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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    There's a second life in collaborative YouTube channels for two of the recently disbanded supergroup Our2ndLife.

    Jc Caylen and Kian Lawley, most recently two fifths of Our2ndLife, a collaborative channel beloved by the tween and teen YouTube set, have embarked on their own collaborative channel, KianAndJc, filling a void left when the large group disbanded in late December.

    The duo kicked off their first video in very traditional O2L fashion, documenting their attempts to wax each other when they fail to answer trivia questions. However,the goal for the channel is to produce short film content shot by crews, with the hopes of eventually jumping to more traditional mediums. However, they'll keep the digital spirit alive with weekly collaborations as well as maintaining their individual channels.

    KianAndJc has already topped half a million subscribers in just a few days of existence. Lawley and Caylen are managed by Big Frame’s Andrew Graham, who also managed Our2ndLife. Graham will serve as a producing partner for the channel. 

    Screengrab via KianAndJc/YouTube


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    Last we heard from Björk, she was a featured guest on Death Grips's surprise release. Today, the singer went ahead and followed suit, releasing her new album Vulnicura two months early.  

    The nine-song album—a followup to 2011's Biophilia—was initially scheduled for March, and Björk even tweeted as much on Jan. 13. After a leak of the album appeared on the Internet over the weekend, Vulnicura will now roll out on iTunes over the next 24 hours. The vinyl and CD versions will still be released in March. 

    Björk posted to her official Facebook page today, explaining that Vulnicura is a "complete heartbreak album:" 

    kinda surprised how thoroughly i had documented this in pretty much accurate emotional chronology .... like 3 songs before a break up and three after . so the anthropologist in me sneaked in and i decided to share them as such . first i was worried it would be too self indulgent but then i felt it might make it even more universal . and hopefully the songs could be a help , a crutch to others and prove how biological this process is : the wound and the healing of the wound . psychologically and physically . it has a stubborn clock attached to it. 

    As Madonna recently discovered, a leaked album can throw a monkey wrench into a well-planned released schedule. But Björk's always been a proponent of technology and embraced what it means for music. The best way to beat a shitty rip floating around the Internet? Give the people what they want. 

    H/T Pitchfork | Photo via Facebook 


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    If you’ve cut the cord and are looking for a way to watch the Seattle Seahawks try to repeat as NFL champs against the New England Patriots come Feb. 1, then have no fear. Instead of searching for bootleg livestreams or pretending to tolerate coworkers just to enjoy their 60-inch TV, you can watch the entire thing for free in your pajamas.

    That’s right, thanks to the folks at NBCUniversal you can enjoy an 11-hour digital video stream of Super Bowl XLIX including pregame analysis, the halftime show, and even a brand new episode of NBC’s The Blacklist. Though the game has been livestreamed since 2012, this year marks the first time that the halftime show, set to be headlined with performances by Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz, will be shown digitally. 

    NBC’s Super Stream Sunday event, which stretches from noon to 10pm ET, will be available on desktop computers and tablets through NBC's Sports Live Extra app. Sadly, smartphones can't participate since Verizon Wireless holds exclusive streaming rights thanks to a deal with the NFL. 

    But for fans whose favorite part of the big game is catching all the buzzworthy commercials, never fear. Variety reports that the livestream will "feature ads sold specifically for digital (although some ads airing in the linear TV feed are expected to be in the mix); the Super Bowl spots will also be available online at NBC.com as well as Hulu and YouTube." 

    H/T TechCrunch | Photo via daveynin/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    Some of Conan O'Brien's interviews can be tense, but very rarely does his show land him in real danger.

    On Tuesday night, however, the late-night TV host found himself inside the animated world of FX's Archer, fighting Russian mobsters with the show's titular character.

    It all started when Archer, who was supposed to appear as a guest on Conan, called into the studio to tell the red-haired host to join him outside. As soon as Conan left the comfort of his studio, the world became animated—and a lot more dangerous.

    Conan survived the bit and ended up back in his studio in one piece—though he brought a little piece of the dangerous secret-agent lifestyle back with him.

    Archer recently began airing its sixth season Thursday nights at 10pm ET on FX.

    Screengrab via Team Coco/YouTube


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    Move over, James Beard. Bravo TV is the new sheriff in flavor town.

