- Your Voice
American illusionists and entertainers Penn and Teller bring us this fascinating and thoughtful story on how, perhaps, 17th Century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer, was able to produce paintings with a nearly photographic quality. The mystery surrounding Vermeer’s lucid oil paintings has spawned theories for over 350 years, including a 2001 book from British artist David Hockney entitled “Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters”. Hockney believed that Vermeer’s uniquely rich Renaissance period art was the result of optics, or a “camera obscura”. His premise was that Vermeer must have developed a technique using a lens to compliment his artistic talent--even before the camera had been invented.
10/13 Communications has named a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry as general manager for its Arizona properties, including yourwestvalley.com., the Daily News-Sun, Glendale Today, Peoria Today and Surprise Today.
It looks like the Twelfth Doctor and Clara Oswald will have some company on their journeys through space and time.
The final 13 episodes of the canceled Clone Wars series will be dubbed “The Lost Missions” and will appear exclusively on Netflix starting March 7, Disney and ABC Television announced Thursday.
Previewing the long-awaited final episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, this trailer offers a glimpse into the various story arcs of The Lost Missions. Yoda communes with Qui-Gon Jinn and is sent on a journey; Jedi Master Plo Koon discovers Sifo-Dyas’ lightsaber and a clue to the creation of the clone army; Count Dooku looks to protect the secret of Order 66; Anakin Skywalker rescues Padmé Amidala; and Mace Windu battles multiple foes.
The French invented the word “cliché”, so I suppose it is only fitting that a French filmmaker and writer, Luc Besson, penned the new movie, 3 Days to Kill, one of the most clichéd films I’ve ever seen; where everything from the title to the villains, from the hero and his family to the film’s femme fatale are all tediously stereotyped.
Question: I know Windows XP is about to be retired, but is it safe enough for me to do my taxes or should I upgrade it first? — Ralph
Many adults complain that today’s youth is dominated by video games and iPads. But no matter how advanced technology becomes, Lego will always be there to provide the building blocks for good, old-fashion fun. Every Lego box is a treasure chest of infinite possibilities, allowing us to construct castles, cars, and entire cities. Lego has fueled our imaginations ever since 1949. Sixty-five years and 560 billion Lego pieces later, we get “The Lego Movie.”
Shock and sadness are the prevalent emotions for the friends, family, and fans of Oscar Winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman after he was found dead the morning of Feb. 2. His death is now being called an apparent overdose at an apartment he rented in Greenwich Village.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching there are a slew of romantic films on their way to theaters and one of the first out of the gate is Labor Day, the new film written and directed by Jason Reitman (Juno), based on the book by Joyce Maynard.
Q: Is there an easy way to see if I have a hidden keylogger on my Windows 7 computer before I start doing my taxes? — Don
A lifetime of bitterness poisons the spirit of an Oklahoma family’s matriarch and she in turn contaminates the lives of her children with vitriol and meanness. August: Osage County is a dark film about a seriously dysfunctional family, but it somehow still manages to be very funny as well.
A man in love with his computer’s operating system. It’s an odd premise, especially for anyone who ever purchased Windows Vista, but somehow writer/director Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich) was able to turn this idea into Her, one of the best sci-fi movies of the year and a thought-provoking commentary on love and human relationships in the time of technology.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision has what purports to be a major scoop about the next Star Wars movie, with sources saying the writer shakeup last year that resulted in Oscar-winner Michael Arndt’s departure being chalked up to a desire to focus on new characters rather than the Original Trilogy triumvirate of Luke, Han and Leia.
Without the mythological hero, Hercules, the popular culture of today would probably look a lot different than it does. You can easily draw a line from modern superheroes back to the time of the ancient Greeks. So why is it that after thousands of years since his inception we are still waiting for a decent Hercules movie?
Hey kids, comics! The upcoming Amazing Arizona Comic Con has events planned that will appeal to kids of all ages – like a plethora of Walking Dead activities, a screening of “The Image Revolution” film, and attempts by comic creators to break Guinness world records – but all day Sunday, Jan. 26, they will have special focus on the junior set of the comic-fan demographic.
You know that quiet, weird family who keeps to themselves and lives on the outskirts of the city? Every outlying burg or small town has at least one of these crazy clans of outcasts (or at least they do in the movies), and the film, We Are What We Are, sets out to prove that those eccentric folks are even more demented and wacky than you imagined they were.
In a year so rich with captivating cinema, it feels almost criminal to try and narrow it down to a mere five favorites.
Everyone had reservations when it was announced Peter Jackson would be splitting up “The Hobbit” into a trilogy. Do we really need three separate movies? Can’t this 300-page book be done in one movie? Isn’t this just a ploy to milk a franchise and make an extra couple billion dollars? When “An Unexpected Journey” finally came out last December, we all found that these initial concerns were pretty much spot-on.
There are dozens of reasons to slam the new Jason Statham film, “Homefront”, the least of which is its misleading movie poster that has the British action star swathed in the stars and stripes of the American flag, which, when coupled with the film’s title, persuades one to believe that this is patriotic post-war flick of some kind – it’s not. But, nevertheless, it’s still a pretty good old-school action flick and on that level it’s a decent way to spend a Saturday afternoon with a bag of popcorn.
Q: I am having an increasing number of emails that are sent from Gmail, not being received and not in their spam folder. If I send it from my Cox address, they receive it. This is very frustrating. Any ideas? — Eileen
“The Hunger Games” hype-machine is back in full force with everything from local car dealerships to makeup companies and Subway sandwiches jumping on the Everdeen bandwagon. It’s ironic that this movie which attempts to make a statement on the negative influence that media has on society is so successful at manipulating those very institutions, making this film franchise a pop cultural juggernaut capable of mowing down its cinematic competition and common sense with unreasonable and unstoppable force.
The new film “The Book Thief”, based on the bestselling book by Australian novelist Markus Zusak, depicts a Holocaust-lite version of World War II era Nazi Germany and inadvertently poses the question, “Can a cute Nazi kid steal your heart?” The answer, like those conflicted times, is not as black and white or as simple as it may seem.
For about three quarters, Canyon Del Oro had No. 1 Gilbert Williams Field on the ropes.
“Thor: The Dark World” is part two of “phase two” of the Marvel cinematic universe, but, lest ye become too confused with the comic-book giant’s attempt to make its movie world as convoluted as its comics, forget all that nonsense and just enjoy this film for the breathtaking battle between good and evil that it is – with some sappy-fun romance thrown in for good measure. This film rocks (and I don’t mean just the short-lived appearance of the Kronan).
What’s this? A time-travel movie without a time-machine, a souped-up Delorean, or any other sort of time-warping gizmo technology? Heresy! Well, no, the British film, “About Time,” is actually a pretty decent movie, and hopefully it will make you think more about life, love and how you spend your valuable time on Earth than the story’s self-imposed rules regarding space and time; rules that it haphazardly breaks – repeatedly.
You can probably tell whether you’re going to enjoy “All is Lost” based on the film’s synopsis. Robert Redford plays a sailor on a voyage somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Without any exposition or explanation, he wakes up one morning to find that his yacht has crashed into a shipping container. The sailor has no way to contact help and little means of navigation. Even though the sailor manages to patch the hole up, his boat won’t last long with hazardous weather conditions on the horizon.
The First Solar plant being constructed in Mesa, shown Thursday, October 6, 2011.
One of the world’s largest technology companies will build a brand-new manufacturing facility in Mesa that will add hundreds of permanent jobs and more than 1,000 temporary construction positions to the region.
Seven years ago, Director Paul Greengrass gave us “United 93.” Greengrass’ vision was bold and pulled no punches, easily making it the best post-9/11 film to date. Everything Greengrass brought to the table in “United 93” is displayed in “Captain Phillips.” This is another intensely shot, authentically edited true story about ordinary people forced to step up during a catastrophe. Is it the masterpiece that “United 93” was? Not quite, but that’s a really tough act to beat.
I’m a big fan of both director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) and writer Cormac McCarthy (The Road), so I was very excited when I heard that Scott was directing McCarthy’s first original screenplay, “The Counselor.” Although the film didn’t turn out to be quite the masterpiece I was expecting, it’s still better than your average crime-thriller, with some wild and unexpected eroticism thrown in to boot.
There is an intelligent and intriguing tale waiting to be told about the ever-expanding world of information technology that we live in and the security pitfalls that come with reliance on that technology. The Fifth Estate awkwardly attempts to tell that story, but unfortunately ends up being just a bungled biography of WikiLeaks and its notorious founder, Julian Assange.
Alfonso Cuarón’s “Gravity” just might have the most horrifying premise in all of movies. There are several other strong contenders like “Buried,” in which Ryan Reynolds was trapped in a coffin underground, and “127 Hours,” where James Franco was stuck between a rock and a hard place. But honestly, what’s scarier than being stranded in space with limited air and no communication with Earth? Going to outer space is in itself a fairly scary thought. The notion of anything going wrong up there is the worst nightmare imaginable. As the tagline to “Alien” says, in space no one can hear you scream.
It’s not every day you get to meet a living cinema legend. And it’s even rarer that said legend turns out, in a good way, to be the polar opposite of what you expected him or her to be. Case in point is Danny Trejo, the iconic bad-ass and tough-guy with well over two-hundred screen credits to his name, who in real-life is one of the nicest and most personable movie stars you could ever imagine.
In “Prisoners,” Director Denis Villeneuve is allowed the privilege few lesser known filmmakers have these days: The chance to not only make a multimillion-dollar American movie with A-list actors, but to also see his vision to the end. It would have been easy for the studio to step in and dumb this material down to another Hollywood thriller. Watching the film, you feel nothing short of grateful that the project was helmed by Villeneuve, whose “Incendies” received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film. Give him an intelligent script by Aaron Guzikowski in addition to a faultless cast, and you’ve got a recipe for one of the most distinctive crime dramas since “Mystic River.”
