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Not everyone thought the 'SNL' ISIS parody was funny

Dakota Johnson starred in a controversial Saturday Night Live sketch about ISIS, and not everyone is thrilled about it.

The clip is a perfect parody of a Toyota ad that shows a tearful father dropping his army-bound daughter off at the airport — except, instead of joining the army, the teenaged daughter (played by Johnson) bids goodbye to her father (Taran Killam) as she heads off to join the Islamic State

See also: 10 ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketches that turned into something bigger

The controversial sketch didn’t go over well with some people who complained that the topic was too sensitive to joke about, and aired their grievances on Twitter: Read more…

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Director Interview: Stephen McNally


Please give us a brief info of yourself
 
I’m from Dublin where, for a while, I lived beside a canal full of swans. I worked in television at RTÉ in Ireland for 6 and a bit years before moving to London to study at the RCA. I now Live in London and direct animation for a living at Blink. I am a very lucky man.

Please describe your typical day 
Depending what work I’ve got on, I’ll either be: at home in my pyjamas and a comfy pair of slippers sat at my laptop writing or drawing and occasionally glancing out the window to watch the nothing happening on my street; or I’ll be in the studio, surrounded by a melee of activity; or at one of a handful of studios where I’m afforded odd jobs (character design, animation, compositing) in between big projects. The one constant is tea, lots and lots of tea.

How have you learned directing/filming skills and techniques?
Consuming unhealthy amounts of films and TV, you learn quite a lot unconsciously. Working in television in RTÉ was a fantastic learning experience. It allowed me to experiment with animation techniques on the job, and gave me experience directing shoots and doing a breadth of work that it would be difficult to find elsewhere, to the point that I have lots of little obscure skills that I’ve forgotten I even have.

What are your future goals and plans?
At the moment I’m starting to work with my other half on a script for an animated short, and I have very vague plans for a few subsequent ones. The animated short is a format I’m really enjoying exploring, so I’d like to keep plugging away at that for a bit, and see where it leads.


Were you interested in filming or other creative pursuits when you were growing up? How did you decide to directing/filming?

When I was growing up I’d never really considered filmmaking as something that regular humans do, rather it was the preserve of some alien race of directors. I drew constantly though, always scribbling and sketching on things, with occasional altercations when I sketched someone on the bus who it turned out would rather not have been sketched. Almost by accident I ended up in a job where I could animate for a living, so film making was the next logical step after that.

What is your biggest regret? 
If anything I’d regret all the time I spent not doing what I’m doing now, making films. If I’d gotten started earlier, I’d have a handful more (almost certainly dreadful, ill-conceived) films I could be thoroughly ashamed of by now. Making things, especially awful things is a great way to learn how to make less awful things.


What advice would you give to a young person starting out?
 
Get started and make things! Even awful things. Read things and watch films and have opinions and ideas. If you want to make animations, don’t just watch animations, steep yourself in the rest of the world of culture, it’ll give you a broader base of inspiration to steal and combine from.


What are you listening currently?
 
Right now I’m listening to St. Vincent and David Byrne, and far too much Nick Cave.

Do you have any favorite movies or TV shows? 
My favourite film changes constantly, but the last thing that blew my socks off was Under The Skin. That said, The Royal Tenenbaums, Eternal Sunshine and The Big Lebowski have a warm place in my heart, far from any critical thoughts. On the telly recently, I was really impressed with Babylon.

Any other things to add? 
Almost certainly, but I won’t remember what until it’s too late. 

Vince Vaughn, Lady Gaga swim in icy cold water for Polar Plunge event

What a beautiful day for a dip.

Celebrities, including Vince Vaughn, Lady Gaga, her fiancé and actor Taylor Kinney, participated in Chicago’s Polar Plunge on Sunday by swimming alongside locals in frigid Lake Michigan. An estimated 4,500 people took the icy plunge — despite the 32 degree Fahrenheit water temperature — to support the Special Olympics, according to the Chicago Tribune.

See also: The Holderness family literally can’t handle the snow right now

The Polar Plunge raised more than $1 million dollars this year for Special Olympics Chicago, which provides year-round activities to around 5,000 individuals with special needs, local television station ABC 7 reported Read more…

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Withings' Activité fitness watches now talk to your Android phone

If you’ve been aching to try Withings’ Activité fitness watches but couldn’t because you don’t carry an iPhone, you can relax. The company has announced that both the original Activité and the Pop will support Android as of March 2nd. While the Healt…

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Director Interview: Dessil Basmadjian


Please give us a brief info of yourself
Like many of us out there, I’m just a kid pretending to be an adult. On a more serious note, I’m a robot sent from Mars to destroy Earth. Haha. 

Please describe your typical day
I do my best not to have a typical day but for some reason it always starts with coffee and cigarette . The rest of the day is pretty random : working on a script, doing some VFX post work, spending the whole day on the phone trying to solve problems with diplomacy, editing…  It really depends  on the projects I’m working on. Eventually, the miracle happens : I’m directing an artistic project !

How have you learned directing/filming skills and techniques?
I studied 3D animation for three years and visual communication for 1 year. I was mostly working as a VFX artist until I got an opportunity to direct a music video, which was a revelation : I understood I could follow my love for story telling without having to stay all day long  behind my computer. A few years later I decided to pursue the dream and went to Los Angeles to study film making and work in the industry for two year. This is when I learned about directing  actors, cameras, lenses, photography. Before that, I mainly knew about post.

What are your future goals and plans?
The ultimate goal is the feature film. I had written a story that ended up being too ambitious and I’m just realizing that I have to start with something more accessible, budget wise. It’s a tough goal to have because the writing and thinking is kind of a lonely process where you have to dive deep into yourself to get the right amount of concentration.  I guess it’s all about being patient and dedicated, without falling in the trap of not trusting your ideas anymore. Apart from that, I would like to focus on  projects that allow me to practice  my storytelling skills. Easier said than done.


Were you interested in filming or other creative pursuits when you were growing up? How did you decide to directing/filming?
When I was growing up, it was all about music. I would practice the guitar for hours, write lyrics… I thought I was going to be a musician like my elder brother. After high-school a friend told me about 3D animation, it felt like a nice plan B to have if things didn’t go as expected. The plan B quickly became the plan A, and today I don’t play music anymore but it’s great that music videos allow me to mix these two passions. 


What is your biggest regret?
We don’t know each other well enough for me to answer that question :)

What advice would you give to a young person starting out?
I consider myself as a young person starting out so it’s a little tricky. Don’t get stuck in a pattern, always look for new experiences, be patient and follow your instincts. Take risks (I wish I could do all that).

What are you listening currently?
The transcendental music of my fingers tapping the answer to this question.

Do you have any favorite movies or TV shows?
I love Aronofsky’s ideas, Boyle’s rhythm and freshness, Kubrick’s flawless execution, Paradjanov’s poetry… Right now I’m into low-budget sci-fi movies to get inspiration for my script. Coherence, for example, is brilliant, and it’s made with only 50K.  Monsters is a great one too. I’m getting more and more impressed by movies which manage to tell a crazy story on a tight budget. In the same spirit, Black Mirror has some really creative episodes.

Any other things to add?
Sometimes, when I get out of the shower and I’m surrounded with all the steam, I picture myself as some alien creature waking up after a long hibernation period. Please don’t tell anybody.

Para atravessar agosto, ter um amor seria importante, mas se você não conseguiu, se a vida não deu, ou ele partiu sem o menor pudor, invente um.
—  Caio Fernando Abreu
Good news, everyone: The race for the biggest smartphone is over

BARCELONA — After years and years of smartphone manufacturers racing to fit a larger screen into a ever-shrinking case, we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s about 5 to 5.5 inches wide

And it happened just as Apple gave in and joined the fray

See also: Google Nexus 6 review: Yes, smartphones can be too big

On Sunday, Samsung showed off not one, but two flagship smartphones — the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge — and they both have a 5.1-inch screen. HTC’s One M9, launched on the same day, has a 5-inch screen

The screen size on both devices is exactly the same as on their predecessors, the Galaxy S5 and the One M8, respectively — and it’s the first time Samsung has gone this route Read more…

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