INSIDE PREMIUM: Bored to DeathSeptember 14, 2009


INSIDE PREMIUM: Bored to Death

HBO

INSIDE PREMIUM will keep you up-to-date on the Premieres, Finales, and everything in between that is available at your choosing on Premium VOD. This Week
  • Bored to Death Premiere
  • Nurse Jackie Sneak Peek
  • Doubt Sneak Peek…

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INSIDE PREMIUM: TRUE BLOODSeptember 21, 2009


INSIDE PREMIUM: TRUE BLOOD

HBO

INSIDE PREMIUM will keep you up-to-date on the Premieres, Finales, and everything in between that is available at your choosing on Premium VOD. This Week

  • More True Blood?
  • Dexter's Origin
  • Crash Course...
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The Pink Ribbon CampaignSeptember 22, 2009


The Pink Ribbon Campaign
Breastcancer.org and Comcast have partnered together for the 3rd Annual Pink Ribbon Campaign, an original video-on-demand and online initiative. From September 21 - November 2, Comcast VOD subscribers will have free access to inspirational programs for women who are fighting or have survived breast cancer from the participating networks:

  • Bio Channel
  • Discovery Health
  • Exercise TV
  • HBO
  • Lifetime Television
  • Parents TV
  • Showtime

Highlights include…
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Golden Globe Winners On DemandJanuary 18, 2010


Golden Globe Winners On Demand

Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers

Last night the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) celebrated the Golden Globes nominees and winners.  Some are pay per view movies, some are premium content found on HBO or Showtime and some are free from NBC and AMC, but all are available right now via video on demand.

  • The Hangover - Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical
  • Meryl Streep/Julie & Julia – Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
  • Christoph Waltz/Inglourious Basterds - Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
  • Up - Best Animated Feature Film
  • Madmen - Best Television Series – Drama
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12TH & DELAWARE - HBO On DemandAugust 04, 2010


12TH & DELAWARE - HBO On Demand

HBO

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: HBO's documentary 12TH & DELAWARE.

Ft. Pierce, Florida is not Palm Beach. It’s not even West Palm Beach. This is not the trendy or wealthy playground of Florida. It’s a small coastal town where folks struggle to make a life for themselves. It’s also a town with an intersection that represents the struggle of our country to come to terms with the issue of abortion.

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Eastbound & Down - On DemandSeptember 28, 2010


Eastbound & Down - On Demand

HBO

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review:“Eastbound & Down.” If you were wondering who was starring in the K-Swiss commercials with NFL players, it's none other than "Eastbound & Down's" Kenny @#$! Powers...
Email John Werner

 

Mothers, hide your daughters. Kenny Freakin’ Powers is back and that can only mean trouble and some gargantuan guffaws.

The delusional, pompous, abrasive, MLB reject has high-tailed it south of the border where he is living la vida loca. In the season two premiere of “Eastbound & Down,” Powers (Danny McBride) has exiled himself to Mexico. Kenny’s a moped-riding outlaw in his own mind. The mullet is gone. He’s using an alias, he’s got cornrows, he’s packin’ heat and he’s a cockfighter.

When Kenny’s not butchering the Spanish language, he’s training his cocks and writing his ego-infused “motivational novel for people to deal with grief and/or depression.” His nights are full of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll.

EASTBOUND & DOWN
Kenny Powers / Eastbound & Down (HBO)

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Saying Goodbye to Our Favorite Boss (VOD Trend Spotter)May 02, 2011


Saying Goodbye to Our Favorite Boss (VOD Trend Spotter)

VOD Trend Spotter is a new weekly column where Kendra Anderson explores the most watched TV Series On Demand (by looking at Comcast (America's largest cable VOD provider)  xfinity On Demand's weekly rankings). Sometimes the trends are obvious; other times, she adds her own spin to the psyche of the time-shifting audience.

 

Saying Goodbye to Our Favorite Boss, While CBS Loses its Edge, and A Good (Police) Story Matters Here (VOD Trend Spotter)
By Kendra Anderson

 

This Week In TV On Demand
 
1. Game of Thrones – HBO
2. Hawaii Five-O – CBS
3. CSI: Miami – CBS
4. Bad Girls Club – Oxygen
5. Survivor: Redemption Island – CBS
6. The Office – NBC
7. CSI: Los Angeles – CBS
8. The Killing – AMC
9. Tosh.0 – Comedy Central
10. Nurse Jackie - Showtime
 
Source: Comcast Xfinity and Rentrak On Demand Essentials (Week Ending April 24th, 2011)
 
 
·         NBC’s (NBC TV) “The Office” (Official Show Website) clocks in for both SD and HD (#6 and #3, respectively). This week marked Steve Carell’s (Wikipedia) last episode as Michael Scott (Wikipedia), the show’s bumbling-yet-loveable manager.
 
o    How can there be an Office without Michael Scott? Will Ferrell (Wikipedia) won’t cut it, and there is tons of speculation (Daily Mail) as to who will be the next Dunder Mifflin (Wikipedia) appointee (Will Arnett, please!) (Wikipedia). To echo Dwight’s words at the end of the show, “Uh oh.” – KA
 
·         Comcast is the first MSO to offer current TV shows from all 4 Major Broadcast networks On Demand (On Demand Weekly). Beginning last Thursday 4/28, more than 20 popular TV series from ABC and FOX began a roll out On Demand the day after live broadcast. Each of the major broadcast networks will offer the four most recent episodes from select TV series On Demand. (Engadget)
 
o    In case you’ve been living under a rock (YouTube), this is an important announcement. First, other cable providers are going to need to step it up to match Comcast’s (Official Website) play – who will be next? Also, are we going to see a bump in popularity for shows on Fox (Official Website) and ABC (Official Website), which haven’t yet been available On Demand?. – KA
 
·         WWE (WWE Official Website) announced a record 1 million PPV buys of annual showcase WrestleMania (Variety), a 30% increase over last year’s numbers. This year’s goal was reached through significant promotion by WWE alumni Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (IMDB) and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (Wikipedia), in addition to “Jersey Shore’s” Snooki (Official Website).
 
o    For pro wrestling fans, this actually is big news. Pay-Per-View is the primary option for audiences to see these live shows, and the margins are incredible – events typically run between $35 and $60 (Comcast), to watch live on your home screen. And WrestleMania is kind of like Sweeps (Wikipedia) for the rest of TV, so it’s good to know things are looking up for those among us who like violence. – KA
 
·         CBS (CBS Official Website) lost some of its footing this week, owning only 40% of the top 10 series On Demand, compared to last week’s 67% (6/9) share. The network fared even worse in HD viewing – last week CBS stole 100% of the top spots, and this week, only 40%.
 
o    CBS still hasn’t responded to my requests for comment on their insanely successful On Demand presence. I will fool myself and say it’s karma, but we really know this has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Steve Carell. (The Atlantic) I’ll miss ya, buddy. – KA
 
·         Welcome to the top 10, AMC. (AMC TV) This week their show “The Killing” (Official Show Website) put away the #8 spot On Demand. It’s the first live action scripted show from a basic cable network that’s made it into the top 10 series On Demand (since this column began).
 
o    Guess what? “The Killing” is a police procedural. (Wikipedia) You remember how much America likes those, right? So while the show itself appearing in the lineup isn’t big, the fact that AMC gets On Demand props this week is. – KA

 

- Kendra Anderson

 

Kenda Anderson
Kendra T. Anderson is a digital strategist specializing in social media and marketing, with an emphasis on independent film and branded content. She has worked with Cinetic Media, Magnolia Pictures and Focus Features, and now helps brands build digital and social communication strategies. Read more from Kendra on her blog and tweet Kendra @ktwanderson

 

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The Power of the Throne Reigns (VOD Trend Spotter)May 09, 2011


The Power of the Throne Reigns (VOD Trend Spotter)

VOD Trend Spotter is a new weekly column where Kendra Anderson explores the most watched TV Series On Demand on Comcast / Xfinity On Demand (The US largest cable on demand provider). Sometimes the trends are obvious; other times, she adds her own spin to the psyche of the time-shifting audience.

