December 28, 2010

Introducing "The Avengers"

In Comic-Con in July this year, Marvel Studios announced the line-up of their movie "The Avengers" which will be coming in May 4, 2012. Let's look at the cast for the movie.

Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye
Chris Evans as Captain America
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury

December 24, 2010

My 10 favourite Christmas movies

Here's a list of my 10 favorite Christmas movies:

1) It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
I bet this movie is on everybody's Top 10 list. A charming little movie with a happy ending...who can resist watching this on Christmas. the story is about an angel who helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.

2) Gremlins (1984)
Not a typical holiday movie but still fun to watch. A boy gets a furry, cuddly gift for Christmas and it turns out to be a nightmare for the whole town.

3) Home Alone (1990)
Another fun movie to watch in Christmas. Chris Columbus' comedy classic is about an eight year-old who is accidentally left behind when his whole family goes on holiday. Alone for Christmas, the boy has to defend his home against some bumbling burglars.

4) Die Hard (1988)
A rare action movie during Christmas...Bruce Willis plays a New York cop has to save everybody held hostage by terrorists in a building including his wife.

5) A Christmas Story (1983)
Nice little movie.....Ralphie has to convince his parents, teachers, and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect gift for the 1940's.

6) A Christmas Visitor (2002)
This is a TV movie but stands out over the rest of the crappy holidays movies shown on Hallmark channel every year. A couple decides not to celebrate Christmas for 11 years after their son dies in the war. However one year a stranger visits and teaches them the meaning of forgiveness, redemption and letting go.

7) Scrooged (1988)
A comedy version of The Christmas Carol. With the help of the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, Frank Cross (Bill Murray) learns to change his selfish, cynical ways.

8) The Polar Express (2004)
Great animated movie. Watch it on 3D if possible. On Christmas Eve, a doubting boy boards a magical train that's headed to the North Pole and Santa Claus's home.

9) Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Another holiday classic. Young Natalie Wood plays Susan, a girl who believes that the Santa in Macy's Departmental Store could be the real thing.

10) White Christmas (1954)
The movie which introduces the whole world to the famous song. Nobody sings White Christmas like Bing Crosby. A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont Inn.


December 23, 2010

The Top 10 Most Pirated Movies in 2010

TorrentFreak has reported that Avatar is the most pirated film of the year, with 16,580,000 downloads on BitTorrent alone. According to the website, "Never before have we seen this many downloads of a movie in a single year. This honor previously belonged to last year’s winner Star Trek with 10,960,000 downloads, but Avatar quashed this previous record."

The top ten most downloaded movies on BitTorrent in 2010 is as follows:

1. Avatar - 16,580,000
2. Kick-Ass - 11,400,000
3. Inception - 9,720,000
4. Shutter Island - 9,490,000
5. Iron Man 2 - 8,810,000
6. Clash Of The Titans - 8,040,000
7. Green Zone - 7,730,000
8. Sherlock Holmes - 7,160,000
9. The Hurt Locker - 6,850,000
10. Salt - 6,700,000

December 22, 2010

The Origin of TRON

For those of you old enough to remember, the first Tron movie was release in 1982. The movie was praised for its visual effects which combined live-action and animation, and is one of the first movie of its time which utilizes the green-screen technique.

The movie was a box office success, grossing $33 million in the United States. and developed into a cult classic, eventually spawning a franchise, consisting of video games, comic books and an animated TV series.

And finally 28 years later, the sequel "Tron: Legacy" is finally out.

Before you watch it, you might want a recap of the first movie.

Young Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn

Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is a software engineer who works for ENCOM. He has developed several video games. However, his colleague, Ed Dillinger (David Warner) has stolen Flynn's program and presented it as his own. Dillinger was eventually promoted to senior executive while Flynn was reduced to running a video arcade.

Bruce Boxleitner with his geeky gigantic frames

Flynn hacks into the ENCOM mainframe which is protected by the Master Control Program (MCP). Somehow the MCP takes control of a laser which digitizes Flynn and sends him into the ENCOM mainframe.

Cheezy effects and costumes
Flynn finds that the digital world is being ruled by the MCP and his evil chief henchman Sark. Fkynn is captured by "Programs" and forced to participate in the gladiatorial games. With help from Tron, a security program, Flynn sets out to destroy the MCP.

