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Posts Tagged ‘The interview’

AAvengers: Captain America: The Winter Soldier set the Avengers franchise in a new direction and Marvel announced phase Three schedule covering films up to 2019.marvel-avengers

B  – Boyhood: What could have been a gimmick turned out to be the best film of the year.boyhood poster

CNick Cave: 20,000 Days on Earth was neither documentary or a narrative film, but was one of the best movies of the year.20,000 Days on Earth

DDoug Liman: Edge of Tomorrow was the enigma of 2014.  The Doug Liman directed movie received solid reviews and great word of mouth but underperformed at the box-office.edge of tomorrow

EEgypt & Exodus: Gods and Kings – Ridley Scott’s biblical epic was released on Boxing Day in the UK and few weeks earlier in some countries.  The film has been banned in Egypt as the courtiers censors are unhappy with “historical inaccuracies”.Exodus Gods and Kings

FFincher & Flynn: Director David Fincher turned Gillian Flynn’s bestselling Novel Gone Girl into an excellent movie.Gone Girl

GGuardians of the Galaxy –  Made up of a cast of largely unknown characters, it was considered a risk for the franchise.  Not only was the film great fun but was the Highest grossing film at the US box-office (and 2nd highest worldwide) for the year.Guardians-of-the-Galaxy

HThe Hobbit: After more than 20 hours screen time, The Battle of the Five Armies brings Peter Jackson’s time in Middle Earth to an end.Peter_Jackson_Hobbit

IThe Interview:  The release for the movie The interview was cancelled following threats from hackers.  Barack Obama and George Clooney joined the debate and the film received a limited Christmas day release earning $1million from 331 scenes in independent theatres.the-interview-poster

JJennifer Lawrence: With an Oscar win and two other nominations as well as a starring role in two of the biggest movie franchises, Jennifer Lawrence is probably the biggest young star in Hollywood.  She was also the most outspoken victim of hackers who stole nude images and posted them online.jennifer-lawrence

KKickstarter: the big names to come from kickstarter in 2014 were the Veronica Mars movie and Zach Braff’s ;Wish I Was Here.  Blue Ruin and Obvious Child also raised a little to help get them released.veronica-mars-movie

L Luc Besson & Lucy: After numerous movies with his name attached as a writer or producer Besson is back in the director’s chair with the surprise hit Lucy.  Making back its $40million budget back in its opening weekend.Lucy

MMcConaissance: Matthew McConaughey’s resurgence was completed with a best actor Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club.Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

NNightcrawler: Jake Gyllenhaal gives the performance of his career in Dan Gilroy’s feature debut.Nightcrawler Jake Gyllenhaal

OOprah Winfrey: as well as producing two movies: Selma and The Hundred-Foot Journey Winfrey proved her Hollywood power by lending her support to the independent British film Belle.Oprah Winfrey

PPaddington: What could have been a disaster turned out to be charming and funny.paddington

Q – Quvenzhané Wallis: The young star of Beasts of the Southern Wild retuned with a small part in 12 Years a Slave and starring role in the remake of Annie.Quvenzhané Wallis

RThe Rover: After his début feature, Animal Kingdom in 2010 David Michôd is back with The Rover, a movie full of subtext, foreboding and great acting from Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson and Scoot McNairy. The Rover

SScarlett Johansson: It’s been a busy year for Johansson with the UK release of: Her, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Chef, Under the Skin and the surprise hit of the year Lucy.Scarlett Johansson under the skin

TAlan Turing: The imitation Game finally told the long overdue story of war hero and farther of computing, Alan Turing.the imitation game

UUnreleased: A region 2 DVD of Snowpiercer is available from a well know online retailer but the film is still yet to receive a UK release.Snowpiercer

VVampire: Forget Twilight, with Only Lovers Left Alive and What We Do in the Shadows there are two original ideas to kick-start the genre.Only Lovers Left Alive

W – Mia Wasikowska: After appearing in Stoker my favourite film of 2013 Mia Wasikowska is rapidly becoming one of my favourite actresses with appearances in Maps to the Stars, The Double, Only Lovers Left Alive and Tracks in 2014.Mia Wasikowska

X – X-Men: Days of Future Past: Bryan Singer returned to the X-Men franchise with a seminal story form the 80’s. It beat Captain America: The Winter Soldier at the world box-office, dragging the franchise from the shadow of Marvel Studios.X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-chess-game

Y – 12 Years A Slave: Winner of Oscars for Best picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and best supporting actress for Lupita Nyong’o in her first feature film.Lupita Nyongo

ZThe Zero Theorem: Terry Gilliam is back after five years, and back to what he does best, making interesting films that look like the cost a lot more to make than they actually did.The Zero Theorem

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the-interview-posterThe interview started out as the type of film that I would watch if there was nothing better to see, and not one I would rush to see on the day it came out.  For those who live under a stone, here is the synopsis from IMDB:

Dave Skylark and producer Aaron Rapoport run the celebrity tabloid show “Skylark Tonight.” When they land an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, they are recruited by the CIA to turn their trip to Pyongyang into an assassination mission.

