April 27th, 2016
Based on the classic stories of Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book is a nostalgic ride for many people. The story of the man-cub, Mowgli brings back a flood of good old childhood memories for many adults. The lush jungle, the dangerous terrains, and the picturesque landscapes set the scene for a magnificent story that has unfolded on the silver screen.
Viewers who just took a trip through the exotic and dense jungles showcased in the movie, might be surprised the true location of the address. And, it is not Amazon rainforests, Indonesia, or some little known country. The jungle does have an address and that is Downtown Los Angeles. Yes, the crazy adventures of Mowgli with all the CGI lifelike characters took place entirely in the studios there. It is incredible, although nothing new for Disney. The company has always been at the forefront, when comes to introducing innovation in the movie industry. Jon Favreau, the director of the movie, also agrees with this and admits that his own work has been highly influenced by Walt Disney.
With this movie, the director’s vision has been transferred onto the screen in the most epic way possible. Disney left no stone unturned when it comes to visual effects in the movie and it hired the best that Hollywood has to offer. Rob Legato, the visual effects supervisor for blockbusters like Titanic, Avatar, and Hugo, among others was on-board. Adam Valdez of Maleficent fame and Dan Lemmon, who worked on two of the three Lord of the Rings’ movies, were also a part of the team. With such a talented pool of visual effects supervisors, something special was bound to happen and it indeed did. Other than Neel Sethi, there is not a single other actor on the screen. But, it never felt like that, did it? In fact, most of you would be excused if you realized this only now. Moreover, the integration of CGI with the actor is simply remarkable.
The production employed a virtual production pipeline, which was led by Legato. Technicolor, the French entertainment giant, played a pivotal role in the production of the movie. Given its size, it is arguably the only company that could have offered the varied services and the sophisticated tech infrastructure that the project needed at its different stages. Moreover, the professional relationships of the big names on the crew also helped Technicolor to understand, share, and hone their capabilities.
MPC, the visual effects studio of Technicolor was entrusted with designing all the characters other than the central character of Mowgli and the primates. The studios followed a sophisticated process to generate a highly polished and neat final product. Every shot was pre-visualized. Video game production, motion capture, and digital filmmaking tools were used profusely. This process allowed the director to view the virtual sets and the elements that had to be added later in real time. This kind of ability allowed the filmmakers to tweak each and every detail of the frame and made the superimposition of the actual shots over the CGI elements much better.
The only human character in the film, Neel Sethi, has been shot in native stereoscopic 3-D. He was filmed on motion capture stages, against green screens, and all kinds of sets. All these different approaches gave the production a lot to work with. So, not only were they able to blend the human with the background seamlessly, but also with the rest of the character animation as well.
As far as the animals in the movie are concerned, a lot of care was taken at the conception stage itself. The filmmakers did their due research before going to the drawing board. They sat down to watch the footage of the different animals in the movie to ascertain their body language in the wild. As Favreau puts it, “Dogs or wolves are very expressive with their eyebrows, so you could get away with a lot-but not so much with their mouth. Cats don’t use their eyebrows. Bears use their lips and eyebrows. Each animal gave us a different set of tools to use”. This is the main reason why the animals look like you can almost touch them. It is not only the visual effects that are playing a role there, but the attention to detail by the filmmakers is simply extraordinary. They made sure that apart from the fact that they talk, the animals essentially remain the same as they are in their natural environment.
To that effect, the director has used the body language of the animal or background dialogues to convey their feelings. It is only in the comic moments of the movie that most of the dialogue delivery by the animals has been concentrated upon. This has kept the illusion of the jungle intact. The animals do not use a human mouth to speak, which makes their portrayal all the more real, and the intense moments all the more impactful.
The work of the finishing artists in putting the final touches to creating the magic of the Jungle Book is also impressive to say the least. The team of artists that made it possible include Technicolor’s Steve Scott, Charles Bunnag, and Mike Sowa. They employed the latest color grading system called Autodesk’s Lustre Premium 2016 for the job. The software allows the artist to move between visual effects and color grading. Real time tools like this help in creating many iterations. A complete set of finishing tools saves a lot of time.
The movie is the crème de la crème of animated movies. It is extensively detailed and painstakingly nuanced. It has pushed the envelope of animated reality the farthest it can be pushed. Whether it is the background or the characters, no expense has been spared to bring out the best. Putting so many elements together and achieving such synergy is no small feat. The best part is that the audience is now able to appreciate this fact and come out in large numbers to watch such movies. This trend will only encourage directors like Favreau to attempt much bigger projects in the future.
April 22nd, 2016
If you are not fairly exposed to technology, then forgive us about popping your bubble. Hollywood has made people believe that there are hackers who can control the refrigerator in your home to listen to your conversations, or make it catch fire and kill you. Or perhaps, take control of a military drone to blast their enemies off the face of the planet. While the cyber threats are real, and increasing, they are almost always much less physical. There is usually some money transfer, information theft, and the likes, which hardly involves any bloodshed. Hollywood glorifies what hackers can do, and just like ghost stories, this makes for good entertainment. But, when someone with a little knowhow of technology watches these such shows and movies, they end up with a completely screwed up idea of what technology can and can’t do. We have made a list of some of the top cyber security related scenes to churn out of Hollywood in recent times, and analyzed them for what they are worth.
Nomi, played by Jamie Clayton, used to be a hacktivist, before she was convicted of cybercrime. She was under the age of 18, which meant that the repercussions would be much less for her. That is why she took the fall to protect her older friend. Back to the present, she decides to put her hacking skills to use, when she is visited by her old friend Bug. Bug comes to her, loaded with all the latest hardware equipment, which she could use for hacking.
The good thing about this scene is that the showmakers are spot on about the things that Nomi and Bug are discussing. Things like switch-hooks, water witch, candy gram, rage master, and firewalls. The fact is that whatever they discuss during those moments make a lot of sense. However, what comes after that is just bad. Once everything is set up, Nomi instantly has access to every computer system in the world, and can hack it without wasting any time. In reality, hacking into a computer system, even the most unprotected ones, takes a lot of time, even days. But, I guess the audience would want a single episode to last 3 days per hack, right?
So far, Mr. Robot has been a phenomenal show in portraying hackers in the most realistic way. The show’s lead, Elliot Alderson, is an antisocial drug addict played by Rami Malek. His anxiety prevents him from making meaningful relationships with people. His routine includes working at a cybersecurity firm during the day, and as a vigilante hacker during the night. The show goes to great lengths to portray how hacking works in the real world. In fact, the show has received praises even from the real world hackers’ network, Anonymous.
Every episode of this show has numerous scenes, which can be highly educational and at the same time, dangerous, as it shares a lot of hacking information that works. For instance, in episode 3 of the season 1, eps1.2_d3bug.mkv, Tyrell Wellick seduces his boss’ secretary to install a backdoor into his phone, so that he can steal corporate secrets. The target is in the shower when Tyrell installs the backdoor. One of the passionate viewers of the show analyzed this scene in excruciating detail. They went into so much depth that they even found out the name of the software that Tyrell installs in the phone. It is Flexispy. The process and exact installation sequence of this tool are the same as what are portrayed in Mr.Robot. This shows the level of depth that the showmakers of this show have gone to keep it as real as possible. Hats off to them.
House of Cards is quite an unlikely hero in this list. This political thriller is not something you would go to find educational information regarding hacking. But, you will be amazed to know that all the show got right. For instance, in the second episode of season 2, Lucas is trying to find a hacker who could help him steal information from Vice President Frank Underwood’s phone, which could help implicate him in the murder of Zoe Barnes. Lucas casually asks his IT guy to provide him some information on the dark side of the internet, for professional purpose of course. The tech guy at Washington Herald then on explaining a lot of things that could prove to be a goldmine for anyone who is just getting interested in the Deed Web.
Some of the things that are discussed in this scene are the threat to US from hackers who could hack phone companies and get access to the data history of millions of users, how to access Deep Web, how it is the place for finding child porn, bitcoin laundering, mail-order narcotics, hackers for hire, TOR, how TOR keeps you anonymous, and other things. This discussion itself is short, but everything is perfectly portrayed as it is. Lucas is then contacted by a hacker, Gavin Orsay, in the most secretive manner, as is the modus operandi of the hackers. This show is no doubt one of the better ones, when it comes to discussing cyber security issues. In fact, it even discusses some real-life hackers such as Barrett Brown, whom Orsay tries to save from lifelong imprisonment.
In the final scenes of the Season 3 finale, every TV channel in the UK gets hacked at the same time, and Jim Moriarity’s face is seen mocking on the screens and terrifying the entire population and government. If you are wondering whether something akin to that can be done, well the short answer is yes. But, that would require massive resources, and people to work behind it. One may, or even a small band of people cannot possibly execute it. Secondly, even when hackers gain remote access to TV channel’s systems, there is nothing stopping the networks from shutting down their broadcast. The easiest is, of course, to shut off the equipment that is broadcasting the video. As simple as that.
April 14th, 2016
Created by Ben Watkins, Hand of God is a drama series that streamed on Amazon. The show premiered on the streaming service on September 4, 2015, although the pilot of the show appeared in August 2014. Amazon encourages the viewers to vote for the pilots that they would like to see as being turned into shows. For the 2015 – 2016 lineup, Amazon’s subscribers picked Hand of God and was promptly awarded a full series by the streaming service.
The show revolves around a bad judge, a corrupt one at that, Pernell Harris. He is on a mission to take revenge from the criminal who raped his daughter-in-law, which in turn had driven his son to make an attempt to take his own life. The rapist had actually made his son watch the rape of his own wife. Traumatized by the incidence, Harris’ son decides to shoot himself in the head. The head shot, however, left him clinically dead. But, Pernell never comes to terms with the fact that his son is, for all practical purposes, dead, and instead, keeps him alive on life support. His argument is that his son actually speaks with him and is not really dead.
The show portrays a vengeful Northern California judge, who is obsessed with visions. He sees signs in everything. His actions can only be explained by rationalizing that the tragedy has led him to the brink of a mental breakdown or maybe, even pushed him over the edge. In the very first scene of the series, the ‘judge’ can be seen standing in a public fountain, completely naked. Apparently, he is born again as a vigilante. Soon, it is explained that the ‘rebirth’ that the judge has experienced is at the hands of a reverend, who is more con-man than a religious personality.
Even after all this has happened to him, Harris does not deter from his vengeful path. He is still under the impression that he has been showed this path by a higher power, and hence the name of the show. In his pursuit to dish out his very own brand of justice, he recruits a sociopath, who also believes in a heavenly intervention. With the killer around, the show has not skimped on gore scenes and betrayal at all. He is the one that delivers the ‘justice’, as “judged” by the born-again judge.
