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Old 06-20-2022, 08:42 PM   #1
yoloswegmaster420 yoloswegmaster420 is offline
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Criterion The Velvet Underground (2021) - Coming Soon to the Criterion Collection

From a Letterboxd user who went to a screening for the 4K restoration of 'Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story' with Todd Haynes in attendance:

Quote:
Unrelated to Superstar:
- Weinstein always wanted him to recut the films he made under him
- Velvet underground is getting a criterion and they have interest in Velvet Goldmine
- Haynes is a smart dude. Some great questions from the crowd and he gave great thoughtful answers
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Old 06-20-2022, 08:53 PM   #2
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This is pretty big news (if true) as it's an Apple TV+ acquisition. That could open the doors to others like say, Best Picture winner (and my fav. film of 2021), CODA
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Old 06-20-2022, 09:05 PM   #3
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Unrelated but there's a 4K restoration of Superstar!? What are they gonna with that considering the music rights, etc.?
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Old 06-20-2022, 10:46 PM   #4
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Odd this news makes me wonder about the previous news regarding Velvet Goldmine… it’s interesting that its noted as Criterion being interested in Velvet Goldmine, while the main news is Velvet Underground. So makes me wonder which Velvet film is getting the Criterion treatment first

and hello the most interesting news is Superstar The Karen Carpenter Story 4K Restoration!!!!!

And I heard Velvet Underground wasn’t really very good, and filled with untruths.
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Old 06-21-2022, 10:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rizor View Post
Unrelated but there's a 4K restoration of Superstar!? What are they gonna with that considering the music rights, etc.?
Even if they stripped the whole soundtrack away, didn't Mattel threaten them with a lawsuit too? (I agree that the Superstar restoration is definitely the buried lede of the story.)
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Old 06-22-2022, 03:23 AM   #6
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Harvey Weinstein wanted to re-edit (badly) every film that he ever released and he did most of the time.
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Old 06-22-2022, 04:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thatguamguy View Post
Even if they stripped the whole soundtrack away, didn't Mattel threaten them with a lawsuit too? (I agree that the Superstar restoration is definitely the buried lede of the story.)
Mattel tried suing the Swedish band Aqua for their song and music video Barbie Girl and got laughed out of court, since it was protected parody. I would think the same would happen here and I would hope Mattel wouldn't be stupid enough to try that lawsuit again. Their threats about this film came before their disastrous Aqua lawsuit.

I agree, the songs are the issue. The movie doesn't just use the compositions, which could be licensed from whatever label owns them, it uses the original recordings, which are integral to the film. I suspect Richard Carpenter would sooner burn the master tapes than grant the rights to them to be legally used in this film.
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Old 06-22-2022, 04:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PowellPressburger View Post
Odd this news makes me wonder about the previous news regarding Velvet Goldmine… it’s interesting that its noted as Criterion being interested in Velvet Goldmine, while the main news is Velvet Underground. So makes me wonder which Velvet film is getting the Criterion treatment first
I agree, after yesterday's news I'm thoroughly confused as to which Velvet film is getting a Criterion disc.
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Old 06-22-2022, 07:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Luckard View Post
Mattel tried suing the Swedish band Aqua for their song and music video Barbie Girl and got laughed out of court, since it was protected parody. I would think the same would happen here and I would hope Mattel wouldn't be stupid enough to try that lawsuit again. Their threats about this film came before their disastrous Aqua lawsuit.

I agree, the songs are the issue. The movie doesn't just use the compositions, which could be licensed from whatever label owns them, it uses the original recordings, which are integral to the film. I suspect Richard Carpenter would sooner burn the master tapes than grant the rights to them to be legally used in this film.
Aqua is Danish band
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Old 06-22-2022, 07:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAT_JB View Post
Aqua is Danish band
I stand corrected. In fairness, as an American, I feel I should get points for just getting the continent right, haha.
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Old 06-22-2022, 02:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Luckard View Post
Mattel tried suing the Swedish band Aqua for their song and music video Barbie Girl and got laughed out of court, since it was protected parody. I would think the same would happen here and I would hope Mattel wouldn't be stupid enough to try that lawsuit again. Their threats about this film came before their disastrous Aqua lawsuit.
Even granting that a parody defense would be ultimately successful (which I don't think is as clear cut as the Barbie Girl case -- it would be an interesting ruling to see, I think it would hold up but I would be interested in seeing the legal thought behind it), trademark law would practically require Mattel to go through the motions in court, because companies must rigorously defend their trademarks from all possible infringement at the risk of losing them. So even if "Superstar" would ultimately win, they'd still have to go to the trouble of paying lawyers fees for a long drawn out process, especially if they tried to market the film around the release of the official "Barbie" movie.

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Luckard View Post
I agree, the songs are the issue. The movie doesn't just use the compositions, which could be licensed from whatever label owns them, it uses the original recordings, which are integral to the film. I suspect Richard Carpenter would sooner burn the master tapes than grant the rights to them to be legally used in this film.
There's also the question of "life rights" or whatever the correct term would be; although they could argue "public figures", the fact that they tried to get the rights to their life story and were denied it wouldn't be good for them. I definitely agree that the Carpenters have the much stronger grounds to stop a release, but on the other hand, Mattel has a lot more money and would have an interest in at least delaying a release, even if it was only temporary.
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Old 06-22-2022, 04:05 PM   #12
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I suspect (based on nothing but gut instinct) that Mattel would stomp any legit release. Or at least tie it up in litigation forever. Shame, because they could score a lot of cultural cred if they just let it be released.

As for Richard--yeah, he definitely would do anything possible to stop this. Wonder if anybody has ever considered using covers by other artists in lieu of the originals? There was a whole alt rock album of these in the early 90's (If I Was a Carpenter)
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Old 06-22-2022, 06:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Place Logo Here View Post
I suspect (based on nothing but gut instinct) that Mattel would stomp any legit release. Or at least tie it up in litigation forever. Shame, because they could score a lot of cultural cred if they just let it be released.

As for Richard--yeah, he definitely would do anything possible to stop this. Wonder if anybody has ever considered using covers by other artists in lieu of the originals? There was a whole alt rock album of these in the early 90's (If I Was a Carpenter)
I think covers would kind of ruin the point of the piece. Also, they'd still have to license the songs from the rightsholder, which used to be A&M. I believe that's part of Universal now. I don't think Richard Carpenter would be able to stop them licensing the compositions. The Beatles/their estates refused to grant permission for their songs to be used in I Am Sam, so they similarly recorded covers of all the songs they intended to use, after licensing the compositions from the labels.
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Old 06-22-2022, 06:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thatguamguy View Post
Even granting that a parody defense would be ultimately successful (which I don't think is as clear cut as the Barbie Girl case -- it would be an interesting ruling to see, I think it would hold up but I would be interested in seeing the legal thought behind it), trademark law would practically require Mattel to go through the motions in court, because companies must rigorously defend their trademarks from all possible infringement at the risk of losing them. So even if "Superstar" would ultimately win, they'd still have to go to the trouble of paying lawyers fees for a long drawn out process, especially if they tried to market the film around the release of the official "Barbie" movie.

There's also the question of "life rights" or whatever the correct term would be; although they could argue "public figures", the fact that they tried to get the rights to their life story and were denied it wouldn't be good for them. I definitely agree that the Carpenters have the much stronger grounds to stop a release, but on the other hand, Mattel has a lot more money and would have an interest in at least delaying a release, even if it was only temporary.
Yep, the Carpenters are/were huge public figures. After the (rightful) failure of Olivia de Havilland's lawsuit against Fox and the miniseries "Feud," I think any lawyer would be wisely reluctant to take on a lawsuit they're bound to lose about life rights for a film about a major public figure.

It's true, Superstar isn't as direct a parody of the Barbie product as the Aqua song, but it still uses the toy for ironic social commentary. I would think a good lawyer could successfully argue that. You're right, though, whether such a case went to court would depend on how litigious Mattel is.

If Mattel were smart, they'd just stay silent about it, the way Disney did with that movie Escape from Tomorrow, which was secretly filmed inside Disney World without permission. Disney didn't sue, undoubtedly because they recognized the risk of the Streisand Effect and didn't want to draw more attention to the film.
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Old 06-22-2022, 06:30 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by James Luckard View Post
but it still uses the toy for ironic social commentary
The problem is that broad social satire isn't covered under parody law; they would have to tie the commentary specifically to Barbie itself in order to mount a fair use parody defense. That could be done, but it would require some expert witnesses and a good lawyer or team of lawyers, so the defense would not be cheap to mount, and I don't think they'd be able to convince the court that the case was so meritless that Mattel should pay their court costs. There are a bunch of reasons I wouldn't want to see the case, but I would be really curious to read a trial transcript, see the arguments both sides would make, and read the ultimate ruling, because I think there are a lot of complicating factors in this specific example that would be fascinating to see dissected.

But that all seems moot anyway as long as the music is still in there. I'm surprised that they even had a screening (I bet it wasn't open to the public).
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Old 06-22-2022, 07:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thatguamguy View Post
The problem is that broad social satire isn't covered under parody law; they would have to tie the commentary specifically to Barbie itself in order to mount a fair use parody defense. That could be done, but it would require some expert witnesses and a good lawyer or team of lawyers, so the defense would not be cheap to mount, and I don't think they'd be able to convince the court that the case was so meritless that Mattel should pay their court costs. There are a bunch of reasons I wouldn't want to see the case, but I would be really curious to read a trial transcript, see the arguments both sides would make, and read the ultimate ruling, because I think there are a lot of complicating factors in this specific example that would be fascinating to see dissected.

But that all seems moot anyway as long as the music is still in there. I'm surprised that they even had a screening (I bet it wasn't open to the public).
Yep, the argument would boil down to using Barbie's absurdly proportioned limbs and torso and the doll's iconic status as an "ideal female form" as a direct commentary on the dangerous social forces that caused Karen Carpenter's eating disorder, and I think they'd probably succeed, but you're right, it wouldn't be as easy a defense as the Aqua trial. However, I'm sure that case would be cited as precedent. I love the quotes from the judge's ruling on that one:

Quote:
However, the United States District Court in California dismissed both parties’ claims, declaring “Mattel’s statements were non-actionable hyperbole” and that the song is a parody, “poking fun at both her and the plastic values she represents.”

Mattel attempted to appeal but were met with short shrift. Again dismissing both the trademark infringement and defamation claims, United States Court of Appeals circuit judge Alex Kozinski ruled: “The parties are advised to chill.”
https://variety.com/2022/film/news/b...ua-1235254222/
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Old 06-22-2022, 07:14 PM   #17
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Yep, the argument would boil down to using Barbie's absurdly proportioned limbs and torso and the doll's iconic status as an "ideal female form" as a direct commentary on the dangerous social forces that caused Karen Carpenter's eating disorder, and I think they'd probably succeed,
I had one follow-up thought on that specific idea before I cut myself off from this conversation -- not because I'm not enjoying it, I just don't want to keep hijacking the thread with a sidebar... the entire success of that defense could potentially revolve around whether "Superstar" was able to make a direct connection between Karen Carpenter's eating disorder and Barbie. Karen Carpenter was already 9 years old by the time Barbie was even invented, so it wasn't already in the general cultural milieu that would've affected her in her formative years. So the defense would be looking for evidence that Karen Carpenter played with Barbies in her youth to bolster their case... and who would be the person with knowledge and maybe even photographs of what toys Karen played with in her childhood?

I almost want to pitch the fictional trial to Todd Haynes as a movie idea, because it seems like there's a lot of potential dramatic twists and turns. But, again, apologies to the OP, I will refrain from further comments about this hypothetical tangential sidebar, I know this is supposed to be about the Velvet Underground doc, or at least the general idea of Criterion getting in business with AppleTV.
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Old Yesterday, 03:13 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Rizor View Post
Unrelated but there's a 4K restoration of Superstar!? What are they gonna with that considering the music rights, etc.?
I remember Haynes giving an interview a few years ago where he mentioned doing a beautiful restoration of the film but that he can only screen it privately.

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Originally Posted by MifuneFan View Post
This is pretty big news (if true) as it's an Apple TV+ acquisition. That could open the doors to others like say, Best Picture winner (and my fav. film of 2021), CODA
I’m okay with the Italian release for now, but that’s pretty light on extras.

Though I’d be okay with seeing every Haynes film canonised with Criterion honestly.

I’m not expecting Greyhound, Cherry, The Sky is Everywhere, Come from Away or The Banker from Criterion, but Palmer, Finch, Swan Song, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Cha Cha Real Smooth, Beastie Boys Story, Boys State, Dads, The Elephant Queen, Letter to You, Fireball, The World’s a Little Blurry have positive reviews.

Last edited by CelestialAgent; Yesterday at 03:18 AM.
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Old Yesterday, 01:14 PM   #19
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I have to laugh every time I see a rumored Criterion release post with "Coming Soon". Pretty sure "soon" is not in their mission statement.
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