Avatar proves pirates and studios have got it all wrong.

Disappointed by the news reported on the BBC today, that James Cameron’s Avatar was the most pirated movie of 2010 according to TorrentFreak. Ok, Cameron’s gigantic ego, his huge budget productions, and the colossal profit they rake in all indicate that having the biggest pirate downloads is only proportionally fair. But what is saddening, is that it is these, the most visually striking movies, that really need to be seen at the cinema, or at least on blu-ray/ dvd in their highest possible quality.

The Studios Vs. The Pirates

Kick Ass, another high octane action blockbuster that really deserved to be seen in all it’s glory at the cinema, is the second most pirated film this year. Closely followed by Inception, Shutter Island, Iron Man 2 and Clash of the Titans. In fact, of all ten films, I don’t think there’s a single one that is fully enjoyable in low quality, slightly pixelated, downloaded format. I’m slightly baffled that people would be content watching that, and it annoys me that some people evidently are.

I’m not going to suggest that any films are more or less deserving than others of being pirated, but it certainly makes sense that people download a drama, or a comedy. Unfairly perhaps, as that means low budget movies would be most vulnerable to suffering from piracy, their lack of special effects easily watchable with a little less quality. However, the fact that the top ten downloaded movies are all dependent on visual style leaves me a little exasperated.

As a film fan, I find piracy to be a tricky topic to discuss, and certainly a balancing act in practice – is it ok to download a movie if I first watch it legally? Is it wrong to download a movie in order to share it with your friends, when in a manner of speaking that could be advertising and promotion? I’ve downloaded movies in the past, watched them, and then bought them. Equally, I’ve seen a film and thought, wow, I wish that was out on DVD, I want to watch it again right now – to Isohunt I go.

The fact of the matter is, piracy is here to stay for the foreseeable future and both punters and studios need to adjust accordingly. Film goers should act responsibly; never watch a cam for instance, try to buy or gift films you love, get to the cinema and support the industry you rely on for so much enjoyment. Equally, studios should meet the demand for immediate content, provide alternative, legal downloads of new films, offer subscription services (such as NetFlix in the USA) etc. at prices people are a) willing and b) capable of paying.

Number one rule: give the people what they want. (Or they’ll take it anyway).

Why it’s not all about the big shot reviews (or: “Nev, it’s nothing personal…”)

I’m a subscriber to both Empire and Total Film. They’re both fantastic, informative magazines that score high points for sheer entertainment value. Of course, I enjoy reading them, and I love that as I read, my knowledge of film, my boffery if you like (I don’t), almost perceptibly increases. But more than that, I get a kick out of every instance of poor journalism that jumps off the page at me. Partly it amuses me, and partly it niggles that such high profile magazines still host some awful writers.

Here’s a case study from Empire. It’s a review of Inception. It reads like a first, pompous draft in which Nev Pierce, described as Empire’s ‘Editor-at-large’ (translations welcome), is evidently struggling to express just how confounded he was after Chris Nolan had battered around his psyche. Indeed, he was so confused, it appears he couldn’t write a coherent article. Maybe he was high. It certainly reads like he could have been.

“Marvel at the effrontery of a filmmaker who asks you to emotionally invest in avowed mental construct”…

More jaffa cakes, Nev? Not only is the review more convoluted than the film, but the chances are it’ll have your average Die Hard fan reaching for a dictionary. That’s no reflection of Die Hard fans, hell, even Pierce thought he needed to explain himself:

“Obfuscation masquerading as artistry, aka not half as bloody clever as it thinks it is”…

I hope he doesn’t miss the irony of that statement, but I think he might have.

“For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come?”

Nev, next time you’re reviewing a blockbuster, steer clear of the Hamlet quotes, eh? In fact, refrain from all Shakespeare – time and place, you know? It would afterall be embarrassing to be accused of the ‘showboating’ that you praise DiCaprio for avoiding. Frankly, I just wanted to know if it was a good film, worth a watch, a little bit of background maybe. I wasn’t expecting a multi-page thesis.

Read the whole article (linked above) to understand exactly why it wound me up.

In the massively unlikely event you’re reading this Nev – it’s nothing personal. In fact, if you’re hiring over at Empire, I’d love to discuss our differences…

Until then: Empire. Total Film. Up your game.

Inception is a terrific movie, released on blu-ray and DVD on the 6th December 2010.

Inception – who is modeling who?

Don’t get me wrong, I love both these guys. Nolan has given us some of the best films I’ve ever seen, right down to his Doodlebug short and black and white feature Following, while DiCaprio has gone from pretty boy beginnings to undoubtedly one of the greatest actors in Hollywood, my respect for him only grows. But that said, I noticed when I was watching their press interviews for Inception recently that they not only look similar, but they share a lot of gestures. Maybe we all do, and it’s not so remarkable, but even so, I think this is worth a gander:

Anyway, absolutely can’t wait for Inception – if you’ve not seen the trailer yet, you really must do: