Category Archives: Genel

[Series] Strong Female Leads to Follow on Streaming Giants: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

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The next few entries on the blog will explore streaming shows that center their stories around strong female characters. This week, we’ll start with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017-) on Amazon Prime Video.

IMBD Score: 8.7

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

When God granted me a free Amazon Prime Video account, I took it without hesitation. I have not watched anything else on the platform other than The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017-) since. Probably because nothing seems to catch my eye on Amazon and the company is weak on the advertising front. Nonetheless, here is why The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is different than your average streaming production—You cannot binge it. I can hear some of you disbelievers already; Believe me when I say I tried, but the content is too rich to shovel it down your brain that quickly.

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The show is set in the 60s and it follows the loving housewife (Midge Maisel) who finds out her husband has been cheating on her with his empty-headed secretary, and the rest of the plot easily peels away. While Midge tries to navigate being single in the world, her life changes completely: She moves in with her wealthy parents, starts working low-paying jobs on top of her occasional comedy performances. Season 1 is a testimony that it is faith that brings her to the stage; Midge holds the reigns and stays to succeed.

Season 2 (the best season in my opinion) is about the theme of change; Midge happily juggles between her old life and the new one, while the audience visits not one, but two scenic locations. Rose (Midge’s mother) realizes she might not be as happy as she put out to the world and moves to… France! These episodes provide the audience with an opportunity that shows them a different side of the stone-cold Weissman Family. It turns out that they are funny and lovable, too. Season 2 takes a small step back from Midge and shows the audience the people who influence her shows, and in return, she influences them (as observed in Rose’s sudden move to France in S-2, and Abe’s career decisions in S-3).

After a few episodes in France, The Weismann Family (Midge’s parents) take their annual trip to the Catskills, a popular American-Jew destination between the 1920s to 1970s. In a way, the episodes show Midge in her comfort zone, but she is forced to move on by a new love interest played by Zachary Levi (who most definitely stole my heart), and Midge’s agent on the clock to get her career on track. The plot is always striking and unpredictable; it does not follow your typical protagonist arc.

Another reason to praise this show is for its Creator’s (Amy Sherman-Palladino) ability to organically pay her respects and lift the communities who have long been disregarded on TV. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a breakthrough for the Jewish presence on screen. In both seasons 1 and 2, Sherman-Palladino comically describes to the viewer what Jewish weddings should look like and shows them the tragic turnouts, too. In season 3, the viewers experience a typical circumcision ceremony gone unappreciated by other family problems; the result is very funny as expected. Finally, the Rabbi might be the most popular character whom we don’t get to see enough on screen. The Jewish jokes are definitely the highlight of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Moreover, Sherman-Palladino does not think it is only Jews who can showcase their talent in the series. Season 3 distracts the audience with Shy Baldwin (played by Leroy McClain) who almost steals the light with his charisma. McClain portrays an African American male singer with an angelic voice. Midge nails a job to open for Baldwin and they become close friends. The plot twist reveals that Baldwin was gay all along, and the audience gets to imagine the hardships of Baldwin’s inner trauma as a gay man of color in the 60s. Again, Sherman-Palladino so gracefully blends an intimate topic with the rest of the feminist agenda of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and gets an A+.

Charisma is the word that defines this show. Rachel Brosnan is a charming actor who can have chemistry with a garbage can on the screen—just like her character Midge Maisel. And luckily, it runs on the family! Abe and Rose Weismann are equally fun to watch on screen and the audience might involuntarily find themselves wondering about what the Weismann’s do while the audience is busy watching Midge perform (I could happily watch a show solely based on the pair).

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a must-watch for many reasons, but for the sake of narrowing down the long list I talked about a few above: It is not a binge-worthy show. It requires your full attention to appreciate the blend of its advocacy driven platform with comedy. Plus, it has a charismatic ensemble.

The Ultimate COVID-19 Resource List (FREE)

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Credits: DanarArt on DevianArt.com

Dear habitants of earth,

Unless you are a space cowboy, you should be aware of the latest pandemic that we are all affected by equally—Well, that is a first. I hope you are all staying safe from the COVID-19 virus by staying in and battling with creeping diabetes at the same time. I know, I am. Kudos to those who work out and avoid baked goods at home; please do share your secret. I was home for a total of 7 days, self-quarantining (and, I mean who is counting?).

Here is how it went:

Day 1 – Workout done, cooking done, cleaning done, reading done

Day 2 – workout nada, cooking nada, cleaning nada, reading yes, watching tv YES, laying down like a sloth YES.

Rest of the week – same as before. I am sure I was more productive during the occasional times that I felt depressed in university.

While I can talk about the hardships that people of the earth suffer daily and I think we never hear enough of that, I will try to lure the left side of your brain today. If you are home today, you are an awesome individual who cares about the people around you; I want to thank you, friend. I also want to help you with unleashing your creative energy during this unusual time (for some of us). I will try my best to write a couple articles for the next while to keep us, the privileged folk sane.

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Credits: MET

The internet has been a great place this week with overflowing resources. It is awesome to access free and quality classes, workshops, articles, and even music. Without further ado, here is the Ultimate COVID- 19 FREE Resource List to help you take advantage of the free stuff on the internet.

  1. Take 500 free IVY LEAGUE courses – There are 500 courses offered by the Ivy League universities, which you can take FOR FREE. Some of these universities include Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, and Cornell. Classes range from Art History, and Religious Studies, to Economics and Science. So, there are a lot of options. Click here to see the full list of courses.
  2. Read 300,000+ Free eBooks by NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARYDownload NYPL’s free reader application simplyE here. The system is like any other e-Library system. You borrow the e-book, and when your time is up the next person gets the book. Do not fret, you can always put the book on hold. But hurry, because some of the popular titles like Game of Thrones and Harry Potter are already taken! (PS. Do check whether this service is available in your region.)
  3. Reach Free Content on JSTOR – If you are a university student, you have already been to JSTOR many times. Well, the academic resource site now offers 6,000 e-books and over 150 journals for free to fulfill your research needs. Click here to visit JSTOR.
  4. Watch Nightly Opera Stream at the Metropolitan Opera “MET”– You can now stream MET shows at the comfort of your home. As the official statement writes, “During this extraordinary and difficult time, the Met hopes to brighten the lives of our audience members even while our stage is dark. Every day a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series is being released for free, on-demand streaming, with each performance available for a period of 23 hours, beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT.” Click here to stream.
  5. Stream Live Channels on Pluto TV— Stream Channels on Pluto TV – The service offers 250+ live channels free to stream for the US (including Puerto Rico), the UK, Germany, and Austria. You can download the app or simply stream online.
  6. Stream Sling TV (Available in the US) – Sling TV made a selection of its content free to the US viewers, which includes ABC News Live, family-friendly movies and series, and other lifestyle programs. Click here to view Sling TV.
  7. Receive News from FAIR.org—I was tipped by a mentor of mine about this service a while ago. While there is various news floating about the coronavirus, I’d suggest subscribing to a reliable news source like FAIR “National Media Watch Group” to get your facts right. Click here to read FAIR. Click here to subscribe to their newsletter.
  8. @SaveWithStories AKA Celebs Read for Kids – All of our favorite celebrities decided it was a good idea to read for kids who are likely bored every 5 minutes at home. So, here’s a little something to entertain the little ones. Start listening the stories OR read about the premise.
  9. Consult Youtube for Your Fitness and Health Needs – There are a million fitness influencers out there who already started at-home fitness challenges on Youtube. If bodyweight workouts are not your thing, try searching ‘Walk at home’ or ‘dance cardio workout’ for other options. I know it is hard to get up from your seats (!) but it is recommended to literally move for 20 minutes every day. I believe in you; you can do this.
  10. Listen to NEW MUSIC – To name my favorites, The Weeknd and Childish Gambino recently released new albums—And, you can listen to them FOR FREE. I am sure there are other awesome artists out there who have made their music available for all.
  11. Take care of yourself, it is FREE – Yes, while we can entertain and educate ourselves, we almost always forget about self-care. Make a facemask and watch Brené Brown (God, I love her!), practice meditation, talk to your flowers, wash your hands, and do whatever fills your cup and love yourself. After all, you finally have time for yourself!

