Friday, October 29, 2010

A 1928 cell phone? A time traveler captured on film?

Since yesterday, this has made the rounds on the internets. It's a piece of film "discovered" by one George Clarke, an Irish filmmaker. While looking at archival footage of the opening of the film "The Circus" by Charles Chaplin, he saw something quite rare; a lady waking near Graumman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, apparently talking on a "cell phone". The premiere was on January 6, 1928!

Just watch the video and draw your own conclusions.

What do you think?

James McArthur, Actor; "Hawaii Five-O", "Hang 'Em High" and "Swiss Family Robinson". 1937-2010

James MacArthur, best known for playing Detective Dan Williams in the original Hawaii Five-O TV show, has died of natural causes at the age of 72.

The actor passed away in Florida with his family by his side, his agent Richard Lewis said.

For 11 years MacArthur appeared in Hawaii Five-O, one of the longest-running crime shows in US TV history.

Son of playwright Charles MacArthur and actress Helen Hayes, MacArthur also appeared in several films.

They include Swiss Family Robinson and the western Hang 'Em High, alongside Clint Eastwood.

MacArthur's appearance in 1958 film The Young Stranger earned him a BAFTA for most promising newcomer.

He made his Broadway debut opposite Jane Fonda in Invitation to a March, going on to win the Theatre World Award for best new actor in 1961.

Yet it is for his role in Hawaii Five-O, which the actor spent 11 years playing, that he remains best known.

Episodes often ended with detective Steve McGarrett - played by Jack Lord - saying the show's catchphrase: "Book 'em, Danno!"

MacArthur quit the role before the programme's final season, saying he had grown bored with the show.

"The stories became more bland and predictable and presented less and less challenge to me as an actor," he said.

He is survived by Helen Beth, his wife of more than 25 years.

Images Reuters

Ok...1, 2, 3...BOOK 'EM DANNO!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Paul The Octopus, predictor of World Cup matches, Hero of Spain. 2008-2010

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP)—A German news agency says the octopus that gained worldwide fame by correctly predicting World Cup results has died.

German news agency dapd says the death of Paul the Octopus was announced by the aquarium in Oberhausen.

The aquarium could not immediately be reached.

Paul correctly predicted the results of all games involving Germany at this past summer’s tournament in South Africa, and also picked Spain to win the final over the Netherlands.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Sony Walkman, entertainment gadget for the masses. 1979-2010

Another iconic technological device has been banished to the dustbin of history: Sony will no longer produce its Walkman cassette player due to dismal sales. The final batch of the portable tape players was shipped from Japan in April, according to PC Magazine.

A Chinese company will continue to produce a few models for the Walkman faithful, according to the New York Post. Sony has sold about 220 million Walkman devices since the gadget's explosive 1979 debut, but the portable cassette player has steadily yielded market share to portable CD players and then eventually MP3 players, symbolized by Apple's no-less-iconic iPod. (Sony will continue to make portable CD players.)

Apple founder Steve Jobs, who helped introduce the iPod, was evidently very impressed with the Walkman when he first saw one 25 years ago.

"I remember Akio Morita gave Steve and me each one of the first Sony Walkmans," former Apple CEO John Sculley told Businessweek. "None of us had ever seen anything like that before because there had never been a product like that. This is 25 years ago and Steve was fascinated by it. The first thing he did with his was take it apart and he looked at every single part. How the fit and finish was done, how it was built."

The iPod has already outsold the Walkman since its debut in 2001, according to the International Business Times.

Sony uses the Walkman name for its new MP3 players. Meanwhile, in another blow to connoisseurs of outmoded technologies, the company also announced in April that it would no longer make floppy disks.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

And the box office champion this week is...

LOS ANGELES – Fear has taken hold at the box office with a $41.5 million debut for scary movie "Paranormal Activity 2," according to studio estimates Sunday.

