Tuesday, 15 July 2014

ABC Snaps a 'Selfie' With New Comedy Series.

By Gregory Robinson

ABC has revealed more details regarding their new romantic comedy 'Selfie'. The single-camera comedy, which stars Doctor Who alum Karen Gilan and John Cho from the cult classic Harold & Kumar, is a modern/contemporary take on the academy award winning musical 'My Fair Lady'.



The series follows the live of Eliza Dooley (Gilan), a vapid and social media obsessed woman, who enlists the help of a marketing expert Henry Higgins (Cho) who works as a marketing manager at the company their both work for to help Eliza realise that being 'liked' doesn't actually mean you are liked.

Series creator Emily Kapnek, who also created the underappreciated quirky comedy 'Suburgatory' said "Eliza has her flaws. Henry does too. Our pilot is where the series begins, the show is about evolution of the characters".

The undeniably modern comedy could not arrive at a better time - with the number of social media apps increasing at an alarming rate (from Facebook and Twitter, to Snap Chat and Tinder). Can only lead to a rise in individuals who become famous in their own right - or, 'instafamous' (see Instagram)

Kapnek said "I know plenty of people who are forever connected to their phones", which seemed to be the catalyst for the creation of the series.

'Selfie' will premiere on Tuesday, September 30 @ 8/7c on ABC.

Check out the official trailer below!


ABC Boss Paul Lee Discusses Diversity

By Gregory Robinson

Paul Lee, President of the ABC television group, discussed the network's upcoming slate of new series which, for the first time in many seasons, consists of many different racially diverse casts and characters.



The new series on tap for the Fall and mid-season schedule include comedies about an Asian family (Fresh Off the Boat) which is based off the memoire by internet chef Eddie Huang, a Black family (Black-ish) created by and starring comedy actor Anthony Anderson, and a Latino Family (Cristela) created by and starring Cristela Alonzo, a female comic who is completely new in the land of television having no previous credits.

On the drama side, 'American Crime', created by John Ridley and 'How To Get Away with Murder', starring academy award nominated actress Viola Davis and produced by Shonda Rhimes - who is known for creating the immensely popular political soap 'Scandal' (which stars Kerry Washington).

Lee said "it is our mission statement to represent America", when asked about the diversity on his network, "to be able to pull this off, you need not just stars on air... you need the storytellers and you need the executives to truly reflect America as it is".




ABC Announces Fall Premiere Dates

By Gregory Robinson



ABC has confirmed the dates for its new Autumn/Fall series, with most of the new shows set to premiere during the official premiere week. The new romantic comedies 'Selfie' and 'Manhattan Love Story' will have to depend on each other when they have to maintain good ratings of the already cluttered Tuesday schedule across all networks.

Check out the schedule below!


Monday, September 15
8-10 PM - “Dancing With the Stars”
Monday, September, 22
10-11 PM - “Forever” (Special Sneak Preview)
Tuesday, September 23
9-10 PM - “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
10-11 PM – “Forever” (Regular Time Period Premiere)
Wednesday, September 24
8-8:30 PM - “The Middle”
8:30-9 PM - “The Goldbergs”
9-9:30 PM - “Modern Family”
9:30-10 PM - “black-ish”
10-11 PM - “Nashville”
Thursday, September 25
8-9 PM - “Grey’s Anatomy”
9-10 PM - “Scandal”
10- 11 PM - “How to Get Away With Murder”
Friday, September 26
8-10 PM - “Shark Tank”
10-11 PM - “20/20”
Sunday, September 28
8-9 PM - “Once Upon a Time”
9-1o PM - “Resurrection”
10-11 PM - “Revenge”
Monday, September 29
10-11 PM – “Castle”
Tuesday, September 30
8-8:30 PM - “Selfie”
8:30-9 PM - “Manhattan Love Story”
Friday, October 3
8-9 PM - “Last Man Standing”
9-1o PM – “Shark Tank” (Regular Time Period Premiere)
Sunday, October 5
7-8 PM - “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
Friday, October 10
8:30-9 PM - “Cristela”

ABC Family's 'Chasing Life' delves into the reality of Cancer

By Gregory Robinson

ABC Family's drama series 'Chasing Life' explores the harsh reality of suffering from cancer, whilst also trying to maintain a semblance of reality in one's personal life.



The series follows 24 year-old April, a smart and quick-witted aspiring journalist,  just as things start to look up at work, home and on the romance front with co-worker Dominic, April gets the devastating news from an estranged uncle that she has cancer.

Dealing with cancer can be difficult for some, however, the youth network has not shied away from showing the extremities of the disease. Not only the treatment stage, but also finding out one is suffering from cancer, and how they try to deal with it.

Series star Italia Ricci, who plays cancer sufferer April said "there isn't a right way to portray the struggle with cancer, it's different for everyone".

Production recently wrapped on the 21 episodes for the first season, with the mid-season finale set to air on August 12th. Producers who attended the TCA's revealed that the last episode "will explore April's 7 days in chemo". It appears as though ABC Family has not shied away from the pain experienced from suffering from cancer and will use the series as a hub for sufferers and survivals to see April's trials and tribulations throughout the series.

