Monkeys Learn From Movies

marmosetNo matter how much we try to resist, humans learn from movies and television. What we learn is another question, though I’ve certainly learned quite a bit from Julia Child and Top Chef. As it turns out, we’re not the only ones who learn from what we see in films — wild marmosets do too. Monkey see, monkey do, as they say.

University of Vienna researcher Tina Gunhold has been studying and conducting experimental research with a bunch of different animals, particularly when it comes to traditions and social learning. Studies such as the dog and wolf social learning project, which found that wolves are much better at learning from each other than dogs are, is precisely the kind of thing Gunhold is interested in. She also happens to run the University’s marmoset laboratory. Gunhold wondered whether wild marmosets would be affected by what they saw on the screen — in particular, by an instructional video featuring another marmoset liberating a treat from a device. She wondered whether the video could actually teach other marmosets how to get a treat from the same device.


Z Nation Extended Trailer Serves Up Zombie Carnage But Doesn’t Build Our Confidence

ZNationAMC’s The Walking Dead is a massive hit, consistently bringing in strong ratings and becoming the sort of water-cooler series that’s increasingly rare in our fractured, over-crowded media landscape. It’s understandable that other networks would want a piece of that rotting, maggot-infested pie, and Syfy has declared their intentions to try and take The Walking Dead on head-on with Z Nation, an upcoming zombie series set to star Lost’s Harold Perrineau, among others. Now Amazon has released an extended trailer for Z Nation, and based on what we’ve seen, The Walking Dead doesn’t have anything to worry about.

We’ve had a lot of good things to say about Syfy’s creative decisions in the last year, as the network has genuinely seemed to turn over a new leaf, launching an aggressive and ambitious development slate that includes adaptations of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse, Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, and more. There’s also a ton of original stuff in the works as well, including Z Nation, set three years after a zombie outbreak devastates the United States. The new trailer, which isn’t embeddable but which you can see here, introduces the general story arc for Z Nation, with Perrineau leaded a group on a cross-country mission to ferry the only known survivor of a zombie bite to a California lab where a cure may be extracted from his blood.


Keep 2D Animation Alive By Kickstarting Hand Drawn Steampunk Hullabaloo

HullabalooWith Japanese animation masters Studio Ghibli going through a restructuring (or whatever more pleasant sounding euphemism you want to give the massive changes they’re undergoing), traditional 2D, hand-drawn animation is in grave danger. There will always be those who steadfastly adhere to the form, but 3D and computer animation have taken control of the industry. However, a group of former DreamWorks and Disney artists are doing their damndest to stave off extinction, and they could use your help.

A group plans to hand draw a feature-length motion picture—something no studios are going to do anytime soon—a steampunk adventure called Hullabaloo, and they’ve established a Kickstarter campaign to help raise some of the funds. At the moment they’re attempting to raise $80,000, which, if you think that sounds cheap for an entire movie, you’d be right, because that’s just what they need to create a “proof of concept” short that they can then shop around. The real thing will cost way, way more than that.


Comic(s) Relief: God Hates Astronauts Is A Raucous Delight

GodHatesAstroComic shelves are full of serious stories dealing with crime and death, but God Hates Astronauts is here to remind people that this medium need never follow any rules or guidelines in order to produce something genius. Created by writer and illustrator Ryan Browne, God Hates Astronauts started life as a webcomic that felt like something your parents wouldn’t want you reading, and has now become an Image Comics series that plays around with formatting and fourth wall-breaking just as much as it does with its central plot. This is a comic with the onomatopoeic sound effects “Dick Pain!” and “Kosmic Merger!” as well as a surprise exposition-spouting blob named 3-D Cowboy, because he’s in 3-D and wears a cowboy hat. This is as surreally irreverent as it gets.

So let’s try and nail down a logline here. There are a group of astro-farmers looking to blast themselves into space, led by Lord Astro-Farmer, a man persecuted for being involved in a romantic relationship with a giant chicken person. (I’ll let you figure out for yourself how that torrid affair started.) In line to stop him are the NASA-sponsored supergroup the Power Persons Five, led by Space Grass, a half-man/half-ghost cow head. Part of it involves a mystical being called The Impossible, and part of it involves a bunch of crabs heading to Crabulon in a spaceship commanded by Admiral Tiger Eating a Cheeseburger, whose father is King Tiger Eating a Cheeseburger. And, you know, cheeseburgers are eaten and other stuff happens.


C-3PO And R2-D2 Remind You To Vaccinate Your Kids In This Vintage Star Wars Poster

Star Wars VaccinesWith all of the talk lately about whether or not you should immunize your children, and by talk we mean people who don’t really understand the topic yelling loudly in public, its hard to tell who you should actually be listening to. One voice, however, cuts through all the rest—and it just so happens to be the one we here at GFR wholeheartedly endorse—and that is the lovable droids from Star Wars.

That’s right, C-3PO and his diminutive astromech sidekick R2-D2 want to remind all of you parents out there to get your children vaccinated. Or at least they did. Back in the mid-1980s, Lucasfilm granted the Centers for Disease Control permission to use the two as spokesbots of sorts to raise awareness of the necessity of vaccines. This vintage poster was distributed across the country to state and local health departments, and riding high on an outbreak of Star Wars fever, it was hugely popular.


Margot Robbie In Talks To Star In Live Action Ghost In The Shell Remake

Margot RobbieAside from Akira, Ghost in the Shell is probably the most notable, widely known Japanese anime out there. And of course there’s been talk of an American remake for years that has never quite materialized. Unlike Akira, however, this adaptation actually seems to be moving forward, and they may have found their lead.

According to The Wrap, Margot Robbie, fresh off her star making turn in Martin Scorsese’s frenetic 2013 banking opus The Wolf of Wall Street, is in talks to take the lead role. These are, reportedly, early talks, and could easily fall apart, but if Robbie does indeed join up with this one, this would be one more huge piece of the puzzle in place. Rupert Sanders, who directed 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman, has already signed on to direct the picture for DreamWorks. After her on-screen sparring sessions with Leonardo DiCaprio, Robbie is well on her way to becoming a household name, and this is definitely a role that could push her over the top.