Paramount Pictures' follow-up to last year's micro-budgeted hit "Paranormal Activity" got a jump on Halloween as fans packed theaters for another documentary-style thriller about a household plagued by a menacing spirit.

"Paranormal Activity 2" did nearly half its business on Friday, following the pattern of many fright-flick franchises, which often draw big crowds on opening day then drop off sharply. The movie took in $20.1 million Friday, with receipts falling to $13 million Saturday and $8.4 million Sunday.

The first "Paranormal Activity" rolled out gradually from city to city in a stealth-marketing campaign that built the buzz for the independently produced thriller that was shot for less than $15,000.

By the time the movie went into nationwide release, it had turned into a horror sensation that went on to become a $100 million hit.

The first movie came out of nowhere, and follow-up films to similar surprise smashes sometimes fall flat, such as "The Blair Witch Project" sequel. In its publicity campaign, Paramount tried to maintain an air of mystery around "Paranormal Activity 2."

"The challenge was to not make the mistake of some other movies of the past, and to treat it as its own very special entity. Even though we went wide with it, we tried to treat it a lot like the first one was treated from a publicity and marketing standpoint," said Don Harris, the studio's executive vice president for distribution.

Paramount also had the No. 2 movie with the stunt comedy "Jackass 3D," which opened in first place the previous weekend. "Jackass 3D" pulled in $21.6 million, down sharply from its $50 million opening.

But the movie raised its 10-day total to $87.1 million, more than either of the earlier two "Jackass" movies took in during their entire runs.

Summit Entertainment's action comedy "Red" held up well from its No. 2 debut a weekend earlier, slipping to third with $15 million and lifting its 10-day total to $43.5 million.

After opening Clint Eastwood and Matt Damon's "Hereafter" in limited release a week earlier, Warner Bros. expanded the supernatural drama nationwide, and the film came in at No. 4 with $12 million.

That slightly exceeded the studio's expectations, yet like most Eastwood dramas, it was a modest start. His films play to older adults who do not rush out on opening weekend in the same numbers as young crowds.

"Clint's movies these days are more of a marathon than they are a sprint, so we'll see how it plays out," said Dan Fellman, head of distribution at Warner. "I always tell Clint, `Let's not talk about the first weekend. Let's talk about the third.'"

"Hereafter" played well in bigger cities but delivered softer business in some parts of the South and Midwest. That could be a sign that Bible Belt areas were not as interested in "Hereafter," which deals with the afterlife in secular fashion without bringing God or religion into the picture.

The big opening for "Paranormal Activity 2" sets up a rematch of last Halloween season, when the first "Paranormal Activity" dismembered an established horror franchise and "Saw VI" debuted weakly with the worst opening weekend in the series' history.

Lionsgate went back to the drawing board for the seventh "Saw" movie, opening this Friday. "Saw 3D" brings back Cary Elwes from the franchise's first movie and mixes other cast members from throughout the series, while trying to capitalize on fan appetite for flicks shot in 3-D.

"This is a bigger, more powerful `Saw,' so to speak," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for "It kind of primes up audiences for a major Halloween smackdown battle of the horror films, but I think `Saw 3D' is going to be a much more formidable opponent."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "Paranormal Activity 2," $41.5 million.

2. "Jackass 3D," $21.6 million.

3. "Red," $15 million.

4. "Hereafter," $12 million.

5. "The Social Network," $7.3 million.

6. "Secretariat," $6.9 million.

7. "Life as We Know It," $6.2 million.

8. "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole," $3.2 million.

9. "The Town," $2.7 million.

10. "Easy A," $1.8 million.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tom Bosley, dad on "Happy Days". 1928-2010

LOS ANGELES – Tom Bosley, whose long acting career was highlighted by his hugely popular role as the understanding father on television's nostalgic, top-rated 1970s comedy series "Happy Days," died Tuesday. He was 83.

Bosley died of heart failure at a hospital near his Palm Springs home. Bosley's agent, Sheryl Abrams, said he was also battling lung cancer.

