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Netflix is shaking up Hollywood!

Video on-demand giant and other online streaming companies are helping redefine the motion picture industry.

With its stark black-and-white depiction of Mexico City in the 1970s and the savage government crackdown on student protesters, Roma opened up mainstream US moviegoers to a cinematic world rarely captured in Hollywood masterpieces. But more than just becoming the first Best Picture nominee for a film with the main character speaking the Mesoamerican indigenous language Mixtec, the Netflix original production directed by Alfonso Cuaron has turned the movie business on its head.

In conventional showbiz, the best movies were awarded Oscars, and the best television programmes scored big at the Emmys. Yet with the advent of online streaming for on-demand film content, the distinction between the silver screen and the tube has become fuzzy.

Earlier this month, Steven Spielberg reaffirmed his commitment “to give audiences the motion picture theatrical experience” in remarks that many observers considered a jab at Netflix, the latest titan to join the elite Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) lobbying group. “Joining the Motion Picture Association further exemplifies our commitment to ensuring the vibrancy of these creative industries and the many talented people who work in them all over the world,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, said in an MPAA statement in January.

“All of the major pundits at Gold Derby are 100 percent in for Roma,” said Sasha Stone of Awards Daily. “That is quite a stronghold. Either they will all be right or all be wrong.”

Netflix hired a leading strategist and spent some $25m to promote Roma, which cost only $15m to make. Disney, Black Panther; Warner Bros, A Star is Born; and Universal, First Man have also invested heavily to give their own Best Picture nominees a competitive edge.

Despite theatre chains protesting against Netflix’s gambit to qualify for Oscar glory, this year the theatrical earnings for Best Picture nominees were the highest since 2010, a combined North American box office total of more than $1.3bn. However, that figure excludes the relatively small amount generated by Roma, as Netflix, Inc does not publish information on how its films perform financially.

Netflix, with around 140 million paying subscribers worldwide, is modifying its business model. Although the cinematic releases were limited and not intended to generate revenue, the move served to increase the company’s Oscar chances and also signified flexibility by the Los Gatos, California-based entertainment firm to adapt to the market.


The Lion King Remake Ignites A Big Debate

Disney’s The Lion King remake has opened a new debate as to whether or not it’s truly a live-action movie. The trailer has already been released and quickly set Disney’s record for most trailer views in a 24-hour period, accumulating 224.6 million globally. It is now the second-most watched trailer in a 24-hour period, behind Infinity War, which earned 238 million views. However, a lot of people have seen The Lion King remake trailer, which has in turn led to an online argument about live-action vs. animation.

Original 1994 animated The Lion King fans were quick to realize that the teaser trailer for the remake is nearly identical to the original trailer from 24 year ago. Some fans enjoyed the similarities, while others have gotten angry with Disney for potentially making a movie that is a carbon copy of the original. However, it’s too soon to tell if that’s Disney’s aim here, which has brought the new argument as to if it’s really a live-action movie, since it’s obviously done with a ton of visual effects.

The Lion King remake is mostly-animated and shot against a blue screen to give Jon Favreau the feeling of working on a traditional set, adding in the visual effects later. Crew members and actors are able to walk around the set with a VR headset and magically get transported to the fleshed out, animated set. Visual effects supervisor Rob Legato doesn’t think that The Jungle Book remake, which also came from Jon Favreau and Disney, nor The Lion King remake are animated projects. He had this to say about working on The Jungle Book.




Weekend Box Office Sinks to Historic Low

As the depressed box office was hit by bad weather and the Mayweather/McGregor fight, indies “Wind River” and “Logan Lucky” held strong.

Talk about the dog days of summer. This weekend marked the worst box office in this century.

If “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” (Lionsgate) holds on to the top position for a third time next week, it would mark the lowest gross in memory to repeat again. The actioner dropped a ho-hum 53 per cent, boosted by the absence of any real competition. Count stars Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson among rare winners at the moment.

Read the full report from Indie Wire here…




What’s On the Big Screen this Summer?

