Hot Movies to Catch!

Posted by publisher | Entertainment | Friday 17 June 2011 11:41 pm

Article by James Gevork of Starstruck Extreme

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon has just been released this past week and flocks of people have already watched it and it has already hit the box office status.  The much awaited third movie from the Transformers franchise did not disappoint fans. Megan Fox did not return as Mikaela Banes but Victoria’s Secret model, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley comes in to play Sam Witwicky’s love interest. She plays Carly Spencer, the original character from the cartoon which Mikaela Banes was based on.  The third movie sees Sam Witwicky, played by actor Shia Labeouf, freshly out of college, with a new job and a new girlfriend, as well as another Decepticon plot to rule the universe to tear down. Catch Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon in theatres near you!

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Monte Carlo is another movie which opened this past weekend. It stars Disney Channel’s star Selena Gomez, Gossip Girls’ Leighton Meester and Katie Cassidy. It is set in Monte Carlo and tells of a story about a girl who assumes an heiress’ identity when she is mistaken for the heiress. This is a definitely fun movie to watch with your tweens.

Zookeeper is another movie to watch out for. It is set to come out in July 8th. It stars funny man Kevin James with Rosario Dawson and Leslie Bibb. It’s a story about animals breaking their code of silence and decides to talk to help their Zookeeper find love. Definitely a fun family movie, catch it when it comes out in theatres on July 8, 2011.

Steven Spielberg Set to Make “Wikileaks” Movie

Posted by publisher | Movie Reviews | Wednesday 6 April 2011 12:28 am

Steven Spielberg, in securing the screen rights to the book known as Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy written by two prominent Guardian journalists is all set to have his studio oversee the productions of the movie.

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The book has been written as an investigative thriller along the lines of “All the President’s Men” carefully documenting the life of Julian Assange right from his childhood all the way to the creation of the infamous Wikileaks website in 2006.

It also meticulously documents the close and secretive relationship between The Guardian and Wikileaks, and their collaboration which is considered by many to be one of the greatest journalistic scoops for a long time to come. Along with this, there is detailed coverage of the leak of almost 250000 secret cables that were released in December 2010.

While this project in no doubt undertaken by DreamWorks, Spielberg’s company, there are other projects that are also underway to cover this story in the form of a documentary by Alex Gibney and a biopic that is based on a New York article by Raffi Khatchadourian and that will be co-produced by HBO and the BBC.

In comparison to these projects, DreamWorks version seems to be in the initial stages since it requires a screenwriter, a cast and a director. And while Julian Assange fighting with an extradition order to Sweden where he has to deal with sexual abuse allegations, there is little doubt that this movie will raise a lot of eyebrows and get attention from moviegoers everywhere.

The Life of Movies

Posted by publisher | Movie Reviews | Saturday 15 January 2011 2:49 am

What better way to escape reality than to dive into the realm of movies? When you first step foot into the theatre and the lights are down, the ability to forget about the world outside the doors becomes effortless. Time is lost and the mind is freed from the pressures of reality. The characters plights become more important than your own, and the movie takes hold of you. For a few hours, buttery popcorn and bubbly soda help you slide away from any worries you may left at the ticket counter.

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People have enjoyed going to the movies for over a century. The first movies were a series of photographs shown in rapid progression to create movement. Once motion picture cameras were invented, more life like movement shaped an entrancing experience for the first audiences. Eventually sound and color were added to bring the entire event to life. With today’s advancements in computer generated imaging, movies take on a whole life of their own.

The general public has long been entertained by the motion pictures they delight in, as well as the actors and actresses who play their favorite roles. Magazines, tabloids, and television shows are always out to capture the artists in any given situation. From marriage to child birth, and especially throughout the process of bad decision making, the public loves to read and hear about the lives of Hollywood Stars.

The entertainment value of motion pictures and those who create them will always be on the rise.

A Brief Trip through 90s Grunge

Posted by admin | Music | Thursday 17 April 2014 10:31 am

Written by Phin Upham

The 1980s were dominated by a form of heavy metal that now seems strange to today’s youth. Known as “hair metal,” the scene was full of long haired singers and guitarists who would head bang to screeching guitars and screaming lyrics. But not everyone could stomach the sound, and a few teens in the 90s would start working on introspective lyrics that would become the basis of grunge music.

The bands that took the reins of grunge music started mostly in Seattle. Names like Mudhoney and the Melvins seemed to dominate the scene, but the growth was small. It wasn’t until the 1991 release of Nirvana’s Nevermind that the world got its first true taste of grunge rock.

