«Скопинский маньяк» вышел на свободу

Преступник возвращается домой после 17 лет колонии

Reading time 4 minutes

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The Mars Chronicle: NASA explores the planet

Space agency will be looking for signs of life on Mars

Reading time 5 minutes

NASA launched the «Mars 2020» mission last July. The rover, named «Perseverance», took off from the US military base at Cape Canaveral and flew for nearly seven months. A successful landing occurred on February 24. Four video cameras filmed the descent of the rover: two were installed on the device, one more – on the landing module and next to the parachute. «Perseverance» landed in the Ezero crater. There are also recorded alien sounds – for the first time ever.

In addition, the rover drove a few meters across the surface, took photographs, and has already transmitted them to Earth.

The photo taken by the Martian satellite shows bright dots - traces of scorched soil from the landing (source: NASA)
The photo taken by the Martian satellite shows bright dots – traces of scorched soil from the landing (source: NASA)

NASA’s main goal of the mission is to understand whether Mars was habitable in the past. To do this, Perseverance will look for traces of water and life organisms, study the climate and collect surface samples. For the latter task, the rover has special tubes with which it will be able to take rocks and soil.

The rover will also test new technologies. In the future, they will be used for other missions – delivering samples to Earth in 2031 and a manned mission to Mars.

A picture of the surface of Mars (source: NASA)
A picture of the surface of Mars (source: NASA)

The Perseverance mission is far from the first attempt to learn the secrets of the red planet: Mars has long been the object of research by scientists. Space programs look for alien life or at least traces of it. For example, scientists have discovered subterranean lakes of saltwater in the planet’s south pole, methane particles in the atmosphere, and the chemical elements necessary for life. These discoveries were made possible by the Mars rover «Curiosity».

«Curiosity» reveals that Mars has red skies during the day and blue sunsets (source: NASA)
«Curiosity» reveals that Mars has red skies during the day and blue sunsets (source: NASA)

Although there is no direct evidence of living organisms on the red planet yet, this has not stopped researchers from trying to send humans there. American engineer and billionaire Elon Musk is a case in point. One of his companies, SpaceX, has been involved in a manned mission to Mars for nearly twenty years. Musk wants to create a space vehicle so people can travel between planets and colonize Mars.

«I think becoming an interplanetary civilization and traveling through space is very important for all humanity. It would take a lot of resources to build a colony on Mars. And I want to contribute as much as I can»,- claimed Elon Musk for Business Insider. The billionaire is prepared to devote his $140 billion fortune to sponsoring the project.

What planetary colonisation will look like (source: SpaceX press materials)
What planetary colonisation will look like (source: SpaceX press materials)

«Winx» is saving the world again

Netflix has released a movie adaptation of the animated series about fairies

Reading time 4 minutes

The 6 episodes of the first season of «Fate: the Winx Saga» was released on the streaming platform Netflix on January 22. Directed by Brian Young, known for his work on «The Vampire Diaries», and Iginio Straffi, the creator of the original cartoon. Production was handled by Italy and the United Kingdom, and filming took place in Ireland.

The Netflix project is based on the Italian animated series «Winx Club». The fantastic series has been released since 2004 and from that time has won the love of viewers. At the moment, 8 seasons, 3 feature films and several spin–offs have been released. In addition, the manufacturer produces merch: comics, clothing, stationery, toys and computer games. Straffi conceived the film adaptation back in 2011, but Netflix only started shooting in 2019.

Despite its popularity among children and teenagers, the animated series has been repeatedly criticized. The creators of «Winx» were accused of sexual objectification of the heroines — sixteen-year-old fairies have a perfect body and wear too open clothes.

A shot from the first season of «Winx» (source: Amino Apps)
A shot from the first season of «Winx» (source: Amino Apps)

The plot of the film series differs from the original one. Sixteen-year-old Bloom (Abigail Cowen) gets into «Alphea». «Alphea» is a school for fairies and specialists from the magical world. The girl lives in a hostel with other fairies, communicates only with Aisha (Precious Mustapha), and with Stella (Hannah van der Westhuysen) is at enmity. The heroine has a bad relationship with her parents. Headmistress Miss Dowling (Eve Best) knows the truth about Bloom, but keeps it a secret. The young fairy has yet to learn about herself and her origins.

The series received an age limit of «18+». According to Straffi’s idea, the show is designed for adult fans of the animated series: in the Netflix adaptation, there are a large number of bed scenes and obscene language.

From left to right: Muse, Terra, Bloom, Stella, Aisha (source: Twitter)
From left to right: Muse, Terra, Bloom, Stella, Aisha (source: Twitter)

The public met the news of the film adaptation with conflicting reviews. Even at the stage of creation, the project was discussed because of the cast: the Asian Muse was made a white American, Techna was removed from the number of Winx fairies, and instead of Flora, another character appeared — her cousin Terra. Another heroine — Beatrix-became a collective image of the evil trinity Trix. There is no Muse and Riven couple that is loved by many: Riven is an open bisexual who is in love with another person.

