Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys’ Brilliant Sendoff – Variety

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SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you haven’t seen the May 30 series finale episode of “The Americans.”

No one had to die for “The Americans” to be devastating.

Throughout the show’s stellar sixth season, the walls seemed to be caving in on everyone with alarming speed. Knowing that the endgame was in sight, it seemed inevitable that someone we cared about was going to meet a nasty end, maybe even (probably?) at another’s hand. Was there any way that Oleg (Costa Ronin) could live through his double-crossing mission? Would Philip (Matthew Rhys) have to kill his FBI neighbor Stan (Noah Emmerich) to keep him from exposing the truth? Or would Stan kill Philip, the best friend who was betraying him all along? Would Elizabeth (Keri Russell) give in to the flinty determination always lurking in the corner of her eye and kill everyone?

Incredibly, and almost defiantly, the answer to all of the above was an unequivocal no.

By the time the final scene of one of TV’s finest dramas faded to black, all of its beloved characters had, despite all signs and predictions otherwise, somehow made it to the end of the series alive. Stan confirmed the truth, walked away from it, and even got to be the one to break the news to the Jennings’ oblivious son, Henry (Keidrich Sellati). Their daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) went on the run with her parents only to step off the train before crossing the Canadian border and walk back into her old life, or whatever was left of it. Philip and Elizabeth eluded the FBI and escaped back to Russia. Even their handler Claudia (Margo Martindale) slipped away without a trace.

With the exception of poor Oleg trapped in an FBI cell while his family wept back in Russia, all the main characters made daring escapes from seemingly inevitable ends. In one of the finale’s cheekiest moments, Elizabeth even ditches the cyanide pill necklace – one several critics had called “Chekhov’s cyanide pill” in anticipation of someone swallowing the lethal dose.

The finale’s subversion of expectations, however, is representative of its sly brilliance. It takes everything we came to know about these characters — their wants, their dreams, their red lines, their darkest shames — and finds a way to make their fates completely wrenching without spilling a single drop of blood.

Yes, the series ends with Paige and Henry alive in the country that’s long been their home. But Henry will never hear the truth from his actual parents, and therefore will always think of his adolescence with suspicion and anger, pain, and heartbreak. Paige made a choice — a rare opportunity in a life dictated by terrible circumstances — that tore her from her parents forever. Unless Stan decides to reveal her part in it all (which appears unlikely), she will live a very lonely life weighed down by her mind-boggling secrets.

Yes, the series ends with Stan making it out alive after confronting two highly trained and dangerous Soviet spies. But the confirmation that his best friend and neighbors have been tricking him all along, that he ignored his instincts because he liked them, almost destroyed him. As he tells Philip in the finale’s most extraordinary scene, he “would have done anything” for them – a claim he then, despite all odds and protocol, proves when he lets them drive away. What’s more, Philip’s final warning that his longterm partner Renee (Laurie Holden) “might be one of us” will leave him — and us — guessing forever.

Yes, the series ends with Philip and Elizabeth alive together, gazing out at the winking lights of a Russian city that supposedly spells freedom. But as the series took pains to point out time and time again, they left their home as young adults, determined to help and unaware of the true toll it would take. Returning now decades later, they’re strangers to the country they have been fighting so hard to protect. They’re still straddling two worlds, unable to fully acclimate into either, with only each other as precarious life rafts. And in the finale’s most brutal knife twist, they lost both their children. So much of the episode grapples with their pain at deciding to leave Henry behind that when they finally see Paige shrinking into the distance on that train platform, it’s such a breathtaking gut punch that neither of them can bear it.

So, yes, they all made it out alive – but at what cost?

As many TV critics have noted, deaths have become a ubiquitous plot device to move stories forward. Where Ned Stark’s death in the first episode of “Game of Thrones” once shocked millions of viewers in 2011, that kind of jolt to the system is now far more expected in a TV landscape that grows more crowded by the hour. Killing someone off can be impactful, but more often than not, TV shows treat death as an inevitability once they believe there’s nowhere else for the story to go.

“The Americans” has had a couple shocking deaths itself; the swift execution of charismatic double agent Nina (Annet Mahendru) in season 4 remains one of the series’s most surprising moments to date. But the show always made an effort to avoid treating death as a quick way out of a storyline, often finding a more meaningful or fitting way to send someone off. It seemed impossible, for instance, that the tragic figure of Martha (Alison Wright) could possibly make it out of her sham marriage to Philip’s alter ego Clark alive. And yet she did, getting smuggled out of the country by the KGB in a stunning season 4 episode that proved her life story didn’t have to end in order to land with devastating grace.