TV Guide ranked Bosley's "Happy Days" character, Howard Cunningham, at No. 9 on its list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" in 2004. The show debuted in 1974 and ran for 11 seasons.

"Tom's insight, talent, strength of character and comic timing made him a vital central figure in the 'Happy Days' experience. A great father and husband, and a wonderful artist, Tom led by example, and made us all laugh while he was doing it," said a statement from Ron Howard, who played Bosley's son, Richie Cunningham.

"My last conversations with Tom reflected the love of life and peace of mind that he always maintained throughout his full and rewarding life. I miss him already," Howard said.

"He was my husband for ll years and the father of the company in many ways," said Marion Ross, who played Marion Cunningham on the show. "He was so smart he could fix the end of a joke or a scene on the spot. We made a perfect couple. I played picolo to his tuba."

After "Happy Days" ended, Bosley went on to a recurring role in "Murder, She Wrote" as Sheriff Amos Tupper. He also was the crime-solving priest in television's "The Father Dowling Mysteries," which ran from 1989 to 1991.

When he was first offered the costarring role in "Happy Days," a series about teenage life in the 1950s, he turned it down.

"After rereading the pilot script," he recalled in a 1986 interview, "I changed my mind because of a scene between Howard Cunningham and Richie. The father/son situation was written so movingly, I fell in love with the project."

Propelled by the nation's nostalgia for the simple pleasures of the 1950s, "Happy Days," which debuted in 1974, slowly built to hit status, becoming television's top-rated series by its third season.

It made a star of Henry Winkler, who played hip-talking, motorcycle-riding hoodlum Arthur "Fonzi" Fonzarelli, helped launch the career of Howard and led to other television spinoffs.

Although "Happy Days" brought him his widest fame, Bosley had made his mark on Broadway 15 years before when he turned in a Tony Award-winning performance in the title role in "Fiorello!"

His Broadway triumph depicted the life of New York's colorful reformist mayor of the 1930s and '40s, Fiorello La Guardia. For two years, Bosley stopped the show every night when he sang in several languages, depicting La Guardia during the years the future mayor worked at New York's Ellis Island, aiding arriving immigrants.

The play won a Pulitzer Prize and Bosley received the Tony for best actor in a musical.

After failing to duplicate his success in "Fiorello!," Bosley moved to Hollywood in 1968. He would not return to Broadway until 1994 when he originated the role of Belle's father in Disney's production of "Beauty and the Beast."

In Hollywood, the rotund character actor found steady work appearing in the occasional movie and as a regular on weekly TV shows starring Debbie Reynolds, Dean Martin, Sandy Duncan and others.

During the 1990s, Bosley toured in "Beauty and the Beast" and "Show Boat," playing Captain Andy in the latter.

Bosley made only a handful of theatrical movies. Among them: "Love With the Proper Stranger," "Divorce American Style," "The Secret War of Henry Frigg," "Yours, Mine and Ours."

Bosley capitalized on his fame from "Happy Days" to serve as a pitchman for GLAD trash bags along with other products.

Born in Chicago in 1927, Bosley served in the Navy before returning to his hometown to study at DePaul University. Intrigued with acting, he enrolled at the Radio Institute of Chicago and began appearing in radio dramas.

Bosley married dancer Jean Eliot in 1962 and the couple had one child, Amy. Two years after his wife's death in 1978, Bosley married actress-producer Patricia Carr, who had three daughters from a previous marriage.

And the Box Office champion this week is...

