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Sean Cowen
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Passengers

Saw this a few nights ago and I'm still not sure what to think of it. The visuals were stunning, amazing, and any one of a hundred other superlatives. But I suppose a story with a true heart was missing in this film, at least imho. I wanted so much more of this film...

Passengers is a 2016 American science fiction adventure film directed by Morten Tyldum and written by Jon Spaihts. It stars Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne and Andy García. The film tells about two people who wake up 90 years too soon from an induced hibernation on board a spaceship bound for a new planet.

The film was released in the United States on December 21, 2016 in 2D and RealD 3D by Columbia Pictures. It has grossed $294 million worldwide. The film was nominated for Best Original Score and Best Production Design at the 89th Academy Awards.

Plot (Spoilers)

The starship Avalon is transporting over 5,000 colonists and crew in hibernation pods to the planet Homestead II, a journey that takes 120 years. Thirty years into its journey, the ship encounters an asteroid belt, in which it collides with a large asteroid. As a result of the collision, the ship's protective energy shield is weakened enough to allow a piece of it to pass through the shield, impacting the ship. This causes a malfunction that awakens one passenger, mechanical engineer Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), 90 years too early.

After a year of isolation, with no company except Arthur (Michael Sheen), an android bartender, Jim contemplates suicide. One day he notices beautiful Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) in her pod. Her video profile reveals she is a writer with a humorous personality. After struggling with the morality of manually reviving Aurora for companionship, he awakens her, claiming her pod malfunctioned like his. The only one knowing about what Jim did, is Arthur. He promises Jim to not tell Aurora about why she really woke up. Aurora, devastated she may grow old and die before the ship reaches Homestead II, attempts a fruitless effort at re-entering hibernation, just as Jim had tried. Eventually, she accepts her situation and begins writing a book about her experiences. Jim and Aurora grow closer, becoming lovers...

VIA/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passengers_(2016_film)

#scifi #scifimovies #passengers #chrispratt #jenniferlawrence #hollywood #space
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The Prestige

I always found this a fantastically nuanced film, full of magnificent cinematography and all the deft touches C. Nolan is known for. His movies fascinate me, and this film is worth watching a few times to see what you've missed.

The Prestige is a 2006 mystery thriller drama film directed by Christopher Nolan, from a screenplay adapted by Nolan and his brother Jonathan from Christopher Priest's 1995 World Fantasy Award-winning novel of the same name. The story follows Robert Angier and Alfred Borden, rival stage magicians in London at the end of the 19th century. Obsessed with creating the best stage illusion, they engage in competitive one-upmanship with tragic results.

The American-British co-production features Hugh Jackman as Robert Angier, Christian Bale as Alfred Borden, and David Bowie as Nikola Tesla. It also stars Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Piper Perabo, Andy Serkis, and Rebecca Hall. The film reunites Nolan with actors Bale and Caine from Batman Begins and returning cinematographer Wally Pfister, production designer Nathan Crowley, film score composer David Julyan, and editor Lee Smith.

A co-production between Touchstone Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, the film was released on October 20, 2006, receiving positive reviews and strong box office results, and received Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction. Along with The Illusionist and Scoop, The Prestige was one of three films in 2006 to explore the world of stage magicians.

Themes are important in this film, and many roads are explored in this film...

Themes (**SPOILERS*)

The rivalry between Borden and Angier dominates the film. Obsession, secrecy, and sacrifice fuel the battle, as both magicians contribute their fair share to a deadly duel of one-upmanship, with disastrous results. Angier's obsession with beating Borden costs him a great deal of money and Cutter's friendship, while providing him with a collection of his own suicide victims; Borden's obsession with maintaining the secrecy of his twin leads Sarah to question their relationship, eventually resulting in her suicide when she suspects the truth. Angier and one of the twins both lose Olivia's love because of their inhumanity.

Finally, Borden is hanged and the last copy of Angier shot. Their struggle is also expressed through class warfare: Borden as The Professor, a working-class magician who gets his hands dirty, versus Angier as The Great Danton, a classy, elitist showman whose accent makes him appear American. Film critic Matt Brunson claimed that a complex theme of duality is exemplified by Angier and Borden, that the film chooses not to depict either magician as good or evil.

Angier's theft of Borden's teleportation illusion in the film echoes many real-world examples of stolen tricks among magicians. Outside the film, similar rivalries include magicians John Nevil Maskelyne and Harry Kellar's dispute over a levitation illusion. Gary Westfahl of Locus Online also notes a "new proclivity for mayhem" in the film over the novel, citing the murder/suicide disposition of Angier's duplicates and intensified violent acts of revenge and counter-revenge. This "relates to a more general alteration in the events and tone of the film" rather than significantly changing the underlying themes.

Nor is this theme of cutthroat competition limited to prestidigitation: the script incorporates the popular notion that Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison were directly engaged in the War of Currents, a rivalry over electrical standards, which appears in the film in parallel to Borden and Angier's competition for magical supremacy. In the book, Tesla and Edison serve as foils for Borden and Angier, respectively.

Den Shewman of Creative Screenwriting says the film asks how far one would go to devote oneself to an art. The character of Chung Ling Soo, according to Shewman, is a metaphor for this theme. Film critic Alex Manugian refers to this theme as the "meaning of commitment." For example, Soo's pretense of being slow and feeble misdirects his audience from noticing the physical strength required to perform the goldfish bowl trick, but the cost of maintaining this illusion is the sacrifice of individuality: Soo's true appearance and freedom to act naturally are consciously suppressed in his ceaseless dedication to the art of magic.

Nicolas Rapold of Film Comment addresses the points raised by Shewman and Manugian in terms of the film's "refracted take on Romanticism":

Angier's technological solution—which suggests art as sacrifice, a phoenix-like death of the self—and Borden's more meat-and-potatoes form of stagecraft embody the divide between the artist and the social being.

#theprestige #movies #Hollywood #movies #magic #magician #christophernolan

(via/ http://screencrush.com/the-prestige-10th-anniversary/)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prestige_(film)
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40 Years Ago: The Rolling Stones Play Famous ‘Love You Live’ Club Shows

It wasn’t a surprise that the Rolling Stones were in Toronto in the winter of 1977. The Royal Mounted Police had alerted the world to the band’s Canadian presence due to one of the biggest drug busts in rock history.

In late February, Stones guitarist Keith Richards was found with an obscene amount of heroin and cocaine in his possession. The incident made international news because Richards was initially charged with trafficking (due to the large amounts) and there was a possibility that the rock star could be headed for a long jail sentence.

The other Stones, who had already been in Toronto practicing, were less than thrilled. Not just for the obvious reasons, but because Richards has potentially blown their cover. Months earlier, frontman Mick Jagger and his manager Peter Rudge had set up a pair of secret Stones shows at the city’s El Mocambo Club with the idea of using some of the live recordings for a forthcoming concert album.

Rudge “asked me, ‘Do you think you can pull it off?’,” promoter Duff Roman recalled to the National Post. “I told him that we could and then started thinking about how we could actually do it without anyone knowing.”

Secrecy was paramount because the upper level at the El Mo (as it’s known) only can contain about 300 people. If the Stones’ cover got blown, the shows would quickly become a media circus – especially with what was going on with Richards. The El Mocambo’s booker, Dave Bluestein, came up with a misdirection. He would schedule Montreal’s April Wine to play March 4 and 5 at the club.

“We had natural cover,” Bluestein said, “because if anything got out, we could say, ‘No, look, April Wine is playing. That’s the gig.’

April Wine was billed along with an unknown band, called the Cockroaches. Of course, in reality, the Canadian rockers were set to open for the biggest band in the world.
In order to ensure that the gigs were attended by friendly crowds, Roman devised a radio contest in which Stones fans could enter to see April Wine. He and Stones members handpicked the winners, who were told of the actual plan while on the bus en route to the gig. The guests entered through the back of the club to cut down on any chance hysteria.
That night, after April Wine’s opening set, the Rolling Stones took the El Mocambo stage, the arena-rocking band’s first club show in 14 years. Richards remembers being thankful for having something positive to do, after all of his legal and media woes.

#rocknroll #rollingstones #rockhistory #loveyoulive #musiclovers

Read More: 40 Years Ago: The Rolling Stones Play Famous 'Love You Live' Club Shows | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/rolling-stones-surprise-gig/?trackback=tsmclip

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Oh, yes. History was made on this day. Still one of the most requested bands and songs I get each week at +FRIDAY NIGHT SESSIONS​. Dark Side. Dark Side!

#rocknroll #musichistory #pinkfloyd. #darksideofthemoon

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Mercedes-Benz 500K Cabriolet

The Mercedes 500K (type W29) is a grand touring car built by Mercedes-Benz between 1934 and 1936. First exhibited at the 1934 Berlin Motor Show, it carried the factory designation W29.

Distinguished from the 500 sedan by the "K" for Kompressor (German for supercharger) only fitted to these performance cars, it succeeded the Mercedes-Benz 380 introduced just the previous year. It offered both a larger, more powerful engine and more opulent coachwork to meet customers' demands for greater luxury and performance.

