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MIT unveils swimming, oil-cleaning robots

Prototypes of the MIT Seaswarm robots have been tested in the ocean, but they're not ready for commercial use.

Prototypes of the MIT Seaswarm robots have been tested in the ocean, but they’re not ready for commercial use

CNN) — Here’s a new way of looking at oil spill clean-up: Forget the big ships, massive work crews and hefty price tags.

Instead, just deploy an army of autonomous, oil-scrubbing robots. They can find the oil on their own. And when they reach the site of an oil spill, they talk to their robot friends to figure out the best way to get the whole thing mopped up.

That’s the vision the Massachusetts Institute of Technology put forward on Wednesday as the school announced the development of a prototypical robot called Seaswarm. The $20,000 robots will be unveiled officially to the public on Saturday at an event in Venice, Italy, and will be ready to deal with oil spills in about a year, said Assaf Biderman, who oversaw MIT’s research team on the project.

The Seaswarm robots, which were developed by a team from MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, look like a treadmill conveyor belt that’s been attached to an ice cooler. The conveyor belt piece of the system floats on the surface of the ocean. As it turns, the belt propels the robot forward and lifts oil off the water with the help of a nanomaterial that’s engineered to attract oil and repel water.

“You can imagine it like a carpet rolling on the surface of the water,” said Biderman, who also is associate director of the SENSEable City Lab.

The material on the robot’s conveyer belt, which MIT calls a “paper towel for oil spills,” can absorb up to 20 times its weight in oil.

Once it has absorbed the crude from the surface of the ocean, the robot can either burn off the oil on the spot, using a heater on the “ice cooler” part of its body, or it can bag the oil and leave it on the surface of the water for a later pick-up, Biderman said. That oil could be reused or recycled.

The robots are designed to work in a swarm, he said, meaning thousands could be deployed on the same spill at once. They coordinate with each other by using GPS location data. That lets them plot out the most efficient way to tackle a clean-up project.

Biderman said the Seaswarm robots are relatively cheap, quick and effective at cleaning up oil spills.

Had they been deployed on the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, he said, the Seaswarm robots would have cleaned up the oil in two months at a cost of $100 million to $200 million, far less than the actual clean-up bill.

The Seaswarm robots operate on solar energy and require only 100 watts of power, or about that of a bright light bulb. They could stay at sea for months, Biderman said, and could operate around the clock.

The conveyor belts on the robots also are engineered in a way that they hug the water to prevent them from flipping over.

“Because it adheres to the surface of the water, it cannot capsize,” he said, “So it can withstand quite severe weather. Imagine this like a leaf that lands on the surface of the water and moves with the waves and the currents and cannot be flipped over.”

Traditional oil skimmers are attached to large boats. They must be operated by people, which increases their cost and they are hampered by severe weather.

About 800 skimming boats were deployed in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, which began in April and led to nearly 5 million barrels of oil being released into the ocean, according to government estimates. By comparison, 5,000 to 10,000 of MIT’s autonomous robots would have been needed to respond to the spill, Biderman said.

MIT will continue research on the robots for about a year, he said, at which time the robot technology would be ready for commercial production and possibly a buyer.

Other groups are developing oil-spill cleanup technology, too.

Case Western Reserve University has developed another nanotechnology “sponge” material that could be used in response to such disasters.

And a company called Extreme Spill Technology says on its websitethat it has developed a traditional, boat-based skimming technology that works much more quickly and in rougher waters than the traditional skimmers.

Biderman said MIT’s oil-sopping robot would be most effective in situations like the recent oil disaster, where oil is spread out.

“Ideally, when spillage happens, the best thing to do is to contain it right where the spillage occurs,” he said. “But quite often the oil goes out of containment, and this is where this technology would be most effective.”

But the robots were actually designed with smaller, localized clean-ups in mind, he said.

“We’re hoping that spillage like what we’ve seen with Deepwater Horizon will not occur again, but oil leakage constantly happens and that’s really what motivated us,” he said. “When you drill offshore, you always have leakage. And you can imagine a team of robots waiting around the corner for a spill

August 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

8 USEFUL WEB TOOLS YOU WOULD NOT WANT TO MISS

1.Convert Files

Easily convert different file formats. You can convert images, download YouTube video and much more with this web tool.

2. Joongel

Are you a power searcher? Then this tool this for you. You simultaneously search different search engines in different categories. It can be very useful if you are doing an online research.

3. Quick Thumbnail

Simply create thumbnails in different sizes right from your browser. You can upload an image from your computer or web directory and choose sizes of the thumbnails you want.

4. ScreenCastle

Have you ever wondered if you would be able record your screen right from your computer without any software? Yes you can. This tool would be useful if you would not want to download any large software or if you are not at you own computer. This is uses java applet to record your screen.

6. Mockingbird

Another handy tool for project mangers, designers and developers. Simple and easy wire framing for your project. The interface is very easy to use.

7.  Cyclur

If you maintain multiple websites and wanted show feeds between you websites, Cyclur will get the job done with knowing too much coding. Just simple insert your feeds link and customize the look.

8. Flipping Typical

Filpping Typical is an useful online utility for web designer to preview a text in different fonts. Type in the text you want to preview and you will see it right away and it also gives you the font name.

August 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

8 Oscars Winners Who Should Give the Award Back

The Academy Awards! The penultimate acting award given to the creme de la creme of Hollywood.  In most cases, winners continue on their path to greatness, always topping themselves and sometimes even picking up another Oscar along the way (Meryl Streep, Al Pacino and Russell Crowe come to mind).  But then there are the other Oscar winners. Those who seemed to have just won the big award as a fluke, dare I say almost by mistake.  Their careers going from the highest stratosphere to the lowest of the low.  For your consideration then, here are 8 of those Oscar winners now turned losers:

1. Cuba Gooding Jr.

Who can forgot Gooding’s rousing acceptance speech after winning Best Supporting Actor in 1996 for his role in Jerry MacGuire.  Fast forward almost 15 years later and poor Cuba can’t seem to catch a break.  Though he did have a minor role in 1997′s hit  As Good As It Gets, Gooding’s career since then has definitely taken a downturn. With roles in such flops as Snow Dogs, Norbit and Daddy Day Camp, I think the Academy should be screaming at Gooding ,”show us where your talent went!”

