A&E NEWS: July 10 – July 16, 2011
DR. HARRY POTTER: It’s been a big week for Harry Potter, what with the release of the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 2. But the young wizard has made news this week for more than just his cinematic efforts. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the Harry Potter franchise (including books, films, and other merchandise) has been at the centre of some 30 medical studies. The most recent study, for instance, found that children’s emergency department visits dropped whenever a new Potter book hit bookstore shelves. Other studies, however, examine the characters themselves, such as the study that tried to determine exactly why Harry developed a migraine every time Voldemort popped by for a visit (the findings, incidentally, were inconclusive). Personally, that a character from a book could so irrevocably entwine him or herself with modern culture is just the kind of thing to put a smile on my goofy face for a good long time. But what can I say–I’m weird that way.
BLINK 182: As a teenage pop punker, bands such as Green Day, MxPx, and Blink 182 were my mainstays. Green Day has gone onto bigger (if not better) things, MxPx no longer tour, and Blink 182 have been either on hiatus or doing a variation of their Greatest Hits tour. And so with new material from Blink 182 released this week, a first since their 2005 Greatest Hits compilation, I very much want to get excited. After all, what late 90s, early 00s pop punker wouldn’t love to say, “Hey Guys, guess what—Blink’s back?” But the track, “Up All Night,” just doesn’t excite me the way I want it to. This is not Enema of the State Blink; nor is it Take Off Your Pants And Jacket Blink. Instead, you’d be better off thinking more along the lines of 2003 Self-Titled Blink meets Angels and Airwaves. Which is my fandom way of saying that the track is pretty lacklustre. But listen to the track below and judge for yourself. “Up All Night” will appear on Blink 182’s forthcoming album, Neighborhoods, which is tentatively set to release on September 27, 2011.
CONTAGION: From the title alone, Steven Soderbergh’s forthcoming film, Contagion, seems old hat. A film about a deadly, airborne virus that kills within days? Wasn’t there a film about that in 1995? You know, the one called Outbreak, and starring Dustin Hoffman and Rene Russo? But in this film, starring a slew of A-listers (including Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lawrence Fishburne, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, and Kate Winslet, to name but a few), there is a real sense of urgency and raw emotion that was missing in the similar films that have come before it. From this first trailer (released this week), Contagion looks to be a film that is both unsettling and powerfully compelling. Of late, we’ve seen a lot of End Of The World Movies, but this one seems to have real heart at its centre. Contagion opens September 9th.
NETFLIX COMPETITION: Those who know me know that I’m a big fan of Netflix, the provider of unlimited on-demand internet streaming of movies and TV shows. Because my wife and I decided not to buy a TV, Netflix has really come in handy for satisfying our movie cravings. But now Netflix is facing some stiff competition from internet and cable provider Shaw Communications, which is launching their own internet movie club. The Shaw Movie Club will cost customers $12 a month, which is $4 more than Netflix—a drawback, for sure. Mind you, Shaw Movie Club content doesn’t count toward a customer’s data usage. In layman’s terms, that means that Shaw customers won’t have to pay a surcharge on their Internet bill for watching a lot of streaming video, which consumes a lot of data (for more info, click here). Personally, I think competition is good. So far, however, I think I’m going to stick with Netflix…for now, anyway.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Sean Bean Death Reel
My wife absolutely adores English film and stage actor Sean Bean. The 52 year-old has seen somewhat of a resurgence in popularity with his role in HBO’s Game of Thrones. Of course, while Bean has appeared in countless films, he is perhaps best known for playing Boromir in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The actor, however, is notorious for dying in nearly all of his films. The below video is a “Best Of” compilation of some of those death scenes. Be warned: the video contains graphic violence, not to mention a handful of spoilers.
The 168 Turnaround is a week-in-review column, a place for me to reflect on the week’s most interesting pop culture news items. If it mattered to me or I think it might matter to you, then it will be here. If I’ve overlooked an important news item, or if you have a comment or question, please leave a response below. Thank you for reading.