However, 'Chasing Life' is not the first time we have seen a young protagonist suffering from cancer. The upcoming Fox drama 'Red Band Society' features a character who must have his leg removed due to the disease. Furthermore, the topic has also been explored in the unexpected teen summer smash 'The Fault in our Stars'.

Executive producer Joni Lefkowitz said "young people with cancer feel forgotten, they're glad to see stories about what they go through".

The importance of the reliability factor in 'Chasing Life' and films such as 'The Fault in our Stars' gives audiences the chance to view the progression of the disease organically. Executive producer, Patrick Sean Smith said "I think we’re all fascinated by the end, and death, millenials like to talk about things that make grownups uncomfortable”.

This realistic story, he said, gives young viewers a chance to look at death “organically … without a zombie apocalypse”.

'The B----' Is Back

The unaired episodes of the late 'Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23' will air on Logo.



Logo has acquired the eight unaired episodes of ABC's underrated comedy 'Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23'.

The cable network will air all eight episodes, which have only ever appeared online, Saturdays @ 10/9c beginning July 19. 

However, before the B---- takes up a new residency with 'new episodes', Logo will air a 'Don't Trust the B----....' Marathon with 16 episodes set to air from 1 pm-10pm. 

ABC cancelled the late sitcom in January 2013 after a string of low rated episodes - which may have partly been due to the hectic scheduling midway through the season. 

The series follows June Colburn as she moves from Indiana to New York City to pursue her dream job, until she ends up moving in with a con-artist party-girl named Chloe AKA 'The B----'

Will you be tuning in to the 'new' episodes? 

Monday, 14 July 2014

Nickelodeon cancels Sam & Cat

By Gregory Robinson

Nickelodeon announced today (July 14) that multi-camera comedy series Sam & Cat would not be returning for a second season.



The news comes after production on the series' 40 season one episodes was mysteriously halted in March, rumoured to be down to a conflict between the two leads - Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande.

McCurdy has been a prominent figure on Nickelodeon's schedule since starring in the popular series 'iCarly', in which she played Sam Puckett for five seasons. McCurdy also played the same character on the spin-off series 'Sam & Cat', which also featured Grande playing Cat, another popular character from the now cancelled Nickelodeon series 'Victorious'.

In March, during Nickelodeon's Upfront meeting, no decision about the future of the series had been made - however - raunchy lingerie photos of McCurdy which leaked online and the rather sudden explosion of Grande's pop career may have led to questions about the sustainability of the show in the long-terms.

The network said in a statement "Nickelodeon will not be producing more episodes of Sam & Cat. We are very proud of the show and its very talented cast and we wish them all the best".

The series was created by Dan Schneider, a crossover spin-off which followed McCurdy and Grande's characters as roommates who start a babysitting business.
.
#GettinWiggy,” which will air on July 17, will now serve as the series finale.

NBC's 'A To Z' Is More Than Just Alphabet Soup

By Gregory Robinson

NBC has unveiled their new romantic comedy series 'A To Z' at the TCAs. The series is set to star Ben Feldman as Andrew and Cristin Millioti as Zelda. The show will document the ups-and-downs of their relationship from beginning to end, hence the title, 'A To Z'.

A possible issue for this series is whether the show is sustainable? how many stories can be generated from this premise? and, what will happen when the two adorable lead characters break up - or get married, have two kids and a pet Labrador?

Executive Producer, Ben Queen likes the idea of "examining a relationship from beginning to end". Queen wishes to explore the progression of a relationship, rather than a 'will-they-won't-they' outlook which has been seen one to many times in sitcoms.

This raises the question; how will the writers and producers keep audiences 'shipping' Andrew/Zelda when they are already together - doesn't the 'will-they-won't-they- dynamic help to make audiences fall deeper in love with the characters?

Queen added "We tried to make you fall in love with this couple in the first act of the pilot so they would want to keep following them throughout the season". Not only will audiences be treated to the relationships of the season one focus characters 'ZelDrew', but "will also follow the love lives of all characters" said Queen.

'A To Z' will premiere on Thursday, October 2 @ 9:30/8:30c on NBC!

Check out the trailer below:

Kate Walsh takes the defendent position for NBC's 'Bad Judge'

By Gregory Robinson

The cast and crew of NBC's upcoming comedy series 'Bad Judge' gathered at the TCA's in which they were grilled by critics about the somewhat racy content of their show.




The single-camera comedy series stars Kate Walsh as Rebecca Wright, a tough and successful judge serving in the Los Angeles County Courts, however, in her personal life, Judge Wright is a pretty wild party child, who gets drunk and has spontaneous sex in her offices. eventually, she meets an eight-year-old  boy whose parents she'd previously put in the hoosegow.

Walsh said "the character appealed to me. stunted, adolescent traits in men are celebrated, but, not usually in women".

The comedy which stems from the minds of executive producer Anne Heche and creators Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (Funny or Die) may have to try and balance the wild lifestyle of the lead character with some more, down to earth, moments to keep viewers interested. perhaps the eight-year-old boy is present to keep Wright grounded.

Will you be tuning in to see the exploits of Rebecca Wright? should her character be toned down, or turned up?

'Bad Judge' will premiere on Thursday, October 2 @ 9/8c on NBC.

Check out the trailer below!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Constantine vaporises character, adds mysterious comic book addition

The Upcoming NBC fantasy-drama series 'Constantine' has retired one of its former lead characters.

By Gregory Robinson
 


'Liv', the original female lead, was played by Lucy Griffiths (True Blood) in the original pilot has been terminated. However, rather than recast the role, a new character will take her place.

The surprising exit is said to be due to 'creative changes' behind the scenes of the show. 

Telemundo star Angelica Celaya will play 'Zed', who originated from the original Hellblazer comic series in which Constantine is based. 



Zed is described as a fan-favourite; an artist who met Constantine in a London alley way and eventually became allies. 

NBC's Constantine is gearing up for a major launch later this year. In the coming weeks, the pilot episode will be screened at Comic Con 2014 ahead of its official primetime, Friday night launch following NBC's equally scary procedural 'Grimm'. 

Are you still looking forward to this spooky comic book drama? Will the show benefit from featuring more characters from the cult-following comic books? 

Constantine is slated to premiere on Friday, October 24 @ 10/9c on NBC!

Check out the trailer below:

 

NBC developing a new 'Cosby Show'

By Gregory Robinson

NBC has officially confirmed that a new multi-generational comedy series, set to star sitcom legend Bill Cosby, is in development.

The multi-camera family comedy will see a fictionalised Bill Cosby and his three daughters in a large extended family; with husbands, kids and in-laws in a classic, throwback sitcom.

The show is currently being written by Mike Sikowitz and Mike O'Malley, who recently teamed up for the now cancelled NBC single-camera family comedy 'Welcome to the Family' which was cancelled after three episodes.

Bob Greenblatt, chairman of NBC said "we want to move forward and see diverse groups of people in front and behind the camera. We are proud of our record so far"

NBC's record also consists of two sitcoms which were also fronted by primetime comedy legends - 'The Michael J. Fox Show' starring, you guessed it, Michael J. Fox (Family Ties, Spin City) and 'Sean Saves the World' starting Sean Hayes (Will & Grace, Smash). 

Greenblatt also put emphasis on the possibility of having an African-American family on their primetime schedule, something which has been absent in recent years with the last successful African-Ametican family sitcom being the UPN/CW hit 'Everybody Hates Chris' which ended in 2009.

"We're trying to get more people into the system, which is the hardest part" said Greenblatt. 

Bill Cosby starred in the iconic CBS comedy 'The Cosby Show' which focused on the Huxtable family, an upper- class African-American family living in New York. 

The 'new' Cosby Show does not have a premiere date, although, the show is expected to premiere next Summer or during the Autumn/Fall.

Incest is 'hot' in MTV's 'Happyland'

MTV's new comedy explores theme parks, rides and sibling relations...





MTV released a teaser of their upcoming series 'Happyland' during their TCA meeting on Friday (July 11).

The promo for the soapy teen comedy, which follows the exploits of the employees at a popular theme park, features lead character Lucy - played by Bianca Santos - has a make out session with the theme parks new resident hottie/character actor Ian, who just so happens to be *SPOILER ALERT* her brother. 

Questions towards the cast and crew, understandably, erupted into the topic of incest and how this may, or may not relate to future story lines. Santos said "Incest is hot and we're all going to have fun..."



In October 2013, MTV ordered Happyland and Faking It to series, both with an 8-episode order. Both comedies are geared towards the audience of MTV's only other successful comedy, Awkward, which returns with brand new episodes in September. 

All three shows address the complexities of teenage relationships; promiscuous, falsely homosexual and incestious galore!  

Saturday, 12 July 2014

MTV Will Take You to 'Shannara'

Fantasy drama adaptation set to join the youth network's line up.

By Gregory R.



MTV has given a straight to series order to new fantasy drama series 'Shannara', based on a series of novels first published in 1977 from author Terry Brooks. 

The first season, which slated to premiere on the network in 2015, will consist of 10 episodes and is set to based on the second book in the franchise 'The Elfstones of Shannara', the network announced at their TCA meeting on Friday (July 11)

The series is set to appeal to MTV's young demographic with numerous opportunities for romance, adventure and suspense. "The story is set in our world, but thousands of years after the destruction of  civilization. The tale is centered on the Shannara family, whose descendants are empowered with ancient magic and whose adventures continuously reshape the future of the world."

In December, MTV gave a script-to-series commitment to the project which meant, if the network brass liked the script submitted, a full series would be ordered.



The TV series will be written by Al Gough and Miles Millar, who previously created the superhero drama 'Smallville' which aired for ten successful seasons and has since gained a cult following. 

Jonathan Liebesman, who directed the upcoming blockbuster Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has now been tapped to direct the first two episodes and will remain as an executive producer.

 John Favreau was originally set to direct the series, but had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts.

Sonar entertainment in association with MTV Worldwide is set to produce.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

BBC Sentences BBC Three to Death

The young adult channel set to be closed by the corporation.

Following a wave of rumours and speculation regarding the future of the digital channel, it is now apparent that BBC Three, a teen and young adult focused channel owned by the BBC, is set to be closed. An announcement is set to be released tomorrow (March 6).



Media correspondent, David Stilito confirmed during an interview with BBC News, revealed that the channel will be axed with all of the programmes currently broadcast set to move to iPlayer.

The shocking move is part of a cost-cutting plans in which Tony Hall said that "tough choices" would have to be addressed, stating. "We are in the final stages of a budget process to find an extra £100m of savings".

 

What's so important about BBC Three?

BBC Three began broadcasting in February 2003 as a quirky spin-off of parent channel, BBC One. Although it shows reruns of the popular soap opera Eastenders  and cult following sci-fi series Doctor Who, The channel has launched successful, original and unconventional comedies such as Bad Education, Little Britain, Gavin & Stacey, Cuckoo, Pramface and Some Girls. There has also been a slew of original British dramas including Torchwood, Being Human and In the Flesh.



From BBC Three's inception, the channel has produced a range of entertainment programmes as well as many unique reality based programming. Snog, Marry, Avoid and Don't Tell the Bride may be a little 'low-brow' or 'uncouth' sometimes, but everyone needs a little light hearted programming once in a while, right? unless you're a middle-aged, middle class television who only finds joy from Antiques road show and Daily Politics....



The fact that BBC Three has always strayed from the programming norms seemed t have made it an easy target. With the channel's future hanging on a dwindling budget, I fear the loss of a great source of entertainment, recreation and education will be lost from my generation. BBC Three has always been the bawdy little sister of the pack who refuses to conform to the norms of programming, which in turn means it is the first to be kicked out of the house before its time.



Truthfully, BBC Three is operated by officials, executives and politicians who aren't - believe it or not - BBC Three's target audience. Could this be the cause of their failing to notice the channel's worth? Possibly. Although, I highly doubt they would tune in to the educational and eye-opening documentaries about mental health amongst young people, sex and education or drug use; which makes cancelling the channel all that much easier for them.

Yes, documentaries on a channel aimed at teenagers and young adults? How does that work? Throughout the years, BBC Three has managed to draw eyeballs to their screens to watch a wide range of docu-dramas. Who'd have thought a series looking a shady priest in South Africa - presented by Reggie Yates - would cause teenagers to actually want to watch something inspiring.

This raises one of the heart breaking realisations about the oncoming closure. Personally, I have discovered so much about the world, about mental health, education, the consequences of sex and drugs through this eclectic haven. Some may believe that due to the channel catering for young people, this would lead to the award winning, and hugely risky, programmes to be dumbed down. Absolutely not!

I'm proud to have a channel in which young people - like myself - are encouraged to take part in politics such as Young Voters' Question Time.

Some will question why Jack Whitehall, Matt Lucas et al have campaigned for the channel's survival when BBC Three may not be officially cancelled. According to reports, the channel may still exist in online form, although, I'm sure it most definitely won't be the same. A budget cut paired with even less of the population having access to iPlayer.

I hope that my fears are proved wrong. I wish I wrote this whole report for no reason at all and that the BBC are just playing an early April fool's day prank on the beloved fans of a quality channel. Young people have already had to face a flurry of cuts, would cancelling the essence of the BBC be a good decision.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Reasons Why Leonardo DiCaprio Deserved an Oscar

After two decades worth of award worthy performances, Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio has once again failed to receive the prestigious Academy Award. What's up with that?



Following the global tour during Awards season which took the 39 year-old actor to the BAFTA's here in the UK, the 86th Academy awards, which happened yesterday, did not prove as successful as one would have hoped for the former child star.

That's not to say competition was not as tough as ever, other candidates for the Best Male Actor award included Christian Bale, Bruce Dern, Chiwetel Ejiofor - and winner - Matthew McConaughey, whose role in Dallas Buyers Club, in which the actor endured a serious weight loss for the part, scooped the golden stature and dedicated the award to his late father. Furthermore, the character he played is based on a real person, who suffered a life threatening disease and a character regularly seen at these types of awards ceremonies in which characters fight for the greater good of others.

This is not to say DiCaprio's, Wolf of Wall Street  did not share any similarities with McConaughey's character - Jordan Belfort, the protagonist in the Scorsesse directed flick involve a tainted stock broker who is, believe it or not, based on a real person. DiCaprio may not have had to suffer himself to earn the part, unless you include the unorthodox sex scenes as 'suffering'. Would the Academy actually decide not to award an actor - who arguably deserves an Oscar - the award due to his irresponsible actions?

However, when you look back at both actor's portfolios, there's no doubt the former Titanic star's long list of diverse characters has made the actor a somewhat underdog, nominated a total of 4 times and losing them all. From playing a child with autism in What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, to the astounding performance in the similarly Scorsesse directed The Aviator, its astonishing to think the actor has yet to be given the ultimate reward for providing audiences - and critics alike - diverse, unique and complicated characters.

McConaughey on the other hand, began his career as a shirtless rom-com actor. That's not to say shirtless rom-com actors are tasteless and lack integrity. I'm sure McCounauhey's fans have no qualms with his shirtless performance in Magic Mike, two summer's ago; the more serious roles such as the intriguing new HBO dram True Detective have appeared to build the actor's CV with serious, and challenging roles.

Over the last two-decades, DiCaprio has explored each genre, tackling ethically ambiguous characters (Django Unchained) forbidden romance (Titanic) to a celebrated American literature figure (The Great Gatsby), confusing summer blockbusters (Inception) a drug abusing teen basketball player (The Basketball Diaries), and most recently...

 
Of course, Leonardo is not the only cinematic legend who has seemingly failed to impress the Academy, Johnny Depp (Edward Scissor hands) also lacks the most prestigious award Hollywood can offer its actors.
 
Is there still hope for Leonardo? As one of the world's most beloved and adored actors of our generation, he is not deficient of loving and dedicated fans - who made #OscarforLeo one of the trending topics on Twitter last night. Whether DiCaprio wins next year, the next, or a decade from now, I have no doubt DiCaprio will have the opportunity to stand on the podium in front of glamorously dressed A-listers and humbly thank his friends and family for their continued support, on what has been a long, long journey. Ultimately, a deserved one.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Phallic Pride in Japan

Annual penis celebration festival in Japan celebrates the male anatomy. 

You have probably heard about Christmas; the religious holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus. Maybe you have had to endure the marketing manifesto that is Valentines day? On the other hand, I'm pretty sure you haven't celebrated Kanamara Matsuri...



 This annual celebration is a religious holiday celebrated and observed by the Kanayama Shrine in Kawasaki, Japan. Ever since 2013, the first Sunday in April has been blessed with illustrations, candy, carved vegetables, decorations and a Mikoshi parade of the penis. 

This male celebrating holiday is not exclusive for anti-feminists, or those who may suffer from a slight case of penis envy. Kanamara Matsuri is centred around a local penis venerating shrine. This holy location was once popular among local prostitutes who would visit the shrine and pray for protection against sexually transmitted diseases. 

It is also believed that the penis blessed shrine can provide married couple harmony, business prosperity and easily delivery. 

Kanamara Matsuri originated from a legend in which a menacing, sharp-toothed demon who hid inside the vagina of a young woman. Unfortunately, the vagina dentata castrated two men on their wedding nights. As a result, the young woman sought help from a blacksmith who constructed an iron penis to break the little vagina devil's teeth. 

However, there is more to this story than a genital demon who castrates young men, the festival has become a tourist attraction; drawing thousands of phallic admiring visitors from all over the globe. 

Money raised from Kanamara Matsuri is donated for HIV research. 

Friday, 28 February 2014

#Unwatchable: Should Social Media Websites Censor Extremist Images?

Syrian extremist severe a thieves hand as punishment for stealing.

This image is copyrighted by Twitter. 

To all who are familiar with social media websites, including Twitter and Facebook, it is more than likely you have been exposed to explicit and graphic content. This may have been voluntary or, you simply could have been scrolling through your updates when you witness the shocking mutilation which was documented by a series of live tweets.

A swarm of extremist Syrian Islamist militants decided to share with the world the revolting lengths to which they use to punish a man for stealing. According to dailymail.co.uk, the amputation took place within the "northern town of maskanah, near alpeppo" and was requested by the victim himself as punishment for his sins.

The images from the gruesome events where live-tweeted by the group, which was then retweeted by several social media networks and channels. Even more shocking, the Twitter accounts were identifiable which would have allowed an online audience to follow the events of this macabre act.

Thankfully, the images have now been removed from Twitter and the accounts associated suspended.

I have no doubt these images would have become viral and many people would have to be exposed to an act of forced removal of ones hand. Unfortunately for those who may be squeamish, there does not appear to be any rules against the uploading and sharing of graphic extremist pictures on the internet.

When social media sites have an audience of millions of dedicated users from across the globe, should we really be exposed to images in which show a man who has been blindfolded, his hands are held down on a wooden table by rebels who lay a large wooden slab to keep the target still. A militant approaches wielding an elongated sword. The following "one handed selfie" showing the blood splattered table of which his now severed hand is.  I think not! (...unless you're the type of person who likes #bloodandgore)

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

What Countries Count Homosexuality as a Crime?

When you hear the word 'crime' various images of rather immoral acts of theft, arson, murder flash before your eyes. Well, there are 78 counties listed by The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association which count express your love for another human, who happens to be the same gender than you or simply expressing your sexuality along side unethical crimes, which include terrorism and rape...

Here is a condensed list of some of the countries features:

Africa

1 Egypt
2 Ghana
3 Kenya
4 Nigeria
5 Zimbabe

Asia

1 Afghanistan
2 Bangladesh
3 India
4 Pakistan
5 Sri Lanka

Americas

1 Barbados
2 Dominica
3 Jamaica
4 St Lucia
5 Trinidad and Tobago





Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Uganda's President Signs Anti-Gay Bill

New law could lead to life imprisonment for homosexuals in Uganda.


Yoweri Museveni, the current president of Uganda has officially signed a bill which punishes the citizens of the African country for leading a 'homosexual lifestyle'. This includes gay sex and relationships which can lead to life imprisonment. Not only is this new bill a breach of human rights but will also lead to extreme cases of violent homophobia and segregations amongst those in Uganda.

Despite increasing pressure from Western countries within the EU and the US, President Museveni has decided the new anti-homosexuality act, which allows citizens to ostracise their fellow men and women on suspicion of being gay, homosexuality is not natural and therefore, he is pleased to take action on the gay community.

This is not the first time an anti-gay law has been passed within the African continent, just a month ago, Goodluck Johnson, Nigeria's president passed a similar bill which lead to mob attacks and violence against gays. It is only a matter of time before the innocent members of the gay community also become victims of legal injustice.

The new law states first-time homosexual offenders should be sentenced for '14 years' in jail. If an individual continues to express their sexuality, have homosexual relations and activity, a life imprisonment is served for 'aggravated homosexuality". This includes consenting adults, acts involving an underage minor and during the occurrence of one individual is infected with HIV.

Unsurprisingly, Uganda's new law has lead to worldwide condemnation from countries throughout the EU. The US has also responded to the ridiculous new law, White House press secretary Jay Carney stated  the law is "abhorrent". The US has began investigating Uganda's new anti-gay law which "may affect Washington's relationship" with the east African country, according to Obama himself.

The British foreign secretary, William Hague also commented in a statement yesterday

 
"I am deeply saddened and disappointed that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda has been signed into law. The UK strongly opposes all discrimination on any grounds. We question the Bill’s compatibility with Uganda’s constitution and international treaty obligations. There can be no doubt that this Bill will increase persecution and discrimination of Ugandans, as well as damage Uganda’s reputation internationally.

We ask the Government of Uganda to protect all its citizens and encourage tolerance, equality and respect. We will continue to press the Government of Uganda to defend human rights for all, without discrimination on any grounds."


Saturday, 22 February 2014

Cuban Fury - Review

Nick Frost stars as a former child salsa prodigy in an average rom-com

By Gregory Robinson

To many audiences around the world, although this film will most likely be seen by UK audiences only, there are some films which can have outlandish and creative plots; with various dips, twists and turns to engage the view to stay in their cinema seat and watch the beginning, middle and end of the film they paid £7.50 for. (or maybe because they actually enjoy the film...).

Cuban Fury is by no means an unwatchable, disappointing film to which I should try and retrieve the cost of my ticket. The plot is extremely simple and is basically follows Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz) as an overweight and unassuming engineer Bruce Garrett who falls in love with his American boss played by Rashida Jones (Parks & Recreation) who also happens to have a soft-spot for the 'dance named after a dip' . Miraculously, Bruce and Sister happen to be former champions of Salsa and in order to impress his new love interest, decides to refute the ideas of his former childhood bullies and reclaim his love for Salsa, all while his main nemesis (all underdog movies require one...) Played by Chris O'Dowd plays a rather formulaic, overtly sexual frustrated and, quite frankly, annoying obstruction in Bruce's pursuit of his cotton candy crush.

The screenplay is pretty flimsy and one-note, almost to the point where you can predict each character's next line. On the other hand, Kayvan Novak, who plays Bruce's very own source of optimism steals a couple of scenes and ultimately provides the first genuine laughs (and most...) in Cuban Fury.

The main message of Cuban Fury is to not let close-minded, big and brash bullies; whether they are school students or fellow employees to prevent you from achieving your dreams. We must all be proud of our sequined shirts and Salsa with pride.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Kids Review

Controversial, Explicit and Shockingly touching.

Released: July 28 1995

Directed by: Larry Clark
Written by: Harmony Korine
Staring:  Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce, Chloe Sevigny, Rosario Dawson.
Running time: 91 minutes

By Gregory Robinson
 
 
In all my years of watching films; the good, the bad and the outright weird, I fail to remember a motion picture with such a disturbing opening and closing scene ever. On one hand, I must commend Larry Clark for kicking off this teen drama in such a blunt and unrestrained way, as well as leaving viewers with a horrifying image of the aftermath of a drug-and-drink fuelled party, leaves little to the imagination of what life may have been like for bored teenagers in the 90s.
 
"Kids"  opens with 16 year old Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick) seducing a pre-pubescent 12 year old girl. They kiss profusely, with the teen crooning her, whispering sweet nothings into her ears. I guess this would make any girl (or guy) feel like they are the only girl (or guy) in the world, a notion I certainly have no experience in... anyway - we soon realise that this is not a heart warming representation of teen romance, but a mentally tainted and perverse young adult (who has a striking resemblance to Christopher Mintz-Plasse) taking advantage of a young girl for kicks.  
 
 
To make the whole scenario worse is the AIDS pandemic, which was a major concern for the sexually active at this time. The medical society had just begun to try and take control of the immune-system attacking virus. Furthermore, Telly meets his best friend, Casper (Justin Pierce) waiting impatiently to congratulate his pal for 'de-flowering a virgin'. Obviously, the close buddies have a lack of understanding on sex and the outcomes which may arise from the... duty.
 
 
This is only made more evident by one of the more clever moments the screenplay offers. A contrasting view of sex told from the perspective of horny, drug-filled guys and even hornier (and much more experienced) girls, as they recollect their sexual experiences such as 'losing their virginity at 15 at the back of a car' and 'the nasty taste swallowing a man's... penile fluid'.  After which the film changes direction slightly...
 
Initially, I though this Larry Clark's "Kids" was going to be an all drinking, all smoking, sex fest (which it is, really) but at the heart of the film, there is a touching and possibly relatable revelation of a teenager, Jennie (Chloe Sevigny) discovering she has the HIV virus. Despite only having sex once, with, you guessed it! self-proclaimed virgin-deflowerer Telly. This rare down to earth scene is cut with Jennie's friend who has had unprotected sex in every body part penetrable who receives the all clear.
 
Underneath the opaque layer of teen-angst, there are hints at other social issues relevant during this time. Telly, Casper and their crew taunt and heckle a homosexual couple which brings forth the issue of homophobia. Many believed during this time, and during this decade, that HIV and AIDS are a "gay man's disease".  Even though it is not explicitly mentioned, it wouldn't be a surprise to discover this group of stoned youths believed the same, all whilst one of their ranks was a sufferer.
 
The audience is also treated to a visit to Telly's mom's house who is struggling with raising his new baby brother and is strapped for cash. Whilst her exposed breast is gawped at by Casper, she refuses to lend money to Telly whom she believes is searching for a job. (this is occurs before the tampon scene which I will skip for your benefit...)
 
You're probably wondering how "Kids"  ends... the gang are at a house party, empty bottles splayed over the floor and the wrecked furniture and cigarette butts are only a semblance of the disorderly gathering. Telly has persuade an innocent, young girl to sleep with him (unknowingly passing on the virus) whilst Jennie collapses onto the couch after being fed a pill. Casper wakes up to find her there and, well, "takes advantage of her". Unbeknown to him, she has been diagnosed with HIV, which is transmitted sexually.
 
"Kids"  is the type of film which will be etched into your brain for a long, long time. It is not the type of film you would watch again, or casually show other 'kids' the dangers of safe sex. I guess the message of the film is to practice safe sex (and to not be so damn gullible when a guy is obviously only after one thing).  When thinking about a lost cause like Telly, his life is sex, he is sex and sex is all he can do. His life is commanded by obtaining a young woman's innocence to satisfy himself in a world which appears to offer him nothing. Drugs and skateboards only add more to the toxic mix of a bored teenager.
 
Before you get any ideas, not all teenagers are like the teenagers in "Kids" and never will be. The "Kids" of our generation may be caught up in being "followed", "liked" and "double-tapped" on social media but not everyone is the same. And I'm sure Mr Telly would agree.
 
Check out the official trailer:
 


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Dependent Alien

Thoughtful Thursday


We all like to think of ourselves as independent - a one-some, a diamond in the rough, or our very own haven. But do we really depend on ourselves as much as we should or could? confusing, right? Don't worry, this post will not be a philosophy lesson or a trip into the psych of human behaviour and what not, just a tale to tell.

The clouds were crying tears of pain as I rushed down the narrow stairs for break. The joy I feel on Wednesdays because I finish early in immeasurable. Who knew it was still light outside this time of year?! when you're stuck inside a classroom for an hour and a half, time seems to tick...tick...tick... Anyway, I rushed down stairs because something special was about to happen. An exciting prospect, a messiah had come to town and I was going to meet him, I was going to greet him, shake his hand and tell him my dreams and ambitions. Well, actually this 'messiah' was actually a journalist, author and documentary film maker. "holy shizzle" I thought to myself as I was trampled and squashed by the hoards of hungry and hormonal teenagers in the corridors. The man (no, I don't know his name - we'll call him JAD)  "JAD" was everything I aspired to be. He was my dream man
.
Okay, before you get any ideas, I don't know what JAD looks like, whether he's tall or stout, grey haired or cheery. I raced down to the lower ground floor to attend a meeting with my future idol. you see, JAD was going to give a presentation about his job(s) and what its like to work in such a cutthroat industry. When I finally reached the room, my heart sank. In front of the transparent, sliding doors I could see a large group of students, ready to occupy the food-stained seats in front of a large projector. I searched the crowd relentlessly, looking for a friendly face to converse with, trade ideas and thoughts about what the presentation, how hungry we were and maybe - just maybe - the possibility of refreshments.

Scared of being lonely, I ran back upstairs (four flights!) to the tip top of the tower (it's not actually a tower, but it seemed like it at the time) attempting to persuade anyone I could to come to the presentation with me so I wouldn't look like a loner at the back of the class, struggling to read the text on the board because of the fear I have of my glasses (I strongly believe they make your eyes worse than they actually are, its true!). Worst of all - I dreaded the thought of my stomach grumbling and growling as Mr JAD reported on his journey through life. All of the trials and tribulations of his childhood (you know, braces, puberty and stuff). I don't know why, but my stomach always seems to argue with my mouth for not filling it with food in the most awkward situations.

I sprinted up-and-down the building for about 20 minutes. I chickened out of going to the presentation because I couldn't find anyone to go with me - I scared of being independent in that situation and relying on myself. I felt like an alien. An alien who failed to inhabit the vessel of ambition to take over and rule the world with a scrawny fist (Hollywood, here I come with my movie pitch! CAUTION: Not based on a book)

The moral of this story is NOT to be a Dependent Alien - take every opportunity which comes your way like a wild dog on a leash. Guide your own destiny (this is getting way too deep).

Until next time...

G.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

My Beautiful Launderette Review

A truthful depiction of forbidden love.

Trivia:

Released: September 7 1985

Directed by: Stephen Frears
Written by: Hanif Kureishi
Staing: Gordon Warnecke, Daniel Day-Lewis, Saeed Jaffrey and Roshan Seth.
Running Tim: 97 minutes.

 
 
By Gregory Robinson
To begin my review, I have to make one thing clear - I have never been a fan of romantic movies. The predictability and soppiness of a generic love story, which usually involves unrequited love, fails to thrill me. On the other hand, cinema goers flock to see the latest 'will-they-won't-they' extravaganza. As a result, I watched "My Beautiful Launderette" with one eye covered... at first.
"Launderette" takes place in South London, and follows Omar Ali (Gordon Warnecke), an ambitious young man whose daily tasks involve caring for his poorly father (Roshan Seth). They live in a cramped, one-floor apartment adjacent to an overground train line which was the site where his mother committed suicide previously. Realising his son currently has no other options than signing up for 'the dole' Under Thatcher's Britain and completing menial tasks in the flat, persuades him to contact his uncle Nesser (Saeed Jaffrey) for a job at his failing  launderette. Eventually, he asks his childhood, punk friend Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis) to help out. Their feelings of love and attraction are thwarted by the lingering attitudes of racism, homophobia and their conflicting cultures.
The interesting thing about "Launderette" is its ability to seamlessly merge the trails faced by young people during Thatcher's Britain – unemployment and non-existent futures and other problems which affected the wider population – racism and caring for a sick parent. The script manages to also include the often overlooked trials of young people, such as prohibited love, discovering oneself and freedom.
British-born actor Daniel Day-Lewis, a three times Best-Actor Academy Award winner, gives an outstanding portrayal of a non-stereotypical gay man oppressed by the punk culture he is drawn too. Much like Omar, he has limited opportunities and a lagging future which only makes him more eager to work with his childhood friend. Omar’s father is opposed to the idea due to his rebel attitude. “Why are you working for Pakis? They’re over here to work for us!” declares one of the racist punks after Johnny share their first – of many – taboo kisses.
Culture is a major factor in Johnny and Omar’s love. Johnny is drawn to the punk culture. Rebellious and defiant, and acting in accordance to one’s own rules. On the other hand, Omar’s religion prevents any outward display of love between the pair. What’s saddening about this portrayal of a homosexual relationship is that – in 2014, a couple like Johnny and Omar would never be able to express their love for each other, in either of their communities.
Some would say to abandon the culture which restricts them from being who they are, which is fairly similar to the actions of Omar’s Uncle Nesser. He rejects the rules of his culture, claiming “I’m not a professional Pakistani” as he forcefully evicts a Rastafarian man from his flat. He decides to give the home to the ‘white man’. Additionally, his white wife and obligation to drink and drugs show his dedication to a more ‘western’ way of thinking.
A love story is nothing without a relationship at the focus, but the reason why ‘Launderette’ triumphs in its genre is because it rejects the regular stereotypes and tackles a wider range of issues within a community which happen to be relevant 29 years later.
Check out the official trailer:

Friday, 7 February 2014

Sochi Winter Olympics begin as anti-gay laws increase violence

The law banning the promotion of 'homosexual propaganda' leads to innocent gay people being attacked with urine in the streets of Russia.

                                                                  LGBT protestors in Russia. (I don't own the rights to this image)
By Gregory Robinson 

As the world's eyes focus on Russia as they host the winter Olympics, an alarming breach of human rights and equality is committed each day. There has been a sharp surge in violent homophobic attacks in the country following a new law condemning 'homosexual propaganda' - which in simple terms is "the refusal to advocate a positive outlook on homosexuality".
 
Last year, the country placed a 100 year ban on gay pride parades, further rebuking all celebration and acknowledgment on the gay community. This in turn has lead to further oppression, as well as violence towards a minority group who just want to be accepted by their country.
 
The ban prohibits all teachings of a "non-traditional" lifestyle to minors as many in the country believe this may "harm" the next generation. in fact, 73% of the Russian population supported the new law obstructing gay people to be free in their own communities and forced to hide away from the rest of the population due to who they are attracted too.
 
Despite the new laws enforced by Putin, the media around the world have covered the extreme violence and abuse LGBT youth face just for expressing their sexuality.
 
An anti LGBT group, who go by the name of Occupy Paedophilia relish in the punishment and abuse they inflict on anyone who is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered.  According to these hate groups, they hope to "reform" the youth.
 
According to a report by The Guardian, LGBT activists have reported right-wing groups have decided to use social networking websites to "hunt" and "ambush" gay people, many of them just teenagers. They are then lured into meetings, promised "fun" and "friendship" with whom they believe to be another LGBT youth before the humiliating act of pouring urine over them on camera - followed by punches and slaps and derogatory terms. In some cases, the bigots who commit these acts threaten to inform the parents of closeted teens of their sexuality.
 
Gay people in Russia have been forced into a life of secrecy and due to the negative attitudes of a large proportion of the country, have taken the lives of recluses; scared to leave their homes all due to fear of being heckled and humiliated in the streets.
 
Unfortunately, this has also led to an increase in youth suicide, especially in those who identify as LGBT.
 
I highly doubt there will be a positive change in Russia any time soon; despite the increased media coverage around the world on the injustice which is a daily occurrence there leading up to the Olympics, Putin seems to be turning a blind eye.