As a studio exec joked to me Friday, "The Oscar race has been turned on its head". That's because Paramount's Jackass 3D aimed at the youth market not only earned twice the gross of Sony's Academy Awards-touted Facebook origins film starting its 3rd week Friday, but knocked it out of #1. Producers Johnny Knoxville's and Spike Jonze's stupid stunt pic directed by Jeff Tremaine earned a "B+" CinemaScore. Still the headline is that, despite the restriction of an "R" rating, it opened to a whopping Friday for the biggest single day ever in October because of the higher 3D ticket prices. That included $2.5M from midnight shows, also the most ever for October. Plus a healthy Saturday after the "first to see" subsided. Its $50M weekend take was the record for the biggest opening in the month of October (besting Scary Movie 3 which did $48.1M in October 2003 but was only 2D). Guess this shows Hollywood that movies don't need a script and a plot, right? With a budget of only $20M, the studio would have been more than happy with the $30M weekend it expected from the higher ticket prices from the 2,452 3D-equipped locations. (The first 2D Jackass opened with a $22.8M weekend and the 2D sequel to $29M.) Believe it or not, I'm told the filmmakers debated whether or not shooting a film in 3D would mess up their comedic timing.

1. Jackass 3D (Paramount) NEW [3,081 Theaters]
Friday $21.8M, Saturday $17M, Weekend $50M

2. Red (Summit) NEW [3,255 Theaters]
Friday $7.3M, Saturday $9.2M, Weekend $22.5M

3. The Social Network (Sony) Week 3 [2,868 Theaters]
Friday $3.3M, Saturday $4.6M, Weekend $11M, Cume $63.1M

4. Secretariat (Disney) Week 2 [3,072 Theaters]
Friday $2.8M, Saturday $4.1M, Weekend $9.5M (-25%), Cume $27.7M

5. Life As We Know It (Warner Bros) Week 2 [3,150 Theaters]
Friday $3.1M, Saturday $3.8M, Weekend $9.2M (-37%), Cume $29.1M

6. The Town (Warner Bros) Week 5 [2,368 Theaters]
Friday $1.2M, Saturday $1.8M, Weekend $4M, Cume $80.6M

7. Legend Of The Guardians (Warner Bros) Week 4 [2,502 Theaters]
Friday $1M, Saturday $1.9M, Weekend $4.2M, Cume $45.7M

8. My Soul To Take (Rogue/Universal) Week 2 [2,529 Theaters]
Friday $1M (-62%), Saturday $1.4M, Weekend $3.1M (-54%), Cume $12M

9. Easy A (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 5 [2,314 Theaters]
Friday $855K, Saturday $1.2M, Weekend $2.6M, Cume $52.3M

10. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Fox) Week 4 [2,405 Theaters]
Friday $715K, Saturday $1M, Weekend $2.2M, Cume $47.9M

Friday, October 15, 2010

Spike TV recreates the "Back To The Future" trailer for the Scream Awards.

Spike TV's Scream awards will be broadcast this Tuesday, Oct. 19, and to celebrate this occasion, they will reunite the cast of the movie "Back To The Future" on account of their 25th anniversary of the release of the movie. for this, Spike decided to recreate the original teaser trailer. Here's the original teaser trailer and the version whipped up by Spike. Enjoy!

Original Trailer, Back to the Future-1985

Spike TV Scream Awards - 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Simpsons opening gag by Banksy. One of the best ever!

British street artist and provocateur Banksy is a guy that don't skirt from controversy. His "documentary" "Exit Thru The Gift Shop" is a testament to that. So Matt Groening did the next best thing. He tapped him to make the opening for "The Simpsons". He outdid himself! Take a look!

Even in their 22nd Season, "The Simpsons" can still make news!

Monday, October 11, 2010

And the Box Office champion this week is...

LOS ANGELES – Movie fans have bookmarked the Facebook drama "The Social Network" as their weekend favorite.

David Fincher's saga about personality clashes and legal feuds among the website's founders took in $15.5 million to remain the No. 1 film for a second straight weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. Released by Sony, "The Social Network" raised its 10-day total to $46.1 million.

Debuting a close second with a so-so $14.6 million weekend was the Warner Bros. romance "Life as We Know It," starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel as sparring guardians to an orphaned girl.

Disney's horse-racing drama "Secretariat," starring Diane Lane, also had a so-so debut, coming in at No. 3 with $12.6 million.

Opening a weak No. 5 with $7 million was Wes Craven's serial killer thriller "My Soul to Take," released by Rogue Pictures.

In narrower release, the Focus Features tale "It's Kind of a Funny Story" opened at No. 12 with a slim $2 million. The movie stars Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts and Zach Galifianakis in the story of a teen who checks himself into a psychiatric ward.

With great reviews, audience word-of-mouth and Academy Awards buzz, "The Social Network" saw its business hold up well, dropping a scant 31 percent from opening weekend.

"It's the type of picture that people can't take their eyes off of," said Rory Bruer, head of distribution at Sony. "Just about everyone has said to me that it's a movie they want to see again, as well. This picture is going to be around for a long time."

"The Social Network" dominated a field of newcomers and holdovers fighting largely for fans 25 and older, a segment of the audience less likely to jam into theaters than those in their teens and early 20s.

"There's probably a bit of an overabundance," said Chuck Viane, head of distribution at Disney.

Like other distributors, though, Disney was counting on positive reactions from older fans to keep "Secretariat" on track in subsequent weeks. Along with Sony's "The Social Network," Warner Bros. has maintained strong business for Ben Affleck's heist thriller "The Town," which took in $6.4 million this weekend and raised its total to $73.8 million after four weeks.

"Typically, this should be a horse race, but if what's happening this fall continues, this is probably going to play out more like a marathon for all of us," Viane said.

Female crowds made up just over two-thirds of the audience for "Life as We Know It," according to Warner Bros. That segment of the audience often holds up well in the weeks following a movie's debut.

"Yes, there is a whole bunch of stuff for adults this year," said Jeff Goldstein, Warner general sales manager. "But the female audience goes for a certain level, and for us, I think we kind of hit that. I think we'll hang around a while."

While studio executives are talking optimistically, overall business is lagging, with revenues down most weekends since early September.

Total receipts came in at about $93 million, down 15 percent from the same weekend last year, when "Couples Retreat" led the market with a $34.3 million debut, according to box-office tracker

"It's a great time for the adult drama genre," said analyst Paul Dergarabedian. "But if you're just tapping into the over-30 crowd, you're going to be fine, but you're not going to see the sort of business you'd get with a big, populist movie like `Couples Retreat' a year ago. That appealed to everybody, the date crowd and all that."

Paramount has a potential hit for younger fans this coming weekend with "Jackass 3D," the latest installment of crazy stunts and pranks from Johnny Knoxville and company.

Several films opened well in limited release. Sony Pictures Classics' documentary "Inside Job," which examines the 2008 economic crisis, took in $42,017 in two theaters, averaging a strong $21,009 a cinema. That compared to an average of $4,646 in 3,150 theaters for "Life as We Know It" and $4,102 in 3,072 locations for "Secretariat."

The Weinstein Co. drama "Nowhere Boy," the story of John Lennon's teen years, opened with $56,065 in four theaters for a $14,016 average.

Overture Films' prison parole tale "Stone," starring Robert De Niro and Edward Norton, premiered with $73,000 in six theaters for a $12,167 average.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "The Social Network," $15.5 million.

2. "Life as We Know It," $14.6 million.

3. "Secretariat," $12.6 million.

4. "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole," $7 million.

5. "My Soul to Take," $6.9 million.

6. "The Town," $6.4 million.

7. "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," $4.6 million.

8. "Easy A," $4.2 million.

9. "Case 39," $2.6 million.

10. "You Again," $2.5 million.



Friday, October 8, 2010

A great father and son activity; send a camera to space and get it back.

I'm mad about science and space exploration. I was around when Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. So when I saw this story about a father teaching his son about space by building and sending a high definition camera with a weather balloon to the outer atmosphere, I knew it was cool story to blog. Here's the gist of the story.

Like many youngsters, and those young at heart, seven-year-old Max Geissbuhler and his dad dreamed of visiting space -- and armed with just a weather balloon, a video camera, and an iPhone, in a way they did just that.

