Oscars News

If you want some dumb ideas to make the Oscars more enjoyable take a look at this message from the Academy about these updates. The Hollywood Reporter and many other have posted stories about this and the comments have not been great anywhere.  There will be three important changes

First off the Oscars will only be 3 hours long, no longer will all the awards be televised but it seems like that they will be going the way of the Tony Awards where the minor awards (mostly technical) are boiled down to who won and a boiled down speech from them.

Second the introduction of a new award for Most Popular Film/Best Popular film. Since they expanded the Best Picture nominations back to 10 hoping to get “popular films” to be in the Best Picture race none of the popular films have managed to win. So the big Blockbuster films will finally be getting an award that deems one of those the best. Now what will classify as a ‘popular film’ hasn’t been decided. This would be a sort of renewal of the ‘Most unique and Artistic Picture Award’ and ‘Outstanding Picture ‘ from the very first Academy Awards, with the popular on winning Outstanding. This new award will be added in the 91th Annual Academy Awards.

Third, the 92nd Oscars will be earlier in February the move is intended to make it more exciting as currently the awards are the last given out so there are few surprises to have. This will be the Oscars in 2020.

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The first one makes sense it seems that the Oscars just drag on and on, but perhaps if we didn’t have the forced banter and got rid of some of the monologue and other bits that the host whomever they are does year after year that could speed it up as well. Sure, Hollywood want to make it seem relatable to the general public but will this it could turn into the Tony Awards where it is a huge showcase for the musicals and less so the plays. The Oscars has run over three hours for the past 45 years so what’s the problem now we’ve got 3 more awards and we barely show the honorary Oscars besides acknowledging them in their seats. Most people watch it for the awards, In Memoriam, and don’t care about the “silly stuff” inbetween. The other idea I have would be to brand everything on the Red Carpet Show turning that into like one giant commercial and then having fewer commercial breaks during the broadcast of the actual Oscars.

Two the Best Popular film sure if we want to be awarding the mediocrity of the film industry go ahead and get a whole lot more comic book movies and big blockbusters. I would think that it would be great if they went back to 5 nominations for both of these Best Picture awards. Some have pointed out that this will become another Oscar that Disney will pick up every year along with the Animated Feature. Sure, it is great that they are awarding films that people may have seen but they used to do this without needing a special award.

Three: This is the best news that has come out putting the Oscars in the middle of the Award season will make it so that there might actually be some surprises that happen during the Oscars.

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Stalker (1979)

Сталкер or Stalker is another science fiction film from Russian/Soviet Director Andrei Tarkovsky. With this film I’ve watched all the ‘important’ Tarkovsky films. Now this is movie is a bit different from the others, it is based on the novel Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. Scholars have written that this film encapsulates Tarkovsky’s world view “the rift between natural science and belief, the future of mankind in view of current atomic threats; and, ultimately, the dim glimmer of hope still left to man.” One of my favorite stories about the film is that after being told that Stalker should be faster and more dynamic, Tarkovsky replied that “the film needs to be slower and duller at the start so that the viewers who walked into the wrong theatre have time to leave before the main action starts.” This film like Solaris has a Western cousin in Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Spoilers to follow

Stalker is set sometime in the future and there is a “Zone” which is a mysterious place sealed off by the government and inside the Zone is a Room which supposedly has the ability to fulfill a person’s innermost desires. So a Stalker (Alexander Kaidanovsky) offers to guide a pair of gentlemen, a Writer (Anatoly Solonitsyn) and a Professor (Nikolai Grinko), into the Zone and to the Room. They evade the military and get into the Zone and a world of color, as outside the zone the film has a sepia tint. Inside the Zone we learn that it is a very complex maze of traps and that Stalkers are needed to safely navigate through. Some have pointed that the journey to the Room can be seen as a search for knowledge or a pilgrimage of faith. The Writer wants to visit the Room as he has lost his inspiration and The Professor is said to want to write a scientific analysis of the Zone with the hope to win a Noble Prize.  However when they get to the antechamber of the Room a phone rings, and there is confusion about this but here the Professor changes his tune he has been carrying a bomb with him to blow up the room  so no evil man would use it.

One could look at the film as a sort of conversation about the necessity of something greater in your life, there are twists an turns that you can’t explain but with something/one guiding you it get easier. This can come in different shapes and everyone will see it differently I find that that the Room has some sort of confessional or just plain prayerful vibe as that is what people do when they pray ask for things. Sure being made in Soviet Russia according to Tarkovsky the Room and Zone meant nothing.

Humanae Vitae at 50

Humanae Vitae is a controversial encyclical that came out fifty years ago today, I posted a short overview back in 2013. It was the last encyclical by Pope Paul VI  Humanae Vitae or Of Human Life: On the Regulation of Birth, it basically reaffirms the traditional orthodox teaching of the Church. Marriage is the union of a loving couple with a loving God, and the sole purpose of sex is for procreation and the use of contraception is bad. It was published and sure there were some not enthused by these teachings asking “What do celibate male have to say about sex?” George Weigel points out that Karol Wojtyła (JPII)’s 1960 book Love and Responsibility made better arguments about these issues.  Since it was published more and more people have been siding with the Winnipeg Statement which states that those who can’t accept the teaching are not shut off from the Catholic Church, and individuals can in good conscience use contraception as long as they made an honest attempt to accept the directives. It is still one of the biggest issues that people have with the Church.

John Paul II took up Humanae Vitae in his Theology of the Body which sort of take Humanae Vitae  and furthers the teaching. Benedict XVI reflects on it with the idea of love “that the fullness of a person is achieved by a unity of soul and body, but neither spirit nor body alone can love, only the two together. If this unity is broken, if only the body is satisfied, love becomes a commodity”. Francis himself continues this by saying that in an interview in 2014 that “Everything depends on how Humanae Vitae is interpreted. Paul VI himself, in the end, urged confessors to be very merciful and pay attention to concrete situations. But his genius was prophetic, he had the courage to take a stand against the majority, to defend moral discipline, to exercise a cultural restraint, to oppose present and future neo-Malthusianism. The question is not of changing doctrine, but of digging deep and making sure that pastoral care takes into account situations and what it is possible for persons to do.”

Was this prophetic or is that just people looking back with reverence on an Encyclical, I am not sure which to say. With the recent release of the book all about the birth of the Encyclical, we’ve learned a bit more about what went into it Was the publication of the Encyclical necessary sure has society slipped to the point of no return with the vulgarity, abundance of pornography and the lack of love of our neighbor

San Diego Comic Con 2018 news

The biggest Comic Con has started and there are already some big news and trailers coming out of Comic Con and there are more to come over the weekend. I might update this as it goes but who knows.

I think the biggest so far is the final season of Clone Wars is going to get made this will be what they would have done in the sixth season of the show. It would be a seventh season and would be 12 episodes long and air on the Disney Streaming Service whenever it comes out. Sure that mean that it would seem that Disney is going to make everyone need to get their streaming service.

The other big news is that Comcast had dropped their bid for Fox  so it seems like Disney is going to get it as Disney and 21st Century Fox have agreed in to a $71.3 billion deal that will see Disney take control of the bulk of Fox’s assets, including the 20th Century Fox film and TV studio, FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, and Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu. It seems like Hulu might just become streaming service since they will now on 60% stake in Hulu. This includes the rights to the Fantastic Four and X-Men Universe so who knows what or who to expect in Phase 4 or so in the MCU.

There is a trailer for the New Season of Doctor Who with Jodie Whittaker. It will be the first season from Chris Chibnall, he wrote some episodes for Doctor Who and Torchwood, but is best know for Broadchurch. It’s the first time that the Doctor is a woman so deal with it.

Tenkū no Shiro Rapyuta (1986)

Luputa: Castle in the Sky or Castle in the Sky in the United States is the very first Studio Ghibli film from the mind of Hayao Miyazaki. Now sure there are multiple ways to watch the film in Japanese with subtitle on, or one of the two different English dubbed versions. I tend to prefer watching these films in Japanese with subtitles. Spoilers to follow

This is a real unique story as it is about a world were airships are a thing, we begin on an airship and meet most of the main characters Sheeta, a young girl has been kidnapped/abducted by government agent Muska, they are attacked by Captain Dola and her sons (They are pirates) who want Sheeta’s crystal amulet. During this struggle, Sheeta tries to escape but falls from the airship but she is slowed by a mysterious power within the amulet which floats her down to earth protecting her.  Sheeta is discovered by Pazu who sees girl floating down into the mine where he works. Pazu brings Sheeta inside and when she awakes in the morning looking around his home she sees a picture of Laputa, Pazu explains that it is  floating city in the sky that his father took a picture of. Eventually the government and pirates are on the scene trying to capture Sheeta and her amulet. Panzu and Sheeta escape into town and after being followed out of town via rail. They stumble into a mine and meet up with Panzu’s friend and local eccentric Uncle Pomme, the mine is where the ‘volucite’ (Aetherium) crystal amulet which Sheeta wears we learn that this material is what kept the floating cities floating.

