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Posts from the ‘media ramblings’ Category

“Coraline” is doing just fine at the box office, thanks (or – How I learned to stop worrying about opening box office, because it’s kind of useless)


If you haven’t guessed from my impromptu “theme” portrait change last week, I really, really, liked Henry Selick’s “Coraline”… which is interesting, because I was decidedly lukewarm on Neil Gaimans novel (admittedly I’m probably not the target audience, but that hasn’t stopped me from raving about other work even less demographically aligned).

I was somewhat surprised to read today at over at Occasional Superheroine (a regular comic blog haunt) that Valerie thinks that it’s troubling that Coraline’s opening was “lower” than “Friday the 13th”. Well what she exactly said was:

“Eyebrows [are] raised at how huge the opening was for “Friday 13th,” and how low “Coraline’s” was in comparison.”

Really? I’d like to see whose eyebrows, so I can tell them how they’re very, very, wrong. Coraline’s opening would suggest it will be a much more profitable film than the newest “Friday” by a large margin. Read more

Eastern European Movie Poster Madness

Mystery Movie Poster

Okay, Friday pop-quiz (at least for those who don’t read Cyrillic). The poster pictured to the left was the Russian release poster for what American film, which finally got released in the former USSR in 1990?

This lovely example actually just brings up the phenomenon of Eastern European movie posters. As a bit of a poster buff (I still have dreams about finding an affordable Japanese “Tron” One-Sheet) and someone who’s dabbled in poster design I actually have books of movie poster reference. Classic films, B-Movies, and glorious glorious Eastern European posters.

The style common in most Eastern Europe movie posters is much more metaphorical and pop art based… which makes for amazing works, that not only speak about the interpretation of foreign themes, but also the time and place they come from.

So huzzah for foreign movie posters – spend some time perusing a gallery near you for some of these fantastic works.

And if you’re still stumped about the poster above, try looking here.

The Piracy Battle – Two VERY different approaches


I found it interesting that on the same day that American producers were again renewing the call to battle piracy (although, unsurprisingly not mentioning the latest US legal judgement that a pirated download does not constitute a “lost sale” for calculation of damages… something I’ve long argued the MPAA and RIAA are using to cloak far more systemic problems with their respective business models) I was having a conversation with a couple of Canadian producers on Network Neutrality touching on similar issues (most of the Canadian ISP’s now looking to “shape” all that congesting BitTorrent traffic).

I’ll have much more to say on this as the Net Neutrality hearings at the CRTC heat up – but I wanted to share one of the key points that came out of my discussion that I’m not sure I had heard expressed with such crystal clarity before (and my apologies I can’t recall who actually made the point):

Without absolute network neutrality, content producers will never be able to provide legal content alternatives as effective as illegal ones.

Like the Napster/iTunes evolution, until a legitimate alternative exists which offers most of the benefits of the illegitimate one, you will never win the fight. And without true network neutrality, the capability to implement such a system would be limited entirely to those who own the infrastructure, essentially creating a new caste of “super broadcasters” to gatekeep access to audience.

One of the above discussions struck me as horrifically quaint, while one seemed refreshingly forward-thinking. Can you guess which one’s which?

(illustration via Education Week)

Live From Gobblers Knob

It's Groundhog Day!

I have to admit I’m a little confused on how we’re supposed to treat this, the most insane of meteorological celebrations, now that there is a vast field of pretenders to what was once Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania’s sole domain. Is it like the supreme court of Marmota Monax? With this years predictions in at 6:3 for “six more weeks of winter” does Staten Island Chuck write the dissenting opinion?

It's Groundhog Day! It's Groundhog Day!

“Melverne Mel, Dunkirke Dave, myself, and several other members of our honourable assembly must find that we we see no evidence of a shadow whatsoever. Seriously, we looked all over the place. Our respective handlers waved us all over the place for several moments – collectively almost a minute. We also must strongly question what kind of rigorous diligence can be expected from our honourable colleague, given that he willingly lives in a property called Gobblers Knob?”

It's Groundhog Day! It's Groundhog Day! It's Groundhog Day!

Or is it less a uniform consensus we are looking for than a forecast tailored to a specific general local? Not that it matters in this specific case as Wiarton Willie seems to be with the majority this year. I kind of like this reading, as the forcasts for Toronto have been a little shaky this year, and I like the idea that flinging around small mammals is just an effective method of prognostication as doppler radar. “Hey Rob, do you know if I need to take an umbrella with me?” “Hang on a second and let me see if the cat attacks my mouse pointer with it’s left or right paw!” “What’s the weather going to be like on my trip tomorrow?” “Take the raccoon out of the drier and see how many times it circles around before it gets into our garbage and throws up on our deck… multiply that by eight for your temperature in Fahrenheit.”

In conclusion – this is truly a spectacularly bizarre tradition, even by the somewhat lax standards of North-American-post-Christmas-festivities.

Crazy Lawsuit Wednesdays!


Greetings from Hoth! The heat in my office has now been out for two days, and as a trademark Toronto SNOPOCALYPSE ™ kicks up around us things are looking decidedly grim for the rebellion.

Since my poor frozen brain is too sluggish for deep insight here’s some decidedly hot and spicy odd lawsuits from this week:

… you know what? This is just getting depressing… so we stop here. You don’t like it? SUE ME.

From the (Fone)boned-by-the-economy department

Man, I love this illustration

Mad Magazine cutting back to a quarterly publishing schedule? If Don Martin were alive he’d be Ka-PTHLONG-A-DONG-A-DONG-A-DONG’ing in his grave. William Gaines would be incensed, and hungry. Dave Berg would need THREE pipes just to calm down. Sergio Aragonés… well Mr. Aragonés would probably be exactly the same as he is. Because: A. He’s still alive. B. He’s all suave as hell. and C. Because death fears to face the magnificence of his moustache. Hmmm, I kind of lost my track there for a second.

This is, of course, sad news for anyone who grew up indebted to Mad (and more importantly boxes and boxes of back-issues of Mad from parents, relatives, neighbours, and garage sales)… as their first introduction to the world of comedy. Real comedy. Gut-busting comedy, the likes of which Riverdale’s denziens certainly didn’t deliver.

While there’s still some debate about the effectiveness of satire as an educational tool – there really is no question in my mind about the mass of material I only know about thanks to Bill Gaines singular vision. Read more

BlogFox Braindump!

I don’t have a lot of insightful, funny, lengthy stuff to post, but rather a bunch of odds and ends that don’t lend themselves to lengthy discourse… hence – fear my braindump:

Watchmen Updates – What’s that on the Horizon?

no, no metaphors here

Is it a settlement? No. Not quite. Lots of good updates on Watchmen lawsuit happenings over at Film Esq. – my favourite lawblog du jour.

The Coles notes is that everyone who prophesied a quick settlement after the Dec 24th order (cough, cough) may want to take a mulligan. Fox appears to be going for the jugular looking for the court to grant their permanent injunction before any discussion of how many zeros they would like on their publishers-clearing-house-sized novelty cheque. So much so that they’ve waived their injunctive claims on any other aspect of this case (I have no idea if they had anything of value there anyway… but lawyers tend not to jettison any potential avenue of attack unless they smell blood in the water… you only need so many butter-knives to compliment your fully gassed-up chainsaw).

On the other side of the coin, I’m not entirely sure what Warner’s is thinking, or doing, since I haven’t seen any of their recent documents. But since I read judge Feess Dec 24th order, I’m still a little fuzzy on their master strategy anyway unless it involved filling up a pool with gold coins Scrooge-McDuck-style, and the putting said pool on the back of a gold truck and driving the whole shooting match over to Fox with a nice gift basket.

And maybe cushioning the basket with some nice decorative grasses.

And wads and wads of bills.

Rodney Perkins is doing a fantastic job of breaking down the (still somewhat perplexing) shenanigans in far more detail, and unlike me, I bet he doesn’t accidentally wring up accidental $10 charges every time he uses PACER: