Canadian librarians vs. “Hollywood lobbyists”


The arrests have begun under Canada’s new anti-piracy law, but apparently there is even more legislation to come — and Canada’s librarians are not happy. The Globe and Mail reports:

The Conservative government hasn’t even released its proposed copyright reform legislation, but already a showdown is brewing between media producers demanding protection from tech-savvy pirates and the grassroots efforts of thousands of Canadians who believe the bill will be unjustifiably restrictive.

As a result, what was once a low-key issue in Ottawa is morphing into a potential political storm.

Bemoaning the influence of “Hollywood lobbyists” on the federal government, Canadian librarians yesterday added their voice to the noisy chorus of people opposing a new copyright bill that has yet to see the light of day.

The Canadian Library Association is urging Ottawa to ensure its imminent copyright legislation does not attack Canadians who copy music and videos for their own use.

Don Butcher, the association’s executive director, said he supports laws that crack down on piracy, but is worried Ottawa will go too far.

“This is a battle between Hollywood lobbyists versus the average Canadian,” he said yesterday at news conference on Parliament Hill.

“Over the past few weeks, Canadians across the country have demonstrated that they have serious concerns about the shape of Canadian copyright legislation.”

Mr. Butcher later pointed to the May visit to Parliament Hill of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to support his claim that Hollywood interests are pressing Canada about piracy. . . .

Is Charlie Wilson’s War a “neocon” movie?


Max Boot at Commentary magazine writes:

I once wrote a column congratulating a well-known Hollywood liberal—George Clooney—for making “neocon” movies, i.e., movies like “Three Kings,” “The Peacemaker,” and even “Syriana” that support active American intervention in the world in support of our ideals as well as our strategic interests.

Now we can add some more Hollywood liberals to the “who knew they were neocons?” club. To wit, Mike Nichols, Aaron Sorkin, and Tom Hanks.

This is the trio responsible for “Charlie Wilson’s War,” which I just saw and loved. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure yet, the movie tells the story of how a conservative, hard-partying Texas Democratic Congressman named Charlie Wilson got together with a right-wing Texas socialite and a blue-collar CIA officer to vastly increase the amount of American covert aid being delivered in the 1980s to the mujahideen fighting the Red Army in Afghanistan. . . .

Boot’s remarks are brief and thus lacking in nuance, but I admire their counterintuitive spirit. In fact, I think it would be fantastic if Universal Studios began quoting comments like these in ads pitched at conservative audiences, just as New Line Cinema recently quoted a controversially favourable Catholic review of The Golden Compass in ads pitched at Catholic audiences.

Random debatable movie trivia of the day.


I Am Legend grossed $100 million in its first seven days, so Will Smith may have just tied the record — set by Tom Cruise and possibly Tom Hanks — of starring in seven consecutive movies that crossed the century mark. I say “may have” and “possibly” because it depends on what sort of films you count.

For example, if you don’t count voice-acting in animated films, then Hanks’s role in Toy Story 2 (1999) and Smith’s role in Shark Tale (2004) would have to be cut from their lists, leaving them with six-movie streaks.

And if you count films in which actors had cameos as themselves, then Cruise’s role in Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) would boost his streak to eight movies, while Smith’s role in Jersey Girl (2004; my review) would interrupt his current streak and cut it down to five (or four, if we don’t count his cartoon).

And if you count the IMAX documentaries that are narrated by these actors, then Cruise’s involvement in Space Station 3-D (2002) would interrupt his streak and cut it down to five (or six, if we count his cameo in the Austin Powers movie).

The main thing that sets Smith apart from Cruise and Hanks right now is that his streak is still ongoing. Cruise’s streak came to an end this year with the flop that was Lions for Lambs, and Hanks’s streak was broken three years ago by The Ladykillers — and it seems likely that any new streak on his part would have to wait until after his current film, Charlie Wilson’s War.

The Day the Earth Stood Still — now filming


Keanu Reeves has been spotted in various locations around downtown Vancouver lately, and that can mean only one thing: The cameras have started rolling on Scott Derrickson‘s remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951; my comments).

I met someone at a party recently who works at one of the local film labs, and he tells me 20th Century Fox has moved into the office in a big way — something that almost never happens, or so he tells me — and he takes this to be a sign of just how big this particular production is.

Meanwhile, casting announcements continue to trickle out; the Hollywood Reporter revealed the other day that Jon Hamm, the Golden Globe-nominated star of Mad Men, is going to play “Dr. Granier, a NASA official who recruits Helen [the Jennifer Connelly character] for the scientific team investigating an alien’s arrival on Earth.”

In what sense is Year One a “biblical” comedy?

Matt Page at the Bible Films Blog has found an article on Judd Apatow’s Year One that had so far escaped my notice. MTV News posted this story almost two weeks ago:

“It’s a comedy that takes place in biblical times,” Michael Cera said of the new Harold Ramis/ Judd Apatow movie “Year One,” which he co-stars in alongside Black. “Jack’s the main guy. I play a character named O, and he plays one called Zed, and I’m kind of his friend in it and tagging along, and he’s kind of looking for some kind of meaning for his life.” . . .

But viewers expecting a buddy comedy along the lines of “Ghostbusters” or “Knocked Up” should revise their expectations, said Black, calling the style of the film much more along the lines of “those old ‘Monty Python‘ movies.”

“It’s not prehistoric, it’s just pre-Christ. It’s like an old, biblical tale. Cane and Abel type of stuff. Just two dudes wandering through early civilization,” Black explained. “It’s kind of like ‘The Meaning of Life’ or ‘Life of Brian‘ — a funny look at biblical tales.”

“A lot of the humor comes from that — the fact that it’s an adventure,” Cera added. “We’re walking across these mountains, and I think it’s gonna look really cool. Hopefully it’ll be kind of epic.” . . .

If the words “year one” really do refer to a point in history so early that most of the stories in the Bible haven’t even happened yet, then it’s beginning to sound like this film won’t be any more “biblical” than, say, The Scorpion King (2002), which took place in a town called Gomorrah and, if memory serves, made a passing reference to a town called Sodom. But I guess we’ll see.

No double dipping for The Nativity Story?

Sad news for Bible-movie buffs. When The Nativity Story came out on DVD nine months ago, there was talk of a special two-disc edition coming out in time for Christmas. But Christmas is only a few days away, now, and I have heard nothing about any re-issue plans for this film. So I did a bit of asking around, and heard today that such plans have been called off. That’s a shame, especially since the existing DVD is so bare-bones that it doesn’t even include the videos that used to be available on the movie’s official websites.


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