 

The Power of the Throne Reigns (VOD Trend Spotter)
By Kendra Anderson

 

This Week In TV On Demand
 
1. Game of Thrones – HBO
2. Survivor: Redemption Island – CBS
3. Bad Girls Club – Oxygen
4. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – CBS
5. The Office – NBC
6. Blue Bloods – CBS
7. NCIS – CBS
8. Nurse Jackie – Showtime
9. The Borgias – Showtime
10. Hawaii Five-0 – CBS
 
Comcast Xfinity and Rentrak On Demand Essentials (Week Ending May 1st, 2011)
 

·         For the 2nd week in a row, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” rules in first place in On Demand viewing for both HD and SD. The series premiered on April 17th, and since then has claimed sovereignty of #1.
 
o    Ok, enough with the monarchy metaphors, but, surprisingly, the success of “Game of Thrones” was the only vestige of Royal Wedding Mania to be had this week.  What happened to Middleton Madness? Did everyone just DVR the wedding? – KA
 
·         For the first time since this column began, Comedy Central fell completely out of the week’s On Demand standings, with neither “Tosh.0” or “South Park,” the network’s go to series, making it into the top 10.
 
o    Truthfully, I’ve been surprised that both shows have appeared in the Top 10 at all – each has a substantial online following: full, current episodes (South Park Studios) of South Park are available to stream for free, and Comedy Central’s Tosh.0 blog (Link) has tons of extras for fans. Also, the core college dude audience isn’t exactly the type to pay for cable. Still, I’m sorry to see the joy leave America’s TV screens this week. Maybe instead we got our comedic kicks from the White House Correspondents Dinner (Huffington Post). – KA
 
·         Premium cable had a top shelf week in On Demand series, with HBO and Showtime collecting a total of 40% most watched spots in HD, and 30% in SD. Winning shows were Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” and “The Borgias,” and, as previously mentioned, HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
 
o    This lends credit to recent moves by premium cable to enter the On Demand space, in which they’re playing by their own rules. HBO Go, being called “the Netflix of HBO,” (CinemaBlend) gives subscribing customers access to content on any device, and ostensibly makes the network’s value proposition more attractive to potential customers. Remember, part of the digital arms race is providing audiences with the most premium content, and the best access. HBO has long been known to hold themselves to the highest standards in that department, suggesting “it’s not the other networks, it’s HBO” (Wikipedia). – KA
·         Contrary to what I predicted last week, no other MSOs announced plans to round out On Demand offerings by including content from all four major broadcast networks. So Fox and ABC are still on the sidelines. The two nets did not see any traction in On Demand series viewing, despite the fact that many of their shows are newly available to this audience.
 
o    Though the initial announcement may have boosted live ratings (TV By the Numbers) for ABC and Fox, many of their most popular shows are not available On Demand, so if we’re measuring popularity, maybe there is nothing to measure.
 
Why not make these shows available? A recent NY Times article points out that some popular series are not offered On Demand because networks never negotiated these rights with production studios, likely out of concern for a potential loss in ad revenue…and underscoring the fact that cable companies are pretty much freaking out right now as they face fierce competition from all things broadband and the dreaded Cord Cutters (GigaOM).  – KA
 
·         And in professional fighting news, WWE released its first quarter results (WWE Press Release) this week, showing revenues in the Classics On Demand category are down to $1.1 million, compared with $1.3 million during the same quarter last year. The decline is attributed to fewer domestic subscribers.
 
o    First of all, wow. Do that many people really watch bulging, muscled pros duke it out whilst vegging on the couch with a bowl of popcorn? Every quarter? Research shows: “WWE is committed to family-friendly, PG content across all of its platforms,” (WWE Corporate) so maybe the answer to my question is YES.
 
 

- Kendra Anderson

 

Kenda Anderson
Kendra T. Anderson is a digital strategist specializing in social media and marketing, with an emphasis on independent film and branded content. She has worked with Cinetic Media, Magnolia Pictures and Focus Features, and now helps brands build digital and social communication strategies. Read more from Kendra on her blog and tweet Kendra @ktwanderson

 

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TRUE BLOOD - Season Four - Mid Season ReportAugust 12, 2011


TRUE BLOOD - Season Four - Mid Season Report

HBO

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: TRUE BLOOD (HBO).
 

TRUE BLOOD - Season Four Mid Season Report
Eric the Labrador Puppy = True Love on True Blood
By Jean Tait

 

I’m starting to have very hostile feelings about HBO. Don’t they know that 12 episodes are not enough for a full season of “True Blood”???? We’re already halfway through the season!

You know how there is nothing cuter than a Labrador Retriever puppy? They can eat your favorite pair of shoes, but they are so adorable, you just have to hug and kiss them anyway? Well, Eric’s amnesia has resulted in his acting just like an adorable lab puppy. This Eric who loves the way a puppy loves: unconditionally. How could Sookie resist? How could anyone? Even when he eats your fairy godmother, you can’t help but love his cute little puppy face (and other puppy parts…).

