Netflix cites “more entertainment choices than ever,” raises prices again

Netflix cites “more entertainment choices than ever,” raises prices again

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

On Friday, Netflix confirmed plans to raise prices for its video-streaming services in North America for the seventh time in 11 years.

Unlike many previous Netflix price hikes, this year’s bump hits all three subscription options. In the United States, the “basic” tier, which is capped at 720p and includes other limits, receives its first increase in three years, jumping $1 to $9.99 per month. The 1080p “standard” tier goes up $1.50 to $15.49 per month. And the 4K “premium” tier jumps $2 to $19.99 per month. Canadian customers can expect similar jumps in prices for all three tiers as well.

Netflix says the price increases will roll out in phases to existing customers based on their billing cycles, and all customers will get no less than 30 days’ notice before the higher prices go into effect. Brand-new customers must begin paying the higher prices immediately.

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#disney, #disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #hulu, #netflix, #video-streaming

Raised by Wolves S2 trailer promises another wild, crazy (possibly maddening) ride

Amanda Collin returns as Mother in the second season of HBO’s original series Raised by Wolves.

We finally have the full trailer for the second season of Raised by Wolves, the visually striking, occasionally frustrating sci-fi series created by Aaron Guzikowski, with Ridley Scott serving as executive producer. The series returns to HBO Max on February 3.

(Spoilers for S1 below.)

As I’ve written previously, the series involves two androids serving as Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim) figures on a strange virgin planet, Kepler-22b (an actual observed extrasolar planet), after Earth has been destroyed by the outbreak of a religious war. They are programmed to incubate, birth, and raise human children to rebuild the population and set up an atheist civilization to keep the human race from going extinct.

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #raised-by-wolves, #ridley-scott, #streaming-television, #trailers

Finding Joy Through Art at the End of the World in ‘Station Eleven’

Emily St. John Mandel talks about the pandemic novel she wrote years before Covid-19 and the HBO Max adaptation that some viewers have found oddly life-affirming.

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For One Last Season, Alia Shawkat Is the Life of ‘Search Party’

On this dark and demanding satire, whose final episodes arrive Friday on HBO Max, Shawkat learned that she was more than capable of holding her own.

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HBO Max and HBO Hit 73.8 million Subscribers, Topping Company Forecast

The announcement represents a vindication of the strategy to release the entire Warner Bros. 2021 film slate simultaneously in theaters and on streaming.

#att-inc, #company-reports, #hbo-max, #home-box-office, #kilar-jason, #movies, #television, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming, #warner-media-llc

HBO Max rings in a raunchy new year with Peacemaker red band trailer

Peacemaker explores the continuing story of the character that John Cena reprises from James Gunn’s 2021 film The Suicide Squad.

It’s a brand new year, and HBO Max has kicked it off with a shiny new red-band trailer for Peacemaker.

As we’ve reported previously, the eight-episode spinoff series is set after the events of Gunn’s 2021 filmm The Suicide Squad—specifically after the post-credits scene, in which we learned that Peacemaker had survived what had appeared to be a fatal shooting. The first teaser dropped in October, showing Peacemaker (aka Christopher Smith) being recruited by Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji) for another mission in order to avoid going back to prison.

Once again, he’s basically an assassin, but at least he’s only killing bad people (maybe). He gets assistance from warden John Economos (Steve Agee) of the Belle Reve penitentiary, NSA agent and former Waller aide Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland), and new team member Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks). The cast also includes Robert Patrick (Terminator 2) as Peacemaker’s crusty father, Auggie Smith, who thinks his son is a “nancy-boy”; Freddie Stroma as Adrian Chase (aka Vigilante), a district attorney who fights crime and has rapid-healing abilities; and Nhut Le as Judomaster

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #james-gunn, #peacemaker, #streaming-television, #trailers

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to HBO, Hulu, Apple TV+ and More in January

Every month, streaming services add movies and TV shows to their libraries. Here are our picks for some of January’s most promising new titles.

#apple-tv-plus, #hbo-max, #hulu-com, #peacock-services, #television

Review: Matrix Resurrections has just enough of the old magic to delight fans

Keanu Reeves returns as Neo in <em>The Matrix Resurrections</em>

Enlarge / Keanu Reeves returns as Neo in The Matrix Resurrections (credit: Warner Bros.)

After nearly 20 years, moviegoers finally have the change to revisit the imaginative cyberpunk world of 1999’s The Matrix with the fourth installment in the sci-fi franchise: The Matrix Resurrections. It’s not a perfect film, but there’s enough of the old magic to delight longtime fans. The stars still radiate chemistry, there are plenty of cameos and sly nods to the franchise throughout, and the familiar themes have been subtly updated to make them more relevant than ever.

(Some minor spoilers below, but no major reveals.)

As I’ve written previously, it’s difficult to overstate the deep cultural impact of The Matrix. It redefined the sci-fi film genre and shaped an entire generation of fans—plus, it raked in $460 million worldwide, garnered multiple Oscars, and sent star Keanu Reeves’ already healthy career into the Hollywood stratosphere. Cyberpunk author William Gibson called The Matrix “an innocent delight I hadn’t felt in a long time,” and he named Neo as his all-time favorite sci-fi action hero.

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#film-review, #film-reviews, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #keanu-reeves, #the-matrix-resurrections, #warner-bros

Chris Noth Is Dropped From ‘The Equalizer’ Amid Sexual Assault Allegations

The actor’s ousting from the show came days after The Hollywood Reporter wrote about encounters with two women, one in 2004 and the other in 2015.

#and-just-like-that-tv-program, #cbs-corporation, #hbo-max, #hollywood-reporter, #laworder-tv-program, #noth-chris, #sex-and-the-city-tv-program, #television, #the-good-wife-tv-program, #universal-television

Chris Noth Peloton Ad Pulled After Sexual Assault Allegations

The online ad, a response to the “Sex and the City” reboot, was removed after The Hollywood Reporter published an article in which two women accused the actor of sexual assault.

#and-just-like-that-tv-program, #hbo-max, #hollywood-reporter, #home-box-office, #noth-chris, #online-advertising, #peloton-interactive-inc, #sex-and-the-city-tv-program, #sex-crimes, #sexual-harassment, #television

Review: In ‘Station Eleven,’ the World Ends, Beautifully

Don’t let the pandemic premise chase you off. This is the most uplifting post-apocalyptic show you’re likely to see.

#davis-mackenzie, #hbo-max, #lawler-matilda, #station-eleven-tv-program, #television

Mackenzie Davis Catches Fire

In the new HBO Max series “Station Eleven,” Davis plays the lead as a tough but vulnerable survivor of a pandemic. She had ample experience to draw from.

#davis-mackenzie, #hbo-max, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #station-eleven-tv-program, #television

Can Peloton Sue Over Its ‘And Just Like That’ Appearance?

A Peloton stationary bike played a pivotal role on the new HBO Max “Sex and the City” revival, whose premiere preceded a drop in the company’s stock price on Friday.

#and-just-like-that-tv-program, #bicycles-and-bicycling, #hbo-max, #peloton-interactive-inc, #product-placement, #sex-and-the-city-tv-program, #television, #trademarks-and-trade-names

How Samantha Jones Was Written Out of ‘And Just Like That’

Here’s how the “Sex and the City” revival wrote out Kim Cattrall, who has been publicly critical of the star, Sarah Jessica Parker. Plus: A roundup of the best reviews of “And Just Like That.”

#and-just-like-that-tv-program, #cattrall-kim, #davis-kristin, #hbo-max, #king-michael-patrick, #nixon-cynthia, #parker-sarah-jessica, #television

Review: ‘And Just Like That,’ It All Went Wrong

The “Sex and the City” revival is part dramedy about heartbreak, part awkward bid at relevance.

#and-just-like-that-tv-program, #choudhury-sarita, #davis-kristin, #garson-willie-1964-2021, #hbo-max, #king-michael-patrick, #nixon-cynthia, #noth-chris, #parker-nicole-ari, #parker-sarah-jessica, #pittman-karen, #ramirez-sara-1975, #sex-and-the-city-tv-program, #television

Raised by Wolves S2 teaser reminds us why we loved the series—until the S1 finale

The second season of HBO’s new original sci-fi series, Raised by Wolves is coming in February.

The first teaser for S2 of Raised by Wolves is here, and our feelings are mixed. On the one hand, once again, the visuals are amazing and we’re thrilled that the strikingly androgynous Danish actress Amanda Collin is returning to star as Mother. Her extraordinary performance anchored the first season’s narrative arc and spooky, other-worldly vibe, and that same moody, disquieting viibe is present in the teaser.  On the other hand, we were seriously disappointed in the S1 finale, which has shaken our confidence that S2 will rebound from that fiasco to become the genuinely original and visionary series it initially had promised to be.

(Major spoilers for the S1 finale below.)

The series was created by Aaron Guzikowski, with Ridley Scott serving as executive producer and directing the first two episodes. As I’ve written previously, the story involves two androids serving as Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim) figures on a strange virgin planet, Kepler 22b (an actual observed extrasolar planet), after Earth has been destroyed by the outbreak of a religious war. They are programmed to incubate, birth, and raise human children to rebuild the population and set up an atheist civilization to keep the human race from going extinct. It’s a harsh, dangerous environment, even for androids, and only one of their original six children survived: Campion (Winta McGrath).

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #raised-by-wolves, #ridley-scott, #streaming-television, #trailers

New Peacemaker trailer gives us a redeemable villain we might learn to like

John Cena reprises his role in The Suicide Squad in new HBO Max spinoff series Peacemaker.

HBO Max has dropped the official full trailer for Peacemaker, the spinoff series based on John Cena’s murderously entertaining character from The Suicide Squad.

As we’ve reported previously, director James Gunn wrote the series last summer during the COVID-19 lockdown, just for fun, but then DC Films approached him about a possible spinoff series for one of the characters in The Suicide Squad. He picked Cena’s Peacemaker, since he felt audiences never got the chance to get to know the character in the film—where, it must be said, he does some Very Bad Things, even for a member of the Suicide Squad. Gunn wanted to make Peacemaker less irredeemable. HBO Max was sufficiently impressed with Gunn’s take that it ordered Peacemaker straight to series.

The eight-episode series is set after the events of The Suicide Squad, specifically after the post-credits scene, in which we learned that Peacemaker had survived what had appeared to be a fatal shooting. The first teaser dropped in October, showing Peacemaker (aka Christopher Smith) being recruited by Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji) for another mission in order to avoid going back to prison.

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #john-cena, #peacemaker, #streaming-television, #trailers

‘And Just Like That’: The Shoe Must Go On

In the ’90s, “Sex and the City” celebrated single women. Can a new, more nuanced version make a comedy of middle-aged ones?

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Survivors try to stay positive after deadly pandemic in Station Eleven trailer

A limited series based on Emily St. John Mandel’s international bestseller, Station Eleven is a post-apocalyptic saga that follows survivors of a devastating flu as they attempt to rebuild and reimagine the world anew while holding on to the best of what’s been lost.

A deadly flu wipes out most of humanity and the survives try to cling to hope in the official trailer for Station Eleven, the forthcoming new series from HBO Max about the onset and aftermath of a global flu pandemic that wipes out most of humanity. The ten-episode series is based on the international bestselling novel of the same name by Emily St. John Mandel.

I won’t re-hash the novel’s entire complicated plot; you can get those details here. It concerns an outbreak of the “Georgia Flu”—a virus that is both highly contagious and deadly—that is sweeping over the world, leaving millions of corpses in its wake. Within a few weeks, the majority of humanity succumbs to the disease. The novel then jumps some 20 years after Year Zero, focusing in part on a group of actors and musicians who travel from  from town to town, staging concerts and Shakespeare’s plays. But not everyone has responded to this new reality with that kind of positive idealism. The troupe soon runs into trouble in a town controlled by a mysterious cult figure known only as The Prophet.

Himesh Patel plays Jeevan a paramedic traineee who befriends a young child actress named Kristen after most of her fellow King Lear cast members die in Year Zero. Mackenzie Davis portrays the adult Kirsten. Gael Garcia Bernal plays doomed actor Arthur Leander (star of the aforementioned production); Danielle Deadwyler plays Arthur’s first wife Miranda; Caitlin FitzGerald plays Arthur’s second wife Elizabeth; and Julian Obradors plays Tyler, Arthur’s son by Elizabeth. Daniel Zovatto is listed as playing The Prophet, which is either sleight of hand on the production’s part or a genuine departure from the novel. (The true identity of The Prophet is one of the novel’s big reveals.)

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #station-eleven, #streaming-television

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Amazon, HBO, Hulu and More in December

Every month, streaming services add movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our picks for some of December’s most promising new titles.

#amazon-com-inc, #disney-plus, #hbo-max, #hulu-com, #paramount-plus, #peacock-services, #television

‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’ Pursues an Awkward Education

The young stars of this new HBO Max comedy, cocreated by Mindy Kaling, discuss the mortification and messiness of undergraduate intimacy.

#chalamet-pauline, #hbo-max, #kaling-mindy, #kaur-amrit, #noble-justin, #rapp-renee, #scott-alyah-chanelle, #television, #the-sex-lives-of-college-girls-tv-program

Station Eleven teaser is intriguing, but will show run afoul of pandemic fatigue?

A major flu epidemic wipes out most of the world’s population in Station Eleven, a new series on HBO Max.

In early 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was in its infancy, there was a sudden spike of interest in watching the 2011 film Contagion. Ditto for 1995’s Outbreak. Chalk it up to morbid curiosity. When feeling threatened by an actual pandemic, some people lean in to that fear and uncertainty with their media choices rather than seeking escape—perhaps as an evolved response mechanism for dealing with threats by learning from imagined experiences.

That would seem to bode well for the success of Station Eleven, a forthcoming new series from HBO Max that depicts the onset and aftermath of a global flu pandemic that wipes out most of humanity. HBO greenlit the series—which is based on the award-winning 2014 novel of the same name by Emily St. John Mandel—in the Before Times. The network just dropped an intriguing teaser, along with a few first-look still photographs.

Timing might be a factor here. Granted, there was an uptick in readership for Mandel’s novel last year, in keeping with the morbid curiosity hypothesis. But with COVID-19 cases still sporadically surging around the world and fatigue and frustration mounting, has the taste for apocalyptic pandemic scenarios (other than zombie movies) run its course?

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #station-eleven, #streaming-television, #trailers

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Amazon, HBO, Hulu and More in November

Every month, streaming services add movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our picks for some of November’s most promising new titles.

#amazon-com-inc, #apple-tv-plus, #dickinson-tv-program, #disney-plus, #hawkeye-tv-program, #hbo-max, #how-to-with-john-wilson-tv-program, #hulu-com, #movies, #television, #the-great-tv-program, #the-shrink-next-door-tv-program, #the-wheel-of-time-tv-program

Dune 2021 film review: The spice must flow, but then it stops abruptly

Denis Villeneuve's vision of <em>Dune</em> appears to be heated not by scorching desert suns but by a ton of Hollywood hotties. That's one way to get the spice to flow.

Enlarge / Denis Villeneuve’s vision of Dune appears to be heated not by scorching desert suns but by a ton of Hollywood hotties. That’s one way to get the spice to flow. (credit: Warner Bros.)

I left my first screening of Dune (2021) convinced that I would watch it again soon.

For a film that spends much of its time in a barren desert wasteland, Dune‘s cinematography consistently dazzles. And despite a sizable cast of seemingly important characters, Dune does a good job establishing empathy and likability across the board—without losing the story’s thread. Lead actor Timothée Chalamet also comfortably surmounts whatever massive expectations series fans might have about the Dune universe’s latest “chosen one.”

But that’s not to say it’s a perfect or even great film—a fact that shouldn’t necessarily ring alarm bells for anyone familiar with David Lynch’s cult-favorite effort. And while Denis Villeneuve’s ambitious take is certainly anchored in a familiar story, marked by identical storytelling beats, it works hard to differentiate itself from the 1984 film, as if to make it easier for fans to love both of them.