2. Mira Sirvino

In one of the Academy’s most amazing  upsets, Mira Sorvino beat out Joan Allen, Kathleen Quinlin , Mare Wingingham and Kate Winslet for her 1995 Best Supporting Oscar. Her annoying hooker with a heart of gold in Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite was a well-written role that she added nothing to except a Jersey accent. While she did show some promise in Romi and Michelle’s High School Reunion, her career has been flat for the past 14 years as she has wallowed in TV movies and straight-to-DVD fare (a.k.a. post-Oscar purgatory).

3. Kevin Costner

The Holy Grail of Oscar flubs came in 1990 when Kevin Costner’s preachy, self righteous, overwritten loooong crapfest, Dances With Wolves stole the Oscar away from Martin Scorcese’s masterpiece Goodfellas (just what was the Academy thinking when they chose Costner as best director over Scorcese?!) Since winning, Costner has failed to act in or direct a single watchable movie (WaterworldThe Postman?!!…hellooooooo??!!).

4. Helen Hunt

Helen Hunt won for an uninspired performance in As Good As It Gets. Does anyone really think she held her own against Jack in any scene? Even against Greg Kinnear? No, sir, she did not. After her Oscar win she went on to appear in the over-manipulative Pay It Forward, was upstaged by a volleyball in Castaway and phoned in another nothing role in Bobby. Hunt did have a nice turn in What Women Want, but she hasn’t had a leading role in nearly ten years.  And just like Mira Sorvino, she beat out Kate Winslet. Say WHAT?!

5. Kim Basinger

Kim Basinger (the former Playmate and Bond Girl) finally won Oscar gold portraying the proverbial hooker with a heart of gold in L.A. Confidential.  So did Basinger build on her Oscar win and continue on her career upswing? Uh, nope.  Basinger went on to star in a series of chick flick flops like: I Dreamed of Africa, Bless the Child and The Mermaid Chair. Gee, I guess beng married to Alec Baldwin really did take a toll on her.

6. Roberto Benigni

In 1998, Roberto Benigni’s overly enthusiastic chair dancing victory was cute when he won Best Foreign film for Life is Beautiful. It was tired however, by the time he won Best Actor, beating Tom Hanks, Ed Norton, Ian McKellan and Nick Nolte.  Since then, he bombed in Pinnochio and in a re-release of Son of the Pink Panther (which tanked the first time it came out too). All told, the cutesy little Italian man has made two pictures since his 1997 Oscar win. I wonder if he still thinks life is beautiful…

7. Halle Berry

Back in 2001, Berry made history when she was the first African American woman to win the Best Actress Oscar for her role  in Monster’s Ball. Three years later however, Berry gallantly showed up at the Razzies  to accept her award for worst actress for her role in  Catwoman.  As of late,  Berry has been known more for the drama in her personal life than in her career after divorcing sex addict husband Eric Benet, having  a daughter with boyfriend Gabriel Aubry and then splitting up with him 5 years later.

8. Adrian Brody

Adrien who? Exactly. Brody won a Best Actor Oscar for 2002′s The Pianist, but since that time,King Kong has been the only blockbuster to his credit. Some of his more forgettable films includeThe JacketThe VillageHollywoodlandManoleteThe Brothers Bloom and this summer’s semi-hit Predators. Right now the only thing that seems really memorable about Brody is that spit swapfest he had with Halle Berry when he accepted his Oscar.

So what other actors do you guys think should give their Oscar back?

August 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rob Reiner Talks About ‘Flipped’

Madeline Carroll, Rob Reiner and Callan McAuliffe on the set of 'Flipped.'

Madeline Carroll, Rob Reiner and Callan McAuliffe on the set of ‘Flipped.’

© Warner Bros Pictures

August 19, 2010 – Rob Reiner is back at the helm of a coming of age film with Flipped, the big screen adaptation of the bestselling young adult book by Wendelin Van Draanen. Set in the ’60s, Flipped follows neighbors Juli Baker (Madeline Carroll) and Bryce Loski (Callan McAuliffe) as they grow up across the street from each other but in dramatically different environments. Juli’s family is grounded and open with each other; Bryce’s family is all about outward appearances. Juli’s been in love with Bryce since the second grade, but Bryce doesn’t feel the same way. Flipped flips back and forth, showing their lives as they grow up in the same neighborhood from Bryce’s point of view as well as Juli’s.

At a press conference in LA in support of Flipped, co-writer/director Reiner talked about the appeal of the project, his young cast, and adapting the popular novel.

Rob Reiner Flipped Press Conference

How did you discover Flipped the book?

Rob Reiner: “My son, Nick, was assigned it in school. He was 11 years old, he was in the fifth grade and he brought the book home and we read it together because many times we read things together. As we were reading it, I was just blown away by how good the writing was. A lot of times you’ll read in books that are written for children, there’s a kind of level of writing that isn’t particularly insightful or there’s not a lot of depth to it. This book had real sophistication. It was a real, honest understanding of what kids go through when they experience those first powerful confusing feelings of love. I was knocked out by that. I also was taken by the fact that it was also told from both points of view – from the boy’s point of view and the girl’s point of view. I was intrigued by the fact that even though I was going to see essentially the same things done over, I stayed completely riveted and involved. I was wanting to know what was going to happen even though we had just seen what was going to happen because now we’re going to hear her point of view and her take on it, and we were going to get new insights and new information about it. It held my interest all the way to the end and then I cried at the end.”

“My son actually, as we were reading it, said, ‘You know, dad, this would make a really good movie.’ I said, ‘Yep, you’re absolutely right.’ So that’s how I learned about it. And it also struck me, even though it was set in a modern day setting, it spoke to me because it made me think about the feelings that I had as a kid growing up and what I felt like when I first fell in love. That’s when I knew it was going to work for adults and for kids, because even though it’s about kids, I think adults looking back on that really get more out of it. And I thought back to when I did Stand By Me and there’s a great line at the end of Stand By Me where they say, ‘You never have friends like you do when you’re 12 years old.’ It’s the same thing when you look back. You never have those kinds of feelings. You experience them once in your life, that first very powerful feeling of love for the opposite sex or any, even the same sex but that first time. I said, ‘This is like Stand By Me for me.’ I had the same kind of response when I first looked at Stand By Me and that’s one of the reasons why we set it back in the late ‘50s/early ‘60s because it was the time that I was coming of age at that period.”

How did you avoid making the flips predictable?

