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Original Content podcast: ‘Tuca & Bertie’ explores friendship and sex with anthropomorphic birds

Posted by on Jun 1, 2019 in Entertainment, Media, Netflix, original content podcast, Podcasts | 0 comments

There’s some obvious overlap between “Tuca & Bertie” and “BoJack Horseman” — they’re both talking animal cartoons on Netflix; they have a similar look, courtesy of Lisa Hanawalt (designer on “BoJack Horseman” and creator of “Tuca & Bertie”); and “BoJack” creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg co-wrote the first episode of the new show.

Plus, their respective first seasons follow a similar arc, kicking off with rapid-fire humor, then increasingly shading the jokes with serious character exploration as you get further into the story.

But as guest host Brian Heater helps us explain on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, “Tuca & Bertie” is a distinct show, with a distinct sense of humor — it’s zanier and raunchier, with a refreshing frankness about sex, not to mention a talented, diverse cast of voice actors led by Tiffany Haddish (Tuca) and Ali Wong (Bertie).

And where “BoJack” went deep into an exploration of its protagonist’s depression, “Tuca & Bertie” is more interested in the complexities of female friendship, all while remaining a funny show about birds that talk, go on dates and have jobs at companies like “Conde Nest.”

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you want to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:

0:00 Intro and a Very Serious Discussion about laugh tracks
8:47 Spoiler-free review of Tuca & Bertie
24:43 Spoiler discussion


Source: The Tech Crunch

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New ‘Black Mirror’ trailer features Miley Cyrus, Anthony Mackie… and more dystopia

Posted by on May 15, 2019 in actors, Bandersnatch, black mirror, choose your own adventure, ChooseCo, Entertainment, Miley Cyrus, Musicians, Netflix, TC | 0 comments

“Black Mirror” is coming back for its fifth season to once again show us why technology’s progress means we can no longer have nice things.

The new season will tell three stories written by Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones.

Featured performers include Anthony Mackie, Miley Cyrus, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Topher Grace, Damson Idris, Andrew Scott, Nicole Beharie, Pom Klementieff, Angourie Rice, Madison Davenport and Ludi Lin.

The last “Black Mirror” feature to appear on Netflix was the interactive epic “Bandersnatch,” which let viewers determine the fate of characters throughout the course of the story.

It was an experiment that could cost Netflix, thanks to a lawsuit from Chooseco, the company behind the “Choose your own adventure” series of books that inspired Black Mirror’s experiment in storytelling.

The fifth season likely marks a return to straight episodic narratives, with Cyrus featured in what “Variety” called a “meta storyline” about a celebrity who undergoes a transformation to attract more fans.

The new episodes will drop on Netflix June 5.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Original Content podcast: We’re not impressed by Netflix’s ‘Extremely Wicked’ Ted Bundy movie

Posted by on May 11, 2019 in Entertainment, game of thrones, Media, Netflix, original content podcast, Podcasts | 0 comments

Despite its grandiose title, Netflix’s “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” turns out to be surprisingly forgettable.

In this week’s episode of the Original Content podcast, we’re joined by Brian Heater to review the film, which features Zac Efron as serial killer Ted Bundy and Lily Collins as his initially unsuspecting girlfriend Liz Kendall.

The film is ostensibly about their relationship, but director Joe Berlinger and screenwriter Michael Werwie can’t quite seem to commit — they end up dramatizing the broader story of Bundy’s capture and trials, while only intermittently returning to Kendall in the film’s second half.

Bundy’s actual murders also get short shrift. While one might argue that we already know he’s a killer and don’t necessarily need to see grisly recreations of his work, by being so coy about Bundy’s murderous side, the film ends up feeling strangely unbalanced and empty.

We also continue our discussion of the final season of “Game of Thrones,” with a review of the often-frustrating episode “The Last of the Starks.” We’re particularly concerned about what’s being set up as the show’s endgame, and where it’s taking Daenerys.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you want to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:

0:00 Intro
1:29 “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” review (mild spoilers for the movie and for real-life events)
42:35 “Game of Thrones”/”Last of the Starks” discussion (spoilers ahoy!)


Source: The Tech Crunch

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The Oscars won’t change their rules to exclude streaming

Posted by on Apr 24, 2019 in academy awards, Entertainment, Media, Netflix | 0 comments

It looks like movies produced by Netflix and other streaming services will be able to compete for next year’s Academy Awards without any changes to eligibility.

After the Netflix Original film “Roma” was nominated for Best Picture at this year’s ceremony and ultimately took home the awards for Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography, the Academy’s Board of Directors was mulling possible rule changes.

The crux of the debate seems to be Netflix’s theatrical strategy. The company insisted for years that it was willing to release its movies in theaters, but it would not hold those titles back from the streaming service, which meant that most large chains were unwilling to screen them. Netflix finally eased up on this practice last year, with “Roma” (and a handful of other films) opening in theaters before they launched on Netflix, but with a much shorter theatrical window than is traditional.

Director Steven Spielberg was reportedly an advocate for changing the rules in a way that would have made it harder for Netflix movies to compete — perhaps by requiring that films play exclusively in theaters for four weeks.

Earlier this month, the Department of Justice weighed in, sending a letter to the Academy stating that if it makes eligibility changes that “eliminate competition without procompetitive justification, such conduct may raise antitrust concerns.”

Now the Academy has put out a press release summarizing rules changes voted on by its Board of Governors (like renaming the Foreign Language Film award to International Feature Film).

The release notes that the board voted not to change Rule Two, Eligibility, which describes the theatrical run needed to be eligible for an Oscar. It says that “a film must have a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theater, with at least three screenings per day for paid admission” in order to be eligible — but the film can also be released on “nontheatrical media” at the same time.

“We support the theatrical experience as integral to the art of motion pictures, and this weighed heavily in our discussions,” said Academy President John Bailey in a statement. “Our rules currently require theatrical exhibition, and also allow for a broad selection of films to be submitted for Oscars consideration. We plan to further study the profound changes occurring in our industry and continue discussions with our members about these issues.”


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Netflix to open a production hub in New York and invest up to $100 million in the city

Posted by on Apr 18, 2019 in California, E-Commerce, executive, Governor, Netflix, New York, Streaming Media, TC | 0 comments

Start spreading the news. Netflix is coming to New York City in a big way.

The streaming media service has committed to invest up to $100 million to build a production hub and hire hundreds of new staffers in the Big Apple, according to a statement from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

Netflix’s new production hub will include an expanded Manhattan office and six sound stages in Brooklyn that could bring in hundreds of executive positions and thousands of production crew jobs to New York within the next five years, according to a statement from the Empire State Development Corp. 

“New York has created a film-friendly environment that’s home to some of the best creative and executive talent in the world, and we’re excited to provide a place for them at Netflix with our production hub,” said Jason Hariton, Director of Worldwide Studio Operations & Real Estate at Netflix, in a statement.

The new corporate offices Netflix has planned will occupy 100,000 square feet in Manhattan at 888 Broadway, housing 127 new executive content acquisition, development, production, legal, publicity and marketing positions. They’ll join the 32 employees Netflix currently has in New York.

Netflix already produces Orange is the New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, She’s Gotta Have It, The Irishman, Someone Great, Private Life and Russian Doll in New York and has leased 161,000 square feet to build sound stages and support spaces in Brooklyn’s East Williamsburg neighborhood.

To sweeten the pot for Netflix, the Empire State Development Corp. has offered $4 million in performance-based Excelsior Tax Credits over ten years, which the corporation says are tied to real job creation. To receive the incentive, Netflix must create 127 jobs by 2024 at its executive production office and retain those jobs for another five years.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Original Content podcast: ‘Triple Frontier’ sends famous faces on a grim hike over the Andes

Posted by on Mar 26, 2019 in Entertainment, Media, Netflix, original content podcast, Podcasts | 0 comments

Even by the standards of the often, ah, “wide-ranging” conversations on the Original Content podcast, this latest episode covers a lot of ground.

The initial focus is “Triple Frontier,” a film directed by J.C. Chandor and starring Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Pedro Pascal, Charlie Hunnam and Garrett Hedlund as friends who served in the special forces together, and who reunite to rob an infamous drug lord.

The film starts off as a relatively straightforward thriller, but in its second half, it becomes increasingly focused on the morality of these former soldiers, and even more on the mechanics of the robbery — not how you’d steal $250 million in cash, but how you’d actually get that money home.

As you probably guessed, things do not go according to plan, and we’re soon treated to multiple shots of handsome men grimly dragging duffel bags of money over the mountains. It’s an intriguing idea, even if it doesn’t quite deliver the emotional payoff that we’d hoped for.

Because we’re joined by the podcast’s original co-host Darrell Etherington, we also take some time to recap the latest season of “The Bachelor,” and to debate Netflix’s decision to test out different episode orders for the anthologies series “Love, Death & Robots,” which then leads to a discussion of a recent piece by the critic Sean T. Collins arguing that Netflix is taking a depressingly derivative and uninspired approach to TV.

We close the episode with a spoiler-filled discussion of “The Umbrella Academy” — which we reviewed a few weeks ago, but seemed worth revisiting, now that we’ve all finished the first season.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You also can send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Netflix is pursuing more interactive content, including, maybe, a rom-com

Posted by on Mar 13, 2019 in Bandersnatch, black mirror, Culture, Interactive storytelling, Mumbai, Netflix, reporter, storytelling, Streaming Media, TC | 0 comments

On the heels of its groundbreaking foray into interactive storytelling with the choose-your-own-adventure style “Black Mirror” episode, Bandersnatch, Netflix will look to produce much more interactive entertainment, according to vice president of content, Todd Yellin.

Speaking at the FICCI-Frames conference for Indian media and entertainment in Mumbai, Yellin said in a keynote that audiences could expect many more interactive stories to come from the streaming media service, according to a report in Variety.

“We realized, wow, interactive storytelling is something we want to bet more on,” Yellin reportedly said. “We’re doubling down on that. So expect over the next year or two to see more interactive storytelling.”

One of the things Yellin floated was the idea of a romantic comedy where the audience would choose “will-they or won’t-they”? It sets up the potential for a world where viewers could determine that Ross and Rachel never go on a break.

The initiative would likely require a lot of heavy lifting from writers, editors and actors. Black Mirror took two years to get from concept to screen and involved a lot of heavy lifting from Netflix .

In Bandersnatch, Netflix collaborated with the writers and directors of Black Mirror to develop the technology to support streaming a film that relied on the “branching narrative” storytelling structure that required viewers to pick between choices to advance the story.

Filmed over a seven-week shoot, the filmmaking process took 250 distinct video segments that were stitched together to cover all possible endings, according to a lengthy description of the making of the episode in The Hollywood Reporter.

Bandersnatch doesn’t have an official run time, and viewers can spend anywhere from an hour and a half to two and a half hours to make it until the credits roll.

Netflix’s investment included new technology that the company calls “state tracking” which logs the choices viewers make as they watch the Bandersnatch episode. The company also engineered a new technology that would load the episode without any lags. And Netflix created a new internal writing tool called Branch Manager so that Brooker could write his script and deliver it directly to the company, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

After all of that internal investment, it’s little wonder that Netflix is planning to roll the new narrative framework out in other storylines, or across different titles.

Netflix had previously applied the choose-your-own-adventure style narratives to children’s animated programming, but since the success of Bandersnatch, that is definitely going to be expanding.

“We do want to take a number of gos at this and see what works for different audiences,” Netflix’s director of product innovation, Carla Engelbrecht Fisher told The Hollywood Reporter. “That’s what we’re engaged in now: What are the other kinds of stories that we can tell and that folks are excited to tell? And continuing to unearth this iceberg of opportunity and see what’s there.”


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Bandersnatch was a hit, so Netflix plans to make more interactive shows like it

Posted by on Mar 12, 2019 in Bandersnatch, Gaming & Culture, Netflix, streaming, Tech, tv | 0 comments

<em>Bandersnatch</em> was an interactive story that was loosely part of Netflix's <em>Black Mirror</em> speculative fiction series.

Enlarge / Bandersnatch was an interactive story that was loosely part of Netflix’s Black Mirror speculative fiction series.

According to a Netflix executive, the interactive film Bandersnatch was such a success that Netflix will double down on the format, with plans to make new interactive TV series across multiple genres.

Netflix Vice President of Product Todd Yellin delivered the keynote address at Mumbai-based media conference FICCI-Frames, in which he talked about plans to double Indian content production. But he also discussed the company’s future plans for interactive TV. Here’s what he said, as quoted in entertainment industry publication Variety:

It’s a huge hit here in India, it’s a huge hit around the world, and we realized, wow, interactive storytelling is something we want to bet more on. We’re doubling down on that. So expect over the next year or two to see more interactive storytelling. And it won’t necessarily be science fiction, or it won’t necessarily be dark. It could be a wacky comedy. It could be a romance, where the audience gets to choose—should she go out with him or him.

The announcement is not surprising; Bandersnatch was the talk of social media for a brief period after its release. When multiple Ars staffers assessed it in our “choose-your-own-opinion” review format, most impressions were relatively positive.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Source: Ars Technica

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Captain Marvel rakes in $455 million in worldwide weekend haul

Posted by on Mar 10, 2019 in Anthony Ha, Avengers, Black Panther, Disney, fiction, films, Jessica Jones, lucasfilm, marvel, Marvel Comics, Marvel Entertainment, Netflix, North America, Officer, TC, United States | 0 comments

Captain Marvel, the latest superhero film from Disney’s Marvel franchise, is bringing home the bacon — to the tune of a $455 million box office total for the weekend.

The movie, Marvel’s first to be headlined exclusively by a female superhero, is off to the second largest global opening of any superhero movie behind Avengers: Infinity War and the sixth best global box officer premiere of all time.

The film’s success shows (again) that when under-represented demographics get their due in solid entertainment outings, audiences will respond by opening their wallets and shelling out the cash.

Marvel’s highest grossing movie to date for the U.S. box office is Black Panther, which raked in a whopping $700 million in movie theaters across North America.

Captain Marvel’s soaring numbers come despite mixed reviews from critics (like our own Anthony Ha) who called it “a fine but underwhelming debut for Brie Larson’s superhero.”

With the new release Marvel seems to also be consistently reducing the gender gap among audiences for superhero movies. Captain Marvel ranks alongside Black Panther and Ant-Man and the Wasp for having the smallest gender divide among audiences for films in the Marvel Comics Universe franchise, with a weekend crowd that was 55% male and 45% female, as Box Office Mojo reports.

The results also could mean good things for the Disney+ streaming service, which is counting on the Marvel and LucasFilm franchises to power subscriptions (take my money already).

Plans are in the works for a series starring Tom Hiddleston as Loki (the complicated villain/anti-hero from the Thor and Avengers movies) and Marvel executives have teased that characters from the now-defunct Netflix/Marvel deal for characters based on The Defenders team (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist — and tangentially The Punisher) may appear in some form in the Marvel Cinematic Universe down the road.

Captain Marvel, meanwhile is set to become the first movie to stream exclusively on the Disney+ service.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Netflix star and tidying expert Marie Kondo is looking to raise $40M

Posted by on Mar 8, 2019 in economy, Finance, marie kondo, money, Netflix, sequoia capital, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, Venture Capital | 0 comments

Marie Kondo, the woman who stole millions of Netflix viewers hearts this year with her show, “Tidying Up,” is in talks to raise up to $40 million in venture capital funding to scale KonMari, the business behind her personal brand, books and TV series.

The round, first reported by The Information, wouldn’t be KonMari’s first infusion of venture investment, surprisingly. Last year, the company closed a small funding round led by top-tier VC fund Sequoia Capital, TechCrunch confirmed. A spokesperson for the business told TechCrunch KonMari isn’t commenting on fundraising at this time.

Sources have also confirmed with TechCrunch that Kondo is indeed on the fundraising circuit again, with plans to build an ecommerce platform.

“Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” debuted on Netflix on January 1, 2019 to near-instant success, spurring a wave of internet-fandom for Kondo with her catchphrase “does it spark joy?” and efficient method of cleaning and organizing. The KonMari Method encourages cleaners to tidy by category, starting with clothes, then books, papers, miscellaneous items and sentimental items. “Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go,” Kondo explains on her website.

KonMari was founded in 2015 by Kondo and her husband, Takumi Kawahara.

 


Source: The Tech Crunch

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