Category Archives: News

Disney plans to release one Star Wars film a year starting in 2015

So everybody figured that Disney wouldn’t only make Star Wars VII. I mean the amount they paid for the franchise is absurd and they are definitely planning on getting their moneys worth. They just announced that every summer starting in 2015, a new Star Wars will be released. If you weren’t sure that Disney was going to ruin the franchise, you probably should be now. How much is too much? We’ll see.

These annual releases will include the other two movies in the new trilogy and several standalone films, which will focus on specific characters from the Star Wars franchise.

The main episodes — VIII and IX — will be released every other summer and a standalone movie will be released during the off years, film sites reported when the news broke during a CinemaCon session in Las Vegas. CinemaCon brings together movie theater owners.

J.J. Abrams, director of the latest Star Trek movies, will direct Star Wars: Episode VII, Disney and Lucasfilm announced on StarWars.com in January. Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed the standalone films in February, adding that “They are not part of the overall saga.”

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Netflix sets May 26th premiere date for new episodes of Arrested Development

Arrested Development has a new home on Netflix and brand new Netflix-produced episodes will start on May 26.

For the first time in their histories, Twentieth Century Fox Television and Imagine Television will produce original first-run entertainment content for the world’s leading internet subscription service, bringing back the acclaimed series to production on all new episodes five years after its cancellation.

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Facebook hires a Pixar Illustrator to re-imagine the emoticon

 

Emoticons have been around ever since the world wide web became fairly prominent in our daily lives. There are thousands of different variations, designs, animals, really any type you can imagine. Facebook, however, thinks that they can do better. They recently hired famed Pixar illustrator Matt Jones to re-invent the emoticon all together.

“Facebook was canny enough to realize that traditional emoticons are quite bland,” says Jones. “At Pixar we consider emotional states every day with every drawing we make. Our work is informed by the years of study we do, constantly studying people’s gestures and expressions in real life.” (To be clear, it isn’t an official collaboration between Pixar and Facebook. Jones is working independently.)

Jones was studying facial expressions for his work on a new film by Pete Docter (director of Up and Monsters, Inc.), which takes place in the mind of a young girl coming of age. The film, referred to as The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind, is set for release in June 2015. Pixar is famous for bringing to life inanimate, and even mundane, objects: lamps, cars, a hockey puck. This film required an extra level of emotional detail. A young girl’s mental state is a complicated thing.

Docter brought in psychologist Paul Ekman, a pioneer in the research of facial expressions, as a consultant on micro-emotions, the small mini expressions that happen between more major ones. (You may have heard of Ekman as John Cleese’s collaborator on the BBC series, The Human Face.) At the same time, Ekman’s protégé, Dacher Keltner, codirector of University of California-Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Program, was starting work with Facebook to improve their emoticons. When Keltner heard about the project at Pixar, he approached the company. That’s how he found Jones.

Keltner started off by giving Jones some of the classic universal emotions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise) to translate into emoticon-style drawings. He loved what he saw — and decided to up the ante. He handed over Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, which Darwin published 13 years after On the Origin of Species. The book explores similarities between human and animal facial movements, in support of Darwin’s theory that humans and animals have a common ancestor. It became one of the seminal works on the facial emotive expressions.

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Real life 23-year-old game of “tag” to be turned into a motion picture

For 23 years, a group of friends from Washington state have been playing a game of tag. It started in high school, and went through college. Rules eventually developed that turned it into a no-holds-barred, nationwide game that goes on every year throughout the month of February. Who ever is “it” will travel all over the country to tag one of their competitors, sometimes creating elaborate schemes to do so. Whoever is “it” at the end of the month is “it” for the whole year.

In January, the novel idea caught the interest of a Wall Street Journal reporter who turned it into a human interest story. Since then, the Tag Brothers, as they’ve been coined, have been fielding pitches from Hollywood producers who want to turn their real life game into a movie.

Wednesday, the Tag Brothers sold the rights to their story to Broken Road producer Todd Garner. He’ll create a pitch and take it to Hollywood studios.

Deadline broke the news of the deal, which apparently was a fairly hot property among Hollywood producers.

This story screams “high-concept comedy” with an all-star cast and it makes perfect sense that producers took notice. You can read the full Wall Street Journal article at this link, but the gist is as follows. Ten friends attending high school at Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, Washington began playing tag and never stopped. The game continued to grow and grow and has gotten to the point where now, 23 years later, it can get expensive and elaborate.

Everything is normal all year until February. At that point, the men have been known to travel, set up pranks, hire people to play roles and more just to be able to tag one of the other competitors and make him “it.”

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Brazilian Bikini waxes are eradicating pubic lice

As I’m sure nobody wants that guy up there crawling around in their pants, recent studies have shown that not only does shaving/waxing your “downtown city center” prevent the little bastards from sticking with you, but because the trend of removing the carpet and “sticking with hardwood floors downstairs” is becoming more and more common, pubic lice are well on their way to becoming an endangered species. So there you go people, do it for science, and for everybody who is going to be visiting you down there as well.

Waning infestations of the bloodsuckers have been linked by doctors to pubic depilation, especially a technique popularized in the 1990s by a Manhattan salon run by seven Brazilian sisters. More than 80 percent of college students in the U.S. remove all or some of their pubic hair — part of a trend that’s increasing in western countries. In Australia, Sydney’s main sexual health clinic hasn’t seen a woman with pubic lice since 2008 and male cases have fallen 80 percent from about 100 a decade ago.

“It used to be extremely common; it’s now rarely seen,” said Basil Donovan, head of sexual health at the University of New South Wales’s Kirby Institute and a physician at the Sydney Sexual Health Centre. “Without doubt, it’s better grooming.”

The trend suggests an alternative way of stemming one of the globe’s most contagious sexually transmitted infections. Pubic lice are usually treated with topical insecticides, which once included toxic ones developed before and during World War 2. While they aren’t known to spread disease, itchy skin reactions and subsequent infections make pubic lice a hazardous pest.

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ALGEBRAIC! Netflix to stream Cartoon Network and Adult Swim programs

Netflix scored another big streaming deal recently, bringing in a bunch of seasons of a bunch of shows from Cartoon Network and CN’s Adult Swim block. This includes all seasons of Adventure Time, Johnny Bravo, Ben 10 and Regular Show as well as Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Robot Chicken. Netflix also scored streaming rights for The Boondocks and Children’s Hospital. Guess I’ll wait a little longer to get cable again.

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South Park creators to open their own movie studio

Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the geniuses behind “South Park” and the incredibly successful Broadway play “The Book of Mormon” have finally decided to branch out and open their very own movie studio. It will be called Important Studios and their first project will likely be a big screen adaptation of “The Book of Mormon.”

The new company is to be called Important Studios and hopes to be just that. With an estimated value of $300 million built on revenue from “South Park,” now in its 16th season on Comedy Central, and the Broadway megahit “The Book of Mormon,” the studio will have the power and money to approve television, movie and theater projects, including a big-screen version of “The Book of Mormon.”

On Friday, Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone were putting together the final news release to announce their studio. They settled on this quip: “Having worked with several different studios over the years, we came to realize that our favorite people in the world are ourselves.”

The pair will join a short line of Hollywood players who have formed their own studios as a way to gain control over the creative, production and distribution process.

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Target announces that they’ll price match Amazon year-round

Amazon has been a huge thorn in the side of most brick and mortar retail stores by way of cheaper prices, quick shipping, and a wider variety than any physical store could ever hope to carry. Now a lot of stores have given up competing with the online giant but not Target. Target had the balls to announce they would match Amazon prices for the entire year, as well as most of their other competitors.

The extended policy will also apply to competitors other than the internet retailer, of course, but Amazon has become the main threat when it comes to “showrooming,” a process where consumers visit physical stores to get a quick peek at products before ultimately placing an order online. Target also plans to match rates from Walmart, Best Buy, and Toys R Us if customers should find the same item priced lower there. You might expect that attempting to keep parity with Amazon’s basement pricing would wreak havoc on Target’s financials, but the company says that relatively few customers take advantage of the policy to begin with. Rather, it’s a move intended to bolster the company’s sagging retail performance.

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