'Star Wars: Episode VII' cast announced

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From the official Star Wars website today, a long-awaited announcement: the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII.

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Game Of Thrones: “Oathkeeper” [TV Recap: season 4, episode 4]

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Kevin McFarland offers a spoiler-filled review of the latest episode of Game of Thrones, where violence against women and the oppressed--and its consequences--lurk in the background of every power play.

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On Silicon Valley, Erlich proves he’s more than just hideous facial hair [Season 1, episode 4 Recap]

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Silicon Valley indicts the region for its over-reliance on dubious ventures to manufacture a grand façade of happiness, satisfaction, and wealth. Take Peter Gregory’s toga party, the fourth annual “Orgy Of Giving,” a scene of false Roman bacchanalia. Just a few weeks ago, in the pilot episode, Gregory was giving a TED talk in front of a large crowd and projecting the standard image of the tech billionaire, albeit with some left-field views on entirely eschewing higher education in favor of immediately hitting the tech workforce. Now, in a social setting instead of a business one, he’s uncomfortable and curt while thanking rapper Flo Rida as “Florida” (as more people should, since it’s a ridiculous name) for his introduction. Just like the Kid Rock-headlined party that opened the series, this is Silicon Valley pretending to be something it’s not— because the area wants to be as exciting as Hollywood.

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Ulterior motives lurk in Orphan Black (Season 2, Episode 2 Recap)

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Nothing is what it seems to be in the world of Orphan Black. Public and private goals are seldom the same, and behind every welcoming smile lurks an ulterior motive. The clones spent the first season learning that the hard way—especially with the reveal of their monitors—and yet in a world filled with so much danger, it’s natural to yearn for safety. After going through hell wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to trust? Several times tonight our heroes find a sanctuary, only to have the rug pulled out from under them once more. “Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion” peels away at various pristine exteriors to expose what’s lurking underneath. And what’s there ain’t too pretty.

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A notable 'couch gag' on The Simpsons, in which we travel inside Homer's brain

Here's a clip from a forthcoming episode of The Simpsons, "What To Expect When Bart's Expecting." The couch gag is directed by Michal Socha, and is inspired by "Chick," a short film by Socha which you can view here (or below), and purchase on DVD here. Did you know The Simpsons is the longest-running scripted show in television history? Yep.

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The Silence of the Lambs, behind-the-scenes

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Behind-the-scenes photos from Jonathan Demme's "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991). Several others below and still more over at Dangerous Minds.

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The Muppet Show: The Bug Band play The Beatles

The Bug Band performs "She Loves You" on The Muppet Show in 1979. According to the Muppet Wiki, they were a nameless group until Kermit told them they needed a moniker. They suggested "The Grateful Dead" and "The Who." (via Experimental Music on Children's TV)

Forrest Gump directed by Wes Anderson

Here are the opening credits to Forrest Gump, directed by Wes Anderson. (video by Louis Paquet)

HBO reruns to be offered through Amazon Prime Instant Video


HBO will sell reruns of hit shows like "The Sopranos" to Amazon Prime. (HBO)

HBO and Amazon have announced a deal through which the cable TV network will offer reruns of many hit shows on Amazon's Prime Instant Video platform. The shows to be sold include "The Sopranos," "Six Feet Under," "The Wire," "Girls" and "Veep," as well as HBO miniseries like "Band of Brothers" and original features such as "Game Change."

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Silicon Valley: “What’s in a [company] name?" [TV recap, episode 3]

 

“Articles Of Incorporation” is the first episode of Silicon Valley that really gets room to breathe, allowing the characters space away from the crunch time of the story to bring Pied Piper to fruition.

This is a show with an eight-episode first season, so there isn’t a ton of time to waste on the plot front—so long as this season builds to Pied Piper hitting the market in some kind of nascent form. But this kind of episode is a test of what kinds of story Silicon Valley can tell when it gets away from the Hooli/Peter Gregory competitive binary and just focuses on some kooky developers chipping away at making a startup into a formidable company that puts out a viable product.

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Game of Thrones recap: 'Breaker Of Chains' explores the many feuds of House Lannister [season 4, episode 3]

The episode picks up just before the end of what fans of the series have dubbed the Purple Wedding, as Cersei screams at the top of her lungs for Tyrion to be arrested for Joffrey’s murder, and frantically demands Sansa be taken into custody as well. But let’s skip ahead to those two incredible scenes in the Great Sept of Baelor, both of which take place with Joffrey’s cold, lifeless body lying in the center of the room, ever-present in nearly all shots in this location.

Tywin Lannister, as played excellently by Charles Dance, is one of the most fascinating characters in the giant patchwork of Westeros. He’s the only character I care about enough to have watch one of those extensive YouTube supercuts stringing together all of his scenes in one video. (It’s a marvel how memorable he is with only around 85 minutes of screen time. What a supercut like that reveals is how maniacally obsessed Tywin is with preserving the permanent honor and prominence of House Lannister. In a previous season he made passing mention to his father, who nearly let the house fall into some ruin. As such, he’s made it his life’s mission to further the reputation of House Lannister at the cost of any happiness for his children, who he commands to do their duty to the family at all costs.

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Could the Game of Thrones poisoning happen in real life?

Cyanide, deadly nightshade and pesticides have disturbingly similar symptoms to the toxin that took a powerful character’s life, writes Rachel Nuwer. Warning: this post is laced with potent spoilers.

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Technophobia goes off the Depp end in Transcendence [Movie Review]

In the official poster, a sinister AI remnant of genius Dr. Will Caster evinces inhuman mastery of Filter > Pixelate > Mosaic

In the near future posited by the film Transcendence, which opens today, residents of Berkeley, California are living in a kind of police state. The power grid is down. No computers, no Internet. Which means no Facebook, either (thank God). A shopkeeper uses a beat-up laptop as a doorstop. We know the end days are especially dire because a dirt-caked, cracked cell phone lies lifelessly on the sidewalk. Its technological purpose has been reduced to mere object. A potential tool for an enterprising human. Recall the opening scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey: Instead of apes smashing skulls with bones, the aftermath survivors of Transcendence may as well be wielding their iPhones as weapons.

“They say there’s power in Boston, some phone service in Denver,” intones a melancholic Paul Bettany, playing a neurobiologist named Dr. Max Waters. We quickly discover Max had a hand in creating all this mess. After what he calls an “inevitable collision” between humankind and technology, “things are far from what they were." Existence itself, he says, “feels smaller” without the Internet.

That’s all, folks. Welcome to the not-so-brave world of the new Johnny Depp anti-technology thriller Transcendence.

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‘X-Men’ director Bryan Singer accused of raping teen boy in 1999; case mentions sex offender Marc Collins-Rector of DEN


'X-Men' director Bryan Singer. Photo: Reuters


A 2007 mugshot of sex offender Marc Collins-Rector, former chairman of DEN. He is mentioned in the 2014 lawsuit against Singer.

Bryan Singer, the director of the forthcoming film “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is accused in a lawsuit filed today in Hawaii federal court of drugging and raping a teenage boy in 1999. The case is a civil case, not a criminal case, and Singer's attorney says the charges are "without merit." AP reports that the lawsuit was filed in Hawaii "because of a state law that temporarily suspends the statute of limitations in sex abuse cases."

Also mentioned in the lawsuit is Marc Collins-Rector, a sexual predator and founder and chairman of Digital Entertainment Network (aka DEN or <EN), an early internet video startup that made headlines for high capitalization and sex parties involving founders and teen boys. Collins-Rector is a registered sex offender who fled to Spain, and was arrested there in 2002. In 2004, Collins-Rector pled guilty to charges he lured minors across state lines for sexual acts. The allegations of sexual abuse involving Collins-Rector and other DEN executives shocked the web startup world in 1999, and led to the collapse of DEN's IPO.

Variety reports on the charges against Brian Singer filed today:

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Silicon Valley teaches Richard how to fire a friend [TV Recap: season 1, episode 2]

Silicon Valley’s pilot offered the allure of the billion-dollar tech startup, giving Richard Hendrix the opportunity of a lifetime thanks to his potentially game-changing algorithm. But “The Cap Table” is when reality sets it, tough choices need to be made, and the limitations of all involved come screeching into focus. Having decided to take Peter Gregory’s offer to start small, Richard Hendrix now has to figure out how to build the foundation of a company where before he just had something a lot of other people were telling him had a gargantuan valuation. It’s such a good idea that Jared Dunn (Zach Woods, Gabe from The Office) wants to leave Hooli in order to join up. But Erlich feels threatened by anyone intruding, and threatens the poor guy with the ghostly features on the eve of Pie Piper’s first appointment with Gregory.

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