Posts Tagged ‘entertainment’

The real reason why holograms of dead comedians are so innovative

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

A new Hologram Comedy Club, scheduled to open in August 2016 in Jamestown, NY as part of the National Comedy Center, promises to bring dead comics back to life. (Lucy Desi Center for Comedy)

Hologram pioneer Hologram USA — the same people who gave us the Tupac Shakur hologram at Coachella in 2012 — just announced its latest “digital resurrection” project: a new plan to bring dead stand-up comedians back to life using holograms. At a new Hologram Comedy Club being built as part of a new $18 million National Comedy Center in Jamestown, N.Y., tourists will have a chance to watch iconic comedy routines from some of the all-time comic greats — such as George Carlin, Rodney Dangerfield and Bob Hope — in an intimate comedy club environment.

The big idea, of course, is that watching a live comic performance in a simulated comedy club environment will give people a better appreciation for a comic’s talent than just watching archival film footage in a museum theater or streaming comedy performances to a tablet or TV (think of those HBO comedy specials). By watching a full-scale hologram performance (10 to 12 routines of 4 to 5 minutes each), people will get a chance to experience how comics of an earlier era worked a room, the impeccable delivery of a well-timed joke, and the unique charm and charisma of a legendary stage performer.

There’s obviously a lot of technological high tech wizardry required to pull this off. However, there’s another reason why comic holograms are so innovative — they could become a boost to economic development and tourism for cash-strapped cities looking to bring in new visitors.

It’s no accident that the site of the planned hologram extravaganza is in Jamestown, N.Y. – that also happens to be the hometown of all-time comic great Lucille Ball, star of “I Love Lucy.” The town, located in southwestern New York State near Lake Erie, was once the “Furniture Capital of the World.” Fast-forward to 2015, and the city is looking for new ways to revitalize growth.

Snoop Dogg, left, and a hologram of the deceased Tupac Shakur, right, perform onstage during the 2012 Coachella festival in Indio, Calif. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella)

Enter the hologram.

The launch of the Hologram Comedy Club, then, is a play to attract more tourists to the area by building on the town’s long historical affiliation with Lucille Ball. The new comedy center has the backing of New York’s economic development officials, who view it as part of the state’s long-term tourism strategy and an extension of the iconic “I Love New York” branding campaign.New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the National Comedy Center a $1.5 million grant to help make this hologram comedy magic happen.

When you think about it, the economic development and tourism angle makes so much sense for other cities as well, not just Jamestown, N.Y. Imagine taking that same hologram technology and using it to sell out shows in once-proud industrial cities that have lost their manufacturing base or, quite frankly, cities in the middle of nowhere. All of these cities have local heroes and celebrities they could turn into holograms, just as Jamestown has capitalized on its history as the birthplace of Lucille Ball.

Take Detroit, for example. In addition to some of the famous comedians who hail from the Detroit area (think Ed McMahon or Lily Tomlin), there are all kinds of musicians and entertainers who might make for some compelling holograms — Stevie Wonder, Eminem, Aretha Franklin, Kid Rock, The Supremes or The Temptations.

Holograms and tourism is more than just mere speculation. As a showcase for its “digital resurrection” technology, Hologram USA is working on world tours for dead celebrities, including Buddy Holly and Liberace. While no firm dates have been set, Hologram USA says that the debut performance for a hologram Liberace could take place in Las Vegas. This hologram tourism would include full-scale shows, including opportunities for the audience to interact with the performer. As Hologram USA chief executive Alki David said in a statement, “I can’t think of a better way to experience America’s comedy greats than in the live setting they thrived in at their peaks.”

The big question, however, is whether this hologram technology is really any better than just watching old TV clips on YouTube. Critics would say that today’s holograms are just a massively high-tech adaptation of the famous Pepper’s Ghost illusion that has been around since the 16th century.

Watching a comic hologram routine as part of a sold-out audience might replicate the same type of electric feeling you get from seeing a comic live. But now imagine watching a comedian hologram in an empty room, or, even worse, in a room full of crying kids and stressed-out grandparents who are trying to teach their grandkids about their favorite comic legends.

Hologram USA, though, is a leader in North American hologram technology, working on everything from the Tupac Shakur hologram at the 2012 Coachella event (still pretty much the classic example of hologram entertainment) to the touring Buddy Holly and Liberace holograms. That’s confidence enough that they will be able to pull this off when the Hologram Comedy Club opens for business in August 2016.

The really fascinating part is how the combination of holograms and telepresence technology could make it possible for entertainers to be in more than one place at a time. In one proof-of-concept, Hologram USA partnered with Jimmy Kimmel in a telepresence experiment, in which Jimmy Kimmel in New York simultaneously appeared as a hologram in Nashville for the Country Music Awards.

That might really open up some opportunities for holograms to change the world of tourism as we know it. Imagine concert tours in which entertainers headline in more than one city at a time. A New Year’s Eve performer, for example, could rock out simultaneously in New York, Miami and Las Vegas — or in any city in between. Who said that human capital wasn’t scalable?

Holograms could be a game-changer for the tourism industry, since now all the action seems to occur in places such as Las Vegas, Orlando or New York — places where there’s a critical mass of tourists for entertainment companies to invest in expensive technology and plenty of venues to pack in the crowds night after night. But what happens if a hologram entertainment complex pops up in, say, a small college town that can nevertheless pack in more than 100,000 fans for big college sporting events? Wouldn’t a performer give the go-ahead for his or her hologram to put in an appearance if it could attract 100,000 paying customers?

Celebrity holograms are interesting already, but still more interesting when you think of what they could do for the economic development and revitalization of celebrity hometowns across the nation.

Source: Washington Post / Dominic Basulto

Dead Comedy Greats Will Perform Again — in Hologram Form

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
A rendering of a comedy club at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, N.Y., that will feature holograms of stand-ups and comic actors from various eras.
MAY 6, 2015

If you missed the chance to watch some of comedy’s greatest performers in their prime — whether because of scheduling conflicts, scarce tickets or the fact that you weren’t born yet — a new attraction in upstate New York wants to give you another chance to see them, at least in hologram form.

The National Comedy Center, which is scheduled to open next year in Jamestown, N.Y., is to unveil plans for a comedy club that will feature holograms of stand-ups and comic actors from various eras.

Tom Benson, the chairman of the National Comedy Center, described the project in a telephone interview as “a comedy club where folks can go back in time and witness a classic routine in a setting – God knows where it might have been – and experience that as if they were really there.”

Mr. Benson said the club would feature 10 to 12 routines of about four to five minutes each, allowing visitors to see “classic gigs from the past, as if they were really taken back in time and seeing it from Madison Square Garden or a stage in Hollywood, not a theater in Jamestown, N.Y.”

The virtual comedians will be created by Hologram USA, the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based company that has also made or is working on similar representations of Buddy Holly, Liberace, Julian Assange and Jimmy Kimmel.

The club is hoping to spotlight comedians like Milton Berle, Bob Hope, George Carlin and Rodney Dangerfield, although Mr. Benson said deals with these artists’ families and estates were not set and an inaugural lineup could still change.

The National Comedy Center plans a groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 1. Its not-for-profit parent company also owns and operates the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Museum in Jamestown, the city where Ms. Ball was born in 1911, as well as the annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival.

Mr. Benson said the club would probably have an “I Love Lucy” component, but emphasized that the center itself had a broader mission of celebrating comedy.

“What we’re trying to say to the world is that this is not an extension of the Lucy museum,” he said. “Lucy will be a part of this, just like hundreds of other performers and shows.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Benson said the National Comedy Center was also looking to provide a new home for a notorious statue of Ms. Ball, located in Celoron, N.Y., that has been widely mocked for looking nothing like the actress (and looking just plain spooky).

“I went to the town board last Monday,” Mr. Benson said, “and made a pitch and basically said to them, ‘Look, this statue is now a piece of comedy history, whether you like it or not.’ ”

He added: “Let’s embrace it for what it could be. The feedback we got was good.”

Source: NY Times Mobile

Hannibal Classics to sell Robert De Niro’s “Bus 657” at Cannes

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Hannibal Classics to sell Robert De Niro’s “Bus 657” at Cannes

May 6, 2015 – 15:43 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net – Hannibal Classics has come on to sell the star-studded action-thriller “Bus 657” at Cannes. The heist movie, which stars Robert De Niro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kate Bosworth, Morris Chestnut and “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” Dave Bautista, will be screened for the first time to world buyers, TheWrap reports.

Described as a mix of “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Speed,” with the added twists and turns of such heist movies as “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Inside Man,” the movie stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Luke Vaughn, a broke father desperate to save his daughter’s life as her medical bills pile up. Vaughn soon turns to his boss, casino owner and retiring mob-boss Francis “Pope” Silva (De Niro), for help. Pope rejects his pleas, forcing Vaughn resort to other means. Facing an impossible deadline for his daughter’s life-saving surgery, Vaughn joins forces with a psychotic co-worker (Bautista) to rob Pope’s casino. When the daring heist goes awry, Vaughn and his partners take refuge on bus 657, taking several commuters hostage. The cops and Pope close in as Vaughn’s deadline approaches.

Scott Mann (“The Tournament”) directed from a script by Stephen Cyrus Sepher and Max Adams. Randall Emmett and George Furla produced “Bus 657,” which was executive produced by Hannibal’s Richard Rionda Del Castro and Patricia Eberle.

The film will be distributed in the U.S. by Grindstone Entertainment through Lionsgate, and final delivery will be available to international distributors in June.

Founded in 2010 by Richard Rionda Del Castro, Hannibal Classics specializes in the production, financing and distribution of feature-length theatrical motion pictures with large budgets.

Heading for Cannes this year, Hannibal Classics will be selling John Travolta‘s “I Am Wrath” and Nicolas Cage‘s “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage,” as well as “Warbirds,” “Red Squad” and “Dobermann: Cops Blood Never Dries.”


Sundance: Get Ready To Dance In Clip From ‘Z For Zachariah’ With Chris Pine, Margot Robbie, And Chiwetel Ejiofor

Friday, January 30th, 2015
Z for Zachariah, Margot Robbie, Chris Pine

Since her impressive breakout turn in “The Wolf Of Wall Street,” Margot Robbie has been missing from the big screen with three films set to hit this year, one of which is the Sundance-premiering “Z for Zachariah.” While we won’t have a review until after the screening this weekend, you can make do with a short clip from the post-apocalyptic film, via Hitfix.

Running under a minute, the clip centers on an innocent moment between the three survivors of a disaster that wipes out most of the planet. Though it could be billed as a picture in the science-fiction realm, the film is directed by Craig Zobel, whose “Compliance” focused on the ways people can wield power over others. So yeah, expect less gunfights and more exploration of the relationships that develop between strangers in the face of a tragedy.

“Z for Zachariah” premieres at the Sundance Film Festival this Saturday at the Library Center Theatre at 8:30 PM. Watch the clip below and keep an eye out for our review.

Source: IndieWire / Cain Rodriguez

Everest: An Ensemble Cast in the True Story about the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015



Everest: An Ensemble Cast in the True Story about the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster

Universal Pictures’ Everest is an adventure-thriller film inspired by the real events surrounding a treacherous attempt to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain. It follows the awe-inspiring journey of two different expeditions challenged beyond their limits by one of the fiercest snowstorms ever encountered by mankind. Their mettle tested by the harshest of elements found on the planet, the climbers will be seen facing nearly impossible obstacles as their lifelong obsession becomes a breathtaking struggle for their very survival.

Directed by Baltasar Kormakur from a screenplay written by Simon Beaufoy and Mark Medoff, Everest will be shown in theaters in 3D beginning September 18.

Everest stars Martin Henderson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, Michael Kelly, John Hawkes, Sam Worthington, Jason Clarke, Robin Wright, and Thomas M. Wright. Others in the cast include Martin Henderson, Michael Kelly, Naoko Mori, Clive Standen, Vanessa Kirby, Tom Goodman-Hill, Ingvar Eggert Sigurosson, Charlotte Boving, and Micah Hauptman. The film which is now in post-production is being scored by Dario Marianelli.

According to the studio, the upcoming movie is based on the real events of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster wherein eight people were caught in a blizzard and died as they struggled to reach and then descend from the summit. There were then two expedition groups of mountain climbers. One led by Scott Fischer (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) was called ‘Mountain Madness’ while the other, called ‘Adventure Consultants,’ was led by Rob Hall (played by Jason Clarke). Both Fischer and Hall were among those killed during the real 1996 Mount Everest disaster.

The script for Everest was reportedly based on the various written accounts about what happened in Mount Everest on May 10-11, 1996, as well on actual interviews with some of the survivors. Among the books written about the events are Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer and Left For Dead: My Journey Home from Everest by Beck Weathers who were both members of Hall’s group at the time of the disaster and The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest by Anatoli Boukreev who was part of Fischer’s group.

Margot Robbie’s ‘Z For Zachariah’ to Be Released by Lionsgate, Roadside Attractions (Exclusive)

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015
Z For ZachariahChris Pine and Chiwetel Ejiofor co-star in Craig Zobel’s third film, which will debut at Sundance.

