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Archives for: March 3, 2018

Kitty Pryde to Get Her Own “X-Men” Film?

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In a surprise move, Deadpool director Tim Miller is apparently working on a solo film for X-Men character Kitty Pryde.

This comes shortly after Fox also announced plans for a movie about Multiple Man, a very obscure character. Kitty Pryde has at least appeared in other X-Men films (most notably X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Days of Future Past, where she was played by Ellen Page). With the ability to turn intangible and walk through solid object, she has worked under the name Shadowcat, Ariel, Sprite and Star-Lord in the comics.

The idea for this film was apparently made before the recent buy-out where Disney acquired most of Fox’s properties, including their rights to the X-Men film franchise. The project is apparently moving forward regardless; while Disney may pull the plug on it at some point in the future, executives have said that they want to continue at least some of the X-Men movies in development, including Deadpool 2.

It is unsure what the new Kitty Pryde film could be about. Many of her adventures involve her as a sidekick of Wolverine, whose future in the franchise is questionable with Hugh Jackman retiring from the role. Though now that she is owned by Disney, she could join the Guardians of the Galaxy, as she has recently in the comics.

Fox seems to be hoping that they can take relatively minor characters and give them their own successful films, as they did with Deadpool and as the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done since its inception. This is a welcome change to simply having Wolverine star in every X-film, but whether or not it is a viable strategy remains to be seen.

Spotify Releases A New Music App

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Spotify is a streaming music service that has accumulated more than 140 million active users and 70 million paying customers. They are currently testing an app called Stations on Android. This will enable Spotify users to choose from numerous personalized music stations. Since the app is supported by ads, it is free for Spotify users. The ads are removed for Spotify premium users.

Once users have the app, they can listen to the music immediately, and changing stations is easy. The user then creates personalized stations with their favorite music. The Spotify app was created for iOS and Android, and the music stations are all different genres. Some of the stations are recognizable from the main Spotify app including Discover Weekly and Release Radar. The first appearance resembles the apps original Pandora design. For additional details regarding this app, please visit https://www.forbes.com/sites/amitchowdhry/2018/01/31/spotify-stations-app/#1c78a0f2bc06.

The user begins by using their Spotify account to log into the app. The listing for all the recommended stations is easily readable due to the large font. The last station selected will automatically start to play. The app provides choices such as love, play and pause. It is not possible to skip a song and return to a song previously played, or search for specific artists or songs. The concept is users will have to listen to each selection, and give the song a chance.

It is unknown whether the app will become available on additional devices. Currently, Australia is the only place the app is officially available. There is an APK download for the United States, but it is limited to Android 4.0.3 and above. Due to these restrictions, the downloads for the Stations app were below 100 on launching day. According to a spokesperson from Spotify, they are still testing new features.

Spawn Doesn’t Speak in New Movie

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According to Todd McFarlane, creator of the Spawn comic book, the title character will not speak in his upcoming reboot film, instead being comparable to the shark from Jaws.

The movie is apparently still in its early stages, with the script only now being approved. That means there is a ways to go through casting and pre-production before actual shooting begins.

Spawn is a dark superhero franchise originally created by MacFarlane for Image Comics. It focuses on a Marine who dies, goes to Hell, and is given the chance to return to Earth as a demonic being. He battles various evildoers, both human and supernatural.

The upcoming movie, however, will apparently be more of a horror film. In an interview with AZCentral, McFarlane hyped the concept; he said that Spawn will have a hard “R” rating, and threw some shade on similarly dark superhero entries Deadpool and Logan, saying that this film will offer “true trauma” and a more serious plot than the former’s raunchy comedy or the latter’s violent Western.

He also insists that he will write, produce and direct the film himself, and that these conditions are “non-negotiable,” even if he has to take on a relatively small budget (he expects $8-12 million).

While it is good to know that the creator himself approves of this new direction, some fans of the character may wonder if it is the best choice; after all, Spawn should be the star of his own movie. It is unknown who will he the real protagonist, if not him—the human criminals whom he fights, perhaps? Or maybe Sam Burkle and Twitch Williams, detectives who investigate and eventually ally with the heroic demon in the comic books.

Musicians to Receive Boost in Streaming Royalties

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Streaming services like Spotify and Google Music will soon have to change the way they pay artists on their platform. The U.S. Copyright Royalty Board has just approved the largest increase ever in payment rate for songwriters and song publishers. Streaming platforms are now expected to pay 15.1 percent of revenue to artists, nearly a 50 percent increase from the previous rule of 10.5 percent.

The decision was made by three judges in the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board, who were appointed by the Library of Congress. For many years, publishers and songwriters had been battling streaming platforms for a higher share of revenue. As the two sides were unable to come to an agreement, the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board was forced to intervene.

This change to revenue rates will not completely satisfy the music publishers and artists, as their goal was to earn flat fees based on the number of times their music is played and the number of users on each streaming platform. For example, each songwriter would receive 15 center per 100 plays and an additional $1.06 for each paying user on the platform. The U.S. Copyright Board refused to put such rules into play, instead restricting its ruling to the revenue share model.

Companies affected by the ruling include Amazon, Google, Spotify, and Pandora, all of which offer paid streaming services with large libraries of music. Apple has distanced itself from competitors on this issue, as it has deemed the current revenue structure to be unsound. As a result, the company is facing a separate class action lawsuit.

Further discussion and negotiation on the subject is expected, especially now that a bill called the Music Modernization Act has been entered into Congress. The law would set up a new government group to oversee digital rights and royalties.

Huge Night for “Big Little Lies” at the Golden Globes

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“Big Little Lies” cemented its status as one of the most beloved pieces of popular culture of the past year by winning four major awards at the 75th Golden Globes. Nominated for six total awards, the smash hit limited HBO series walked away with four trophies.

The dominance of “Big Little Lies” included Golden Globes for Nicole Kidman for Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series and for Laura Dern for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Limited Series. Both women defeated one of their own co-stars in their respective categories. Reese Witherspoon had been nominated for Best Performance by an Actress, while Shailene Woodley had been nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role.

It wasn’t just the women of “Big Little Lies” who took home awards. Alexander Skarsgård picked up the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Limited Series.

The series itself was honored with the Golden Globe for Best Television Limited Series. The creator of the series, David E. Kelley, accepted that award and pointedly thanked director Jean-Marc Vallée, and he then invited Reese Witherspoon to speak as well. Along with co-star Nicole Kidman, Witherspoon served as executive producer of the series.

In September, “Big Little Lies” had a similarly exceptional night at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, notching eight wins in many similar categories.

Originally envisioned to be a true limited series, “Big Little Lies” will be returning to HBO for another run in the future based on its massive success. The second series is expected to premiere in 2019, and it will explore original storylines that fall beyond the scope of Liane Moriarty’s novel on which the original series was based.

Bruno Mars and Kendrick Lamar among Big Winners at Politically and Socially Charged Grammy Awards

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There were two big winners and a lot of great performances during the 60th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday.

Bruno Mars and Kendrick Lamar dominated the award ceremony with their share of gold trophies. Bruno picked up the Award for Song of the Year for “That’s What I Like” and Album of the Year for, “24k Magic”, while Kendrick won for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance for “Humble”, which were just a few of the awards among the two solo artists.

Both artists also gave outstanding performances on stage. Kendrick opened the award ceremony with a mass of dancers which included segments of an on-stage documentary throughout the performance by comedian Dave Chappelle. The politically charged performance included collaboration with U2. Dave also won an Award for Best Comedian Album during the ceremony.

U2 gave a stunning performance by the Hudson River with the Statue of Liberty in the background and overviews of the New York skyline which included the now iconic Freedom Tower. The performance was in response to the immigration policies that are under consideration which was a theme throughout the ceremony as well as other social and political issues.

Kesha left the audience stunned after the emotionally charged performance that was directly related to the #MeToo social movement. After her performance, which included pop legend Cindy Lauper, there were very few dry eyes in the audience.

However, the music industry’s biggest night slipped 20 percent in viewership over last year’s ratings. Hosted by James Corden, it was recorded live by CBS. According to Neilsen Media ratings, the event could put the Grammy’s in the ranking of having the lowest ratings recorded in history. There were 26 million viewers in 2017 as opposed to the expected 17.6 million viewers after the final viewership data has been calculated which are expected sometime on Monday.