The funny thing, the population of North Korea are probably unaware of the film or the fuss it is causing .  A brief overview, also courtesy of IMDB

On June 25, 2014, North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency condemned the film (without naming it), promising a “merciless” retaliation if the film is released. “Making and releasing a film on a plot to hurt our top-level leadership is the most blatant act of terrorism and war and will absolutely not be tolerated,” KCNA said, citing a government spokesman.”

Then last month, the computer systems at Sony Pictures was hacked and information regarding The Interview and other films were made available online.  Soon after this a rumour started that the North Korean government was responsible for the hack in response to the films plot to kill Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader.  Then earlier this week, a group calling themselves GOP (Guardians of Peace) claimed responsibility and threatened attacks against theatres/cinemas who show the film.  As various cinema chains pulled the film, Sony announced that the Christmas day release had been cancelled.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As things all unfolded on Friday some people were quick to suggest that Sony had used the attack as a convenient excuse to pull the film and claim on the insurance.  The suggestion being that the insurance payout would be greeter than the films likely box-office return.  I am cynical enough to believe this is a possibility but don’t even know if the studio is in fact insured against such eventualities.  Another theory that is just as likely is that they plan to release the film at a later date using the publicity to drum up some interest in a film that I am led to believe has not been well received by test audiences. One person who has made it clear that Sony “made a mistake” in cancelling the film is US President Barack Obama, he was quick to speak out against the decision, stating

“We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States”. 

In a interview with CNN Sony’s CEO Michael Lynton seems now to have made something of a U-turn, suggesting they only pulled the release because no one would show the film, and that they would show it somehow in future.  At the same time North Korea’s foreign ministry accused the US of “spreading groundless allegations”, and has suggested joint inquiry to refute them.ap_obama_presser_01_lb_141219_16x9_992

So where does all this leave us?  The first thing that comes to mind is where all this started.  A comedy film about the assassination of a real life world leader is in bad taste at best, but then comedy is often about pushing to the limit of what is acceptable.  Having not seen the film, I don’t know what the outcome or tone of it is.  Sorry for spoiling a 40 year old plot, but if I can refer to The Day of the Jackal (1973).  Had the plot to kill Charles de Gaulle been successful, it would have been a very different story.  The context of the interview is important, if the trailer and plot synopsis are to be believed The CIA are the antagonists of the plot.  As viewed by a country who fiercely entertainment output it would be easy for a North Korean to see the film as coming from the American government and not a film studio.  The voice of reason in all this seems to have come from George Clooney in an interview with Deadline,

“The South Park guys did it. They blew up his father’s head. The truth of the matter is, of course you should be able to make any movie you want. And, you should take the ramifications for it. Meaning, people can boycott the movie and not go see your film. They can say they’ll never see a Sony movie again. That’s all fine. That’s the risk you take for the decision you make. But to say we’re going to make you pull it. We’re going to censor you. That’s a whole other game. That is playing in some serious waters and it’s a very dangerous pool.” 

Clooney had previously attempted without much success to start a petition to get the film screened.  Putting all this aside, the response whether perpetrated by the North Korean or a twelve year old in his bedroom is terrorism.  While not as devastating as real world terrorism, cyber terrorism is equally as unacceptable, and as we become ever more reliant on the internet, the line between terrorism and cyber terrorism may disappear very soon.  And that is where I believe Barack Obama’s fears lie, have Sony opened the doors and encouraged other cyber attacks?

To return to the title of this article, can free speech survive cyber terrorism?  As I alluded to above attack has come from a country that has no freedom of speech and whose population is probably unaware of both the film and the fuss it is causing.  The irony doesn’t stop there, the internet is probably the greatest advance in freedom of speech since the Caxton Press over 500 years ago, and yet in this instance it is the weapon used to prevent freedom of speech.  The fact that people like Obama are beginning to speak out and Sony don’t have to stand alone in this situation is a glimmer of hope for freedom.  You then have the old adage “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”, I am now more interested in seeing the film based on fuss that it has caused than for artistic reasons.  This, as well as the millions of smaller voices that populate the internet is why I believe free speech can survive cyber terrorism.

And on a side not, The interview seems to have gone around 5/10 to 10/10 on the IMDB rating.  Hacking, IMDB having fun with us or users showing their support for the film? the interview imdb

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