“The Shadow State Is Not Really a Shadow State”: How Surveillance Anxiety Is Shaping Pop Culture

Someone is always watching.

For the longest time, that idea underpinned grim visions of a totalitarian future in books and movies, from Nineteen Eighty-Four to The Hunger Games — cautionary tales about the fate awaiting a citizenry that allows itself to be deceived by the people in power.

Then the future arrived, and it turned out those bleak fantasies of an all-seeing surveillance state weren’t so farfetched: in the post-9/11 world, someone really is watching, be it Facebook mapping your life’s history for the sake of advertising dollars, or the National Security Agency keeping tabs on your phone calls and text messages in the name of freedom. … Read More

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Pamela Anderson, M.I.A., PJ Harvey, Others Rally in Support of Edward Snowden

Laura Poitras’ phenomenal documentary about Edward Snowden, CitizenFour, has been in theaters for less than a month, but the effect on… Read More

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‘The Fifth Estate’ Gets Julian Assange Right, But Can’t Convey Why WikiLeaks Matters

Let’s face it: from the get-go Julian Assange had that movie-villain magic about him. The hair, the weird way of speaking, the hair. Even his high principles, the single-mindedness of purpose that he prides himself on, suggest creepiness rather than conviction. That’s partly Hollywood’s fault; we’ve come to associate certain behaviors with a type. Assange displays a kind of idealism we see more often in movie bad guys than heroes, these days. It was only a matter of time before someone decided to make a film of all the WikiLeaks hullabaloo. … Read More

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Does It Actually Matter How “True” Our “True Story” Movies Are?

Look, it’s not that I make a habit of reading the message boards at IMDb, a pool of intellectualism falling somewhere between an Ain’t It Cool News comment section and the bathroom wall scrawlings of a particularly noxious truck stop. But when I was on the site a couple of weeks back while writing my rave of Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips (out today in wide release), a posting labeled “The Real Story…” caught my eye, and I executed an eye roll that nearly gave me a migraine. Here they go again, I thought. You see, it’s prestige movie season, and since “true stories” are such proven awards bait, we’re going to have to hear a whole lotta nattering about the details and inaccuracies in all of them. It’s as much a yearly ritual as the Oscar derby itself, and nearly as ridiculous, because such nitpicking has next to nothing to do with the value of the films themselves. … Read More

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Doesn’t WikiLeaks Have Bigger Fish to Fry Than Filmmakers?

In what may be the least surprising entertainment news story of the month, WikiLeaks has obtained and leaked the script for The Fifth Estate (I mean, c’mon, it’s kinda what they do). The film, which is out in wide release on October 18, is a dramatization of the organization’s origins and conflicts — and, true to form, they’re unhappy with it. “[T]he film is, from WikiLeaks’ perspective, irresponsible, counterproductive and harmful,” notes the extensive “Talking Points” memo the organization has released alongside the annotated screenplay; the organization objects to everything from composite characters to its one-sidedness to (gasp) its contention that Julian Assange dyes his hair. Their missive makes for entertaining reading; it also raises some serious questions about what exactly this transformational organization’s priorities are these days. … Read More

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10 Great 2013 Movies You Can Watch at Home Right Now

Those of us who get hives at the very idea of being out in crowds and start sweating merely from exerting the force of locking our doors behind us may have a hard time getting too worked up at the prospect of heading out to the multiplex over this holiday weekend — the theaters are bustling, the temperatures are high, and the biggest new attraction is two and a half hours of The Lone Ranger. But fear not, fellow agoraphobes: thanks to the wonders of modern technology, some of the year’s best movies are available at the click of a button. Yes, due to collapsing theatrical-to-home-video windows and the increasing presence of simultaneous theatrical and VOD releases, several of Flavorwire’s best of 2013 thus far are available at this very moment, and for a fraction of that parking/ticket/popcorn price. … Read More

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Flavorwire Interview: ‘We Steal Secrets’ Director Alex Gibney on Julian Assange and the Wikileaks Backlash to His Film

In his riveting new documentary We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks, director Alex Gibney (the prolific Oscar winner behind Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, and Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer) tells two stories: the thriller-like ascendency of the organization and the troubling questions it asks about government transparency, and the crumbling of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, which plays like something out of Greek tragedy — the transformation of an admirable idealist to a paranoid propagandist, injecting his own legal woes into the lofty aims of his organization, and conflating them. Gibney was unable to procure an interview with Assange; “Julian wanted money,” Gibney explains in the film, though Assange was willing to exchange his interview for information on the other people Gibney was talking to. (UPDATE: The organization has disputed this claim. Mr. Gibney notes that they’re working from an “incomplete and inaccurate transcript based on non-final version.”) The filmmaker refused, and We Steal Secrets has been under fire from Wikileaks supporters since it was unveiled at Sundance last January. I asked Gibney about that backlash, the importance of the story, and related troubling matters of transparency in the Obama administration. … Read More

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10 Notorious Leaked Screenplay Scandals

Earlier this week, we told you about Xavier Macafee, the New Mexico man who was arrested on suspicion of burglary after allegedly breaking into Bryan Cranston’s car and stealing, among other things, the script to one of Breaking Bad’s final episodes. While we still don’t know if it was a coincidental act or the work of a brilliant BB superfan, this isn’t the first time a swiped script has created havoc in Hollywood. Here are ten tales of leaked screenplays, and what happened to the films… Read More

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Sundance 2013 Premiere Lineup Includes Steve Jobs Biopic and Many More

Last week Sundance announced its competition lineup and spotlight films, which was thrilling enough for cineastes, but now the fest has unveiled its full list of premieres. It’s a diverse and star-studded selection that delves into the world of Steve Jobs, Dave Grohl, Linda Lovelace, Wikileaks, and Richard Linklater to name a few. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Dave Grohl will make their directorial debuts at Sundance with Don Jon’s Addiction — starring Scarlett Johansson and friends — and Sound City, respectively. Linklater wraps up his love story trilogy and follows Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in Before Midnight. We’ll find out if Amanda Seyfried can become porn legend Linda Lovelace, watch Park Chan-Wook‘s thriller Stoker, and see Ashton Kutcher transform into Steve Jobs. There’s a ton of great stuff waiting for your perusal after the break, which we first spotted at The Playlist. Let us know what you’re most anticipating. … Read More

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