That Team in Washington

Change often comes slowly, often inexcusably so. It is often met with resistance, sometimes for financial reasons, or cultural reasons, or sometimes just for the sake of resistance. Today, though, a little bit more change has come, and it is long overdue. If you’re a fan of the NFL — or are friends with anybody who is — it’s likely you already know, but today the U.S. Patent Office ruled on the case Blackhorse v. Pro-Football Inc. that the trademarks of the Washington Redskins are derogatory and offensive — and are thereby cancelled.

It’s likely to be appealed again, of course. And it’ll probably be at least two generations before people stop clinging to the racist nickname. But it’s a start. Continue reading

News Bites: Check, Please

News Bites LogoToday brings one more change to Morgan on Media, as I am shutting down the News Bites feature.

I was sitting at my computer this evening, looking at a score of mostly-very-minor news items in my bookmarks folder, and I found I simply didn’t have the enthusiasm for going through and writing them up into a News Bites post. It’s far from the first time, in truth. My intent when I started the News Bites all those months ago — and before when it was the Weekly Weblinks — was that it would be a post that could be gradually built up during the week, so I could make a regularly scheduled post without having to put much effort into it. It has seldom worked out that way, for a very simple reason: writing each item individually as I come across them means regular interruptions on whatever I’m primarily working on. So they get a glance and a bookmark for later, and then Thursday evening rolls around and I’m looking at several items and an hour or more of work for what was meant to be a simple affair.

The News Bites feature was meant to accomplish three things: it was meant to be easy to do, it was meant to be informative and entertaining, and it was meant to help me maintain a regular posting schedule. But it’s as much effort as a review, while not being as fun. As for informative and entertaining, well I hope it’s that, but the truth is that more N.B. posts than not go virtually ignored. And this makes sense. The simple truth is that a once-a-week column is hardly “up to the minute” by internet standards; most of you get the same news the same way I do, so there’s little point in me repeating it unless I have something specific to say about it. As for the third goal, as I stated in my New Year’s post I’m no longer worrying about maintaining a “post every day” pace, so that aspect of the feature is obsolete.

So as a regular feature, News Bites is done. This doesn’t mean I won’t ever talk about news items again. It means it’ll be more like the early days of the site, when I would periodically write an editorial about a specific piece of news. For the rest of the stuff… I’m still reading articles from the Hollywood Reporter, Superhero Hype, Variety, and so forth. Most of this I’ve subscribed to on my Twitter feed. If I see something interesting, but don’t feel like doing a write-up on it, I’ll just hit retweet.

For those who have been regular readers and commentators on the News Bites feature, thank you. And as always, thank you to all of you who are regular readers and commentators on Morgan on Media as a whole. More posts with non-administrative content will be along shortly.

News Bites: Director Distribution

News Bites LogoOnce again, it’s Friday, and that means it’s time for the weekly News Bites. News from Hollywood is finally starting to pick back up again after winter break, and there are some interesting things on the horizon… though oddly, a lot of what was happening this week was various directors signing on to projects. But as movie fans always want to know who’s going to be at the helm of an interesting film project — and especially as many of these projects were previously unannounced — that’s all well and good.

So here’s what’s going on this week… Continue reading

News Bites: New Year’s News

News Bites LogoWelcome to 2014, and may it be a good year. It’s Friday morning, so here’s the first News Bites edition of the new year. Now, as with last week, Hollywood’s been relatively quiet, apparently honoring the holidays as a time for family. Or maybe Hollywood press agents just all go out and get roaring drunk on New Year’s, I don’t know. But whatever the reason, there are only a few items to discuss this week. So to find out what’s happening, click “Continue Reading”. Continue reading

News Bites: Holiday Hush

News Bites ChristmasThis week’s edition News Bites is a pretty small one; apparently even Hollywood’s hype machine has the decency to take time off for Christmas and New Year’s. There are few enough items that I’m not even going to bother with a jump cut; let’s just get right on into it.

It’s been pretty much certain for several weeks now, but it’s finally official that Vin Diesel will be providing the voice of Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Also in Vin Diesel news, the actor has revealed the new release date for The Fast and the Furious 7. Due to retooling from the death of star Paul Walker, the film is now due for release on April 10, 2015.

