It’s been about a week since House of Cards debuted on Netflix and I’m already 6 episodes deep. Actually, it’s only been a couple of days since I began watching, and I’m only giving it a few more before I’m done. It’s called binge-watching. And it’s an addiction. It could also be the future of home media consumption.

Prior to the release of House of Cards, much was made about it’s release strategy. Was releasing every episode on the same day the right move? Or would it ultimately hurt viewership? Why was this being brought up in every write-up about the series? Keep in mind that this isn’t the first time Netflix or other streaming services have released an original show (Netflix acquired exclusive North American air rights to Lillyhammer in 2012 and Hulu has had 4 shows they’ve been producing originally since 2011 along with acquiring numerous foreign series). What makes this one stand out is that it’s the first time we’ve seen an original web series of this size and grandeur. With a $100m budget at a time when Netflix was making some pretty questionable PR decisions made it a risky investment that could make or break this as a viable option for the future of online media.

So what exactly could be bad about this release strategy? Surely, we’ve all have those days where we’ve binge-watched our favorite shows either on DVD or TBS marathon?

Spoilers are probably the least of the issue. It’s fairly easy to avoid spoilers when you’re not familiar with a show or characters. After all, I caught up on Season One of Homeland by purchasing it on iTunes and binge-watching it during an off-weekend over Christmas. And now that I’m caught up on Season One, I’m patiently awaiting Season Two’s release and a whole slew of new shows are out to keep my Facebook feed from getting clogged with “SPOILER ALERTS” to avoid. But then again we all have that one friend in a timezone ahead of us who will give away the Downton Abbey that just aired a couple hours ahead of us. GRRR! The thing is… Spoilers aren’t new and shows currently broadcast on television are not immune to them.

Truth be told, even before House of Cards release, as a TV nerd I would finding myself binge-watching many of my favorite shows on DVD or the streaming services I was subscribed. So what could be wrong with the model?

Promotion, mainly. Without a steady schedule, when are the networks going to have the time to promote these things and keep them at the forefront of the viewers’-or more importantly, the potential viewers’-minds?

House of Cards saw a lot of “hub-bub” and buzz leading up to it’s release. There have been ads and interviews, etc. But what will keep that going? The answer, of course, is viral sharing and word of mouth. We are living in a viral world now. And the viral sharing of this show could very well make this show into a long-lasting success or it could minimize it to the scale of a mere meme. If viewers don’t jump on the bandwagon before their friends stop discussing it, then what’s Netflix going to do to get the casual latecomer’s attention?

Until Netflix releases the official viewer analytics, we can’t say if it has been a successful release strategy for the show. But I can say that if I only had access to the 1st episode of the series, I would not have recommended it to so many of my friends by now. It’s yet to be determined whether or not the quality of the entertainment outlasts the quality of “Charlie Bit My Finger”.

Either way, we’re still getting Arrested Development in the Spring!

Here’s a gem of a trailer for an early 90′s movie called Tammy & the T-Rex. I’ve wrote a quick summary of what I think it’s about:

Denise Richards’ boyfriend (Paul Walker) dies and has his brain taken by a mad scientist and implanted into a mechanical Tyrannosaurus Rex which Denise Richards must now save from capture by the local town sheriffs because she can’t let go of the feelings she still has for her dead boyfriend (who is now a mechanical T-Rex). Incredible.

Synopsis: This drug store* just got some flava! From the producers of Beauty Salon and Soul Plane comes the tale of an urban town whose residents have grown sick of their everyday lives and the sassy ladies of the new neighborhood pharmacy have got just the remedy! Ain’t nothin too scary for these apothecaries!

*Not all drugs FDA-approved; please consult your physician before watching

Synopsis: After years of service, Sister Mary Agnes turns her back on the convent to embark on a trip across America to escape her former deity and live life on the open road. Much to her dismay, He seems to be watching over at every turn…

Enough time has passed from my last blog post that I can post something that’s not movie related. I just spent my first Thanksgiving weekend in Los Angeles which I was thankful enough to spend with my parents. It had its ups and downs like any Thanksgiving, however, it wasn’t until I tried describing the events of the weekend to my roommate that I realized how truly bizarre the weekend was and how I needed to recount the story while it was all still fresh.

