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Archive for the ‘film’ Category

4 Articles on Western Media Shenanigans : Personae Fetting B.S., Walk of Fame/Angelina Jolie NATO Capers, Sopranos (consult the people paradigm for scripts), Becktoria-Vickham ‘The Gentrification (attempt) ‘ – reposted by @AgreeToDisagree – 4th March 2012

In critical discourse, critique, David Beckham, film, franchise, movies, stars on March 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm

ARTICLE 1

The Man Who Knows Everything – by Ryan D’Agostino – January 19, 2012, 10:30 AM

Vivek Ranadivé wants to harness the ocean of data in this world. And save civilization.

Published in the February 2012 issue

A single cloud hangs in the sky over San Francisco Bay, like a rip in a blue curtain. Vivek Ranadivé, the CEO of a $4 billion software company, Tibco Software Inc. — and also the co-owner of the Golden State Warriors in the NBA — drives his black Mercedes S600 over the low bridge from Palo Alto to Oakland. And because the sky is unmarked except for that one spectacular little cloud and the morning fog is gone until tomorrow, it is as if he’s gliding across a huge blue screen. The scene looks choreographed: the Silicon Valley visionary driving to an important meeting on a perfect day, talking about ideas as big as the heavens.

“Everything’s real-time,” he says in a raspy voice with a thick, singsong accent, emphasizing certain vowels unexpectedly, so he sounds a little like an Indian Christopher Walken. “Everything’s event-driven. It’s all about the data.” He looks out over the bay, waves his hand over the wheel, and says that if you take all the data that was generated from the dawn of man to, say, the day Barack Obama became president, that’s x. And then if you add up all the data that’s been generated since then, in just three years, that’s 10x. We are drowning in data.

Ranadivé, born fifty-four years ago in Bombay, takes this simple fact as a challenge. He has built his company and become wealthy on the idea that we can master that deluge of data and use it to make the world a better place. That’s why he keeps talking about this new thing he developed called TopCom, Tibco’s latest pride and joy.

It is a private communications platform for the two hundred most powerful people in the world.

TopCom is being officially launched in late January at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It is basically a customized, ridiculously secure version of tibbr, a platform developed by Tibco as a kind of combination Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, texting, and Skype. It is a private social network, essentially — in this case, for world leaders.

With tibbr, in addition to following people, you choose and follow subjects — issues, crises, topics of discussion, upcoming events. You don’t have to remember which people you’re supposed to include on an e-mail about a subject, because they’re all following it. You just post your message and the right people see it. You can talk one-to-one or to everyone who’s following the subject. When you use tibbr, you get the feeling it’s one of those innovations that five years from now we’re all going to think we’ve used forever.

Ranadivé’s company created the TopCom version specifically for the World Economic Forum, the organization founded in 1971 by the German economist Klaus Schwab, which gathers together the world’s business, intellectual, and political leaders to discuss common issues. Because the organization has a hierarchy, so does TopCom: The top two hundred WEF members — basically, the people who run the world — can speak to one another on a given subject, and then they can choose to loop in members from lower tiers (experts, academics, etc.) as needed, widening the pool of knowledge on whatever problem is on the table.

It is, Schwab says, a “Facebook for global leaders.” For example, Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda can post a video of himself — viewable only by the top two hundred — asking for help because a major earthquake has caused a tsunami that’s approaching his country. Minutes later, Schwab would see the message and call for an immediate videoconference among the appropriate world leaders to get Japan aid in the quickest way. CEOs of companies that have facilities near the impact site — there’s a Nissan plant close by, for example — could join forces for evacuation and figure out how to address interruptions to their supply chains.

The alert could then be extended to the next tier so that, for instance, experts on nuclear power and crisis management could instantly offer opinions on the likelihood of various disaster scenarios. Others could predict where aftershocks were most likely to occur. And on and on.

We live in the information age, but what Ranadivé saw was that as fast as information travels, it’s not fast enough. These kinds of conversations — between the Japanese prime minister, other world leaders, Schwab, and experts who could offer help during the impending nuclear disaster — took place over the days and weeks that followed the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last year. With TopCom, Ranadivé argues, they could have happened within minutes and hours, possibly saving lives.

Tibco consulted with both the Japanese prime minister at the time of last year’s tsunami, Naoto Kan, and his successor, Noda, when it was developing its presentation for the WEF board of directors, to find out what would have been useful to them at the time of the disaster. Schwab, too, collaborated. The result, which will be on display in Davos, is the first time a global organization will introduce its own proprietary communications platform. The World Economic Forum is an extraordinary collection of minds. Every one of them is suddenly more closely linked than ever.

In the lexicon of computer hardware, a bus is connected to the motherboard — the foundation of any computing system. Ranadivé brought that idea to software: If all the physical components of a computer have a single hub, why not all the information floating through the software? Instead of a traditional hardware bus, an information bus. That’s what the Tib in Tibco stands for: “the information bus.” The company plucks seemingly disparate bits of data, often in real time — as opposed to “batch processing” at the end of the day, month, quarter — and makes them work with a singular purpose.

In the 1980s, Ranadivé used this theory to help transform Wall Street trading floors, bringing real-time market data to desktop terminals — his software powers most trading floors today. Since then, he has applied it to retail clients (two billion transactions a day for FedEx, every transaction on amazon.com), manufacturing firms, the financial sector (Tibco processes every dollar for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which comes to $1.2 quadrillion annually), tech companies (every time someone activates an iPhone with AT&T, that’s Tibco, as is every click on eBay — two million messages per second), the military, airlines (ever use an e-ticket?), casinos — he has thousands of clients.