The father-and-son team from Brooklyn managed to send their homemade spacecraft up nearly 19 miles, high into the stratosphere, bringing back perhaps the most impressive amateur space footage ever.

The duo housed the video camera, iPhone, and GPS equipment in a specially designed insulated casing, along with some hand-warmers and a note from Max requesting its safe return from whomever may find it after making it back to solid ground. All told, father and son spent eight months preparing for their homemade journey into space, in hopes of filming "the blackness beyond our earth."

Then, one day in August, Max and his father headed out to a nearby park to see their dreams realized. After attaching their equipment to a 19-inch weather balloon and switching on the camera, they watched as their simple craft disappeared high into the sky.

After a little over an hour, the craft reached the stratosphere, 100 thousand feet overhead, and captured some incredible footage of space before the balloon popped and fell back towards earth. They found their spacecraft 25 miles away from where they had let it go -- stuck up in a tree.

Although the camera's battery died some minutes before touching down, the footage the camera returned is impressive. And despite the fact that the craft didn't technically reach the boundaries of space, Max and his father are undoubtedly proud of their accomplishment.

Here's their extraordinary video.

Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Zack Snyder signs to direct the new reboot of "Superman"

This must be a dream come true for Zack. Despite including some truly inspired choices like Darren Aronofsky, Matt Reeves and Duncan Jones, Deadline and Heat Vision are now reporting that Zack Snyder (of Dawn of the Dead, 300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch) has been officially chosen to direct The Man of Steel, with final negotiations currently taking place this week with Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros.

Not many details are known about the project besides the fact that they need to get it going by 2012 before they lose the rights and that it will have some sort of connection to the Richard Donner Superman series of the past. Heat Vision, interestingly, also hints that the villain might be none other than General Zod. Zack won the gig by meeting with studio execs and producers Chris Nolan and Emma Thomas, almost all of whom are familiar with him considering his last few movies have all been made at Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. He also just opened the animated adventure Legend of the Guardians at WB back in late September.

Is Zack Snyder the perfect choice for Superman? That's going to be the question on everyone's mind the rest of this year (and probably next). I'm one of the few who defends Watchmen, especially Zack's Director's Cut, because it is a great adaptation stylized in a perfect Snyder way but with the same, fantastic story from the graphic novel. David S. Goyer is currently working on the screenplay for The Man of Steel from his own idea, and I'm sure Zack will tweak the script once he gets his hands on it. I'm kind of excited to see what he'll do with this superhero. Let's just hope Superman isn't his downfall like it was for Bryan Singer.

And the box office champion this week is...

LOS ANGELES – "The Social Network," David Fincher's drama chronicling the contentious origins of Facebook, won the most friends at the weekend box office with a $22.4 million debut.

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by are:

1. "The Social Network," Sony, $22,445,653, 2,771 locations, $8,100 average, $22,445,653, one week.

2. "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole," Warner Bros., $10,887,429, 3,575 locations, $3,045 average, $30,079,298, two weeks.

3. "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," Fox, $10,002,578, 3,597 locations, $2,781 average, $35,778,429, two weeks.

4. "The Town," Warner Bros., $9,749,332, 2,935 locations, $3,322 average, $64,056,752, three weeks.

5. "Easy A," Sony Screen Gems, $6,748,777, 2,974 locations, $2,269 average, $42,176,967, three weeks.

6. "You Again," Disney, $5,722,566, 2,548 locations, $2,246 average, $16,607,633, two weeks.

7. "Case 39," Paramount, $5,350,570, 2,211 locations, $2,420 average, $5,350,570, one week.

8. "Let Me In," Overture, $5,147,479, 2,021 locations, $2,547 average, $5,147,479, one week.

9. "Devil," Universal, $3,564,055, 2,392 locations, $1,490 average, $27,291,460, three weeks.

10. "Alpha and Omega," Lionsgate, $2,924,868, 2,303 locations, $1,270 average, $18,949,437, three weeks.