This October, one of the greatest zombie stories ever told returns with all new thrills, chills and undead drama. You’ll be on the edge of your seat as a small band of survivors struggle to stay alive and find safety in a world where danger lurks at every turn. Oh, by the way, no, we’re not talking about the new season of The Walking Dead.
With PC gaming being a huge platform for more independent games these days, it can be kind of difficult to weed out the good, the bad, and the ugly. Darkout is an independent sandbox style game that has recently been greenlit for distribution on Steam. With its impending wide release however, what makes this game so worth a look over the multitudes of others?
It was only about a week ago that Breaking Bad star Bob Odenkirk talked about the possibility of a prequel spin-off titled Better Call Saul. Now word has it that AMC and Sony Pictures Television have agreed on a spin-off prequel series, conceived of by show runner Vince Gilligan and character co-creator Peter Gould, that will tell the tales of sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman before he ever crossed paths with Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). Plans are for an hour-long prequel pilot with an expected series order from AMC. Now, the elephant in the room is that since this is a prequel series … what’s going to happen to Saul in the final few episodes of Breaking Bad? Fingers crossed that Goodman makes it out alive.
“The Grandmaster” tells the story of the legendary martial-arts master, Ip Man (or Yip Man or Yip Kai-man), or as he is known in the United States, the guy who trained Bruce Lee. It is a kung-fu film that is heavy on the drama and light on the mysticism, making it one of the classiest martial-art movies I’ve seen. It may not have as much fighting as some genre fans would like, but the action sequences it does have are extremely well produced.
Typically whenever a movie succumbs to the redundant car chase, it means that the screenwriter officially ran out of story to tell. It’s clear that the people behind “Getaway” never had any story to start with, as the entire film plays out like an extended car chase from its opening scene to its ridiculous ending.
Do you find yourself wanting a Nintendo 3DS without the hassle of having to flip the unit open and closed? Want to play 3-D games in glorious 2-D? You’re in luck! Nintendo is releasing the 2DS this October for $129.99.
If you are not familiar with the annual “Burning Man” event, thinkWoodstock meets Mad Max, although its organizers and proponents frown on painting the event into any kind of corner. The “about” section of the event’s website says that “trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind.” Nevertheless, the new documentary film, Spark: A Burning Man Story, attempts to explain the alleged unexplainable.
I was dreading seeing this movie, another home invasion slasher-flick, that was originally on the festival circuit two years ago. It is a late-summer release that was sure to be just another glob of bloody goo slopped into the horror genre’s chum bucket. But, wow, was I shocked at how much fun I had watching this movie. You’re Next surprisingly turned out to be one of the best movie experiences I’ve had so far this year.
Warner Bros. on Thursday announced the casting of Academy Award-winning director Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel, which will also feature the return of Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Diane Lane as Martha Kent and Laurence Fisburne as Perry White. The untitled film is set for a July 17, 2015, release.
In 2008, the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States was the culmination of hundreds of years’ worth of civil rights efforts; but all you have to do is turn on the evening news to see that our country still has a long way to go before there is ever going to be absolute equality of race – if we ever reach that point. Lee Daniels’ The Butler covers the life of one man who experienced the civil rights battles of the last century from both the foot soldier’s perspective and as a humble observer in the highest echelon of government.
If you are an Apple or Macintosh fan, then you are probably going to appreciate the new film about the company’s founder and visionary, Steve Jobs, a lot more than I did – or, depending on the movie’s accuracy, maybe not. Nevertheless, as a PC guy (and John Hodgman) fan I still found “Jobs” to be an interesting biography and history lesson about the man and the business during the pre-iPod days. Ashton Kutcher also delivers a very good performance as the iconic Apple mastermind.
The vulgar, obscene and ultra-violent teenage heroes and villains of the “Kick-Ass” universe have worn out their welcome in mine. Maybe I’m just having a “get off my lawn” moment, but with Kick-Ass 2 the foul-mouthed, social-media obsessed, teenage-wannabe-hero routine has grown thin and this new film was mostly an irritating waste of two hours.
The new crime-comedy We’re the Millers showcases all sorts of crude and obscene humor, trying desperately to earn a hard “R” rating, but the story lives in a world where cartoon-like gangsters buy, sell and steal drugs, but no one ever uses them, and where strippers dance but never actually disrobe. If you think the incessant use of the “F” word is funny, then you will probably enjoy this film, but it is mostly just half-baked humor that breaks badly.
Neill Blomkamp, who wrote and directed the very good “District 9,” is one of the few film creators working today who actually tries to make meaningful science-fiction movies; and with his latest effort, Elysium, he once again wraps his thought-provoking views of the world’s ills in an action-packed and visually stunning package that is palatable even to moviegoers who don’t agree, understand or even care about the message.
Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!