Fox paranoia over intellectual property prompts cell phone ban at our film festival. (Plus a review of the film.)

We went to see The East tonight at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival.

Someone is attacking big corporate CEOs and forcing them to consume the harmful products they manufacture. An elite private intelligence firm is called into action and contracts ex-FBI agent Sarah Moss to infiltrate a mysterious anarchist collective, The East, suspected to be responsible.

This was a preview showing for distributors Fox Searchlight Pictures and they were very paranoid of cellphone video recordings. So they had security at the doors and officially you could not bring a cellphone in to the showing. In addition, one of the security guys announced at the beginning of the film that there were other security types in the projector booth with night vision goggles. Given the nature of the movie, it’s possible this was a marketing ploy but the crowd was not happy and one gentleman stood and said he found the treatment offensive. Another asked if there was a SWAT team in the lobby.

By studio request, camera phones and any recording devices will not be allowed in the screening of The East. You will not be allowed into the theatre while carrying a camera phone. Please leave your cell phone in your car. A secure cell phone check will also be available at the theatre door. We greatly appreciate your cooperation!

Whether marketing or true paranoia, the movie just isn’t that good. The trailer below highlights the best scenes but plot believability falls apart quickly. Movies with agents and infiltrators need to be tight and at least 90% believable. I can forgive some plot shortcuts but this one just kept them coming. Sarah in handcuffs is able to pick the locks and escape but the anarchist guy doesn’t notice. Anarchist guy just happens to know which fence section Sarah will be scaling to escape. After being taken in by the anarchists, Sarah spys on their late night ceremony, gets caught, and convinces her captor to not tell the rest of the group. Huh?

If you like tight spy thrillers, wait until this one gets to Netflix streaming. If spy and action films aren’t your regular fare, you might be OK with this one. My partner really liked it but she would never see a Bourne movie (or even Bond for that matter).

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