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Hollywood balks at big-budget movies as DVDs drop – Yahoo! News

September 18, 2011 Leave a comment
Cover of "The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower,...

Cover of The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower, Book 7)

LOS ANGELES APHollywood — long considered the land of excess — is becoming more cost-conscious, as movie executives rethink what they’re willing to pay to make a blockbuster.

After years of beefing up budgets to meet audience expectations, movie studios are cutting back and canceling projects that are too costly. Half-baked, expensive movie ideas that would have received approval a few years ago are now under scrutiny. For movies that are made, producers have to settle for toned-down special effects, cheaper actors and fewer locations for shoots.

In the past five years, major studios have trimmed the annual number of films they release by nearly a third to cut costs and avoid having big movies compete head-to-head on opening weekends.

In July, two major projects were stopped mid-stream because of budget pressures. The Walt Disney Co. halted “The Lone Ranger,” starring Johnny Depp, even though sets were already half-built in New Mexico. Universal pulled out of “The Dark Tower,” a three-movie, two-TV-series colossus based on books by Stephen King.

via Hollywood balks at big-budget movies as DVDs drop – Yahoo! News.

Strange Random Budget Quote:

“Some couples go over their budgets very carefully every month. Others just go over them.” – Katherine Mansfield (New Zealand Writer, 1888-1923)

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Vince Cable To Unveil Copyright Reforms

The iPod family with, from the left to the rig...

Image via Wikipedia

PRESS ASSOCIATION — Changes to copyright law to be unveiled later this week are expected to open the door to new services for film and music fans. Unlike most countries, Britain’s current intellectual property regime makes it technically illegal to transfer content from CDs or DVDs on to a different format, such as an MP3 file on a computer. Business Secretary Vince Cable is expected to say on Wednesday that he will legislate to sweep away these restrictions, according to a copy of his announcement seen by Channel 4 News. The move would make it legal for consumers to build up personal libraries of music, videos and films on their home computers and transfer them on to devices such as iPods – as millions already do without being aware that they are technically breaking the law.

via Vince Cable To Unveil Copyright Reforms.

Strange Random Copyright Quote:

The idea of copyright did not exist in ancient times, when authors frequently copied other authors at length in works of non-fiction. This practice was useful, and is the only way many authors’ works have survived even in part. – Richard Stallman

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Legend Of The Golden Egg Warrior – video

If you’re looking for a laugh before crawling back to work tomorrow, look no further than this short Easter- themed animation!

Strange Random Easter Quote:

I think of the garden after the rain;

And hope to my heart comes singing,

At morn the cherry-blooms will be white,

And the Easter bells be ringing! – Edna Dean Proctor, “Easter Bells”



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Ted Talks – the surprising spread of “Idol TV”

Ideas Worth Spreading

Image by Rico-san via Flickr

Cynthia Schneider studies culture and politics — watching how novels, TV shows and cultural engagement around the globe (and especially within the Muslim world) might lead to political change. She was the US ambassador to the Netherlands from 1998 to 2001.

In another of the excellent TED Talks series, Cynthia Schneider looks at two versions of “Talent” or “Idol” shows, one in the United Arab Emirates and the other in Afghanistan. Don’t forget that you can choose subtitles in several languages from the player menu.

Strange Random Talent Quote:

“Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.”

H. Jackson Brown, Jr. (American best selling writer, author of Life’s Little Instruction Book)

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Twin Peaks 20th Anniversary!

March 27, 2010 2 comments
Twin Peaks

Welcome to Twin Peaks

Next month marks the 20th anniversary of the start of Twin Peaks, David Lynch‘s  absorbing, frustrating and frequently surreal TV series about the murder of one Laura Palmer in the quiet town of Twin Peaks. Here are a few suggestions for those of you who want to celebrate or just find out what you missed.

To start with, here’s the title sequence with the classic music by Angelo Badalamenti:

Lynchnet is a fan site (not an official TP site) where you can find a wealth of information about the series, including an episode guide, the original press kit, photos, interviews and more.

Greetings from Twin Peaks is the official site for the DVD reissue of the series. Worth the visit just for the surreal atmosphere, it also has a lot of  extras and free downloads.

