Oscar loves a good historical drama, and this year’s crop of Best Picture nominees has plenty that fit that mold, whether realistically (Zero Dark Thirty) or metaphorically (Beasts of the Southern Wild). But few of the films can actually boast of having made history.

In depicting the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery, Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln has helped to ratify the legislation in Mississippi. And yes, I do mean Lincoln the film and not Lincoln the sixteenth president. Read more after the jump.

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Normally, when a presidential administration blatantly ignores the will of the people, it’s cause for public outrage. In this particular case, though, we think we’ll let it slide.

Despite the fervent pleas of thousands of citizens, the White House has opted not to go ahead with the building of a Death Star after all. That’s the bad news. The good news is that they let the nation’s geeks down in friendliest way possible. The official response to last month’s petition starts with a tongue-in-cheek title — “This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For” — and only gets better from there. Hit the jump to read more.

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WTF: ‘Anchorman 2′ Set Damaged by Wire Thieves

If we end up seeing a news report in Anchorman 2 about the damage done by metal thieves, this is the backstory.

Anyone who deals with slow-moving real estate or commercial property repairs knows that buildings can be big targets for thieves. Copper wire is very valuable, and since the economic downturn of ’08 empty homes, big commercial spaces and even civic infrastructure have frequently been targeted by thieves looking to grab wire or anything that could contain large quantities of the metal, such as air conditioning units. One organization estimates that annual damages from the crimes reach to $1 billion. In Atlanta, for example, phone, internet, and other services were knocked out to users in October of last year when a crew stole wire right off of utility poles.

The strangest victim of wire theft in recent days is the set of Anchorman 2. In late December what is believed to be a crew of several perpetrators broke into the Atlanta-area warehouse where the film is being prepped, and ripped away loads of wire — almost $300,000 worth.  Read More »

The horror genre is obviously great for instilling lifelong phobias in little kids or giving your date an excuse to snuggle in closer during the scary bits. But did you know that all that terror can also do wonders for your waistline? So claims one recent study, which found that 90 minutes of a scary movie could burn as many calories as a half-hour walk.

I can’t promise you that the research is scientifically sound and peer reviewed and all that stuff, so you should take the results with a grain of salt. As far as excuses to go to skip the gym and catch up on American Horror Story instead, though, you could do way worse. Hit the jump to read more and find out exactly which titles offer the best non-workouts.

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The trick for any sequel is to balance the old with the new. A good one should deliver more of what made the last movie a hit, but avoid retracing too many of the exact same steps. But that order gets harder to fill as the series churns out more and more installments, each less surprising than the last. Sometimes, it starts to look like all that’s left to do is simply take the franchise in a whole new direction.

Like, say, shifting the focus from dinosaurs to terrifying human-dino hybrids in a fourth Jurassic Park movie. Or traveling back to 16th century China for The Karate Kid, Part III. Obviously, neither of those concepts actually ever came to be — but concept art from a scrapped idea for Jurassic Park IV and an interview with Karate Kid writer Robert Mark Kamen offer some insight into what could’ve been. More after the jump.

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And here we thought the Alamo Drafthouse was zealous about rooting out cell phone use in theaters. But even their strongly worded PSAs and strict ushers seem downright passive compared to what one theater in London’s Leicester Square is doing.

The Prince Charles Cinema is said to be employing volunteer “ninjas” to regulate good behavior among the audience. The term “ninja” is being used loosely here — they’re really more like glorified ushers in black skintight bodysuits — but whatever you want to call them, it’s certainly an interesting way to keep the peace. More afer the jump.

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Blame Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps for this one, as interest in the Olympic games, and specifically the US-dominated swimming competitions, is likely a big factor in kick-starting a film that has been in development since 1997. Beached is the story of “a chubby 4-year-old child who falls overboard during a family outing, is raised by whales and goes on to become an Olympic swimmer.”

Yeah, you read that correctly. THR says that Jon Turteltaub, director of the two National Treasure movies, is now signed to direct the film for Fox 2000. Ted Griffin originally sold the script back in the late ’90s, and for a while Betty Thomas (Doctor Doolittle) was set to direct. Turteltaub will oversee a new draft, based on the last script turned in by Jordan Roberts.

We complain when another reboot, remake, or needless sequel is added to the parade of films in development, and this one is at least original. Very original, at that, if also very ridiculous. But done well, it could end up in live-action fairy tale territory, and not in the same way that, say, Snow White and the Huntsman wants to do.

 

Take everything you know about Star Wars, ball it up and throw it in the trash. Darth Vader was never mean; he was a rapper. Obi-Wan Kenobi was never stoic; he did stand-up comedy. Han Solo was never a scoundrel; he was a dancer. The Emperor was never evil; he was a chick magnet. Confused? You will be. You. Will. Be.

Star Wars: Detours is an upcoming animated comedy, created by Seth Green and Matt Senreich of Robot Chicken fame, featuring all your favorite Star Wars characters in situations so totally out of character and tone for the series, it makes the Prequels look good. A trailer has just come online featuring bad references, kiddie humor and the kind of bastardizing, canon-crushing images that’ll make you bow down to the Prequels for their wit, logic and flawless, Star Wars storytelling. It’s this generation’s Star Wars Christmas Special. If you dare, watch it after the jump. Read More »

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