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#denis-villeneuve, #dune, #film-review, #film-reviews, #frank-herbert, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #movie-review, #movie-reviews

John Cena shows off comedic chops in extended teaser for Peacemaker series

John Cena reprises his role as Peacemaker for the forthcoming HBO Max spinoff series Peacemaker.

John Cena’s Peacemaker was among the standout characters in The Suicide Squad‘s star-studded ensemble cast, so we were intrigued by the news that a spinoff series was in the works. We knew that Peacemaker was being written and directed by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), and that the series will explore will explore the origins of the character and his subsequent missions. And now we have our first look, thanks to HBO Max, which released an extended teaser trailer for the series during the DC FanDome event.

(A couple of spoilers for The Suicide Squad below.)

Gunn wrote the series last summer during the COVID-19 lockdown, just for fun, but then DC Films approached him about a possible spinoff series for one of the characters in The Suicide Squad. I’m not sure Peacemaker would have been my first choice—Cena’s performance was terrific, but I haven’t quite forgiven the character for the Very Bad Thing he did in that film—but Gunn’s instincts are pretty impeccable, and he clearly felt there was more story to tell.

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #john-cena, #peacemaker, #streaming-television, #trailers

A civil war is brewing for the Iron Throne in House of the Dragon teaser

HBO has released the first teaser for House of the Dragon, giving us our first real look at this spinoff prequel series to Game of Thrones. Set 200 years before the events of its predecessor, the series will chronicle the beginning of the end for the reign of House Targaryen, culminating in civil war. In addition to co-creators George R.R. Martin and Ryan J. Condal, Miguel Sapochnik—who filmed some of the most eye-popping, complicated battles on Game of Thrones—will serve as co-showrunner and direct the pilot and several other episodes. The series began filming in April.

This time around, the source material is Martin’s 2018 epic fantasy Fire and Blood, a fictional history of the Targaryen kings. It begins with Aegon I’s conquest of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, thanks to the family’s advanced weaponry in the form of dragons, followed by a period of relative peace. Part three focuses on Aegon I’s sons, King Aenys I and King Maegor I. When the latter dies, the son of Aenys, Jaehaerys I, ascends to the Iron Throne. Jaehaerys I had two sons, but they both died before their regal father, thereby triggering a succession crisis.

The final two sections of Fire and Blood deal with the fallout of that crisis and seem to be the primary source material for this new series. Essentially, a council of lords selects King Viserys I Targaryen to succeed Jaehaerys I, passing over Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, a dragonrider known as “the Queen Who Never Was.” Viserys I has no sons by his first wife and decides his daughter, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, will succeed him. But this is Westeros, so there are others scheming for the Iron Throne, most notably Ser Otto Hightower, Hand of the King—whose daughter Alicent becomes the king’s second wife—and Prince Daemon Targaryen, the king’s younger brother.

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#fire-and-blood, #gaming-culture, #george-r-r-martin, #hbo-max, #house-of-the-dragon, #streaming-television

What if Monica Lewinsky Had Twitter in 1998?

The activist and producer reflects on how her saga may have unfolded in the era of social media.

#metoo-movement, #audio-neutral-informative, #clinton-bill, #fx-tv-network, #hbo-max, #impeachment, #lewinsky-monica-s, #washington-dc

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Amazon, HBO, Hulu and More in October

Every month, streaming services add movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our picks for some of October’s most promising new titles.

#amazon-com-inc, #apple-tv-plus, #disney-plus, #hbo-max, #hulu-com, #television

Netflix and Apple TV+ clean up at the Emmys with ‘The Crown’ and ‘Ted Lasso’

Netflix has nabbed the most Emmys ever for a single platform with 44 including 11 for The Crown, more than double its nearest rival, HBO/HBO Max. The 2021 edition of the awards was also a watershed year for Apple TV+, which took home 10 Emmys including seven for its comedy series Ted Lasso.

To be sure, a huge chunk of Netflix’s Emmy harvest came from the 34 Creative Arts Emmys it won last week. However, it still took a further 10 primetime Emmys including acting awards for Olivia Colman, Gillian Anderson and Josh O’Connor in The Crown, along with Ewan McGregor in Halston. The Crown also won for writing and directing, while taking the prestigious best drama series prize. Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, won for best limited series.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 19: (L-R) Phil Dunster, Brett Goldstein, Hannah Waddingham, Jason Sudeikis, Juno Temple, Nick Mohammed, and Brendan Hunt, winners of Outstanding Comedy Series for ‘Ted Lasso,’ as well as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Goldstein), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Waddingham), and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Sudeikis), pose in the press room during the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards at L.A. LIVE on September 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Apple TV+ had its best Emmys yet with 10 total, including seven in primetime. It dominated the comedy series category with seven wins for Ted Lasso, including three in the acting category for Brett Goldstein and Hannah Waddingham (best supporting actors) along with Jason Sudeikis (best actor). Ted Lasso also took the award for best comedy series.

Thanks in large part to that series, Apple TV+ fared much better than its rivals. Disney+ did beat it with 14 awards total, up from eight in 2020, but only one of those was a primetime Emmy (Hamilton for best pre-recorded variety special). Amazon and Hulu were completely shut out in 2021, after both won Emmys in 2020.

HBO and HBO Max led all rivals with 130 nominations and took 19 Emmys, including 9 in primetime. The biggest winners last night were Jean Smart for Hacks (best actress in a comedy series) and Kate Winslet for Mare of Easstown(best actress in a limited series). After she was controversially shut out of the Golden Globes nominations, Michaela Coel took the prize for best writing in a limited series for I May Destroy You.

It was notable in 2018 when Netflix managed to tie a cable network, HBO (pre-HBO Max), for the most Emmy wins. This year, it beat all rivals by a long way, and streaming platforms overall took the top four spots. Whether that can continue when the pandemic starts to wane — and subscription growth declines — remains to be seen.

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Engadget.

#apple-tv, #column, #hbo-max, #netflix, #tc, #tceng

After ‘Game of Thrones,’ Can TV Get Big Again?

After “Game of Thrones,” many said the blockbuster series was dead. Maybe not — but the future of TV epics may look more like the movies’ recent past.

#amazon-com-inc, #apple-tv-plus, #disney-plus, #foundation-tv-program, #fx-tv-network, #hbo-max, #home-box-office, #house-of-the-dragon-tv-program, #television, #the-nevers-tv-program, #y-the-last-man-tv-program

Matrix: Resurrections trailer is sheer perfection, both fresh and familiar

Those attending last month’s CinemaCon in Las Vegas were treated to a sneak preview of the first trailer for The Matrix: Resurrections, the fourth installment in the hugely influential franchise that launched with the premiere of The Matrix in 1999. But the trailer was not released to the general public—until now. The Resurrections title is apt, since we do indeed seem to be going back to the beginning: an alternate version of that simulated reality, with some new faces and many similar shots, and very much the same theme of discovering (or in this case, rediscovering) one’s power. It’s at once familiar and fresh… in other words, sheer perfection.

(Spoilers for first three films in the franchise below.)

It’s hard to overstate the deep cultural impact of The Matrix. It redefined the sci-fi film genre and shaped an entire generation of fans—plus, it raked in $460 million worldwide, garnered multiple Oscars, and sent star Keanu Reeves’ already healthy career into the Hollywood stratosphere. We still refer to taking the “red pill” when searching for a metaphor to represent choosing between an unsettling, life-changing truth or blissful ignorance. Who can forget Reeves’ meme-worthy utterances (“Whoa!” or “I know kung fu”) or Laurence Fishburne’s fabulous sunglasses-wearing Morpheus? This is also the film that gave us “bullet time”: a special effect—used for the rooftop scene where Neo (Reeves) dodges bullets fired by one of the Matrix’s Agents—in which the shot progresses in slow motion while the camera appears to move at a normal speed through the scene.

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#gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #keanu-reeves, #lana-wachowski, #the-matrix, #the-matrix-resurrections, #warner-bros

Without Box Office or Streaming Numbers, Hollywood Finds It Tough to Plan

With box office numbers way down in the pandemic and streaming numbers hard to come by, the film industry is often unable to determine whether a movie is a hit or a miss.

#box-office-sales, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disney-plus, #hbo-max, #marvel-entertainment, #movies, #netflix-inc, #paramount-pictures, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #theaters-buildings, #universal-pictures, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming

Michelle Gomez is a time-traveling Madame Rouge in Doom Patrol S3 trailer

Michelle Gomez is always a welcome addition to any series, whether playing the Master on Doctor Who or Madame Satan on the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. So we were thrilled to learn she was joining the cast for the upcoming third season of Doom Patrol. And now we have our first good look at her portrayal of Madame Rouge in the official S3 trailer.

(Spoilers for S2 below.)

A S3 teaser dropped a few weeks ago, largely focused on the lingering plot line from the pandemic-curtailed S2: namely, Dorothy Spinner’s (Abigail Shapiro) confrontation with The Candlemaker. Dorothy, as fans will know, is Caulder’s (Timothy Dalton) daughter, who has a special ability to bring imaginary friends to life. That’s not so bad when it was a friendly giant beast named Manny or Herschel the giant spider. But The Candlemaker is linked to a tribal curse and is a far more insidious creature. He emerges whenever Dorothy makes a wish, and widespread slaughter is usually the result. In the S2 finale, Dorothy got her first period, marking her transition into womanhood, and The Candlemaker’s powers began to manifest in the real world.

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#dc-universe, #doom-patrol, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #streaming-television

Turner Classic Movies Is Changing. And Trying to Stay the Same.

A brand refresh for TCM, the cable home to countless vintage films, raises questions about its future within an increasingly streaming-centric TV world.

#cable-television, #hbo-max, #mankiewicz-ben, #movies, #television, #turner-classic-movies, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming, #warner-media-llc

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Amazon, HBO, Hulu and More in September

Every month, streaming services add movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our favorites for September.

#amazon-com-inc, #apple-tv-plus, #come-from-away-play, #dan-browns-the-lost-symbol-tv-program, #disney-plus, #doogie-kamealoha-md-tv-program, #foundation-tv-program, #goliath-tv-program, #hbo-max, #hulu-com, #movies, #peacock-services, #scenes-from-a-marriage-tv-program, #television, #what-we-do-in-the-shadows-tv-program, #y-the-last-man-tv-program

In ‘The Other Two,’ Drew Tarver and Heléne Yorke Are Almost Famous

What’s it like to be fame-adjacent? The premise of this dark HBO Max comedy was in some ways familiar territory for its two stars. That may not last.

