Leonard Nimoy has reportedly died

February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy has reportedly died

More later, but it is with great sadness that we report that Leonard Nimoy has reportedly died.

Update:

We were Spock.

That was part of the incredible talent, wisdom, and (yes, illogically) magic that was Leonard Nimoy.

Geeks everywhere understood Spock. That idea of being different, of not fitting in, but of being seen by others as being superior in certain ways…and nonexistent in others.

While there is no denying the contributions of writers (including Theodore Sturgeon) and producer Gene Roddenberry, Nimoy contributed important elements to the Spock mythos.

Certainly, the Vulcan salute was Nimoy’s. More importantly, though, Nimoy didn’t think Spock should simply punch somebody, and invented the Vulcan nerve pinch. This nonviolent and scientific way of temporarily disabling an enemy really resonated with many of us. It wasn’t dependent on strength (even though Spock’s was superhuman), it didn’t damage…it simply allowed intellect and technique to defeat physicality.

As the old 1960s bumper sticker said, “I grok Spock”…Nimoy did.

Nimoy also understood Star Trek in general…perhaps better than anyone else who directed the original cast in a Trek movie (Nimoy directed two of them).

While many people cite Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as their favorite TOS (The Original Series) movie, which is understandable, it is reasonable to argue that Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, may have been the best at capturing the spirit of the original.

Think about the “character moments” in the Star Trek movie series, where somebody besides Kirk or Spock get the spotlight. Scotty trying to talk to a 1980s computer. Chekov asking people on the street, in a Russian accent, during the Cold War, where he could find the “nuclear wessels”.

Even Kirk telling the crew to “remember where we parked” an invisible ship illustrates Kirk beautifully…and while you credit Shatner the actor for the delivery,  you have to credit Nimoy the director for the impact of the scene.

When Nimoy wrote I Am Not Spock (at AmazonSmile*: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), it wasn’t to say that Spock didn’t exist or that the actor wanted nothing to do with the character. It was to say that there were two of them…Spock and Nimoy, and that they weren’t exactly the same.

Certainly, Nimoy (actor, director, singer, photographer, mentor, inspiration) made great contributions to the world even if we removed Spock from the resume. Yes, that included mainstream works and recognition: playing Theo Van Gogh, and being nominated for an Emmy (his fourth nomination, after three for Spock) in A Woman Called Golda.

Other geek-friendly credits include:

  • Francis (the talking mule) Goes to West Point
  • Zombies of the Stratosphere
  • Them!
  • The Brain Eaters
  • Twilight Zone
  • The Outer Limits
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  • Get Smart
  • Mission:Impossible (as Paris, the magician/master of disguise)…multi-season role, essentially taking over from Martin Landau
  • Night Gallery
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the Donald Sutherland remake)
  • Faerie Tale Theatre
  • The Transformers: The Movie
  • The Pagemaster (as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
  • The Simpsons
  • Duckman
  • The First Men in the Moon (TV movie)
  • The Lost World (TV movie)
  • Brave New World (TV movie)
  • Invasion America (TV series)
  • Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  • Civilization IV (videogame)
  • Land of the Lost (the remake with Will Ferrell)
  • Kingdom Hearts (videogame series as Master Xehanort)
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (as Sentinel Prime)
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Fringe
  • Zambezia
  • The recent Star Trek movies (as Spock Prime)

The Measured Circle also can not fail to mention Nimoy’s role as the narrator of In Search of… (and later, History’s Mysteries). We had come to trust Nimoy, in some ways, and certainly to see him as science oriented. Having him as the host of this series gave it credibility in a way that many other people would not.

That all only scratches the surface of this remarkable life. Leonard Nimoy directed 3 Men and a Baby, a very successful mainstream comedy. Nimoy had hit records. However, it may be the way he interacted with other people that will be his greatest legacy.

Look at the reactions in social media to his passing. See the stories, from stars, from scientists…and from geeks like me.

I had a hard time figuring out what to say. Spock has been one of my fictional heroes, but I knew much more about Nimoy (without ever having met him) than that. I found a particular resonance in a quote from the series:

“Parted from me and never parted, never and always touching and touched.” Goodbye, Leonard Nimoy: in some way, we were all Spock. Thank you

I will always carry Spock with me.

Goodbye, Leonard Nimoy…the world is simply less without you.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

This post originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

2015 March $100 Million Box Office Challenge

February 24, 2015

2015 March $100 Million Box Office Challenge

This is a new game for us!

We follow the box office quite closely here at The Measured Circle. You can see our tracking for

2015 The Measured Circle’s Most Profitable Movies

for example.

Well, we wanted to design a game where you could see how good you are at predicting which movies will be the most profitable.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the highest grossing movies: If a movie cost $200 million to make and makes $300 million, each million dollars you “invested” would only get you $1.5 million. If a movie cost $40 million to make and dogros (domestic grosses) $100 million, you would get $2.5 million for each $1 million you “invested”.

Want to give it a shot?

This Survey Monkey poll will close at the of February so all guesses need to be done by then.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Y653T2W

All the rules are there…we’ll see how it goes this month, and may adjust them in the future.

I’ll be making my own “investments”…think you can beat me? ;)

We are doing this just for fun…no real money is involved, and we only play for that most valuable of human possessions: braggin’ rights!

Challenge extended…

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

2015 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) predictions

February 22, 2015

2015 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) predictions

Thank you once again to everyone who made predictions this year!

It will be very interesting to see how we do…there are some very tight races this year!

Here are our predictions:

Best Picture:

1. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, Cathleen Sutherland) 76% chance
2. Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole) 75% chance Winner
3. Selma (Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner) 60% chance
4. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven M. Rales, Jeremy Dawson) 51% chance
5. American Sniper (Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper, Peter Morgan) 49% chance
6. The Imitation Game (Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky, Teddy Schwarzman) 43% chance (tie)
6. The Theory of Everything (Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten) 43% chance (tie)
8. Whiplash (Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster) 41% chance

Lead Actor:

1. Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) 91% chance Winner correct
2. Michael Keaton (Birdman) 76% chance
3. Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) 49% chance
4. Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) 47% chance
5. Steve Carell (Foxcatcher) 40% chance
Lead Actress:
1. Julianne Moore (Still Alice) 92% chance Winner correct
2. Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) 58% chance
3, Reese Witherspoon (Wild) 52% chance
4. Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night) 50% chance
5. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) 48% chance
Supporting Actor:
1. J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) 86% chance Winner (correct)
2. Edward Norton (Birdman) 62% chance
3. Ethan Hawke (Boyhood) 58% chance
4. Robert Duvall (The Judge) 52% chance
5. Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) 42% chance
Supporting Actress:
1. Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) 90% chance Winner correct
2. Emma Stone (Birdman) 66% chance
3. Laura Dern (Wild) 52% chance (tie)
3. Meryl Streep (Into the Woods) 52% chance (tie)
5. Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game) 40% chance
Director:
1. Richard Linklater (Boyhood) 86% chance
2. Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman) 80% chance Winner
3. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel) 58% chance
4. Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) 46% chance
5. Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher) 30% chance
Adapted Screenplay:
1. The Imitation Game (Graham Moore) 72% chance (tie)  Winner (half correct)
1. The Theory of Everything (Anthony McCarten) 72% chance (tie)
3. Whiplash (Damien Chazelle) 62% chance
4. American Sniper (Jason Hall) 52% chance
5. Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson) 42% chance
Original Screenplay:
1. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness) 78% chance
2. Boyhood (Richard Linklater) 76% chance
3. Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo) 74% chance Winner
4. Foxcatcher (E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman) 44% chance
5. Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy) 28% chance
Cinematography:
1.Birdman (Emmanuel Lubezki) 76% chance (tie) Winner (half correct)
1.The Grand Budapest Hotel (Robert D. Yeoman) 76% chance (tie)
3. Unbroken (Roger Deakins) 52% chance
4. Mr. Turner (Dick Pope) 50% chance
5. Ida (Lukasz Zal, Ryszard Lenczewski) 46% chance
Costume Design:
1. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Milena Canonero) 80% chance Winner correct
2. Into the Woods (Colleen Atwood) 78% chance
3. Mr. Turner (2014): Jacqueline Durran) 58% chance
4. Maleficent (Anna B. Sheppard, Jane Clive) 48% chance
5. Inherent Vice (Mark Bridges) 36% chance
Film Editing:
1. Boyhood (Sandra Adair) 84% chance
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Barney Pilling) 62% chance (tie)
3. American Sniper (Joel Cox, Gary Roach) 62% chance (tie)
4. Whiplash (Tom Cross) 54% chance Winner
5. The Imitation Game (William Goldenberg) 28% chance
Makeup & Hairstyling:
1. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Frances Hannon, Mark Coulier) 87% chance Winner correct
2. Foxcatcher (Bill Corso, Dennis Liddiard) 57% chance (tie)
2. Guardians of the Galaxy (Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou, David White) 57% chance (tie)
Production Design:
1.The Grand Budapest Hotel (Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock) 86% chance Winner correct
2. Into the Woods (Dennis Gassner, Anna Pinnock) 68% chance
3. The Imitation Game (Maria Djurkovic, Tatiana Macdonald) 60% chance
4. Mr. Turner (Suzie Davies, Charlotte Watts) 48% chance
5. Interstellar (Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis) 28% chance
Sound Editing:
1. American Sniper (Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman) 90% chance Winner correct
2. Birdman (Aaron Glascock, Martín Hernández) 58% chance (tie)
2. Interstellar (Richard King) 58% chance (tie)
4. Unbroken (Becky Sullivan, Andrew DeCristofaro) 56% chance
5. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Brent Burge, Jason Canovas) 38% chance
Sound Mixing:
1. American Sniper (John T. Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, Walt Martin) 78% chance
2. Whiplash (Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, Thomas Curley) 66% chance Winner
3. Birdman (on Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Thomas Varga) 56% chance
4. Unbroken (Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, David Lee) 52% chance
5. Interstellar (Gary Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, Mark Weingarten) 48% chance
Visual Effects:
1. Interstellar (Paul J. Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter, Scott R. Fisher) 84% chance Winner correct
2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Erik Winquist) 74% chance
3. Guardians of the Galaxy (Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner, Paul Corbould) 68% chance
4. X-Men: Days of Future Past (Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie, Cameron Waldbauer) 40% chance
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Dan Deleeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill, Daniel Sudick) 34% chance
Animated Feature:
1. How to Train Your Dragon 2 73% chance
2. Big Hero Six 71% chance Winner
3. The Boxtrolls 56% chance (tie)
3. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya 56% chance (tie)
5. Song of the Sea 44% chance
Documentary Feature:
1. Virunga (Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegara) 67% chance
2. Citizenfour: Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky) 62% chance (tie) Winner
2. Last Days in Vietnam (Rory Kennedy, Keven McAlester) 62% chance (tie)
4. Finding Vivian Maier (John Maloof, Charlie Siskel)  58% chance
5. The Salt of the Earth (Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, David Rosier) 51% chance
Documentary Short:
1. White Earth (Christian Jensen) 78% chance
2. Joanna (Aneta Kopacz) 62% chance
3. Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (Ellen Goosenberg Kent, Dana Perry) 56% chance (tie) Winner
3. The Reaper (Gabriel Serra) 56% chance (tie)
5. Our Curse (Tomasz Sliwinski, Maciej Slesicki) 49% chance
Foreign Language Film:
1. Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski) 80% chance Winner correct
2. Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako) 58% chance
3. Leviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev) 56% chance (tie)
3. Wild Tales (Damián Szifrón) 56% chance (tie)
5. Tangerines (Zaza Urushadze) 51% chance
Music – Score:
1. The Theory of Everything (Jóhann Jóhannsson) 84% chance
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Alexandre Desplat) 76% chance Winner
3. The Imitation Game (Alexandre Desplat) 58% chance
4. Mr. Turner (Gary Yershon) 42% chance
5. Interstellar (Hans Zimmer) 40% chance
Music – Song:
1. Selma (Common, John Legend) (Glory) 90% chance Winner correct
2. Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me (Glen Campbell, Julian Raymond) (I’m Not Gonna Miss You)  68% chance
3. The Lego Movie (Shawn Patterson) (Everything is Awesome) 60% chance
4. Begin Again (Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois) (Lost Stars) 43% chance
5. Beyond the Lights (Diane Warren) (Grateful) 40% chance
Short – Animated:
1. Feast (Patrick Osborne, Kristina Reed) 89% chance Winner correct
2. The Dam Keeper (Robert Kondo, Daisuke ‘Dice’ Tsutsumi) 64% chance
3. A Single Life (Joris Oprins) 53% chance
4. The Bigger Picture (Daisy Jacobs, Chris Hees) 47% chance (tie)
4. Me and My Moulton (Torill Kove) 47% chance (tie)
Short – Live Action:
1. The Phone Call (Mat Kirkby, James Lucas) 76% chance Winner correct
2. Parvaneh (Talkhon Hamzavi, Stefan Eichenberger) 67% chance
3. Boogaloo and Graham (Michael Lennox, Ronan Blaney) 64% chance
4. Butter Lamp (Wei Hu, Julien Féret) 51% chance
5. Aya (Oded Binnun, Mihal Brezis) 42% chance
Our best bets (90% or higher):
  1. Lead Actress: Julianne Moore 92%
  2. Lead Actor: Eddie Remayne: 91%
  3. Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette: 90%
  4. Music – Song: Glory from Selma: 90%
  5. Sound Editing: American Sniper 90%

We have some very close races this year!

  1. Adapted Screenplay tied for The Imitation Game and the Theory of Everything
  2. Cinematography tied for Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel
  3. Best Picture: we have Boyhood edging out Birdman by 1%!

See you in the movies!

Update: here is a summary of the results.

We weren’t quite as accurate as a team in 2015 as we were in 2014.

Overall, we were at 74.55% this year, versus 77.38% last year.

We were better on the Incredibly Difficult Maven section this year (74.55%) versus last year 68.07%.

On the Big Six (acting, Picture, Director) we got 88.33% this year, beating last years 79.41%.

Our individual winners were:

  • Big Six was Jimmy Orsag…with a perfect 100%!
  • The Incredibly Difficult Maven section was Neil Lapinsky, with a remarkable 90.91%!
  • Neil also did well on the Big Six, which combined meant winning overall with 92.56%!

Congratulations to Jimmy and Neil!

They have won that most valuable of human possessions: braggin’ rights! :)

As a group, we called all of the acting categories…but missed on both Director and Picture. We thought both would go to Boyhood, although Birdman was our second choice.

We were most shocked by the Documentary Short, only getting a 55.56%.

I would say that generally, we slightly underestimated Birdman (I didn’t think the Academy would go that geeky, for example), and Whiplash surprised us with technical wins.

Hope everybody reading this will play next year!

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Tech controversy 1908: PHONE MAGNATE BARS WIRELESS FROM STANFORD

February 15, 2015

Tech controversy 1908: PHONE MAGNATE BARS WIRELESS FROM STANFORD

The San Francisco Call | July 9 1908 | page 1
retyped from http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1908-07-09/ed-1/seq-1/#date1=1836&index=0&rows=20&words=BARS+FROM+MAGNATE+PHONE+STANFORD+WIRELESS&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=&date2=1922&proxtext=phone+magnate+bars+wireless+from+stanford&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1

===

PHONE MAGNATE BARS WIRELESS FROM STANFORD

Trustee Hopkins Orders Experimenter from Laboratory When Voices Sound

Stock Holder in  Commercial  System Resents Sordid Spirit of Worker

Brave Professors Comes to Aid of Young Scientist with Offer of Barn

When advancement of  learning  leads to sordid gain should it be frowned upon by a university? Trustee Timothy Hokins [sic] of Stanford, the temporary business manager of the institution while Treasurer Charles G. Lathrop is away, has answered this question emphatically in the affirmative by withholding the privileges of the laboratories for a brilliant young graduate of the cardinal institution, who has lately developed some startling improvement in wireless telephony.

Dr. C. D. Marx,  head of the department of civil engineering and a member of the commission of engineers, engaged in the rebuilding of the university, has answered the question just as emphatically in the negative by installing the apparatus of the young inventor in his spacious barn,  where  it is said that the system has proven so successful that the professor’s livestock have been driven into a  state of panic by the mysterious voices in the loft of their home.

IS HEAVY STOCK HOLDER

Friends of C.F. Elwell, the inventor in the case, have been unkind enough to suggest that Hopkins was moved to issue his ukase by the fact that he is a heavy stock holder and a member of the executive board of the Pacific States telephone and telegraph company. They point to the significant fact that the apparatus of the big steel tower of the ruined library building was allowed to remain  undisturbed  as long as the university authorities believed that it was there to catch dots and dashes and not vocal sounds.

Elwell has become well known for his original work in electrical engineering and long before his graduation he was made an assistant in that department at Stanford. Last year his work attracted the attention of the men who are trying to sell a wireless telephone system to the government, and the young engineer was appointed to conduct experiments for the company on this coast. The backers the enterprise supplied him with $6,000 worth of apparatus, and while college was still open he used this in conjunction with the electrical and chemical laboratories of the university.

OVERLOOK PHONE SIDE

As soon as Stanford closed for the summer he applied to Hopkins for the privilege of using the  laboratories during the vacation period, and it is said that the business manager, still laboring under the delusion that the experiments were concerned with wireless telegraphy alone, granted the required permission without question.

The secret was well kept for a time, but the voices in the tower swore at central one day, and Hopkins must have been passing at the time, for the inventor was summoned to his office and ordered to remove himself and his apparatus from the campus.

Asked for a reason for this order, the business manager declared that the project was purely a commercial affair, and ans such should be given neither the aid nor the sanction of the university. With no place to take his expensive apparatus, Elwell was in danger of despair until Marx came forward with his offer of a refuge.

===

The Measured Circle note: it’s fascinating that we already see the narrative of a corporate interest trying to prevent disruption to its industry. Wireless voice transmission? Sounds like a cellphone…which may make the use of one in Oz a few years later less impressive (The Wizard of Oz invented the cellphone). Is it also being suggested here that it was profanity that led to the shutdown (“…the voices in the tower swore at central one day”), or was that just because it was loud enough to be overheard? If the former, it mirrors issues which still exist today.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

2015 February geeky movie preview

February 4, 2015

2015 February geeky movie preview

We have already stated confidently that this year will have more $400 million plus dogroing (domestic grossing) movies than ever before.

One consequence of so many blockbusters is that they have to be spread out more throughout the year. Once a Star Wars or Avengers or Jurassic movie claims a weekend, well, you have to be either really brave or really counter-programming to go up against it.

So, you have to run for another weekend.

Some movies, of course, run out of time…and actually move to the next year.

Still, we think you may see several record months this year, as movies which might have gotten a prime slot in a past year shift backwards or forwards.

Let’s take a look at some of the geeky movies scheduled for release this month, February 2015:

February 6

Jupiter Ascending

Directed and written by the Wachowskis (The Matrix), and starring Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, and Eddie Redmayne (who may win an Oscar for Best Actor while this is in theatres), it’s a big science fiction wide release spectacle.

The Wachowskis have arguably been coasting on The Matrix (and its offshoots), but this PG-13 movie may succeed on its own.

Seventh Son

Julianne Moore (another possible Oscar winner who would have a geeky movie in the theatres at the time), Jeff Bridges, Jason Scott Lee stars. Inspired by The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney.

Not opening in as many theatres (but still a wide release), and won’t get the comparisons to Guardians of the Galaxy (but might to Into the Woods…you know, they both have a witch), this one is a bit of a longer shot than Jupiter.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

The most theatres of the bunch and budgeted at a moderate $66m, this could be the most profitable big movie of the weekend. Kids’ movies tend to have long legs (they keep making money for a long time), so if you’d had to invest in of these three, this might have been the safest bet. It doesn’t have the same blockbuster potential (even with Antonio Banderas as a guest voice), but should make Paramount happy.

February 13 

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Spy spoof with Colin Firth, Mark Hamill, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson…and they have been promoting it a lot. Hard to tell with this one, but it may open big. 1st place this weekend is likely going to Fifty Shades of Grey, though.

What We Do in the Shadows

Small imported (from New Zealand) horror comedy with vampire flatmates. Some folks will love it…more of an arthouse picture.

February 20

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

The gang is mostly back (no John Cusack…see Maps to the Stars, below) in a sequel to the $50m grossing 2010 comedy. I’d say it would be a surprise for this to get to $100m dogro…but probably doesn’t need to do that to be a success.

February 27

The Lazarus Effect

Horror movie directed by David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi), and featuring Evan Peters, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Bolger, and Mark Duplass. We wish every movie well, but are concerned that this one may underperform expectations.

Maps to the Stars (2014)

David Cronenberg with a low $16m budgeted movie, and a cast including Julianne Moore (who will therefore likely have two movies in theatres at the same time), Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson, and John Cusack. This one won’t be expected to have a huge dogro…this is art, people. ;)

Not bad for a 28 day month! Now, about March…

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

2015 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness)

January 25, 2015

2015 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness)

For more than twenty years, I’ve been doing an Oscar prediction contest.

Important note: there is no fee to play the  game, and we only play for that most valuable of human possessions…bragging rights. 

We do ours a bit differently than most. You rank every nominee, and then you get the number of points you assigned to the winner.

For example, there are five nominees for Actor in a Leading Role. You would assign the one you thought the Academy was most likely to pick (not necessarily the one you thought most deserved it) with a 5. Your second most likely would be a 4, and so on.

For the first time this year, we are using SurveyMonkey, rather than Excel.

That means you can play anonymously, if you prefer…we also think many people may find it easier.

There are three surveys (we are currently limited to no more than ten questions per survey):

Big Six and Screenwriting:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QHWZNNZ

Design and Appearance:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JRVRTCB

Whole Movies and Music

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JM2JTCS

If you would like to be recognized as a winner of the Big Six (the acting awards, Best Picture, and Best Director), the Incredibly Difficult Maven Section (everything else), and/or Overall, you’ll have the opportunity at the site to enter your name (that will not be public). If you’d like to receive future communications about BOPMadness, you can also enter your e-mail address there (again, that will not be public).

If you have any questions, you can comment on this post. If you’d like your comment to remain private, please let me know in the comment.

We will post the group predictions here before the Oscar ceremony on Sunday, February 22nd.

The more people who play, the more accurate we tend to be…feel free to share this with anyone you think would like to participate.

See you in the movies!

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

2015 Oscar noms

January 15, 2015

2015 Oscar noms

This is very preliminary, almost live-blogging. :) I’ll call out the geeky nominees as I catch them, sometimes shortening the names. After the announcements, I’ll formalize it more and add some comments.

Announcements are over…some early thoughts:

  • I’m surprised by the number of nominations for Interstellar…more than I expected
  • Birdman gets three acting noms
  • Best songs can still come from animated movies…and very popular (and profitable) ones at that
  • Maleficent is Oscar nominated
  • Guardians of the Galaxy was nominated for Hair and Makeup…and Into the Woods wasn’t
  • The Imitation Game got a lot of love
  • Eddie Redmayne was nominated…and seems to me to be the one to beat. It’s almost a perfect Oscar storm…and wouldn’t it be great to see Stephen Hawking at the ceremony?
  • Blockbuster geek movies which may be critical disfaves often get rewarded in technical categories…I didn’t see so much of that this time. For example, no noms for Transformers (we could have seen sound or Special Effects, perhaps)
  • You could notice how the lack of eligibility affects some categories: The Hanging Tree from The Hunger Games wasn’t eligible, Birdman for Score…
  • The Lego Movie was not nominated for Best Animated Feature
  • This is a notably non-diverse group of major nominees: I think we’ll hear people commenting on that

Best Original Song

  • Everything is Awesome from the Lego Movie

SFX (Special Effects)

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Interstellar
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past

Doc Short

Doc Feature

  • Citizen Four

Editing

  • The Imitation Game

Sound Editing

  • Birdman
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Interstellar

Sound Mixing

  • Birdman
  • Interstellar

Production Design

  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Into the Woods

Live Action Short

Animated Short

Best Animated Feature

  • Big Hero Six
  • Boxtrolls
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Song of the Sea
  • Tale of the Princess Kaguya

 Supporting Actor

  • Edward Norton in Birdman

Supporting Actress

  • Keira Knightly in The Imitation Game
  • Emma Stone in Birdman
  • Meryl Srteep in Into the Woods

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Guardians of the Galaxy

Costume

  • Into the Woods
  • Maleficent

Cinematography

  • Birdman

Adapted Screenplay

  • The Imitation Game
  • The Theory of Everything

Original Screenplay

  • Birdman

Original Score

  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • The Theory of Everything

Foreign Language

Directing

  • Birdman
  • The Imitation Game

Lead Actress

  • Felicity Jones The Theory of Everything

Lead Actor

  • Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game
  • Michael Keaton in Birdman
  • Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

Best Picture

  • Birdman
  • The Imitation Game
  • The Theory of Everything

2015 Oscar nominations video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1G_C6ygtRA

Complete list of nominees from the Academy website:

http://oscar.go.com/nominees

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Geeky movies for 2015

January 8, 2015

Geeky movies for 2015

Note: this article was accidentally published while it was still being written…it’s that big! :) It was withdrawn, and this is the complete version

We predict right now that there will be more movies that dogro (have a domestic gross) more than $400 million in 2015 than ever before.

While release dates are always subject to change, here’s a look at some of the geek-friendly movies we’ll probably see in the USA in 2015 (although it’s worth noting that many movies in our 2014 post got bumped to 2015 and beyond):

Sequels/Prequels (continuing a movie series, with events taking place after or before early entries)

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (December 18 2015)

The bar is high for this one…if it’s not the number one movie of the year (and it has stiff competition), it will be considered a disappointment by some. Last installment (by chronology of release, which is what we’ll use…it was Episode III: Revenge of the Sith): 2005, 380m dogro (domestic gross)

Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1 2015)

Sequel to the third biggest domestic grossing movie (behind Avatar and Titanic), with the same director and stars…should be one of the highest grossing of the year. Last installment (just counting the Avengers, not other movies with Avengers or other connections): 2012, $623m dogro

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (November 20 2015)

The last Hunger Games movie in the series should be of the very top earners of the year. Last installment: 2014, $325m dogro (may still earn more)

Jurassic World (June 12 2015)

Chris Pratt stars…takes place 22 years after the first movie. Last installment: 2001, 181m dogro

Spectre (November 6 2015)

Bond…James Bond. Last installment: Skyfall, 2012, $304m dogro

Insurgent (March 20 2015)

Sequel to Divergent. Last installment: 2014, $151m dogro

Terminator Genisys (July 1 2015)

It’s a new timeline, but is using the same characters. Jai Courtney, Matt Smith, Emilia Clarke, and yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger appear. Last installment: Terminator Salvation, 2009, $125m

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend (August 28 2015)

Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh, Jason Scott Lee, Harry Shum, Jr. Last installment: 2000, $128m dogro

Mission: Impossible 5 (December 25 2015)

Christopher McQuarrie directs Tom Cruise, Paula Patton, and Jeremy Renner. Last installment: Ghost Protocol, 2011, $209m dogro

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (September 18 2015)

Last installment: 2014, $101m dogro

Ted 2 (June 26 2015)

The Teddy bear is back! Last installment: 2012, $219m dogro

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (February 6 2015)

Last installment: 2004, $85m dogro

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (February 20 2015)

Last installment: 2010, $50m dogro

Hotel Transylvania 2 (September 25 2015)

Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Selena Gomez, Mel Brooks…Last installment: 2012, $148m dogro

Yoga Hosers (June 1 2015)

Likely to be quite bizarre…cast includes Johnny Depp, Stan Lee, and Kevin Smith. Written and directed by Smith. Last installment: Tusk (this might be more of a sidequel…see below), 2014, $2m dogro

Insidious: Chapter 3 (June 5 2015)

Last installment: 2013, $84m dogro

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (March 13 2015)

Last installment: 2012, $54m dogro

Amityville: The Awakening (undated 2015)

Last installment: Amityville 3-D, 1983

Sidequels (movies set in the same universe as previous movies, but with events not in continuity with the others…may focus on other characters than the previous movies)

Ant-Man (July 17 2015)

It’s in the Marvel universe, and there are crossover characters (at least Peggy Carter and Howard Stark), but the story may not be in a direct line with, say, The Avengers.

Minions (July 10 2015)

The Minions from Despicable Me…voices include Jon Hamm and Sandra Bullock.

Pedigeeked originals (original movies, but with some geek cred to them…director, actors, screenwriters, source)

Chappie (March 6 2015)

Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) directs Sigourney Weaver and Hugh Jackman in a robot story

Significance (May 18 2015)

Based on the Shelly Crane novel

Jupiter Ascending (February 6 2015)

The Wachowski siblings direct Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis…oh, you’re okay if I stop there? ;) Terry Gilliam! Sorry, couldn’t resist…

Tomorrowland (May 22 2015)

Disney is still trying to repeat the “movies based on the parks” success of Pirates. This one is directed by Brad Bird, co-written by Damon Lindelof, and starring George Clooney and Hugh Laurie

The Good Dinosaur (November 25 2015)

Pixar animation

Home (March 27 2015)

Dreamworks animation, based on the Adam Rex book…voices by Jim Parsons and Rihanna

Strange Magic (January 3 2015)

From a story by George Lucas, ILM animation

The Lazarus Effect (February 27 2015)

Olivia Wilde…medical students reanimate

Man Down (October 30 2015)

Jai Courtney is going to be very busy, and likely to be on our Box Office MVPs. Post-apocalyptic America. Also features Kate Mara (who should also be an MVP), Gary Oldman, and Shia LaBeouf

Walt Before Mickey (April 23 2015)

Biography of Walt Disney’s early years

Pixels (July 24 2015)

Big budget animation with “old school arcade gamers” having to defend the Earth from an attack by what appears to be 1980s videogame characters. Adam Sandler is one of the stars (with Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions involved)

The Martian (November 25 2015)

Ridley Scott directs Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, and Matt Damon. Based on the Andy Weir book

Inside Out (June 19 2015)

Pixar animation with emotions as characters. Pete Docter (Up, Monsters, Inc.) and Ronaldo Del Carmen direct

The Phoenix Project (January 16 2015)

Scientists bring the dead back to life

Macbeth (undated 2015)

Michael Fassbender as Macbeth

Vice (January 16 2015)

Bruce Willis as the creator of a “live your fantasies” resort not named Delos ;)

Ex Machina (April 10 2015)

Perhaps Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking can see this artificial intelligence movie together…

The Age of Adaline (April 24 2015)

Blake Lively’s character doesn’t age…also features Harrison Ford

Knight of Cups (undated 2015)

Terrence Malick directs Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett

The Last Witch Hunter (October 23 2015)

Vin Diesel, Elijah Wood

The Little Prince (undated 2015)

James Franco, Marion Cotillard, Rachel MacAdams

Crimson Peak (October 16 2015)

Guillermo del Toro directs Jessica Chastain (likely MVP), Charlie Hunnam, Tom Hiddleston, Burn Gorman…

Spare Parts (January 16 2015)

True underdog story of a robot competition

Equals (undated 2015)

Futuristic love story with Kristen Stewart, Guy Pearce, and Nicholas Hoult

Dark Places (undated 2015)

Chloë Grace Moretz, Charlize Theron, Christina Hendricks

Remakes/Reboots (based on previous movies or TV shows)

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (August 14 2015)

Guy Ritchie directs Henry Cavill (as Napoleon Solo) and Armie Hammer (as Illya Kuryakin). Hugh Grant is Mr. Waverly. It is set in the 1960s

Cinderella (March 30 2015)

Disney live action version, directed by Kenneth Branagh, and featuring Lily James, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, and Hayley Atwell

Jem and the Holograms (October 23 2015)

Juliette Lewis and Molly Ringwald are truly outrageous

Victor Frankenstein (October 2 2015)

Max Landis wrote this adaptation of Frankenstein from Igor (Daniel Radcliffe)’s point of view

Mad Max: Fury Road (May 15 2015)

Original director/writer George Miller is back. Tom Hardy plays Max, and Charlize Theron is Furiosa

Pan (July 24 2015)

An origin story for Peter Pan, with Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard (not as Captain Hook…that’s Garrett Hedlund) and Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily

The Fantastic Four (August 7 2015)

Kate Mara, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan…and Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm? The dancing British star of Billy Elliott wouldn’t have been the first actor to come to many people’s minds for the role of the football (not soccer) playing New Yorker

The Jungle Book (October 9 2015

Disney version directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man) with Scarlett Johandsson as Kaa and Bill Murray as Baloo!

Poltergeist (July 24 2015)

Sam Rockwell stars. Sam Raimi is a producer

Peanuts (November 6 2015)

Yep, Snoopy and the gang

There’s a lot more than that, but that should get you into anticipation mode. :)

Dates subject to change…

For more information on upcoming events (movies, TV shows, cons, games, books), see

The Measured Circle current events calendar

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Christine Cavanaugh reported dead

January 4, 2015

Christine Cavanaugh reported dead

It’s possible that Christine Cavanaugh was the voice of your childhood.

You might not have known the actor’s name, but you may have known (and loved) these characters:

  • Chuckie Finster, the most vulnerable of the Rugrats
  • Dexter of Dexter’s Laboratory
  • Babe (the gallant pig in the movie based on the novel the Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith)

Children may have a special relationship with the characters of their youth. It’s not exactly that they seem real, but there is an intimacy between a child and a video character that can be far simpler to achieve than that with those alien adults.

A lot of us geeks watched these shows as adults. We could see, with Chuckie in particular, a…reality that might not have been apparent to kids.

We genuinely felt empathy and felt sorry for Chuckie, but cheered the little guy’s successes. More than some “show geeks”, Chuckie was human.

In Dexter, we got to laugh. We knew it could be frustrating when others don’t get what we do, and Dexter let us let that out.

That was a real testament to Christine Cavanaugh’s talent. For actors who think of voiceover work as just “doing funny voices”, I’d recommend Cavanaugh as an example of the depth of characterization you can bring to a part…even that of a pig who wants to herd sheep.

Other geek friendly roles include:

  • David in the English version of David and the Magic Pearl, a Swedish/Polish cartoon with aliens
  • Gosalyn Mallard on Darkwing Duck
  • Bobby’s World (guest spot)
  • Ritchie Raccoon in the P.J. Funnybunny TV specials
  • Bunnie Rabbot on the Sonic the Hedgehog TV series
  • Marty Sherman on The Critic
  • Bamm-Bamm Rubble on The Flintstones spin-off, Cave Kids
  • The X-Files (in a relatively rare bit of face acting) as Amanda Nelligan in the Small Potatoes episode
  • Oblina on Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
  • 101 Dalmations: the series as Wizzer and Dumpling
  • Birdie in the Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald
  • Guest spot on The Wild Thornberrys

Good-bye, Christine Cavanaugh…childhood will be less sincere without you.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Will Into the Woods reverse the Depp Dip?

December 17, 2014

Will Into the Woods reverse the Depp Dip?

Look, we love Johnny Depp. He’s talented, charismatic, and can do both comedy and drama.

For the past few years, though, audiences haven’t loved him enough to actually go see his movies in theatres all that much.

Here at The Measured Circle, one way we judge the success of a movie is by comparing its dogro (domestic gross) to its production budget.

As recorded both on this blog and on our IMDb list

2014 The Measured Circle’s Most Profitable Movies

we give movies awards based on the following metrics:

Dogro 2X production budget = “Money”
Dogro 3X production budget = “Golden”
Dogro 30X production budget = “Platinum”

Dogro less than 50% of production budget = “Underperformer”

Let’s take a look at Depp’s starring movies for the past three years (leaving out 21 Jump Street as a cameo):

  • Transcendence (4/18/2014): dogro $23m / production budget $100m = 23% UNDERPERFORMER
  • The Lone Ranger (7/3/2013): dogro $89m / production budget $215m = 41% UNDERPERFORMER
  • Dark Shadows (5/11/2012): dogro $80 / production budget $150m = 53%

As you can see, the trend has been diminishing returns.

Taking these three movies as a whole, it’s dogro $192m / $465m = 41%.

Going back to the previous three year period, the picture is quite different:

  • The Rum Diary (10/28/2011): dogro $13m / production budget $45m = 29% UNDERPERFORMER
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (5/20/2011): dogro $241 / production budget $250m = 96%
  • Rango (3/4/2011): dogro $123 / production budget $135 = 91%
  • The Tourist (12/10/2010: dogro $68 / production budget $100 = 68%
  • Alice in Wonderland (3/5/2010): dogro $334m / production budget $200m = 167%
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (12/26/2009): dogro $8m / production budget $30m = 27%
  • Public Enemies (7/1/2009): dogro $97m / production budget $100m = 97%

(not included: When You’re Strange, with Depp as narrator)

While only one of them was an underperformer, and none of them got to our Money level of 200%, this is still a much better showing. Taken as a whole: dogro $884m / $860m = 103%.

Skipping 2008 (no major releases), the previous three year period showed real strength:

  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (12/21/2007): dogro $53 / production budget $50m = 106%
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (5/25/2007): dogro $309m / production budget $300m = 103%
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (7/7/2006): dogro $423m / production budget $225m = 188%
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (7/15/2005): dogro $209 / production budget $150 = 139%

(not included: The Libertine and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, due to lack of production budget data)

Here are the other movies for which we have data (from http://www.boxofficemojo.com):

  • Finding Neverland (11/12/04) dogro $52m / production budget $25m = 208% MONEY
  • Secret Window (3/12/2004) dogro $48m / production budget $40m = 120%
  • Once Upon a Time in Mexico (9/12/03) dogro $56m / production budget $29m 193%
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (7/9/03) dogro $305m / production budget $140m = 218% MONEY
  • From Hell (10/19/01) dogro $32m / production budget $35m 91%
  • Blow (4/6/01) dogro $53m / production budget $53m = 100%
  • Chocolat (12/15/00) dogro $72m / production budget $25m 288% MONEY
  • The Ninth Gate (3/10/00) dogro $19m / production budget $38m 50%
  • Sleepy Hollow (11/19/99) dogro $101m / production budget $100 = 101%
  • The Astronaut’s Wife (8/27/99) dogro $11m / production budget $75m 15% UNDERPERFORMER
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (5/22/98) dogro $11m / production budget $18.5 59%
  • Don Juan de Marco (4/7/95) dogro $22m / production budget $25m 88%
  • Ed Wood (9/30/94) dogro $6m / production budget $18m 33%
  • Platoon (12/19/86) dogro $139m / production budget $6m 2317% SEPTUPLE GOLDEN

Did you think that Platoon would be Johnny’s best movie, based on return on the investment dollar? That Chocolat was second? That The Astronaut’s Wife had done worse in that department than Transcendence?

Taking a look at it graphically (without Platoon, which is such an outlier that you wouldn’t be able to see the other differences very well  if we included it), you can see that there have been ups and downs…but all downs recently:

Depp Dip

 

So,  back to the question: will

Into the Woods

opening December 25th, reverse that slide?

Unfortunately, while it may certainly do better than Transcendence, we think its unlikely that it returns to “Money” territory, and would be very surprised if it was “Golden”. The rumored production budget is $50m. Director Rob Marshall’s track record questions the ability to get to Golden, at least after the first big hit:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (5/20/2011): dogro $241 / production budget $250m = 96%
  • Nine (12/18/2009): dogro $20m / production budget $80m = 25%
  • Memoirs of a Geisha (12/9/2005): dogro $57m / production budget $85m = 67%
  • Chicago (12/27/2002): dogro $171m / production budget $45m = 377% GOLDEN

We hope the movie is terrific, and that it exceeds all of our expectations at the box office. We wish everybody involved with it well, and will be interested to see the results (and we will continue to watch Johnny Depp’s career in the future).

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them

 

 


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