Netflix

Chelsea Handler

Looks like Chelsea Handler is getting out of the late night talk show game — well, sort of. The current host of E!’s Chelsea Lately hasn’t made it any secret that she’s unhappy at the network she just so happens to be leaving soon or that she’s looking for another steady gig in the late night realm, but the comedienne has now signed up for a new show that, by its very design, is not a late night talk show. In reality, it’s an anytime talk show, because Handler is now moving over to Netflix for the next stage of her career.The streaming service (and DVD rental giant, but who ever thinks about that anymore) announced the pairing today via a press release, the kind peppered with fawning language and lots of Handler’s trademark humor (which, cough cough, doesn’t work for everyone).

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The Magic School Bus

“Magic School Bus, the old version, is remarkably popular on Netflix. It teaches science in a way that transcends generations.” Very true, Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. Magic School Bus does transcend generations — it taught my generation all about human innards, ecosystems and the benefits of dangerous, unplanned field trips. It’s why the show continues to be re-run on TV for today’s youth, and why those same re-runs are also extremely popular Netflix streamables. And it’s for these same reasons that Magic School Bus will be rebooted. To better appeal to…today’s youth. Doesn’t make much sense, but it might if Ms. Frizzle explained it to us.

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Marvel Comics

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for Marvel. Ideally, we should all be salivating to the thought of a raccoon and a tree becoming space-besties while a chorus of men softly Ooga Chaka in the background. Instead we’ve spent that time suffering through Edgar Wright withdrawal as Marvel asked out and was roundly rejected by a string of comedy directors before settling for Peyton Reed. Hey, he’s not my first choice, but he’ll do. That’s all in the past now. Because while Ant-Man is slated for a 2015 release, people seem to forget that Daredevil is set to hit Netflix the same year. And while Daredevil (or Marvel’s Daredevil, as it’s being referred to in the official literature) is still in the casting phases, it’s not nearly as disappointing as Ant-Man has suddenly become. Case in point: Vincent D’Onofrio is now the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Kingpin.

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Orange is the New Black Season 2

Hopefully you’re ready to go back to prison. Orange is the New Black has returned in all of its shower shoe glory (and in its entirety, of course). Since all 13 episodes of season 2 are on Netflix, let’s spend the entire day with Piper, Taystee, Nicky, Red, Alex, Crazy Eyes, Lorna and all the other guests of the Litchfield penal system. When we last left that gigantic cast Red’s lost her power, the Supervisor Sam was a complete jackass and Piper was punching an angel. I’ll be binge-watching and writing down some reactions as we go along, so let’s slide the bars into place and get not-going. Standing still is hard.

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Daredevil

So Edgar Wright won’t direct Ant-Man for Marvel after years of developing it with them. Let’s mourn the lost potential and, since he already made a superhero comic book film with Scott Pilgrim, celebrate his freedom to go make something independent of a well-established universe. Since we’re already doing one or the other (or a little bit of both), we might as well amplify the efforts now that Drew Goddard won’t be running the new Daredevil for Netflix. Latino-Review broke the news on the heels of Wright’s exit that the absurdly tall Cabin in the Woods writer/director will slide away from showrunner status to become a consultant for the blind superhero’s new adventures. Taking his place, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is Steven S. DeKnight (Spartacus, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Goddard focuses all of his energy on Sony’s Sinister Six.

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Brie Larson in Short Term 12

Another month, another batch of recommendations for everyone out there who’s currently adrift in the sea that is the Netflix Watch Instantly menu without a good flick to float on. Click on the films’ titles in order to be taken to their Netflix page and to add them to your queue. Or—sorry—to your “My List.” Pick of the Month:  Short Term 12 (2013) Critics have been talking about Short Term 12 pretty incessantly ever since it started making the festival rounds last year. To the point where some of you who read about movies a lot may be getting sick of hearing about it. There’s a reason why the film keeps getting brought up, though, and that’s because it’s really that good. It’s also the kind of micro-budget movie that absolutely depends on word of mouth in order to get seen. This is the sort of small release that couldn’t even afford to launch an Oscar campaign that would have brought it to the attention of Academy voters, so it wasn’t able to earn buzz through the winning of little golden men, which it arguably deserved a handful of.  The movie, which is from a relatively new filmmaker named Destin Cretton, is set in the world of a residential treatment facility for troubled youth, which means that it’s full of characters whose lives can be mined for quite a bit of drama—and mine them Cretton does. This is one of the rare films that manages to dig way deep into themes […]

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The Hangover Part II

I love when Jeffrey Katzenberg has predictions about the movie industry. Here’s a guy who thought 3D was going to change everything. I mean, it could have, and I was with him back in 2006, but that got ruined fast (don’t even get me started on how bad The Amazing Spider-Man 2 looks, especially in the first two action scenes). He’s also a guy who seemed to have it all figured out about revolutionizing the feature animation game when he left Disney, but now of course he’s losing money on one bad idea after another (not that I ever though Shrek was a good idea). Now his latest prophecy is as silly as they get: the DreamWorks Animation head thinks by 2024 we will be paying variable prices for movie content based on the size of the screen. Yep, that would mean your Netflix subscription would monitor whether you were watching on a phone, tablet, laptop, modest size TV or big screen TV. Who knows what the deal would be on monitor and projector hookups to your computer, the latter potentially blowing up your picture to fill your wall, but then he also rattles off prices as if movie theater tickets will still only be $15. Katzenberg’s idea came up during some panel about entrepreneurial leadership on Monday. Variety quoted him as saying, I think the model will change and you won’t pay for the window of availability. A movie will come out and you will have 17 days, that’s exactly three […]

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Netflix Roulette Experiment

Last night, I let Netflix Roulette pick what movies I was going to watch. The program virtually digs through all the streaming options on the site notorious for not having quality streaming options and comes up with a link that only the bold should click on. It’s not really all that crazy. We let people suggest movies all the time. Friends, critics we consistently agree and disagree with, memes. I thought, “how bad could it really be?” The answer isn’t 0 stars, but it’s pretty close. Admittedly, that little red “Spin” button held a mystical kind of power to it when I committed to letting it decide my cinematic destiny. Probably because there’s something different about opening up a massive library and throwing a digital dart into the wind. Netflix Roulette is like a box of chocolates, and to be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what my goal was beyond exploring Netflix in a different way (and maybe seeing it for what it really is). Half-baked as it all was, I pressed the red button and dove beyond the movie veil of ignorance. Here’s what I saw.

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Netflix Roulette

I’m one of those people who can’t make a decision to save my life. When given a choice in anything, whether there are only two options or an infinite amount, I take forever making up my mind. It drives my family nuts, though it’s not like I’m a fan of the problem either. It cripples my ability to buy new things, decide what to have for dinner, even plan what to do at any moment of the day. Fortunately there are such things as the shuffle feature on iPods and whole services like Pandora to give me randomly selected songs, so I don’t have to pick (and I can shuffle between stations there, too, so I don’t even have to choose a genre). It’s much better than when I was a kid and would choose a CD to listen out of a hat — seriously, I had a hat with slips of paper in it with all my CDs represented. Now I’ve discovered a new app that allows me to be just as random about my movie watching. Most of the time I actually don’t have to choose. I watch what I need to watch for work, whether I’m reviewing or researching a list or any other assignment requiring something to be seen. Typically I have more screeners on the side of my desk than I have time to get through. But there are the occasions when I get some free time to watch something just for fun, and whenever that happens […]

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Tye Sheridan in

Ever find yourself itching with the desire to plant your ass on the couch all day, but facing the dilemma that you can’t find anything in the endlessly scrolling Netflix menu worth watching? We’ve all been there. They don’t make it easy on us, do they? There’s no need to worry though, because there are actually always plenty of movies on Netflix well worth watching, and here we have a list of 18 of them that have either been added or re-added to the service (these things do tend to come and go, don’t they?) in recent months. Click on the titles to be taken to the films’ Netflix pages, where they can be easily added to your queue. You’ll thank yourself next time the concept of leaving your house and interacting with other humans seems unthinkable.

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Breaking Bad art by 100Sons

“I think Netflix kept us on the air.” Breaking Bad creator and executive producer Vince Gilligan said that in September at the Emmy Awards, referencing the struggles his show endured following its second season. On the same night that House of Cards became the first web-only show to win a Primetime Emmy award, Gilligan told Mashable that streaming services such as Netflix have ushered in a golden age of television, allowing audiences to consume their favorite shows at their own pace. His creation, the story of cancer-stricken chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and his former student/partner Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), now lives on Netflix in its entirety. As of Monday, one of modern television’s great dramas can be watched end-to-end on your favorite streaming device, on your schedule. As Mike once told Walter in season three, “No more half-measures.”

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Vintage Test Pattern

Television is no longer television. At least, what we think of as “television” is no longer confined to whatever your cable box or bunny ears spit out on the boxed screen that sits on your Swedish-made entertainment center or hangs on your wall (you swanky person, you). “Television” as we recognize it now seems to fall under the extremely large umbrella of “continuing stories that are not movies.” While some constraints remain relatively constant (most “television” won’t premiere in a movie theater, though damn if any number of film festivals, especially SXSW, are turning that on its head), other rules are becoming increasingly more flexible (you might be able to watch all of a show in one sitting, or see it via DVD before it even bows on a small screen near you). But if “television” is now the kind of thing you can watch on a phone or on a computer or on an actual television set and that comes to you by way of “networks” that are also no longer confined to the traditional terminology that encompasses “network,” what should we be calling it? We’ve got some ideas.

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Reality Bites

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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guardiansofthegalaxy

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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The One I Love

Speaking yesterday from his second home at Sundance, Mark Duplass was direct about the catalyst for his success: “Getting yourself into theaters is great. Getting a big VOD pop is great, but my first movie made a grand total of $220,000 in theaters but about 5 million people have seen it on Netflix because they can click on it and they can try it out. And so I really recommend to get your get goddamn movie on Netflix. It made my career.” It’s difficult to see the flaw in Duplass’ logic here, especially since most indie filmmakers would be thrilled to see any kind of distribution online, let alone on a platform that commands 34 million members. However, it could be a boon to the network itself, and Netflix would be wise to piggyback on the comments to tell indie filmmakers, “Get your goddamn movie on us.” Except more eloquently. Maybe less creepy.

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Netflix Envelope

Reading Felix Salmon’s downer article and searching for a classic mystery thriller has gotten me pessimistic about Netflix. Not about its future as a business, but as a user. As a movie fan. The core problem that we all know so well is that Netflix doesn’t have a lot of streaming options (hence the small crop that manifested from searching for classic mystery thrillers). The secondary problem, as Salmon points it: “As a result, Netflix can’t, any longer, aspire to be the service which allows you to watch the movies you want to watch. That’s how it started off, and that’s what it still is, on its legacy DVDs-by-mail service. But if you don’t get DVDs by mail, Netflix has made a key tactical decision to kill your queue — the list of movies that you want to watch. Once upon a time, when a movie came out and garnered good reviews, you could add it to your list, long before it was available on DVD, in the knowledge that it would always become available eventually. If you’re a streaming subscriber, however, that’s not possible: if you give Netflix a list of all the movies you want to watch, the proportion available for streaming is going to be so embarrassingly low that the company decided not to even give you that option any more. While Amazon has orders of magnitude more books than your local bookseller ever had, Netflix probably has fewer movies available for streaming than your local VHS […]

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wweNetwork

The rapid advancement of technology over the last decade has basically thrown the entire world of movie distribution into upheaval, so much so that it hasn’t looked like any of the confusion regarding the best way for movie studios to make money off their content libraries is going to get cleared up anytime soon. Back in the 80s and 90s things were easy. Your movie played in theaters for a while, it left theaters, and then it got put out on home video. With the advent of mobile devices, high speed data connections, streaming HD video, and all-you-can-eat subscription services, however, that simple model has been subverted. Now we’re living in a world where video stores are dead, DVD sales are plummeting, advertisers can’t rely on viewers watching TV shows as they first air, and it’s left all of the content creators out there scratching their heads, trying to figure out how they’re going to keep making money off of all the entertainment they’ve built their businesses creating. Well, everyone has been scratching their heads except for evil genius/Chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, Vince McMahon, it seems. With the announcement of his company’s new content platform/subscription service, the WWE Network, he just may have come up with the right mix of intangibles to keep selling backbreakers and eye gouges to wrestling fans from here until the end of time. And he may have provided a business model that can keep all of the big media companies profitable in […]

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netflixbuffering

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Thor: The Dark World

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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samsungtv

More than a few prognosticators have predicted in recent years that sometime soon going to see movies in theaters is going to be a thing of the past, and watching movies at home is going to be the standard of the future. Half of that viewpoint stems from the problems moviegoers have with poorly projected films and unruly patrons ruining their multiplex experiences, and the other half comes from the conveniences of having gigantic HD screens and digital content delivery available right in our homes. What sane person wants to pay theater prices to leave their house and have their movie interrupted by someone else’s cellphone when they can stay at home and watch the industry’s latest in crystal clear clarity, right from the comfort of the butt groove they’ve worked so hard to wear into their couch? Well, people who really love movies and the communal nature of moviegoing might, and there are a number of strategies that theaters can probably take to maintain their relevance moving ahead into the future, but let’s not jump into that argument today. Instead, let’s think about those ultra-fancy, ultra-convenient home theaters of the future, and try to get an idea of what they might eventually look like, thanks to recent innovations from two companies who are working hard to make sure that their offerings become staples of your future entertainment diet—Samsung and Netflix.

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