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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Whether we like it or not, principal photography for Star Wars: Episode VII has officially started.

    Bad Robot, J.J. Abrams’s production company, shared a photo of the clapboard being used for the new Star Wars film on Twitter to signify the first day of filming.

    There’s not much revealed from the picture. There’s no set, a glimpse at any of the stars, both old or new—or any hint of who’s playing that second female character promised by producers after fan backlash over the lack of women in the cast. The main thing to take from it are the names of Abrams and his cinematographer, Dan Mindel, displayed on the slate and what filter is being used.

    But, as one of the most highly anticipated films of 2015 and tight security, that’s not really a surprise. It’s certainly no Sad Batman or Mockingjay in terms of first reveals.

    However, keen filmmakers have already found plenty to speculate in that lone photo. After looking at the clapboard, Joseph Kahn theorized that the very first shot might be one involving visual effects.

    The Star WarsFacebook page also offered its own photo for fans, but it’s just as frustratingly vague as the first one. However, it does reveal where today’s shoot is located.

     

    Disney had previously announced that filming for Episode VII would start in May. A report from Abu Dhabi’s The National regarding filming suggests that the film might be going back to Tatooine, the planet where Luke Skywalker grew up.

    H/T The Verge | Photo by jd hancock/flickr (CC By 2.0)


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    BY SAM GUTELLE

    Four of YouTube’s most creative musical acts are headed to DC to show off their chops. Lindsey Stirling, Les Twins, Scott Bradlee, and Mike Relm will perform at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on May 28th as part of a free event called “YouTube OnStage Live from the Kennedy Center.”

    The participating musicians will take the stage alongside John Legend, who previously collaborated with Sterling for a cover of his song “All of Me.” That video has drawn more 20 million views to date.

    Beyond Legend, the four artists who will perform during the show represent a diverse cross-section of the YouTube music community. Sterling, the most well-known of the four, recently released her second album of “dubstep violin” music. Les Twins is a French duo perhaps best known on YouTube for a particular video that went viral to the tune of 22 million views. Bradlee, who calls his channel a “Postmodern Jukebox,” has gained a measure of YouTube fame for pop covers than span a variety of musical genres. His most recent viral hit was a slow-burning R&B cover of the Duck Tales theme song. Relm, the most untraditional of the four acts, creates musical remixes of iconic pop culture franchises.

    The show was organized by the Kennedy Center, and Legend helped curate the participating acts. Kennedy Center VP of Education and Jazz Darrell Ayers told The Washington Post that Google is “largely underwriting” the concert.

    Tickets will be distributed beginning 90 minutes before the 7:30pm show. “We want the people in line at the Kennedy Center to be the people in the audience,” said Ayers. Fans who can’t make it need not fret. The whole performance will ultimately be uploaded to YouTube via the Kennedy Center’s official channel.


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    Two decades later, we’re still wondering who killed Laura Palmer. 

    On July 29, Twin Peaks fans might receive an answer, in the form of a Blu-ray box set called Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery and the Missing Pieces, which will feature 90 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes from the show’s 1992 prequel, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, plus the two-season set. In a statement about the release, director David Lynch claimed, “During the last days in the life of Laura Palmer many things happened, which have never been seen before.”

    To the theory machine!

    Twin Peaks continues to ride its cult momentum two decades after it first aired. Earlier this year, fans found solace in True Detective, another surreal show about haunted detectives trying to solve murders in a small town. A Twitter account, @EnterThe Lodge, was created in April to tell the fictional story of season three, though it’s unclear whether it was a promotional tie-in for this new box set or a fan community attempting to will season three into reality. Back in January, a somewhat dubious casting call was posted for a female actress to play a waitress in a Twin Peaks promo, and rumors began circulating about whether the series was being revived. 

    Yesterday, a preview clip for the box set was released on YouTube, featuring clips of David Bowie screaming and Kyle MacLachlan being handsome.

    A mysterious new Twin PeaksTumblr also has updates, and teaser images from the new collection.