BONUS: Pay attention to your elderly neighbors who may need assistance with getting their pills, groceries, books, etc. Make sure you do not contact them directly but call them or leave goods outside their doors, and do the best you can to help them in this difficult time.

I hope this list is helpful to some of you. Comment below if you can help me expand it. Stay home, stay safe and be kind, folks. Sending everyone patience and love today.

Hi all, I recently contributed to “Yeni Döngü – Bilim-Sanat-Yaşam” (“The New Cycle Blog”). Since it is Monday, and Sully (2016) is a film that is definitely not underrated, it does not fit into the new section on the blog. So, here’s a new tag called High Rated Mondays for the movies that receive good reviews alongside doubling their budgets. Click here or see below to read the full review.

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Sully (2016) is another phenomenal film directed by Clint Eastwood; it is based on Captain Sullenberger’s (or ‘Sully’) emergency landing on the Hudson river in 2009. The US Airways Flight 1549 gets hit by a flock of geese shortly upon its leave from LaGuardia Airport, NY. Both engines break down due to the unfortunate event, and as a result, the airplane loses altitude rapidly. The airport suggests returning to LaGuardia, which would eventually result in a brutal crash. Sullenberger is able to compute the inevitable and makes the decision to land on the Hudson. Thus, the event as well as the movie are referred to as “the miracle on Hudson”—In 2009, Captain Sullenberger’s decision saved every single one of the 155 people in the flight with little to no injuries, and he became a national hero.

While the film finds its origins in the book, Highest Duty(2009) by Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow, it most certainly lets the audience experience more than the events itself. The film starts the event’s investigation in New York and Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) plays back the incident in his mind. There is a dual image present throughout the film: The investigation of the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) symbolizes the machinery function of the government whereas the pain that Sully experiences during the investigation process shows his humanity. Hanks performs one of his best acting, which creates a sharp contrast and highlights this duality alongside the partially negative portrayal of the NTSB officials.

The mentioned portrayal of the NTSB created some controversy upon the release of the film. While the film claims to be based on real events, Captain Sullenberger himself mentioned the audience might get the wrong impression about the NTSB investigators. He said, “These are people who are not prosecutors”, and according to Hanks, the script eliminated the real names of the investigators immediately. In conclusion, it may be true to say that the dramatic duality effect provided an intense viewer experience while confirming that the script may simply be “loosely based” on the events itself. Or, it may be proof for Sullenberger’s humble personality as shown in Sully.

Sully is emotionally triggering, real, and intense—It will surely keep you on the edge your seat.

Sully (2016) Review: The Impossible Return to LaGuardia — taken from “Bilim-Sanat-Yaşam Blog”

January 2020 Book, TV, and Film Roundup

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It’s been a minute since the last time I did one of these roundups. So, I decided to welcome February with one! Now that I am a person who has the occasional free time, I get to write a little more. I still have an academic project I am aiming to finish within the next month so, I will juggle between that and the blog.

The Shelf

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The Disney Fetish (2014) by Seán Harrington

How do I dare critique this book when there’s such deep research put into the psyche of Walt Disney the man, Disney the company, and conclusively, the influence on the society he (or it) aimed to effect? Let me first give you a back story. I ordered this book online in August for the sake of exploring a study similar to my scholarly project (analysis of several films made by a franchise in a way that challenges the hegemonic view). The premise of the book is interesting however, shortly after I started reading it, I pushed it as far away as possible.

I came back to this book in January, hoping that I can observe how the author structured the selected topics and introduced them in his book. This may be personal—I felt that the author, Seán Harrington, solely based his arguments on the Oedipus complex, aka the psychoanalysis that I think, has no connection to the feminist theory whatsoever. According to Freud’s Oedipal view, the mother does not have a phallus which denies her the adoration of self-image. I do not understand the logic, nor do I think arguing solely through this one deficient theory is enough for this book. I like the never heard of insights about the formation of the Disney company as well as Walt Disney’s potential psychologically damaging family experiences (which mostly entails Chapter 2 to 3). However, I think the author could have made his point in 40 pages easily.

Putting aside my disagreement with the author’s findings here is what I think: Overall, there is some good research and interesting facts about Walt Disney himself. However, the book is repetitive and seems to go back and forth between targeting academics versus average pop-culture geeks; there is some confusion about the audience. Sadly, I pushed through The Disney Fetish but, I do not recommend this book.

The Small Screen

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The Goop Lab (2020)

Dear women everywhere, watch The Goop Lab! Rumor (or the paparazzi) has it, Gwyneth Paltrow ended her acting career recently, and is focusing her energy on her lifestyle brand “Goop”. Paltrow started the brand back in 2008, which connected with women through weekly email newsletters. I say women because I do think it initially started with the idea of targeting and helping women about their psychical and mental wellness. However, Goop also has a small men’s section on their website that talks about stress-release, helpful recipes and much more. Alright, now that I am done with what seems like brand promotion, I’ll get to the gist of it (I promise I recently discovered about this lifestyle brand just like many of you and I do not have enough readers to promote a brand).

In The Goop Lab series, Paltrow and a powerful set of women try mushrooms, different and potentially risky diets as well as cosmetic applications. They also talk about the uncomfortable like female pleasure. There have been several criticisms about the show– specifically ones claiming it gives “bad health advice”. As the beginning of the show indicates, there is information that needs to be taken with caution in The Goop Lab. The way I viewed the show was similar to the way I watch vloggers. I watched women trying things and sharing their experience with us ladies who are curious. The content is a little different than your typical YouTube video though. The Goop team stayed vulnerable and shared relatable experience. Not every episode was great, but I found the series worthwhile for us ladies who may not spend much-needed time on their wellness. The Goop Lab is a great treadmill companion or a sleepover watch with good friends.

The Big Screen

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Jojo Rabbit (2019)

The very first time I watched Jojo Rabbit I thought it is an excellent film because it shows Nazi Germany from a satiric point of view. Taika Waititi most definitely tackles a topic that has been done many times before and considering the fact that Hitler ruled 70 years ago or so makes the film a risky choice. While the racist practices are engraved within the minds of many, identifying with the struggles that had happened during the Third Reich’s rule could still have been problematic for younger viewers. Taken these into consideration, Waititi accomplishes a hard task making Jojo Rabbit a hit.

I hardly have negative things to say for this production, but I also struggle to praise it too much. I think the brutal realities that the Jews had to go through are not reflected enough in this film. However, at the same time, this is okay because the premise of the movie is about the Nazi Germans, how the youth idolize and even adore Hitler and the adults who fight for peace while existing inside the system. To recap Jojo Rabbit quickly, Jojo is a Nazi German boy who is a member of Hitler’s young army. Quite frankly the story isn’t limited to that; Hitler is Jojo’s best friend (or imaginary friend). All Jojo wants is to work for Hitler until he finds out his beautiful mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. Jojo Rabbit is truly about the power of propaganda. The film provides an insider’s view about how the redneck, uneducated, or naïve youth view the war, which is something we are not necessarily used to seeing on screen besides the heart-wrenching dramas.

In terms of the acting, there isn’t much to say—Jojo Rabbit has a talented cast. However, Scarlett Johansson truly shines and even steals the show during her limited appearances in the movie. If I say so myself, 2019 was the year of Johansson (See my review for Marriage Story (2019) which Johansson shares the spotlight with a thought-provoking performance alongside Adam Driver). Since Johansson ditched the pretty girl stereotype, her acting skills are at the forefronts. Rosie (Johansson) is a beautiful woman whom the men watch out for on the streets. However, her portrayal is complex—she is a mother who wants her son Jojo to turn around with his own will as she tries to support his young army involvement while showing him that peace is the solution.

You might like Jojo Rabbit because it has a different angle, or you might hate it for the same reason. I’d suggest you see the film and decide for yourself. While my criticism is limited and I cannot find much fault in Jojo Rabbit, it may not be one of those compelling films simply because it trades the dramatic effect with satire.

Comment below what you think or suggest a movie, tv-show, or a book you’d like for me to review! If you like reading posts like this one, consider getting me a Ko-Fi here. Thank you for reading and see you next time.

The Age of Streaming Services: Then, Now, and Beyond [Exclusive Interview Inside]

Previously published on The Artifice.

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SOURCE: Vidooly

“My family are huge TV watchers. We will, unfortunately, subscribe to everything”, states an anonymous comment made by a viewer in a public survey.* It is common to feel impotent towards new movies and tv shows releasing online every week. The Internet made content accessible for the public, but the catch is that the viewers feel the need to keep up with it all both financially and otherwise.

Streaming is replacing the beloved TV in the average household. Whether it is Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, (or all three!), there is a guest in the house who will literally cut the cable, and, it may be here to stay. So, how did the average consumer welcome streaming without a visible transition? It started with a live internet video by some tech company nerds in 1993. It was a poor attempt that used up half of the available bandwidth of the entire internet. In 1994, the New York Times referred to the Rolling Stones as “the first [major] rock band in cyberspace” to promote their music to millions of streamers. As you can imagine, there was some controversy about who was first and what should’ve been written in Rolling Stones’ press releases. Fast forward to 2005, Saturday Night Live (SNL) released its first video short on Youtube, right around the time that the service started becoming popular. In 2007, Netflix (NFLX), previously known to be a mail-order service, introduced its on-demand platform and became an influencing figure as both a content-producer and provider. Today, the same company has 24 Oscar nominations (2020).

The Inevitable Death of Television

The Universal TV Problem is perhaps rooted in its adaptable nature. In the 40s, the black chunky boxes found their place in the American home and made their debut a little later internationally in the 70s. As Media Theorist Neil Postman discussed foreseeingly in the 80s, the average family (despite their income) started positioning their couches to face the television. And the television found its purpose as the entertainer, silence-filler, and now, a mere accessory.

Our brains spend too much uncommitted time in front of the television to truly commit to its information. The television is rapidly dying along with the broadcast news. We retain less and less of what we hear and even forget where we heard it from. It is not to say that there weren’t any attempts at bringing different content with a monetary cost like subscription TV—However, nothing seemed to help the fate of once adored television.

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What Now? A New Place for the Televisual Content

While the traditional network executives have been busy planning detailed marketing strategies, streaming services are releasing a notable number of original shows every month. The subscribers are seated to be entertained by different content continuously, leaving no time for boredom and rewarding a few of the eager viewers with the binge-watching curse. Yes, the entertainment machine takes a new form in 2020, however, the viewers have all freedom they would need to make the choice on their exposés.

Binnur Karaevli, the director-producer, and screenwriter of Netflix’s critically acclaimed The Protector [Hakan Muhafiz], stated in an interview (Vancouver, BC) “Future is really the streaming services. Of course, the networks will continue, but right now, we have Netflix, Amazon [Prime], Apple [TV], and recent additions like Disney Plus and HBO Max.” Karaevli is the first Turkish filmmaker to score a deal with Netflix (NFLX), the global market leader. Netflix is projected to have an 86.3% penetration in the US market.

