Top Ten DVD List for Dec. 17, 2013.
"Downton Abbey: Seasons 1, 2, & 3 with Season 4 Sneak Peek"
"Masterpiece Mystery: Inspector Lewis: Pilot through Series Six"
"One Direction: This Is Us"
LOS ANGELES – Four jurors in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial said they feel cheated by the outcome, which they blame on a misleading verdict form.
The six-month-long trial ended in October with a victory for AEG Live, the concert promoter Jackson's mother and children had claimed was liable for his death because it hired, retained or supervised the doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death.
The jurors, whose sworn statements were attached to a motion for a new trial filed Thursday by Katherine Jackson's lawyers, said most of the jury wanted to find concert promoter AEG Live liable in Jackson's 2009 death.
BIG BUDGET FILMS
"American Hustle" (R for sexuality, pervasive profanity and brief violence) David O. Russell wrote and directed this crime drama about a couple of con artists (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) forced by an overzealous FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) to infiltrate a New Jersey underworld inhabited by mobsters protected by a crooked, big city mayor (Jeremy Renner). Support cast includes Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C.K. and Michael Pena.
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" (PG-13 for intense violence and frightening images) Second installment of the fantasy trilogy based on the J.R.R. Tolkien classic finds Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and company continuing their epic journey to Lonely Mountain for a showdown with a fearsome dragon (Benedict Cumberbatch). Cast includes Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett and Stephen Fry.
"A Madea Christmas" (PG-13 for profanity, crude humor and sexual references) Tyler Perry's back in drag in this adaptation of his holiday-themed play, set in a small Southern town, as a moralizing, motor-mouthed granny straightening out sinners while spreading Christmas cheer. Ensemble includes Tika Sumpter, Larry the Cable Guy, Anna Maria Horsford, Kathy Najimy and Chad Michael Murray.
Rihanna's jeans shorts thong featured in her video for "Pour it Up" made culture watchers wonder whether this "good girl gone bad" has gone too far.
The Bajan performer is part of a trend among female pop stars towards baring their booties to sell songs.
Feminist web site Jezebel.com published an essay in response to ladies such as Rihanna and Miley Cyrus frequently appearing in videos scantily clad (and bent over). Fashion blog The Cut also offered its analysis, "Pop Stars Only Wear Thongs Now; Going Pantsless Is Not Enough."
Top Ten DVD List for December 10, 2013
"Fast & Furious 6"
Traditionally, in America, if you were just a teeny-weeny bit black, you'd always been considered black. This arbitrary color line was even codified by the Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, an 1896 case brought by an octoroon light enough to pass who sued for the right to sit in the "white only" section of a segregated train traveling through the South.
Much to Homer Plessy's chagrin, the Court sided with the State of Louisiana, taking judicial notice of the "one-drop rule," ruling that "a Negro or black is any person with any black ancestry." In other words, you could be black without looking black.
Fast-forward to the present, the arguably post-racial age of Obama, a time when the country has a biracial president, who nevertheless refers to himself to African-American. The nation's population has more mixed ancestry than ever nowadays, which is reflected in the latest census offering over a dozen race options to check off, as well as "Other," if none of the above is to your liking.
For movies opening Dec. 6, 2013
BIG BUDGET FILMS
"Inside Llewyn Davis" (R for profanity and some sexual references) Oscar Issac plays the title character in this Coen Bros musical dramedy, set in Greenwich Village in 1961, chronicling a week in the life of a struggling folk singer. With Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan and Max Casella.
"Out of the Furnace" (R for profanity, drug use and graphic violence) Vigilante crime thriller revolving around a just-paroled ex-con (Christian Bale) who ventures from the Rust Belt to the Northeast to rescue a younger brother (Case Affleck) who's gotten mixed up with mobsters. Ensemble cast includes Forest Whitaker, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Willem Dafoe and Sam Shepard.