California Loses more Money as Movie Crews Leave for Canada and Beyond

Written by buzz. Posted in Entertainment

Californian movie sets like this are growing ever more scarce by the year

In 2003, California’s world share of studio films – or, in other words, the movies made by the six biggest studios – was at a healthy 66 percent; by 2008 it had plummeted to a meager 34 percent. To question how Hollywood has slowly become the least popular place to make movies, is to trace the roots back to 1998, when Canada first started to offer incentive tax breaks for producers and crews who were willing to conduct business outside of California. Since then, seven U.S. states, and 24 different countries have begun competing with grants, rebates, and tax credits promising to eliminate as much as 40 percent of the cost for shooting a film.

Product of Vancouver, Canada

The reason behind the madness is simple economics; when a monstrous production arrives in any location, there are instantly a few hundred new jobs that pop up out of thin air (which is especially fantastic when the given city doesn’t have the money to build factories). California, which is currently suffering from a hard budget crisis, has managed to get ten feature films shot on location in Los Angeles by using what modest incentive the golden state could muster.

Perhaps the city of L.A. should offer up free gas masks or parking spots to those who do decide to continue making movies in California.

Colbert Chokes on the March-Madness Vasectomy Trend

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The Leader of The Colbert Nation

Stephen Colbert chokes on a tongue-twister of a story, when he reports on the growing support for a gonad-less March Madness; that’s right, this year’s March Madness doesn’t just involve basketball, but it hopes to inspire male fans to go to their neighborhood doctor for a simple snip, medically known as a vasectomy.

A vasectomy, which is a general procedure for male sterilization, is now being popularly marketed by Doctor-endorsed March Madness free-pizza enticements, and a lifestyle choice that earns the right to watch basketball for ‘rejuvenational purposes.’

But, Stephen sees how a vasectomy  can translate into three days off work, and he raises the petty procedure to a full-out lobotomy, which would not only lay a man up for the entire season of UFC, but irreparably degrade his mind enough for him to actually enjoy it. And, fortunately enough, not only will the ‘vasectomized’ patient be thoroughly invested in the nourishing world of UFC and basketball, but he will also get a formal introduction to a more bad-ass type of chess game.

Check Mate!

Chess-boxing combines the wit of chess with the dim of boxing, to create a new hybrid-sport. In this trendy game, opponents first duel out four minutes of brutal chess, before they put on the gloves and duke it out rocky-style.

And to think, all that truly divides a man from manhood, is a vasectomy! Wow!

Jon Stewart, the Consumer watch-dog, and sneaky Mr. Lehman

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The HOst of The Daily SHow on Comedy Central

Jon Stewart went political on Senator Chris Dodd, aka the Democrat from Connecticut – aka the Banking Committee Chairman – when he learned of the Senator’s decision to pull the emergency brakes on any possible bi-partisan negotiations for healthcare reform. Senator Dodd announced that he would draft his very own bill, which was expected to include: an end to “too-big-to-fail bailouts;” the invention of an early warning system for future economic catastrophes; and finally, the introduction of transparency and accountability in hedge-funds and derivatives, or as the Senator himself called them, “exotic instruments.”

But, Mr. Stewart had heard all this jabbertalky already, his attention was focused on the consumer watch dog, a small and independent entity meant to protect consumers. In his excitement,  Jon recommended getting the watch-dog laser eyes, a jet-pack, and adamantine claws, on top of Dodd’s humble promise to get it a louder bark and a stronger bite.

The New Consumer Protection Agency

Later on in the show, Stewart goes on to explain the normal world, where people who sell fraudulent products go to jail, and how it differs from the realm of Mr. Lehman, where it’s okay to package something in gold wrapping paper and call it pure gold. He describes how corporations hire third-parties to rate their assets for far more than they are actually worth, and that if they still fail to find investors, they simply establish another corporation, in which the hide their garbage stocks. Stewart sites Citi as an example, since they were reported for having two segments of operations: one being, Citicorp, which had good stuff, and the other titled, Citi Holdings, responsible for hiding the parent company’s trash from view.

In the end, this episode teaches everyone how to act like a corporation, and turn their $900 dollar piece-of-junk Volvo into a $10 million Volvo-jet.

Avatar is Expected to Rake in More Dough than Rupert Murdock Had Estimated

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Rupert Murdock

In a February 2nd conference call with Rupert Murdock, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer to New-York based News Corporation admitted that movies directed by James Cameron had a tendency to go over budget; but, his decision to hedge much of the risk for “Avatar” out to other investors has ended up with the media mogul making a very expensive investor’s mistake.

After all, once history’s highest-grossing film is released on DVD and pay-to-view television, it is projected to earn $350 million to $400 million for Murdock’s corporation. This sum alone is only 40 percent  of the 1 billion-dollar cut that Twentieth Century Fox and “Avatar” investors are expected to earn, an astounding total that equals News Corp.’s average quarterly operating profit from 2009. So, as it turns out, instead of getting the whole cake, Mr. Generous gave New York-based Dune Entertainment LLC a 40 percent cut, and London-based Ingenious Media Holdings PLC  the left overs.

But News Corp hasn’t made a public profit forecast for James Cameron’s “Avatar,” so analysts have been left to their own devices to estimate a profit margin. Projections go from a low of $380 million in a proposal by Soleil Securities’ Alan Gould, to a high of $737 million, as proposed by Anthony DiClemente, a Barclays analyst who also considered another $220 million dollars in distribution during his calculations.

The movie that will make billions...believe it, or not.

There’s no reason to doubt that Murdock is disappointed with his doubting James Cameron’s vision of Pandora, since Box Office Mojo reported that the film has generated a whopping $2.64 billion in worldwide ticket sales as of Sunday, March 14th.

Historical Props for Hire Ensures Historically Accurate Movie Magic

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The cover of the Novel

“Water for Elephants,” the 2006 bestselling novel by Sara Gruen, is the story of a certain veterinary student who one day decided to quit school and runaway to join the circus. When someone decided to turn it into a movie, they hired Jim Elyea‘s to make sure that the period in history, around 1931, was so flawlessly reproduced that prop briefcases held by the Cornell University students would look authentic when shooting begins in Santa Paula, California this May.

Jim Elyea, the co-owner of History for Hire, a prop house in North Hollywood, immediately sets to work skimming through the one 1931 sears catalogue that he has stored away in his 5,000-book collection. He is looking for the right design, and selects the most appropriate model from 400 vintage briefcases. Elyea wouldn’t have a problem identifying the guitar and amp used by Elvis’ guitarist, Scotty Moore, nor the kid of powder horn that was blown during the American Civil War. He’s keen to details, and never wrong about his history.

With his wife and business partner, Pam, Jim Elyea has managed to keep this 25-year-old company thriving in a part of Hollywood that has suffered tremendously over the past decade. Their secret? Avoiding debt and focusing their business on hard-to-find historical props. The couple admits that the price reflects the research that goes into their inventory, but Pam explains her philosophy behind their meticulous nature as such:

Jim Elyea, Co-Owner of History for Hire

“Richard Attenborough told us that people learn their history from the movies, so it’s important to get it right.”

Apparently, they took the famed British documentarist’s words quite seriously.

Could Kesha Be More Popular Than jesus?

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"You like my music....right?"

By the time she had made her official stage debut at the Lollapalooza (OCT 09′), Kesha had co-written the title song for Miley Cyrus‘ The Time of Our Lives (EP), garnished the rough edged albums of Pitbull and Taio Cruz, landed a gig as the cover girl for Women’s Wear Daily, and vomited in Paris Hilton‘s closet. From her humble beginnings as a self-proclaimed psycho, who harmlessly dropped by Prince’s crib with a demo tape in hand, Kesha has created the longest running number one debut single by any female artist since 1977.

Kesha’s exposure grew in early 2009 after appearing on Flo Rida’s numero uno track, “Right Round,” from which she received neither cash nor credit; however, her credit (and subsequently swollen bank accounts) were built for her background-vocal work in Paris Hilton’s single, “Nothing in this World”  and Britney Spears’ “Lace and Leather.”

It’s as if the entire world loves this twenty-three-year-old and her song, “Tik Tok,” which hit the top in New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Norway (to name a few) marched to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 while leeching 610,00 copies of itself into the public sphere. Below is a copy of the lyrics to “Tik Tok,” for those who do not already have the elegant lyrics memorized and ferociously engraved in their psyche by the radio (since it is number one in eleven countries, and also record holder for the most digital downloads in a single week by any female artist in history), provided below are the partial lyrics, which should prevent anyone from getting left out when the entire world breaks into song:

Tick Tock Album Cover

“Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy
(Hey, what up girl?)
Grab my glasses, I’m out the door, I’m gonna hit this city
(Lets go)
Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack
‘Cause when I leave for the night, I ain’t coming back

I’m talking pedicure on our toes, toes
Trying on all our clothes, clothes
Boys blowing up our phones, phones
Drop-topping, playing our favorite CDs
Pulling up to the parties
Trying to get a little bit tipsy

Don’t stop, make it pop
DJ, blow my speakers up
Tonight, I’mma fight
‘Til we see the sunlight
Tick tock on the clock
But the party don’t stop, no

Don’t stop, make it pop
DJ, blow my speakers up
Tonight, I’mma fight
‘Til we see the sunlight
Tick tock, on the clock
But the party don’t stop, no

Ain’t got a care in world, but got plenty of beer
Ain’t got no money in my pocket, but I’m already here
And now, the dudes are lining up cause they hear we got swagger
But we kick em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger

I’m talking about everybody getting crunk, crunk
Boys tryin’ to touch my junk, junk
Gonna smack him if he getting too drunk, drunk

Now, now, we go until they kick us out, out
Or the police shut us down, down
Police shut us down, down
Po-po shut us”

– Kesha (best female artist to ever stroke the eardrum).

Lawsuit Will Decide Who Will Receive Credit for the Hurt Locker

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Sarver on the Left, James on the Right

Jeffrey Sarver, a 38-year-old sergeant in the army’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal, claims that he was the model for the main character in the movie the Hurt Locker,  and has therefore introduced a multimillion-dollar lawsuit after failing to receive any credit for his efforts.

In the film, Jeffrey was depicted as Will James (played by Jeremy Renner), the extreme risk-taker soldier who continuously pushes his bomb-disposing buddies to take ever-increasing risks while they’re out in the field; however, Summit Entertainment, the film’s distributors, asserts that the character is entirely fictitious.

Sarver, now armed with the infamously tough-as-nails lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger – who had worked on such controversial cases as that of Jack Kevorkian (aka Doctor Death) – are adamantly pressing the belief that a soldier’s life has been stolen by Hollywood. They draw the attention of the jury to the fact that Mark Boal, the screenwriter, was also a journalist who had essentially followed Sarver and a few other soldiers around for a report he was doing for Playboy magazine. They also mention how some of Boal’s best lines, including the title, were down right stolen straight from the soldier’s mouth (so to speak); for example, the nickname for Will James’ character, “Blaster One,” was actually Sarver’s call signal in the field.

The Movie Marquee

But, in spite of the evidence, there is still some speculation regarding whether of nor this lawsuit is built on noble grounds, since some propose this as just another ploy by the opposition to prevent a nominee from winning an Oscar. Whatever happens next, hopefully the man who actually owns the hurt locker receives the credit that he deserves – be it the soldier – or the man who brought the story to the masses.

G-Blakk’s Debut Album, ‘Blakk Planet,’ Revives A Dying Breed of Hip Hop

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Mixtape is Coming Soon!!

Unlike the majority of modern-day rappers, whose lyrics normally revolve around drugs, violence, booty, material gains, or a swollen ego of badassness, G-Blakk‘s debut album, Blakk Planet, has a historically hip-hop mission behind it’s composition: fix the broken black people. Tracks like Fool’s Gold, and March may not be propagated by the”blazing hip-hop and R&B” stations (television NOR radio), but they support the success of the black community moreso than most of the music that infiltrates the many minds of the masses.

With lyrics that will tickle the true hip-hop heads that still have early Nas and Common Sense (before he went Common) albums in the player, G-Blakk should expect a heat-felt embrace by those that have been standing out in the cold, waiting for some new hot fire to heat up the rap game.  This album takes a shot at the usual suspects; understandably, the Man (of predominately Caucasian descent), The System, and the self-destructive habits of the Afro-American community.

Perhaps G-Blakk's Album Pays Title Homage to Public Enemy

Some may be disappointed to find that their are no song credits whatsoever, since that makes it hard to find more about who you like. In place of such attributions,  Willie Lynch’s infamous speech that allegedly recommended that slave owners pit their slaves against one another to ensure their complete subservience. And even though this letter has been refuted, it does the listened justice by truly setting the tone of the album’s deep-thought material.

PLUS opens for Snoop Dogg at Hartford’s Webster Theater

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Snoop Dogg

PLUS, a 34-year-old rapper/ producer, who began rapping in Connecticut with his hip-hop trio, Nervous System, was at a loss for words when he was invited to open for the legendary Snoop Dogg at Hartford’s Webster Theater this friday.

P.J. Davis, who goes by the title PLUS on stage, was born in Washington, D.C., grew up in Gaithersburg, M.D., and made his way through Wilton before settling down with his family in South Salem, N.Y. in 1993. And, since he still plays “Doggystyle,” Snoop’s 1993 record debut, as if it had came out last week, it’s safe to say that 93′ was a great year for him.

Since then, he has traded  Nervous System, which was comprised of himself along with Bridgeport emcees Solstorm and Eclipse, for a solo career where he switched out the digital sampler for a midi keyboard, and managed to go from an introverted individual to a man who pours himself into his records.

Webster Theater in Hartford, CT

After all, PLUS just wants to let people know that he exists; he hopes to assert his solo capabilities as he tears up the state’s blossoming hip-hop scene. And, considering the title of his new self-produced album, “The Turning Point,” this couldn’t have been a better time to take on the challenge.

DVD Drama Adds to the Controversy Surrounding the Release of the New Alice In Wonderland Movie

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Alice In Wonderland Theatrical Poster

Hot Topic and Barnes & Noble are currently offering an entire section of Alice in Wonderland merchandise, and a crowd of fans are already planning on going to the theatre upon release of the movie; so, why is the United States worrying about boosting sales with an early DVD release? Not only does Europe dislike the idea, but some English theater chains  are actually looking to boycott the film because of this great American decision. The movie opens on March 5th, and now the controversy also includes the people in charge of the film, but not just those who don’t like how the new film doesn’t match the old book.

Lewis Carroll’s beloved novel, Alice in Wonderland, is a classic story that has been animated and filmed several times over. It’s the tale of a young girl’s accidental journey into a rather ridiculous world, where she encounters bizarre creatures and the crazy situations in which they thrive. As it stands, the story has found it’s way into another movie, and, as usual, this movie plot won’t match up with the book.

This time, Tim Burton will direct this most recent cinematic

The Red Queen owns the dragon that terrorizes wonderland

interpretation of the story, which acts as a sequel to the original journey. It follows a 19 year old Alice, and her return to the place called Wonderland. And since TIm Burton’s vision is very different from Lewis Carroll’s, many people are upset and disappointed; oh well, at least this version is in 3-D.

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