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With ‘Old Testament’ outrage, DOOM guy is a powerful avatar when players feel powerless #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published March 20, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30384296?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

With ‘Old Testament’ outrage, DOOM guy is a powerful avatar when players feel powerless

Mar 18. 2020
By The Washington Post · Gene Park · ENTERTAINMENT, SPORTS

Video games are often power fantasies. You have the biggest guns. You have the sharpest swords. You are the fastest runner.

The hero of the 27-year-old Doom series has big guns. He has sharp swords. And he can apparently run at almost 50mph. But these are powers any video game hero can have. The Doom Slayer gives us ever-so-slightly more. He lets us embody the angry will of someone who is sick and tired of going through literal Hell.

More than ever, that feels appropriate. Reddit users in the Doom subreddit had plenty to share about becoming the man famously “literally too angry to die.”

The Doom Guy works because of how he understands the problem he faces, mostly because he’s been through this same issue throughout the ages. While others grapple with questions whose answers elude their grasp, the Doom Marine is unflappable and unwavering. He’s not going to take orders from ineffective leaders who second guess themselves. Nor is he going to be satisfied with a half-measure solution.

“What I like about Doom Guy/Slayer is that he knows that the only way to defeat his enemies is to destroy them entirely,” says Reddit user ShoMibu. “He doesn’t like it that since he has been gone, humankind has been making the same mistake over and over again by manipulating hell, either its resources or making deals. Thus the quote, ‘Rip and Tear till it is done.’ In other words keep doing what you have been doing … to make sure no one gets manipulated.”

Manipulation, after all, is the root of demonic symbolism in Christianity. The Old Testament depicts demons as the architects of chaos, disorder and corruption. Demons are man’s evils. Thus, Doom’s demonic horde could represent anything you damn well please, from political corruption, corporate duplicity, blatant environmental neglect or the ravaging of culture.

“He is as Old Testament as it gets,” Reddit user Snakes_Bandana told The Washington Post.

Doom Eternal continues this grand tradition. Locked away in my apartment during a global quarantine, I screamed, whooped and hollered at my screen. Asked to shelter in place, I found liberation wearing the Doom Marine’s armor. He has few physical limits, and is taking immediate action to solve a problem that’s plaguing the entire world.

The Doom series has always been about one soldier (also known as Doom Guy or the Doom Marine) taking on armies of demons. It wasn’t until the seminal reboot of the franchise in 2016 that his mythos and characterization expanded in scope. If you paid attention to that game’s lore, you’d find out the Doom Slayer is an ancient knight blessed with godly energy to mete out justice against Hell’s demons.

The legend, the story and the lore matter little in the moment-to-moment gameplay of Doom. Doom Eternal gives you no pause to ponder the moralities of the plot or its characters, not when you’re faced with a demonic horde, cowering in fear of the Slayer’s righteous anger. Other characters will prattle on about justifying accessing Hell, or how lives needed to be sacrificed for the good of all. The Doom Guy cares not for background information, and certainly not for any justification.

Doom Eternal has a lot to say about demonic manipulation, backroom deals, and the evils that stem from self-preservation and a thirst for power. The Doom Marine has no name, because the only thing that matters to the player is embodying his resolve to end all of the above.

“Modern games seem to label their main characters as a small cog in a big machine that ‘just so happens’ to have the ability to have a greater effect on the outcome,” writes Reddit user StrangerealSensei. “You feel more invested playing as a character without a name because you can be that guy, so to speak. Controlling a named character somehow removes that connection, like you’re acting out a biography rather than penning your own story.”

Pulling on the boots of Doom Guy made me feel calm and resolute about living in a world where we’re all feeling a little powerless.

“The protagonist in Doom is everything I am not but want to be in another life,” said Reddit user nhcomputergeek. “I think that’s enough of a reason personally.”

Burgers and Netflix, but can’t pet the dog: A CEO’s life in self-quarantine #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published March 20, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30384144?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Burgers and Netflix, but can’t pet the dog: A CEO’s life in self-quarantine

Mar 15. 2020
By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Jeff Green · BUSINESS, WORLD, HEALTH, CAREER-WORKPLACE, MIDDLE-EAST 

Harel Tayeb says one of the hardest things about the self-quarantine in his Tel Aviv home is that his dog Apollo doesn’t understand why Tayeb can’t pet him.

The Siberian husky, along with Tayeb’s wife and four children ages 6 to 18, have to keep their distance from him until next week. It’s part of a new policy in Israel requiring anyone who enters the country from abroad to go into a 14-day quarantine. Tayeb, the CEO of software automation company Kryon Systems Ltd., was ordered into quarantine March 6, the day the policy took effect, when he returned to Tel Aviv from a conference for entrepreneurs in Los Angeles. He says he has no reason to believe he was exposed to the coronavirus.

“I can tell you that on a personal level, it’s much more difficult for me,” says Tayeb, who acknowledges he’s a hand-shaking, face-to-face sort of executive. He jokes that he’s used to jet-setting, not just sitting: “I’m used to having some kind of direct interaction all day long, and now I’m having no interaction with people. I’m sitting on my seat for eight hours in meeting after meeting. Even if it’s by video, is very challenging.”

People around the world are adjusting to new mandates, and millions are now under self-imposed or government-ordered quarantines in dozens of countries-16 million in Italy alone-as Covid-19 becomes a global pandemic. The U.S. is now requiring people returning from Europe to isolate for two weeks, as well.

Executives of global operations like Kryon-which has more than 10 offices including in New York, Frankfurt and Singapore-are likely to be caught in those policies because of business travel and forced to stay home. Tayeb is an early example of what life will look like soon for many companies.

The company, which helps automate business tasks, had developed a new protocol for employees who are in quarantine about two weeks ago, and Tayeb is among the first to test it. That’s already leading to changes, he says. One thing that he is adding is a routine of regular personal or group video conferences so that people maintain some sense of a normal routine with colleagues. The company is also buying more equipment so that employees will be fully prepared if they have to work from home.

Tayeb says he’s had to cancel flights to important meetings in London and Singapore, and this is usually the week when he works from the company’s New York City office. In place of his nonstop face-to-face meetings, Tayeb says that he’s adapting to the video conferences “sitting on his seat” instead. It’s particularly ill-timed because Kryon’s software is used by many of the companies that are in crisis because of the virus, such as airlines, and he has less flexibility to meet their needs, he said.

One big conclusion from Tayeb’s experience so far: There’s an adjustment period after an abrupt switch to remote work, even if you’ve planned and prepared.

The isolation is giving him a good primer on what businesses should expect as more countries turn to quarantines. For example, his regional executives are playing a larger role, because he can attend only virtually. He’s also developing more flexible policies, such as letting more cash-strapped customers delay payments by several months to help them get past the crisis as he measures out how it’s changing business patterns.

Mostly, Tayeb said, he’s just trying to make the best of it until he’s released from the restrictions. He’s fueling up on espresso from his Nespresso coffee maker instead of taking a coffee break with staff. When he’s not working, he’s cooking and binge-watching the Formula 1 series on Netflix and getting too much delivery food. Hamburgers and Chinese food are top choices.

He has settled into a routine where stays separate in his office from his wife, children and dog, and when he has to move through common parts of the 11-room house, he warns the rest of the family away and wears a mask, just to be safe. “My dog can’t understand,” Tayeb says. “He comes running to me, and I have to keep my distance. That’s an issue.”

Tayeb thinks that at the current rate of the spread of the Covid-19 virus, all business being conducted may soon resemble his routine in self-quarantine, maybe by the time he’s released next Thursday.

“I believe that in maybe two weeks everyone will be, if not in quarantine, having to do something different,” he said. “We will see the entire work environment will change. A lot of companies can take that in a good way. It might be enriching for them to become more efficient. We can make the best of a bad situation.”

Actor ‘Deane’ reveals he’s infected #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published March 13, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30384011?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Actor ‘Deane’ reveals he’s infected

Mar 13. 2020
By The Nation

Actor Matthew “Deane” Chanthavanij revealed in a short video posted on Instagram on Friday (March 13) that he is infected with the Covid-19 virus.

He also said the Khongsittha Muay Thai Training Camp he runs in Bangkok would be closed for one day for cleaning and disinfecting.

In the psychological thriller ‘Swallow,’ Haley Bennett finds her breakout role #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published March 13, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30383934?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

In the psychological thriller ‘Swallow,’ Haley Bennett finds her breakout role

Mar 12. 2020
By Ann Hornaday
The Washington Post

Beginning with her hilarious, gloriously self-assured debut in the criminally under-seen rom-com “Music and Lyrics,” Haley Bennett has enjoyed a career that, while steady, has been devoid of the breakout role she’s long deserved.

Until now.

In “Swallow,” Bennett finally comes into her own as the kind of leading lady who is more than just a pretty face, and can occupy the screen and hold it, with commanding authority. In a supremely canny move, Bennett produced this unnerving, creepily atmospheric thriller, in which she plays a wealthy, somewhat abstracted housewife making a perverse bid for self-determination. Bennett claims her own form of autonomy with the movie itself, which could be read as an actress’ decision to stop hoping for good scripts to arrive over the transom and make her own luck.

Bennett plays Hunter, a meek, carefully coifed newlywed who has just moved into a posh Hudson Valley aerie with her husband, Richie (Austin Stowell). Drifting and dreaming in mid-century luxury, Hunter is a cypher: Her past as a designer is hinted at (she tries to draw at one point, to no avail), and it becomes clear that the privilege that surrounds her is a function of her in-laws’ largesse. For her part, she wears wealth uneasily, if gratefully, not least because her chief duty in the division of labour is … labour, i.e. getting pregnant as soon as possible.

Perhaps it’s because Hunter feels lost or undervalued, or perhaps it’s because she’s just bored, but she discovers a way to create feelings of self-worth and privacy by engaging in a secret act that becomes more perilous as she pushes her body beyond its healthy limits. In the tradition of Todd Haynes’s “Safe,” with a dash of horror films like “The Stepford Wives” and “The Perfection” thrown in for chilly measure, “Swallow” is the hushed, methodical chronicle of a woman’s descent into ever more self-harming extremes, a journey that, in this case, has its roots in patriarchy at its most controlling and violent.

