Welcome To On Demand WeeklyAugust 21, 2009


Welcome To On Demand Weekly
Did you know you are part of 40 million strong and growing? There are over 40 million US households with Video On Demand (VOD) via cable and it’s projected to grow to over 60 million by 2011! That’s more than Netflix subscribers and Wii owners combined [CAN YOU THINK OF ANOTHER HOME ENTERTAINMENT OPTION?]. This makes VOD one of the fastest growing home entertainment options and nobody is talking about it. Until now…
On Demand Weekly (ODW) is the first and only online publication dedicated to the rising VOD consumer market. There were over 3 billion VOD orders in 2008. They consisted of your favorite TV Shows, Movies, Sports, Kids Programming, Music Videos and so much more. But with so many VOD programming options available to the digital cable subscriber, the messaging and choices can be confusing. ODW is here to simplify and promote VOD with the following features:
Read More

HEARTLESS available On Demand September 23rd - See The Trailer HereSeptember 20, 2010


HEARTLESS available On Demand September 23rd - See The Trailer Here

IFC Films

IFC Midnight's HEARTLESS is On Demand the same day it premieres at Fantastic Fest 9/23/2010. ODW's review will run Wednesday. See the trailer below...

 

 

 

'Direct From Fantastic Fest' to Premiere Four New IFC Midnight Acquisitions Simultaneously at Fantastic Fest and Nationally via IFC Films' On Demand

 

You May Also Like...

Read More

VOD Spotlight On in DEMAND’s Emilio NunezAugust 02, 2011


VOD Spotlight On in DEMAND’s Emilio Nunez

iN DEMAND

On Demand Weekly's VOD Spotlight highlights stories in the On Demand industry. Today we talk to one of the VOD industry's movers and shakers you probably haven't heard of before, Emilio Nunez, Senior Vice President, Movies & Original Programming for iN DEMAND -  the biggest distributor of VOD and PPV content to cable. You're accustomed to ordering VOD / PPV from your cable provider, but it is iN DEMAND who does a lot of the work behind the scenes.

 

Emilio was recently promoted (and we just published our New Movies On Demand August Preview with info from iN DEMAND), so we wanted to learn what that entails and get an inside perspective on the VOD business.

On Demand Weekly (ODW):The press release announcing your promotion at iN DEMAND said that you are in charge of scheduling. With release dates dictated by studios and programming available on demand, what are you scheduling?

Emilio Nunez (EN):
Traditionally, you think of scheduling the way a broadcast channel or linear cable network would put together their schedule, with a 6PM or 8PM show. But with Movies On Demand (MOD) on cable (or any VOD content), viewers make their choices of start times. Still, we have to make choices regarding what movies we deliver to our affiliates.

As the industry’s leading distributor of movies to cable and telcos, iN DEMAND deals with every major Hollywood studio and more than 50 Indie suppliers. Every month we are offered more content than we can use. Besides building different schedules for different operators, each one has capacity requirements and a specific type of user interface. So we have to optimize their VOD offering given their unique parameters. If a system can only hold so many titles, every month we make some tough choices and decide which films make the schedule and which ones do not. We base this on box office performance, how early the window is, talent or awards, or if something might fit into a grouping of films in a folder that is being promoted that month.

Through ongoing negotiations with suppliers, we build in incentives for these companies to give us content as early as we can get it. Viewers have been the beneficiaries of this. We’ve been very successful in moving up the VOD window so now “day & date” with home video (DVD) is the norm and in many cases we are getting movies earlier than home video. Some indie studios give MOD titles before or the same day they are in theatres. The number of day & date titles available to cable viewers doubled from 2009 to 2010.

Every month, in addition to the new release schedule, we create a stunt schedule made up of library titles within folders in order to showcase movies that a customer might not find otherwise. Viewers will find a wealth of titles in these folders on their systems and I recommend that they go and explore what’s available. These stunts can be around holidays, a “tent pole” feature film that is being released, a celebrity’s birthday, death, or other creative categories. It works like a recommendation engine. If you go to a category, and you like movie X, then you might also like the other movies in that folder.

iN DEMAND also distributes other high-profile content besides movies. We program live Pay-Per-View sports such as boxing and mixed martial arts events and the digital out-of-market subscription professional sports packages for MLB, the NBA, the NHL and MLS. Plus, we are the exclusive TV home of Howard Stern via Howard TV On Demand.
 


ODW: What new content will you acquire that will be made available on demand that is different than the current content?

EN: We’ve been looking a lot more at short-form content, which works for VOD because it doesn’t have to fit a specific format to allow for commercials. We have also become aggressive in the 3D space and are working to build a substantial 3D VOD library. In addition to a number of Hollywood Films offered in 3D, we are developing original programming.


ODW: What type of original programming do you plan on developing?

Read More

MANN V. FORD - HBO Explores The Ramapough Indians Fight The Ford Motor CompanySeptember 23, 2011


MANN V. FORD - HBO Explores The Ramapough Indians Fight The Ford Motor Company

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: MANN V. FORD (HBO).
 

MANN V. FORD (HBO)

By Jean Tait

 

A candy apple red 1967 Ford Mustang convertible, shiny and new: is there anything cooler than that? It is a perfect example of a corporation at its peak of popularity. And as the only American car company around today that didn’t need a bailout from the American taxpayer, Ford remains at the top of the heap. Now let’s take a closer look at that heap it’s on top of….

The Ramapough Indians live in northern New Jersey, as they have for hundreds of years. If you fly over or drive through this part of New Jersey, it’s lovely: beautiful woods, flowing streams. On closer examination though, the rocks and dirt show bits of unusual color, and the smell is foul.

 



Its paint and chemical sludge, some of it still bright and shiny and as candy apple red as it was when it was dumped there decades ago. Ford contracted out its waste disposal, but memos indicate they knew their waste was being dumped in the Ramapough Indians’ land. They also knew it was full of toxins and carcinogens.

Read More

THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 With Music Composed By Questlove Now On DemandSeptember 28, 2011


THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 With Music Composed By Questlove Now On Demand

IFC Films

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: THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 (IFC Films).


Click Here For On Demand Weekly's Exclusive Interview With Director Goran Hugo Olsson

 

THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 With Music Composed By Questlove Now On Demand
By Chris Claro

 

As the 21st century plows on – it’s been a decade, folks – it becomes more and more evident that context is everything. If the Web has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is definitive anymore; the breadth of perspectives, opinions, biases, and slants is innumerable. The lens through which events are viewed is permeable, malleable, and constantly rotating. As a result, the source of perspectives has become as important as the perspectives themselves.

 

 

With THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975, director Goran Hugo Olsson mines the work of Swedish journalists who covered the US during the era referred to in the film’s title. Olsson juxtaposes the vintage – and well preserved – footage of such icons as Stokely Carmichael and Eldridge Cleaver with contemporary commentary from a combination of people who were there, such as Angela Davis and Harry Belafonte, and others, who only have a distant connection to the era, like Erykah Badu. A conventional doc in the show-and-tell mode, THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1968-1975 is nonetheless ingenious in the way Olsson shows the international ripples that America’s unrest caused through the mid-70s.

 



Charting the tumult of the era, including the rise of Black consciousness, the assassinations of RFK and MLK, and the blunting impact of drugs on militancy and activism, MIXTAPE takes a linear approach, like a print annual, to show how these very American issues were viewed through the progressive, and decidedly liberal eyes of the Swedish press. One of the most effective sequences in the film highlights the umbrage of Nixon loyalist and TV Guide publisher Walter Annenberg at what he felt was the consistently negative portrayal of America by foreign journalists, particularly those from Scandinavia.

 

Read More

What Does a Swedish Filmmaker Know About the US Black Power Movement Of The 60’s & 70’s?September 28, 2011


What Does a Swedish Filmmaker Know About the US Black Power Movement Of The 60’s & 70’s?

IFC Films

On Demand Weekly's VOD Spotlight highlights stories from the On Demand industry. Chris Claro interviews Swedish director Goran Hugo Olsson about THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1968-1975 (IFC Film). Read our review of the film too here.

 

What Does a Swedish Filmmaker Know About the US Black Power Movement Of The 60's & 70's?
On Demand Weekly’s Chris Claro talks to Swedish director Goran Hugo Olsson about a new film produced by Danny Glover and music by Questlove
 

ORIGINS
I was looking in the archives of the Swedish National Broadcasting company for some images from the 60s and 70s and I came across this treasure and I immediately identified that this can be a great film. Then I realized it’s my duty to put this out to an audience, it can’t be lying around here in this basement.