Rob Reiner: “It was very challenging. First of all, I don’t know a lot of movies except for Rashomon and maybe one or two others…there’s not a lot of movies that commit to the idea of going back and forth the entire movie. You may have a scene or two that are told from two perspectives, but not an entire film where you go back and forth so that is kind of risky. We did toy for a while with the idea of telling it, when Andy Scheinman and I adapted it, we toyed with the idea of, ‘Can we tell it in some kind of linear fashion without using the convention of flipping back and forth?’ But we kept going back to the fact that it worked in the book. I felt since it worked in the book, from an emotional standpoint, it had to work in the film.”

“When we did Princess Bride years ago, a lot of people said to us, ‘You can’t have the grandson keep interrupting the story because then people are going to lose track of the story. You’re going to have to start it up again, you’re going to lose the momentum of the story.’ I said, ‘You know, it works in the book. It works in the book. Let’s be true to that and trust that it’s going to work when it’s on the screen.’ We did that when we did Princess Bride and it worked, so we had a feeling that this would work. Plus, every time we went to the girl’s point of view after the boy’s point of view, there was always new information because it was her perspective. So you weren’t seeing exactly the same thing. You were seeing it from a completely different angle and you were getting new information.”

“The hardest part was not in writing it because [author Wendelin Van Draanen] gave us the greatest blueprint of all. We basically took her book and made a screenplay out of it. It is essentially that story that’s in the book. The hard part wasn’t doing that. The hard part was keeping track of the points of view when you’re filming it. That was like a real puzzle because you shoot things out of sequence anyway. Now we were shooting two points of view out of sequence and many times we’d shoot the boys and the girls’ point of view at the same time because we’re shooting in a certain direction where the light is in a certain place, so it got very, very confusing. I’m now 63 so the whole time, it’s interesting, I started doing crossword puzzles and Sudokus during the making of it just to keep my mind going like this. And while we were making the film, for some reason the Rubik’s Cube became the fun game on the set. Our script supervisor was doing it, Callan [McAuliffe] started doing it, all the kids were doing it. This was like a Rubik’s Cube and many times the script supervisor would say, ‘Wait a minute, is this Julie’s point of view or is this Bryce’s point of view? Wait a minute, shouldn’t the camera be over there?’ We kept going through that, so that was the hardest part.”

“I’ve got to say, Wendelin and I, I think she was surprised a little bit because I’m very… To me, she did all the grunt work. She did all the hard work, the heavy lifting because she wrote a wonderful novel that lays out. And many times a filmmaker will take that novel, and to me if you’re going to make a movie out of a book or a play, it should be that you like that book or that play and you should respect it and want to make that. I did it with Princess Bride and Misery and Stand By Me. Keep what is good about it. Don’t start changing things for the sake of, ‘Oh, I’ve got to get my point of view in there and all this stuff.’ We met and this was an interesting thing because I got this question when we did one of the Q&As after one of the screenings. They asked me, ‘Do the kids in the book at the end – do they kiss at the end?’ I said, ‘No, they don’t kiss at the end.’ You know they’re going to kiss eventually. As soon as the camera goes off, these two are going to kiss each other and we know that. Wendelin, because she’s done so many lectures to schools and stuff with the book because the book has been a popular thing in schools, she’d get that question all the time: ‘I want to see them kiss.’ So she actually lobbied me to have them kiss at the end, which was not in her book. I said, ‘No. What’s good about it, what we loved about your book is that he brings the tree and that’s the emotional moment and that’s what we want to go out on.’ So I was arguing.”

The Baker family talks about important issues, supports each other even when they disagree, and nurtures each other. Could putting that on film inspire families to talk to their kids and include them in family discussions?

Rob Reiner: “I don’t know if it can inspire people. All I know is that what was so wonderful about the story is that you have two very real families that live across the street from each other. One of them, the values of one of them is not nearly as solid as the values of the other. I mean, the Loski family is more interested in material things and they’ve kind of lost their way in terms of the real values. And then you have the Bakers who don’t have nearly as much money but they have stronger values. Not to say that they’re perfect. They do argue. They do have their problems, but there is a deeper feeling of love there than there is in the other family. I love that, that we were able to explore those two types of families living in this rural suburban area that were right across the street from each other.”

“Hopefully people will be able to take from the Bakers. To me, the moral ballast of the movie is the Baker family and then the grandfather in the Loski family. He’s the one that comes along at the time when Bryce is really starting to drift into a bad place. He comes along to put him on the right track. He has a great line where he says, ‘Ideas are formed at a very early age. I’d hate to see you swim so far out you can’t swim back.’ He comes along at a certain time in a life where that boy has to start questioning what are his father’s values and are they the right ones? Because a parent has such a strong influence on you and he’s lucky that he has this grandfather to steer him in the right direction, which is towards the Bakers and towards the way they live their lives. So I don’t know if it will inspire people but I know that these are two very real families and very different types of families. I like the idea and that, to me, is a big part of the movie. Not just the first love and all that, but how families have an affect on the way you think and the way you conduct your life. Bryce is making some pretty poor decisions until he has his grandfather come into his life and put him on the right track.”

Madeline Carroll, Callan McAuliffe and Rob Reiner on the set of 'Flipped.'

Madeline Carroll, Callan McAuliffe and Rob Reiner on the set of ‘Flipped.’

© Warner Bros Pictures

Rob Reiner: “It was interesting because Madeline Carroll came to us immediately. I had seen her in a movie called Swing Vote where she played Kevin Costner’s daughter and I thought she was really good and she came in to read. She was the first person that came in to read for the part and we were all there, Andy [Scheinman] and Allen [Greisman] and I and just knocked us out. She was unbelievable. We all three looked at each other and said, ‘This is Julie Baker.’ We had 30-some-odd other actresses to see and I said to the casting director, ‘We’ve got Julie. We don’t need to look anymore.’ He says, ‘Well, you’ve got all these people.’ They all came in and read and there were a lot of very good ones but nobody came anywhere close to Madeline. She is extraordinary. She’s got gifts of somebody two, three times her age. She was 13 when she shot it. She’s 14 now and she has an instrument that’s as finely tuned as any 30, 40 year old actor I’ve ever worked with. So that was extraordinary.”

“Now the Bryce character was really difficult to find, and we were trying to figure out why it was so hard. I think it’s because Bryce is supposed to be a very handsome kid, he’s got a sexuality to him, this kid that every kid would just want to fall in love with and kids at 13-14. I think Callan [McAuliffe] was 14 when he did it. Those kids are out playing ball – they’re not acting. You don’t find those kids that want to act. They’re playing in a band, they’re playing sports or whatever they’re doing. They’re not usually wanting to be actors at that age if they’re going to be very real. So we had a hard time finding somebody that would be a regular kid, that would be that handsome and be that good an actor and we searched everywhere.”

“We couldn’t find the right guy and there was a tape that was sent to us on the internet from a kid that was in Australia and that was Callan McAuliffe. He has a thick Aussie accent and he looked great. I said, ‘Wow,’ and he did this great American accent. So we flew him from Australia and he read with Madeline and they were unbelievable together. So that was hard. It was hard to find him, but we got lucky. Then I thought, ‘Oh my God, he’s got such a thick Aussie accent,’ the first time up in Ann Arbor. I said, ‘Maybe you should practice speaking American when you’re not [filming]. Even now, just keep talking with an American accent.’ He never did, not once, except when we said action. Boom, the accent would go on. He put it on and then I said cut, and it was, ‘G’day, mate,’ and he was into that. It was spooky. He always knew. He knew before I knew, ‘That was Aussie. I said chicken in an Aussie way. I can do it better.’ He had a better ear than any of us did.”

August 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Album Review: Fantasia – ‘Back to Me’

© J Records.

Even if Fantasia Barrino hadn’t tried to commit suicide two weeks before her latest album was released, Back to Me would have been an album worth hearing. But in the wake of her suicide attempt, many people will be listening to the album on a deeper level as they look for clues in her lyrics as to why she’d want to try ending it all. But with or without the subtext of what’s gone down in her personal life in recent weeks, Back to Me, which was released in the U.S. on Aug. 24, 2010, is a good, solid album that manages to properly harness Fantasia’s formerly wild and raw voice.

Highly Promising

Among all the previous “American Idol” winners and runners-up, an argument could be made for Fantasia Barrino having the most sheer raw talent of them all, or at least being in the top three. But part of the problem she’s had during her post-“Idol” recording career is that her handlers and others tried to shoehorn her into a style that obviously didn’t fit her. People wanted to remake her into a pop music princess, when it’s clear that she’s more comfortable singing R&B and Soul music. Well, on Back to Me, she finally stops being a round peg in a square hole and gets after it as a genuine rhythm & blues artist.And the results are highly promising, if not perfect. Two of the album’s better songs, the doo-wop jam “Collard Greens & Cornbread” and “The Thrill is Gone,” featuring Cee-Lo Green (no, it’s not a cover of the B.B. King song) are both very melodic, outside-the-box, non-pop tracks that ‘Tasia definitely would not have recorded during the making of either of her first two albums. They also perfectly compliment and enhance Fantasia by mirroring her voice and being something young and fresh, but feeling old and classic at the same time.

Inner Turmoil

© J Records.
The main highlight on Back to Me, though, is the first single, “Bittersweet,” during which ‘Tasia agonizes over a former lover whom she can’t get out of her mind or heart, even though he treated her bad: “Part of me wants you, part of me don’t/part of me is missin’ you, part of me is gone,” she sings. And it’s the inner turmoil on this song and others like “Who’s Been Lovin’ You” and “Even Angels” that make you wonder how much of the album – even if she didn’t write all the songs – is based at least in part on her real-life experiences.And her suicide attempt definitely puts a damper on the album’s opening track, a Brandy-esque song called “I’m Doin’ Me,” that’s supposed to be an upbeat anthem of female empowerment, but has an underlying layer of loneliness, especially while she’s singing lyrics like “Life is too damn short to live unhappily.”

As stated above, this is definitely the best, most consistent album that Fantasia has released so far. Now, if she could only get her personal life in order, it would be almost be a certainty that she’d have a long, productive and successful career ahead of her.

August 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Iron Maiden – ‘The Final Frontier’

Iron Maiden - The Final FrontierIron Maiden – The Final Frontier

Universal Records

Iron Maiden’s fifteenth studio album The Final Frontier has a tantalizing title that may or may not signal that it’s their last album. Maiden has taken their time with this one, their longest gap (four years) between studio albums. It’s a complex, intricate, epic, challenging and ultimately fulfilling effort.When a band has been around for 30 plus years, there usually aren’t going to be many surprises in their sound, and with each successive album, it becomes more difficult to avoid repetition. And while The Final Frontier fits firmly in the Maiden sonic pantheon, there are enough twists and turns to set it apart and give it a distinct identity.

One of those twists is the opening song “Satellite 15…The Final Frontier.” The beginning is an interlude of sorts, with guitars piercing bombastic drums before Bruce Dickinson starts singing about 2 and a half minutes in. It continues building before finally kicking into Maiden mode about halfway through. “El Dorado” is a straightforward song, catchy but still with plenty of depth.

It’s a long album, with the 10 songs clocking in at nearly 80 minutes. 8 plus minute epics alternate with more traditional 4 or 5 minute songs. “Coming Home” is a ballad, with singer and pilot Dickinson singing about seeing the runway lights. The pace picks back up with “The Alchemist,” the shortest song on the album and one of the catchiest.

The second half of The Final Frontier is really strong. “Isle Of Avalon” is my personal favorite song on this CD. Its 9 minutes ebb and flow in tempo and intensity, with singalong choruses alternating with more complex and progressive sections. “Starblind” is another standout, with some great guitar work. Dickinson’s voice is as potent as ever, which is evident throughout. On “The Talisman” he croons at the beginning and belts it out with power and range for the rest of the track.

Things wrap up with the 11 minute “When The Wild Wind Blows,” an atmospheric and textured epic with a mellow beginning that transitions into a groovy mid-tempo song with plenty of room for showcasing Maiden’s musicianship. The Final Frontier is definitely a grower. Some of the songs are immediately accessible, but others take a while to fully unfold and appreciate. When a band has recorded some of the classic metal albums of all time, new material has a lot to live up to. Iron Maiden meets or exceeds all those expectations.

August 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Live Gig Review: Styx

Styx play 2003 Super Bowl pre-game show

Photo by Rebecca Butala / Getty Images

The crowd leaving the event center this hot July night was a mixed lot. Kids with their grandparents, teenagers, young families and lots and lots of boomers. There are not that many bands still on the road that can draw this kind of group. But draw them Styx did, because there wasn’t an empty seat in the house.

The band has been dealt a few bad hands and has reshuffled the deck over the years. Dennis DeYoung left due to physical problems, John Panozzo died in 1996 of complications from alcoholism, Chuck Panozzo has been fighting both AIDS and prostate cancer and James Young’s wife recently had a life-threatening medical emergency. The current incarnation has James (JY) Young, Tommy Shaw, Lawrence Gowan on keyboards (since 1999), Todd Sucherman on drums (since John Panozzo’s death) and Ricky Phillips on bass as of 2003.

The show started with a medley of “Borrowed Time” from Cornerstone, “Superstars” from The Grand Illusion, “Mr. Roboto” from Kilroy Was Here, “Rockin’ the Paradise” from Paradise Theatre and “Pieces of Eight” from the album of the same name. Then it was straight into “The Grand Illusion” and “Blue Collar Man”.

Okay so maybe they weren’t running back and forth as much as they used to, the tempos were a bit slower than the studio versions, some of the facial hair was showing a bit of gray and perhaps a few of their hair hats were slipping a bit, but still. Styx can wipe the stage with most bands half their age.

And maybe the audience was also showing a bit more gray and/or scalp skin, the lighters being flicked on were on BlackBerrys because smoking had been given up years ago, and some might have had back pain from standing for the one and half hours the concert lasted, but still. As Tommy Shaw said, “We kinda grew up together, didn’t we?”

Photo by Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

August 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Sip Oolong Tea for Stronger Health

One of the most popular types of tea in China, oolong tea may offer certain health benefits when sipped regularly. The tea undergoes only a small degree of fermentation during its processing, which gives oolong a flavor somewhat similar to black tea but more akin togreen tea. Health claims for oolong tea’s benefits include reduction of cholesterol levels, preservation of heart health, treatment of digestive disorders, strengthening of theimmune system, and formation of strong bones.

The Science Behind Oolong Tea’s Benefits

Here’s a look at several key study findings on oolong tea’s health benefits:

1) Oolong Tea and Heart Disease

In a population study published in 2010, researchers found that consumption of oolong tea was linked to a reduced risk of mortality fromcardiovascular disease. Participants included 76,979 adults, all of whom were ages 40 to 79 and free of stroke, heart disease, and cancer at the start of the study. In surveying study members about their beverage consumption, the researchers determined that those who drank coffee, green tea, and/or oolong tea on a regular basis had a lower risk of heart disease (compared to those who didn’t drink such beverages).

Previously published test-tube research suggests that oolong tea may help keep cholesterol in check, possibly due to its antioxidant effects.

2) Oolong Tea and Diabetes

When paired with standard care, oolong may benefit people with type 2 diabetes, according to a small study published in 2003. After drinking 1,500 ml of oolong tea daily for 30 days, diabetes patients experienced a greater reduction in blood sugar levels (compared to those who drank water instead of tea). The study involved a total of 20 diabetes patients, all of whom took hyperglycemic drugs as prescribed.

3) Oolong Tea and Weight Loss

Several studies indicate that oolong tea may help promote weight loss. In a 2009 study of 102 overweight or obese subjects, for instance, researchers concluded that consumption of oolong tea could improve fat metabolism and, in turn, reduce body weight. After six weeks of drinking oolong tea daily, 64 percent of obese subjects and 66 percent of overweight subjects lost more than 2.2 pounds. Overall, 22 percent of participants lost more than 6.6 pounds.

Previous studies suggest that oolong tea’s anti-obesity effects might be due to its caffeine content.

Should You Drink Oolong Tea for Better Health?

Drinking oolong tea has not been proven to prevent or treat any health condition. Although consumption of oolong tea may offer certain health benefits, it’s important to consult your doctor to determine which dose might be appropriate for you. In some individuals, high doses of caffeine may lead to a number of adverse effects (such as anxiety, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and the worsening of ulcer symptoms).

Sources:

Han LK, Takaku T, Li J, Kimura Y, Okuda H. “Anti-obesity action of oolong tea.” Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1999 23(1):98-105.

He RR, Chen L, Lin BH, Matsui Y, Yao XS, Kurihara H. “Beneficial effects of oolong tea consumption on diet-induced overweight and obese subjects.” Chin J Integr Med. 2009 15(1):34-41.

Hosoda K, Wang MF, Liao ML, Chuang CK, Iha M, Clevidence B, Yamamoto S. “Antihyperglycemic effect of oolong tea in type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes Care. 2003 26(6):1714-8.

Kurihara H, Fukami H, Toyoda Y, Kageyama N, Tsuruoka N, Shibata H, Kiso Y, Tanaka T. “Inhibitory effect of oolong tea on the oxidative state of low density lipoprotein (LDL).” Biol Pharm Bull. 2003 26(5):739-42.

Mineharu Y, Koizumi A, Wada Y, Iso H, Watanabe Y, Date C, Yamamoto A, Kikuchi S, Inaba Y, Toyoshima H, Kondo T, Tamakoshi A; and the JACC study Group. “Coffee, green tea, black tea and oolong tea consumption and risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease in Japanese men and women.” J Epidemiol Community Health. 2010 Jul 14.

Rumpler W, Seale J, Clevidence B, Judd J, Wiley E, Yamamoto S, Komatsu T, Sawaki T, Ishikura Y, Hosoda K. “Oolong tea increases metabolic rate and fat oxidation in men.” J Nutr. 2001 131(11):2848-52.

August 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman Discuss ‘The Switch’

Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston star in The Switch

Poster for ‘The Switch’

© Miramax Films

Off-screen friends Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman play best friends on screen in the comedy movie The Switch, an off-beat story of a woman who decides to take matters into her own hands when her biological clock tells her now’s the time to have a baby. Without any romantic prospects to fulfill half of the baby-making duties, Kassie (Aniston) turns to a guy she determines is the perfect sperm donor (played byPatrick Wilson) for assistance. Meanwhile her best friend, the neurotic Wally (Bateman), doesn’t think this is such a great idea. He was hoping that eventually Kassie would consider him more than just a friend – or at the very least consider using his sperm to get pregnant. And at Kassie’s ‘insemination party’, Wally makes a life-changing decision…

Based on the short story The BasterThe Switchwas directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck, the filmmaking team behind Will Ferrell’s Blades of Glory. In support of The Switch‘s release, Aniston and Bateman teamed up to talk all about the film, Kassie’s decisions, and whether men and women can be just friends at a press conference in LA.

Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman The SwitchPress Conference

Do you feel Kassie is the new modern woman who chooses her own fate when she wants it, how she wants it, and do you encourage women to step up to get what they want?

Jennifer Aniston: “Well, I think that’s what this movie is – the subject is definitely that. It supports that; it supports what’s currently happening in our world today, that we as women have the choices and options of when and/or how to have children, as we’ve evolved as a society.”

Have you learned something from Kassie?

Jennifer Aniston: “I’ve learned something from Kassie. I’ve learned something from every character I’ve played. Especially in this case, the women in my life who have gone through the struggles and heartbreak and frustration of fertility and adoption and all of that, I think that’s why it jumped out at me so immediately, the connection I had to it. I thought it was something very timely and progressive, that hadn’t been discussed, and to have a love story woven through it was just beautiful – and it’s hysterical. At least, I think.”

Jason Bateman: “I think we should charge more for the movie than $15. It sounds like a full package. I’ve gotta see this.”

Do modern women scare you?

Jason Bateman: “That’s why I stick to men! I’ve had it with them. The modern woman is exciting to me because I’m married to one.”

Jennifer Aniston: “I was just going to say you’re married to one.”

Jason Bateman: “I’m sure the old-fashioned woman would have been great too, but I’m living in the modern age. I like women. Just to be clear. This is something that I guess you would have to label as progressive, but it does seem to be a little overdue, because women have been making some of the better decisions for our planet for quite some time, and of course they can have a child without a clumsy man around. In this movie, she decides to have the kid first, and the guy second. Why not? There’s a lot of people doing that.”

Jason, one of the emotional cornerstones of this movie is your character’s relationship with the boy who plays Jennifer’s son, Sebastian. How did you go about working with Thomas Robinson, developing that relationship, and did your own experience as a child actor and a father come into play in that relationship?

Jason Bateman: “It wasn’t tough to get chemistry with him because he’s such a good guy and talented and kind. He’s got great parents. The experience that I had growing up, being a young actor, was helpful, because I remember that point of view, literally, from in front of a big, black camera, and a hundred people standing behind it, waiting to be released to lunch until you get your lines right. It’s nerve wracking. He was six. [Laughing] He’s 14 now, but getting the edit right on this movie was important. I don’t know how somebody who is, what, three years into the English language was able to take what was a new language to him and be able to manipulate it, find some nuance in the way that he delivers a sentence that he barely understands.”

Wally is very much a part of other parts you’ve had, these spiritually strangulated guys who eventually come around to the right thing. Why is it that you specifically are drawn to those roles?

Jason Bateman: “Well, I got this because a few other more talented, bigger, better names were busy, A). B), I don’t know. I don’t know how much of that was in the script and how much of that is just me being interested in that kind of character and me trying to cram that character into what was written. I think that what you’re describing is pretty much a part of all of us. I just find that an interesting character to watch on film currently, so I like finding that part of a particular character.”

Jennifer, in what ways do you relate to this character? Is it truly possible to stay friends with an ex?

Jennifer Aniston: “Uh, yes, it is. And in what way do I relate to her is, I relate to all women that I know, like I said before, that have gone through this choice, decision in life.”

Jennifer, what in a script does appeal to you? What do you look for?

Jennifer Aniston: “Well, it sort of comes from just having usually a gut reaction to the story, and also what Will [Speck, the director said] about having the story rooted in reality and jumping off from there is always more interesting to me, sort of in the vein of movies like The Break-Up or Marley and Me, where they’re true stories to life, and relatable stories. Then the comedy comes out of that. And if I’m moved…I usually need to have a moment where the story is poignant in some way.”

Do you think it’s possible for a man and a woman to be best friends without the physical part?

Jennifer Aniston: “Yes. I mean, I have.”

Jason Bateman: “No.”

Jennifer Aniston: “There you go… [Laughing] Well, look, I mean, that’s funny because – I think it’s hard. I think women have an easier time with it than men do. Don’t you agree?”

Jason Bateman: “Yeah, because – I don’t want to make a horrible generalization, but a lot of the guys that I’ve met will sleep with pretty much any girl they meet. And if you actually are really good friends with that girl too, well that’s a home run. How can you resist that? In other words, the first part you really can’t shut off. I don’t know, I feel like a guy and a girl can remain best friends and not have something happen, as long as one of them is in a relationship. As soon as both are single, you can just start the clock. Then you just soak it in booze, and things happen.”

Your character Wally and his son have all these things in common, whether it be yum-yum noises or hypochondria. What do you see in your daughter that’s like you?

Jennifer Aniston: “Besides your face?”

Jason Bateman: “Yeah, she’ll grow out of that. She does enjoy a good carbohydrate. The baby trainer – she’s so expensive, but she’s gonna drop the weight. We get a twofer from this guy. I got kicked out of a couple of schools because I liked the sound of my voice, as you can tell, and she’s got some of that. But maybe that’s just being three and a half. I don’t know. She seems to really like to make people laugh, and she likes playing with different voices, different faces; again, I don’t know how much of that is three and a half, but if she’s still doing that at 35, we’ll call a doctor.”

Jennifer Aniston: “You’re okay.”

Jason Bateman: “Yeah, I’m all right, but I’m a guy.”

In the film seven years pass and you guys don’t change.

Jason Bateman: “I had gray temples.”

Jennifer Aniston: “I had longer hair. We should have done age face.”

But there’s reality to the film and that feels like Hollywood.

Jennifer Aniston: “Can I just say, I have to say something. This man, I’ve known him for 15 years. He doesn’t look any different.”

Jason Bateman: “Ultimately, it’s sort of distracting, I think, to the audience. At least for me, if I’m sitting in the theater, I’m like, ‘You didn’t need to do that to let me – – just put the chyron on, ‘7 Years Later’, and let me enjoy the story. Don’t remind me with some cheap makeup appliance in every scene. I want to be in the story.'”
Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman in The Switch

Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman in ‘The Switch.’

© Miramax Films

Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman The Switch Press Conference

Having played a mother in this movie, do you want to be a mother yourself?

Jennifer Aniston: “Yeah.”

Jason Bateman: “Are you hitting on her right now?”

Jennifer Aniston: “Yeah, I’ve said it years before. I’ve said it, I still will say it. That’s today, yeah.”

Will you do it like in the movie with a donor?

Jennifer Aniston: “I don’t know. I don’t have plans on that, no.”

Do you think the character in this movie, doing everything by herself, is the example of the modern woman?