    Led by chef/restaurateur and the face of TV’s Top Chef, Tom Colicchio, Best New Restaurant is a scrupulous gastronomic treasure hunt set on finding the place that will make every foodie’s mouth water. Alongside Colicchio in his quest to find the crown jewel of American dining will be culinary partner Jeffrey Zurofsky and digital food maven Maggie Nemser.

    In a twist to make Best New Restaurant different from its legion of competitors is a digital twist: “Secret Service.” The show starts with 16 hotspots, but after each of the eight semifinal-winning eateries are put through their paces, the show is not over. Armed with hidden cameras, a team of food experts will arrive unannounced at the aspiring contestants and chronicle their service. Colicchio will screen the clips on air after each episode, but the real twist will come when the list of hopefuls is cut in half based on the video clips.

    To the producers’ credit, adding Nemser to represent the digital diner makes for a fresh perspective to the voting—and offers a bit of tension when there is no meeting of the minds. This special spark will be one of the ways Best New Restaurant hopes to hook viewers and keep them engaged.

    “Tom is a chef and expert and knows restaurants as a business,” Nemser told the Daily Dot. “I come from the diner’s perspective, from the experience side of things. There will absolutely be friction, but in a most wonderful way as we  judge them from the different perspectives.”

    Nemser's Blackboard Eats combines curation with commerce, and this coverage of the food scene has revealed deep knowledge of the food scene and developed credibility among the culinary cognoscenti. The site includes reviews from expert food writers as well as content about food trends and cutting-edge culinary products. At the same time, Nemser’s company offers deals and discounts at many of the top restaurants it features. As Blackboard Eats grows in popularity, so too does Nemser’s cred in the food world. In fact, it is that digital food fame that led to her role in Best New Restaurant.

    “It was one part hard work, one part luck,” Nemser said of her association with the new Bravo series. “The producer was a fan, so they decided to bring me along for the ride in this new endeavor.” The newest addition to the Bravo food roster didn’t get to meet Colicchio before the show, but since the start of filming, they have crossed forks on numerous occasions.

    Bravo is extending its digital footprint to connect with Best New Restaurant viewers in new ways. In addition to “Secret Service,” it will have “Play Live,” in which viewers can vote (that is, without eating) on the establishments featured on a given week and see their comments shown on-air during the broadcast. The winner will be crowned “Viewer’s Choice” and shared across the network’s social channels.

    The challenge for Bravo, despite it being the home of the ever-popular Top Chef, is to separate this series from the countless others boasting food listicles of every dimension such as The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Best Bars in America, Food Paradise, and You Gotta Eat Here. Nemser says Best New Restaurant provides a 360-degree view of what makes a great restaurant, including food, ambiance, service, and intangibles. “We span the gamut,” she added. “We peel back all the layers to find out what truly makes a great restaurant. We look for the drama behind the scenes and how it all comes together for excellence.”

    Screengrab via Bravo TV/YouTube


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    Hope seems to be pretty hard to find in The Walking Dead’s post-apocalyptic world, but Rick Grimes and the group seem to be trying to hold on to it anyway.

    With just a few weeks left until the show returns, AMC released a sneak peek to help satisfy the fans. We get a lot in these 30 seconds, but as you might expect, any moments of calm that may flit by are followed by utter chaos.

    How have they managed since Beth’s demise and discovering that Eugene didn't really ever have the cure? By taking it one day at a time to survive before you can live. It’s all you really can do in that world.

    Screengrab via amc/YouTube


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    As you grow older, you begin to learn a lot of ugly truths. Let's face it: life isn't fair, some men just want to watch the world burn, and, perhaps worst of all, we live in a "hand-handed world."

    This is the claim of one new YouTube series, anyway. "Things For Hands" tells the story of the sad people out there who suffer the debilitating illness of having various objects in place of hands. This condition affects one out of every 10 million people, according to the channel's introductory video.

    The YouTube series, which was produced by Jeff Wysaski, currently has five episodes, each one of which is devoted to a different service or room of the Center for People with Things for Hands. Take my hand—and I'll take your spatula—as we stroll through, for example, the student center...

    ....and the employment center...

    Of course, art therapy is certainly something we could all use a little more of, no matter what "handed" category we may fall into.

    Screengrab via Things for Hands/YouTube


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    Streaming fever has claimed another starry-eyed media-mogule wannabe: Overstock.com.

    Overstock CEO Patrick M. Byrne announced on Tuesday that the online retailer would attempt to channel the success of its rival Amazon by launching a streaming content service that quite obviously resembles its competitor's Prime service. Overstock's as-yet-unnamed offering will launch with an estimated 30,000 on-demand titles along with some original content.

    Overstock already offers a loyalty program called “Club O,” providing members with free shipping, special discounts, and cashback for $19.95 per year. That's significantly cheaper than a $99 yearly subscription to Amazon Prime. As with Prime, Overstock uses the service to gather data on its shoppers’ purchases, which it plans to use to make decisions about what content to offer in its new streaming service.

    “We think our loyalty program is better than Amazon’s,” Byrne said. “We give you five to 25 percent back on what you spend. So we pay people back for their digital downloads.”

    Overstock said it was not ready to announce its on-demand movie and television partners. The streaming service is expected to launch in the middle of 2015.

    H/T AV Club | Photo via Global Panorama/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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    With its upcoming streaming of The Interview, Netflix continues to write the playbook for streaming media success.

    During its Jan. 20 Q4 financial reporting call, Netflix announced that beginning Jan. 24, it would stream North Korea’s least-favorite film in recent memory to subscribers in the United States and Canada. The film, which was originally scheduled for a wide release on Christmas Day, was initially pulled back after threats from North Korea, only later to make its way to consumers via a select number of theaters and via video on demand platforms such as Google Play and Amazon Prime.

    Netflix’s well-calculated moves are paying off in a big way. The company announced it added 4.33 million customers in Q4 with more than half coming outside the U.S. As a result, the company’s stock had a double-digit jump in early Jan. 21 trading. Netflix announced it will move aggressively in its attempt to become a global platform for streaming content with Australia and New Zealand in its immediate sights. All of this came after Netflix earlier announced an Aug. 26 release of its theatrical film  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Destiny.

    The streaming of The Interview is, by far, the most important of Netflix’s announcements—and a near-genius move. While the streaming giant never reveals its financial terms, it doesn’t need to be more than a token payment to satisfy Sony Pictures, the film’s distributor. With an estimated $44 million budget, the film broke even with its limited theatrical/on-demand release, but the film's marketing campaign was estimated to be an additional $36 million. Still, the deal is less about money and more about sending a message to subscribers and major content producers. Netflix is telling its subscriber base (and hopeful newcomers) that it will continue to be forward-thinking in its content strategy and willing to take chances on controversial content.

    For a brief moment during the Golden Globes, Netflix saw the distinction of being cutting-edge taken away by Amazon Studios for its release of Transparent. Both companies realize that young audiences—a major target for streaming services—is not interested in same-old, same-old programming.

    Netflix also sends a message to content producers that it will be ready and willing to be daring. While releasing The Interview may not be as powerful as tackling transgender lifestyles, Netflix's overall body of work—including the women’s prison dramedy Orange Is the New Black—stands as a progressive portfolio of work.

    During its earnings call, Netflix also mentioned it was exploring its options to provide service to an audience of 1.3 billion in China. For obvious reasons, there was no mention of launching its brand in North Korea.

    Photo via Al Ibrahim/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    A throwaway line in a Saturday Night Live sketch might become a reality thanks to some savvy store owners with a sense of humor.

    In a sketch parodying the gentrification of Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood, SNL host Kevin Hart mentioned that he was going to see Martha—not a woman, you see, but rather, the name of a local artisanal mayonnaise store that he found on a food blog.

    “They said that the garlic truffle was a must-try so I said alright, I’ll try it,” Hart's character says in the sketch. (He ended not going for it because it would’ve cost him $8.)

    "Martha’s Mayonnaise" isn't real, but the location where SNL shot that part of the sketch is. It’s actually Empire Mayonnaise, an artisanal mayonnaise shop and business on Vanderbilt Ave. that’s been in business for the past four years. To capitalize on their newfound fame, Empire Mayonnaise is now considering making and offering limited edition jars of garlic truffles.

    Their Twitter account makes it clear that they're fully in the joke.

