Tag Archives: hollywood

A report from the messenger

I am happy to say, I am happy to report that I am not an expert, nothing of the sort, an expert I am in fields that are different, but in this I am not. I have watched a thousand or more movies, all shapes, all sizes and in many playhouses, in some that were called fleapits, then there were some nickelodeons, there were movie houses, playhouses and there were a Cineplex or two, often holding on the cinefex when going. Yes, I visited cinema’s from large to small, from Lantaren to Venster, from the original Cinerama where I saw the Cinerama edition of 2001, I have seen many places, yet I am not an expert, perhaps as close as one can get, yet I too was befuddled when Afua Hirsch (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/06/oscard-ban-nollywood-film-lionheart-oscarssowhite-nigerian-film) alerted me to a wicked situation. In Nollywood, where the Holly and Bolly are not found a movie was released. The movie Lionheart is using English; you know the version of American that was heard before July 4th, 1776. These American are sore winners are they not? she used the headline ‘An Oscars ban for a Nigerian film shows the Academy still doesn’t get it on race‘ to alert us to the situation.

Afua got me with one little part of her article: “Directed by and starring the Nollywood titan Genevieve Nnaji, it is a captivating look at family, class, sexism, politics and the texture of life in the Niger delta. It’s both very Nigerian and very relatable for audiences who know nothing about Nigeria” it was not the only part, but that part made me curious of the movie, Nigeria, a place famous for princes and princesses that have access to millions, and they are willing to share it if you can just hand over your bank details. However there is plenty of goods coming from Nigeria, movies was new to me (as far as I know), So when I was informed that “Yet Lionheart has just been disqualified because there is too much English in it” I woke up fast. Now we do know that the US is not really that literate, so for them The Queen’s English might be as far from Yankie Doodle Dandy as Spanish is and they have to make such waves to understand that, that the movie Lionheart “does feature the Igbo language, which millions of people in eastern Nigeria speak“, OK that was new to me, Well I knew that people in Nigeria had their own speak, i just (until now) did not know it was called Igbo. So it has two foreign languages for Americans. So when we see “And this legacy of empire, even though they were once part of it, is what some American institutions don’t seem able to comprehend” we get part of the fix, which is alarming for the movie maker of Lionheart, well, at least it will have a bigger chance at the Bafta this year, so it seems that Lionheart will “the American Academy expects films competing in its “international feature film” category to emphatically not be in English” no matter how much Queens English is in the movie. It does define the term #OscarsSoWhite in a bitter new definition; will the people like Helen Mirren and Simon Pegg unite making that concept into a comedy? Perhaps with Tom Cruise as the director trying to skate on both sides of the fence?

Let’s face it, Simon Pegg can make Paul an American (someone whispered to me that Tom Cruise played Paul in the movie bearing his character name), in that case Nolly can be an American too.

Yet in all seriousness

The quote “The American film establishment is clearly struggling to grasp the basic idea that there are Africans who speak English. Viewers get this: Nollywood box office revenues increased by 36% last year” is a decently first milestone in recognising that American standards are nothing to talk home about, In a stage where American values are given to the Oscars, yet for most movies America is merely 25% to a third of the revenue for most American movies whilst the rest comes from the larger screens all outside of the USA, the overly (or is that overtly) standard is set outside of a beach of values we need to consider movies to be in? I believe that Hollywood needs to reconsider its values, before Nolly and Bolly take Holly for a ride in a convertible and show her exactly where things are at.

It sounds foreboding, but it is not, in this age where games are taking the front of where movies are, the idea that Holly takes a bow and takes the list of settings where the grey areas are addressed. The idea that Hollywood has grey areas is just beyond believe, I mean what would we call Alien? A British, Non-American documentary of Space Exploration? I mean, let’s get real here. The games industry is about to dwarf movies in a major way, it is time for the people en mass to get on board and let’s face it, there is no saying how this goes in the future, so Nollywood could be a presence in gaming soon enough.

So today I am happy that I learned something today, Afua Hirsch taught me that Oscars are not a measurement we should be proud of, perhaps it is the year where stars and viewers decide that Bafta is the way to go when it comes to Cinematographical awards, so to all the Nollies in Wood, Welcome to the Bafta’s (well at least Lionheart).

I look forward to learn more of the Nollywood movies, should be fun after a bland year of American cinematography.

 

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A cat with a violin

A few issues came to my attention last night. Even as it is great to have a 9 month summer in Sydney, yet when you are in a Victorian house and the temperature inside the room is 10 degrees more than outside, you tend to forego a little sleep that tends to be the nature of the beast between Christmas and the end of February. So as I saw ‘Why celebrities are being sued over images of themselves‘ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47128788), I woke up a little more than I was comfortable with. You see, the issue is given with “A number of well-known celebrities, including Jennifer Lopez and model Gigi Hadid, have had lawsuits filed against them for posting paparazzi images on their social media accounts.” This is true; the creator owns the copyright, so in that case the paparazzi. This gave me the idea that we can finally use the law to stop the unacceptable amount of invasion of privacy (as well as public harassment). This is seen when we consider one small part of the copyright act where we could change the game.

In the UK there is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Here we see in section 20: “(1)The communication to the public of the work is an act restricted by the copyright in—
(a)a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work,

As well as:

(2) References in this Part to communication to the public are to communication to the public by electronic transmission, and in relation to a work include—
(b) the making available to the public of the work by electronic transmission in such a way that members of the public may access it from a place and at a time individually chosen by them.

These parts give the right exclusively to the creator (the paparazzi), yet we can counter this with the idea of ‘Where the work is the product of a collaboration, the copyright may be jointly owned.

It is stated in section 10 with:

Works of joint authorship.
(1) In this Part a “work of joint authorship” means a work produced by the collaboration of two or more authors in which the contribution of each author is not distinct from that of the other author or authors.

As such, when we set the stage that unless clearly documented, any photographic work is automatically a joined authorship. It would be a first step in culling abusive paparazzi’s. It would give rise to less trespass on others people privacy. There is little we can do in the public environment, because that remains a real stage and there are decent paparazzi’s, and they seem to limit their activities to the red carpet events. It does not completely solve the issue as there if a gap between what the Paparazzi can do and the direct invasion of privacy which is protected through torts in pretty much every common law nation.

Yet we can in part stop these activities by making every photographed person a joint owner of the image. It still allows for the photographer to do their work, because most models sign a contract/ agreement including one that hands over the rights of the photos through a release agreement, which at that point hands the rights to the photographer/modelling agency. For them nothing changes, yet the paparazzi would get culled as the model could publish images on their own channel (any social media) diluting the value of their image to €0.01. Giving the paparazzi that feeling that he has been working for the cat’s violin that day (an expression that means ‘for naught’). A few of these events and he/she will find becoming an Uber driver to be a more profitable vocation.

By adding:

(2)In this Part a “work of joint authorship” means any artistic work where the photograph included a person, who as the model becomes author through collaboration as a contributor, in which the contribution of the work is seen as an equal to the actual creator (the photographer) of the artistic work.

If the paparazzi claims that this is not the case loses as the model becomes co-owner unless there is a release agreement. It would solve a lot of issues for many models and celebrities in one go.

I also agree with the quote: “Neel Chatterjee, a US lawyer who specialises in high-profile intellectual property disputes, says social media has created an “enormous amount of complexity” in the field.” This is true, but I also believe that the matter could have been simplified a long time ago and I wonder why this step had not been set in motion a lot sooner. It was not that complex, was it?

Still, time is needed to consider and test the addition, whether it holds water and what else is affected, I believe that culling the paparazzi is a decent choice of lifestyle and in addition to that, there is a decent chance that we can nip the entire “copyright trolling” in the behind before it takes on a size that clogs up the court system (especially in the US and UK). In addition it would not impact players like Getty Images as they tend to remain at the red carpet events, even better (for them) their need might increase over time, or perhaps better stated they will grow the foundation of their workflow and I am not against that, to be honest I think that it will not affect any paparazzi that limits themselves to a decent place at the red carpet line. Those moments are for the celebrities to market their work, their albums, movies and charities.

Even as we can all agree with: “defence in regards to paparazzi copyright complaints remains complex and largely untested in case law“, Mr Chatterjee is right yet I feel that we could try and defuse the situation before it is too late and a long term precedent will have been created.

