Apple is getting ready to launch a movie streaming service to compete with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. The tech conglomerate is widely expected to unveil its offering at an event on Monday and it could give us a first look at some of the exciting original programming that’s in the works.
Apple is already behind their competition and will have to play catchup – with Netflix especially which is pumping out new content in what seems like new television shows and new films every week. However if anybody can dive into the content gave, it will be Apple.
One of the biggest internet debates among the nerds is what will the streaming service be called. Will it have a different name from Apple TV to distinguish it from the current device that is already available? Maybe Apple Stream or iStream? Or will it be seamlessly integrated into existing services.
The Apple TV app is probably going to be the access point for all the Apple programing. You will also likely be able to access the content via iTunes as well.
Disney is expected to unveil its streaming service, Disney+, next month, and NBCUniversal is planning to release a streaming service in 2020. Both companies will be able to rely on deep back catalogs of beloved movies and shows, making an entrance even harder for a Apple which is starting at zero.
Even though the Apple service has yet to be announced, movie acquisitions, rights deals, and orders for new TV series all get reported months before they debut. So we know a good deal about what Apple has in store for its upcoming service.
People have always loved true crime stories but it was really Truman Capote with his book ‘In Cold Blood’ that really ignited the genre, exposing a wide range of readers to this kind of long-form journalism. Now Netflix has brought out several documentaries and dramas based upon real life events which has sparked new interest in the genre.
Recently Netflix released an eight-part series ‘The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann’. It was preceded by the Oscar-nominated short documentary, ‘Detainment’, about the two boys convicted of killing James Bulger, and it will shortly be followed by a three-part BBC Four series on Peter Sutcliffe, otherwise known as the Yorkshire Ripper. The streaming service also recently came out with a documentary on serial killer Ted Bundy but also a biopic staring Zac Efron.
What is the purpose of stirring up all these painful memories – some of which are real stains on modern history? Are they important contributions to journalism, to understanding human behaviour and will they help prevent a repeat of the past? Or are they merely capitalizing on our fascination with grizzly and bloody crime, tormenting the victims’ families?
Documentaries are important. They allow us to explore the world outside of our own narrow lenses, giving us knowledge and insight to different cultures and events. It’s unfortunate crime is often part of life and society. As such, it’s impossible to write about, record and document crime as it occurred. Part of it is for our own knowledge and part of it is to record history. People are naturally hurt and effected by these reports – in whatever form they take place. But should that prevent journalists and producers from reporting on them?
Most great men need a number two. Sid Sheinberg was that person for Lew Wasserman who was the revered head of MCA and Universal Studios . Sid Sheinberg, who died at the age of 84, served for more than 40 years as president and Chief Operating Officer of MCA, Inc and Universal Studios and helped build the company into an entertainment conglomerate.
Sheinberg often had to play bad cop that allowed his his boss, Lew Wasserman, to assume the role of nice guy when needed. The plainspoken Sheinberg helped lead MCA Inc. and Universal through a phase of prosperity, expanding the company’s entertainment, theme park and publishing divisions and ultimately helping to mastermind its sale to Matsushita for more than $6 billion in 1989. It was a rocky affair for the two executives who were used to free rein. In 1995, Matsushita sold 80% of its holdings in the company to Seagram, and soon thereafter Wasserman and Sheinberg stepped down.
Despite Sheinberg’s considerable success, his most notable achievement was discovering and nurturing a young Steven Spielberg, giving him his first directing job, one of the most commercially successful directors of all time
When Jaws ran over budget and critics were questioning Spielberg’s directing ability, Sheinberg stood by an inexperienced Spielberg. Sheinberg pushed for Jaws to be completed and it went on to redefine how blockbuster films were made.
Wasserman and Sheinberg transformed MCA from a traditional talent agency into an international entertainment empire that included the development of 420-acre spread that would become Universal City and another one in Orland Florida, building the highly successful theme parks that would be the envy of the other major studios.
It’s hard to believe that it was fifty-two years ago this Spring that S.E. Hinton wrote one of the best-selling young adult novels of all time – her era-defining book, The Outsiders. The Outsiders took after another great coming-of-age story The Catcher in the Rye, which was published in 1951. And like J.D Salinger’s novel, the Outsiders took away the adults’ perspective and focuses purely on the teenager experience. In other words, The Outsiders is about teenagers and spoke directly to young readers.
What is perhaps even more amazing is that the author, Susan Eloise Hinton, was an Oklahoma high school student when she completed the manuscript she was then calling “A Different Sunset”. The novel was a major feat for Hinton, who started writing it when she was 15 and sold it two years later. Her mother had to co-sign the contract because Hinton was still considered a minor.
The Outsiders—which still sells half a million copies every year—forever changed the way books are written for young readers. The Outsiders depicts a group of lost boys including the orphaned Curtis brothers and their gang called “greasers”.
Hinton has acknowledged that she borrowed from life which is probably why it feels authentic and real. Her first-person narrator, Ponyboy, and his friends were inspired by a true-life gang. Yet their world of drive-ins and drug stores, freight trains and churches, could be anywhere in middle America. Perhaps that is what makes the book so universal and appealing.
For those trying to make it on the big screen, it can be a difficult journey. There are many lonely nights, struggles with rejection, and ignoring the naysayers. Often we think that famous actors don’t go through the troubles of other mere mortals. But even people who are on the top of the world like Lady Gaga have at one time or another had to deal with the haters. The Oscar winning singer and nominated actress shared screenshots of a Facebook group that was set up by Gaga’s fellow university students on Twitter.
She had an extremely vicious group of haters, who even went as far as to create a Facebook group titled “Stefani Germonotta, you will never be famous”, posting regularly about how she was an “attention whore”, not good enough, and would never fulfill her dreams of becoming a pop star.
The group viciously attacked Lady Gaga and is the type of group that Facebook is now trying hard to police and distance itself from. Some of the comments like “Who does she think she is?” were made on the page when Lady Gaga was a freshmen at NYU. Since then the pop star has opened up how hurtful they were and how she carried them around for a long time.
Some people might argue that James Cameron is the most successful commercial director of all time. I know die-hard Steven Spielberg fans are probably throwing things at the screen right now but in terms of dollars grossed, Cameron has the two biggest box office hits of all time with Titanic and Avatar which account for almost $5 billion dollars alone. Some naysayers might point out that Spielberg’s films have totaled over $10 billion but with 34 films under his belt that number becomes less impressive.
However, if Cameron is so successful, what has he been doing for the last 10 years – ever since the release of Avatar. Cameron spent years developing the motion capture technology used to bring the exotic landscape and extraterrestrial world to life. Whisper campaigns began to spread that costs were overrunning and that Avatar was going to be an almighty flop. Once again, Cameron got the last laugh.
Since the release of Avatar in late 2009, however, James Cameron has pretty much disappeared. Sure, he’s coming back as a producer for the newest Terminator film but how involved he is debatable. It’s been a long time since he’s actually taken charge creatively and directed.
When Avatar was released, it lived up to the hype – making over $2.7 billion worldwide. Even Before the film hit theaters, Cameron stated his intention to make two sequels. When the extent of Avatar’s profits became clear, Cameron began talking a bit more about what the first sequel would entail: further adventures of the central pairing, Sully and Neytiri, with sequences taking place in the planet Pandora’s ocean and returning appearances from Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang. However 10 years later, those plans seem in jeopardy.
The Oscars seem to get more controversial with each passing year. All the front runners have had some bad press ensnaring them in some form or another. While this may be seen as simply the bitter and fierce PR campaigns run by the studios backstabbing each other, many of these controversies have negatively effected the film industry in one way or another.
Whether it was the decision to go host-less after Kevin Hart’s departure following backlash over his homophobic remarks that were resurfaced from years ago or Viggo Mortensen having to apologize for a racial slur he used in press for his film ‘Green Book’ or the fact that Bohemian Rhapsody’s director Bryan Singer was fired after he was accused of multiple instances of sexual misconduct and is being sued for allegedly raping a 17-year-old boy.
Thankfully there are some much-needed good news to report at this year’s Oscars. From the presenters to the winners, this year's ceremony have been more inclusive than in the past. For example, some of the presenters spoke in Spanish and history was made, with Ruth Carter becoming the first African American woman to win an Oscar for costume design.
Peter Ramsey being the first black director to win for an animated film with "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse." The latter featured the first Afro-Latina Spider-Man and one of the writers of the screenplay mentioned the importance of inclusion in his acceptance speech.’ Period. End of Sentence’ won best short documentary about menstruation – not a traditional choice for the usual stuffy Academy.
Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel is a favourite for sci-fi fans and for good reason. It is widely considered one of the best science fiction books of all time, however, the transition from book to the big screen has been less than smooth. The latest adaption is directed by Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve.
It will be released next year and already receiving a lot of buzz. It has an all-star cast including Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem, Charlotte Rampling, Oscar Isaac, and Josh Brolin to name a few.
While the source material is brilliant, its silver screen appearance has b
een troubled. Chilean director Alexjandro Jodorowsky tried to bring a 10-hour epic staring Salvador Dali and scored by Pink Floyd but eventually it was abandoned and never completed. David Lynch tired next to bring it to life in his 1984 epic. The film was supposed to be the anti-Star Wars. A dark, totalitarian, dystopia universe where epic families battle for control over the empire. It went through many scripts and the rough cut was over four hours long. When it was released, the critics hated it, calling it a glorified mess. It only earned $30 million on a $40 million budget. Over the years, fans have been a little kinder to the film, and it’s turned into somewhat of a cult classic.
Villeneuve has a lot of pressure to succeed where others have failed. Warner Bros and Legendary have green lit a huge budget, taking a huge gamble that it will be a success. Denis Villeneuve’s only big budget film thus far was the 2 hour and 44 minute Blade Runner 2049, which disappointed at the box office despite being a critical win, earning $259.2 million on a budget of at least $150 million. The big question remains can Villeneuve pull off an even bigger epic?
Some stunt actors are calling for a boycott of this year’s Oscars for the Academy’s refusal to put in a category awarding the best stunt in films. Despite the incredible skill that go into stunts and the risks stunt people take to perform a great action scene, they are not being properly recognized for their effort. The Oscars have awards in other technical areas such as makeup, set design, and special effects all the while stunt people remain in the dark.
Stunt actor Jack Gill has been campaigning for inclusion in the Oscars since the early nineties. Last year, over a hundred stunt performers from throughout the industry protested outside the Academy's office and gathered over 50,000 signatures including big names like Steven Spielberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger on a petition demanding recognition during the awards despite being one of the oldest professions in Hollywood.
In the early years, circus performers would be hired in chase and other action scenes. As stunts got more elaborate in the 60’s and 70’s, stunt actors had to perform greater feats. Many multi-million dollar franchises including Rambo, Terminator, James Bond, and Indian Jones relied on the visibility of stunts as each tired to outdo the other.
In Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and the remake of Mad Max, stunt actors were praised for their efforts and professionalism. Stunt actors plays a huge role in making the film experience authentic, yet the labour of it often goes unrewarded. Stunt actors aren’t paid millions of dollars or put on the front of movie posters like leading men and women like Tom Cruise, Jason Statham, Dwayne Jonson, and Milla Jovovich.
James Cameron has just announced the new Terminator film will be called Dark Fade. It has already built up a steady buzz as it’s the first film to star both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton since the classic Terminator 2: Judgement Day which really launched the film series into a franchise.
A promo photograph was released last year showing Hamilton sporting short, spikey grey hair and a shotgun, looking positively badass. Although Arnold Schwarzenegger is obviously the star of the franchise, most fans are most excited to see Hamilton return.
The film will be helmed by Deadpool director Tim Miller and produced by Cameron. We don’t know much about the storyline which has been kept under lock and key, but according to rumors it will ignore the events that took place in both Genisys and Salvation, paving the way to take the franchise in a new direction. We assume there will be heavy CGI effects to make Schwarzenegger look like a younger version of himself. Hopefully, however, they will do a better job than they did with the patchwork in Terminator: Salvation when Schwarzenegger as the Terminator made a cameo appearance – although they have 10 years of technology to improve the special effects.
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