Saturday, July 24, 2010


The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America's corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
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The 22 statistics detailed here prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the middle class is being systematically wiped out of existence in America.

The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer at a staggering rate. Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now that is changing at a blinding pace.

61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck,
which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007
83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people
66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans
36 percent of Americans say that they don't contribute anything to retirement savings
A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement
24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cinema profits at record high

Stats show that comedy accounted for 24% of releases and 20% of box office, while drama was 21% of releases but just 7% of box office. Avatar made science fiction the box office king.

SHOOT: And as reality becomes harder to bear, cinema ought to become part of the staple for people seeking to esape it.
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One was the year of A Clockwork Orange and decimalisation. The other was that of Avatar and the shattered economy. But while 1971 and 2009 were wildly different in terms of the technological limits of the films on offer, new figures published today show that they shared similarly buoyant levels of cinema-going.

In terms of box office, it was a record year with takings topping £944m. Cinema admissions also shot up from last year's healthy 164 million to 174 million, not quite beating 2002 (176 million), but still up 6% and the second highest number since 1971.

Much of the problem stems from the global economic downturn and also the failure so far of the movie industry to work out how best to make money from the internet.

"The evidence is that the transition into the digital world is going to be quite bumpy," said Woodward.

The big inward investment movies – or Hollywood funded – of 2010 include the final Harry Potter, John Carter of Mars and the next Pirates of the Caribbean.

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Inception Ranked as 3rd Best Film of all Time on IMDb

SHOOT: Nolan rocks!

It's been a good week for Christopher Nolan's inception after it shot onto screens with glowing reviews and huge box office takings. And it's about to get better with news that film website IMDb (the internet movie database for those not in the know) has it at number three in its top 250 films of all time list. Not bad for a film that's a week old.

The list is calculated based on user's votes giving a 1–10 star rating. And although Inception has fewer votes than most films on the list due to its relative infancy, the ranking is decided by averaging the votes for any one film meaning that the sheer level of early goodwill towards the flick has rocketed it up the list. It sits just behind first place film The Shawshank Redemption (16 years old and with over 500,700 votes) and The Godfather Part One (38 years old, over 398,000 votes). Fellow newbie Toy Story 3 is at number 8.
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Film Review - Predators

“Predators” is a wildly entertaining picture that bends the franchise back to more captivating quandaries, erasing much of the bad taste left behind by previous installments. It took a few too many years to reach this point, but thanks to Robert Rodriguez, the Predators have finally been restored to their original tribal roar.

SHOOT: Can't wait to watch this.

Enter Robert Rodriguez, who assumes a shepherding role for “Predators,” questing to get beastly matters back on track, working from a script that understands the need for graphic violence, salty language, and burly men brandishing city block-sized guns. “Predators” returns the franchise to the basics, once again observing an anxious group in a jungle setting, slowly coming to grips with the monster hunters stalking the area.


Cleverly, Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal (“Vacancy,” “Armored”) rework the premise to shake Earth out of the equation, moving the action to a neutral planet the Predators use as a testing ground, sending packs of three at a time to hunt and kill whatever they’ve decided to parachute in. Outside of the fact that the new environment provides exotic, gorgeous locations (a mix of Hawaii and Texas) to survey, the fresh surroundings provide diverse elements of menace, as it’s not only Predators after the team, but the flora and fauna as well.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Toy Story 3 (3D) - reviewed by a 10 year-old

SHOOT: I'll be verifying the accuracy of this review momentarily.
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Toy Story 3
Back to the delightful world of Woody, Buzz and our favorite gang of toy characters!
Woody and Buzz had accepted that their owner, Andy, would grow up someday, but what happens when that day arrives? In this third installment, Andy is preparing to depart for college, leaving his loyal toys troubled about their uncertain future.
What 10-year-old Joey thought:
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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Filming of the Harry Potter Series Ends Today

SHOOT: Can't wait to see it...
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

According to the Twitter account of Warwick Davis (who played both Flitwick in Griphook), the final day of principle photography for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows takes place today - Saturday, June 12th, 2010. Davis tweeted the following:

The end of an Era - today is officially the last day of principal photography on ‘Harry Potter’ - ever. I feel honoured to be here as the director shouts cut for the very last time. Farewell Harry & Hogwarts, it’s been magic! …and goodbye Griphook!