The show boasts of a strong cast. The central character of Pernell Harris is played by Ron Perlman. The actor has had a sparkling career studded with main roles in many TV shows, including Beauty and the Beast, Hellboy and its sequel. He has done numerous movies and television shows, which are just too many to mention. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Golden Globe Award, and has been nominated for many awards over the years. In the role of Pernell Harris, he has not failed to put his best foot forward either.
Julian Morris is also present on the show in the crucial role of Reverend Paul Curtis. The audience may recall him as Dr. Andrew Wade from ER, Agent Owen from 24, and Ryan Geauxinue from New Girl. He has done many television and movie roles too. In Hand of God, he has again performed really well in role of a reverend, who has a huge influence on the future of the main character.
Dana Delany is the other big name associated with the show. She is best remembered for her roles as Colleen McMurphy in China Beach and Katherine Mayfair in the Desperate Housewives. The actress plays the part of Crystal Harris, wife of Pernell Harris.Andre Royo is also a part of the cast, playing the role of Robert ‘Bobo’ Boston, Mayor of San Vincente. He is best known for his role on the HBO series, The Wire,
Spider Raymond in Agent Carter by Marvel, and also for his portrayal of Thirsty Rawlings in the Fox network’s show, Empire. The other actors on the show include Garret Dillahunt, Alona Tal, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Johnny Ferro, and Elizabeth McLaughlin. In the show, Andre also plays the role of a close friend of the Harris’. Both he and Pernell’s wife are worried by his condition and his changed beliefs.
Despite having good cast and excellent performances, the show just does not click. It leaves a lot to be desired. It can be called one of the most underwhelming shows from the house of Amazon, so far. It might be a good indication of the fact that the “typical anti-hero character”, who had taken the limelight in the past few years, has a limit after all. Also, the show goes in many different directions. It seems like it is trying to do everything at once. This makes it confusing for the viewer, who eventually end up losing their interest in the show.
Hand of God has been directed by Marc Forster of World War Z and Finding Neverland fame. The direction of the show is fine, but the problem is that it is a little difficult to make sense of the story written by Ben Watkins. It is not clear as to where the story is headed. Even the pilot did not make much sense, but it created enough intrigue to be ordered for a series. However, as it is moving ahead, the story is actually creating more questions than it is answering, and not in a good way.
The problem is that there are only two ways the story can go. One is that it turns out that Harris has gone completely crazy, because of the tragedy in the family. In that case, the story is just a series of escapades of a crazy person and there is not much to look forward to. The reason is simple. Since Harris is crazy, nothing he does necessarily needs a reason, and there will be no explanation in the end either. However, on the other hand, if there is actually a God that is sending all those messages to Harris, it is worrisome. The characters in the entire drama are not very likeable, not even the one running the show, apparently the God. Ergo, God is not likeable either. You see the problem now?
Everything said and done, the show is okay and in today’s Golden age of television, there is a lot more to watch than this show.
Categories: Channels & Shows
April 7th, 2016
CBS has produced some excellent multi-camera comedies such as The Big Bang Theory, Mom, and 2 Broke Girls. But, until recently, it had practically no contender with other network programs, when it came to single-camera comedies. Their latest experiment, Life in Pieces, puts all the pieces together in a beautiful manner. The sitcom has been compared to ABC’s Modern Family, and truth be told, there are more similarities between the two than the show creators would like to admit. But, wherever they got their ideas from, they are working like clockwork. The show not only has the audience gagging, but also manages to get the viewers relate to what is happening on the screen. The fact that Life in Pieces depicts the twenty first century with a high accuracy might have something to do with its success. Here’s how the show achieves it.
The huge character ensemble of Life in Pieces is one big family. Unlike other sitcoms where the characters are usually of the same age group, sitcoms like Life in Pieces is full of characters from different generations. In fact, the showmakers have been able to capture the generational gap within the family with a finesse. Each of the prominent members of the family has their own happening life. From the eldest daughter, who is married, with three children to the youngest son, who is in the throes of a passionate relationship, everyone has a story. Instead of putting them all together into one homogenous group, the show allows these characters a life of their own that is vastly different from the others, yet something that the viewers can easily relate to.
John and Joan are the old couple, whose extended family is the focus of the sitcom. Their youngest son, Matt, is recently divorced and in relationship with his girlfriend. The middle son, Greg, is a new dad and is still coming to terms with it. The eldest daughter is a married mother of three. The eldest son is going to college, and she and her husband are planning to have another kid. Clearly, all the factions of the family enjoy their own story arcs. In fact, each episode is divided into four segments, and each segment focusses on one faction of the extended family. Then, at the end of the show, the entire family is seen together as one big happy family. This is so much like the American families now. The children have their own life, with their wives and husbands. But, at the end of the day, they are all one big extended family, always ready to help each other through thick and thin.
The show does not weave together some outlandish bits of stories just to make things look hilarious to the audience. Instead, they show everyday events that most of us have already experienced, and hence can identify with the hilarity of those moments. For instance, Greg has his first daughter, he is advised by his wife’s Obstetrician to not go anywhere near the southern regions of his wife, after the delivery. Of course, Greg had to ignore the advice and look. The shriek that accompanies his action is sure to leave you rolling on the floor. Then there are numerous things that are bugging him. While driving from the hospital back to home, the shock on the face of Greg is quite evident. He is still unable to come to terms with the fact that he can’t have sex with his wife, Jen. Neither can he figure out how to assemble the baby chair. All of us dads have been there now, haven’t we!
