Archive for the ‘Ways To See Film, Television, and Media’ Category

All About PBS’s ‘Masterpiece’ & Amazon’s Increasingly Tight Relationship (Decider)

December 12, 2017

I would have never researched this kernel of streaming choice had it not been for my good friends Nina and Joe telling me they just got (PBS) Masterpiece through Amazon. I thought PBS only afforded streaming content access through their free app along with Passport, a yearly contribution to PBS which offers access to their entire archive of programming. A smidgen of digging uncovered a recent article from Decider. Thanks to writer Meghan O’Keefe for compiling all you need to know. From Decider,

Amazon has made no secret of the fact that it wants to be the streaming home for as many Masterpiece series as possible. Over the past few years, the internet giant has snatched up as many SVOD rights to Masterpiece titles as they could — and they already offer a curated “Masterpiece” Amazon channel that gives subscribers access to 31 additional titles not (yet) available to Prime Subscribers.

[…]To fill in these gaps in their own Prime library, Amazon offers a “Masterpiece Channel.” For $5.99 per month, users can add this option to their pre-existing Prime subscription, thus giving them access to more Masterpiece favorites. The channel offers older classics like The Jewel in the Crown and Mansfield Park, but more importantly, it gives users access to the latest seasons of Masterpiece‘s featured shows.

[…]It’s a pretty good deal, but PBS has one of their own. PBS’s basic streaming platform is free to use (and comes with more than a handful Viking River Cruise commercials). They tend to offer free streaming of the network’s latest titles for anywhere from a few weeks to months after broadcast. PBS also offers its own subscription service for viewers who want unlimited access to new and favorite programs.

Among Passport’s offerings? Downton Abbey, Sherlock, The Great British Baking Show, VictoriaGrantchester, as well as a variety of documentaries and cultural programs. Passport is currently offering (by my count) 40 titles, but not all of them are exclusively Masterpiece. They’re all representative of the most popular PBS programming in recent years. At $5 per month (or $60 annually), it’s arguably a financially better deal. Also, PBS considers Passport as part of its donor perks. You know how PBS used to match pledges with CDs and tote bags and concert tickets? That comes along with Passport, too.

Great reporting. Read the full article on Decider.



More Than Meets the Eye: William Wyler (NYC’s Quad Cinema Retrospective)

November 30, 2017

Nominated twelve times for Best Director Oscar and winning three, fans of American film director William Wyler can immerse themselves in a retrospective of 25 Wyler classics at New York City’s Quad Cinema in December. From More Than Meets the Eye’s Quad Cinema,

In The American Cinema, Andrew Sarris grouped William Wyler in the dreaded “Less than Meets the Eye” category, alongside Huston, Wilder, and Lean as “directors with reputations in excess of inspirations.” And what a reputation Wyler has: this consummate perfectionist worked for nearly half a century, from the silent era to the dawn of the New Hollywood, earning the most-ever Best Director Oscar nominations with 12 (and three wins). His name has become virtually synonymous with Hollywood craftsmanship and prestige; Wyler made unapologetically big movies about big themes with big performances. But a closer look reveals countless grace notes between the crescendos, and shows Wyler to be an acute chronicler of mid-century American life. He had the range of an accomplished journeyman, but whatever the genre, he proved a fluid stylist of startling invention. The Quad is proud to present New York’s most extensive Wyler retrospective in 15 years, a much-needed reconsideration of this vital film artist.

Click here for a list of the 25 films and their screening dates.

Reel Charlie Wyler favorites include:
The Best Year of Our Lives
The Children’s Hour
Funny Girl
The Heiress
The Little Foxes

Movies Anywhere: Everything you need to know (CNET)

November 19, 2017

Attention readers who rent or purchase digital movies. From CNET,

There’s a new streaming movie service called Movies Anywhere, and it almost sounds too good to true. It doesn’t only put most of your online movies in one place, it puts them everyplace.

Think of it like a digital bridge between the big four online video vendors: iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Movies Anywhere is backed by Warner Bros., Disney, Universal, Sony and Fox. So films produced by those studios will appear in the Movies Anywhere app, regardless of where you originally purchased them. Additionally, those films should appear in each of the services through which you’ve connected your accounts.

Read the full article.
I rarely rent or purchase digital content. Maybe two or three times per year. But it’s nice to know aggregators are starting to show up. Good sign for making streaming content easier to navigate.

Hulu drops price of its entry-level plan (CNET)

November 18, 2017

From CNET,

The competition between two major streaming services is heating up.

While Netflix announced last week that it’s raising the price of its standard subscription plan, Hulu is offering new subscribers a price cut as of Sept. 21.

