February 22, 2013

Netflix and the House of Cards Release

Earlier this month Netflix released House of Cards. It is by far the highest profile original content Netflix has in its video streaming selection. They are pioneering the next generation of media consumption, and they are doing it in their own way. If you have 13 episodes of a show that you want the word to see, most networks would go about it just like it has been done for years; one episode a week. Netflix took a different approach. They put it all out there on day one and let you decide how to space it out.

There are probably positives to unleashing the House of Cards firehose in one big burst. For one, it feels different. Netflix doesn’t want to be thought of as just another network with decent content. They want to be original. They want to be new. Releasing an entire series at once is definitely new, and appeals to the subscriber who is going to sit down and binge on video content all weekend. We’ve all sat down and watched 5 episodes of Friday Night Lights in a sitting, and by flipping the switch on House of Cards they allowed some people to experience it that way if they choose.

Still, I would have loved to be in the meeting at Netflix HQ where they argured how they were going to put the series out there. There had to have been a pretty good justification for doing what they did, and I’d like to hear it.

February 15, 2013

The movie for the Wallflower in us all

At this stage in my life I have a house and a wife and a kid and a soul crushing corporate job and an iPhone and a thinning head of hair and a Toyota Venza… and it is pretty hard to remember what it was like to be in high school. There are a lot of films that attempt to tackle the teenage angst of going into the 9th grade. High school dramas are my favorite sub-genre of the coming of age film category… which is one of my favorite types of films altogether. Most miss the mark for me at capturing that genuine feeling of fear and excitement of entering the world of high school. The Perks of Being a Wallflower did not miss the mark.

I loved this movie. I had a genuine emotional response to it, which doesn’t happen very often. It isn’t perfect, and it goes to darker places than I ever had to deal with in my high school career, but it is so good. And while I never would have classified myself as a wallflower, I felt totally invested in the main character's plight.

The ending caught me off guard a little bit, but it was really well done. It made me feel hopeful and depressed at the exact same time. It was an end and a beginning, and you weren’t really sure that everything was going to be okay… but you wanted it to be so bad, and deep down you felt like it was going to be.

February 9, 2013

A self-proclaimed hater of horror watching Cabin In The Woods

I’m not a big fan of horror movies, and I don’t watch all that many of them. I am not the target audience for Cabin In The Woods. There was so much talk about the film when it came out that I didn’t want to pass it up. I had to know what was so special about it.

Cabin In The Woods is based on a premise. If you buy into that premise it could be a very rewarding film. If you do not, there isn’t much there for you. I don’t think it is a binary “love it or hate it” type movie. I definitely fell somewhere in the middle. While it offers a fresh (or at least meta) take on the horror genre, I'm not sure it was enough to make it worthwhile for me to see it.

It starts out like any other horror film, setting up how the standard cast of college coeds are going to find themselves in a secluded wooded area. However, early on we find out there are other people pulling the strings. The rest of the film we are left to figure out what the heck is actually going on.

February 8, 2013

American Idol is Uninteresting Again

I am almost ashamed to admit that I watched the first few weeks of American Idol this year. Back in the fall I said I wasn't going to watch any reality tv. I made it up to the point where we cancelled our cable. When that happened we got in the habit of turning on the antenna and flipping through the local channels at night. It is difficult to avoid watching reality tv when you do that. I've seen a little bit of The Biggest Loser, and the new cooking show The Taste, and I was too intrigued by the audition episodes of American Idol to look away.

I couldn't keep myself from watching Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey display their expertise is judging singers. There was too much potential for comedy. I was also curious to see if there was a tiny glimmer of life behind the dead eyes of Nicki Minaj.

I got hooked into the audition shows. I was worried I was going to get hooked into the whole thing and I'd be stuck watching it the entire season. I turned it on the other night to see Hollywood week and I was happy to find that I once again had zero interest in the show. I don't plan on tuning in anymore this year. I dodged a bullet for sure.