 



THE COMMENTATORS
I wanted to have some of the people from the time, like Angela Davis, commenting on her own images. And however great archive material can be, it also could be claustrophobic in a cinematic sense, if you kept it in this time and space. I wanted to add some fresh oxygen into that, so I wanted some contemporary voices to comment on the film and I also wanted to put the events in context. I was inspired by commentary tracks on DVD, when someone is talking about a film while watching it. I didn’t want to have any talking heads, looking back. I wanted to have a different flow to the film.

 



THE PRODUCTION PROCESS
Once I found the material, I think I got the idea pretty early on that the key events in the film, the speech with Stokely Carmichael and the interview with Angela Davis in jail. And I wanted to lay out the idea that we have this sparking black and white and everybody in sharp suits and it’s ’67. Then we have the 70s, and it’s color and the hairdos and everything. So there was a story between those two things. And once I got that, I did receive quite a bit of support from Sweden and then I realized I needed someone who knows this as a co-producer and I basically got to New York and knocked on the door of Danny Glover and Joslyn Barnes, my co-producer, and I showed them some footage. When they saw the material and we talked about it, they were in.

MEMORIES
I have memories of Angela Davis. She was on television in Sweden and I have images of the end of the Vietnam War. The turning point in my life, I was 11 or 12 and I got back from school and there was the Soweto uprising in Johannesburg. And we spent time every year collecting money for the ANC, which is closely connected to the Black Power movement.

 




REACTION OF THE SWEDISH PRESS

Read More

Cameron Diaz’s BAD TEACHER & Selena Gomez’s MONTE CARLO - On DemandOctober 17, 2011


Cameron Diaz’s BAD TEACHER & Selena Gomez’s MONTE CARLO - On Demand

Don't know what movie to watch on demand? Let On Demand Weekly help you browse through the New Movies On Demand (MOD) every week.

By Britt Bensen

 

MOVIES ON DEMAND

 

Movies On Demand Premiering This Week (October 18, 2011)

 

- BAD TEACHER
- MONTE CARLO


BAD TEACHER – Premieres October 18

There are two title adjectives that always catch my attention: American and Bad. It's more than just a title (AMERICAN HISTORY X, AMERICAN BEAUTY). It's as if the movie is declaring itself as so iconicly "American" or so "Bad" (in a bad ass kind of way), you need to pay attention. What other titles warn you (or tempt you) with a description as "Bad" can (BAD SANTA and BREAKING BAD)? It plays upon our inquisitive nature to know what we don't or shouldn't know. We never gossip about who behaved properly. We whisper about who got caught doing something against the rules.

And now we have BAD TEACHER. A movie about a rule-breaking, don't give a damn, hottie of a teacher. No one really wants to spend money watching an inferior teacher. But just like we wanted to see how far Billy Bob Thornton would cross the line as a Santa Claus, we are curious as to how mischievous Cameron Diaz will act as a school teacher. Throw a kick ball at a student to prove a point? Sex it up at a car wash? Yup, Cameron's character is just baaad enough to do both while also trying to win a prize so she can pay for breast implants.

BAD TEACHER has its moments, but the best parts are all in the trailer.
Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Jason Segal
R/NR, Comedy


Same day as DVD

 

SKIP IT

 



MONTE CARLO – Premieres October 18


Justin Bieber's girlfriend goes to Paris and Monte Carlo, with a Gossip Girl in tow, and is treated like royalty because she's impersonating one. There is an actual backstory that MONTE CARLO is based on Jules Bass' Headhunters, where adult women (Nicole Kidman was once rumored to be cast) travel to Europe, but the previous sentence about a teenie-bopper starlet got this movie green lit. A recent Grantland column (Why Do Movies Suck? Ask a Guy Who Makes Them) by producer Rick Schwartz (who was rumored to be attached to the Kidman version of MONTE CARLO) makes more sense now.

SKIP IT unless you're a teenage girl who dreams movies like this may come true.
Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester
PG, Comedy


Same day as DVD, Weeks before Netflix and Redbox
 

SKIP IT



PREVIOUS RELEASES


Week of October 11 (THE TREE OF LIFE, HORRIBLE BOSSES, ZOOKEEPER, GREEN LANTERN)
Week of October 4 (AFRICAN CATS, FAST FIVE, SCREAM 4)

 

- Britt Bensen



Britt is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-founder of On Demand Weekly. He is the former head of Affiliate Marketing and VOD for Sundance Channel. Prior to Sundance Chanel, Britt worked for Miramax Films and BMI. He also on the Advisory Board of the Palo Alto Intl Film Festival.

 
You May Also Like...
Read More

Slacker, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and Goldman Sachs: SnagFilms Isn’t Just Docs AnymoreOctober 17, 2011


Slacker, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and Goldman Sachs: SnagFilms Isn’t Just Docs Anymore

SnagFilms

 

Slacker, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and Goldman Sachs: SnagFilms Isn’t Just Docs Anymore
SnagFilms expands to offer scripted independent films to a wider array of platforms, mobile networks and its own ad-supported website that includes long form ads from Goldman Sachs.

- By Britt Bensen


SnagFilms
launched in 2008 with a site offering fans of independent films free online streaming of nonfiction films, and a distribution network of over 110,000 websites and web pages. The film platform recently announced deals to expand its programming from documentaries to include fictional independent feature films and to make them available to more paid and ad-supported distribution partners.

 


Some of the new titles include DON’T ASK DON’T TELL, DRAGONSLAYER SPLINTERS and CONFESSIONS OF AN ECO-TERRORIST In addition, SnagFilms will offer digital release (initially for paid viewing) of fictional films such as TOO YOUNG TO DIE, WOMEN TALKING DIRTY, P.U.N.K.S. and TEKNOLUST. Their library is over 2750 films with 400 fictional (narrative) films (correction).

 


SnagFilms CEO Rick Allen

 

“Big studio blockbusters are available everywhere – why shouldn’t great independent films be just as ubiquitous?” asked SnagFilms CEO Rick Allen. “With our dramatic expansion of distribution channels and the enhanced SnagFilms.com website, SnagFilms can now also offer enthralling independent fictional films across free and paid platforms, from computers to TVs, tablets, game consoles, and smart phones.”

 

In addition to their current distribution partners (transactional: Xfinity, FiOS, iTunes, Amazon, Hulu Plus and YouTube Movies and ad supported: AOL, Yahoo, Starbucks Digital Network, to name a few), SnagFilms announced deals for their free-streamed movie distribution expands from iOS to Android And BlackBerry Mobile Platforms and their Pay-on-Demand titles have expanded to DIRECTV, Vudu, and Xbox LIVE.

 

“We began three years ago with a simple premise,” noted SnagFilms founder and chairman Ted Leonsis, “that new technologies could liberate audiences to enjoy great films that, because of a bottleneck in traditional film distribution, they might not ever get to see. With these remarkable enhancements to SnagFilms.com and the new distribution partnerships we’ve announced today, SnagFilms becomes a ubiquitous platform that will benefit consumers, filmmakers and communities.”

 

 

So current partners get access to a growing library and new partners can now offer SnagFilms titles to their consumers. Content on SnagFilms.com is available for free streaming online. Films are not in the pay and ad-supported windows simultaneously with commercially appealing films being made available transactionally on demand first.

 

And for the truly undiscovered gems out there, there is SnagFAST, an online submissions process for vetted film festival films to be considered by SnagFilms. Allen confirmed fifty (50) films have been accepted to date.

 

Adding to the diverse slate of programming is SnagFilms advertising partner, the notorious Goldman Sachs.

Read More

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.

 

Read More

Harry Belafonte’s SING YOUR SONG (HBO On Demand)November 04, 2011


Harry Belafonte’s SING YOUR SONG (HBO On Demand)

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: SING YOUR SONG (HBO).

 

SING YOUR SONG

By Jean Tait

 

As the economy has tanked and quagmire-wars continue endlessly overseas, I’ve wondered where the protesters of the sixties and seventies are. Now as Occupy Wall Street spreads across the world, I realize that not only is that activism alive and well, but some of that feeling never went away. That fire for demanding human rights has been burning continually in Harry Belafonte!

 



At 84, the still handsome and vigorous Belafonte remains glorious and gracious, and still demanding human rights, as captured in the new documentary, “Sing Your Song” now On Demand on HBO.

For those who may not know him at all, or only vaguely as the guy who sings that Day-O song, this documentary will be a revelation. For those who were already aware of the multi-talented actor/singer, this will expand that awareness into full on awe.

 



With his good looks, charm and talent, Harry Belafonte quickly rose to success as a singer/actor. But his success brought controversy as young girls (many of them white) swooned for him, much to the dismay of older, more bigoted audiences. His theatrical appearances with Marge and Gower Champion broke barriers when Marge Champion (who is white) danced and sang with Harry, actually holding his hand on stage.

Read More

Music Choice & Tunerfish Partner To Promote New Original Series LIVE UNDEFINEDNovember 04, 2011


Music Choice & Tunerfish Partner To Promote New Original Series LIVE UNDEFINED

Music Choice & Tunerfish Partner To Promote New Original Series LIVE UNDEFINED
With Exclusive Tunerfish Check In

 

Music Choice®, the multi-platform video music network, brings On Demand consumers the ultimate music experience with a new original series called Live Undefined. In celebration of the first episode, fans will have the chance to unlock an exclusive virtual award via social discovery engine Tunerfish. Viewers can win it by checking-in to Live Undefined on Tunerfish either at http://www.tunerfish.com/LiveUndefined or via the Tunerfish app for iPhone or Android. Tunerfish will also promote the award via a "Spotlight" exclusive in its iPhone app and online.

 



“We're pleased to work with Music Choice on second-screen interactivity and to promote Live Undefined in our exclusive Spotlight Award feature," said John McCrea, GM Tunerfish. "Tunerfish is about helping people get a better TV experience — to discover more of the great stuff they have access to — whether 'linear' or On Demand."

 


John McCrea, Tunerfish

Live Undefined gives artists a chance to express themselves artistically in a way they never have before. The stripped-down music program showcases the work of some of today’s most exciting established and emerging artists today while offering viewers a real, raw listening experience that uncovers the true talent of their favorite musicians.

 


J. Cole

The show debuts with Roc Nation recording artist J. Cole who debuted with a # 1 album “Cole World: The Sideline Story.” The series includes seven episodes and features additional artists including Patrick Stump, Mateo, Jack’s Mannequin, Miguel, Yelawolf, and Skylar Grey. Each performance will be shot on location, capturing the artist in a ‘natural habitat’ while giving viewers a unique, personal ‘live’ music experience. The performance will air as single-play videos on Music Choice On Demand. Performances will also appear on SWRV, the first and only 24/7 interactive video music network, and as audio tracks on respective Music Choice Music Channels.
 

You May Also Like...

Read More

HOMELAND - Mid Season Report CardNovember 18, 2011


HOMELAND - Mid Season Report Card

Showtime

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: HOMELAND (Showtime).

 

HOMELAND - Mid Season Report Card

By Jean Tait

 

I know, I know. I just wrote about this show last month, but I said I’d be back for more, and I’ve got to tell you: I’m smitten!

 

“Homeland” is definitely the best show

on television this fall!

 



Claire Danes’ Carrie Mathison just gets more and more fascinating. Obsessed with her job, is she going too far in her quest to get inside Sgt. Nicholas Brody’s head? Or is it something more than her job? Does she even have a clue what her feelings are or what they mean? Claire Danes and Damien Lewis have sparkling chemistry. The pull of their attraction is visceral, if confusing.

 



Another highlight is seeing the lovely Linda Purl as a steel magnolia representing the Vice President. Her charming smile and steely gaze would intimidate the toughest Pentagon bureaucrat. There is no doubt that her character is a political shark. The possibilities of her leading Brody into a political career are endlessly fascinating.

Read More

Emily Watson & Dominic West Star In APPROPRIATE ADULTJanuary 06, 2012


Emily Watson & Dominic West Star In APPROPRIATE ADULT

Sundance Channel

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: APPROPRIATE ADULT (Sundance Channel).

 

APPROPRIATE ADULT

By Jean Tait

 

Serial killers make for gruesome, voyeuristic stories. Most non-fiction serial killer stories are told from the point of view of the detectives trying to catch the killer, displaying hideous images of bodies found. APPROPRIATE ADULT takes a completely different tack. APPROPRIATE ADULT begins once the suspect is already in hand. The audience never sees bodies (or body parts), nor do we find out why the suspect has been brought in for questioning in the first place.

 


Emily Watson, Dominic West / APPROPRIATE ADULT (Sundance Channel)


In the British legal system, an “appropriate adult” is assigned to children or learning-disabled adults to be a suspect’s advocate while they are being questioned. In 1994, Janet Leach, a social worker-in-training got a call to be the appropriate adult for Fred West, a suspected murderer. Ms. Leach sat in on more than 100 interviews with Fred West, a situation for which she was ill-prepared. APPROPRIATE ADULT tells the story of Janet Leach, using trial transcripts and extensive interviews with Ms. Leach.

 


Emily Watson / APPROPRIATE ADULT (Sundance Channel)

As portrayed by the remarkable Emily Watson (BREAKING THE WAVES, HILARY AND JACKIE), Ms. Leach is both fascinated and repelled by serial killer Fred West. Pulled in by his insistence that she is the only one he can trust, she finds herself unable to disconnect from him even when her job is officially over, and even as her involvement causes problems for her at home. Ms. Watson is always willing to throw herself into the dark side for a character, and she is brilliant here as a woman drawn in, yet unable to comprehend the extent of the evil she is drawn to.

Read More

What Black History Month Programming Is On Demand?February 02, 2012


What Black History Month Programming Is On Demand?

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.

 

Black History Month - On Demand

By T. Tara Turk

 

I generally celebrate being black 365 days a year since, well, I’m black and that’s who I am. But having a designated (albeit short) month to celebrate usually calls for the customary cards, parades, and customized television program on some channels. The TV part is my favorite because then we get to peruse some classics that usually go unnoticed in mainstream “Best Of” lists since some tend not to think outside of the regular classics box.

If you’re in the mood to add some culture to your February or you just want to take a dance down memory lane, I found a few titles available on Black Cinema on Xfinity On Demand this month that may help.

For the Beginner:

ROOTS: THE MINI SERIES - One of the most popular mini series of all time. Pre-dvr/vhs/on demand days, folks would actually plan their TV week with TV Guide and this was one series that scored high ratings across the board in the 1970s. And, since we’re spanning the first few hundred years of slavery, every black actor in Hollywood was able to get a job. -

RAY - Jamie Foxx appears to have an out of body experience playing famed musician Ray Charles. This performance was so good, Jamie continued to channel Ray in a Kanye West song. But seriously, not many people know the story of Ray Charles but most seem to benefit from it.

THE COLOR PURPLE - I don’t have a group of friends in my life that doesn’t, in some way, quote from this movie. While Alice Walker’s book about a black girl in the south who grows up beyond expectations touched so many lives, the movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, mad a lasting impression with its stellar cast which includes Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Avery and the late great Adolph Caeser.

MALCOLM X - For a long time, Malcolm was and has been misunderstood as a minister of hate but thanks to Spike Lee’s epic production and the genius of Denzel Washington, this should shed some light on the life of Malcolm while being hugely entertaining to watch.

DREAMGIRLS - Who doesn’t love a little retro glamour, a little heartbreak and some amazing singing from the likes of Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx,Anoki Rose and - GASP - Eddie Murphy! The long running Broadway story rumored to based on Diana Ross and the Supremes, finally made a huge dent at the box office and came away with a few Grammy nods.

For the Experienced:

Read More

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)

Read More

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)

Read More

INFESTED (VOD Hidden Gem)March 16, 2012


INFESTED (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.

 

INFESTED

By T. Tara Turk

 

Now that Spring is whispering to you that it’s set to arrive any day now (don’t think of it as losing an hour but you’re gaining sunlight when you leave work!), wardrobe changes are not the only things you need to think about.

Though I am admittedly skeeved out by insects, I can’t help but watch Animal Planet On Demand’s show “Infested”! Spring brings critters, people! Do you really know what to do if you see massive amounts of lady bugs in your house followed by massive amounts of recluse brown spiders (who’s bites apparently can liquefy your skin)? Well, do you? If not and if you plan to fling the blinds and windows open, I suggest you catch a few episodes of Infested so you can remember the difference between rats and the cute rat from Ratatouille.

The set up of the show is like “Who The Bleep Did I Marry”? in that you have the actual person narrating their experience with some reenacting involved, including what might be rodent critter acting too. Not sure how they do that. There are about two to three scenarios presented in the fifty or so minutes of the show and while you might say that seems small, just remember that it’s the infestation that counts.

For example, one Pennsylvania family was overcome with German cockroaches and they had no idea what that even was. Perhaps my exposure to urban neighborhoods has hardened me on that one but I was beside myself during the episode with the raccoons. Raccoons! Cute on paper and in animated movies...epic tickets to Tragickstan in real life when in your house.

Read More

EPISODES Season 2 Premiere - Sneak PeekJune 22, 2012


EPISODES Season 2 Premiere - Sneak Peek

SHO

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: "Episodes" (Showtime).

 


EPISODES Season 2 Premiere
Who Needs Friends?