According to Hulu’s website, until Jan. 9, subscribers can sign up for the entry-level plan of $5.99 a month for the first year. That’s down from $7.99 a month. The commercial-free plan remains priced at $11.99 a month.

Read the full article.
What are you current subscriptions?
Reel Charlie continues subscribing to Amazon and Netflix. Time to change-up?

Donnie Darko at the Library

November 10, 2017

I walked past a shelf at work today and saw this book sitting out. I immediately thought Donnie Darko must have been here.


John Sayles’ Films: Chronology and Availability

November 9, 2017

I created a handout for the American Independent Directors Film Series at the library. It lists all of John Sayles’ films in order of most recent to oldest. It also lists all the places you can buy, rent, or watch the films including Amazon, DVD/Blu-ray purchase, hoopla (library), Hulu, (our) Library’s physical collection, and Netflix.

Shakespeare Wallah at The Quad (NYC) with James Ivory and Madhur Jaffrey

November 8, 2017

Exciting news for Merchant Ivory fans in the metropolitan NYC area. The Quad is screening a restored version of Shakespeare Wallah this week with director/screenwriter James Ivory and star Madhur Jaffrey. I went to the city a few months ago and was honored to catch Ivory for the screening of Maurice. It was a magical evening. Loved hearing stories from one of my favorite film partners of all-time.

Shakespeare Wallah
1965, 120m, DCP, UK/India

Opens Friday—North American theatrical premiere engagement of 2K restoration
The second feature uniting director/screenwriter James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant—known then and forever as Merchant Ivory—with screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and actor Shashi Kapoor secured the world cinema reputations of all concerned. Based in part on the diaries that Geoffrey Kendal kept while performing Shakespeare all across India with his wife Laura Liddell, the film introduced audiences to their daughter Felicity Kendal, who stars as the UK theatrical troupe’s ingenue, caught in a love triangle with an Indian playboy (Kapoor) and a Bollywood film actress (Madhur Jaffrey, named Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival). The Merchant Ivory tenets of literate wit, heartbreak, and cultural collision all take center stage.

With Madhur Jaffrey & James Ivory in person at 6.30pm on Fri November 10

Purchase tickets online at The Quad.

Serial: Season 1

November 7, 2017

I’m coming very late to the Serial party. A friend recommended this podcast three years ago when it premiered as an off-shoot of This American Life. Sarah Koenig along with her producers and staff journal through a year of investigating a crime committed 15 years ago. From Serial,

A high-school senior named Hae Min Lee disappeared one day after school in 1999, in Baltimore County, Maryland. A month later, her body was found in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.

I was captivated by the series from the start. Organized, accessible and fascinating especially for lovers of murder mysteries and true crime. The final few episodes dragged a bit. 12 episodes in all, Serial could have used more editing. Still, the story is fascinating. Does justice prevail? 3.5 out of 5.

Sunshine State Screening at the Library: Saturday, 11/11/2017

November 5, 2017

Our final John Sayles film, Sunshine State screens at Fairfield Public Library this Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 1:30 pm. Join us for our American Independent Film Director series final event. Click on the image below to register.

Announcing the Award-Winning Films From NewFest 2017 (Out)

October 28, 2017

Thrilled to see so many lesbian films win at this year’s NewFest 2017 in New York City. Especially looking forward to:

The Jury Award for Best US Narrative goes to The Feels, directed by Jenée LaMarque. Two brides-to-be throw a joint bachelorette party that ends up calling their whole relationship into question. Equal parts laughs, tears, and introspection, this modern take on a romantic comedy unravels the secrets that can plague even the strongest relationship. Outstanding performances and an earnest script make up the heart of this crazy-enjoyable film.

The Jury Award for Best New York Short goes to Ace, directed by Morgan Kahn Nichols, in which an unlikely pair of teenagers perform an awkward social dance in a house with no parents.

The Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature goes to Hot To Trot. Set in the swinging setting of same-sex competitive ballroom dancing, this tremendously entertaining documentary highlights the culture and art of dance as it humanistically profiles the compelling stories of four international dancers.

The Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature goes to A Date For Mad Mary, the first feature film by director Darren Thornton. Mary has just been released from a six-month prison stint for a drunken bar fight. Her best friend Charlene is now getting married and wants to keep Mary at a distance, alienating her from their circle of friends. An encounter with a queer musician changes Mary’s perspective and awakens her romantic spirit. The film also won the Breakthrough Award at the Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards.

The Audience Award for Best Documentary Short goes to Love Letter Rescue Squad. Director Megan Rossman reflects on the Lesbian Herstory Archives, home to the world’s largest collection of materials by and about lesbians and their communities.

See the full list at Out.

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