Silicon Valley is coming back in April, and in the meantime HBO has released a teaser of what's to come.
Continuing from the cliffhanger ending of season two, Richard (Thomas Middleditch) has been ousted from his own company. That sets up a season three that has him feverishly attempting to regain control, in his own hapless way.
Silicon Valley was renewed for a third season last year, the day after its season two debut. It also earned a Golden Globe nomination for the most recent season. IGN's review of season two called it a "fantastically funny season" despite a few underdeveloped plotlines and characters. Season three begins April 24.
While there's been no official announcement either way regarding the Season 3 prospects for Marvel's Agent Carter, a new casting item has many fans wondering about the ultimate fate of the series.
Per THR, Carter star Hayley Atwell has joined a new ABC pilot called Conviction, in the lead role. Of course, this is just a pilot and the show is a long way off at this point from being considered for a series pickup, but the fact that Atwell is seeking out new TV roles places Agent Carter's future in doubt. As is was, ABC's choice to renew the show for a second season was a late-in-the-game decision.
Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are preparing a script for Deadpool 2, which has reportedly already been greenlit, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Deadpool director Tim Miller is apparently not attached to the follow-up at this stage but The Hollywood Reporter claims Fox is determined to keep the creative team of Miller, Reese, and Wernick together.
Last week Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds confirmed to IGN that, while he never wants to play another comic book character again, he remains keen to play Deadpool for the rest of his life.
This painting is amazing. Always gives me the creeps
Teaching art history online can be tough, despite a wealth of tools and technologies it’s difficult to create an environment that compares to a great teacher who can make artworks engaging to a live audience. However, this new interactive exhibit of Hieronymus Bosch’s famous Garden of Earthly Delights completely nails it. This is the internet we were promised.
The site was created by filmmakers, photographers and art historians as part of an upcoming documentary by Pieter van Huijstee titled Hieronymus Bosch, Touched by the Devil. The ‘interactive documentary’ not only lets you explore the painting in incredible detail down to the most minute brush strokes, it also includes sound design as you move through various sections of the painting and a series of audio essays describing over 40 areas of the painting! This might be the crowning example of how to educate the public about a masterwork painting online, I wish there was something like this for more artworks.
The documentary and interactive exhibit coincide with the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death, which is also being celebrated by the Noordbrabants Museum in the Netherlands that is currently exhibiting 20 paintings and 19 drawings by the “Devil’s Painter”—the vast majority of his surviving works.
To see more paintings in vivid detail you can also explore the Google Art Project (they beat us for a Webby a few years ago, but we’re not bitter). Also related: A new Bosch painting was identified in Kansas City last week. (via Metafilter)
We have the brand new poster for you today from Hardcore Henry, an upcoming action-thriller that's a first-person shooter feature film. This essentially allows for the audience to be the protagonist if you will.
Ilya Naishuller wrote and directed Hardcore Henry, which stars Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett, Andrey Dementyev,Dasha Charusha, and Sveta Ustinova. Its producers include Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Night Watch).
Social engineering - so easy
These days, I’m often more blown away by subtle and invisible special effects that call no attention to themselves than anything else. Sure, your CGI monsters can look cool and some of the work being done with motion capture technology is nothing short of astonishing, but those kinds of visual effects always look like visual effects. In the back of your brain, you just know you’re looking at something crafted in a computer, no matter how genuinely impressive it is.
And this is why I enjoyed this new Agent Carter visual effects reel so much, which reveals that the 1946 New York City of the show’s first season was almost entirely digital… and you really don’t notice until it’s pointed out to you.
This 11-minute reel was released by Marvel after Agent Carter to honor the show’s nomination at this year’s Visual Effects Society awards. Here’s the company’s statement:
The Visual Effects Society has honored the effects wizards behind Season 1 of “Marvel’s Agent Carter” with a nomination in the 14th Annual VES Awards, and in honor of that we’re bringing you a special behind-the-scenes look at the incredible work they did to bring 1940s New York to life.
On the surface, Agent Carter seemingly has fewer visual effects than any other show or movie set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It doesn’t have the scope or grandeur of the films and its action set pieces tend to be a little grounded and straightforward than those seen on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Daredevil. And yet this reel shows off an astonishing amount of invisible work. There may not be an army of computer generated aliens here, but there is an entire city that has to be exactingly recreated, which means every window, reflection, and skyline needs some digital assistance.
Although it’s easy to associate these kinds of special effects with science fiction, fantasy and action movies, CGI has been a bit of a godsend for television shows set in period settings. Agent Carter didn’t have the budget or the time to build era-appropriate sets, so a team of VFX geniuses stepped up to the plate and took on the thankless task of creating something old and familiar that everyone watching will take for granted.
I’m also reminded of the visual effects on Boardwalk Empire, which transformed barebones sets into flawless recreations of prohibition-era Atlantic City:
And you can take this beyond the 20th century, as seen in the effects reel for HBO’s John Adams miniseries:
Agent Carter is currently in the middle of its second season. Watch the next episode and appreciate just how much work goes into making every single shot feel like it belongs in the show’s world.
The post This ‘Agent Carter’ Visual Effects Reel Shows Off a Marvel-ous Digital New York City appeared first on /Film.
Game of Thrones is one of those great, unlikely Hollywood success stories. Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss took a complicated series of fantasy novels and, under the care of HBO, crafted a cultural phenomenon. At its best, Game of Thrones makes incorporating dense, compelling characters, and a wide scope into a single package look easy.
But making anything this ambitious is never easy. Each season of Game of Thrones is an ordeal and a half to create. And the roadblocks arrived early – it’s no secret that the show’s original pilot had to be almost entirely reshot. Now, years later, Benioff and Weiss seem comfortable talking about their disastrous first stab at this show and it’s the kind of behind-the-scenes story that is equally horrifying and uplifting.
Benioff and Weiss recently appeared on the Scriptnotes podcast (via Vanity Fair), where screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin dive deep into the world of film and television writing. Although Game of Thrones is one of the biggest things in the world at the moment, the show’s masterminds took a stroll down memory lane, recalling the first time they screened the disastrous original pilot episode for a group of writer friends, Mazin included. Here’s Weiss:
Watching them watch that original pilot was one of the most painful experiences of my life. As soon as it finished, Craig [Mazin] said, ‘You guys have a massive problem.’
Benioff chimed in as well, recalling Mazin’s blunt, if not particularly useful, advice on how to whip the episode into fighting shape:
I was taking notes and I had this yellow legal pad, and I just remembered writing in all caps, ‘MASSIVE PROBLEM,’ and it’s all I could think about the rest of the night. Craig [Mazin] didn’t really have any great ideas except that he said ‘change everything.’
And to their credit, they did go about changing everything. Director Tom McCarthy (a newly minted Oscar nominee for Spotlight) was replaced by television veteran Tim Van Patten and a reported 90% of the pilot was reshot and restructured. The role of Catelyn Stark was recast, with Michelle Fairley replacing Jennifer Ehle. Emilia Clarke replaced Tamzin Merchant in the role of Daenerys Targaryen. Entire sequences – like a flashback to the execution of Ned Stark’s father and the onscreen death of Jon Arryn – were cut. More importantly, some vague information was clarified, as it wasn’t clear that Jaime and Cersei were siblings in the original cut, making their shocking final scene totally weightless.
A few key moments survived from the original pilot, however, including the scene where Robert Baratheon visits the tomb of Lyanna Stark beneath Winterfell:
On the podcast, Mazin described watching the final version of the pilot:
I will never forget being invited to the premiere of the first season. I went in just thinking, ‘Well, I guess we’ll just see how this goes.’ I sat there and this show unfolds and I am stunned. Stunned. And I very specifically remember walking out and I said to [Weiss and Benioff], ‘That is the biggest rescue in Hollywood history.’ Because it wasn’t just that they had saved something bad and turned it really good. You had saved a complete piece of sh*t and turned it into something brilliant. That never happens!
And the rest, as they say, is history. If you want to know more of the finer details, the Vanity Fair article digs deeper into other aspects of the original pilot and it is well worth your time. In the meantime, Game of Thrones season 6 is set to premiere on April 24. No full trailers have been revealed yet, but here’s all you need to know: everyone is dead or dying.
The post ‘Game of Thrones’ Showrunners Get Honest About the Awful Pilot They Had to Reshoot appeared first on /Film.
The new year brought the return of New Girl, arriving just in time for fans who were in dire need of quality time with Jess (Zooey Deschanel), Nick (Jake Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield), Winston (Lamorne Morris) and Cece (Hannah Simone) after Fox opted to have the show premiere in the midseason rather than the fall of 2015. But as we reported before, the show is going to get shaken up for a bit with Megan Fox stepping up as the newest new girl while Deschanel is away from the show for a little bit after having a child.
Now our first look at the This Is 40 and Jennifer’s Body star on the comedy series has emerged online, and it appears that her character Reagan already has a preexisting relationship with Cece. As you’ll see in the quick preview below, that really throws Schmidt for a loop, especially when he hears that they hooked up with each other.
