Sunday, April 28, 2013

42 - The Story of Jackie Robinson

"42" tells the story of iconic baseball player Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in the previously white-only major leagues. He was famously the man to break the color line, thanks to the determination of forward-thinking Branch Rickey, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was the beginning of the civil rights era. But that was unknown at the time.

Rickey (Harrison Ford, almost unrecognizable at the beginning of the movie) discovers the talent of Robinson and plucks him in 1945 from the Negro Leagues to play for the minor league Montreal Royals. Robinson (played by TV actor, producer, director but little-known movie actor Chadwick Boseman) soon becomes part of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Look for Boseman in many more movies to come. He was superb.

Determined to integrate professional baseball, Rickey tells Robinson "I want a player with the guts not to fight back." It's a daunting task. If he responded to the abuse he received, he'd be seen as a troublemaker. Robinson is met with vicious 1947 racism, booing crowds, and teammates who are, to say the least, unwelcoming. Robinson's fellow Dodgers, many of them Southern boys, sign a petition to have him kicked off.

In one painful five-minute rant, the Philadelphia Phillies manager (after making it known they didn't want the Dodgers playing in Philly) subjects Robinson to filthy insults, including repeated use of the N word. Throughout the movie you see segregated public bathrooms and water fountains. It's shocking to see the sign "colored."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Most Celebrated Award Shows in Hollywood

Even celebrities and filmmakers need a public boost of confidence here and there. Movie award shows give Hollywood entertainers a chance to receive recognition for their acting, writing, directing, composing, and production skills from fans and peers. While it's easy to think of all award shows as being basically the same, each show attracts a specific audience based on tone, voting system, and nominees. Award shows where the voting is decided by the public tend to bring in more playful and outlandish elements to satisfy mainstream viewers, while industry- and critic-based award shows often take the conservative approach.

Some award associations occasionally try to reverse a show's public image. For example, the Academy Awards famously chose to reach out to younger viewers by enlisting actors James Franco and Anne Hathaway to be co-hosts in 2010. The mismatched hosts bombed horribly with flat banter and ill-timed exchanges. Despite the ploy's obvious flaws, the Academy Awards renewed this attempt in 2012 by inviting crude humorist Seth McFarlane to host. Despite these mistakes, the Academy Awards reign as the top movie awards show in Hollywood. The show is informally known as the 'Oscars' and has been honoring moving pictures since 1929, making it the longest running film awards show.

The Oscars are organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, one of the most influential film organizations in show business. The seasonal air date for the Academy Awards has changed multiple times, but it has been consistently hosted in late February or early March for the past decade. As the academy's voting body draws directly from Hollywood's pool of popular performers and filmmakers, winning that well-muscled golden statue is directly linked to opinions from industry peers. Looking back at the Oscars' eighty-five-year run is like taking a course in the history of film. While some audiences view the Oscars as outdated and limited in scope, the show has hailed iconic screen gems in nearly every genre, ranging from "It Happened One Night" and "West Side Story" to "Star Wars" and "Forrest Gump."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bradley Cooper's Rise to Fame

Having first obtained recognition for his role on the television show "Alias," Bradley Cooper has become a well-known actor who has gone on to appear in a number of films. Bradley Cooper was born on January 5, 1975 in Philadelphia. Cooper first attended Germantown Academy and later enrolled in Villanova University before transferring to Georgetown University. As a college student, Cooper spent several months as an exchange student in France and became fluent in French. After graduating from college, he attended the Actors Studio Drama School and received an MFA.

Cooper had previously begun to explore an acting career and launched that career with a role on "Sex and the City." His film debut arrived two years later, in 2001, when he landed a role on "Wet Hot American Summer." Around this time, Cooper was awarded what would become a breakout role for him on the television show "Alias." Although he eventually left the series in 2003, Cooper did return twice as a guest star. In 2002, Cooper was scheduled to appear in the film "Changing Lanes." The footage in which he appeared was later removed from the box office version of the film.

During this time, Cooper's career began to take off, and he appeared in the television movie "I Want to Marry Ryan Banks." The film also starred Jason Priestley. In addition, Cooper landed a role on the television series "Jack & Bobby" as a regular guest star. When Cooper appeared in the hit comedy "Wedding Crashers," his talent as a comedic actor became more widely recognized. Cooper next starred in "Failure to Launch" with Matthew McConaughey. In 2005, he portrayed the leading role on "Kitchen Confidential." The sitcom was based on a memoir penned by Anthony Bourdain. The sitcom received positive reviews, but it was later canceled.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ori Gersht - The Fine Art of Photography Comes to Life

The Fine arts photographer, Ori Gersht, works out of the United Kingdom, producing multilayered photographic and film works that strongly resonate the destructive, violent and disturbing nature of historical events such as the Spanish Civil War, The French Revolution, Hiroshima and even the suicide bombs which the artist experienced directly during his childhood in Israel.

Contemplating life, destiny, chance and loss, the artist often conjures up images of sites with historical significance to explore the grand and unrestrained themes of life, beauty, violence and death. All through his work, The Landscape is used as a motif and symbol hinting to the catastrophic and violent events that had once taken place within the landscape being shown. Gersht's work carries a strong suggestion of the emotional and psychological disturbance caused by the events of the past, arousing a feeling of violence and haunted by the ghosts of war, The Refugees.

In his still life series, Ori Gersht, explores the relationship between photography, technology and perception at a critical and important point in time when technological advancements have influenced photography, changing the medium forever. In this series, the artist touches on early photography history while introducing a theoretical discourse around his subjects. The images literally and figuratively explode the genre of still life as the artist captures the beautiful but destructive images with advanced cutting edge technology.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

House Music and Its History

Entering into a pub is also entering into a world of music. If you have ever been inside a pub, then you will be greeted by a variety of music. You just have to keep your ears aware of whatever music is playing inside the pub. If you like to listen to music, then you will have definitely understood by now that there are several genres involved in music. House music is one of them. It has become popular by now but had a slow start that makes you want to trace its historical background. Creating an ideal atmosphere for music lovers, this music has a story behind it.

House music trends took over in the 1980s in Chicago because people were growing tired of having to dance to the same old tunes. Even the DJs did not find having to play the same music all the time any fascinating. This is why they decided to personalize some of the songs. They added a touch of their own expertise to the songs that were played in the bars. Within no time, the music became popular. Everyone started enjoying and the DJs even began to release their own albums which incorporated this kind of music with the regular songs of artists.

When house music started playing on every lip, it travelled from Chicago to Detroit. Eventually, this musical trend crossed the oceans and spread itself in the United Kingdom. Different DJs from different cultures accepted the house music trends in their own distinctive way. They added new beat and started mixing different versions of the music. Moreover, they even went as far as introducing different sounds and people become fond of this music, experiencing a huge change from the ordinary hearing. All this happened within the 1980s and house music became a global phenomenon. Singers started releasing albums that favored this kind of music.

Monday, April 8, 2013

EPCOT's Top 5 Original Attractions From 1982

On October 1, 1982, Walt Disney World's Epcot Center opened to great excitement and fanfare. There were over 100 television studios covering the event, and dignitaries as well as celebrities were in attendance. Visitors to Epcot on that day were treated to live shows, music, and a host of cutting-edge attractions. Over the next 30 years, some of those original attractions were shut down or completely replaced. However, many of the original attractions are still present today. Sure, they've been updated, renamed, or revamped, but they're still going strong. For a little history behind what you'll see at Epcot, have a look at our list of the top 5 original Epcot attractions from 1982.

Spaceship Earth

This attraction is housed at Epcot's world-famous icon, the silver geodesic sphere. Spaceship Earth, a 12-minute dark ride, takes guests through the history of mankind, from the beginning of humanity to the present day. The narrators and the music have changed several times over the years, and several of the original scenes have been updated and replaced, but the theme is always the same: the history of humanity and mankind's journey to the future. Visitors to Spaceship Earth today will hear a lovely score by composer Bruce Broughton and a narration by Judy Dench.

Universe of Energy / Ellen's Energy Adventure

This attraction in Future World has been updated several times since its 1982 debut, but the essence of the story - an exploration of the history of energy - is the same. The real updates to this attraction have been the cast (you'll find Ellen DeGeneris, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Jamie Lee Curtis, to name a few), the score, and the films. The traveling theater system, the sets, and the audio-animatronic dinosaurs are almost all from 1982, which makes this attraction one of the longest running in all of Epcot.

CommuniCore / Innoventions

Although you could have visited CommuniCore at Epcot's opening in 1982, you won't exactly find it today. CommuniCore was the center of Epcot, much like Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. CommuniCore was also the geographical and thematic hub of Epcot, uniting all of the ideas and themes of the park in one pavilion. In 1994, CommuniCore was officially closed so that it could be updated to reflect the changes in modern technology. In late 1994, the area that was once CommuniCore reopened as Innoventions, a museum celebrating technological advancements. Innoventions features everything from the science behind the Disney Imagineering labs to Apple's contributions to technology. Although CommuniCore was a wonderful part of Epcot, Innoventions pays tribute to the quickly advancing world of human technological inventions.