CHRIS ON RAILS

a personal weblog of everything nice

Wall Street 2 in pre-production, Douglas and Stone are back April 30, 2009

Filed under: Capitalism,Entertainment,Movies,Wall Street — allyouneediscourage @ 3:05 pm
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Wall Street came out in 1987, 22 years later a sequel is planned.

Wall Street came out in 1987, 22 years later a sequel is planned.

I just heard yesterday that Michael Douglas and Oliver Stone are coming back with a sequel to their 1987 hit “Wall Street”.

Michael Douglas is going to show us the money again as Gordon Gekko and Oliver Stone is set to direct.  Shia Labeouf is also rumored to be negotiating a stock trader role in this movie.

20th Century Fox spokesman Gregg Brilliant said the project is timely and relevant given the state of the world.  “We need to keep the story line under wraps, but it’s literally ripped from today’s headlines,” Brilliant said.  “It’s going to be very big and very cool.”

In the original film,  Bud Fox played by Charlie Sheen was a young and impatient stockbroker willing to do anything to get to the top, including trading on illegal inside information taken from a ruthless corporate raider.  Gordon Gekko was a symbol of Wall Street greed and corruption during the boom era of the 1980s.  Wall Street is a cult classic film like Boiler Room.  It’s a movie that I can just watch over and over again.

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“Gekko has endured because audiences give him the “same kind of respect we’ve got for the great white shark,” Douglas said in an interview Friday with Associated Press Television News for his upcoming life-achievement award from the American Film Institute.

“He’s a villain. Gordon Gekko is a great, old-fashioned villain,” Douglas said.  “And, interestingly enough, if you look at most actors’ careers, their biggest achievement, not necessarily success, but (achievement), is playing a bad guy.”

Man, I am so excited for this movie, you guys have no idea.  I think the plot is going to be pretty epic but predictable.  With all the events that have happened in this financial collapse, they have so much material to work with for this movie.  Credit default swaps, mortgage backed securities, shady rating agencies anyone?  Haha.  I will update as news comes in for this.

 

Jenson Button has the chance to win the 2009 F1 championship April 16, 2009

Filed under: 2009,Cars,F1 — allyouneediscourage @ 9:27 pm
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I’ll keep this one short.  I’m so glad that Jenson Button finally has a real opportunity to win this Formula 1 season.

Jenson Button is now on the Brawn GP team.

Jenson Button is now on the Brawn GP team.

He used to be on the Honda team which was bought out by engineer Ross Brawn.  Jenson Button is now a part of the Brawn GP team.  They have a very competitive and well running car, and if you combine that with the years of experience that Ross Brawn has, Jenson Button can actually compete on the level I always thought he could.  His driving style can be described as…very smooth.  I always thought the car he drove held him back, and that’s not just a personal opinion.  The Honda F1 car sucked every season.

There was a lot of controversy this season over Brawn GP’s use of a rear diffuser that aids greatly in downforce.  The other teams interpreted the 2009 rules differently and didn’t have the design on their cars.  As a result, the established front-runners like Ferrari and Renault have been blown away by the pace of Brawn GP, Toyota, and Williams.  However, the FIA International Court of Appeal has recently ruled in favor of the trick diffuser.  So the designs run by Brawn GP, Toyota, and Williams are now officially legal, but it won’t be long before the other teams implement the same exact thing…with some extremely radical changes to their cars of course.  When that happens, we’ll be sure to see some change in the standings.

From Autoblog

Ross Brawn has been called out specifically by both Bernie Ecclestone and Renault’s Flavio Briatore because he is the technical representative for the Formula One Teams Alliance.  Both accused him in a roundabout way of using the rules to his advantage from his privileged position and leaving the others in the dust.  In reply, Brawn said “I did explain that I felt we should have a different set of rules to simplify what needed to be done. I offered them, and they were rejected. We needed to clean the rules up, but nobody was interested.  They’re interested now.”

The Brawn GP controversial diffuser and inlet as seen from the rear

The Brawn GP controversial diffuser and inlet as seen from the rear

Nigel Mansell on this whole issue from Sports Scotsman

“The biggest problem they [Ferrari, Red Bull and Renault] have is that they didn’t think about it [first],” he said.

“Williams have done a stunning job, obviously, as have Brawn GP and a few other teams. The others have been caught with their pants down and they don’t like it.  It’s all credit to the officials for saying that those cars are within the regulations and they cannot see anything wrong with them. But if one of those cars wins and the appeals are upheld, then they will lose the race and that will be a terrible start for what should be a fantastic year ahead.”

The diffuser is the rear part of the floor of the car between the rear wheels and under the rear wing.  Small changes to the set-up can have a big impact on downforce, and therefore grip and speed.  Rivals believe the controversial diffusers could give a lap-time benefit of as much as 0.5 seconds.

But beyond this controversy, Mansell believes that reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton is experiencing a reality check at the moment.
After finishing 16th in the first 90-minute practice session yesterday, Hamilton then ended the second session 1.5 seconds faster – but down in 18th position.

Mansell said:  “I don’t think Lewis realised that when he joined Formula One he walked into the best team with the best car and it shouldn’t be as easy as he made it look.  “Now he’s finding out that if you haven’t got the car quite right you can be off the pace.”

I think Jenson Button will still be very competitive though even with other teams catching up technically.  The diffuser isn’t the only thing making the difference.  He actually has a competitive car this time and a team that can support him much better.

 

Australia’s hottest supermodel: Miranda Kerr April 13, 2009

Miranda Kerr

"I was blessed with good genetics, but my essence is very happy and warm and I don't take my job too seriously.  I'm not saving lives here."

"I was blessed with good genetics, but my essence is very happy and warm and I don't take my job too seriously. I'm not saving lives here." - Miranda Kerr

Miranda Kerr is a unique, untraditional kind of beauty in the Victoria’s Secret model lineup.  I remember very clearly the first time I saw this woman on television.  It was back in 2006, and I was in the family room in my house on a winter night watching the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.  My sister made some remark about the model on TV, and I notice a non-Brazilian model with a cute dimpled face hamming it up and down the runway with a giant megaphone.  I searched for a bit on the internet but I couldn’t find out what her name was…that is until a few weeks later when I saw her again on TV and on the internet.

"I don’t look at myself as a sex symbol. I see it as a job, and I’m working for a company that I really love and enjoy working for." - Miranda Kerr

"I don’t look at myself as a sex symbol. I see it as a job, and I’m working for a company that I really love and enjoy working for." - Miranda Kerr

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a person look similar to her.  Some people think she looks kind of weird like a baby faced doll.  I don’t disagree, she looks strange in some photos but so does every supermodel.  Miranda Kerr has a girl-next-door look most of the time but she can have a super hot look on a moment’s notice.  I think the Australian accent works well too.  When Alessandra Ambrosio or Adriana Lima try to speak in English, I’d rather they keep their mouth closed because they sound retarded.  When Miranda Kerr speaks, she’s understandable and her voice adds a pleasant touch to her persona.  It’s also kind of funny.  Listen to the way she says “wings”, “mystery”, and “push-up”.


For a post like this, I think it’s better to show pictures rather than go through a whole exhaustive list of biographical information.  However, here’s a summary background on this supermodel.

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Miranda Kerr has very beautiful distinctive eyes.

Miranda Kerr is a 25 year old supermodel born Sydney, Australia but raised in the rural town of Gunnedah.  She was a tomboy when she was young; she was racing motorbikes, riding horses on her grandmother’s farm, and not afraid to get dirty with the guys.  “It was a very grounding thing to grow up in the country where there wasn’t any pretentiousness and no one really cared what you were wearing. You could just be you,” she says of her childhood.  Miranda entered the fashion industry in her mid-teens after winning a competition that sparked some controversy.

From the Daily Telegraph:

One of her friends entered her into the Dolly/Impulse Covergirl Competition by asking Kerr’s mother, Therese, for some photos from the family album and secretly posting them off.

“I didn’t want her to be a model, so I supplied photos of Miranda that showed her crooked teeth!” laughs Therese.  “She has gorgeous teeth now after years of wearing braces, but I thought it might put the judges off.”
It didn’t.   Kerr won the 1997 competition and flew to Sydney for the photoshoot, one week before her 14th birthday.  “There was some stiff competition, but Miranda’s photo was stunning. I’ve never forgotten it,” remembers Shonagh Walker, one of the judges and the beauty and lifestyle editor of Dolly.

But the win took a nasty turn when several media pundits declared Kerr too young to appear on a magazine cover, saying the photos might attract pedophiles and that the shoot was “pornographic”.
“I couldn’t understand the fuss.  It was a magazine for young girls, so why shouldn’t young girls be modelling in it?” says Kerr.  After the fuss died down, Kerr decided to finish high school before she started working in modelling seriously.

After receiving tons of commercial exposure through Australian surf clothing chain Billabong, Miranda cycled through agencies, runway and print campaigns for brands like Levi’s, Neiman Marcus, Rock and Republic, Roberto Cavalli, etc.  In 2006, she broke into the US market through a cosmetics contract with Maybelline New York.  That lead to better things as she became the first Australian model to be offered a contract with Victoria’s Secret.  In a short period of time she became the first Australian Victoria’s Secret Angel joining Gisele Bündchen, Alessandra Ambrosio, Karolína Kurková, Adriana Lima, Selita Ebanks, Izabel Goulart, and Heidi Klum.  She gained quite a bit of exposure as she appeared on the 2006, 2007, and 2008 fashion shows.  In addition to that, she’s the new face of Californian fashion retailer Arden B and Australian retailer David Jones.  In 2008, Miranda Kerr earned approximately $3.5 million which puts her on the top 10 highest paid models.

miranda_kerr_cute_sexy_hot

These shorts look hot on Miranda Kerr.

“The US has fallen in love with her,” says leading fashion, beauty and celebrity photographer Russell James from Los Angeles.  “We love her because she has the most incredible girl-next-door look and she’s also insanely beautiful.

“It means women are not intimidated by her looks and guys think they might be able to talk to her.  It’s a fantastic combination.”

There are three things that mark Miranda Kerr as something special in the modelling world.  Unlike some of her beautiful colleagues, she has an effervescent personality. People want to be around her; she’s fun on a shoot.

“And she’s not stupid, which can be a very annoying trait among some models” adds James, who recently shot Kerr for Victoria’s Secret.  “She’s outstandingly professional and she always turns up to the job in a great mood.  I’d place her in my Top 10 alongside Gisele and Heidi Klum.” Secondly, she really sells product.

“It’s all about the bottom line for the clients.  It’s as blunt as that,” says her Sydney agent, Ursula Hufnagl of Chic Management.  “The clients want to sell their product and Miranda has one of those very open personalities that the public relates to.”

Thirdly, she’s a Buddhist. And we’re not talking about that brand of celebrity feel-good Buddhism.  Kerr has rejected the fast-lane lifestyle of many of the top models.

miranda_kerr_polka_dot_bikini1

She turns 26 on April 20th, but I easily thought she was younger.  Currently, she’s residing in New York and dating Orlando Bloom.  Her book is due to be released soon.  It’s an inspirational self-esteem self-help book called Treasure Yourself aimed at the female teenage demographic.  Miranda says, “Basically, it’s a whole lot of information that I’ve found, that has helped me.  If I can help one girl by doing this then I’ve completed my purpose.” I couldn’t help but laugh at that quote but I’m not sure I would have the patience to write a book, no matter how dumb or easy it sounds.  I don’t want to take anything away from her though.  Miranda Kerr is easily one of the more educated, humble, and charismatic models to come around in a long time.


Various photos from shows


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miranda_kerr_newyork_costume

miranda_kerr_beautiful_christmas_costume

miranda_kerr_colorful_costume

Magazine photos


miranda_kerr_oceandrivemagazine1

miranda_kerr_oceandrivemagazine2

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Official website of Miranda Kerrhttp://www.mirandakerr.net/

Great fansite of Miranda Kerrhttp://mirandakerrfan.net/

 

Rising stars: Get to know AnnaSophia Robb – Part 1 of 3 April 8, 2009

Hello everyone.  It’s been over a year since I stopped blogging.  I’m coming back now and I’ll start off with a get-to-know series on young actors and actresses.  I’ll begin with AnnaSophia Robb since I’ve been seeing her a lot lately in movies.

Go here for Part 2 of this post -> Rising stars:  Get to know AnnaSophia Robb – Part 2 of 3

ANNASOPHIA ROBB

AnnaSophia Robb looking pretty at Park City, Utah


The lovely AnnaSophia Robb is going to be a powerful force in Hollywood.  From the age of three, she wanted to be an entertainer.  At the age of five, AnnaSophia started out on a church stage singing in front of 500 people in her home state of Colorado.  She dreamed big and found her calling in the entertainment industry.  When most kids were simply watching afternoon television and playing sports, AnnaSophia was asking her mother how people get into movies and get on TV.  Her mother told her that she needed an agent.  By the age of eight she was taking acting classes, and by age nine she was finally scouted by an agency.

“I just love to perform. That’s all I can ever remember wanting to do,” AnnaSophia explains. “When I was about 8, I begged my mom for an agent because that’s how I heard actors got started. After taking an acting class, I was invited to come out to L.A. It just all kind of started from there.”

In 2003, she set off on her first round of L.A. auditions during the pilot season.  Her family lived in a guest house as he father worked and her mother drove her around to auditions in the daytime.  More than 40 auditions later, AnnaSophia had finally gotten her first real gig in a commercial advertising Bratz dolls and Happy Meals for McDonalds.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited in my life. I mean, I get excited when I hear that I [got] a movie and it’s really going to happen–I’m always jumping up and down and ” screaming. But this McDonald’s commercial was just the biggest deal ever. We ate cold french fries and old Chicken McNuggets for a really long time. But I thought it was just the best job ever. I loved meeting all of the people and all of the food.” – AnnaSophia Robb on getting her first gig for McDonalds.

Living a double life is not easy.  Young actors and actresses can get caught up in the whole stereotypical Hollywood scene, and they could end up in weekly tabloids or be those child star wonders who only make it for a few years.  They need to face complicated career choices and navigate through the pressures of celebrity culture.  However, AnnaSophia Robb won’t let the fame go to her head.  She’s still living in her hometown in Denver, Colorado and started attending a public school in the area after several years of homeschooling.  When she started freshman year at the new school last fall, many of her classmates were oblivious to who she was until a trailer for her movie ran on national TV during the Super Bowl.

AnnaSophia Robb signing autographs at Sleepwalking premiere

AnnaSophia Robb signing autographs at "Sleepwalking" premiere

“The Race to Witch Mountain ad came on during the Super Bowl and, of course, the whole school watched it.  By Monday, everyone had seen it. They didn’t act any different. It wasn’t like, ‘You are in a movie!’  It was just kind of like, ‘You worked with Dwayne Johnson–that is so cool!  He is so hot!'” – AnnaSophia Robb on being exposed at her high school.

In addition to acting, her other interests include several forms of dancing such as jazz and hip-hop, gymnastics, swimming, skiing, kickboxing, reading, and running on her school’s cross country team.  Here’s a quick rundown on some of her more popular mainstream movies.


Because of Winn-Dixie (2005)

AnnaSophia Robb as Opal with Winn-Dixie

AnnaSophia Robb as Opal with Winn-Dixie

Although she made her acting debut in 2004 after landing some television gigs, it wasn’t until 2005 that she gained popularity on the big screen.  Her first major on screen appearance was an adaptation of a popular children’s book.  On her second trip to L.A., AnnaSophia did three auditions and a screen test…and finally accepted the lead role for Opal in Because of Winn-Dixie.  I saw this movie and it’s one of those funny and touching family movies.  It’s no different than seeing any other Disney movie except there’s no singing, but there is a monkey and a small pig listening to Dave Matthews play the guitar.  Yes, Dave Matthews as in Dave Matthews band.

The movie is about a lonely 10 year old girl who has just moved to the small town of Naomi, Florida.  During the summer, she finds a dog wreaking havoc in a Winn-Dixie supermarket.  She takes the dog in and discovers that Winn-Dixie becomes friends with everyone he meets and she meets new people along the way as well.  Opal rekindles a relationship with her father and discovers that each person in her town had a sad and lonely past.   The dog is the key to bringing everyone together.  She realizes that almost everything good that happened to her over the summer was because of Winn-Dixie.  Cue laughter.  Roll on snare drum.  Females say awwww.

AnnaSophia Robb with director Wayne Wang

AnnaSophia Robb with director Wayne Wang

“Wayne Wang, the director, really helped me become a more mature actress. When I first started filming, I was really over the top. He just helped bring me down and make me real. That was really wonderful, a really wonderful experience. Also, what I learned about filming is it takes forever. I mean, there are so many different angles and shots. I mean, it just takes forever.” – AnnaSophia Robb on what she learned filming her first movie.

On the Ellen Degeneres show


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

AnnaSophia Robb as Violet Beauregarde in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"

AnnaSophia Robb as Violet Beauregarde in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was her second major movie in 2005 and it was a box office hit worldwide.  She played the gum-chewing karate chopping brat Violet Beauregarde.  This movie was a breakout role for her and helped escalate AnnaSophia’s popularity among teen audiences.  I thought this movie was great.  Fantastic cast, visually stunning, and a much better Willy Wonka played by the talented Johnny Depp.  This movie adaptation was also closer to the book.

AnnaSophia Robb at a bubble gum blowing contest

AnnaSophia Robb at a bubble gum blowing contest

Great interview with Diane Sawyer on being Violet Beauregarde

Some Violet Beauregarde scenes from the movie.


Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

AnnaSophia Robb and co-star Josh Hutcherson

AnnaSophia Robb and co-star Josh Hutcherson

Based on an award winning children’s book written by Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia was inspired by her son David Paterson.  During his childhood, David’s friend died and this story was her attempt to make sense of that loss.

This was the second movie I saw AnnaSophia Robb in and she impressed me.  I hadn’t noticed her too much before this movie.  She plays Leslie Burke, an eccentric and charming girl who moves in next door to Jesse Aarons played by Josh Hutcherson.  This role was a natural fit for her.  Bridge to Terabithia really resonated with me because of the parallels to my childhood; mostly my interest in art/drawing, my big imagination, and my love of doing things outdoors when I was a kid.  I didn’t read the book as a kid so I didn’t know what the movie was really about.  When I first saw the trailer to this, I thought oh it looks like another copycat movie to the whole Chronicles of Narnia craze.

I was definitely fooled, as this movie is much deeper and touches on several mature themes.  I can see why they did that for the trailer though.  It’s tough to draw audiences to a fantasy adventure movie like this without having some sort of action sequences.  Many people didn’t read the book though and despite the surprises, many people ended up loving the movie for the story.

AnnaSophia Robb holding Prince Terrien

AnnaSophia Robb holding Prince Terrien

AnnaSophia had read “Bridge to Terabithia” before she auditioned for the film and was already a huge fan.  “I remember I would stay up late reading the book and then wake up and start reading again in the morning,” she says.  “It touched me in a way I hadn’t been touched by a book before.  I really loved the characters and all the imagination.  I think it reminds me that even though I have to grow up, I don’t ever have to stop pretending and imagining.”

AnnaSophia especially felt close to Leslie.  “She’s one of those people who’s just always lit up, who has this glow about her, and no one can bring her down,” she says.  “Leslie’s such a lively and energetic character, it was really fun for me to become her.”

On March 30, 2008, Robb won her first career award when she was named “Leading Young Actress” at the Young Artist Awards for her role in Bridge To Terabithia. The film itself won a Young Ensemble Cast award.

DVD release interview with co-star Josh Hutcherson


The Reaping (2007)

AnnaSophia Robb with Hilary Swank in "The Reaping"

AnnaSophia Robb with Hilary Swank in "The Reaping"

Starring opposite Hilary Swank, AnnaSophia was pretty creepy in this movie playing a child (Loren McConnell) who helps rain 10 horrible plagues on a town.  Most of the acting in this movie was basically just creepy staring and some ambiguous lines.  It seems like every child actor needs to have the obligatory scary kid role.  During the filming of The Reaping, AnnaSophia wrote her own horror story titled “Backseat Swamp” which you can view here on YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wytHiAB9040

AnnaSophia Robb is funny carting around a cow

So strange and funny, I had to put this up

“Being able to do this film with Hilary Swank was, that’s a really big reason why I did it,” explained Robb. “And I just really enjoyed working with her and she gave me some good acting tips. Just acting, being able to do some intense scenes around her, was just really a great opportunity for me. I loved being able to work with her.” – AnnaSophia Robb on working with Hilary Swank

Nice interview with a movie critic


Race to Witch Mountain (2009)

AnnaSophia Robb, Dwayne Johnson, and Alexander Ludwig in "Race to Witch Mountain"

AnnaSophia Robb, Dwayne Johnson, and Alexander Ludwig in "Race to Witch Mountain"

I never saw the original movies so I can’t compare this reboot to the older ones.  However, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is in this and any movie with him is guaranteed to be entertaining.  The guy has awesome screen presence and he’s funny which makes him even better.  AnnaSophia Robb plays an alien named Sara who comes to earth with her brother Seth (played by Alexander Ludwig).  They are searching for a device to save their home world and they enlist the help of a cab driver (Jack Bruno played by Dwayne Johnson) and a UFO expert (played by Carla Gugino).  This movie is supposed to be an action packed “re-imagining” of the original…and I guess it is.  I definitely liked it.  It was entertaining and had plenty of action to steamroll you to the finish.  As far as Disney action movies go, I’m not sure if they could have made this any better.  Bring your kids, family, friends, whatever.

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“I had a hard time not laughing all the time. We were cracking up on set. We had so much fun. Between Andy Fickman and Dwayne, who is such a character and so hilarious, and Alexander, who is like my favorite person in the whole world, we were having such a great time. It was really a happy set.” – AnnaSophia Robb on her experience filming Race to Witch Mountain


These first two videos are dubbed in Russian for the first 40 seconds or so, but the INTERVIEWS are in English.


Funny interview (starts at 40 second mark) between AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig, and Dwayne Johnson.  Part 1 of 2

Funny interview (starts at 39 second mark) between AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig, and Dwayne Johnson. Part 2 of 2

Rare look behind the scenes with AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig, and Andy Fickman

Funny interview with AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig on the Bonnie Hunt show.

AnnaSophia Robb has shown a great acting range and style beyond her years.  The similarity to Dakota Fanning’s success is uncanny.  She’s a powerful force indeed.

I’ll be going through some of her lesser known movies in Part 2.  Stay tuned.

Go here for Part 2 of this post -> Rising stars:  Get to know AnnaSophia Robb – Part 2 of 3

Some quotes taken from GL Magazine.  Some pictures from http://www.annasophia-robb.org/

Links to interviews of ASR