Monday, July 27, 2015

Poorly-Timed Movies When Life and Art Collide (11 Pics)

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THE CHINA SYNDROME (1979)

Twelve days after the release of Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon's nuclear thriller, a partial meltdown occurred at the Three Mile Island nuclear facility in Pennsylvania. Due to mechanical and human error, unknown amounts of radioactive gases and radioactive iodine allowed to escape into the environment. Cleanup lasted fourteen years, and cost an estimated $1 billion.

Columbia Pictures attempted to avoid appearing as if it were exploiting the accident, and pulled the film from some theaters. Ironically, the film includes a line that describes how a nuclear accident would render "an area the size of Pennsylvania" permanently uninhabitable.
SPACE CAMP (1986)

The film follows the young attendees of a space camp, who must return safely to Earth after their shuttle is accidently launched into orbit. But the timing couldn't have been worse: SPACE CAMP was released less than five months after the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, in which the shuttle exploded shortly after launch, killing all onboard.

SPACE CAMP was a box-office dud upon release and was panned by critics. Roger Ebert wrote, "Our thoughts about the Space Shuttle will never be the same again, and our memories are so painful that SPACE CAMP is doomed even before it begins."
BODY PARTS (1991)

BODY PARTS is a run-of-the-mill psychological thriller: a criminal psychologist loses his arm in a car accident and has it replaced with a limb that belonged to a serial killer. The psychologist soon endures gruesome visions of murder and his behavior becomes erratic, as the killer's impulses prove difficult to overcome.

Paramount pulled ads for the film in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after police found dismembered bodies in the home of a mild-mannered chocolate factory worker named Jeffrey Dahmer. The ensuing media frenzy brought Dahmer into the spotlight, and the film came and went with barely a murmur.

O (2001)

O is a contemporary remake of Shakespeare's "Othello", set in an all-white Southern high school, and contains as much violence as the play: four teenagers are violently murdered over the course of the story.

The film's intended release date was April 1999, but life mirrored art too closely: that same month, the Columbine school shooting claimed the lives of twelve students and one teacher. O was shelved for two years, and was finally released in 2001.
NOSEBLEED

In 1999, Jackie Chan was set to star in NOSEBLEED, as a window washer at the World Trade Center who stumbles upon and must thwart a terrorist plot. The film was almost ready to begin shooting when the 9/11 terrorist attacks destroyed the Twin Towers. NOSEBLEED was permanently cancelled.

After the attacks, rumors began to circulate the Chan would have been filming at the Towers on the morning of September 11th, had the screenwriter not missed a deadline and pushed the filming dates back. The rumors were eventually disproven.
BIG TROUBLE (2001)

The film adapts Dave Barry's novel about a hapless group of Miami citizens connected in various ways to a potential nuclear attack. BIG TROUBLE was originally scheduled for release on September 21, 2001, until 9/11 attacks made the film's comedic subject matter tonally inappropriate.

BIG TROUBLE was delayed nine months and the promotion campaign was toned down almost to the point of abandonment. Upon release, the film was ignored by audiences and received mixed reviews.

PHONE BOOTH (2002)

A sleazy publicist is held hostage in a phone booth by an unseen sniper – PHONE BOOTH did a lot with a little, but real-life events mirrored the story too closely: a month before release, the Beltway snipers began terrorizing Washington D.C., resulting in the deaths of ten people.

PHONE BOOTH was delayed four months, until after the killers were caught and media firestorm had cooled down.

(The 2013 movie BLUE CAPRICE tells the story of the Beltway snipers; a great, chilling look at the banality of evil.)
CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC (2009)

Isla Fisher's first starring role, the film glamourized high-spending and materialism at its most luxurious – at the height of the global financial crisis. The film's ending was reshot to make it more sympathetic to audiences during a time of economic recession.

Critically, the film was a failure (with many critics identifying its bad timing), but audiences were less resentful than expected and made the film a box-office success.
HEREAFTER (2010)

Clint Eastwood's film tells three parallel stories about three people affected by death in similar ways – all three have issues of communicating with the dead. One of the stories involves a French journalist who survives a near-death experience during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

The film premiered in Japan in February 2011, but was pulled from theaters a month later following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami – the most powerful quake ever to hit the country. Warner Bros. admitted scenes depicting the tsunami were "not appropriate" for a nation recovering from its own catastrophe.
THE WATCH (2012)

THE WATCH was originally titled NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH, and followed four neighbors who form a suburban watch group and uncover an alien plot threatening the world. Five months before the film's release, teenager Treyvon Martin was shot and killed by neighborhood-watch captain George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida.

As a result, the film's marketing campaign was adjusted and refocused on the sci-fi premise, instead of the film's leads. The film's trailer was pulled from Florida: one scene featured Jonah Hill imitating a gun with his hand pretending to shoot at teenagers. The film's title was changed to distance itself from the details of the shooting.
JACK REACHER (2012)

The Tom Cruise film was delayed a week following the Sandy Hook massacre, in which twenty children and six adults were slain by a gunman. The film opens with the shooting deaths of five random civilians by a sniper – who is seen setting his crosshairs on a woman and child.

