Net Gains: American Psycho

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The Independent Culture
mwalker@independent.co.uk

www.universalpictures.com/

One of the most bizarre and eagerly awaited film events of the year must be Gus van Sant's so-called "recreation" of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. But Universal are promising to go further than merely remaking the film: they have matched it, shot for shot. The producers have already placed the cinema trailer on the Internet as part of the run-up to its December release in America. The quicktime version is a pretty hefty 7MB but is worth the look if only to see how the company is being forced to promote a film which many of us "seen" before. It's a tribute to its effectiveness, though, that even in a jerky postage-stamp-sized incarnation it's suitably chilling. The rest of the Universal site focuses on the studio's other projects due for release, although they are all films coming up for release in the States. While it shouldn't be beyond the studios to produce European versions of these sites, there's always a pleasant frisson to be gained by getting an early peek at what's on the way. Hopefully, as the Internet becomes more popular, it will encourage companies to coordinate their film releases.

Big Brother

www.undercurrents.orgThe really great changes in society sometimes come about when two technologies emerge at the right time to create something entirely new. That happened with the emergence of camcorders and the Internet. Everybody could be broadcasters as well as publishers. One of the organisations that has embraced this convergence of technologies is Undercurrents, which uses camcorders to catch any 1984-style abuses of power by the authorities and then places the footage on the Internet for all to see. As any journalist working for major newspapers or magazines knows, anything even remotely contentious has to pass by numerous lawyers and censors before it finds its way into print. With the Internet, fringe organisations without the financial concerns of the mainstream media can bypass the controls and place their material in the public domain. Undercurrents is one of the most established and professional of these outfits. It has been described as a site for armchair revolutionaries, which is exactly what it is, and anybody who has ever spent hours hanging around in pubs or standing around on cold winter mornings trying to work out what on earth they're protesting against, should welcome its addition to the canon of subversion.

Saving Face

www.plasticsurgery.org

Thinking about it, this was a website address that somebody was always going to register. And well done to the Plastic Surgery Information Service for getting there first. This site provides everything you could possible want to know (and probably some you didn't) about everything from ultrasound assisted lipoplasty to bog-standard rhinoplasty. The former, by the way, involves liquifying excess body fat before removing it through a tube. Nice. The site goes through every conceivable procedure in some detail and uses tasteful artists' impressions allowing you to avoid the typically gory pictures that accompany real plastic surgery.

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