Showing posts with label Movies Related. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Movies Related. Show all posts

16 November 2020

Assassin's Creed TV Series: Why It's So Hard To Adapt Video Games For The Screen

Assassin's Creed TV Series: Why It's So Hard To Adapt Video Games For The Screen
Michael Fassbender in the Assassin’s Creed film. (20th Century Fox/Youtube)
The Assassin’s Creed franchise is leaping forward (off the top of a building, presumably) with the release of the 12th game in the series – Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – and the recent announcement of an upcoming Netflix show.
While the games are hugely popular, we will have to hope this new show is an improvement on the 2016 film. It had great actors playing bland characters, and perfectly adequate action scenes but no discernible narrative content. Indeed, Assassin’s Creed provides a classic lesson on the difficulties of turning even an expansive, multi-dimensional gaming world into a story that’s suitable for other formats.

The Assassin’s Creed games use the framing device of a present-day conflict and the dramatically recreated memories of the characters’ ancestors in historical periods. These memories form the main action of the game and its main appeal. If anything, the present-day plot elements seem rather odd and superfluous by comparison.

For instance, in the first game (2007), the player controls a 12th-century Levantine assassin named Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad during the Third Crusade. His 21st-century descendant, Desmond Miles, is forced to experience Altaïr’s life so that the present-day Templars can find prehuman artefacts known as Pieces of Eden. If that doesn’t sound like it makes much sense, well, it doesn’t.

This is no Shakespearean play-within-a-play device with two separate narratives that merely reflect and comment on each other. Rather, the stories directly affect one another – you must go into the past to uncover the secret locations of present-day artefacts.

Incoherent narrative

Assassin’s Creed never really attempts the moral depth and world-shaking decisions of, say, the critically-acclaimed Deus Ex videogame franchise. Deus Ex’s background of warring conspiracies is nuanced enough that the player feels that real choices are being made.

The 2016 Assassin’s Creed movie was bad partly because the entire franchise – despite its many genuinely brilliant qualities of gameplay, atmosphere, and graphics – is narratively incoherent. This might be forgivable in a game built around atmosphere, cool weaponry and stylish moves, but it’s not enough for a viable film.

There are great examples of transmedia storytelling across multiple formats, such as the Marvel cinematic universe, Tolkein’s Middle-Earth or, indeed, Deus Ex. In these cases, each new book, film or game builds on the narrative of the previous ones while maintaining a sense of wonder and the unknown. But the Assassin’s Creed franchise doesn’t bother making the effort, as though its creators Ubisoft believe the occasional media studies experts who suggest that videogames should stay in their lane and not even try to tell stories.

It seems snobbish to assume that video games are just no good at narrative, but it’s almost as reductive to believe they should emulate filmic storytelling instead of embracing videogames’ unique strengths. Interactivity, agency, emotional engagement and immersion combine to provide players with experiences that would be impossible to achieve in purely linear stories.
The structure of games is inherently different from that of films, and this is most apparent when it comes to endings. Writing a narratively satisfying ending for a novel or film is notoriously tough – and even tougher if you also have to give your audience the choice of how to finish the story.

Every time you let the player make a significant yes or no decision in gameplay, you double the number of possible endings. No storyteller wants to have to come up with hundreds of satisfactory endings.

Game designers have a variety of tricks available to reduce that number, giving the illusion of choice while gradually steering the player back onto the main plot. Still, most players will be happier if the series of interesting decisions include more than just selecting tactical options to overcome challenges. They need ethically weighty choices that empower them to playfully explore their value systems.

From winging it to fixing it?

The Assassin’s Creed franchise seems to have been winging it with its worldbuilding since the start, each story building haphazardly on the previous ones. I see three ways forward.

They could continue to ignore concerns about coherence, concentrate on cool stunts and environments, and hope that fans will accept new instalments as merely each new creative team’s take. But the narrative threads sprawl so much that it’s going to be a tough sell.

Assassin's Creed TV Series: Why It's So Hard To Adapt Video Games For The Screen
A still from the very first Assassin’s Creed (2007). (Ubisoft/IGDB)
If the new series is going to be any good, it would be better to bring in a good universe runner. Someone who can work out how most of the universe hangs together and cut out the bits that don’t.

Alternatively, they could start again, with a worldbuilding process not just a story idea. Videogames can tell amazing stories, despite what their detractors may think, but they do need a consistent background in which to set those stories. Creating a believable world first, would only make the next franchise stronger.

About Today's Contributor:

Ian Sturrock, Senior Lecturer in Game Design and Games Studies, Teesside University
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

3 November 2020

The Johnny Depp Libel Trial Explained


The Johnny Depp Libel Trial Explained
Reputational damage: actor Johnny Depp. (Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images)

On November 2 2020, London’s High Court handed down its hotly anticipated judgment in the high-profile libel case brought by Hollywood actor Johnny Depp over a newspaper article which labelled him a “wife-beater”. In his 585-paragraph ruling the presiding judge, Mr Justice Nicol, dismissed the actor’s claim, holding in essence that the words used in The Sun’s report were legally acceptable.

Depp brought a libel action against The Sun’s publisher (and the newspaper’s executive editor Dan Wootton) in respect of an 2018 article which was first published online under the headline: “GONE POTTY: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?” The story asserted that Depp was violent towards his ex-wife Amber Heard during their relationship.

Depp’s case was that the article made seriously defamatory allegations which bore the meaning that he was guilty of serious domestic violence against his former wife. The defence maintained that the evidence showed the claimant “was violent towards Ms Heard on multiple occasions” during their relationship, and thus the “wife-beater” claim was justified. They relied on 14 alleged incidents of serious physical assault against Heard which had occurred between 2013 and 2016. However, Depp consistently denied the “reputation-destroying and career-ending” allegations.

The case was heard over the course of 16 days at London’s Royal Courts of Justice in July 2020. Importantly, neither Depp nor Heard was on trial. And this wasn’t a criminal trial either. In this libel dispute, there were two central issues: the meaning of the articles complained of; and whether the imputation conveyed by them (that the Hollywood actor engaged in unprovoked attacks and violent conduct against his ex-wife) was true in substance and fact. Mr Justice Nicol held that the meaning of the words complained of was as contended for by The Sun, namely that Depp was violent to Heard, “causing her to suffer significant injury and on occasion leading to her fearing for her life”.

The judge also expressly acknowledged that Depp proved the necessary elements of his cause of action, that his reputation had been damaged. But, under UK defamation law, if a defendant proves that the published words are “substantially true”, they will have a complete defence: they cannot be successfully sued regardless of the gravity of the allegations. In this case, the judge found that the great majority of alleged incidents of violent physical assault against his ex-wife were proved to be substantially true and dismissed Depp’s claim.

Was it all worth it?

Anyone following the case may have reasonably queried whether Depp’s action was ill-advised. Traumatic, intensely intimate and unflattering details of a tumultuous relationship apparently punctuated with blazing rows, a drug and alcohol-fuelled lifestyle and allegations of domestic abuse – strenuously denied – were uncovered in court and made front-page news worldwide.

A parade of witnesses, including A-list actors, strode into London’s High Court to support each side’s versions of events. The court heard details of a costly trail of destroyed property, a severed finger apparently caused by a thrown vodka bottle, profoundly acrimonious texts and a large pile of faeces left in a bed.

The Johnny Depp Libel Trial Explained
He said, she said: actress Amber Heard, centre, outside the High Court in London on the final day of hearings. (Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images)
In addition to the revelation of unattractive details of his personal affairs, Depp had to shoulder a taxing evidential burden as a result of a recent Supreme Court ruling. The court’s decision in a 2019 defamation case involving two UK newspaper publishers established that the threshold test for “serious harm” in defamation actions has been significantly raised under the 2013 Defamation Act. This has made it more difficult for claimants to succeed in their actions.

Nevertheless, Depp must have considered that the trial was the lesser of two evils compared to unanswered reputational attacks of this magnitude. The conduct alleged was essentially criminal and highly defamatory, especially in the post-#MeToo landscape. The judge’s ruling suggests that the actor correctly assessed the potential reputational damage that the words “wife-beater” would cause to his future.

The heavy focus on Depp’s alleged criminal wrongdoing in The Sun’s article, the extent of its publication, the long-term effect of online libel and the undesired prospect of the actor’s removal from his role in a major film franchise provided a strong impetus for the claimant.

NGN took an equally bold, yet somewhat risky, decision. By relying on the defence of truth, the publisher was required to establish the essential truth of the “sting” of the libel. This means that it was not necessary for NGN to prove that every single aspect of the statement complained of was absolutely true, so long as, taken as a whole, it was accurate.

The standard of proof needed for a truth defence is that used in civil cases generally – the material must be proved true “on the balance of probabilities”. This is a lower bar to achieve than the usual criminal standard of being sure “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

Although one might think that NGN had a relatively easier task to achieve, it should not be forgotten that, when the truth defence is used, the burden rests on the publisher to prove that the allegations were true, rather than on the claimant (in this case, Depp) to show that they were false. This can give rise to further complications, as the success of a claim will regularly turn on the evidence in each individual case.

And when opposing accounts of what happened in private cannot be entirely ruled out, lawyers will struggle to persuade the court which version is more likely to be true. This is apparent in the position taken by Depp’s lawyers that “the claimant was not violent towards Ms Heard; it was she who was violent to him”.

Hence, media organisations may often be reluctant to defend libel actions and may opt for an out-of-court settlement to avoid the risk of high legal costs or damages. This was not the case with NGN, which nevertheless sought to prove true a very serious allegation. It succeeded, despite the challenges associated with this defence.

The case continues

The outcome was bitterly unfavourable to Depp, who arguably suffered a crushing defeat, with all that this might entail for his career. Moreover, his case has reportedly led to an estimated £5m in legal costs, and on top of that, he is likely to be made to cover a significant percentage of the winner’s legal costs.

The Sun, meanwhile, emerged victorious from a tense legal battle. The outcome may stiffen the resolve of the English press to report on matters of domestic violence, but it does not necessarily follow that the approach taken by the High Court in Depp’s trial is a uniform one in all cases.

The High Court’s decision doesn’t seem to spell the end of the legal battle. Depp’s representatives said they found the decision “as perverse as it is bewildering” and announced their intention to appeal. It will also be interesting to see whether the outcome in London can carry some weight and indirectly affect the libel rematch next May in the US against Heard herself over an opinion piece she wrote for Washington Post.The Conversation

About Today's Contributor:

Alexandros Antoniou, Lecturer in Media Law, University of Essex

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

'Starsky and Hutch' Actor David Soul Releases New Short Film/Documentary 'America' [Video Included]

'Starsky and Hutch' Actor David Soul Releases New Short Film/Documentary 'America'
'Starsky and Hutch' Actor David Soul Releases New Short Film/Documentary 'America' (screengrab)
Actor/director and musician David Soul, co-star of the iconic 1970s television series, Starsky and Hutch, has created and directed a short film/documentary called America, based on a song of the same name.

  • The song, written by Jack Murphy and recorded by David Soul 40 years ago, was never released - until now.
David's not-for-profit film, produced by Me and Thee Productions and available free across all social media, reveals America's story as illustrated in the song's lyrics; from her slave-trading beginnings in 1619, through the years of the Civil Rights struggles, to the inspirational, global, and long-overdue Black Lives Matter movement.

'Starsky and Hutch' Actor David Soul Releases New Short Film/Documentary 'America'
'Starsky and Hutch' Actor David Soul Releases New Short Film/Documentary 'America' (screengrab)
America, the film, is a reminder that our uniqueness as a country (often concealed in superficial patriotic bravado and self-congratulation) actually lies in our immeasurable compassion and love, as well as in our undaunting willingness to learn from our past and rise above our differences.
  • The film, at moments graphic and challenging, is not always easy to watch, but in fact, it serves to embrace the collective heart and soul of our nation's diversity.
We are reminded by David Soul's America that we must unite together on "the Yellow Brick Road" in our continuing journey to form "a more perfect union;" in essence, to ensure that the promises of equality and justice for all Americans, enshrined within the United States Constitution, are finally realized.

'America' By David Soul - The Video:

SOURCE: Me and Thee Productions

31 October 2020

Sean Connery: 'Bond, James Bond', But So Much More

Sean Connery: 'Bond, James Bond', But So Much More
Sean Connery: the first Bond, and for many people, the best. (PA/PA Archive/PA Images)
Coverage of the passing of Sir Sean Connery has inevitably been dominated by his legacy as the screen’s first – and best – James Bond. Connery’s “Bond, James Bond” moment near the beginning of Dr. No (1962) is one of the iconic moments of cinema history and has spawned countless imitations and parodies.
Perhaps the most persistent myth about Connery, who was 90, is that he was an “unknown” actor who was plucked from obscurity by Bond producers Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, who reportedly cast him against the wishes of author Ian Fleming and distributor United Artists. But this is to ignore the fact that Connery had already established himself as a television actor, drawing critical plaudits for lead roles in a 1957 BBC production of Requiem for a Heavyweight and in the 1961 TV production of Anna Karenina, but also appearing in a number of meaty co-starring roles in Hollywood films, including opposite Lana Turner in Another Time, Another Place (1958).

It was reportedly his appearance in Disney’s fantasy Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959) that drew Connery to the notice of Broccoli’s wife, Dana, while the British crime drama The Frightened City (1961), in which Connery as an underworld enforcer steals the picture from its nominal star John Gregson, was also evidence of a star in the making.

Nevertheless Connery was inspired casting as James Bond. Connery made the role his own to such an extent that it is now impossible to imagine any of the other actors said to have been considered – including Cary Grant, David Niven, Patrick McGoohan and even Roger Moore – stepping into the shoes of “the gentleman agent with the licence to kill” in 1962.
In this context an important point to remember about Bond is that Fleming’s character was not an Old Etonian establishment figure: he is even described in Moonraker as being “alien and unEnglish”. Connery’s working-class Scottish roots – he was born and grew up in Edinburgh, where his early jobs had included milkman, bricklayer and coffin-polisher – imbued his Bond with that sense of “otherness”. 

To this extent Connery’s Bond has as much in common with the outsider protagonists of the British new wave – Laurence Harvey, Albert Finney, Richard Harris – as the tradition of British screen heroism incarnated by stars of the 1950s such as Richard Todd and Kenneth More.

Sean Connery and co-star Honor Blackman in a publicity shot for the film Goldfinger (1964). (PA/PA Archive/PA Images)
Connery’s performance in Dr No is edgy and brusque: he really settled into the part in From Russia With Love (1963) and Goldfinger (1964) where he commands the screen with that indefinable quality of star “presence” that means all he has to do to dominate a scene is to be in it.

Beyond Bond

Bond brought Connery fame and fortune. He was paid a mere £6,000 for Dr No, four times that amount for From Russia With Love and a then-record US$1.25 million for his first Bond “comeback” in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever (George Lazenby had taken the role for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969).

The lucrative remuneration meant that Connery was able to pick and choose his roles outside the Bond pictures. Indeed his non-Bond roles demonstrate just how versatile an actor Connery was. Alfred Hitchcock cast him against type as Tippi Hedren’s conflicted husband in Marnie (1964), and he excelled in two films for Sidney Lumet, as the rebel-with-a-cause in the hard-hitting military prison drama The Hill (1965) and as a vengeful policeman in the much underrated The Offence (1973).
Connery was particularly good at playing characters older than himself, including the potentate standing up to Teddy Roosevelt in The Wind and the Lion (1975) and an ageing Robin Hood reflecting on his own myth in the beautifully elegiac Robin and Marian (1976). He paired with Michael Caine as soldiers of fortune in 19th-century Afghanistan in The Man Who Would Be King (1975) and was one of the all-star cast of suspects in Sidney Lumet’s lavish adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express (1974).

Sean Connery: 'Bond, James Bond', But So Much More
Screen gods: Sean Connery and Michael Caine in The Man Who Would Be King (1975). (PA/PA Archive/PA Images)
There was, inevitably, the occasional left-field choice, but even the science-fiction oddity Zardoz (1973) now has something of a cult status. Connery famously said that he would “never” play Bond again after Diamonds Are Forever: hence the ironic title of his second Bond “comeback” Never Say Never Again (1983), a rival production outside the Eon Production series mounted by independent producer Kevin McClory.

Connery won his only Academy Award, a popular choice as Best Supporting Actor for his “Irish” street-cop in The Untouchables (1987), after which his career enjoyed a second wind as the world’s most bankable sexagenarian film star in a sequence of superior adventure and caper movies including The Hunt for Red October (1990), The Rock (1996) and Entrapment (1999).

By this time Connery’s refusal to disguise his accent had become something of a trademark, whatever the part. When Steven Spielberg cast him as Harrison Ford’s father in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), it captured the idea that Connery’s Bond was the symbolic “father” of a later generation screen hero.

Feet of clay

Most stars turn out to have feet of clay: Connery was no exception. He attracted controversy for a remark made in an interview with Playboy in 1965 that legitimised hitting a woman (“An open-handed slap is justified if all other alternatives fail”). His Bond did this on screen in From Russia With Love and Diamonds Are Forever.

He also had a public falling-out with Broccoli, suing the producer and MGM for alleged non-payment of profit shares in the Bond films. Against this should be set Connery’s charitable work: he used his fee for Diamonds Are Forever to found the Scottish International Education Trust to provide financial assistance for Scots from disadvantaged backgrounds to attend university and college.

Proud ‘Scottish peasant

Connery, who since the 1970s lived in Spain and the Bahamas as a tax exile, was proud of his Scottish roots. Ian Fleming warmed to Connery to the extent that he introduced a Scottish heritage for Bond into the later stories. Bond’s “I am a Scottish peasant and I will always feel at home being a Scottish peasant” – from The Man With the Golden Gun – might have been written with Connery in mind, although Bond was actually played by his successor, Roger Moore, in that film.

Unlike Bond, Connery did accept a knighthood, for services to film drama, in 2000. It is widely believed that his public support for the Scottish National Party had delayed his knighthood.

Connery’s last screen appearance was as Allan Quatermain in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), in which he leads a Victorian superhero team to save the British Empire. He confirmed his retirement when he was presented with the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.
He died in his sleep at his home in Nassau, and is survived by his second wife Micheline and son (by first wife Diane Cilento) Jason Connery.The Conversation

About Today's Contributor:

James Chapman, Professor of Film Studies, University of Leicester

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

29 October 2020

Hit Image Comics Series 'The Strange Talent of Luther Strode' to Screen as Feature Film

Hit Image Comics Series 'The Strange Talent of Luther Strode' to Screen as Feature Film
'The Strange Talent of Luther Strode ' (Cover Art by Tradd Moore; Courtesy of Image Comics)
Allnighter has announced that it will be adapting the hit Image Comics series 'The Strange Talent of Luther Strode' as a feature film in partnership with series co-creators Justin Jordan and Tradd Moore.
  • Allnighter's Dinesh Shamdasani, Hunter Gorinson, and Amanda Kruse will produce the film alongside co-creators Jordan and Moore. Jordan is currently at work adapting the comic and will pen the screenplay.
Celebrated as "one of the greatest comic book series of all time" by SyFy Wire and a "career-making work" heralded as both "deftly original" and "masterful" by IGN, The Strange Talent of Luther Strode is one of the runaway hit series, alongside The Walking Dead and Saga, that redefined Image Comics for a new generation. The subject of near-universal critical acclaim and multiple sold-out printings, the series cemented writer Justin Jordan and artist Tradd Moore alike as two of comics' fastest rising stars upon its debut in 2011 and led both to best-selling turns at the helm of Marvel and DC's biggest franchises. 

  • In the process, Jordan and Moore reunited for two equally successful follow-ups – 2012's The Legend of Luther Strode and 2015's The Legacy of Luther Strode – to complete the genre-colliding trilogy that first rocketed them to superstar status.
Luther Strode (image via Image Comics)
Like Venom and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Luther Strode deftly splices together the common DNA of the superhero and slasher archetypes for a brash and bloody adventure that is equal parts comic-book escapism and action-horror hybrid.
High schooler Luther Strode was always a little bit less than average – soft-spoken, skinny, and, more than anything, terrified that his estranged father would one day return to torment him and his mother once more. But that ended the day that Luther discovered "The Method" – an improbably old text hidden between the comic books and ragged paperbacks at his favorite used bookstore. But The Method is far more than it seems – and, as its ancient techniques rework Luther's body and unlock the strange talents buried deep within, he will find himself transformed into a near-perfect physical specimen imbued with incredible strength, startling new abilities...and a killer's instinct for violence that he can't quite seem to shake. When The Method's masters arrive to observe Luther's progress and draw him into action, he'll be forced to make the ultimate choice: embrace the monster he was intended to be...or use his newfound power to protect the people – the classmates, the teachers, the neighbors – who never protected him when he needed them the most.
Jordan's other film and television projects currently include an adaptation of his comics series Spread with artist Kyle Strahm, while Moore's 2019 series with writer Ales Kot, The New World, is being adapted as a feature film for Warner Bros. Pictures.
"Luther Strode remains one of my very favorite things I've ever worked on and getting the chance to bring it to a new audience as a film is exciting beyond belief," said Justin Jordan. "Especially since Allnighter is dedicated to staying true to all of the foundations – from the tone to the mythology, and, of course, the kinetic action exemplified by Tradd's artwork – that people have loved about the comic."
"The Strange Talent of Luther Strode is the type of pitch every publisher dreams of – work by newcomers so anxious to make their mark that every page practically vibrates with indomitable confidence," said Eric Stephenson, Publisher & Chief Creative Officer at Image Comics. "When I first got a look at Luther Strode as a blind submission in my inbox, I was bowled over by the sheer audacity of what Justin and Tradd were creating, and it was an automatic green light. It's going to be exciting to see how this awesome series takes shape in another medium!"

Allnighter was founded earlier this year by the executive team that previously led Hivemind – the hit-making production company behind Netflix's The Witcher and Amazon's The Expanse television series, as well as Sony Pictures' Bloodshot and Lionsgate/CBS Films' Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark feature films – and includes Hivemind co-founder Dinesh Shamdasani, former VP of Film & Television and Lionsgate veteran Amanda Kruse, and former SVP of Brand & Content Strategy Hunter Gorinson. With partners whose backgrounds straddle film and television, comic book publishing, and game development, Allnighter is uniquely positioned to unite world-class creative talent and industry-leading properties from the worlds of cult genre fiction, comedy, comics and graphic novels, video games, tabletop games, manga and anime, and more. Shamdasani, Kruse, and Gorinson will jointly serve as a Co-Founders/Partners in Allnighter.

Luther Strode is just the latest addition to Allnighter's high-profile slate of upcoming film and television projects, which also includes Gideon Falls, a television adaptation of the Eisner Award-winning Image Comics series by creators Jeff Lemire & Andrea Sorrentino, in partnership with James Wan's Atomic Monster and Hivemind; Weird Fantasy, a new series based on the subversive science-fiction stories of EC Comics; Illuminatus!, a new series from showrunner Brian Taylor adapting the hugely influential science-fiction trilogy by authors Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea; and Final Fantasy, the first live-action adaptation of Square Enix's genre-defining video game franchise, in partnership with Hivemind; among many others.
"Luther Strode is one of the most beloved comic book series of the past decade and with good reason. Not only is it a master-class in the best that comics have to offer, but it's horrifying, heartfelt, and funny all at once. Whether you like superheroes or horror, Strode is the rare series that equally speaks to the core of both genres and creates fascinating new dimensions in the process," said Allnighter co-founder and partner Dinesh Shamdasani.
"Allnighter is built to celebrate not just the things we love, but the artists that have something new and distinctive to say about them as well. Luther Strode's unique perspective is a perfect example of that mandate in action," added Allnighter co-founder and partner Amanda Kruse.
During her time at Lionsgate, Kruse served as a feature-film executive helping to oversee recent and upcoming live-action, theatrical releases for Saban's Power Rangers, Shueisha's Naruto, and Gearbox's Borderlands franchises before being tapped by studio president and Nerdist co-founder Peter Levin to run creative and development for Lionsgate's newly founded Games Division, where she shepherded 35+ games and integrations, including the critically acclaimed Triple-I launches John Wick Hex and Blair Witch.

Prior to establishing Hivemind, Shamdasani and Gorinson previously led the iconic comics brand Valiant Entertainment through a groundbreaking run of creative, commercial, and critical successes that culminated with the company's sale in early 2018 and the start of production on Valiant's first-ever feature film, Bloodshot, which Shamdasani produced for Sony Pictures. In addition to their current duties at Allnighter, Shamdasani and Gorinson also serve as the Co-CEO & Co-Chief Creative Officer and Publisher, respectively, of the upstart comic book publishing imprint Bad Idea, which is slated to debut with a slate of five highly anticipated new series in 2021.

SOURCE: Allnighter

27 October 2020

#TeamZander or #TeamTakedown? - Interactive Film Releases Across Social Media Alongside A Universe of "Real" Characters [Video Included]

#TeamZander or #TeamTakedown? - Interactive Film Releases Across Social Media Alongside A Universe of "Real" Characters
"Dared My Best Friend To Ruin My Life" (PRNewsfoto/
Alternate Reality Cinema company This Is Definitely Real debuts the world's first alternate reality cinema project. 
Built around an extended-release movie in the style of Scott Pilgrim meets Fight Club, the story "Dared My Best Friend To Ruin My Life" extends through over a dozen narratives, interactive experiences, and fictional characters who respond to the 9 episodes with their own content and interact with the audience. 

  • In a world that feels increasingly like an alternate reality game, this first-of-its-kind asks its young adult audience to question what is real, play with their own online personas, and participate in the storytelling.
Based on a viral Reddit story of the same name, the experience begins when Team Takedown, an anarchist hacker group, bent on canceling everyone in power, hacks influencers. The protagonist Zander Jones hacks them back, sending a plea to the internet to help them find his kidnapped sister. 

  • As Zander's team grows, the audience can view the episodes or go down the rabbit hole, pick a side, and search for the truth.
"If you look at the comments on YouTube, people keep asking whether this is real. It looks fake, but is it real? The line has become so blurred that it's hard to define real any more. And we're getting people to ask those questions," said Michael Morgenstern the film's producer.
The story universe is populated with characters (all from the town of Emet's Crossing) with real social handles, websites, video series, and interactive experiences of their own, creating an explosion of content and a web to explore. 
Participants can message the characters and receive replies and watch videos from the local news show, alien puppet invaders, a beauty queen named Miss Information, a brutally satirical revenge-based fitness influencer, and Zander's mom, a technically illiterate boomer who drops her phone number [406-284-0565] all over the comments and will text back.
"Our fictional story is put together the way some news events are put together; the way conspiracy theories are put together. Social media is a place where stories are being told — some designed to manipulate us, and our audience is delighting in exploring these themes," says Morgenstern.
  • The audience is invited to take sides in the feud between two friends, becoming live participants in the internet-based thriller, or watch and enjoy as a fly on the wall..
"It's inevitable that stories will move out of movie theaters and into the world we live in, with the audience being invited to join in. It's just taken a few years for movies to catch up and really use the medium of the internet," says Morgenstern.
"The project is built exactly like QAnon, except we tell you we're fictional," Morgenstern said. Who hopes that the story leads to experiential understanding about how controversies and stories are incepted into the public consciousness.
 "This type of storytelling is used already politically, but this is the first time it's been used to tell a stylized, overtly fictional story at this scale.".
  • An independent team of over 400 immersive theater artists, marketers, technologists, and filmmakers have built the narrative machine that powers the experience.
On the eve of a polarized election, in a world where disinformation spreads rampant, the story's audience is engaging deeply with the story's questions: when is it right to cancel someone? Who really controls the stories we tell? Is there a good and a bad team, and which one am I on?

The Video:

Follow the story here: 


26 October 2020

How Coronavirus Has Hit the Movie Industry

How Coronavirus Has Hit the Movie Industry
How Coronavirus Has Hit the Movie Industry (Photo by Nathan Engel)
Since early 2020, the world has been gripped by the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Despite drastic measures designed to curb the spread of the virus, it continues to wreak havoc in virtually every country around the world.

While the health implications of COVID-19 have been the most pressing factor, there’s no doubt that the economic impact of the virus is continuing to affect industries. Virtually every sector has been affected by COVID-19, but some have been hit harder than others.

The entertainment industry, as a whole, has been forced to suspend numerous productions and delay movie releases due to the on-going COVID-19 restrictions. While the demand for at-home entertainment continues to soar, the movie industry has been unable to operate for the majority of 2020.

Why Aren’t Movies Being Released?

Popular firms are always eagerly anticipated by fans, with many people booking tickets to see the film months in advance. Major franchises are always winners for movie companies, which is why people are continually asking, how successful will the new Bond film be? However, movie fans have been disappointed this year, as release dates continue to be pushed back.

When major titles are released, they typically make hundreds of millions of dollars for production companies. Additionally, directors, actors, and producers can garner accolades and awards upon the release of a big picture.

If production companies choose to release major titles now, they stand to make a significantly reduced profit. While some movie theaters remain closed and unable to show the film, others are operating with limited capacity. This means far fewer people can access a viewing, which equates to lower box office figures.

In addition to this, many people are understandably worried about attending public venues, like movie theaters and comedy clubs. Even when these venues are open, the on-going concern about transmitting or contracting the virus is causing people to stay at home, rather than attend.

How Coronavirus Has Hit the Movie Industry
How Coronavirus Has Hit the Movie Industry (Photo by Tuur Tisseghem)

What Does the Future of the Industry Look Like?

Sadly, the arts industry has been severely affected by COVID-19. Many people who work behind the scenes in movies, television, or theater work on a self-employed basis. This means they’ve been unable to generate an income while productions have been halted and live performances stopped.

While larger companies have been able to weather the financial storm caused by coronavirus, smaller production firms and movie companies may be unable to continue operating for much longer. For fans, this may mean fewer independent or niche films are released in the upcoming years.

Furthermore, the demand for at-home entertainment is fueling the streaming industry. With major streaming services already producing their own original series and films, it’s possible that major movie titles will be released directly via streaming, rather than hitting the movie theaters.
When it comes to major titles and famous franchises, however, fans shouldn’t have too much to worry about. While releases may be delayed for some time yet, there’s no doubt that production large companies will bounce back from the crisis and continue to deliver award-winning pictures.

6 October 2020

Rare 1930's Movie Posters Discovered in Walls of Home During Renovation

Rare 1930's Movie Posters Discovered in Walls of Home During Renovation
"The Petrified Forest" and "Werewolf of London". These are just two of over 100 rare original movie posters that were found and will soon be available for sale at
Hidden for over eighty years! A newly discovered stash of incredibly rare and valuable vintage movie posters from the Golden Age of Hollywood has been unearthed in British Columbia, Canada. A client of CineMasterpieces found them in an old home undergoing renovation.
While workers were tearing down walls and pulling up floorboards, they came across over one hundred different highly collectible posters from the mid-1930s. All of them are insert size 14" x 36" and were printed in the USA for use in theaters back when the films were originally released. Untouched for over eighty years they were used as insulation.

Some are one of a kind only known surviving specimens and for a few titles there are just a handful of examples known to exist. Some of the premium ones include: The Bride of Frankenstein, Werewolf of London, and The Petrified Forest

  • A few of these posters have been known to sell for over $50,000.00, and many of them are worth well over $1000.00. Condition varies from poor to excellent and several will be restored.
Unlike other collectibles like comic books and baseball cards where any alteration is frowned upon and can negatively affect the value, restoration of old movie posters is looked at similarly to vintage automobiles. It is acceptable and can increase the value.

Eighty years ago, these posters were seen as having very little worth. Many titles from this era are extremely rare and the vast majority did not survive because after they were used at the theater they were generally discarded. Thankfully, someone took a stack of them from a theater storeroom and used them for insulation in their home.

The total value of this cache is estimated to be over $250,000.00. The owner of the posters contacted David A. Lieberman from Mr. Lieberman is the recurring featured movie poster expert on The History Channel TV show Pawn Stars
He expressed: "We get a lot of phone calls where someone thinks they may have stumbled upon a treasure. Those calls are almost always false alarms. As soon as we received photos from this discovery, we realized these posters were authentic and this was a jackpot. This is an extraordinary find."
Rare 1930's Movie Posters Discovered in Walls of Home During Renovation
An original insert movie poster from the 1935 Universal horror classic "The Bride of Frankenstein". Less than five of these are known to exist. Unseen for over 80 years this was recently discovered in the walls of a home in British Columbia, Canada.
  • These incredible rarities will soon be available for sale at The owner of the posters wishes to remain anonymous.
SOURCE: CineMasterpieces

2 October 2020

Tips To Get Into Film & TV Production

Tips To Get Into Film & TV Production
Tips To Get Into Film & TV Production (Photo by Terje Sollie from Pexels)
There are lots of ways to get into film and tv production, beyond just being an actor. However, when it comes to people’s knowledge of what’s available, it can often be limited if you’ve not yet entered the professional world of film and tv. With that being said, if you’re looking at a career in this industry, then here are some helpful tips to get you started.

Make Content

Content is an important element to film and television production. It’s a good idea to look at what you want to do in terms of the roles, but firstly, it’s all about creating content. Whether you’re a performer, you want to help with the actual filming or you’d prefer to do lighting or script work, it’s important to put those passions into actual content. It’s good to have evidence of your work and to start creating a portfolio so that you can eventually get it out there when it’s needed. There is a lot of competition that comes with film and television production in all aspects of the roles available. With that in mind, you want to be putting yourself up there with the best of the best, and having evidence of your work is essential.

Explore What Roles Are Out There

There are lots of different roles in the industry, and until you start exploring them, you probably only know the bare minimum that is typically known to most of us who watch television and film in general. There’s, in fact, a whole host of jobs that you might not even be aware of like nationwide film fixers who source the equipment for film productions or those who do location scouting. There’s a lot of different areas to explore, and so it’s important to look at what’s available and what you might find useful.

Start Networking

Networking is an essential part of the industry because it’s not necessarily always about what you know but who you know too. That can be the key to getting yourself those opportunities and in front of the people that are influential. Whether you’re going to organized events put on by industry leaders in film and television or simply reaching out to those online, every bit of networking is crucial. You never know who might be able to give you that leg up that you need.

Consider Studying

Studying is something that might be worth exploring when it comes to the film and television industry. It’s not 100% necessary to do so, but it might give you that knowledge needed and the experience that some will want you to have. There are plenty of schools and influential organizations that you could sign up or apply to. There would be fees for some of them, whilst others might be free opportunities. It’s good to take advantage of any institution that may be able to help you get to where you want to be.
Getting into film and television is certainly something exciting, so use these tips to help you get there.
Tips To Get Into Film & TV Production (Photo by Fox from Pexels)

26 September 2020

UMe Celebrates The World's Most Famous Secret Agent With Release Of 'The Best Of Bond…James Bond'

UMe Celebrates The World's Most Famous Secret Agent With Release Of 'The Best Of Bond…James Bond'
UMe Celebrates the world's most famous secret agent with the November 20, 2020 release of 'The Best Of Bond...James Bond.' Available via digital, 2CD, 3LP black vinyl and limited-edition gold vinyl, the collection features theme songs from all 25 official James Bond films, including “No Time To Die” By Billie Eilish and Oscar-winning songs by Adele and Sam Smith.
On November 20, UMe will release an updated version of The Best Of Bond…James Bond, a digital, 2CD and 3LP black vinyl compilation featuring celebrated theme songs from the longest-running film franchise. In addition, a limited-edition gold vinyl will be available exclusively via uDiscover Music and Sound of Vinyl. 

The new collection will include "No Time To Die" by Billie Eilish from No Time To Die, the 25th film in the series. Also now included will be Adele's "Skyfall" from Skyfall, the highest-grossing Bond film to date, and Sam Smith's Spectre theme, "Writing's On the Wall," – Oscar® winners for Best Song in 2013 and 2016, respectively. 

In addition to Billie Eilish, Adele and Sam Smith, included is the signature instrumental "James Bond Theme" by The John Barry Orchestra, which remains one of the most recognizable themes from film. 
The collection also includes Dame Shirley Bassey ("Goldfinger," "Diamonds Are Forever" and "Moonraker"). With "Goldfinger," Bassey achieved her first Top 10 hit, reaching No. 8 on The Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 on the Adult Contemporary charts. Bassey made her Oscars debut at the 85th Academy Awards, where she performed a spectacular rendition of "Goldfinger" as part of the telecast's James Bond 50th Anniversary tribute, which was celebrated by UMe with vinyl reissues of long-out-of-print soundtracks to Dr. No, Goldfinger and Live And Let Die.
Along with Louis Armstrong ("We Have All The Time In The World"), Nancy Sinatra ("You Only Live Twice"), Lulu ("The Man With The Golden Gun"), The Best Of Bond…James Bond also includes Paul McCartney & Wings ("Live And Let Die"). 
Written by Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney, performed by Paul McCartney & Wings and produced by former Beatles producer George Martin, the title theme song hit No. 2 on the chart, and it was nominated for both a GRAMMY Award, for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) / Best Background Arrangement, and an Academy Award, for Best Original Song. The single "Live And Let Die" became the first Bond theme song to win a GRAMMY award (Best Pop Vocal Performance, 1973), and the song continues to be a highlight in McCartney's live performances.
The Best Of Bond…James Bond also features Carly Simon ("Nobody Does It Better"), Tina Turner ("GoldenEye"), Duran Duran ("A View To A Kill"), Sheryl Crow ("Tomorrow Never Dies"), Madonna ("Die Another Day"), Garbage ("The World Is Not Enough"). 
With the release of "Skyfall," Rolling Stone compiled its Top 10 James Bond Theme Songs, all 10 of which, of course, appear on this set, including Tom Jones ("Thunderball") and Matt Monro ("From Russia With Love").
No Time To Die - Poster (image via IMDb)

No Time To Die - The Storyline

(Via IMDb)
Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.

No Time To Die - The Trailer

  • The 25th James Bond film, No Time To Die, from EON Productions, Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios (MGM) and Universal Pictures International will be released globally on November 12 in the UK through Universal Pictures International and in the US on November 20 from MGM via its United Artists Releasing banner.

About UMe

Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) is the centralized U.S. catalog and special markets entity for UMG. Working in tandem with all of the company's record labels, UMe provides a frontline approach to catalog management, a concentration of resources, opportunities in new technologies and an emphasis on strategic marketing initiatives to engage all types of consumers across multiple entry points and platforms.

About EON Productions

EON Productions Limited and Danjaq LLC are wholly owned and controlled by the Broccoli/Wilson family. Danjaq is the US based company that co-owns, with Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios, the copyright in the existing James Bond films and controls the right to produce future James Bond films. EON Productions, an affiliate of Danjaq, is the UK based production company that has made the James Bond films since 1962 and together with Danjaq controls all worldwide merchandising. 

For more information, visit and 007Store.

About Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) is a leading entertainment company focused on the production and global distribution of film and television content across all platforms. The company owns one of the world's deepest libraries of premium film and television content as well as the premium pay television network EPIX, which is available throughout the U.S. via cable, satellite, telco and digital distributors. In addition, MGM has investments in numerous other television channels, digital platforms and interactive ventures and is producing premium short-form content for distribution. 

For more information, visit

About Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures is an American film studio, owned by Comcast through its wholly owned subsidiary NBCUniversal, and is one of Hollywood's "Big Six" film studios. Its production studios are at 100 Universal City Plaza Drive in Universal City, California. Distribution and other corporate offices are in New York City. Universal Studios is a member of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Universal was founded in 1912 by the German Carl Laemmle (pronounced "LEM-lee"), Mark Dintenfass, Charles O. Baumann, Adam Kessel, Pat Powers, William Swanson, David Horsley, Robert H. Cochrane, and Jules Brulatour.

It is the world's fourth oldest major film studio, after the renowned French studios Gaumont Film Company and Pathé, and the Danish Nordisk Film company. Six of Universal Studios' films; Jaws (1975), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Jurassic Park (1993), Despicable Me 2 (2013), Furious 7 (2015) and Jurassic World (2015) achieved box office records, with the first three (which were directed by Steven Spielberg) all becoming the highest-grossing film at the time of its initial release.

About United Artists

United Artists Releasing, a joint venture between Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) and Annapurna Pictures (Annapurna), is a U.S. theatrical releasing company. Built upon the legacy of the iconic United Artists motion picture studio, the joint venture provides a home where filmmakers are supported by thoughtful approaches to marketing, publicity and distribution. United Artists Releasing offers content creators an alternative distribution option outside of the studio system and supports Annapurna and MGM's film slates as well as the films of third-party filmmakers.

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