Jennifer Aniston: “I think women are realizing… Well, more and more I think women are knowing they don’t have to settle. They don’t have to just settle with a man just to have that child. I think they’re realizing if it’s that time in their life and they want this part they can do it, with or without that. I think it’s just sort of happening more and more. People aren’t having kids in their 20s, so times have changed. And that’s also what I think is amazing, that we do have so many options these days as opposed to in our parents’ generation which when if they were told, ‘You can’t have children,’ or ‘You’ve waited too long,’ that’s it. Their only option was adoption.”

What’s the role of the boyfriend or husband if the woman can do everything herself?

Jennifer Aniston: “Oh, I don’t know. I mean, I don’t think it’s about the handyman or the electrician. I think it’s about really finding that person that means something and not settling. We know a lot of single people are happy as a lark. We know a lot of married people pretty much not as thrilled as they would like to be.”

Jason Bateman: “There are a lot of things in life that are no longer going along the sort of boring, traditional path. This is just one of them.”

Are the men in the movie the damsels in distress?

Jason Bateman: “Again, another sort of fresh, very realistic take on not everything is just cut and dried. We’re damsels in distress sometimes.”

Jennifer Aniston: “Thank God.”

Jason Bateman: “I guess if you would have to categorize this thing as a rom-com, I guess as far as genres go, but hopefully there are plenty of examples of a very sort of atypical route that we take in this. We start with the poster. ”

Is Kassie being selfish with her decision to have a child?

Jennifer Aniston: “Oh, I just don’t see it that way. I really don’t. Because I really believe, I have friends who I think the love of a mother and the love of… This is what a lot of the point of the movie is, is what is it that defines family? It isn’t necessarily the traditional mother, father, two children and a dog named Spot. Love is love and family is what is around you and who’s in your immediate sphere. Wally, whether he was the father or not, was the family.”

“My favorite moment in this movie is after he’s confessed to Kassie and he goes to Jeff Goldblum and Jeff Goldblum finally says, ‘Wally, just go home.’ And he says, ‘But they are my home.’ That’s what I love about this movie is that it’s saying it’s not the traditional sort of stereotype of what family is that as a society we’ve been taught. It’s evolved. I don’t think it’s selfish. I think it’s actually quite beautiful because there’s children that don’t have homes that can have a home and be loved and that’s extremely important.”

August 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Inside ‘Lottery Ticket’ with Bow Wow and the Cast

Brandon T Jackson, Naturi Naughton and Bow Wow in Lottery Ticket

Brandon T Jackson, Naturi Naughton and Bow Wow in ‘Lottery Ticket.’

© Warner Bros Pictures

Lottery Ticket finds Bow Wow playing a guy named Kevin from the projects who wins $370 million in the lottery. The catch? He has to keep that information a secret over the weekend until the lottery office opens and he can claim his winnings. But despite his desire to keep the news hush-hush, word gets out and practically everyone he runs into wants in on the action – or at least the chance to offer their opinion as to how Kevin should spend his fortune.

Brandon T Jackson, Naturi Naughton, Terry Crews and Ice Cube (who also produced the film) join Bow Wow in the comedy/drama from first time feature film director Erik White.

Bow Wow, Brandon T Jackson, Naturi Naughton, Terry Crews and Ice Cube Lottery Ticket Press Conference

Ice Cube, can you talk about the process of developing your characterization of Mr. Washington? Were there particular challenges in playing a character who is quite a bit older than you?

Ice Cube: “My father was wondering why I kept watching him, looking at his mannerisms. He caught me looking at him sometimes and said, ‘What the hell this boy looking at?’ But I was trying to pull his energy, and my uncles’ energy. I just remember older cats pulling me aside and telling me what I need to do to be a man in this world. What I didn’t want was to play a dude who was 70 that lost his swagger. The old dudes that I know still got their swagger. They don’t lost it. I just wanted to draw from these people that have been instrumental in my life, and I couldn’t wait to play him. I was ready to get out of the box and play something a little different than what everybody has seen.”

Terry, with a cast like this, how difficult was it to get through a take without laughing?

Terry Crews: “There were a lot of those moments. I call this the urban, funny Expendables. It’s all-star. Everybody in it is major. We had a ball. I remember getting with Erik [White] and saying, ‘Man, let’s make this one of those classics.’ In my career, I started out with Cube in Friday After Next and I always stay in the urban comedy genre because it just never gets old. It’s one of those things that people watch, again and again. This is that kind of movie. It gives you longevity.”

“People come up to me and they just love these characters, and Jimmy the Driver is a character that everybody is going to like, continue to like and want to see again. It’s just been a ball. We were laughing and having a great time, shooting it in Atlanta. There was just a buzz with Bow Wow and Brandon. They really led the charge all the way, and it just felt like a family.”

Bow Wow, you seem to have won the lottery in your own life at a very young age. How did your life change when that happened?

Bow Wow: “Most definitely, there are a lot of things that I can relate to in Kevin. I didn’t notice that, as we were filming, until afterwards when I saw the movie and I was like, ‘Yo, that’s crazy!’ When you make it from nothing to something, your life does drastically change overnight. You get people who you haven’t spoken to in years that want to contact you. You might have that one ex that didn’t like you, and now she wants to come back in the picture. It was very real.”

“It was definitely fun playing Kevin because there are so many similarities that I can relate to, just dealing with the pressure. A lot of people don’t understand that when you’re in that position, it’s a lot of pressure on you because everybody is watching and everybody wants a piece. It’s up to you to keep your friends tight. The one thing I love about the film is that it preaches the importance of friendship, loyalty and trust, and hopefully a lot of people can leave with that when they see the movie.”

Naturi, what was it like to do a kissing scene with Bow Wow since you guys are such good friends?

Naturi Naughton: “We are friends and I’ve known Bow Wow since I was a teenager in the business myself. Having a kissing scene with him was actually very professional. He’s such a pro. Kudos to him for just being great in the scene. That scene took forever, but it came out so great. We put in the work, we were professionals and I was working with someone I respect and know that I’ve had a friendship with. It’s a lot easier. It’s not weird. You just say, ‘All right, we’re about to kiss so don’t be putting your tongue down my throat. Make sure you don’t grind on me.’ Other than that, it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. We had to keep doing another take.”

Terry, you have one of the best scenes in The Expendables. Do you think people will be surprised with your performance in Lottery Ticket, if they expect you to be the bad-ass protector?

