Tag Archives | Movies

X-Men: Speed Mutation

[disinfo ed.'s note: this original essay was first published by disinformation on December 6, 2001. Some links may have changed.]

As biotechnology and corporate gene patenting replace the bomb as our nightmare of choice, Bryan Singer’s X-Men (2000) initiates the evolution of its own history.

What is to be feared, what has a more calamitous effect than any other calamity, is that man should inspire not profound nausea; also not great fear but great pity. Suppose these two were one day to unite, they would inevitably beget one of the uncanniest monsters of the “last will” of man, his will to nothingness, nihilism.

~~ Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals

The alien essentially, as extraterrestrial or monster, is neither natural nor supernatural but fantastic. It is frequently preternatural or anomalous, a permutation of the “natural” order such as the “maladjusted” X-Men. The X-Men are mutants  freakish, genetic deviants who are feared by and often in fear of the very people they are trying to save.… Read the rest

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The Matrix: What Is Bullet Time?

[disinfo ed.'s note: this original essay was first published by disinformation on February 12, 2001. Some links may have changed.]

Neo: Right now, we’re inside a computer program?

Morpheus: Wild, isn’t it?

What if reality was false and your nightmares were true? Is the present the past and the future happening now?

Thomas Anderson begins examining these questions. Anderson begins having doubts about reality. He has lived in the year 1999 until he is contacted by the enigmatic Morpheus, who leads him into an alternative dimension. Now it is 200 years later, and the World has been laid waste and taken over by advanced artificial intelligence machines. Anderson questions whether he is actually in a present day city, or wired up with millions of others, blissfully unaware into a massive virtual framework (“Matrix”) in the future. The computers have apparently created a false version of 20th Century life to keep humans enslaved, while AI machines draw power from their bodies.… Read the rest

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Found: The Lost Ending To ‘The Shining’

Horror movie fans, you’ll want to check this out, courtesy of Slate:

Back on May 23, 1980, when The Shining was first released, audiences saw something slightly different from what viewers obsess over today. That’s because the next weekend Stanley Kubrick did an unusual thing: He re-cut the film, removing about two minutes from the ending, even though it was already in release. Those two minutes, like so much at the film’s ghoulish hotel, are now lost to time, unlikely to ever be seen again.

However, thanks to a Shining fan site run by Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich, Shining obsessives can now get closer than they have in decades to seeing the ending themselves. The site, which is called the Overlook Hotel (Unkrich is the “caretaker”), posted the screenplay for that long lost scene just after midnight last night. Unkrich vouches that the pages are real, and the site allows you to read them for yourself.

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Police Mortality: The Movie

From art group Anti-Banality, the first segment of their new feature-length film Police Mortality. It was created by splicing together countless blockbuster action and cop movies, and tells the story lying underneath — a cop's sudden existential crisis leads to the nation's police turning on each other:
Police Mortality is Anti-Banality’s latest wish-fulfillment symptomology of, as one character hallucinates it, “a precisely formulated national conspiracy of police genocide.” It is a paranoid-schizophrenic blitz against police subjectivity, skimmed off nearly 200 movies by that other social superego–Hollywood. In this opening scene, the immaculate suicide of one LAPD officer begins to reveal the contradictions of police existence to a force which, finding itself multiply irreconcilable with itself, resorts to terminal civil war, eradicating the prevailing organization of life in the process.
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Hollywood Now Needs Censorship Consultants In China

Two of the booming occupations of the future: government mole who weeds out and reports dangerous movies and cultural works, and consultant who helps creators navigate censorship standards. The Atlantic Wire writes:

China’s censorship has become a huge headache for Hollywood lately, as movie studios struggle to break in to the world’s second largest film market. Every single film bound for Chinese theaters has to make it past China’s all-powerful State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) whose guidelines for what is and isn’t acceptable is more or less subjective and entirely unpredictable. All the studios can do is hire consultants who are familiar with the ins and outs of censorship in China and hope for the best.

Bringing in consultants does help movie studios frame projects in a censor-friendly manner, but after filming begins the filmmakers have to be very careful not to deviate from the plan. SARFT sends spies to the set to make sure everything is going as planned.