Specs

The 500K used the same independent suspension as had been introduced on the 380, with a double wishbone front axle, double-joint swing axle at the rear, and separate wheel location, coil springs and damping, a world first. Consequently, it was a more comfortable and better handling car than Mercedes' previous S/SS/SSK generation of roadsters from the 1920s, and offered greater appeal to buyers, particularly the growing number of well-heeled female drivers of the time.

Pressing the throttle pedal fully engaged the Roots supercharger, inducing the five litre straight-eight engine to produce up to 160 horsepower (120 kW) and making the car capable of over 160 kilometres per hour (100 mph), while consuming fuel at the rate of up to 30 l/100 km (9.4 mpg‑imp; 7.8 mpg‑US) as it did so.

Three different chassis and eight bodies were available for customers; the two longer "B" and "C" four-seat cabriolet versions rode on a wheelbase of 3,290 mm (129.5 in), and would later be used on other sedan and touring car models. The short "A" chassis, with a 2,980 mm (117.3 in) wheelbase, underpinned the two-seater models: the Motorway Courier, and the 1936 Special Roadster which offered the highest performance. All models featured such advanced equipment as safety glass, hydraulic brakes, and a 12-volt electrical system sufficient to bear the load of the electric windscreen wipers, door locks, and indicators.

Today, the cars remain highly prized for their heritage and scarcity. When the car collection of Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone was auctioned in October 2007 it included five pre-war Mercedes, and his 500K Special Cabriolet fetched almost £700,000 (US$1.45 million).

#cars #automobile #mercedesbenz #sportscars #classiccars #500k

(via/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_500K)
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NASCAR Founded on 21 February 1948

On this day in 1948, the National Association for Stock Car Racing–or NASCAR, as it will come to be widely known–is officially incorporated. NASCAR racing will go on to become one of America’s most popular spectator sports, as well as a multi-billion-dollar industry.

The driving force behind the establishment of NASCAR was William “Bill” France Sr. (1909-1992), a mechanic and auto-repair shop owner from Washington, D.C., who in the mid-1930s moved to Daytona Beach, Florida. The Daytona area was a gathering spot for racing enthusiasts, and France became involved in racing cars and promoting races. After witnessing how racing rules could vary from event to event and how dishonest promoters could abscond with prize money, France felt there was a need for a governing body to sanction and promote racing. He gathered members of the racing community to discuss the idea, and NASCAR was born, with its official incorporation in February 1921. France served as NASCAR’s first president and played a key role in shaping its development in the sport’s early decades.

NASCAR held its first Strictly Stock race on June 19, 1949, at the Charlotte Speedway in North Carolina. Some 13,000 fans were on hand to watch Glenn Dunnaway finish the 200-lap race first in his Ford; however, Jim Roper (who drove a Lincoln) collected the $2,000 prize after Dunnaway was disqualified for illegal rear springs on his vehicle. In the early years of NASCAR, competitors drove the same types of cars that people drove on the street–Buicks, Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles, among others–with minimal modifications. (Today, the cars are highly customized.)

In 1950, the first NASCAR-based track, the Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, opened. More new raceways followed, including the Daytona International Speedway, which opened in 1959. Lee Petty won the first Daytona 500, which was run on February 22 of that year. The Daytona 500 became NASCAR’s season opener and one of its premiere events. Lee Petty’s son Richard, who began his racing career in 1958, won the Daytona 500 a record seven times and became NASCAR’s first superstar before retiring in 1992. On February 18, 1979, the first live flag-to-flag coverage of the Daytona 500 was broadcast on television. An end-of-the-race brawl between drivers Cale Yarborough and Donnie and Bobby Allison was a huge publicity generator and helped boost NASCAR’s popularity on a national scale.

In 1972, France’s son, William France Jr., took over the presidency of NASCAR from his father. Over the next three decades, the younger France (1933-2007) was instrumental in transforming NASCAR from a regional sport popular primarily in the southeast U.S. into one with a global fan base. France led NASCAR into a new era of lucrative corporate sponsorships and billion-dollar TV contracts. Today, NASCAR has three national series as well as four regional series and two international series. The organization sanctions over 1,200 races at 100 tracks across North America.

#nascar #atuomobile #cars #racing #stockcar #stockcarracing #daytona500

(via/ http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nascar-founded)

image | https://www.instagram.com/p/BKMfarxAnjT/


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Aston Martin

Has any other automobile been so closely associated for so long with a literary character like 007? I can't think of any. I continue to be impressed with every new Aston Martin I see introduced in the Bond films. Such beautiful cars...!

Bond has driven several models made by the British luxury sports car manufacturer over the years, but this one is slightly different. The bespoke DB10 was designed specifically for Spectre, with input from Sam Mendes.

For over 50 years, Aston Martin has been the sports car of choice for James Bond. Produced exclusively for Spectre, DB10 was designed, engineered and hand crafted by a dedicated team at Aston Martin’s Gaydon Headquarters in the UK.

Creating the Aston Martin DB10 has been our most closely-guarded secret in years. Celebrating an enduring relationship, which started with the iconic DB5, the DB10 gives a glimpse to the future design direction for the next generation of Aston Martins.

#astonmartin #jamesbond #spectre #007 #classiccars #sportscars #secretagent #coolcars #db10 #brittishcars

(via/ http://www.astonmartin.com/en/cars/db10)


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Marines Invade Iwo Jima on 19 February 1945

On this day, Operation Detachment, the U.S. Marines’ invasion of Iwo Jima, is launched. Iwo Jima was a barren Pacific island guarded by Japanese artillery, but to American military minds, it was prime real estate on which to build airfields to launch bombing raids against Japan, only 660 miles away.

The Americans began applying pressure to the Japanese defense of the island in February 1944, when B-24 and B-25 bombers raided the island for 74 days. It was the longest pre-invasion bombardment of the war, necessary because of the extent to which the Japanese–21,000 strong–fortified the island, above and below ground, including a network of caves. Underwater demolition teams (“frogmen”) were dispatched by the Americans just before the actual invasion. When the Japanese fired on the frogmen, they gave away many of their “secret” gun positions.

The amphibious landings of Marines began the morning of February 19 as the secretary of the navy, James Forrestal, accompanied by journalists, surveyed the scene from a command ship offshore. As the Marines made their way onto the island, seven Japanese battalions opened fire on them. By evening, more than 550 Marines were dead and more than 1,800 were wounded. The capture of Mount Suribachi, the highest point of the island and bastion of the Japanese defense, took four more days and many more casualties. When the American flag was finally raised on Iwo Jima, the memorable image was captured in a famous photograph that later won the Pulitzer Prize.

This historic photo that was taken in 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. U.S. Marines & a U.S. Navy corpsman raised the flag of the U.S. atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. Of the 6 men depicted in the photo, 3 (Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, & Michael Strank) were killed during the battle; the 3 survivors (John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, & Ira Hayes) became National Heroes upon their identification in the photo....

#iwojima #wwii #worldwarii #japanese #pacifictheater #marines #americanhistory #war #thisdayinhistory

(via history.com)
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Samurai Stormtrooper

Incredibly cool for all fans of samurai and Star Wars.

Samurai (侍?) were the military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan.

In Japanese, they are usually referred to as bushi (武士) or buke (武家). According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was originally a verb meaning "to wait upon" or "accompany persons" in the upper ranks of society, and this is also true of the original term in Japanese, saburau. In both countries the terms were nominalized to mean "those who serve in close attendance to the nobility", the pronunciation in Japanese changing to saburai. According to Wilson, an early reference to the word "samurai" appears in the Kokin Wakashū (905–914), the first imperial anthology of poems, completed in the first part of the 10th century.

By the end of the 12th century, samurai became almost entirely synonymous with bushi, and the word was closely associated with the middle and upper echelons of the warrior class. The samurai were usually associated with a clan and their lord, and were trained as officers in military tactics and grand strategy. While the samurai numbered less than 10% of then Japan's population, their teachings can still be found today in both everyday life and in modern Japanese martial arts.

#samurai #stormtrooper #starwars #sw #japanese #japan #bushi #warrior

(via/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samurai)

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Stormtrooper

image | http://imgur.com/gallery/8zEzX
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Ed Turner Motorcycles

Saw this picture, and I was intrigued by what they do. I love discovering new motorcycle co's. (at least to me), and I really enjoy seeing the craftsmanship and stories behind the bikes...

"In the beginning there was an engine, often ill, and ready for a change… Nothing could be clearer than the direction I needed to take… But from the moment the first frame tubes are bent and positioned in white around the engine, the machine itself starts to take part in the decisions and lets me know what is expected. You can’t force these things. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. The bike knows what is good for her!"

#motorcycle #edturner #cycles #craftsmanship

(via/ http://www.edturner-motorcycles.com/en/motorcycles.html)

https://www.facebook.com/edturnercustomgarage/
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