Finally, a tribute to Agent Dale Cooper, played by Kyle MacLachlan, whose passion for great coffee (as well as cherry pie and doughnuts) became one of the hallmarks of Twin Peaks.

Strange Random Twin Peaks Quote:

Twin Peaks is well known for its array of quir...

Dale Cooper

Harry, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it. Don’t wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee -Kyle MacLachlan as Special Agent Dale Cooper

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Road Trip across the USA with Wilson & Ditch

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Wilson & Ditch  – Digging America is a programme on the American PBS network, made by the Jim Henson Company. It features gopher brothers driving across America in an an ecological van, learning about the history and culture of the places they visit. The novelty is that the TV episodes have been made with a new digital technology that allows the people behind the scenes to animate and speak in real time. The show also has extra material, such as additional episodes, podcasts, downloads and so on at a special website here.

The first stop on their road trip was Philadelphia (left) and next up is Nashville. If you’re interested in the more technical details of the show, you can find out more information at the Henson Company Digital Studio Wiki.

Meanwhile, here’s the theme tune:

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Strange Random Jim Henson Quote:

The most sophisticated people I know – inside they are all children.

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Judging a book by the back cover

November 29, 2009 Leave a comment
w:World's Biggest Bookstore

A blurb is a short summary or some words of praise accompanying a creative work, usually referring to the words on the back of the book but also commonly seen on DVD and video cases, web portals and news websites. (from Wikipedia)

If you’re thinking of buying someone a book for Christmas (or even perhaps as an early St. Jordi present) and are not sure what they want, you’ll probably end up reading the blurb on the back cover. To start your training, here are synopses and comments on two popular novels, taken from the UK online bookstore Waterstones. We’ve highlighted the most important words and structures in bold :-)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Image via Wikipedia

1 – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Synopsis

Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder – and that the killer is a member of his own tightly-knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves. A violent and bloody thriller; a sinister family saga; a mystery of massive financial fraud; an ambiguous and haunting love story – this is a genuinely complex and unique contribution to crime fiction.

Quotes

What a cracking novel! I haven’t read such a stunning thriller debut for years. Brilliantly written and totally grippingMinette Walters.
I doubt you will read a better book this year – Val McDermid.

Brilliantly written – the characters are superbly drawn and the story grips from first to last – Mail On Sunday.

Cover of

Cover of The Lost Symbol

2 – The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Synopsis

WHAT WAS LOST WILL BE FOUNDWashington DC: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned at the last minute to deliver an evening lecture in the Capitol Building. Within moments of his arrival, however, a disturbing object – gruesomely encoded with five symbols – is discovered at the epicentre of the Rotunda. It is, he recognises, an ancient invitation, meant to beckon its recipient towards a long-lost world of hidden esoteric wisdom. When Langdon’s revered mentor, Peter Solomon – philanthropist and prominent mason – is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes that his only hope of saving his friend’s life is to accept this mysterious summons and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon finds himself quickly swept behind the facade of America’s most historic city into the unseen chambers, temples and tunnels which exist there. All that was familiar is transformed into a shadowy, clandestine world of an artfully-concealed past in which Masonic secrets and never-before-seen revelations seem to be leading him to a single impossible and inconceivable truth. A brilliantly composed tapestry of veiled histories, arcane icons and enigmatic codes, The Lost Symbol is an intelligent, lightning-paced thriller that offers surprises at every turn. For, as Robert Langdon will discover, there is nothing more extraordinary or shocking than the secret which hides in plain sight

Quotes

The wait is over. The Lost Symbol is here–and you don’t have to be a Freemason to enjoy it…THRILLING AND ENTERTAINING, LIKE THE EXPERIENCE ON A ROLLER COASTER‘ – Los Angeles Times

‘Dan Brown brings sexy back to a genre that had been left for dead…His code and clue-filled book is dense with exotica…amazing imagery…and the nonstop momentum that makes The Lost Symbol impossible to put down. SPLENDID…ANOTHER MIND-BLOWING ROBERT LANGDON STORY’ – Janet Maslin, New York Times

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Strange Random Language Fact:
The word “Checkmate” in chess comes from the Persian phrase “Shah Mat,” which means, “the King is Dead”

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