“I can almost always find something to like even in the worst movie, with one exception, and that is a movie that condescends to the audience, with an attitude of ‘we know this is manipulative junk but ticket buyers will enjoy it.’
“That can apply to Oscar-winners like ‘MILLION DOLLAR BABY’; documentaries like ‘IRREPLACEABLE,’ which should be called ‘Indefensible’; superhero movies — ‘MORBIUS’ was bore-bi-ous; beloved stars — we love him but stay away from Robin Williams’ ‘PATCH ADAMS’ and ‘RV’; and indies like ‘LADY OF THE MANOR,’ which is not just atrociously incompetent; it is offensive in its treatment of the African-American characters.
“As my radio listeners know, two or three times I year I invoke what I call the ‘GOTHIKA rule,’ inspired by another one on my all-time worst list. The rule is that if a movie has a truly horrible ending, I will reveal it to anyone who sends me an email. Some films on the ‘Gothika rule’ list are: ‘Gothika,’ of course, along with ‘ADRIFT’ and ‘THE FORGOTTEN.’
“Anyone who still wants to know the ending to those films, just let me know.”
Amazon Studios and Blumhouse Television in partnership with Little Cinema, presents WELCOME TO THE BLUMHOUSE LIVE: a first-of-its-kind virtual adventure celebrating the exclusive release of four highly-anticipated Blumhouse features on Amazon Prime Video this October with special performances by Ludacris and DJs Questlove, Toro Y Moi, and JADALAREIGN. Step inside the worlds of Nocturne, Black Box, Evil Eye, and The Lie, for an interactive mystery designed to unnerve and delight. The films are available exclusively now on Amazon Prime Video worldwide.
Guests can RSVP now to join the exclusive WELCOME TO THE BLUMHOUSE LIVE experience. Admission is free. Spots are strictly limited.
For the weekend of October 16 and 17, movie fans worldwide are invited inside WELCOME TO THE BLUMHOUSE LIVE to solve the mystery of a missing student and a strange family, all while exploring a labyrinth of virtual sanctuaries, live performances, interactive tarot readings, an escape room, and more unsettling twists. The club room in the basement of the house will host a special performance by Grammy-award winning rapper & actor Ludacris on Saturday, October 17, with Brooklyn-based DJ JADALAREIGN closing out the club. Multi-talented DJ-producer Questlove will DJ open-to-close on Friday, October 16. After the house closes on Saturday, attendees are invited to the basement club afterparty for a special DJ set by electro-pop darling and chillwave pioneer Toro Y Moi.
Taking inspiration from the unsettling thrillers Black Box, Evil Eye, The Lie and Nocturne, WELCOME TO THE BLUMHOUSE LIVE weaves the Blumhouse universe together in chilling synchrony – with twists and Easter eggs behind every door. There are two shows each on two separate nights, for a total of 4 chances to probe this virtual universe before it disappears.
The WELCOME TO THE BLUMHOUSE LIVE experience begins with the vanishing of Lindberg Academy student Erin Templeton. Your investigations suggest that Erin has several important ties to the Blum family, beckoning you to explore the BLUMHOUSE LIVE for clues to her disappearance. Enter through the basement, where Ludacris (October 17) or Questlove (October 16) will set the musical vibe for the thriller that lies ahead. Have a drink in the kitchen and probe your bartender for hints with direct, real-time interaction. Discover clues about your past, present and future with a live Tarot reading. Experience the power of memory and rivalry as you weave your way through the upper floors. Feel yourself being drawn closer and closer to the attic by powerful forces beyond your control… but first you’ll need to find the key before you can enter.
The unique collaboration between Amazon Studios, Blumhouse Television, and art collective Little Cinema forges a single narrative thread connecting four groundbreaking films into a cohesive interactive universe. Demonstrating the power of shared direct experience through sound, performance, film and technology, THE BLUMHOUSE LIVE is a truly exhilarating virtual adventure.
Explore the world of Welcome to the Blumhouse on October 16 + 17, all under one virtual roof.
Even Infants Have a Range of Perceptions When They Watch Screens
Posted on August 5, 2020 at 8:00 am
We have just begun to explore the complexities and wide range of differences in the way individuals watch and respond to what we see on screens. A new study about babies shows that these differences are present at birth. While these study results are illuminating, it does not change my firm position of no screen time before age three and no more than an hour a day and no theatrical screens before age five.
Children’s own temperament could be driving the amount of TV they watch – according to new research from the University of East Anglia and Birkbeck, University of London.
New findings published today show that the brain responses of 10-month-old babies could predict whether they would enjoy watching fast-paced TV shows six months later.
The research team says that the findings are important for the ongoing debate around early TV exposure.
Lead researcher Dr Teodora Gliga, from UEA’s School of Psychology, said: “The sensory environment surrounding babies and young children is really complex and cluttered, but the ability to pay attention to something is one of the first developmental milestones in babies.
“Even before they can ask questions, children vary greatly in how driven they are to explore their surroundings and engage with new sights or sounds.
“We wanted to find out why babies appear to be so different in the way that they seek out new visual sensory stimulation – such as being attracted to shiny objects, bright colours or moving images on TV.
“There have been various theories to explain these differences, with some suggesting that infants who are less sensitive will seek less stimulation, others suggesting that some infants are simply faster at processing information – an ability which could drive them to seek out new stimulation more frequently.
“In this study we bring support for a third theory by showing that a preference for novelty makes some infants seek more varied stimulation.”
Using a brain imaging method known as electroencephalography (EEG), the research team studied brain activity in 48 10-month old babies while they watched a 40-second clip from the Disney movie Fantasia on repeat.
They studied how the children’s brain waves responded to random interruptions to the movie – in the form of a black and white chequerboard suddenly flashing on screen.
Dr Gliga said: “As the babies watched the repeated video clip, EEG responses told us that they learned its content. We expected that, as the video became less novel and therefore engaged their attention less, they would start noticing the checkerboard.
“But some of the babies started responding to the checkerboard earlier on while still learning about the video – suggesting that these children had had enough of the old information.
“Conversely, others remained engaged with the video even when there was not much to learn from it,” she added.
Parents and carers were also asked to fill in a questionnaire about their babies’ sensory behaviours – including whether they enjoyed watching fast-paced brightly-coloured TV shows. This was followed up with a second similar questionnaire six months later.
Dr Gliga said: “It was very interesting to find that brain responses at 10 months, indicating how quickly infants switched their attention from the repeated video to the checkerboard, predicted whether they would enjoy watching fast-paced TV shows six months later.
“These findings are important for the ongoing debate on early TV exposure since they suggest that children’s temperament may drive differences in TV exposure.
“It is unlikely that our findings are explained by early TV exposure since parents reported that only a small proportion of 10-month-olds were watching TV shows,” she added.
Elena Serena Piccardi, from Birkbeck, University of London, said: “The next part of our research will aim to understand exactly what drives these individual differences in attention to novelty, including the role that early environments may have.
“Exploration and discovery are essential for children’s learning and cognitive development. Yet, different children may benefit from different environments for their learning. As such, this research will help us understand how individualized environments may nurture children’s learning, promote their cognitive development and, ultimately, support achievement of their full potential.
The research was led by UEA in collaboration with Birkbeck, University of London and Cambridge University. It was funded by the Medical Research Council.
‘Individual differences in infant visual sensory seeking’ is published in the journal Infancy on August 5, 2020.
Pandemic Watching: The Washington Post’s 25 Comfort Movies
Posted on May 17, 2020 at 8:00 am
The Washington Post has a new list of “comfort movies,” just right to cuddle up with while we wait out the virus. You know what that means: a lot of romantic comedies including Nancy Meyers’ “The Holiday” and “It’s Complicated.” Plus “Notting Hill,” “Roman Holiday,” and “That Thing You Do” (those last two really are classics everyone needs to see). But don’t think too hard; just watch.
Family Movies for the Homebound VI: Kids Playing Sports
Posted on April 13, 2020 at 12:34 pm
It’s tough for kids to be unable to play their favorite sports due to the restrictions from social distancing. It might help to watch some classic and beloved films about kids and teenagers playing sports.
The Sandlot: In the 1960s, a boy whose mother has just remarried moves to a new town and begins to make friends when he joins in a sandlot baseball game. The boy’s challenges include developing some baseball skills, trying to achieve a comfortable relationship with his new stepfather (Denis Leary), and finding a way to triumph over “The Beast ” (a junkyard dog) and the bigger, tougher kids who challenge his friends to a game. All are well handled in this exceptionally perceptive story of growing up.
Rookie of the Year: In this fantasy film Thomas Ian Nicholas plays a so-so Little League player until he breaks his arm and finds that his “tendons have healed too tight” making him, suddenly, a Major League-level pitcher. As a hitter? Well, he benefits from a very small strike zone.
Like Mike: The script is right out of the Hollywood formula box, with everything from two different “shoes not there at the crucial moment” scenes and important lessons about teamwork to the winning shot going into the basket just as the buzzer goes off., but it is sweet and fun.
The Mighty Macs: This uplifting film is based on the real-life story of Cathy Rush, a powerhouse basketball coach at a tiny Catholic women’s college who took her team all the way to the top.
Coach Carter: We all love movies about underdog teams that come from behind because they (1) learn the importance of teamwork, (2) learn the importance of discipline and of respect for themselves and each other, (3) are galvanized by an inspiring leader, or, even better, (4) all of the above. This movie, based on a true story, takes it a step further, with an emphasis on schoolwork as well.
Pride: Like all sports stories, this is about teamwork, but the team that matters here is Terrence Howard and Bernie Mac who bring such conviction and authenticity to this story of an inner-city Pennsylvania 70’s swim team that you can smell the chlorine and half expect Fat Albert to wander in with Mushmouth.
Touch the Wall: The documentary about champion swimmer Missy Franklin is a candid portrayal of the hard work — and the conflicts of loyalty and friendship — that are a part of competitive sports.
Soul Surfer: AnnaSophia Robb stars as Bethany Hamilton, a competitive surfer who came back better than ever after a shark attack.
Believe: Brian Cox plays real-life superstar soccer (football) manager Sir Matt Busby, who survived the tragic plane crash when eight of his players did not. When he encounters a gifted young player from an unruly kids’ team, both he and the team have something to learn.
The Mighty Ducks: A slick lawyer is caught driving drunk and ordered by the court to coach a rag-tag kids’ hockey team in this beloved Disney film starring Emilio Estavez.
Three Ninjas: Three sons of an FBI agent are kidnapped and use their martial arts skills to defeat the bad guys.
The Karate Kid: The classic original and the 2010 remake are both terrific stories about boys who use the discipline and training of martial arts to triumph over an arrogant bully. Fans can also enjoy the sequels and the current Cobra Kai series.
Ice Princess: A straight-A student brings math to ice skating in this charming Disney film.
An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars: Real-life Olympics star Cathy Rigby stars as the coach in this heartwarming story about friendship, family, and gymnastics.
Stick It: This film about a girl forced to return to gymnastics after she gets into trouble is pure delight — smart, funny, gorgeously cinematic, and all about real girl power.