June 2005

Quote of the Day: When a guy with a blog ceases to be a guy with a blog

One sign of having arrived is when government regulators start wanting to poke their fingers into what you do.

- Moulitsas Zuniga, as quoted by Information Week

The A-Team with beards!

To enhance the ambience of your reading experience, please download and listen to this song while reading the following

The A-Team MediaWatchWatch has picked up this delightful story from The Guardian in which - after scouring the internet for anytyhing that might possibly offend them - a group of Sikhs from Leamington Spa took a bus to a wedding to rescue a book.

They told yesterday how they struck as the holy book was carried in traditional fashion on the priests head across the car park. Two protesters wrested the book from the priest and took it to a place of worship for safekeeping.

Police were called and found the priest still lying on the ground in the car park.

As MWW already comments, this all sounds like something out of The A-Team but that still leaves one question: which one is Howling Mad Murdoch?

Answer: All of them!

Quote of the Day: Give an inch

The extremist end of Islam - the fanatics who wanted Salman Rushdie killed, and who, like my hellfire-breathing Christian correspondents want their beliefs to be immune from criticism of any sort - will not be appeased by [the Religious Hatred Bill]. They will simply see it as a staging post for a more extreme law: one which will extend blasphemy legislation to cover all religions

- Nicholas Hytner, via MediaWatchWatch

A message to your sponsor

So here I am, trying to visit the Empire website with my girlfriends laptop. And I cant.

The reason is the bloody pop-up, flash advert that takes over the middle of the browser window.

There is, of course, a close checkbox. And, everytime I click on it, the damn thing comes back.

This may be a bug in Safari, it may be a bug in the Empire site. It may even be a combination of both. Quite frankly, I dont care.

Empire isnt so great that Im going to struggle with their pop-ups. Or even walk into the other room, boot up my PC and see if the site works under Firefox. I shall simply remember not to bother visiting the site with a Mac.

And I wont be buying a Sony-Ericsson mobile phone, either.

Daily Linkage

Links du Jour These social sites are getting everywhere. Taliban Reunited - See you on the other side!

Tom Cruise kills Oprah.

Beer in Belgium has just gotten cheaper! Im a happy, happy man.

Daily Linkage

Links du Jour An alternate ending for Kinsey

When Hollywood ran out of ideas, they called their lawyers

Be afraid or get a sense of humour: Bush to Seek Third Term

The sit-com that some critics are already calling the disappointing follow-up to The Office. Teaser, Teaser, Clip andTrailer.

Wal-Mart employees are allowed to flirt If theyre working in Germany.

Christian Bigots: The Co-Op takes a stand.

Daily Linkage

Links du Jour After a six month hiatus, the Daily Linkage is back - being a collection of news stories that are interesting, entertaining or otherwise worth repeating and about which I either have very little to add. This is also where all those really short posts will end up.

Of course, the that this post is called “Daily Linkage” should not be taken as a commitment that you will see a new list of links every day.

But you might

Migration may be good for everyone, but that doesnt stop Labour from wanting to keep the benefits out of Britain.

Alan Partridge: The Movie? AHA!

The bottom of the cinematic barrel is well and truly scraped

The man who tried to kill Doctor Who becomes a fan.

Lost in Space

Solar sail probes fate unknown

The fate of an experimental spacecraft designed to use light from the Sun to power space travel is still unknown, scientists monitoring its launch say.


Lost in Space

Culture vultures circling the cinema

Empty cinema The Guardian has launched yet another blog, or maybe I just hadnt noticed it before.

But it does raise this question which, while not entirely original, is worth addressing:

Is cinema dead? And, no, I dont mean that metaphorically. Im not asking if film is creatively dead (although, given that a little birdie tells me that a sequel to Drop Dead Fred is in the pipeline, perhaps that is what I really mean). Neither am I harking back to those glory days of the 70s, when Hollywood was apparently made up entirely of radical auteurs like Scorsese, Coppola and, er, Spielberg.

I literally mean, is cinema dead? Do we no longer enjoy the thrill of finding ourselves in a darkened room with hundreds of strangers, waiting eagerly to discover what cinematic delights are in store for us?

I like going to the cinema.

There is something about finding myself in a darkened room with hundreds of strangers that is inherently appealing. And, of course, going to the cinema with a bunch of friends and then on to a pub is a lot more enjoyable than sitting at home in front of the TV.

Beyond that, there are some films that really should be watched in public - and, if youve ever watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show or Plan 9 From Outer Space on your own, youll know what I mean. But this goes beyond just cult or bad films - even blockbusters are designed to be seen on a huge screen with a massive sound system and a large audience. The same is true of many horror films - as the audience to events like the Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festivals Night of Terror will attest.

If you watch films like these on your own, you really are missing out.

But maybe Im on my own here. This report from the BBC certainly seems to suggest so

Most Americans would now rather watch films at home than at the cinema, a poll has suggested.

Seventy three per cent of adults said they preferred watching movies at home on DVD, video or pay-per-view to going to a cinema.

So what do I know?

And then I noticed this feature in Reuters

Fully 50 percent of the Cinderella Man audience was older than 50. Thats a serious drawback for a movie that cost some $88 million to make and $40 million to release because this group cant be counted on to rush to theaters on a movies first weekend. Cinderella Man opened on over 2,800 screens to $18.6 million, landing in fourth place behind three holdovers, and fell 46.8% on its second weekend.

And now were starting to get to the nub of the problem Studios are increasingly making films for teenagers and hyping them beyond belief so that (young) people rush out to see them in the first week just to be sure that they dont miss out on the next big thing. Its a neat trick that ensures the success of any film regardless of how good it actually is - by the time any bad word of mouth has managed to build, everyone has seen the film already.

From the same article

Universal Pictures is now counting on DVDs to salvage Cinderella Man. Come late fall, when star Russell Crowes anger issues will have faded from the publics memory, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will stage a well-funded comeback for the drama (which has grossed a piddling $36 million to date), aimed at both DVD buyers and Oscar voters.

When it comes to DVD consumers, the studios are confident that if they build a strong adult movie, the audience will come. That feeling does not extend to theatergoers.

The existence of DVD allows older audiences to see a film whenever they want to, rather having to respond to the hype of the moment. And, while the ability of DVD to extend the life of a film is an undoubted boon to all of us, for this to come at the cost of cinemas becoming teenage playgrounds means that we will also all have lost something as well.

4 beermats in 30 seconds

I need more practice. Flick the beer mat here

(via The Flophouse)