Friday, August 03, 2007

Movie Minesweeper - The Battle Of The Islands Edition

Gabriel Machet, The Spirit, Len Wiseman, Gears of War, Escape From New York, Avatar, Stephen Lang, Weta, Michelle Rodriguez, Roger Avery, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Spider-Man 3, Transformers, piracy, John Carpenter, The Prince, Jeremy Passmore, Andre Fabrizio.

- Gabriel Macht has been
signed to play The Spirit.
Excellent choice.

- Len Wiseman is apparently negotiating the directing contract for both the Escape From New York remake and the Gears of War movie. Don't you find it frustrating that this is the kind of dreck that becomes the most high profile movie news these days? This sort of banal nothingness generates far more hits than (just as an example) the trailer for The Nines ever could. But why should anybody care about Len Wiseman grinding out a pointless remake and a videogame adaptation? The guy is not only a studio puppet, just a cog in the corporate mill, he's not a very good one either.

- While certainly not a studio puppet, Roger Avery is also working on a videogame adaptation. Return to Castle Wolfenstein seems ripe for a bit of camp fun and Avery may well cook up something fairly wild and pretty entertaining.

- Stephen Lang and Michelle Rodriguez have been named as cast members on Avatar. Perhaps more notably, the same piece details that Mauro Fiore is the film's director of photography and that 31 days of live-action shooting will take place at Weta, starting in October.

- Not only is Spider-Man 3 launching on DVD and Blu-ray on October 30th, that's the day a whole trilogy set is being released too. This marks the hi-def debut of the first two films.

- SlashFilm are calling for a boycot of Regal Cinemas. Why? Because they are prosecuting a pirate. The criminal - because, bottom line, she is a criminal - is a 19 year old girl who recorded 20 seconds of Transformers to 'show to her brother'. And why shouldn't she be prosecuted? There are countless reasons to boycot a cinema chain, but this isn't one of them. Regal's 'zero tolerance' policy is a very good thing. If there's a problem, it's that people are ignorant of the piracy laws, maybe - but again, that's not Regal's fault.

- John Carpenter is to direct on a film called The Prince, scripted by Jeremy Passmore and Andre Fabrizio. Passmore's other projects include Special, which he co-wrote and co-directed with Hal Haberman, and Summer's End, set up at Platinum Dunes.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for being the first person to see it the right way.

Devin said...

I certainly hope you're being sarcastic about the "pirate" that got caught by Regal Cinemas. C'mon...twenty seconds? Really? That kind of thing should get her a slap on the wrist, not prosecution.

Movie studios and theatre chains are so eager to slap the handcuffs on the very people they are trying to sell tickets to. Maybe if they put a little more effort into promoting and distributing a quality product (like, as you said, John August's new film "The Nines" over banal video game adaptations), then maybe people would be more inclined to go see a movie instead of download it.

Adam said...

Here's a better question about the girl taking video of TRANSFORMERS:
Where did she get the idea that it was okay to do that?
It's fairly well-known that cameras are forbidden in theaters. She doesn't have a defense there. She could perhaps point out the clip was only 20 seconds, but that probably won't fly, either.
Where are they supposed to draw the line at acceptable piracy? A minute? Ten? An hour? Likely it's zero seconds. Because it's piracy no matter what.
If you walk into a restaurant, eat a bite of your meal and leave without paying, it's still the same amount of theft as if you ate the hole meal and did the ol' dine and dash.

Brendon said...

So, Devin, are you going to boycot Regal? For this reason?

Do people boycot bars because they bar prosecute under age drinkers rather than just tell them off? Do people boycot shops for prosecuting shoplifters?

I don't think so.

Mike A. said...

I don't know if underage drinking is similar to recording 20 seconds of the huge robot fight scene.

I guess if we're going with that analogy, it would be like my parents getting jail time for the one time they let me dip my finger into the glass of wine to see how it tasted (which was horrible when I was seven.)

So yeah, I would probably boycott a bar that arrested people for something like that.

source188 said...

"SlashFilm are calling for a boycot of Regal Cinemas. Why? Because they are prosecuting a pirate. The criminal - because, bottom line, she is a criminal"

That's bullshit, fucking bullshit. That asshole, authoritative-bully, mindset is inexplicable, just about setting an example out of something so minimal, nothing admirable at work there. This is the same kind of crap that reminds me of that judge in Washington DC who sued a korean dry cleaning service for 57 mil. over a pair of pants.

Bottom line: the Regal theater chain is full of shit and worst than 20th Century Fox when it comes to dealing with customers.

Oh and back to you, Brendon, there's no comparing shoplifting and under age drinking to recording a 20 sec. glimpse of a movie that made over 150 mil. opening weekend.

Brendon said...

Adam, I appreciate you taking the time to make a point - a point I wish I'd made myself. I hope lots of people read it and think about it.

Louie said...

While there is a huge gray area between not recording at all and recording the whole film and distributing it on the internet, this absolutism you are spouting is utter bullshit. It's 20 seconds: 1/3 of a minute. There happens to be 144 of those in the film, so she recorded an incredibly small 1/432nd of the entire movie or something like that. Wow, what a thieving piratey bitch. She should definitely pay some huge fine and be made an example of, fuck her. She's probably some retard anyway right? I mean, who's dumb enough to bring a video camera into a movie theatre? Those stupid assholes should all be in jail, not the guys who WORK FOR THE FUCKING THEATRE AND SHOOT FROM THE PROJECTIONIST BOOTH AND DISTRIBUTE THE FILM ALL OVER THE INTERNET. FUCK THE CUSTOMERS! It's quite like that FBI warning at the beginning of DVDs or CDs you buy. You bought the motherfucker, and now you get a legal dick slapped in your face anyway. Wonderful. Fucking idiot consumers, they need that.

I disagree that this situation is similar to walking into a restaurant and taking a bite of food leaving without paying. However, staying with your food analogy - -

People nab little pieces of nuts, fruit, or candy in the open containers of a market. It's stealing, but should they be prosecuted? The equivalent in this case would be if the girl licked one and put it back.

The manager could have insisted she delete it from the camera and even go as far to ban her from the theatre, but bringing the law into this is frivolous.

I can appreciate your cynicism to an extent, but this assholish display makes me dislike this site a bit. Have you ever heard of power to the people? Corporations have plenty of money and lawyers to back up their often immoral practices, which is why sites like SlashFilm, AintItCool, etc. tend to take the side of the consumer/general public.

There is certainly no room for every site on the internet to take a nuanced position on the stories they run, which is why it is often written in a blurb form. Unfortunately, your blurb alienates you and your readers because of the position you take and the fact you back it up with moronically simple logic to keep the post short.

Although, I do agree - boycotting is pointless to advocate.

Anonymous said...

I think most of those that are defending the girl are concerned that her sentence will be incredibly harsh. I propose that her information should be taken so she can be ticketed by the local government. A 100 or 200 dollar fine might stop people from doing this, as opposed to a costly and overblown law suit. That seems fair to me.
I know it is stealing, but perhaps it can be more compared with bringing alcohol or pot to a concert.

Anonymous said...

Yeah this girl definitely deserves to go to jail for taking a 20 second clip of Transformers.

Are you people serious?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've thought about it. And what I think is that you are, at best, a martinet.

Prosecuting a 19-year old for camming a film -- regardless of the film -- where the potential results could be a year in jail, fines, and a police record that will interfere with their ability to go to school, travel, and get a job is pretty much equivalent to putting someone away for jaywalking. I could get picked up on the street with a joint and face less severe measures (particularly if I happen to be, oh, I don't know, an actor or actress).

Breaking the law? Technically, sure, but it's a silly, outdated law, and the offense is so negligible and minor as to beggar the imagination.

I'd be willing to bet that most everyone reading this -- including myself -- have been caught speeding at one time or another, something which carries far more risk to human life than a grainy, low-res cam does. And yet you're fully willing to throw this person onto the fire to make some sort of abstract point about copyright (which, in and of itself, is an abstract and artificial construct anyways).

You want to make ethical arguments about piracy, fine, but at least acknowledge that there's a real human being here, and they're going to suffer immeasurably because a corporate lawyer felt the need to prove that even the lightest infraction of their elaborate, profitable, and draconian rules must be punished.

Brendon said...

Of course people who shoot films from the projection booth and distribute them should be prosecuted. It goes without saying, surely?

Amusing to see people advocating the licking of food and returning of it to shelves.

She did something illegal. The cinema should alert the authorities. If the law is too 'stern', it's not for the cinema to decide to ignore it and create a precedent of lawlessness.

The law being too 'stern' is a problem with the actual law. Sure, I can see that stealing 20 seconds of a film is a different crime to stealing the whole film. Maybe they need different handling - by the law, not by the cinema.

And speeding.... jeez. There's NO defense for speeding. In fact any comparison that goes something like 'it's no worse than this other thing that we all do but shouldn't' is a load of bunkum too. Stop doing ALL of those things. ALL of them. I think people should be prosecuted for all of the examples given - stealing, speeding, whatever.

I've been called a martinet and assholish. Nice. Because I contend that a criminal should be prosecuted.

That just makes me sad. Sad that you all somehow justify these actions to yourself.

And for the record, of course I see that a massive corporation using sheer size and wealth to force legal situations is utterly wrong too. But that's an entirely different debate. And it should in no way make copyright thieves immune to prosecution.

Louie said...

First of all, I never advocated licking un-purchased food. Secondly - ASSHOLISH DISPLAY, not ASSHOLISH BRENDON. Don't be sensitive now. I like your site quite a lot, but you took a stand on an issue that makes you sound like you are 74 years old or something. "Ohh lordy, those internet tubes are all confarbulated and them movie stealers with their super 8's should go to jail." You're young right? Are you libertarian or something? Hahaha. I guess that's more in reference to what is below...

C'mon! It's a cinema, not a security force, nor are they some sort of bias-free artificial-intelligence. They are regular, likely flawed, people working at a theatre who opted to not handle the issue reasonably or discreetly. Had they done that, surely it would have created lawlessness and chaos, what with the girl being banned from the theatre and feeling stupid, which would certainly result in L.A. breaking off into the ocean becoming Arizona Bay, people raping and killing each other in the streets, Britain being quarantined, the Australian outback becoming a warzone for vigilantes fighting over gasoline, asteroids smashing into the earth, and general mayhem as the dolphins all leave and the sky falls in. Surely.

Laws are not black and white and the mere idea that you could "create a precedent of lawlessness" is completely bombastic and silly. Here's some more bunkum for you - - It's like J-walking!!!! No one gets in trouble for that. Here in the States, there are all sorts of frivolous laws on the books... but who are we to decide what is the law or not? I am calling the cops the next time I see someone spit in public.

Really, it may seems silly to make those comparisons, but I feel like you are being so extreme and hard-nosed about it that it is necessary to take the polar-opposite side. No one is saying that "copyright thieves" should be immune to prosecution, only that your stance falls right in line with the overblown response of the theatre.

I suppose I am beginning to wonder if this is an interesting, sometimes humourous website, or some vindictive rant-fest like, except without the self-deprecation. Clearly, you are intelligent, but you could have addressed this story and gotten your point across, but maybe joked about having to pay massive fines or do jail time for 20 seconds of a Michael Bay film on a shaky cam. Anything like that, no matter how obvious, would really aid you in not becoming assholish and meeting an untimely end with a kaiser blade. I guess some folks call it something else though... actually I guess it was a lawnmower blade, not a kaiser blade. Oh well, you get the point.

And don't be sad. I am perplexed by your absolutist, in-a-vacuum way of looking at this, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. There really is no justification of the actions, just the question of whether or not this poor girl should have her blood sucked out for 20 seconds of crap. Nothing is absolute, nothing exists in a vacuum, and laws should never be strictly black and white, nor should they be exploited to make an example of someone.


Anonymous said...

I agree that she broke the law, there should be a punishment. Ticketing is what I'd be an advocate for. Something that makes her not do that again. Lawsuits inspire more of a rebellion, in my opinion. A 200 dollar cost for that 20 seconds is just enough to make her never do that again. Like when I was going 10 mph over the speed limit and got caught. I slow down in that area now. I think a corrective action is more effective than a corporation hammering a 19 year old.

3D will probably solve this problem as recording it without the obvious HD camera on a tripod would be a bitch. Wasn't there a watermark system in place on some films to screw over this stuff? Most films don't use it?

We do need to take these things more seriously, technology is only going to make this kind of thing easier.

On topic, NO, Regal Cinemas should not be boycotted for this. The punishment should fit the crime better though.

Mark said...

To stick with the food metaphors, surely all she did was the equivalent of nicking a few from the pick and mix on the way to the supermarket checkout?

Brendon said...

yes, this is quite like stealing from the pick and mix. Which is a crime.

I don't want her to go to jail. I don't want her to have her blood drained. I don't want her to be whipped or put in stocks.

Regal did the right thing.

If there's somethign that needs fixing, it's the law. A grey scale that covers all levels of offense.

If cinemas start choosing who to informt he law on or not, that effectively puts the law in the hands of the cinema.

'Prosecute' does not mean incarcerate. It simply means legal action should be take against her.

Legal action of some sort.

And all punsihments should fit crimes.

Oh - and by the way - I'm not 74. Yet.

Anonymous said...

"Legal action should be take[n] against her."


I frankly see no reason to follow silly and unjust laws simply because they are the law. She hurt no one, put no one at risk, and deserves no serious punishment. They should have just ejected her from the theater and been done with it.

Criminy, I wish they went after people who talk on cell phones during a film with as much righteous indignation. That's far more disruptive and directly affects my enjoyment of the movie going experience.

Brendon said...


Because she committed copyright theft. She has no excuse. What reason does she have?

You spend two years of your life making a film and then see how you feel about it.

Copyright theft is not a minor issue. People seem to think it is, but it isn't. I'm hoping the broad attitudes across society shift to reflect this.

I certainly agree that policies should be in place to silence/remove people on cell phones during movies. And if the situation is technically breach of the peace, then these people should be reported to the police too.

Anonymous said...

I'm an author, so I'm well aware of the time and effort required to create a work of art.

But you know what? There's a certain amount of elasticity necessary in our everyday social interactions just so we can get through the day. Does piracy cost a studio money? Probably, a little, but it didn't stop "Transformers" from making monstrous box-office on its opening day. It it really worth ruining the life of another human being just to stop some fifteen-year old in Moscow from downloading a badly cammed version of a film?

Yeah, if I'm lucky, I'll be a popular enough author that anyone cares enough to pirate my work. And I'll smile, shrug my shoulders, and get on with my life.

Anonymous said...

BTW, this is from Anonymous above. Just wanted to add that while I disagree with you on this topic (and a few others), I really enjoy the web site.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, i'm disgusted with your draconian stance Brendon.

Just months ago you were trying to defend your scathing dissections of premature movie scripts that obviously seemed far from their completed stage (and were obviously ill-gotten) as soon as you realised you could get into some trouble over libel. Your actions were indefensible yet you got away with it through early compliance.

Seems to me like you're a hypocrite when it suits you. I agree with whomever it was stated that there are justifiable shades of grey within some laws, and when you take into account the maturity level of the girl, this ought to be dealt with in a low-key manner.

Fine her if needs be, but don't make a big deal out of it. Lawsuits derived from tarnished pride are a blight on humanity, and the people who perpetuate them are selfish cro-magnons who usually have no redeeming qualities.

Brendon said...

"Fine her if need be" - that's fine; that's prosecuting a criminal. That's no less than I feel suitable.

Why do people think I want this girl hung, drawn and quartered? I just want pirates to face repercussions is all.

And for cinemas to not be made the arbiters of legality.