Terry Crews: “Oh, man, look at my career. I’ll do anything. I was talking to Erik about doing this movie, and the whole thing about the ‘hood is that it’s all about posturing and tough guys, but when all that stuff is peeled away, that’s what makes people identify with you. With Jimmy, it’s so funny because people can go, ‘Okay, that’s the real brother.’ It’s really good because they can see the stuff in The Expendables one week, and then see what happens in this movie, which actually makes this funnier. It’s really a great opportunity. I just love playing all these different characters. It’s really satisfying, and these guys set it up so well. I’m happy with the great twists in the movie.”

Naturi, with this being your third feature film, is the process getting any easier for you?

Naturi Naughton: “I’m an extremely hard worker, so the process just gets more and more challenging. Being able to go from different films has been great. Everything I’ve done so far has been totally different. To be with this amazing cast in a comedy just makes me grow as an actress. From film to film, I realize my strengths and my weakness, and I realize how much better I get. I learn the lingo, I ask questions and I’m on set trying to figure out which shots they’re going to use. For me, it’s exploring the art. It’s not just making a movie. I’m enjoying the interaction, the chemistry, the cameraman. Everything about it helps me grow, as an actress.”

“Being on my third film, and being lucky enough to be in Lottery Ticket as my third film, is a true blessing. I have never had so much fun. I learned so much. I actually got my comedic timing up, being around all those people, because they are so fun. I loved being able to just enjoy the chemistry with people on set. It keeps me growing as an actress. It’s a lot of fun.”

Terry, you have your sitcom and two films in theaters. How does it feel to have all of that happening right now, and how do you balance that with your family?

Terry Crews: “It’s surreal. This is a dream life. For all intents and purposes, I really should not be sitting here right now. I can’t even say it’s ‘cause of how cool I am and how great it is. This stuff is really given to you. It’s bestowed. I was blessed to have Cube give me a job, when I started out in Friday After Next. It was an opportunity of a lifetime. My thing is to really just be a good steward of every opportunity. You’re high and it’s running good, and then eventually it goes down. I have my family, and that’s one thing that helps me balance. I know that my family is always there for me. But, I’m going to take it. As it’s coming, I’m taking it, and I’m just getting started. I can’t wait to do the sequel, Jimmy’s Revenge.”
Brandon T Jackson, Ice Cube, Bow Wow, and Naturi Naughton in Lottery Ticket

Brandon T Jackson, Ice Cube, Bow Wow, and Naturi Naughton in ‘Lottery Ticket.’

© Warner Bros Pictures

Bow Wow, Brandon T Jackson, Naturi Naughton, Terry Crews and Ice Cube Lottery Ticket Press Conference

If you won $370 million, what would you do with it?

Naturi Naughton: “That’s hard. That’s a lot of money. It’s too much. For me, I’m from Jersey and I grew up in the ‘hood. I might just be like, ‘Oh, Jesus!’ I really don’t know what I would do, but I know I would want to do something great.”

Brandon T Jackson: “Honestly, one of my favorite movies is Titanic so I would order Leonardo DiCaprio to the ‘hood in Detroit, and I would have him re-enact it. I really don’t know what I would do. That’s too much money for one man to have, so I would just give back or give it away. The message in the movie says what we should do with it, but I don’t know.”

What’s the best check that you’ve written since you made your money?

Terry Crews: “I was able to write a check to pay off my sister’s school bills. She’s a lawyer now. She’s an attorney and doing all that stuff. That felt really good. She is working with me, so it’s great. It’s all family business. That made it all work it.”

Ice Cube, you’ve gone from NWA to Boyz in the ‘Hood to family films. Do you feel like you’ve come full circle?

Ice Cube: “I don’t know if I want to come full circle. I just want to keep going forward, and just keep doing what feels good and right. I feel like I’m a filmmaker, and ‘hood comedies are our specialty. People love them, so why should I not do them because I want to do something hard? I really use my records to have the freedom of that, but my movies are for the audience. We do them for everybody to enjoy them. If people want to see more family fare, that’s what we’re gonna give them. We’re gonna be good at it, and we’re gonna try to be better than everybody else. We’re gonna find new talent. There’s a lot of untapped talent in our community and our world. People who don’t really get a big shot, I want to give them a big shot. That’s how I live, and we’ll keep going forward and not worry about what happened in the rearview mirror.”

When you first became very successful, did your friends change and want something from you?

Ice Cube: “The first thing they tell you is, ‘Don’t change.’ But what you realize is that you don’t change that much. It’s everybody around you. You find yourself alienated. Everybody is talking about you before you get there, and you can feel it. It’s a whole different thing. Everybody that wants to be successful should always be careful of what you wish for. A lot of artists and entertainers want to put the genie back in the bottle and wish they could go back to being what they were. It’s not like that, so you’ve got to make that adjustment.”

“What I decided was that, who was cool with me before I made the money was going to be cool with me now. Who wasn’t cool with me before I made this, I’m giving them problems all the time, like I was before. I was all, ‘Don’t get nice on me now!’ That’s how I approached it. I just made sure I stayed myself. I didn’t want to go Jack-in-the-Box. I just wanted to stay myself. That’s what I did and it all worked out. We’ll live. This is a good problem to have.”

Brandon, can you talk about what it was like to do the dramatic work that you did in this film?

Brandon T Jackson: “This is going to sound so corny, but I used to watch a lot of Disney movies when I was a kid. Aladdin used to look over the skyline at what he could have. I didn’t want Benny to just be funny. I wanted him to represent the kid who really wants to do more, but he can’t because of his current situation of being in the projects. It’s not his fault, but it’s his birthright and what he was born with, so I tried to embody that.”

“If you look at the film, when you see the projects, everybody is poor, but you look over and there’s a big skyline of richness and you’re like, ‘Why can’t we just go past this block?’ In that one scene, I tried to embody that for every kid that feels like they want to get out. That’s what I was trying to do. I talked to some of my cousins and listened to what they would say, and they were like, ‘We just can’t control it. We can’t eat.’ It makes no sense that we’re in America and some people just can’t eat. That’s bad. They have to depend on the government to eat. So, I just felt it, and then I tried to get mad at Bow Wow, but it’s hard to get mad at him because he’s got those hazel eyes and he’s nice. He’s a cool dude, so I had to try to find reasons to get mad at him in that scene. It was nuts. That was two hours, but it was a good time though.”

August 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment