i>FLUSHED AWAY: NO FEAT OF CLAY

Although numerous reports have referred to the upcoming Flushed Away from Aardman Features as a "claymation" movie -- that is, one using Plasticene figures and stop-frame photography like the company's previous Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit -- it now turns out that the characters in the feature were all created with computers. Today's (Thursday) Los Angeles Times reported that the filmmakers wanted to keep "the same distinctive design aesthetic" of the original Aardman movies, but that they also wanted to open up the movie (to show the Paris sewer system, for example). Aardman director David Bowers told the newspaper, "If we had to do it in stop-frame, it would have been a much smaller and much dryer film, that's for sure."

TIME WARNER SHOWS MOSTLY SOLID RESULTS

Time Warner had a mixed bag of financial results to report on Wednesday. On the one hand, profits at its cable-TV company soared as a result of its acquisition of some of the cable systems previously owned by Adelphia. At AOL, advertising revenue jumped 46 percent. On the other hand, its film division registered a 10-percent drop, as most of its features showed lukewarm results at best. The sole exception: Superman Returns, which performed strongly, especially overseas. However, Time Warner COO Jeff Bewkes said in a conference call with investors Wednesday, "I am highly confident that we will grow the earnings on the film side next year." Time Warner stock appears to have found favor among investors once again, rising 20 percent since August. At midday trading in New York today (Thursday), it stood at $19.94, off slightly from its 52-week high of $20.08 set on Oct. 26.

PIRATES WINNING TECHNOLOGICAL WAR, CNN CONCLUDES

Internet pirates appear to be winning the "technological arms race" against the film and music industries, CNN has concluded. The cable news network reported on its website Wednesday that the pirates have discovered a method of erasing the watermarks that the film industry has added to DVDs and theatrical releases to help track down bootleggers. They have also reportedly discovered a way to prevent the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America from scanning the computers of file sharers for copyrighted material. "This is what arms races are all about," CNN/Money writer Owen Thomas wrote. "May the best tech win."

CAUGHT WITH PANTS DOWN, PITT THREATENS TO SUE MAGAZINE

Brad Pitt is threatening legal action against Vanity Fair magazine for using a picture of him dressed -- or undressed -- in boxer shorts and white socks on the cover of its December issue. Pitt claims that he never authorized publication of the picture, which was taken by photographer Robert Wilson as part of a video art project last year. As reported by the London Independent, the magazine used the Pitt photo in connection with an art feature about Wilson. Vanity Fair said that Pitt had signed a photo release agreeing to allow the photographer to use any image of him that Wilson had taken in connection with publicity for the video project. Moreover, it said, it sent Pitt a letter dated Oct. 5, 2006 informing him that the picture was going to be featured on the cover of Vanity Fair.

CRAIG'S SKIN NOT AS THICK AS BOND'S

Daniel Craig has responded in distinctly un-James-Bondish terms to Internet critics who have slammed the decision to cast him in the role of 007 in the upcoming (Nov. 17) Casino Royale. In an interview with GQ magazine, Craig admitted that he continues to be stung by the criticism. "Some of the stuff that's been said is as close to a playground taunt as you are going to get," he said, "'You've got big ears!' F***ing hell!" He added: "But [if] you ask anyone who has been bullied, they know it hurts. It is not right. There is a part of me that would love to turn it around and shove it up their arse."

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.