Category Archives: Entertainment Industry

Game Of Thrones Season 4 Long Preview

I have had some excitement for season 4 of Game Of Thrones for awhile already but this 15 minute trailer/behind the scenes videos has certainly made even more eager for the show to return. The footage in the first minute or so looks great and certainly seems like they will keep up the pace for season 4. In the interviews in the rest of the piece we get some good insight into what is to come and what we already have seen.  If you have not watched this enjoy seeing it for the first time.

I think it should go without saying but if you have not finished watching season 3 yet, don’t watch it since it certainly has spoilers in it for the end of season 3.

Great ‘The Americans’ Season 2 promo

originalThis is a great promo for the second season of the FX show The Americans. If you are not familiar with the show it is about two Soviet spies posing as a married American couple in the 1980’s. The first season of the The Americans provided enough good episodes to make me want to keep watching the show. It will be interesting to see how they do with season 2 of the The Americans.

The music they picked for the promo is very fitting, with it being Sting’s 1980’s song “Russians”. What I also like about the promo is that it is different because they have the two main actors from the show, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, contorting into positions that eventually form the symbol of the Soviet Union hammer and sickle. Overall, with the music and the actors, it is just a different style of promo for a new TV season that certainly made me more interested for season 2.

Here are the lyrics they use from his song “Russians”:

In Europe and America, there’s a growing feeling of hysteria

Mr. Reagan says we will protect you I don’t subscribe to this point of view

Believe me when I say to you I hope the Russians love their children too

If you are curious to hear the whole Sting song “Russians” here is a link to a YouTube video of the song.

Marvel’s ‘Agent Carter’ Books Hayley Atwell & Writers

 

PeggyCarter2I am quite glad to see that ABC & Marvel continue working on the possibility of an Agent Carter TV show. Beyond the movement on the series I am very glad that they have Hayley Atwell coming back for it. I quite enjoyed her in the first Captain America movie and the Marvel one-shot of Agent Carter that came out on the Iron Man 3 DVD/Blu-Ray. The potential TV series just would not be the same without her, since she played the part so well.

ABC’s “Captain America” spinoff “Agent Carter” is gaining momentum, landing commitments from Hayley Atwell, who played the World War II government agent in the movie, and showrunners Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas.

via ABC’s ‘Agent Carter’ Books Hayley Atwell, and ‘Resurrection’ Duo as Showrunners – TheWrap.

Below is a short clip for  Marvel one-shot of Agent Carter

Game Of Thrones Season 4 Trailer

It is always great to see the first trailers for the new Game Of Throne TV season. In this case season 4 of the show.  I will be glad/excited to have this show back.  It will be interesting to see how they handle the end of book 3 A Storm of Swords that they did not get to in season 3 and what parts of book 4 Feast For Crows they get to this season. What the trailer shows for season 4 looks promising. As I said above, excited for it to be back.

Kevin Spacey On The Future Of TV

Kevin Spacey delivers the 2013 MacTaggart lecture in EdinburghKevin Spacey gave a speech at Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival recently and he made some great points on the future of not just TV but filmed entertainment in general be it TV, Film or web/computer based of some form.

“Clearly the success of the Netflix model, releasing the entire season of House of Cards at once, proved one thing: The audience wants the control. They want the freedom. If they want to binge as they’ve been doing on House of Cards and lots of other shows, we should let them binge. I can’t tell you how many people have stopped me on the street and said, ‘Thank you, you sucked three days out of my life.”

This shift of the audience having now at least some control over their viewerships of TV has certainly been growing since the advent of the VCR.  It has really taken off in the last decade with the invention of the DVR/Tivo and the prevalence of websites and digital stores like Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, and Amazon Instant. Count me among the people that is grateful to have this control over our media and when we watch it. Another quote from Spacey that follows along from the quote above.

“And through this new form of distribution, we have demonstrated that we have learned the lesson that the music industry didn’t learn: Give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in, at a reasonable price, and they’ll more likely pay for it rather than steal it. Well, some will still steal it, but I think we can take a bite out of piracy.”

While I would say TV has certainly made some good strides in this area, they still have areas to improve on making content reasonable priced and easy to access all the time and if they can make it better it I think it could be even more successful. If you remove more of the restrictions on media on where people can play it or when they can see by enforcing viewing videos say of not posting a new episode on Hulu until 8 days have passed, those are the type of things I think can improve viewership and likely at least to a degree decrease piracy.

Here is a trimmed down video of Spacey’s speech that has some of the highlights.  Below the cut is the full longer speech.

 

Continue reading Kevin Spacey On The Future Of TV

Why I am disappointed Argo won Best Picture

Argo Oscars

I was not surprised last night that Argo won the Best Picture Oscar, just disappointed because I did not think it was the best movie of five of the nine nominees that I had seen.  The five I have seen are Lincoln, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained and Silver Linings Playbook. For me I would have been happy if Lincoln or Zero Dark Thirty had won Best Picture from the five I had seen.

I am not saying that Argo is a bad movie, but like I said not the best of the nominees. In my opinion the problem with Argo was that I did not feel much tension at the end of the movie, in the final road block that the characters were facing.  Given the movie is based on a true story and has at least some basis in fact, we already knew the outcome of the movie before going into it.  In the case of Argo, the movie did not give me enough story or gripping characters to make me forget that I already knew the ending to this movie given its ground in real life. Overall it is a good movie and worth seeing once, but it is not one that I am going to go out and purchase for my movie collection.

Lincoln PosterIn contrast to Argo both Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty, while based on real life events like Argo, gave me enough in terms of story and character development/investigation. For Lincoln, the movie gave me a great character study of one our great presidents, Abraham Lincoln, to help set off the fact that you already knew that he died and that the amendment would pass. Daniel Day Lewis performed amazingly as Lincoln and made you feel like you were getting a real glimpse at what Lincoln was like. Steven Spielberg and the entire production did a great job at pulling you into the past with how faithfully they created the world of the 1860’s Civil War era.

For Zero Dark Thirty given that it is a military story enough details have been shrouded in secrecy that it is great for the movie to lift the veil on what happened in the search for Osama Bin Laden. The movie also gave us a great performance by Jessica Chastain and her character of Maya showing the very determined CIA officer who relentlessly tracked down Bin Laden and did not give up.

ZeroDarkThirty_v2

In the end we are still left with two great films in Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty and just because they did not win the Oscar for Best Picture does not take away from the fact that they are great films.

Embracing IMAX for 2D and not 3D

An article over at Movieline.com talks about how “more and more evidence suggests that audiences are both showing a preference for IMAX and happily forgoing often-reviled 3-D visuals.”

Personally for me if a movie films scenes with IMAX cameras to take advantage of the bigger picture it can offer, like Christopher Nolan did  with the Dark Knight did, I am more willing to pay for that experience than I am with 3D.  For me I don’t see 3D as a big attraction or something that I care to spend the extra money on .  While 3D can add some value to movies, overall it just does not add enough to a movie where I would regularly pay the higher 3D ticket price for that experience.

IMAX to me I think can add enough value when the film makers film at least part of their movies using IMAX cameras, some of the recent examples of that are Dark Knight like I mentioned and Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. The more immersive world they can create normally for action scenes to me is overall normally worth the extra price if I am already interested in the movie.  While I don’t always choose the IMAX screening I certainly normally consider it in the movies that take proper advantage of it.  To truly see what IMAX filmed scenes can bring to a movie see the picture below and how much more detail IMAX brought to the screen.

Image via Slashfilm.com

This part from the article has some good stats on performance of 3D vs 2D showings of the movie The Lorax. (Emphasis mine)

Other telling statistics came with the hit film The Lorax, whose hefty $70 million opening far exceeded expectations. Industry investment analyst Richard Greenfield found that while 3-D screens represented a nearly two-to-one majority of The Lorax’s theater count, the grosses expose a nearly even split between 2-D and 3-D. The per-screen average shows that more money was made in conventional screenings, a stunning figure once you factor in the inflated 3-D ticket prices. That breakdown means that while 60 percent of the screenings were displayed in 3-D, 60 percent of the audience watched in 2-D.

via The IMAX Old Wave: How Audiences and Filmmakers Are Embracing the 2-D Mega-Screen – Movieline.

 As that helps show I am not the only one that prefers 2D over 3D whether for cost reasons or if people just don’t like 3D itself.  It will be interesting to see if and how this trend continues in the future both in terms of movies filming at least partly with IMAX cameras and how prevalent 3D movies stay in the next few years.

To read more about how Dark Knight scenes came about in IMAX check out this article over at Slashfilm.com: How The Dark Knight Went IMAX

4 Days until return of Game Of Thrones to HBO

It will be great to have the HBO TV show Game Of Thrones back for its second season starting on Sunday April 1st. From all the previews I have seen for the new season it certainly looks like we are in for another good season or at least I hope we are.  As it was with the first season, it will continue to be interesting to see how the second book is adapted to the screen and what type of changes end up being made.

Below is a trailer for season two:

HBO has also released a series of Pledge Your Allegiance videos focusing on 5 different noble houses that are in the show.  I have put the one for House Stark below and included links to the other four.

House Baratheon House Lanister House Greyjoy House Targaryen

Hollywood’s Idea Of Innovation, Make Buffer Copies Regulated & Licensed.

While SOPA and Protect IP are dead, we still need to be aware of what the next regulation or purposed laws will be.  The cause for concern here is a purposed provision in a leaked version of the  Trans-Pacific Parntership agreement (TPP).  What Hollywood in this case wants to regulate is:

the treaty contemplates requiring licenses for ephemeral copies made in a computer’s buffer. That means that the buffers in your machine could need a separate, negotiated license for every playback of copyrighted works, and buffer designs that the entertainment industry doesn’t like — core technical architectures — would become legally fraught because they’d require millions of license negotiations or they’d put users in danger of lawsuits.  

Via Son-of-ACTA, the TPP, wants to legislate buffers – Boing Boing.

This type of regulation has been purposed before (for more information on that see link above) and has been beaten back before.  In a Techdirt.com article, notes how this could present a real challenge to innovation/new services company’s could provide, giving this example as one case:

What the negotiators here are trying to do is to kill off any cloud streaming service (or require it to pay a lot extra). In the US, a few years ago, the 2nd Circuit ruled that Cablevision’s remote DVR was legal. Basically, Cablevision set up a bunch of servers that could act like a standard DVR, but rather than the box being at home, it was in a central data center. The TV networks freaked out about this and insisted that it must be illegal. But, of course, the only real difference between this and a TiVo was how long the cord between the DVR and the TV was. It seems ridiculous to think that the copyright could be impacted by the length of the cable. 

The key, then, to the TV guys’ argument against Cablevision was to show that Cablevision itself was involved in copying works without a license. Since it was the user pushing the button to “record” something that argument wasn’t very strong — so they picked up on a specific piece: that in the process of making this work, Cablevision had to, for an exceptionally brief period of time,buffer the TV streams that it was playing. The crux of the TV networks’ argument against Cablevision was that it was that buffer that violated copyright law. The court laughed this off, and the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal, leaving the ruling standing.

via The Real Goal Of Regulating Buffer Copies? So Hollywood Can Put A Tollbooth On Innovation | Techdirt.

To me this leaked draft provision of the newest TPP agreement, just shows how companies are more interested in trying to control their content and looking for new ways to put up road blocks to innovation and new ways of doing things that is unless they get their cut every time their content is somehow moved even if that is just transferring on a computer for content that the person has already paid for.  As the TechDirt.com article rightly points out, this type of regulation vastly extends beyond just hollywood content, in that it would have an effect really on type of digital file that a buffered copy was created of.  The article goes on to say:

For anyone who knows anything about technology, such a proposal is pure insanity. It’s an attempt to massively expand copyright law in the age of computers, for something that has nothing to do with the intended purpose, nor components, of existing copyright law. It seeks to put a legal liability for a transitional state of content for no reason other than that Hollywood wants to get paid any and every time a piece of content is touched. 

This kind of broad over reach just goes to show how important it is to keep aware of what is going on in these types of new purposed regulations, laws and treaties, to help beat back these type of ideas that are harmful to the future of technology and innovation.

Netflix deal with Warner Bros. includes delay in queues & why it is misguided.

Under a new deal between the two companies, Netflix users won’t just have to wait 56 days to rent Warner Bros. movies on DVD. They’ll have to wait 28 days to add the movies to their queues.

As part of the Warner’s continuing effort to boost its DVD, Blu-ray, and video-on-demand business, the studio’s new deal with Netflix throws up a new roadblock for people willing to wait and get the movie as part of their monthly subscription.

via Netflix deal with Warner Bros. includes delay in queues – latimes.com.

Making people wait to just add it to their queues on Netflix, just another example of why people dislike Hollywood entertainment companies sometimes.

I totally agree with Marco Arment (creator of Instapaper) on what this delay means for me in practice.

If I’m adding a movie to my Netflix queue, I’ve already decided not to buy the DVD. I’m adding it because it looks mildly interesting and I’d like to watch it sometime. If I can’t add it to Netflix, I’ll just forget about it and probably never see it.

via Netflix deal with Warner Bros. includes delay in queues – Marco.org.

To further echo that, If I am looking to rent a movie it is likely one that I did not have enough interest to see in the theater itself. That means I am not real interested in buying it before I have seen it, so I will wait to rent it.

The point that MG Siegler makes below is very pausbile I think in the long term.

I hope we all realize where this eventually leads: the banning of movie rentals entirely. 

via parislemon • A 28-Day Window Before You Can Even *Think* About Renting A Movie.

That leads into my final point, that making it harder for consumers to access and enjoy the movie and TV studio’s content does not help in the fight against piracy.  I am not advocating piracy here in response to this, but the harder companies make it or more barriers the companies put up to access their content, they should not be surprised if people turn to other means. In that sense this issue is just another facet of the fight over SOPA/Protect IP, if companies offered easier ways to pay at fair prices to let us use their content, company likely would see more people take advantage of those opportunities. One example is the iTunes music store.