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Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Buffy is part of 20th Century Fox & Netflix expanded agreements

In Film, Television on 10 April, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. (Fox) and Netflix, Inc. on Friday announced an expansion of their agreements encompassing both physical and digital distribution of Fox movie and television programs.

“In a rapidly changing world of windows and technology, this deal reflects a long-standing relationship between Netflix and Fox and is an example of how we can work together creatively,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. “We believe the Fox deal, which brings some of the studio’s great TV franchises and a library of both contemporary and classic movies to the growing percentage of Netflix members who are watching instantly, is a win all around.”

The expansion of the license for Fox streaming content, includes a first-time streaming license for complete prior seasons of several blockbuster television series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Current hit series, popular contemporary movies and award-winning classic films will be available to stream from Netflix. Additional films and shows will be added during the lifetime of the agreement.

As part of the agreement, Twentieth Century Fox will have the ability to determine the window on its content in both streaming and physical formats. The agreement provides for a 28-day window from the home entertainment street date for new Blu-ray and DVD releases, and varying dates of availability for its library and new television programming. Among the first new DVD/Blu-ray releases under the new agreements will be AVATAR, which will be released to Netflix in May (28 days after its 22 April home video debut).

“A key aspect of our content delivery strategy is to provide consumers with attractive options to view our movies and television shows across a broad range of media, windows, and business models,” said Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman, co chairmen and CEOs of Fox Filmed Entertainment. “This expanded relationship with Netflix offers our audiences more choice and convenient access to a wide variety of content.”

Are silver prices being manipulated?

In General on 9 April, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Silver was trading over $21 per ounce in early December 2009. It was the highest silver price seen in decades. Today, the price has dropped to less than $18 per ounce leading the National Inflation Association (NIA) to issue a silver update warning a silver short squeeze might be on the way.

The current situation in the silver market have gone largely unnoticed by investors and the media. Yet what this “could be the largest fraud in the history of the world” according to the NIA.

It is important to realize that the price manipulation, if it is in fact occurring, is occurring in the paper market. The physical silver market is tighter than ever before, thanks in large part to the volume of American Silver Eagle coins being produced by the U.S. Mint (more than 9 million in the first quarter of 2010 alone). All U.S. silver mines are producing only 40 million ounces of silver annually (up from 36 million ounces in 2008 when the U.S. was the eighth largest silver producing country in the world).

What is happening in the paper silver market is far more subtle and concerning, especially since most individual investors holding paper silver (or gold) believe they own the physical commodity. Should investors call for physical delivery of these precious metal, the NIA believes it will cause the biggest short squeeze in the history of all commodities.

The manipulation began the day Bear Stearns failed at the end of 2009. Few realize that at the time Bear Stearns was a major holder of silver paper and on the verge of being forced to cover their silver short position. The U.S. Federal Reserve orchestrated a bailout just in time and JP Morgan took over Bear Stearns short position in silver gaining complete control over the paper price of silver. Through naked short selling (selling paper silver that is not backed  by physical silver), JP Morgan was able to force the price of silver down below $9 an ounce from its $21 per ounce high only a short time before.

Another sharp decline in silver prices occurred in February 2010. Several individuals, including Andrew Maguire an independent metals trader,predicted the drop and alerted the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)  Enforcement Division that JP Morgan was about to manipulate down the price of silver. The evidence provided was not enough to stop the event and the price of silver was forced down to $14.62 from $16.17 earlier in the month. Further Maguire was not allowed to speak at a CTFC hearing on limiting gold and silver positions held b banks. Some, but b no means all, of the evidence might have presented at the hearing by Bill Murphy had technical difficulties not ensued.

NIA believes the precious metals markets, both silver and gold, are currently being artificially supressed by paper gold and silver that does not physically exist. Because the silver market is very small and the short position is so concentrated, the price is easy to manipulate. It is the NIA’s opinion that the CFTC is under pressure not to do anything about the manipulation because the lower gold and silver prices are, the stronger the American dollar seems to be.

Bloody good soundtrack turns 30

In General, Shopping, Vampires on 7 April, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Those trendy fang-fans like to think they originated the idea of vampire soundtracks. Long before Lestat took his shot at rockstardom or a song played on a television screen could launch a career, creatures of the night were revealing themselves in music. Amazingly, one must-have song for any vampire playlist has been around for 30 years.

That’s right British Steel, the breakthrough album for Judas Priest that includes the track Living after Midnight, was released in April 1980. British Steel went on to become the band’s first platinum Top 40 album in the U.S. and their first Top 10 studio album in the U.K.

To celebrate this momentous landmark and one of the most influential albums in heavy metal history, Columbia/Legacy is issuing two unique box sets. Both will be available 11 May, 2010. British Steel: 30th Anniversary Edition will be available through standard retail and digital outlets. The British Steel: 30th Anniversary Special Edition box set will be available exclusively through www.JudasPriest.com

Both box sets include a remastered CD of the original 36-minute , nine-song album (plus two bonus tracks) and a DVD combining a live concert (filmed in 2009) with a “Making of British Steel” interview with the the four original members of Judas Priest. The British Steel: 30th Anniversary Special Edition also contains a CD of the live audio from the DVD.

In an effort to make the 2009 tour reminiscent of the original British Steel debut, Judas Priest resurrected a contest to give away a Harley-Davidson motorcycle autographed by the band. The concert, which began with Rapid Fire the opening track on British Steel and included the other eight songs from the album, featured songs from throughout the band’s evolution just another heavy metal act to one of the most recognizable and influential bands and progenitors of metal’s defining sound.

New calendar for summer

In Vampires on 7 April, 2010 at 7:28 am

Would you like to start this year over?  By summer, the shine has worn off under pressure from missed opportunities, unfulfilled resolutions and the wear-and-tear of everyday life. Fortunately for those wanting a fresh start, a local bar may be  launching their calendar halfway through it.

The new calendar is the second in the line produced by Fang!. Unlike the initial effort which included images of a variety of individuals, the latest effort will focus on just one.

“It’s just entirely of me,” owner @EricNorthman_  revealed.

The establishment opened not long after vampires went public with their existence. The bar attracts a mixed clientele of vampires and humans. And yes, the name was a conscious pun on Northman’s part.

Asked when the new calendar could become available, the Preternatural Post was told:

“I believe May will be the month where I bare it all for everyone to see.”

It’s going to be a very hot summer. What will your mid-year resolutions be?

Horror movies become mainstream

In Film, vox populi on 6 April, 2010 at 9:59 am

It wasn’t that long ago that fans of horror movies and preternatural films had to rely of word-of-mouth or deciphering the opinions of mainstream movie critics when it came to locating the best of those genres. That isn’t the case anymore. Horror, it seems, has become mainstream.

This year’s Academy Awards ceremony dedicated a segment to horror. Legendary horror and preternatural films are being restored and re-premiered to the public at film festivals like TCM’s Classic Film Festival later this month. Websites like best-horror-movies.com, one of the top two websites of its kind, are getting more than one million hits a month.

“As a horror fan myself, I was always disheartened by what I call the ‘horror intelligentsia’ – mainstream reviewers and film academics that pick on horror,” admits Don Sumner, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of best-horro-movies.com. “Rather than regurgitate their point of view on the genre, I wanted to create a content-driven web site where horror enthusiasts could read about what other horror enthusiasts thought, and eventually interact with each other via blogs, forums and chat rooms.”

Four years ago, Sumner wouldn’t have predicted that best-horror-movies.com would be generating a record amount of traffic, earning him a place as USA TOday’s “expert on horror movie locales” Today, the site based on a few lists of movie titles, some questions and lots of reader reviews has accumulated the largest database of most asked-about horror films known.

Then again, few among the ‘horror intelligentsia’ would have predicted that preternatural films based on books about wizards and vampires would turn into global events. Just goes to show the power of the preternatural to fascinate, captivate and inspire.

Evidence of fight found at local BT business

In General on 6 April, 2010 at 7:05 am

Authorities reported a disturbance overnight at the GrabbItQwik in Bon Temps. At sunrise signs that a struggle or a fight took place in the parking lot remained.

Unofficial reports indicate the fight was between Dave Conway, a local businessman and owner of the GrabbItQwik and Roman Lucious, a sometimes bartender at Fangtasia, a popular vampire and tourist bar in Shreveport. Rumors of the fight had been swirling for days around both Bon Temps and Shreveport. Around noon yesterday odds were favoring Lucious. Numerous notable members of the community, living and undead, are said to have wagered and witnessed the event.

Despite having strong support from local residents and even the owner of Fangtasia, Conway won only a single round of the three round fight, ultimately being defeated by Luscious. No deaths or final deaths have been reported.

Explore a ghost hunting career in Sims 3 Ambitions

In General, Ghosts on 5 April, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Ever wanted to be a ghost hunter?

The Sims 3 Ambitions Expansion Pack offers players the opportunity to explore a variety of careers and professions, including ghost hunter. While on the job, players also have direct control over their Sims’ work and how they spend their workday. For the first time, Sims players can also direct their career progress by choosing to do good or evil, slacking off or climbing the corporate ladder. Your future, at least your Sims future, is in your hands.

“The variety of careers to choose from is unmatched and we’ve never given players the opportunity to follow their Sims to work and affect their actions on the job,” explained Scott Evans, General Manager of The Sims Studio at Electronic Arts (EA). “The Sims 3 Ambitions changes that. Players’ actions at work now directly affect their lives, community and neighbors and become an extremely important part of how the game is played.”

The Sims 3 Ambitions initially requires a PC or MAC to play. In late 2010, EA Mobile will make The Sims 3 Ambitions available for feature phones including the iPhone and the iPod Touch. No word on whether it is available for the iPad.

Comic book apps for Apple’s iPad

In Shopping, vox populi on 4 April, 2010 at 1:36 pm

You may have heard – Apple recently released their much anticipated iPad. With so much build-up and buzz, app developers had plenty of time to prepare their wares for the big debut. Two apps in the initial wave should be particularly appealing to preternatural fans and readers of comic books.

The Comics by comiXology app for the iPad is reportedly the largest and most comprehensive digital comic book reader, store and retail locator to launch on the device. Fans can browse, purchase and read new and favorite titles from comiXology’s library of more than 1,300 comic books from over 30 publishers. Print comic book enthusiasts will find the app useful as well. The built-in Retail Locator and Pull list features allow them to locate the closest comic book store and pre-order traditional comic books to be delivered to their favorite retailer.

“Today represents a milestone achievement in bringing comics to the mainstream on the most highly coveted and anticipated device of the year,” said David Steinberger, CEO of comiXology. “The iPad opens up a world of viewing opportunities for new and existing comic book fans while capturing the ver essence of what makes comics so special to readers. We take great pride in being the largest comic book store on the iPad while remaining fully committed to the print and retail community.”

Marvel Comics also worked with comiXology to create the perfect iPad app for fans of Marvel’s titles. The Marvel Comics App is a landmark app including more than 500 of Marvel’s greatest titles, from the classic to modern. Every comic available through Marvel Comics App i optimized for the iPad through painstaking re-coloring and re-digitizing of select content.

“We’re excited to introduce an unparalleled digital comic experience for our fans with the Marvel Comics App for iPad,” said Dan Buckley, publisher & CEO of Marvel Publishing. “The iPad is the first device that offers us a chance to present digital comics that are even close to replicating the experience of reading a print comic. This new world of digital comics distribution provides us with great opportunities to reach new readers, allow consumer to sample our diverse stories and characters, and we believe it will drive these new fans into the App Store and local comic shops each week to find even more.”

 More comic book and graphic novel apps are likely to follow, particularly if these two are well recieved. If they are…questions remain regarding what this will do to the traditional comic book collector’s market as well as whether digital titles once purchased will continue to be available to fans as technology changes the way paper comic books are.

Do you have an iPad? Have you downloaded one of these apps? We’d love to hear our thoughts! Share them below!

Coming this summer: True Blood the graphic novel

In True Blood, Vampires on 4 April, 2010 at 10:12 am

“I am very excited to be introducing the True Blood comic book series,” True Blood series creator Alan Ball told the media. “These graphic novels are a great companion to the series and we are pleased that the popularity of the show is allowing it to branch out into other mediums.”

The first six-issue True Blood comic book series is being produced through an exclusive partnership between HBO and IDW Publishing and will debut at Comic-Con in July 2010. This visually striking and undoubtedly sexy comic series adds new layers of preternatural drama to the ongoing saga of Sookie Stackhouse, Bill Compton, Sam Merlotte, Lafayette Reynolds, Tara Thornton, Jason Stackhouse, Eric Northman and all the rest of the cast of characters first imagined by Charlaine Harris then captured on film by Ball.

True Blood Logo

True Blood Logo

In the initial storyline, Sookie et al wait out a storm inside Merlotte’s bar. When the tempest subsides, the discover they’ve been trapped by a murderous emotion-devouring entity.

The plot for True Blood graphic novels was developed by Ball with series writers Elisabeth Finch and Kate Barnow. They were co-written by David Tischman and Mariah Huehner. Artist David Messina provides the visuals and joins the renowned J. Scott Campbell in creating the cover art.

True Blood #1 (32 pages, full color) will be available in stores in July and can be pre-ordered from HBO.com.

True Blood is one of the most exciting dramas on television and has been eagerly anticipated by comics fans for a long time,” said Ted Adams, IDW CEO. “We are very excited to bring more of this great entertainment franchise to fans.”

Not enjoying sex? Blame stress!

In vox populi on 3 April, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Diving into the Twitter stream, surfing the web or looking at almost any media dealing with popular culture is almost enough to make a person believe Americans have finally unwound enough to enjoy sex. We haven’t. And, according to a new online survey from Adam & Eve, stress is the main reason Americans aren’t enjoying sex as much as they’d like.

Nearly half (46 percent) of those responding to Adam & Eve’s latest “Great American Sex Survey” indicated that “stress” was the number one reason nothing is happening in the bedroom. Other sexy mood killers included kids (30 percent), boredom with routine (25.8 percent) and health problems (22 percent).

The good news (at least for almost 1 out of ever five respondents) is that 17 percent of Americans surveyed reported they always fully enjoy sexual activity.

“Of course Americans are stressed,” said Chad Davis, Marketing Director for Adam & Eve. “But studies show a healthy sex life can alleviate a great deal of tension.”