Bill Murray + Willis/LaBeouf/Deschanel/Hudson/McBride = ROCK THE KASBAH


Image: Geek Tyrant

Bill Murray and director Barry Levinson have announced additions to the cast of the comedy ROCK THE KASBAH. THR reports that Bruce Willis, Shia LaBeouf, Zooey Deschanel, Kate Hudson and Danny McBride are set to join Murray, who stars as “a has-been rock manager who takes his last remaining client on a USO tour of Afghanistan. When Richie finds himself in Kabul, abandoned, penniless and without his passport, he discovers a young girl with an extraordinary voice and manages her through Afghanistan’s version of American Idol, the wildly popular Afghan Star.


Image: JoBlo

‘I couldn’t have dreamed of a more perfect team of comic actors to round out this wickedly funny and heartfelt film,’ Levinson said.” The screenplay is by Mitch Glazer, who also wrote Murray’s holiday comedy SCROOGED.

Murray and Willis previously appeared together in MOONRISE KINGDOM. Screen-Shot-2014-01-20-at-1.45.38-AM

Image: The Film Stage

VFX Supercut: Every Visual Effects Oscar Winner

“The Best Visual Effects category in its current form has only existed at the Oscars since 1977, with different names used for the award over most of the Academy’s existence. With the 86th edition of the Academy Awards drawing closer, Nelson Carvajal has created a tribute reel to the past winners of the Best Visual Effects award.” writes Cain Rodriguez at The Playlist.

“Set to Hans Zimmer’s ‘Time’ from ‘Inception,’ the nearly five-minute montage starts with clips from the original ‘Star Wars’ and ends with last year’s winner ‘Life Of Pi.’ It’s a nice trip down memory lane to see how visual effects gradually shifted from the practical effects of the seventies and eighties to the whole-CG worlds that inhabit many of the modern-day nominees.”

Cuban Fury – Hilarious New Trailer is here for Nick Frost’s Dance Comedy


“Beneath Bruce Garrett’s shabby, overweight exterior, the passionate beating heart of a salsa king lays dormant. Only one woman can reignite his Latin fire. Spotlight hits, sweat drips, heels click – Nick Frost IS Cuban Fury!

From the team that brought you Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and Paul, Cuban Fury is the hilarious, feel-good and must-see comedy this Valentine’s Day. The film’s cast includes an ensemble of great British comedy talent including Nick Frost, Chris O’Dowd, Rashida Jones, Olivia Colman, Ian McShane and Kayvan Novak.” – from StudioCanalUK.

This upcoming comedy follows a regular guy (Frost) who wants to impress his new boss (Rashida Jones) by learning to dance salsa. The Playlist has the new trailer for CUBAN FURY; follow this link to watch. But not before seeing this clip of Nick Frost’s first salsa lesson:


Gwyneth Paltrow & Kristin Chenoweth in Glee’s 100th Episode’re back! Gwyneth Paltrow and Kristin Chenoweth return to GLEE to guest star together on the 100th episode of the series, reprising their roles of Holly Holliday and April Rhodes. The two-part 100th episode will air March 18 and 25 on Fox. gwyneth-paltrow-and-kristin-chenoweth-on-the-set-of-glee                                                   Photo: Twitter/Ryan Murphy

“The two of them together are hysterical,” director Paris Barclay told Us Weekly. “They have a lot of scenes together, and I think they will be clamoring for a spin off after this! The have great chemistry, and they are incredibly funny.”

“I get to do a lot with Gwyneth Paltrow,” Chenoweth told E! News. “We are reprising our guest starring roles and that makes it really fun. We’re having a good time.”

Jane Lynch revealed that she filmed a scene with both Paltrow and Chenoweth.

“I worked with both of them yesterday. We did a scene together,” she said. “It was so great to have them back. They’re so much fun. Kristin’s a ball.”

“They both have songs, not with me!” Lynch added.

Personality Amplification: HER vs. TRANSCENDENCE

The Wall Street Journal examines HER, and finds that the Artificial Intelligence community is intrigued by the optimistic view of the future presented in the Spike Jonze film. TRANSCENDENCE, coming soon, may offer a different perspective. her-joaquin-phoenix-spike-jonze transcendence-full-trailer-johnny-depp

Above: A rosy Joaquin Phoenix. Below: A darker Johnny Depp.

“Exploring personality amplification through technology is a key concept” in HER, writes Robin Kawakami in WSJ. “In the same way that various gadgets enhance our abilities—whether it’s finding our way around with a GPS or moving objects with machines—an AI might enable us to accomplish certain goals, just as Samantha nudged Theodore toward a book contract.”

The article quotes Stephen Wolfram, “whose Wolfram Alpha drives the artificial intelligence-like component of Siri on the iPhone, thinks that an operating system like Samantha as depicted in the film is not only possible, the technology behind it isn’t that far off… ‘What could you achieve by having an emotional connection to a sophisticated, AI-like thing?’ he said. ‘Can you be the best instance of what you intended to be?'”In this future view, technology is here to enhance us.

Erik Sofge, writing in Popular Science, finds this optimistic vision refreshing: “even if it wasn’t intended as a counterpoint to the collective upswing in robophobia, Her does the job nicely. It presents an AI that feels realistic, in the way that it interacts with humans, and, maybe more importantly, in its complete disinterest in conquering us.” Sofge believes that “robot-related hysteria is on the rise,” pointing to developments such as Google’s recent purchases of robotics and AI companies.

Google, which spends nearly $8 billion per year on research and development, announced today it has acquired DeepMind, an artificial intelligence firm in the UK.  This follows Google’s purchase of 8 cutting edge robotics companies in the last 6 months. The crown jewel is Boston Dynamics, profiled here at Singularity Hub. “The firm’s humanoid Atlas and Petman robots can balance on two legs, walk, and do calisthenics…Beyond the bipedal, the company’s Cheetah robot runs faster than Usain Bolt; their WildCat robot recently took Cheetah’s tricks beyond the treadmill; their robot SandFlea leaps onto tall buildings; and LS3 autonomously follows soldiers across rough terrain, carrying gear and supplies on its back.”

Consider this Boston Dynamics model, the Petman, and then imagine this robot with advanced artificial intelligence:

TRANSCENDENCE, starring Johnny Depp, opens April 17, 2014. This film investigates a different course for the future of human/machine interaction.

TRANSCENDENCE promises to consider whether Personality Amplification is always a positive enhancement. Kawakumi anticipates this issue:

“can an AI-driven agenda aimed at personal improvement actually limit us? Since machines are generally better at predicting a little bit into the future than humans are, Wolfram sees a possibility of people following computer recommendations. ‘A funny view of the future is that everybody is going around looking at the sequence of auto-suggests,’ he said. ‘And pretty soon the machines are in charge.’”

Ultimately, Sofge finds hope in HER:

Being smart doesn’t guarantee malice, or a callous urge to enslave or destroy less-capable beings… Which is why Her, and its version of the Singularity, is so refreshing. Samantha doesn’t lose her charm, or her compassion, even as her intelligence surpasses biological comparison or understanding. In fact, she claims to love us more. The AIs (Samantha is one of many) don’t follow the vicious Darwinian logic that many in the Singularity camp see as a given. The machines become smarter, but not superior. They’re the ultimate intellectuals—far too busy with discourse and theory to even consider something as superfluous as enslaving or supplanting their creators.

Her is a beautiful movie, for Joaquin Phoenix’s stripped-bare performance, its patient direction and plotting, and a host of other reasons that belong in a genuine review. But it’s also a film that understands that AI doesn’t have to be inherently terrifying. Her is smart enough to find beauty in intelligence, whether its modeled after our own thoughts, or ascending towards something much stranger.

Angela Lansbury: The Dame is going strong

"Blithe Spirit" Broadway Opening Night After PartyAngela Lansbury was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on New Years Day 2014. Now she is set to return to the London stage after a 40 year absence, playing Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit, a role for which she earned a Tony award on Broadway.

Angela-Lansbury-in-Blithe-001As Madame Arcati, Blithe Spirit.

Dame Lansbury “has defied the laws of nature,” writes the Guardian. She has won 5 Tony awards, including Best Actress for Mame, Gypsy, and Sweeney Todd, plus two additional nominations. She has been nominated for three Oscars, and received an Academy Honorary Award. Lansbury has been nominated for 15 Golden Globes, winning 6 times. Her first Emmy nomination for Little Gloria Happy At Last was followed by 17 more nominations, including 12 consecutive nominations for every year of Murder She Wrote.

Angela_Lansbury_in_The_Picture_of_Dorian_Gray_trailerHer first Oscar nomination came for her film debut, Gaslight, 1944.


Mame, 1966.

“Doesn’t she get tired?” the Telegraph asks. ‘I’m the bionic woman,’” Lansbury replies. “‘It surprises me that I didn’t get left behind,’ she says. ‘I’ve always managed to keep up. In the process of keeping busy, I’ve always stayed relevant. And that is a surprise to me.’

“And when this job is over she’ll be ‘on the market again’. She likes to feel there is something coming up. Something to look forward to.”