Teperdexrian

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Posts Tagged ‘entertainment

Flying car cleared for the road

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Terrafugia’s Transition roadable aircraft, shown here in an artists’ rendering, has cleared regulatory hurdles that make it street legal.

A flying car is being exempted from regulatory hurdles, meaning future owners of the vehicle will be able to drive it on public streets, the company behind it recently announced.

What this means is that you’ll be able to legally sit in traffic with the rest of the street-legal cars, but have a slight grin as you head home from the general aviation airport where you landed after flying over traffic for the first 20 miles of your commute.

“Think of it as an airplane that drives, not a car that flies,” Anna Mracek Dietrich, the chief operating officer of Terrafugia, the Woburn, Mass.,-based company that is making the Transition roadable aircraft, told me in an email Thursday.

“Once on the ground, the pilot can fold the wings on his Transition with the push of a button, drive home, and park in their garage.”

The exemptions granted from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration allow the company to use windshields made of lightweight polycarbonate materials rather than heavier traditional laminated automotive safety glass and tires that are not normally allowed on multi-purpose vehicles.

The Transition’s tires are rated for highway speeds and the vehicle’s weight and fit in the same classification as SUVs and light trucks, Dietrich explained, but they weigh only a fraction of other tires in its class. The exemption makes this OK.

Last year, the vehicle was granted a weight exemption that allows it to be classified as a Light Sport Aircraft by the FAA even though it is 110 pounds too heavy for that rating.

The clearing of these regulatory hurdles will allow Terrafugia to begin delivery of the Transition when it is ready for commercial production next year.

 

Via MSNBC

 

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Sci-fi master turns into film character

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The latest movie based on Philip K. Dick’s offbeat science-fiction stories features one especially offbeat character … named Philip K. Dick.

“Radio Free Albemuth,” an indie film that is getting a sneak-preview screening tonight at the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum in Seattle, incorporates some of the wilder parts of Dick’s biography — including his belief that he was getting information from a superintelligent, extraterrestrial entity called VALIS (Vast Active Living Intelligence System).

“Dick was very skeptical of these experiences,” John Alan Simon, the screenwriter, director and producer for “Radio Free Albemuth,” told me this week. “Some people think he was crazy. But if he was, he was a very lucid, skeptical kind of crazy.”

Simon will participate in a Q&A at the Seattle screening, which kicks off a weekend celebration for new inductees in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Dick, who passed away in 1982, is already in that Hall of Fame — in part because his works have been such a fertile ground for sci-fi film adaptations such as “Blade Runner,” “Minority Report,” “Total Recall,” ” A Scanner Darkly” and “The Adjustment Bureau.”

Unlike those tales, “Radio Free Albemuth” is set in an alternate-reality past rather than the future: a past in which a Nixon-like president burns the Watergate tapes and creates a conspiracy theory aimed at keeping him in office. Meanwhile, VALIS transmits messages down to a resistance movement. Philip K. Dick (played by Shea Whigham in the movie) is among those who are drawn into the resistance, along with the story’s protagonist (Nicholas Brady, played by Jonathan Scarfe) and a singer whose songs are encoded with subliminal messages.

The singer’s role is filled by Alanis Morissette, the Canadian-American singer/actress who just happened to play God in the 1999 film “Dogma.” Whigham is best-known for his role in the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire,” while Scarfe has appeared in a number of TV series including “E.R.” and “CSI: Miami.” Most of the actors have had meaty roles in films and on TV, but Simon said “Radio Free Albemuth” is more about Dick’s vision rather than about big-name movie stars.

“The movie asks a lot of very, very interesting questions about ‘What is religion,’ and ‘What is God,’ and ‘What do you do if God begins sending messages to you?'” he told me. “What if God were an alien, and what if all the great religious movements of all time were inspired by the same over-intelligence in the universe? I found that a very intriguing notion. … The movie is skeptical of answers, the same way Philip K. Dick was skeptical of religion.”

Another theme in the film is sparked by the conflict between the government and the resistance. “It’s the message of ‘1984,’ the message of Huxley’s ‘Brave New World,’ which is the importance of the individual over the supremacy of the state,” Simon said. “That’s a timeless message.”

But the director also emphasized that the film wasn’t just a philosophical treatise. “It is, at the end of the day, an exciting science-fiction thriller. … not that dissimilar from ‘The Da Vinci Code,'” Simon said.

“Radio Free Albemuth” has been making its way through the film-festival circuit, and so far it’s gotten awards as well as accolades for staying true to the spirit of Dick’s work, even if that means the movie gets a little talky at times.

“While watching ‘Radio Free Albemuth’ has made me wonder whether stage or radio may be a better platform for a Dick adaptation, I came away from the film with that unique Dickian sense of unease, insignificance and wonder, and it’s good to see his work reproduced so faithfully on the big screen, flawed or not,”Quiet Earth’s” Ben Austwick wrote.

Simon said he hopes “Radio Free Albemuth” will build on the same sort of grass-roots interest that turned “What the Bleep Do We Know” into such a phenomenon seven years ago.

The movie seems certain to win over the sci-fi master’s hard-core fans, who call themselves “Dick-heads.” But will the wider public dial in to “Radio Free Albemuth” as well? Stay tuned. …

 

Via MSNBC

Super 8 (2011)

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Starring: Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Ron Eldard, Noah Emmerich, Gabriel Basso

Director: J.J. Abrams

U.S. Release Date: June 10, 2011

From executive producer Steven Spielberg and director J.J. Abrams.

In the summer of 1979, a group of friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while making a super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident.

Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth – something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined.



Written by Nokgiir

May 15, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Melancholia (2011)

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Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Alexander Skarsgård, Stellan Skarsgård, Brady Corbet, Udo Kier
Directed by: Lars von Trier

U.S. Opening Date: TBA 2011


Two sisters find their relationship challenged as a nearby planet threatens to collide into the Earth.

