Discussion in 'Random Thoughts' started by purr1n, Jan 8, 2020.
Netflix cancels shows like we change socks.
Man, that sucks. ARCHIVE 81 is a quality series, not fluff. What's wrong with these people? They plunge many millions on flavor-of-the-week fluff content & back off quality content.
I know, I know: this is like complaining that cotton candy is too sweet. I'm the "odd man out" to prioritize quality content...
Their business model is about hustling new subs. So they dangle shows and once they get the subs, they stop putting money into the show, and move onto the next easy mark.
You're right, and for any semi-serious afficionado of cinema & episodic TV, the results can be maddening.
I guess what we're seeing is defensive/corporate behavior by Netflix when faced with a streaming market that for the first time in their history, is close to fully saturated, thus becoming a zero sum game (each new viewer has to be stolen from some other service, and vice versa). It's not pretty.
Slow Horses on Apple TV is pretty good and well worth watching if you have a subscription (I wouldn't sign up specifically to see this show, though). It's also worth persevering beyond the first episode, which tries just a bit too hard with its big, opening set piece and in establishing Gary Oldman's sour, grumpy personality. He comes across as a colossal dick, at first, but becomes funnier, and more endearing, as the season progresses.
The acting is strong across the board, including fine performances by the supporting actors. Oldman himself is outstanding, as always. Kristin Scott Thomas does her one thing well enough, but it's, well, pretty one-dimensional. The show is decent as a thriller and even better as a comedy.
I read the first couple of books, by Mick Herron, on which the tv series is based, and this is one of those rare instances in which the tv adaptation is better than the original (and the books were pretty good). Annoyingly, the first season is only six episodes long; the second season is to be released this fall, I gather.
Bosch: Legacy on freevee, as IMDB TV is now called (accessible via Amazon), is decent but a significant step down from the quality of the original series, which, Amazon, for shame - and taking a leaf out of Netflix's book - cancelled unnecessarily. There were plenty more books by Michael Connelly to draw from. In any case, the new season has a smaller cast (the character actors and supporting cast were part of the pleasure of the original show), and it also suffers from a lack of coherence; there are several plot lines, some better developed than others, and a few of them fizzle out without adequate resolution. And the worst thing about the show is related to these fizzled plots: released on a weekly basis, it wasn't clear how many episodes there'd be, and I was pretty miffed when I came to watch what I thought would be the final pair of episodes only to discover that I'd already seen the finale the week before. The series is worth watching if you liked the original show, and while inferior,I hope they renew it and make a better second season.
The Thing About Pam is also worth watching if only for the fun to be had in trying to figure out if Renée Zellweger is wearing a fat suit or if, in piling on the pounds, she's outdone de Niro in Raging Bull. She's an impressive actor. I quickly forgot she's the one acting here. The show's one of those true crime podcasts turned into a mini series, and having been a fan of Doctor Death or Dirty John (season one, at least), I'd hoped this would live up to those shows. Alas, it doesn't. But it's still pretty good in its own idiosyncratic way.
There are two appealing qualities to the series. First is the odd story and the even odder main characters, whose dimwittedness or bonkers personalities managed to get me yelling at the TV ("You dipshit, stfu and call a lawyer!!!"). Second, the series picks up steam once the lawyers do get involved, and it works pretty well as a mystery - less as a whodunnit and more as a "how do they fix this mess?"
The show is a lower budget production, and it has several quirks, among them a hokey voiceover. It also ends rather abruptly, as though the producers ran out of money or the writers ran out of steam, but it was enjoyable enough.
R.I.P. Philip Baker Hall. What a great actor--versatile, master of any style & content. He could be funny and he could be serious as hell.
His role in HARD EIGHT is one for the ages--that rare occasion when an elderly character actor completely anchors and drives an entire film.
He was 64 when he starred in that film; without him, no film.
Just saw one of those intense little films that succeed on their own terms and give me hope for cinema: WATCHER. It's the first film directed by Chloe Okuno, and judging by this film, I want to see more from her (she also co-wrote the minimal but effective script). The movie is anchored by a strong, visually effective performance by Maika Monroe.
MM was the center of another very good, small horror film (IT FOLLOWS); here she adds glamour and mystery to her character who's at the center of every scene. While she has relatively little dialogue, it hardly matters: the star of the show is photography of her face as she does some of the best "face acting" I've seen in awhile.
MM has one of those faces that changes with every angle and every clothing ensemble. It's a fascinating, unknowable face. Her motives are simple--don't be a victim & don't die--and the entire movie pivots on her arc toward realizing these motives. I tire of films that victimize women with violence or rape. This starts out seeming to be like that, but it isn't...
This isn't exalted, olympic cinema. It probably won't win any awards. Regardless, it's heartening to see a film so visually compelling & anchored in character.
I was one of 3 people in the theater...all the others are in TOP GUN and JURASSIC WORLD. Fuck 'em all. I saw the better movie...
Just finished both Jurassic World: Dominion and Won't you Be My Neighbor
I'll start by saying Jurassic park was about what I expected. In short it felt like what would happen if Tim Apple had a GMO lab and it goes wrong.
Won't you Be My Neighbor, was a kinder feeling documentary giving a lot of praise and insight. Child development and the message of Fred Rogers does seem like it has been lost to time. I really liked it, I rate it higher than Beethoven in feel good movies.
FWIW, I (sort of) encountered Fred Rogers once. We both pulled up to the toll station on Rt. 95 North in CT (near Stamford, if memory serves). He was in a top-down Mercedes sedan in the next toll entrance. I waved at him; he waved back.
(I'm telling everybody)
Just watched the first two episodes of the Hulu/FX Jeff Bridges series The Old Man. It hasn’t disappointed so far. Great gray characters.
I want to sample some of these shows but don't want to sign up for streaming services that will sit unused most of the time. I really hate this new business model from Hollywood. It used to be if you wanted to see something you just went to the theater or rented the bluray. Now they alienate audiences by forcing them to commit to an entire streaming service. At least with cable you had all the channels. Now it's netflix this and hulu that and peacock this and prime that. Tired of it.
yeah, I don’t stress about trying to track down shows on services that I don’t have. I just have what I have and if something good comes on it I may watch it. In my case I just have the Disney+/Hulu/ESPN+ package along with Prime and that’s it. No cable or other subscriptions. I think the aforementioned package is a good value for our family and all of them get used. BTW, every year around Black Friday Hulu has been running a deal where you can get a year for either .99 cents or 1.99 a month. I did that for several years.
Sometimes they’ll offer a free episode or two of the show, e.g. in Apple’s tv app or the network’s own app. Or a free trial though that’s not as common these days. I think I saw Paramount doing a free month now though. Aside from that you can rotate subscriptions so that you only have one active at a time and let the services build up more content for you to watch when you sub them in.
I've had Netflix and Prime for 2-3 years now. This seems like my best bang-for-the-buck content ploy (maybe I'm just kidding myself).
But the two companies have very different business models, and these illustrate different aspects of the giant 3-card-monte game that is streaming content:
NETFLIX: I got in on a subscription years after their heydey as a movie site. These days Netflix is way more about new episodic content (and the occasional Netflix movie). Their business model seems starkly simple: throw a ton of money at new content, enough to compete with and drain key talent from Hollywood; license everything that's not nailed down; and keep throwing shit on the wall in the hope some of it sticks. There's no "pay wall" here beyond one's subscription, but the subscription cost is high, especially if you spring for 4K content. My risk with Netflix seems to be that their new content will go downhill to the point that I'm drinking polluted water from their content firehose.
PRIME: Their "included with your subscription" inventory seems at most 1/3 to 1/2 of the title count Netflix has. But what Prime has, and plays like a violin, is their paywall. A lot of stuff for sale through Prime is not covered by the subscription. Also, I wonder just how intelligent their AI is. The same weird thing has happened to me repeatedly: I start watching an "included" series or film, go away for a day or two, then come back to find out that series or film is suddenly behind a paywall on one of Prime's myriad sub-channels. If they're doing that on purpose--if they can game a single subscriber like that--it's clever as hell. Also pretty dark--picking the pockets of people who paid for the film and sit in the seats provided.
It’s probably more like they show everything that’s free to watch with Prime without making a distinction between what they offer and introductory episodes of shows on a service that are meant to whet the appetite.
That's an interesting thought. It hadn't occurred to me. But I see 2 issues with this explanation:
I've seen series (not films) where the introductory Prime Video screens made it very clear up front only one episode could be viewed for free & subsequent ones would require a subscription to one of Prime Video's pay/sub-channels. But the times I got midway into a series only to see it disappear behind a paywall were not like that--there was no upfront warning that it would happen. These series were labeled from day-1 as "included with your subscription" (until they no longer were)
And it doesn't explain the 2-3 times I've gotten partway through a film (not a new, highlighted/listing one), then a day or two later found it snatched been moved behind a paywall.
There used to be websites that tracked the coming and going on content to the streaming sites. It used to happen mostly at the month transition but Prime churns their content a lot more often. If you aren’t familiar with the site:
This will show new arrivals for the various streamers as well as let you search for shows and show which streaming sites if any are offering it or purchase options.
I promised myself I wouldn't do it, but I did: this afternoon I saw JURASSIC PARK: SOMETHING OR OTHER. It's the 6th and hopefully last entry in this limp franchise.
This story was self-referential to a fault...and to the point of tedium. It almost felt like the screenplay was pushing a glowing, rosy hagiography of the entire franchise.
I don't mean to be cruel here. This film wasn't flat-out awful. It wasn't full of squirmy, unintended laughs. Some of these characters are downright likable. But after awhile, it all congealed into a blur of pricey CGI & opaque, nonsensical screenwriting. I really couldn't make sense of large plotpoints here, and it just didn't matter. IMO, the best part of the film was that wonderful old plane. After that crashed, I was done.
I lasted 2 hours. Didn't stick around for the final gigantic CGI spasm. Hey, at least the popcorn was good.
Glad your popcorn was good, mine on the other hand wasn't think it was the liquid at room temperature stuff they used at my theater.
I will admit they could have done a lot to make it better but I too enjoyed the pilot and that plane. It just felt so fast, too fast. It could have been 2 movies, even 3. Not that I would sit through 3 of them. But the pace was off.
Netflix implosion continues... 300 more jobs slashed (bringing total to 450). Acquisition by other mega soul sucking conglomerate incoming in 3, 2...
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