    The show was set in 1989, so of course there’s been speculation that this new material ties into the final episode of Twin Peaks, in which Laura Palmer tells Agent Dale Cooper, “I’ll see you again in 25 years.” Did Lynch really save deleted material to make good on Palmer's word? Anything’s possible in the Twin Peaks universe. 

    Screengrab via CBS Home Entertainment/YouTube


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    BY MARISSA MORALES

    ABC has been receiving a lot of attention light of their decision to steer the network's programming toward a more diverse lineup. Entertainment Group President Paul Lee said in a statement, “We wanted to reflect the changing face of America,” but the thing is: America’s face has been diverse for a while now; it’s just not shown on television.

    Treating diversity as if it’s something new for television is beyond presumptuous. For those living in the current age, seeing a group of people of different races, religions, sexes, and orientations is nothing new. The fact that we still don’t really see it on television yet is what’s most shocking. Especially when it’s been proven that it’s good for networks.

    A study recently conducted at UCLA on racial diversity in the entertainment industry found that viewers were drawn to shows that had a more diverse lead cast and writers—yet somehow ethnic minorities and women continue to be the most underrepresented on television as lead actors, writers, and show creators.

    What makes the few shows that portray diversity most so successful? According to the study, it boils down to people wanting to see what relates to them in their everyday life. The real world isn’t white-washed. And ABC is taking note: Instead of producing only a few shows that display diversity, they’ve chosen an entire roster.

    ABC’s new additions include Black-ish, a comedy starring Lawrence Fishburne and Anthony Anderson; Cristela with Cristela Alonzo; Selfie, featuring John Cho, Fresh Off the Boat, starring 11-year-old Hudson Yang; and the network's crown jewel, How to Get Away with Murder, starring Viola Davis and created by Shonda Rhimes.

    While it’s wonderful that ABC is promoting diversity because that’s how America is, a lot of this diversity stems straight from Shonda Rhimes, a minority herself.

    Rhimes’ first television show for ABC was Grey’s Anatomy, a show that created waves due in large part to its immensely diverse cast. The race of the cast was only addressed within the show when deemed necessary, otherwise it was a show about a hospital with a lot of different types of people within its walls. Grey’s also spawned a spin-off, Private Practice, which had another cast with a fair amount of diversity. The success of Grey’s allowed for Rhimes to pen another hit with a diverse cast, Scandal.

    Scandal is a show that has become a beast all its own, and a lot of the credit for that can be given to social media outlet Twitter. While Scandal lives up to its name, Twitter allows for a lively gathering of fans to attempt to predict what will happen next and react accordingly, what analysts call "second screen" engagement. The second screen has become such a large factor in TV viewing that the Nielsen ratings system has launched the Nielsen Twitter Ratings System, which looks at how many people are tweeting about the shows they’re watching live.  

    When the new ratings system launched, Nielsen looked at the top 10 socially engaged programs of fall 2013, where Scandal ranked fourth with an average of 375,000 tweets per episode. And all that Twitter hype intrigued the masses, which helped its viewership on Netflix, after all, it’s human nature to want to know what everyone is always talking about.

    This hype machine helped Scandal win a Shorty Award for television, a honor which ranks success from a social media standpoint. The nominees and winners are chosen based on how many tweets they receive about a specific television show or other medium. As the show is a Twitter and ratings juggernaut, ABC has nothing but faith in Rhimes.

    The network believes in Rhimes so much, in fact, that Thursday nights will be Specifically Shonda. The entire three-hour block will be Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and the aforementioned How to Get Away with Murder. The jokes about the network being hers are only half-jokes, it would seem. It’s safe to say a large part of Rhimes’ success, outside of writing great drama, is that she doesn’t shy away from a diverse cast, and ABC is clearly picking up on that.  

    By getting people talking about diversity in television, ABC is taking a huge step.

    In the early ’90s, FOX attempted to engage a young, diverse audience with black-centric programming (such as In Living Color and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) but weeded out most of their racially oriented shows as the network pushed for a broader audience. Recently, as the network works to re-brand themselves as the "next generation network," FOX has been revisiting that commitment, urging its shows to reflect a diverse casting. To comply, network hits like New Girl, Sleepy Hollow, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine feature multiple black castmates.