Director Peter Segal (Grudge Match) confirms what comic book fans have long suspected: Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam is officially defunct. While Segal denies that the film based on DC’s character Captain Marvel (called Shazam! in marketing for legal reasons and recently renamed to that in the comics) was kid-oriented, one can’t help but suspect that the even-more-optimistic-than-Superman nature of the character worked against the property in the wake of the darker tone of the current DC Comics movies.

And finally, the Doyle estate has lost their case that all of Sherlock Holmes was protected by copyright. The judge has ruled only those elements from 1923 or newer — such as Dr. Watson’s wife and Sherlock’s retirement from the detective agency — are protected by copyright. Everything prior — which consists of all but the last 10 of the 60 Doyle-written stories — is public domain and fair game for use.

That’s all for this week’s News Bites. Thanks for reading, and leave a comment below with your thoughts!

News Bites: Evening Edition

News Bites ChristmasIt’s Friday, and that means that once again it’s time for me to do a roundup of interesting movie news. Now, unless I’m mistaken, this is the latest in the day I’ve ever posted the News Bites — 7:00 PM as I type this, and probably closer to 8:00 by the time I’m finished. But I have a good excuse; I was sick yesterday (so no prep time), and I was out Christmas shopping today. Not that anybody was likely to call me to task on it, mind; one of the nice things about the blogging community is that it usually is nice and relatively free of the trolls that infest most of the internet.

So, enough delays already. Let’s get on with this. Continue reading

News Bites: Sequels and Shannara

News Bites ChristmasOnce again, it’s time for the weekly News Bites. It’s coming a day early this week because, well, you can read a calendar. You know what tomorrow is, and what series gets reviewed on this blog whenever that particular combination of dates comes up. So the News Bites are getting bumped a day ahead in order to make room for a decidedly un-Christmassy movie. But hey, at least I finished the decorations for this column.

On the slate today, a whole lot of film franchises that are getting second, or third, or nth installments. And just a couple original productions. Continue reading

News Bites: Superheroes in the Snow

News Bites LogoIt’s Friday, and it’s once again time for the News Bites. Running a bit late again this week, for which I apologize, but I’m sure you all know this can be a busy time of year. I haven’t even had time to create Christmas-themed graphics for this column yet; hopefully by next week. At any rate, there may not be a huge amount of news this week, but what there is has generally been pretty big, especially for fans of superhero movies. So before I go out into the wild white yonder and take a crowbar to the horses’ water troughs (again), here’s what’s new this week. Continue reading

News Bites: Trypping the Light Phantastic

News Bites LogoGood afternoon, it’s Friday, and it’s time for the News Bites. Now, I know normally this is a morning post, but it’s going up just a bit late today thanks to taking yesterday off for the Thanksgiving holiday. Blame it on an overdose of L-tryptophan. But even though it’s a bit of a light week for news, Hollywood never seems to completely shut down the hype machine, so there’s still a few bites of news to report in between bites of leftover turkey.

Before that, though, a bit of news from the movie blogging community. Dan Fogarty, of Fogs Movie Reviews, has sadly decided to shut down operations on his site due to time commitments at work. Fogs’ site was one of the biggest in our movie blogging community, and he helped me get started here with my own writing. Between his weekly “Movies That Everyone Should See” and “Tossin’ It Out There” straw polls, plus his regular reviews — which were always written to be entertaining and easy to read — I probably spent more time reading and commenting on his site than on my own, even before he asked me to write my “Catching the Classics” column for his site. Fogs, thanks for the laughs and all the great discussions, and thanks for letting me be a part of it.

And now, if you can pry yourself away from elbowing little old ladies in the guts to score an X-Box, here’s what’s been happening in Hollywood this week. Continue reading

News Bites: Gilliam and Gimli

News Bites LogoAnd we’re back. Last week didn’t have a News Bites feature, because last week didn’t have any posts at all, but it’s time to get back to work. It’s Friday morning, it’s time for the News Bites. This week involves some horror updates, some strange sequel news, a little bit of release date roulette, and a whole mess of superhero movie rumors, including one of the most bizarre to ever grace these pages.

So if you want to know what’s going on, just keep reading. Continue reading