This was a first for me and my parents in that we didn’t spend Thanksgiving in Fall River, MA nor did my mother have to cook. I’ve been in Los Angeles for exactly 3 months and I was a bit nervous about playing tour guide not exactly knowing the area. This meant a lot of spaced out touristy stuff and a lot of complaints from my parents.
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contagion-270x400Steven Soderbergh has a lot of friends. Like really popular ones who just happen to be actors that will be in his movies. Even if its just a small role without many lines or much depth, someone like Kate Winslet or Marion Cotillard will do it. Maybe they like, owed him a favor or something? I’m not too sure because as I understand it (from a complete outsider’s perspective) this is not typically how Hollywood works. Not to say Contagion is an A-List disaster along the lines of Full Frontal or Ocean’s Twelve, but it is a film about a disaster that never seems to carry much weight. About an hour into it, I thought to myself “the entire world could be dead at the end of this movie…and I could care less.” And that is Contagion.

The basic story kicks off when Gwyneth Paltrow comes back from Hong Kong, and just like the evil bitch she is, spreads a disease around to different people in the US. Well, not just them. Apparently in Hong Kong she also gave a ton of tourists diseases who brought it back to their own respective countries. They mustn’t have renewed their subscription to GOOP.

Before we know it, we delve into several different storylines as different actors investigate or cope with the disease. From Kate Winslet who’s a doctor sent from the CDC to Gwyneth’s hometown. Or Marion Cotillard, a World Health Organization official or something who travels to Hong Kong to nail down patient zero and ends up getting kidnapped (and pretty much forgotten about). Faring the best out of all of these mini-stories is Matt Damon who is struggling to keep his daughter healthy after losing both his wife and his son and learning that he is immune to the virus. It helps that it’s the only story with a full arc and it was wise for Soderbergh to use it as the bookends of the movie.
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WB has released another official photo from the Dark Knight Rises, possibly in an effort to thwart off all of the poor quality set pics that have been getting leaked. Seriously, is this movie shooting in people’s backyards? There are too many set photos. Save it for the release date, people.

The photo gives us our first look at Anne Hathaway, who hopefully isn’t going to be riding that motorcycle after the sun sets. Those shades are much too dark, Anne Hathaway. Be safe. And where is your helmet for God’s sake?
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RiseOfApesRise of the Planet of the Apes is the prequel nobody was asking for. Especially after that Tim Burton-Marky Mark “re-imagination” thing that happened, one would think that would have killed the franchise forever. But it’s a new decade. A decade with motion capture. And somehow the movie that nobody asked for is a surprisingly fresh summer movie that’s more entertaining than it’s marketing lead on.

Make no mistake that the flick’s biggest achievement is not being downright laughable. Which is saying something given the commercials and trailers. Whenever a trailer popped up in a theater, the crowd burst into laughter at the scenes of the apes giving shifty eyes or just the thought of another installment in this series. (Would the Ape-raham Lincoln statue make a cameo?!) Fortunately, the motion capture and Visual Effects end up on the same level as Gollum (maybe even a level above, considering we’re dealing with recreating real creatures here) and it’s quite easy that you grow attached to the main ape, Caesar as he grows with the cognizance of a real child.
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o-new-harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part-2-posterThere are movies that don’t need reviews. Critics shouldn’t even bother reviewing the Transformers sequels. You know before you read them that the majority of critics are going to pan them. And no matter what they say, the movies are going to go on and make a bajillion dollars anyway. So what’s the point? Harry Potter movies are sort of the same way. Not in that there are robots running around with annoying teenagers. But on opening night you’re either already in or you’re out.

Along the way, the Harry Potter series has had some movies I’ve more than happily enjoyed revisiting (mainly Prisoner of Azkaban). There have been one or two I wouldn’t mind if I never turned on again, as well (Half-Blood Prince…you’re pretty, but you didn’t hold my interest like the book). If you’ve been keeping up with the series, I’m sure you have your own similar tastes and opinions. I think it would be hard for anyone to argue that we couldn’t have asked for a better closing to the series than Deathly Hallows Part 2 though.
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There were a lot of movie trailers released this week. As a guy who stays up to date on movie blogs, most of them were expected sooner or later (Hugo, Sherlock Holmes 2). But one trailer, in particular, stuck out for a few reasons that already make it scream the words: “BOX OFFICE SMASH.”

For one, I hadn’t heard of it before watching the trailer. Weird, because the cast is literally filled with A-List names such as Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Matt Damon. How’d that sneak by? Probably because it wasn’t a sequel or remake. Secondly, and most important to its box office success, Gwyneth Paltrow bites the dust at the 0:55 mark.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the trailer to Contagion

CONTAGION
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