#actors-and-actresses, #content-type-personal-profile, #hbo-max, #tarver-drew, #television, #the-other-two-tv-program, #yorke-helene-1985

Rosie Perez Hates Flying, but She Soared in ‘The Flight Attendant’

The HBO Max show brought the veteran performer her first acting Emmy nomination. “To be recognized now, at my age, for something that I did just for the art of it all?” she said. “That really moves me.”

#emmy-awards, #hbo-max, #perez-rosie, #television, #the-flight-attendant-tv-program

‘FBoy Island’: A Raunchy Dating Show in on Its Own Joke

“FBoy Island” is in on its own joke as it helps women separate the good guys from the louts. “Why not admit on the air that it is dumb and ridiculous?” said the host, Nikki Glaser.

#dating-and-relationships, #fboy-island-tv-program, #glaser-nikki, #hbo-max, #reality-television

Is Jeremy O. Harris’s Play for ‘Gossip Girl’ Real? Now It Is.

Joshua Safran’s “Gossip Girl” reboot filmed a scene from an imaginary work by the “Slave Play” playwright. Then the Public Theater commissioned it.

#gossip-girl-tv-program, #harris-jeremy-o, #hbo-max, #public-theater, #television, #theater, #titus-andronicus-play, #upper-east-side-manhattan-ny

Buckle up as Doom Patrol S3 teaser promises another wild and crazy ride

The delightfully bonkers, Emmy-nominated HBO Max series Doom Patrol (based on the DC Comics of the same name) ended S2 on a maddeningly abrupt cliffhanger after production was interrupted by the pandemic. Fortunately, we’ll soon be getting S3, and judging by the new teaser that just dropped, we’re in for another wild, mind-bending ride.

(Spoilers for first two seasons below.)

For those who may be new to the series, Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton), aka the Chief, is a medical doctor who saved the lives of the various Doom Patrol members and lets them stay in his mansion. His Manor of Misfits includes Jane, aka Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero), whose childhood trauma resulted in 64 distinct personalities, each with its own powers. Rita (April Bowlby), aka Elasti-Woman, is a former actress with stretchy, elastic properties she can’t really control, thanks to being exposed to a toxic gas that altered her cellular structure. Larry Trainor, aka Negative Man, is a US Air Force pilot who has a “negative energy entity” inside him and must be swathed in bandages to keep radioactivity from seeping out of his body. (Matt Bomer plays Trainor without the bandages, while Matthew Zuk takes on the bandaged role.)

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#dc-comics, #doom-patrol, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #streaming-television

Snap had its best quarter in four years

If you’ve started using Snapchat more regularly this year, you’re not alone. At yesterday’s Q2 earnings call, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel announced that the platform grew both revenue and daily active users at the highest rates it has achieved in the last four years. Snapchat now has 293 million daily active users, growing 23% since last year.

Snap went public in 2017 with a $24 billion valuation, but not long before then, the ephemeral photo sharing app experienced a massive hiccup: Instagram cloned their then-unique Stories feature. After Instagram Stories launched, Snapchat’s growth slowed by 82%. Then, when Snapchat redesigned its app’s interface, Kylie Jenner tweeted that she didn’t use the app anymore, causing the company’s valuation to drop by $1.2 billion.

But Snapchat held on and made a comeback. Its revenue reached an all-time high of $911 million in Q4 of 2020, then went down to $770 million the following quarter. Now, Snapchat’s revenue in Q2 of 2021 surpasses its previous high to reach $982 million.

The app’s Q2 growth could be attributed to the return of advertisers who scaled back their spending during the height of the pandemic, as well as the retention of users that flocked to the app while in lockdown. Like many social media platforms, Snapchat grew its revenue and user base during the pandemic, but this isn’t just a matter of re-engaging users with an app that they grew out of. As TikTok exploded on the scene and the creator economy boomed, Snapchat kept up by creating Spotlight, a TikTok clone, and investing in the applications of augmented reality.

“We made significant progress with our augmented reality platform this quarter,” Spiegel said. “More than 200 million Snapchatters engage with AR every day on average, and over 200,000 creators use Lens Studio to build AR Lenses for our community.”

Last month, Snapchat went viral for its Cartoon 3D Style Lens, which makes you look like a character in a Pixar movie. Spiegel specifically mentioned this lens as a feature that “highlighted the power of Lenses to go viral both inside and outside of Snapchat.” But beyond fun face filters, Snapchat has been using AR to woo ecommerce partners. The app has developed AR experiences for Walt Disney World, Smile Direct Club, Zenni Optical, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Ralph Lauren, and more. This includes try-on capabilities for watches, jewelry, eyewear, handbags, makeup, and even clothing. At its Partner Summit in May, Snapchat revealed an update that lets users scan friends’ outfits to find shopping recommendations for similar styles.

“We have a lot more work ahead to build out our technology and increase AR adoption, but we are thrilled with the results that our partners are seeing as we invest in our long-term camera opportunity,” said Jeremi Gorman, Snap’s Chief Business Officer. “We are confident in our long-term opportunity, and are excited to double down on shopping and commerce via augmented reality.”

In March, Snap acquired Fit Analytics, a Berlin-based startup that helps shoppers find the right-sized apparel and footwear when shopping online. Combined with Snap’s investment in AR, could we eventually use AR to see which size of clothing to order? The application of that sort of technology would need to be handled sensitively, especially as the rates of eating disorders in teens are on the rise.

Beyond ecommerce, Snapchat has sought out strategic partnerships with entertainment companies like HBO Max and Universal Music Group and doubled down on its Spectacles, glasses that create AR experiences. Of course, Facebook is working on AR glasses too. But for both companies, Snap’s recent successes show the rising adoption and value of AR experiences.

#apps, #arkansas, #augmented-reality, #berlin, #ceo, #computing, #cosmetics, #e-commerce, #evan-spiegel, #facebook, #fit-analytics, #hbo-max, #instagram, #instant-messaging, #kylie-jenner, #lens-studio, #mobile-applications, #smile-direct-club, #snap, #snap-inc, #snapchat, #social-media-platforms, #software, #spectacles, #technology, #universal-music-group, #vertical-video, #walt-disney-world

Plane Crash Complicates HBO Max Documentary on Diet-Inspired Church

The finishing touches were being put on a critical series examining Remnant Fellowship Church. Then the church’s founder was killed in an accident.

#aviation-accidents-safety-and-disasters, #documentary-films-and-programs, #fellowship-church, #hbo-max, #weight

Sorry, We Aren’t Going Back to the Movies

The pandemic forced Hollywood to fully embrace the home-theater experience, leaving struggling cine in the dust.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #f9-the-fast-saga-movie, #hbo-max, #los-angeles-calif, #movies, #theaters-buildings

Lin-Manuel Miranda Addresses ‘In the Heights’ Casting Criticism

Since the film’s release last week, there have been complaints about the lack of dark-skinned Afro-Latino actors in prominent roles.

#actors-and-actresses, #black-people, #chu-jon-m-1979, #hbo-max, #hispanic-americans, #in-the-heights-movie, #miranda-lin-manuel, #movies, #washington-heights-manhattan-ny

AT&T Went Back to Basics by Cutting WarnerMedia Loose

In acquiring WarnerMedia, it believed pairing distribution with content was the key to the future. Apparently not.

#att-inc, #cable-television, #hbo-max, #media, #mergers-acquisitions-and-divestitures, #stankey-john-t, #telephones-and-telecommunications, #warner-bros-discovery, #zaslav-david-m

Paramount+ will launch a $4.99 monthly ad-supported subscription

If you didn’t want to shell out $9.99 per month to watch the meme-worthy iCarly reboot, now you won’t have to. On Monday, Paramount+ will launch its ad-supported Essential Plan, priced at $4.99 per month.

This less-expensive plan will replace the CBS All Access plan, which included commercials, but also granted access to local CBS stations. If you’re currently subscribed to that $5.99 per month plan, you can keep it. But starting Monday, it won’t be around anymore for new subscribers. 

What makes the Essential Plan different from CBS All Access? Subscribers on the new tier will get access to Marquee Sports (including games in the NFL, UEFA Champions, and Europa Leagues), breaking news on CBSN, and all of Paramount’s on-demand shows and movies. This includes offerings from ViacomCBS-owned channels like BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, the Smithsonian Channel, and more. But, local live CBS station programming will no longer be included. So, if that’s a deal-breaker, you might want to subscribe to CBS All Access this weekend. 

The existing Premium Plan ($9.99 per month) removes commercials and adds support for 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision. Like other streaming services, only Premium subscribers will have access to mobile downloads. 

Both plans include access to parental controls and up to six individual profiles. The service doesn’t have a watch list at this time. But that has become a baseline feature for being competitive in this space, so it’s not a matter of if, but when. 

For comparison, the basic Netflix plan costs $8.99 per month, but only lets you watch on one screen at a time. That makes it harder to share an account with family or friends. Their standard tier is $13.99, making it a bit pricier than Paramount+.

Earlier this week, HBO Max unveiled their own lower-cost, ad-supported subscription tier, priced at $9.99 per month. The WarnerMedia-Discovery merger could also have major implications for the popular streaming service, though how that shakes out in terms of content libraries, or even possibly a combined streaming app, remains to be seen. 

Ultimately, consumers will make their decisions about which services to pay for based on a variety of key factors including content, pricing, and user experience. On the content front, Paramount+ plans to announce a slate of big-name titles when the new plan goes live on Monday, in hopes of wooing new subscribers. But the low-cost plan may also appeal to those who don’t necessarily care about top movies – they just want an affordable add-on to their current streaming lineup that provides them with access to some of the programs Netflix lacks. 

Paramount+ owner ViacomCBS said it added 6 million global streaming subscribers across their Paramount+, Showtime OTT, and BET+ services in Q1, to end the quarter with 36 million global users. Most of those come from Paramount+.

#cbs, #comedy-central, #crave, #entertainment, #epix, #hbo, #hbo-max, #national-football-league, #netflix, #nickelodeon, #paramount, #showtime, #smithsonian, #streaming-services, #television, #uefa, #viacom, #viacomcbs

Warner Bros. releases trailer for noir-esque sci-fi thriller Reminiscence

Hugh Jackman stars as a man who helps clients recover lost memories in the sci-fi thriller Reminiscence.

A solitary man living in a dystopian near-future helps people recover lost memories and ends up uncovering a violent conspiracy in Reminiscence, a sci-fi thriller that feels like a cross between classic film noir and ambitiously heady fare like Memento and Inception. That’s no surprise, as it’s the feature film directorial debut of Lisa Joy, co-creator (with husband Jonathan Nolan) of HBO’s critically acclaimed series Westworld.