Record labels soon clamored all over themselves to sign talent from the Pacific Northwest. Grunge was so popular that even bands that weren’t associated with it got swept up in the mayhem. Pearl Jam and Sound Garden, both with sounds more akin to Black Sabbath, were labeled grungy and attained huge commercial success.

Nirvana moved deeper into grunge, while bands like Stone Temple Pilots moved into the pop scene.

Grunge ended abruptly with the death of Kurt Cobain. By then, most grunge acts had come and gone. Two of the most popular albums in the 90s came from Soundgarden and Alice and Chains, but both bands broke up within a matter of years.

While grunge was short lived, the scene gave birth to much of the modern rock we hear today. Without grunge, we wouldn’t have Queens of the Stone Age or Foo Fighters.


Phin Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Twitter page.

Getting to Know Coldplay

Posted by admin | Music | Friday 11 April 2014 9:38 am

This article was written by Phin Upham

The British rock band Colplay formed in 1996. Lead Singer Chris Martin met with the lead guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College in London. The two first formed a band called “The Pectorals,” but this was before they met their bassist Guy Berryman. By the time they had their fourth member, they’d changed their name to Coldplay.

Their first taste of stardom came with the song Yellow, which graced the airwaves in the year 2000. The laid back track was a prelude to their debut album, which was nominated for a Mercury Prize on its release. Their second album was released to critical acclaim, and it won NME’s Album of the Year award. The album was so popular that BBC 2 named it one of the greatest albums of all time.

They were supposed to record their first album in the span of two weeks, but plans got pushed back when they found themselves touring for a vast portion of that time. The actual recording time was close to one year. Production began in Liverpool at Parr Street Studios, with mixing happening in New York.

Coldplay released Parachutes on their own label, Parlophone, and it almost instantly became number one on the UKs top charts. Parachutes would come to North America shortly after, released by the label Nettwork. The band is also known for limited releases, like their imprint of “Trouble,” which was only pressed 1,000 times. If you’re so inclined, copies were distributed to known fans and journalists so you may still be able to find one online.


About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website

Arnold Schwarzenegger spills a few secrets on Terminator: Genesis, will “be back”

Posted by admin | Entertainment | Tuesday 11 March 2014 10:24 am

Unlike most movies where plot details are kept absolutely secret, Arnold Schwarzenegger spilled a few secrets recently for the upcoming movie titled Terminator: Genesis.

In his interview with MTV, in a bid to promote the movie, Schwarzenegger said, “The way that the character is written, it’s a machine underneath. It’s this metal skeleton. But above that is human flesh. And the Terminator’s flesh ages, just like any other human being’s flesh. Maybe not as fast. But it definitely ages.”

What he also admitted was that it was going to be a challenge considering the fact that he is 66 years old and the director, who is new, is sure to serve up an action-packed movie for their audiences.

Since Schwarzenegger admitted that he was is much older, he also mentioned that an emphasis on time travel will be evident in the movie as audiences will get to see the older (that he immortalized a few decades ago!) along with a new and younger T-800 version.

With the focus now shifting away from the duel between good and bad robot to time travel, this seems to be an interesting change. Much like the exclusion of Schwarzenegger himself from Terminator: Salvation since he was too busy being the governor of California.

Of course, he did promise himself and audiences that he would ‘be back’ for the next installment and has kickstarted its promotions off with this interview.

As ‘Sabotage’, another movie release of Schwarzenegger, is due March 28, Terminator:Genesis will hit theater on July 1, 2015.

12 Years a Slave isn’t easy to watch, admits cinematographer Sean Bobbitt

Posted by admin | Movie Reviews | Tuesday 11 February 2014 8:59 am

12 Years a Slave doesn’t give its audience an easy time, considering the way it has been portrayed by Sean Bobbitt – the movie’s cinematographer.

He goes on to explain the reception of his work on the film, in saying, “As we were shooting 12 Years, there was a feeling that we were doing something a bit different. It has certainly gotten people speaking and is developing a life far greater than anything we could have possibly imagined.”

Speaking of the attention that the film has received, not only did the busy cinematographer receive a Bafta nomination but also an invitation to the Oscars as well for his dazzling work.

Yet this isn’t the first time that Bobbitt has worked with McQueen as they have been together for the past 13 years. In understanding each other so well, they did decide to keep things simple.

