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This Day In History

Hometown Hall This Day in History May 7

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Health And Wellness

Hometown Hall Health Tip of the Day May 7

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HT Movie TV

‘Jupiter’s Legacy’: TV Review

BY DANIEL FIENBERG | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren #reviews-all

Josh Duhamel and Leslie Bibb star in the Netflix adaptation of Mark Millar’s comic book series about a dysfunctional superhero family.

The penultimate episode of Disney+’s WandaVision generated a wave of adulation (and predictable knee-jerk Twitter backlash) for the line, “What is grief, if not love persevering?”

Even if you don’t think the line was a pinnacle of scripted meditations on loss, it could still be acknowledged as a neat and pithy summation of the themes of a frequently provocative season of TV.

In the penultimate episode of Jupiter’s Legacy, Netflix’s new superhero show takes its own stab at something comparably reflective. “I’ve learned that there’s a terrible gift to loss, which leaves nothing left to lose, which means you have everything to gain,” declares Josh Duhamel’s Sheldon Sampson, a musing that’s half word salad, half idiotic mathematical equation, all hollow nonsense.

The title of Jupiter’s Legacy, adapted by Steven S. DeKnight from the comic book series by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, refers vaguely to the legacy left by a senior generation of superheroes for the new generation of heroes facing a wildly different world. The show’s only actual legacy is arriving in such a superhero-glutted landscape that it’s almost impossible to find a single character or plotline or thematic beat here that you won’t be instantly comparing to a previous show.

Whether Jupiter’s Legacy is found lacking as a vehicle for delving into the way grief can lay even the most powerful people low, as a mismatched superhero team-up in the vein of Umbrella Academy and The Boys and Doom Patrol, or as a commentary on superhero daddy issues like Invincible or Superman & Lois, this eight-episode drama is one of the weakest and most forgettable entries in the busy genre. It’s a derivative bore, without even visual inspiration to compensate.

The season takes place in two timelines. In the present, Duhamel’s Sheldon and Leslie Bibb’s Grace have been married for 60 years. As the superhero duo The Utopian and Lady Liberty, they’re protecting the Earth, stopping bad guys and following a “code” that dictates that they never kill anybody, however evil, nor do they ever attempt to influence policy. Sheldon and Grace got their power in the distant past along with Sheldon’s brother Walter (Ben Daniels), but somehow there are a ton of young, 20something heroes who got their powers in some other way, heroes who aren’t convinced that Sheldon’s code still applies. The new heroes include Sheldon and Grace’s son Brandon (Andrew Horton), struggling to emerge from his dad’s shadow, and rebellious daughter Chloe (Elena Kampouris), who uses her notoriety — superheroes are celebrities in this world — to get endorsement deals and do photoshoots.

In the other timeline, we see the circumstances that led to Sheldon and Grace and Walter and Sheldon’s buddy George (Matt Lanter) getting their powers, an event situated around the stock market collapse of 1929.

Neither storyline works at all. To their credit, they fail for different reasons, though the very questionable decision to cast every role in the middle of two age extremes doesn’t help. In the flashback, it’s hilarious to have Duhamel, Bibb and especially Daniels pretending to be in their 20s. In the present day, even accepting that superheroes age at a different rate, it’s hilarious to have all of the stars in shoddy old-age makeup. It’s part of the gimmick of the comic, mind you, to have these geriatrics in tights. But whether aging up or down, neither makeup job is good or consistent — there are times they don’t even seem to be trying to make Bibb look anything other than fabulous — and so the actors all look uncomfortable throughout, and none of the stars is inherently good enough to withstand eight hours of perpetual discomfort.

It’s easier to pinpoint why the flashback side of the story is so bad, and it isn’t just because the actors are as convincingly period-appropriate as a Great Gatsby-themed frat party where nobody ever read The Great Gatsby. Simply put: There are no stakes and no twists or turns for the entire flashback, stretched over all eight episodes.

Netflix’s trailer for the show starts with footage of the “younger” characters arriving on the island where they get their powers, an event that takes place at the end of the seventh episode. Netflix sometimes begs critics not to reveal plot details that transpire in the first 15 minutes of a pilot, so if the streamer has no compunctions about spoiling a plotline from the next-to-last episode of a drama’s season because it’s so unsurprising, what possible reason could audiences have for wanting to go on that part of that journey?