After leaving the mine Sheeta tells Panzu her name Lucita Toel Ul Laputa, they are captured by Muska and brought to a fortress where they have a giant robot that had fallen from Lupita and is broken, Muska threatens Panzu’s life for Sheeta to help Muska, Muska offers money to Panzu to leave and forget about Luputa. Panzu returns home and is greeted by Dola and her sons.  Sheeta activates the amulet it awakens the robot and points toward Luputa. Eventually they all end up on Luputa and we all learn that Muska is actually Romuska Palo Ul Laputa another in line for the throne of Luputa. Muska want to use it for violence. However the whole film can be summerized with just one line in the confrontation scene Sheet remembering a song from her home that explains why they left Luputa “Take root in the ground, live in harmony with the wind, plant your seeds in the winter, and rejoice with the birds in the coming of spring.” No matter how many weapons you have, no matter how great your technology might be, the world cannot live without love.”

This is the key to everything in life let us not forget this the World cannot live without love. It was a great movie and should be watch by everyone at least once. The message is short and sweet it offers some complex ideas as well and human nature and how we should live. It seems like all of Studio Ghibli films are great as well as those by the great Hayao Miyazaki so pick anyone up and continue exploring Japanese animation.

World Cup and Narnia

We start off with France winning their second World Cup Title so UEFA has taken home the past 4 FIFA World Cups, the last time it was Brazil was in 2002. Now there are a bunch of nations still hoping for their first but that might change sooner than later as in 8 years the pool will expand from 32 to 48 teams. This is great for France as it will be hosting the Women’s World Cup in 2019.

I also finished up the rest of the Narnia books, the midquel (The Horse and His Boy), prequel (The Magician’s Nephew) and epilogue (The Last Battle). Now these book are all good but I read them in the release order so perhaps if you read it in the chronological order it feels like a better read. I really liked The Horse and His Boy as well as Magician’s Nephew more than the Last Battle. Sure we aren’t dealing with any of the Pensive kids/Eustace but that’s for the best. The whole creation of Narnia and learning about the Calormen and the other world surrounding Narnia. This is pretty cool to learn about. These were more interesting to me it’s like how they travel from island to island in Dawn Treader seeing new world.

Now I am not sure how these book will be made into film although they would all be very unique films, but it seems they would be difficult but with all the Comic Book movies it would be a change of pace from what normally is coming out. However, it would be really great if they just continued and kept some the same characters like Liam Neeson as Aslan and Tilda Swinton as the White Witch.

World Cup Finals

It has been a long while and there have been many spectacular matches but it is down to France and Croatia in the final with England and Belgium having a rematch in the third place game. Now this seems like an easy task from the French to claim their second cup as they are the higher ranked team 7th in the world compared to the 20th of Croatia, however they are 2 and 5 in the Elo rankings. In the third place game England will look to change the results of their last meeting when they were blanked by Belgium. The third place game is on Saturday and the final is on Sunday. Here’s hoping that France wins or Croatia takes home the cup for the first time

I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story (2015)

I Am Big Bird is a documentary about Caroll Spinney, it came out after Being Elmo and is somewhat similar in scope as it allows us to learn a bit more about the man behind the character. I’ve watched both film and find the Big Bird one to be a whole lot better. Although that could just be my impression of Elmo compared to Big Bird.  This doesn’t really seem like a film where spoilers are possible.

The film begins with a brief overview of Caroll’s life before working with Jim Henson and Sesame Street. He was in the Air Force and after that it was in the early 60s and he was on the Bozo Show in Boston. At a puppeteering festival he met Jim Henson and Henson asked if he’d like to talk about the Muppets, in ’69 at another puppeteering festival Henson was there and saw Caroll once again Henson was impressed and asked if he’d like to talk about the Muppets. This time Caroll agreed and he joined Jim Henson working on Henson’s new show Sesame Street. Caroll was given the role of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. Throughout the first season things just weren’t working out and Caroll was about to quit, but Kermit Love convinced him to stay. Big Bird evolved and became an integral part of the show. Sure Big Bird’s role has changed over the years with the introduction of Elmo and the younger viewers the show was geared to them, not sure how it is now since I haven’t watched Sesame Street since it has sort of moved to HBO.

If you watched any Sesame Street in your life this is a great film to watch. It had me in tears at times. This film is best for the older set as well, I wouldn’t recommend watching it with anyone under the age of like ten as it does go into some more mature material.

World Cup update

We’ve gotten to the quarter-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, there are eight teams left 2 from CONMEBOL (South America) and six from UEFA (Europe). Half of the teams have made it and won the World Cup at some point in history. The biggest favorite currently is Brazil to win a sixth title. There have been some surprising teams notably Russia which is 70 in the FIFA rankings as the beginning of the tournament. Some are hoping for an England-Brazil final but it could be the top two remaining teams Brazil (2) and Belgium (3). Belgium hasn’t won much in their history but could this be their year. The Quarter-finals are 6 and 7 July this will leave 4 teams before the semi-finals on 10 and 11 July leaving two teams who will meet in the final match on 15 July.

Seven Sorrows and Joys of St. Joseph

Just as Mary has her Seven Sorrows and Seven Joys, Saint Joseph has a set of seven himself, although it is just a combination of both in this prayer

The prayer itself is pretty unique as after each section you recite an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. It’s that simple, three prayers everyone knows after each section.

St. Joseph, Chaste Spouse of the Holy Mother of God, by the Sorrow with which thy heart was pierced at the thought of a cruel separation from Mary, and by the deep Joy that thou didst feel when the angel revealed to thee the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation, obtain for us from Jesus and Mary, the grace of surmounting all anxiety. Win for us from the Adorable Heart of Jesus the unspeakable peace of which He is the Eternal Source.

St. Joseph, Foster-Father of Jesus, by the bitter Sorrow which thy heart experienced in seeing the Child Jesus lying in a manger, and by the Joy which thou didst feel in seeing the Wise men recognize and adore Him as their God, obtain by thy prayers that our heart, purified by thy protection, may become a living crib, where the Savior of the world may receive and bless our homage.

St. Joseph, by the Sorrow with which thy heart was pierced at the sight of the Blood which flowed from the Infant Jesus in the Circumcision, and by the Joy that inundated thy soul at thy privilege of imposing the sacred and mysterious Name of Jesus, obtain for us that the merits of this Precious Blood may be applied to our souls, and that the Divine Name of Jesus may be engraved forever in our hearts.

St. Joseph, by the Sorrow when the Lord declared that the soul of Mary would be pierced with a sword of sorrow, and by thy Joy when holy Simeon added that the Divine Infant was to be the resurrection of many, obtain for us the grace to have compassion on the sorrows of Mary, and share in the salvation which Jesus brought to the earth.

St. Joseph, by thy Sorrow when told to fly into Egypt, and by thy Joy in seeing the idols overthrown at the arrival of the living God, grant that no idol of earthly affection may any longer occupy our hearts, but being like thee entirely devoted to the service of Jesus and Mary, we may live and happily die for them alone.

St. Joseph, by the Sorrow of thy heart caused by the fear of the tyrant Archelaus and by the Joy in sharing the company of Jesus and Mary at Nazareth, obtain for us, that disengaged from all fear, we may enjoy the peace of a good conscience and may live in security, in union with Jesus and Mary, experiencing the effect of thy salutary assistance at the hour of our death.

St. Joseph, by the bitter Sorrow with which the loss of the Child Jesus crushed thy heart, and by the holy Joy which inundated thy soul in recovering thy Treasure on entering the Temple, we supplicate thee not to permit us to lose our Saviour Jesus by sin. Yet, should this misfortune befall us, grant that we may share thy eagerness in seeking Him, and obtain for us the grace to find Him again, ready to show us His great mercy, especially at the hour of death; so that we may pass from this life to enjoy His presence in heaven, there to sing with thee His divine mercies forever.

Let Us Pray

O God, Who in Thine ineffable Providence has vouchsafed to choose Blessed Joseph to be the Spouse of Thy most holy Mother; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may deserve to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our holy protector: Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.