Here’s the first tease of Megan Fox on New Girl along with a batch of photos from a couple episodes (via EW):
Reagan is described as a gorgeous, straight-shooting pharmaceutical sales rep who comes to town on business and shakes things up in the loft when she rents out Jess’ room while she is sequestered on jury duty. It’s not clear how much of an impact she’ll have since she’ll only be on the show for a multi-episode arc, but I would expect the guys in the loft to be rather smitten by her.
Back when Fox’s casting on the show was announced, executive producer Liz Meriwether had this to say:
It’s insane to me that such a gorgeous person can be so funny, but I guess we just all have to accept it. I’ve been a fan of her comedic skills since This Is 40, and I’m so excited to have her on the show. We had Megan in mind when we wrote this part – she’s the perfect person to come in and shake these guys up.
Fox is just one of a few new faces popping up on New Girl this season. Other guest stars include Fred Armisen (Portlandia), Taran Killam (Saturday Night Live), Nasim Pedrad (Scream Queens), Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street), and John Cho (Star Trek), as well as Julie Hagerty (Airplane) and Henry Winkler (Arrested Development).
Megan Fox joins the cast of New Girl beginning on Tuesday, February 9 at 8pm ET/7pm CT on Fox.
The post First Look at Megan Fox as the Newest ‘New Girl’, Temporarily Replacing Zooey Deschanel appeared first on /Film.
"BEST OF DRB" in 2015 |
Dark Roasted Blend: Weird & Wonderful Things in 2015
Promoting "sense of wonder" and intense exploration of our world and beyond, "Dark Roasted Blend" is happy to serve our readers since 2006. Here is a roundup of the most popular and interesting posts on DRB in 2015 (arranged by months) - see if you missed anything!
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Stay tuned for more extraordinary & thrilling material on DRB in 2016!
CONTINUE TO THE BEST OF 2014 ->
Microsoft is conducting what one senior researcher and scientist at the company says "could be the largest Turing test in history" in China.
In a report for Nautilus, the researcher, Yongdong Wang, outlined what the company was doing with Xiaoice — pronounced "Shao-ice" and translated as "little Bing" — in China.
The Turing test, created by British scientist Alan Turing, is a test that looks to see if a human can detect whether the entity answering a question is a human or a computer. The test has become a fixture in pop culture, with a starring role in the film "Ex Machina."
According to Wang, Xiaoice is used by millions of people every day and can respond with human-like answers, questions, and "thoughts." If a user sends a picture of a broken ankle, Xiaoice will reply with a question asking about how much pain the injury caused, for example.
"Xiaoice can exchange views on any topic," Wang wrote. "If it's something she doesn't know much about, she will try to cover it up. If that doesn't work, she might become embarrassed or even angry, just like a human would."
A report from GeekWire said millions of Chinese users were telling Xiaoice that they loved it, without any apparent irony. About 25% of Xiaoice's users — 10 million people — had said "I love you" while using the service.
But very few people outside Asia have heard of Xiaoice. According to Google Trends, which tracks what people are searching for, interest spiked in August last year but has fallen.
Xiaoice is, essentially, a large-scale test of artificial intelligence for Microsoft.
"Xiaoice is teaching us what makes a relationship feel human, and hinting at a new goal for artificial intelligence: not just analyzing databases and driving cars, but making people happier," Wang wrote.
The company has been making strides with AI outside China, buying up various startups and building its own apps for iPhone and Android.
Microsoft Research, the 1,000-strong arm of the company that does scientific research, said in a list of predictions published late last year that artificial intelligence would be a big trend in 2016.
Xiaoice can do many things Siri or Google Now can't, including offering a 33-day breakup course, according to Wang.
"Xiaoice is constantly memorizing and analyzing your emotional state," he writes. "If you have a recently failed romantic relationship, she will proactively ask whether you've gotten over it."
The software behind Xiaoice is Bing, the search engine that Microsoft runs. "Xiaoice is a big data project, built on top of the Microsoft Bing search engine," Wang wrote.
The data that Microsoft can glean from Xiaoice in China can then be used elsewhere. Cortana, the virtual assistant that is built into Windows 10, uses Bing data and could benefit from Xiaoice.
In an interview with GeekWire last year, Dr. Hsiao-Wuen Hon, who leads the Xiaoice project, said the technology could be exported outside China but the company did not plan to do so.
Microsoft is betting big on artificial intelligence, and it has been for years. Microsoft Garage, an in-house app-development project, has made numerous lighthearted proof-of-concept apps that, at the core, use AI technology.
Cortana and the Office suite, two core components of Microsoft's businesses, use artificial intelligence and are powered by Bing, just like Xiaoice.