That’s Greg. Then there are the typical moms and pops. Who among us have not been embarrassed by their parents countless times? Yes, the show does feature the parents invariably getting their children into embarrassing situations, knowingly or unknowingly. The youngest son, Matt, is a typical guy-living- with-his-parents. This one time, he is making out with this girlfriend at home, and guess who invades their passionate session, ruining their moment? His parents, of course. That was one hilarious moment. Then there is the eldest daughter, Heather, and her husband, Tim. They too are not left behind from the cause-thy-children-embarrassment bandwagon. Tim misses no opportunity to share with his son his own college escapades (read sexual encounters). He does this in the characteristically amazing awkward way, which dads around the world spend years to perfect and then wait until their sons are of the right age to get most embarrassed. Then there is Heather, who vehemently insists that her son take his sandwich with him even though he is not hungry. It is enough to mortify him. I think all parents get trained by some evil organization on the perfect ways to embarrass their children. But, that’s only me.
In addition to all these, there is one thing that gives this show a real family-like vibe. Other shows tend to have a central character and focus the show on them. But, not this show. Every character is given equal importance, including the kids. This is exactly how today’s families are, and it is nice to have a show that is so mindful of these things.
Categories: Channels & Shows
March 30th, 2016
Great variety at great prices is a dream combination that satellite TV customers always crave for. By taking this into consideration, DISH offers numerous deals and offers which has made it a favorite satellite TV with consumers. From the latest technology to great customer care service, there are a lot of reasons for choosing DISH Network Satellite TV. Here are a few of them.
The Huge Selection The high value satellite TV packages from DISH, will satiate even the biggest of television fans. With more than 190 channels in the highly affordable basic package, there is no reason even to look at other services in the market. There is just no comparison. Then there is America’s Top 200, which offers an additional 85 channels in HD quality. On a little higher price range is the America’s Top 250. This is a dream package as it comes loaded with more than 250 channels of great television programming on offer. It is simply perfect. The vast variety and quality on offer from DISH is unbeatable.
Special Interests There are people who like one kind of entertainment more than others and these special packages cater to such people. Instead of paying for channels that they are never going to watch, customers can also order special packages. For example, DISH Satellite TV offers an awesome selection of sports packages. They cover any and every sport imaginable. Not only this, there is also an option to pay-per-view, where customers can watch live matches of their choice, be it baseball, soccer, wrestling, or anything else.
The Best DVR Hopper is already a crowd favorite. It is one of the best DVRs in the entertainment industry. With 2TB of storage on offer, customers can save every TV program they do not want to miss, without bothering about deleting previously recorded shows to make some space. It also allows the customer to stream music from Pandora and SiriusXM. No wonder Hopper has won many consumer electronic award shows too. Other than Hopper, DISH also offers another amazing product called Super Joey. This tool can save up to 8 channels in one go. This means that now the entire family can store their favorite shows and no one has to make any compromises. There is Wireless Joey on offer too, which makes even the installation of the super DVR a completely hassle-free experience. There is no unseemly wires or any holes required in the wall.
Television Anywhere, Anytime DISH Anywhere App is a great feature that only DISH TV customers get to enjoy. With DISH Anywhere app, people can access all of their television entertainment from their Android or iOS mobile device. People can also access all the shows they have stored on their DVR as well. This provides great flexibility and convenience for people who work at odd hours. They do not have to miss any of their favorite shows anymore. They just have to log into DISH Anywhere app, and watch all the shows while waiting for the flights or during their daily office commute.
Categories: DISH & TV news
March 22nd, 2016
Eddie Redmayne is a British actor and singer. He is best known for his roles in movies like My Week with Marilyn, Les Miserables, The Theory of Everything, and The Danish Girl,a among many others. He is a talented actor and has lately become one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood. There is no major award that the actor has not won yet, from the elusive Oscars to the prestigious Golden Globe, or be it the BAFTA and the Screen Actors Guild Award. He has even won a Tony Award for his Broadway performance.
Born on January 6, 1982 in London, Edward John David Redmayne, was the middle child of Patricia and Richard Redmayne. He studied at the Eton College in Berkshire, which is now known as Colet Court. Interestingly, he was in the same year as Prince William. After completing college, Eddie went on to attend the Trinity College in the Cambridge University and studied the History of Art there. He graduated from the prestigious university in 2003 with an Honors degree.
Redmayne started his career as a theater actor in 2002, with his portrayal of Viola in the play Twelfth Night. At the time, he was still at Cambridge. He was the first in his family to take up the profession of an actor. Prior to this role, he had done minor roles in plays and a television show as a teen. His first was Sam Mendes’s play, Oliver! He was the warehouse boy 40 and it was such a minor part that he did not even meet the director. He also did a small part in the 2003 television show, Doctors. He appeared in just one episode of the show and played the part of Rob Huntley.
It was his performance in the 2004 movie, The Goat, or Who’s Sylvia? by Edward Albee that brought him a lot of recognition. He received awards for the Best Newcomer at the 50th Evening Standard Theatre Awards (2004) and the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards (2005). In fact, it was during the production of this movie that the casting director of the 2006 film, Like Minds, spotted him. The same year, he also went on to do a supporting role in The Good Shepherd, which also starred actors like Robert De Niro and Angelina Jolie. During this time, Eddie Redmayne also did many small roles in television shows. In 2005, he did a small role in the television show, Elizabeth I as the Earl of Southampton.
Eddie Redmayne kept doing an eclectic mix of roles. In the 2007 film, Savage Grace, he played the role of Julianne Moore’s son, who is in an incestuous relationship with her. After the scandalous role, he jumped on to become Anthony Babington in the period drama, Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) opposite Cate Blanchett. Redmayne was next seen on a road trip as a teenager in the 2008 release, The Yellow Handkerchief. The same year also saw him as William Stafford in The Other Boleyn Girl as a husband to Scarlett Johansson.
