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Submission + - Star Wars: Episode VII Cast Officially Announced (starwars.com)

eldavojohn writes: Word was leaking this week of some familiar faces in London hanging out together. Finally today an official cast listing was handed down from on high to us mere mortals (Google Cache and Onion AV recap available). From the short release, "Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film." Let's not bicker and argue about who shot first but instead come to an agreement on expected levels of almost certain disappointment. No, this will not feature the Expanded Universe (EU) — you can now refer to those tales as "Legends" which are not part of Star Wars canon. Instead prepare yourself for what will likely be the mother of all retcon films.
Lord of the Rings

Submission + - Peter Jackson Announces Third Hobbit Movie (facebook.com)

eldavojohn writes: Unless his Facebook account has been hacked, Peter Jackson has announced a third movie for The Hobbit series: "So, without further ado and on behalf of New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Wingnut Films, and the entire cast and crew of The Hobbit films, I’d like to announce that two films will become three." Other sites are confirming this while Variety notes that filming has been wrapped on the first two so doing a third film will require a restart to all of that effort including renegotiations with rights holders and acting schedules. **potential spoiler alert** From Peter Jackson's announcement: "We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance." How much of Middle Earth would you like to see on film?
Movies

Submission + - Indie Game: The Movie (arstechnica.com)

eldavojohn writes: For the acclaimed independent games out there, not a whole lot is known about how much time the developers sink into those titles. If EA is forcing its legions of employees into insanely long shifts, what must a handful of people go through to release even the smallest of titles? Well, two independent film makers named James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajo have tried to capture that in a film called Indie Game: The Movie. The documentary with artsy shots showcases titles in progress while simultaneously telling the success stories of Braid and Super Meant Boy. The trailer shows promise for a heart wrenching story of failure and success in what is undoubtedly an extremely difficult task.
Censorship

Submission + - Paul Haggis Vs The Church of Scientology (newyorker.com)

eldavojohn writes: It's a lengthy read but Lawrence Wright at The New Yorker has released a 26 page expose on Scientology. In a world where such innocuous sounding words as "squirrels," "security-checked," "disconnection," "contra-survival," "suppressive persons," "clear" and "open season" carry very serious and heavy baggage, director Paul Haggis has exited after thirty four years of membership and massive funding. And now he speaks out at length of Scientology's controversies. From how celebrities were recruited with a 10% commission by a worker at Beverly Hills Playhouse to the current investigation by the FBI of physical abuse and human trafficking, Wright draws surrounding histories and accounts of the Church including Anonymous' crusade. The length of this article reflects the unusually large number (12 cases of physical abuse) of individuals cited as testimony of Scientology Leader David Miscavige's inurement and physical violence. The case remains open as the FBI collects data and testimony — especially in relation to Sea Org. Most disturbing are the disappearances of people that The New Yorker piece enumerates. The piece concludes with the author's interaction with the Church that results in several conflicting foundational statements from its stance on homosexuality (Haggis' original reason for publicly leaving it) to almost all details of L. Ron Hubbard's naval service and discharge. The article ends with Haggis' quote: 'I was in a cult for thirty-four years. Everyone else could see it. I don't know why I couldn't.' You can find summaries of the lengthy article and its suspected results along with corresponding reports listing politicians involved with the Church. Copyrighted work, leaked government documents, PS3 encryption keys and everything else has been posted on Slashdot but only the Church of Scientology has forced comments out of existence.
Crime

Submission + - Fox Sues Woman for $15M for Hosting Leaked Scripts (hollywoodreporter.com)

eldavojohn writes: A number of sites are reporting that PJ McIlvaine is being sued by Fox for $15 million dollars. McIlvaine, a screenwriter herself, appeared to be collecting scripts available online and hosting them in a Media Fire repository for other screenwriters to learn from. Fox doesn't see it the same way and alleges that some of the scripts were for movies not yet out saying in the suit that McIlvaine did "interfere and trade off of the costly and carefully designed creative processes that produce finished works ready for public consumption. They harm the fans who do not want their enjoyment of a movie or television show to be spoiled by knowing the story ahead of actually being able to watch it." The Long Island woman did apparently host a script of Deadpool, an unreleased Fox comic book movie. According to the hefty amount, it appears that even sharing copyrighted scripts hurts movies in Fox's mind. Will lady justice agree?
Businesses

Submission + - Redbox Begins Offering Games at $2 a Night (bakersfieldnow.com)

eldavojohn writes: Watch out Gamefly and the already bankrupted Blockbuster, Redbox is starting to offer games in select locations that will cost $2 a night plus tax. Select locations are being tested currently to see if gamers will flock to the bright red kiosks. Redbox has enjoyed over a billion movie rentals so far and hopes to find similar success with Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii games. Movie watchers have sacrificed selection for cost, proximity and ease of use but will gamers do the same?
Advertising

Submission + - Netflix Hires Actors to Pose as Canadian Fans (google.com)

eldavojohn writes: Netflix is coming under fire for hiring actors to talk to the media at a launch of their Canadian service. A handout sheet instructed the actors to portray stereotypes of "mothers, film buffs, tech geeks, and couch potatoes." The Netflix representative in charge apologized and claimed that it was never meant to go that far — that in order to get a permit they pretended like they were filming a documentary and so they hired a few actors who were just supposed to attract a crowd and not talk to the media. The handout script provided to the actors from Netflix does a good job of contradicting that explanation however, 'Extras are to behave as members of the public, out and about enjoying their day-to-day life, who happen upon a street event for Netflix and stop by to check it out. Extras are to look really excited, particularly if asked by media to do any interviews about the prospect of Netflix in Canada.' Perhaps they were having a hard time finding anything but Zip.ca fans?
Censorship

Submission + - China Censors HIV/AIDS Awareness Documentary (amnesty.org)

eldavojohn writes: Amnesty International is reporting an unusual case of censorship in which Chinese police questioned HIV/AIDS workers in China and instructed them to cancel an airing of a documentary made by Aizhixing Institute of Health Education on the disease. The director of that NGO recently left China after constant police harassment. The canceled documentary was about Tian Xi, a patient who contracted HIV by blood transfusion at age 9.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Manos: Hands of Fate Sequel in the Works (kvia.com)

eldavojohn writes: When a movie is directed by, produced by, written by and stars a fertilizer salesman from El Paso, you get a unique kind of bad movie that can only be made tolerable by Mystery Science Theater 3000 (it's so bad it's well documented as the worst movie ever made). Well, news is beginning to escalate past rumors into reports that a Manos sequel is in the works. A seriously devoted Torgo fan has put up videos indicating a high level of devotion to complete a sequel with as many original cast members as he can muster including Jackey Raye Neyman Jones and Bernie Rosenblum (unfortunately the original Torgo actor took his own life shortly after Manos was filmed). They are taking a page from Ed Wood's playbook and have secured a WWE wrestler as an "actor". The film will be titled "Manos:The Search for Valley Lodge" which I believe is a reference to the beginning of the original plot line in the harrowing 74 minute feature film. How much random countryside footage will the Master approve of in this film?
Movies

Submission + - Lawyers Assert 5,000 "Does" Are Tied Through P2P (arstechnica.com)

eldavojohn writes: The five thousand John Does who were named as defendants by a Virginian Law Firm in a single copyright case looked to be in the clear after a judge ruled that you can't just up and name so many John Does by just their IP addresses and the case should be reduced to one at a time — you know just like other file sharing suits. The lawyers fired back claiming that since this is BitTorrent, it is special and gave a riveting account of how modern P2P networks should work, "Unlike the older P2P protocols, each new file downloader is receiving a different piece of the data from each user who has already downloaded that piece of data, all of which pieces together comprise the whole. This means that every 'node' or peer user who has a copy of the infringing copyrighted material on such a network--or even a portion of a copy--can also be a source of download for that infringing file, potentially both copying and distributing the infringing work simultaneously. Essentially, because of the nature of the swarm downloads as described above, every infringer is simultaneously stealing copyrighted material through collaboration from many other infringers, through a number of ISPs, in numerous jurisdictions around the country." The EFF and ACLU who are fighting the good fight will undoubtedly persist in their logic that the file sharers never knew of each other and should therefore be named separately instead of comprising a massive target for the "US Copyright Group" (an alias that Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver have registered). Will we soon see judgments requested by the plaintiff not based per song title but per song fragment?
Media

Submission + - Odd Piracy: Sewing Patterns to Ship Hull Designs (arstechnica.com)

eldavojohn writes: Video, music, games and even books are well known pirated materials but Ars is covering four really odd industries that claim to be suffering from digital piracy over P2P networks. They are sewing patterns, boat hull designs, sheet music and electronic embroidery files. These industries already suffered from knockoffs before the internet so it seems intuitive that the piracy and copying of designs or sheet music would continue as technology progressed. Does anyone know of oddly popular digitalized items to pirate that would be the last thing you would find on a P2P network?
Announcements

Submission + - New Iron Sky Trailer with Live Action Footage (youtube.com)

eldavojohn writes: Four years ago, the Finnish producers of Star Wreck announced Iron Sky . Two years ago, we got to see a heavily CGI trailer. For those of you supporting the war effort, the slow production of an indie film trudges on yielding the latest trailer with live action footage released on May 13th. The new trailer looks like they're building a wonderfully dark dismal expressionist atmosphere by coupling Metropolis' dystopia with Brazil's music and humor. Head over to the official site for the latest news or to make a donation. Although it's going slow, it's shaping up to look like one of the most professionally done indie movies paid for by donations.
Censorship

Submission + - Scientology Attempts to Censor German Documentary (guardian.co.uk)

eldavojohn writes: Slashdot posts on operating thetans aren't the only things Scientologists are trying to censor. The Guardian is reporting on the strained relationship that Scientology is having with the German government and the airing of a pesky documentary on Southwest Broadcasting. "Until Nothing Remains," a $2.3 million documentary, is slotted to air live on German television at the end of this month. It recounts the true story of Heiner von Rönn and his family's suffering when he tried to leave the Church of Scientology. A Scientology Spokesperson called the film false and intolerant and also said they are investigating legal means to stop the film from being aired. Despite an unusually high degree of caution and secrecy about the filming, anyone involved with the film suffered from the usual harassment from Scientologists when investigations of wrong doing in Scientology are undertaken. More details on the film can be gleaned here. Commencing Streisand Effect in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

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