    “It would be amazing,” co-owner Elizabeth Valleau told DNAinfo. “We've mixed our roasted garlic with our truffle before, and it’s been good.”

    Valleau is used to being teased about her shop, but her products are in demand. The shop produced more than 60,000 jars of mayonnaise last year. Valleau, however, aimed to dispel the notion that Empire was responsible for gentrification.

    H/T DNAinfo | Screengrab via Saturday Night Live/YouTube


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    Would you pay to see YouTube videos by your favorite star 72 hours before the rest of his or her subscribers?

    That's the gamble taken by Vessel, Jason Kilar's video subscription service that opened in beta to consumers today. The platform has made waves in the digital video space since its inception in 2013, but now that it's open for business, it faces its first real test.

    In November 2014, Kilar began offering lucrative contracts to popular YouTube creators who signed up with the system to offer their videos with a three-day window for Vessel subscribers before they went on free, ad-supported platforms. The announced slate of participating creators at launch is a who's-who of YouTube talent, including Rhett & Link, Shane DawsonAnna Akana, Epic Meal Time, Connor Franta, Nerdist Industries, and Jack Vale, among others. Guarantees reportedly range from $2 million to $4 million for videos uploaded over 18 to 36 months. Other incentives for creators include an estimated $25 CPM that far outranks YouTube for ads, as well as a bounty per users for creators who turn their fans into paying subscribers to the system. 

    All in all, that makes Vessel a great potential payday for the creator, but the question here is whether consumers, who are used to experiencing their short form, YouTube content for free, will be willing to shell out $2.99 a month simply to see content that will eventually be free on other platforms.

    Vessel creator Kilar is the force behind the creation of Hulu, which faced its own naysayers but now regularly has consumers paying $7.99 a month to watch a combination of original content and already-aired television shows. The difference there is the price-point for Hulu as access to TV shows is a lower threshold than the price of a cable package, and access is delayed by a day instead of accelerated. Still, for many cord-cutters, Hulu is a money-saving option, especially for economically strapped young viewers. Those same young people may prefer the same option for their normally free YouTube videos: simply wait three days and save the $2.99 Vessel subscription. 

    On the other hand, many YouTubers command legions of hyper-dedicated fans for whom waiting three days is virtually inconceivable. The fandom conversation will have passed them by, and they'll be left out of in-jokes, GIF sets, and avenues for conversation with their favorite creators as they wait for the exclusivity window to expire. However, many fandoms have found their ways around blockades to content—like geo-restricting, which allows only one region to watch a given video. The inclusion of Vessel in the roll-out for a video might increase the tendency for fans to rip and host their own versions of creator content for interested fans who can't afford the $2.99 premium, decreasing potential ad revenue.

    Vessel is not alone in trying to take on YouTube for video eyeballs and revenue, and YouTube is not taking the competition lightly. The company has reportedly offered bonuses to top YouTubers who agree to debut content only on their platform, although they can still post elsewhere after YouTube has first dibs. The move also hopes to starve off Facebook, which has recently made moves into the video space and courted YouTubers.

    The success of Vessel will hinge on the creators it brings to the platform and those creators’ ability to convince fans that supporting them in this way will be a positive for everyone involved. For Vessel's part, it sees its role not as taking on other video services but rather offering creators a more sustainable path to financial success, which in turn means they can create better and more elaborate content for hungry fans.

    "We are ready for what will surely be an epic third act." —Vessel founder Jason Kilar

    "Despite the many positive things that the internet has made possible in media, to date there hasn’t been a clear path for most of these talented creators to build sustainable, enduring businesses on the basis of their video storytelling alone," Kilar wrote in a blog post last month. "This is not just a creator problem – it’s a consumer problem too. Challenging economics constrain which ideas creators can afford to pursue. This means fans may never see a creator’s next big idea, or experience it in the way it was originally envisioned. Making things worse, some creators feel the need to “graduate” to another medium (e.g., traditional television) to make more money, leaving their digital audiences behind. In this process, the creator often cedes control and stops making the content fans want most."

    Consumers interested in trying out Vessel can request a beta invite on the site, which will give them one month free access before the subscription rate kicks in.