    But in courting an Asian-American and Latino viewership, ABC is deciding to do their best to appeal to everyone. If they can get their audience to stay on Twitter (and it’s safe to say Thursday nights they will be), ABC will be able to generate more buzz for their diverse programming—forcing other networks (who often have a difficult time pulling in younger viewers) to take a note.

    As NBC runs around like a chicken with its head cut off—in the wake of canceling the Internet-belovedCommunity—it's a reminder that the future is now, and it's leaving them behind.

    Photo via Disney ABC Television Group/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    When you watch a new video by Nash Grier or Brittany Furlan, two of Vine’s most popular stars, it might seem pretty rudimentary: setup, delivery, punchline. But often, there’s a more subtle social network at play, and companies like Niche are the connectors.

    Niche is a fairly new startup, and yesterday the New York City company announced it’d raised 2.5 million in venture capital to push its vision forward.

    Cofounded by Rob Fishman, formerly of the Huffington Post and AOL, and Darren Lachtman, formerly of Bedrocket Media Ventures, Niche functions as a matchmaker of sorts for advertisers and Vine and Instagram’s most popular “creators," pairing brands with those who could help sell their message.

    “Our mission is to provide all of the software and services critical to the modern creator, without laying claims of ownership to any channel or presence,” Fishman told the Daily Dot. “It's a decisively new approach to a new phenomenon.”

    Indeed, there aren’t many guiding philosophies when it comes to marketing brands to young content creators on Vine and Instagram, but the matchmaker model seems to be working. On its main page is a list of creators, including their follower count and “rank,” among other stats. Unsurprisingly, Grier is number one, followed by Jerome Jarre, KingBach, Cameron Dallas, and Thomas Hawk. Furlan is in the top 10, but it’s a fairly guy-heavy list, and that might be because teenage girls comprise much of Vine's viewership. 

    But Furlan appeals to young girls as well, pairing perfectly with brands like the Hunt, a fashion app for which she, Simone Shepherd, and other Vine stars have been creating short spots. Niche has partnered with other social media-savvy brands like Lyft, Now This News, and Pivot.

    “We think of our creators as new media properties—incredibly engaging, entertaining, talented, and relatable channels around whom audience has organically accrued,” Fishman explains. “It's American Idol without the judges, BuzzFeed without the editors. Nash is the cool kid in class; Brittany is the sister you always wanted.

    “These fresh-faced creators are the real thing, a rejoinder to all the manufactured entertainment that teens and twenty-somethings have been spoonfed for generations. Vine, in particular, provides an unvarnished window into these fascinating and much-followed minds.”

    And that window is always open on the Internet, where the celebrity promotional model is experiencing a radical transformation, and “channels” mean something completely different than they did a decade ago. Fishman recognizes that, and explains its 2,500 creators “opted in to a technology platform—and not a traditional agency model—that offers free analytics and services across platforms and verticals.

    “We aim to be the Airbnb, and not the Hilton, of this emerging creator space.”

    Screengrab via Brittany Furlan/Vine


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    Lean. Sizzurp. Purple drank. If you listen to rap, you’ve likely heard mentions of Actavis or other codeine syrups, the "drank" of choice for many talented and popular rappers—especially down south. And if you follow news about rap, you’ve definitely heard of it: Lean was the cause of Gucci Mane’s Twittermeltdown, and contributed to the deaths of Houston icons DJ Screw and Pimp C of UGK, who helped popularize the drink. Lil Wayne has epilepsy, but many speculated his sizzurp obsession contributed to his recent health problems.

    Just how popular is codeine among rappers? Hot on the heels of the hip-hop vocabulary charts by data scientist Matt Daniels, Project Know took lyrics from Rap Genius and analyzed them for mentions of drugs like marijuana and cocaine, as well as different alcohol brands. The researchers discovered that codeine’s popularity has substantially increased in the past few years, but it's still not as popular as weed. 


     

    References to "Molly" have also spiked in popularity. 
     

