Ryan Goslling plays Jared Vennett in The Big Short

What “The Big Short” And “The Wolf Of Wall Street” Are Trying To Tell Us About Huge Wall Street Investments

Ryan Goslling plays Jared Vennett in The Big Short

The financial world has inspired a lot of movies, and some of them have done a really good job in engaging audiences in the rather dry subject of financial markets. These movies have managed to achieve this effect by either picking a crisis that affected everyone behind their backs- like “The Big Short”, or choosing an incident which was otherwise in the public eye- like “The Wolf of Wall Street”. These movies also have had a stellar cast, perhaps to deal with the mundane topic of money.

Christian Bale in The Big Short
Christian Bale in The Big Short

By watching these productions, common people get to see the inner workings of a foggy financial system, albeit in a dramatized way. However, even in between all the plot twists, engineered drama, and attractive sets, these movies pack a lot of truth. Though opulence and happiness seem to be what our characters are striving for, there are a lot of subtle messages that will let you know both of those concepts are relative in the bigger scheme of things. You can party as hard as you want, but you only have so many brain cells to obliterate.

Jonah Hill (Donnie Azoff) Matthew McConaughey and Margot Robbie (Naomi Lapaglia) all star in The Wolf of Wall Street
Jonah Hill (Donnie Azoff) Matthew McConaughey and Margot Robbie (Naomi Lapaglia) all star in The Wolf of Wall Street

Finance is not the most exciting of topics, particularly for those who do not understand it. The Big Short is one of those movies that tries to bridge the gap. It tells regular people about mortgage insecurities and helps them understand how they work through some comedic briefs. The movie tells the viewers that even in huge Wall Street investments, no one looks close enough to understand what is actually going on. This movie also highlights the different characters that play a part in Wall Street deals, and their not-so-ethical approaches. They make money for themselves, but after that, whatever happens is none of their concern. Fine actors like Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt address the audiences in the film as a means to create a financial wake-up call.

Leo DiCaprio plays a drug addict (Jordan Belfort) in The Wolf Of Wall Street
Leo DiCaprio plays a drug addict (Jordan Belfort) in The Wolf Of Wall Street

In the Wolf of Wall Street, the protagonist is a synonym for money. He pursues the only dream he ever had: being rich. He is not concerned by whether what he is telling his investors is legitimate, or whether the money that is coming in is legal or not. Directed by Martin Scorsese, Leonardo Di Caprio embodies the truth behind millionaire asset managers from around the world. He is perhaps able to pull this role off so well because of his close relationship with Dana Giacchetto, who was an extravagant millionaire friends with everyone involved in the bussiness.

The movie also shines light on the vicious circle of money, where investments just keep circulating inside the system, without the investors getting any tangible benefits. People do no invest on hard facts or even understand them. They invest in how well the brokers are dressed, how well they pitch some opportunity to them, and other arbitrary basis. It is stressed- really hard- that Dicaprio’s character is not only smart, but also a great orator. He can win people’s hearts, and this is the very skill that allows him to climb the stairs of success. All in all, it is the market sentiment that drives the whole thing, and no one has enough time to question the basics. At times, it seems like a hollow system standing on a very rickety base. The trading floor is quick to teach that any financial instrument, whether a bond or a stock, gets overvalued quickly.

According to both of these movies, the Wall Street is rife with people who are not smart enough to understand what happens when a big investment goes awry. Worse, they are paid to continue to act stupid. At the start of the millennium, billions of dollars in loans were approved for people with low credit scores. These were doomed to fail. We are all paying the consequences of chasing our dream homes with loans on money that never existed. Nevertheless, they simply decided to make a systematic profit stream out of it.

Ryan Goslling plays Jared Vennett in The Big Short
Ryan Goslling plays Jared Vennett in The Big Short

The ones who saw the subprime crisis ahead of time made millions from their knowledge and attention to detail. This brings out another ugly face of Wall Street to the foreground: There are no heroes in the Wall Street. Only winners and losers. No caped Superman is here to save the market, even if they knew how to. In fact, if they know that the market is going down, they will further it down by making money themselves.

Financial institutions like banks are bigger than they have ever been, and their complexities have made it even more difficult for a layman to understand their workings; Thereby making the investing world opaque by default. This is what made the financial system lose its accountability within the common folk. People cannot wrap their heads around what is happening. They only get affected by it in the end, when it is too late to stop it. Those who can- bail out at the right time, and those who don’t- suffer during the meltdown.

Steve Carell (Mark Baum) and Brad pitt (Ren Rickert) star in The Big Short
Steve Carell (Mark Baum) and Brad pitt (Ren Rickert) star in The Big Short

Another important facet worth mentioning is the huge power of the financial institutions. These centers of capital have amassed a big political clout in their favor. At least, in the US, they are a major driving force behind many political decisions. Even if an outrageous investment or a financial instrument is floated by these banks, they will be supported by laws and regulations. The manner in which these big players were able to play within the reforms, so that they were insulated from the heat, is remarkable- although disgusting. All the workings of Wall Street have a political string attached to them, making their interest bullet-proof, even in the worst case scenarios.

There are so many facts and mind-boggling truths that movies try and communicate to the spectators. However, how much of it does any good? It’s hard to say. The market is still working pretty much the same way, the understanding of the people is the same, the incentive structures have not changed much, and there are still people making huge money at the expense of the perceived interests of the general public. Huge deals are not new to Wall Street, they still happen and will continue to happen until we educate ourselves financially. It is THE time to understand Wall Street: uncover it and mass propagate its encrypted language. The biggest lesson that can be taken from these movies is financial prudence. This can only stem from financial enlightenment. It is time we stop being financially illiterate and take charge of our own finances.

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What “Mozart in the Jungle” Teaches Us about Immigration and the “American Dream”

Mozart in the jungle

Mozart in the Jungle won two awards at the 2016 Golden Globes – one for the Best Television Series, and another for Best Actor in a TV series: Musical or Comedy. This is one of the most acclaimed of the Amazon productions altogether. Hundreds of thousands of people are binge-watching it and wait with bated hearts for the third season. There is no doubt that Mozart in the Jungle has made its mark as an excellent entertainment choice for the audience. But, is there anything more to it? Is there a place for all of the Mexican magical surrealism inside the jungle that is NYC? Simply put, there is. The show has shed light on a world that is known to very few people in American society. The backbone of all creative enterprises. Humble artists, some immigrants, compromising their visions in order to achieve their dreams.

Immigrant Haven?

Gael García Bernal is Rodrigo
Gael García Bernal is Rodrigo

Rodrigo De Souza is a Mexican immigrant, who has been born and brought up in poverty. His past has taught him to enjoy life and the futility of the extravagance. Therefore, he prefers a simple lifestyle. At once, Rodrigo portrayed as an egomaniac, who is full of himself. But, as the show progresses, it manages to uncover the layers around his character. He is caught by a tidal wave of forces that are continuously throwing him off balance. Since his immigration to the US, he has been trying very hard to adjust to the country’s society. Its lack of heart, unexplored experiences, and focus on first impressions are the things that drive him completely mad.

Things aren’t very great either with his personal life. His marriage is crumbling. He is the composer for an orchestra that has seen better days, and all of its future success is weighing on his shoulders. As Rodrigo attempts to fit into society, he slowly begins to transform the orchestra that he is a leading. Although ailing on the financial front, his orchestra is one of the best in New York, and naturally, its members will enjoy quite a celebrity status. All things considered, things might start looking up after a lot of hard work and dedication.

The Travails

Bernadette Peters Stars in Amazon's MOZART IN THE JUNGLE
Bernadette Peters Stars in Amazon’s MOZART IN THE JUNGLE

The financial travails are not limited to only Rodrigo. The newest member of the group Hailey Rutledge, a female oboe player, is another person with her own financial troubles. Rodrigo and Hailey will be involved sentimentally, and will push each other to better each other as people and performers. As the show makes it quite clear, classical music has been dead for centuries now, and the public’s interest in it is non-existent. Furthering this disappointing truth, New York is not what it once used to be for musical talents.

So the main source of money for the orchestra is based on donations, both public as well as corporate. Gloria is the board member who takes charge of fundraising activities. She does her best to protect Rodrigo, especially from himself and his ideologies. But, she cannot control everything and everyone involved. The heat is real. For instance, in the second season of the show, the orchestra was on the verge of falling apart because of a contract issue between the board members and the players’ union. Rodrigo managed to pull an amazing performance with cups and water that wowed the board, therefore bringing them to re-negotiate. Problems like these are not unique to people in the music world. They only reflect the nature of risks that everybody is exposed to. Numerous factors are involved in bringing together an orchestra, keeping it intact, producing good music, churning out profits, and keeping the audience interested. The American Dream does come with a price – compromises, and sacrifices.

The Dream

Lola Kirke in MOZART IN THE JUNGLE
Lola Kirke in MOZART IN THE JUNGLE

 

Rodrigo is a person who is not smitten by wealth or grandeur. He has the least respect for people who try to buy him. Through the seasons, he never tried to impress or suck up to the rich donors- either. While he may come off as arrogant and egomaniac on certain occasions, he is simply a principled person, who loves his work. He doesn’t like people meddling with his work, especially those who have no understanding of it. Nor does he conform to any rules or conventions.

Instead of pursuing bad marketing ideas like trying to make the orchestra sound more like hip-hop, he comes up with a brilliant solution. He takes classical music away from the elite. The orchestra, guided by De Souza, performs out in public scenarios. His stunts catch the attention of people from all walks of life. He is taking the opportunities to fulfill his dream of pursuing his own brand of music without tarnishing it, and also keep the orchestra’s cash flow steady. This is where the show aims at inspiring young immigrants to stay true to their beliefs. Though money, and other interests, can steer them away from what they want to be a part of, it is worth reconsidering that the opportunities in the States can change their lives for the better.

Conclusion

Jason Schwartzman is not only a producer, but also a main character in the show
Jason Schwartzman is not only a producer, but also a main character in the show

Mozart in the Jungle manages to drive its point home: Things have been quite difficult for all creative masterminds, immigrants, and millennials in general. But, it has also managed to show that difficulties can be overcome. If an individual can come up with creative new solutions to problems, it be old or new, they have the ability to create their own opportunities. The show itself is based on a memoir by Blair Tindall, who is represented in the show as Hailey. The character of Rodrigo is loosely based on the real life of Gustavo Dudamel. These great people overcame the difficulties of their time and era to achieve their own visions of what life should be.

In a way, the show sends message to anyone watching. The fact that Rodrigo, or Gustavo, takes advantages of his talents to use in order to save an orchestra- in a ruthless jungle- is proof that the American Dream is still alive and kickin’. Anyone can achieve the American Dream as long as there is passion, diligence, and the will to make the right lifestyle choices.

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Jennifer Lawrence as Joy

The Real “Joy” Mangano and Jennifer Lawrence’s Character Compared

Jennifer Lawrence as Joy

Joy was a 2015 Christmas release, directed by David O. Russell. The movie’s cast included some big names such as Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Bradley Cooper, among others. It was an inspirational tale of how a woman, who is down in the dumps, rises like a phoenix, all through her ingenuity and creativity. The best part is that the dreamy story of rags to riches is actually based on the life of Joy Mangano. She is a real life self-made millionaire, who started selling her uniquely designed Miracle Mop, which went on to sell in the order of millions. This product enabled her to make more such designs, patent more such products, and keep going on the path to success.

The entire Family in Joy
The entire family eats in the film Joy

The movie is inspired from the story, but it does not claim to be a biopic. Many of the characters and events are said to be tweaked for the silver screen version of Joy’s life. The director and the actress did not meet the real Joy until the very end of the movie. This would not have been the case, if the character was entirely based on her life. The creative team from the movie had permission from Joy Mangano to make any changes that they deem fit. This raises the question – were the characters of Joy and those around her also tweaked to make it more palatable to the audience? Keeping reading to find out.

Joy Mangano was born in New York and spent her childhood in Long Island. She lives there even to this day. In the movie, the character of Jennifer Lawrence is also brought up in Long Island. She receives a lot of encouragement by her grandmother in the movie, as did the real Joy Mangano.

Robert DeNiro plays Joy's dad
Robert DeNiro plays Joy’s dad

In the movie, Joy has been showcased as a bright kid with a flair for inventions. She recognizes problems and tries to come up with a solution. This is very similar to what Joy Mangano was like, at least when she was young. As shown in the movie, she made a fluorescent collar for dogs when she was a teenager. At the time, Mangano was working with an animal hospital. Her invention was designed to save the dogs’ lives when they were on the road, as the drivers can see them from a distance because of the shining collar at night.

The character of Jennifer Lawrence in the movie drops out of college to help her parents through their divorce. However, the real Joy did no such thing. This was a twist that the director added in order to add a hint of drama to the story. Joy actually completed her degree in Business Administration from the Pace University, and this was also where she met her future husband. Her husband was not a Venezuelan singer as has been portrayed in the motion picture. Also Joy never had any half-sister named Peggy. This particular character is completely made up by the director.

Joy had a very rough life, but she overcame the most difficult things for a woman her age during that time period
Joy had a very rough life, but she overcame the most difficult things for a woman her age during that time period

What is rightly depicted is her struggle after the divorce. However, the number of children she has is not two, but three. She had to run from pillar to post to make ends meet for her family. It was the lowest point in her life where she was doing different jobs to keep afloat. However, she never gave up on herself and it was during this time that she came up with the idea of the Miracle Mop. As in the movie, she gives form to her idea in her father’s workshop, which she actually did in real life.

The character of Bradley Cooper, the person who helps in getting her product on QVC is mostly based on Joseph Segel. However, it is not entirely Joseph Segel, but more of a condensed representation of the all executives at QVC. Joy was able to make them understand her product and went on-air with their help.

Bradley Cooper is only another name to the brilliant cast the movie has
Bradley Cooper is only another name to the brilliant cast the movie has

The character of Joy is shown to fail the first time she airs on television. No such thing happened to the real Joy. When Joy jumped in to pitch her product to the consumers it was an instant hit. She did sell

18,000 units in one hour as shown in the movie. So, yes, the character of Joy Mangano is as forthcoming as she has been shown in the movies. She is a go-getter and a great saleswoman. When she appeared on the infomercial, she connected with the audiences and made sure that she got her message through.

Joy and her dad go through several rough stages in their lives
Joy and her dad go through several rough stages in their lives

Despite going through a rough time after the divorce, Joy Mangano is still friends with her ex-husband. In fact, he is an active part of her company. She recognizes his ability as a salesman and both have a good personal and professional relationship.

Like the movie, Joy Mangano, did make a switch from QVC to the Home Shopping Network. She did this after she got an offer from what is now called, HSN. This switch proved to be a great decision for Joy. Huggable Hangers, another of her inventions became the bestselling item in the history of the network. The deal took Joy to new heights.

Whether it is the real life of Joy Mangano or the on-screen rendition by Jennifer Lawrence, both have very aptly proven their point. Both only talk about making one’s dream come true, no matter how big or how ridiculous it may sound. No matter how many times failures knock people down, those who rise again, eventually win in the end. Joy of the reel and the real life, both had to go through an extremely difficult personal time, the financial crisis and had to hustle a lot to make the product happen. She also did not rest on her laurels even after tasting success and kept inventing new designs. She was self-motivated and made her visions happen and in the process, created a better life for herself and her children.

Joy's former husband

There may be certain factual differences between the real Joy and the screen Joy, but both are equally inspirational. The moral of the story remains the same and that is what makes all the difference.

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Pink Panther: hilarious cartoon, deadly jewelry thieves, or Canal Plus big-time?

What is common among one of the most successful cartoon characters of all time, the world’s most successful thief network and a Canal Plus TV show? Diamonds – both real and fictitious. This is a story that spans over half a century and includes events that have left the international crime investigation agencies befuddled, the movie producers profitable, and the larger public intrigued and in fits of laughter. And no, this is not some wild conspiracy theory. All of these are real events and they are well worth a read.

It all began in 1963 with the release of the French movie, The Pink Panther. The movie featured a large diamond by the name of The Pink Panther. It had a flaw in its center, which resembled a leaping panther and hence the name. The movie featured a comically inept French police officer Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Peter Sellers played the role of Clouseau and only appeared in the movie as a minor character. But, Clouseau was such a big hit among the audience that in the sequels of the movie, he became the central character. These movies are known by the collective name of The Pink Panther Film Series.

Tahar Rahim stars in the show as a cop
Tahar Rahim stars in the show as a cop

The first movie in the franchise, The Pink Panther, featured a cartoon short at the beginning and at the end of the movie. It featured an animated panther, pink in color. The short was loved by the audience so much that the United Artists signed a multi-year deal with the creator of the animated short, Friz Freleng, and his studio, DePatie-Freleng Enterprises. With this, the animated character not only appeared in almost all of the movies in The Pink Panther series, but also spawned its own cartoon shorts. The shorts were produced together by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and MGM Animation.
The Pink Panther character went through a series of transformations over the years. In the first short, The Pink Phink, the Pink Panther was seen harassing a man, who was a caricature of Freleng himself. In the early shorts, the panther never talked, except for in two shorts – Sink Pink and Pink Ice. In the later parts, it was voiced by Rich Little and was modeled on the voice of David Niven, the original nemesis of Clouseau.

The Pink Panther character has been a huge hit, with over 124 short films, 10 TV shows and 3 prime time specials. Among them, about 92 were theatrical shorts and the rest were made for release on TV.

John Hurt plays a major prosecutor in the series.
John Hurt plays a major prosecutor in the series.

While the character itself was gaining huge public fame and critical acclaim, there was something else happening simultaneously in the shadows. In 1993, a heist took place in central London and the thieves left with a £500,000 diamond with them. The robbery was meticulously implemented in a way that left the local crime investigation agencies clueless. The diamond was hidden by the thieves in a jar of face cream. The idea was taken from the movie, The Return of the Pink Panther, which was the fourth installment in The Pink Panther series. The gang responsible for the theft soon came to be called Pink Panthers, after the movie series. This marked the beginning of the rise of the Pink Panthers.

Pink Panthers have so far robbed a variety of establishments in over 120 countries. Their targets are always high profile and the methods they use have been known to be ingenious. Their attention to detail is straight out of a movie. For instance, before they robbed a jewelry store in Biarritz, they fresh painted a nearby bench to prevent from sitting on it and notice them robbing the store. They have targeted Graff twice – once leaving with jewelry worth £1 million, and another time robbing it of £23 million worth of jewelry. With time, their hits have become more and more outrageous, including a £60 million heist in December, 2008 in Paris. In the recent years, the gang has grown to become even more meticulous in its actions. Two of the heists – $65 million heist of a jewelry store in 2009, and $136 million heist at Carlton Hotel in Cannes – are only suspected to be carried out by the gang, without any solid proof.

Samantha Morton is another star in the series
Samantha Morton is another star in the series

Even Interpol does not have a finger on what exactly is happening. It is suspected that the group that is known as Pink Panthers is composed of Montenegrins, Serbs, and Bosniaks. Their crimes have spanned across continents and countries, all across the world. It is estimated that the group is responsible for over $500 million worth of thefts in more than half a dozen countries. Their artistry has not missed the eyes of the producers in the show business either.
Realizing that the audacity and creativity with which the Pink Panthers have carried out their thefts, are excellent cinematic material, and Jack Thorne has already created a TV show based on the heist. The show is titled The Last Panthers, which airs on Canal+ in France, and on Sky Atlantic in a handful of other European countries. The show is set to make its American debut on SundanceTV this spring.

The story of the show itself is fictional, but it begins with a heist that is largely similar to the ones carried out by the ‘real’ Pink Panthers. Three men dressed as decorators are at an upscale jewelry store. They remove their guns, give out instructions and have people kneeling down on the ground. The boss in the store gives out the number for the safe, and soon the thieves pour a tin of pink paint over her head, clarifying to the audience of the connection of the show’s name and the gang. However, unlike the real heist, the one on the show is far from perfect. One of the members gets hit, an innocent bystander girl in a car dies, and the robbing gang splits into two. So begins the hunt.

Goran Bogdan is the lost Panther child committing a major crime
Goran Bogdan is the lost Panther child committing a major crime

As far as the title of Pink Panther is concerned, it has been a full cycle – starting with a fictitious thief and diamond, then becoming a popular animated show, being conferred the name of possibly the most mischievous gang of thieves of our era, and back to the fictitious diamond thieves. The Pink Panther is nothing short of a legend in itself.

This show is also produced by the Warp franchice. If you like Aphex Twin, Shane Meadows, Grizzly Bear, Boards of Canada, or Battles you should give the show a chance:

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Categories tv
Broad City

Broad City and the Millennial Woman

Broad City

At first look, Broad City looks like any other sitcom with New York in the backdrop, pretty girls in the cast and their misadventures that become fodder for some slapstick comedy. There is no dearth of such comedies on television. There was Friends, Two Broke Girls, How I Met Your Mother, and the list goes on. They all show young people making their way through the struggles, through the challenges of living in the Big Apple, and how their friendship with each other saves the day. Sure, Broad City does tread the well-beaten path, makes the experience much more contemporary, and so much more relatable.

The show stars two Jewish women, Abbi and Ilana, who are in their twenties and in the pursuit of exploring life. They take the good, bad and the ugly that comes with it on day at a time. The show on Comedy Central is honest in its depiction and unapologetic in its approach. It takes the case of the quintessential millennial women, their lifestyle, their friendships, and their take on romantic relationships. The show portrays everything that the today’s audience can easily connect with.

Broad City’s key is self-Love

Abbi and Ilana are back with new adventures, new special guests and the same unbreakable bond.
Abbi and Ilana are back with new adventures, new special guests and the same unbreakable bond.

This is very true for the show and the millennial woman. They love themselves and that is awesome. These women are selfish, which does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. They like the way they look. They do not dress every day to impress a guy or to fish for a compliment. They dress as it suits them. They can go casual or uber-chic, but that depends on what they feel like on that particular day. They do not make themselves up to look like they are going to walk the ramp every minute of their life and they are not sad about it.

They Do Not Need Men to Live

These women do have men in their life coming and going, but those relationships do not define them. The series passes the Bechdel Test with flying colors. The girls talk to each other about their problems, mess that they need help to clean up, money, food and when needed, men. But their lives are definitely not centered around a man, waiting for someone to validate their existence. This is perhaps the most appropriate portrayal of how millennial women are. They have more to life and that is what makes them even more attractive and interesting.

Ilana Glazer is the daughter of Sandi (née Wexler) and Larry Glazer
Ilana Glazer is the daughter of Sandi (née Wexler) and Larry Glazer

Friends for Life

Strong and exclusive female friendships form a significant part of the network that Millennial women have today. It is a thing of the past, where a woman only had friendships until she gets herself involved in a romantic relationship or had a group of friends that happened to have other girls. Millennials have strong female friendships that make an important part of their life. They fall back on friendship when all else fails, and it remains a constant while other relationships change. Broad City is, in fact, based on one such friendship. Abbi and Ilana reach out to each other whenever they need, and they are their back up.

They Make Their Own Way

The Millennial Woman is just herself, basically. Always
The Millennial Woman is just herself, basically. Always

They are not shy, soft-spoken girls. They fully grown adults, who can make their own decisions. They work for a living and they spend it on what pleases them. They are not waiting for any knight in shining armor to take away all their woes. They are doing that every single day in a manner they deem fit. They do screw up and learn from it. This is what women are today and this is how learning happens.

They Speak their Mind

Whether it is about a man or cracking silly dirty jokes, Abbi and Ilana are not trying to put up any ‘good girl’ image. They are what they are in front of everybody. They are two friends, who love each other’s company and do silly things which may not always be ladylike. But then again, what is ladylike anyway! Millennial women are also redefining what it means to be a lady. It necessarily does not have to mean getting stoned or spewing abuses. But, it can be anything what a woman wants. The idea is that there is no mold that a woman today is looking to fit into. They are exploring new things, doing jobs never done before, leading organizations, and so on.

There is No Schedule for Life

'Yeah, I’m not having fake phone calls with myself, but it’s sort of like just that feeling of wanting to,' says Abbi.
‘Yeah, I’m not having fake phone calls with myself, but it’s sort of like just that feeling of wanting to,’ says Abbi.

People have made such a big deal out of relationships and the ‘right’ age to do everything. However, as the times are changing, women are realizing that they are free to do whatever they want. Millennials do not feel the pressure of conforming to the norm and getting into relationships or marriages just because it is the right age to do it. They demand more from relationships. The show also does not necessarily subscribe by any such school of thought where the protagonists are worried or even concerned about their ages and the need to get into a relationship ASAP. Gone are the days when it was a norm that a woman is complete only when she is married and has had kids. Sure, it still is one of the purposes of their life, but not the primary one. However, Millennials are challenging that. The show also portrays two perfectly happy women, who do not feel the need to get into a marriage or have kids. It is very similar to what many women are opting for today. They can have a primary purpose other than raising a family and that is totally cool.

No Labels

Hannibal Buress is the pair's best friend and enabler
Hannibal Buress is the pair’s best friend and major enabler

Women today are more experimental of their sexuality. They are more sexually fluid, which necessarily does not mean multiple partners, but the fact that they may like different experiences at different times. There is no one slot of homo-, hetero-, or bi-, that you can place them in. Ilana in the show is also happily ambiguous about her sexual choices and does not fret about fitting into any one brand of sexuality.

Broad City is a comedy, but its success is a proof of how relevant it is in today’s times. Movies and television are always a reflection of the society and vice-versa. The acceptance of the concept translates to the people being able to see themselves in the characters of the show.

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Categories tv
Legends of tomorrow

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’s deadly, sweet, and fun facts

Legends of tomorrow

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is also commonly simplified to just Legends of Tomorrow. The genre of the television series falls under science fiction, action, adventure, and superhero fiction. It is based on the famous characters from DC comics and it was developed by Phil Klemmer, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg, and Greg Berlanti. Executive producers for the show include Chris Fedak, Sarah Schechter, Phil Klemmer, Andrew Kreisberg, Marc Guggenheim, and Greg Berlanti. Producers for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow are Sarah Nicole Jones, Glen Winter, and Vladamir Stefoff. Kevin Mock is the editor for the show and David Geddes is the cinematographer.

Filming takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia and there is a single-camera setup. There are multiple production companies behind DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, including DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, Berlanti Productions, and Bonanza Productions. Warner Bros. Television Distribution is responsible for distributing Legends of Tomorrow. The series was released on the CW, which is its original network, and it first premiered on January 21st.

Members of Legends of tomorrow
Members of Legends of tomorrow

Superheroes have been around for about a century, springing up in the early age of comic books. Since then they have grown and adapted as the culture has changed and technology has risen in dominance.

Even after all of these decades we still love the concept of superpowered beings saving the planet. The Flash and Arrow coexist with DC’s Legends of Tomorrow in the same universe. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is actually something of a spin-off of the two shows. The primary focus of the series rests on Rip Hunter who is a time-traveling rogue. The Time Master must travel to the present day, which to him is the past. Heroes and villains unite together in order to thwart the attempts of Vandal Savage who not only wants to bring about the apocalypse but seeks to destroy time and the world.

The Pilot is broken down into two episodes. The first episode is about Rip Hunter who travels from the year 2166 to this present year. In 2166 Vandal Savage had already taken over the planet. He recruits Kendra Saunders, Carter Hall, Leonard Snart, Mick Rory, Dr. Martin Stein, Jefferson “Jax” Jackson, Sara Lance, and Ray Palmer. The team travels back in time to 1975 in order to talk to someone who knows all about Vandal Savage. The second part of the pilot also takes place in 1975.

The heroes combine powers to defeat their time-traveling villains
The heroes combine powers to defeat their time-traveling villains

The cast of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow includes: Victor Garber as Professor Martin Stein/Firestorm, a nuclear physicist, Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer/Atom, inventor, scientist, and CEO of Palmer Technologies, Arthur Darville as Rip Hunter, a rogue time traveler, Caity Lotz as Sara Lance/White Canary from Arrow, Franz Drameh as Jefferson “Jax” Jackson/Firestorm, Ciara Renée as Chay- Ara/Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl, Falk Hentschel as Khufu/Carter Hall/Hawkman, the soulmate of Kendra and a former Egyptian prince, Amy Pemberton as Gideon , Dominic Purcell as Mick Rory/Heat Wave, an arsonist, Wentworth Miller as Leonard Snart/Captain Cold, Casper Crump as the immortal Vandal Savage, and Stephanie Corneliussen as Valentina Vostok, a Soviet physicist.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has received some mixed reviews. Although the critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes is 56%, it has an audience score of 67% and IMDb gives it 7.8/10 stars. So far there are a lot of individuals out there who have seen what episodes have been released and have very passionate
opinions, one way or the other.

The Arrow was the first of the shows to be released by the CW
The Arrow was the first of the shows to be released by the CW

Several people have pointed out a few inconsistencies in the plot, calling it “moronic.” While some claim that with his time-traveling abilities Rip Hunter should be able to ambush Vandal Savage. Some of the fight scenes have been criticized for various reasons–either because the team of heroes and villains should have been able to defeat their target, or just that the fighting itself was cheesy and poor.

Negative reviews also say that Legends of Tomorrow features over-acting and in general bad storytelling. Even the effects have been criticized. The series is certainly a lot to take in at first and quite a lot takes place in the first couple of episodes. A few of the negative reviews did claim that the series might be more enjoyable for children or those who are already a part of Arrow or The Flash.

Atom was a character taken from the show Arrow
Atom was a character taken from the show Arrow

Even those who did enjoy the show often call it predictable, but a lot of good was also said. Several reviews state that Legends of Tomorrow is almost like a combination of The Avengers (putting aside the fact that they are Marvel, and there are, of course, those who say that one is better than the other) and Doctor Who. (Those who like Doctor Who might remember Arthur Darvill or Rory from the series.) There are a lot of very enthusiastic fans who claim that everything bout the series is to-love, saying that it is exciting and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Fans also say that even though the series might have some initial flaws and a few rough edges there is a lot of hope that it will get better with time. Many of the people who enjoyed the show said that the negative reviews were extreme and that even though it might be somewhat silly it is still the entertainment you would want and expect to find. Many of its fans also, as might be expected, are already fans of The Flash and Arrow. There are, of course,
crossovers including the other two shows. Needless to say, if this sounds like your genre and you are a superhero fan then you should at least give it a chance.

Very few people have claimed that the series is perfect, even those who love it. It is off to a somewhat fast start and the pacing is sometimes rather uneven. There are also a lot of characters to keep track of but the same could also be said of The Avengers. All this ultimately means is that the series may take a little time before it finds its stride and begins to patch up its flaws. This is never, of course, a guarantee, but it is very possible for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

White Canary is another character taken from The Arrow
White Canary is another character taken from The Arrow
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Mr Robot Behind the scenes

How Mr. Robot’s Technology and Depression Are Reflecting Our Time

Mr Robot Behind the scenes

The drama, Mr. Robot, is a creation of Sam Esmail. The show follows the life of a hacker and cyber-security executive, Elliot Anderson, who has been portrayed by Rami Malek. He suffers from both clinical depression and social anxiety disorder. As he is going about his rather monotonous life, he is recruited by a man, portrayed by Christian Slater, who calls himself “The Robot”. He wants to attack a large corporation to erase all debt records, which is very similar to the movie: “Fight Club”. The show made its debut as an online series and won millions of hearts. It has been wholeheartedly accepted by audiences and praised by the critics. It even won a Golden Globe for the Best Television Drama Series. Among all the accolades, the show has also brought to the table a reality of life, which is seldom discussed, mostly because people do not even recognize it as a problem.

Mr Robot has become such a huge success, not because of its pace or unpredictable surprises, but for the complete opposite reasons. It shows and tells people what they already know or have witnessed. At the core of it are two connected thoughts: One is the unprecedented importance of cyber-security in the lives of the present day people, and the other encompases the problems that this concept poses on our society.

Depression from our current society makes the show seem more relevant to our time
Depression from our current society makes the show seem more relevant to our time. Mr Robot wants us all to pay

Technology has infiltrated every aspect of our lives. There are large data dumps created every single second that are becoming huge political and economic weapons with great destructive power. Companies are being hacked every day and sensitive information about unsuspecting netizens is being leaked routinely. There are huge gaps in cyber-security that are wide open for the public, but we all are completely oblivious to them. This is exactly what Mr. Robot shows – the fact that one man with the right tools and knowledge can bring the whole system down.

This onslaught of technology on our lives has also given birth to online communities that are ‘social’. This has led to a never seen before wave of adults who find themselves in a crowd and yet feel completely alone. Elliot Anderson is no different. His only form of interaction with others is through hacking into their personal accounts. He sees official lies, concentrated wealth, and so on. Thanks to his limited social interactions, which his social anxiety and depression have further worsened, he is addicted to loneliness. He is vulnerable and with his knowledge, a weapon in himself, something that has come to the notice of Mr. Robot. This man will do anything that seems right to him, because he has no other human voice in his life to interject him or reason with him.

Portia Doubleday
Portia Doubleday

Just when the finale of the show was to air, a tragic accident illustrated just how real of a problem Mr. Robot was showcasing. A news crew consisting of Adam Ward, a photojournalist and the accompanying news reporter, Alison Parker, were killed by their ex-colleague. Vester Lee Flanagan was a “disturbed” journalist, who maintained a pretty active Facebook and Twitter accounts. He had been fired from his job a while ago and has expressed discontent with the system online, but was never able to communicate efficiently with peers. The finale of the first season was postponed, given the similarity of the show’s concept.

The other aspect of the show deals with the cyber-security issues are a huge threat to privacy and safety of every citizen on the planet. In the show Anderson works at this powerful multinational technology company and hacks into the accounts of various people. This ‘cyber-security officer’ goes through the social media and mail accounts of strangers. If he finds something that can be called ‘wrong’, he forwards the material over to law enforcement. Initially, Anderson works like a self-appointed cyber police, turning in people such as a restaurateur involved in child pornography. This topic was also addressed the crime show Dexter: both productions are mainly about punishing the bad guys acting as vigilantes. However, as the series progresses, the logic that Anderson uses to punish people becomes difficult to justify. Technology has placed unlimited power in the hands of a person who does not identify with the society. The perils of it are unimaginable and as the show goes on, it becomes increasingly difficult for the audiences to accept his moral justification for his actions.

It is obvious that Anderson does not, by any means, represent the hacker culture. No living person for that matter. However what it does reflect is a truth – a product of our social practices that is not a part of the future but is already here. A member of the well-known hacking group Anonymous told media that this show is one of the most accurate portrayals of what the hacker culture wants to be seen as in the history of television and movies.

Rami Malek is Mr Robot technology expert
Rami Malek is Elliot Anderson

However, hacker groups have all started with little mischiefs, then graduated to harassing people and then moving to much bigger targets and leaking sensitive information that would help fuel social causes. We also have people like Snowden who have tried to inform the public only to be seen as a national threat by the government. But the evolution is pretty clear, as is the power. The question is – who will guard the guards? Preparing for a full-fledged cyber-attack is not only paranoia for companies or even individuals; it is something to be mindful of as a collective group of societies and cultures.

The show has come as a reminder to people that grew up with technology of the implications of their digital lives. This well-connected group of lonely individuals should be weary of the information they provide online. The power of technology is further fueling the evolution. Technology is not evil, but it can threaten us in a super evil way. Uninhibited power in the wrong hands can corrupt them without exception. Advancement in technology is the only way to cure illnesses, connect us with people around the world, and create new jobs. However, there is a need to embrace this change, while preventing a complete breakdown of the social machine. Mr. Robot may be fictional, but it is sure is very close to reality. It poses problems that not only should be fixes within ourselves, but also inside our global society.

Carly Chaikin
Carly Chaikin
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Princess Leia is a baddie

The Most Intimate Look at Princess Leia

Princess Leia is a baddie

Princess Leia, born as Leia Organa and later known as Leia Organa Solo, is the lead female character in the original Star Wars trilogy. The character was created by George Lucas and was played in the movies by Carrie Fisher. Carrie’s Princess Leia gained iconic status in the 70’s because of two major factors. One is her ‘cinnamon bun’ hairstyle. The second is the metal bikini she donned when Leia was held as a slave by Jabba the Hutt. The metal bikini gave her unprecedented fame as an entire generation’s sex symbol, which continues even to this day.

Princess Leia and Darth Vader relationship
Princess Leia and Darth Vader’s relationship is still being explored in the films

Princess Leia is the younger twin sister of Luke Skywalker. Both of them were born to Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala. Their mother was a senator and the former queen of Naboo and father later turned into the Sith Lord, Darth Vader. Padmé dies right after they were born, and their father was already set on the path to darkness. So, Leia is adopted by Senator Bail Organa and Queen Breha Organa of Alderaan.

During her lifetime, Leia has been more than just a princess. She is a politician, a warrior, a Jedi knight, a diplomat, an undercover agent, and much more. In fact, in one of the original drafts of the movies, George Lucas intended to give her more prominence in the movies than what her brother, Luke, enjoys. More than two dozen actresses auditioned for the role of Leia including Sigourney Weaver, Glenn Close, Jessica Lange, Farrah Fawcett, Kathleen Turner, and others. When Carrie Fisher was cast into the role of Leia, she was only 19. Later in 2014, Carrie revealed that although she enjoyed the role of Leia, she personally would have loved to play the role of Han Solo.

Princess Leia is super Sassy
Princess Leia is super Sassy

In the original film, Star Wars, Leia was captured by Darth Vader aboard her ship Tantive IV. At the time, she was a member of the Imperial Senate, but was acting as a spy for the Rebel Alliance. She was in possession of the plans for the Empire’s secret weapon and hid them with a droid, R2-D2. She programed the droid in time to find the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine. Vade tortured Leia to reveal the location of the Rebel base, which she doesn’t. When he threatens to destroy her home planet, Alderaan, she gives him the wrong location. Despite her supposed cooperation, Vader destroys Alderaan anyway. She was later rescued by Obi-Wan, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO. She then led the rebels in a battle at the end of which Luke destroys the Empire’s secret weapon, the Death Star.

In the second edition, The Empire Strikes Back (1980), the Rebel base on Hoth is attacked. Leia aids in its evacuation and escapes the planet aboard Han’s ship with him. The ship’s hyperdrive is damaged and they find refuge in a nearby asteroid field. While they were unknowingly in the stomach of a space slug, romance brews between Han and Leia. Han then seeks out his old friend, Lando’s help in Cloud City for repairing his ship. Lando, double crosses Han and hands him over to Vader, who freezes him in carbonite. This is when Leia confesses her love to Han, when he is frozen. As she escapes Cloud City with Lando’s help, she senses that Luke is in trouble and saves him after his nearly fatal lightsaber duel with Vader. At the end of The Empire Strikes Back, Han is sent in carbonite to Jabba.

Princess Leia Kisses Luke

In the next movie, Return of the Jedi (1983), she infiltrates Jabba’s palace along with Chewbacca and tries to rescue Han from his grip. However, Jabba captures them and keeps Leia as a slave with him. This is when she is seen in her iconic metal bikini. Later, Luke and Lando pull off a rescue mission, at the end of which Leia strangles Jabba with the very chain he used as a leash on her. Everyone escapes to the forest moon of Endor, where Luke reveals to Leia that both of them are twin siblings, and that Vader is their father. She then leads the Rebel forces along with Han in the final battle against the Empire. They destroy the second Death Star too. With the help of the Ewoks, they manage to overpower the forces of the Empire, and put an end to the Empire itself.

The Star Wars saga has spawned numerous novelizations, comics, TV movies, video games, TV series, and so on. In much of this content, Leia can be seen, often playing a significant role in the events. After the fall of the Galactic Empire, she played a crucial role in restoring peace during the Galactic Civil War, subsequent galactic conflicts, and other major attacks on the Galaxy’s peace. She served in the position of Chief of State of the newly formed New Republic twice. Many alternate universe stories portray Leia taking up a variety of responsibilities, including that of a mother of three. In fact, in an alternate ending, she even turns to the dark side and fights her brother Luke in a lightsaber duel.