    "Bringing positive change on this level won’t be easy, and we recognize that it won’t happen overnight," Kilar wrote. "However, we have great conviction that we can help the internet deliver on its potential for consumers and creators. We take inspiration from the gifted storytellers and business leaders before us who traveled similar pioneering paths as they fashioned the film and television industries. We are ready for what will surely be an epic third act."

    Illustration by Max Fleishman


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    You can't help but be intrigued by psychopaths, especially the disorder's poster boys. Whether it's irony-free kids dressing as Patrick Bateman for Halloween or Jack the Ripper―who to this day is still bothering residents of East London (psychopathic or not, he/she can't have felt too badly about their wicked deeds), there is an ever-present curiosity about those who don't feel guilt when they do something wrong.

    So Vanity Fair's new six-part webseries Psych of a Psycho makes complete sense. By drafting in 20-year FBI agent Candice Delong (who worked on the Unabomber case), we get to see our favorite film and TV characters―including Michael Corleone, Walter White, Joffrey Baratheon, and Frank Underwood―retrospectively assessed as being psychopathic. And therefore, to those that way inclined, even more appealing. 

    It's hardly scientific: The way in which Delong picks up on just a couple of moments in Corleone's life has been dictated by time constraints but is also frustrating in its superficiality. It is of a similar ilk to those who continually profess James Bond's psychopathy while conveniently overlooking contrasting traits.

    And it also seems irresponsible. Even the most famous diagnostic test for the disorder, Robert Hare's 20-point inventory of perceived personality traits and behaviors (the "Psychopathy Checklist-Revised") has been criticized for being over-simplistic and reductionistic. Delong's labeling of Corleone―substantially on the back of his murder of Sollozzo and McCluskey, men who had tried to kill his father―is short in contemplation of even Hare's broad bullet-points and trades in the Internet age's dangerous trend of self-diagnoses and lazy categorization concerning mental conditions.

    But it's going to interest some, nonetheless. Mindy Kaling, in a different video from Vanity Fair in which she praises the "most cinematic" of serial killers Jack the Ripper for his disembowelings (something "that people are not doing any more"), outlines one attraction nicely: "I'm just a woman who is fascinated by them [serial killers], because I'm scared of them… though chilling, they tend to be handsome."

    Screengrab via Vanity Fair/YouTube


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    Sports can be divisive. Championship games as epic as the Super Bowl can pit East Coast against West Coast, father against brother, and even Captain America against Star-Lord. That’s right, when it comes to Super Bowl XLIX, there’s a lot more at stake for celebrity BFFs Chris Evans and Chris Pratt than just bragging rights.

    On Monday, Evans, an avid New England Patriots fan, took to Twitter to troll his fellow Chris with a bit of trash talk. But given Pratt's unabashed love of the Seahawks, there was no way he was going to let his team's honor go undefended. 

    Of course, Evans, being the gambling man that he is, had to prove he was the bigger man by taking the smack talk to the next level. So he placed stakes on the game. But never fear, these celebrity superheroes aren't betting anything as petty as cold hard cash or a Lamborghini. Instead, the outcome of the wager is all about charity. 

    Given how handsome Pratt looks when he's prancing around children's hospitals in his Star-Lord get up, we kind of hope the Seahawks lose. But no matter which team ends up walking away with the Vince Lombardi trophy on Feb. 1, the Evans–Pratt charity bet will produce a lot of winners.

    Update 3:15pm CT: Looks like Pratt couldn't resist making a little #DeflateGate joke in his attempt to have the last word.

    Stay tuned for reports from both camps after the big game.

    Photo via popculturegeek/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    One of the most intricately arranged and warmly welcoming albums of 2006, J Dilla's Donuts, now has an accompanying video project that does its laundry list of samples justice.

    In his too-brief 32 years on Earth, Detroit native James Dewitt Yancey emerged as one of hip-hop's most gifted, sample-based producers. Yancey, stage name J Dilla, was likewise an insatiable archivist for black music. This made the guy a turbo drone in the studio, and he left behind an avalanche of unreleased tapes upon his death in 2006 from thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, a miserable blood disorder.

    His beats sounded like melted wax served with stovetop turkey stuffing and a shot of tequila. His drums battered, and they were baked into unheralded soul music. This made for rap canvases so welcoming that even the bench players on Detroit rap clique Slum Village sounded awesome on them.

    For the video project, YouTube user Houston Loves J Dilla found live performances of the samples used on Donuts. He or she then synced them into the music, and like J Dilla at the office, peppered in unrelated and weird splices. The whole thing is hypnotic and moving—mostly because it features so many vintage fresh, ’70s R&B performances. Fun fact: The donuts logo used for the unofficial project is a remix of Houston-based chain Shipley Do-Nuts.

    Released Feb. 7, 2006, Donuts would be the final album Dilla saw to completion alive. But no less than nine albums and EPs with unearthed work have been released since his passing. The best one, The Shining, is worth revisiting immediately.

    H/T A.V. Club | Photo via ABCNT/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    Forget American Sniper. This hand-drawn animated short may be the year's ultimate statement on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    In 2012, animation production company Ornana promised backers on Kickstarter that its next work would explore "the spectrum of haze experienced by soldiers in the desert."

    It's an interpretation of what happens when top training encounters circumstances beyond the realm of human control, in both interior and exterior conflicts. the story is on the ground and under the helmet of a 19 year-old infantryman.

    Two-hundred-plus audience members believed in the vision of the studio which previously brought the world the marvelous (Notes on) Biology. But it took some time to launch the final product, which took two years for animator Danny Madden to create. The animation process primarily used black markers on recycled paper, drawn frame by painstaking frame.

    This week, the Internet can finally see the results. Confusion Through Sand made its television debut on PBS this week, airing on Vimeo the following day. Producer Jim Cummings told Filmmaker magazine that the secret to gaining PBS distribution was a combination of luck and "a real lack of guilt" about repeated exposure. 

    In this case, the persistence paid off for everyone: Confusion in the Sand is a stunning and immersive sepia-toned short film that may disturb plenty of viewers but has the stamp of authenticity all over it. Speaking to Reddit r/videos users about audience reaction to the film, Cummings said, "veterans nod at us after screenings which is a really [assuring] feeling."

    It's no wonder Vimeo named this their Short of the Week. What did you think?

    Screengrab via omana films/Vimeo


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    How can you spot a tourist in Philadelphia?

    One easy way to tell the difference between a visitor and a local is that a native son of the City of Brotherly Love would never be caught dead racing up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum like Rocky Balboa. But, if you're an out-of-towner—as Pete Rowe, from Strasburg, Pa., discovered—knock yourself out.

    And, speaking of knocking yourself out, to the surprise of Rowe and his two buddies from California, when they reached the summit, they heard a voice comment on the speed at which they dashed up the 72 stone steps. While he didn’t say “Yo Adrian,” the words came from Rocky star Sylvester Stallone. As one might expect, a selfie chronicled the meetings between Stallone and his three fans. The serendipitous meeting went viral after Rowe’s father posted it on Facebook.

    For those who have never seen the film, the scene of Rocky Balboa running up the Philadelphia Art Museum steps as part of his training (along with pounding a side of beef) is the film's signature moment.

    Stallone was in Philadelphia filing the seventh in the Rocky series (a cheesesteak to anyone who can name the prior six) in which the underdog fighter takes on the role of trainer to Apollo Creed’s grandson. The actor made his way around the city in between filming, with fans quick to snap pictures and shoot video of his appearances.

    The original film debuted in 1976, winning the Academy Award for Best Picture. The series has been a cash cow for the three studios that have produced the films—with a total budget for all six totalling $109 million the films have grossed a combined $1.1 billion. That said, the last few made their way to video moments after they were released to the big screen.

    By the way, Stallone is not a native Philadelphian (he is from New York), so he is welcome to run the museum steps anytime he wants without ridicule.

    Photo via Facebook


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    It's always suspicious when you see Blu-rays packaged together, or even worse, multiple films stuffed onto a single disc. It's usually a store or film distributor saying, "We can't get rid of these by themselves, but maybe we can trick people with sheer quantity." So far, it's been a practice that's remained offline—when you buy films digitally on Amazon, you do it one at a time—but BitTorrent Bundle and and FilmBuff are teaming up to change that with an assortment of documentaries packaged via paygate torrent files. From a post on BitTorrent Blog:
    FilmBuff is dedicated to distributing the world’s best independent films and documentaries: bridging the gap between passionate creators and fans; ensuring that original voices find audiences. FilmBuff’s Bundle collection puts a lens on filmmaking’s most compelling storytellers, from punk documentarians to Internet activists. Each series Bundle is available for $15 (US only), and contains four documentaries highlighting a specific issue: from gaming and songcraft to digital rights and the American experience. Discover new films, and support creators directly. 

    While the practice may have dubious results in the physical realm—where you often get either bad films on multiple discs, or multiple decent films with poor transfers on a single disc—the concept of a downloadable film series makes a lot of sense. One of the upsides to digital distribution is the huge amount of opportunities it offers for filmmakers to be heard, but that can also make it easy for good work to get lost in the shuffle and go unnoticed.

    As long as they're expertly curated, digital film series have the same potential as those in theaters: They can get some great films noticed, especially when they're presented by a respectable source. With documentaries like Exit Through the Gift Shop and The Internet's Own Boy in its catalog, FilmBuff easily qualifies as respectable.

    For BitTorrent, it's another step in a journey to make torrent technology a legitimate distribution platform. While pirates may have been the first to utilize torrents on a mass scale, BitTorrent Bundle proved the tech could bring significant financial gains to artists when its first paygated project—Thom Yorke's Tomorrow's Modern Boxes—was downloaded by 4.4 million users. Earlier this month, it announced the service's first feature film—David Cross's directorial debut, Hitswould launch on Feb. 13. And while these events showed that Bundle could distribute like everybody else, the foray into offering packaged films is a first look into what it can do differently, and that's exciting territory to venture into. If BitTorrent Bundle continues to partner with big names, it could be a sizable distribution force by the end of 2015.

    The 16 films in the series haven't been named yet, but, with the service hitting BitTorrent Bundles on Feb. 2, we can probably expect to find which of FilmBuff's documentaries will be offered fairly soon.

    H/T BitTorrent Blog|Photo via zzkt/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    Conan O'Brien is making dreams come true, one stomach ache at a time.

    Even though that’s really Ellen DeGeneres’ schtick, Conan used his IT guy’s Taco Bell obsession to take a giant tour of Taco Bell headquarters to see what goes on behind the scenes. It feels like one giant endorsement and may cause some to crave the food before 10pm, but O’Brien manages to make things as weird as possible by creeping on the taste testers, asking the inappropriate questions, and offering up a number of suggestions that would probably never work in the long run.

    He even makes his own taco: the O’Taco, a monstrosity with cabbage, potatoes, corned beef, and Guinness. And people were crazy enough to eat it. But that’s what some would say about the people who eat Taco Bell in general.

    Screengrab via Team Coco/YouTube


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    Bill Gates is trying to dump his poop water on the rest of us with every sip, and he's starting with one of the kings of late-night television.

    Having already touted the benefits of turning poop into water on the Internet, Gates turned to Jimmy Fallon to give it a sparkling review on Wednesday night. Fallon was initially hesitant about it, so Gates ended up offering his own version of “the battle of wits.”

    Would it be too easy to assume that it’s in the no. 2 glass, or is that what Gates wants you to think? Or would he assume that Fallon think it’s in the second glass for the sake of the pun and instead go to the first glass? Or would he assume that Fallon would come to that conclusion and put it in the second glass to psych him out?

    Never go against Bill Gates when anything is on the line—and he may have a bit of Dread Pirate Roberts in him.

    Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube


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    Things can get out of control quickly when you longer speak for yourself.

    Jennifer Aniston and Jimmy Fallon didn't waste anytime after swapping lips on The Tonight Show, immediately getting kooky and transforming themselves and each other. We had no idea how easy it was for Fallon to suddenly acquire a southern twang or for Aniston to turn into a stoner—nor did we realize how fun these transformations could be. Even more entertaining is Aniston and Fallon's failure to keep their lips lined up.

    There’s plenty of smack talk in the mix too: It all boils down to a Super Bowl rivalry for the ages, not unlike the Chris Evans and Chris Pratt superhero smackdown, except that Fallon usually has puppies to figure that out for him.

    Chowder vs. coffee? It’s on.

    H/T USA Today | Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube


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