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Netflix Pushes For Privacy Law Change To Make Your Viewing History Available To Advertisers And Government

Coming soon–an algorithm to root out criminals and agitators in advance based on Netflix viewing history. Truthout writes:

You might want to think twice about streaming that “subversive” documentary about the Weather Underground on Netflix. If Republicans have their way, you just might end up on a watch list somewhere. This week, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the 1988 Video Protection Privacy Act, which forbids movie rental companies from sharing or selling their customers’ viewing history. The Senate is expected to take up the amendment soon.

If this passes, what you watch on Netflix may soon become public information that your friends, employers, and even the government will have access to. Netflix favors the law change because it will help them branch into social media…[with] enormous profit-potential in selling your viewing history to advertisers who can target specific demographics based on your preference in movies. Also unmentioned by Netflix is just who else might get this information once it’s taken out of the privacy lockbox.

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Major Movie Studio Employees Pirating Movies

Picture: Pirate Flag of Jack Rackham (PD)

Whoops! A classic case of “Do as I say, not as I do”, courtesy of some of America’s biggest movie studios:

Via TNW:

Well, this is awkward. TorrentFreak reports that workers at Hollywood top studios are illegally sharing movies on BitTorrent from IP addresses associated with their employers.

The site worked with Scaneye, a BitTorrent monitoring company, to reportedly compile data on what files are being shared from within the movie studios. It found a handful of movies and TV shows being distributed on BitTorrent from Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney.

Keep reading.

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Unclear Holocaust: The Ultimate 9/11 Movie

The art group Anti-Banality Union has created a feature-length movie which is impossible to stop watching. Fifty Hollywood blockbusters portraying the spectacular obliteration of New York City were cut up and interwoven (somehow fitting together seamlessly), revealing the meta-narrative running through them all -- the "death-drive on the part of capitalist culture":
Unclear Holocaust is a feature-length autopsy of Hollywood's New York-destruction fantasy, gleaned from over fifty major studio event-movies and detourned into one relentless orgy of representational genocide. It is the unrivaled assembly of the greatest amount of capital and private property heretofore captured in one frame, that, with unfathomable narrative efficacy, suicides itself in an annihilatory flux of fire, water, and aeronautics...We see the Cinema as it really is; an unequivocal annihilation, the auto-genocidal mass fantasy of a megalomaniacally depressed First World.  
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Cheers for Torture Scenes? ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

WIRED.COM‘s Spencer Ackerman offers a justification for the inclusion of torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty, a Katherine Bigelow-helmed film about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden:

“It’s a movie, not a documentary,” screenwriter Mark Boal told The New Yorker. “We’re trying to make the point that waterboarding and other harsh tactics were part of the C.I.A. program.” That quote has electrified the internet as a statement of intent to gussy up the importance of torture. But the fact is torture was part of the CIA’s post-9/11 agenda: dispassionate journalists like Mark Bowden presents it as such in his excellent recent book.

Zero Dark Thirty does not present torture as a silver bullet that led to bin Laden; it presents torture as the ignorant alternative to that silver bullet. Were a documentarian making the film, there would surely be less torture in the movie: CNN’s Peter Bergen considered an early cut of those scenes overwrought in their gruesomeness and reminds that senators who have investigated the CIA torture program reject the idea that torture led to bin Laden.

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‘Emmanuelle’ Actress Sylvia Kristel Dead at 60

Picture: Columbia Pictures (C)

Multiple media sources are reporting that Sylvia Kristel has died after a fight with cancer. She was 60 years-old. Kristel was most famous for her role as the eponymous sexual libertine in the film Emmanuelle, a French soft-core porn that became – along with Deep Throat – improbable pop culture touchstones in 1970s America. Distributed by mainstream movie house Columbia Pictures, Emmanuelle found its way to theaters across the United States, finding fans and winning nods of approval from critics alike. It was an odd time, and one not likely to be seen again in the internet era where porn can be accessed anonymously and with little difficulty.

Want to know about Emmanuelle in America? Check out this free but decidedly NSFW short film featuring interviews with Camille Paglia, Just Jaeckin and others.

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