Because of data — because, more specifically, of the technology that tallies and stores and disseminates data — we can know almost anything we want to know about our species. But there is so much data — purchases, sales, flights, withdrawals, deposits, sports scores, inches of rain, packages mailed, songs downloaded, e-mails sent, text messages typed, cell-phone calls made, cell-phone calls dropped, hours of television watched, passports issued, arrests, releases — that it can all seem to add up to nothing. A meaningless pile. “You can go on Twitter and find out what Shaq ate for lunch, but you haven’t really improved humanity,” Ranadivé likes to say.

His goal is to make sense of that pile. Tibco’s mantra: the right information to the right people at the right time in the right context. “I have this idea that math now trumps science,” Ranadivé says. “The simplest example is the thermostat in your house. You don’t need to have a Ph.D. in weather. Your thermostat simply looks at the temperature, and if it gets cold, it turns the heater on. And then the minute the temperature gets too hot, it turns the heater off. You don’t need to be a weather scientist to do that, okay? Like what we did for Reliance Communications. It’s the same thing. You don’t really have to know the why of something. Or the how. You just know if a and b happen, then c will happen.”

Here is what Tibco did for Reliance, one of the largest telecommunications companies in India: Reliance was adding something like three million wireless customers a month, but it was also losing about a million and a half, Ranadivé says. It hired Tibco to fix things. Tibco found that if a customer experienced six dropped calls in a twenty-four-hour period, he almost always switched providers. Reliance started monitoring every dropped call, and any time a customer got to five dropped calls in a day, he would receive a text message offering him free SMS messages if he topped up his prepaid card — if he resubscribed, essentially.

“Problem solved,” Ranadivé says. “I don’t need to be a psychologist and know why they’re switching after six calls and not ten or two calls. Math is trumping science.”

Other companies do this kind of thing — most notably divisions of Oracle and IBM that compete with Tibco. But for Ranadivé, this isn’t just data analytics. It’s not just cloud computing. It’s a philosophy. It’s a mission.

Ranadivé was seventeen when he arrived in Boston from Bombay. Back then, the rupee was not an easily converted currency. He was the well-off son of hardworking parents, but he had to beg the head of the Reserve Bank of India for dollars so that he could go to Boston. See, he told the man, he had seen this documentary about a school in Cambridge called MIT. It was a wonderful place where instead of listening to lectures, the students created things, built things, did things. Ranadivé wanted to be a part of that. He had to go. It was obvious to him. He had been accepted by MIT, but there was the currency problem. The banker relented, kind of. He gave Ranadivé enough dollars for one semester. Four years later, he graduated.

He says he was a punk back then. He is still something of a punk. A rival once stood up at a meeting and joked that he’d always thought that the Tib in Tibco stood for “that Indian bastard.” Ranadivé built a house a few years ago with a swimming pool that has an underground window, so from the basement bar you can look in and see people swimming. He yanks his employees out of meetings to challenge them to push-up contests in the hall. He once called Steve Jobs to ask him how to use Photoshop. At a dinner in New York one rainy night a few months ago, after speaking to a bunch of M.B.A.’s, he ordered the most expensive steak on the menu as an appetizer for the employees who were traveling with him. And listen to him in an interview in 2009, talking about his competition: “There are not that many people who can say that they have gone head-on against IBM and beaten them in a situation where IBM has thrown everything and the kitchen sink at a problem and lost.”

Ranadivé sometimes tells potential clients he can do what they want him to do even before he knows whether it’s possible. It’s a ballsy way to win business, but it’s also a way to motivate his company to find solutions, which is what Tibco is supposed to do. This attitude has allowed Tibco to push into all corners of our culture.

In Las Vegas, a casino might learn that when a customer is down $900, he’s likely to walk out. So when the customer is down $800, software flashes, and a floor manager can tap him on the shoulder and offer him a prime reservation at the steakhouse and four tickets to a show for him and his family. The bettor, refreshed and pampered, can resume his bad luck later.

In New York, Tibco is working with Con Edison to computerize the underground electrical grid to minimize power failures. When one transformer shuts down, instead of short-circuiting others around it on the grid, it can be immediately isolated.

Airlines can know before you hit the ground that your bag won’t arrive, so you don’t have to be the one to tell them that your luggage didn’t show up at baggage claim. They’ll be waiting for you when you land, telling you where your bag went and when you’ll get it. All the data that allows them to do this has always existed but was never harnessed.

Over lunch a few years ago, Ranadivé said that Silicon Valley today is like Italy during the Renaissance. He said that all these guys living in the same place — Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerberg, himself, and others — reminded him of the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, with its ring of busts of the men who are buried there: Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini, Machiavelli. He said this not as a boast and not as a joke, but with solemnity. He believes he is making a contribution to the world that is potentially as valuable as any of theirs: to scan all the imponderable number of data points that make up the human universe for bits that, in the midst of the chaotic blankness around them, can work together as a coherent unit, like a single cloud in an otherwise endless blue sky.

[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]

Not alone these glory hogs won’t. There will be credits and ‘team fettings’ of ALL OTHER APPROPRIATE CONTRIBUTERS as appropriate (if not entirely different teams internationally BASED in other countries). The MEN WHO KNOW EVERYTHING will save everything **NOT** Vivek Ranadivé **NOR** Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerberg, **himself**, and **others** . . . MANY FOREIGN COMPANIES OUTSIDE oF THE USA (representing more than 95% of the population, unlike USA’s 5%) will harness the ocean of data in this world. And save civilization. All these nations besides the USA will ‘save civilisation’. The Man Who Knows Everything as mentioned in this article is a misnomer.