 

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As we know it

The universe has changed, it changed some time ago, yet the powers that be, be it in business, administration (read: government) or retail where all for the most are in denial. They deceive themselves through stories. One uses Tableaux to use the data to present the picture, a picture often based on incomplete or overly weighted data. The next one relies on dashboards like SAP to use spreadsheets to bedazzle the people with slice and dice numbers, looking pretty as a pie chart, yet not giving us the goods, because nowadays, these companies hire people who can sell a story, not drill deep on the results. The story is whatever the paying customer is willing to hear. They are all adopting the political need that has been in play for many years: ‘If the data does not match, change the question‘. That is the first part in a sliding scale of representation, and those representing the stories are running out of options (read: point fingers) to turn to.

The first part is seen in ‘At the time of year when queues usually form for popcorn and the money pours in, box office revenues are plunging. Where are the blockbusters?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/aug/26/even-superheroes-may-not-save-hollywood-desperate-summer), here we see: “The true scale of the potential problem facing the industry can be seen in the precipitous drop in movie attendance this summer, down 52% year-on-year to 385 million at the time of writing. It is the lowest level of attendance since the summer of 1992“, in addition we get “Hollywood is stuck in a rut and it needs a safety net – superhero flicks fit that bill right now“. Two statements that might be the bill of the story, but in reality, the people are adhering to mismatched data and not properly investigated results as I see it. You see, the data is evident and it is out there, the games industry is taking 100 billion plus a year now and some of the other elements of gaming are taking a slice of that. In addition, providers like Netflix are now in much better control of their audiences that is mainly because they figured out what was wrong in the first place. You see, the gaming part is the first part of the evidence. People are now spending it on something else and they are no longer relying on the box office as Netflix gives then options. the second part is seen in the Business Insider (at http://www.businessinsider.com/us-cities-where-cost-of-living-is-rising-the-fastest-2017-6) where we see that on number 10 (New Orleans) the cost of living went up by 18%, on number one we see Nashville with a cost of living raise of nearly 30%, as we have not seen any actual economy increase from the United States, or better stated, the working people of the United States have seen almost no increase in wages and quality of life, those representing certain numbers decided to just ignore issues and evidence. Now, that top 10 list is a little skewed too, yet when we realise that for 3% of Americans their cost of living went up by 18% or more, how worried do we need to be with certain represented numbers? So consider that Los Angeles was part of that top 10, yet New York is not, there we get ‘Cost of living index in New York is 21.37% higher than in Los Angeles‘, which with close to 9 million is 2% of the US population, so now we see that the hardship and quality of life is hitting 5% of the American population and the numbers do still go up, so when we see “drop in movie attendance this summer” how can anyone be surprised? In addition, we should also realise that this gives rise to the fact that apart from people not going to the cinema, many are now spending it on something else and a $20 spend on 90 minutes is not considered when $55 gets them hours, sometimes hundreds of hours of gameplay. We are all getting more and more weary on the bang for our buck and the cinema can no longer deliver that value. No one denies that movies are just better on the big screen, but for many it is a trip only affordable a few times a year so the people are getting really picky on what they see on the big screen. Richard Cooper gives us part of the news, but also ‘forgets‘ to give the full picture. With “It is mid-budget films and their fans that have tended to suffer“, here he only gives us part of the story. As the Hollywood engine of greed and reselling remains on a steady course, we see the need for maximising results and as such the movie makers are closing the gap between cinema and digital release. Why spend on the cinema whilst within 26 weeks the movie will be out on Blu-ray? Basically it is the same price, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is an excellent example in this case. People are becoming stingy because they have no other options. All the messages of a fake economy and how good it is might look nice on the news, but for the most, people in the US cannot afford any extras. Many in the USA need to work double jobs just to get by. The US census gives us that in 2015 13.5% of Americans were in poverty, I feel certain that this number has gone up in 2017, some sources give us that this has gone up to 14.5%, so one in seven is in poverty. Do you think that these people will be watching movies on the big screen? So the Hollywood moment of desperation is not to be resolved, not until the quality of life and cost of living for Americans is set to a much better status. Those who can might try to leech of the neighbour’s Netflix, those who cannot need to find affordable entertainment, if they get any at all.

In the second we see that this economy is also bolstering a new level of exploitation. Even as we all ignore certain elements, Uber has changed the game, with ‘Inside the gig economy: the ‘vulnerable human underbelly’ of UK’s labour market‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/aug/24/inside-gig-economy-vulnerable-human-underbelly-of-uk-labour-market) we see a new level where the people are sold a cheap story (read: Uber story) and as they are hiding behind what people should investigate, we see that desperation is exploited in other levels. It is not merely an American issue; it is becoming a global issue. With “Each passenger’s destination, however, will remain a mystery until they have been collected. And regardless of the considerable costs they might incur to fulfill that journey, the driver will have no say in the fare. Uber both sets the fare, then takes a hefty rate of commission from it“, we are shown that there is a dangerous precedent. As we see online needs explodes as people need cheaper solutions, Uber will weigh in on maximising its profit. As I see it: ‘the drivers having no other options to work to near death for scraps’. With “The driver knows that failure to accept these terms will result in an immediate loss of work: they will be blocked for a set period of time from accessing Uber’s online system that provides work” we see new levels of legalising slave labour. The ‘do it or else‘ approach is now strangling the freedom of people to death. We see evidence of my statements with “The companies themselves tend to talk about the freedom, independence, and flexibility with which self-employment is usually associated. But many of the couriers and drivers we have spoken with over the past year have had an alternative model of self-employment, and with it much financial insecurity, enforced upon them“, and the law is not offering any solution, not in the UK and not in the USA, being an entrepreneur tends to have long lasting benefits at times. They all voluntarily went into the contract and they can all walk away and starve. It is not an option for those with families to support and feed. Part of this crux is seen in “we have noted how companies are able to use the guise of self-employment to dump a whole series of obligations and liabilities onto their workforce, while depriving them of protections enjoyed by the rest of working Britain“, to be the entrepreneur comes with hidden dangers, especially when you work for other entrepreneurs. The age of exploitation is upon us and as we know it, we can no longer afford to go to the cinema, a side Mark Sweney seems to have ignored. Yes, he does give us the Netflix element and there was no way to avoid it. He does go in the wrong direction with “For film fans, theatres still have an allure for the launch of big movies, but in the new world, where all media is competing for eyeballs and time in the “leisure economy”, the Netflix threat is rising“, he is not incorrect, yet he is incomplete. He forgets that Netflix is all many can afford (and a fair amount cannot even afford that). So why go to the cinema for the next sequel? Box Office Mojo gives us part of the goods, in 2017 only 2 movies broke the 1 billion mark, Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson (I personally do not think she was a beast in that movie) and the Fate of the Furious, which makes sense as Vin Diesel is stark raving nuts on most given days (in the fast and furious series) and who doesn’t enjoy a chase movie whilst we know that the driver is Looney Tunes. A movie with a good grasp on the desired quality of life time! So if we accept that the bulk of the Americans had to choose two movies these would be it. Yet, that number is not correct. You see Vin Diesel is attracting an audience, but 81% is not domestic, in the case of Miss Watson it is a 60% non-domestic audience. If we focus on the American market the Beauty and the beast was best, but only good for half a billion, if we focus on the domestic market, it is merely the Force Awakens that brings the goods for Americans. It makes sense with the following it has, but it is also deeply sad that decent movies are no longer bringing in the bacon. We cannot merely be blaming Netflix on this, we can surmise that the people can no longer afford the large screens in America, it is the most likely scenario, when we consider that only 3 movies got the domestic top 100 of gross revenue in 2017 and 11 in 2016, we cannot disagree with the view we get offered, but in retrospect, there is enough evidence that the US job market was worse last year. So with still 3 upcoming box office smashes, the big screen performance remains down, to what extent is harder to state, because there is enough indications that there is a lack of quality numbers, which makes my predictions not wrong, merely speculations and I accept that, yet the makers of the article and the presenters of the story of ‘Even superheroes may not be able to save Hollywood’s desperate summer‘ know that they were blaming the DC and Marvel Universe for not saving an economy that does not presently exist. The economy only exists on the Dow Jones index and that one is skewed towards the 1% of Americans that can afford a large apartment in New York and other places. What a shame that reality requires the 99% of Americans they give no consideration to. Yet it could be worse and there is every chance of that happening. As we see Mario Draghi and Janet Yellen warn against regulatory cuts, as we see “European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said protectionist policies pose a “serious risk” for growth in the global economy“, we could deduce that Draghi is soon depending on exploitation tactics to grow the economy, not only has his Quantative Easing failed, he will soon depend on legalised slave labour to get the economy the boost no one wants in such a manner. So as Draghi states: “To foster a dynamic global economy we need to resist protectionist urges“, which will not just end the filling of any quality of life if it was up to certain Uber approaches, it is also signaling the end of places like Hollywood, because they only get to exist when people can afford to go to the cinema, an display of ‘ingoranus totalicus‘ shown by these same people as they bolster the story that ignores the needs and plight of those in the lover 60% of the total income bracket in most of the modern western world.

