It's Cyber Monday (sorry, time traveler from 1997, that doesn't mean what you think it means), the online equivalent of Black Friday, but without all the fun of abandoning your friends and family after a lovely Thanksgiving dinner to wait outside in the cold and wrestle a total stranger to the ground for an electronic. So, really, it's actually just the fun, sane version of Black Friday.
Millions of Americans (an estimated 129.2 million, to be exact, up from 2011's 112.8 million online shoppers) are expected to take a break from obsessively Facebooking to obsessively hunt for bargains, with analysts predicting this will, unsurprisingly, be the biggest online shopping day of 2012. According to a report from comScore via ABC News, "Shoppers are expected to spend more than $1.5 billion today, up 20 percent from last year."
While Cyber Monday deals technically started as early as Wednesday, that doesn't mean people aren't pretending to be doing work at their computer as they shop for some of this year's hottest gifts. As of 1 PM ET on Monday, some major sites experienced crashes or slow loads, including Saks.com., due to the high traffic. So what are the major big ticket items that have people relentlessly clicking?
Aside from everything our merciful overlord Oprah told adults to like, a new generation of kids are clamoring for Furbys, while the Wii U, Leapfrog tablets, and LEGO Ninjago Epic Dragon Battle (I don't know what all those words together mean either) are also making online shoppers hit the reload button frequently for Toys 'R Us shoppers. Over on Amazon.com, the mammoth online retailer is offering deals for the entire week on everything from coveted electronics to Blu-rays. (The Cabin in the Woods is only $10, people!) Of course, according to a survey by Shop.org, you can look just about anywhere for bargains from Sears to Wal-Mart, as a record-breaking 85 percent of online retailers will offer special promotions on Cyber Monday.
But, hey if Cyber Monday isn't your thing, don't worry, you can still soak in all the online mockery that accompanies it. Check out these hilarious tweets from today:
I still haven't picked out my outfit for Cyber Monday.
— Jim Gaffigan (@JimGaffigan) November 26, 2012
The onlines are around the block today #CyberMonday
— Lizz Winstead (@lizzwinstead) November 26, 2012
Sorry if im late today. This cyber monday traffic is horrible
— David Spade (@DavidSpade) November 26, 2012
Save on your @snookislippers this #cybermonday plus FREE shipping in the US. Visit snookislippers.com instagr.am/p/Sf8dUgBjrJ/
— NiC0LE P0LiZZi (@snooki) November 26, 2012 Okay, that last one may not be a joke. Happy hunting, online shoppers!
[Photo credit: iStockphoto]
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David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.
The daytime gang came out strong tonight to serve up its 39th Emmy Awards ceremony, with nary a mention of the of the earlier murder-suicide that occurred late last night at the Beverly Hilton--where the awards were taking place. The show started off with a very lost Anthony Geary, having trouble finding the stage after a sing-songy intro between Oscar the Grouch and Anderson Cooper.
So let's get down to brass tacks and talk winners and losers, alligators, dry skin jokes (Thanks, Bethenny Frankel), and THE Susan Lucci!
Almost as a parting gift to the legacy of Regis Philbin, Live! With Regis & Kelly won several trophies in their respective categories. General Hospital was the big winner of the evening, bringing home several of the biggest trophies of the evening--including Outstanding Drama Series. But enough of us yammering on; check out the full list below of the biggest winners (winners are bolded) and the ones who shocked 'em all at the awards.
Outstanding Drama Series
All My Children (ABC)
Days Of Our Lives (NBC)
General Hospital (ABC)
The Young And The Restless (CBS)
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Crystal Chappell, as Dr. Carly Manning Days Of Our Lives (NBC)
Debbie Morgan, as Angie Hubbard All My Children (ABC)
Erika Slezak, as Viki Lord One Life To Live (ABC)
Heather Tom, as Katie Logan Spencer The Bold And The Beautiful (CBS)
Laura Wright, as Carly Corinthos Jax General Hospital (ABC)
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Maurice Bernard, as Michael “Sonny” Cointhos, Jr. General Hospital (ABC)
Anthony Geary, as Luke Spencer General Hospital (ABC)
John McCook, as Eric Forrester The Bold And The Beautiful (CBS)
Darnell Williams, as Jesse Hubbard All My Children (ABC)
Robert S. Woods, as Bo Buchanan One Life To Live (ABC)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Bradford Anderson as Damien Spinelli (General Hospital, ABC)
Matthew Ashford as Jack Deveraux (Days of our Lives, NBC)
Sean Blakemore as Shawn Butler (General Hospital, ABC)
Jonathan Jackson as Lucky Spencer (General Hospital, ABC)
Jason Thompson as Patrick Drake (General Hospital, ABC)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Melissa Claire Egan as Annie Chandler (All My Children, ABC)
Genie Francis as Genevieve Atkinson (The Young and the Restless, CBS)
Nancy Lee Grahn as Alexis Davis (General Hospital, ABC)
Elizabeth Hendrickson as Chloe Mitchell (The Young and the Restless, CBS)
Rebecca Herbst as Elizabeth Webber (General Hospital, ABC)
Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series
Eddie Alderson as Matthew Buchanan (One Life To Live, ABC)
Chad Duell as Michael Corinthos (General Hospital, ABC)
Chandler Massey as Will Horton (Days of our Lives, NBC)
Nathan Parsons as Ethan Lovett (General Hospital, ABC)
Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series
Molly Burnett as Melanie Layton (Days of our Lives, NBC)
Shelley Hennig as Stephanie Johnson (Days of our Lives, NBC)
Christel Khalil as Lily Winters (The Young and the Restless, CBS)
Jaqueline Macinnes Wood as Steffy Forrester (The Bold and the Beautiful, CBS)
Outstanding Talk Show — Entertainment
The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Syndicated)
Live With Regis And Kelly (Syndicated)
The Talk (CBS)
The View (ABC)
Outstanding Talk Show — Informative
The Dr. Oz Show
Outstanding Lifestyle/Culinary Host
Giada De Laurentiis, Giada At Home
Rick Bayless, Mexico One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless
Nate Berkus, The Nate Berkus Show
Paula Deen, Paula's Best Dishes
Sandra Lee, Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee
Outstanding Culinary Program
Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction
Giada At Home
Guy's Big Bite
Outstanding Game Show Host
Ben Baily (Cash Cab, Discovery Channel)
Todd Newton (Family Game Night, The HUB)
Wayne Brady (Let's Make A Deal, CBS)
Meredith Vieira (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Syndicated)
Outstanding Talk Show Host
Anderson Cooper (Anderson, Syndicated)
Dr. Mehmet Oz (The Dr. Oz Show, Syndicated)
Regis Philbin, Kelly Ripa (Live with Regis and Kelly, Syndicated)
Rachael Ray (Rachael Ray, Syndicated)
Dr. Lisa Masterson, Jillian Michaels, Dr. Andrew Ordon, Dr. Jim Sears, Dr. Travis Stork, Wendy Walsh (The Doctors, Syndicated)
Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
Cash Cab (Discovery Channel)
Let's Make A Deal (CBS)
Wheel of Fortune (Syndicated)
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (Syndicated)
Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program
America's Court with Judge Ross
Judge Joe Brown
Last Shot with Judge Gunn
We the People with Gloria Allred
Oustanding Morning Program
Good Morning America (ABC)
Today Show (NBC)
Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team
All My Children (ABC)
Days of Our Lives (NBC)
General Hospital (ABC)
The Young and the Restless (CBS)
Oustanding Children's Animated Program
Curious George (PBS)
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (Nickelodeon)
Peep & The Big Wide World (American Public Television)
Penguins of Madagascar (Nickelodeon)
Sid the Science Kid (PBS)
SpongeBob SquarePants (Nickelodeon)
Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series
Dakota Goyo as Josh (R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour The Series, The HUB)
Leslie Carrara-Rudolph as Abby Cadaby (Sesame Street, PBS)
Kevin Clash as Elmo (Sesame Street, PBS)
Caroll Spinney as Big Bird (Sesame Street, PBS)
Lifetime Achievement Award
What did you think of this year's awards? Anyone you were surprised or happy to see recognized? Let us know in the comments!
[Image Credit: HLN]
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The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.