 

 

Speaking of puppy love, Jessica and Hoyt are having problems, and she is finding herself drawn to Jason. As much as I love me some Hoyt, who could resist a Jessica/Jason pairing?!

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Can Enlightenment be Entertaining?October 28, 2011


Can Enlightenment be Entertaining?

HBO

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: "Enlightened" (HBO).

 

ENLIGHTENED - Starring Laura Dern

By Jean Tait

 

Miguel Arteta and Mike White are the pair who brought us CHUCK AND BUCK (which didn’t thrill me) and THE GOOD GIRL (which brought out the best in Jennifer Anniston). Here, they are working with Laura Dern (who, aside from getting involved with Billy Bob Thornton, can do no wrong), so I was cautiously optimistic about “Enlightened.”

Then Entertainment Weekly listed it as one of the least-favored new fall shows.

Now I’ll admit, it is a little slow. This is a leisurely character study, not a rip-roaring soap or a police procedural that ties up a plot in a half-hour. It’s an exploration of human relationships, and that it does extremely well.

 



Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern) crashed and burned in a very public way at her job, leading her to a Hawaiian rehab facility that teaches her new methods of dealing with her anxieties. When she comes back to the real world, however, the people who witnessed her breakdown don’t adapt to shiny, new Amy the way she expected them to. She has to learn that spiritual awakening is not so easy when not on a lovely beach in Hawaii with an all-supportive group. A couple of “om’s” doesn’t make problems go away.

 

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Is AMC’s Hell On Wheels Worth Tuning Into? (VOD Hidden Gem)November 18, 2011


Is AMC’s Hell On Wheels Worth Tuning Into? (VOD Hidden Gem)

AMC

Media savant T Tara Turk goes deep inside cable TV to reveal Video On Demand's Hidden Gems so even the busiest of our readers can get the most out of On Demand TV. Tell Tara what VOD shows you think deserves her attention.

 

HELL ON WHEELS (HOW)

By T. Tara Turk

 

Full disclosure: If HBO’s “Deadwood” had been a band, I would’ve been a Deadwood Head. I would’ve toured around each city watching it on a big screen and jamming to its Western Shakespearean mashed up language like I was at a concert The Roots put on spontaneously. Long before the Brolin/Damon/Bridges TRUE GRIT there was already a gritty, dirty wild west with complicated language, characters you loved to hate and hated to love, and storylines that would make a writer swoon. But, in true HBO fashion, “Deadwood” disappeared into the night without even a note, making Eddie and the Cruisers look like a nursery rhyme. (I’m still pissed about “Rome” ending before Rome even got to fall.)

 



So I did a jig when I almost barely heard about AMCTV’s “Hell On Wheels” (I mean every other word out of the TV world’s mouth when it comes to AMC is “Mad Men” and “Walking Dead”... what up with that?). The only person I recognized was the rapper Common who has been popping up like Where’s Waldo in movies that demand a gun with a backbone. I get it, Common. You want to be badass and so far it’s been a mixed review but this time he may have found his niche. As a former slave who never believed the Emancipation Proclamation would do anything to improve his life (and he was almost right), Common finally plays a character that kinda makes me scared. Now THAT’S acting!

 

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Dustin Hoffman Rides LUCK To HBO On DemandFebruary 09, 2012


Dustin Hoffman Rides LUCK To HBO On Demand

HBO

Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: LUCK (HBO).


LUCK
Race to the Dark Side

By Jean Tait

 

2011 was a great year for equine actors. With WAR HORSE and “Luck” there are some wonderful roles if you’re a good-looking horse. HBO’s new star-studded drama, “Luck” Has gorgeous horses and a fastidiously clean racetrack and stables. I’ve rarely seen an ugly horse, and racetracks aren’t my usual hangout, but I doubt they look so well, not smelly!

 


LUCK: Dennis Farina, Dustin Hoffman. photo: Gusmano Cesaretti (HBO)

“Luck” is good for human actors as well, although they aren’t as pretty or hygienic. The men (with a couple of notable exceptions) all look as if they were rode hard and put up wet. No botox on these actors. Careworn faces and hair that needs cutting and bodies that need the gym all give a far more authentic look to “Luck” than the sets do with their store-bought vintage cool.