Those in the know are predicting a major sag in the box-office takings for the summer of 2017. Audiences have had it, right? They don’t want to queue up to throw their money away on the fifth iteration of Transformers (this one’s called The Last Knight) or Pirates of the Caribbean (Dead Men Tell No Tales), or Pixar’s third Cars movie?

Not so fast. The demise of blockbuster retreads and rip-offs must still be filed under fake news; the revolt against franchise fatigue may be as slow in coming as Trump impeachment proceedings. Lousy movies wouldn’t be spawning sequels if the public wasn’t paying for them. And now studios have a large overseas market clamoring for same-old-same-old.

But all is not lost… well, not completely, at least. Even in this season of the walking braindead, we’ve have founds some great surprises in live-wire escapism and real-deal Oscar heat. Here are the blockbusters and big-name, big-budget movies you need to be paying attention to this summer

Click here for a list of Most Anticipated Movies for 2017


Starfish – A True Rutland Movie

15 | | Drama | 28 October 2016 (UK)
“Starfish” tells the story of a couple whose love is tested to its limit after their perfect life falls apart in a single moment.


Bill Clark


Bill Clark

If ever a film was a tough watch, it is Starfish: based on the true story of Tom Ray, a man from Rutland in the East Midlands who in 1999 had to have his arms and legs amputated and part of his face removed after contracting a rare form of septicaemia. He and his wife Nicola lived through the ordeal with great courage. One comes away from the film with real respect for the raw honesty of the performances: Joanne Froggatt is Nicola and Tom Riley is Ray.

The film goes on (limited) general release on Friday, 28th October, and is well worth seeing. The hope is that it will raise a lot of money for, which is designed to offer support, and to provide awareness of the symptoms to the public and medical community, because speedy treatment can mean a full recovery with no lasting damage in many situations. Currently, in the UK, it results in more deaths per annum than road deaths and several of the major forms of cancer combined (roughly 44,000 deaths).

None of this makes it an easy film to watch, but it has moments of humour, tenderness and joy and hope for the future, and is really beautifully made so do go along and boost the audiences. For us Rutlanders, it makes us proud of where we live and the family are just amazing!

Starfish on Wikipedia



2016 Box Office Winners & Losers

What movies did you see this year? Good? Bad? Indifferent?

The reason studios and indies alike pursue Oscars — at considerable cost in time and money — is not only for prestige and bragging rights in Hollywood, but to get a box office boost from the drawn-out awards season. This year’s results follow a similar pattern from recent years, as most distributors played from an established playbook. Industry experts could look at where nominees stood in mid-January when the Oscar nominees were revealed and given each release plan, project home viewing dates and final results.

Read Indiewire’s Winners and Losers for 2016



Leonardo Wins!

Leonardo DiCaprio has finally won his first Oscar for survival epic The Revenant, after six nominations.

leonardo wins

He was named best actor at the 88th Academy Awards, with Brie Larson named best actress for Room.

Spotlight took home the best picture Oscar with Mad Max: Fury Road picking up the most awards of the night, with six accolades.

Mark Rylance won the best supporting actor Oscar, with fellow Briton Sam Smith winning best original song.

Read the full story on the BBC



Ridley Scott’s Mars movie is “spectacular and uplifting”

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible, rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return.


Critic reviews

Peter Debruge·Variety

An enthralling and rigorously realistic outer-space survival story in which Matt Damon plays a NASA botanist stranded on the Red Planet after a sandstorm forces his crewmates to abort mission. Full review

Peter Travers·Rolling Stone

You won’t find a space epic that’s more fun to geek out at than The Martian. Full review

Joe Morgenstern·Wall Street Journal

Knowing the premise—lost in space crossed with Robinson Crusoe in lower gravity—won’t prepare you for the remarkable variety and complexity of this sci-fi extravaganza. Full review




Should LOVE ACTUALLY be higher up the Christmas List?

love actually poster

Love Actually (2003)

15  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  21 November 2003 (UK)

Your rating:

Ratings: 7.7/10 from 300,504 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 992 user | 218 critic | 41 from

Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.


Richard Curtis


Richard Curtis

Here’s 100 great Christmas movies to consider this festive season… should LOVE ACTUALLY really be higher up the list?

Nerve’s ranking of the 100 Best Christmas Films



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