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In the first two parts of “The Plot Against America,” HBO’s six-episode adaptation of the bestselling Philip Roth novel, creator David Simon took his sweet time setting up the chess board. Sure, establishing the rules of an alternate historical timeline takes some thought and detail, but it shouldn’t use up one-third of your total storytelling time. Those tricks may have worked wonders for the “The Wire,” which artfully unmasked the futility of a few good actions against a rigged system, but so far the grandiose themes in “The Plot Against America,” such as the rise of fascism and the radicalization of everyday people, feel a lot less relevant than the alliances and rivalries of inner city Baltimore.
What’s left for the series to do then, in its remaining three episodes, is tell a good story. Thankfully, that modest goal seems attainable after the series’ third episode, which propels the Levins into the fray of the rising tide of anti-semitism. Rather than wringing their hands while watching from the sidelines, the show’s central family finally experiences firsthand the discrimination they’d been talking about in the first two episodes. While that may sound voyeuristic, it’s kind of the whole premise of the story, and a key element of imagining Roth’s parallel past.
As our adorable bellwether of things to come, young Phillip Azhy Robertson opens the third episode with a nightmare. Haunted by visions of his precious stamp collection turning to Hitler memorabilia, Phillip tumbles out of bed breathless and afraid. A trip to the doctor confirms that all the Jewish kids are having trouble sleeping for the same reason, which doesn’t exactly assuage his mother’s Zoe Kazan mounting fears. Meanwhile, his father Herman Morgan Spector is kind enough to scrub clean the Jewish graves that have been vandalized with swastikas, but naive enough to be thinking about buying real estate.
On the other side of the Atlantic, cousin Alvin Anthony Boyle has arrived in London after having defected to Canada to fight for Queen and country. He’s having luck with a British shiksa, but must field odd questions about his belief in God and why he “chooses” to be Jewish. Clearly, things aren’t perfect even amongst the good guys.
Though Alvin’s storyline has been getting plenty of screen time, it still feels quite ancillary to the plot. He’s gone from beating up Germans in New Jersey to deciphering radar plans in London, picking up a new set of acquaintances along the way. Where are his nogoodnik friends like Shushy Margulis Steven Maier for context? He’s a compelling character, but not...
While major studios have the resources to debut their theatrical releases early on digital and streaming platforms amid the nationwide shutdown of movie theaters due to coronavirus COVID-19 concerns, indie filmmakers are being left without an audience for their small films. Typically, film festivals give these indie films the exposure they need to build up an audience or critical acclaim.
But with film festivals cancelling left and right, indie films are the ones that suffer the most. However, Jay and Mark Duplass, who got their start in the indie filmmaking world, want to use their clout to support those indie filmmakers whose small films are left without a home.
Film festivals are more than a fancy place for high-profile filmmakers to debut their next awards contender. They’re an essential home for many indie films that otherwise wouldn’t get a chance to debut to big crowds. But with those crowds dispersed and shut up in their homes for the time being, indie filmmakers are being left with nowhere to show the small films that they worked on for years. They don’t have the resources to just drop their movies on digital platforms and even if they did, they’re more likely to get overlooked in favor of Bloodshot.
However, the Duplass brothers are attempting to lessen the financial blow that indie filmmakers are feeling by using their clout to elevate those small films. In an interview with IndieWire, Mark Duplass put out the call to indie films for a home, offering the resources of Duplass Productions to boost indie filmmakers’ works.
“[The streamers] are all doing their best overtime watching pretty much every movie that’s being submitted to them from the festivals that didn’t have their premieres. We as Duplass Brothers have also come forward to those people and said, ‘If you find a movie where you feel like ‘This is really great but it’s not there yet,’ bring it to us and we will help partner with you to make that movie what you feel like it needs to be for your service.”
While streaming platforms have been a godsend for many stuck inside, or the many people who can’t afford to go to the movie theater every week, Duplass said that not only independent filmmakers, but independent studios have been struggling to cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There are so many positives and negatives to where we’re at with the prominence of streamers, what they have done to places like IFC and Magnolia who’ve been around for years and who are an integral part of our ecosystem,” Duplass said. “They were really damaged by some of these acquisition prices at film festivals. We used to … sell our movies to these niche distributors, and we wouldn’t hammer them for too much money because if we did, they wouldn’t be...
Birds of Prey never stops moving, like a hungry shark searching for its next breakfast sandwich. It's in perpetual motion for most of it's runtime, and when you slap 4DX on top of that, it becomes increasingly hard to hold onto your nachos. And your beer will definitely be shook flat twenty minutes into the mayhem. But that's what it's all about when you sign up for that 4DX ticket.
This is carnival ride entertainment at its finest, exactly what 4DX was created for. There isn't much of a story to be found in Birds of Prey, and that's perfectly okay. In terms of 4DX, this is the best kind of movie to match with that all-immersive format. It's another John Wick type of dash and bash where your seat will constantly beat, stab, shoot and kick you. There is one moment towards the end that literally almost threw half the audience on the floor of the theater. It was that brutal and intense. A summersault triple-flip of a moment that I've only seen matched by Idris Elba being thrown into a bus midway through Hobbs and Shaw.
You'll definitely get your money's worth. And if you're not afraid of getting wet, leave that water button alone, because Margot Robbie has one tricked out fight scene in a jail cell that drops you in the middle of splash city, with more spray blasts to the face than I've yet witnessed inside a 4DX venue.Removed from the novelty of that hydraulic chair, Birds of Prey is still a fun night out at the movies. It's the true definition of a popcorn movie. It's colorful, fast, loud and has a banging soundtrack that includes Doja Cat. What more could you want out of a superhero thrillride? It doesn't ask you to think too much. And finally, someone found the perfect way to adapt the popular family book Everybody Poops. Dare I say this is one of the better page-to-screen adaptations to come along in some time, as this, boiled down to its core essence, is the tale of one little girl who really needs to evacuate her bowels. Somehow, director Cathy Yan found a why to turn that idea into an action epic.
Harley Quinn is on the outs with what appears to be the entire city of Gotham after breaking up with Mr. J. Black Mask wants her obliterated. But she gets the chance to redeem herself within the criminal underbelly by retrieving a diamond swallowed by the young Cassandra Cain. As Harley attempts to track down the diamond, chaos ensues. And there are a lot of great action and fight scenes that are only enhanced by the ferociousness of the 4DX experience.
The early John Wick comparison makes sense, as the director of Keanu Reeves' action masterpiece, Chad Stahelski, came on midway through the production to give this thing a little extra kick. He choreographed some of the head stompers that fly by at a rabid rate. And if you're into the Jardani Jovonovich saga, you'll definitely want to buy this ticket.
There has been a lot of online discourse around the themes in the movie. It is an all-girl superhero...
On news broadcasts and cable news channels, the company will reduce commercial loads to allow for more programming. On the entertainment front, late night shows as well as unscripted series on Bravo, E! and USA, will all feature extended episodes and bonus content in lieu of some commercial pods.
NBCUniversal will reduce advertising loads across its networks and add more entertainment and news content as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues, and as families quarantine at home.
“Now, people all across America are turning to us more for the content that comforts them and connects them to the outside world,” writes NBCUniversal ad sales and partnerships chairman Linda Yaccarino in a blog post Monday afternoon. “At the same time, some marketers across every industry have asked to pause their advertising plans or shift their messages, and they're looking for ideas, tools, and strategies from their most trusted partners. So, in light of everything we're seeing and hearing, we want to do what's right for our audiences and marketers.”
On the broadcast news shows and the company's cable news channels MSNBC and CNBC, the company will reduce commercial loads to allow for more news and information programming.
On the entertainment front, late night shows The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen now originating from the hosts' homes, as well as unscripted series on Bravo, E! and USA, will all feature extended episodes and bonus content in lieu of some commercial pods.
Some of the company's channels will also launch family movie nights, with sponsored but commercial-free airings of films.
Late last month the advertising research firm Magna Global predicted that the U.S. TV ad market would fall by 13 percent in 2020 due to the fallout from the pandemic, calling the situation “totally unprecedented.” The travel, restaurant and movie sectors in particular have pulled back ad spend.
In addition, NBCUniversal finds itself in the position of having to fill many hours of programming that had been set aside for coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which have since been postponed until 2021.
Yaccarino also writes that the company will be engaging in outreach to companies and waiving fees “to allow companies to reach their customers directly in their homes and generate much-needed sales.” That will include access to remote production teams, brand assets, talent, translation services, and editing services, which can all be used to create new campaigns even as most people are staying home.
The company also released new research on Monday outlining the increased media consumption during the last few weeks. The research found that digital and linear TV viewing is up, gaming is up significantly, and that streaming services are seeing subscription gains, while...