News, updates, reviews and analysis of industry and consumer trends in the world of streaming
George Clooney's upcoming series adaptation of "Catch-22" will stream exclusively on Hulu....
George Clooney's upcoming series adaptation of "Catch-22" will stream exclusively on Hulu. Clooney will direct, executive produce and star in "Catch-22"; it will be his first role as a TV series regular since he left NBC's "ER" in 1999. The six-episode limited series, from Paramount Television, is based on the iconic 1961 satirical novel by Joseph Heller, set in Italy during World War II. Clooney will portray Col. Cathcart, Martin Balsam's role in the 1970 film adaptation. Hulu also announced that it had picked up the full streaming rights to "ER" this week, marking the first time all 330 episodes will be available online. – THR
Redbox has accused Disney of abusing copyright law to bolster its forthcoming streaming service....
Redbox has accused Disney of abusing copyright law to bolster its forthcoming streaming service. Disney has filed a lawsuit against Redbox over the distribution of "download codes" at the company's many rental and sales kiosks. Redbox and Disney do not have an ongoing licensing agreement; Redbox simply buys Disney films on DVD and Blu-Ray, which come with codes allowing users to access digital copies of the films. The company then sells these download codes separately. As many of these discs include language telling purchasers that the codes are "not for sale or transfer," Disney argues that this violates the terms of the sale. Redbox has suggested Disney is using the lawsuit to "stifle competition," clear the way for its own streaming platform and secure more market share for Hulu, which it partly owns. – THR
Reuters reported that Amazon Studios will shift its strategy, focusing less on art-house and independent films and more on "commercial projects." ...
Reuters reported that Amazon Studios will shift its strategy, focusing less on art-house and independent films and more on "commercial projects." The report cites unnamed people familiar with Amazon's plans, and alleges that the company will begin to produce and seek out films in the $50 million budget range. The company's goal is apparently to gain a wider audience for its original productions, as a way of driving more consumers to join the Amazon Prime service. Roy Price, the head of Amazon Studios since it was formed in 2010, left the company in October amid allegations of sexual harassment; a permanent replacement has not yet been named. – REUTERS
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HBO announced a slate of upcoming documentary films, including projects from Judd Apatow, Rebecca Miller and Mariska Hargitay. ...
HBO announced a slate of upcoming documentary films, including projects from Judd Apatow, Rebecca Miller and Mariska Hargitay. Apatow will produce two films: “The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling," a profile of the late comedian, and “May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers," about the popular North Carolina band. “King in the Wilderness," from director Peter Kunhardt, chronicles the last three years in the life of Martin Luther King, from the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 through his assassination in 1968. Rebecca Miller’s “Arthur Miller: Writer” looks back at the life and career of her father, the noted playwright, and includes never-before-seen archival material. "Law & Order: SVU" star Hargitay produced “I Am Evidence,” about the backlog of forensic rape kits in the US and the emotional impact this broken system has on victims. HBO also announced a three-year deal to develop investigative documentaries with journalist Ronan Farrow. – VARIETY
Netflix has posted the first trailer for its upcoming documentary about attorney Gloria Allred....
Netflix has posted the first trailer for its upcoming documentary about attorney Gloria Allred. Directors Sophie Sartain and Roberta Grossman use the film to look back at Allred's four-decade career, but focus on the MeToo Movement and the current wave of sexual misconduct allegations against prominent men. (Allred represents 28 women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault and abuse.) The film will debut at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, but the directors are apparently continuing to work on it until the last possible second, to guarantee it's as up-to-date as possible. "Seeing Allred" debuts on Netflix on February 9. – EW
Prolific documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman will make his entire catalog of films available to stream for the first time on Kanopy....
Prolific documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman will make his entire catalog of films available to stream for the first time on Kanopy. Nearly 50 Wiseman films, dating back to 1967, will stream on Kanopy, which is available through local and university libraries. (Wiseman's latest film, "Ex Libris," is about the New York Public Library.) The acclaimed filmmaker, who won the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governors Award in 2016, owns and distributes all of his films through his own company, Zipporah Films, and had planned his own streaming service before becoming aware of Kanopy. – SLATE
Actor and comedian Joel McHale will host a new unscripted weekly series for Netflix....
Actor and comedian Joel McHale will host a new unscripted weekly series for Netflix. "The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale" will feature the host's skewed take on the week's politics and pop culture, along with celebrity guest segments and comedy sketches. McHale will also offer commentary on video clips found on international TV and the internet. McHale will executive produce along with director Paul Feig and others. The first season will contain 13 episodes, and kick off on February 18. McHale also appears in Netflix's upcoming original film "A Futile and Stupid Gesture," portraying his former "Community" co-star, Chevy Chase. – VARIETY
NYT film columnist Glenn Kenny recommended some of 2017's "hidden gems" that can currently be found on Netflix....
NYT film columnist Glenn Kenny recommended some of 2017's "hidden gems" that can currently be found on Netflix. Kenny argues that, while Netflix's collection of essential classic films is easily outmatched by services like FilmStruck, Netflix nonetheless features a number of noteworthy recent films that have been overshadowed by high-profile new releases. Recommendations include "My Happy Family," from the country of Georgia, Sundance favorite "I Don't Feel At Home in This World Anymore," Belgian drama "The Unknown Girl" from the celebrated Dardenne brothers, Syria-focused documentary "Last Man in Aleppo," Elisabeth Subrin's "A Woman, in Part," and the powerful Netflix Original documentary "Strong Island." – NYT
Turner Broadcasting will roll out the FilmStruck subscription video on demand service internationally, starting with the UK....
Turner Broadcasting will roll out the FilmStruck subscription video on demand service internationally, starting with the UK.FilmStruck focuses on art films, classics and critically-acclaimed movies, and features selections mostly pulled from the Warner Bros. film archive and the Criterion Collection. The UK service will be known as FilmStruck Curzon, due to a partnership with an art house theater chain. It will be Turner's third international streaming service: the company already runs the sports-focused EI Plus in Brazil and the family-oriented Toonix in Scandinavian countries. – THR
Netflix has acquired the rights to the romantic comedy "Sierra Burgess is a Loser," starring Shannon Purser of "Stranger Things."...
Netflix has acquired the rights to the romantic comedy "Sierra Burgess is a Loser," starring Shannon Purser of "Stranger Things." Purser portrayed fan favorite character Barb on "Stranger Things," and here stars in a high school version of Cyrano de Bergerac. (Sierra helps a more conventionally "pretty" teen land a date with her crush.) The film co-stars '80s mainstays Alan Ruck and Lea Thompson, and will debut on Netflix later this year. – DEADLINE
Vulture looked at why so many quirky, low-key comedy series have been canceled by streaming services....
Vulture looked at why so many quirky, low-key comedy series have been canceled by streaming services. Among the recent alternative comedy casualties are Hulu's "Difficult People," Netflix's "Lady Dynamite" and three Amazon originals: "I Love Dick," "One Mississippi" and "Jean-Claude Van Johnson." Many in the industry are noting that streaming services, now that they are more established, have begun to operate like traditional networks, canceling programs that aren't connecting with a large enough audience rather than allowing them to play out. Amazon's shift in strategy, from building passionate niche audiences to aiming for mainstream viewership, also means less emphasis on idiosyncratic original voices. Writer Josef Adalian notes that the cancellation of streaming shows feels more "shocking" to audiences, because there are no published ratings or numbers, so it's impossible to know which programs are doing well and which are in imminent danger. – VULTURE
Amazon raised the monthly subscription rate for Amazon Prime, which includes the Prime streaming service, from $10.99 to $12.99....
Amazon raised the monthly subscription rate for Amazon Prime, which includes the Prime streaming service, from $10.99 to $12.99. Annual Prime memberships will remain $99 for the full year. As well, a la carte access to just the Prime video library, without complimentary shipping on all orders, will stay at $8.99 per month. Amazon did not disclose a specific reason for the price change, and has not released numbers about the total number of Prime subscribers. Some analysts estimate that Amazon has about 90 million Prime members. – USAT
The idea that cubicle life is hell, and corporations are evil, is certainly nothing new. "Dilbert" strips have explored the notion that many companies reward incompetence while punishing independent thought since the 1980s. All the way back in 1999, "Office Space" took an existential view of office work, suggesting that the only way to maintain your sanity amid the grinding boredom, humiliation and dehumanization was to emotionally disconnect. (It took a few more years for people to discover the movie on video.)
Comedy Central's "Corporate" ultimately espouses a similar message, and even explores some of the same quirks of middle management as "Office Space" in its first few episodes. (Both the movie and the show satirize the frequency of office cake parties, for example.) But while "Office Space" is largely a genial film about a man rediscovering friendship and his love of the outdoors, "Corporate" is a long, bitterly amusing stare into the void. ("The Void" is actually the TITLE of the pilot.)