While he was delivering unique performances, Redmayne decided to take a plunge into modeling as well. In 2008, he modeled for Buberry, and regularly appeared in magazines. This was also a time when Eddie plunged back into theater and also did a bit of television on the side. In 2008, he appeared briefly in some episodes of Tess of the d’Urbervilles as Angel Clare. However, it was his theater performances of this time that are noteworthy. In 2009, he appeared in a play by John Logan called Red, which was performed in London. Redmayne was cast with Alfred Molina. While Molina played the lead role of Mark Rothko, Eddie played his assistant. Redmayne’s talent was visible even in the supporting role and he received both an Olivier Award and a Tony Award for his role. Eddie Redmayne now leveled up to some of the best actors in the country and as a consequence, started getting even meatier roles.
In 2010, he was also a part of the International Best Dressed List on Vanity Fair in 2012 and was also among GQ Magazine’s best dressed British Men, later in 2015. Then came 2014 and with it The Theory of Everything. This movie was based on the real life of the legendary physicist, Stephen Hawking, and was based on the book by his first wife, Jane Hawking. Eddie Redmayne played the lead role of Stephen Hawking. He was highly appreciated by the critics as well as the audiences for his nuanced performance depicting both the travails of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and the challenges of a scientist. The movie brought a lot of laurels in the form of a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. But, the crown jewel of all, he took an Oscar home for the role.
Redmayne followed it with what may be called the worst performance of his career in the negative role of Balem Abrasax in Jupiter Ascending. He then went on to star in the delightful movie, The Danish Girl, in which he delivered a magnificent performance again. This roller coaster of a year earned him the Golden Raspberry Award for the Worst Supporting Actor for Jupiter Ascending the very same year as he received his second Oscar nomination for The Danish Girl.
Currently, the actor is shooting for the role of Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is related to the Harry Potter series. He has also lent his voice to Ryan in the television series, Thomas & Friends.
The actor has been married to Hannah Bagshawe since December 15, 2014, and the couple is expecting their first child in 2016.
March 17th, 2016
Second Chance is an American TV show that airs on Fox. It is a sci-fi crime drama and revolves around the events that led to and that followed in the aftermath of a retired dirty cop, Jimmy’s death and resurrection. Since there is the resurrection part, it is often said that the show draws inspiration from the Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. But, apart from the resurrection angle, there is no connection between the two. In fact, the showmakers have tried a great deal to distance themselves from the iconic novel. For instance, the show was initially titled The Frankenstein Code, and has gone through title changes twice. The first change gave it the name Lookinglass, which is also the name of a fictitious company run by two genius scientists, who resurrected Jimmy. Then, the name again changed to Second Chance. Is the third time is a charm? Well, not if you believe the ratings. The show’s pilot debuted on December 25, 2015. Although the show got a nod for a full season production, the number of episodes was later cut down to 11 from 13.
Jimmy Pritchard is a 75 year old disgraced former Sheriff, who was a corrupt officer. His activities finally got the best of him and he was forced to retire. His son, Duval, on the other hand is an upright FBI officer and has little patience for his father’s antics. The relationship between them is strained to say the least. One day, there is a robbery at Duval’s place and Jimmy makes an attempt to stop it. It costs him his very life. Fortunately, Jimmy’s genetic makeup is exactly what the genius twins, Mary and Otto Goodwin, need for their experiment. Mary is suffering from a terminal disease and needs Jimmy’s blood to survive. They carry out their experiment on Jimmy’s dead body and it turns out to be a grand success, albeit with a few changes. First, the resurrected Jimmy is much younger. The regeneration completely reversed his aging and gave him a youthful body. Further, he packs some superhuman abilities that appear to be unpredictable. Jimmy embarks on a journey to solve his own murder and find his murderers. But first, he has to finish ‘playing’ with his call girl and fully explore his newfound youth with her.
The septuagenarian Jimmy Pritchard is played by Philip Baker Hall, although only for a brief period until he dies. Then his younger self is taken over by the actor Rob Kazinsky, who has appeared in the likes of Pacific Rim (2013) and Hot Pursuit (2015). Rob’s character sure has got a second chance to live a good life and right the wrongs that he has done in the past. However, he is haunted by his past and finds it unable to let go of things.
Dilshad Vadsaria plays the role of Mary Goodwin, while Adhir Kalyan plays the role of her twin-brother, Otto Goodwin. They are the founders of the company called Lookinglass. They have basically decided to play God and bring back Jimmy from the dead. Goodwin twins are the most typical run-of-the-mill roles that the Hollywood keeps coming up with. In the previous century, it used to be the likes of Lex Luthor that would were usually given these impossibly ambitious plots. Today, the Hollywood has diverted its attention to young billionaires who made their wealth with “something that has to do with internet”. Well, whatever floats their boat!
The role of Jimmy’s son, Duval is played by Time DeKay. Duval seems to be in the midst of a big trouble and would certainly lose his life without the help of his father. In fact, it is later revealed that Duval’s corrupt office colleagues were the ones who actually robbing his house on the fateful day when they killed Jimmy. Duval even gets kidnapped by them later on, although later gets saved by his father. However, Duval doesn’t know that the youthful Jimmy is in fact his father. Jimmy even introduces himself as a Duval’s paternal half-brother.