Written and directed by Carlo Mirabella-Davis, who makes an assured fiction feature debut here, “Swallow” isn’t entirely convincing when it comes to the most troubling psychological roots of Hunter’s affliction. But the filmmaker’s tonal control, and Bennett’s confident grasp of the material, make for a compelling portrait of emerging consciousness and, ultimately, liberation. (Her finest scene comes late in the film, opposite the always terrific Denis O’Hare.)

Equal parts quiet and disquieting, Bennett’s performance in “Swallow” should put Hollywood on notice that she’s a force to be reckoned with, on her own unapologetic terms.

– – –

Three stars. Rated R. Contains coarse language, some sexuality and disturbing behaviour. 94 minutes.

Rating Guide: Four stars masterpiece, three stars very good, two stars OK, one star poor, no stars waste of time.

Tom Hanks says he and Rita Wilson tested positive for coronavirus #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published March 13, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30383901?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Tom Hanks says he and Rita Wilson tested positive for coronavirus

Mar 12. 2020
By The Washington Post · Sonia Rao, Bethonie Butler · NATIONAL, WORLD, ENTERTAINMENT, CELEBRITY 

Actor Tom Hanks announced on social media Wednesday night that he and his wife, the actress Rita Wilson, have tested positive for coronavirus. The 63-year-old Oscar winner is currently in Australia for the pre-production stage of an Elvis Presley biopic.

Hanks noted in a statement shared on his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts that he and Wilson, also 63, started to feel “a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches.”

“Rita had some chills that came and went,” he continued. “Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive.” A representative for Hanks confirmed the news as shared on social media.

Hanks is the first American celebrity to publicly announce a diagnosis of the novel coronavirus. His statement was posted across platforms just minutes after President Donald Trump addressed the growing severity of the pandemic, and around the same time the NBA announced it would be suspending its season due to a Utah Jazz player testing positive.

One of the most beloved actors in Hollywood, Hanks’ statement kept with his good-natured reputation. He also shared a photograph of a medical glove discarded in a trash can layered with a yellow biohazard liner, keeping with his social media theme of lost gloves.

Coronavirus has already disrupted the entertainment industry, with numerous projects facing serious production delays over concerns about the virus. Producers of the latest James Bond film, “No Time to Die,” for instance, announced last week that the release date would be pushed to November – seven months after its planned release.

Hanks and Wilson have been married since 1988. They “will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires,” according to the statement, which Hanks concluded by reassuring the public.

“Not much more to it than the one-day-at-a-time approach, no?” he wrote. “We’ll keep the world posted and updated. Take care of yourselves!”

Activision confirms Call of Duty: Warzone, a new free-to-play battle royale game #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published March 11, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30383740?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Activision confirms Call of Duty: Warzone, a new free-to-play battle royale game

Mar 10. 2020
By Special To The Washington Post · Elise Favis · ENTERTAINMENT, SPORTS

Activision has officially announced Call of Duty: Warzone, issuing a news release Monday afternoon that lays out a number of key details about the new free-to-play game from Infinity Ward coming March 10.

As suspected for some time, after a host of leaks and glitches – and seemingly confirmed Monday when a YouTuber posted footage recorded from what he said was an Activision-hosted preview event for Warzone – the new game is a new battle royale that will pit up to 150 players against one another in a massive map. There will be two unique playmodes for the game, which will arrive for Xbox, PlayStation 4 and PC Tuesday.

In addition to the release, early footage from the game found its way online Monday morning when YouTuber Chaos popped it online, apparently ahead of the official embargo time. The footage was removed from YouTube, but we managed to compile details through early views of the video, sources like Reddit and other YouTubers who ripped the footage. It showed much of what Activision later confirmed in its press release, in addition to a few other tidbits.

The game will also be introduced as part of Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare, where mode select screen now has a countdown timer that will zero out at 11 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

Read on below to find out everything we observed from the, apparently accidental, YouTube reveal and what was listed in Activision’s release.

– It’s free to play and cross-platform

Warzone comes at no extra cost, and you won’t need Modern Warfare to play. It’s a standalone experience that differs greatly from Blackout, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4′s battle royale mode. According to the early YouTube posting, you can easily switch from PC to consoles, too, thanks to cross-platform save progression and cross-play. This is a smart move for Activision as it competes with other free-to-play battle royale games like Fortnite and Apex Legends.

– The battle pass and the benefit for Modern Warfare owners

If players are bemoaning the fact that they purchased Modern Warfare only for the BR – which was never advertised or announced by Activision during Modern Warfare’s release – here’s the upside: Modern Warfare owners will be able to port all the content they’ve earned in that game (skins, operators, etc.) into Warzone. Likewise, all progression in Warzone will count for Modern Warfare.

The games will share the same item shop and battle pass. Progress in Warzone will translate to the Modern Warfare battle pass as well.

– 150 players can compete via trios

While Blackout could hold 100 players, Warzone ups the player count to 150. It’s unclear whether this number will increase when it comes to duos and quads. Previous leaks suggested 200 players as the maximum, so there’s a possibility that number rises with a future version of Warzone.

– Looting includes money

Players can collect in-game cash to purchase equipment, killstreaks, or even revive tokens for themselves or to bring back fallen teammates. This can be done at designated “Buy Stations” scattered around the map.

– A new respawn system (and the Gulag)

Unlike most battle royale games, death doesn’t necessarily translate to a lost match in Warzone. A downed teammate can be revived in several ways. Players can spend some cash at a virtual kiosk found on the maps to purchase a token for themselves or pay to revive a dead teammate.

A more interesting dynamic also exists via the Gulag. Players defeated in the main game are “captured” and brought to the Gulag where a victory in a 1v1 fight with another player will grant you a second chance and let you rejoin your living teammates. According to Chaos’s YouTube video, spectators will watch the 1v1s live while they await their turn, and can throw rocks at the battling players or even notify a teammate (if they’re in the fight) of the enemy’s location.

– A mix of old and new locations

Warzone’s map is massive, and appears to match the (extremely low-res) version we saw via the COD Caster mode last month. It contains bits and pieces of maps that have appeared in the series before, including Terminal, Scrapyard, Overgrown and Broadcast. Notably, there are also locales with snow. For traversal, you have a number of vehicles at your disposal, including but not necessarily limited to: an ATV, helicopter, cargo truck and rover.

– Simplified looting and kits

Remember the anxiety of rifling through bags after you drop your foe in Blackout, trying to find the right attachments and ammo while praying you don’t get sniped? It appears that system will instead give way to a Fortnite-like experience where a player’s stash scatters around their body when they drop, allowing you to quickly and easily identify what you want.

All players will drop into the map with a pistol, according to Chaos, and additional guns are found around the map, color coded by power – white is more basic, for example. Also, armor isn’t leveled, as it was in Blackout. Rather players simply grab up to five armor plates to protect themselves, according to the video.

– There are goals beyond surviving and killing opponents

Fulfilling optional missions in a round will grant players upgrades in terms of XP and boosts for their in-game success (rare loot, in-game cash, etc). From the Activision news release: “Contracts are scattered throughout the battleground and are available for any squad to pursue. Completing these contracts gives you in-match rewards including weapons, Cash, XP, and more to instantly gain an advantage over other squads. Whether it’s hunting down a specific opponent in a Bounty or dominating an interest point on the map, there are more ways than ever to be the top squad.”

– Beware killstreaks and the final circle

Using money found in the game, you can exchange it for killstreaks like air strikes or cluster strikes. Chaos noted in his video that this was sometimes unenjoyable late in games, as teams spammed the final circle, which devolved into wave after wave of explosions.

– All about ‘Plunder’

One new mode introduced in Warzone, “Plunder,” is a literal money-grab in which players try to collect as much cash as they can from supply drops, fallen opponents or controlling what the news release calls “cash deposit locations” around the map. This is a respawn mode in which players can customize their loadouts at the start of the match like they do in Modern Warfare’s multiplayer modes. Victory is achieved through “a variety of ways,” which were not detailed in the press release.

VIDEOGAMES: All the leaked details about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s battle royale mode #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published March 11, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30383716?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

VIDEOGAMES: All the leaked details about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s battle royale mode

Mar 09. 2020
By The Washington Post · Elise Favis · ENTERTAINMENT, SPORTS

News of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare getting a battle royale mode isn’t exactly a secret. Leaks for the mode (titled Warzone) have circulated online for some time, and a glitch inside the map earlier this year offered a glimpse of what to expect. But Monday morning marked the first time we saw a comprehensive look at gameplay after YouTuber Chaos leaked information he says was captured at an Activision-hosted preview event.

 

The footage has been removed from YouTube now, but we managed to compile details through early views of the video, sources like Reddit and other YouTubers who ripped the footage. Keep in mind that neither Infinity Ward nor Activision has confirmed these leaks as authentic footage from the game, and as an unreleased product, this information is subject to change. But while this is somewhat speculative, the tone of the video and the highly-detailed footage, not to mention the speed with which these videos are being taken down, suggests the validity of the footage.

When does Warzone release, you ask? We don’t know when it’s coming for certain, but the Modern Warfare mode select screen now has a countdown timer that will zero out at 11 a.m. ET Tuesday, March 10. It doesn’t seem like that’s a coincidence. Additionally, Images captured by several users earlier Monday showed a Twitch ad for Warzone on PlayStation Plus, so it appears the mode is incoming shortly.

Read on below to find out everything we observed from the, apparently accidental, YouTube reveal. Again, these are all according to the video, which has not been confirmed.

– It’s free to play and cross-platform

Warzone comes at no extra cost, and you won’t even need Modern Warfare to play, Chaos said in his video. It’s a standalone experience that differs greatly from Blackout, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4′s battle royale mode. You can easily switch from PC to consoles, too, thanks to cross-platform save progression and cross-play. This is a smart move for Activision as it competes with other free-to-play battle royale games like Fortnite and Apex Legends.

– 150 players can compete via trios

While Blackout could hold 100 players, Warzone ups the player count to 150. It’s unclear whether this number will increase when it comes to duos and quads. Previous leaks suggested 200 players as the maximum, so we won’t know for sure until Infinity Ward and Activision break their silence.