So there you have it — filming is now complete! The first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will hit theaters on November 19th 2010, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 will be released on July 15th, 2011.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Toy Story 3 comes together in one brilliant, trilogy-capping masterpiece that will leave a lump in your throat and a smile on your face

What's amazing is that "Toy Story 3" doesn't just match its brilliant predecessor in terms of depth, excitement and humor; it exceeds it in just about every way. The eleven-year gap between installments works in the film's favor, since that passage of time provides the strong emotional undercurrent that drives the story.

SHOOT: Can't wait.
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Now comes their 11th animated feature, "Toy Story 3," which is not only the best "Toy Story" of them all (and that's saying a lot), but it also continues Pixar's extraordinary capacity for telling strong, clever and exciting stories that are filled with humor, heart and, most of all, imagination. To that extent, it's safe to say that on a scale of one to ten, "Toy Story 3" goes to infinity -- and beyond.

Then again, the fact that it succeeds as well as it does is a miracle in itself, since trilogies have an unfortunate tendency to go out with more of a whimper than a bang. Witness superior sequels like "The Godfather Part II," "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Spider-Man 2," which were followed by inferior threequels like "The Godfather Part III," "Return of the Jedi" and "Spider-Man 3."

Up to this point, the exception to the rule was the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, but now, thankfully, you can add "Toy Story" to the list.
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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Empty heads are very fond of long titles

SHOOT: How do you have your book or movie stand out from the crowd? Simple, if the competition is using long titles, you use short ones, and vice versa.
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Coming in the next few months are “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore,” and “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.” Art houses will receive the comedy “Happy Thank You More Please.” The colon-crazy executives over at Warner Brothers have a movie coming out based on the book “Guardians of Ga’Hoole.” But some recent title surgery has made it “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.”

It’s enough to make “Nanny McPhee Returns,” a sequel coming in August from Universal Pictures, seem downright spare.

Title elongation has been building for years. “Star Wars” is now “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope.” The summer of 2003 brought “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde” and “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.” Last year there was “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”

“Inception,” the latest from the director Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight”), will stick out like a sore thumb on July 16
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gareth Cliff: Julius Malema is the Sarah Palin of the Black African youth

Lately he displayed the most incredibly insensitive behaviour by visiting the reprehensible Jub Jub in jail and taking him a helping of Nando's. Can anyone think of something more offensive for the victim's families?

SHOOT: So why don't the leaders of the ANC reign him in? For the same reason Mugabe isn't reigned in. If you spoil the party for Mugabe, he'll spoil it for you. In exchange for keeping his secrets, he'll keep yours - that's how corruption sustains itself. It is juxtaposed opposite the interests of the electorate, so there is no question where their interests lie.
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Julius Malema has alienated me this week. I never found him particularly offensive or annoying before. I sought to understand him. I had met a few times and thought that perhaps I needed to make an effort to find what it was about him that made him so interesting to the rest of the country. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and tried to remain open-minded to his point of view. I would defend him to friends of mine who said he was just an uneducated moron. Julius and I got on quite well - I was even about to join forces with the Youth League for a multi-racial, inclusive and meaningful Youth Day celebration on June 16th. I was very optimistic - and I was wrong.

This man is brimming with an indefatigable and dangerous bravado. He is of the opinion that he owes nobody an explanation for anything. His defence is always that his accuser is racist, since he defines himself almost completely as black (and nothing else).
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Friday, March 12, 2010

SHUTTER ISLAND: Scorsese has created a superior psychological thriller

The supporting cast is uniformly excellent, especially Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach in The Watchmen) as a disturbed fellow patient and Max Von Sydow as a sinister psychiatrist. Ben Kingsley does especially well as an ambiguous character, the apparently well-meaning head of the mental institution.

SHOOT: You had me at 'Scorcese' and again at 'Leonardo diCaprio'. Looking forward to seeing this.
Shutter Island - 1

Shutter Island demands that you concentrate. Though some reviewers found the film a hard slog, I found it engrossing every step of the way. Its major virtues lie in excellent performances from every member of the cast, a script that bristles with tension, and of course, Scorsese’s skilful direction.

Scorsese was never as over-indebted to Hitchcock as his contemporary, Brian de Palma, but in Shutter Island he makes Hitchcock’s language his own. Many shots in the film directly reference Hitchcock in ways that lesser directors simply wouldn’t get away with.

Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio dig deep into Shutter Island's secrets
Scorsese occasionally lays the ominous music on a little too thickly. The island and its Ashecliff Hospital for the criminally insane take a starring role in the film. The hurricane-lashed, mist-shrouded Shutter Island, the dimly lit interiors of Ashecliffe, and the dramatic cliffs of the island are all conjured up with evocative cinematography.
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James Cameron's AVATAR = Disney's POCAHONTAS

SHOOT: Intwisting...
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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Peter Traver reviews - The Hurt Locker

SHOOT: We're soon to find out whether the Academy consider this [or AVATAR] to be the best movie of 2009. I haven't seen The Hurt Locker, but I hope AVATAR wins for the sentiments it espouses, primary 'caring and being connected to the environment'.
'The Hurt Locker' Photo

Here's the Iraq War movie for those who don't like Iraq War movies. The Hurt Locker doesn't preach. Director Kathryn Bigelow, working from a strong script by embedded journalist Mark Boal, gets right down to business (watch Peter Travers' video review of The Hurt Locker). She takes us deep into an elite U.S. bomb-disposal squad in Baghdad. The dazzling virtuosity of her ticking-bomb thriller includes staying alert to what's ticking inside the men. At the start, soldiers J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) watch in horror as their sarge (Guy Pearce) suits up to defuse a bomb that goes off in his face. Enter Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner) as the new head of the unit. Sanborn thinks James is all kinds of reckless, and Renner and Mackie are outstanding at detailing the conflict. Bigelow builds a combustible drama that shakes you in ways you don't see coming.

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Burton sees ‘Alice’ through dreary looking glass

Though Burton's film boasts some excellent performances, as the caterpillar says to our heroine, it's merely "almost Alice."

SHOOT: Peter Jackson should have made this...or Sam Raimi.
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IMAGE: Alice in Wonderland

In Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," Alice has grown — not by "drink me" potion or "eat me" cake — into a 19-year-old girl.

Working from Linda Woolverton's very Hollywood screenplay adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic tale, Burton shifts the story from a child Alice to a near-adult Alice, viewing her journey through a drearier, more dangerous looking-glass.

We glimpse the prim, Victorian child of Carroll's tale in the film's opening as she awakens from what sounds like her trip to Wonderland. Her father tells her that her deranged dreams do indeed mean she's bonkers, but he assures, "All the best people are."

Alice doesn't remember her last trip to Wonderland. This time, the plot is similar, but slightly different. It's Underland, not Wonderland. The tea party is more faded and ramshackle. Alice is beset by questions that she's "the wrong Alice."

"This is my dream. I make the path," she says.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Seven films on Oscar’s visual effects shortlist

SHOOT: But the Oscar must go to AVATAR.
The race for the visual effects Oscar just got a little tighter.
The Academy’s visual effects branch announced on Wednesday that the shortlist of 15 movies, released in mid-December, has been whittled down to seven films.
"Avatar" heads the alphabetic list, followed by "District 9," "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," "Star Trek," "Terminator Salvation," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "2012."
The branch’s members will further narrow the list to three films, which will be announced along with all the other Oscar nominees on February 2. The awards ceremony will be held March 7.
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

AVATAR has made $1 billion

SHOOT: Cameron is the only filmmaker to have made two movies earning more than $1 billion.

"Here's what's happening: I think everybody has to see `Avatar' once. Even people who don't normally go to the movies, they've heard about it and are saying, `I have to see it.' Then there's those people seeing it multiple times."
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FILE - This undated file photo released by 20th Century Fox, the character Neytiri, voiced by Zoe Saldana, is shown in a scene from 'Avatar.'  James Cameron's science-fiction epic took in $68.3 million domestically to remain the No. 1 movie for the third-straight weekend, raising its domestic total to $352.1 million in just 17 days. With $670 million more overseas, 'Avatar' climbed to a worldwide total of $1.02 billion. (AP Photo/20th Century Fox, File)

LOS ANGELES - James Cameron's science-fiction epic "Avatar" had another stellar weekend with $68.3 million domestically, shooting past $1 billion worldwide, only the fifth movie ever to hit that mark.

No. 1 for the third-straight weekend, 20th Century Fox's "Avatar" raised its domestic total to $352.1 million after just 17 days. The film added $133 million overseas to lift its international haul to $670 million, for a worldwide gross of $1.02 billion.

"Avatar" opened two weekends earlier with $77 million, a strong start but far below dozens of other blockbusters that debuted as high as $158 million. But business for other blockbusters usually tumbles in following weekends, while "Avatar" revenues barely dropped over the busy Christmas and New Year's weekends.

"It's like a runaway freight train. It just keeps doing business," said Fox distribution executive Bert Livingston.
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