Two weeks before the start of the Sundance Film Festival, one of its highest-profile titles has secured distribution, as Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions will partner on the release of Craig Zobel’s “Z For Zachariah,” which stars Margot Robbie, Chris Pine and Chiwetel Ejiofor,TheWrap has learned.

Grindstone Entertainment will present the sci-fi thriller, which was executive produced by the company’s Barry Brooker and Stan Wertlieb.

While its involvement had never been reported, Lionsgate has actually had the project for some time, though the company only recently decided on its release plans.

Robbie stars as a young woman who believes she’s the last human on Earth after a disaster wipes out most of civilization. After she meets two male survivors, it’s not long before they begin to compete for her affections and their primal urges reveal their true nature.

Zobel directed from a script by Nissar Modi, and the film was produced by Material Pictures’ Tobey Maguire and Matthew Plouffe, Palomar Pictures’ Joni Sighvatsson and Zik Zak Filmsworks’ Skuli Malmqvist and Thor Sigurjonsson, as well as Sophia Lin.

In addition to Brooker and Wertlieb, executive producers are Lotus Entertainment’s Bill Johnsonand Silver Reel’s Claudia Bluemhuber and Florian Dargel, as well as Steve Bannatyne.

Zobel is no stranger to Sundance, as his debut “Great World of Sound” drew strong reviews in 2007 and his thriller “Compliance” was the talk of the 2012 festival.

“Z For Zachariah” is Zobel’s first film to screen in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance. The film will debut on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 8:30 p.m. at the Library.

Universal to Release EVEREST on September 18, 2015; Film Stars Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, and Jake Gyllenhaal; Capt. Vijay Lama talks about his experience on set

Monday, January 5th, 2015


Universal Pictures has bumped the survival drama Everest from February 27, 2015 to September 18, 2015.  Directed by Baltasar Kormakur (2 Guns), the movie focuses on two different expeditions that struggle to survive while climbing the world’s tallest mountain.  The film stars Jason ClarkeJosh BrolinJohn Hawkes, and Jake Gyllenhaal as well as Martin HendersonEmily WatsonMichael Kelly, and Thomas M. Wright.  Even though we’ll have to wait a little longer, the date change is encouraging since Universal might think they have an awards contender if they’ve moved the picture to the fall.  The studio will release Everest in 3D and IMAX 3D.

Right now, there’s no competition on September 18, 2015, but a week later Sony will have the family flick Hotel Transylvania 2 and Warner Bros. is releasing the comedy The Intern.  Hit the jump for the official synopsis for Everest.

Everest is amongst the most anticipated movies of 2015.

ALPINE SHOOT: Capt Vijay Lama (left) who acts as a rescue pilot in the forthcoming Hollywood movie Everest on location in the Italian Alps in early 2014 with a helicopter painted in Nepal Army colours.

The story revolves around Beck Weathers, an American climber who miraculously survived two nights above 8,000m and was rescued with a Taiwanese climber, by Nepali Army rescue pilot, Col Madan KC from Camp II. The risky rescue was the highest-ever helicopter landing in history at the time. Col KC’s role is played by Nepali actor and airline pilot, Capt Vijay Lama.

For Vijay Lama, who has acted in numerous Nepali films over the last three decades, 2014 was an exciting year in which he got to experience how Hollywood movies are made. He was on location in the Italian Alps in early 2014 where some of the scenes of the helicopter rescue on Mt Everest were shot. Later, he went toPinewood Studios to shoot some of the other scenes in a flight simulator.

“I got to be treated like a star with other members of the cast, including Josh Brolin, Martin Henderson, John Hawkes,” Lama recalled, “ever since my first Nepali film I had always dreamt of acting in a Hollywood movie. I am living proof that dreams are not impossible if you believe in it and pursue it honestly.”

Being a pilot made the role easier for Lama, who insisted on speaking in Nepali with his co-pilot with English subtitles.

Lama says he was also impressed with the logistics and preparation that goes into an international film shoot. “The crew and the cast of Everest is so huge that it took many people who were assigned specific tasks to work together,” he recalls, “one little mistake would mean huge losses. It was a team game, team spirit, team effort and most of all team discipline – something we in Nepal can learn from.”

Working in the mountains of Val Senales in Italy was not easy for the crew and cast, there were blizzards, wind and unexpected delays. In comparison, it was easier shooting at Pinewood where the summit of Everest, the Hillary Step, helicopter simulators were all recreated in the studio. Says Lama: “Working with these international units have humbled me and have given me more reason to work harder in the coming days and learn to be more professional in the subjects I am involved in.”

Our Top Pick Of The Sundance Film Festival 2015 – Z for Zachariah

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Guarantee you’ll be talking about Z for Zachariah next year

The Sundance Film Festival unveiled the 16 feature films competing in the U.S. Dramatic Competition for the 2015 event this week, alongside the documentary lineup. There’s a load of interesting entries in there including the Jack Black starring The D-Train and Kristen Wiig playing a woman whose boyfriend is sleeping with her daughter in The Diary of a Teenage Girl. But our top pick for the renowned festival is Z for Zachariah, we guarantee everyone will be talking about it next year, and here’s why…

The festival has released some official info on each film, so let’s start with the synopsis for Z for Zachariah:

In a post-apocalyptic world, a young woman who believes she is the last human on Earth meets a dying scientist searching for survivors. Their relationship becomes tenuous when another survivor appears. As the two men compete for the woman’s affection, their primal urges begin to reveal their true nature. Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie, Chris Pine.

Chris Pine, Margot Robbie and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in Z for Zachariah

The film is based on the novel by Robert C. O’Brien, which was published posthumously in 1974 after the author’s wife Sally M. Conly and daughter Jane Leslie Conly completed the book guided by his notes. O’Brien mainly concentrated on children’s books during his career, with Z for Zachariah winning teen literature awards. And we know how well post-apocalyptic, teen novels do on the big screen. This year’s adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent enjoyed big box office success while Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series have become mega hits at the cinema thanks to Jennifer Lawrence and co.

Interestingly though, it looks like screenwriter Nissar Modi has altered O’Brien’s book. Fans will know it’s all about Margot Robbie’s character Ann Burden and Chiwetel’s Loomis in the novel. Chris is taking on the role of a second stranger, Caleb, who stumbles into Ann’s life though, and with the trio all in the official still and synopsis it’s safe to say the movie has made some pretty big plot changes, another one being that Ann in the book is just a teenager. Of course the changes mean fans of the book will be in for a twist or two which should help draw in more viewers. Clever.

The film is based on the 1970s teen novel

The cast may be small but it’s pretty stellar, with Brit Chiwetel receiving an Oscar nomination this year for 12 Years a Slave, while Margot Robbie (who replaced Amanda Seyfried after that actress dropped out) starred in the other big 2014 Academy Awards contender from Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street, AND she’s just been cast in DC Comics’ Suicide Squad.  Pine meanwhile is no stranger to blockbusters thanks to his lead role in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek movies and this year’s big Christmas movie Into The Woods.

The other big star is the landscape, with director Craig Zobel choosing the beautiful Banks Peninsula in New Zealand to shoot, and we all know how stunning that country’s landscape looks on screen thanks to Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies. While entirely shot in New Zealand though, the film is set in the USA’s Mid-West, as is the book.

Despite the popularity of the book, the movie plans have been languishing around Hollywood for awhile, with the screenplay appearing on the famous Hollywood Black List, an annual survey of the “most liked” motion picture screenplays not yet produced, based on a survey of studio bigwigs.

Z for Zachariah will screen at Sundance in Utah sometime between January 22 and February 1 2015, and is expected to open on worldwide, general release later in the year.

Source: Entertainment Wise / Joanna Crawley

“Spare Parts” Trailer is out!

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

The inspirational drama “Spare Parts,” produced by and starring George Lopez, is based on a real David & Goliath story about four undocumented Mexican-American teenagers from Phoenix who form a robotics team.

With $800, used car parts and a dream, they build an underwater robot that wins the national robotics competition, taking down reigning champion MIT.

The film also stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Marisa Tomei and Nickelodeon star Carlos Pena.

Watch the trailer!

Source: ExtraTV

First Look: ‘Z for Zachariah’ Starring Chris Pine, Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Z for Zachariah First Look


NOVEMBER 8, 2014 | 03:09PM PT

Variety has the exclusive first look photo from Craig Zobel’s “Z for Zachariah,” starring Chris Pine, Margot Robbie and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Adapted from Robert C. O’Brien post-apocalyptic 1974 novel, the thriller follows a small-town girl (Robbie) who lives alone on a farm in the only valley with breathable air in the wake of nuclear war. Her world is turned upside down when two strangers wander in from the forest.

The film is directed by Craig Zobel, produced by Material Pictures, and exec produced by Lucky Hat Entertainment along with Silver Reel and Lotus Entertainment, who is handling international sales.

The sci-fier is slated for release next year.

Source: Variety