Ciara Bravo plays the role of Jimmy’s granddaughter Gracie. Then there is Vanessa Lengies, who plays Mary’s assistant Alexa. Other members of the case include Amanda Detmer, and Rod Hallett.
Fox picked up Second Chance as a last minute addition in May, 2015 to its 2016 TV lineup. Originally, the show was set in Los Angeles and was titled The Frankenstein Code. By August, they had changed the name to Lookinglass and in November it was again changed to Second Chance. Finally, it was decided that the show would be set in King County, Washington.
The show has been widely criticized for its lack of depth and inability of the showmakers to exploit the full potential of the show. For instance, the explanation of the science behind Jimmy’s resurrection is hardly convincing. The audience today is exposed to some of the best sci-fi movies and shows, and Second Chance doesn’t even make an attempt to reach the high standards set by them. Then there are the Goodwin twins, on whom the creators have spent the bare minimum efforts to make believable. They have unlimited resources, supercomputers to hack and access anything and everything, and of course can make anything happen. Well, anything, except one thing that they actually want to. They try to keep Jimmy as far away from the one person who has the highest chance of figuring out who he is, which is Duval. Yet, what do you know, Jimmy and Duval are friends in no time and are working together to solve various crimes.
There is none of that soul-crushing emotions that a father should have, having come back from the dead and when he meets his son. It is as if the showmakers have not yet fully decided on whether Second Chance should be sci-fi show, a documentary of sensual escapades of a newly youthful morally dubious former officer, or a crime drama that chases criminals. Whatever, they are experimenting with, it is high time they make up their mind. The show has already fallen in ratings and has been shifted to a much less likeable slot. If this continued, there won’t be a second chance, err, second season of the show. Sorry for the pun, couldn’t resist.
Categories: Episode Recaps & Show Reviews
March 8th, 2016
Anna Kendrick is an American born actress and singer. She had the distinction of winning a nomination for the prestigious Tony Away at a very young age. She played the role of Jessica in the Twilight movies that brought her international fame. She has also played parts in many successful plays and animated movies.
Anna Kendrick was born on August 9, 1985 to Janice and William Kendrick. Her mother is an accountant and her father was a history teacher. The family has Irish, English and Scottish ancestry and lived in Portland, Maine. She has an elder brother, who too is an actor. Her parents have always been supportive of her acting career and have accompanied her to various auditions since the age of ten. When she was just twelve years old, Anna bagged a role in a Broadway musical called High Society. Her performance was so impressive that she won the Theater World Award and was nominated for a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award in 1998. She is the third youngest artist to have ever been nominated for a Tony. This was soon followed by a series of theater productions. Kendrick finally made her silver screen debut in 2003 with the musical, Camp, for which she received a lot of appreciation.
Her next movie came out when she was 22. She played the role of the school debater, Ginny Ryerson, in the movie Rocket Science. She was a little intimidated by the role at first, but ended up delivering a stellar performance, which was appreciated across the board. It was in the latter half of 2007 that she went to audition for the part of Jessica Stanley for a movie based on the first novel by Stephanie Meyer titled Twilight. She wanted to audition for multiple roles, but her poor health at the time kept her from doing so. This role shot her to international fame and was her ticket to better work.
In 2009, Kendrick’s singing talents helped her grab a role in The Marc Pease Experience. She played the role of a student, who is part of the musical theater at her high school. The same year Kendrick also bagged her first lead role in a movie, in Elsewhere. This year also brought her the successful comedy, Up in the Air. Directed by Jason Reitman, the movie was based on a novel of the same name written by Walter Kirn. This role brought her a lot of accolades. She was awarded the MTV Award for the Best Breakthrough performance while she also received the title of the Best Supporting Actress from the National Board of Review. She received nominations for the most distinguished awards in the business, including the Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe and the most coveted, Oscars.
In 2010, Kendrick went back to playing the role of Jessica Stanley in the second installment of the hugely successful Twilight series, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Anna also received more screen time in the movie, because the screenwriter included a graduation speech in the movie, something that wasn’t part of the novel. In the midst of playing her signature role in the Twilight franchise, Kendrick was seen in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. The movie, which was adapted from a graphic novel called Scott Pilgrim, saw the actress play the role of Scott’s sister, Stacey, in 2010. This year she was also part of a music video titled, Pow Pow. She also brought home the award for the Best International Actress at the Top Glamor Awards held in Mexico in 2010.
2011 and 2012 saw the actress doing a bouquet of roles. One was a comedy movie called 50/50. Then of course she appeared in the third part of the Twilight series, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. She then appeared in the movie What to Expect When You’re Expecting and also voiced the character Courtney in the animated movie, ParaNorman. She played Becca, a bold college student in Pitch Perfect, and later on took the role of Janet in End of Watch, a police drama. Her next work was a completely different genre of political drama, The Company You Keep.
Anna also contributed a song to the movie Pitch Perfect called Cups, which hit the second spot on the Billboard’s Adult Pop Song Chart. In the year 2013, she was involved in projects such as Drinking Buddies and Rapture-Palooza.
Later in 2014, Kendrick was seen in the screen adaptation of the musical, The Last Five Years, and Into the Woods. The former was premiered at the well-known Toronto Film Festival. She performed in quite a few movies that year, including The Voices, Life After Beth, Cake, and Happy Christmas. The second installment of Pitch Perfect titled Pitch Perfect 2 came out in 2015, in which Kendrick resumed her role as Becca and the movie was set three years after the events of the first movie. She was also a part of the movie called Digging for Fire in the same year.
Anna has a whole line up of movies which are either being shot or are in post-production right now. These include The Accountant, The Hollars, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Trolls, Table 19 and Mr. Right, among others. Then, in 2017, she will also be seen in Pitch Perfect 3 alongside Rebel Wilson.
The actress has been linked romantically to a few of her co-workers. Her first well publicized relationship was with Edgar Wright, the man who directed her in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. They hooked up in 2009 and remained together for 4 years, before ending their relationship in 2013. In the August of 2014, the actress started dating Ben Richardson. They had met on the sets of her movie, Drinking buddies, where Ben worked in the capacity of a cinematographer. The two are together since and have been going strong.
The actress is much loved by the audiences and is a delight on talk shows. It is rare for a celebrity to have such a positive image and she is one of those few.
March 5th, 2016
Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the most versatile and accomplished actors in all of Hollywood history. He became every girl’s dream boy with the James Cameroon’s tragic romance, Titanic, in which he swept Rose, played by Kate Winslet, off her feet. Thereafter, he continued to do numerous memorable roles in movies such as The Inception, Blood Diamond, The Great Gatsby, and The Aviator. In 2016, he finally won the Academy Award for the Best Actor, his longstanding dream, for his role in The Revenant. He has won numerous other awards, and has been nominated for countless others. Unlike the dark and conflicted souls that he usually dons, Leonardo is quite a caring individual and has been working very hard for spreading awareness and bringing out positive change for the protection of the environment.
Leonardo, arguably one of the greatest stars of this generation, had the most humble beginnings as the son of a stenographer and underground comic artist. His parents divorced when he was only 1. He was mostly raised by his mother, who worked two jobs to make ends meet. Such was the dire condition of his family that Leonardo lived with his grandparents in Germany for a part of his childhood. DiCaprio was born on November 11, 1974 in Los Angeles. But, it is the story before his birth that many of his fans find interesting. His mother, Irmelin, was looking at a painting by Leonardo da Vinci in Italy, when he first kicked. That’s how his mother decided to name him Leonardo. He is of German, Italian, and Russian descent.
Leonardo was never shy of the lights, camera or action. He started his acting career as a child artist. In fact, at the young age of 5, he was so mischievous that he got sent out of the sets of Romper Room. He then decided to follow in the footsteps of Adam, his stepbrother, and started pursuing opportunities in TV commercials. He landed his first ad gig when he was 14, but that could hardly satiate Leonardo’s dreams. His next stop was a TV series that was based on the movie, Parenthood. The show did not live long, but was enough to fetch more opportunities for Leonardo, including Lassie, Roseanne, and Santa Barbara.
Critters 3 brought Leonardo his debut role in a movie, in which he played the stepson of an evil landlord. It was a direct-to-home video movie. Then came his acting debut in Hollywood. Robert de Niro handpicked him from out of 400 applicants for the lead role of This Boy’s Life. This was the beginning of an illustrious career that perhaps only Robert de Niro had seen, or maybe not. The 1993 film, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, in which Leonardo played the role of a mentally handicapped brother of Johnny Depp’s character, was a huge critical success. Leonardo was showered with praises for his outstanding performance in the movie. Critters 3 catapulted Leonardo to international fame in no time. He received an Academy Award nomination, a first of the many that he was going to receive throughout his career. He also got a Golden Globe award nomination for his role in the movie. His next few movies – The Quick and the Dead, Total Eclipse, and Don’s Plum, were not commercially successful.
The year 1996 renewed Leonardo’s acting career with the Baz Luhrmann’s romantic tragedy, Romeo + Juliet. The movie was based on William Shakespeare’s work of the same name. The movie was quite a success. The same year, he reunited with Robert de Niro in Marvin’s Room. 1997 is when it all changed for Leonardo. He starred in the James Cameroon’s epic romantic movie, Titanic, opposite Kate Winslet. The funny thing is that Leonardo rejected the offer when it came to him. But, Cameroon convinced him that he has the skills and ability to do justice to the role. The story of how a penniless man wins the tickets to the ill-fated ship only by chance at the last moment, how this third class passenger won the heart of the first class gorgeous damsel, his nude drawing of Rose, and their subsequent passionate moments in a vintage car in the Titanic’s garage, all came to be loved and remembered by millions of people across the world. Even though the expectations weren’t high for the movie, it beat all the records, and became the highest grossing movie of all times until then. It ended up making $1.843 billion in box office receipts, and turned Leonardo into a heartthrob. Leo, as he came to be known among his fans, was on more than a dozen magazines, and at least three books written about him were among the top six of the New York Times Bestseller List. It was a kind of magic that nobody else, and for that matter, even Leo himself, could never recreate.
This magic was followed by disappointingly mediocre movies, Celebrity, The Man in the Iron Mask, and
The Beach. Then started one of the most productive phases of Leonardo’s acting career. It began with
Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can, which is a biographical crime drama and Leonardo then appeared
in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York. This was the beginning of a long friendship, which would go on
to produce five movies. Their next collaboration was The Aviator, which was another biopic. For his
performance in The Aviator, he won a Golden Globe award, and a nomination for the Academy Award.
Then came Blood Diamond and the Departed, which were huge commercial and critical successes. Body
of Lies was his first spy movie, while Revolutionary Road paired him with Kate Winslet again.
Leonardo has starred in some of the most mind-bending movies of all time such as The Shutter Island, and
Inception. Both of them were huge successes, and brought out his acting skills against a new light. For
Nolan’s Inception he decided to not take a part of his pay in exchange for a share in the box office earnings.
