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Books Entertainment Featured

NOOK Trade-In This February at Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble NOOK Trade-In

Have you made a regrettable NOOK e-reader purchase in the past? Barnes & Noble wants to win back your business this month with a NOOK trade-in program that credits you $50 when you purchase a new NOOK by Samsung device through March 5, 2016.

All previously released devices are eligible for the NOOK trade-in offer, including NOOK 1st Edition devices from 2010.

When trading in a device, customers can get the 9.6-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab E NOOK for $179.99, the 8-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 NOOK for $299.99 and the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK for $89.99.

To encourage visiting the B&N stores, a NOOK device user may read nearly any available NOOK Store e-book for one hour once per day while connected to the store’s Wi-Fi.

Customers should visit NOOK.com/TradeIn or their local Barnes & Noble store for details.

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Entertainment Featured Movies & TV

The Sound Design of Jurassic World

If you’ve seen the original Jurassic Park, you’ll likely always remember the first time the T-Rex roared on screen. The volume and bass of that roar tested the limits of many theater and home theater sound systems. The sound designers of Jurassic Park were tasked with creating a realistic roar for an animal that had been extinct for about 65 million years. Additionally, each dinosaur had it’s own distinctive sounds. Where did these sounds come from?

SoundWorks Collection, a organization that profiles sound designers for film, games and stage brings you behind the scenes on how the Jurassic World’s vicious and intelligent Indominus Rex got it’s roar.

In the new film, Jurassic World, twenty years have passed since the events of Jurassic Park. Located off the coast of Costa Rica, the Jurassic World luxury resort provides a habitat for an array of genetically engineered dinosaurs. One of the creatures escapes, it sets off a chain reaction that causes the other dinos to run amok. Now, it’s up to a former military man and animal expert (Chris Pratt) to use his special skills to save two young brothers and the rest of the tourists from an all-out, prehistoric assault.

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Games

Super Smash Bros. Expands with Downloadable Content

Super Smash Bros.
Photo: Nintendo

Fans of the Nintendo beat ‘em up franchise Super Smash Bros. are excited about the new announcement to the game coming soon for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U gaming systems. The new game includes several playable characters from popular game franchises such as Ryu from the Street Fighter series, Roy from Fire Emblem, and Lucas from Mother 3. MewTwo from Pokemon, scheduled for release by the end of June.

The new playable fighters are available for download now, and are part of additional paid content plan for the game. This is at the same time a software update launched for both system, which includes three new stages and new costumes for Mii Fighters. The new characters will play alongside the iconic Nintendo characters already included in the game, including Mario, Kirby, Link, and Donkey Kong.

“Today’s update proves that the evergreen Super Smash Bros. games continue to evolve and grow with unexpected new content,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing.

“We’re offering multiple price options and bundles for all this outstanding new content, so players can mix and match whatever characters, stages and costumes they want.”

In addition to new characters, the game will also allow players to download stages, which will act as a backdrop to the melee tournaments. Each level will have some interactive elements, changing up the gameplay slightly.

For more information about Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, visit http://www.smashbros.com/us/.

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Entertainment Music

Ludacris Wants It Both Ways

If you’re a child of the 2000s its likely you’ve jammed to Ludacris’ “What’s Your Fantasy,” “Move Bitch,” or “Area Codes”. Younger fans may recall the actor turned rapper from the Fast & Furious movie franchise. Now Luda is back to making records with the release of his new video, Grass is Always Greener, in which he reflects on the duality of his life. In the video, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges finds himself living next door to a new neighbor (also played by Ludacris), with the party animal tendencies that made the rapper a hit in the early 2000s.

From rap player to actor/family man, the song shows a longing for a life in both directions. Check out the video below and let us know your favorite Ludacris song.

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Entertainment Featured Movies & TV

Jem No Longer Truly Outrageous?

Jem and the Holograms
Photo: Hasbro

Thirty years after the debut or Hasbro’s “Jem and the Holograms” brand launched, the franchise is finding new life on the big screen. Earlier this month, the trailer for Universal Picture’s Jem and the Holograms premiered online, with a premiere date for this October in the US. The live-action, motion picture adaptation of Jem and the Holograms has been reimagined as a contemporary take on the classic 1980s animated series. The film will be produced by Hasbro’s Allspark Pictures Banner, Blumhouse Productions, Scooter Braun Productions, directed by Jon M. Chu, and stars Aubrey Peeples.

The animated Jem and the Holograms series ran from 1985-1988 in first-run syndication and still boasts a loyal and vocal fan base. The series follows Jerrica Benton, whose discovery of Synergy, a powerful computer companion, allows her to transform from co-owner of Starlight Music into a rock star. Teaming with her sister and best friends who form JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS, they set out to make their musical dreams come true, even as she battles against the ruthless Eric Raymond and his musical protégés The Misfits.

To complement the upcoming film, Hasbro has announced some partnerships of the film adaptation of Jem and the Holograms will be represented in a variety of lifestyle products and licensed merchandise.

“Along with the fun fashion and awesome music, the notion of being true to yourself has always been the heart of Jem and the Holograms story, and that theme is just as relevant today as it was 30 years ago,” said Simon Waters, General Manager, SVP of Entertainment and Licensing, Hasbro.

Some of the licensing deals announced thus far include a makeup line at Sephora, apparel and accessories line from Shopbop, hair dye from Manic Panic, and a line of fashion dolls from Integrity Toys.

Despite the build-up for the ‘Jem’ reboot, many, many, many, many internet critics have been blatant regarding their dislike for the film based on the trailer. Will the movie tank or does it stand a chance to capture a new generation?

Jem and the Holograms fans can get the latest brand updates at the official Facebook fan page at https://www.facebook.com/JemHologramsTV.

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Entertainment Movies & TV

Ridley Scott’s Civil War Drama Comes to PBS

Mercy Street
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Nurse Mary Phinney and Josh Radnor as Jedediah Foster. Courtesy of Antony Platt/PBS

With the overwhelming success of his historical dramas, such as Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, and Wolf Hall, PBS is finally bringing the drama back to America in their new series, Mercy Street. The Civil War-based series will be directed by Roxann Dawson and Jeremy Webb.

Filmed on location in Virginia, the six-part series is the first American drama to air on PBS in more than a decade. The series will join a Sunday night drama lineup on PBS in winter 2016, including the final season of “Downton Abbey” on MASTERPIECE.

Mercy Street follows the lives of two volunteer nurses on opposing sides of the Civil War — New England abolitionist Mary Phinney and Confederate supporter Emma Green. The Green family’s luxury hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, has been transformed into Mansion House, a Union Army hospital tending to the war’s wounded. Inspired by memoirs and letters from real doctors and nurse volunteers at Mansion House Hospital, this new drama reveals the stories of those struggling to save lives while managing their own hardships.

“It’s an honor to be able to tell the exciting stories of real experiences and struggles of the war,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “I know this talented and diverse cast and crew will be able to bring MERCY STREET to life on screen. We will tell the story of what it was like in Alexandria, Virginia — the crossroads of the Civil War — by delving into the multifaceted lives of those in the hospital wards.”

The series, which commenced production this month, is shot in the Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia, areas.

MERCY STREET cast in leading roles includes:

  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“The Returned,” “Smashed,” The Spectacular Now) as Nurse Mary Phinney, a feisty New Englander and widow who is a newcomer at Mansion House Hospital.
  • Josh Radnor (“How I Met Your Mother,” Liberal Arts, Broadway’s Disgraced) as Jedediah Foster, the civilian contract surgeon who grew up in a privileged Southern slave-owning household as the son of a wealthy Maryland landowner.
  • Gary Cole (“Veep,” “The Good Wife,” “Entourage”) as James Green, Sr., patriarch of the Green family, struggling to maintain his family business while living in an occupied city.
  • Peter Gerety (Syriana, Charlie Wilson’s War, Flight, God’s Pocket, “The Wire,” “Prime Suspect”) as Dr. Alfred Summers, chief surgeon at Mansion House, who has risen to the rank of major by virtue of his age, not skill.
  • Norbert Leo Butz (“Bloodline”) as Dr. Byron Hale, an old-school army surgeon who lives life by the book. While Hale has an eye for the nurses, he has an ongoing relationship with Nurse Anne Reading.
  • McKinley Belcher III (“Power,” “Madam Secretary,” “Chicago PD,” “Show Me A Hero”) as Samuel Diggs, a black laborer harboring a secret knowledge and ability in medicine, which he learned as a boy servant.
  • Shalita Grant (“NCIS: New Orleans,” “Bones”) as Aurelia Johnson, a beautiful, stoical ‘contraband’ working as a laundress at the hospital, and trying to bury her past.
  • Newcomer Hannah James as Emma Green, an entitled Southern young woman who volunteers as a nurse at Mansion House Hospital, the facility established on the site of her family’s luxury hotel.
  • Cherry Jones (“24”), guest star, as Dorothea Dix, known as “Miss Dix,” the formidable superintendent of Union Army nurses.
  • Also starring in MERCY STREET are Jack Falahee (“How to Get Away With Murder”) as Frank Stringfellow; AnnaSophia Robb (“The Carrie Diaries,” The Way, Way Back, Bridge to Terabithia) as Alice Green; Cameron Monaghan (“Shameless”) as Tom Fairfax; Donna Murphy (“Resurrection,” “Hindsight,” Broadway’s Passion, The King and I) as Jane Green; Tara Summers (“Stalker,” “Rake,” “Boston Legal”) as Anne Hastings; L. Scott Caldwell (“Southland,” “Lost,” “ER,” The Fugitive) as Belinda; Suzanne Bertish (“Rome”) as Matron Brannan; Wade Williams (“Prison Break,” Draft Day) as Silas Bullen; Luke Macfarlane (“Brothers and Sisters,” “Over There”) as Chaplain Hopkins; and up-and-coming actor Brad Koed as James Green, Jr.

Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment secured all foreign rights to the series early in the process, and will continue to sell international territories. For more on the series, visit PBS.org.

 

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Books Entertainment Featured

What should readers look for in Harper Lee’s new novel?

This story first appeared on The Conversation and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Stacked Books
Photo by Denise P.S. | Photo CC BY 2.0

By Laura Fine, Meredith College

The announcement of the upcoming publication of Go Set a Watchman – a sequel to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird actually written before the famous novel – has, not surprisingly, set off a flurry of excitement and speculation. Pre-orders of the book have already made it an Amazon bestseller.

Yet many have raised questions about the sudden announcement: it came shortly after the death of Harper Lee’s beloved sister, Alice, who as a lawyer (“Atticus in a skirt” Lee once called her), vigilantly protected Lee’s interests. Suspicions abound that Lee’s current lawyer, Tonja Carter – who discovered the old copy of Go Set a Watchman – may have seized the opportunity to profit from an elderly woman now residing in an assisted living facility. (Lee has dismissed such speculation.)

In Go Set a Watchman, the adult Scout returns home to Maycomb, Alabama from New York to visit her father. According to publisher HarperCollins, Scout seeks “to understand her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.”

How should devoted fans of Lee’s first novel – originally published in 1960 – respond to a second novel published 55 years later? One possible reaction is trepidation. Will To Kill a Mockingbird be tarnished through an inferior portrayal of an adult Scout? In this new work, will we recognize the charming voice of the earlier novel?

In the late 1950s, Lee’s editor read the original manuscript of Go Set a Watchman, deemed the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood the strongest parts, and recommended that these be the premise for a new draft (what became To Kill a Mockingbird). Presumably, the editor did not consider the original manuscript of Go Set a Watchman fit for publication.

Lee chats with childhood friend Truman Capote in a 1966 photograph.
Steve Schapiro/Corbis, CC BY-NC-SA

 

But beyond questions of quality, there are very real questions about setting and character. I’ve written about ways in which Lee criticizes the traditional social norms of 1930s Alabama, while presenting models for defiance of these norms. For example, Dolphus Raymond – a white man in a relationship with a black woman – is able to circumvent the racist social system by pretending he is an alcoholic whose unconventional choice can be written off as part of his disease. Furthermore, in addition to the overt criticism of the racist social structure, Lee offers a playful critique of gender norms: she portrays Scout as a tomboy more comfortable wrestling with boys than wearing traditional feminine clothing.

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee depicts a racist society, in which most romantic relationships were portrayed as either strained or perverse. How will an adult Scout emerge from this world?
T and L basement/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

 

Lee also opens a path for the young Scout later to assume an unconventional sexual identity. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee’s depiction of heterosexual relationships includes almost no positive examples; meanwhile, she highlights negative cases such as Scout’s Aunt Alexandra’s strained, distant relationship with her husband, and – much worse – the sexual abuse of Mayella Ewell by her own father. The novel calls into question racial and gender norms while legitimizing the violation of social boundaries. Indeed, Scout’s beloved Atticus encourages defiance of social structures in order to be true to one’s conscience, even agreeing to label Boo Radley’s killing of Bob Ewell an accidental suicide.

Go Set a Watchman will answer the incipient questions about Scout’s identity that To Kill a Mockingbird subtly poses. Although parts of To Kill a Mockingbird are told in an adult voice, the novel never tells us whether the adult Scout has married or has children. Will the adult Scout of Go Set a Watchman – now living in New York – have acquired even more distance from the racist, small-town, Southern values portrayed in To Kill a Mockingbird? Will she, as an adult woman, violate gender and sexual norms? Or, since Go Set a Watchman was actually written before To Kill a Mockingbird, will the adult character be a more conservative, traditional version of Scout?

Until the novel’s July 14 release, we can only wonder.

The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

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Entertainment Featured Movies & TV

American Sniper Breaks Domestic Records

Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, “American Sniper” has filled traditional and IMAX theaters nationwide. It is now the top-grossing war movie of all time, Bradley Cooper’s biggest live-action feature ever, and the second-highest-grossing R-rated drama ever. In addition, it is the first Warner Bros. non-franchise film, only the seventh Warner Bros. release of any kind, and one of only 50 films in cinema history to achieve this milestone domestically.

Warner Bros. Pictures announced that the Oscar-nominated blockbuster “American Sniper” made cinema history this weekend grossing $300 million at the domestic box office.

The film is also showing strength overseas. With just 40% of international markets launched to date, the film has grossed $85.7 million, with many major territories prepping to release next week, including France, Spain, Japan, Brazil and Mexico.

Eastwood directed “American Sniper” from a screenplay written by Jason Hall, based on the book by Chris Kyle, with Jim DeFelice and Scott McEwen. Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller star in the film, produced by Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Cooper and Peter Morgan. Tim Moore, Jason Hall, Sheroum Kim, Steven Mnuchin and Bruce Berman served as executive producers.

“American Sniper” has earned six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Cooper), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Jason Hall). In addition, Eastwood was honored by his peers with his fourth Directors Guild of America Award nomination and also won the National Board of Review Award for Best Director. The film’s other honors include a Producers Guild of America Award nomination, a Writers Guild of America Award nomination, and a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

For more on the film, visit americansnipermovie.com.

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Entertainment Movies & TV

PBS Celebrates African-American History and Culture

Cherise Harrison-Nelson and family with Kenyatta-Berry. Photo: PBS
Cherise Harrison-Nelson and family with Kenyatta-Berry. Photo: PBS

In honor of Black History Month, PBS has released its programming lineup and online content offerings that will enrich viewers’ understanding of African-American history and culture. As part of its commitment to provide diverse programming and resources for all Americans year-round, PBS will offer special new episodes from popular titles, along with encore programming—all of which will stream online after broadcast on the PBS Black Culture Connection at pbs.org/bcc.

Features New Episodes from INDEPENDENT LENS and AMERICAN MASTERS, Along With Surprising Family Secrets Uncovered on GENEALOGY ROADSHOW

The full Black History Month programming lineup is listed below (check local listings) and will also be available for online streaming on the BCC after premiere:

GENEALOGY ROADSHOW, Season 2
“New Orleans – Board of Trade”
Tuesday, February 3, 2015, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. ET
A team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family stories at the New Orleans Board of Trade. A local man seeks to recover essential history washed away in Hurricane Katrina; a woman discovers she has links to both sides of the Civil War; another unravels the mystery behind her grandfather’s adoption; and one man explores a link to the famous New Orleans Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau.

“St. Louis – Union Station”
Tuesday, February 10, 2015, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET
At St. Louis’ historic Union Station, a team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family stories from across Missouri. A musician hopes to find connections to a famous St. Louis jazz composer; two sisters explore links to a survivor of the legendary Donner Party; an Italian-American woman finds out if she is related to Italian royalty; and a schoolteacher who has all the answers for her students has very few about her own past.

“Philadelphia – Historical Society of Pennsylvania”

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET
A team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family histories at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. One woman’s ancestor may have sparked historic labor laws; a pastor may have an outlaw in her family tree; a woman learns about slave genealogy and, with the help of DNA testing, gets the answer she has waited for; and another woman learns her ancestor may have helped others escape the Holocaust.

SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED
“The Taming of the Shrew With Morgan Freeman”
Friday, February 6, 2015, 9:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET
In 1990, Morgan Freeman famously starred in a Wild West version of The Taming of the Shrew for Shakespeare in the Park in New York.  Here he sets out to understand how and why the play, one of the Bard’s first works, was written. Interviewees include Tracey Ullman, Sinead Cusack and Julia Stiles.

“Othello With David Harewood”
Friday, February 6, 10:00 – 11:00 p.m. ET
In 1997, David Harewood was the first black actor to play Othello on stage at the National Theatre in London. In this episode, he unravels the complex issues of prejudice and jealousy that are threaded throughout the play, and returns to the National to meet Adrian Lester, the most recent actor to take on the role at the theatre. Interviewees include Simon Russell Beale, Ian McKellen, Julia Stiles and Patrick Stewart.

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW “Celebrating Black Americana”
Monday, February 9, 2015, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW honors Black History Month with this new special that features items seen together for the first time.  Highlights include an 1821 U.S. citizenship certificate for George Barker, a free man of color; an African-American beauty book written by Madame C.J. Walker, the first American female millionaire; and a trip with host Mark L. Walberg and appraiser Leila Dunbar to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

INDEPENDENT LENS
“Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People”
Monday, February 16, 2015, 10:00-11:30 p.m. ET
This is the story of the pioneering African-American photographers — men and women, celebrated and anonymous — who have recorded the lives and aspirations of generations, from slavery to the present. By Thomas Allen Harris.

“American Denial” 
Monday, February 23, 2015, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET
“American Denial” uses the story of Gunnar Myrdal’s 1944 investigation of Jim Crow racism as a springboard to explore the power of unconscious biases and how the ideals of liberty, equality and justice still affect notions of race and class today. By Llewellyn Smith.

AMERICAN MASTERS “August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand” 
Friday, February 20, 2015, 9-10:30 p.m. ET
Explore the life and legacy of playwright August Wilson (April 27, 1945 – October 2, 2005), the man some call America’s Shakespeare, from his roots as an activist and poet to his indelible mark on Broadway. Film and theater luminaries including Viola Davis, Charles Dutton, Laurence Fishburne, James Earl Jones, Suzan-Lori Parks and Phylicia Rashad share their stories of the career- and life-changing experience of bringing Wilson’s rich theatrical voice to the stage. Unprecedented access to Wilson’s theatrical archives, rarely seen interviews and new dramatic readings bring to life his seminal 10-play cycle chronicling each decade of the 20th-century African-American experience, including the Tony- and Pulitzer-winning Fences and Pulitzer-winning The Piano Lesson. Family, friends, colleagues and scholars trace Wilson’s influences, creative evolution, triumphs, struggles, and quest for cultural determinism before his untimely death from liver cancer. Directed by Emmy-winner Sam Pollard (If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise; When the Levees Broke; Slavery by Another Name).

In addition to on-air programs, the PBS Black Culture Connection (BCC), an extension of PBS.org featuring black films, stories and discussion across PBS, will debut several new “Top 10” Lists with recommendations for must-see documentaries and must-read authors, as well as little-known black history facts.

Please click here for more information.