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'The Stanford Prison Experiment' will make you squirm

Posted June 16, 2015, 4:06 PM

When I was studying psychology at school, there was one study that resonated with me long after I graduated. That study was The Stanford Prison Experiment. It's an experiment that became famous as much for its brutality as the questionably discernible results it generated.

For those of unfamiliar with it, here's a brief overview. In 1971, a Stanford psychology professor recruited students for an experiment in which half would play guards while the other half would be prison inmates. The "prison" was actually a controlled environment in the basement of the Stanford psychology building, but there was anything but control in the experiment.

Rather quickly, the guards and prisoners assumed their personas too well and quickly spiraled out of control until the experiment had to be abandoned early for fear of the students' safety. So yeah, I guess you could call...

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Monday Mixer: It's a brand new 'World'

Posted June 15, 2015, 2:06 PM

I spent most of my weekend in a smoky bar, did I miss anything?

While I was busy running a local poker tournament, the World changed, literally overnight. I've been a big fan of Chris Pratt for a long time, back when he was "Fat Chris Pratt," aka Mr. Anna Faris, but this is now Chris Pratt's World and we just live in it.

Some people claimed that his success with Guardians of the Galaxy was a fluke or simply the result of the juggernaut that is Marvel, but there's no doubt about it now. Chris Pratt is a bonafide A-lister and if he isn't already he will soon be the most sought after (and most unlikely) action hero in Hollywood.

The best part about it is that he seems like a great, affable guy who appreciates his newfound success. That's a rare...

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Hollywood is broken and here are five ideas that could work

Posted June 11, 2015, 4:06 PM

For many years, music and movies have gone together like, well, movies and popcorn, but the two industries aren't as alike as you might think at first glance. When the digital revolution destroyed the packaged media music industry with the launch of Napster at the turn of the millennium, experts claimed that it would only be a matter of time before the home entertainment film industry would follow suit.

Here's the thing about "experts," they are often wrong.

Fifteen years and two new physical formats later (DVD and Blu-ray), physical media continues to thrive despite what you might read from the so-called "experts." Once you take out video streaming subscriptions (Netflix et al.), true Electronic Sell-Through (EST) only accounted for $1.5 billion in sales in 2014, compared to $7 billion in DVD and Blu-ray sales.

In other words, in terms of true ownership...

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War breaks out in 'Mockingjay Part 2' trailer

Posted June 10, 2015, 10:06 AM

This war has been brewing and simmering over three films, but it looks like we'll finally get what we've been waiting for when The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is released. I suppose that's what happens when you take a trilogy of books and stretch them into four movies.

Mockingjay Part 1 was a bit of letdown naturally as it was really only half of a story, the exposition heavy stuff that gave us an emo Katniss Everdeen struggling to find her place in a post-Hunger Games world. Not surprisingly, Mockingjay Part 1 was the least grossing film of the franchise, the only one not to surpass $400 million at the box office.

Also not surprising is this drop-off that I call the "penultimate dip." While the Twilight films consistently earned $300 million at the box office (after the first one), Breaking...

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'The Martian' trailer will make your heart grow three sizes

Posted June 9, 2015, 2:06 PM

Unless you're The Grinch.

Now, I'm not typically someone who gets all swept in sentimentality and sappiness, but there's just something cool about the lines, "I'm going to have to science the shit out of this" and "take that Neil Armstrong." The snippets of dialog were spoken by Matt Damon in the trailer just released for the upcoming Ridley Scott film The Martian.

Based on a best-selling book, The Martian sounds like Cast Away in space with Damon playing an astronaut who is left behind on Mars when a storm forces his crew to evacuate the planet. If you have a long memory, you'll recall that I was skeptical of Cast Away when it came out and before I had seen this trailer, I was just as unsure about The Martian's chances for success.

Seeing, as they say, is believing.

The trailer sets the...

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Monday Mixer: It's game, set, match for 'Game of Thrones' Jon Snow

Posted June 8, 2015, 11:06 AM

Some weekends stand out over others. Most weeks and weekends are anonymous and we go through the motions without paying particular attention to the specifics. When we look back we can guess what happened (laundry, yard work, etc.), but nothing stands out.

Then there are weekends that, to borrow a phase from Barney, are legen—wait for it—dary. These weekends stand the test of time for one reason or another and combine to make a tapestry of our lives.

This weekend was one of the latter variety. The weather was great, the kids were cooperative and I actually got to see a film at the theater. I know, right? I got to see a first-run film while it was still relevant to our national consciousness.

OK, that might be an overstatement. The film in question was Tomorrowland and I absolutely adored, which seems to...

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Exciting trailer for Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks' new film

Posted June 5, 2015, 2:06 PM

Everyone enjoys BOATS. A BOATS often means a good time.

What's a BOATS? It's a film Based On A True Story, a dramatized retelling of actual events. Some of the most gripping films (Lifetime made-for-TV movies) ever put to celluloid have been BOATS.

A Beautiful Mind, Moneyball, Ray, 127 Hours, All the President's Men, The Blind Side, Apollo 13, GoodFellas, Zodiac, 12 Years a Slave, The Theory of Everything -- all based on a true story. Heck, even Titanic was a BOATS. ;-)

If you're looking for a filmmaker to captain your BOATS, you have to go with Steven Spielberg. He is the master of bringing real stories to the big screen. Schindler's List, Catch Me If You Can, Munich, Amistad, and Lincoln are among his true story greatest hits. This fall's Bridge of Spies looks to be next in this prestigious...

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Undiscovered Picks

Upcoming movies worth watching that you may not have heard of.

  • The Drop Box
  • Jackie & Ryan
  • Every Secret Thing
  • The Lovers
  • Three Hearts