This bet won him $50 million in income. He has since appeared in many remarkable roles in movies such
as Django Unchained, The Great Gatsby, and The Wolf of Wall Street. His latest movie, The Revenant,
which was released in 2015, gave him his fifth nomination and first win at the Academy Awards in the
Best Actor category.
Leonardo’s romantic life has been well documented by his media, from his parties to his yacht trips. He
has been in relationships with many models and actresses, including Bar Refaeli, Blake Lively, Toni Garrn,
and Kelly Rohrbach.
February 26th, 2016
Born on April 28, 1974 in Alcobendas, Madrid, Penelope Cruz is a Spanish actress and model. She is an Oscar winner who also is a humanitarian. She is a soft spoken woman, with an exotic accent. She has been known to attach herself to many causes, which has earned her international recognition. Penelope Cruz was born to Encarna, a hair stylist and Eduardo, a mechanic. She has a sister named Monica, who is also an actress and one brother named Eduardo Jr. Even as a young girl, she always wanted to be an actress. She is an excellent Ballet dancer, which she studied for 9 years in Spain. At a very young age, Penelope knew that she wanted to be an actress. She used to regularly and actively search for acting jobs, but was rejected because of her age. In 1989, at the tender age of 15, she finally got a break for a music video from the Spanish band, Mecano. Leveraging this, she went on to host La Quinta Marcha between 1990 and 1997. After a series of television roles, Cruz graduated to movies as a female lead, alongside Javier Bardem in Jamon, when she was only 18 years old. This movie also featured a semi-nude scene and turned Penelope into a sex symbol of sorts in her country. Although her sexiness garnered her huge publicity, it was her talent that caught the eyes of the right people. She was soon cast in Belle Epoque, which went on to win an Oscar. Cruz was getting regular movie offers and did over 10 movies in Spanish and also in Italian, before moving to New York in 1996. There, she trained to be a professional actress and retook ballet lessons. At the time, she was struggling with learning to speak English, but she never let that become a hindrance to her success.
1997 saw her working in Open Your Eyes. The movie won awards in many international film festivals and brought her much fame. The ability of the actress to speak in multiple languages opened many doors for her. While in New York, Cruz continued to work in the Latin American movies, and it was only in 1999 that Cruz debuted in an American movie – it was The Hi-Lo Country by Stephen Frears. The movie was not successful, but it gave her a platform to showcase her talents. In 1999, Cruz played the role of a pregnant nun in All About My Mother. The movie received a lot of critical acclaim and earned around $67 million at the box office. It also received the Best Foreign Language Film Award at the Oscars. This movie brought her international fame and she became a known name in the Hollywood circuit.
In 2000, Penelope-starrer Woman On Top was released. It was a romantic comedy and also featured Harold Perrineau. The critics unanimously agreed that it was Cruz who distinctly stood out in the movie. She then worked in All the Pretty Horses, alongside Matt Daemon. Again, the movie got good reviews from the critics, but the audiences did not watch it.
Then came her best professional year yet. In 2001, she started the year with Blow, in which she co-starred with the much sought after actor, Johnny Depp. This one broke the jinx and made $80 million. She then played the leading role in Captain Corelli’s WWII drama, Mandolin. She attended the movie’s premiere with her new-found love interest, Tom Cruise, and her co-star for the next release, Vanilla Sky. This made her an even bigger media favorite, because now people wanted to know about this new power couple of Hollywood. Vanilla Sky was the remake of her Oscar winning movie, Open Your Eyes. This proved to be a big hit and earned around $200 million at the box office.
Another notable role played by the Spanish actress has to be her role in the 2003 movie, Gothika, which also starred Halle Berry. For this role, Penelope had to do the role of a lunatic on heavy medication. With this movie, she proved beyond doubt that she was much more than a beautiful young face. This year also saw her splitting from Tom Cruise. but they remained cordial with each other.
The following year, Penelope appeared in an Italian drama, Don’t Move. She learned Italian to go with the role of a rape victim in the movie. This role brought her much critical acclaim and numerous awards including the European Film Award. In 2005, Cruz tried her hands on something she had not done before – action. She played the female lead in the movie, Sahara, with Matthew McConaughey. The lead pair started dating during the shooting, but broke up within one year.
In 2007, Penelope Cruz teamed up with one of her close friends, Salma Hayek, to star in the comedy, Bandidas, in which they played the role of bank robbers. The actress then went on to work with one of her favorite directors, Pedro Almodovar, to make Volver. She also played the female lead in the movie, Manolete, opposite Adrien Brody.
The 2008 Woody Allen comedy, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, portrayed her in the role of an unstable ex-wife. Her co-star was Javier Bardem, who was also Cruz’s co-star in her very first movie. The movie was a milestone in her career, as it earned her an Oscar for the Best Supporting Actress in 2009. Further, she also started dating her co-star Javier after the movie. She later gave her voice to the guinea pig, Juarez, which was a first for her.
In 2009, the actress featured in the musical movie, Nine. This role got her another Academy Award nomination. 2010 saw her reprising her role in Sex and the City 2. The same year also witnessed her biggest commercial success yet, the fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. In July, 2010 Cruz married Bardem. They now have two kids together.
2011 was a landmark year in her career. She earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and became the first Spanish actress ever to achieve that. The same year, she also starred in another Woody Allen movie, To Rome With Love. She has also starred with her husband in the 2013 movie, The Counselor.
Penelope is well-known for her philanthropic work, particularly for her efforts for the welfare of the children in the third world countries. She has also been active in working for the causes – prevention of AIDS and animal welfare.
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