– New respawn system (and the Gulag)

Unlike most battle royale games, death doesn’t necessarily translate to a lost match in Warzone. A downed teammate can be revived as long as you spend some cash at a virtual kiosk found on the maps. If you die, you can also revive yourself via escaping from the Gulag. Players defeated in the main game are “captured” and brought to the Gulag where a victory in a 1v1 fight with another player will grant you a second chance and let you rejoin your living teammates. According to Chaos’s YouTube video, spectators will watch the 1v1s live while they await their turn, and can even throw rocks or even notify a teammate (if they’re in the fight) of the enemy’s location.

– A mix of old and new locations

Warzone’s map is massive, and appears to match the (extremely low-res) version we saw via the COD Caster mode last month. It contains bits and pieces of maps that have appeared in the series before, including Terminal, Scrapyard, Overgrown and Broadcast. Notably, there are also locales with snow. For traversal, you have a number of vehicles at your disposal, including but not necessarily limited to: an ATV, helicopter, cargo truck and rover.

– Simplified looting and kits

Remember the anxiety of rifling through bags after you drop your foe in Blackout, trying to find the right attachments and ammo while praying you don’t get sniped? It appears that system will instead give way to a Fortnite-like experience where a player’s stash scatters around their body when they drop, allowing you to quickly and easily identify what you want.

All players will drop into the map with a pistol, according to Chaos, and additional guns are found around the map, color coded by power – white is more basic, for example. Also, armor isn’t leveled, as it was in Blackout. Rather players simply grab up to five armor plates to protect themselves, according to the video.

– You can purchase killstreaks

Using money found in the game, you can exchange it for killstreaks like air strikes or cluster strikes. Chaos noted in his video that this was sometimes unenjoyable late in games, as teams spammed the final circle, which devolved into wave after wave of explosions.

Coronavirus throws Hollywood’s delicate schedules into disarray #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published March 8, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30383476?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Coronavirus throws Hollywood’s delicate schedules into disarray

Mar 06. 2020
By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Kelly Gilblom · BUSINESS, ENTERTAINMENT, FILM

The crew fled so quickly after last week’s decision to delay filming of “Mission: Impossible 7,” Paramount Pictures forgot to cancel the welcome party at the opulent Gritti Palace Hotel in Venice, Italy. When a handful of straggling technical workers showed up, they feasted with silver cutlery and exquisite china in a mostly abandoned banquet hall.

That kind of confusion — and needless spending — has been characteristic of Hollywood in the coronavirus era. On-location production work, often planned years in advance, has been rescheduled at great cost. After halting filming in Venice, Paramount said this week that “Mission: Impossible” shooting scheduled for Rome this month would also be delayed. And even completed films are in trouble: Shuttered movie theaters in Asia have forced studios to scrap some premieres and rethink their schedules for the rest of the year.

The biggest setback came on Wednesday when the James Bond sequel “No Time to Die” was pushed back till November, turning a spring tent-pole movie into holiday-season fare. The film’s backers looked at the state of the global movie-theater industry — the Chinese market shutdown, and attendance plummeting in France, Italy, Hong Kong and South Korea — and couldn’t stomach putting out a would-be blockbuster for only half the potential audience, according to a person familiar with their thinking.

More films may get pushed back as well, with the hope that coronavirus fears subside in a few months. But no one can predict how soon government restrictions will be lifted or when moviegoers will be comfortable sitting in a crowded theater.

“The thing that’s scary about the coronavirus today is that we don’t know the extent of it,” said Jason Squire, a professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and editor of “The Movie Business Book.” In Los Angeles alone, six new cases were identified within a week of expanding testing criteria. City and county officials said they are preparing for more infected patients to pop up.

In the meantime, filming delays can cost $1 million a day, Squire said. Festivals and press events, including the unveiling of Disney+ in Europe, also have been canceled. Apple said Wednesday that it wouldn’t be participating in the South by Southwest film and technology festival in Austin, Texas, where it had been planning to show new programming for its TV+ platform. Netflix also is pulling out, a spokesperson said late Wednesday.

Production problems also are now rippling through the TV industry.

“The Bachelorette” — a reality dating show that’s meant to offer an escape from any concerns of consequence — isn’t immune. The program’s new lead will no longer be courted by her male suitors in Italy next season, veering from original production plans. The country has been in lockdown after facing a spike in coronavirus cases that started in late February.

Hollywood film productions are meticulously planned, making it all the more painful when things go awry.

Every hour of every day is scheduled, and there are complex tasks like shutting down city blocks, doling out pay to dozens or hundreds of crew members, and ensuring mega-props — say, a yacht — are available, said Tyler Thompson, a producer and president of Cross Creek Pictures who worked with Tom Cruise on his 2017 film “American Made.”

While studios are used to dealing with emergencies, particularly weather-related ones, an illness that keeps jumping to new parts of the world is unusual.

With “Mission: Impossible,” a series that features Cruise as both a producer and leading man, the sets and props are particularly ambitious.

For the seventh installment, slated for release in 2021, workers were building a replica of the Gritti hotel to use in filming. It’s now gathering dust. And the crew that had descended on the Italian city earlier this month is in limbo.

“They told us to pack our equipment and to leave ASAP,” Arianna Pascazi, a scene artist from Rome, said by phone. “They told us to leave some of the scenes already made here, but to be honest, we don’t know if we will come back at all.”

Pascazi had just started to paint stained-glass pieces in the windows of faux buildings for the backdrop of the film’s action sequences.

Elsewhere, filmmakers fear their work may not find distributors with this cloud hanging over the industry.

That includes Heather Ross, whose documentary, “For Madmen Only,” is set to premiere March 15 at the South by Southwest festival. Conference participants, such as Apple, Netflix, Amazon.com, Facebook and Twitter, have pulled out, and a petition with more than 45,000 signatures is urging organizers to call off the event to protect against the spread of the disease.

Festival management have said they have no plans to cancel the show and are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ross said she and a small crew have been working around the clock to prepare her documentary for the premiere. It’s an opportunity to get the movie in front of studios, which may be interested in purchasing it.

“We worked on this documentary for six years and haven’t slept in about three weeks in order to make the film perfect for its debut,” she said. “We’re lighting candles to various gods and deities.”

Shawn Robbins, an analyst at the Box Office Co., expects studios and organizers of big events to stay on edge. The Bond delay “sets a precedent,” he said.

“In terms of productions that are putting a pause on things, it’s the smart decision to make at this point,” Robbins said. “As much as we want to see these films get made, the No. 1 priority is getting the world through this health crisis right now.”

A fierce battle is unfolding to bring a Khashoggi movie to a screen near you #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published March 8, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30383400?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

A fierce battle is unfolding to bring a Khashoggi movie to a screen near you

Mar 05. 2020
File photo/ Getty Images

File photo/ Getty Images
By The Washington Post · Steven Zeitchik · NATIONAL, BUSINESS, WORLD, ENTERTAINMENT, POLITICS, MEDIA, FILM

Endorsements for a documentary don’t often come from a higher-profile person than Hillary Clinton. At the Sundance Film Festival in January, the former secretary of state not only turned out for the premiere of “The Dissident,” a new documentary about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, she talked it up afterward.

“If you haven’t seen ‘The Dissident,’ I hope you will,” Clinton told festivalgoers about the movie, which implicates Saudi Arabia’s rulers in the killing of The Washington Post columnist and slams Western companies for enabling the kingdom’s abuses. Hollywood voices such as Sean Penn later voiced their enthusiasm, joining a raft of glowing reviews and making the movie feel like a slam dunk for a content-thirsty distributor.

Yet nearly seven weeks after its Sundance premiere, no buyer has stepped up to acquire the film – an unusually long period of time in a market where most well-regarded movies find deals at the festival or just days after, as Netflix did for the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes movie “Knock Down The House” last year or Apple for the coming-of-age Texas political doc “Boys State” this year.

That reluctance, particularly from global streamers Netflix and Amazon, has raised fears among experts that media companies are acceding to an authoritarian regime and confirming the movie’s very critique that Western companies enable Saudi Arabia’s lawless behavior. (Amazon’s chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

“Without being inside the companies it’s hard to know what the factors really are for someone not to distribute the movie,” said Yasmine Farouk, a fellow specializing in the Middle East at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a nonpartisan think tank. “But it wouldn’t at all surprise me if economic and financial interests are the main motivations here. Money has been what’s sustained the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia for 75 years.”

Documentary films have taken on an outsized journalistic role as other news outlets have faced cutbacks, diving into stories and making them popular via a host of major platforms. But the distribution hurdles faced by “The Dissident” highlight the dangers inherent to such a partnership – the potential for conflict between muckraking filmmakers and the risk-averse companies enabling their efforts.

A decorated team of filmmakers has quietly been putting together their own documentary about Khashoggi. “Kingdom of Silence” is produced by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Lawrence Wright, and Oscar-winning documentarian, Alex Gibney. Their movie also centers on the October 2018 Khashoggi death, casting it against the historical backdrop of U.S-Saudi relations.

Filmmakers for that movie have secured the buy-in of Showtime; the ViacomCBS division financed and will air the movie. But they are still seeking a theatrical distributor to give the story an elevated platform in the U.S. – a release freighted with uncertainty.

At a moment when many activists worry that Saudi Arabia’s alleged abuses under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are in danger of fading from public consciousness, U.S.-based Saudi experts say the competition to reignite interest is heartening.

But they also note that the uphill climb these films face in capturing both distributor and audience interest underscores the very risks the films come to warn about.

“I don’t know what the right word is – censorship or repression or something else,” said Shadi Hamid a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who focuses on U.S. relations with the Islamic world. “But the basic point holds – a powerful regime that doesn’t have the same scruples as others is creating a culture of fear, and companies react with kowtowing.”

“The Dissident” has been an especially thorny case. The film’s director, Bryan Fogel, told The Post in January he very much wanted a streaming deal (as opposed to theatrical distribution, which would require piecing together agreements in the U.S. and various international territories)

That prompted the film’s sales agent, UTA’s Rena Ronson, to focus Sundance sales efforts on landing one. Fogel’s previous film, the Russian-whistleblowing tale “Icarus,” was distributed by Netflix. It won the documentary Oscar and had a significant impact on doping policy as a result of its wide distribution.

Reviews suggested a similar deal was more than plausible for “The Dissident.” The film takes aim not just at a crime allegedly ordered by the highest levels of the Saudi government but at the way Western companies, after only a brief post-Khashoggi pause, continue to do business with the country, enabling its repressive ways.

