The process of watching Bright will leave you with a myriad of questions. Who is still buying movie pitches from Max Landis? How has David Ayer managed to lure Will Smith into two horrendous action movies? Why did I watch Bright in the first place? Exactly how much ros will I need to forget I watched it?
But the most important question is: What the hell is Netflix doing?
Back in March, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said of the movie business, How did distribution innovate in the movie business in the last 30 years? Well, the popcorn tastes better, but thats about it. What Netflix wants to do is to unleash film. Its fundamentally about growing the movie business.
Bright, Netflixs new $90 million original movie directed by Ayer (who made the equally awful, yet mildly enjoyable Suicide Squad) and written by Landis (whos not only been accused of sexual-assault, but also has coasted on writing the screenplay for Chronicle over five years ago while turning out trash like Victor Frankenstein ever since), is a mess. Its been dragged by critics and viewers alike, and its a wonder what contribution Netflix thought Bright would make to the film industry.
Netflix has been trying to make a dent in the film game for quite some time, particularly when it comes to awards and nominations. Their television series like House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, and Stranger Things have racked up accolades and made the streaming giant a force to be reckoned with in the TV arena. Streaming is clearly the future of television and Netflix is miles ahead of the competition. The future of film, however, is still up in the air.
Netflix could make the case that it wants to provide quality movies to consumers in a landscape where the film industry is focused on reboots, sequels, and films from existing properties like the emojis on your phone. Films such as Okja and Mudbound seemed like steps in that direction. Okja further introduced Korean director Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer) to American audiences with one of the years most gorgeous and heart-stirring films. Mudbound was another addition to director Dee Rees (Pariah) commitment to color the black experience with stories that the mainstream film industry rarely acknowledges. Okja has sadly faded from most serious awards conversations, but Mudbound is still circulating thanks to Mary J. Bliges Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.
But then there are the various Adam Sandler films Netflix keeps pumping out and shit like Bright. Because nothing says growing the movie business like Adam Sandler comedies and bloated action movies. At this point, it appears as though Netflix is operating its film division the same way that any other studio wouldwhich isnt to say theres not a place for those films on Netflix, particularly if viewers want them, but theres no innovation in how these films are being made or distributed either (except that theyre available to stream whenever you want).
Furthermore, Netflix continues having the problem of purchasing high-quality films, throwing them onto their streaming service, and letting them get buried. Its no doubt a boon for a filmmaker when Netflix buys their film, but if its not promoted the way Bright is, then whats the point? No one will see the movie unless its championed by film critics who happen to discover it in their increasingly confusing Netflix queues.
Netflix has dabbled in screening some of their films in theaters, but even that feels like them trying to play catch-up with the film industry. Its definitely enjoyable watching a film in the comfort of your own home, though Netflix has yet to make that experience entirely unique to Netflix. Theyve yet to truly create any sort of events around their films the way theyve created them around their television seriessave for everyone hate-watching and live-tweeting Bright on my timeline this weekend.
Perhaps the solution lies in finding a way to blend their TV innovation with film. Gone are the days when television movies were big events, replaced by limited series with ten-episode orders that creators insist are mini-movies. Theyre nottheyre televisionand the real TV movie event seems to now be relegated to Hallmark and its cornucopia of Caucasian romances. A return to television movies, available to stream, but with both parts released on consecutive weeks, could bring the type of attention and conversation Netflix seems to crave for its films.
Granted, these arent films that could possibly be nominated for Oscars, but then again, neither is Bright.
What that new ‘Jessica Jones’ character means for the season and the series
Friend or foe?
Warning: This post contains spoilers for Jessica Jones Season 2.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones has been a revelation for women ever since it premiered in 2015. Not only did it present us with a deeply flawed and traumatized protagonist, it dealt with her history and insecurities head-on.
In Season 2, we still have a host of varied, complicated women; from Carrie Ann Moss’s struggling Jeri Hogarth to Rachael Taylor’s unraveling Trish to our newest character, played by Janet McTeer. It’s a pivotal role with DEEP complexity and physicality, the likes of which is rare for women in action shows – especially women of a certain age.
McTeer is first introduced as Dr. Leslie Hansen, a scientist linked to the ominous IGH, but we quickly learn that there’s far more to her. She has abilities like Jessica’s, but dialed up to 11; with her super strength comes a rampant rage – a dissociative disorder that’s a side effect of the experiments IGH actually conducted on her.
