Icon” has arrived in WWE to take Triple H down and rescue WWE from the death grip of The Authority. While Sting’s motivation is to take Triple H down, Triple H’s motivation is to squash Sting’s legacy on “The Grandest Stage of Them All” and make Sting into another victim of “The Game” and, in a match that no one ever thought they would see, “The Vigilante” Sting would go one-on-one with “The King of Kings” Triple H at WrestleMania!

Since his shocking and crushing loss to Brock Lesnar at last year’s WrestleMania that ended his legendary streak, The Undertaker was seemingly no more, but a haunting new threat in WWE has demanded the resurrection of “The Deadman”. The unpredictable enigma known as Bray Wyatt has willingly went toe-to-toe with some of WWE’s biggest Superstars, but the self-proclaimed “New Face of Fear” has went to extreme lengths to get the attention of The Undertaker and, at WrestleMania, these two mysterious entities would clash as Bray Wyatt would go one-on-one with The Undertaker.

After Seth Rollins was the head of a career-threatening assault on Randy Orton by The Authority several months ago, the self-proclaimed “future of WWE” would have to pay for his deeds on “The Show of Shows” as “The Viper” Randy Orton would aim to put “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” Seth Rollins out of commission at WrestleMania.

At Fastlane, Rusev used a low blow on John Cena to gain the advantage over the veteran and ultimately leave Cena unconscious in the middle of the ring, but the proud fifteen-time former World Champion would not allow Rusev to continue to disparage the United States of America while also holding onto the United States Championship. With the weight of America on his shoulders, John Cena would march into WrestleMania with his head held high as he tries to bring the United States Title back home when he challenges Rusev for the gold.

WrestleMania has been home to some of the most memorable and awe-inspiring ladder matches of all-time and this year’s WrestleMania would be no different as with the prestigious Intercontinental Championship hanging high above the ring, Bad News Barrett would defend the title against Dean Ambrose, R-Truth, Luke Harper, Stardust, Dolph Ziggler, & Daniel Bryan in a seven-man Ladder Match where the first man to climb a ladder and successfully retrieve the Intercontinental Title belt would leave WrestleMania as the Intercontinental Champion!

After months of The Bella Twins bullying the Divas division and claiming to be the best Divas on the roster, two unlikely and volatile Divas would put their differences aside in an attempt to defeat the twins on the grand stage of WrestleMania as Paige would team with AJ Lee to face Divas Champion Nikki Bella and her sister Brie Bella.

Match Results

  • WWE Tag Team Championship: Fatal 4-Way Tag Match (Pre-Show Exclusive): Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (c) (with Natalya) def. The Usos (with Naomi), The New Day, & Los Matadores (with El Torito) to retain.
  • Second Annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal (Pre-Show Exclusive): WINNER- Big Show
  • Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Daniel Bryan def. Bad News Barrett (c), Dean Ambrose, R-Truth, Luke Harper, Stardust, & Dolph Ziggler to win the Intercontinental Title.
  • Randy Orton def. Seth Rollins (with J&J Security) by pin following the RKO.
  • Triple H (with D-Generation X) def. Sting (with the nWo) by pin following a sledgehammer shot.
  • Paige & AJ Lee def. The Bella Twins by Nikki Bella tapping out to AJ Lee’s Black Widow.
  • United States Championship: John Cena def. Rusev (c) (with Lana) by pin following the Attitude Adjustment to win the United States Title.
  • The Undertaker def. Bray Wyatt by pin following the Tombstone Piledriver.
  • WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) & Roman Reigns fight to a No Contest after Seth Rollins cashes in his Money-in-the-Bank contract.
  • WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Triple Threat Match: Seth Rollins def. Brock Lesnar (c) & Roman Reigns by pinning Roman Reigns following the Curb Stomp to win the WWE World Heavyweight Title.

See page 2 for detailed results.

Excerpt from:

WWE WrestleMania 31 Results

WrestleMania® Shatters Records

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WrestleMania® Shatters Records