Cinemaholics Review: The Disaster Artist

disaster artist

On this week’s podcast, I’m joined by Will Ashton and Maveryke Hines to review The Disaster Artist, along with a lot of other new releases we saw this week like Marvel’s Runaways and The Man Who Invented Christmas.

Starring James Franco and his brother Dave Franco, The Disaster Artist (which Franco also directed) is a new film from A24 about the making of The Room, known to many as perhaps the “best worst” movie ever made. The film is getting a ton of love from audiences and critics alike, so naturally, we had a great discussion on what we think of the Oscar contender.

The rest of the show is devoted to a slew of Mini Reviews, from a new documentary about Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman on Netflix to the Nightcrawler writer/director’s follow up film starring Denzel Washington. Plus a few more surprises.

Go on…Cinemaholics Review: The Disaster Artist


Netflix Is Raising Its Prices

I’ve refrained from talking about this since the news broke out that Netflix will, in fact, be increasing their subscription rate for the first time in years. I was waiting to form an opinion that was slightly less negative, so here it is.

The standard price has been $7.99/month since 2010, and that of course encompasses unlimited streaming of hundreds (if not thousands) of TV shows and movies with no commercials.

It’s an incredible value, and I’m actually pretty surprised the company has waited this long to start pressing their huge customer base for more cash. My theory is that they’ve waited to make sure enough people are addicted to their service, thus making this decision more profitable in that fewer people will cancel their subscription over a price increase.

The increase in question will raise the monthly rate by one or two dollars, so hovering around $9.99 a month or more. They’ve tried this in Ireland, and it has apparently worked well there for Netflix.

Reed Hastings (CEO of Netflix) argues that the price increase is crucial if they want to continue developing original content, such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, their biggest streaming hits in terms of in-house production. It’s easy to assume, however, that this was their game plan all along.

And I don’t have a problem with that at all. In my eyes, Netflix has consistently provided a great service at a steady price, and this is an essential move for them in order to stay afloat and continue giving us a great library of streaming media. This is especially true now that other streaming companies are providing tough competition, including Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, Vudu and HBO Go.

But what do you think? Is Netflix making the right move here, or is this leading us down a slippery slope of customers getting gouged for money? We learned in the 80s that cable companies were absolutely capable of this…

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Why Can’t We Subscribe to Our Favorite Shows?

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With Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, iTunes, and Amazon all battling it out to achieve the monopoly on streaming entertainment, one question is constantly on my mind: When will the bubble burst?

Yes, Netflix is king when it comes to sheer numbers, boasting a large catalog and subscription base. Still, we all know Netflix doesn’t satisfy everyone’s needs. I can’t be the only one who finds it unbearable to wait up to a year for a season to be released on Netflix, if at all.

So, I also have Hulu, which allows me to keep tabs on ongoing seasons, again, if they even have it.

I also have Amazon because there are just some shows that I can’t access anywhere else on demand (legally), plus Amazon now has the sole rights to many Viacom programs such as Spongebob Squarepants (which, let’s face it, is the most important).

Do you see the problem I have here? By the end of all this, I’m still paying more money to watch my favorite shows that may or may not be available. I might as well return to classic cable, even though that costs hundreds.

Well, I have a possible solution that I believe the streaming giants will eventually fall into. You see, Netflix is already packing their storehouse with original content in an attempt to take in more profits, and it’s working for now.

But we don’t just want new shows, at least not yet. Instead of the streaming giants becoming streaming networks where only certain shows fall into them (which we absolutely don’t want), why can’t we simply subscribe to programs we want to watch in a limited fashion?

Amazon and iTunes have already used this format for movies, allowing us to rent full movies for a fraction of the price. Why can’t we rent shows? After all, I am far less likely to revisit a show after I’ve seen it once, especially if it is bound to be syndicated on Netflix within a year.

If we could subscribe to a show’s season, we could essentially pick and choose which shows we want to watch throughout the regular TV season. Don’t we do this already? By October or November, I’ve already settled into what shows I’m keeping up with and don’t have the time or patience to catch up on something I completely missed.

Yes, Vudu, Amazon, and iTunes let you pick and choose already, but you can’t rent a TV show. Instead, you have to buy the entire season in some cases. My idea combines the pick/choose mentality with a subscription.

Think of it as a “My 5” plan made famous by cell phone carriers. You pick 5 shows you want to watch full seasons of as they develop. If you fall behind, that’s okay because after the season is over, you are able to watch the remaining episodes just once before they disappear.

That’s where I want this whole streaming business to go, anyways. It empowers the consumer and provides valuable insights and data to the networks. Sure, the logistics are lost on me, as every network in the world is at each others’ throats right now, but don’t expect that to last forever. Eventually, something’s going to move.

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Are Hulu and Netflix the New ABC and NBC?

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Or Fox and CBS? Or CW and AMC? Okay, I’m going too far obviously, but my point is that the two streaming giants are making noticeable strides in becoming “real” networks, whatever that means.

Like pretty much every other millennial, I prefer Hulu to broadcast television and Netflix to renting movies. As a result, I’ve noticed Hulu and Netflix have been pushing original series that can only be seen on their platform (in the states at least).

When I first noticed this a couple of years ago, I presumed that they would only be able to afford miniseries with forgettable actors and web series, but they are proving me wrong with the release of these new shows that actually have a lot of recognizable talent.

Hulu, for example, is releasing three big shows this year. The first is an animated comedy series about superheroes who quit their jobs called The Awesomes. If the show has one thing going for it, it’s that Seth Meyers of SNL is the head writer and the teaser is pretty funny.

The next is a show Hulu is doing in partnership with BBC called The Wrong Mans. Family and friends of mine know that I am a huge fan of British television (if you haven’t watched Skins or Misfits, you are missing out), so this one is at the top of my to-do list. This is a dark comedy, of course, about friends who stumble upon a criminal conspiracy. The best part? It has James Corden. Check out the trailer.

They’re also coming out with a documentary about sports mascots. Read that sentence again.

Netflix is being even more ambitious with the release of Season 4 of Arrested Development this spring, which is really catering to their fan base (the connection being that Netflix users watch Arrested Development ALOT, myself included). They are also coming out with 5 other shows to debut this spring, such as Lilyhammers, House of Cards, Hemlock Grove, and Orange is the New Black.

Like I said, Hulu and Netflix are serious about original programming, hence they are pouring huge sums of money into this investment. Even Amazon Instant is joining in on the action with their own programming.

So, what does this mean? Will Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon eclipse the traditional format of broadcast television?

I say follow the money. Right now, the money is behind CBS, Fox, ABC, NBC, etc. Unless streaming platforms gain the lobbying support of investors, major networks won’t go away, and streaming will be the next cable. It’s like how FX, TBS, AMC, and Comedy Central will never actually kill CBS. They’ll just be better.

Keep in mind, however, that the majority of shows being consumed on streaming platforms is produced by cable, with Hulu being the exception, just barely. Though the major networks have American Idol and The Big Bang Theory, streaming and cable have Breaking Bad.

So the future ultimately rests on the tastes of the masses. God help us.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.

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