As he goes on to explain, there was no trickery needed or even the need to portray it as a documentary or even a gritty drama. Yet they wanted to focus on the fact that Louisiana was a beautiful place – images that have made it to the movie’s final cut.

In the absence of which, the cinematographer believes that people would have not stuck with the film as they have.

As for the parts that have caused critics and moviegoers great discomfort, one can’t help but forget scenes where Northup is left hanging with only his toes touching the ground or even when he is forced to lash Patsey for leaving the plantation to find soap.

Sherlock’s ‘mind palace’ – it actually works in real life!

Posted by admin | Business Services | Saturday 11 January 2014 11:28 am

Sherlock Holmes has long been known for his powers of deduction. But that’s not all. The latest reincarnation of the master sleuth, in the BBC drama simply titled ‘Sherlock’, also serves up another trick of his: the mind palace.

If you’ve watched the series, then you’d notice how he moves about this mental space picking up clues that somehow hold the key to the puzzle that the duo is faced with.

It’s quite against the “Google it” norm. Yet the truth is that even if this feat seems only fictional, it has existed, long before technology made things so much easier for all of us.

It all began with Greek poet known Simonides who discovered as in an accident that when he visualized the room, he could recall the names of all the people who died. Later on, he used this technique to remember things by walking through buildings that he was familiar with.

As for now, this technique continues to be used by ‘mental athletes’ who compete in memory championships throughout the world. These athletes associate an imagined simple stroll in a familiar neighborhood with binary numbers, strings, random words and shuffled cards and so on and so forth.

Of course, most of us could do with a bit of mental real estate considering how we have to remember PINs, birthdays of people but most importantly relevant facts and concepts for our exams.

And it should come as no surprise that a Grand Master of Memory, Ed Cooke, used this technique to memorize almost a thousand studies for psychology finals as he strolled through the streets of Oxford.

Yes, it works in real life.

All in all, even if it might seem passe in this age where technology is there to make Life easier, nothing beats remembering the number of a cab company especially if your phone is dead.

Feeding the People

Posted by admin | Entertainment | Saturday 14 December 2013 6:11 am

Choosing a caterer for your event is no easy task. You have to know what kind of food your guests would like to eat or in some cases, what they can’t eat. Allergies can be a big issue when serving your guests anything that may be detrimental to their health. It’s also good to note what kind of event you’re having as serving meat in a vegetarian gathering is rather stupid.

There are a large number of caterers in Los Angeles that can prepare and serve various dishes from a number of nationalities; some of the more modern caterers have even found ways to fuse these various dishes together to form something entirely different. These caterers may have already prepared a number of set menus that you can choose from, or you can consult with them as to what your event should need.

Preparing for more personal affairs however require a kind of quality that you can rely on. Wedding planners would usually have a list of wedding caterers that have proven themselves to provide the perfect quality these once in a lifetime events need. When deciding which caterer to go with, the food is obviously important, but what’s more integral is the kind of service they can provide.

Budget should also be taken into consideration as feeding a large number of people can get expensive. For small family gatherings, a self prepared meal can be feasible, but for larger events like weddings where even the extended family is coming, catering is the only way to go.

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Anoush Catering  is part of a large number of Los Angeles catering companies that can provide Persian cuisine at an affordable cost.

Bieber’s “Believe” only brings in $2.3 million, his backers aren’t so concerned

Posted by admin | Business Services | Wednesday 11 December 2013 11:27 pm

Even if Bieber’s “Believe” has only brought in about $2.3 million since it opened on Christmas Day, his backers believe that the rankings (and earnings) at the box office doesn’t provide the accurate picture.

The COO of Scooter Braun Projects, and which is involved in a number of Bieber’s ventures, Scott Manson, summed it up nicely, in saying, “We realized that because of this built in fan base where these kids are so loyal and so supportive and so amazing that we could make a movie that we were really proud of and market it directly to them without traditional studio overhead charges and marketing budgets. And we feel like we accomplished that.”

He also went on to emphasize that much like Beyonce’s recently released visual album which was little or no marketing behind it, a similar strategy was used for the film, “Believe”.

In fact, he went to say that since Bieber already has a devoted following, a pricey marketing campaign wasn’t necessary.

As for making profits, with the making of movie only costing less than $5 million to make and another $4.5 million, it’s clear that a nifty profit is on the cards and which will run well into seven figures as the days go by.