    MDMA and lean are trendy, but Project Know pointed out that name-dropping pharmaceutical drugs is also on the rise. “Painkillers, such as Percs, Lortab, and hydrocodone, have risen in prevalence since the mid-2000s. And fulfilling a different void, Adderall’s popularity also surged,” the researchers wrote. As for alcohol, Hennessy still gets a lot of love, but it’s not as popular as it used to be.

    Project Know also pinpointed which rappers namecheck substances the most frequently. Lil B is on their naughty list, since he has the most references about MDMA, codeine, and cocaine.


     

    H/T Grantland | Photo via Flickr/Images Money (CC BY 2.0) 


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    EDM shows are all smoke, mirrors, and Molly. It’s all about when the bass drops and how many LED lights your favorite DJ can fit onto a platform rig.

    “We all hit play," megastar deadmau5 infamously wrote in a 2012 Tumblr post. "It's no secret. When it comes to 'live' performance of EDM . . . that's about the most it seems you can do anyway."

    Returning to host Saturday Night Live, Lonely Island leader and current Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andy Samberg perfectly captured everything that’s wrong with EDM culture last night in one pitch-perfect parody.

    While stereotypical fans work themselves into a frenzy, Samberg plays games on his laptop, cooks an egg over easy, assembles a model train, and waits for the bag loads of money to arrive. I’m not sure if the Red Bull sticker is product placement or subtle commentary, but it’s well done.

    Be sure to wait for the bass to drop. It’s actually worth it this time.

    The Lonely Island also dropped a track about hugs with Pharrell that’s notable if only for the Maya Rudolph cameo and the line “I’m the Wilt Chamberlain of the upper-body grip.”

    Screengrab via the Lonely Island/YouTube


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    I can’t pretend I’ve ever understood the appeal of Macklemore, but the rapper’s latest attempt at pop spectacle has me more befuddled than ever.

    For a surprise set celebrating a new exhibit at Seattle’s Experience Music Project Museum on Friday night, he opted to perform dressed as some kind of Jewish caricature, prosthetic schnozz included.

    Seattle Weeklyguessed that the Semitic “disguise” was meant to keep Macklemore from “being mobbed,” though given that his makeup had begun to melt by the end of his 15 minutes on stage, we rather doubt it. At any rate, he chose the look for himself:

    Macklemore’s relationship with Judaism is an enduringly odd one: While some self-appointed experts claim he’s one of god’s Chosen people, the man himself denies such ancestry (while continuing, for some reason, to appropriate its signifiers).

    You can check out a full gallery of close-up concert photos from KOMO News over here. Just don’t expect them to reveal why this happened, or whether anyone in attendance was significantly offended. Could it be that no one in a city famed for its political correctness wanted to bother with backlash? If so, this weirdo is far more powerful than we feared.   

    Photo by The Come Up Show/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


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    Following up the return of Indiana Jones and Han Solo, Harrison Ford has just been offered a role in Blade Runner 2.

    Ridley Scott is attached to direct the sequel, with a script cowritten by original Blade Runner screenwriter Hampton Fancher. In a very unusual turn, Ford was offered the role publicly rather than as part of a private negotiation, perhaps as an attempt to quell the popular opinion that a Blade Runner sequel would fail to live up to the standards of the original.

    Alcon Entertainment, the production company working on Blade Runner 2, released a statement saying, “We believe that Hampton Fancher and Michael Green have crafted with Ridley Scott an extraordinary sequel to one of the greatest films of all time. We would be honored, and we are hopeful, that Harrison will be part of our project.”

    The question here is whether adding Harrison Ford to the film would actually be a good idea. Blade Runner is iconic, but unlike classic sci-fi fare such as Star Wars, it isn’t really franchise material. The original movie is a standalone story with an ambiguous ending, so any kind of sequelparticularly one that focuses on the original protagonist Rick Deckardcould easily wind up feeling totally unnecessary.

