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RandySF's Journal
RandySF's Journal
August 31, 2014

Guardians Of The Galaxy Takes Down Captain America 2 To Become 2014'S Biggest Domestic Hit

James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy has been, without question, the completely dominating force at the August 2014 box office. Debuting on the first of the month, the film opened with a record-setting $94 million, and has spent 19 of the last 31 days holding the number one spot in the domestic top 10. It was just last week that we learned that this unbelievable success had led the movie to become the biggest blockbuster of the summer, but now it has accomplished a feat even bigger than that: Guardians of the Galaxy is the biggest film of 2014 in the United States so far.

With an estimated $16 million taken in over the last three days, according to Box Office Mojo, the 10th film from Marvel Studios has now made over $274 million in the U.S., becoming the highest earner at the domestic box office going back to the start of January. In order to reach this position, Guardians of the Galaxy had to beat out some pretty big heavy-hitters, including Michael Bay's Transformers: Age of Extinction ($244 million since June), Phil Lord and Chris Miller's The LEGO Movie ($257 million since February) and Joe and Anthony Russo's Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($259 million since April).

Guardians of the Galaxy has undoubtedly been propelled her in the States by unending positive buzz from critics and audiences as well as the movie's rewatchability, but it hasn't caught fire quite the same way overseas. The film has been performing well aboard, having so far brought in $273 million, but that number pales in comparison to both Transformers 4 and X-Men: Days of Future Past, which have made $828 million and $512 million, respectively. Guardians of the Galaxy is still waiting to come out in big markets like Germany, Italy, Japan and China, which will certainly pad the numbers, but even while existing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe the sci-fi blockbuster doesn't have the same kind of big solo brand names that the aforementioned titles do.

So what is the ceiling for Guardians of the Galaxy at this point? Looking at the next month and factoring the movie's performance over the last few weeks, prognostications suggest that the title could be first $300 million hit of the year - possibly making as much as $320 million. Kind of amazing, isn't it? At this point in time last year, nobody in the world could have predicted that Guardians of the Galaxy would end up beating out Captain America: The Winter Soldier (most were too busy worrying that it would be Marvel's first huge flop), and it's even more impressive when you consider the quality and and box office strength of the Cap sequel. This has once again been an absolutely huge year for Marvel Studios, and it will be fascinating to see which directions this success will take them going into the future.


August 31, 2014

Democracy Activists Vow to “Occupy” Hong Kong After China Rules Out Open Elections

Protesters have vowed to paralyze Hong Kong’s financial district after China denied the former British colony the right to elect its next leader in 2017. Protesters started gathering outside Hong Kong’s government headquarters on Sunday night and have said they won’t be leaving anytime soon. “This is the end of any dialogue. In the next few weeks, Occupy Central will start wave after wave of action,” a co-founder of the Occupy Central group said, according to the BBC. “We will organize a full-scale act of occupying Central.”

China on Sunday made it clear Beijing would remain firmly in control of Hong Kong’s political future when the legislature ruled there would be no open nominations for the next election, saying it would create a “chaotic society.” The guidelines now state that there can only be three candidates for the position of Hong Kong’s leader and each must be approved by more than half of a 1,200-member nominating committee that will likely be filled with Beijing loyalists, notes the Associated Press. With its decision, “Beijing has chosen a showdown with a protest movement unlike any it has ever faced on the mainland,” points out the New York Times.

“Today is not only the darkest day in the history of Hong Kong’s democratic development, today is also the darkest day of one country, two systems,” said Benny Tai, a law professor and a leader of the Occupy Central movement. A standoff with a large part of Hong Kong residents is precisely the kind of situation that Deng Xiaoping wanted to avoid when he came up with the “one country, two systems” formula for getting control of Hong Kong from Britain in 1997, notes the Wall Street Journal. Even though the Occupy movement has yet to gain broad support among Hong Kong’s middle class, “any strong measures by China or the Hong Kong police could change that,” notes Reuters.


August 31, 2014

California Legislature passes paid sick leave bill

In the waning hours of their session, California lawmakers passed a measure to provide workers with three paid sick days a year, capping tense negotiations that splintered supporters.

The top Democratic priority squeaked through both houses of the Legislature despite losing backing from major labor unions following amendments. The Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees abandoned the bill after it was rewritten to exempt home healthcare workers.

But it benefited from a late-session push by Gov. Jerry Brown and author Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a San Diego Democrat and former labor leader who corralled enough votes to keep it moving. Brown’s office rarely weighs in publicly on pending legislation, typically doing so to help push prominent measures – like a recent water bond – across the finish line.

“Tonight, the Legislature took historic action to help hardworking Californians,” Brown said in a statement. “This bill guarantees that millions of workers – from Eureka to San Diego – won’t lose their jobs or pay just because they get sick.”


August 30, 2014

Guardians Of The Galaxy’s Drax Helped An Autistic Kid Feel Like A Superhero

We all know that James Gunn‘s comic book romp Guardians of the Galaxy was a straight dose of humor, excitement, and flashy space travel, but the film’s more inspirational undertones may have been lost on many of those in the audience. It turns out one of the heroes here helped an autistic boy to understand that anyone under the sun can be a superhero if they want to. Relatively speaking, anyway.

Earlier today, Gunn posted an image-filled message from a fan who shared an inspirational story about his younger brother. The brother, who falls on the autistic spectrum, was extremely overjoyed when Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) first made it clear that he had no clue what metaphors were, expressing, “He’s like me! He can’t do metaphors!”

The elder sibling said his brother then “stared at Drax in a state of rapture” for the rest of the film and has been quoting Drax’s lines religiously in the week or so since they’d watched the film in theaters. It helps that one of the boy’s talents is memorization, which allows him to utter all of the big blue badasses lines without having to refer to the film’s IMDb quote page.


August 30, 2014

Comparing How The New York Times Described Mike Brown & Ted Bundy

Below is a paragraph from the Times‘ profile of Brown published on August 24, 2014. It is preceded by evidence that the teenager who was gunned down by police, unarmed, was grappling with and deepening his spiritual beliefs.

Now, contrast the above characterization of Brown with that of mass murderer Ted Bundy in a profile published just after the State of Florida executed him on January 24, 1989. The paragraphs below were preceded by gruesome details of Bundy’s lethal methodologies.


August 30, 2014

Daily Beast: Why Are Gamers So Angry?

Or maybe it has something to do with gamers self-selecting for being people who care a lot about conflict and winning, who aren’t content to just disagree with other people but have to “beat” them somehow. Maybe the very nature of gaming appeals to people who like black-and-white moral situations and are made uncomfortable by nuance and ambiguity.

Or maybe it has to do with the historical accident of gaming being seen as the last refuge of the straight white male, a neglected medium that because it was neglected was able to lag behind movies, TV, and music in the push to be culturally inclusive.

I don’t know. What I do know is that the subset of entitled, belligerent gamers convinced that being “objectively” right entitles them to defend their rightness by any means necessary are overwhelmingly male. And that obnoxious guys convinced of their objective correctness find it way easier to dismiss your opinions as “subjective” if you’re female.

It was a male blogger, Kevin McCullough, after all, who started the “Mass Effect is a sex simulator” meme in 2008—but it’s Cooper Lawrence who got endlessly hounded for it.


August 30, 2014

Marvel's Iconic Black Panther May Be Coming to a Theater Near You

In 1966, when race relations in America had reached a boiling point, Marvel’s Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the Black Panther, the first black comic book hero. He made his debut in Fantastic Four No. 52, shortly before the official founding of the Black Panther Party. “Out of costume, the Black Panther was an African prince named T’Challa who led the fictional country of Wakanda,” wrote Sean Howe in Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. “Not a Dark Continent noble savage, but a scientific genius who impressed even the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards.”

For years now, comics fans have clamored for the Black Panther to star in his own movie, and Marvel has acknowledged it needs a more diverse lineup of heroes. Earlier this month, Chadwick Boseman, the lead actor in James Brown biopic Get On Up, seemed to suggest that a Black Panther movie was finally in the works. Asked at a promotional event if he might play Marvel’s iconic black superhero in a forthcoming movie, Boseman said, “Ahhh, I don’t know anything about that … until the contract is signed, I don’t know.”

This set the geek blogosphere ablaze. Marvel has yet to confirm that it is making a Black Panther film. Now it seemed that Boseman had broken both the news of its existence and its star. It was an exciting day for Marvel fans, particularly those who hunger for a movie about the first mass-marketed black superhero. There are also rumors that the Black Panther may make his debut in next summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.

There was more Panther-related excitement yesterday when Kevin Feige, head of Marvel Studios (DIS), discussed a possible Black Panther film. In an interview with ING, Feige guardedly acknowledged that Marvel was exploring both a potential Black Panther film and a movie about the female incarnation of Captain Marvel:

“They’re both characters that we like, that development work has been done, it’s continuing to be done on, and certainly it’s the question I get asked more than anything else, more than Iron Man 4, more than Avengers 3. That’s sort of the first time that’s really happened to us, so I think that makes a difference. I think that’s something we have to pay attention to.”


August 29, 2014

Cliven Bundy Spawn Boycott School When Told They Can't Bring Knives

The son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy pulled his five children out of Clark County, Nev. schools on Thursday after getting into a disagreement with administrators over the ability to carry pocketknives at school.

The five students are the grandchildren of Cliven Bundy, a rancher who has previously engaged in armed clashes with the U.S. government over the use of federal land. The incident that sparked the removal involved Bundy's 15-year-old granddaughter whose school refused to allow her to bring a pocketknife to school, according to television station KSNV.

Her father, Ryan Bundy, disagreed with the school's labeling of the knife as a weapon and, per KSNV, said he has inculcated in his children the need to always carry a knife. His children affirmed his stance, saying that they utilize knives for chores but don't wield them as weapons.

"They're trying to make my child a criminal – and any other child a criminal – for simply having something, and that is not right," Bundy said.


August 29, 2014

Marvel Getting Extremely Close To Signing Joaquin Phoenix As Doctor Strange

Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange has had a lot of names rumored to be in contention for the titular role. In fact, it ranks up there with most rumored names for any comic hero in recent memory. We've seen everyone from Jon Hamm to Jack Huston suggested for the role, with Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and even Daniel Radcliffe being whispered in lower tones as contenders in between. Out of all the names rumored in contention for the role, though, it looks like it all comes down to the most interesting name mentioned in the pack: Joaquin Phoenix.

At least that's what Collider is running with, as they are claiming exclusive knowledge that after almost a month of radio silence, Phoenix is in "final negotiations" to play the gifted neurosurgeon turned practitioner of the magical arts known as Doctor Strange. According to sources, the reasoning for the delay in the negotiations is that, naturally, Joaquin Phoenix isn't going to want to be bound by a Marvel contract that prevents his work on smaller films akin to Paul Thomas Anderson's upcoming Inherent Vice. This isn't that weird, considering that his rumored involvement with not only Doctor Strange but also Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice have been two of the most surprising developments in the superhero game as of late. Of course, if the former experience turns out to be more like the latter, the most recently-rumored Jack Huston might just have a shot after all.

With nearly two complete phases of films almost under their belt, Marvel Studios looks to be kicking things into high gear with their Phase Three development, and with that exciting prospect comes a lot of uncharted territory. While we will be seeing sequels like Captain America 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy 2, the studio is also starting some new franchises with newer kids on the block like Ant-Man, Doctor Strange and others. With this new territory is going to come some new actors, and those new actors are going to be carrying a brand that big names like Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans have brought to prominence. Landing Joaquin Phoenix for Doctor Strange would not only be a great piece of fascinating casting, it would be a credit towards ensuring the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Of course, we all know how quickly "final negotiations" can turn into nothing when it comes to Marvel Studios.Remember, it was once reported that Adam McKay was in such stages of negotiations to direct Ant-Man, only to see it turn to dust. For now, Joaquin Phoenix is the front runner, and it's up to Marvel Studios to either confirm or deny this news in short order. Of course with the Marvel Cinematic Universe ruling the comic movie world at this point, they could confirm at any damned time they wanted to and we'd still be waiting with baited breath.


August 29, 2014

Arthur T. Demoulas to Market Basket workers: ‘You are simply the best’

TEWKSBURY — Arthur T. Demoulas — reinstated as CEO late last night after a two-month standoff over his firing that saw rank-and-file workers walk off their jobs and customers jump to competitors in protest — thanked his workers this morning, hours after his historic purchase of the company.

“You are simply the best,” Demoulas said, addressing hundreds of workers from the back of a pickup truck “As I stand before you, I am in awe of what you’ve all accomplished. It is an example you have all set for so many people across the region and across the country. There is very little I can ever add to your brilliant work, your extraordinary display of loyalty and the power of your enduring human spirit over the past six weeks.”

Early this morning, a massive fleet of delivery trucks lined up ready to roll and hundreds of ecstatic employees reported to work for the first time in weeks at Market Basket’s corporate headquarters here, heralding the return of a boss they said had provided generous pay and benefits and a culture of respect for workers.

“You taught everybody that Market Basket is a place where respect, honor and dignity is a way of life,” Demoulas told his workers. “You displayed your unwavering dedication and desire to protect the culture of your company. You have demonstrated that at this organization, here at Market Basket, everyone is special. You have demonstrated that everyone has a purpose, everyone has meaning, that no one person is better than another, that no one person holds a position of privilege. ... We are all equal.”


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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
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Current location: San Francisco, CA
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 01:53 PM
Number of posts: 53,678

About RandySF

Partner, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.

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