Category Archives: Movies

The Wild, Wonderful, and Extraordinarily Convoluted World of Digital Movie Ownership

Depending on who you ask, we’re either in the beginning of a transition to a fully-digital media environment, or we’re already there. Services like Netflix and Spotify have given users access to an unprecedented array of entertainment options, and platforms like iTunes and Steam have made true digital ownership a modern reality. However, when it comes to digital ownership of films and television, no one platform has truly taken hold. There are dozens of storefronts, such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft, Sony, and Vudu. But no store’s library is universally accessible from all devices, meaning digital owners often find themselves purchasing only on the storefront that is most convenient for them, or finding their libraries stretched out over a bunch of segregated storefronts.

In past years, the closest thing to a solution has been the Ultraviolet platform. While users can play back their movies and TV shows on Ultraviolet if they choose to do so, it’s true utility is in interconnecting various services and storefronts so that media is shared throughout. If somebody purchases a blu-ray with a digital copy or buys a movie on Vudu, that media will be shared with a linked Ultraviolet account which then redeems the same movie on studio’s storefronts, as well as other third party streaming services like (the now-defunct) Flixster. Even better, multiple Ultraviolet users can join together as a “family,” meaning all of their media is shared with each other across all platforms.

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What Is the Role Of Entertainment In Defining Our Values?

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“This whole Nazi resurgence is because we stopped shooting them in video games after Call of Duty 4, isn’t it?”

I tweeted the above this week in response to the horrifying video of Richard B Spencer leading the alt right in a Nazi salute to President Elect Donald Trump. It was a joke. You have to be able to make light of the insanity America is currently facing, or you’ll crack completely.

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Dueling Conventions of Love and Hate: Comic Con vs The Republican National Convention

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The best horror movie of the last week has been the Republican National Convention. The event pushed the narrative that we are all part of a huge battle between the “real” Americans and…well, everybody else. There are the Muslims who supposedly hate us, the immigrants and criminals who are more prevalent than ever (or at least it “feels” that way, which New Gingrich says is more important than facts), and the dastardly liberals and their Lucifer-following ways. It all painted a picture of a society on the brink of collapse, unless an orange, toupeed “blue-collar billionaire” can come to our rescue.

And yet, at the same time, another gathering suggested that maybe all of the above blustering is a crock of shit. The San Diego Comic Con kicked off on the night of July 20th, just as the Republican National Convention was winding down. The massive convention center south of San Diego’s Gaslamp District flooded with an irresponsibly large body of fans, all of whom had happily made their pilgrimage to the event.

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Is Piracy Why We Can’t Have Nice Things?

downloadingisstealingcampaign-642-380Last week,  Hannibal producer Martha De Laurentis lamented in a blog post about how piracy led to her show’s cancellation. In her write-up, she specifically remarks on how “nearly one-third of the audience for ‘Hannibal’ is coming from pirated sites – despite the fact that a legitimate download for each episode was available the following day.” Reading the statement at face value, this appears to be a major issue that needs fixing. It seems absurd that the 5th most pirated show on the internet would receive ratings so low that it warrants cancellation.

And before I begin debunking this argument, let’s be clear: piracy DOES often affect a film or television show’s bottom line. Given that the arts are still usually funded by corporations and studios which create entertainment to turn a profit, we need to be aware that we’re essentially voting for our favorite media with our wallets. If you love something and you’re downloading it with no intention of ever paying for a legitimate version, then you are working against your best interest.

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The Good and Bad of 10 Cloverfield Lane’s Marketing Campaign

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(Unlike my 10 Cloverfield Lane review that posted earlier this week, this article WILL discuss spoiler and plot points. If you have not seen 10 Cloverfield Lane yet and have any interest in seeing it, I would recommend clicking away now.)

10 Cloverfield Lane had one of the best teaser trailers in recent memory. It told you all you needed to know about the film: it takes place in a bunker, there are rising tensions and occasional conflicts among the characters, and there is something dangerous outside. Then, there was the kicker: a title card with the word “CLOVERFIELD,” before fully revealing the title as “10 CLOVERFIELD LANE.”

It’s that last part that is causing trouble for part of the movie’s audience. 10 Cloverfield Lane has a B- on Cinemascore right now, which usually reflects how accurately marketed a movie is. Reddit is swarmed with people who are disappointed with the film and its marketing, and even on AV Club’s spoiler section, where comments are usually solid, several commenters are expressing their thankfulness for having a place where they could easily spoil the movie, confirm their suspicions, and avoid seeing it altogether.

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