Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Longest Week (2014) - Olivia Wilde, Jason Bateman Movie HD


Director: Peter Glanz
Writers: Peter Glanz (screenplay), Peter Glanz (story)
Affluent and aimless, Conrad Valmont lives a life of leisure in his parent's prestigious Manhattan Hotel. In the span of one week, he finds himself evicted, disinherited, and... in love.

'Transformers' in China: The Hidden Costs of a $300 Million Hit

Paramount suffers "growing pains" over a mega movie plagued by legal threats and a culture of distrust.
The record $317 million that Paramount's Transformers: Age of Extinction grossed in China in 31 days is impressive, but the struggle the studio has endured to collect a mere 25 percent of that total shows that mining gold behind the Great Wall is a daunting task. "It was definitely all worth it," says studio vice chair Rob Moore. "There's growing pains for everybody, but certainly the result was spectacular."
In some ways -- such as shutting down blocks of Hong Kong or an entire nature preserve to allow filming -- China offered more cooperation than the studio might expect in the U.S. But China allows foreign distributors much less than the 40 to 50 percent split of box office common in other foreign markets. And Paramount dealt with everything from attempts to extort money from director Michael Bay while he filmed in Hong Kong to a last-minute panic when promotional partner Beijing Pangu Investment Co. threatened to block the opening of the movie, claiming the studio had not fulfilled its commitment to showcase the distinctive Pangu Plaza hotel. Another product-placement partner has gone to court, and a third is threatening the same.

Those close to the conflicts over product placements say some problems resulted because the companies are new to the idea and had expectations that couldn't be met. "And there is a practical issue where you have a lot of industry-specific English terms that don't necessarily translate into a [Chinese] character," says one insider.

But China, which favors homegrown production, also makes matters difficult for outsiders in ways not attributable simply to confused translation. "In China, there are often multiple parties involved [in film projects]," says one executive, citing as an example director Zhang Yimou's upcoming film Coming Home. "There must be 20 different companies involved in the movie, though it's all financed by one company," he adds. "It's incredibly labyrinthian and impossible to understand."

Another insider says he asked Zhang to explain how a film could qualify as a Chinese co-production and receive favored treatment. This person says the director replied there were no rules: "Then he got this big smile and said, 'We like it that way. We have lots of flexibility.' "

The government-run China Film Group has reason to smile. China box-office revenue clocked in at $3.6 billion in 2013, up 27 percent from 2012 (North America revenue rose only 1 percent to $10.9 billion). At that growth rate, ticket sales in China could approach $5 billion this year. The territory is expected to eclipse North America by 2017 to become the world's largest movie market.

Transformers was packed with product placements, and with so many partners comes more potential for conflict, says another China veteran. Using litigation -- once unthinkable -- has become increasingly common. Pangu's deal, arranged by Paramount's Chinese partners, reportedly was valued at about $1 million. The company maintained that Paramount had committed to feature the hotel in the film for 20 seconds, host a VIP party there and allow the company to license Transformers merchandise and keep the profits. Paramount declines to offer details of what it promised, but a source says the studio believed it had fulfilled its end of the bargain. Nonetheless, Moore settled the matter quickly. At a press conference, Bay said working with Pangu was "fantastic," and Moore said, "It's unfortunate that we had these misunderstandings."

Paramount's troubles didn't end with Pangu. On July 22, the Wulong Karst Tourism Association sued the studio and a Chinese company that handled product-placement deals for failing to position a nature preserve as expected in the movie. A Chinese go-between said about $1 million for the placement wasn't paid in a timely fashion. Duck-food manufacturer Hubei Zhou Heiya Food Co. also has said it is unhappy with its placement in the film and is consulting lawyers.

In addition, studios have concerns -- in China and other foreign territories -- about whether they are getting their full cut of grosses. Marc Ganis of Jiaflix, a company involved in arranging promo partnerships for Transformers, told The Wall Street Journal that Paramount and its partners hired 1,200 workers to check state-owned theaters to ensure tickets sold were credited to Transformers and not to a homegrown Chinese production.

Jerry Nickelsburg of UCLA's Anderson School of Management says these problems are not surprising given the vast differences between U.S. and Chinese business cultures. In Hollywood, a verbal commitment can be considered binding, he says, but in China, "saying yes means, 'I heard you, and I think I understand you.' It does not mean, 'I agree with you.' " There also is uncertainty, he adds, because a seemingly private Chinese entity might involve a government presence: "They can't always give a straight answer."

William Yu, a Taiwan-born economist who also teaches at UCLA, speaks in harsher terms. "Honesty is not highly valued in China," he says. "They can say one thing very clearly to you yesterday, and today they deny it." Will the Chinese approach move closer to Western standards? "In five years, 10 years, probably not," Yu says. "In a century, maybe."

5:00 AM PST 07/31/2014 Hollywood Reporter by Kim Masters



This interesting article written by Derek Gatherer in The Conversation, explains what happens to your body when you get Ebola...scary but realistic. For further reference check Allen Chengs's article as well. Allen Cheng is a specialist in infectious diseases and an epidemiologist. (see the links at the bottom of this post)

This morning you woke up feeling a little unwell. You have no appetite, your head is aching, your throat is sore and you think you might be slightly feverish. You don’t know it yet, but Ebola virus has started to attack your immune system, wiping out the T-lymphocyte cells that are crucial to its proper function.

These are the same cells that the AIDS virus (HIV-1) attacks, but Ebola virus kills them far more aggressively. Exactly when and where you caught Ebola virus is unclear, it can take anything between two and 21 days from initial infection to the first symptoms. What is more certain is that you are now infectious yourself. Your family, friends and anyone in close contact with you are all in mortal danger.

The next week or so will determine if you are one of the lucky minority who survive. In the 24 Ebola virus outbreaks prior to the present one, a cumulative total of 1,590 people, two-thirds of all cases, have died.

The current outbreak, which began in the village of Meliandou in eastern Guinea in early December 2013, and which has now spread across Guinea and into the neighboring countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia, has killed 251 people as of June 5, nearly half of the identified cases.

The west African Ebola epidemic is now the largest outbreak seen since Ebola virus was discovered in 1976. The World Health Organisation issued its first communiqué on the situation on March 23, and since then has been producing regular reports.

Over the next few days your condition deteriorates. Your body aches all over, you have chronic abdominal pain, the fever intensifies and you start to vomit and develop diarrhea. After anything between a couple of days and a week of misery, you will have reached the crisis point – now the symptoms will either gradually recede or you will progress to the horrors of “cytokine storm”, a convulsion of your ravaged immune system that will plunge you into the terminal phase of Ebola virus disease known as hemorrhagic fever.

Cytokine storm releases a torrent of inflammatory molecules into your circulatory system. Your own immune system, now completely out of control, attacks every organ in your body. Tiny blood vessels burst everywhere and you begin slowly to bleed to death. The whites of your eyes turn red, your vomit and diarrhea are now charged with blood and large blood blisters develop under your skin. You are now at the peak of infectiousness as Ebola virus particles, ready to find their next victim, pour out of your body along with your blood.

Fortunately, however, it seems you have survived. Rehydration therapy kept you strong in the initial phase and pure luck saved you from hemorrhagic fever. Understanding why some Ebola virus patients avoid the terminal phase is an active area of research, and one possible answer is that those whose T-lymphocytes survive the initial attack of the virus possibly retain sufficiently intact immune systems. Even when you are merely in the first phase of feeling vaguely unwell, it may be possible to determine if you will live or die.

Even though you are feeling much improved, and perhaps even ready to return to work, you will remain infectious for a while. All your bodily fluids will still contain virus. In particular, the virus can be sexually transmitted, especially if you are a man, up to 40 days after recovery.

Epidemiological modelling studies have shown that Ebola virus is about as infectious as influenza or very slightly more so – each infected person will probably infect two to four others. That’s not tremendously infectious compared to some of the super-infectious viruses such as measles or polio, which have corresponding numbers of five to 18, but it is nevertheless enough to sustain a pandemic. The question of why we haven’t seen a worldwide pandemic of Ebola in pre-modern times therefore becomes rather perplexing.

A briefly popular theory of a few years ago, that the Black Death of the 14th century was caused by Ebola virus, and that the famous medieval descriptions of buboes were actually hemorrhagic fever blood blisters, has now been convincingly excluded by DNA analyses that have proved beyond doubt that the Black Death was, after all, bubonic plague as originally thought.
Ebola may well be a purely modern disease and, since Ebola virus made its first known appearance in 1976, a whole generation of African medical workers have been drilled to be alert to the symptoms of hemorrhagic fever. Consequently, the World Health Organisation and its partners have been able to suffocate outbreaks before they spread more generally. However, the latest outbreak is proving rather more recalcitrant than expected and the story is not yet over.

Full article:

Allen Cheng's article:

This animation shows the life cycle of the Ebola virus; attachment, penetration, replication (within nucleus), assembly, viral budding and cell lysis.
SOURCE: corina marinescu

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

John Malone Talks Media Consolidation, Liberty Global's Deal Plans

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CEO Mike Fries and his chairman discuss why ‎the international cable operator has acquired a stake in. U.K. TV giant ITV and their interest in buying a big stake in the Formula 1 racing circuit.
LONDON –‎ Liberty Global chairman John Malone and CEO Mike Fries in a Wall Street Journal interview have commented on the recently intensified discussion about media consolidation and the international cable operator's recently increased focus on content acquisitions.
Asked about recent industry deals and chatter about more transactions, such as a potential acquisition of Time Warner by 21st Century Fox, Malone said: "It's the "eat or be eaten" drive of capitalism. Scale economics are compelling in the media space where you have high fixed and very low marginal costs."

Added Fries: "Consolidation is king. Scale has always been critical for the industry, and I think it is more critical today than it has ever been." He suggested that amid globalization and digital growth, "you need to have great scale to compete with Google [and] Netflix."

Liberty Global recently acquired a 6.4 percent stake in U.K. TV giant ITV from BSkyB. Analysts have wondered if it was ‎an opportunistic investment or if Liberty Global could look to increase its stake or maybe even make a play for full control.

"Are we committing today that we'll never, ever own more shares? Of course not," Fries told the Journal. But he added: "We don't have any intention to do anything. There is no smoking gun there." Malone said a closer relationship with ITV could help Liberty Global in terms of its content supply given ITV's "very large production studio."

Malone also said that Liberty Global has continued talks about a possible deal to buy a stake in racing circuit Formula 1 with Discovery Communications, in which he also controls a big stake.‎ A deal would give the companies access to valuable sports content. Said Malone: "You have got to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince. At this stage we are still kissing the frogs."

The Hollywood Reporter by Georg Szalai 6:12 AM PST 07/30/2014

Kodak, Studios Negotiating Last-Ditch Effort to Keep Film in Hollywood

J.J. Abrams, Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino are among the directors rallying to keep celluloid in the picture. 

AP Images
Christopher Nolan used film on his upcoming "Interstellar."

Iconic film manufacturer Kodak is in negotiations with all of the major studios to make a last-ditch deal to keep celluloid alive as its use faces a steep decline in the motion picture and TV industry, much of which has shifted to capturing images digitally.
J.J. Abrams, who is currently shooting Star Wars: Episode VII on celluloid; Christopher Nolan, who used film on his upcoming Interstellar; Quentin Tarantino and Judd Apatow are among a group of leading filmmakers who are passionate film supporters and have stepped up to urge Hollywood to keep film going.

Kodak is "very hopeful that an agreement will be put into place," Kodak spokesperson Louise Kehoe told The Hollywood Reporter of the negotiations, which were first reported in the Wall Street Journal.

The film supplier has long maintained that it would continue to manufacture film so long as it was profitable. That was a notable part of the company's plans when it emerged from chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last September. But the numbers reflect a dire situation. In 2007, Kodak manufactured 11.4 billion linear feet of print film, while this year, Kodak expects production to drop to 417 million linear feet, a 96 percent drop. The company is the last remaining maker of motion picture film after Fujifilm exited the business last year.

Speaking at the PGA Produced By Conference in 2013, Abrams said: "If film were to go away — and digital is challenging it — then the standard for the highest, best quality would go away." In addition to high-profile directors like Abrams who continue to use film, it also continue to be used — though to a limited degree — in television shows like the Emmy-nominated The Normal Heart.

Kehoe said Kodak is aiming to keep film available for shooting, distribution and archiving. The later is of particular concern, since film is still believed to be the only archival medium that will last at least 100 years without the need to migrate content to new media.

Kehoe told THR that labs and other suppliers are also part of the discussions, in order to ensure an infrastructure to support film. That includes, she said, the Burbank-based Fotokem, the last remaining lab in Hollywood.

It's believed that arrangements that are being negotiated with the studios would involve some sort of guarantee to continue to use a given amount of film per year. Kehoe declined to comment on the details, including the financial terms being discussed.

Last September, when Kodak emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy projection, Andrew Evenski, president of Kodak Entertainment and Commercial Films, said in a statement: "The motion picture film business will continue to be part of the company's future. We are manufacturing film, we've inked contracts with six studios, labs around the world are dedicated to quality service, and, most importantly, filmmakers are choosing film. Kodak's entertainment imaging represents a stable and profitable division of the company."

The Hollywood Reporter by Carolyn Giardina 7:55 PM PDT 7/29/2014

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