It’s nice to see down on their luck folks who don’t look like they just stepped off a red carpet, even though we know we’ll be seeing them there in the near future. When you see actors such as Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte (I’m not putting in awards or credits because if you don’t know who they are, you probably wouldn’t be reading this), Dennis Farina (“Law and Order”), Jason Gedrick, (“Necessary Roughness,” “Desperate Housewives”) and Kevin Dunn (“Seventh Heaven”), you know there will be no false notes.

 


LUCK: Ian Hart, Ritchie Coster, Kevin Dunn, Jason Gedrick. photo: Gusmano Cesaretti (HBO)

“Luck” is Dustin Hoffman’s first foray into television in a very long time, and it took director Michael Mann (LAST OF THE MOHICANS) and “Deadwood” creator David Milch to get him there. Miraculously, there are no quirks or tics in his portrayal of Ace Bernstein: just an ice-cold stoicism with occasional hair-trigger fiery outbursts, with just a hint of hurt as when he notices that the collars of his shirts are too big.

 


Michael Mann and Nicke Nolte (HBO)

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Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s New HBO Series: LIFE’S TOO SHORT - On DemandMarch 02, 2012


Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s New HBO Series: LIFE’S TOO SHORT - On Demand

HBO

Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: Life's Too Short (HBO).


Life's Too Short
It's not the size that counts

By Jean Tait

 

I love Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. I thoroughly enjoyed “Idiot Abroad” and “Extras.” Knowing they were creating a show with similarly snarky dwarf actor, Warwick Davis (WILLOW, HARRY POTTER), and some brilliant famous face cameos, and

 

I knew I’d be getting deadpan Brit humor

at its best!


“Life’s Too Short” is a mockumentary a la “The Office,” and the subject matter is perfect for the genre. Answering the question, “What’s it like to be a (sort of) famous little person?” “Life’s Too Short” follows the day-to-day life and career of Warwick Davis. In order to push the humor, they downplay his most recent accomplishments in the dual roles of Griphook and Professor Filius Flitwick in the Harry Potter movies, to create the impression that he is now down on his luck since his success in the 1980’s of WILLOW and STAR WARS.

 


Ricky Gervais, Warwick Davis / LIFE'S TOO SHORT (HBO)



This Warwick Davis is a pint-size actor with enough ego and bombast for a Hulk-sized ham. His need for cash (he’s in the midst of a nasty divorce AND he owes back taxes) forces him to get into a number of uncomfortable situations, including being hired so Johnny Depp can observe him as a character study, and acting as a stand-in for a child actor playing opposite Helena Bonham Carter. Depp and Carter are fantastic, as they play “themselves.” Watching Depp meet up with Ricky Gervais (who famously dissed him at the 2011 Golden Globes) is pee-funny! Helena Bonham Carter is an hysterical mess as her discomfort with Davis gets harder and harder for her to hide in each successive take. The crew working to indulge her neuroses ends up putting Davis in a trash bin.

 


Ricky Gervais, Warwick Davis, Stephen Merchant / LIFE'S TOO SHORT (HBO)

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HBO’s Girls - What’s All The Fuss About?April 20, 2012


HBO

Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s reviews: Girls (HBO), produced by Judd Apatow.


GIRLS
Young Women on the Verge of Life

By Jean Tait

 

Being in your twenties can be difficult. You’re supposed to be all grown up, but you are still making childish mistakes. You’ve made your first, tentative steps into the real worlds of employment and relationships, but it certainly doesn’t feel safe or comfortable. This is the world of “Girls.” And it’s a pretty realistic world as opposed to the usual TV world in which women can afford Manolo Blahniks, even on a cop’s salary.

 


Don’t get me wrong, these “Girls” are young women of privilege. They’ve gone to excellent schools and they’ve been supported by parents who, while not in the top 1%, are hardly poverty-stricken. Lena Dunham, the creator/writer/director/star of the show is annoyingly funny as her character’s parents (the always wonderful Becky Ann Baker and Peter Scolari) tell her that after two full years out of college, they are cutting her off financially. You will want to slap Hannah (Dunham) and cheer for her mother. Then when Hannah goes to a job interview that starts off really well, but you see the exact moment she blows it, you will want to rescue her, and slap the dope interviewing her.

Side rant: When will someone give Becky Ann Baker her own sitcom??? It was great to see her play a mom who is not as sappy as the mom she was stuck playing on “Smash,” but seriously, all you folks in tv land, she’s capable of shouldering something more than just a three-line mother role! End of rant.

 


Lena Dunham / GIRLS (HBO)

The extraordinarily talented Dunham has created a cast full of such richly realistic characters, full of contradictions and awkwardness. And finally: sex on screen that is embarrassing and real. No perfect moments of airbrushed loveliness and perfectly-timed climaxes, sans cellulite and that always extra elbow, just real people not knowing the right thing to say or the exact right place to put their hands, but yearning for connection. How refreshing is that?

There has been a lot of fuss that this show is only about white girls.

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NatGeo Channel (VOD Hidden Gem)April 26, 2012


NatGeo Channel (VOD Hidden Gem)

Media savant T Tara Turk goes deep inside cable TV to reveal Video On Demand's Hidden Gems so even the busiest of our readers can get the most out of On Demand TV. Tell Tara what VOD shows you think deserves her attention.

 

NatGeo Channel (VOD Hidden Gem)

By T. Tara Turk

 

My very first memory of watching television aside from Looney Toons and Mighty Mouse goes straight to my addiction for the Leonard Nimoy hosted “In Search Of...” If you weren’t born yet or your parents had you outside, you know, playing, “In Search Of...” was a great show about the mysteries of, well, everything. That was the beauty of it.

A few episodes still stick with me and one of them was the story of cult leader Jim Jones who famously took a bunch of his church followers to Guyana to leave “in peace” if living in peace means stealing life savings, sexually assaulting female churchgoers, mind control and, finally, drinking poison punch. My mother couldn’t get me to drink Kool-Aid ever again after that.

Though “In Search Of...” is gone, it seems like NatGeo is taking over its quest “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before” (I couldn’t resist the Star Trek bit...sorry). While major US problems like the economy, racism, health care and the like make headlines, certain aspects of the changing American culture seem to be often ignored. I’m talking cults, changing religious views and how we as Americans are growing up with a more global impact daily.

With that “I Escaped A Cult” on NatGeo has picked up right where my Kool-Aid fear has left off. The show is much like it’s “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” series but this time it explores people who have managed to escaped cults. You’re probably wondering, like me, if these things still exist but they indeed are still around and doing just as much damage.

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VEEP For President!May 04, 2012


VEEP For President!

HBO

Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: "VEEP" (HBO).


VEEP
A Woman for All Seasons

By Jean Tait

 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is great. Just try to imagine “Seinfeld” without Elaine. “The New Adventures of Old Christine” would never have even gotten the greenlight without her involvement (I certainly hope!). I know I never would have watched it. As it was, JLD’s delightful presence was the only worthwhile part of “Christine.” Now, finally, a show that stars Louis-Dreyfus that lives up to her talent! Julia Louis-Dreyfus is Selina Meyer, Vice President of the United States, in “Veep.”

Surrounded by a staff that all seem to have an agenda of their own, Madame Vice President is multi-tasking her multi-tasks. Cooly efficient Sue (Sufe Bradshaw), laser-focused and ambitious Dan (Reid Scott), harried but keenly observant chief of staff Amy (Anna Chlumsky), and “looks like a police sketch of a rapist” White House liaison Johah (the creepily good Timothy C. Simons) all juggle their competing and complementing interests while stepping on and/or over each other to get to the top. In addition to trying to manage her staff, and her agenda, Selina has problems of her own with a neglected daughter who can’t seem to get her attention, except as an additional agenda item.

While this is not a laugh out loud sitcom, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is comic gold. She never goes for the obvious (this is NOT a Sarah Palin impersonation, nor a Nancy Pelosi, nor a Hillary Clinton). JLD is mesmerizing, especially when there is a chance that the President is seriously ill, and she has step into his shoes. The myriad of emotions that fly across her face as she tries to keep it straight on concerned is truly amazing.

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HEMINGWAY AND GELLHORN: Nicole Kidman & clive OwenJune 08, 2012


HEMINGWAY AND GELLHORN: Nicole Kidman & clive Owen

HBO

Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: HEMINGWAY AND GELLHORN (HBO).


 

HEMINGWAY AND GELLHORN
The Trouble She's Seen

By Jean Tait

 

Martha Gellhorn was a talented, fascinating woman, more than worthy of a film treatment.  Hemingway, too, although he has already gotten plenty of attention in fact and fiction.  Unfortunately, “Hemingway and Gellhorn” does not give either of them their due for their work or their personalities in this 2 ½ hour biopic.  Instead, we get pretty people in a variety of would-be exotic locales (that look an awful lot like California), drinking and yelling.