Smarter structuring would have been to do a full flashback standalone episode two-thirds of the way through the season, probably casting younger versions of the core stars. That way, you could have treated the provided information as “filling in the blanks” as opposed to a storyline meant to maintain interest hour-by-hour, which it most surely does not.

Then again, the present-day story isn’t all that thrilling either. There’s a villain, but the main hook is the moral conflict between the intractable Sheldon, clinging to the code to mask his increasing obsolescence, and Brandon, who doesn’t exactly want to kill bad guys willy-nilly, but likes having the option in his toolbox. The show is an ideological void, which is especially surprising given that Millar (Wanted, Kick-Ass) tends to have pointed (if occasionally contradictory) things to say about the erosion of modern society and the corrosive effects of vigilante violence. Here, Jupiter’s Legacy doesn’t get much deeper than, “We live in fragmented times and that’s bad.”

Even with nothing of note to say, you sense there’s one version of this show that’s centered around this father-son clash of law enforcement styles, only Sheldon is an unbearably sanctimonious pill and Brandon is beyond boring. Structurally, Brandon should be the protagonist of this story, only there are three or four episodes in the middle of the season in which he’s nearly absent and if you asked me for a single adjective to describe the character’s personality or Horton’s performance, I would draw a blank. There’s nothing there.

Throughout, I kept feeling like I’d missed key pieces of plot or character development and I kept checking to see if I’d skipped episodes. I hadn’t. It’s even worse in the storyline focused on Chloe doing drugs and jumping into a not-even-slightly compelling romance with a rising criminal named Hutch (Ian Quinlan). That plot mostly exposes how completely Jupiter’s Legacy is without a target demographic — despite occasional swearing and some cartoonish violence, it’s practically BYUtv-level bland compared to The Boys — and messes with the show’s focus, because as uninteresting as the characters are, Kampouris and Quinlan are the only actors in the cast who aren’t on acting autopilot, who didn’t apparently have half of their scenes edited out and who aren’t fighting to be recognizable through layers of latex or all three.

There’s at best a 10 percent chance the Chloe/Hutch show might be worth watching, but that’s higher than the rest of the series. To throw Sheldon’s reflections on grief into my own blender: When there’s nothing to be gained from watching a superfluous superhero TV show, at least there’s nothing to be lost from skipping it entirely.

Full credits

Cast: Josh Duhamel, Ben Daniels, Leslie Bibb, Elena Kampouris, Andrew Horton, Mike Wade and Matt Lanter

Creator: Steven S. DeKnight, based on the comic book series by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely

Premieres Friday, May 7, on Netflix


 

 

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HT Business

Cinemark Reports $208M Loss, Says “We Are Now Actively on the Road to Recovery”

BY GEORG SZALAI | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren #business-all

The cinema giant reports its latest results, with CEO Mark Zoradi saying: “We are highly optimistic about theatrical exhibition’s resurgence in the U.S. over the coming months on account of a range of factors.”

Cinema giant Cinemark Holdings reported a widened $208 million loss for the first quarter of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic after a year-ago loss of nearly $60 million.

“The company’s financial results continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the exhibitor, led by CEO Mark Zoradi. As of March 31, it had 301 domestic and 78 internationalvenues open. The company has a particularly strong presence in Latin America.

Cinemark had in mid-March opened its cinemas in the greater Los Angeles area with enhanced cleaning and safety protocols. Revenue for the first quarter fell to $114.4 million, compared to $543.6 million in the January-March period of 2020 when news of the virus started being discussed in various parts of the world.

Zoradi said in Friday’s earnings update: “Over a year has passed since COVID-19 prompted the shutdown of our global circuit, and today I am pleased to report that we are now actively on the road to recovery.”

He added: “We are highly optimistic about theatrical exhibition’s resurgence in the U.S. over the coming months on account of a range of factors, including the rapid pace of the vaccine rollout, improving consumer sentiment about returning to movie theaters, recent box office successes and confirmation of consistent product supply. On a global basis, we remain confident that, like the U.S., other countries will quickly recover as lockdowns reign in the virus and vaccines are more widely disseminated.”

Zoradi had on the last earnings call predicted a return to a “normalized” domestic theatrical market in 2022.

MKM Partners analyst Eric Handler, who has a “neutral,” in his report previewing the latest results wrote: “As a broad-based box office re-opening moves closer to becoming a reality, Cinemark remains well-positioned to reemerge from the pandemic in a solid financial position. Furthermore, with management vigilantly focused on continued efforts to streamline expenses and improve productivity, there is optimism a return to normalized revenue and margin levels can be achieved in 2022 or 2023.”

Later Friday, Cinemark announced that it had reached new theatrical exhibition deals with Warner Bros., Disney, Paramount, Sony and Universal. While specifics weren’t revealed, Cinemark said the deals “secure a consistent supply of content and demonstrate a shared commitment to offering consumers the ultimate movie-viewing experience, with compelling content exhibited within the theatrical environment.”

“Cinemark is thrilled to have reached new agreements with our major studio partners, and we are eager to continue providing movie fans an immersive, larger-than-life cinematic environment to see major upcoming films, ranging from the biggest blockbusters to specialty fare to family-friendly content,” Zoradi added in a statement. “In our ongoing efforts to maximize attendance and box office during the pandemic and beyond, our goal is to provide the widest range of content with terms that are in the best long-term interests of Cinemark, our studio partners and moviegoers. We are pleased with these recent developments and are confident we are taking positive steps toward reigniting theatrical exhibition and evolving the industry for a post-pandemic landscape.”

5:39 a.m. This story has been updated to note Cinemark’s new deal with the major movie studios.


 

 

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COVID-19 Updates

Hometown Hall United States COVID-19 Update May 6

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HT Classic Cars

Hometown Hall SUV of the Day May 6

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HT Photo

Hometown Hall The NEW “In-Person” Meeting Photo of the Day May 6

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HT Local News

Bank of England expects best year for UK economy since 1941

By PAN PYLAS, Associated Press

Troy Warren #local-all


 

The Bank of England will keep interest rates on hold and has grown more optimistic about the economic recovery in the U.K. this year as a result of the rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines.

LONDON (AP) — The Bank of England has kept interest rates on hold as it forecast the fastest annual pace of growth for the British economy since early on in World War II, largely as a result of the rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines.

In a prepared statement Thursday, the nine-member Monetary Policy Committee said it will maintain the bank’s main interest rate at 0.1%. The unanimous and widely anticipated decision means that interest rates will remain at the lowest level in the bank’s 327-year history.

Alongside its decision, the bank’s rate-setting panel said growth is likely to be greater than it previously thought as lockdown easing and vaccines free people to spend savings built up during the pandemic.

“New COVID cases in the United Kingdom have continued to fall, the vaccination programme is proceeding apace, and restrictions on economic activity are easing,” Bank Governor Andrew Bailey told reporters in a conference call.

After suffering its worst recession in over 300 years, the U.K. economy is projected to grow by 7.25% in 2021, up from the bank’s previous forecast of 5%. That would be the greatest economic rebound since 1941 when the U.K. was on a war footing, according to Bank of England statistics that date back to 1700.

Because it anticipates growth will occur earlier than expected, it has revised down its forecasts for next year. It is now expects 5.75% growth in 2022, instead of the 7.25% previously predicted.

If growth returns as quickly as the central bank expects, the British economy will make up all the ground lost during the pandemic by the end of this year. The bank also said economic growth will help reduce the anticipated peak in unemployment from 7.75% to 5.5%.

Bailey cautioned against euphoria, noting that the pandemic will leave a long-term “scarring” effect on the British economy. He also warned of “downside risks” to the economic outlook from a potential resurgence of the virus and the possibility that new variants may be resistant to the vaccine.

“Let’s not get carried away,” Bailey said. “It still means that two years of output growth have been lost to date.”

If pre-pandemic trends persisted, that would equate to around 3% of output lost during the pandemic.

“So there will still be a big gap between where the economy is and where it should be at that point,” said Luke Bartholomew, senior economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments. “It is this gap that will keep monetary policy very accommodative over the next few years even as the economy posts some extremely strong growth numbers, and inflation picks-up somewhat in the short run.”

Though few expect the bank to raise interest rates anytime soon, it signaled Thursday that it is willing to ease its quantitative easing program by slowing the rate of its monthly bond purchases, though the total remains unchanged.

The bank’s brighter outlook comes despite a tough winter period when lockdown restrictions were reimposed in the face of a particularly acute second wave of the virus.

Though the U.K. had Europe’s highest virus-related death toll at more than 127,500, new cases are now at their lowest levels since last summer and the vaccine rollout has been lauded. By Wednesday, around 52% of the British population had received at least one dose of vaccine with around a quarter getting two.


 

 

 

Categories
HT Local News

‘Scared to death’ | Police say armed trainee hijacks South Carolina school bus

By Tim Darnell, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren #local-all


 

Trainee allegedly runs off from Fort Jackson, demands transport to another town.

An armed trainee based at a Columbia, South Carolina, Army installation allegedly hijacked a school bus carrying 18 children Thursday morning.

According to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, the hijacking happened around 7 a.m. near Eagle Park and Percival roads. The Fort Jackson trainee, whose name has not been released, “was dressed in PT clothes and armed with a rifle.” 

“He had run off the post and escaped,” Lott said. Before the alleged hijacking, Lott said the trainee was trying to flag down vehicles on I-77. From there, Lott said the trainee got on a school bus taking children to Forest Lake Elementary and demanded the driver “take him to the next town.”

After driving a few miles, Lott said children on the bus began asking the trainee “lots of questions,” such as whether he was going to hurt the driver or any of them.

“The suspect got a little frustrated, and the bus stopped and that’s when the kids and bus driver got off,” Lott said. The trainee then drove the bus a few more miles, “then got off the bus and left the rifle on the bus,” he said.

Lott said the trainee was arrested near I-77 and Percival Road. None of the children or the bus driver were injured.

“You can just imagine they were scared to death,” Lott said. “I’ll give the bus driver credit, he kept his cool.”

Several nearby schools, according to WIS, were locked down during the incident. Fort Jackson officials told the station they are aware of the incident and are working with local police in the investigation.


 

 

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HT Home & Garden HT Woof Post

Pet-friendly designs to incorporate into your home

By Kiersten Willis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren #homegarden-all #woofpost-all

Animal lovers know that your pet is truly your family.

One way to integrate the furry companion into your life is to make your home seamlessly incorporate their needs.

From easy-to-clean sofas to wash stations, the steps you take to create your perfect oasis will also help make your house a home for your pet.

“Just as great design seamlessly melds fashion and function, the best pet-friendly kitchens create stylish, integrated spaces that allow your pets to be part of the family, without adding clutter or creating safety hazards for paws and tails,” HouseBeautiful noted.


 

Of course, you’ll want to take flooring into account, especially if you have a puppy or kitten. Flooring Inc. counts cork, bamboo, laminate, tile and vinyl among the best flooring for pets. These surfaces provide easy cleanup and are mostly scratch-resistant, or they hide nail marks more easily.

But your four-legged friend likely won’t always be on the floor. For those ever-special cuddle sessions, you’ll likely want them to snuggle up next to you on the couch.

In that case, Apartment Therapy advises you skip the velvet, chenille or silk. Instead, stick to fabrics with a tight weave.

“In terms of other fabrics, you can’t go wrong with microfiber or canvas. These materials are made to withstand all sorts of use, and are typically easy to clean and take care of,” the website said.

All those belly rubs are bound to work up an appetite, however. When that happens, you’ll want your pet to have a place where they can eat comfortably while not taking away from the aesthetics of your home. Feeding stations such as a build-out in the hallway or a buffet-style feeding station tucked into the kitchen island, as shown on Houzz, make for functional designs.

And how about bath time?

One of the most challenging moments for pet owners comes when you have to give them a good cleaning after a romp in the park.

Wash stations in the mudroom or laundry area can provide an easy spot for pet owners to freshen up their furry friends.

“A deep tub that is easy for your pet to access will allow you to keep your dog clean, no matter what it discovers in the backyard. You can even create a built-in crate in this room for your dog, giving it a safe and comfortable space to dry after a nice bath,” South Carolina-based Donald A. Gardner Architects said on its blog.