    There’s also the fact that Scott’s recent Alien prequel, Prometheus, received very mixed reviews. The film was a financial success, but many fans felt that it betrayed the original purpose of the early Alien movies by attempting to explain something that should have remained a mystery. Creating a direct sequel to Blade Runner seems like a similar step, whereas Scott’s earlier sequel plans (which focused on a new character in the same basic universe) seemed like less of a risk to the iconic nature of the original movie.

    There’s no doubt that a Blade Runner sequel with Harrison Ford in the lead role would be a box office success. The question is whether Ford and Scott are willing to sacrifice the reputation of the original movie in order to make money from a sequel. When Alcon describes Blade Runner as “one of the greatest films of all time,” it isn’t exaggerating. For many people, Blade Runner is the Casablanca of sci-fi filmmaking, and attempting to make a suitable sequel about Rick Deckard would be a pointless exercise.

    Screengrab via Imgur


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    Last night, Saturday Night Live’s cold open tackled one of the week’s most pressing stories: The Jay Z/Solange elevator fight seen (but not heard) ‘round the world.

    Sasheer Zamata and Jay Pharoah played Solange and Jay Z, and of course there was an appearance from Beyoncé, in the form of Maya Rudolph. Their elevator fight “reenactment” was funny, though not quite as funny as SNL’s recent Beygency sketch, but I will watch Rudolph’s Beyoncé impression forever.

    While the sketch did a good job satirizing the way the media fabricated narratives for this story, and the celebrity culture of damage control, many people on Twitter also pointed out that this was the first time in years that four black cast members had been in the same sketch at the same time.

    It's also a reminder the world needs more Sasheer Zamata. This sketch she did for SNL’s Above Average channel is funnier than a lot of the material the show's been producing lately. 

    Screengrab via Hulu


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    Christopher Nolan’s latest project has been shrouded in secrecy since it was first announced. All we knew about Interstellar for a long time was its title, the cast list, and the fact that it’s a hard sci-fi movie about wormhole travel.

    The first full-length trailer looks interesting, but doesn’t tell us a whole lot more. Matthew McConaughey plays a former engineer who is out of a job because “we didn’t run out of planes and television sets, we ran out of food,” living in the middle of cornfields that fall victim to a dustbowl-style event.

    With planet Earth running out of time, McConaughey agrees to take part in an interstellar mission to perform some mysterious world-saving task, leaving his children behind.

    Comparisons to movies like Signs and Armageddon are inevitable, although Nolan probably wouldn’t find that very flattering. It’s clear that much like how he aimed to make his Dark Knight trilogy into “serious superhero movies,” this film aims to bring a note of gravitas to the cheesy blockbuster apocalypse genre.

    Interstellar isn’t out until November, but we can expect to start learning more, now the first trailer has been released. The air of mystery has already built buzz around the movie, and it’s sure to bring in the huge audience previous Nolan movies have inspired.

    After all, it’s got everything Inception and the Batman trilogy had: Michael Caine, an A-list movie star hero, a few nonspecific appearances from a critically acclaimed actress in a background role, and a huge catastrophe that only one man can prevent.

    Screengrab via Warner Bros. UK Trailers/YouTube


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    Jay Z and Beyoncé just released the star-studded trailer for their summer tour, which is a thing musical power couples do now. It’s titled “Run,” and though we never know who Bey and Jay are on the run from, they manage to look flawless while robbing banks, shooting guns, and walking away from an explosion in slow motion.

    It was directed by Melina Matsoukas, who also directed Bey’s “Pretty Hurts” video, as well as clips for Solange and Rihanna. Jake Gyllenhaal, Sean Penn, Don Cheadle, Blake Lively, Emmy Rossum, Guillermo Diaz, and Rashida and Kidada Jones guest star, and indulge some fairly cringe-worthy, context-less dialogue. In this fantasy world, Bey and Blake Lively are besties (Blake can’t stand to see her this way!), Jay Z and Sean Penn exchange bizarre barbecue metaphors in a strip club, and Don Cheadle is extra Cheadle-y.

    It’s such an expansive (and, likely, expensive) trailer, one has to wonder if there will be follow-up teasers. Perhaps that elevator fight was really some sort of marketing stunt for this trailer, which is basically just one big advertisement for Bey-Z's amazing relationship. 

