Warning Dog Owners

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Star Wars: Episode VII Trailer - "The Force Awakens"

 Meet the cast of 'Star Wars: Episode VII' 

The cast of "Star Wars: Episode VII" -- or should we say "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," now that the official title has been released -- unites well-known names with some up-and-coming actors. At least one cast member, Daisy Ridley, is so new she has just a few acting credits to her name. You can see her in the back right of this cast photo, wearing a necklace and talking to "Star Wars" veteran Carrie Fisher. Here's who she'll star with.

The cast of "Star Wars: Episode VII" -- or should we say "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," now that the official title has been released -- unites well-known names with some up-and-coming actors. At least one cast member, Daisy Ridley, is so new she has just a few acting credits to her name. You can see her in the back right of this cast photo, wearing a necklace and talking to "Star Wars" veteran Carrie Fisher. Here's who she'll star with.

CNN) -- "Star Wars 7" has a title: "The Force Awakens."
The latest chapter in the sprawling saga concluded principal photography recently, and with that finish came a tweet, posted Thursday morning, with the (presumably official) title.
Of course, the Internet had to have its fun.

Meanwhile, the cast members recently gathered for a wrap party. Mark Hamill, who had grown a thick beard, was clean-shaven, and Harrison Ford was walking well after suffering a leg injury on set in June.

The new film is due for release December 18, 2015. It's directed by J.J. Abrams and written by Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan. The previous film in what was a six-movie series, "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," was released in 2005.

Every film except "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones" has been the No. 1 film of the year at the box office.

On Sunday, Anthony Daniels -- who plays C-3PO -- tweeted that "The Force Awakens" would be even better than "The Empire Strikes Back," often ranked as the best in the series.

Peter Mayhew is probably somewhere warming up his voice for that famous Chewbacca roar. The actor was rumored to be reprising the character in "The Force Awakens," but it wasn't official until Abrams' announcement.

"Star Wars" veteran Warwick Davis is set to return too. He's played multiple roles, but he's best known as Wicket the lead Ewok from "Return of the Jedi," so we suspect he may reprise that role.

Actors Pip Andersen, left, and Crystal Clarke were picked from an open casting call to join the movie. Andersen is skilled in the training discipline parkour, and "The Force Awakens" will be one of Clarke's first feature films.

The rumors about Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o joining the cast turned out to be true. In May, she was announced as the newest actress to join the saga. Nyong'o won the best supporting actress Oscar for her breakthrough role in "12 Years a Slave."

Oscar Isaac had a breakthrough role in 2013 as the cranky singer-songwriter Llewyn Davis in the drama "Inside Llewyn Davis." We can't imagine his work in "The Force Awakens" will require him to sing, but it would be awesome if it did; Isaac has proved he's got a great set of pipes.

Max von Sydow is one of the veteran actors joining the upcoming "Star Wars" movie. It isn't clear what the wide-ranging thespian will do in Abrams' picture, but we can rest assured that he'll bring his respected acting chops to the part.

John Boyega is best known for the 2011 sci-fi action comedy "Attack the Block," but now he's known as the guy who steals the spotlight in the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" trailer. Boyega was long rumored to be a top choice for the lead role.

Obviously, you can't have Daniels' C-3PO without Kenny Baker's R2-D2. Just the thought of splitting up the droids is heartbreaking!

When we learned that the latest "Star Wars" installment is supposed to take place 30 years after "Return of the Jedi" and feature a trio of newbies alongside some familiar faces, we were ready to bet the house that Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker would be one of the recognizable stars. It was an easy guess to make, though; Hamill has long been considered an unspoken done deal. 

After playing coy with the press for months, Harrison Ford was finally officially announced as part of the "The Force Awakens" cast. The actor is expected to reprise his role of Han Solo.

Gwendoline Christie, currently known as Brienne of Tarth on HBO's "Game Of Thrones," has also joined "Star Wars." Next year, she will star in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2" as Commander Lyme.

Does the name Domhnall Gleeson sound familiar? That might be because you remember him as Bill Weasley in the last two movies of the "Harry Potter" franchise. But Gleeson has established himself with a host of other projects, including 2010's "Never Let Me Go" and 2013's "About Time." Suffice to say that if you don't know Gleeson by now, you will after "Star Wars: Episode VII."