Comedians Jake Weisman and Matt Ingebretson (who co-created the show along with Pat Bishop) star as Jake and Matt, officemates and friends who work as junior executives in training at mega-corp Hampton DeVille. (The company's tagline: "We make everything.")
The satire here is not subtle. The company's CEO, Christian DeVille, is an irrational rageaholic prone to fits of extreme violence, and played with relish by Lance Reddick. Jake and Matt's supervisors, Kate (Anne Dudek) and John (Adam Lustick), only understand hierarchy, cowering in fear of their superiors and encouraging underlings to rip one another apart. A jaunt past any cubicle reveals a sad individual at the end of his or her rope, quietly sobbing, staring off into the middle distance or plotting their own immediate demise. (Suicide is a constant theme.)
It's the kind of show that appeals to inside comedy nerds and generally cynical people, an audience that considers any sort of optimism to be hacky. But it's undeniable that the show is very observant about modern corporations and office culture, and it's very consistently funny. Every scene is built on a comic premise, but also includes a lot of funny asides and dialogue, and the direction and visual flourishes are also thoughtful and clever. Episode 2 opens with a banana's captivating journey from a South American rainforest to a Hampton DeVille break room, where it's eventually chucked into the trash, uneaten. Though it's basically an extended single gag, it develops with all the style and intensity of any Peak TV cold open. You'd never see a sequence like that on, say, "Workaholics."
Honestly, it's worth watching "Corporate" for the Lance Reddick performance alone. That guy's a national treasure.
The first two episodes are available to stream now on ComedyCentral.com (with ads). New ones air Wednesdays at 10 pm, and will then appear online.
Where to Watch: Comedy Central
Episodes: 2 currently available (1 season)
Running time: 25 minutes each
Genre: Satirical comedy
The new film "The Road Movie" consists entirely of footage taken from Russian dashboard cameras....
The new film "The Road Movie" consists entirely of footage taken from Russian dashboard cameras. While consumer dash-cams have not taken off in the US, they are quite popular in Russia. Director Dmitrii Kalashnikov created the film by compiling various footage of car accidents, "unexpected calamities" and general vehicular chaos, without giving it any sort of context or narrative through-line. The Daily Beast compares the film to "slowing down and staring at the aftermath of a tragic crash," and notes that it can occasionally be "ghoulish," while serving as an "unforgettable, unshakeable reminder that survival, in general and especially behind the wheel, is often something that’s out of our hands." The film will play in limited release in the US this month. – DAILYBEAST
Producer Frank Marshall and director Thom Zimny are working on a new documentary about Johnny Cash's iconic concert at Folsom Prison on January 13, 1968....
Producer Frank Marshall and director Thom Zimny are working on a new documentary about Johnny Cash's iconic concert at Folsom Prison on January 13, 1968. Zimny has previously directed documentaries about Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Presley, while Marshall is best known as the co-founder of Amblin Entertainment and producer of the "Jurassic Park" series. The film will be made with the full support of the Cash estate, and will use the concert to explore many aspects of Cash's life and biography. Cash died in 2003, and was the subject of the 2005 biopic "Walk the Line," starring Joaquin Phoenix. – THR
RECOMMENDED: "MY NEXT GUEST NEEDS NO INTRODUCTION" ON NETFLIX...
RECOMMENDED: "MY NEXT GUEST NEEDS NO INTRODUCTION" ON NETFLIX
David Letterman's new once-a-month Netflix chat series - there are six total episodes planned - dispenses with basically all of his prior late night trademarks. There's no band, there's no desk, there's barely a set, there's only one guest, and there's not really a ton of comedy. Sure, Letterman retains his self-deprecating wit, and frequently plays the "out of it grandpa" role, but the aim here seems to be genuine thought-provoking discourse rather than comforting pre-sleep chuckles. Most surprising, for the guy whose show was defined by arch irony, "My Next Guest" is frequently sentimental. David Letterman is 70 years old... is it possible he just now matured?
The changes are interesting, and certainly make for a disarming, entertaining hour-long special. But I'm not sure the new format entirely plays to Letterman's strengths. It could just be that he's a bit rusty - this sort of long-form career retrospective-style discussion would be perfect for someone who's been consistently podcasting for the last few years, rather than someone who used to do 3-minute segments with celebrities promoting movies, followed by Stupid Pet Tricks, before taking an extended hiatus.
Part of the effort to dispense with gags and really SAY SOMETHING in this first episode could have to do with Letterman's guest: former president Barack Obama. But despite the fact that he and Obama clearly enjoy one another, and there's an easy familiarity between the two, Letterman often seems kind of adrift, and unsure of what kind of commentary he's really looking to get out of his subject. Frequently, it feels like Obama saves him, coming in with a fun anecdote or a clever aside that kind of puts things back on track.