We will see in the next 18 months what remains of the values we considered in the past. Life as we know it will change, that has always been the consideration of an evolving natural life. We merely forgot that those in charge are not in favour of change unless they could directly profit by it. I wonder if the people in Hollywood realise that part of the equation.

 

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Last Clooney of the year

My idea of stopping my writing until the new year has truly been bombarded into a sense of that what is not meant to be, so back to the keyboard I go. One reason is the article ‘‘Nobody stood up’: George Clooney attacks media and Hollywood over Sony hack fallout’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/dec/19/george-clooney-sony-pictures-hack-the-interview), which I missed until this morning. So has the actor from ER become this outspoken because of his marriage to Human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin? Nah! That would be incorrect, he has been the champion of major causes for a long time, outspoken, thinking through and definitely a clever cookie with a passion for Nespresso!

The article kicks off with a massive strike towards to goal of any opponent “George Clooney has spoken of his frustrations with the press and his Hollywood peers at failing to contain the scandal around The Interview, which Sony has pulled from cinema release as well as home-video formats“. It goes a lot deeper then he spoke it does, perhaps he fathomed the same issues I have had for some time now, some mentioned in my previous blog ‘When movies fall short‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/12/15/when-movies-fall-short/), two weeks ago.

I will take it one-step further, several players (not just Sony) have been skating at the edge of competence for some time now, as I see it, they preferred contribution (revenue minus costs) regarding issues of security. It remains debatable whether this was intentional or just plain short-sightedness, that call requires levels of evidence I have no access to.

By the way, Mr. Clooney, you do realise that this topic has the making of an excellent movie, not unlike the largely unnoticed gem ‘Margin Call‘ with Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany and Zachary Quinto.

The one quote I object to (to some extent) is “With just a little bit of work, you could have found out that it wasn’t just probably North Korea; it was North Korea … It’s a serious moment in time that needs to be addressed seriously, as opposed to frivolously”. You see, the inside job is a much more likely part. Yes, perhaps it was North Korea (requiring evidence), yet this would still not be the success they proclaim it to be without the inside information from disgruntled (or greedy) employees. In addition to the faltering security Sony has needed to ‘apologise’ for twice now (the Sony PSN hack of 2011), none of which was correctly covered by the press regarding this instance either. There was the press gap of November 2013, so we have at least two events where the press catered with silence, but at the price (read: reward) of….?

Yet the part: “He joins others who voiced their dismay at Sony’s decision, including Stephen King, Judd Apatow and Aaron Sorkin. Rob Lowe, who has a small role in The Interview, compared Sony to British prime minister Neville Chamberlain and his capitulation to Nazi Germany before the second world war“, is more than just a simple truth, it shows a fear of venue, cater to the profit. Chamberlain was from the old era and he failed to perceive the evil that Adolf Hitler always was. That view was partially shown by Maggie Smith in ‘Tea with Mussolini‘ too, yet the opposite was strongly shown in Remains of the Day, when Christopher Reeve as Jack Lewis states: “You are, all of you, amateurs. And international affairs should never be run by gentlemen amateurs. Do you have any idea of what sort of place the world is becoming all around you? The days when you could just act out of your noble instincts, are over. Europe has become the arena of realpolitik, the politics of reality. If you like: real politics. What you need is not gentlemen politicians, but real ones. You need professionals to run your affairs, or you’re headed for disaster!

