‘La La Land’ Review!

[SPOILER ALERT!]

Let me start by saying I have been listening to the La La Land soundtrack non-stop ever since I saw it two weeks ago and I am obsessed. I absolutely LOVED the movie. With that being said, I cannot believe it got 14 Academy Award nominations! I do think they deserve it, but I just can’t imagine it up against the more serious films.

Set in the present day, the musical is about two people who are trying to make it in Hollywood, one pursuing an acting career, one pursuing a music career. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling each delivered heartfelt performances. They immersed themselves into their roles and really became Mia and Sebastian. I particularly enjoyed J.K. Simmons’ cameo because I think he is amazing in everything he does. I also loved the cinematography and the montages (I personally think there aren’t enough montages in modern day films). There is honestly nothing bad I can say about La La Land (yes, I was okay with the ending because I knew they were happy and got what they wanted. I mean, let’s be real, we knew they weren’t going to end up together because they each wanted very different things and they had to let go of each other in order to throw themselves into their work).

La La Land (2016)
Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone)

I appreciated that there weren’t many characters to worry about. They didn’t inform us about some of the cast from the beginning but I didn’t find myself asking questions like, “did Mia move out of her apartment?” or “did the roommates get what they wanted?” because it was irrelevant. The writers and director did a great job of sticking to the two main storylines.

I think that they even got away with the planetarium scene because it is a musical and anything can happen in musical! The dance, music, and pure joy of the film was truly contagious and it made me wish it was real life.

Netflix’s growth for second quarter disappoints

Netflix is a word that has become part of our everyday vocabulary. Instead saying, “I’m going to watch (insert show or movie),” people say, “I’m going to watch Netflix.” Founded in 1997, Netflix is one of the oldest online streaming services, which originally started as only a DVD delivery service. Since starting the online streaming in 2007, it has expanded globally. It is now available in almost every country. The most recent forecast for growth, however, was disappointing for investors. The company announced that in the second quarter of the year, it expects to add only two million new subscribers outside of the US, which is 1.5 million less than what analysts had expected. The news resulted in the shares going down more than 10%. Netflix is predicting that they will break-even in profit by the end of 2016.

With more and more competition popping up everyday, it might be hard for Netflix to keep up. One thing they have going for them is that they have no ads (and they better not start). Hulu has ads, which is usually the number one reason people get turned off by it (it’s not just a quick 10 or 15 second ad, they’re the length of a regular commercial break on TV). The reason each of the separate streaming services are able to keep up with one another is because most of them have original series’ on their sites, which get people to stay with their monthly subscription. In my opinion, the television show selection on Netflix is fantastic, though movies, not so much (but let’s be honest, it’s so easy to find free online movies nowadays). The growing online streaming industry is competitive so the only way to keep up is to keep producing original content. Netflix is also lucky because of its millions of loyal subscribers, who have been members for years before binge-watching was even a term.

Louis C.K.’s web series, ‘Horace and Pete’ comes to an end

Louis C.K. created, wrote, produced and starred in a web series called Horace and Pete that is exclusively available on his website for purchase. He ended the show without any warning to its fans until after the final episode was released. The season has ten episodes, which, now that the show has ended, can be purchased for $31. When the episodes were being released, the pilot was $5, the second episode was $2, and the rest were $3. Louis C.K. said that each episode costed $500,000, which has not yet been paid off from purchases. The show co-starred Steve Buscemi and had guest stars like Edie Falco, Jessica Lange, Aidy Bryant, Nina Arianda, and Alan Alda. Even with the wide variety of stars and big names on the credits, the comedian chose not to do any type of promotion for his show, which is highly unusual. He did say that now that the show has ended, he is dying to talk about it (and hopes that by the end of the summer, the show will pay itself off).

I watched the first episode of the show (I found out about it from one of my professors). From what I saw, it looked as though it was filmed like a stage production. In other words, they were very long takes and almost no cuts; the camera would just follow the actors around on the set. What Louis did was an interesting experiment for himself. It does not really prove much for the rest of the industry because there are probably very few actors who would have a successful show just by posting it on their website without any type of promotion, not even a single tweet. The material in each episode was very topical at the time it was released, which shows that it was filmed very recently. There would be a television on in the background showing Donald Trump saying something he said two days before the episode was released. I do plan on watching the rest of the show because it is unique and and refreshing, as it is not a traditional, formulaic series. It is funny, yet every time I laughed, I also questioned whether that line was supposed to be humorous. It was uncomfortable, in a way, which made it that much more enjoyable and desirable to watch. As Louis C.K. said in a press release to fans, Take your time watching it. Give it time. It doesn’t really follow any rhythms that you’re used to. So watch that one and wait a week and think about it.”

 

Original Article: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/louis-ck-horace-and-pete-ends-1201755083/

Apple Announces Two New Products

As many of you may have already heard, Apple announced two new products set to be released in a couple weeks. This is highly unusual of the company because they usually launch their latest technology in the month of September. There is the iPhone SE, which is the same size as the iPhone 5 but with all the technological features of the newest phone, and there is the 9.7 inch iPad Pro (which is a little bigger than the iPad Mini). The latter weighs under one pound and it is targeted to those who are seeking to replace their old Windows PC laptops. Additionally, this new product is $200 cheaper than the 12.7 inch iPad Pro, which was released in September.

Those who recently got a new Android or a Windows-based computer probably will not even look into these new products. However, those who currently own a four or five year old computer or phone who are ready to purchase a new device, might consider these new options. This announcement has the potential to revive Apple’s popularity and increase the number of people who are loyal to Apple. It will attract those who are loyal to Windows to buy an Apple device because it is cheaper than any other new product they have come out with. If there is a chance for Windows users to make the transition to Apple, this is the time to do it because the new iPad Pro is lighter and more portable. Of course, it is also faster and has a better camera quality since it is the newest Apple product.

Original Article: http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/apple-ipad-pro-smaller-tablet-1201735145/

NBC Changes its Advertisement Strategy

For as long as television has been around, the different shows and news segments have been largely supported by advertisements. Now, NBC is seeking to change the whole way advertising works on network television. On Monday, February 29th, there were a few extra segments on some of the shows at night, including on the season premiere of “The Voice,” and on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” On the former, there was a short interview with last season’s winner and on Seth, he had an extra comedy sketch. The best part is that these additional segments actually cut into commercial time. This new outlook on advertisement is a result of the decline in ratings, which we can assume has to do, in part, with too many commercials. “You never know that the ratings fell because of it, but your intuition and every bone in your being says it must have had some effect,” Mr. Wieser said.

Though it was only a total of 11 more minutes of content, it’s the start of a new type of advertising that viewers might not despise. If I had not read about it, I don’t think I would’ve recognized it as a disguised advertisement. Everyone hates commercials and we all know that the only thing they are good for is to get a snack or run to the bathroom. Most people have a DVR or TiVo that they use to record their favorite shows so they can fast forward through the commercials, which causes the advertisers to lose money because their product or service is not reaching an audience. However, if an additional interview or comedy segment does not look like a commercial, viewers will not fast forward through it. Personally, I wouldn’t mind less commercial time and more product integration and placement, or even these “extra” segments on shows. I hope this new technique gets advertisers the results they want so we don’t have to sit through as many agonizing commercials.

 

Here is the article to read the full story: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/27/business/media/tv-networks-recast-the-role-of-commercials.html?em_pos=large&emc=edit_nn_20160229&nl=morning-briefing&nlid=71438604&referer=&_r=1

‘Must-See TV’

On Sunday, February 21st, NBC aired the Must See TV: An All Star Tribute to James Burrows special. Most of the casts from all the shows he’s directed were there including Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Cheers, and Taxi. Each cast had the opportunity to go up on stage and talk about what they loved about Burrows and also answer questions about the show they were a part of. Each segment was either hosted by Andy Cohen, Jane Lynch, or Bill Nye. Jim Burrows is a legend; he has now created and overseen 1000 episodes on TV. He also directed each of his own shows’ pilot episodes. Burrows gave a touching speech at the end of the night, in which he thanked his casts and also thanked those who helped organize this event by saying, “I’m so glad you did this while I’m still around because I wouldn’t wanna miss it.”

Of course the one reunion we were all waiting for was Rachel, Joey, Monica, Chandler, Ross, and Phoebe, which they saved for the very end. Unfortunately, Matthew Perry was not able to attend because he was in London, but he did send in a video message saying he wishes he was there. The clan talked about how Burrows encouraged them to get to know one another and to be real friends rather than just costars. They discussed their favorite episodes as well as the question we all wonder while watching which is “how can these girls, who are supposedly broke, afford this huge downtown NYC apartment?” Most of the cast agreed that the home was inherited while Matt LeBlanc said, “rent control.”

I enjoyed watching this special because all of the casts were sitting together and it was really nice seeing everyone having a good time. The television event was full of nostalgia even for those of us who did not watch most of these shows while there were still new episodes every week. I think it’s safe to say the whole world went, “awwwww” when Matthew Perry referred to his Friends costars as, “my actual friends, who happened to be the cast of Friends.”

Because we study television, we appreciate the shows from the 90’s and we immediately recognize that these were from the “Must-See TV” era. Burrows’ speech was touching and inspiring, which he finished off by saying “I’m not here for a long time – I’m here for a good time.”

http://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/friends-cast-reunites-for-james-burrows-special-w164924

 

NYC converts old pay-phones into Wi-Fi hotspots

When was the last time you used a pay-phone (if ever)? When was the last time you even saw someone using a pay-phone? I don’t think I’ve ever used a payphone and I don’t remember the last time I saw someone use one. Everyone has cell phones and almost everyone has a smartphone. The only thing us smartphone users are concerned about is free Wi-Fi and low battery.

Mayor Bill De Blasio has a plan to convert thousands of the old New York City payphones into free Wi-Fi hotspot kiosks. There are already a number of phones that are operating on Third Avenue. The program is called LinkNYC and it is fully funded by CityBridge. The hotspots are supposed to be faster than any other free Wi-Fi network around the country with speed of up to one gigabyte per second. “LinkNYC is the Wi-Fi network New Yorkers deserve: the largest, fastest municipal Wi-Fi network in the world – and you won’t need to insert a quarter in the slot, because it’s completely free,” says Mayor De Blasio. They are planning on having 500 of these kiosks in the five boroughs by the end of July. These kiosks will have two USB charging ports, free Wi-Fi within a 150-foot radius, and an emergency 911 button.

This looks like an amazing launch that will push the city towards a new age of innovation and rejuvenation. This will allow everyone to use Wi-Fi out on the streets in New York, rather than having to go into a McDonald’s or a Starbucks to connect (and being forced to spend money on drinks and food you don’t want). Besides the Wi-Fi, the USB charging ports are a great addition because I, for one, always find myself on low battery whenever I am in the city. The best part of it is that it is free and it will generate revenue for the City of New York  through advertisements on the kiosks. This seems exciting and I look forward to using this new technology.