That’s why, when thinking back on the entirety of “The Americans,” the finale scene that should endure the test of time is the one in which Stan, Philip, Elizabeth, and Paige face off in that empty parking garage. Running more than 10 minutes long, it is the epitome of everything “The Americans” did so well. It’s thoughtful, personal, and crucially, restrained. It begins with Stan pointing a gun at Philip’s head and spitting rage, Elizabeth’s eyes darting as she calculates whether or not she should strike. It seems impossible that no one will snap. And yet, through dialogue that methodically strips Philip and Stan down to their most vulnerable cores, the scene ends with them all backing away from one another in one piece.

Part of the reason “The Americans” became such a rare treat is because it so rarely bowed to the usual pressures of TV story-building. It allowed itself to be slow and insular in a deliberate way that almost always found a satisfying payoff.  Where other shows might have indulged more exciting twists – like, say, Philip and Elizabeth slipping and pinging Stan’s radar earlier and more often – “The Americans” exercised firm (and undeniably frustrating) patience.

In retrospect, the fact that the series ended without a single major death is far more fitting than if it had. “The Americans” has always known that people don’t have to die in order to shatter.

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Crash Course – #Helping others with #HeathTips and #Research #Videos



From better bike helmets to safer car seats, scientists constantly find new high-tech ways to protect our children from accidents. But today, many parents struggle to safeguard their kids from another threat: obesity and other diet-related health problems that can set the stage for cancer and heart disease later in life. “Crash Course,” narrated by actress Lisa Edelstein who stars in the hit medical drama House, helps parents understand the health benefits of a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

http://www.pcrm.org/

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Gov. Bill Richardson Asks USDA to Investigate Planned Transfer of Alamogordo Chimpanzees – #Helping others with #HeathTips and #Research #Videos



At a Nov. 18, 2010, briefing in Washington, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson joined representatives from PCRM in requesting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture use its authority to stop the transfer of retired chimpanzees living at a nonresearch facility in Alamogordo, New Mexico, to a laboratory in Texas.

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The New Generation – Ramin Matin, Producer, Director ‘Siren’s Call’ – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

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Turkish cinema has become a regular fixture on the international festival circuit these days, represented most recently by first time features, such as Ceylon Ozcelik’s media censorship-themed “Inflame,” which bowed this year in Berlin, and Emre Yeksan’s dystopian drama “The Gulf” which launched from Venice.

Variety has profiled several other directors, writers and producers who signal that a new generation is emerging within Turkey’s vibrant, albeit turbulence-riddled, film scene.

Ramin Matin studied communication arts at Loyola Marymount in the U.S. before getting a masters in film from Istanbul Bilgi University. In 2005 he co-founded Giyotin Films with Emine Yildirim. They started producing short films and internationally co-produced documentaries before shepherding Matin’s first feature “The Monster’s Dinner” in 2011, a societal satire set in the near future which won prizes in Antalya and several other fests. Followed “The Impeccables,” about two thirty-something sisters confronting their devastating past in the Aegean summer cottage of their childhood, which in 2013 premiered in Busan and went on to score multiples nods at Antalya and elsewhere on the circuit.

Matin and Yildirim are at the Antalya Film Forum’s Works in Progress platform with Matin’s “Siren’s Call” a drama set in present-day Istanbul, a city which “has turned into an immense concrete wasteland,” notes Matin.

The film’s protagonist, Tahsin, “cannot bear all of the noise and frustration of this city,” says the director. His pic “plays inevitably as a comedy because most of what happens to people in this city is absurd.”

On another level “Siren’s Call” also challenges the defeatist and escapist attitude of the Turkish middle class,” Matin adds. Tashin is representative of the “young secular Turks,” he says. “The generation raised on western values who have been living blindly…who took an accommodating apolitical stance until the Gezi protests that took place in 2013.” Now “they are realising that their country is in the clutches of a self-destructive course, yet they still don’t know exactly how to contribute constructively to societal change.”

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Hugo Weaving to Star in VR Feature Film ‘Lone Wolf’ – Variety

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Hugo Weaving, who previously starred in technology trend-setting film “The Matrix,” will head the cast of full-length virtual reality feature “Lone Wolf.” He is joined by “Hotel Mumbai” actress Tilda Cobham-Hervey.

The Australian film is to be directed by Jonathan Ogilvie (“The Tender Hook,” “Jet Set,” “Emulsion”) as a modern-day adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s 1907 novel “The Secret Agent.” Exploring themes of fanaticism and terrorism, the story involves a cluster of anarchists, one of whom is also a police informant, who receive a proposal to attack the Sydney Opera House. Weaving plays a police minister involved in the conspiracy, with Cobham-Hervey as one of the cell members.

The film is set to go into production later this year after completing funding of its $2 million budget. Executive producer is Lee Hubber. An Australian theatrical release in 2019 is set through distributor Label. International sales are to be handled by Level K, a Danish sales firm which has previously represented other Australian film titles.

“This is an incredibly timely story. A film shot entirely as surveillance in objective and POV mode — the character of Stevie incessantly films everything on his phone — plays on our conflicted collective concerns regarding surveillance, i.e. the loss of personal privacy vs. the sense of security in having someone watch over us,” said Ogilvie.

He intends to deliver a 2D and a full-length VR version, allowing the film to claim the title of the world’s first VR feature movie. The production will use a cluster of lenses to deliver the VR effect, which will create a 3D 200-degree viewing environment that can be accessed through generic smartphone-mounted headsets.

Ogilvie says that Anthony Kierann, GM of festivals and Australian cinema programs at exhibition chain Event Cinemas, has expressed interest in showing both 2D and VR versions of the film. He envisages creating pop-up events in a theatrical environment. Ogilvie and Hubber are also in discussions with Lens Immersive with a view of online VR distribution in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong and mainland China.

With the backing of arts and disability organisation Accessible Arts the production is committed to casting an actor with a disability in the role of Stevie. “Casting a non-disabled actor in a disabled role may have won Oscars in past but in the quest for diversity and authenticity on screen it is time to identify this practice for what it is — the equivalent of performing in ‘black-face,’” Ogilvie said.

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Lead Actor Emmy Nominees Could Be Honored for Dual Roles – Variety

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The right roles can often be an embarrassment of riches for an actor and, no, “roles” wasn’t a misprint. In 2017 alone, there were eight actors who had multiple Emmy nominations for their work in front of the camera. And this season appears to be no different. There are more than 10 contenders who could land two or three Emmy noms this year — including some notable names in the lead actor field.

Last year’s lead actor in a drama winner, Sterling K. Brown, is actually eligible for three roles in 2018: for lead actor in “This Is Us” and guest turns on the comedies “Saturday Night Live” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” In fact, “SNL” is where many potential double nominees pop up: recent hosts also up for lead actor include Larry David (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), James Franco (“The Deuce”), Bill Hader (“Barry”) and Donald Glover (“Atlanta.”)

Jason Bateman is already a two-time Emmy nominee for his work on the first run of “Arrested Development” on Fox. Now, after Golden Globe and SAG nominations for Netflix’s “Ozark,” he’s looking at his first recognition in an Emmy drama category and potentially another actor in a comedy series nom for “Arrested’s” second go-around on Netflix.

“I’ve always been attracted to characters that are very recognizable to the average person,” Bateman says. “I’ve never really been that drawn to playing super-arch characters and super-colorful characters. I really enjoy the role of being to the audience, kind of being the proxy for this trip into whatever the story is, whatever the world is. If it’s a comedy, I’m usually the person standing next to the funny person. If it’s a drama, I’m usually the person running away from the scary guy.”

On “Ozark” Batman plays Marty Byrde, a financial planner whose family ends up at the mercy of a Mexican drug cartel after a money-laundering scheme goes terribly wrong. Bateman was able to shape the tone of the series as the director of the first two episodes, but his portrayal of Marty needed to entice viewers to become invested in his predicament. During that first episode, there’s a moment where Marty begs for his life as he tries to persuade the bad guys he can be trusted. Essentially, it’s the entire premise for the series in one sequence.

“That was challenging just from an acting standpoint. And from a directing standpoint, there was just a lot of coverage,” Bateman says. “It was kind of a complicated scene. We shot at night. It was about 110 degrees at night in Atlanta. I mean, there was a lot going on, and I knew if we got that scene right both in exposition and in tone, we might be able to set the hook pretty well for people.”

As for “Arrested,” for the 2013 season each episode had to focus on a different character due to the cast’s busy schedules. Bateman seemed much happier that five years later they all got to work with each other again in a more traditional storyline.

“That was really, really fun because we all enjoy each other so much and each one of our character’s humors is somewhat reliant on the sum total of all the other flavors, all the other styles of humor that each of those characters have,” Bateman says. “I have deep, deep affection for every single one of them both in front of and behind the camera. To be able to work with them every single day on a project that was so incredibly important to my career as a bit of reset button. It’s just every part of it was a joy. I loved it.”

Jeff Daniels took home an Emmy and earned two subsequent nominations for his role as Will McAvoy on Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom.” During the past year, the 63-year-old actor has earned critical acclaim for his work on two limited series, Hulu’s “The Looming Tower” and Netflix’s “Godless.” The roles could not have been more opposite from one another.

In “Godless,” he played the supporting role of Frank Griffin, a feared outlaw with a twisted moral compass, and simply stole the show. He’d never done a film or TV series in this genre and was surprised by how difficult all the horse riding was for everyone involved. Daniels admits he was thrown off his hose twice and jumped off on another occasion. He jokes, “When the ambulance’s coming you know a Western’s started.”

For the “Looming Tower,” Daniels will compete in the drama lead category. He says he was fascinated by Dan Futterman’s work on turning Lawrence Wright’s explosive novel into a miniseries and the detail-oriented vision of Alex Gibney, who made his narrative directing debut with the pilot. Daniels played John O’Neill, the former head of the FBI’s Counterterrorism office in New York during the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11. He was also a flawed man with a rocky personal life and lack of financial restraint.

Daniels bluntly notes that O’Neill “burned a lot of bridges” and that made him a “fascinating” character to play.

An Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG Award nominee, Michael Shannon might earn not only his first Emmy nomination this year, but also his second. The “Boardwalk Empire” star appears in both the Paramount Network’s miniseries “Waco,” based on the FBI and Branch Davidian cult stand-off in 1993, and in a supporting role in HBO’s TV movie “Fahrenheit 451,” an updated adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s classic novel.

In Ramin Bahrani’s version of “Fahrenheit,” the world has banned books and anything that isn’t digital. People are controlled medically and through visual and social media. Shannon plays Capt. Beatty, a distinguished fireman in charge of a brigade that seeks out and destroys banned media.

Shannon believes that his character has quite different set of standards for himself than others.

“The question is, ‘Can people be trusted to be able to comprehend knowledge? And I think he believes that most people on earth, they don’t have what it takes,” Shannon says. “They are warped by whatever knowledge they feel or think or believe they have. But, like most people, he’s a self-saboteur, you know? And he likes to suffer, which is another irony, particularly in the modern age. People seem to enjoy suffering. “

For “Waco,” Shannon says once he read Gary Noesner’s book on his experiences as the chief negotiator during the crisis his reaction was simple.

“I was like, ‘Oh, they want me to play this guy? Hell yeah, I’ll do it.’ That guy’s a legend. Look at all the places he was and all the sticky situations he dealt with. And also, it’s just such a noble thing, the idea of negotiating, being a negotiator, trying to solve the problems peacefully, trying to have empathy and understanding for other people. I just thought it was a very noble thing.”

Shannon makes it clear he doesn’t think Noesner was a saint “by any stretch of the imagination,” but he respects that he had to make difficult choices.

“You don’t think about is what a tedious job it can be. There’s a lot of waiting around. There’s a lot of frustration,” Shannon says. “It’s not all action all the time.

“I think you get a sense of that in the show a little bit, but you’re not gonna make a TV show about somebody waiting around for five hours for the phone to ring.”

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NAFF Project Market Unveils Genre Picks – Variety

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“Ong Bak” producer and director Prachya Pinkaew will line up with Singapore’s Sam Loh (“Siew Lup”), Malaysia’s Woo Ming Jin (“The Tiger Factory”) and South Korean genre specialist Oh In-chun (“The DMZ”) to pitch their genre movie projects at July’s Network of Asian Fantastic Films.

A five-day project market, NAFF has selected 25 projects from 19 territories to be presented to potential investors and co-producers. Outstanding projects will receive cash awards and post-production support totalling $33,000 (KRW 36 million).

NAFF is part of South Korea’s biggest genre film festival, the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BiFan). It runs July 14-18, 2018.

Korean projects include Kim Soo-young’s fantasy horror thriller “Superpower Girl,” Jeon In-hwan’s parallel universe fantasy “Remember Spring,” Lim Jin-seung’s fantasy black comedy “Autumn Man” and Oh’s “Night at the Evil Gallery.”

From elsewhere in Asia, Loh will pitch omnibus ghost story “Hell Hole,” Woo will pitch “Siri” and Thailand’s Pinkaew pitch “2701 First Love” for Nuttakorn Trivittayakorn to direct.

The market turns its Project Spotlight on India, and presents four projects from the country. Among them is “The Ordeal,” a film adaptation of Henry James’ novel, “The Turn of the Screw.” Non-Asian selections include Norway’s “The Nightmare,” Finland’s “Red Snow” and Argentina-Brazil-Bolivia co-production “The Eternal White.”

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Reverse Diabetes Without Medication – Helping others with HeathTips and #Research #Videos



Type 2 diabetes is reversible. Dr. Neal Barnard explains how a plant-based diet has been proven to help many diabetics stop painful injections and their dependence on pills. Please like and subscribe more great videos. For the full episode of this podast and other great podcast visit. www.pcrm.org/podcast

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Black Eyed Peas Return with Purpose, But No Plan for an Album – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

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“We did the party music — the biggest-you-can-possibly-do party music,” Will.I.Am says as he sits in a trailer with Black Eyed Peas mates Taboo and Apl.De.Ap backstage at Into Action, a 10-day summit of music, art and activism that kicked off in Los Angeles on Friday (Jan. 12). “Why do that again?”

These are not the Black Eyed Peas of “Let’s Get It Started” and “My Humps.” Now a trio, the Peas’ most recent release is the powerful anti-poverty and racism-themed “Street Livin’,” which the New York Times called, “An indictment of systematic racial oppression: poor education, police killings, violent neighborhoods and high incarceration rates.”

Songs of social consciousness are not new for the Peas. The difference this time is the songs are not album tracks with pop party anthems in the forefront. Being in touch with the times, the trio understands fans want songs that have a message right now.

“I think what’s happening now is the renaissance of art and activism colliding so you have people rise up to say, ‘Look, we have all these people that stand together — whether it’s Standing Rock, Ferguson or the marches,” Taboo tells Variety.

“What’s crazy is, when it comes to talking about issues, for some reason the athletes are a lot more vocal than musicians,” Will adds. “And that’s why I’m happy that Black Eyed Peas are starting the conversation off in the right tone.”

To Will, one part of the change in their art is the thirst, as he puts it, of fans with a conscience. The other change in the eight years since the Peas last put out a major project is the way fans consume music. Count him as one of those who sees the album as being obsolete at the moment.

“Let’s look at everybody that put stuff out and for some reason it seemed like it came and went — Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Fergie too, even Taylor Swift, it took the whole industry to market it and promote it,” he says. “The only person that weathered this hurricane, which renders everything obsolete and disposable, is people like Bruno Mars. Where he’s like working, working, working, ‘Let me remix this,’ work, work, work. That’s what you’re supposed to be doing right now. There’s so much sh– out. So putting everything out at once, maybe that’s not the way to go about it.”

So the Peas channeled their energy and connections into the massive “Masters of the Sun” comic book, which comes with both augmented-reality and virtual-reality components.

“A record is so limited to the kind of things we want to do – 15 songs and a video or two videos on a project doesn’t really feel like much creativity,” he says. “So with ‘Masters of the Sun,’ we do a graphic novel, partner up with Marvel from Taboo’s nudge, and add augmented reality to it and score that with Hans Zimmer, and get folks like Stan Lee, Rakim, KRS-One, Raekwon, Slick Rick, Common, Jaden Smith, Charlamagne Tha God, Snoop Dogg, Michael Rapaport, Jason Isaacs, Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, Rosario Dawson and Jamie Foxx — that’s an amazing collaboration/cast ensemble. Then a hybrid of that story being told in virtual reality, that sounds like some real sh–, compared to an album.”

The partnership with Marvel and elaborate nature of “Masters of the Sun” lend themselves to easy expansion and sequels. Both Will and Taboo say there is much more to come.

“It’s a natural thing for us to be working on content and finding ways to implement, whether it’s visuals or the partnerships to go along with the audio,” Taboo says.

“We’re doing part two now, so look for that around Comic-Con in San Diego in October,” Will says. “Similar type of things, but elevated as far as technology, being able to do AR, also VR, it’s gonna be awesome.”

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