Go, Roger, Go

So Roger Friedman is this sort of bottom-feeding entertainment writer who Fox News has been syndicating for awhile. Finally he does something useful and posts a review of the leaked and torrented unfinisd print of the “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” movie, and he’s got entertard bloggers calling for his head. Typical of the genre is Josh Tyler’s junior high school-esque rant,

What’s strange and incredibly frustrating for someone attempting to retain his site’s independence, is that if you slap big corporate ownership on something, it instantly elevates it to respectable institution. Maybe we indie-sites deserve to be treated like gutter rats, but if we do then so do the big corporate, mainstream print and internet crowd which spends so much of its time looking down its collective nose at the rest of us.

Never has that been more evident than today when Fox News reporter Roger Friedman posted a review, on FoxNews’s website, of the recently pirated, illegal copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Take just a moment to let the implications of that sink in, and then while you’re at it consider this: The normally fractured, opportunistic, greedy, independent online community has shockingly, united as whole, and refused to review the film. Not only has almost every even marginally respectable website and blog refused to review it, most have come out with strong commentary against the viewing of it, decrying the illegal downloading of Fox’s upcoming summer blockbuster as blatantly immoral. Some have done so even in the face of backlash from their generally pro-piracy readers. In response Fox’s hard-working public relations departments have issued statements asking for the online community’s support, praising indie-run sites like this one for coming out against the illegal pirating of Wolverine, and asking us to stand up and refuse to download or discuss it.

. . .

So who caved? Not the internet crowd, not the independently owned bloggers so often decried as the scum of web society. Fox’s own FoxNews. The same Fox begging for sympathy over the pirating of their big movie. While the hard working (and well-intentioned) 20th Century Fox PR staff asked for restraint and cooperation, on the other side of the company someone decided to take advantage of the buzz on their film to greedily increase traffic to their website while at the same time, by their willingness to run a review from someone who illegally downloaded it, further promote the spread of the very Wolverine downloads which Fox claims are bankrupting the movie industry. Worst of all, Roger Friedman not only illegally downloaded the movie and then reviewed it publicly, he then all but endorsed the idea of others doing the same saying: “I did see Wolverine on a large, wide computer screen, and not in a movie theater, but it could not have played better.”

ROTFLMAO. See what Friedman did is what real journalists do. Whether Fox or anybody else likes it, “Wolverine” is out there and people are watching it. Whether or not its any good is something people like myself are curious about and even an early version can help clarify that issue.

Tyler’s “see no torrent; hear no torrent; speak of no torrent” acquiesence with Fox is absurd. Maybe if he wants “indie” film websites to be taken seriously, he might want to put a stop to the public fellating of Fox’s public relations department.

Personally, I hail Roger Friedman for doing something that apparently these “independent” sites would never think of doing — going beyond being a simple extension of big studio public relations departments.

Update: A commenter over at ScreenRant sums up my thoughts on this,

Michael J said,
April 5th, 2009

Roger Friedman has a set of brass ones. Good for him for not being a toadie of the film industry. Unlike 99% of the so called critics and film websites.

Indeed.

Not Exactly Deep Throat

CNN’s story on the leaking of the new Wolverine film a month before its scheduled release made me giggle. Half the time I think the reason reporters rely so much on anonymous sources is less that anonymity is the only way to get people to talk, and moreso that relying on anonymous sources lends a romanticism to such reporting. It’s almost like being a spy, relying on hidden contacts and subterfuge.

How else to explain some of the bizarre things that get credited to anonymous sources.  For example, look at the amazing scoop Alan Duke gets from an anonymous industry source on the ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ leak,

Removing the pirated files from the Internet may prove an impossible challenge, an industry source said. This source did not want to be named because of the sensitive nature of the matter.

Although the studio said it was removed from the Web site that first hosted it, the digital file has probably been downloaded tens of thousands of times, the source said.

“It’s not removed from the Internet,” the industry source said. “It’s still there.”

. . .

Whether the leaked video will eventually hurt the film’s box office earnings “is very difficult to discern,” according to CNN’s source.

Seriously? Some industry flak didn’t want to go on record as saying it “is very difficult to discern” what effect the leak will have on the box office, and CNN went along with that? What’s next, “Anonymous source suggests Sun will likely rise in the West tomorrow”?

X-Men Cologne?

I haven’t been able to find a link to it online, but November issue of Previews — the enormous catalog that Diamond Distributors sends for orders to comic book stores — features Marvel comics-branded “fragrances.” At $14.95 a bottle, there will apparently be a Storm, X-Men and a Wolverine fragrances.

That’s several shades of WTF. And where’s my Ben Grim cologne?

Update:

Lisa FTW! She digs up a link to the X-Men fragrance, as well as a Hulk and Spider-Man fragrance,

Hulk smash puny Banner cologne!

The Star Trek/X-Men Crossover

I can’t believe I’d never run into this before, but I was browsing at a bookstore the other day when I ran across Planet X which — and I’m not making this up — is a Star Trek: The Next Generation and X-Men Crossover. From the Amazon.Com description,

On the planet Xhaldia, ordinary men and women are mutating into bizarre creatures with extraordinary powers. But is this a momentous evolutionary leap or an unparalleled catastrophe? The very fabric of Xhaldian society is threatened as fear and prejudice divide the transformed from their own kin.

Dispatched to cope with the growing crisis, Captain Picard and the crew of the

Starship Enterpriseâ„¢ receive some unexpected visitors from another reality — in the form of the group of mutant heroes known as the uncanny X-Men®. Storm, leader of the X-Men, offers their help in resolving a situation that is agonizingly similar to the human/mutant conflicts of their own time and space.

Interesting. Would have been better with TOS, though.

40 Years of X-Men on DVD-ROM

The other day I finally picked up the 40 Years of X-Men DVD-ROM at the local comic book store. That’s 480 issues of X-Men/Uncanny X-Men (the first series) from 1965 through 2005.

Like the previous offerings of Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four, all of the comics are scans of actual comics in PDF format. There is some lite-DRM in that you have to use Acrobat 6.0 or great to view these properly and when you print them, there is a watermark added to the printout. As with the Spider-Man and FF collections, however, it is easy enough to just use a screen capture utility to get high quality color print-outs without the watermark.

For $50, a package like this is just too good to pass up, though it is not quite as useful as the Spider-Man or Fantastic Four editions since the best years of the X-Men series often involved stories that spanned across multiple different X-Men related comic book titles.

No word yet that I’ve seen on if there’s going to be another in this series or, if so, what it might be. Avengers Assemble?