M.G. Siegler ponders Netflix’s ability to get us watching, even when the content isn’t all that special (sparked by his watch of The Old Guard, but prompted by the wider pattern of so-so content on the platform:
The real risk here is that the audience starts to associate Netflix with mediocre films. It may not matter now — and certainly not right now, in the time of COVID. But down the line, if the audience can’t trust that what Netflix is putting in front of them is good, they’ll lose faith.
But then, Netflix might well decide that they’d much rather end up replacing the multiplex cinema business and showing stuff that doesn’t get the critical plaudits, rather than replacing the arthouse cinemas where critical praise doesn’t necessarily translate into dollars and cents. This might be a problem for Netflix, but only if one of the other major streaming platforms finds itself with an HBO-like reputation for excellent content.1
It’s less about Netflix customers losing faith, more about their having somewhere else to put their faith in.
- Apple TV+ would like that to be them, but even if you’re an Apple optimist they’ve clearly got a long, long way to go yet. Disney would like to step into the HBO role but they own such a large chunk of the US studios that they might have to hive off a chunk of their more refined content and put it out under a different brand to make that stick. Amazon’s algorithms probably don’t care either way what Prime Video subscribers are watching so long as the Amazon Prime subscription income keeps rolling in. ↩
Jason Kottke saw a school of juvenile striped eel catfish (Plotosus Lineatus) and thought it evoked a creature from a Miyazaki film:
It was only on following the link to the source that I found that those creatures, for all that they’re enchanting to watch, are also venomous. Makes me think that they’d be a better fit for the Alien franchise, really.1
- But then again, thinking back to some of the boathouse customers in Spirited Away, maybe Miyazaki really does work. Some of those folks required careful handling by the staff, and I can easily imagine Yubaba telling Chihiro and her colleagues something to the effect of “The young ones can only produce a mild version of the venom, tingling the fingers of the people putting their hands in the school (which we don’t recommend you do!)” ↩
If this is a joke or a spoof then someone is leaving it rather late in the day to spring a surprise on us all:
If the universe somehow arranged for a time traveller to pay a visit to young George Lucas just before he started filming Star Wars and show him that video1 then – after giving young George a few minutes time of jubilation at how handsomely his bright idea would pay off – wouldn’t even young George suggest that perhaps this adulation for all things Star Wars had all gone just a bit too far?
It’d be nice to think that we live in the timeline where the most noteworthy effect of Deepfakes will be to swap one Hollywood actor for another but somehow I doubt we’re going to be that lucky:
In some parallel universe, there’s a version of Casino Royale with Hugh Jackman playing everyone’s favorite suave British agent, James Bond. And one in which Matthew McConaughey took the Leo role in Titanic. And DiCaprio and Brad Pitt co-starred in Brokeback Mountain. And Saved by the Bell’s Tiffani Thiessen played Rachel in Friends.
That being said, I have to confess that the biggest effect of my watching Neo-as-played-by-Bruce-Lee having Morpheus ask him if he thinks that’s air he’s breathing now in the digital dojo was a powerful urge to see the best film the Wachowskis ever made again, as it’s been way too long since I last saw The Matrix and it was definitely indisputably very good, whatever you might think of the two sequels plus The Animatrix 1 that followed it. So from Hollywood’s point of view that’s a success, insofar as right now The Matrix isn’t on Netflix and my DVD copies are long since gone so I’m going to have to go and pay someone some money to watch it again. Ka-ching!
[Via The RISKS Digest]
Somewhere down the line I do hope Disney find the time – in between building up whichever cosmic-scale threat is going to close out Phase Six of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – to fill in some of the gaps in the story they’ve shown us so far.
Tell me this fanfic about life as Steve Rogers’ publicist wouldn’t work well as at least a short set in the wake of the Battle of New York, when the world has just seen Steve Rogers being the hero his nation needed:
[…] Eva lived in fear of the day a reporter thought to get Steve’s opinion about abortion. Or, God and all the angels forbid, gun control.
She breathed a sigh of relief when he was invited to speak at an anti-bullying conference; what could be more of a crowd-pleaser than siding against bullies? The sigh was short-lived, however. Steve kept to his prepared remarks for about a sentence and a half, and then spent the rest of his allotted time railing about the need for better protections for LGBT kids.
“How is this a hard job?” Yumi said that weekend over drinks. So many drinks. “C’mon, Steve Rogers, he’s such a boy scout.”
“Oh god,” Eva muttered, rubbing her temples, “don’t get him started on the Boy Scouts.” […]
I know Chris Evans claims to be done with the role, and Avengers: Endgame gave his character a send-off that worked pretty well, but come on: this is an open goal, surely?
An essential read as the Marvel fan base prepares for Avengers: Endgame, courtesy of The Angry Staff Officer:
The world is blessed that Steve Rogers never made it past captain. The Battle of Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War is a master class in how not to use an infantry battalion. However, from his failure, we can extract some fundamental lessons[…]
[On Steve Rogers’ willingness to send his vehicular support away before battle was joined…] It is true that the transport craft were unarmoured and open-topped. If fighting an adversary with strong anti-armour or indirect fire capabilities, sending them away would be reasonable. However, the Thanosian forces lacked this entirely. Their troops were incapable of using ranged weapons, or indeed, higher brain functions. They traveled on foot and bit the opposition to death.
Captain Roger’s disregard for vehicles is perhaps excusable as being on brand for a career light infantry officer. […]
Excellent, level headed work.1 The thing is, I’m not sure any of the Avengers are terribly good generals: not unless it’s revealed at the end that everything has transpired according to Doctor Strange’s grand strategic plan.
[RT via Charlie Stross]
Coming soon (with any luck) to a screen near you: General Magic, A Documentary Feature:
Judging by the trailer, John Sculley is not going to come out of this smelling of roses.
General Magic, the upcoming documentary, is a tale of how great vision and epic failure can change the world. The film features members of the original Mac team along with the creators of the iPhone, Android and eBay.
These designers, engineers and entrepreneurs saw the future decades before it happened. General Magic captures the spirit of those of us who dare to dream big and the life-changing consequences when we fail, fail again, fail better, and ultimately succeed.
I realise it’s not going to be showing up in my local multiplex: I’ll settle for it eventually turning up somewhere I can (legally) pay for it, download it and watch it.
David Ehrlich’s latest annual medley of imagery from The 25 Best Films Of 2018 demonstrates once more that there’s plenty of good work out there every year, it’s just a question of how hard you have to look to find it.
By virtue of this list being published towards the end of the calendar year, there’s invariably a bunch of the films on Ehrlich’s list that either haven’t opened in the UK yet or that I didn’t catch during their relatively brief release window outside London. Some I know I’ll not get to see any time soon because I refuse to fork out £10 a month to every streaming service out there, but a list like this at least focuses my attention on what might be worth making some effort to track down.
I knew that there was a long-standing strain of fandom built around the core concepts of Alien vs. Predator, but I had no idea it was set in stone like this:
I do love this response from @tafkao:
In 800 yrs time, architectural historians will be locked in furious debate over whether the sculpture is Alien school or Predator school.
11:30 am · 10 Jun 2018
(Further reading: see, for example, this.)
[Via Sentiers #43]