By Jean Tait

 

I had given up. Perfection in television was not going to see a second season, and then came the word: Season 2 of "Episodes"!!! Sorry, didn’t mean to shout, but it’s been more than a year, so I’m rather excited! The season resumes July 1, but you can view a sneak peek now!

 



And now it’s as if they never went away. Picking up soon after we left off: Sean and Beverly Lincoln (Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig) are living separately after Beverly’s ill advised dalliance with Matt LeBlanc (Golden Globe Award Winner Matt LeBlanc). Matt misses the bromance he had with Sean and he even misses the constant snarking of Beverly. He is 100% comfortable in his knowledge that he can win over anyone no matter what. He knows he’s done wrong, but he also knows that eventually (and with a few exorbitantly extravagant gifts), he’ll be able to charm his way out of it.

 



And charming he is. I have to admit, while I enjoyed his character of Joey on “Friends,” I never realized how tremendously talented Matt LeBlanc is. It’s a bit of a cliché, but comedy is hard, and playing dumb is not as easy as it looks. Like Ryan Kwanten’s Jason Stackhouse on “True Blood,” it takes an extremely smart actor to play vacuous, yet confident so well. His Golden Globe was richly deserved.

 



Sean and Beverly have a tough time of it resisting Matt’s charm, especially when he sweetens the deal with expensive cars. The Californization of the Lincolns is definitely in process. Sunshine, cars, and an industry-driven culture are seeping into the intellectual Brits lives. Beverly finds herself enjoying the tan she gets driving her new convertible and her friendship with pot-smoking Carol (the delightful Kathleen Rose Perkins), now that both of their relationships are in trouble.

Read More

Bieber Fever Hits On DemandSeptember 11, 2012


Bieber Fever Hits On Demand

Music Choice

Music Choice today unveiled the latest episode of The "F" Word, about another 4 letter f word (Fame). This month features Justin Bieber himself. 

 


The ‘F’ Word is a 15-minute show that focuses on the total picture of being famous. Featured artists reflect on their fame — from the highs and lows to everything in between. Additional artists to be featured this season include: Brandy, Cobra Starship and many more. 

 

The show is available for free on Music Choice On Demand September 2012. Look for it on your cable provider.

 

Enter for a chance to win in the SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMEN / ODW Sweepstakes
 
 

You May Also Like...

Read More

BLACK SAILS Premiere Sails Into Homes On Demand And OnlineJanuary 26, 2014


BLACK SAILS Premiere Sails Into Homes On Demand And Online

"Black Sails" (Starz)

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: “Black Sails.”

Seemingly in an effort to outdo HBO, Starz’ “Black Sails” is stuffed to bursting with sex, violence, and foul language. What else would you expect from pirates not brought to you by Disney? PS, there are also no parrots, peglegs, or eye-patches.

Gorgeous locales (shot on the coast of South Africa) and a fine attention to details, especially in the weaponry and shipbuilding make Starz’s “Black Sails.” The stunningly turquoise waters make a stark contrast to the blood and gunpowder exploding on its surface, of which there is a lot. A LOT.

With the success of “Game Of Thrones” and “Boardwalk Empire,” it makes sense that someone would decide it was a great idea to make a TV show based on an historical time period full of lawlessness and violence (and sex). According to the publicity interviews, “Black Sails,” while fictional, is trying to show what life was really like during the “golden age of piracy.” For all the historical accuracy of the shipbuilding, it seems doubtful that the island’s societal structure managed that way, but thinking logically will just get in the way of the fun

So far the fun seems to reside in two characters: Luke Arnold’s rakishly charming bad boy, John Silver (part of the fun may be in guessing where the “Long” part of his name comes from!); and Jessica Parker Kennedy’s saucy wench of a whore, Max, who is not only the pirates’ favorite, but is the brains behind many a scheme. Other saucy wenches include the lovely, but tough, Eleanor Guthrie (Hannah New) who runs her daddy’s black market, and Clara Paget (Anne Bonny), the baddest of bad girls.

 

Toby Stephens / "Black Sails" (Starz)


That is about it for female characters of any substance. This is mostly a man’s world, and there are many fighting to be the top dog in the pack. First among them is Toby Stephen’s Captain Flint. Stephens manages to make Flint seem noble. Even when he is a stone cold killer who lies to his crew, it is because he has a dream to take the richest Spanish galleon to ever sail the seas. 

Read More

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >

banner_160x600