"Microsoft is a pretty serious business with clearly a lot going on in the AI and machine learning space," Azeem Azhar, an AI expert, said in an email to Business Insider last month. He cited Cortana and Xiaoice as examples.
"Through the tens of billions of conversations she's had over the past 18 months, Xiaoice has added considerably to her store of known conversational scenarios, and improved her ability to rank answer candidates," Wang wrote. "We can now claim that Xiaoice has entered a self-learning and self-growing loop [and] she is only going to get better."
NOW WATCH: How to find Netflix’s secret categories
Martial artist Chloe Bruce might not be a household name, but she's the woman responsible for the cool stunts by Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
A November video of Bruce is starting to go viral, where she demonstrates incredible staff skills and kicks. It's also shining some spotlight on the relatively unknown stuntwoman.
But Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn't the first time Bruce has assisted with a blockbuster film. She also served as a stunt double for Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy, Lady Sif in Thor: The Dark World and Korrina in Wrath of the Titans.
Looking ahead, Bruce also stunt doubled in the Assassin's Creed movie for actresses Ariane Labed and Michelle Lin, according to her resume.
This is ridiculous. Hope they get good attorneys and sue back
A Three Rivers, Michigan, teenager is both the victim and perpetrator of a sex crime. He might land on the sex offender registry, and face criminal charges, all because he took an inappropriate photo—of himself.
The boy is unnamed in local news reporters, which note that he is under 15 years of age. He allegedly took a nude photo of himself on a girl’s cell phone. That girl sent the picture to another girl, who sent it to another. Preliminary charges are pending for all three—the boy was charged with manufacturing child porn, and the girls with distributing it. A prosecutor is still weighing whether to pursue the charges.
Police Detective Mike Mohney told WBST.com that sexting is a serious crime because it leads to “bullying,” and “real severe things like people committing suicide or violent crimes against others because they're so embarrassed about it.”
Mohney’s statement is a perfect example of the inherent contradiction of ruining kids’ lives for sexting. If the goal is to avoid “severe consequences,” why would they pursue charges in the first place? If sexting-induced embarrassment is a source of violence and suicide, certainly the risk of embarrassment is made much worse by branding the offender a pedophile—for abusing no one but himself—and sentencing him to the sex offender registry.
Criminal charges don’t appear to deter other teens from sexting, either. As I noted in a recent op-ed for USA Today, a Drexel University study found that more than 50 percent of college undergraduates had sent sexts as minors. Some 88 percent of people surveyed had sent sexts, period. In other words, this is something that almost everyone is doing.
Authorities warn that the consequences for the underage are just too dire, but the most awful outcome is the one the authorities themselves impose on perpetrators: criminal charges. Can you imagine being a 14-year-old, trying to get your life back on track, after being socially stigmatized, expelled, charged with a crime, and publicly branded a sex offender? All because you took a picture of yourself?
Teens who create and share sexy photos aren’t child pornographers. They are teenagers. To pretend the law can suppress their natural curiosity about their own bodies, and each other’s, is to subscribe to vindictive madness and paranoia about human sexuality. These kids aren't hurting themselves—we're hurting them.
Last Tuesday, the Fine Brothers sparked a great deal of controversy when they announced a licensing program called “React World”. As a result of the backlash, the Fine Brothers have since reversed their decision to move forward with the “React World” program and apologized for the controversy in a statement released earlier today.
The Fine Brothers intend to rescind all of the “React” trademarks and applications, which include “React”, “Kids React”, and “Elders React”, as well as “release all past Content ID claims”.
“React World” was a plan to trademark and license the “reaction video” format, as well as the word “React”, which many people objected to because so many people already make react videos. The Fine Brothers have built a successful business out of showing people, young and old, reacting to anything and everything. Their plan was to provide tools and assets for others to make react videos on their own channels.
The dangers of Kickstarter
Ant Simulator has been canceled, Eteeski LLC. announced over the weekend, with Eric Tereshinski resigning from the company.
The reason for the cancellation was detailed in a video published on Saturday, in which Tereshinski alleges his ex-business partners were secretly stealing company money and spent the “overwhelming majority” of funds raised via Kickstarter and the Ant Simulator investment money on “liquor, restaurant, cars, and even strippers.”
"A year and a half ago, I signed an LLC agreement with them," Tereshinski says. "I trusted them and they had been my friends for 11 years. I made the mistake of trusting them. So, that means that resigning, and therefore cancelling the development of Ant Simulator, since I was the programmer of Ant Simulator, is really the only option available to me right now."
Those who pre-ordered Ant Simulator should expect an email in order to try to arrange a refund, although we have no idea when Tereshinski will be able to pay as the situation sounds pretty bleak.