October 25, 2020

Noisy Debut For a Movie At Comic-Con

And it will arrive with something to wake the undead: clips from its new 3-D Imax movie, “Metallica Through the Never,” plus a musical event — 500 free tickets to hear Metallica, live — that is promising to transform an annual fan gathering not known in recent years for its musical offerings.

Piaf, this is not.

The Metallica movie, Picturehouse’s inaugural project, is outsize and heavily amplified. “We see it as being very disruptive,” said Bob Berney, a film executive who is clearly out to create a more ferocious version of Picturehouse.

When he spoke of disruption, Mr. Berney referred partly to an unusual release plan: “Metallica Through the Never” will open only on large-format Imax screens when it begins its commercial run on Sept. 27, before moving to hundreds of additional theaters a week later.

Creatively, moreover, the film is an exercise in controlled chaos.

Directed by Nimród Antal, known for action thrillers like “Predators” and “Armored,” it was written by members of the band. The film combines video of a Canadian concert, in which stage props and equipment collapsed around them, with a scripted fantasy about a young roadie, played by Dane DeHaan, who skitters through what might be the apocalypse.

Given that, the choice of Comic-Con seems appropriate. With its 125,000 or so often-costumed attendees, the gathering, which runs from a preview evening on July 17 through July 21 at the San Diego Convention Center, is always vaguely apocalyptic.

But a live concert by one of the world’s less-restrained metal bands — neither Mr. Berney nor Comic-Con’s sponsors have yet said how tickets will be doled out to the lucky few — should add fresh shock value to a convention where zombies routinely clog the restrooms.

The usual superheroes and film studio fantasies will be on display, of course. Movie promotions in the convention center’s cavernous Hall H are expected to include the cast and filmmakers of “The Wolverine,” from 20th Century Fox; “RoboCop” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” from Sony Pictures Entertainment; “Ender’s Game” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” from Lionsgate; and “Thor: The Dark World” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” from Disney’s prolific Marvel Entertainment unit, among others.

Along with all the comics and fan paraphernalia, there will also be a tidal wave of television presentations. The Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim service will bring at least 14 shows, including “Robot Chicken” and “Mr. Pickles,” while Warner Brothers Television, home of “The Vampire Diaries” and “Almost Human,” will have 17.

Yet music has remained something of an oddity at a convention that specializes in the odd.

Asked last week to pinpoint some musical highlights in the convention’s 44-year history, David Glanzer, Comic-Con’s director of marketing and public relations, could immediately think of only one. That would be a 2005 performance by Jack Black and Kyle Gass as the rock duo Tenacious D. (It was called “the show that never happened,” because recording, in keeping with Comic-Con practice, was forbidden.)

In truth, music has occasionally popped up in and around Comic-Con. This year, for instance, it will be the subject of a Thursday morning discussion among some film composers, including Marco Beltrami (“The Wolverine”), and directors, including Shane Black (“Iron Man 3”) about the gentle art of scoring for superheroes.

But it has not been an integral part of the fun, as it has at the South by Southwest festival in Texas. And it has rarely been an attention-getter of the sort Mr. Berney is planning for a Metallica presentation that intends to reach beyond the usual patter about lifelong reverence for the art of the comic book and such.

“When we’ve been down there, it’s always been the same, they tend to be the same panels,” said Mr. Berney, echoing a complaint that has become common among many who frequent the convention. In the past, Mr. Berney stopped in while promoting films like “Pan’s Labyrinth,” a sophisticated fantasy that Picturehouse, in its earlier incarnation, released in 2006. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, the film received six Oscar nominations.

The old Picturehouse, which was a joint venture between Time Warner’s HBO and New Line Cinema units, certainly had a reputation for avoiding dreary sameness. Still, its risks did not always pay. One of its more daring bets, “Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus,” for instance, had well under $1 million in domestic ticket sales when it was released in 2006.

This time, however, Mr. Berney said he and his wife, Jeanne, who is a partner in the new Picturehouse, are rebuilding the company in stages, and are working on just a bit more than a shoestring, as film distributors go, while they look for backers.

The first step, he said, is to open “Metallica Through the Never” with little in the way of paid advertising, relying instead on the social media following that has built up around the band, which was started in 1981 by its drummer, Lars Ulrich, and the guitarist-vocalist James Hetfield.

The next steps, Mr. Berney said, will involve adding a home entertainment deal to complement an existing arrangement with Netflix, and raising investment funds to support new films, beginning with “The Great Gilly Hopkins,” to be directed by Stephen Herek, based on a novel by Katherine Paterson.

Along the way, added Mr. Berney, the plan is also to make some music that even the zombies can’t ignore.

“It should be part of Comic-Con,” he said.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/08/business/media/picturehouse-resurrected-with-a-3-d-film-on-metallica.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Noisy Debut for a Movie at Comic-Con

And it will arrive with something to wake the undead: clips from its new 3-D Imax movie, “Metallica Through the Never,” plus a musical event — 500 free tickets to hear Metallica, live — that is promising to transform an annual fan gathering not known in recent years for its musical offerings.

Piaf, this is not.

The Metallica movie, Picturehouse’s inaugural project, is outsize and heavily amplified. “We see it as being very disruptive,” said Bob Berney, a film executive who is clearly out to create a more ferocious version of Picturehouse.

When he spoke of disruption, Mr. Berney referred partly to an unusual release plan: “Metallica Through the Never” will open only on large-format Imax screens when it begins its commercial run on Sept. 27, before moving to hundreds of additional theaters a week later.

Creatively, moreover, the film is an exercise in controlled chaos.

Directed by Nimród Antal, known for action thrillers like “Predators” and “Armored,” it was written by members of the band. The film combines video of a Canadian concert, in which stage props and equipment collapsed around them, with a scripted fantasy about a young roadie, played by Dane DeHaan, who skitters through what might be the apocalypse.

Given that, the choice of Comic-Con seems appropriate. With its 125,000 or so often-costumed attendees, the gathering, which runs from a preview evening on July 17 through July 21 at the San Diego Convention Center, is always vaguely apocalyptic.

But a live concert by one of the world’s less-restrained metal bands — neither Mr. Berney nor Comic-Con’s sponsors have yet said how tickets will be doled out to the lucky few — should add fresh shock value to a convention where zombies routinely clog the restrooms.

The usual superheroes and film studio fantasies will be on display, of course. Movie promotions in the convention center’s cavernous Hall H are expected to include the cast and filmmakers of “The Wolverine,” from 20th Century Fox; “RoboCop” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” from Sony Pictures Entertainment; “Ender’s Game” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” from Lionsgate; and “Thor: The Dark World” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” from Disney’s prolific Marvel Entertainment unit, among others.

Along with all the comics and fan paraphernalia, there will also be a tidal wave of television presentations. The Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim service will bring at least 14 shows, including “Robot Chicken” and “Mr. Pickles,” while Warner Brothers Television, home of “The Vampire Diaries” and “Almost Human,” will have 17.

Yet music has remained something of an oddity at a convention that specializes in the odd.

Asked last week to pinpoint some musical highlights in the convention’s 44-year history, David Glanzer, Comic-Con’s director of marketing and public relations, could immediately think of only one. That would be a 2005 performance by Jack Black and Kyle Gass as the rock duo Tenacious D. (It was called “the show that never happened,” because recording, in keeping with Comic-Con practice, was forbidden.)

In truth, music has occasionally popped up in and around Comic-Con. This year, for instance, it will be the subject of a Thursday morning discussion among some film composers, including Marco Beltrami (“The Wolverine”), and directors, including Shane Black (“Iron Man 3”) about the gentle art of scoring for superheroes.

But it has not been an integral part of the fun, as it has at the South by Southwest festival in Texas. And it has rarely been an attention-getter of the sort Mr. Berney is planning for a Metallica presentation that intends to reach beyond the usual patter about lifelong reverence for the art of the comic book and such.

“When we’ve been down there, it’s always been the same, they tend to be the same panels,” said Mr. Berney, echoing a complaint that has become common among many who frequent the convention. In the past, Mr. Berney stopped in while promoting films like “Pan’s Labyrinth,” a sophisticated fantasy that Picturehouse, in its earlier incarnation, released in 2006. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, the film received six Oscar nominations.

The old Picturehouse, which was a joint venture between Time Warner’s HBO and New Line Cinema units, certainly had a reputation for avoiding dreary sameness. Still, its risks did not always pay. One of its more daring bets, “Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus,” for instance, had well under $1 million in domestic ticket sales when it was released in 2006.

This time, however, Mr. Berney said he and his wife, Jeanne, who is a partner in the new Picturehouse, are rebuilding the company in stages, and are working on just a bit more than a shoestring, as film distributors go, while they look for backers.

The first step, he said, is to open “Metallica Through the Never” with little in the way of paid advertising, relying instead on the social media following that has built up around the band, which was started in 1981 by its drummer, Lars Ulrich, and the guitarist-vocalist James Hetfield.

The next steps, Mr. Berney said, will involve adding a home entertainment deal to complement an existing arrangement with Netflix, and raising investment funds to support new films, beginning with “The Great Gilly Hopkins,” to be directed by Stephen Herek, based on a novel by Katherine Paterson.

Along the way, added Mr. Berney, the plan is also to make some music that even the zombies can’t ignore.

“It should be part of Comic-Con,” he said.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/08/business/media/picturehouse-resurrected-with-a-3-d-film-on-metallica.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

India Finds Corruption in Fast-Growing Aviation Industry

Several of India’s private carriers, as well as its state-run airline, Air India, have fired active pilots as a result of the inquiry, which uncovered pilots falsifying flying records, cheating on flight exams and paying bribes to testing officials.

India’s government and its private sector are already convulsing with corruption scandals, which have tainted mobile phone companies as well as last year’s Commonwealth Games. The pilot investigation, though, carries particular shock value.

“You really are messing with people’s lives if you are messing with a pilot’s license,” said Neil Mills, chief executive of SpiceJet, a low-cost carrier here that has fired three pilots for violations. “The penalties for corruption and not sticking to the rules should be much stricter and better enforced.”

The review of India’s active commercial pilot licenses is about half-finished, said an official with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, India’s main airline regulatory body. So far, government officials have revoked 6 commanders’ licenses, which certify experienced pilots to be in charge in the cockpit, and 13 other commercial pilots’ licenses, those often held by first officers.

The agency is also investigating dozens of flight schools that have cropped up in recent years as demand has grown for new pilots. Pilot schools here are attracting new students, from engineers to housewives, and can charge more than $65,000 for a course that lasts less than a year.

India’s airline industry began expanding 20 years ago amid broad economic liberalizations, but it has grown phenomenally as the economy has blossomed in recent years, attracting billions of dollars in investment and giving rise to a number of new airlines to handle tens of millions of new passengers. Government oversight of the boom, analysts and airline professionals here say, lags perilously behind.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation, D.G.C.A., is responsible for monitoring everything from airport safety to fleet maintenance and pilot training and certification. This week, R. S. Passi, its director of air safety, was removed from the job amid accusations that his daughter, Garima Passi, had been given preferential treatment in getting her pilot’s license. She was suspended from SpiceJet last month over irregularities.

But the agency’s most serious problem is not corruption within, but crippling understaffing, critics say, adding that it has little real chance of policing an industry prone to corruption and rife with nepotism.

“It is not the question of just one case, or one D.G.C.A. director or one airline, and then we can fix it and get over it,” said Kapil Kaul, South Asia chief executive for the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, a research group. “It is a failure of the entire system.”

Just over 63 million people flew on Indian airlines in 2010, more than double the number of passengers five years ago. India has added more than 300 commercial planes and more than 500 private jets and helicopters in the past 10 years, Mr. Kaul estimates.

While growth in air travel has slowed in Asia in recent months, in India it is still expanding rapidly. Domestic airlines carried 9.6 million passengers in January of this year, up 19.6 percent from a year before.

Accident rates have remained fairly low. Last May’s crash of an Air India Express flight in Mangalore, which killed 158 people, was the first major accident by an Indian carrier in a decade.

The director general of the aviation agency acknowledged that it had not grown apace with the industry. “If you look at the F.A.A. in the United States, they have five or six thousand employees,” said the official, E.K. Bharat Bhushan. “I have 140 people, with 82 airports.”

About two years ago, the Federal Aviation Administration found enough problems with Indian carriers that it threatened to downgrade them to Category 2 status, which would have limited their ability to expand routes to the United States. But that threat was lifted when the Indian aviation agency promised to add 550 positions and make other major changes.

Most of those jobs have not been filled, Mr. Bhushan said. “Because it is a government department, recruitment has been difficult,” he said. Even if a fast-track hiring plan he has proposed to India’s top ministers succeeds, he said, finding skilled airline experts in the country will be difficult. “We just don’t have enough people,” he said.

Pilot groups say the testing system itself needs modernization.

“Our system is just prehistoric,” said Rishabh Kapur, the general secretary of the Indian Commercial Pilots Association, a domestic pilots union. Written tests are given only four times a year and are not computerized, and results take two months, he said. Often, the tests have more to do with reading comprehension and grammar skills than flying know-how, he added.

“We need to pull up our socks and get to global standards,” Mr. Kapur said.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/24/world/asia/24india.html?partner=rss&emc=rss