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First Look at Jason Momoa as Aquaman – Movie News

By Mainey Tester

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 Zack Snyder Shares the First Picture of Jason Momoa in His Aquaman Costume: “There Is Only One True King”

First and foremost, I love how Warner Bros./Time Warner and Zack Snyder have been so almost arbitrary about releasing bits and pieces from what is the new DC Cinematic Universe. A press release here, a random photo on Twitter there. Almost nothing gets leaked, pretty much every piece of information or image comes out when the powers-that-be want it to come out. And last night’s surprise “first look” at Jason Momoa’s Aquaman is no exception. Mr. Snyder just went and dropped this official first-look photo on Twitter several hours ago (literally right after I went to bed, thanks a lot, pal!) with no notice and with no fanfare. I’m starting to wonder if Zack Snyder is just going to drop the Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice teaser on his Twitter account on a random Sunday at 5:00am just to be annoying. Speaking of which, this is a nice bit of misdirection. We were all expecting a Batman V Superman trailer, but instead we got a high-quality look at Aquaman.

Aquaman-Jason-Momoa-1

Image credit: Twitter

Everyone and their sister have been champing at the bit for the first would-be teaser for Batman V Superman” Dawn of Justice which was “supposed” to debut in front of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies before it was “supposed” to debut at the Super Bowl before it was “supposed” to debut before Jupiter Ascending. Unless Warner Bros. decides to attach it to Universal/Comcast Corp.’s Furious 7, we may in-fact end up waiting until May where it either debuts in front of Walt Disney’s Avengers: Age of Ultron (which would be fitting, akin to Universal dropping its Hulk teaser in front of Spider-Man in 2002) or Mad Max: Fury Road two weeks later. Dropping a trailer is partially about keeping the film in the conversation and in the news cycle, but the above photo, which of course will inspire a million blog posts (mea culpa) with nothing more than an image and a vague tagline. Since there are any number of iconic characters who will be “revealed” for Dawn of Justice and the various other movies in the works, Warner Bros. could very-well keep the film in the news cycle for the next year just by dropping one “first look” image a month (“Hey, it’s Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor!” “Hey, it’s Jared Leto as The Joker!”) and saving money on trailers.

What is interesting is how much I’ve read about how relatively, for lack of a better word, “bad ass” this new Aquaman is. And of course, they didn’t hire Mr. Momoa so he could look sweet and wholesome. Moreover, the notion that we should be surprised by how intimidating the character looks shows something of a generational disconnect. And that disconnect is actually Warner Bros.’ secret weapon in terms of the character standing on his own two sea legs for a stand-alone film. Point being, if you’re an adult who primarily knows the Aquaman character from Super Friends, you probably consider Arthur Curry to be a foppish figure of mockery and incompetence. You know the jokes. “Uh oh, The Penguin has robbed a bank and escaped by air, I’m sure that guy who can talk to animals will be really useful with that one!” The helpless, useless, and comically inept Aquaman from Super Friends (obviously somewhat exaggerated by snarky fans of the show long after the fact) became the status quo for the underwater superhero.

SEE ALSO: “Fantastic Four” Official Teaser Trailer is Simply, Insane!

When Aquaman made his debut on the animated Justice League back in 2001, he was something of a revelation to a generation of young kids as well as adults unfamiliar with the comic versions (and let’s be honest, that’s most people at any given time). He was ripped, bare-chested, with long flowing hair and a very manly beard, and he proved his heroism in the initial episode by A) chopping off his own hand to save himself and his infant son and B) coldly letting his traitorous brother fall to his death. If you weren’t an avid comics reader, this new and improved Aquaman was something of a revelation. Bruce Timm and the gang wisely kept him as a recurring character rather than as a regular member of the team, so his appearances were always something of a special event. Aquaman put in his time on Smallville, even getting a not-very-good spin-off pilot that never made it to series.

But the next major incarnation was his supporting role in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. There are many wonderful things to say about Batman: The Brave and the Bold, an animated show that is in love with every aspect of the DC Comics universe, but the most impressive thing about it is how Aquaman is basically the best character on the show. Appearing in the third episode and voiced by John Di Maggio, the animated Aquaman was an unapologetic blowhard and serial exaggerator, but also a genuinely kind and thoughtful friend to his fellow heroes and to the people of Atlantis. He absolutely loved being a hero and wasn’t afraid to admit it, and he was a prime source of earned comedy on a show that was often laugh-out-loud funny even while oddly being the most violent Batman animated show yet aired. Batman: The Brave and the Bold didn’t just make Aquaman cool, they made him the character you most wanted to see over the course of the show’s run. As such, he showed up in 27 of the 65 episodes, more than any other non-Batman superhero.

Here’s the rub to all of this. If you ask someone my age, they’ll probably still associate Aquaman from his stint on the Super Friends show back in the 1970′s and 1980s. But if you ask kids today or even young adults a generation removed from myself, their primary exposure to the Aquaman character is not the campy Super Friends variation, but rather the mighty warrior incarnation from Justice League and/or the righteously cheerful adventurer from Batman: The Brave and the Bold or even the PG-13 incarnations in the various DCAU DTV animated features in which he appeared. In short, if you talk to a kid who isn’t old enough to have had Super Friends be their first (and for much of their life, only) exposure to Aquaman, they already think Aquaman is pretty cool, or at-least decidedly not-lame. The photo above is arguably least surprising to today’s kids because they didn’t grow up in an era where Aquaman was a figure of mockery and derision. As such, the biggest advantage that Warner Bros. has in terms of making the big-screen variation of Aquaman relevant to today’s moviegoers is that the kids of today already expect Aquaman to be cool.

So when Jason Momoa grabs his trident, raises his arms in anger as thunder cracks and the waves rush under him, and bellows “That’s… outrageous!,” those who will be applauding will be doing so not out of mockery, but out of affection. Warner Bros. doesn’t need to convince kids of today that Aquaman is cool. Their animated properties over the last fifteen years did the job already.

Check out the full write up via Forbes.

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“Fantastic Four” Official Teaser Trailer is Simply, Insane!

By Dorothy Frazier

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Fantastic Four makes its way back to movie theaters this summer, and now the latest iteration of Marvel’s first band of genetically modified misfits have a properly epic trailer to mark the occasion.

Fantastic Four - Credit: 20th Century Fox

Based on the trailer, audiences can expect this movie to tell us (again) how a group of astronauts became a crime-fighting team.

In the original Stan Lee and Jack Kirby comic books, four characters — Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Sue Storm (the Invisible Woman), Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) and Ben Grimm (the Thing) — travel to space in a rocket, where they encounter cosmic rays that give them superpowers. In an interview with Yahoo, director Josh Trank (Chronicle) and writer/producer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past) said that they took this origins tale and updated it with the new possibilities of interdimensional travel. (Hence why this trailer looks so much like the one for Interstellar.)

SEE ALSO:Guardians of the Galaxy – Movie Trailers

Check out the teaser trailer below & share your thoughts in the comments section.

Fantastic Four opens in theaters on August 7th.

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Anti Government Filmmaker David Crowley found dead in “murder-suicide” admitted “I’m not prone to suicide”

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By Doug Hagmann for Canada Free Press

 (Alternative Media) — Upon hearing the news that filmmaker David Crowley of the Gray State project was found dead in an apparent murder/suicide along with his wife and 5-year old daughter, I immediately recalled our private conversation of October 3, 2012. It was about three hours before airtime when we first spoke, candidly and without the restrictions imposed by a program clock.

David Crowley, Gray State The Movie -- Image credit: Joel Franklin - LibertyShots

We talked about his vision for the film Gray State, a depiction of future events in a post-collapse America he recently launched. Mr. Crowley was very articulate and outlined his vision well. It was obvious that he had big plans for his project, and even bigger plans for his future. I recalled him being very detail oriented, and knew that creating this movie was not going to be a small or short project.

Image credit: Hagman & Hagman Report

In addition to the film project, we discussed other matters – personal matters. He spoke of his wife and daughter with the pride of a loving husband and father. He spoke of past events that brought him to this point in his life. He spoke of what he saw as a country in dire trouble from a ruling elite who were bent on destruction of our country and our way of life. He was not, however, fanatical about what he saw taking place. He was reserved, measured and practical.

It was during our conversation that I chided him a bit about the dangers of his undertaking, that it might not be a popular move to appear on our radio show in the run-up to the 2012 elections. He chuckled and said that he was glad to have any opportunity, no matter how big or small, to expose the machinations of the corrupt and the complicit who were destroying the country in which his daughter would grow up.

t was during the latter part of our conversation that he made the statement that is most unsettling and troubling to me. It was six months after the death of Andrew Breitbart and five months before the “accident” that claimed the life of Michael Hastings. He ominously confided that he had no intentions of committing suicide or otherwise becoming a statistic as he had so much to live for. “I’m not prone to suicide,” he told me.

SEE ALSO: It Wasn’t America’s Enemies That Massacred 132 Pakistani Children, It Was Us…

Although I lost touch of late, the narrative being constructed in the public about David Crowley is the complete opposite of the man I spoke with, joked with, and subsequently interviewed. I understand that people change, things happen, and people will surprise you. I’ve seen it many times. I get it.
PureVPN

What I don’t understand is the public’s acquiescence or resignation to the official narrative without question, especially considering the people whom we’ve lost to questionable, if not outright strange circumstances. There is something very wrong here. The death of David Crowley, his wife and daughter is more than a tragedy. It seems to fit a disturbing pattern.

We need the complete truth about what happened, and not accept anything less. Although his death and the murder of his five year-old daughter and 28 year-old wife could have been by his hand, I’m not buying it. Others aren’t either.

A “Justice for David Crowley of Gray State” page has just been launched on Facebook. They want answers. So do I.

Read the full story via Canada Free Press Now.

SEE ALSO: David Crowley and family Killed in Apple valley. Illuminati Freemason SYmbolism

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Seth Rogen, Michael Moore ignite ‘American Sniper’ debate

Published by EOTM News Editor on January 19th, 2015 - in Celebrity News, Entertainment News, Film News, Movies

By Dorothy Frazier

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Michael Moore Clarifies His Controversial Sniper Tweets and Praises Bradley Cooper

Michael Moore caused a stir on Sunday when he Tweeted his negative opinion of snipers, seemingly in response to the release of American Sniper.

In a Facebook post later that day, the director, 60, defended his statements about snipers – but also attempted to distance the Tweets from the the Oscar-nominated film about real-life Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.

Michael Moore -- Image credit: Aaron Harris/Getty

“Lots of talk about snipers this weekend (the holiday weekend of a great man, killed by a sniper), so I thought I’d weigh in with what I was raised to believe about snipers,” Moore wrote in his post. “My dad was in the First Marine Division in the South Pacific in World War II. His brother, my uncle, Lawrence Moore, was an Army paratrooper and was killed by a Japanese sniper 70 years ago next month.”

He explained that his views were passed down to him by his father.

“My dad always said, ‘Snipers are cowards. They don’t believe in a fair fight. Like someone coming up from behind you and coldcocking you. Just isn’t right. It’s cowardly to shoot a person in the back. Only a coward will shoot someone who can’t shoot back.’ ”

“I don’t think most Americans think of snipers as heroes,” he added.

Despite his critical take on the topic, Moore did have some positive things to say about Bradley Cooper’s film, which broke box office records this weekend.

“Awesome performance from Bradley Cooper,” he wrote. “One of the best of the year. Great editing. Costumes, hair, makeup superb!”

Getty Image

However, he had less kind words for director Clint Eastwood.

“Too bad Clint gets Vietnam and Iraq confused in his storytelling,” said Moore. “And that he has his characters calling Iraqis ‘savages’ throughout the film.”

SEE ALSO:Oscars 2015: The Biggest Snubs…Surprises And….

He does end his review on a positive note, though.
vudu.com
“There is also anti-war sentiment expressed in the movie. And there’s a touching ending,” he posted. “Also, best movie trailer and TV ads of the year.”

Read the full story over @ PEOPLE now.

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Oh Yeah Baby! Hollywood Hunks – Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale To Star In New Film

By Dorothy Frazier

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Variety has revealed plans for Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale to star together in The Big Short. Sources tell the outlet that the threesome, (pun intended) have come on board to Paramount and Plan B’s adaptation of the movie, in-which Adam McKay is writing and directing.


From left to right: Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale. - Image credit: Getty

The film tells the story of the build-up of the housing and credit bubble during the 2000s that led to the financial crisis of 2007-2010.

Pitt will produce the film with his partner in Plan B productions, Dede Gardner.

MUST SEE:Celebrity Pics – Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt Wedding Bliss
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Pitt, who is repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment, was last seen in “Fury.” The WME-repped Bale was last seen in “Exodus: Gods and Kings” and will shoot the Travis McGee pic “The Deep Blue Goodby” this spring, reports Variety.

Gosling just wrapped production on the Warner Bros. thriller “The Nice Guys.” He is repped by Anonymous Content and LBI Entertainment.

Are you planning on seeing the film? Share in the comments below!

SEE ALSO:The Director Behind The Blockbuster Film ‘Selma,’ “Ava DuVernay”

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The Director Behind The Blockbuster Film ‘Selma,’ “Ava DuVernay”

Published by EOTM News Editor on January 3rd, 2015 - in Entertainment News, Film Festivals, Film News, Movies

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Ava DuVernay was first a very successful publicist and when she saw Michael Mann filming his famous movie “Collateral”, she finally realized that all she ever wanted to be was a film director. She then found her place of work behind the camera and started an even more successful career.

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When she saw some of the Hollywood actors in the “Collateral” set, such as Jamie Foxx and Jada Pinkett Smith, she realized that her head was full of stories that should be told and full of people’s stories that could be a lesson for many people. That was the moment where Ava DuVernay started writing movie scripts. The firstmovie DuVernay made was a documentary on hip-hop called “This is the Life” and after that she did two successful drama movies – “I Will Follow” and “Middle of Nowhere” and both got recognized at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 as the best directing movies. DuVernay’s latest movie is telling a story about Martin Luther King Jr. entitled“Selma” and Ava could be the first black woman nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director. The director says that she does not think about the Oscars and that the only think she cares about is for her movie to become accepted and successful and that her people realize the importance of it.

Selma is a movie, which talks about Martin Luther King, played by David Oyelowo, and the right to vote back in 1965. At that time, Martin Luther King was trying to carry out a procession from the town of Selma all the way to Montgomery in Alabama. There was a police intervention involved and many people were victims of the event and also of the political involvement. DuVernay tried to depict this part of Martin Luther King’s life, the moment where he was the most successful and the strongest. The movie is also focusing on King’s personal and inner problems and the relationship with his wife Coretta played by Carmen Ejogo. Duvernay expects the movie to be a true success and she is happy to be sending a message to her people and to the rest of the world.  was first a very successful publicist and when she saw Michael Mann filming his famous movie “Collateral”, she finally realized that all she ever wanted to be was a film director. She then found her place of work behind the camera and started an even more successful career. When she saw some of the Hollywood actors in the “Collateral” set, such as Jamie Foxx and Jada Pinkett Smith, she realized that her head was full of stories that should be told and full of people’s stories that could be a lesson for many people. That was the moment where Ava DuVernay started writing movie scripts.

The first movie DuVernay made was a documentary on hip-hop called “This is the Life” and after that she did two successful drama movies – “I Will Follow” and“Middle of Nowhere” and both got recognized at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 as the best directing movies. DuVernay’s latest movie is telling a story about Martin Luther King Jr. entitled“Selma” and Ava could be the first black woman nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director. The director says that she does not think about the Oscars and that the only think she cares about is for her movie to become accepted and successful and that her people realize the importance of it. Selma is a movie, which talks about Martin Luther King, played by David Oyelowo, and the right to vote back in 1965. At that time, Martin Luther King was trying to carry out a procession from the town of Selma all the way to Montgomery in Alabama. There was a police intervention involved and many people were victims of the event and also of the political involvement. DuVernay tried to depict this part of Martin Luther King’s life, the moment where he was the most successful and the strongest. The movie is also focusing on King’s personal and inner problems and the relationship with his wife Coretta played by Carmen Ejogo. Duvernay expects the movie to be a true success and she is happy to be sending a message to her people and to the rest of the world.

News Source: SMN Weekly

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Reviews of Five Big Movies Debuting This Christmas Week

By Cain Cawthon

Follow us: @EOTMOnline on Twitter EOTM.Media on Facebook



Even without a wide release of The Interview, the outlandish comedy about the assassination of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, the Christmas movie schedule is still a cluster as studios try to deliver something for everyone. You can pick and choose between a big-budget musical (Into the Woods), a heady period piece (The Imitation Game), a kitschy family flick (Big Eyes) and a crime drama (The Gambler). Hell, there’s even a war drama about a man who was tortured and nearly died while in a prison camp during World War II (Unbroken). How’s that for a Christmas treat? Here are our reviews of the Christmas day releases.

Big Eyes

You could do far better, on your long Christmas weekend, than this kitschy ’50s-era art flick from Tim Burton. (And by “art flick,” I mean “movie about art,” not “artistic flick.”) The Beetlejuice and Batman whack job has abandoned his trademark color palette (a sort of soggy, but still psychedelic, gray) and his trademark duo (Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter) for Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in a lipstick-and-margarine-tinged San Francisco. Adams is Margaret Keane, a meek housewife who breaks free from a troubled marriage to set out on her own as an artiste! Her unusual portraits, featuring impoverished children with enormous eyes, become national pop-art sensations, except her new husband, the distractingly homosexual — or at best asexual ­—Waltz is the better salesman of the two and claims the paintings as his own. Burton might be an optimal chief for depicting the throbbing, saturated art scene in the film’s background, but his penchant for flamboyance doesn’t compute with the miserable marriage and subsequent courtroom drama at the story’s heart.

The Gambler

If there were an Oscar for casting, The Gambler’s casting director would come nowhere near a nomination. Suiting up Mark Wahlberg, Boston’s finest blue-collar impresario, as a lit professor prone to existential rambling, makes for some extremely long and uncomfortable scenes. This is, without much contention, the least credible college English class you’ll ever see immortalized on the silver screen. The Gamblers is a remake and, as in the original, Wahlberg’s Jim Bennett moonlights as a high-stakes gambler, betting $10,000, then $20,000, then $40,000, and then $80,000 on single hands of blackjack, riding his winning streaks until he loses everything, which he does repeatedly. The debt collectors come knocking, and Bennett, who isn’t particularly affectionate toward (or desirous of) anything, must “risk everything” to pay the piper. The guy who directed Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the guy who wrote The Departed team up for this dud, which clearly aspires to importance, but adds nothing new or interesting to the rich cinematic history of debtors in dire straits. Thank god for the brief moments with John Goodman, who here resembles nothing so much as Jabba the Hutt.

The Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch turns in an excellent performance as British mathematician, logician and cryptanalyst Alan Turing, famous as the guy who helped crack the Nazi Engima code, used to send secret messages during World War II. Incredibly intelligent, Alan is also a bit of a bastard who has no trouble telling others that they are stupid. Despite his lack of tact, he gets hired to join a team of code breakers who’re desperately trying to break the code so that the Allies can anticipate Germany’s next moves. He quickly becomes the head of the team and brings Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), a bright young mathematician, into the fold. Given his abrasive personality, Alan has trouble keeping the team together; it doesn’t help that he starts spending excessively to build a machine he thinks will be the solution. Directed by Moten Tyldum (Headhunters), the film finds a way to make code cracking dramatic and doesn’t shy from the details of Alan’s personal life; the man was criminally prosecuted for his homosexuality.

Into the Woods

A musical mash-up that borrows from Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel, Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical Into the Woods was a smash hit on Broadway and is bound to be a big success at the box office too. While this adaptation falters in its second half with its protracted ending, the ensemble cast sets it apart. Meryl Streep is terrific as a wicked witch and Emily Blunt and James Corden are terrific as the couple (the Baker and the Baker’s Wife, respectively) at the center of the storyline. While he’s relegated to a minor role, Chris Pine hams it up as Cinderella’s Prince, a guy who’ll do just about anything to track down the beautiful woman (Anna Kendrick) who showed up one night at his ball. The songs here aren’t terribly memorable but the cast does a credible job of singing them, and the set design is spectacular.

Unbroken

Based on an incredible but true story, Unbroken, the latest film from director Angelina Jolie, has plenty going for it. While many moviegoers will undoubtedly know the story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini, the Olympic runner who enlisted in the Air Force and became a B-24 bombardier, that won’t take away from the suspense at the film’s heart. When Louis (Jack O’Connell) and his crew crash in the middle of the ocean, they need to come up with creative ways to get food and water while floating on a makeshift raft. Eventually, a Japanese patrol picks them up and sends them to a war camp where Louis immediately becomes the target of Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe, the camp leader who picks up on the fact the Louis doesn’t respect him. He really lets Louis have it, brutally beating him with a cane and subjecting him to incredible abuse. Through it all, Louis never lets his spirit break. While the film doesn’t break any new ground here in terms of portraying the horrors of war, it still provides a nice tribute to a story of remarkable bravery.

Mockingjay Part 1

SEE ALSO: EOTM Movie Critics: “American Sniper” Gets It Right – Trailer




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No Folks, North Korea Did not Hack Sony

By Carla B.

Summary: The government blames North Korea of the Axis of Evil for the attack on Sony, a claim quite like the bogus claims of the past we so credulously believed. No matter how often they lie to us, Americans believe what the government tells us. They lie, we believe, their lies are exposed — rinse, repeat. It makes us easy to govern, incapable of self-government, and quite different than our skeptical unruly forebearers. We can do better. This is a great day to begin. Read this and decide for yourself. 

Side note: While most journalists report official government statements, and cite only approving voices, there are a few who quote dissenters. We should pay attention to these few, considering the long list of government lies attributing evil deeds to designated foes. Learning from experience is the beginning of strength.

 

The FBI and the President may claim that the Hermit Kingdom is to blame for the most high-profile network breach in forever. But almost all signs point in another direction.

So, “The Interview” is to be released after all.

The news that the satirical movie—which revolves around a plot to murder Kim Jong-Un—will have a Christmas Day release as planned, will prompt renewed scrutiny of whether, as the US authorities have officially claimed, the cyber attack on Sony really was the work of an elite group of North Korean government hackers.
All the evidence leads me to believe that the great Sony Pictures hack of 2014 is far more likely to be the work of one disgruntled employee facing a pink slip.I may be biased, but, as the director of security operations for DEF CON, the world’s largest hacker conference, and the principal security researcher for Lookout, the world’s leading mobile security company, I think I am worth hearing out.

 The FBI was very clear in its press release about who it believed was responsible for the attack: “The FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions,” they said in their December 19 statement, before adding, “the need to protect sensitive sources and methods precludes us from sharing all of this information”.

With that disclaimer in mind, let’s look at the evidence that the FBI are able to tell us about.

The first piece of evidence described in the FBI bulletin refers to the malware found while examining the Sony Picture’s network after the hack.

“Technical analysis of the data deletion malware used in this attack revealed links to other malware that the FBI knows North Korean actors previously developed. For example, there were similarities in specific lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, and compromised networks.”

So, malware found in the course of investigating the Sony hack bears “strong” similarities to malware found in other attacks attributed to North Korea.

This may be the case—but it is not remotely plausible evidence that this attack was therefore orchestrated by North Korea.

The FBI is likely referring to two pieces of malware in particular, Shamoon, which targeted companies in the oil and energy sectors and was discovered in August 2012, and DarkSeoul, which on June 25, 2013, hit South Korea (it was the 63rd anniversary of the start of the Korean War).

Even if these prior attacks were co-ordinated by North Korea—and plenty of security experts including me doubt that—the fact that the same piece of malware appeared in the Sony hack is far from being convincing evidence that the same hackers were responsible. The source code for the original “Shamoon” malware is widely known to have leaked. Just because two pieces of malware share a common ancestry, it obviously does not mean they share a common operator. Increasingly, criminals actually lease their malware from a group that guarantees their malware against detection. Banking malware and certain “crimeware” kits have been using this model for years.

So the first bit of evidence is weak.

But the second bit of evidence given by the FBI is even more flimsy:

“The FBI also observed significant overlap between the infrastructure used in this attack and other malicious cyber activity the U.S. government has previously linked directly to North Korea. For example, the FBI discovered that several Internet protocol (IP) addresses associated with known North Korean infrastructure communicated with IP addresses that were hardcoded into the data deletion malware used in this attack.”

What they are saying is that the Internet addresses found after the Sony Picture attack are “known” addresses that had previously been used by North Korea in other cyberattacks.

To cyber security experts, the naivety of this statement beggars belief. Note to the FBI: Just because a system with a particular IP address was used for cybercrime doesn’t mean that from now on every time you see that IP address you can link it to cybercrime. Plus, while sometimes IPs can be “permanent”, at other times IPs last just a few seconds.

RELATED: Sony Pictures ‘The Interview’ to be screened in US

It isn’t the IP address that the FBI should be paying attention to. Rather it’s the server or service that’s behind it.

As with much of this investigation our information is somewhat limited. The FBI haven’t released all the evidence, so we have to go by what information is available publicly. Perhaps the most interesting and indeed relevant of this is the C2 (or Command and Control) addresses found in the malware. These addresses were used by whoever carried out the attack to control the malware and can be found in the malware code itself. They are:

● 202.131.222.102—Thailand

● 217.96.33.164—Poland

● 88.53.215.64—Italy

● 200.87.126.116—Bolivia

● 58.185.154.99—Singapore

● 212.31.102.100—Cyprus

● 208.105.226.235—USA

Taking a look at these addresses we find that all but one of them are public proxies. Furthermore, checking online IP reputation services reveals that they have been used by malware operators in the past. This isn’t in the least bit surprising: in order to avoid attribution cybercriminals routinely use things like proxies to conceal their connections. No sign of any North Koreans, just lots of common, or garden, internet cybercriminals.

It is this piece of evidence—freely available to anyone with an enquiring mind and a modicum of cyber security experience—which I believe that the FBI is so cryptically referring to when they talk about “additional evidence” they can’t reveal without compromising “national security”.

Essentially, we are being left in a position where we are expected to just take agency promises at face value. In the current climate, that is a big ask.

If we turn the debate around, and look at some evidence that the North Koreans might NOT be behind the Sony hack, the picture looks significantly clearer.

1. First of all, there is the fact that the attackers only brought up the anti-North Korean bias of “The Interview” after the media did—the film was never mentioned by the hackers right at the start of their campaign. In fact, it was only after a few people started speculating in the media that this and the communication from North Korea “might be linked” that suddenly it did get linked. My view is that the attackers saw this as an opportunity for “lulz”, and a way to misdirect everyone. (And wouldn’t you know it? The hackers are now saying it’s okay for Sony to release the movie, after all.) If everyone believes it’s a nation state, then the criminal investigation will likely die. It’s the perfect smokescreen.

2. The hackers dumped the data. Would a state with a keen understanding of the power of propaganda be so willing to just throw away such a trove of information? The mass dump suggests that whoever did this, their primary motivation was to embarrass Sony Pictures. They wanted to humiliate the company, pure and simple.

3. Blaming North Korea offers an easy way out for the many, many people who allowed this debacle to happen; from Sony Pictures management through to the security team that were defending Sony Picture’s network.

4. You don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to see that blaming North Korea is quite convenient for the FBI and the current U.S. administration. It’s the perfect excuse to push through whatever new, strong, cyber-laws they feel are appropriate, safe in the knowledge that an outraged public is fairly likely to support them.

5. Hard-coded paths and passwords in the malware make it clear that whoever wrote the code had extensive knowledge of Sony’s internal architecture and access to key passwords. While it’s (just) plausible that a North Korean elite cyber unit could have built up this knowledge over time and then used it to make the malware, Occam’s razor suggests the simpler explanation of a pissed-off insider.  Combine that with the details of several layoffs that Sony was planning and you don’t have to stretch the imagination too far to consider that a disgruntled Sony employee might be at the heart of it all.

I am no fan of the North Korean regime. However I believe that calling out a foreign nation over a cybercrime of this magnitude should never have been undertaken on such weak evidence.

The evidence used to attribute a nation state in such a case should be solid enough that it would be both admissible and effective in a court of law. As it stands, I do not believe we are anywhere close to meeting that standard.

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 The Daily  Beast contributed to this report.

 

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Sony Pictures ‘The Interview’ to be screened in US

By Cain Cawthon

Follow us: @EOTMOnline on Twitter EOTM.Media on Facebook

A comedy film about North Korea that had its Christmas Day launch cancelled after a major cyber attack and threats against US cinema-goers is now to get a limited theatrical release, Sony says.

Sony film The Interview has featured highly in hackers' demands - Image credit: Sony Pictures

The Interview will be shown in some independent US cinemas on Thursday.

Sony Chairman Michael Lynton said he was “excited” that the comedy, about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, would now be seen.

Two cinemas in Atlanta and Austin have already revealed screenings.

They said via social media that Sony Pictures had authorised them to show the film, which has been at the centre of escalating tensions between the US and North Korea.

“Breaking news,” tweeted Tim League, founder of the Alamo Drafthouse cinema in Austin.

“Sony has authorized screenings of THE INTERVIEW on Christmas Day. We are making shows available within the hour.”

‘Freedom prevailed’

The White House welcomed the development, with a spokesman saying that President Barack Obama applauded Sony’s decision and that the US was a country that “believes in free speech”.

Seth Rogen, who directed and starred in the film, tweeted: “The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn’t give up!”

Sony had previously announced that the film’s release would be pulled completely, following a hacking attack on the company and threats against cinema chains that planned to screen the film.

That decision drew criticism in Hollywood, with some calling it an attack on the freedom of expression.

Mr Obama had also called Sony’s initial decision to pull the film “a mistake”.

‘First step’

Major movie chains in the US are thought unlikely to take part in the release at this stage.

Mr Lynton said: “We are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theatres so this movie can reach the largest possible audience.”

He also said he “hoped it would be the first step of the film’s release”.

The company has yet to reveal further details of its release plans, but there is also speculation that video on-demand (VOD) will be offered as part of the package.

Sony’s North Korean comedy The Interview, starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, is a classic fish-out-of-water caper – with the odd twist that the fish end up assassinating a world leader.

But is it any good? For now, you can only form an opinion by watching the trailer. But critics who saw the movie in advance had mixed feelings, to say the least.

What is The Interview really like?

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Sony’s decision to show the film came hours after North Korea suffered a severe internet outage that effectively shut down its internet services for 10 hours.

It was not clear what caused this. North Korean officials have not commented on the issue.

The country’s internet services appeared to suffer a second outage on Tuesday afternoon, but they were restored in under an hour, an internet monitoring company said.

US officials have declined to comment on who might have been responsible for the shutdown.

Mr Obama has previously vowed to respond to a hacking attack on Sony, which led to sensitive data and unreleased film material being leaked.

The US said an FBI investigation showed that North Korea was responsible for the cyber attack on Sony – claims denied by North Korea.

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The Interview sagaThe Interview features James Franco and Seth Rogen as two journalists granted an audience with Mr Kim. The CIA then enlists the pair to assassinate him.

News Source: BBC

More on This Story

  • Sony hack: North Korea threatens US as row deepens


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