Funded by the Human Rights Foundation, the movie also lays out the findings of U.N. investigators that Prince Mohammed was personally involved in hacking the cellphone of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos as a potential act of revenge for the mogul’s response to the killing (Bezos owns The Washington Post).

Variety called the film “a documentary thriller of staggering relevance. . .[with] urgent colliding themes of free speech, power, greed, technology, violence, and the increasingly global nature of government tyranny.”

Netflix, Amazon and Apple would each be likely distributors, given their frequent pursuit of timely and buzzy documentaries.

Each of those firms, experts note, would also have disincentive to buy “The Dissident.”

Amazon is a prime player in the movie via the alleged Bezos hacking, potentially putting it in a complicated position if it were also to come on as a distributor.

The film also shows the ease with which the iPhone could be hacked, potentially dissuading Apple.

And Netflix has capitulated to the Saudi government before, removing an episode of the Hasan Minhaj series “Patriot Act” in Saudi Arabia last year after the government complained about a joke that suggested Mohammed ordered the killing. The company is also looking hard at international expansion as subscriber growth in the U.S. slows.

Fogel has pressed the narrative that fears of economic reprisal are at the center of streamers’ reluctance to pick up the rights to his movie.

“I’ve come to the realization that the major global distributors are scared of this film,” he told a screening hosted by Penn and Alec Baldwin at UTA last week. “Winning an Academy Award for Netflix was not enough to make them step up to the plate,” he said of the company, which has not made an offer on the film.

Without streaming offers, agents are likely to turn to U.S. theatrical distributors, which have a much smaller reach.

Penn, Baldwin and other celebrities are part of the agency’s strategy, common on independent films, to use celebrity muscle to raise awareness for a movie, particularly among distributors or simply within Hollywood.

Fogel declined to provide a comment to The Post for this story. Ronson also declined to comment.

Spokespeople for Netflix, Apple and Amazon all did not comment when reached by The Post.

An executive at one theatrical distributor who engaged in conversations with UTA and asked for anonymity so as not to jeopardize relationships said that part of the challenge may be the price. The movie has been compared by UTA not only to other documentaries but to scripted films such as “Spotlight,” which grossed $45 million in the U.S., sending the price higher.

U.S. theatrical distributors often pay six figures for documentaries as opposed to the seven- and eight-figure deals scripted movies command.

As the weeks go by without a streaming deal for “The Dissident,” its competitor is speeding ahead under the auspices of Gibney.

“What we are aiming to tell is a beautiful haunting story of a man [Khashoggi] discovering himself even as he’s fighting for the road he thinks his country should be on,” Gibney said in an interview. And,” he added, “how much the U.S.-Saudi dynamic is a toxic relationship governed by money.”

Gibney said the film was born of discussions he and Wright had about a congressional memorial for Khashoggi. They did not know about the Fogel film until they were well underway.

“Kingdom of Silence” is directed by Richard Rowley, who previously directed the U.S.-military expose “Dirty Wars,” nominated for an Oscar. Gibney is the decorated investigative documentarian (“Going Clear,” “Taxi to the Dark Side”) who has won the documentary Oscar. Wright, a New Yorker staff writer, won the Pulitzer for “The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.”

Footage of the movie has recently been shown to distributors, and Gibney said the movie was “almost done.” The aim, he said, was for a theatrical release this year followed soon after by a Showtime airing. He said the network has “stepped up and never regretted, never asked us to soft pedal or step back” its critique of Saudi Arabia.

Showtime is owned by ViacomCBS. The company has an international division that conducts business in the Middle East, but does not depend on international markets the way Silicon Valley giants Apple, Amazon and Netflix do. A Showtime spokesman declined to comment on behalf of the network.

Still, questions about the theatrical possibilities hover. U.S. consumers have tended to come out largely for feel-good documentaries such as “RBG” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” two movies that became big hits in 2018, but not necessarily darker stories of global tyranny.

Theater owners could be an equally large question especially as major chains seek their own entrance to the Saudi market. AMC opened its first theater there in 2018 and is seeking to build out 40 more in the next five years.

Experts say the cumulative effect of both “Kingdom of Silence” and “The Dissident” is to increase the profile of alleged Saudi abuses – maybe.

“What the movies show is that the Khashoggi story is alive, that filmmakers still have this desire to bear witness, that the murder can still raise considerable concern and outrage,” Hamid said. But “people need to be able to see them,” he added.

Jane Austen fans expect a happy ending, and Masterpiece’s ‘Sanditon’ tested their limits #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published March 1, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30382975?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Jane Austen fans expect a happy ending, and Masterpiece’s ‘Sanditon’ tested their limits

Feb 28. 2020
Rose Williams, left, and Theo James appear as Charlotte Heywood and Sidney Parker in Masterpiece's adaptation of the unfinished Jane Austen novel

Rose Williams, left, and Theo James appear as Charlotte Heywood and Sidney Parker in Masterpiece’s adaptation of the unfinished Jane Austen novel “Sanditon.” MUST CREDIT: Simon Ridgway/Red Planet Pictures
By The Washington Post · Sonia Rao

(EDITORS: This story reveals the ending to Masterpiece’s “Sanditon” series.) – – –

Jane Austen had written a dozen chapters of a new novel in 1817 when she put down her pen and, mere months later, succumbed to a deadly illness. The unfinished manuscript satirized English gentry and, similar to her later works, seemed more interested in the dynamics of a small community than with those between a heroine and her love interest. Its working title, “The Brothers,” signaled a shift as well.

The story was renamed “Sanditon” in the early 20th century after the seaside resort town in which it is set. Charlotte Heywood, daughter of a country gentleman, spends a summer there after her family plays host to a Sanditon resident, Mr. Parker, injured in a carriage crash near their home. His dream is to modernize the town by turning it into a wellness getaway for hypochondriacs. The original manuscript ends shortly after Charlotte arrives and encounters, among others, Mr. Parker’s handsome brother Sidney.

Numerous writers have set out to complete Austen’s story – and the latest attempt, an eight-part series that aired in Britain last year before hopping to PBS in the United States, has proved what a challenge that can be. Austen’s happy endings are a security blanket for many of her fans. Showrunner Andrew Davies (1995′s “Pride and Prejudice”), who already raised eyebrows over his decision to include racy sex scenes, made the bold decision to have Sidney propose to a different woman in the finale. This upset fans, but some Austen scholars suggest the reasoning behind this narrative fits with the pragmatism of Austen’s work.

Charlotte (Rose Williams) and her would-be Mr. Darcy figure Sidney (Theo James), are kept apart by tragedy. An uninsured building belonging to Mr. Parker (Kris Marshall) catches on fire, and Sidney decides he must secure his family’s finances by getting engaged to a wealthy heiress instead. The finale cuts to black after Charlotte leaves Sanditon, and Sidney, behind. Jaws dropped across the web: “Wait. So that’s it then?” one fan tweeted.

It could be. The fate of “Sanditon” relies entirely upon how it performed with American audiences, as it failed to earn enough of a following in Britain for original broadcaster ITV to renew it. (The production company Red Planet Pictures tweeted Tuesday that there are “still” no plans for another season, suggesting there’s the slimmest chance this could change.) The series shocked some Austen fans as early as the first episode, which features male nudity, a brief instance of assault and an implied incestuous relationship. In discussions on the r/janeausten subreddit, users have commented on how such scenes are “mostly unnecessary.”

Those who worked on “Sanditon” have defended the series against claims of it being too risque. In a recent interview, Davies noted that, while often implied, “sexual desire is one of the prime motivations in almost all her plots.” British author Paula Byrne, who has written multiple books on Austen and consulted on the series, told The Washington Post she signed on because the production “felt very fresh.”

“People want to believe Jane Austen is cozy, which is just so crazy,” she said. “That’s the narrative they want, but it’s not the true narrative.”

Deidre Lynch, an Austen scholar at Harvard University, expressed surprise at the notion of fans being taken aback by the series’s risque depictions: “There’s been a tradition since the ’90s of sexing up Austen,” she told The Post, referring to the famous moment in Davies’s “Pride and Prejudice” series where Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy emerges from a lake dripping wet “in order to cool down because he’s feeling so hot and bothered about his encounters with Elizabeth Bennet.”

Even with happy endings like the one in “Pride and Prejudice,” Austen’s primary concern isn’t necessarily romance but the social and economic norms shaping such relationships. What readers have long appreciated about Austen’s work is how it relays “the sense of a writer who had an amazing capacity to convey everyday life,” Lynch said. Her heroines are ultimately in pursuit of self-knowledge and, when faced with a major life decision, often weigh matters of the heart against their economic and social responsibilities.

“Austen is really interested in how women obtain a sense of themselves,” Lynch said. “What’s so funny is that I think the Hollywoodization of Austen has made us think of her as a romantic writer.”

Byrne noted that Austen wrote “Sanditon” in 1817 – significantly later than works like “Sense and Sensibility” and “Pride and Prejudice,” both of which she began to draft in the 1790s. Austen seemed to be exploring new ground with this manuscript, which features her first-ever black character with a significant role – Miss Lambe (Crystal Clarke), a young heiress from the West Indies – and signals a departure from the heroine-focused marriage plot.

By the “Sanditon” finale, both Charlotte and Sidney are different, more self-aware people than they are in the first episode. The fact that Mr. Parker’s failure to insure his property is what keeps them apart is painful yet practical – and maybe not the main takeaway. Lynch noted that Sidney is barely mentioned in Austen’s manuscript, which instead spends much of the 12 chapters poking fun at men “who want to be gallant but are too busy drinking the herbal teas they need for the lining of their stomachs.”

“There might even be signs in ‘Sanditon’ that she’s a little bit tired of the marriage plot,” Lynch added.

Even so, “Sanditon” creators had planned for a more traditional ending all along, crafting their story around a two-season arc. A producer confirmed to Vulture that if the show moves forward, Charlotte and Sidney would, in fact, get together. (“Absolutely! We’re not that perverse!” she said.) Byrne confirmed that a second season would “probably go in a different direction,” but admitted that she likes the complexity of the finale.

“Being Jane Austen, it’s never quite that simple,” Byrne said. “There’s always a sense of, things don’t go quite how we like it. It’s interesting when people say, ‘This is not Jane Austen.’ Well, did you actually read ‘Sense and Sensibility’? … There is precedent for the girl not getting the boy.”

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