What must be pointed out was that the movie wasn’t screened for the critics, which usually indicates that the studio has little or no faith in the commercial or critical value of the movie’s release.

The CEO of Open Road Films went on to clearly state that the movie wasn’t one that would be review driven, and which was why they did not bother with the exercise at all.

Producer explains why Affleck was cast for Batman, script still being worked on

Posted by admin | Movie Reviews | Monday 11 November 2013 8:46 am

When the announcement that Ben Affleck was cast as the new Batman was not well-received, it’s understandable that the producers would make an explanation for this.

Charles Roven, in speaking with Variety and explaining their choice, said, “We wanted a guy who had a certain age and a certain gravitas to what he had done in terms of his recent work. If you take a look at The Town and Argo, he plays a couple of serious guys in those movies. He’s a big man. He’s also a mature man. As you see him and Henry together, one definitely has much more experience just by looking at him. That’s what we wanted, particularly juxtaposed against our Superman.”

Simply put, the producer’s explanation was that they wanted a battle-weary Batman (and which Affleck suited perfectly) to Henry Cavill’s Superman.

Roven has also served as a producer for the first movie, Man of Steel, that stirred a lot of debate with the ending even if he felt as if they had successfully brought Superman into the 21st century with the first flick.

He went to say that Zack Snyder had left a few “Easter eggs” in the first movie as clues that would let people in on the intention that there was a distinct possibility of other DC characters being in the following movies apart from Clark Kent.

As for the script of Superman vs Batman, the script is still in its first draft that both Goyer and Zack put together.

The movie began filming recently and slated to open in cinemas on July 17, 2015.

Victor Rasuk will play Jose Rodriguez in the ‘50 Shades of Grey’ movie, productions pushed to December 2

Posted by admin | Entertainment | Friday 11 October 2013 6:47 am

Victor Rasuk will play character of Jose Rodriguez, the admirer of Anastasia Steele, in the 50 Shades of Grey movie that will begin production soon.

The 29-year old actor who is considered a latest addition to the cast to which Jamie Dornan and Charlie Hunnam had been cast to play the lead role of Christian Grey, the domineering millionaire. The latter was the original choice for the part but dropped out after the announcement of playing the lead role was revealed.

As for the role of Steele, Dakota Johnson will play the part of the Steele, a university student who gets involved with Grey while Rodriguez is also vying for her attention, and is a fellow university student and photographer.

The movie, which has been set to be released in August next year has suffered a setback, thanks to the changes in casting caused by Hunnam’s departure. Prior to his exit, shooting was scheduled to begin in mid-November but has now been set to start on December 2, 2013.

There have been other changes as well with Mark Bomback being brought back to help the movie’s creative team in revising the script. It must be mentioned that the person responsible for writing “Saving Mr. Banks”, Kelly Marcel, was originally responsible for converting E.L James’ bestseller into the current screenplay that will be used when shooting begins.

Victor Rasuk’s most-recent role was that of Bill Fernandez, a colleague of Jobs’ in his early days, in the newly released biopic that covers the life of the founder of Apple.

‘Tupac Shakur’ film in the works, production to begin next year

Posted by admin | Entertainment | Wednesday 11 September 2013 2:09 pm

Emmet Furla Films and Morgan Creek Productions have decided to co-finance and co-produce a film on the deceased rapper, Tupac Shakur, who sold almost 75 million albums during his time.

Production, which is scheduled to begin in Atlanta next year, will have Shakur’s mother, Afeni Shakur on board as executive producer.

As for the script for the movie, it is currently being worked on by Jeremy Haft and Eddie Gonzales – a duo best known for their direct-to-video crime drama hit titled “Street Kings II”.

Until now, only a number of documentaries such as ‘Biggie and Tupac’ released in 2002 and “Tupac: Resurrection” in 2003 have thrown light on Tupac life’s apart with his much publicized feud with Biggie Smalls.

Born in 1971 in Harlem, Tupac moved to the San Francisco Bay area in 1988, and was a prominent figure in the 1990s due to the East Coast-West Coast feud and which led to his death in 1996 on the Las Vegas strip.

Prior to this development, a number of directors have been linked to the project – Antoine Fuqua, of ‘Training Day’ fame, being one of them.

However, with repeated attempts to create a narrative film based on the rapper’s life failing as negotiations for creative control falling apart between Tupac Shakur’s mother and the movie’s producers, it looks as if the casting and a nomination of a director will happen now with agreements being reached between the two.

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