Per the official premise:

Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman), a private investigator of the mind, navigates the darkly alluring world of the past by helping his clients access lost memories. Living on the fringes of the sunken Miami coast, his life is forever changed when he takes on a new client, Mae (Rebecca Ferguson). A simple matter of lost and found becomes a dangerous obsession. As Bannister fights to find the truth about Mae’s disappearance, he uncovers a violent conspiracy and must ultimately answer the question: how far would you go to hold on to the ones you love?

During a virtual event on Wednesday, Joy said she was inspired to make Reminiscence after finding an old photograph among her grandfather’s belongings. The picture was of an unknown woman her grandfather had never mentioned to anyone in the family. “It made me start to think about memory and our lives in general,” she said. “And the moments that maybe pass by, and maybe disappear—they don’t stay with us, those connections necessarily—but that meant something, that changed us and touched us. And how nice it would be able to go back to these memories fully for a moment, to live that life and feel the way you felt when you experienced them.”

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#entertainment, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #hugh-jackman, #lisa-joy, #warner-bros

HBO Max launches ad-supported subscription for $9.99 per month

“Game of Thrones” might be over, but HBO Max is still breaking new ground, and even breaking the internet – this past weekend, HBO Max blacked out right before the finale of “Mare of Easttown,” likely due to traffic. But if you haven’t hopped aboard the HBO Max train yet, it might be time to try it out. Today, the streaming platform premieres an ad-supported subscription at $9.99 per month. Its existing service – which features no ads – costs $14.99 per month. Subscribers can save 15% on their subscription, no matter which version they choose, if they pre-pay for an entire year. 

The advertisements aren’t the only drawback of the more affordable subscription option. The ad-supported tier offers a maximum quality of 1080p, which is still pretty good for most consumers, unless you’re watching “Friends: The Reunion” in your 4k home theater. But, lower-tier subscribers won’t be able to download content to view offline, nor will they have access to same-day film premieres of Warner Bros.’s newest theatrical releases. However, these films will become available to stream months after release. On the bright side, ads will not appear on original HBO programming.

With just four minutes of ad time per hour, the ad-supported tier “launches with a commitment” to maintaining the lowest volume of commercials among popular streaming services. HBO Max follows in the footsteps of Hulu, which also offers a discounted subscription with ads for $5.99 per month, as opposed to $11.99 per month. But on Hulu, a half-hour show can contain almost five minutes of unskippable ad time. Meanwhile, Netflix offers its most basic plan – which allows streaming on one screen at a time without HD – for $8.99 per month. Its standard plan is $13.99 a month. Now that HBO Max has a more competitively priced option, it might give these other platforms a run for their money. 

What kinds of ads can you expect to see on HBO Max? The company says that subscribers can expect “a greater personalization in the ads they see” over time, with “more innovation in formats to come.” This could resemble the ad experience on Hulu, which has experimented with viewer-friendly binge-watch ads.

As of April 2021, HBO Max and HBO reached a combined 44.2 million subscribers, and in Q1 of the year, added 2.7 million domestic subscribers. By comparison, Netflix reported an increase of 4 million subscribers in the same period, bringing them to about 207 million global subscribers. However, only 450,000 of those new subscribers come from the US and Canada.

On June 29, HBO Max will launch in 39 Latin American markets. Later in the year, the streaming service is expected to roll out in Europe. This will only further the platform’s rapid growth – in 2019, AT&T, which owns HBO Max, set the modest goal to attain 50 million subscribers by 2025. Now, HBO Max expects it will reach between 120 million and 150 million subscribers by the same date.

The ad-supported subscription option for HBO Max is available now.

#apps, #cinemax, #companies, #entertainment, #hbo, #hbo-go, #hbo-max, #hbo-now, #hulu, #max, #netflix, #streaming-services, #television, #warner-bros

HBO Max now offers a (partially) ad-supported service tier

The entrance to a drive-in theater has been manipulated to include promotional posters for current HBO offerings.

Enlarge / If you want Warner Bros. same-day movie premieres, you’ll need to stick to the original $15/mo plan—the new ad-supported plan won’t offer them. (credit: Jeff Kravitz / Getty Images)

Wednesday morning, HBO Max rolled out a new, partially ad-supported service plan. Consumers can now choose between the original ad-free plan at $15 per month or the new, ad-supported plan at $10 per month—the breakdown is similar to Hulu (no ads) versus Hulu (with ads), at $12/mo and $6/mo, respectively.

HBO Max customers (new or existing) can also prepay for additional savings. Paying upfront gets you a year of service for the cost of 10 months at the monthly rate—$150/yr for ad-free or $100/yr for ad-supported.

The new ad-supported tier offers the same content as the ad-free tier, with the exception of Warner Brothers same-day premiere films. The ad-supported plans also do not offer resolution higher than 1080p or the ability to download content for offline viewing.

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#hbo, #hbo-max, #streaming-tv, #tech, #tv

A Brief History of ‘Friends’ Reunions

Ahead of Thursday’s “Friends” special on HBO Max, here are highlights from the many times the cast members demonstrated that they were clearly not on a break.

#aniston-jennifer, #cougar-town-tv-program, #cox-courteney, #friends-tv-program, #hbo-max, #jimmy-kimmel-live-tv-program, #kimmel-jimmy, #kudrow-lisa, #leblanc-matt, #national-broadcasting-co, #perry-matthew, #schwimmer-david, #television, #the-ellen-degeneres-show-tv-program