Village People star Victor Willis has won a longrunning legal battle to reclaim the rights to more than 30 of the disco group's hit songs. The singer/songwriter, who portrayed a traffic cop in the band, left the line-up in 1979 and transferred his rights to 33 tracks, including Y.M.C.A. and In the Navy, to his publisher.
After experiencing a change of heart, the singer invoked a U.S. copyright provision, which can be activated after 35 years, and filed suit in 2011 to win back ownership of the tunes.
He became locked in a bitter fight with the bosses behind the Village People's catalogue, and last year (12) won a court motion to dismiss a lawsuit aimed at blocking his legal action. Now, more than a year later, his lawyers are claiming victory.
Willis' attorney, Jonathan Ross, tells the New York Times, "The termination (of the publisher's rights) is going to occur."
Ross insists the only existing issue concerns the division of rights between his client and co-writers Henri Belolo and the late Jacques Morali.
However, defence lawyer Stewart L. Levy is adamant the case is not over and declares Willis' copyright claim is "far from certain".
Liam Neeson is that rare breed of actor who grows more badass with age who at the cusp of 60 appears quite credible besting men 30 years younger – or anyone else foolish enough to provoke him. In The Grey – a gripping but ponderous man-versus-wild epic directed and co-written by Joe Carnahan (The A-Team) – his foe is no less formidable than Mother Nature in all her fury. She has met her match.
Neeson plays Ottway a man whose sole job on an Alaskan oil rig consists of gunning down the occasional wolf that makes a run at an oilworker. (Fences apparently being in short supply in the Arctic.) Ottway is a hard stoic sort and one gets the strong sense that he tended toward irascibility even before his wife departed (for reasons not made clear till late in the film) taking with her his remaining purpose for living. He gains a new one appropriately enough when his flight home crashes down in the Alaskan wilderness killing all but a handful of its passengers. Ottway his survival skills honed in a previous life emerges as the only person capable of guiding them to salvation.
Carnahan surrounds Neeson with an ensemble of familiar types the most notable of which are Talget (Dermot Mulroney) the family man Henrick (Dallas Roberts) the conscience and Diaz (Frank Grillo) the jerk. They encounter the predictable male team-building hurdles puffing chests and locking horns before Ottway asserts himself as the Alpha Male. Figuring they’ll perish before salvation arrives they agree to make the perilous trek to the nearest human habitat braving any number of dangers the most fearsome of which are the ravenous “rogue wolves” that roam the landscape. (The film shot in British Columbia in conditions that were apparently every bit as brutal as they appear on-screen certainly looks authentic – both beautiful and ominous.)
When they aren’t battling the predatory lupine menace the men have time – far too much time – to reflect upon their plight and its existential implications. The Grey would have been perfectly enjoyable as a straightforward survival epic the “Liam punches wolves” movie promised by the trailer but Carnahan is intent on imbuing the film with a philosophical poignancy wholly unsuitable for a film featuring lines like “We’re in Fuck City population five and dwindling ” and “We’re gonna cook this son of a bitch!” – the latter uttered at the capture of one of the wolves. As a film Carnahan’s macho metaphysics leave The Grey feeling a bit overcooked.