Fisher reprised her role, again as Leia, in the latest installment of Star Wars, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Now, Leia is more mature, and battle weary. The movie follows the events that again involve her family and its brush with the Dark side of the Force.

Princess Leia

During the 1980s, Leia became a feminist hero. Her portrayal of a brave and courageous woman, who was unhindered in any way by the nature of her gender, made her a symbol of the empowered woman. With that, Leia has appeared on a variety of Star Wars merchandise through the years. She even appeared on a 2007 US postage stamp and a 2015 UK postage stamp. Despite her heroics, she is best known in the popular culture as something as silly as her cinnamon bun hairstyle and the metal bikini she wore as a slave with Jabba the Hutt.

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Disney, Marvel, and Microsoft Are The Next Huge Partnership To Be Watching

For anyone who is not in the entertainment industry, it might feel unnatural to read the three names – Disney, Marvel and Microsoft, in a single sentence. Sure, there is some relation between Disney and Marvel as they are in the same industry. But, Microsoft? That’s surely got to be an aberration here, right? Wrong. For starters, Disney owns Marvel. They bought Marvel way back in 2009. As for Microsoft, that is quite a long story.
In the late 90’s, both Microsoft and Disney wanted to partner together and push the Disney shows, movies and cartoons to Windows 98. That partnership did not come to be as both sides wanted to be the owner of this world’s biggest distribution system of entertainment content. Then, about a decade ago, the two behemoths tried to embrace each other again, wherein Disney’s content was to be pushed on Microsoft devices. However, that didn’t work out as planned either, due to a number of reasons. Things seem to have changed lately and the time may now finally be ripe for what can possibly become the largest entertainment platform in the world. Here is why the Disney, Marvel, and Microsoft partnership can mean a rain of gold for all of them.

Movies

Last year, we saw Disney Movies Anywhere become a reality. It is a movie streaming service for Xbox 360 and Windows platforms. Users of windows platforms can make use of this service to buy Disney movies once, and watch it on Xbox 360 or any Windows operating device of their choice. In effect, it is an online repository of movies – one that they never stand to lose or break, like a DVD or a Blu-Ray. That is, unless they lose their account login details. With this association, all movies made by Disney, and its various subsidiaries are available on one platform. Two of its biggest subsidiaries are Marvel and Pixar. So, their movies can also be purchased and watched by people on Disney Movies Anywhere. While this is a great step, the association has still not reached its full potential. Disney continues to offer its Disney Movies Anywhere on various other platforms too, including Android and iOS. But, there is potential here.

Disney movies are available in the Xbox home page as part of the partnership
Disney movies are available in the Xbox home page as part of the partnership

Microsoft has been planning turn its Xbox One platform from only a gaming platform to a complete entertainment system. It has even tasted some level of success at that. Having Disney and Marvel movies streaming on Xbox One exclusively for the first few days, before they are released on other platforms will bring huge revenues as well as improve the acceptance of Xbox One as the ultimate entertainment platform. For Microsoft, this is a huge win. Moreover, the Windows platform practically covers the entire globe in its reach. If Disney, and by default Marvel, gets access to this platform, then it will be able to release its movies across the globe at the same time and reach the farthest corners of the world. On a revenue sharing basis, both Disney as well as Microsoft will be in a win-win situation.

Games

Games based on Disney and Marvel characters are already a huge hit on various platforms, including Windows, Android and iOS. However, the games which are exclusively made for Xbox One or Windows platforms such as the Halo series, Inside, Sunset Overdrive, and others, can turn the tide towards or away
from the Microsoft’s platforms. If Disney, Marvel, and Microsoft come together to produce games exclusively for Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 platforms, then they both stand to benefit hugely from it. For Microsoft, this means a dramatic increase in sales of its consoles, as well as game purchases on its platforms. For Disney and Marvel, this could mean a next level of diversification. Microsoft packs decades of experience producing some of the best game sagas the world has ever seen. Disney can utilize this to produce top-notch games based on Disney and Marvel characters. This will help them establish themselves in a market that recently surpassed the movie industry in total revenues. Another win-win for both the entities.

Marvel, Disney and Netflix created the videogame disney infinity
Marvel and Disney  created the videogame disney infinity

Comics and Cartoons

As mentioned before, Microsoft, through its Windows platform, can push Disney and Marvel’s content to every corner of the world. With that big a distribution network, sales of their comic books and cartoons can soar. People in international markets would have instant access to Disney and Marvel comics the moment they are released by them. The two organizations can even implement a subscription service, wherein the users get limited or unlimited access to all the content published on the Microsoft platforms, based on their purchase of various subscriptions.

Merchandising

Like it or not, merchandising is one of the biggest moneymakers for movie producers. People are ready to pay significantly higher prices for a movie based or character based edition of products, be it the Star Wars edition of the Microsoft Surface Book, or the Nokia Lumia Iron Man edition. If Microsoft gets merchandising rights on Disney and Marvel products, then apart from the Xbox series, Microsoft’s other products can also taste a similar success. As for Disney, it gets either a share of revenue from the sales, or it gets money for selling the merchandising rights to Microsoft.

Disney movies anywhere app is available everywhere now
Disney movies anywhere app is available everywhere now

Conclusion

The partnership between Disney and Microsoft has been long in waiting. With Marvel in the picture over the past few years, these three parties now have the potential to create a content creation and distribution system unlike anything the world has ever seen. They will together be commanding a huge chunk of the entertainment industry. However, both Disney and Microsoft seek from each other, what analysts have termed as “polygamous” relationship. Each party wishes to work with other players too, whose interests can be conflicting with those of the other party. If they wish to realize the full potential of their association, then they should solve this problem.

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