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The Power of Online Communities

Posted by: Matthew Turner 14/05/2010 @ 15:37
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 153
Films seen this week: Prince of Persia, Vincere, 4-3-2-1, Robin Hood, Greenberg, The Concert, Triomf, The Rebound, Petropolis

The Curious Case of Serial Plagiarist Tom Perkins
It has been a very strange week. Last Saturday afternoon I received a direct Twitter message telling me that “@FilmXTRATOM” had been plagiarising my reviews and reading them out on his YouTube channel. I didn't think anything of it at first, especially as a subsequent message said the offending videos had already been removed. Then I got another message from a different Twitter follower, who sent me a link to my Boys Are Back review and a still very much not removed video of FilmXTRATOM (whose real name is Tom Perkins) reading out entire paragraphs of it word for word and passing it off as his own. Astonishingly, he hadn't even tried to disguise his theft, clearly under the impression that he'd get away with it. Naturally, I was furious, but it turned out I was late to the Fury Party because by that time a full-on Twitter shitstorm had been raging for at least 12 hours, during which time Perkins had first attempted to deny his theft before seemingly owning up and promising to write a letter of apology to all those involved. As I waited, not particularly patiently, for this letter of apology I was sent a link to this excellent blog post by Tyler Foster, who had painstakingly gone through each and every one of Tom's reviews and identified all the sources he'd stolen from.

That's when the scale of the thing really sank in – out of sixty-something reviews, a staggering FORTY-TWO of them were stolen from me. Sadly, Perkins's letter (the full text of which can be seen here), when it did eventually arrive, did little to help his case, particularly as he attempted to explain his actions by claiming that “YouTube has become so easily corruptible these days I kind of wanted to see how corruptible it can be.” Quite apart from anything else, Tom's status as a YouTube partner meant that he was getting paid for his videos, which rather gives the lie to his testing-the-corruptibility-of-YouTube excuse. Even after sending the letter, Tom continued to keep his videos private for several days before finally taking them all down. However, he has yet to issue a public apology (meaning that his legions of YouTube followers still think his reviews are his own work) and YouTube have yet to delete his channel, despite their very strong terms and conditions with regard to copyright infringement. Also, as of today, Tom is chirpily posting videos again, but the angry (and hastily deleted) comments suggest that this story isn't going away anytime soon. Incidentally, if you want to see Perkins's plagiarism in action, check out the video below at the 3m11s mark. I still can't work out why he did it. Why go to all the trouble of creating a film review channel if you're not even going to give your own opinion? Also, I wonder if he's seen Shattered Glass?

Trailerwatch: MacGruber
I'm unfamiliar with both the work of Will Forte and the Saturday Night Live sketch that MacGruber is based on, but this looks like it might be fun. An obvious parody of the 1980s TV show MacGyver (which I never watched), it stars Will Forte (who reminds me a lot of OSS-117's Jean Dujardin) as ex-special operative MacGruber, who's called back into action (by Powers Boothe, no less) in order to tackle his arch-nemesis Dieter Von Cunth (an amusingly cast Val Kilmer), who plans to destroy Washington with a nuclear missle. The film also stars the wonderful Kristen Wiig, who actually looks like she'll get stuff to do for once as MacGruber's sidekick, “master of disguise” Vicki St Elmo. (Wiig has been criminally under-used in her big screen career so far – witness her roles in Adventureland, Whip It, Extract, Ghost Town and pretty much everything else she's been in). There are two trailers for MacGruber (this slightly NSFW red band trailer and the cleaner version below and both trailers contain several good jokes, which bodes well. I especially like the bomb defusal gag and the weirdness of Kilmer's “I was talking to the missile” line as well as the presumably trailer-only joke of Gravelly-Voiced Trailer Voiceover Man intoning that “MacGruber and his team will rid the world of Cunth once and for all”. Possible franchise potential? Let's hope so. Opens here 18th June.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Only two new entries this week, with Bill Hicks documentary American:
The Bill Hicks Story and expressionistic Italian drama Vincere both making it into the top ten. I've dropped The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Lourdes, because they're both about to come to the end of their runs, but they are still around if you haven't seen them yet. (If you haven't, a) why haven't you? And b) I strongly urge you to do so, as they're both strong contenders for my Best of 2010 list.) No new interviews this week either, but you can still read our exclusive interview with the lovely Gemma Arterton (star of The Disappearance of Alice Creed) here and our press conference interviews with Date Night stars Steve Carell and Tina Fey here and here

1. Dogtooth
2. Kick-Ass
3. The Disappearance of Alice Creed
4. Four Lions
5. How to Train Your Dragon (3D)
6. Date Night
7. Gentlemen Broncos
8. American: The Bill Hicks Story
9. Vincere
10. A Room and a Half

DVD of the Week: Sherlock Holmes (out Monday 17th May, RRP £19.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Sherlock Holmes, Guy Ritchie's reboot of the World's Greatest Detective franchise, in which Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) and Watson (Jude Law) attempt to foil a fiendish plot by the sinister and apparently back-from-the-dead Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong, who seems to be on a personal mission to play a baddie in as many blockbusters as humanly possible). With decent action sequences and terrific performances, this is a snappily paced and surprisingly enjoyable action / adventure romp, even if there's not quite as much in the way of actual sleuthing as we might have hoped. It also criminally wastes Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler – fingers crossed that the obviously-hoped-for sequel makes up for that. There's certainly enough here to make a sequel an enticing prospect and Downey Jr and Law are a lot of fun together. The extras package is a little disappointing though – there's only a 13 minute Making Of featurette, but at least it includes interviews with Ritchie and all the main cast members.


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