Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Portion of satirical poem I wrote about censorship in 2004--originally centering on Janet Jackson at that year's Super Bowl--that's still relevant with regards to the canceled release of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's film THE INTERVIEW.

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER article: North Korea probably not behind the Sony cyberhacking.

Inside the studio, though, sources say there is little evidence that North Korea is behind the attack. Cybersecurity expert Hemanshu Nigam also finds it hard to believe that North Korea is the perpetrator. Instead, he theorizes an employee or ex-employee with administrative access privileges is a more likely suspect. For the studio — which has laid off hundreds of employees over the past year in an effort to contain costs — the possibility of a disgruntled employee wreaking havoc is very real.
"If terabytes of data left the Sony networks, their network detection systems would have noticed easily," explains Nigam. "It would also take months for a hacker to figure out the topography of the Sony networks to know where critical assets are stored and to have access to the decryption keys needed to open up the screeners that have been leaked." In addition, he says, "Hackers don't use such things as Hushmail, Dropbox and Facebook when they want to engage in what amounts to criminal activity. Real hackers know that these sites collect access logs, IP addresses and work with law enforcement. It is possible that North Korean-sponsored hackers were working with someone on the inside. But it is more likely a ruse to shift blame, knowing the distaste the North Korean regime has for Sony Pictures."

Link to the article excerpted above: Sony Hack: Studio Security Points to Inside Job

Twitter reacts to THE INTERVIEW being pulled from theaters due to threat.

Is it possible that the whole mess was perpetrated by the on-line platforms to make sure people never leave their living rooms?--Ira Deutchman

I fully support the movement for The Interview. Screw the theaters cowering in fear and release your product to everyone. --Alex Billington

Theater chains will soon come out with statements about "patrons' safety." That will be a lie. They are afraid of being hacked themselves.--Josh Lincoln Dickey

., the same company whose CEO wants to introduce "texting safe" screenings? Blames Sony's "wavering support".--Moises Chiullan

The Interview, like Dr. Strangelove, sounds like a satire. Lives should not be threatened over a 90 minute comedy, regardless of the subject.--Jen Connors

Even if no one goes to see it, The Interview will end up being one of the most important films of the decade now. Funny how that happens.--David Neary

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bill Cosby and Sony don't want certain things written about them.

Again not linking to certain things already racing across the Information Superhighway, but I noticed two things earlier today:
1. Bill Cosby is still in rigid denial over his current reputation resembling a mansion of twigs with a tornado bearing down on it.  Well, maybe he's acknowledging the recent allegations of supermodel Beverly Johnson by what-seems-to-be subtly ordering African-American publications to avoid writing negative profiles of Bill Cosby.
2. Sony now wants the genie of public embarrassment returned to its bottle by ordering no more press coverage of e-mail leaks.
[Pausing a moment to again say that the leaking is obviously not North Korean--if North Korea had been sufficiently infuriated by THE INTERVIEW, it would probably have created a truly destructive cyberattack rather than something akin to Anonymous-or a disgruntled employee.]
On one level, I can empathize with people working there not wanting private/personal information such as home addresses and phone numbers to be revealed.
However, regarding the information that has been regarded InstantNews-worthy, it may be worth pausing to wonder how/why the Columbia/Tri-Star/Screen Gems content-producing outpost of the Sony empire employs Jamie Foxx (who won an Academy Award for playing Ray Charles in RAY) and only utilizes him as supporting player in the upcoming, modernized ANNIE--plus, earlier this year, a superhero antagonist in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2.
And, thanks to the e-mail leak: one gets a little insight into what movies multinational corporations choose to make, why they insist on making "tentpoles" and avoiding medium-budget projects that aren't comedies--and what kind of limitations are assigned by studio executives to non-Caucasian actors.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Are we learning anything new from Sony e-mail hacks re Hollywood?

I'm not linking to them here, but there have been plenty of lip-licking posts from various gossip and news sites about the private e-mails of Sony executives being recently hacked and revealed to the public.

Here's a few things I processed from what little I've read:
1. Studio execs still love to bad-mouth actors.
2. Women still aren't being paid as much as men.
3. It's more likely that disgruntled employees are behind this--not North Korea.
4. THE INTERVIEW had its climax toned down for the US version--and it will be removed for overseas viewing.
5. For an exec and a producer, it's not yet a post-racial society (regarding certain comments about President Obama and what movies/actors he may/may not like).

In conclusion, today's Hollywood isn't much different than, say, four decades ago.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Best performances not getting Awards Season consideration.

In no specific order, here's a list of released-in-2014 film performances being ignored by SAG, Golden Globes, critics' organizations, etc. in the stampede towards consensus nominees.

1. Brendan Gleeson--CALVARY
2. Bill Hader/Kristen Wiig/Ty Burrell--THE SKELETON TWINS
4. Hilary Swank--THE HOMESMAN
5. Carrie Coon--GONE GIRL
7. Chadwick Boseman/Viola Davis/Octavia Spencer--GET ON UP
9. Jesse Eisenberg/Dakota Fanning/Peter Sarsgaard--NIGHT MOVES
10. Mackenzie Foy--INTERSTELLAR

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Glenn Greenwald on post-9/11 use of torture.

Opening paragraphs quoted from Glenn Greenwald in THE INTERCEPT:
One of the worst myths official Washington and its establishment media have told itself about the torture debate is that the controversy is limited to three cases of waterboarding at Guantรกnamo and a handful of bad Republican actors. In fact, a wide array of torture techniques were approved at the highest levels of the U.S. Government and then systematically employed in lawless US prisons around the world - at Bagram (including during the Obama presidency), CIA black sites, even to US citizens on US soil. So systematic was the torture regime that a 2008 Senate report concluded that the criminal abuses at Abu Ghraib were the direct result of the torture mentality imposed by official Washington.
American torture was not confined to a handful of aberrational cases or techniques, nor was it the work of rogue CIA agents. It was an officially sanctioned, worldwide regime of torture that had the acquiescence, if not explicit approval, of the top members of both political parties in Congress. It was motivated by far more than interrogation. The evidence for all of this is conclusive and overwhelming. And the American media bears much of the blame, as they refused for years even to use the word “torture” to describe any of this (even as they called these same techniques “torture” when used by American adversaries), a shameful and cowardly abdication that continues literally to this day in many of the most influential outlets.

Link to the entire article:

And remember: the proper word is "torture."

The popular mainstream media synonym of "harsh interrogation techniques" no longer applies.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Criterion DVD Wishlist.

1. CITIZENS BAND aka HANDLE WITH CARE and MELVIN AND HOWARD (director: Jonathan Demme)
2. THE LAST MOVIE (director: Dennis Hopper)
3. THE DEVILS (director: Ken Russell)
4. EAT THE DOCUMENT (director: D.A. Pennebaker)
5. ONE EYED JACKS (director: Marlon Brando)
6. BREAKER MORANT (director: Bruce Beresford)
7. BARBAROSA  (director: Fred Schepisi)
8. NEWSFRONT (director: Phillip Noyce)
9. THE LAST DAYS OF CHEZ NOUS (director: Gillian Armstrong)
10. ENEMIES: A LOVE STORY (director: Paul Mazursky)
11. SCHOOL DAZE and CROOKLYN (director: Spike Lee)
12. CANDY MOUNTAIN (directors Robert Frank and Rudolph Wurlitzer)
13. THE LATE SHOW (director: Robert Benton)
14. EAT THE PEACH (director: Peter Ormrod)