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The Protector Season 1
SOURCE: log.com.tr

Streaming Services: An International Powerhouse

Streaming services are writing history while the traditional broadcast TV is rapidly losing its viewers. Amongst other reasons, it may be true that streaming services are the reason for the decreasing rate of television viewership. Karaevli states, “It’s a completely different way of doing business [compared to local filmmaking in Turkey]”, she adds, “Doing the first one [globally-accessible production] is always challenging—but exciting, too.” The streaming productions do not target a specific local group nor suffer from network or government bans, which means they can offer fresh opportunities for diverse content. Karaevli suggests, “In fact, it is helping the industry. The streamers are international so, it is a huge plus.” Prior to the rise of the stated services, US-based networks like ABC, NBC, targeted the American culture. “Today, streaming services you can access productions from Turkey, and all around the world— which I find exciting!” says Karaevli (See, references for further information on the interviews).

Familiar Faces: The Mouse House

2019 solidified the presence of streaming services in the average household with releases of highly expected services like Apple TV and Disney Plus. Specifically, Disney was expected to be Netflix’s biggest rival. As the President of Marketing Asad Ayaz stated in an interview, it was important for Disney to market the films that spoke to the now-older audience and expand their horizons for the youth. It was inevitable for Disney to develop the much-talked remakes to achieve these two goals at the same time. It is forecasted that Disney Plus will have 60 to 90 million global subscribers by 2024. According to A.J. Black, the author of Myth-Building in Modern Media, there are already too many services in the market. Black states, “People will inevitably dip in and dip out of subscriptions, but it could lead to some trying to lock down customers for long[er] subscription periods”, and adds, “If they do, that could cause problems if too much content is still diversified across platforms”.

Gold Standards Established by the Users

The results from a public survey conducted upon the development stage of this article showed: 86% of the viewers stuck with Netflix, followed by Amazon Prime (41%), Hulu (25%)*. It was surprising to see Disney Plus (16%) was not amongst the first choices for the viewers. However, it should be noted that there are simply too many countries that Disney Plus has not been released yet. 48.94% of the streamers stated they would be purchasing a Disney Plus membership upon its availability in their countries. 81.63% of the streamers were satisfied with the service they have been using.

Streamers first considered 1) a wide range of older shows (78%), 2) the purchase price (77%), 3) original (new) shows (69%), and 4) brand reputation (30%) to affect their decision of purchasing a membership. Others noted, “interface design and usability”, “advertising”, “lack of exclusivity and geo-blocking”. Streamers also preferred to have “access to episodes all at once (85.19%)” over having “access to one episode on the release date (14.81%)”.

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James Bareham/Polygon
FILED UNDER: STREAMING

What the Streamers Say

“I don’t care about new originals; I base my purchases solely on the shows and movies I am specifically looking to watch. Thus, I am about to drop Hulu and Disney+ and will use Netflix until I have seen everything on there I care about. I have zero brand loyalty.”

“I would only pay for a maximum of 2 streaming services. I think what each company has done in creating their own service is stupid and I refuse to pay for it – instead, I’ve just gone back to torrenting, which is a shame because I prefer legally streaming but I can’t afford 5+ memberships.”

“There’s too many available right now – we’re back to where we started with cable.

“Streaming services should be about service, but currently they revolve around exclusivity (which I find an immoral monopoly) and geoblocking (despite being provided through the internet, which is global). Because of that moral objection I don’t subscribe to any and resort to the moral alternative of piracy.”

“It’s smart business. Streaming has the potential to eventually eradicate common TV entertainment…or…they have the potential to be put on TV channels of their own, to be a part of cable/satellite packs at everyone’s disposition.”

“It’s turning back into Cable. People are going to be back to pirating shows before long. I am concerned about the withdrawal of physical media from the market.”

“Until a streaming service can reliably provide me with anything I want at a moment’s notice better than my own library can, I’m not interested and I’ll continue to use my own library.”

“Stream services are dying. The appeal used to be you’d have one or two sites that had practically everything, so it was a nice convenience price. But now everyone and their mouse want a slice, and we’re dealing with a bunch of sub-par services where you’re lucky to find a single worthwhile show. So yeah, back to just stealing what I would otherwise more than happily pay for if they didn’t make it so pointlessly hard to do so”.

“Streaming is going to die, everyone will go back to pirating again.”

The Grand Finale

Streaming services already created a need to catch up with the flood of neverending content, and pulled TV’s plug– It is even beginning to threaten the business of movie theatres. The business model used to be based on streaming platforms pulling older seasons of shows and attracting viewers to the newer content that could be found in the traditional TV. The production of original content exclusively for the online platforms started taking life away from the TV, and potentially movie theatres. To be fair, if a consumer can watch an Academy Winner movie at the comfort of their home, why would they attend a niche film festival and pay extra for it? (Streaming productions often make their debut as a part of these festivals and find their way to the on-demand platforms a short while later).

It would be cruel to ignore other truths: Streaming is currently reviving the film industry, opening doors to international content, and allowing viewers to choose what, when, where, and how much they want to watch certain content. In short, streaming services give the viewer their freedom. However, this also has monetary costs. As the anonymous comments state, the availability of content in separate platforms forces the viewers to purchase several memberships. In practice, it makes sense; in reality, the average person cannot (and likely will not) spend 50 bucks per month to watch a new form of TV. And, they most certainly will not want to be tied to years-long subscription periods.

A significant number of streamers already seem like they are going back to illegal methods to access online content. Pirating seems to be the only way to make a leap out of the diverse number of exclusive content that these platforms offer. This will eventually hurt the film industry, but for now, it is still the golden age of streaming services.


*Should you require additional information about the survey results stated above, please contact hazalscamera@gmail.com

References

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (1985) by Neil Postman

Binnur Karaevli interviewed in-person by Hazal Senkoyuncu in Vancouver, BC (2019).

Neiger, C. (2019, August 27). Netflix’s Market Share Is Shrinking, but It’s Still the King of Video Streaming. Retrieved from https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/08/27/netflix-market-share-shrinking-still-streaming.aspx

Online Interview of A.J. Black by Hazal Senkoyuncu (2020).

Poggi, J. (2019, December 9). Marketers of the Year No. 6: Walt Disney Co. Retrieved from https://adage.com/article/media/marketers-year-no-6-walt-disney-co/2221176

Roxborough, S. (2019, November 14). Netflix Dominates Global SVOD Market, but Local Services Gain Ground, Study Finds. Retrieved from https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/netflix-dominates-global-svod-market-but-local-services-gain-ground-1254438

Strauss, N. (1994, November 22). Rolling Stones Live on Internet: Both a Big Deal and a Little Deal. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/1994/11/22/arts/rolling-stones-live-on-internet-both-a-big-deal-and-a-little-deal.html

Survey on “streaming services” conducted by Hazal Senkoyuncu, www.hazalscamera.com

Switchboard Live. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://switchboard.live/blog/live-streaming-history

[Underrated Mondays]: The Zodiac (2007)

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There is a new section on the blog: Underrated Mondays. In this section, I will review movies that are filmed between the years 2000 and 2010, and that I think are underrated. For the sake of clarification, movies that make it to this section will be ones that do not double their budgets (reflected as ‘gross box office data’). I expect to update this section twice: the first and third Mondays of the month.

“It is more fun than killing wild game in the forest, because man is the most dangerous animal of all.”

The first film that has the honor to start this section is The Zodiac (2007) directed by David Fincher. Despite its intriguing topic and hall of fame cast, it barely surpassed its budget of 65M USD, grossing 84.8M in the box offices. It is fairly surprising that this film did not gather greater public attention. Nonetheless, here is my limited critique of the film—do not let it blow you off; it is a film guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

The Zodiac is a film based on the true crimes of a Bay Area killer, active between the 1960s and 1970s who is known as the zodiac killer. For nearly five decades the police were not able to identify the killer. What makes the film so interesting is its loyalty to the real events, as well as its well-crafted ending. While much of the public criticism was due to the unsatisfactory ending that does not reveal the status of the killer, I would argue that it only places information on a fair ground in terms of storytelling—Afterall, how fair would it be to project a success that the police, reporters, and victims were not able to experience for your at-home entertainment?

Before I praise the movie, I will talk about certain problems that made me put in a little more effort to feel engaged at the very beginning of the film. I felt a lack of audience-engagement in the first half. The way the story was visually set up makes the audience feel like an outsider. While that is completely intentional, it takes away from the influence of horror that must have been given to the audience. To note, this is not entirely problematic because it would have been a genre-bending practice to change the projection; The Zodiac is a thriller and not a horror film, and there is a fine line between the two.

The first half of the movie moves rather slow until the audience recognizes the true hero. Initially, it is expected that Crime Reporter Paul Avery (played by Robert Downey Jr.) or Inspector David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) will have greater or even partial roles in solving the crime. However, it is the underdog Cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) who eventually develops an obsession to find out who this killer is; in one of the final scenes, Graysmith looks the killer in the eye and fulfills his character’s overall objective. It is later revealed that he writes a book about The Zodiac and lives a healthy life.

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Another minor thing to point out is the casting of actors. As expected, Downey Jr. is an eccentric alcoholic personality, what is unexpected is that he drops out of the movie rather quickly (aka not enough screen time). Gyllenhaal seems to reprise his role in The Proof (2005), a curious nerd figure, yet this time he grows to be a man. Ruffalo did play a grounded character as he has in various films before, however, I was pleased with his performance. I do think he deserves to be praised alongside Gyllenhaal.

Alongside such minor details that I found that was important to discuss, The Zodiac is truly intriguing, informative, and true to its compelling story. It combines publicly known facts alongside the strong influence of Robert Graysmith’s perspective. (I’d even put The Zodiac above Netflix’s latest film on Ted Bundy murders any day—you can see my review for it here). My advice to you is to stay with the movie for the first half an hour and let it hook you. By mid-movie the pace picks up and you will soon realize that it is worth the wait. This is one of the best crime-mystery films I have ever watched. The Zodiac is full of suspense, and if you watch carefully, you can be a part of hunting “the nation’s most elusive serial killer”.

[Review] Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story is set to score multiple Oscars.

Baumbach’s Marriage Story had the film festival audiences compelled before it dropped in the movie theatres and Netflix. The response of the general audience has been equally positive, Baumbach’s diligently written screenplay and picture as a whole are expected to score a number of Oscars, along with Johansson (as Nicole) and Driver’s (as Charlie) performances.

The story is about a talented couple who decides to go through a divorce. How does divorce make such compelling screenplay? It seems to happen instantly when the audience realizes that Charlie wants to continue living in New York for his theatre company, and Nicole desires to relaunch her once-alive Hollywood career in Los Angeles. The film is about existing together as a couple and having the freedom to occupy individual spaces. It is about sharing a living and having a special space that is your own.

As the theme settles into the film heavily when Nicole moves to Los Angeles with their son, Baumbach builds his climax on this new life by channeling how this move affects Charlie. The couple initially to agree to go through a divorce without lawyers, in the hopes that they will remain friends. However, the affair of Charlie likely changes the direction of the events; as a result, lawyers are involved and things get nasty. Initially, the blocks are meant to sit in an unusual way, representing a happy divorce. As the events shift, the audience sees the blocks fitting just right. In a particular scene, Charlie tells Nicole he wishes she was dead, reflecting both love and hate at the same time and revealing the beautiful toxicity of the relationship as Nicole hugs him.

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The blocks (or events) lead both characters to arrive at the climax of the movie—Driver’s solo performance of “Being Alive” from the Company Musical. Baumbach jokingly states in an interview, “the whole movie is just me reverse engineering Being Alive”, and it does not seem untrue giving the fact that it indicates such a powerful moment in the film. The whole movie is set up to defend the importance of existing as an individual, being alive to fulfill individual dreams. In Charlie and Nicole’s relationship, the audience sees the love in the middle of unfulfilled dreams. When Charlie finally sings Being Alive, it seems too late to recover the events they both go through. However, the song is his confession that Nicole was his way of being alive, and his sacrifices were worth it and his dreams did not compare. Continue reading