This hits the Sony issue straight on the head. Not that the Gigabytes of data are gone, but that they got access to this data at all. IT requires a new level of professionals and innovator, a lesson that is yet to be learned by those having collected Exabyte’s of data. It is a currency that is up for the taking with the current wave of executives that seem to lack comprehension of this currency. Almost like the 75-year-old banker who is introduced to a bitcoin, wondering where the gold equivalent is kept. The new order will be about IP, Data and keeping both safe. So, it is very much like the old Chamberlain and Hitler equation, we can see Chamberlain, but we cannot identify the new Hitler because he/she is a virtual presentation of an identity somewhere else. Likely, a person in multiple locations, a new concept not yet defined in Criminal Law either, so these people will get away with it for some time to come.

Yet the final part also has bearing “Clooney was one of the Hollywood stars embarrassed by emails being leaked as part of the hack. Conversations between him and Sony executives showed his anxiety over the middling reception for his film The Monuments Men, with Clooney writing: “I fear I’ve let you all down. Not my intention. I apologize. I’ve just lost touch … Who knew? Sorry. I won’t do it again.”“, personally he had no reason to be embarrassed, when your boss spills the beans (unable to prevent security), do you blame the man or the system that is this flawed?

Why has it bearing? Simple, he shows to be a man who fights and sometimes fails. He states to do better, just as any real sincere person would be, a real man! By the way, since 2011 Sony still has to show such levels of improvement. A lacking view from the people George Clooney served in a project, so we should not ignore the need to look at those behind the screens and the press should take a real hard look at what they report and on where their sources are, that same press that has not scrutinised its sources for some time. When was the last time we asked the press to vouch for ‘sources told us‘?

Consider the quote “We cannot be told we can’t see something by Kim Jong-un, of all fucking people … we have allowed North Korea to dictate content, and that is just insane“. As I mentioned in the previous blog, with the bulk of the intelligence community keeping their eyes on North Korea, why is there no clear evidence that North Korea did this? Not just the US both United Kingdom and France have access to an impressive digital arsenal, none have revealed any evidence. Consider that the École polytechnique under supervision of French defence is rumoured to be as savvy as GCHQ, can anyone explain how those three cannot see clearly how North Korea did this? So, either, North Korea is innocent and just surfing the waves of visibility, or the quote by George Clooney in the Guardian “the world just changed on your watch, and you weren’t even paying attention” would be incorrect. The quote would be “the world just changed on your watch, and those in charge do not comprehend the change“. In my view of Occam’s razor, the insider part is much more apt, the other option is just way to scary, especially as the IT field is one field where North Korea should be lacking on several fronts.

I will let you decide, have a wonderful New Year’s eve!

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About Entertainment

I stumbled upon an article by Gilbert Cruz called “The Lone Ranger Represents Everything That’s Wrong with Hollywood Blockbusters” (at: http://www.vulture.com/2013/07/lone-ranger-is-everything-wrong-with-hollywood.html). It is actually quite a nice read and the conclusions that I personally do not completely agree with are still well supported and seem to make sense.

His ‘unease’ with franchises are well accepted by many including me, as we read and have spoken out against these reiterations often enough. when addressing the origin story problem he states “Give us a story that works and then, if you’re lucky enough to earn a sequel, you can give us flashes of an origin tale down the road, as opposed to weighing down your first movie.” That is one view, yet it is the view of the director that counts. It should be about the vision of the director. Perhaps it is less about the origin story and more about having a visionary director. My view is supported by mentioning the hidden gem ‘Margin Call‘. I think that this is a movie any economic student should watch. It watches like a story, yet there are layers of events that give it all an actual strength. The fact is also about a story portraying the initial stages of the 2008 financial crises are set in a movie.
Can anything be more dull then that? And even though this movie is pretty much all star, it required a visionary director to pull it off. That is how I see the origin story as well, without vision it is a presentation. It does not matter whether we watch a movie containing a Wild Wild West version of Sparrow, or the start of the lone ranger. the same for Thor, Spiderman and so forth, how they ‘became’ is part of the movie, but how to address it?

This dilemma is approached within the slogan of TV channel ‘FX’. “The story is everything!” I think when it comes to TV channels; it is the most brilliant slogan ever. Yes, we remember the special effects, we see the stars we love and idolise, but without the story…. (Imagine the sound of a flop!).

This is also why (for now) I stayed away from the Hobbit. I loved the lord of the rings. I have been a fan of Tolkien since long before I was at the legal drinking age. So seeing the movie was a massive moment in my life for me. Like many fans I did mentally object loudly when the freeing of the shire was missing (as this is the moment the hobbits experience what those around them went through), yet to see the book on the big screen was a moment I loved. To see the Hobbit was indeed something I was looking forward to, yet to see a 320 page book in 3 movies of around 3 hours each is stretching it all a bit thin.

So as most might agree with, is the fact that a good story requires a visionary. Perhaps this is why James Cameron has been so successful? 2 movies bringing in almost 5 billion is just insane! We should not forget that timing is also extremely important. I feel that this is shown when looking at ‘Dances with Wolves’ and ‘a man called horse’, which was a shining moment for Richard Harris. Perhaps the world was not ready for the ‘going native’ view in the 70’s.

The article stamps out a side I actually never gave much notice of. He states “So in order to ensure sequels and appeal to the maximum number of people, it must be rated PG or PG-13. Good luck finding an R-rated summer blockbuster.” He makes a fine point here. I want to see a movie that is good; I am not all in favour of bloody or bloodless movies if they hinder a sense of realism. Although I was never a fan of zombie films, the ‘realistic’ view ‘the Waking dead’ brings, is why I am eye locked to the small screen. So, the ratings requiring certain lack of levels of gore would be counterproductive to me. I do not believe that it is about gore and blood-letting. This is why I enjoyed the movie ‘the A-team’, where with 17,000 bullet you see no one gunned down (keeping in pace with the original TV series), yet the opposite of ‘Act of Valor’ is a gem as it is about the efficiency of making every bullet count (Navy Seals apparently are not about wasting time). So my stance floats a little with the movie I am watching, again, the story makes it happen.

This is why the hammer on ‘The Lone Ranger’ feels a little harsh to me. If it is about entertainment, then the Lone Ranger provides, yet the points the article brings up should not be ignored either. This is a Disney movie and Disney factor is important as that brand has a following with an audience they need to protect. Consider that the (Grand) parents, with younglings on a day out will see the protection that the Disney logo brings and as such a gore driven Zombie film with a Disney logo is unlikely to ever happen.

The final part where I slightly disagree with the views Gilbert Cruz offers, is when he mentions The Phantom and The Shadow. These 90’s movies failed because there was a lack of vision (as I see it). The characters are well established through the radio shows and the comic books. If we consider the slogan of FX and if we consider a slightly more Frank Miller themed view, then consider Howard Chaykin’s ‘The Shadow: Blood & Judgment’. That was more than just a mere piece of comic book. That was graphic art on an entirely different level. As much as Baldwin failed to portray the Shadow, the blame should fall to the lack of vision the director showed (perhaps with a small degree of ‘technology lacking’ options). Consider what Tarsem Singh achieved with ‘Immortal’, now let him have a go at ‘The Shadow: Blood & Judgment’. The result could be a lot more than a cult movie that we will remember for a long time. The result could be a blockbuster R-rated movie. Again, it is about timing and for 2013-2015 the timing seems right to take these old ‘heroes’ off the shelves and give them to visionaries, not to the directors that come from the ‘Hollywood blockbuster template machine’. In that regard we all hope that Luc Besson will achieve to revive the French hero that should be seen as an international landmark. As he is remembered for the Fifth Element, this visionary could make the heroes Valérian and Laureline truly immortal. As franchises go, a trilogy of these two characters could reshape the way people see comic book heroes. The only sad fact is that this movie arrives almost 40 years after I read the comic books. Even now, I still remember the art of Jean-Claude Mézières. What is also intriguing is that the art you see in ‘The City of Shifting Waters’ had a lot of similarities that the TV-Series ‘Revolutions’ showed almost 35 years after the comic book came.

It is also interesting that, considering the success of the lord of the rings and the implied upcoming blockbusters that the Hobbit seems to become, that not a larger net was cast on the type stories that have this epic view. We all remember Flash Gordon. Some trough the view of Ted (a McFarlane sense of humour), some through the exquisite music by Queen, however I still think back to the comics as drawn in the 60’s and 70’s. In that same style there are the stories of the ‘Trigan Empire’. It seems so strange that these successful works of art still have not made it to the big screen.

So I believe that there are plenty of options out there, it just takes faith (and funding) in one visionary to take that step forward.

 

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