Written by Nokgiir

May 15, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Bob Marley: A Lasting Legacy

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Photo credit: Getty Images

May 11, 2011 — Bob Marley’s musical legacy may be waning 30 years after his death as Jamaica’s youth prefers dancehall to reggae, but the singer remains a cult, if highly commercialized, figure.

Marley has become a merchandiser’s dream, with everything from shoes to snowboards bearing his image, but his friends say it would be tragic if his message of justice for the oppressed gets lost to corporate greed.

“He was never about commercialism,” one friend, Herbie Miller, told AFP. “Money was not his greatest motivation.”

For loyal fans of the Third World’s first pop superstar, who died from cancer at the age of 36 on May 11 1981, this year’s milestone anniversary is not about grieving but about celebrating.

“His music was so full of life, it doesn’t seem right to mourn him,” 24-year-old Bernadette Hellwanter of Vocklabruck, Austria, told AFP as she toured the Bob Marley Museum in the Jamaican capital Kingston.

Nickia Palmer stopped briefly to peer at a photo of the dreadlocked legend playing his trademark Gibson guitar.

“The first performance I ever did was at Mount Vernon high school in Fairfax, Virginia and it was ‘No Woman No Cry’,” recalled the 33-year-old Jamaican singer, who has spent most of his life in the United States.

Fans flock to the museum, an English-style building where Marley lived and wrote many of his songs.

Tours are also conducted daily in the village of Nine Mile in rural Saint Ann parish where Marley was born in February 1945 and where a mausoleum now provides his final resting place.

But despite all the T-shirts, the mugs and the many iconic images of the pot-smoking, soccer-mad Rastafarian, there is a sense his star could be beginning to fade.

The Marley Foundation, which oversees the singer’s estate, says no events are planned to mark the 30th anniversary of his death.

Music from the rebel who introduced reggae to an international audience gets only token play nowadays on the local radio and his message appears lost on today’s Jamaican youth.

Feel-good songs like “Three Little Birds” and “One Love” are preferred to more militant tracks such as “Exodus” or “The Heathen.”

According to Miller, the ubiquitous “One Love” has reduced Marley’s revolutionary message to a catchphrase for Jamaica’s tourist industry.

“This is a man who took a bullet for his country. The powers that be in Jamaica are trying to make him soft,” he said.

In Trench Town, the ghetto neighboring Kingston that inspired some of Marley’s most memorable songs, there are few visitors to the tenement where he once lived during the 1960s.

Artifacts include the shell of a Volkswagen van that Marley used to sell his records and a bed he slept on.

“As someone who was born in Trench Town, ‘Gong’ (Marley’s nickname) had a big impact (on me),” 48-year-old roots-reggae singer I-Cient-Cy Mau told AFP. “Him always had time for the youths an’ that’s something missing from reggae today.”

But the sounds Marley made during the 1970s appear almost foreign to today’s Jamaican youth, more caught up with flamboyant dancehall acts like Vybz Kartel and Movado.

Overseas, perhaps, there is more room for nostalgia.

Marley performed twice in his life in Belgium, but according to Brice DePasse, a Belgian journalist with the Nostalgie television station, he left an indelible mark.

“He’s been big in Belgium since 1977 when he first performed there. There’s not a day that his music is not played,” said DePasse.

To commemorate his death, Nostalgie will air the hour-long documentary “In The Footsteps of Bob Marley” on May 11.

Content provided by: AFP

Via Bob Marley: A Lasting Legacy

Written by Nokgiir

May 12, 2011 at 12:42 am

Green Lantern (2011)

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Green Lantern (2011)

Starring: Ryan Reynolds

Director: Greg Berlanti

U.S. Opening Date: June 17, 2011

In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. A brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers. But when a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan.

Hal is a gifted and cocky test pilot, but the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before. But Hal is clearly the missing piece to the puzzle, and along with his determination and willpower, he has one thing no member of the Corps has ever had: humanity. With the encouragement of fellow pilot and childhood sweetheart Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), if Hal can quickly master his new powers and find the courage to overcome his fears, he may prove to be not only the key to defeating Parallax…he will become the greatest Green Lantern of all.

Martin Campbell directs Green Lantern from a screenplay by Greg Berlanti & Michael Green & Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg, story by Greg Berlanti & Michael Green & Marc Guggenheim, based upon characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics.

The film also stars Blake Lively (upcoming The Town, TV’s Gossip Girl) as the spirited Carol Ferris, a test pilot and the heir apparent to her father’s aviation company; Peter Sarsgaard (An Education, Flightplan) as scientist Dr. Hector Hammond; Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes) as Sinestro, Jordan’s powerful mentor in the Green Lantern Corps; Jay O. Sanders (Revolutionary Road) as Carl Ferris, Carol’s aircraft designer dad; Temuera Morrison (Star Wars Episodes II and III) as Abin Sur, Jordan’s alien predecessor; Taika Waititi (TV’s The Flight of the Conchords) as flight navigator Tom Kalmaku, Hal’s good friend and confidante; Academy Award® nominee Angela Bassett (What’s Love Got to Do with It) as enigmatic government scientist Amanda Waller; and Academy Award® winner Tim Robbins (Mystic River) as Hector’s influential father, Senator Robert Hammond.



Written by Nokgiir

May 8, 2011 at 9:06 pm

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (2011)

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X-Men: First Class (2011)

Starring: Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Caleb Landry Jones, Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Bacon

Director: Matthew Vaughn

U.S. Opening Date: June 3, 2011

X-Men: First Class, following the classic Marvel mythology, charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga. Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.


Written by Nokgiir

May 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm