Sunday, October 25, 2015

‘Amy,’ other music documentaries in contention for Oscar

In July, I wrote that music documentaries are having a renaissance.
“Amy,” the documentary about late singer Amy Winehouse, is the frontrunner for an Academy Award for best documentary at the 2016 ceremony, according to Variety, Indiewire and AwardsCirc.
Other music-themed documentaries are listed as contenders for an Oscar nomination this year as well. They include “What Happened, Miss Simone?,” “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,” “Miss Sharon Jones!,” “Janis: Little Girl Blue” and “All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records.”
In two of the past three years, the Oscar for best documentary has gone to a music-themed film. Those recent winners include “Searching for Sugar Man” (2012) and “20 Feet from Stardom” (2013).
Meanwhile, other music documentaries are popping up.
On Sept. 18, Netflix debuted “Keith Richards: Under the Influence,” a documentary about the Rolling Stones guitarist.
On Sept. 23, “Arcade Fire: The Reflektor Tapes” was released in theaters. The documentary covers the making of Arcade Fire’s album “Reflektor.”
Also last month, Showtime premiered “Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church,” a documentary with previously unseen footage of his seminal performance at the 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival. It’s due out on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on Nov. 6.
Oct. 16 saw the DVD and Blu-ray release of “Rage Against the Machine: Live at Finsbury Park.” It includes the rock band’s famed June 2010 concert in London’s Finsbury Park and a behind-the-scenes documentary.
On Nov. 7, HBO is set to premiere a documentary about Irish rock band U2 and its recent Innocence + Experience Tour.
One highly anticipated music documentary is being withheld from release because of lawsuits.
Aretha Franklin has blocked the release of “Amazing Grace,” a documentary about the Queen of Soul and her album of the same name. It was directed by Sydney Pollack and is heavily comprised of footage from a legendary 1972 concert in Los Angeles.
But wait, there’s more.
Pop-punk band Green Day has announced a documentary, “Heart Like A Hand Grenade,” that chronicles the recording of its classic album “American Idiot.”
Pop singer Katy Perry’s halftime show at Super Bowl XLIX is the subject of an upcoming documentary called “Katy Perry: Making of the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show.”
Singer Justin Timberlake is working with director Jonathan Demme on film that captured the final date of Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience World Tour.

Related reading:

The best-reviewed music documentaries of all time (July 12, 2015)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

‘Steve Jobs’ one of just a few movies based on tech industry true stories

“Steve Jobs,” the new biopic about the Apple co-founder and CEO, went into wide release at theaters nationwide on Friday. It has earned mostly positive reviews from film critics, but Silicon Valley insiders have slammed the movie for factual inaccuracies.
Hollywood takes creative license when telling true stories to make movies more dramatic, emotional and engaging. What’s most important with a biopic is capturing the essence of the characters and providing the basic truths about the events portrayed.
Filmmakers are never going to please those who were closest to the subjects. Heck, they can’t even agree with documentaries on their subjects, which also can be slanted to tell a more interesting story.
Steve Jobs has been portrayed in three movies: “Pirates of Silicon Valley” (1999), “Jobs” (2013) and now “Steve Jobs.” But he’s been profiled in at least seven feature-length documentaries, most recently “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine” (2015) from director Alex Gibney.
There have been very few movies based on tech industry true stories. I count just nine to date, with the most well-known being “The Social Network,” the 2010 movie about the founding of Facebook. (Check out my list of IT industry movies based on true stories at IMDb.)
Two more are on the way soon. They include “Snowden,” director Oliver Stone’s take on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and “The Salesman,” a look at IBM’s dealings with Nazi Germany.
By contrast, the information technology industry, including the rise of personal computers and the Internet, has been a rich source of material for documentaries. I count at least 53 feature-length documentaries on the IT industry and its impact. (Check out my list of documentaries about the IT industry at IMDb.)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Post-apocalyptic television getting a refresh

The number of post-apocalyptic themed TV shows currently airing dipped to nine with the cancellation last week of Syfy’s “Defiance” and “Dominion.”
Syfy still has two PA-themed shows in production: “12 Monkeys” and “Z Nation.”
Hollywood is betting that America isn’t sick of post-apocalyptic set TV shows just yet.
FX is looking to bring the sci-fi comic book series “Y: The Last Man” to television. The series follows Yorick Brown, the last surviving man, and his Capuchin monkey, Ampersand, after a mysterious plague kills every other man and boy on Earth.
FX also is working on an animated series called “Cassius and Clay,” which is described as an action-buddy-comedy centered on two women living as bandits in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic America.
In January, MTV is scheduled to debut “The Shannara Chronicles,” a TV show based on a series of fantasy novels set after a future holocaust.
I count another eight post-apocalyptic shows in other stages of production.