The Light Cycles

To complete the whole story, you might also want to check out:

Tron: Betrayal

Tron: Betrayal
This is a 2-part comic book which servers as a sequel to the first Tron movie.

The story is set in 1983 where Kevin Flynn has become the CEO of Encom. Flynn is secretly building The Grid. The story also serves as an introduction of the isomorphic programs or ISOs.

Kevin creates Clu2, an updated version of Clu which was introduced in the first movie. Clu2 becomes more prejudiced against the ISOs, and feels that they are a threat to his "perfect system". As things get complicated, Flynn is going to need the help of his old friend, a security program named Tron.

Tron: Evolution

Tron: Evolution
This is a video-game which serves as a prequel to the movie Tron: Legacy and sequel to the graphic novel Tron: Betrayal.

The game gives you the backstory behind Clu2's fall from grace and introduces Quorra. In the game, you will attempt to unravel the source behind the latest viral attacks on the ISOs by the mysterious program, Abraxas.

If you are still confused, let's take a look at the Chronology of Events (thanks to Tron's official website):

Early 1970's
  • Dr. Walter Gibbs leaves academia to found a garage start-up company he calls ENCOM.
  • ENCOM creates its first mainframe.
  • The Grid forms within the mainframe as a place where programs can freely interact and games are played by programs.
  • Dr. Walter Gibbs creates the Master Control Program (MCP) to regulate the mainframe at ENCOM.
  • Kevin Flynn earns his doctorate from Cal Tech. He is immediately hired by ENCOM where he quickly climbs the corporate ladder to become a lead software developer.
  • Using ENCOM's facilities, and without the knowledge of his superiors, Flynn designs several games, developing Space Paranoids, Matrix Blaster, Vice Squad, Light Cycles, and numerous other titles.
  • Ed Dillinger fires Kevin Flynn, his rival at ENCOM, and takes credit for the games Flynn created under the radar.
  • Money comes rolling in to ENCOM as a result of the games Kevin Flynn designed.
  • Flynn and Dr. Lora Baines begin to date. It ends after a few months.
  • Ed Dillinger quickly climbs the corporate ladder at ENCOM based on the success of the games he "stole" from Kevin Flynn and he becomes Senior Executive Vice President of ENCOM.
  • Dillinger demotes Dr. Walter Gibbs, founder of ENCOM. Gibbs uses his free time to begin research on practical applications of quantum mechanics and lasers.
  • The Master Control Program evolves and gains control in the Grid. It begins consuming programs beyond its network in the real world and sends unneeded ones into the Game Grid to ultimately be destroyed.
  • Flynn buys an old arcade, calling it Flynn's Arcade, uses his own games as the focal point of his business.
  • Kevin Flynn hacks the ENCOM mainframe with his search program Clu to find evidence of Ed Dillinger's wrongdoing.
  • The Master Control Program, the overlord of the system at ENCOM, finds and derezzes Clu before he could access the data he was looking for.
  • Alan Bradley, a high-level programmer at ENCOM, has suspicions and creates a program named Tron to monitor the Master Control Program to ensure it stays in line.
  • Alan Bradley complains to his co-worker and girlfriend, Dr. Lora Baines, about Ed Dillinger and losing network access at work due to a hacker. Suspecting Kevin Flynn is the hacker, Lora convinces Alan to help warn him. Together, they break into ENCOM so Kevin Flynn can gain access to the mainframe.
  • Kevin Flynn is detected in the Grid by the Master Control Program while at a terminal in the Laser Bay.
  • After being digitized by a laser into the Grid by the Master Control Program, Kevin Flynn teams up with Alan Bradley's and Lora Baines' program avatars in the system — Tron and Yori. Together, they overcome the MCP and stop the corruption of the digital realm.
  • When Kevin Flynn is digitized back to the real world, Kevin Flynn has the evidence that he, not Ed Dillinger, wrote the games the company was famous for.
  • Kevin Flynn becomes the Chief Executive Officer of ENCOM and begins work on a new digital realm - the TRON system. He recreates many programs based on familiar ones in the ENCOM system but with his own flare and ingenuity.
  • Flynn hires Alan Bradley as Chief Operating Officer of ENCOM.
  • The first program Kevin Flynn creates is a simple resource distribution platform called Shaddox.
  • Flynn recreates CLU, now as a control program, to watch over the TRON System when he is not inside.
  • Sam Flynn is born to Kevin Flynn and Jordan Canas.
  • ENCOM has gone public and become the largest video game company in the world.
  • Flynn retires from game design to pursue digital research exclusively and focuses his energies on the TRON system — easily traveling in and out of the system by laser technology.
  • ENCOM becomes an established powerhouse in computing and game culture.
  • Flynn writes and publishes a book "Digital Frontier."
  • Flynn claims to have stumbled upon an incredible discovery that could change the world and promises to reveal details "soon."
  • In the real world, Flynn disappears completely, leaving his son and company adrift.
  • Guardianship of Sam goes to his paternal grandparents.
  • With Kevin Flynn gone, the ENCOM board votes Alan Bradley as interim Chief Executive Officer.
  • Many sightings of Kevin Flynn are reported, but none are confirmed.
  • The Flynn Lives! movement begins in earnest.
  • First Flynn Lives! meeting is held in Dayton, Ohio. The group organizes efforts to find the truth behind Kevin Flynn's mysterious disappearance.
  • Sam's grandfather dies.
  • A letter from Kevin Flynn to a founding member of the Flynn Lives! Movement gains media attention, but is subsequently proven a hoax.
  • Sam's grandmother dies.
  • A $5,000 reward is offered by the Flynn Lives! group to anyone who can provide proof that Kevin Flynn is alive.
  • Conflict is brewing in the TRON system.
  • Alan Bradley is stripped of his power as Chief Executive Officer of ENCOM, but is allowed to remain in the company as a figurehead, the Chairman Emeritus.
  • The "Albino Cow" sighting of Kevin Flynn sparks renewed interest in the Flynn Lives! group.
  • Uninterested in the family business, Sam Flynn chooses a path of extreme sports and daring stunts.
  • Sam Flynn's preferred vehicle is his father's old Ducati motorcycle.
  • ENCOM is the largest multinational computer technology company in the world.
  • Flynn Lives! Organization reveals new information about Kevin Flynn and follows traces of evidence of his mysterious disappearance.
  • A mysterious message is sent to Alan Bradley's old pager — the phone number it came from is the now-abandoned Flynn's Arcade.

December 21, 2010

How do cinemas make money

Have you wondered how cinema operators make their money?

Cinemas have 3 major sources of revenue: the movie tickets, the concessions, and the onscreen advertisements.

When you pay $10 for your ticket, who gets that money? Basically most of the money goes back to the movie studio. The movie studio leases the movie to a cinema for a set period of time. In the first couple of weeks of the movie opening, the cinema only gets to keep about 20–25% of the collection. The percentage decreases on each week that a movie is in the cinema. If the screening was arranged by an independent distrbutor, he also takes a slice.

Everybody buys snacks at the concession stand. Without the concession stands, cinemas could not stay in business. For a $5 popcorn that they sell, the cost is only 50 cents. A $3 Coke costs only 10 cents to the cinema. Imagine the amount of money they make from the other snacks.

Onscreen Advertisements
Sometimes studios also pay cinemas to show trailers. Advertisements that play before the main movie also make money for the cinemas. Advertisers will pay the cinemas to screen their ads. If the movie is a blockbuster, the cinema might charge higher.

The costs of running a cinema include the price of leasing the building (or floor space), equipment and maintenance, the cost of leasing the actual films, and the cost of paying their employees.

For more info, here's an interesting article on The Cost of Going To The Movies.

December 17, 2010

The Season of the Witch is Here

Season of the witch

The new movie "Season of the Witch" will open in cinemas on 6th Jan 2011.

Nicholas Cages plays a 14th-century knight who has been assigned to transport a suspected witch to a monastery, where monks suspect her powers could be the source of the Black Plague.

Hollywood has always had a fascination with witches whether they are scary or funny or sexy. The following are the 10 things that scares me the most about movie witches.

1) Witches who disguises themselves as a friend. 
The witch and her poison apple
In "Snow White", the evil stepmother disguises herself as an old woman and offers Snow White an apple which has been poisoned. When Snow White eats the apple, she immediately falls into a deep sleep.

2) Sexy witches who preys on men.
The sexy witches from The Craft
 In "The Craft", a group of teenage girls practice witchcraft and they all soon conjure up various spells and curses to get what they want, especially men!

3) Witches who cannot be seen. 
A scene from The Blair Witch Project
 In "The Blair Witch Project", three film students set out to make a documentary about a local urban legend - The Blair Witch. Lost in the woods, they soon discover that the infamous witch might not be a legend after all. The true horror in the movie is in the darkness and unknown, where you know something is lurking but cannot be seen.

4) Old, ugly witches.
One of the 3 Stygian witches in the 1981 version of Clash of The Titans
In "Clash of the Titans", Perseus has to find the Stygian witches, three old and wise blind women who share one eye. When I saw the original in 1981, the witches gave me nightmares with their ugly looks and crackling voices.

5) Witches who hates children.
Angelica Houston before and after make-up
In the movie version of Roald Dahl's "The Witches", Angelica Houston hates children and starts turning them into mice.

6) Finding out your wife is a witch.
Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell in Bewitched
 Although she may be as hot as Nicole Kidman, trust me it's no fun to be married to a witch. Darrin finds out the hard way when he discovered his wife is a witch in the movie "Bewitched".

7) Witches who keeps weird flying monkeys as pets.
The Witch and one of her Flying Monkeys
Possibly one of the best movies about witches of all time, "The Wizard of Oz" features the Wicked Witch of the West send a pack of flying monkeys after Dorothy.

8) Witches who perform gruesome murders.
A gruesome scene from Suspiria
I first watched "Suspiria" when I was a young boy and I was terrified by the amount of blood in the movie. Dario Argento's masterpiece follows the story of a young ballerina who arrives at a prestigious dance school in Germany only to discover it is run by a coven of witches. The murder scenes are gruesome and definitely not for the faint of heart.

9) Witches with bad hair.
Helena Bonham Carter
The infamous witch in the "Harry Potter" series is definitely Bellatrix Lestrange, played by Helena Bonham Carter. Ballatrix is aArguably Lord Voldemort's most loyal and pure evil Death Eater. The most distinguishable feature of Bellatrix is her untamed mane of hair with white streaks at the side.

10) Witches who talks and cackles too much.
The witches from Hocus Pocus
In Disney's "Hocus Pocus", Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy plays the Sanderson sisters, who, comes back to life after three hundred years to steal the lives of young children before the black flame candle is out or perish forever. In the movie, the sisters talks and cackles too much, and even sings at one point.

December 16, 2010

Nominations for the 68th Golden Globe Awards

Best Motion Picture - Drama

Black Swan (2010)
The Fighter (2010)
Inception (2010)
The King's Speech (2010)
The Social Network (2010)

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Burlesque (2010/I)
The Kids Are All Right (2010)
Red (2010/I)
The Tourist (2010)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama

Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network (2010)
Colin Firth for The King's Speech (2010)
James Franco for 127 Hours (2010)
Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine (2010)
Mark Wahlberg for The Fighter (2010)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama

Halle Berry for Frankie and Alice (2010)
Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole (2010)
Jennifer Lawrence for Winter's Bone (2010)
Natalie Portman for Black Swan (2010)
Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine (2010)

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

Johnny Depp for The Tourist (2010)
Johnny Depp for Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Paul Giamatti for Barney's Version (2010)
Jake Gyllenhaal for Love and Other Drugs (2010)
Kevin Spacey for Casino Jack (2010)

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

Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right (2010)
Anne Hathaway for Love and Other Drugs (2010)
Angelina Jolie for The Tourist (2010)
Julianne Moore for The Kids Are All Right (2010)
Emma Stone for Easy A (2010)

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

Christian Bale for The Fighter (2010)
Michael Douglas for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
Andrew Garfield for The Social Network (2010)
Jeremy Renner for The Town (2010)
Geoffrey Rush for The King's Speech (2010)

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

Amy Adams for The Fighter (2010)
Helena Bonham Carter for The King's Speech (2010)
Mila Kunis for Black Swan (2010)
Melissa Leo for The Fighter (2010)
Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom (2010)

Best Director - Motion Picture

Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan (2010)
David Fincher for The Social Network (2010)
Tom Hooper for The King's Speech (2010)
Christopher Nolan for Inception (2010)
David O. Russell for The Fighter (2010)

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture

127 Hours (2010): Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy
Inception (2010): Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right (2010): Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko
The King's Speech (2010): David Seidler
The Social Network (2010): Aaron Sorkin

Best Original Song - Motion Picture

Burlesque (2010/I): Samuel Dixon, Christina Aguilera, Sia Furler("Bound to You")
Burlesque (2010/I): Diane Warren("You Haven't Seen The Last of Me")
Country Strong (2010): Bob DiPiero, Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges("Coming Home")
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010): Carrie Underwood, David Hodges, Hillary Lindsey("There's A Place For Us")
Tangled (2010): Alan Menken, Glenn Slater("I See the Light")

Best Original Score - Motion Picture

127 Hours (2010): A.R. Rahman
Alice in Wonderland (2010): Danny Elfman
Inception (2010): Hans Zimmer
The King's Speech (2010): Alexandre Desplat
The Social Network (2010): Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

Best Animated Film

Despicable Me (2010)
How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
L'illusionniste (2010)
Tangled (2010)
Toy Story 3 (2010)

Best Foreign Language Film

Biutiful (2010)(Mexico/Spain)
Le concert (2009)(France)
Kray (2010)(Russia)
Io sono l'amore (2009)(Italy)
Hævnen (2010)(Denmark)

Best Television Series - Drama

"Boardwalk Empire" (2009)
"Dexter" (2006)
"The Good Wife" (2009)
"Mad Men" (2007)
"The Walking Dead" (2010)

Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy

"The Big Bang Theory" (2007)
"The Big C" (2010)
"Glee" (2009)
"Modern Family" (2009)
"Nurse Jackie" (2009)
"30 Rock" (2006)

Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

"Carlos" (2010)
"The Pacific" (2010)
"The Pillars of the Earth" (2010)
Temple Grandin (2010) (TV)
You Don't Know Jack (2010) (TV)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television

Idris Elba for "Luther" (2010)
Ian McShane for "The Pillars of the Earth" (2010)
Al Pacino for You Don't Know Jack (2010) (TV)
Dennis Quaid for The Special Relationship (2010) (TV)
Édgar Ramírez for "Carlos" (2010)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television

Hayley Atwell for "The Pillars of the Earth" (2010)
Claire Danes for Temple Grandin (2010) (TV)
Judi Dench for "Cranford" (2007)
Romola Garai for "Emma" (2009)
Jennifer Love Hewitt for The Client List (2010) (TV)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy

Alec Baldwin for "30 Rock" (2006)
Steve Carell for "The Office" (2005)
Thomas Jane for "Hung" (2009)
Matthew Morrison for "Glee" (2009)
Jim Parsons for "The Big Bang Theory" (2007)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy

Toni Collette for "United States of Tara" (2009)
Edie Falco for "Nurse Jackie" (2009)
Tina Fey for "30 Rock" (2006)
Laura Linney for "The Big C" (2010)
Lea Michele for "Glee" (2009)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama

Steve Buscemi for "Boardwalk Empire" (2009)
Bryan Cranston for "Breaking Bad" (2008)
Michael C. Hall for "Dexter" (2006)
Jon Hamm for "Mad Men" (2007)
Hugh Laurie for "House M.D." (2004)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama

Julianna Margulies for "The Good Wife" (2009)
Elisabeth Moss for "Mad Men" (2007)
Piper Perabo for "Covert Affairs" (2010)
Katey Sagal for "Sons of Anarchy" (2008)
Kyra Sedgwick for "The Closer" (2005)

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

Scott Caan for "Hawaii Five-0" (2010)
Chris Colfer for "Glee" (2009)
Chris Noth for "The Good Wife" (2009)
Eric Stonestreet for "Modern Family" (2009)
David Strathairn for Temple Grandin (2010) (TV)

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

Hope Davis for The Special Relationship (2010) (TV)
Jane Lynch for "Glee" (2009)
Kelly Macdonald for "Boardwalk Empire" (2009)
Julia Stiles for "Dexter" (2006)
Sofía Vergara for "Modern Family" (2009)