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Links of interest for November 21st 2008 through November 22nd 2008:
- EFA concerned about movie industry lawsuit against iiNet [Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA)] – “Electronic Frontiers Australa (EFA) today expressed concern about a lawsuit filed against Internet Service Provider iiNet in the Federal Court. A consortium of media companies have sued the ISP for allegedly allowing its users to download infringing movies and TV shows by failing to terminate their accounts after allegations of infringement by the copyright industry. “This lawsuit is the latest attempt by the movie industry to bully Internet Service Providers into becoming copyright police,” said EFA spokesperson Nicolas Suzor. “ISPs are not in a position to monitor and terminate internet access to users based upon unsubstantiated threats from copyright owners, and should not be asked to do so.””
- Kraftwerk sample case overturned [BBC NEWS | Entertainment] – “A court in Germany has told electronic band Kraftwerk that a producer who sampled one of their songs was not violating copyright. The ruling overturns an earlier decision against Moses Pelham’s use of a short sample from Metal on Metal. Judges in Berlin said the two second extract did not infringe copyright, as his song was substantially different. The move will come as a blow to artists who object to rivals using samples of their work to create new songs. ” (Bring on the legal remixes and mashups!)
- Immersion [The New York Times – Video Library] – A fascinating video by Robbie Cooper which captures the faces of young people as they play videogames – watch that concentration! (There are photos, too.)
- ‘The Dark Knight’ Conquers BitTorrent [TorrentFreak] – This week, in another round of leaks, DVD-rips of ‘The Dark Knight’ found their way to BitTorrent. Unsurprisingly, given the commercial success of the movie, <em>these were downloaded well over a million times in just a few days</em>. From the looks of it, Batman will crush Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and Transformers, as it will easily become this year’s most pirated movie.
- Star Trek [Apple – Trailers] – Young James T Kirk … the beginnings of the Enterprise … angry Spock … and sex in outer space. The Star Trek reboot will either be amazing or utterly wrong!
- 19-Year-Old Lifecaster Commits Suicide on Justin.TV [smcb] – “In a tragic story from NewTeeVee, we learn that a 19-year-old user of the online live-streaming video service Justin.TV has apparently commit suicide in front of an audience of fellow forum dwellers egging him on during the process. The death has been confirmed with the Broward County medical examiner and the timeline has been pieced together from several different forums that have chronicled the unfortunate series of events.”
So The Dark Knight certainly lives up to its promise of being dark. Disturbingly so. The film is an outstanding collaboration on pretty much all fronts, cast and crew, but it’s already destined to be remembered as Heath Ledger’s swan song, and rightly so: Ledger is not only the best villain a superhero film has ever had, but his performance excels simply because he could because he’s not a super-villain at all. Ledger’s Joker is psychotic, but in an eerily believable way. Unlike the over-the-top efforts of the camp 60s tv show and films, or Jack Nickolson’s caricature under Tim Burton, Ledger plays a Joker that really could have emerged from the nastiest corners of contemporary society. It’s a performance to be seen and experienced – if not necessarily enjoyed – and at this stage of the year Ledger’s posthumous Academy Award looks a certainty.
Credit has to go to Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman who all give strong performances but are accommodating enough to play second fiddle to Ledger’s deranged centrepiece. Gary Oldman steps up in his role as Lt Gordon, and newcomer Aaron Eckhart seems to play Harvey Dent a little too smugly until the latter section of the film where his inevitable downfall really hits home in contrast to the earlier scenes. While not really a weak link, Maggie Gyllenhaal really has the misfortune of being the least impressive in the cast, although she has the difficult task of stepping into the only role where the actor has changed (previously Katie Holmes).
Visually, the film is once again spectacular, both inside Gotham and in the scenes set elsewhere, especially an unexpected visit to the soaring heights of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers. For comic book fans, there are plenty of knowing nods along the way, but these are subtle enough not to intrude on the film for everyone else. That said, certain character arcs are a lot more tragic when you can see them coming, especially the emergence of Two-Face. There are plenty of doors left open at the end of the film for a third in the Batman series, although the tone left hanging suggests the next film would be even bleaker and its hard to imagine anything much darker than The Dark Knight being palatable at the multiplex.