When that switch flips, she becomes incredibly volatile, but with an almost childlike fixation on the source of her distress. McTeer communicates all this with a clenched jaw and unwavering gaze – and that’s before all the stunt work.
“That was fun, you know, the idea of being someone who works really hard to control her emotions, control herself,” McTeer told Mashable at the Season 2 premiere in New York. “She doesn’t know how to do that particularly but she tries very hard in all kinds of different ways and doesn’t always succeed.”
And then there’s that Episode 6 reveal, the shaky word a disbelieving Jessica says after tracking her quarry back to the house where she lives: “Mom?”
At first, turning this new character into Alisa Jones feels like a bit of a MacGuffin for Jessica’s quest to figure out exactly who or what she is. The tragic loss of her family is one of Jessica’s most formative experiences, like so many other superheroes. It’s infuriating to think her mother was alive this long and that their paths never crossed. Alisa didn’t even seek her out.
Episode 7 addresses all of that in flashbacks, but it’s still maddening. Especially with an ostensibly retconned dead boyfriend plot for Jessica that ends up being her mother’s fault (that jacket reveal though…:crying emoji:).
As the season builds to a climax, it’s hard to reconcile those revelations with a forced mother-daughter vigilante bonding subplot. Sure, there’s a tenderness to Alisa tending her daughter’s bullet wound that we haven’t seen Jessica experience before, but Mama Jones is a ticking time bomb and combustion is all but inevitable.
By now, we know how this ends: Alisa goes rogue (Jessica with her, for a time) and there’s no reeling her back in. By the final episode, she’s lost the only person who could help her scientifically and joined Jessica in the dead boyfriends’ club – she also murders a detective in a surge of violent energy reminiscent of Kilgrave himself.
“I’ve never seen a woman play a part like this,” McTeer said. “I’ve seen men do it very often but you know, I’m a middle-aged woman, so that was fun. Hard, harder than playing it when you’re 25 because it’s very physical, but still great.”
“You do something like this and you hope someone will go ‘Oh, that’s a good idea, let’s do another one!'” she added. “‘Does an FBI agent have to be a man? Let’s make it a woman. Does that person really have to be a man? Let’s make it a woman.’ I’d like that to happen more.”
If any show was going to do it, it’s this one.
Jessica Jones Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.
Offred is 1000% over it in new ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ teaser
The Handmaid’s Tale just served up an International Women’s Day teaser of Offred and her sisters fighting back. After a first season that explored women losing all their agency, Season 2 shows shows the women of Gilead refusing to be oppressed any longer.
The teaser is mostly a few flashes of footage and imagery – including Offred in front of a noose and a weeping Moira (Samira Wiley) – narrated with the emotionless cadence Elisabeth Moss perfected as Offred. She lists the requirements of the handmaid like commandments: “Wear the red dress, wear the wings,” and eventually, “Shut your mouth, be a good girl, roll over and spread your legs, yes ma’am, may the lord open.”
And then the teaser ends with a burst of frustration: “Seriously, what the actual f–”
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 premieres April 25 on Hulu.
Obamas in talks with Netflix about original shows, report says
Netflix Originals from the Obamas may be coming.
You could soon be watching Netflix Originals commissioned by Barack and Michelle Obama.
According to a report by The New York Times, the former president and first lady are in “advanced negotiations” with the streaming giant to produce a series of shows.
The proposed deal, the Times reports, would see Netflix paying the Obamas to commission exclusive content, which would “highlight inspirational stories.” Exactly how many shows and episodes we can expect, whether these will be documentaries, mini-series or otherwise, has not yet been confirmed.
How much the Obamas will be paid is also still unclear.
Netflix currently boasts 117 million members in over 190 countries — quite the robust platform for the already social media-dominant Obamas to potentially leverage.
But the Times surmised that Obama wouldn’t be using the platform as “a direct answer to Fox News or Breitbart.com,” writing:
Mr. Obama does not intend to use his Netflix shows to directly respond to President Trump or conservative critics, according to people familiar with discussions about the programming.
Netflix isn’t the only streaming service interested in content commissioned by the Obamas it seems, with the Times reporting that executives from Amazon and Apple had also “expressed interest in talking with Mr. Obama about content deals.”
Mashable has reached out to Netflix for comment.
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