Photos: Comic book art from “Y: The Last Man” (top) and a still from “The Shannara Chronicles” showing the remains of the Seattle Space Needle. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The 6 most disgusting product mascots from TV commercials

Television advertisers will do practically anything to grab the attention of viewers these days. That includes nauseating them with gross product mascots in TV ads.
Pharmaceutical companies are the worst offenders. The latest example is the Xifaxan mascot, an anthropomorphized bundle of pink intestines.
The character is named Gut Guy. I learned that from a legal notice on the Xifaxan website. “The Gut Guy design character is a copyright and trademark of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. or its affiliates,” the notice says.
What follows is a list of revolting product mascots used by companies in TV ads.

The Gut Guy

Valeant uses the Gut Guy to promote its Xifaxan treatment for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea, or IBS-D. It is a disorder of the large intestine (colon), and it affects more than 10 million Americans, about twice as many women as men.
The Gut Guy doesn’t talk. He’s just a knot of rubbery intestines who looks irritated.


Digger the Dermatophyte is the cartoon mascot for Lamisil, a tablet from Novartis that combats nail fungus infection.
In one TV ad, Digger pops open a toenail like a car hatchback, and dives in to spread his infection. The ad was much talked about for its high gross-out factor. Digger is a repulsive yellow spiky creature with sharp claws.

Jublia toes

Jublia’s anthropomorphic, festering toenails caused an uproar during this year’s Super Bowl. The ad for Valeant’s Jublia was voted among the worst during the big game. Jublia is a topical solution designed to treat onychomycosis, a fungal infection of toe nails.

Mr. Mucus

Mr. Mucus is the slimy green mascot for Mucinex, a chest congestion expectorant from Reckitt Benckiser Group. In ads, the use of Mucinex sends the snotty creature packing.

Myrbetriq bladder

Myrbetriq is a prescription medicine for adults used to treat overactive bladder with symptoms of urgency, frequency and leakage. The drug from Astellas Pharma features a sad, puffy anthropomorphic bladder who follows OAB sufferers around.

Residue, the Ghost of Meals Past

Residue, the Ghost of Meals Past, is a sticky, rotten, oily mess that lingers on pans and cookie tins even after cleaning. The message from ads for Pam cooking spray, a product of ConAgra Foods, is that you won’t have Residue if you use its product.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Tech-media-tainment hits 2 million page views

It took 3.5 years for Tech-media-tainment to reach 1 million page views. It took an additional 3.3 years for my blog to hit 2 million page views.
TMT crossed that latest traffic milestone over the weekend.
Tech-media-tainment probably would have reached 2 million page views sooner if not for a few factors.
First, I deemphasized coverage of the Lingerie Football League – sorry, Legends Football League – which had been a major traffic driver. I also decided to quit posting articles on other hot-button subjects like the TSA and marijuana legalization. I’m trying to stick closer to entertainment and media subjects.
Second, I slowed down my posting activity. In recent months, I’ve posted barely more than one article a week. In June, I posted only 2 articles. Hey, I’ve been busy.
I launched Tech-media-tainment on Nov. 6, 2008, so it will be having its seventh anniversary next month.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

T-shirts tell a story

In the vacation beach towns of the Eastern Shore, you can always find shops selling attitude T-shirts.
The T-shirts with a political slant can tell you how mainstream America, aka “Murica,” feels about people and issues in the headlines.
In Rehoboth Beach, Del., this weekend I saw T-shirts that were anti-Barack Obama (“01.20.17 Obama’s Last Day.”) and pro-Donald Trump (“Hair & Change: Trump 2016”).
Even more interesting was the plethora of 2nd Amendment and pro-gun ownership T-shirts.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fap if you believe in fairies; Riley Steele latest actress to play Tinker Bell

Only a select few actresses have played Peter Pan’s fairy companion Tinker Bell on screen in movies and TV shows.
They include Julia Roberts, Rose McIver and soon Reese Witherspoon.
Up next is Riley Steele, who will portray Tinker Bell in “Peter Pan XXX: An Axel Braun Parody,” set for release Oct. 14.
The adult film actress will provide a very different take on the character, which has been a staple of Disney family movies. This is the first time Tinker Bell has been parodied in a porn movie.
So instead of clapping to show you believe in fairies, Steele’s performance is likely to get her fans fapping.
Steele, 28, previously starred as the title characters in the porn parodies of “Snow White” and “Barbarella.” Mainstream movie fans might recognize the actress from the horror movie “Piranha 3D.”
Wicked Pictures provided Tech-media-tainment some exclusive promotional photos of Steele in character as sexy Tinker Bell from the upcoming adult movie.
“Peter Pan XXX” also stars Keira Nicole as Wendy, Ryan Rider as Peter Pan, Steven St. Croix as Captain Hook and Vicki Chase as Tiger Lily.

Related reading:

6 actresses who have played Tinker Bell and 2 more who will (May 24, 2015)

Sexy Tinker Bell art (July 26, 2013)

Disney princess parodies and mashups

Walt Disney’s animated films are a fertile ground for satire and parody.
For instance, website The Meta Picture ran a series of altered Disney movie covers with more accurate titles. “Cinderella” was renamed “Makeovers Fix Everything” and “Beauty and the Beast” became “Stockholm Syndrome.” (See the complete series here.)

Political cartoonist David Trumble imagined what some historical women would look like as Disney princesses. For instance, he drew Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as Princess Hillary Clinton. (See article by BuzzFeed.)

Olivia Mears created a taco-themed dress in the style of Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” and transformed herself into “Taco Belle.” (See article by the Huffington Post.)

Now that Disney owns the Star Wars franchise, many artists have mashed up Disney princesses and other characters with Star Wars characters, costumes and settings. The latest is from artist Isaiah Stephens. Check out “Beauty and the Beast” as Han Solo and Chewbacca. (See article by GeekTyrant.)

Artist Andrew Tarusov created a series of pictures of Disney princesses as pinup models. (See articles by the Daily Mail and Huffington Post and a sample picture of Ariel below.)

Tumblr user The Nameless Doll took stills of Disney leading ladies and gave them more realistic curves. (See article by the Daily Mail.)
On a similar theme, BuzzFeed showed the Disney princesses with realistic hair and makeup in a video. (See article on the Huffington Post.)

And finally, Funny or Die parodied all of these Disney princess reimaginings with photos and an article titled “Disney Princesses Reimagined As Murder Weapons.”

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sexy Sleeping Beauty artwork

Pop culture artists love to sexualize fairytale princesses, as I’ve written about on many occasions.
Most recently, I reviewed sexy Little Mermaid/Ariel artwork online in July.
For this installment in my series on sexy fairytale characters, I take a look at sexy depictions of Sleeping Beauty, aka Aurora and Briar Rose.
Artist Elias Chatzoudis has done several stunning illustrations of Sleeping Beauty. (See examples at top and below.)
In March, he published a compilation of mature fairytale artwork called “Fairy Tales by Elias.” (Check out his website at Art of Elias.)

Artist J. Scott Campbell is among the best contemporary illustrators of adult-themed fairytales. He has produced versions of Sleeping Beauty for his Fairy Tale Fantasies calendars. (Check out his website at

Los Angeles-based artist Andrew Tarusov recently created a series of pinup-style illustrations of the Disney princesses, including Sleeping Beauty. (Check out his Instagram page.)

Digital artist Jeff Chapman did a photo-realistic take on Sleeping Beauty. (Check out his DeviantArt page.)

Mexican illustrator Biaani depicted Aurora in sexy lingerie. (Check out her DeviantArt page.)

Artist Khary Randolph drew a picture of Sleeping Beauty for Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales: Swimsuit Edition 2010. (Check out his DeviantArt page.)

French artist Virginie Siveton did a boudoir illustration of Aurora in pink lingerie. (Check out her DeviantArt page and her website.)

Canadian artist Emily Molenda did a “sexified” version of Walt Disney’s Aurora. (Check out her DeviantArt page.)

Chilean artist Luis Salas Lastra did a cheeky version of Princess Aurora pretending to be asleep for her prince. (Check out his DeviantArt page.)

Chicago-based artist Tim Shumate depicted Aurora as a tattooed pinup girl. (Check out his website and Facebook page.)