So this week sees the release of Your Highness, the new comedy starring Danny McBride (Eastbound & Down), James Franco (a crazy dude) and... Natalie Portman? Yep, the Oscar-winner for Black Swan is the following that flick up with a 100% improvised stoner fantasy movie that has been absolutely savaged by critics. So what makes actors take roles like this after winning the biggest prize the industry has to offer? Let's take a look at some other post-Oscar choices that boggle the mind.

Jamie Foxx shocked the world when he took home the Best Actor award for Ray - who would have thought that the former stand-up and sitcom star could show dramatic range? - but he quickly eradicated any measure of goodwill Hollywood had for him with the release of next year's Stealth. The flick, also starring Jessica Biel and Josh Lucas, was one of the biggest money-losers in film history, costing $138 million to make and taking in barely half of that worldwide.
Long-time character actor Philip Seymour Hoffman won dozens of awards for his portrayal of the titular writer in Capote, but it's obvious that arthouse movies about fey wordsmiths don't pay the bills, because he was next seen mugging it up as black market arms dealer Owen Davian in Mission: Impossible III. Hitting theaters right after Cruise's insane antics on Oprah didn't help matters much.

Helen Mirren took home an Oscar in 2007 for The Queen, but the next time she was seen on the big screen was in Nicolas Cage sequel National Treasure: Book Of Secrets. This seems like a horrendous step down until you realize that the flick she was in before The Queen was Shadowboxer. Haven't seen it? It was directed by the guy who made Precious and it features lots of banging between Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jr. If she can win an Oscar after that, anything is possible.
The youngest dude to ever win a Best Actor Oscar, Adrien Brody dazzled the world in 2002's The Pianist. Unfortunately, his next leading role was anything but dazzling. The Village was the point where the world began to turn on director M. Night Shyalaman, as his hackneyed arsenal of twist endings began to get a little threadbare.
Italian actor Roberto Begnini's acceptance speech for Life Is Beautiful is one of the most awkward moments in Oscar history, with the star clambering over seats to reach the stage and take the statue for both Best Actor and Best Director. That didn't help him a few years later, when his atrocious Pinnochio hit screens. Miramax released the flick with no press screenings on Christmas day, a vote of no confidence if we've ever heard one, and the movie was savaged by critics and audiences alike.

Posted by imran Wednesday, July 27, 2011 0 comments

MIFF closer 'Another Earth' reflects on the human condition

""Another Earth," the fourteenth annual Maine International Film Festival's closing movie, is out of this world."

Mike Cahill's 90-minute flick, which earned the 2011 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, shows at the 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Colby College's 325-seat Given Auditorium.

The Sloan award is presented to a feature film with a science or technology theme. At its core, "Another Earth" is about the discovery of a duplicate Earth with inhabitants who are duplicates of us.

Amid the scientific questions raised by considering a duplicate, parallel Earth with mirror images of ourselves, the film exudes raw emotions of joy, rage, sorrow, regret and love.

What is it that makes us human?

What if we had made different choices here and there?

Rhoda Williams, played by screenplay co-writer Brit Marling, is a smart young woman growing up in Connecticut who has been accepted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's astrophysics program.

But she doesn't make it there.

The night the duplicate Earth is discovered, Williams makes what she calls her "unforgivable mistake" -- she drives drunk, collides with another vehicle and kills a pregnant woman and a young child.

The pregnant woman's husband, John Burroughs, is a talented music composer and college professor.

He survives the crash, but spirals downward into an alcohol- and pill-induced haze.

When Williams is released from prison four years later, she goes to Burroughs' home to apologize, but she loses her nerve and pretends she's there to clean his house as a trial offer for a cleaning company.

Williams keeps returning to put the shattered widower's house in order and nurse him, as well as herself, back to health.

She does not reveal her true identity and each week the two become closer and eventually fall in love.

It's then that Williams is notified she has won a contest to travel to the duplicate Earth.

Williams and people around the world had already watched and listened as a scientist established communication with her duplicate, also a scientist, on Earth II.

In her contest essay, Williams had reflected on the very first explorers, who were sometimes criminals and others seeking a new beginning.

"As a felon, I'm an unlikely candidate for most things ... (but for this) ... perhaps I'm the most likely," she wrote.

When Williams excitedly tells Burroughs that she is going to Earth II, he pleads with her to stay.

"We're so close to something here," he says.

It's then Williams tells Burroughs that she needs to share a story with him and, after hearing it, if he wants her to stay with him, she will.

Williams reveals that she was the drunk driver who killed his family and tells him that she kept cleaning for him because "in the smallest ways" she thought it made his life a little bit better.

The final scenes of "Another Earth" provide more questions that answers, including, "What would we like to see if we could stand outside ourselves and look at ourselves?"

Posted by imran Saturday, July 23, 2011 0 comments

The Murdoch empire scandal spread to new papers

The scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch's media empire exploded in the several directions Monday, with fresh reports of phone hacking attacks against some of the nation's most powerful figures, including royals and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Adding to the intrigue, Scotland Yard released an unusual statement accusing unidentified individuals of trying to sabotage its sprawling investigation. The police — themselves accused of accepting bribes from Murdoch's journalists — said somebody was deliberately planting distracting information in the press.