The first season received many positive reviews. On IMDB, users rated the series 7 points on a ten-point scale. On Kinopoisk slightly below-6,4. After the premiere, the network received information that Netflix has extended «Fate: The Winx Saga». There was no official confirmation of the second season.

 

All that is known about the 2021 Grammys

Nominees, scandals, date, and new records

Reading time 5 minutes

The Grammy is the most prestigious music award in the world. Each year the National Academy holds an award ceremony. A jury of producers, sound engineers and musicians award the artists by voting. Each musician dreams about gaining at least a Grammy nomination. Here’s what you need to know about the 63rd Awards.

When and where?

The awards ceremony will be on 31of January at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It has been held there for 40 years, since the beginning of its broadcasting. It’s not yet clear what format the event will take: it all depends on whether the coronavirus situation in the U.S. worsens. «We will make a decision about the audience and the carpet closer to the date,» the Grammy website says. In addition, the names of the presenters and performing artists are unknown.

55th Grammy Awards, 2013

Beyoncé got the most nominations.

After the «Black is King» album released in July of this year the singer got 9 nominations. Now Beyonce has 79 nominations and 24 statuettes. If she wins 8 more, it will be the record-breaking quantity of Grammys. In addition to Beyonce Dua Lipa (5) and Billie Eilish (4) lead the way in the number of nominations.

A still from Beyoncé’s visual album «Black is King» 2020

BTS’s first serious nomination

BTS is a Korean boys band that continues to break records and conquer the West. The guys finally received Academy recognition and a nomination for «Best Pop Duo/Group Performance» for their song «Dynamite». Their hit topped the Billboard Hot 100 music chart for two weeks. BTS will compete for the statuette with other pop stars: Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift.
The band did not receive a nomination for «Best Album», although their release «Map of the Soul: 7» was recognized as the best-selling album in the first half of 2020.

BTS on the carpet at the 62nd Grammy Awards, 2020

The Weeknd vs. the Grammys

This year’s announcement of nominees was not without scandal. The Weeknd did not receive any of the nominations and accused the Academy jury of corruption. There really is the reason for doubt: the album by Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd’s real name) exploded all the charts and received critical acclaim. It’s all the more strange that the singer’s work has been ignored.
Abel shared his thoughts on his Instagram page. «The Grammys are still corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry in general», he wrote. Drake, Ariana Grande and Halsey supported the performer and agreed with his words

The Weeknd’s «After Hours» album cover, 2020

Russians in the West

Two musicians from Russia received nominations at once. Pianist Daniil Trifonov will compete for the award for «Best Solo Instrumental Classical Music Work» for his performance of Rachmaninov. The second, conductor Maxim Emelyanychev, was in the «Best Opera Recording» category. Leonid Agutin, who originally applied for five categories, received no nominations after the Academy vote.

Daniil Trifonov was nominated in the category «Best Classical Instrumental Solo Work»

Hogwarts doesn’t exist, the Dursleys are good, and Dumbledore is Death

Recalling fan theories on the anniversary of the last Harry Potter movie

Reading time 6 minutes

The Wizarding World stories premiered exactly ten years ago. Over the course of the franchise’s existence, fans have come up with theories, some of which completely overturn the usual story of the magical world.

Neville is the Chosen One

One of the most argued theories is that Harry was never the Chosen One. The real savior of Magical Britain is Neville. Although bumbling loser Longbottom doesn’t look like a superhero, he could have been the Boy Who Survived. According to the prophecy of Voldemort’s demise, the wizard will be killed by a boy born in July. Also, the child must be part of a family that has defied the Dark Lord three times. Not only do the Potters fit the description, but also the Longbottom. Why Tom Riddle decided it was Harry who would destroy him is not clear. Perhaps the wizard wanted to deal with Neville and his family after but did not have time.

Further events of the story also make you doubt Harry’s selectivity. The prophecy says that the child has a special gift. Potter had no gift (the boy’s knowledge of the snake language was passed down from Voldemort), but Neville had a strong knowledge of herbalism.

Theory #1: Neville is the Chosen One

Harry, Severus and Tom Riddle are brothers in the «Deathly Hallows» tale

The tale is about three brothers. Death gives them the Elder Wand, the Cloak of Invisibility, and the Resurrection Stone. Harry, Severus, and He-Who-No-Name resemble the Peverell brothers. Voldemort wishes to get his wand so he can wield power like his older brother. Snape, the middle one, is obsessed with the love of a dead woman. Harry wields the Cloak of Invisibility, which makes him look like the younger brother.

If you follow this theory, Death is Dumbledore. The Professor is the only one who possessed all the Hallows. Also, when Harry is killed by the Dark Lord, it is Albus who waits for him and meets him as an “old friend.” – Another reference to the fairy tale.

Theory # 2: Harry, Severus and Tom Riddle are brothers in the «Deathly Hallows» tale

Draco is in love with Hermione

Many fans believe that Draco was in love with Hermione. He was always bullying the girl, calling her a «filthy dirty girl» following on the heels of the Golden Trio, all to get Granger’s attention. This behavior was caused by the fact that Malfoy grew up in a family where Muggles were considered the scum of society, but the boy himself thought otherwise. The version about the Slytherin’s crush is common among fans of movies because there Draco is shown as a deeper and more compassionate person.

Theory #3: Draco is in love with Hermione

Harry is to blame for the bad temper of the Dursleys

In the books, the Dursley family had a strong dislike for the Boy-who-survived. Harry lived in a closet, subjected to insults and hard labor. There is a theory: the character of the relatives was influenced by Potter, or rather by Voldemort’s Horcrux imprisoned in the wizard.

In «Deathly Hallows» Harry, Hermione and Ron wore a locket around their necks – part of the Dark Lord’s soul. The teenagers were negatively influenced by black magic: they argued, fought, were aggressive. The theory is that Harry’s presence had the same effect on the Dursleys. Although this assumption does not explain why the boy did not influence his friends and other wizards in his surroundings.

Theory #4: Harry is to blame for the Dursleys’ bad temper

Harry made up the world of magic

What if there is no magic world? That’s probably the saddest theory. Its proponents are certain that Harry never left the house on Tees Street, never received a letter from Hogwarts, and never fought Voldemort. The boy-who-survived- made it all up, and the fantasy is an attempt to escape the brutal reality. The writer believes this viewpoint fits into the original story.

Theory #5: Harry made up the world of magic

 

 

Seven Lives of Sherlock Holmes

The most famous images of the detective in cinematography

Reading time 7 minutes

Sherlock is a character created by English writer Arthur Conan Doyle. Consulting detective lives in Victorian London on Baker Street and helps Scotland Yard police in solving crimes. Works about the adventures of Holmes and Dr. Watson have become classics of the detective genre, and screenings are still successful.

The first film adaptation is considered to be a thirty-second silent movie «Sherlock Holmes Baffled». The short sketch was premiered in May 1900. The names of the actors are unknown. The only copy was lost until it was restored by cards in 1968. «Baffled» is the first detective in the history of cinematography.

«Sherlock Holmes Baffled» // Frame from the restored film of 1900

The most popular screen adaptation among the Russian public is the Soviet series with Vasily Livanov and Vitaly Solomin in the lead roles. The series «The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson» was released in 1979-1986 and consisted of eleven episodes. The plot was based on stories «A Study in Pink», «The Final Problem», «The Hound of the Baskervilles».

The TV series was appreciated abroad: the film critic Alan Barnes in his book «Sherlock Holmes on the screen» (1999) wrote that the detective performed by Livanov is the best of all time.

Frame from the Soviet series «The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson»

In 1970 the American film «The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes» was released. Oscar-winning director Billy Wilder worked on the picture, and the main character was played by British Robert Stevenson. Holmes and Watson visit the ball of Russian ballerina and bathe in women’s attention. Unlike his3 friend, Sherlock is not glad about this arrangement. At the same time, a standard detective line develops: the detective investigates the case of the disappearance of the man. The search brings the heroes to Loch Ness Lake.

Frame from «The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes»

«Sherlock Holmes» by Guy Ritchie was released in 2009, two years later – a continuation under the title «Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows» . The characters of the detective and the doctor were performed by Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. The friends save London from Moriarty’s plans and investigate terrorist attacks. Critics praised the screening, and the first film was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe. The third part of the franchise will be released in 2021.

Frame from «Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows»

«Sherlock» (2010) by the BBC is probably the most unusual of all. The action takes place not in Victorian England, but in the modern one. John Watson (Martin Freeman) blogs about his friend instead of notes. The image of Holmes, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, turned out to be extraordinary. Sherlock calls himself a «highly active sociopath», fights against drug addiction and denies the existence of feelings and emotions. The main antipode of the detective is James Moriarty.

At the moment, 4 seasons and a special episode  «The Abominable Bride» have been released. It is not known whether there will be a continuation.

Poster for the fourth season of «Sherlock» by the British company BBC

In 2012, CBS offered to the producers of the British «Sherlock» with a proposal to make a remake. The BBC refused to sell the copyrights, so the company created a TV series from scratch. «Elementary» was released in September of the same year.

Holmes comes to New York for treatment in a rehabilitation center and remains to work as a police consultant. Joanne Watson – in this adaptation the doctor became a girl – supervises the detective.

«Elementary» // Sherlock (John Lee Miller) and Joan (Lucy Lew)

«Enola Holmes» is an online platform project created by Netflix, released in autumn. Producer and main actress – 16-year-old Millie Bobby Brown. The focus is not on Sherlock, but his teenage sister Enola. The image of the detective turned out to be interesting, though not canonical. In the story Mycroft, Sherlock and Enola are looking for their missing mother.

«Enola Holmes» // Enola (Millie) and Sherlock (Henry Cavill)
«Enola Holmes» // Enola (Millie) and Sherlock (Henry Cavill)

There was also a scandal: Doyle’s heirs sued on Netflix. In their opinion, the producers used stories that are not yet in the public domain.