Some of the hour focuses on politics - the economic woes that Obama inherited, and his views on things like voter turnout or income inequality - but Letterman avoids specifics whenever possible. It's an opportunity to hear the former president talk about his own legacy, while diplomatically avoiding having to speak about the current White House occupant, but it's light on explosive revelations. (The name "Trump" is mentioned during a brief video segment featuring Rep. John Lewis, but never once by Obama.) Letterman doesn't get any observations, pointed or otherwise, out of Obama that we haven't heard before.
It's more interesting when the two men relate on more personal topics. Obama's had some real time to sit and think about the way he used social media, and his changing attitudes toward platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Both men have recently retired from long-term jobs and share thoughts on keeping busy and remaining relevant.
And perhaps most fascinatingly, Letterman seems motivated by insecurities about his own legacy, and hints that this show may be an effort to give something more back to the culture than, say, Top 10 lists. When the conversations - with both Obama and Lewis - turn to the moments when they were certain history was being made around them, Letterman turns wistful, and even seems to get choked up. He didn't have a front row seat to history, and he sounds regretful, and even jealous.
There's an authenticity to his questions and his tone and his presentation here that's altogether different from the David Letterman we've gotten to know on late night TV for the past few decades, and it's the most compelling material in the new Netflix special BY FAR. Letterman's upcoming guest roster includes George Clooney, Jay Z, Tina Fey, Howard Stern, and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai. Hopefully, they will also bring out his more deeply-felt, introspective side. The show could honestly stand to get a lot MORE personal, but this is certainly an unexpected start.
Title: "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman"
Where to Watch: Netflix
Running time: 56 minutes
Episodes: 1 so far, 6 total (1 season)
Genre: Talk show
Dragon Media, a California company selling streaming devices, is being sued by an alliance of Hollywood studios, along with Netflix and Amazon....
Dragon Media, a California company selling streaming devices, is being sued by an alliance of Hollywood studios, along with Netflix and Amazon. The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, a coalition made up of studios including Columbia Pictures, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros., filed suit against Dragon Media in US District Court in Los Angeles, alleging that the Kodi software powering Dragon Media boxes allows them to stream unauthorized and pirated content. The studios are seeking an injunction against the company and its top executives, as well as $150,000 for each copyrighted work that has been infringed. The alliance filed a similar suit in October against Georgia-based TickBox TV, which also sells set-top devices. – LAT
Netflix posted the first trailer for its upcoming sci-fi series "Altered Carbon," set in a future where human beings can transfer their consciousness between bodies....
Netflix posted the first trailer for its upcoming sci-fi series "Altered Carbon," set in a future where human beings can transfer their consciousness between bodies. The series, based on a novel by Richard K. Morgan, stars both Joel Kinnaman and Will Yun Lee, as a soldier who is resurrected 250 years after his death in order to investigate a murder. "Altered Carbon" debuts on Netflix in February. – VERGE
'00s teen soap opera "One Tree Hill," which left Netflix in October amid fan outcry, will now stream in its entirety on Hulu....
'00s teen soap opera "One Tree Hill," which left Netflix in October amid fan outcry, will now stream in its entirety on Hulu. "One Tree Hill" will debut on the streaming service on February 1, along with new Hulu acquisitions "Everwood" and "Living Single." As Netflix has been letting more and more classic TV series go in favor of original shows, Hulu has rushed in to fill in the gap. "The X-Files" and "Lost" also recently moved over from Netflix to Hulu, and the company has added TV classics including "The Golden Girls," "Seinfeld," "Animaniacs" and ABC's TGIF line-up. – BUZZFEED
Shows from streaming services dominated the Golden Globes on Sunday, taking five of the top TV awards....
Shows from streaming services dominated the Golden Globes on Sunday, taking five of the top TV awards. This year marks the first time that both the Best Drama and Best Comedy series trophies went to streaming shows. (The winners were Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale" and Amazon's "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," respectively.) As well, both winning lead actresses (Elisabeth Moss for "Handmaid's Tale" and Rachel Brosnahan from "Mrs. Maisel") were recognized for their work on streaming shows. Aziz Ansari also won the Best Actor in a Comedy Series award for Netflix's "Master of None." Though this was a record-setting year, shows from technology companies and streaming platforms have been winning more and more major awards since Netflix's "House of Cards" took home three Emmys in 2013. – VERGE