No one, it seems, had been safe from the prying eyes of corrupt journalists.

Police officers betrayed members of the royal family to News of The World, according to several reports. British media were reporting that Brown was one of thousands whose personal details — including his bank account and his son's medical records — were targeted by people working for News International titles including The Sun and the Sunday Times. None of the media cited sources.

A spokeswoman for Brown said he was shocked by the alleged "criminality and the unethical means by which personal details have been obtained" about his family.

His wife, Sarah, tweeted that the information was very personal and it was "really hurtful if all true."

News International spokeswoman Daisy Dunlop said the company acknowledged the allegations and that in order to the investigate further the company asks "that all information concerning these allegations is provided to us."

The charges added to a sense of disbelief that has spread across Britain.

"The events of last week shocked the nation," Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt told lawmakers Monday. He said Britain's proud press tradition had been "shaken by the revelation of what we now know to have happened at the News of The World."

The British press has been furiously reporting allegations that journalists at the News of the World tabloid may have hacked into phones of young murder victims, families of dead servicemen and terrorism victims. The widening scandal has prompted Murdoch's News Corp. to close the tabloid and withdraw its promise to spin off Sky News — a move that forced Hunt to refer its bid for British Sky Broadcasting to competition authorities.

The decision will delay the bid, although it was not immediately clear whether Murdoch hoped to buy time with the ploy in the hope the scandal would die down, or whether it was an implicit acknowledgement that the bid was dead.

A failure to clinch the $19 billion takeover would represent a huge setback for Murdoch, but even as the mogul was in London to try to contain the damage, as allegations against his empire rushed in.

British media said that Brown was one of thousands targeted by News International, saying that his personal details — including his bank account and his son's medical records — had been targeted by people working for titles including the Sun and the Sunday Times. None of the media cited sources.

On Monday afternoon, London's Evening Standard newspaper and others claimed that bosses at News Corp., News International's parent company, had discovered a series of e-mails indicating that employees had been making payments to members of Scotland Yard's royal and diplomatic protection squad in return for personal details about the monarch and her entourage.

The Evening Standard cited "sources" without saying who the sources were or how they would be in a position to know.

Buckingham Palace has also declined to be drawn on any of the reports.

Scotland Yard has declined to specifically address the claims, but in a statement directly referencing the Standard's story they said that they were "extremely concerned and disappointed that the continuous release of selected information — that is only known by a small number of people — could have a significant impact on the corruption investigation."

So who does Scotland Yard accuse of trying to derail its inquiry? Police have refused to say — although they named News International and its legal representatives as other parties to its information.

What is clear is that fallout in the scandal may just be beginning.

Legal experts said Monday it is possible Murdoch's U.S. companies even may face legal actions because of the shady practices at the News of the World, his now defunct British tabloid.

They said Murdoch's News Corp. might be liable to criminal prosecution under the 1977 Corrupt Foreign Practices Act, a broad act designed to prosecute executives who bribe foreign officials in the exchange for large contracts.

Prime Minister David Cameron also appears under pressure because of his close ties to key figures in the scandal.

The former editor of the paper, Andy Coulson, later worked for the Conservative leader as his communications director. Cameron is also reportedly close to Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of the tabloid's publisher, News International.

Posted by imran Wednesday, July 20, 2011 0 comments

Jimmer trailing Barkley at Lake Tahoe golf tournament

Glens Falls’ Jimmer Fredette trails NBA legend Charles Barkley after 2 rounds of American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in the Lake Tahoe.

The two entered the second round tied for second to last.

Barkley, who finished last in the event for years, is 6 points better than Fredette based on the Modified Stableford scoring system, which awards 10 points for double eagles, 6 points for eagles, three points for birdies, one point for pars, zero points for bogeys and minus 2 points for double bogeys.

Fredette shot a 104 and finished with a -28 for the day and a -58 for the tournament. Barkley is at -52.

The 2 worst golfers were paired together on Saturday and got some help from golf instructor Hank Haney.

"It’s a dream come true to play with Charles," said Fredette in an American Century Championship press release. "I loved watching him play. He played so hard and had such determination."

Sunday’s final round is scheduled to be aired from 3 to 6 p.m. on NBC.

Posted by imran Sunday, July 17, 2011 0 comments

The Zappos Goes Nude and Adds QR Codes to its Fall Ad Campaign

Would you like a little nudity with your shoes? In an interesting turn of the events, Zappos has decided to get saucy with its latest ad campaign. The New York Times has reported that the new Zappos Fall ad campaign will feature athletic activities while in the buff.  I guess they couldn’t make their models go through airport security like BlueFly had done in the past.

“Zappos has a quirky culture … Doing something typical is not really them.” Tim Vaccarino, group creative director at Mullen, Zappos’ ad agency, told the NY Times.

Zappos is known for cultivating a work environment, as well as business model that other companies look up to, so this provocative advertising campaign will certainly keep them ahead of the curve or illicit snickers from their competitors.

The new ads were primarily shot in Manhattan in outdoor locations like Park Avenue, as well as the West Village. The models had sensor bars put in strategically placed areas while riding Vespas’s and other assorted activities.

Along with the tastefully done nudity in its ads, Zappos is hopeful consumers will also pay attention to the QR codes, that when scanned with their smartphone will send you to a mobile site featuring videos of the naked women in the ads. You can select clothing for the models to wear and then enter the Zappos mobile site to buy them for yourself.

Ladies have no fear. Woman are not the only ones being exploited for this campaign. By the end of July we will get to ‘dress’ a scantily clad gent on his way to the Zappos online store.
I think by the end of this campaign Zappos will certainly drive home that they don’t just sell shoes. The funny thing is, this isn’t the first time Zappos attempted a nude campaign, check out the commercial below that was shot two years ago.

Posted by imran Monday, July 11, 2011 0 comments

South Sudan becomes the world's newest nation

South Sudan had reached a comprehensive peace agreement with the North Sudan in 2005, brokered by US Secretary of State Colin Powell under former President George W Bush, that stopped the bloody civil war and paved the way for the January referendum. Some 99 per cent of southern Sudanese had voted for independence from the north of Sudan in the referendum. But, major elements of the 2005 peace agreement are still unresolved like which side will control the oil-rich region of Abyei, where fighting has also broken out raising concerns that conflict may flare up again; citizenship protection for minorities; where final borders will be set; and how oil earnings will be shared -- the south has 70 per cent of the reserves.
"This is a fragile and fraught moment as well. It cannot and must not be taken for granted," US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, who is leading a bipartisan American delegation to the independence celebration in Juba, said on Thursday. She asked the northern and southern governments to resolve issues related to the resource-rich area of Abyei and other border regions. The US and its partners have offered to convene a global conference in September for South Sudan, which will allow the new country''s leaders to present their plans for encouraging the much-needed private investment.

Posted by imran Friday, July 8, 2011 0 comments

Pigeons recognise friendly feeders - birds remember hostile people

The fluttering pigeons outside Gateway of India are as much a part of the tourists’ must-do lists as the coin throw at Rome’s Trevi Fountain.

But behind the light-hearted amusement of feeding pigeons may lie deep biological underpinnings that explain why the practice, as symbolised by Indian kabutarkhanas, has flourished down the centuries.

Pigeons can discriminate between friendly and hostile humans, an evolutionary advantage that may be one of the factors helping their populations thrive across urban centres at a time sparrows are in decline, scientists say.

Ornithologists have long observed what they believe is a rise in pigeon numbers in urban areas, a trend easy to sense in Indian cities with their traditional kabutarkhanas — public zones where pigeons congregrate to eat grain or other tidbits offered by humans. “Human benevolence is clearly among factors pushing pigeon populations upward,” said Mohammed Dilawar, an ornithologist tracking house sparrows for the Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai.

“Pigeons also find it easier to bring up their little ones,” he said.

While newborn sparrows require an exclusive diet of insects, Dilawar said, young pigeons can survive on a liquid called “vegetable milk”, regurgitated by adult pigeons that feed on grain or other food that are always abundant from human feeders.

Now scientists in France have identified another facet of pigeon biology that probably help these birds in their search for friendly humans: pigeons appear to recognise individual people despite changes in clothing. In their experiments, Dalila Bovet and her colleagues at University of Paris asked two sets of people wearing different-coloured coats to feed pigeons in a Paris city centre park.

One set ignored the pigeons and allowed them to feed while other group chased the birds away preventing them from feeding. The pigeons appeared to recognise who was friendly and who was hostile, and were able to remember that information later.

The pigeons could recognise the hostile people even when they swapped their coloured coats with the friendly people. Even when hostile people changed stance and became friendly to pigeons, the birds continued to avoid them. “What is important — and surprising — is that the pigeons spontaneously used relevant characteristics of individuals instead of the most salient feature, which was the coloured coats,” said Bovet, associate professor at the laboratory for comparative ethology and cognition at the University of Paris.

“They seem to know that clothes are not a good way to tell humans apart,” Bovet told The Telegraph.

These findings, published earlier this year in the journal Animal Cognition, will be presented at a meeting of the Society for Experimental Biology in Glasgow on Sunday.

The scientists say the ability to discriminate between friendly and hostile humans is ecologically relevant because it could help the birds recognise a safe human feeder faster and save energy and time in gaining food. Overall, it is a combination of an abundance of food and nesting places as well as a decline in the population of natural predator birds that is contributing to rising pigeon populations, said Asad Rahmani, director of the Bombay Natural History Society.

Pigeons are what ornithologists call platform-nesters — birds that can build nests along ledges and corners of buildings.

“The population of predators such as peregrine falcons is low, and that is also helping pigeons,” Rahmani said.

“But any human-driven or unnatural rise in a species population can mean an ecological imbalance,” said Dilawar. “Pigeons are friendly birds, but they may also carry the risk of exacerbating respiratory infections.”

Posted by imran Monday, July 4, 2011 0 comments

Age Calculator

Date  Month  Year

You have been living for:
In months:
In days:
In hours:
In minutes:
Your next birthday will be in:

Subscribe here