Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood’
Even though the movie industry has been challenged by DVD’s, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Cable TV, and a whole lot of other consumer electronic devices, people are still going to the movies and of course buy their generous share of sodas and pop corn.
In Panama, even though many movie theaters have closed their doors and call it quits, others have adventured and opened up state-of-the-art movie venues; specially inside gigantic malls. “If you build it, they will come.” So far the strategy is working and you can see lines of customers waiting to buy their tickets. I’m not allured by the traditional movies theaters anymore. Instead, I watch my favorite movies through my computer using Netflix services. They might not be the latest releases of Tinseltown, but they’re okay with me and the price is right—$7.99 a month for unlimited movies.
Below is a picture of a movie ad next to a bus stop in Panama City, Panama. Here we go.
If you are from my vintage, you may recall that most men and women wore refined hats when they went out. The hat was part of the attire of every well-dressed man or woman of the thirties, forties or fifties. Men like Errol Flynn, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Humphrey Bogart all wore classy hats.
For example, the Panama hat was extremely popular. The 49ers picked up these hats in Panama, and when President Theodore Roosevelt visited the Panama Canal construction, he wore such a hat, which increased its popularity.
As time passed by, the hats were forgotten and the head is no longer fashionable. Below is a picture of a collection of old hats which reminded me of an era when hats were under the klieg lights.
One of the hottest topics on the Internet today is financial reform. Web sites like C-Span and PBS Radio are diluted with insightful information about root causes, effects and possible solutions for the financial chaos which exploded in 2008.
A guy once said “greed is good” and the phrase stayed. Nowadays it’s legal. As you look around, everyone at Wall Street seems to be drinking the same Kool Aid. There was a recent comment made by a Congress Representative that caught my attention; “If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, we would have a Merry Christmas.”
It’s so true. Nobody seems to accept the blame for what happened. All the main players of the financial fiasco agree that the economic collapse of Wall Street was a result of a combination of overwhelming underlying market forces which concurred in 2008 to create one of the worst economic disasters of modern times. This is not exactly what happened. The main problem was the cultural environment embedded in Wall Street based on the passionate love of money.
Nobody saw it coming. Everybody was caught by surprise. As of this day, not a single CEO of the largest Wall Street banks has taken full responsibility for mismanagement or fraud. Furthermore, not a single arrest, indictment or conviction has been made to senior insiders of the mayor sub-prime lenders. All was peace and love inside the walled—no pun intended—Garden of Eden, until the stuff hit the fan on Monday, September 15, 2008. On this day, the world held its breath as the arteries of the globe’s financial system froze up. Should I continue? Nah, you already know the rest of the story.
Two days ago I watched a movie—for the third time—which depicts very well the culture at Wall Street since the dawn of times. This culture is based on the arrogant love of money and sheer greed. The name of this picture is Wall Street directed by Oliver Stone in 1987. The story takes place in New York City in 1985. The similarities to the events which took place at Wall Street during September of 2008 are striking.
Below is an excerpt of a speech made by Gordon Gekko, the main character of the film brilliantly played by Michael Douglas. Other seasoned actors who also performed remarkable roles in this film were Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen and Daryl Hannah.
“America has become a second-rate power. Its trade deficit and its fiscal deficit are of nightmare proportions. Now, the days of the free market when our country was a top industrial power, there was accountability to the stockholder. The Carnegies, the Mellons, the Vanderbilts who built this great industrial empire made sure of it because it was their money at stake. Today, management has no stake in the company.
Altogether, these men sitting up here, own less than 3 percent of the company, and where does Mr. Cromwell put his million dollars to hold? Now, in Teldar stock, he owns less than one percent. You own the company. That’s right, you the stockholder. You are all being screwed over by these bureaucrats with their state lunches, with their hunting and fishing trips, their corporate jets and golden parachutes.
The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be survival of the unfittest. Well, in my book, you either do it right or you get eliminated. I’m not a destroyer of companies. I’m a liberator of them. The point is, ladies and gentlemen, is that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of evolutionary spirit. Greed in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked upwards in surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioned corporation called the USA.”