Paramount cancelled the film's premiere and released the film quietly. Cruise and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie endorsed the decision: "Nobody should be celebrating anything 24 hours after a tragic event like that."
UNITED PASSIONS (2015)

FIFA provided £16m of the film's £19m budget and was involved in its production every step of the way. The film illustrates the origins of FIFA and portrays the organization in a relentlessly positive light, shying away from the rumors of corruption that plague the group. FIFA's original title suggestions for the film were "Men of Legend" and "The Dreammakers".

The film's release occurred simultaneously with the 2015 FIFA corruption case, in which several current and former members of FIFA's executive committee were arrested for charges of corruption. FIFA president Sepp Blatter resigned, following repeated accusations of corruption – ironic, given the film's depiction of Blatter as an anti-corruption campaigner.

Actor Tim Roth has said that he asked the filmmakers: "Where's all the corruption in the script? Where is all the back-stabbing, the deals?" Roth said he attempted to convey these elements through his performance: "It was a tough one. I tried to slide in a sense of it, as much as I could get in there."

Dismissed as a "self-aggrandizing affair" and pure propaganda, UNITED PASSIONS was an incredible critical failure (holding a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and an even bigger box-office disaster, earning only $918 in its opening weekend in the U.S. 

30 Dreamy Places You’ll Probably Never Visit… That Can Become Your Room View

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Despite the fact there are few truly secret places left to discover on Earth, many of them are beyond our reach. People who get there are usually professional photographers or seriously eager globetrotters – and they are the ones who tell us their stories through stunning photographs and absorbing articles. But if you can’t get to all those amazing places, it does not mean you can’t own a small part of them – their ambience. PIXERS, an online store with wall decor, makes it possible to transfer the most surreal landscapes of the world into your own wall.

You can choose from the selection of 30 most breathtaking views from places around the world you may have never heard of: from Apostle Islands in Wisconsin to Zadar in Croatia and create a beautiful wall mural, poster or canvas for your room!


12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Australia

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Colombians Celebrate Iconic Jeeps by Loading Them with Everything They Can Get Their Hands On (22 Pics)

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The Yipao is a unique annual tradition in Colombia’s Coffee Triangle dedicated to the Willys Jeeps, the iconic American car the locals have been relying on since the 1940s.

For the people of Quindío district, Jeeps have been a source of livelihood and a significant part of daily life since the 1940s. The unpaved roads of the coffee mountains are filled with Jeeps that transport people and their belongings – including piles of coffee bags, livestock, harvested produce, and more. When families have to relocate, they often pile all their belongings onto one Jeep and move in a single trip.
Jeeps are such an integral part of life that they’re fondly known in Spanish as ‘mulitas mécanicas (mechanical mules). 
The country’s farmers use them to get to places that were previously accessible only by riding pack animals. Given how deeply Jeeps have impacted the life of locals, it’s only befitting that they pay homage to the vehicle during the annual Yipao parade.
Every year, in June, locals get together to show off their Jeep-piling skills. Hundreds of Jeeps from all over the region are loaded with all kinds of things that bear some kind of importance to the locals, from household items, to agricultural products or livestock, and there’s even a contest to see who can stuff the most into their vehicles.


Contests are divided into four categories – agricultural products (coffee, corn, bananas, and other harvest), house moving (household furniture), free category (Jeeps are decorated with ornaments, icons and flashy accessories in a kitsch style), and the Pique contest (piling nearly 2,000 kg of stuff on the rear of the Jeep so that the vehicle drives only on its rear wheels). The objective of the pique category is to drive for as long as possible on the rear wheels. Pique is the favorite event of local Jeep “cowboys” who like to hang off the front of the vehicle as it’s being driven, to get the crowd cheering.



































The Restaurant of 10,000 Bones (23 Pics)

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An enormous curiosity cabinet painted entirely white, Hueso in Mexico’s Guadalajara city, is a restaurant that’s more of a work of art than anything else. Created by celebrity chef Alfonso Cadena and designed by his brother Ignacio Cadena of Cadena+Asociados Concept Design studio, the unconventional albeit somewhat chilling interiors of this restaurant are second to none. 

Located in the Lafayette design district of the city - where renowned Mexican architect Diaz Morales for instance lives and works - the renovated modernist 1940s house with its lofty ceilings and startling décor is a masterpiece in its own right. Hueso, meaning ‘bone’ in English, couldn’t have a better name for a concept which according to Alfonso Cadena was ‘inspired by Darwinism’. Throughout the interiors, over 10,000 cast aluminium animal bones have been mounted on timber blocks to cover the walls like a second skin.



It’s only upon closer inspection that individual pieces within the thickly layered chalky monochromatic amalgamation of frames with butcher’s knives and other cooking utensils,  as well as animal skeletons and intricate scientific drawings along with a host of other collected objects, being to appear. Exposed brick wall and pipes appear in between the bones and give the space an artist’s studio-cum-farmhouse feel. Completely painted in a palette of off-whites, the impressively lofty space features enormous double height windows that allow both the sun’s rays and the garden’s plant life to be seen from inside thus adding a little colour and life to interiors that risked surrendering to the somewhat macabre décor.

Its well thought-out bric-à-brac décor reminds of an art installation while a neutral freshness in the organic nature of the design renders the space soothing and inviting. When diners settle at the tables, the lofty space becomes dressed by diners’ presence and filled with chatter thus creating a lively communal atmosphere.

















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