    Uh, I mean...I love Beyoncé and this is a true work of art!

    H/T Digg | Screengrab via JayZ’s Life + Times/YouTube


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    To some, Tinder has a pretty questionable legacy. If it isn’t ruining the self-esteem of girls, or killing off romance, it’s inspiring predictable, drawn-out parodies. But now (awesome hookups aside), Tinder finally has something great going for it. Local Attractionis the creation of Connor Hines, who writes, directs, and stars in the webseries, a comedic re-creation of awkward Tinder first dates.

    It’s this awkwardness that has been the focus of most of the series’ attention, but it feels as if that glosses over its unique point of view. Any first date, whether organized through friends or hot on the heels of a Hollywood meet-cute, faces the potential of disaster. But in Local Attraction, we see the motivations of those who use these apps, and although amplified for comedic purposes, the tension when those motivations clash.

    We meet Trent, a banker, who, tired of the women who can “smell that short stack of Benjamins in my pocket,” likes Tinder for the control that it gives him—that ability to be in the driver’s seat, allowing him to “meet who you want to meet on your terms, based on their looks. And that authenticity … that’s rare.”

    It’s comedic, and Trent is the obnoxious butt of the joke, but although he’s shallow, he’s at least transparent. His date Maeve’s facile reason that she “guess[ed] I thought it’d be fun … You never know who you’re going to meet” doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, as we know full well she’s only here because she fancied a photo on her phone. Her moral superiority, which grows as Trent becomes more and more unbearable, is built on her denial of this.

    So solid is Local Attraction’s grasp of the tensions of initial Tinder dates that it is surprising that Hines’ firsthand knowledge of the app is next to zero. “I’ve never used it. My friends' experiences gave me the inspiration,” he says (failing to mention that these are the sort of friends who go on what what feels like “twelve Tinder dates a week”). “I couldn’t use Tinder because I need a mutual friend to confirm I’m not getting a drink with a crazy person. I feel much better when it's set up through people I know.” 

    Even so, he has noticed how the app has caused a shift in the dating landscape. "We’ve all become so much more accessible to one another, and therefore some pressure is slightly alleviated by the fact that we can just swipe to our next date instantaneously if one doesn’t go well. It’s constant and endless.” 

    With the success of the series’ Kickstarter project—it's raised two and a half times its goal with 23 days to go—it now looks likely that Local Attraction will extend beyond its current three episodes. For now, Hines envisions it as an eight-episode series, but he remains open to the series’ future after that “so long as it serves as a professional stepping stone without jeopardizing the format.” Let’s hope it does, because currently it’s the funniest depiction of dating you’re likely to see.

    Screengrab via Local Attraction/YouTube


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    Do you remember the time... Michael Jackson moonwalked across the stage as a hologram?

    Last night at the Billboard Music Awards, nearly five years after his death, Jackson "performed" a new song, “Slave to the Rhythm,” from his posthumous Xscape album, and it was surreal to see a not-quite-Michael-Jackson flitting across the elaborate set.

    This macabre spectacle is just the latest in a string of hologram appearances by performers both dead and alive. Tupac Shakur was digitally resurrected in 2012 for Coachella, and while he was promoted as a hologram, it was likely just a really expensive CGI job. Last month, hologram versions of M.I.A. and Janelle Monae appeared next to each other, on different coasts. It was a promotion for Audi, and in their case, the promotion was sort of interesting. But where do we draw the line with reincarnating dead celebrities for entertainment value?

    Before the Billboard Awards, the companies that created the Michael Jackson hologram, Musion Das Hologram Ltd. and Hologram USA, sued the show’s producers and Jackson’s estate to block its appearance on the show. They weren’t successful, obviously: Two days before the awards, a federal judge ruled the hologram could go free.

    Did we gain much by seeing Jackson perform again? It was a curiosity we could all gawk at via social media, but it seemed tacky to remember a man who changed the of landscape of pop music by making him a copy of a copy of a copy.

    H/T The Verge | Screengrab via ABC


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    12 Years a Slavecame out months ago, but apparently the DVD release is giving people fresh opportunities for bizarre and horribly racist advertising.

    British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s came under fire on Monday after a photo surfaced of a 12 Years A Slave DVD display that gave customers the opportunity to “get the look.” As in, the slave “look,” as if 12 Years a Slave was some kind of Hollywood fashion trend. The supermarket DVD stand included a mannequin wearing cropped trousers and a loose-fitting beige shirt: supposedly a slave-themed outfit.

    When creating a shop display for, say, The Great Gatsby, this kind of fashion tip might be vaguely appropriate. But does it really need explaining why it’s incredibly offensive and stupid to advise shoppers on how to “get the look” of 12 Years a Slave?

    According to Sainsbury’s PR Twitter feed, the display has already been removed. Why it was there in the first place, we may never know—particularly because it took some bad Twitter publicity to make them take it down. Of course, removing the display won’t remove the photos that have been retweeted all over the Internet.


    Photo via Twitter


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    The intertwining storylines of Game of Thrones are a lot for a newbie to take in, but this primer should help you get started.

    MTV sent someone who’s never seen Game of Thrones to interview Peter Dinklage, and he gave the actor a seemingly impossible task to sum up the show’s four seasons (so far) in under a minute. Even Dinklage seems a bit perplexed at the idea of summing up 37 hours of television, but he gives it a go anyway.

    “Sexy sexy sexy, stabby stabby stabby, beautiful language.” What poetry.

    If that wouldn’t want to make you start watching, I don’t know what will.

    H/T Jezebel | Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    Vimeo’s “Staff Picks” have helped discover and elevate filmmakers, but the channel’s also made an effort to seek out and spotlight some of the best new music videos, directors, and obscure acts—ones you don’t necessarily see on YouTube or Vevo.

    Back in March, a Nebraska musician named Kawehi covered Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box.” The video, which was a Staff Pick, subsequently went viral, and now sits at 1.7 million views, spotlighting an artist who’d been crowdfunding her albums and didn’t have a label.

    Their curation of music videos parallels their film-curating aesthetic, throwing back to the days when a music video release was an event. They're attempting to erase the line between filmmakers and music video directors. 

    With that in mind, here are five must-see music videos on Vimeo right now:

     

    James, “Moving On”

    A tale of death is spun entirely through yellow yarn in Ainslie Henderson’s stop-motion video. It sounds like it could be precious, but it’s actually pretty amazing.

    Moving On from ainslie henderson on Vimeo.

    Harrison, “Akira”

    A man with a light-up skull is propelled by the Toronto DJ Harrison. The next Daft Punk?

    Harrison - Akira (Official Video) from Charlie Tyrell on Vimeo.

    Tune-yards, “Water Fountain”

    Merrill Garbus is a genius, and I don’t just throw that word around. Her latest album, Nikki Nack, follows up 2011’s phenomenal Whokill, and the video for the first single is a sign she needs her own kids’ show.

    TUNE YARDS / Water Fountain from joel kefali on Vimeo.

    Ben Khan, “Youth”

    The London-based Khan’s new album is called 1992, and this video mirrors that year’s aesthetic.

    Ben Khan- "Youth" from BRTHR on Vimeo.

    Flying Lotus, “Phantasm”

    Producer and musician Flying Lotus’s video for the first track off his upcoming album stars Laura Darlington on vocals, and her voice is the perfect compliment to this surreal clip, directed by Markus Hofko.

    Flying Lotus (feat. Laura Darlington) - Phantasm from The Bow on Vimeo.

    Screengrab via The Bow/Vimeo


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    The brainchild of Indian director Rupesh Paul (visionary mastermind behind such modern classics as Karmasutra 3D), The Vanishing Act is a dramatisation of the recent disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

    After the aircraft lost contact with air traffic control on a commercial flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March, the media, the Internet, and the entire world was overcome with fevered speculation as to its whereabouts.

    Theories ranged from hijacking to technical faults or even suicidal intentions by the pilot. The more conspiratorial (and unhinged) suggested it might have been part of a ploy by the Rothschilds and other shadowy “New World Order” figures to gain control of semiconductor patents, or perhaps an Israeli false-flag operation.

    All we currently know for sure is that the “black box” distress signals have been detected at the bottom of the Indian Ocean—and with it, presumably, the wreckage of the aircraft and the bodies of the unfortunate 239 passengers and crew members.

    But now we can pack away our submarines and Sea Hawk reconnaissance choppers, and speculate no longer, because Rupesh Paul has the answer!

    Billing itself as “the untold story of the vanished Malaysian flight,” the one minute and 33 second teaser trailer shows passionate embraces between crew members and passengers, firearms and unknown forces shaking the aircraft, in a dramatic retelling of the very recent tragedy.

    It is “partly a work of fiction,” Paul admits—lest his audience is fooled into thinking that he alone actually knows exactly what happened on that ill-fated flight and he’s revealing it to the world as an act of public service, rather than just trying to make a quick buck off of hundreds of families’ unimaginable ongoing suffering.

    The plot is apparently based on the theories of an unknown Malaysian “journalist” who contacted Paul after MH370 disappeared.

    The Vanishing Act has not yet been made: The trailer was recently released in Cannes film festival as part of efforts to find financial backers for the project, and was filmed over six days in a park aerobus in Bombay, India, the Latin Post reports.

    Film adaptations of recent and sometimes tragic events can be done with tact and grace. United 93, the true story of passengers resilience during the hijacking of a plane 9/11, proved that, receiving overwhelming acclaim from critics and viewers alike.

    The Vanishing Act will likely not be one of these. Case in point: Flight MH370 was a Boeing 777. The plane in the trailer is very clearly a 747. They couldn’t even be bothered to get the type of plane right.

    H/T Variety/YouTube | Screenshot via YouTube


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    OK, everyone, jump aboard the hype train: The new trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy has hit the 'net. Suffice it to say, it gives you that tickly feeling inside.

    The trailer shows off the bounce and humor of the comics adapted for the big screen. It’s the adaptation of that humor that has fans so excited. Many fans were worried that Guardians of the Galaxy was too obscure for current moviegoers. It seems, however, that the Internet has been embracing the quirky science-fiction action comedy. 

    Compared to the output from Warner Bros. and DC, Marvel has chosen to bring a bit of personality and humor to its star-studded superhero romps. Iron Man, for example, can be fun and humorous for a wide range of audiences. Man of Steel, on the other hand, was a dark and broody superhero drama that favored a more realistic tinge. 

    Regardless, comics fans are just excited to see more and more of their favorite stories being adapted for the big screen.

    Watch the trailer, and try not to run around in stupid fits of joy. Guardians of the Galaxy will hit U.S. theaters on Aug. 1, 2014.

    Screengrab via Movies Coming Soon/YouTube


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    When Twitter introduced Vine, expectations were high. Facebook had Instagram, and Vine was poised to be Twitter’s answer, a smaller, mobile-first app to compete with the photo-sharing service. But Instagram introduced video and Vine’s six-second looping video format was a lot harder to nail down.

    Vine’s quirks have limited widespread adoption, but the specific format and its more intimate community have helped the app grow an engaged, remarkably creative fanbase, with its own set of celebrities and expectations.

    One example of Vine creativity comes from a former Twitter employee who continues to tinker around on the video-sharing app. Ian Padgham, who worked as a Twitter video producer, has created AdVINEture, a series of "Choose Your Own Adventure"-style Vines. After viewing the first one, Padgham includes a paragraph of context for the clip, and bolded links offering viewers multiple options about what’ll happen next.

    Some choices send you back to the beginning:

    After the "Choose Your Own Adventure" Vines were well-received, Padgham received an offer to create a version for Star Wars in preparation for the brand’s annual Star Wars day on May 4.

    He has launched his own creative production company, Origiful, so expect more interesting short-form content from Padgham in the future.

    H/T Mashable | Photo via Flickr/Photo Travelers (CC BY-SA 2.0) 


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