No matter what they say, the heart of the financial calamity was greed—love of money—starting from the borrower, all the way up the ladder to the CEO of the big banks. The rest is dressing on the cake. Good Day.
Note: Click above link to view the entire picture.
From 1972 to 1980 I lived in a comfortable boarding house at Calle Primera Perejil owned by Ms. Margot. Ms. Margot was originally from Colombia, but had lived in Panama for many years, so many that I thought she was a native Panamanian. I can still remember the flavor of her food in my mouth. She had the ability to cook like an angel, specially fish-related plates. Living there was like living in a high class hotel.
Another advantage of living at Margot’s Place was Teatro Lux. This cinema was only two blocks from my house. This theater was exquisitely decorated in lush red and its silver screen was huge. I’ve never seen a bigger screen ever. It covered the viewing room from wall to wall.
Teatro Lux was specially built to project movies in Cinerama which used three different projectors, each sending one third of the image to the screen.
The huge image captured by the Cinerama cameras was displayed on a curved screen with an arc of 146 degrees, almost a half circle. The result was a feeling of depth that made the viewers feel like they were inside the movie.
Not only did the Cinerama screen wrap around the audience, the sound did as well. Cinerama used five channels of sound behind the screen and two surround channels. A rear surround channel was achieved manually. Film operators had to follow a cue sheet and throw switch to play the sixth channel on both side walls and divert the seventh channel to the rear speakers. The experience of viewing a movie with Cinerama technology is beyond words—literally.
The first Cinerama movie was released in 1952. There was a total of seven films produced in the three-camera Cinerama process:
- This Is Cinerama
- Seven Wonders of the World
- Cinerama Holiday
- The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm
- Search for Paradise
- How the West Was Won
- South Seas Adventure
For those of you who were not alive during the Fifties or Sixties, let my explain that Cinerama is the trademarked name for a widescreen process which works by simultaneously projecting images from three synchronized 35 mm projectors onto a huge, deeply-curved screen, subtending 146° of arc. It is also the trademarked name for the corporation which was formed to market it.
It was the first of a number of such processes introduced during the 1950s, when the movie industry was reacting to competition from television. Cinerama was presented to the public as a theatrical event, with reserved seating and printed programs, and audience members often dressed in best attire for the evening. Cinerama was invented by Fred Waller and commercially developed by Waller and Merian C. Cooper.
Today, as the world realizes the importance of the Cinerama art form in motion picture history, serious efforts are being made to ensure that a whole new generation of movie buffs will be able to experience the magic of Cinerama. Currently, there are only two places in the world still capable of showing three-panel Cinerama films: Seattle’s Cinerama Theatre and a theatre and museum in Bradford, England. The L.A. Dome, which will also offer Cinerama screenings, is currently under renovation in Los Angeles.
The 1999 re-opening of Paul G. Allen’s restored Cinerama Theatre in Seattle brings new hope that the revolutionary art form will be preserved for generations to come. Audiences well into the 21st century—and beyond—will be able to experience the magnificence of the three-eyed and 70mm Cinerama format that captivated America 40 years ago!
I was lucky to view three movies in Cinerama (e.g., This Is Cinerama, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, and How the West Was Won. To this day, I can remember in great detail the quality of the images and the realistic sounds inside the theater.
Now Teatro Lux is no longer a place where magic can be experienced. It’s locale is currently occupied by a small money loan center (financiera) called Govimar and the Department of Passports of the Ministry of Government and Justice.
The sound of racing speed boats at the Florida Everglades still vibrate inside my head. Adios Teatro Lux and Cinerama. Good Day.
One of the finest movies made in modern times is Sophie’s Choice brilliantly performed by Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol. Everything about this picture was of the finest quality. It was Hollywood at its best.
Sophie’s Choice is a 1982 American drama romance film that tells the story of a Polish immigrant, Sophie, and her tempestuous lover who share a boarding house with a young writer in Brooklyn. The film stars Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Peter MacNicol. Alan J. Pakula directed the movie and wrote the script from a novel by William Styron, also called Sophie’s Choice.
This is widely regarded as Meryl Streep’s finest performance, and it won her the Academy Award for Best Actress. The film was nominated for Best Cinematography (Néstor Almendros), Costume Design (Albert Wolsky), Best Music (Marvin Hamlisch), and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Alan J. Pakula).
At the end of the movie, Sophie and Nathan commit suicide by taking cyanide. In the last scene, Peter MacNicol read one of Emily Dickinson’s poems while the pair reposed motionless on a bed, as if reading an eulogy. It was an emotionally-charged scene of a superb motion picture, surely to be remembered for many years to come, in the true Hollywood classic spirit.
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was an eccentric lady who wished to remain reclusive most of her life. She was reluctant to greet guests or, later in life, even leave her room. Most of her friendships were therefore carried out by correspondence. Despite unfavorable reviews and skepticism of her literary prowess during the late 19th and early 20th century, critics now consider Dickinson to be a major American poet.
This is the touching poem Peter MacNicol read as an eulogy to his departed friends.
Ample Make This Bed
by Emily Dickinson
Ample make this bed.
Make this bed with awe;
In it wait till judgment break
Excellent and fair.
Be its mattress straight,
Be its pillow round;
Let no sunrise’ yellow noise
Interrupt this ground.
The End and Good Day.
The media is abuzz over the Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars to be held on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, with actors Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin hosting the ceremony. This is the first time the Academy Awards will have dual hosts. Hollywood is searching for new ideas in an effort to bring more eyeballs to the ceremony; since its ratings have been dwindling over the years.
For example, the 80th Academy Awards telecast was watched by 31.76 million viewers on average with an 18.66 percent household rating, the lowest rated and least watched ceremony to date, in spite of celebrating 80 years of the Academy Awards.
The Oscars are presented annually by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors and writers. The formal ceremony in which the Oscars are presented, is one of the most prominent award ceremonies in the world.
Where did the name Oscar come from? I’m afraid there’s some controversy here. There are several versions of the origin of the famous name. One version is that Bette Davis named the Oscar after her first husband, band leader Harmon Oscar Nelson when she received the award in 1936.
The other version is that the Academy’s Executive Secretary, Margaret Herrick, who first saw the award in 1931 and made reference to the statuette reminding her of her “Uncle Oscar” (a nickname for her cousin Oscar Pierce). The truth of the matter is, that the statuette was officially dubbed the “Oscar” in 1939 by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
On Tuesday, February 2nd, ten motion pictures were nominated for Best Picture. Only one of the following movies will receive an Oscar during the 82nd Academy Awards, honoring the best in film for 2009. Here we go.
- The Blind Side
- District 9
- An Education
- The Hurt Lock
- Inglourious Basterds
- A Serious Man
- Up in the Air
There is a lot of hype behind Avatar and The Hurt Lock. Avatar is a dreamy space fantasy that has made more money than any movie in history. The Hurt Locker is a ground-level dose of war-on-terror reality and one of the lowest-grossing best-picture contenders ever.
With a leading nine Oscar nominations each and ex-spouses James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow as directors, the films are a study in extremes. They’re also the only two movies that really matter in the expanded race for Hollywood’s top prize March 7.
Avatar, about the human invasion of a faraway moon populated by blue-hued creatures, won best drama and director at the Golden Globes. The Hurt Locker, a disturbingly close and claustrophobic look at the strains of disabling bombs in Iraq, earned the top prizes from guilds representing directors and producers, and was chosen as the year’s best film by many key critics groups.
Diversity rules the directing category, traditionally a white men’s club. Bigelow has a good shot to become the first woman to win the directing Oscar, while Precious filmmaker Lee Daniels is only the second black director ever nominated.