 

 

The film opens on Nicole Kidman in amazing old age makeup (would that she would let her face age like that), speaking in a raspy voice about how she never really got into sex and was probably a terrible bed partner to the men in her life.  Quite an interesting point of view which is then completely thrown away by the many long scenes of her character having extremely enthusiastic sex with Clive Owen’s animalistic Ernest “Papa” Hemingway.  The inconsistencies continue from there, with Kidman’s accent and tone of voice varying from scene to scene (sometimes from shot to shot within scenes).

 

 

The flashbacks, which are the bulk of the narrative, show an awkward meet-cute in a bar, where Hemingway appeals to Gellhorn’s culturally-curious intellect by singing to her in Italian.  A point of view which again is discounted by her apparent difficulty with language when they get to Spain. 

Much time is spent in combat in Spain with Kidman running around looking terrified with no explanation of how she becomes fascinated enough by war to become the finest war correspondent of her time, other than Hemingway telling her to write about her feelings. 

 

The only times Gellhorn is shown having any gumption is when she hears a baby crying.  Twice during the film she is shown risking her own safety to save a child.  Could gender stereotypes be reinforced a little more??? 

 

Hemingway is a man of action. 

He drinks, bullies and initiates sex. 

 

Gellhorn is a woman of maternal feeling.  She is frightened and repressed until Hemingway seduces her.  To be fair, later on in the narrative we see that Hemingway wants her to stay home with him when she wants to go off to another war to write about it, but again, it is never really explained why she is so drawn to telling war stories.

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GAME OF THRONES Season 3 Premiere ReviewApril 09, 2013


GAME OF THRONES Season 3 Premiere Review

HBO

On Demand Weekly provides new reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: “GAME OF THRONES.”

In the annals of television history, there are only a few shows that years from now people will still be talking/obsessing about: “The X-Files”, “Lost,” and, I believe, “Game of Thrones.” It’s a fantasy, but with gritty realism. It’s a good vs. evil story, but no one character is all good or all evil. And happily-ever-afters keep getting snatched away as quickly as a dragon can barbeque and eat a fish.

As the show’s popularity grows, the producers, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, while trying not to get expectations too high, have admitted that Book 3 of the A Song of Ice and Fire series was the one they most looked forward to filming. Season 3 will cover roughly the first half of Book 3, A Storm of Swords. Their love of the material really shines in this season. It must be love to make anyone tackle four different countries for the shooting. The locations (Northern Ireland, Croatia, Morocco, and Iceland) are stunning. The visuals are even lusher than before. Ditto the costumes and special effects: Dragons (!) flying, fishing, fire-breathing and cuddling up to their mommy making little purring noises! Line up the technical Emmys again.

Usually, when one starts raving about sets and costumes, it is because the writing and performances are weak. That is so not the case here. The dialogue is delicious, especially as spoken by the incredible cast. Listening to Peter Dinklage (Tyrion), Lena Heady (Cersei), Nicholas Coster-Waldau (Jaime), Gwendolyn Christie (Brienne), Conleth Hill (Varys), Jerome Flynn (Bronn), Rose Leslie (Ygritte) and new this season, the inimitable Diana Rigg (Olenna Tyrell) snark is as delightful as having tea with a roomful of Maggie Smiths.

Although it is a game, it is not all fun. We’ve still got the White Walkers and Wildings in the North, Joffrey in King’s Landing, and the House of the Undying is sending assassins for Daenerys as she attempts to engage an army in Astapor on Slavers Bay. Bran and Rickon are still heading for the Wall, aided by Hodor and Tonks, I mean Osha, and they will be joined by the mysterious Jojen and Meera Howland. Brienne is still fighting to bring Jaime to King’s Landing to exchange for Sansa and Arya, and Arya is struggling to get anywhere that’s safe. The King of the North, Robb Stark, has an inconvenient love for his new wife which means he has broken his vow to the nasty Frey family, while his grandfather, Hoster Tully is dying.

(If that is too much to keep track of, watch Seasons 1 and 2 on HBO on Demand and/or read the books—highly recommended!)

The first episode begins where the last episode of Season 2 left off, North of the Wall. Poor, craven Samwell Tarly is trudging fearfully along in the snow when he comes upon someone dressed in black. Is it a fellow Nights’ Watch brother or a White Walker? No spoilers here, but for book readers two big disappointments. Then the opening credits (in my opinion, the finest on television). Neat additions are Dragonstone and Astapor and the smoking effect on Winterfell. 

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Sienna Miller Is JUST LIKE A WOMANJuly 27, 2013


Sienna Miller Is JUST LIKE A WOMAN

JUST LIKE A WOMAN

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: JUST LIKE A WOMAN. 


See the latest Independent Movie On Demand (IMOD) Trailers here...

 

JUST LIKE A WOMAN

By T. Tara Turk

 
With the vast array of channels we have nowadays (my UVerse channels go up to the 900s - I remember when there was only HBO or On TV - the one where you flicked the switch to cable), it’s impossible to believe we haven’t covered every demographic but after seeing the indie film JUST LIKE A WOMAN starring Sienna Miller, I think I discovered a new one. Lifetime Indies.

See, the film itself, which is the story of a young woman working a minimum wage job in Chicago with a passion for belly dancing and a completely unlikeable out of work husband who goes on the road with a Middle Eastern woman running from a tragic episode at home, is by all accounts, an indie film. Sienna is the biggest name, it’s relatively low budget, it’s meant to be gritty and it all culminates into an open ending. But then it’s very Lifetime too. Two women sharing a bond on the road, belly dancing in dive bars to make ends meet, camping out along the way, running into your stereotypical caucasian racists, lots of fighting off of rude aggressive men, tears, etc.
 
 


No real new ground is broken in JUST LIKE A WOMAN except we know that people still are racist and women still have hard life in certain parts of this country - no matter where they are from. While it’s fun to watch Sienna Miller use as much of acting chops as she can (it’s too bad some of her personal life actually overshadows her talent sometimes as she was awesome in FACTORY GIRL as the iconic Edie Sedwick) along with the Louise to her Thelma, Golshifteh Farahani, do the same, at times the film doesn’t go far enough into these women and their difficulties. With no surprises, the film is safe in its storytelling, almost predictable in some areas and leaving certain storylines a little too open.
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Top 6 Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Series & Movies Now On DemandSeptember 08, 2014


Top 6 Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Series & Movies Now On Demand

Game of Thrones (HBO)

Hey On Demanders! I know your film palettes are bustling to the brim with Daniel Day-Lewis being dramatic, Meryl Streep being dramatic, some stately British actor being dramatic, and a nice Jim Carrey comedy thrown in for good measure. But sometimes you need to escape the land of Aaron Sorkin scripts and crying, and watch some guy with a sword get seared to death by a CGI dragon.

That’s where I come in. As the author of “ZO of the Marked Age” a post apocalyptic fantasy novel, I consider myself a huge fan of genre fiction. I live for wizards in high towers, apocalyptic time frames, medieval familial dysfunction, bat shit crazy dystopias, and lots and lots of dragons. That’s why I’ve compiled my top On Demand Sci-Fi/Fantasy films and TV series for your viewing pleasure. Grab yourself some mead and a “Down with society” T-Shirt and check out my top six picks below!

 

GAME OF THRONES - Available on HBO GO 
HBO's fantasy hit is a dynamic story that redefines the phrase "dysfunctional family". Its Emmy nominated cast has propelled this character driven show forward, defining it as one of the most watched and critically acclaimed dramas in recent years. Based on George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, "Game Of Thrones" is equal parts bloody, raunchy, and shocking. It’s a must see for fantasy enthusiasts and TV fans alike. And did I mention there are dragons?

REVOLUTION - Available on HULU
This post apocalyptic science fiction series, helmed by J.J. Abrams’ production company, garnered a huge cult following in its two seasons. One committed binge watch and you’ll be completely engrossed in the "Revolution" world. Set fifteen years after a permanent global blackout, this imagining of post apocalyptic America deals with the fallout of a near future society that must now deal with the consequences of its own destruction.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER - Available on AMAZON PRIME & NETFLIX
Buffy is one of the best heroines in TV history. For seven seasons she kicked ass, staked vampires, dealt with the apocalypse, died on more than one occasion, all while trying to decide which lipstick went best with her killer outfit. Thanks to Joss Whedon we have Buffy in our lives and now you can too. All 145 episodes are available On Demand, and you should go watch them now! 

 

If you’re not watching Buffy,

I don’t know what you’re doing with your life.



THE WALKING DEAD - Available on NETFLIX

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