Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dark Knight Facebook, Ipad Netflix, NYC's Free Korean Anime, & Dreamworks 2011-14 Schedule

So I just have a little string of news to bring to your attention. I wanted to post this yesterday, but adding my "Rebecca" post was already overdue.

So on the one hand, we have news that Warner Bros. has a deal with Facebook to stream WB movies on FB. Honestly, I heard about this thru The AV Club (again). As always, much of the news I highlight came through them first. They describe the situation neatly, so feel free to read about it on their site.

What I will repeat/condense flat-out: it's paid with "Facebook dollars," which can be converted from real dollars; it's a WB application on FB, not FB software. Deadline also put out the news, but they focused on the stock market dip Netflix suffered after the announcement. I don't know why.

As The AV Club's revered Scott Tobias pointed out, the first Warner picture available will be "The Dark Knight," so it's clear they're going for the jugular off the bat. Their choice is inspired, of course - I'm sure The Joker would approve -  as it's a great movie that I loved to pieces (if less than Batman Begins).

So, as I said 2 weeks ago, let the Rental Wars begin! [Although in this case, it already did.] Redbox will be in the game soon enough, and I'm sure Apple will be in the position of either competing directly via ITunes, or just reaping tons of indirect (and vapid) profits by providing the hardware for all this Streaming.

It's not even just an "I told you so." This Monday, Netflix announced they're supporting the IPad more than ever. They do mention the IPhone too, but clearly their effort is to quickly gain sway over the growing Internet Tablet market - which still pretty much means "the IPad." Heaven help me, Netflix isn't just supporting Safari up the wazoo, they're supporting Mobile Safari up the wazoo. Can they also ditch Microsoft Silverlight at some point?
For my money, I still say you're dumb crazy or desperate if you want to watch a tv show or movie on an IPhone. The screen is too small, so unless you're showing a quick clip to a friend, you really won't be able to enjoy it right. And that, to me, means you should just find real things to do with your life.

Imagine buying an ice cream bar just to take one bite and then throw it away. Pretty wasteful, right? Pretty dumb, right? That's what I think about watching your phone for 20+ minutes as if it were a tv or cinema screen.

Do you think you'll get trapped under a collapsed building or car wreck, use your phone to call for help, then watch "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Netflix Streaming) or "Miss Congeniality" (Amazon Prime) one last time? Or maybe you'll be stuck on el train or under an avalanche and you'll entertain yourself by catching up on every season of "Grey's Anatomy?" (Hulu Plus)

Of course, it's a little different if you're watching an IPad, as the "tilted" viewing angle gives a reasonable range of video options. Or, better still, if you have the cables to plug your device into a real tv. I'm hardly an AV-equipment snob, yet it's silly to watch a movie on less than 20 inches.

13'-15' is fine for students or if you really have no better choice - but then you should try to make the rest of your viewing environment (e.g., lighting, distance, good speakers) as solid as possible. Anything less usually means you're not sitting down for a show, you're just screwing around. Do something else, then enjoy "the show" when you can make time for just that.

If you're in NYC, like myself, you may be on the hunt for anything cool coming up in town. Well, I'm already way late: the Korean Cultural Service (sounds deadly!) has free animated Korean pix playing at the Tribeca Cinemas. They alternate Tuesdays, and the show is at 7. Next one up is March 15 for Yobi, the Five-Tailed Fox.

Special thanks go to AICN (as so often) for hyping this. is also linked from the AICN article, so they're to bless (or blame) if this news doesn't work out for you. This site in particular seems focused on Asian cinema and NYC, and I'll put my hand up for that.

UPDATE: today, AICN released another post about a slew of Makoto Shinkai's anime available to stream this weekend. I've never heard of the movies to be offered online via,, IPad/IPhone, Android, and Boxee; they're free, nuff said. The same entry, at far bottom (jump straight down, then scroll up) also notes "Welcome to the Spaceshow" will play at 10:30AM on Sunday, March 13, at NYC's IFC Center for the New York International Children's Film Festival. Again, I don't know the film, but read more about it and attend if you like.

It may have seemed that I slagged off Deadline above - in that they focused on Netflix' stock share over Warner Bros.' move. Still, Deadline did inform me of Dreamwork's schedule up to 2014.  The only animation study to try to rival Pixar (try, and fail, Pixar is king) will screen 8 films over the next 3 years, not including this Summer's "Kung Fu Panda 2."

The funny thing is that 2 of their 8 scheduled releases will be sequels. "Madagascar 3" (really?) will come out in summer 2012, while "How to Train Your Dragon 2" comes out in Summer 2014. If you include "KFP2," it's 1/3rd their coming work, not 1/4th. [Sadly, I know that extra bit doesn't somehow make me sound psychic.]

Well, Dreamworks is already keyed squarely towards the kids' market, so I guess it's no surprise. To be honest, I'm sort of torn on whether they fall on the good or bad side of the remake/reboot frenzy I already posted on this week...

That's all for now. If you read me regularly, you have a nice week of posts coming ahead of you.
Thaddeus aka Half a Film Student


  1. I can't argue with your points about watching movies on a phone...however, I will at least say that I've watched tv shows/movies on my ipod (an even smaller screen as it's a classic) on the occasional airplane trip. Now, I can't recall the latest news on internet and airplanes so I don't even know if Netflix on a plane is a viable option, but I'd surely watch a movie on an iPhone on a plane. Hell of a lot easier to lug around than a portable DVD player, which doesn't have that much bigger of a screen.

  2. It's true that the portable devices don't have much screen space, and I can't fault anyone for taking a distraction on an airplane. The IPad does the same, and pretty nicely. But I hate the way that technology keeps giving us more ways to lose our time to entertainment.

    And the fact that the US cell phone market is so artificial (in pricing, options), it's frustrating to see companies just come up with more ways for people to watch movie all the time. Our culture often sounds like a mouth just teeming with cavities... I love America, but our citizenship sometimes sounds more like a shopping club membership than anything else...


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