The Null Device
Observations on listening to Mark Radcliffe's show tonight on BBC2:
- Gogol Bordello sound like Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen crossed with a NME new-wave revival band.
- The new Belle & Sebastian single, Funny Little Frog, sounds nothing like Belle & Sebastian. There is nothing particularly fey about it (other than the title, of course); the vocals are strong and confident and it bounces along energetically. It could easily be, say, The Thrills or The Magic Numbers, or anything in the top 40 in the two decades before Stock/Aitken/Waterman and Dr. Dre. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you; it's a pretty classy piece of pop craftsmanship, though don't expect Lord Anthony or The State I Am In.
Those making movies with Activision's new machinima game The Movies, beware: according to the licensing agreement, Activision owns the copyright to all films made using their content, which you can't avoid using this package.
The EULA states that while users retain ownership of movies they create, Activision exclusively owns "any and all content within [users'] Game Movies that was either supplied with the Program or otherwise made available to [users] by Activision or its licensors..." This means that any movie containing anything less than 100% user-created content (an impossible feat as far as I can tell) is under Activision's control.Which means that, unless you manage to strip your films of all Activision-owned content, what you can do with them is limited to what Activision will tolerate your doing. For example, you probably couldn't release them under a creative commons licence or put them in the public domain, and if you used them to say anything particularly controversial (as angry French Muslim youths are doing), you risk having your creation being pulled out from under you, because it's not really yours. In a sense, it is as if the basic words in the English language were copyrighted and had to be licensed in order to communicate.
A more reasonable approach would have been what the music software industry does, i.e., licensing the elements that come with the package (samples and loops, in the case of music software, 3D objects in the case of The Movies) for unlimited royalty-free use by the buyer and renouncing all rights to works containing them. Of course, Activision are a game software company, and assume that their punters are less savvy and/or less concerned with issues of rights. Who cares who really owns your movie, it's just a game, right?
(via bOING bOING)
Four women teaching in a remote village school in Saudi Arabia had a dilemma: they needed a way to get to the village, but women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. So they found a driver who lived in the village, and married him:
They were married in a short ceremony, and all the women have agreed to pay the driver a share of their monthly salaries, Al-Watan said.
Women are still not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, while men can marry up to four women according to Islamic law.
The grim story of the next Superman film, which has remained in development hell for 10 years, while armies of hacks, egomaniacs and philistinic studio types battled over the details, is an eye-opening example of the horrible things that happen to a property once a Hollywood studio buys the rights to it. Read about the dozen or so different scripts, tacked-on merchandising opportunities, plot elements shamelessly lifted from the most recent blockbuster, the many forms of Lex Luthor (rogue CIA agent, mutated shoe salesman, member of the Illuminati), Tim Burton's darker, gothic Superman, and even the studio's plans to cast Justin Timberlake and Beyonce Knowles as Superman and Lois Lane. Read it, laugh uncomfortably, and then pray to whatever gods you have that the studios never get their hands on your favourite stories.
Peters then told Smith to have Brainiac fight polar bears at the Fortress of Solitude, demanding that the film be wall-to-wall action. Smith thought it was a stupid idea, so Peters said, "Then have Brainiac fight Supermans bodyguards!" Smith responded, "Why the hell would Superman need bodyguards?" Peters wouldnt let up, so Smith caved in and had Brainiac fight the polar bears. Then Peters demanded that Brainiac give Luthor a hostile space dog as a gift, arguing that the movie needed a cuddly Chewbacca character that could be turned into a toy. Then, after watching Chasing Amy, Peters liked the gay black character in the film so much that he ordered Smith to make Brainiacs robot servant L-Ron gay, asserting that the film needed a gay R2-D2 with attitude. Then Peters demanded that Superman fight a huge spider at the end of the film, which Smith refused to dohe used a "Thanagarian Snare Beast" instead. (However, Peters did manage to recycle his spider idea and use it in Wild Wild West.)
1. Krypton doesnt explode. Instead its a Naboo rip-off overrun by robot soldiers, walking war machines, and civil war (can you say, Star Wars: Episode I?). Jor-El is literally the king of Krypton and leader of the Kryptonian Senate (thus Superman is a prince), and he and Lara send Kal-El to Earth because he is "the One" whom a prophecy states will save Krypton from destruction (rip-off of The Matrix). The villains, Jor-El's evil brother and nephew Kata-Zor and Ty-Zor, take Jor-El prisoner and send probe pods out to find and kill the baby Kal-El. 14 years later, Lara and her shell-less turtle servant Taga (shades of Jar Jar Binks) are found by Ty-Zor, and Lara gets tortured to death.
5. An aerial kung-fu fight between Superman and Ty-Zor results in Superman being lured into a trap: Lois is drowning in a tank filled with kryptonite. (This begs the question of how there can be kryptonite when Krypton didnt even explode, but.) Superman is given a choice: save her and die from radiation poisoning in the act, or stand by and watch her drown. So he goes in, saves her, and dies. Jor-El magically senses Supermans death from across the galaxy, commits hara-kiri with a rock he sharpens in his prison cell, goes to Heaven, and talks Superman into coming back to life so he can fulfill the prophecy of saving Krypton from its civil war. So Supermans soul returns to his body, and he proceeds to trash Ty-Zor and his cronies. And at the end of the film, Superman flies off in a rocket to save Krypton (which is where the second film is planned to take place).