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My Movie Week... with Mike Shaw

Actor Jim Carrey arrives for the Paramount Pictures 90th anniversary party in Los Angeles. Picture: PA Photo
Actor Jim Carrey arrives for the Paramount Pictures 90th anniversary party in Los Angeles. Picture: PA Photo

Kick-Ass was a very, very violent film. It had a little girl saying naughty words and chopping limbs off and then Nicolas Cage burned to death.

So, when Jim Carrey signed up to play Colonel Stars and Stripes in Kick-Ass 2, he kind of knew what he was getting into. Especially as he was such a big fan of the first film and he appeared on a late night chat show dressed as the lead character.

This is why it has come as such a surprise to everyone involved in the film that he has just turned around and said he cannot take part in the promotion of the film because he disagrees with the level of violence employed.

Using his Twitter account, he said: “I did Kick-Ass a month before Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence...My apologies to others involved with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart.”

Being affected by the massacre at Sandy Hook is certainly understandable and Carrey has gone to great pains to make it clear that he is not ashamed of the film, however, Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar has rejected the comments. On his blog, he said: “I’m baffled by this sudden announcement as nothing seen in this picture wasn’t in the screenplay 18 months ago. Yes, the body-count is very high, but a movie called Kick-Ass 2 really has to do what it says on the tin,” he wrote.

What part of “it’s because of Sandy Hook” does this idiot not understand?

It seems pretty simple to me. Carrey saw the first film, liked it, accepted a role in the second, happily filmed it, but then had his views on starring in a film about ultra-violent teenagers changed somewhat when a 20-year-old slaughtered 20 children. To criticise Carrey’s moral standpoint makes Millar look childish and blinkered.

It reminds me of when Steven Spielberg went back to E.T. and digitally replaced all the guns with walkie-talkies. Even though I found that decision unnecessary, it was clearly important to him. Part of being fully-functioning grown-ups means using evidence to change our views and constantly challenging and re-evaluating our beliefs. This is what Carrey has done.

In this situation, Millar is the one in the wrong.

And let’s be honest, intentionally or not, Carrey’s statement has provided the film with more media attention than it would have received if he had just kept quiet. The resulting controversy that will surround the film will only help with the promotion.

You can decide for yourself whether he was right or wrong when Kick-Ass 2 comes out in the UK on August 14.

In the hope of cracking down on film piracy in Asia, Disney and Sony have been quietly testing a new service which might change the industry forever.

Customers in South Korea can rent movies while they are still playing in cinemas and the two companies are the first US studios to provide viewers with the option to buy a ticket to see a film or watch it at home using a cable, internet or satellite-television provider.

Django Unchained, Brave and Wreck-it Ralph were all made available as part of the trial. It’s a bold move, but is something that needs to be done. Piracy used to be the sole preserve of tech-savvy youngsters, but now, with strong internet connections and the spread of on-demand services such as Netflix, LoveFilm and BBC iPlayer, consumers of all ages and demographics are starting to expect their entertainment immediately.

South Korea is the world’s eighth-largest film market, so is a good place for Disney and Sony to start the experiment. However, despite what we want, there is going to be opposition if/when it is tried out in countries like the UK and US. Similar initiatives have been met with resistance in the past and cinemas jealousy guard the theatre release window. Remember a few years ago when Alice in Wonderland was almost not screened at Odeon cinemas because Disney wanted to get the film out on DVD within 12 weeks instead of 17?

The following year, in the US, exhibitors were engaged in a war with Universal, which planned to offer the Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy film Tower Heist on video-on-demand just three weeks after it opened in cinemas.

However, things have changed a lot in the last couple of years and the other major Hollywood studios are watching closely. Adam Fogelson from Universal Pictures said: “I know that if we don’t experiment we’ll have a business problem that will affect all of us. We have to find a way to claw back some of that revenue.”

There will always be those (like me) who prefer to see their films on the big screen, but if more studios follow Sony and Disney, cinema chains may need to seriously think about how they can offer better value to movie fans who are just as happy to stream the latest blockbuster on their laptop.

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