Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

We didn’t listen: two 70’s Social Sci-Fi films which are more relevant today

October 17, 2017

We didn’t listen: two 70’s Social Sci-Fi films which are more relevant today

There is a particular sub-genre of movie I refer to as 70’s Social Sci-Fi. They were cynical commentaries on society…often with some nudity or suggestions of sex.

1968 really set the stage, with two movies and an industry change.

The Planet of the Apes, released in 1968, was very much of this style, and was really the trendsetter. Rod Serling’s script considerably changed the original French novel.

2001: A Space Odyssey was an amazing breakthrough in special effects…and mind-blowing concepts.

The new movie ratings system was instituted, replacing earlier codes…and resulting in more explicit content getting more distribution.

So, a couple of years later (it takes a while to make a movie), we start getting movies like The Omega Man, Soylent Green, Westworld, Rollerball, The Stepford Wives…

Some of these movies did quite well…and some might do better now, because the futures they explored fit right into today’s concerns.

Colossus: The Forbin Project ties into our concerns about autonomous warfare…”killer robots”. I’m not going to go into any depth on the plots of these movies, but

[SPOILER WARNING]

The USA puts its faith in a computer system to handle warfare and keep humanity safe…its able to react more quickly than a human would. However, there’s a twist, and it leads Colossus to…make an unexpected decision about just how to protect us. It’s quite intellectual, but they still manage to make nudity a strategic requirement. ūüėČ

Demon Seed is…a step further, and is largely a forgotten movie now (despite being based on a Dean R. Koontz novel, and starring Julie Christie and Fritz Weaver). People today worry about how involved we are getting with artificial intelligences in our homes, and how we trust them. An inventor creates a creepy AI (with the voice of Robert Vaughn). The inventor also makes a SmartHome…and the AI takes it over. Where it goes from there is…certainly pushing the envelope, in today.

[END SPOILER]

Demon Seed is available to watch through iTunes at time of writing according to JustWatch:

Demon Seed at JustWatch

but The Forbin Project doesn’t show up at JustWatch.

Killer robots and SmartHomes…four decades ago.

Science fiction doesn’t actually usually try to predict, but it may try to warn…and in these two cases, we didn’t listen…


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My current Amazon giveaway:

Beyond Curie: Four women in physics and their remarkable discoveries 1903 to 1963 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Giveaway:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/b139e577ee333624

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
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Start:Sep 25, 2017 5:46 AM PDT

End:Oct 25, 2017 11:59 PM PDT


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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle 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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A different kind of year for Jennifer Lawrence

August 14, 2017

A different kind of year for Jennifer Lawrence

Has any actor ever done the movies better than Jennifer Lawrence?

Notice that I didn’t ask if anyone had “done better movies”…that’s entirely a different question.

No, I mean someone who is more successful at the “game of the movies”…or the movie business, if you prefer the more prosaic.

That sort of success is typically measured in one of two ways: box office, and “respect”…for the latter, we can go with award recognition, especially the Oscars.

Jennifer Lawrence has the respect part down, having been nominated for four Oscars since 2011, and winning the Best Actress award.

Now, other people have been nominated (eventually) for more Oscars (although I think four nominations in your first nine years of movie credits is exceptional), but this many this fast and this consistently? That’s at the least rare.

For box office, we’ve been naming our Most Valuable Players since 2011. Basically, they need to be first-billed in a movie which makes at least $100 million dogro (domestic gross) and another movie which dogroes at least $40 million (but they don’t need to be first-billed).

It’s difficult to make it two years in a row. Most movies which make $100 million generally take a lot of time and effort: somebody who is first-billed in a tentpole movie doesn’t have a lot of time to make another movie that year.

Starting in 2015 (but looking backwards from there), we added the “On a roll” designation. For 2016, for example, only four actors made it:

  • Bill Hader
  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
  • Jennifer Lawrence
  • Simon Pegg

Of those four, only one of them was on more than their second in a row: Jennifer Lawrence, who was on her fifth.

In 2015, the situation was similar: four people who were “On a roll”, and with Jennifer Lawrence the only one who was on more than the second in a row (the others were Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Banks, and Jai Courtney).

Unless something changes, though, this year will be different.

Jennifer Lawrence only has one movie scheduled for release, Mother!

With only one movie, it isn’t possible to make it to our

2017 The Measured Circle’s Box Office MVPs

list. It has nineteen people on it so far, with Hannibal Buress and Jenny Slate being the only two on a roll.

We don’t see this as any sign of a lasting downturn: we expect Jennifer Lawrence will be back at the top of the box office and wouldn’t be surprised to see additional Oscar nominations in her future.

This is just a different sort of year…

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

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When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) 2017 – results

March 5, 2017

BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) 2017 – results

What an interesting Oscar year!

I am going to talk a bit about what happened at the end of the show, but let’s start with how the team did.

The year before we had scored a 90% overall, and that’s not atypical. This year, we were considerably below that at 77%.

While it’s up to other people to determine if something is an excuse or not, I think there was a clear contributing factor to the decline. At least, I can see the impact in my own success rate.

This really was a transition year in how the Academy voted. They had deliberately changed the rules in order to reform the voting process (in part, with the hope of seeing the results be more diverse).

I didn’t take that into account enough. I was still thinking about how the “old Academy” would vote, rather than revising that.

In resulted in some patterns not repeating.

There has typically been a correlation between Best Picture and Film Editing, for example, and that didn’t happen this year.

Best Picture, Directing, and Film Editing went to three different movies (Moonlight, La La Land, Hacksaw Ridge, respectively).

Like many people, I’m a bit surprised to be describing Suicide Squad as an Oscar-winning movie (even though, unlike many people, I did like it). I think the old Academy would likely have gone for the more mainstream movie (A Man Called Ove), and I’ve been pretty good at predicting those Maven categories in the past.

However, that doesn’t mean we did poorly. We called most of the categories, and the only Big Six category we missed was Best Picture:

Category Team Called it
Adapted Screenplay Moonlight 76% Yes
Anim Feature Zootopia 92% Yes
Cinematography La La Land 88% Yes
Directing La La Land 90% Yes
Foreign Film The Salesman 84% Yes
Lead Actor Affleck 92% Yes
Lead Actress Emma Stone 92% Yes
Live Short Sing 66% Yes
Original Screenplay Manchester by the Sea 80% Yes
Production Design La La Land 86% Yes
Score La La Land 90% Yes
Song City of Stars: La La Land 87% Yes
Supp Actor Ali 88% Yes
Supp Actress Davis 99% Yes
Visual Effects The Jungle Book 79% Yes
Anim Short Piper 66% No
BP Moonlight 67% No
Costume Fantastic Beasts 56% No
Doc Feature O.J.: Made in America 66% No
Doc Short The White Helmets 57% No
Film Editing Hacksaw Ridge 61% No
Makeup Suicide Squad 70% No
Sound Editing Arrival 62% No
Sound Mixing Hacksaw Ridge 70% No

The team hit 68% on the Big Six, 81% on the Incredibly Difficult Maven section, and that 77% overall.

Our top Overall scorer did get 90%…way to go! I will let individuals know how they did, and if you’d like your win noted by name in this blog, just let me know.

Thanks to everybody who played! My guess is that we’ll do better next year.

I used Google Forms this year…and that didn’t work well. It was a nice interface for people entering (although it could use more robust validation), but the underlying Google Sheet was set up in an inefficient way. I had to transpose the columns and rows and do quite a bit of work to get results, which is part of why this is a week later. ūüôā

Now, let’s talk that Best Picture mix-up.

A quick summary:

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were set to announce the Best Picture. They had starred in Bonnie and Clyde roughly 40 years ago. Warren Beatty had been nominated for Best Picture (as a producer of that movie…he was also nominated for Best Picture other times).

They were handed the envelope containing the winner by the accountants (there are two) from Price Waterhouse Coopers.

They were given the wrong envelope.

They were given a back-up envelope for Best Actress (which had been won by Emma Stone for La La Land). There are two envelopes for each category, since people can come from two sides of the stage, as I understand it.

Warren Beatty opened the envelope. I’ve watched that repeatedly. It seems clear to me what happens.

He opens it, and sees that it says, “Emma Stone, La La Land”. He hesitates.

I think many viewers may not realize that the Producers’ names are on the Best Picture winning card. Remember, Warren Beatty has been nominated as a Producer of a Best Picture nominee.

He probably goes through this process: “Was Emma Stone one of the Producers of La La Land? She can’t have been the only Producer.”

He literally looks into the envelope again, apparently checking to see if there is another winners’ card.

Faye Dunaway appears to think he has been Seacresting it…dragging it out for dramatic effect. She says, “You’re impossible!” He hands her the card (and he has a smile on his face), and she loudly announces La La Land as the winner.

The Producers of La La Land go up…and even start going through their thank you speeches. I haven’t timed it, but I’m reasonably comfortable in saying there was at least thirty seconds from the time the “winner” was announced until a correction was made.

Eventually, a member of the Oscar broadcast team (not one of the accountants) comes on stage and explains what happened.

One of the Producers of La La Land magnanimously explains the error, even taking (snatching would not be inaccurate) the actual winning card and showing it to the audience.

I definitely feel sorry for both Moonlight and La La Land for the way this happened.

So, who is at fault?

I would say that there is no question that PWC deserves a huge piece of the blame (and arguably, really all of it).

Their system failed.

The two accountants are supposed to have all of the winners memorized. As soon as the wrong winner was announced, one of them (and the Stage Manager has backed this up) should have stopped it and explained…before the Producers got to the stage.

Obviously, the wrong envelope shouldn’t have been given…and one question for me on that (and I understand performance improvement) is why Emma Stone’s envelope was even still available. As soon as a category is announced, the duplicate card (I understand that the winner often keeps the card) should be removed from access. If they don’t want to destroy it because of its historical value, put it in a locked dropbox.

There was clearly a failure on the part of one of the accountants and to some extent, on both, but in my opinion, it wouldn’t have been too difficult to create a system that would have been robust enough to make that risk very small indeed.

Fortunately, they should be able to revamp the system to prevent this same type of error in the future.

I can’t blame Warren Beatty…even for handing Faye Dunaway the envelope. I don’t think he was intentionally setting her up, as Jimmy Kimmel (jokingly?) suggested. I can’t blame Faye Dunaway: there would have been a lot of energy at that point after the delay, and anybody could jump at the movie name they see.

Well, there you go! I thought it was a fascinating year, and while that error will dominate in many people’s memories, the (arguably successful) impact of the Academy’s changes will have a bigger effect in the future.

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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.

 

BOPMadness 2017 Oscar Predictions

February 26, 2017

BOPMadness 2017 Oscar Predictions

This is it!

Submissions are closed for BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) 2017!

We make our (aggregate) predictions public before the ceremony, so you can see how we do.

Here they are by category:

Email Address Team Predicted Winner Winner
Adapted Screenplay Arrival 40%
Adapted Screenplay Fences 64%
Adapted Screenplay Hidden Figures 78% X
Adapted Screenplay Lion 52%
Adapted Screenplay Moonlight 76%  X
Anim Feature Kubo 48%
Anim Feature Moana 70%
Anim Feature My Life as a Zucchini 36%
Anim Feature The Red Turtle 58%
Anim Feature Zootopia 92% X  X
Anim Short Blind Vaysha 54%
Anim Short Borrowed Time 52%
Anim Short Pear Cider and Cigarette 56%
Anim Short Pearl 72% X
Anim Short Piper 66%  X
BP Arrival 41%
BP Fences 57%
BP Hacksaw Ridge 29%
BP Hell or High Water 32%
BP Hidden Figures 69%
BP La La Land 91% X
BP Lion 63%
BP Manchester by the Sea 63%
BP Moonlight 73%  X
Cinematography Arrival 52%
Cinematography La La Land 88% X  X
Cinematography Lion 64%
Cinematography Moonlight 60%
Cinematography Silence 44%
Costume Allied 34%
Costume Fantastic Beasts 56%  X
Costume Florence Foster Jenkins 52%
Costume Jackie 88% X
Costume La La Land 72%
Directing Hacksaw Ridge 36%
Directing La La Land 90% X  X
Directing Manchester by the Sea 66%
Directing Moonlight 70%
Directing Villeneuve 42%
Doc Feature 13th 58%
Doc Feature Fire at Sea 60%
Doc Feature I Am Not Your Negro 76% X
Doc Feature Life, Animated 46%
Doc Feature O.J.: Made in America 66% X
Doc Short 4.1 Mile 68% X
Doc Short Extremis 58%
Doc Short Joe’s Violin 58%
Doc Short The White Helmets 62%  X
Doc Short Watani: My Homeland 60%
Film Editing Arrival 56%
Film Editing Hacksaw Ridge 62%  X
Film Editing Hell or High Water 46%
Film Editing La La Land 82% X
Film Editing Moonlight 56%
Foreign Film A Man Called Ove 54%
Foreign Film Land of Mine 48%
Foreign Film Tanna 46%
Foreign Film The Salesman 84% X  X
Foreign Film Toni Erdmann 66%
Lead Actor Affleck 92% X  X
Lead Actor Andrew Garfield 34%
Lead Actor Denzel Washington 76%
Lead Actor Ryan Gosling 62%
Lead Actor Viggo Mortensen 36%
Lead Actress Emma Stone 92% X  X
Lead Actress Huppert 60%
Lead Actress Meryl Streep 38%
Lead Actress Natalie Portman 62%
Lead Actress Ruth Negga 50%
Live Short Ennemis Interieurs 60%
Live Short La Femme et le TGV 48%
Live Short Silent Nights 62%
Live Short Sing 66% X  X
Live Short Timecode 64%
Makeup A Man Called Ove 57%
Makeup Star Trek Beyond 73% X
Makeup Suicide Squad 70%  X
Original Screenplay 20th Century Women 34%
Original Screenplay Hell or High Water 48%
Original Screenplay La La Land 74%
Original Screenplay Manchester by the Sea 80% X  X
Original Screenplay The Lobster 48%
Production Design Arrival 66%
Production Design Fantastic Beasts 58%
Production Design Hail, Caesar! 54%
Production Design La La Land 86% X  X
Production Design Passengers 36%
Score Jackie 58%
Score La La Land 90% X  X
Score Lion 60%
Score Moonlight 66%
Score Passengers 30%
Song Audition (The Fools Who Dream): La La Land 50%
Song Can’t Stop the Feeling: Trolls 68%
Song City of Stars: La La Land 88% X  X
Song How Far I’ll Go: Moana 58%
Song The Empty Chair: Jim The James Foley 36%
Sound Editing Arrival 62%  X
Sound Editing Deepwater Horizon 48%
Sound Editing Hacksaw Ridge 74% X
Sound Editing La La Land 72%
Sound Editing Sully 44%
Sound Mixing 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (disqualified) 30%
Sound Mixing Arrival 64%
Sound Mixing Hacksaw Ridge 70%  X
Sound Mixing La La Land 86% X
Sound Mixing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 50%
Supp Actor Ali 88% X  X
Supp Actor Dev Patel 78%
Supp Actor Jeff Bridges 56%
Supp Actor Lucas Hedges 46%
Supp Actor Michael Shannon 38%
Supp Actress Davis 100% X  X
Supp Actress Michelle Williams 62%
Supp Actress Naomie Harris 54%
Supp Actress Nicole Kidman 44%
Supp Actress Octavia Spencer 52%
Visual Effects Deepwater Horizon 38%
Visual Effects Doctor Strange 54%
Visual Effects Kubo and the Two Strings 48%
Visual Effects Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 84% X
Visual Effects The Jungle Book 80%  X

and here they are by percent chance of winning, with the surest things on the top and the longest shots on the bottom:

Email Address Team Predicted Winner Winner
Supp Actress Davis 100% X
Anim Feature Zootopia 92% X
Lead Actor Affleck 92% X
Lead Actress Emma Stone 92% X
BP La La Land 91% X
Directing La La Land 90% X
Score La La Land 90% X
Cinematography La La Land 88% X
Costume Jackie 88% X
Song City of Stars: La La Land 88% X
Supp Actor Ali 88% X
Production Design La La Land 86% X
Sound Mixing La La Land 86% X
Foreign Film The Salesman 84% X
Visual Effects Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 84% X
Film Editing La La Land 82% X
Original Screenplay Manchester by the Sea 80% X
Visual Effects The Jungle Book 80%
Adapted Screenplay Hidden Figures 78% X
Supp Actor Dev Patel 78%
Adapted Screenplay Moonlight 76%
Doc Feature I Am Not Your Negro 76% X
Lead Actor Denzel Washington 76%
Original Screenplay La La Land 74%
Sound Editing Hacksaw Ridge 74% X
BP Moonlight 73%
Makeup Star Trek Beyond 73% X
Anim Short Pearl 72% X
Costume La La Land 72%
Sound Editing La La Land 72%
Anim Feature Moana 70%
Directing Moonlight 70%
Makeup Suicide Squad 70%
Sound Mixing Hacksaw Ridge 70%
BP Hidden Figures 69%
Doc Short 4.1 Miles 68% X
Song Can’t Stop the Feeling: Trolls 68%
Anim Short Piper 66%
Directing Manchester by the Sea 66%
Doc Feature O.J.: Made in America 66%
Foreign Film Toni Erdmann 66%
Live Short Sing 66% X
Production Design Arrival 66%
Score Moonlight 66%
Adapted Screenplay Fences 64%
Cinematography Lion 64%
Live Short Timecode 64%
Sound Mixing Arrival 64%
BP Lion 63%
BP Manchester by the Sea 63%
Doc Short The White Helmets 62%
Film Editing Hacksaw Ridge 62%
Lead Actor Ryan Gosling 62%
Lead Actress Natalie Portman 62%
Live Short Silent Nights 62%
Sound Editing Arrival 62%
Supp Actress Michelle Williams 62%
Cinematography Moonlight 60%
Doc Feature Fire at Sea 60%
Doc Short Watani: My Homeland 60%
Lead Actress Huppert 60%
Live Short Ennemis Interieurs 60%
Score Lion 60%
Anim Feature The Red Turtle 58%
Doc Feature 13th 58%
Doc Short Extremis 58%
Doc Short Joe’s Violin 58%
Production Design Fantastic Beasts 58%
Score Jackie 58%
Song How Far I’ll Go: Moana 58%
BP Fences 57%
Makeup A Man Called Ove 57%
Anim Short Pear Cider and Cigarette 56%
Costume Fantastic Beasts 56%
Film Editing Arrival 56%
Film Editing Moonlight 56%
Supp Actor Jeff Bridges 56%
Anim Short Blind Vaysha 54%
Foreign Film A Man Called Ove 54%
Production Design Hail, Caesar! 54%
Supp Actress Naomie Harris 54%
Visual Effects Doctor Strange 54%
Adapted Screenplay Lion 52%
Anim Short Borrowed Time 52%
Cinematography Arrival 52%
Costume Florence Foster Jenkins 52%
Supp Actress Octavia Spencer 52%
Lead Actress Ruth Negga 50%
Song Audition (The Fools Who Dream): La La Land 50%
Sound Mixing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 50%
Anim Feature Kubo 48%
Foreign Film Land of Mine 48%
Live Short La Femme et le TGV 48%
Original Screenplay Hell or High Water 48%
Original Screenplay The Lobster 48%
Sound Editing Deepwater Horizon 48%
Visual Effects Kubo and the Two Strings 48%
Doc Feature Life, Animated 46%
Film Editing Hell or High Water 46%
Foreign Film Tanna 46%
Supp Actor Lucas Hedges 46%
Cinematography Silence 44%
Sound Editing Sully 44%
Supp Actress Nicole Kidman 44%
Directing Villeneuve 42%
BP Arrival 41%
Adapted Screenplay Arrival 40%
Lead Actress Meryl Streep 38%
Supp Actor Michael Shannon 38%
Visual Effects Deepwater Horizon 38%
Anim Feature My Life as a Zucchini 36%
Directing Hacksaw Ridge 36%
Lead Actor Viggo Mortensen 36%
Production Design Passengers 36%
Song The Empty Chair: Jim The James Foley 36%
Costume Allied 34%
Lead Actor Andrew Garfield 34%
Original Screenplay 20th Century Women 34%
BP Hell or High Water 32%
Score Passengers 30%
Sound Mixing 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (disqualified) 30%
BP Hacksaw Ridge 29%

Thanks to everybody who played! I’ll update this with the winners, and get the individual results to the players in the next few days.

We’ll know soon!

See you in the movies!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

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.

The Oscars are one week away! Surest things and longest shots

February 20, 2017

The Oscars are one week away! Surest things and longest shots

We are one week away from the Oscars, and I thought I’d check in with how¬†the BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) predictions were shaping up so far.

These certainly may change: if you want to make predictions, you still can by using this Google form:

https://goo.gl/forms/NqSNqNS6Y3ZS4Q232

You can also see all of the aggregate predictions there, but I thought I’d tease it by giving you the surest things and the longest shots at this point. We rank every nominee in every category, but here are those standouts.

So far, there are four nominees that we rank at 100% probability of winning…every player so far has given them the top possible score:

  • Emma Stone for Actress in a Leading Role for La La Land
  • Viola Davis for Actress in a Supporting Role for Fences
  • Cinematography for La La Land (Linus Sandgren)
  • Sound Mixing for La La Land (Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee, Steve A. Morrow)

Those are the surest shots. That could change as more players (including you?) send in predictions, but they probably will still be strong contenders.

At the other end are two nominees tied for least likely. To be clear, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t good or worthy or even that they won’t win, but just that at this point, we have in the aggregate given them the lowest probability…a 23% chance of taking their categories:

  • Sound Mixing for 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Mac Ruth)
  • Music (Original Score) for Passengers (Thomas Newman)

Think the wisdom of the group is wrong…or agree with it? Have other guesses you want to make? Please feel free to play at that Google form! The more the merrier, and possibly, we’ll beat last year’s 90% overall score! You can also see our current predictions for all of the categories…

See you in the movies!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

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.

BOPMadness 2017! Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness: make your own & see what we say

February 12, 2017

BOPMadness 2017! Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness: make your own & see what we say

For more than two decades, I’ve been doing an Oscar prediction contest. We only play for that most valuable of all human possessions…braggin’ rights. ūüėČ I’ve developed a particular way that we do it, and partially as a result of that, we tend to do quite well as a group in predictions…last year, we scored a 90% overall.

I’m doing it a bit differently this year (just in terms of process), which I think will make it easier for people to do and for them to see the results: I’m using a Google form:

https://goo.gl/forms/NqSNqNS6Y3ZS4Q232

You don’t need to sign up or anything, just play. ūüôā It does require an e-mail address (that’s the only way I can have it send you your guesses, if you want), and I do require that you make guesses about every nominee in every category…the more answers, I think the better we should do (based on the wisdom of crowds).

Feel free to spread the word! There’s only a week left. ūüėČ

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

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.

2017 Oscar noms

January 24, 2017

2017 Oscar noms

This is very preliminary, almost live-blogging. ūüôā 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.

Some thoughts:

  • How can you nominate an animated movie for Special Effects (they can do anything)? Kubo was
  • Now Oscar-nominated movies: Suicide Squad, Passengers (multiple), Star Trek Beyond, Trolls
  • Really, really looking for noms for Hidden Figures (our favorite movie probably in the past year), and none so far. There’s the first! Adapted Screenplay. Octavia Spencer was nominated: yay!
  • Moana and Zootopia are nominated for Animated Feature
  • Arrival is cleaning up, but not Best Actress. It is, I think, one of the most nominated movies, with La La Land (which we have decided does not count for as geek-friendly), Moonlight…maybe Manchester by the Sea (this is pretty much live)
  • Hidden Figures nominated for Best Picture…Deadpool was not
  • I thought having former Oscar honorees announce the nominees in pre-recorded segments, and mixing high profile and less high profile categories, worked
  • Lin-Manual Miranda is closer to an EGOT (Emmy Grammy Oscar Tony) with a nomination for a Moana song…although worth noting that “You’re Welcome” wasn’t nominated, leaving Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s road to an EGOT a bit longer… ūüėČ Seriously, it’s not going to surprise me if The Rock eventually gets an EGOT, just not right away

Best Original Song

  • Justin Timberlake for “Can’t Stop the Feeling” for Trolls
  • Lin-Manual Miranda for “How Far I’ll Go” for Moana

SFX (Special Effects)

  • Doctor Strange
  • The Jungle Book
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Doc Short

Documentary Feature

  • Life, Animated

Editing

  • Joe Walker for Arrival

Sound Mixing

Rogue One is Oscar-nominated, thanks to this category (and Visual Effects)

  • Arrival
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Sound Editing

  • Sylvain Bellemare for Arrival

Production Design

I really thought Hidden Figures might be nominated here.

  • Arrival
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Passengers

Live Action Short

Animated Short

Best Animated Feature

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia

 Supporting Actor

No performances in geek-friendly roles nominated

Supporting Actress

  • Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • A Man Called Ove
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Suicide Squad

Costume

  • Colleen Atwood for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Cinematography

  • Bradford Young for Arrival

Adapted Screenplay

  • Eric Heissener and Ted Chiang for Arrival
  • Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi, Margot Lee Shetterly for Hidden Figures

Original Screenplay

  • Yorgos Lanthimos for The Lobster

Original Score

Not Moana? Well, “score” now often doesn’t mean songs, but La La Land was nominated

  • Thomas Newman for Passengers

Foreign Language

Directing

  • Denis Villeneuve for Arrival

Lead Actress

No performances in geek-friendly roles nominated

Lead Actor

No performances in geek-friendly roles nominated

Best Picture

  • Arrival
  • Hidden Figures

Where can you legally stream any of these Oscar nominees without paying additional money (subscriptions required)?

Amazon Prime:

  • Life, Animated
  • The Lobster

Hulu:

Netflix:

  • The Jungle Book
  • Zootopia

2017 Oscar nominations video:

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

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

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.

It’s award season: how geeky is it?

December 15, 2016

It’s award season: how geeky is it?

Oh, it’s going to be an interesting award season!

This week,¬†we’ve had three major announcements. Sunday was the 22nd annual

Critics’ Choice Awards

For me, there were very few surprises there. It seems like any reader of Entertainment Weekly (and I’ve been reading it for a very long time) would be very familiar with almost all of the winners

That’s interesting, in part because I think people believe critics tend to like movies that audiences don’t (hypothetically showing their more refined sensibilities), but I wouldn’t say that’s the case this year. Making a lot of money did not rule you out for an award…and in at least a couple of awards, the winner had the highest dogro (domestic gross) as well.

It was also quite geek-friendly.

I haven’t seen La La Land yet, and I’m not sure if there is actual fantasy in it, so I won’t count that as a geek-friendly winner…yet.;)

Best Picture

Interesting to me here that Arrival was nominated. That seems to have a chance for some prestige Oscar noms…

Best Comedy Series

Silicon Valley won.

Best Drama Series

Game of Thrones won, but Westworld and Stranger Things were also nominated, along with Mr. Robot (and Better Call Saul, The Crown, and This Is Us).

Best Actor in a Drama Series

While Bob Odenkirk won for Better Call Saul, Sam Heughan was nominated for Outlander, as was Rami Malek for Mr. Robot.

Best Structured Reality Show

Penn & Teller: Fool Us was nominated, although James Corden won.

Best Animated Series

The winner was BoJack Horseman: other nominees were Archer, Bob’s Burgers, The Simpsons, South Park, and hybrid Son of Zorn.

Entertainer of the Year Award

Ryan Reynolds, obviously primarily for Deadpool.

Best Actress

Amy Adams was nominated for Arrival; Natalie Portman won for Jackie.

Best Actress in a Drama Series

Evan Rachel Wood brought it home for Westworld…but Caitriona Balfe (Outlander) and Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) were both nominated.

Best Comedy

Deadpool won…and was the highest domestic grossing of the nominees.

Best Director

Denis Villeneuve got a nom for Arrival, but the win went to Damien Chazelle for La La Land (who should easily see an Oscar nom as well).

Best Supporting Actress

Fences got Viola Davis the award, and Janelle Monae was nominated for Hidden Figures.

Best Song

City of Stars from La La Land was lauded, but Can’t Stop the Feeling from Trolls was nominated. Interestingly, the nominee for Moana was How Far I’ll Go, not You’re Welcome, which has had a much higher social media presence.

Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series

Jeffrey Dean Morgan hit a home run (so to speak) for The Walking Dead.

See Her Award

This was a special award which went to Viola Davis…although I don’t think they were primarily thinking Suicide Squad.

Best Actor in a Comedy

Ryan Reynolds showed the maximum result from his maximum effort as Deadpool. The future Doc Savage, Dwayne Johnson, was one of the other nominees for Central Intelligence.

Best Actress in a Comedy

Hey, Kate McKinnon, if you are going to be beaten by somebody for your Ghostbusters performance, Meryl Streep is a good choice. ūüėČ

Best Animated Feature

Zootopia won, and has been a great success story (although Finding Dory, also nominated, had a higher dogro). Other nominees included Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, The Red Turtle, and Trolls.

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali won for Moonlight. I don’t think I’ve seen Alphas or The 4400 mentioned in all the coverage he has been getting as a “rising star”.

Best Actor in a Comedy Series was won by Donald Glover for Atlanta, although Will Forte was also nominated for The Last Man on Earth.

Best Score

Johan Johansson was nominated for Arrival; La La Land’s Justin Hurwitz won.

Best Visual Effects

The hybrid The Jungle Book won, with other nominees being Arrival, A Monster Calls, Doctor Strange, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Best Production Design

Winner is La La Land, but Arrival and Fantastic Beasts also got noms.

Hair and Makeup

Jackie won: Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts, and Star Trek Beyond were also nominated.

Editing

La La Land scores again, but Arrival had yet another nomination.

Costume Design

Fantastic Beasts was nominated; Jackie won.

Cinematography

Hopefully, Arrival hadn’t worn out the “I’m glad you won…you really deserve it” smile by the time they got to this category. ūüėČ

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

John Lithgow took it for The Crown. Peter Dinklage and Kit Harington were nominated for Game of Thrones, along with Christian Slater for Mr. Robot.

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Thandie Newton made it a double for Westworld in acting. Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey were nominated for Game of Thrones.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Here’s a win for Arrival! Hidden Figures was also nominated.

Best Actor in a Movie Made for Television or Limited Series

American Crime Story’s Courtney B. Vance won, with Benedict Cumberbatch nominated for The Abominable Bride.

Best Original Screenplay

Congrats to Chazelle for La La Land; Yorgos Lanthimos was also nominated for The Lobster.

Best Actress in an Action Movie

No question that all of these geeky movies were also action movies…but it’s worth noting that no non-geeky movie had a best actress nominated. Are powerful women still more acceptable in a fantasy world…just as they were in the days of the pulps? Margot Robbie won for Suicide Squad (and will again play Harley Quinn in another movie), with Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in Captain America: Civil War, and Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange also nominated.

Best Actor in an Action Movie

Andrew Garfield wins for a non-geeky role (Hacksaw Ridge). Also nominated were Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Matt Damon for Jason Bourne, Chris Evans as Captain America in Captain America: Civil War, and Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool (meaning he could have won two Critics Choice Awards in the same year for the same role).

Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie

Arrival, which may be the most Oscar-nommed of this bunch, won. Other nominees were 10 Cloverfield Lane, Doctor Strange, Don’t Breathe, Star Trek Beyond, and The Witch.

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Louie Anderson won for Baskets, and T.J. Miller was nominated for Silicon Valley.

Best Young Actor/Actress

Manchester by the Sea is picking up awards for Amazon. Lewis MacDougall got a nomination for A Monster Calls.

Best Acting Ensemble

Moonlight shines as the winner, and Hidden Figures was in the running.

Best Action Movie

Yep, the non-geeky Hacksaw Ridge wins, over Civil War, Deadpool, Doctor Strange, and Jason Bourne.


The Golden Globes nominations were announced Monday (the ceremony is January 8th). Often more geek-friendly than the Oscars, it is still seen by some as a predictor (even though the categories don’t really line up).

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Deadpool gets a nom, along with La La Land.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Amy Adams is nominated.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Colin Farrell was nominated for The Lobster, as was Ryan Reynolds for Deadpool and Ryan Gosling for La La Land.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Emma Stone is up for La La Land.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Octavia Spencer gets a nomination for Hidden Figures…a different way than the Critics Choice went.

Best Director – Motion Picture

Damien Chazelle will likely get an Oscar nom, and got a Globe nom as well.

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

La La Land lands another nomination.

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

City of Stars from La La Land, How Far I’ll Go from Moana (Lin-Manuel Miranda), Faith from Sing (Stevie Wonder co-write with Ryan Tedder and Francis Farewell Starlite), and Can’t Stop the Feeling (Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, Shellback).

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Arrival, Hidden Figures, and La La Land are competing.

Best Motion Picture – Animated

Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, Sing, Zootopia…and in one of those left field Golden Globe noms, My Life as a Zucchini.

Best Television Series – Drama

Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and Westworld means that more than half of this category is geeky.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

Rami Malek in Mr. Robot is up.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama

60% geeky, with Caitriona Balfe for Outlander, Winona Ryder for Stranger Things, and Evan Rachel Wood for Westworld.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

Mr. Robot strikes again with Christian Slater.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

Lena Heady in Game of Thrones versus Thandie Newton in Westworld.


The Screen Actors Guild Awards will be given out on January 29th, and nominations were announced Wednesday.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

The NASA true story inspired Hidden Figures is on the Launchpad.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Ryan Gosling is in contention for La La Land.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Will Amy Adams, nominated here, get that rarity and be nominated for an Oscar for a geeky role? Emma Stone was also nominated for La La Land.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

SAG agrees with the Globes, nominating Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory gets a nomination here…as does the non-geeky Black-ish, which has a number of acting noms this year. Why is that worth noting? They are both from the former big three networks (as is Modern Family, one more nominated in this category).

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and Westworld will battle again.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Peter Dinklage continues to get recognition in Game of Thrones; Rami Malek is again nommed for Mr. Robot.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Nice to see Millie Bobby Brown nominated for Stranger Things, along with here co-star, Wynona Ryder. Thandie Newton is also competing, representing Westworld.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a television Movie or Miniseries

Glory is reflected on Bryce Dallas Howard through a Black Mirror.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series

All geeky, with Daredevil, Game of Thrones, Luke Cage, The Walking Dead, and Westworld.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Film

People have been talking about this for the Oscars for years, but SAG has it. Captain America: Civil War, Jason Bourne, and Doctor Strange are up against Hacksaw Ridge and Nocturnal Animals.

SAG Life Achievement Award goes to Lily Tomlin.


Update: The National Film Registry (from The Library of Congress) inductees for this year were announced Wednesday morning. Geek-friendly titles included

  • The Birds
  • The Lion King
  • Lost Horizon (1937)
  • The Princess Bride
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Overall, this is an unusually geek-friendly awards season so far. We can thank, in part, Arrival, Hidden Figures, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and Westworld.

Clearly, geek-friendly works are becoming more respectable…

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you‚Äôll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get. :) Shop ‚Äôtil you help! :) By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

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.

Alan Tudyk: the unknown movie star

October 22, 2016

Alan Tudyk: the unknown movie star

Is 2016 the year that

Alan Tudyk

becomes a household name?

It’s a bit of a surprise that he isn’t already.

After all, he has appeared on our Most Valuable Players list multiple times:

He is on 815 (!) reader created lists at IMDb.

Still, despite having significant roles in some of the most popular movies of the year, I think most people couldn’t name him.

Oh, it’s different for geeks…we know him from Serenity and Dollhouse, just to name two.

Why might this year be different?

Star Wars.

Star Wars is the crossover geekshow of all time (although there are others, certainly). I think most people have heard of, well, just about everybody in a Star Wars movie.

Voicing the lead droid character, K-2SO ought to do it. ūüôā

He will also easily make the MVP list this year, with¬†Rogue One: A Star Wars Story¬†,¬†Moana, and¬†Zootopia. It’s possible his movies will make a combined dogro (domestic gross) of over one billion dollars this year, a rare feat (only achieved by five MVPs in 2015).

For more information on Alan Tudyk, see his birthdate of March 16, 1971 at

The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you‚Äôll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get. :) Shop ‚Äôtil you help! :) By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

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.

Why we love Gene Wilder

August 30, 2016

Why we love Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder has reportedly died.

A brilliant actor, who was also a writer and director, Wilder was a study in contradictions, with eyes that were both twinkling and pools of sadness, optimistic and pessimistic, a believer in magic and doubter of the ordinary.

From One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on stage to two Oscar nominations (for acting in The Producers and screenwriting with long-time collaborator Mel Brooks for Young Frankenstein), there is no question that Gene Wilder was respected.

He was, though, also beloved, especially by geeks like me. We have a special place in our hearts for Gene Wilder.

Why is that?

Three of his best-known roles reveal a theme that helps explain it.

Willy Wonka, the Waco Kid, and Dr. Frederick Frankenstein have some significant similarities (although Wilder’s talent and skill clearly make them distinct characters).

In all three cases, they are superior individuals. Willy Wonka has created an unparalleled business, and appears to have almost magical powers. The Waco Kid may be the greatest gunslinger ever. Dr. Frankenstein literally brings the dead to life again.

They have also all rejected society. If they “played the game”, they could be the toast of the town, the top of their respective fields. Willy Wonka has actually withdrawn from the world. The Waco Kid has crawled into a bottle and¬† taken a nap there. Dr. Frankenstein has tried to fit in, but once at the castle, casts all that aside to continue his grandfather’s work.

None of that would make them especially endearing.

However, each of them also champions someone rejected by that same society which they have rejected. Willy Wonka does not minimize Charlie, who is poor and not the social equal of the other kids. The Waco Kid recognizes Sheriff Bart for his intrinsic value, unlike many others who at the least discount him out of prejudice. Dr. Frankenstein believes “The Monster” is as much a human being as anyone else.

That’s a clear appeal for geeks and for anyone who has considered themselves the underdog. The powerful person who doesn’t use that power¬†to exclude, but to reach out to¬†those on the fringes.

None of them are perfect. They can all be angry, and cynicism isn’t pretty. That helps, though…we see characters overcoming personality flaws (flaws which they know are there) to help someone who has been denied acceptance.

Again, that’s not to say that Gene Wilde replayed the same character. Those three each have distinct personalities…which wouldn’t have liked each other. In other performances, we don’t always see these three elements…and while the actor could be equally good in those roles, he wasn’t as beloved.

As Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder said, “We are the dreamers of dreams.” “We”…not “I”. There is a kinship offered. “I am like you, and we are not like most people.”

The dreams will live on.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you‚Äôll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get. :) Shop ‚Äôtil you help! :) By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

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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