Andy Serkis is setting himself up to have a busy few years. The celebrated actor recently appeared in "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," which will be followed by "The Force Awakens." After that, he's expected to appear in another "Tintin" movie, "The Adventures of Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun."
We can't be the only ones who are supremely relieved to see that Anthony Daniels, the voice of C-3PO, will be back in action.

Carrie Fisher was one of the original "Star Wars" cast members who initially said she was on board the new movie, only for her rep to backtrack and say the actress was kidding. But Abrams' announcement is no joke: The former Princess Leia has returned.

Adam Driver is a multifaceted actor who'll presumably get to show more of his range in "The Force Awakens." While he's best known for playing a quirky love interest on "Girls," Driver has also appeared in feature films "J. Edgar," "Lincoln," "Frances Ha" and "Inside Llewyn Davis."

Darth Malgus Costume Test

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Jurassic World Movie Skips Science

‘Jurassic World’ Skips Science, Goes for Nostalgia


Universal Studios just released the first trailer for Jurassic World, the latest film in the blockbuster Jurassic Park series. The reboot will be released June 12 next year and will star Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas-Howard.

The film builds on the success of the dinosaur-busting trilogy Jurassic Park (1993), The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) and Jurassic Park III (2001), which collectively grossed nearly $1 billion, according to IMDb estimates.

In an interview with Slashfilm.com, the new film’s director, Colin Trevorrow, said he wanted to portray a world in which the idea of living, breathing dinosaurs has become old hat, much like the way computer-generated dinosaurs have become commonplace in ours. He said he was aware of how some fans looked at updates of beloved classics with disdain. 

“We’ve all been disappointed by new installments of the stories we love. But with all this talk of filmmakers ‘ruining our childhood,’ we forget that right now is someone else’s childhood. This is their time. And I have to build something that can take them to the same place those earlier films took us,” Trevorrow said. 

The scenes in the film’s first trailer, set on the same fictional island/dinosaur stomping grounds (Isla Nublar) as the original trilogy, will seem familiar to fans of the series, or anyone who came of age during the ’90s. Its effects are impressive, its dinosaurs huge and scaly monsters.

Paleontology has advanced a lot since the first films were released, says science writer and amateur paleontologist Brian Switek, who spoke to Newsweek after watching the trailer. We no longer think most land-based dinosaurs were scaly, for instance. It’s more likely Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor, the primary antagonists of the first film, would have been covered in feathers.

The film will likely be designed to appeal to our nostalgia for the original Jurassic Park films. “The public wants scaly, old-school, 1993-era dinosaurs,” Switek tells Newsweek

And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just a movie. But it will be a shame if Jurassic World turns to the same species of dinosaurs that enchanted and terrified us in Jurassic Park—T. rex, Velociraptor, et al.—because, while most of the cast members are familiar, a new dinosaur is discovered every two weeks, opening up a world of possibilities. 

For instance, on Tuesday the BBC reported on the discovery of a new species of horned dinosaur, identified from fossils that were kept in a Canadian museum for 75 years.

“There are probably over 1,800 genera of non-avian dinosaurs,” Switek says. “That’s not even species. And we’ve only named about 500 or so. Most dinosaurs have yet to be discovered. And they get weirder and weirder.”

Therizinosaurus is one such dinosaur. Switek describes it as “a nightmare version of Big Bird.” Therizinosaurus was about the size of a T. rex, with a long, slender neck, a large head with a beak, and large hands with even larger claws, all covered in feathers. Its name means “scythe lizard.”

Or, the filmmakers could include Kosmoceratops. We think Kosmoceratops looked a lot like Triceratops, except that instead of three horns it had “an emo comb-over of horns,” according to Switek.

In his interview with Slashfilm, Trevorrow confirmed that the park’s geneticists will create one new, “modified” dinosaur.

Switek doesn’t mind if the filmmakers decide to make movie monsters instead of accurate depictions of living animals. “To me, it’s all good fun,” he said.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Lifetime’s Aaliyah biopic proves the haters right

Aaliyah: The Princess Of R&B, Lifetime’s latest geek-show biopic, should not exist. But for a sliver of its two-hour runtime, it’s clear how a person of sound mind could conclude it should. 

The fleeting moments of competence and grace come at the tail-end of the film’s most salacious and fraught material. Aaliyah (Alexandra Shipp) is struggling to reassemble her sense of self after being forbidden to see R. Kelly (Clé Bennett) and forced to annul their secret, illegal marriage, which was sealed at a Chicagoland Sheraton when she was 15 and he was 27. It’s hard enough to climb out of the emotional morass created by the permanent loss of your first love—the two reportedly never saw each other again—but Kelly was also the mastermind behind Aaliyah’s hit debut, Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number. In Kelly, Aaliyah lost not only a lover, but her formative musical mentor, the man who helped her realize her dreams of becoming an R&B superstar. 

Amid the freefall, Aaliyah’s mother Diane (Rachael Crawford) gives her daughter a much needed pep talk, reminding her she was as much an architect of her success as was Kelly and encouraging her to believe in her ability to forge on without him. When Aaliyah is set to work on her sophomore album, her handlers urge her to record with any number of R&B producers currently on a hot streak. Instead, Aaliyah opts to work with Timbaland and Missy Elliott (Izaak Smith and Chattrisse Dolabaille), then a pair of unknown quantities from Norfolk, Virginia who were as terrified to work with a star on the rise as Aaliyah was by the prospect of finding out Kelly was the magician and she was merely the assistant. The three form an easy bond and churn out One In A Million, still considered the master stroke of Aaliyah’s too-brief career. 

Had Princess spent more time on Aaliyah’s rebuilding phase, it would make for a sympathetic film, at least by Lifetime standards, and it would have offered a new take on a familiar throughline. Music history is replete with ingenues who had to outrun a svengali’s shadow, and Aaliyah’s story is particularly triumphant now, given some women who claim they had dalliances with Kelly as teenagers have said the experience drove them to suicide. The limited scope would have also dialed down the sensationalism by trimming the sick-making “courtship.”

More than that, the One In A Million period offers the best example of Aaliyah doing what she did best. Some of her staunchest fans would concede she wasn’t known as a vocal powerhouse. Aaliyah was a well-rounded pop star, and she excelled at doing what pop stars do: conceptualizing an image, a sound and a presentation, finding the right talent to help realize the vision, then performing the hell out of it. 

But music biopics almost never focus on a definitive period in a performer’s life. And given that Aaliyah died in a plane crash at only 22, it’s unsurprising for director Bradley Walsh and writer Michael Elliott (working from Christopher John Farley’s biography) to choose to cover a much wider period, beginning with Aaliyah’s debut on Star Search at 10 and ending days before her death. 

What is surprising is the producers’ defiant approach to making the film. They soldiered ahead even as Aaliyah’s family objected loudly and withheld rights to her music, leading Zendaya Coleman, the first choice for the leading role, to back out of the project. Celebrity estates always fiercely protect their turf, but in fairness, Aaliyah’s family objected to the film out of concern the network known for such cinematic flotsam as Deadly Spa might not have the most delicate touch. 

Shipp’s performance is inoffensive, but no more than that, and what little of Aaliyah’s music makes it to the final film does so in the form of tinny covers that do Aaliyah’s musical legacy no favors. The film spends entirely too much time on Aaliyah’s embryonic acting career, a consequence of working from a life story so regrettably short, there isn’t a need for merciless editing. So many choices in Princess boggle the mind, including the casting of Smith and Dolabaille to play Tim and Missy, which suggests the casting agent has only seen the influential producers in photographs viewed through a kaleidoscope smeared with Vaseline. 

It’s hard to defend Princess as anything more than a tabloid take on well-publicized statutory rape, not unlike Lifetime’s Outlaw Prophet: Warren Jeffs, which is especially gross considering the subject matter and the staunch objection of Aaliyah’s family. The movie may be named after her, but its production seems more inspired by another one of its characters, one with a tenuous grasp on the importance of consent.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Philae lander

The Descent of Philae Toward the Comet
On Wednesday, at 4:05 a.m. Eastern time, the 220-pound lander, named Philae, detached from the Rosetta spacecraft and was pulled downward by the gravity of the comet, known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Signals from Rosetta will take nearly 30 minutes to travel more than 300 million miles to mission control in Darmstadt, Germany.

The module Philae sent the first shot taken from the surface of comet 67 / P Churyumov - Gerasimenko , confirming that is safe and stable after a complex landing.

The European Space Agency (ESA ) today sent the first photo Philae has made since the comet's surface after landing.

In the picture you can see that the module Philae is safely on the surface of 67 / P Churyumov - Gerasimenko .

The ESA today offer more information at a press conference at 13:00 GMT after analyzing the data it has already sent the lander .

The head of the Department of Earth Systems Engineering from the European Space Agency (ESA ), Juan Miró, told EFE that communication remains Philae and is stable , and that's what matters most.

Now you also have to see if Philae receives enough solar energy to continue trading.

He described the landing looked " very good ", " perfect from the point of view of history ," but then bounced to not activate the harpoons .

" The signal is received on time , he suddenly lost and then returned ," said Miro.

He confirmed that the landing maneuver , two harpoons with which Philae had to engage the surface of the comet , not activated and the module system for stamping on the comet did not work either .

Philae bounced twice fell to the surface , bounced , and bounced back down again, according to the head of the Department of Systems Engineering ESA ground .

Besides harpoons , another system was not activated , it is the Active Descent System : a reservoir of cold gas to much pressure I had to get up and push Philae to the ground , according Miro.

However , this system was not critical , as the deputy director of central operations control in Darmstadt ( Germany).

The mother Rosetta probe launched yesterday module Philae comet when he was still at a distance of 22 kilometers.

The small laboratory , the size of a refrigerator and 98 kilograms, landed seven hours later on the comet to study its composition because comets are the oldest in the universe and celestial bodies considered that may have brought water and life Earth at the time of the big bang.

 First postcard just after separation

See for yourself! ROLIS imaged when we were just 3km away! Glad I can share

Saturday, November 8, 2014


The Connection Between Overwatch and Blizzard's Cancelled Project Titan

BlizzCon 2014: Blizzard on the Making of Overwatch

For the past 18 months, following the cancelation of Titan, Blizzard has been building and iterating on Overwatch, something the team expects to continue in earnest throughout 2015. Built in a new, proprietary engine, the 6v6 competitive shooter enters beta next year — but, in typical Blizzard fashion, Overwatch will release “when it’s ready.”
But it’s reassuring that Overwatch is as far along as it is. The debut demo features 12 heroes, each with a distinct set of skills, fighting in a diverse group of iconic real-world settings. Egyptian temples, a garden near Mt. Fuji, Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris are a few we’ve seen in gameplay and trailers. The challenge is making those pieces fit in a fun, near-future Earth setting, where robot armies rip Russian soldiers to shreds, a moon ape needs glasses to see better, and a monk features cybernetic upgrades.
Art Director Bill Petras, who also worked as Art Director on FireFall and the original World of Warcraft, told IGN, “We want to have a world of diversity, so that’s something we’re really excited about. Looking at all the heroes, there is a lot of iteration back and forth when I work with the heroes.” Petras is fascinated by the near-future setting and team’s willingness to let almost anything fly in its mishmash of colliding worlds. It gives the team “limitless diversity,” which is a concept Blizzard’s Overwatch team keeps coming back to.
Abilities for every hero had to “broaden the diversity of the characters” to avoid crossover. Blizzard essentially tried for every Overwatch member to feel like a character in a completely different game, and so far it’s succeeded pretty well. Tracer’s teleportation feels and operates in a unique way — Widowmaker’s grappling hook and Pharah’s straight-up-propulsion serve separate purposes, and factor into their skills. Each hero’s gun has a particular effectiveness that drives where you’ll end up, and how you’ll engage in combat. In the case of Torbjörn, Blizzard opted against giving a character a proper weapon altogether.
Torbjörn presented a problem, “and not just because of the umlaut…although there was a bug because of the umlaut,” explained Principle Designer Scott Mercer. “We wanted to make a character that didn’t rely on you precisely aiming a reticle on top of someone’s head. We wanted one about building.”

Early in development, Torbjörn didn’t have a resource like he does now, which is one of many small improvements Blizzard made to the character. Later on, once the team gave him sentry turrets as the primary means of dealing damage, it became about “how hard do they hit, and making sure people know they’re being hit by a turret,” Mercer continued. “One of the things with all of our characters is that readability if super important. You’re looking at the kill cam and wondering what happened. You should never have to learn from the kill cam.”

Titan was "ambitious" and "six games in one," but Blizzard couldn't quite figure it out. Overwatch helped them "unleash this tidal

Overwatch was the surprise, team-based shooter announced at this year's Blizzcon. But coming so soon on the heels of official word that the rumored MMO project Titan was cancelled, it's only natural to assume that some portions of that game live on within Blizzard's new title.
Earlier today, during the game's reveal, Blizzard senior vice president of story and franchise development Chris Metzen had said that Overwatch shares a "spiritual continuity," but that they are "pretty different." He also described Titan as "kooky and ambitious."

During a press conference for Overwatch later that same day, Metzen elaborated on those comments further. After answering a question about the connection between Titan and Overwatch, Metzen replied, "I'm not going to get into what [Titan] was going to be or what we wanted it to be. I can tell you what it was, in a way, it was frustrating. It was a big, giant idea; it was almost like six video games in one. It was the most ambitious game ever. It was fun to try to tackle it, and boy did we tackle it. We wrestled with it for a long time. And it sucked; we couldn't figure it out. It makes you just [clenches his fist], we couldn't crack it.
"Imagine this amazing team just frustrated. 'Why can't we do this?' It's trying to fret a chord and write the song. 'We can't write the song, why can't it just sound awesome?' Can't find the harmony, whatever. And when we decided to go another way, like Jeff was saying, we've got this hook, 'Why aren't we doing that? We love that.' And we decided to do it and, suddenly, 'Boom!' The music just exploded. And we started looking at [Overwatch] for what it was, and it unleashed this tidal wave of passion and certainty and distilled, clear ideas. And this world idea. It was just this monstrous thing of energy.

"It's been the funnest year, getting our feet back under us, getting our surety back. That magnetic north thing, we found it again, and it feels good. It was part of that emotionality on the stage this morning. To some degree, we needed to get it back, and we found it. And I hope the people look at Overwatch as a very clever game. But I'll tell you, under the hood, we needed this, just as developers to feel that lightning coursing through it again."
Whatever Titan was, it's clear that Overwatch took any potential, remnant ideas from that project in a new direction. And from what we've played so far Blizzard may be on to something with their first foray into the shooter genre. We took a deeper dive into the gameplay and offered up our initial impressions earlier today.
What do you think of Overwatch so far? Is this the kind of project you were hoping/expecting to see from Blizzard? Let us know in the comments.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Where Do I Vote

Find your precinct online; vote Tuesday

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says most of the calls received by his office on election day are from people trying to locate their precinct.
The link below allows you to locate your precinct and review the ballot you will see:

Enter your address into the fields, following instructions at the top of the page. The locator will produce the address of your polling location, a Google map with directions to it, your circuit clerk's contact information and a sample ballot specific to your polling place.

The Secretary of State's elections hotline, to report problems, is 844-MSVoter, or 800-829-6786. For election reminders on your phone, text MSVoter to 95577.
Some tips from the Secretary of State's Office:
Identification: State law requires individuals to present acceptable photo ID when casting a ballot on Election Day. Please have your acceptable photo ID ready when voting. If you do not have acceptable photo ID, your Circuit Clerk can provide a Mississippi Voter ID card, free of charge. If a voter does not have acceptable photo ID at the polls, he/she may still cast an affidavit ballot on Election Day, but must present acceptable photo ID to the Circuit Clerk within five business days after the election for the vote not to be rejected.
Campaigning at the polls: It is against the law for any candidate or candidate's representative to distribute campaign literature within 150 feet of a polling location. It is the position of the Office of the Secretary of State that wearing clothing with a candidate's name and/or picture on it or other campaign paraphernalia within 150 feet of a polling location constitutes the posting of campaign literature and is prohibited
Write-In Candidates: State law requires a space for a write-in candidate on the ballot. However, state law only allows for the tabulation of write-in candidates in the event of the death, resignation, withdrawal or removal of any candidate whose name is printed on the ballot.
Polls: Polls are open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. In the event there is a line at 7:00 pm when the polls close, a poll worker will stand at the end of the line to designate the last voter as of 7:00 pm. All voters who are standing in line at 7:00 pm will be allowed to cast a ballot in the General Election.