Of the ten movies nominate I’ve only seen three; (e.g., The Hurt Lock, The Blind Side and Up in the Air). Sandra Bullock and George Clooney were fantastic playing the main roles. I have a gut feeling Sandra Bullock will get her first Oscar, but I’m not so sure about Clooney. Hollywood is known to vote in very strange ways.
For Best Picture I would certainly vote for The Hurt Lock. The war in Iraq has cut deep wounds in the American psyche and this movie sprayed salt all over these wounds. Maybe next year there will be a great picture on the Afghanistan War. War movies have always played a big part in Hollywood’s movie-making industry. What’s your pick? Good Day.
I remember that on the morning of July 20, 1969 it was raining. Strike that; it was pouring. It was also windy and cold. I could hardly see my father’s store located about two hundred feet away from our house.
My Dad, Mom and myself were glued to our black and white GE TV set mesmerized by the descending of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the surface of the moon. It was unbelievable. It was just like a Hollywood movie. They were the first persons to set foot on the Moon and we were watching it live.
On this historic mission, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface and spent 2½ hours exploring while Michael Collins remained in orbit in the Command Module. The name of this memorable mission was Apollo 11. As Armstrong placed his left foot on the surface at 2:56 UTC July 21, 1969 he said, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for manknd.” Finally the United States had beaten the Russian on the race to the Moon.
NASA had the intentions of making other trips to the Moon’s surface. Apollo 13 was one of those missions. It was the third manned lunar-landing mission, part of Project Apollo under NASA in the United States. The crew members were Commander James A. Lovell, Command Module pilot John L. “Jack” Swigert, and Lunar Module pilot Fred W. Haise. Apollo 13 was launched on April 11, 1970 at 13:13 CST. Do you believe in superstition?
On April 13, 1970, two days after launch, the Apollo spacecraft was disabled by an explosion, caused by a fault in an oxygen tank explosion. The explosion damaged the Service Module, resulting in a loss of oxygen and electrical power. The crew used the Lunar Module as a “lifeboat” in space. The Command Module remained fully functional on its internal batteries, but they were needed for re-entry and landing so it was shut down shortly after the accident.
Despite great hardships caused by severe constraints on power, cabin heat, and potable water, the crew successfully returned to Earth. The mission was thus called a “Successful Failure”. A radio transmission from Lovell during the mission, “Houston, we’ve had a problem” spawned the modified phrase in popular culture, “Houston, we have a problem”, often misquoted as the original wording.
The Apollo 13 mission was scheduled to explore the Fra Mauro formation, or Fra Mauro highlands, named after the 80-kilometer-diameter Fra Mauro crater, located within it. The successful flight to Fra Mauro was done on Apollo 14.
The courageous events that happened during the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission bound for the Moon were recreated in a Hollywood movie with that same name played by Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell, Kevin Bacon as Jack Swigert and Bill Paxton as Fred Haise. I totally enjoyed this movie last night. For two hours and twenty minutes I was inside that space module. The performance of all the actors that played a part in that picture was outstanding.
Everything seemed so real; the automobiles, the women’s hair styles, clothes, furniture, computers and so forth. The film is notable for its technical accuracy; principals reported that the film is reasonably faithful to the facts of the mission but adds some tension between the astronauts for dramatic effect. The dialogue between ground control and the astronauts was taken verbatim from actual transcripts and recordings.
This dramatic picture shows to what extent you can stretch the performance of human beings under situations of extreme duress and how well machines can excel in their functions. Man and machine pushed to its limits saved the lives of these three space pioneers. It was NASA’s at its best.
If you want to be transported back in time and experience the dramatic events that occurred during Apollo 13 mission, I strongly encourage you to click the link at the bottom of this entry. After you finish viewing this movie, you feel like anything is possible if there’s a will. I literally mean anything. Good Day.
Flock’s Development Team has done it again. This time they have added another innovative edition to their successful string of dedicated browser categories. The new edition is dubbed, “Gloss Edition” and covers popular Fashion, Entertainment and Lifestyle trends.
Flock’s ‘Gloss Edition’ is the world’s first fashion and entertainment browser designed to help people keep up with the latest fashion trends and celebrity lifestyle scoop also known as “gossip”.
Flock has assembled a bundle of the best sources on the Web to bring you your daily dose of fashion inspiration, celebrity dish, and trends by including over 35 leading content providers and partners, from Glam, PopSugar, InStyle, ThisNext, DesignerApparel, AllTop and others. All of this information is updated immediately as news and images are published.
Flock’s devs worked with a great panel of women to design a theme for the Gloss Edition that is pink, “soft”, fun and well suited for the fashionistas’ never-ending pursuit of stylish individuality.
If you’re passionate about keeping up with fashion, entertainment and lifestyle trends, then this baby was tailor-made for you. You can download this pink puppy by clicking here.
Other Flock’s Special Editions are:
- Flock Eco Edition
- Digg Edition
- Yahoo! Edition
- Photobucket Edition
I really don’t care about whose Britney Spears’ latest boyfriend is or if Mel Gibson was fined for DUI, but I know a lot of people who are ardent about these trivial things.
After a long and dramatic writers’ strike, last night was a red-carpet experience for the eccentric Hollywood community in search of their fifteen minutes of fame. As usual, there was lots of fingernail biting, sweat and last minutes prayers. It was the night of the golden statuette better known as The Oscar.
No beating around the bush, I’ll go directly to the point. The winners of the extravagant Hollywood Gala last night were the following:
- Best Picture: No Country for Old Men
- Achievement in Directing: Joel and Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men
- Best Original Screenplay: Juno
- Best Adapted Screenplay: No Country for Old Men
- Best Actress: Marion Cottilard for La Vie En Rose
- Achievement in Cinematography: There Will Be Blood
- Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood
- Best Film Editing: The Bourne Ultimatum
- Achievement in Sound Editing: The Bourne Ultimatum
- Best Foreign-Language Film: The Counterfeiters
- Best Original Song: Falling Slowly for Once
- Achievement in Sound Mixing: The Bourne Ultimatum
- Best Original Score: Atonement
- Best Art Direction: Sweeney Todd for The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
- Best Documentary Feature: Taxi to the Dark Side
- Best Documentary Short: Freeheld
- Best Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton for Michael Clayton
- Best Animated Picture: Ratatouille
- Achievement in Makeup: La Via En Rose
- Achievement in Costume Design: Elizabeth: The Golden Age
- Best Animated Short Film: Peter & The Wolf
- Best Live-Action Short Film: Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)
- Best Visual Effects: The Golden Compass
- Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men
- Hollywood’s biggest stars took a backseat at the Oscars as four Europeans and the maverick Coen brothers grabbed the top honors with films that won critical acclaim but only modest box-office success.
- The violent drama “No Country for Old Men” won four academy awards, more than any other film including, including best movie, director, supporting actor and adapted screenplay for brothers Joel and Ethan Coen.
- Javier Bardem for playing a killer of few words, won the first Oscar for a Spanish performer in the 80-year history of the world’s premier cinema awards.
- The victories also marked the first time since 1964 that the top four acting awards went to artists from outside the United States, where the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Science is located.
My favorite choice was “There Will be Blood”, which tells the story of a robber baron’s quest for power in Southern California’s oil boom of the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Perhaps, because it reflected my inclination towards the petroleum industry, since I worked for Texaco for many years.
Last night’s best picture, “No Country For Old Men”, is the masterful adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel that uses a botched drug deal as a metaphor for the fateful consequences to a society that forgets the value of a human life.
“No Country for Old Men” draws heavily on McCarthy’s themes of chance and fate; it tells the story of a drug deal gone sour and the ensuing cat-and-mouse drama as three men crisscross each other’s paths in the desert landscape of 1980 West Texas.
That’s it guys; plenty more can be found in today’s newspapers, magazines, television, radio, Internet……you name it. I hope your favorite picture and movie stars won.