ARTICLE 2

William H.Macy and wife Felicity Huffman to get rare double star on Hollywood Walk of Fame – by Eleanor Gower – Last updated at 1:29 AM on 4th March 2012

Having been married for 14-years, their relationship is one of the few Hollywood successes.

And now William H Macy and wife, Desperate Housewives actress Felicity Huffman are to receive a rare double star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

According to Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced that the couple will join a distinguished few who will take part in a double ceremony on March 7.

Hollywood stars: William H Macy and wife Felicity Huffman, pictured last week, will be awarded a double star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next week

Macy, who currently stars in the U.S. version of U.K. television hit Shameless, has two children by Huffman – Sophia, 11 and nine-year-old Georgia.

They will only become the second married couple to be honoured with their stars on the same day.

Film producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Richard Donner were the last couple to be honoured on the same day.

Macy and Huffman have two Oscar nominations, two Emmy wins, and seven Globe nominations between them.

They join the likes of Sherry Lansing and William Friedkin, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon and Sonny Bono and Cher.

Honour: The couple will each receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]

Acting (much like panto) is a not public interest or has any term limits, so star away, heck it’s like elementary school where star stickers were given to students who played nice or had best attendance or the top mark gaining students. Perhaps though, a double star on a single panel would be nicer since they are a single item. Being on separate tiles makes this kind sad? How about *2 stars* on a single extra large tile? I won’t suggest a 3 some-star but who knows maybe someone with a harem of 2 or even more wives, perhaps parent child actor exceptional type of star (differentiate from couple), could also be created. The film industry (caste Sudra par excellence) is ‘anything goes’ in many ways, who knows another Oscar could set up his own Oscar awards, team up with a few film houses, much like Somalia has become 2 countries etc.. But internally within a national government, even political party (Registration of Societies have rules) of professionals and publicly accountable individuals where taxpayer funds and political powers, law changing powers are concerned, tolerance levels for Nepotism and GLC collusion, bad law loophole abuse instead of amendments, retention of abusive by-laws, keeping election deposits for candidacy at levels where 99% of the citizens are effectively barred from running for election, the self serving law writing (i.e. 750K funerals) are of course must be very low to protect the citizens.

Of course if the PUBLIC paid for those Oscars (which they did indirectly but have no rights to vote on in who wins acts or whatever, methinks a boycott of all film and media until they can vote on which star wins should be suitable? Even which stars to cast ONLINE, via class distinction based criteria and of course that all powerful 66.6% quorum as always. We will not be part of the group which blindly pays for film and has no rights to vote on who wins. A panel of judges could well be bribed or even manipulated by government for any agenda, so who can claim that those awards are really neutral or just more propaganda?

See below link for what could be going on :

Angelina Jolie Conscripted To Sell Genocidal ‘Humanitarian Intervention’ War Doctrine
http://empirestrikesblack.com/2012/02/angelina-jolie-conscripted-to-sell-genocidal-humanitarian-intervention-war-doctrine/

A pretty face may not be matched by a pretty soul. And given the billions sequestered between Angelina and Brad while so many die, one would consider these 2 and their groups to be complicit in the suffering occurring in the world as much as politicians who refuse to amend laws have not acted to remove TSA, or end wars etc.. Great concept that star walk btw, but wouldn’t that be better placed on a series of plaques on bollards or atop low pillars than below foot to be stepped on?

ARTICLE 3

The Sopranos cast tells all… as even James Gandolfini admits the ending left him baffled – by Daily Mail Reporter – Last updated at 4:41 PM on 1st March 2012

It was the ending that left fans confused, baffled and outraged.

But now even James Gandolfini, the actor who played Tony Soprano in the hit TV series The Sopranos, has admitted he did not like it either.

The actor said that when the screen suddenly went black as he sits down to dinner with his family he thought: ‘What the f***?’
The cast of the Sopranos has given an oral history of the show to the new Vanity Fair. Even star James Gandolfini admits the final scene, in which his family goes out to eat and the screen went dark, left him baffled

The cast of the Sopranos has given an oral history of the show to the new Vanity Fair. Even star James Gandolfini admits the final scene, in which his family goes out to eat and the screen went dark, left him baffled

He later came to accept the conclusion yet his initial reaction was: ‘It’s over like that?’

In an in-depth article in Vanity Fair magazine, most of the other cast members and Sopranos creator David Chase also speak candidly about the multi-award winning show.

Chase reveals that even though he had written a mob drama he ‘hated’ having characters killed and it left him feeling like a real-life mobster.

Just like the real Mafia the actors were also paranoid they were going to be bumped off as they did not know the scripts in advance.

But five years after The Sopranos ended, it is still the ending itself which everybody is talking about.

Fans at the time called it the ‘worst ending in history’ whilst blogs lit up with fans claiming they felt cheated.

Gandolfini told Vanity Fair: ‘When I first saw the ending, I said, ‘What the f***.

‘I mean, after all I went through, all this death, and then it’s over like that?’

Yet he added: ‘After I had a day to sleep, I just sat there and said: ‘That’s perfect.”

Lorraine Bracco, who played Dr Jennifer Melfi on the show, also revealed she did not like it at first either.

Lorraine Bracco, the show’s Dr Melfi, says she too wishes the show had ended differently. Meanwhile all the actors on the show worried they would get killed off at some point and lived in fear as they never saw scripts far in advance

She said: ‘I would have wanted it to end differently. But God knows we’ve talked about that ending for five years now – we’re still talking about it.

‘People stop me in the street. ‘Did you get the ending? Did I miss something?’ I thought it was very, very shrewd.’

The Vanity Fair article includes rich detail about the show, which ran from 1999 to 2007 and lasted six seasons, winning a slew of Emmys, Golden Globes and Directors’ Guild Awards.

Drea de Matteo, who played Adriana La Cerva, reveals that she hated her fake New Jersey and that even today people still come up to her and say: ‘Just give me one Chris-ta-fuh.’

Edie Falco, who played Tony Soprano’s wife, got so involved in her character that she felt like a real life mob moll, even feeling possessive about Gandolfini.

She said: ‘It was weird to sit down at a table and read with the actresses playing Tony’s girlfriends. Occasionally I would get a sharp twinge at the back of my neck.

‘Even years later, I remember when I saw Jim in ‘God of Carnage’ on Broadway, and he was Marcia Gay Harden’s husband, and I had this ‘How come I have to be OK with this?’ kind of feeling.’

The epic, trailblazing HBO show lasted for six seasons, winning a slew of Emmys, Golden Globes and Directors’ Guild Awards along the way

In another twist, Gandolfini himself admitted that he still has feelings for Falco, who played his wife Carmela for all six seasons of the show.

Gandolfini also told the magazine that even now he’s still in love on screen wife Edie Falco

He told Vanity Fair:  ‘I’m still in love with Edie. Of course, I love my wife, but I’m in love with Edie. I don’t know if I’m in love with Carmela or Edie or both. I’m in love with her.’

All the actors also only found out they were about to be killed off when the scripts were handed out – leading to tense moments on the set.

Steve Schirripa, who played Tony Soprano’s bodyguard Bobby ‘Bacala’ said: ‘If it’s time for your character to go, it’s time for your character to go. It doesn’t matter who you are.

‘I mean, this wasn’t ‘Friends.’ This was a real worry.

‘You know, we would talk. ‘Did you hear anything?’ You’re asking the writers. Nobody’s telling you nothing. Each time the script arrived, you go to the front, you go to the back, looking.’

The only time this caused tempers to really flare was on the day that Vincent Pastore’s character Sal ‘Big Pussy’ Bonpensiero was killed – with cast members shouting at each other because they felt such a mixture of raw emotions.

Chase is the most candid of all and says that the ending was such because ‘ambiguity is very important to me’.

He compared it classic films like ‘Raging Bull’ in which boxer Jake LaMotta played by Robert de Niro talks to himself in the mirror before the screen goes black with a quote from The Bible on screen.

There are also details of how Gandolfini handed out $33,000 to all the regular cast members when he got a raise. Steve Schirripa, far right, was overwhelmed and said it was ‘like buying everybody and SUV’

Chase said: ‘The Sopranos was ambiguous to the point where, to this day, I’m not really sure whether it was a drama or a comedy.

‘It can be both, but people like to reduce it to one or the other. I know there are the two masks, Comedy and Drama, hanging together. But that’s not the way American audiences seem to break things down.’

He added that killing of characters was a ‘hard thing to do’ – but regretted not getting ring of

Tony Soprano’s nephew Christopher Moltisanti sooner than the final season.

He said: ‘As a mob boss, the guy was totally unreliable! . . . Tony put up with him for too long.

‘Christopher just spelled the end of Tony, his family – everything. From my standpoint, as the architect of the series, Tony put up with him for too long.’

Chase added that the violence was so pervasive that some of the actors found it hard to get out of character – and that even though he hated killing people off he just reminded himself who they were.

At first some actors had problems filming violent scenes. Tony Sirico, who played Paulie ‘Walnuts’, far left, said he begged to not film a scene in which he killed a woman, but he ended up doing it anyway

He said: ‘I thought to myself, well, I’m writing about a guy who’s the boss of a Mafia family, and he has to do these things, too.’

The Vanity Fair piece also includes hilarious anecdotes from Tony Sirico, who played Paulie ‘Walnuts’ and initially refused to to a scene where he kills a woman.

He begged Chase to change it as he came from a ‘tough neighbourhood’ and it would ‘make me look bad’ – but eventually relented.

Sirico said: ‘Here’s the thing. We did the scene.

‘I had to smother her. First he wanted me to strangle her; I said, ‘No, I’m not putting my hands on her.’ He said, ‘Use the pillow.’ After it was all said and done, I went back to the neighborhood and nobody said a word.’

There are also details of how Gandolfini handed out cash gifts of $33,000 to all the regular cast members from his own money after winning a huge salary increase.

Schirripa was overwhelmed and said it was ‘like buying everybody and SUV’.

He said: ‘Nobody gave their cast members that kind of money. He (Gandolfini) said: ‘Thanks for sticking by me.”

Chase defended the show against allegations it glamorised the Mafia by saying that all the characters were ‘half-miserable’.

He said: ‘I don’t think the violence looks appealing at all.

‘Everyone paid for the violence in a lot of ways . . . It’s a very violent world and, you know, there’s consequences. I think we showed it, and I think we showed the toll it takes on these people.’

Here’s what other readers have said. Why not add your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

My theory is that the ending was deliberately left ambiguous – allowing sequels….possibly…

– LeAnne, Suisun, CA, USA, 01/3/2012 16:21
Rating   26

I agree with Stevie Ste Ste, Manc, Manchester – it was the perfect ending. Tony never heard it coming. BUT, I would drop my own opinion of a perfect ending if they revived the series. Its had a long enough break, the actors have tried other things, maybe now would be the right time to bring it all back, show what they are all up to five years later. Maybe Tony’s son is now a captain? His daughter dating a police officer? His crew plotting to get rid of him, and so on. So many stories, so many people wanting more!!

– Jon B, Manchester, 01/3/2012 16:20
Rating   29

Paulie Walnuts rules!!!!!!

– Johnb, London, 01/3/2012 16:19
Rating   36

It’s brilliant because it’s Shakespearean in its themes.

– Persemillion, London, 01/3/2012 16:18
Rating   26

It would take a lot for another series to beat the greatness of The Sopranos. The Wire and Breaking Bad have come close, but The Sopranos will always remain my favorite.

– Colin, Hull – UK, 01/3/2012 16:15
Rating   49

Best TV show ever

– johnb, London, 01/3/2012 16:09
Rating   70

The ending was simply a commercial decision, viewers would assume that the whole family had been killed, but the show could be resumed if and when more money was offered.======================Remember the shower scene in Dallas.

– aber, Lincolnshire, 01/3/2012 16:05
Rating   5

I adored the sopranos,never saw it when it was on tv at the time but bought the dvd box set and took six weeks to watch the lot ,I didn’t like the ending but made up my own mind what happened that suited me… Not what I know was meant to happen. Great series and sadly missed!

– tells it like it is , uk, 01/3/2012 16:03
Rating   22

Tony obviously dies in the final scene. i personally thought it was a great ending….it was the guy in the blue Members Only jacket who went into the bathroon…..you probably don’t even hear it when it happens. Perfect!!!

– Stevie Ste Ste, Manc, Manchester, 01/3/2012 15:59
Rating   36

The best TV show ever, im watching it on Sky Atlantic now for the 6th or 7th time, i love it

– James Bennett, Halifax, 01/3/2012 15:55

[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]

The ether and astral would be happier for it. But rest assured that a favourited spookf (possibly created by the same producers but in secret) could be aired. ‘Hows’ about a blaze of glory ending (so anybody could be killed by accident?) where the government is semi-toppled and where the mafia semi-rules, and huge parts of the country become like that ‘Escape from New York (John Carpenter 1995)’ and ‘Escape from LA’ (John Carpenter 1996) films eh? Ya ‘gots’ to respect da surgeon general (riiight . . .  just eat that baa-baa black heart and move along . . . ) . . . then have Iran or North Korea explode an EMF weapon above USA to cap it off. The anticipating film buffs could be waiting for just such an exciting ending. Snake could defuse the EMF weapon in USA itself all the same, with no effect lol (i.e. after the ending where Kurt Russel does not use the EMP, an Iranian AND North Korean one explode instead . . . ). Throw in a zombie plague or few as well. To do this cheap, where even the actors and actresses have opinions on how the Sopranos should have ended, could very well rewrite in a cheaper locale like Bollywood or ‘Chinawood’ where they can also act (or use lookalikes that cannot be properly sued for franchise infringement) a proper ending.

Surgeon General of Beverly Hills, sure looks like an oriental John Voight yea?

ARTICLE 4

Do us all a favour Cheerless Chops and lighten up! – by Jan Moir – Last updated at 10:26 AM on 2nd March 2012

Why does Victoria Beckham look so world-weary when she has so much to be happy about?

The Coalition is under fresh attack, Obama’s popularity has taken another dip and Ken Clarke’s plans to launch a system of secret courts to dispense justice behind locked doors chills the blood of any right-thinking person.

Yet let’s focus on the real issue of the week, shall we? Which is this: why won’t Posh smile? Why? Why won’t she do it?

For weeks, months, years now, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham seems to have made it her personal mission in life not to smile in public.

The determinedly grim, cement set of her cheerless chops is becoming one of the wonders of the age. She’s making everyone depressed.

Cheer up, girl, for God’s sake! Halve yourself a tomato, pour yourself a stiff coconut water and lighten up for once.

Fat chance. From party to pavement, from big events to shopping trips, Victoria, 37, is like a one-woman Mount Rushmore — forever stony and unyielding, the very picture of bottomless granite gloom.

Even at the Oscars parties earlier this week, she managed to wander around Hollywood looking as if she was sucking on an extra-sour lemon while her shoes pinched.

Why? She was at a fabulous party on the arm of David Beckham, who had dressed up for the occasion in a stunning Dior suit.

They both looked amazing, as they always do. Everyone in the room knew her name, while the film star Cameron Diaz added even more elation to the evening by wearing a dress from Victoria’s new collection.

So why does Victoria always  look as if it is full of vinegar and crushed hope?

Perhaps she thinks it’s cool to look so jaded? Maybe she even hates her teeth? Let us hope that neither of these suggestions is  true. For they are unworthy of any grown woman.

What makes her world-weary affectation so exasperating is that she has no reason to affect such pained despondency. Posh is one of the most fortunate women on the planet. She is rich and successful in her own right, with a handsome husband and four lovely, healthy children to come home to at night.

Another day, another grimace in front of the cameras for Mrs Beckham

She has many blessings to count, including a bumper share of good looks and good fortune.

Out of all the Spice Girls, she is the one who has gone on to become the biggest success. No one watching her thrash around doing her zig-a-zig-ah stuff nearly 20 years ago would have given her a hope for the future.

Yet, here she is, a woman who has gone on to make the second act of her life an even bigger triumph than the first, which is no mean feat. Surely that must make her smile?

Not a bit of it. Her range of expressions seems to have only three settings: melancholy, forlorn and abject misery.

For a photoshoot splashed on the cover of the glossy magazine Madame Figaro this week, she managed to appear both wretched and homicidal at the same time — a look only previously achieved by recently arrested serial killers.

Even at the royal wedding last year, she had a face as long as a court fiddle. Indeed, Posh could do much worse than take a leaf out of the Duchess of Cambridge’s book, whose relentless good cheer is a tonic to all.

OK. Yes, agreed. Victoria did have the pained glimmer of a grin  at the end of her fashion show recently, when she came on to the catwalk to acknowledge the applause of the audience. And I do recall a dazzling smile on the day she got engaged to Beckham back in the mists of time.

On chat shows and in person, she has always seemed amusing and amused. But mostly it has been an endless parade of cheerlessness, gloom and deadpan VB doom.

Apart from anything else, it is so graceless, particularly as the Government has just made Victoria Beckham an ambassador for this country. From now on, she is a fashion insider whose new national role is to promote the VisitBritain’s Great campaign in a bid to encourage tourists and investors to this country.

Once they clock dear Posh wandering around with a face like  a torn scone — as we say in  Scotland — the only thing they’ll want to invest in is a ticket to somewhere else.

So enough of the misery, please. Especially now that she is representing all of us. Like I said before, if any woman in the world has reason to walk around with a melon-slice grin splitting her  face, that woman is Victoria Beckham. Her lack of cheer is getting really boring.
ARE SOME ACTORS NOW TOO FAMOUS TO ENJOY?

This week I went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the film adaptation of Deborah Moggach’s charming novel.

The plot follows the adventures of a group of English pensioners who meet when they retire to a supposedly luxurious sanctuary in Jaipur.

Of course, the Marigold Hotel of the title is not quite the idyll promised in the brochure, even if the guests find themselves charmed by the young owner, played by Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel.
Dame Judi Dench in the new film ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

And the pensioners themselves are played by an all-star cast of golden-nuggety British greats: Bill Nighy,  Maggie Smith, Judi Dench (right), Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton  and Celia Imrie.

They’re all amazing. I love each and every one of them. Bill’s a genius. Tom’s a doll. The Dames Mags and St Jude can do no wrong. And instead of hosing down all the women in emulsion and glossing over everyone’s wrinkles as usual, the film almost makes a fetish of them.

However, the presence of so many megawatt acting talents in one small film was just a little overwhelming. Almost too rich for the blood.

Like Easter Island statues, they have each been around for a very long time; they all carry the weight of history on their shoulders.

They have collectively ticked off myriad roles and appearances, the chat show couches, thrillers, comedies, spinning out down the decades. In short, a lot of baggage to take on board.

I did enjoy the film, but there were too many moments when it was impossible to get my grappling hook over the huge cliff face of this squad of National Treasures Doing Great British Acting.

Can character actors become just too famous?

Sometimes I wonder if the current popularity of Scandinavian films and television series is partly because we haven’t a clue who the actors are.

Here comes (the FATHER of) the bride

Why does Richard Branson keep invading his daughter’s privacy by publishing snaps of her wedding? It’s not as if  Holly or her new husband Freddie Andrewes are even public figures.

The snaps from the Caribbean that he posted on Facebook were lovely, however — even if Sir R. couldn’t give up a lifetime of camera-hogging, not even for his only daughter’s marriage ceremony.
Me again! Richard Branson edges into shot in daughter Holly’s (centre) dressing room

Me again! Richard Branson edges into shot in daughter Holly’s (centre) dressing room

He was right there when they were cutting the cake, he was in the forefront of the napkin-waving game (eh?). He even managed to get into the bride’s dressing room before the ceremony, grinning away among all the bridesmaids and tulle.

The old egomaniac has just got to be the centre of attention, even on his daughter’s wedding day.

It is hilarious, but also rather sweet.

And even royal guests Beatrice and Eugenie did the decent thing and left their hats at home.

Everyone was happy.

THAT’S PRETTY RICH COMING FROM JULIA

Julia Roberts says her children don’t know she’s famous. Neither does 2012.

She also says she pities young female stars who are rocketed to instant fame today because the only choices they face are ‘the express elevator or rehab’.

Interesting. I have noticed that Julia rarely says anything nice about anyone — particularly not actresses who have the temerity to be younger than her.

Roberts, now 44, got her big break 22 years ago in Pretty Woman. Oh my goodness! Can it really be that long ago?

Thank heavens there have been few films since then that have portrayed prostitution as a rather glam career option.

How did she even  get away with it at the time? Prostitution is an express elevator to rehab — and worse.

But it’s what made Julia a star, so it’s OK.

It’s chucking-out time for this MP

Every now and then, the tattered curtain is lifted on what really goes on in the House of Commons. And what a shambles it usually turns out to be.

Foaming pints of Top Totty beer, served at cheap prices, subsidised by me and you; treble duck houses all round; sexy Russian secretaries shipped in by the lorry load to assist overworked MPs of course, not to spy; and now, to cap them all, the incident involving Labour MP Eric Joyce.

Following an alleged booze-fuelled brawl in the Strangers Bar last week, the Member for Falkirk now faces a court case, accused of head-butting Tory MP Stuart Andrew.

It is also claimed he struck Labour Whip Phil Wilson and assorted other MPs who got in the way.

It took five police officers to restrain Joyce, which might be OK at chucking-out time in downtown Falkirk on a Saturday night, but is completely unacceptable in Parliament.

And any sympathy anyone might have felt for 51-year-old Joyce would be dissipated if allegations of an affair two years ago with a 17-year-old schoolgirl who was helping in his office during the election turn out to be true.

Brawling is bad enough. But if he has abused his position of power and authority with an impressionable schoolgirl that would be something else.

What Joyce is said to have done is a disgrace — anyhow,  I hope he never sets foot in Westminster again.

I can’t be alone in thinking it is a bit off that some English footballers refuse to join in the singing of the national anthem before an international football match.

Yes, I know they are focusing on the match ahead (ball, foot, foot, ball), but come on. Every other national team seems to manage a lusty chorus from all involved, why not England? What is their problem?

Once upon a time, playing for your country was an honour that every schoolboy dreamed about. It was the apex of ambition, a privilege beyond measure.

Today, too many footballers think we are the ones who should be honoured by their even deigning to take part. It is about them, not the team.

Here’s what other readers have said. Why not add your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

I think the reason she doesn’t smile is because smiling causes wrinkles. If you notice, she has no wrinkles and wants her skin to stay this way!

– Nikki, Maidenhead, 02/3/2012 15:11
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Why ON EARTH would the government make her an “ambassador for Britain” when she loves this country so much she chooses to live in the U.S?????

– kaz , west sussex, 02/3/2012 15:04
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I once read that she doesn’t like the way her nose appears when she smiles so to prevent happening, whatever it is she thinks will happen, she doesn’t smile on purpose.

– SR, Wokingham, 02/3/2012 15:04
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I think she doesn’t smile becuase she is worried about getting lines around her eyes.

– Mel, London, 02/3/2012 15:04
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She is not a fashion icon or trendsetter, she is just a miserable dork.

– sas604, jalon. spain, 02/3/2012 14:49
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Smiling uses less muscles and frowning causes wrinkles.

– L.J, Suffolk UK, 02/3/2012 14:48
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VB in my opinion try’s very hard to come across as an Anna Wintour wannabe, her issue is that she has neither the talent, knowledge or where with all to carry it off and as a result looks like the vacuous oaf that she is.

– BPH, Glasgow, 02/3/2012 14:46
Rating   1

Leave her alone! so what she pouts that’s just her thing, iv seen plenty of pics of her laughing with people when shes not posing, and there would be a massive deal made if she did start grinning she can’t win either way

– layla, Liverpool, 02/3/2012 14:13
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If VB started walking around, grinning like an idiot, which is apparently the only thing that will satisfy some people, will they then have nothing to write about at the DM or will the next never ending fixation be about her teeth or how big she smiles ?

– Poppy, Paris, 02/3/2012 13:12
Rating   55

Wow, if I was rich and woke up with David Beckham every morning you would never get a cheesy grin off MY face.

– Animal Lover, Buckinghamshire, 02/3/2012 13:10

[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]

Jan Moir said : ‘Not a bit of it. Her range of expressions seems to have only three settings: melancholy, forlorn and abject misery.‘ – She’s supposed to be ‘Posh’ spice. It’s posh to be gothically or sepulcharally inclined. Maybe it’s the justification behind the wealth bothering the conscience? Only a ‘footballer’ and their WAG would know.

As for the smile worthy issue, Vic could get Beckham to marry a wife no. 2 who is actualy Royalty or nobility so that Beckham gets a consort title or actual title, and wife Vic being wife 1 (middleton-mite in stature) can get to ‘Lady’ over the actual noble and royal newcomers to the chavham . . .  oops I mean Beckham Family as wife no.1. and indirectly get to be an incidental ‘lady’ with authority as Wife no.1 over wife 2 as well. (Psst, how about changing that name to Beckton or Beckden you smurfs? It’s more posh . . . )

How does that sound for moving up the social ladder? Would be like the grand old era where aristocrats (a football aristocrat? Ugh . . . maybe a 蹴鞠 ‘Cuju‘ Museum Curator/Owner in England with the PRC’s – or who knows Neo-Imperial Chinese Imperium’s – permission and endorsement? Cuju being the CHINESE sport that ‘English’ Football is a cheap copy of . . . would be more Posh‘ . . . ) raised massive families commensuerate with their wealth. What say you plutocrat 1%ter Becks worth hundreds of millions (or is that billions)? You play football with passion? Riiiiiight, as a beneficiary of global politics . . . lets see if a ‘Beckham’ from Uganda earns as much, this is not a real sport anymore, just politically convenient poseurs with some incidental talent and maybe money laundering via ‘exopensive players’ or expensive teams’ . . . still Vic would probably love to be ‘Posher’ as a ‘Lady’.

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Burglar broke into house, raped student as she slept by her boyfriend, and attacked two other women the same night By Suzannah Hills Last updated at 3:24 PM on 20th January 2012

In better judgments, cyborg, film, if not contrived, synchronicity, Technology on January 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Rape victim briefly woke up and ‘felt a man’s arms around her and thought it was her boyfriend’ Boyfriend awoke to find the rapist still in bed next to them and chased him out the flat before calling police. Cat burglar sexually assaulted three women in one night after creeping over roofs to break into houses

Rapist: Travis Gotting was branded ‘unpredictable and volatile’ by a judge after sexually assaulting three women

A cat burglar sexually assaulted three young women in a night of terror after creeping along rooftops to break into their homes, a court heard.

Travis Gotting, 20, broke into two different student houses where he sexually assaulted the young women and stole items from around their apartments.

Reading Crown Court heard he even started having sex with one of the women as she lay sleeping with her boyfriend lying next to her in bed before the couple awoke and chased him from their home.

Gotting was yesterday told by a judge that he was ‘unpredictable and volatile’ and will serve a minimum of four years in prison for the public’s protection before he can be considered for release.

The court was told Gotting, from Shinfield, Reading, who admitted burglary, rape and sexual assault, had been seen clambering over the rooftops of homes in an area popular with students studying at Reading University.

He then climbed into one flat through an unsecured window and sneaked into the second floor bedroom of a 20-year-old student as she slept following a heavy night out.

Jailed: Travis Gotting, 20, was imprisoned for a minimum of four years by Judge Stephen John at Reading Crown Court

Prosecutor Sandra Beck said:

‘She became aware of someone saying to her “hello baby”. [[[ *** bwah haha . . . ooo I can’t resist . . . – lemme repeat the script from – Mortal Kombat I (1995) *** ]]]

Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras) : Wheres’s Kano?

Kano (Trevor Goddard d.2003) : Uh, hurr durr, Hello baby . . . did you miss me?”

The Movie wasn’t on so ‘Entity’ (Not Auntie . . . ) replies instead : In Nigeria !

Islamist insurgents kill over 178 in Nigeria’s Kano
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/22/us-nigeria-violence-idUSTRE80L0A020120122?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=71).

Back to the article . . .

She had gone to bed alone. ‘She felt hands upon her, she felt the person touch her under her pyjamas.’

The startled victim woke up and ordered Gotting out of her room. Gotting then crept into the room of her 20-year-old flatmate, who lay asleep in bed with her boyfriend.

Miss Beck added: ‘She awoke and felt a man’s arms around her and thought it was her boyfriend.

‘She was half asleep and thought no more of it.

‘She had a recollection of having sex from behind and at some point she fully woke up and her recollection was that there was a stranger between them.

‘Gotting got up and said something about being in “Dave’s house”. Her boyfriend chased him out and called the police.’

Gotting escaped with a number of items stolen from the property, in Earley Road, Reading, and half an hour later struck at another home just 100 yards away in nearby Donnington Road.

He then entered a room where two sisters were sleeping and when one awoke he told her that the landlord had given him permission for him to stay.

But when the 21-year-old woman bent down to get him a sleeping bag, Gotting touched her bottom, so the sisters ordered him to leave.

After he’d left they noticed items were missing – including cash, an iPod and a mobile phone.

Miss Beck said both women from the first house targeted by Gotting no longer felt safe in their own homes.

The first of Gotting’s victims had been so traumatised by her ordeal that she had abandoned her studies altogether and moved back in with her parents.

In a statement read to the court, she said: ‘I could no longer continue living in Reading. I had to quit university, all the effort that I put into my degree has been abandoned.’

The second victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said: ‘I am paranoid about open windows, I suffer from anxiety and I am constantly on edge.’

Judge Stephen John said Gotting displayed a ‘limited understanding’ of his sexual offending.

He told him: ‘You are unable to explain your motivation for the serious and repeated sexual offending behaviour, your victims being vulnerable and unknown females.

‘You were not deterred by being confronted by your victims when they woke up, going on to commit further offences.’

Judge John jailed Gotting for a minimum of four years – and he will not be released until he can prove he is no longer a risk to the public.

He said: ‘This is the minimum period you must serve before you can even be considered for release.

‘It may be much longer, and it will be unless you can prove you are not a danger to the public.

‘Unless you can do so you may never be released.’

FOUR YEARS?!!! castrate then hang him

– YUMMY MUMMY , KENT, 20/1/2012 14:58
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Looks like a photograph of the Royal Berks hospital to me. Clearly hospital food is the latest thing in criminal deterence.

– Baz, Shropshire, 20/1/2012 14:58
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Our judges would seem to prefer to keep US in fear in our homes – justifying more represssive laws etc – than deal with crime by actually putting the criminals in jail for periods that reflect the seriousness of their crimes.

– Eric Murphy, London, UK, 20/1/2012 14:57
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Bizarre sentence. Judge must be sober on the job

– zakhaj, rhyl, 20/1/2012 14:51
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FOUR YEARS?!!! Four flaming years for Rape, Burglary and Sexual Assault? What in the name of God do you have to do to get punished properly in this country? My sympathy to the poor girls who’s lives and personalities are now completely changed thanks to this scum.

– Sharron, Yorkshire, 20/1/2012 14:49
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Pearl, Brighton: “For all the outraged commentators – this offender has been given an Indeterminate sentence – to serve no less than 4 years. He cannot be released before the 4 years is up and *then* only if he can demonstrate his risk to the public is significantly reduced” – Yes we understand that, thank you. the point is not that he was given an indeterminate sentence, but that he should have got at least 20 years before being considered for release. It’s not about risk, it’s about punishment. Should be, anyway.

– David Bourke, Rochester, Kent., 20/1/2012 14:49
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4 yrs ? he should have got 30 yrs !!!! sack the judge !!

– robert, stockport, 20/1/2012 14:48
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4 years FOUR YEARS !!! castrate then hang him evil scum he will do it again definitely. scumbags like these deserve the death sentence

– YUMMY MUMMY , KENT, 20/1/2012 14:48
Click to rate Rating 56

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Will some one start a petition, TO BRING BACK THE BIRCH, This scum should have 20 lashes PLUS 4 years, the only way to stop them

– daleabb, Nottingham, 20/1/2012 14:48
Click to rate Rating 40

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Should be flogged and castrated.

– Fang, uk, 20/1/2012 14:48

[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]

Look at all the violent inequitable feminist suggestions. Whipping or flogging the women is not what the attacker did so why whip or flog the offender. Nor did the offender cut off the genitals of these women, so how could the above women be so vicious as to suggest castration? Whats this FGM nonsense? (Little wonder Nigeria . . . )

I say determine if that rapist is not someone who enjoys anal sex first (if he does get something he doesn’t want to rape him by – there must be something even a rapist hates) get some feminists to put on dildos and do the same rape with the 3 victims as an audience to help collect their dignity (if it can even help). This saves the taxpayer 4 years of paying for this guy’s prison costs. Eye for eye tooth for tooth, – so a rape for a rape and maybe repairs for anything broken during the break in.

Next sentencing! (BTW a Mortal Kombat ‘House’ or series where all characters are alive and well and friendly had better be set up with a pleasant script otherwise Kano will become as taboo a word as Voldemorte . . . Harry Potter the series didn’t work in any good measure against the astral/ethereal AT ALL IMHO- *TEP*!)