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Steven Spielberg vs. Netflix: Should Netflix Be Allowed To Participate In Film Awards?

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Steven Spielberg stuns Netflix's participation in film awards, sparked an online debate

The ongoing debate on whether Netflix, an online streaming producer, should qualify to win Oscars has swollen after renowned director and producer Steven Spielberg, along with other colleagues, announced its disapproval of Netflix qualification and proposed a revision to the Academy’s requirements and rules that would potentially disqualify Netflix from participating in future Academy Awards.

The pronouncement has caused a series of online and offline tirades from Hollywood’s biggest names, some support Spielberg, while others rebutted his idea.

Spielberg has since been vocal about his opposition on allowing streaming movies participate in film’s most prestigious award but has only made a move after Netflix have bagged four significant Oscars in the 91st Academy Awards this year.

Netflix’s original movie ‘Roma,’ written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, bagged three Oscars trophies including Best Foreign Film, Best Cinematography, and Best Director.

‘Period. End Of Silence,’ a Netflix original documentary, also won Best Documentary Short.

The wins earned by Netflix in the recently concluded Academy Awards was equal to some of Hollywood giants like Fox, Disney, and Universal Studios.

One of the requirements to get nominated for an Oscars is that movies should include a theatrical release, something that Netflix circumvented by releasing their bets on chosen cinemas and chose dates. The video streaming giant has spent more than $20 million in the Oscars campaign for ‘Roma’ alone.

Still, Netflix was a legitimate contender and this year’s Oscars. The streaming service is likely to step up its awards game even more with Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” which The Hollywood Reporter said is gunning for a wide theatrical release. A teaser ad aired during the 91st Oscars for the gangster drama said “in theaters next fall,” instead of the “in selected theaters” phrasing that was used for “Roma.”

The problem, however, is that Netflix does not necessarily play with the same rules as other studios. Since most of the revenue that Netflix get from a movie is through streaming, the tech giant does not report theatrical grosses, a difference that irked some Hollywood giants including Spielberg.

Many big names in Hollywood have chipped in their thoughts regarding the matter that has sparked debate online.

When the Academy announced that the topic would be discussed by board members who will only include 54 people to talk about something that affects 8,000 members, Filmmaker Ava DuVernay tweeted at the film academy’s handle in response:

“I hope if this is true, that you’ll have filmmakers in the room or read statements from directors like me who feel differently,” DuVernay wrote.

Some have attacked Spielberg for not understanding what Netflix mean to independent and minority filmmakers.

Franklin Leonard, who founded The BlackList, which surveys the best-unproduced scripts in Hollywood, noted that Netflix’s first four major Oscar campaigns were all by and about people of color: “Beasts of No Nation,” ”The 13th,” ”Mudbound” and “Roma.”

“It’s possible that Steven Spielberg doesn’t know how difficult it is to get movies made in the legacy system as a woman or a person of color. In his extraordinary career, he hasn’t exactly produced, or executive produced many films directed by them,” Leonard tweeted Saturday. “By my count, Spielberg does one roughly every two decades.”

“The notion of squeezing 200+ people into a dark, unventilated space to see a flickering image was created by exhibition economics not any notion of the ‘theatrical experience,’” Schrader wrote in a Facebook post-Saturday. “Netflix allows many financially marginal films to have a platform and that’s a good thing.”

Sean Baker, who directed “The Florida Project,” suggested a compromise: That Netflix offered a “theatrical tier” to pricing plans, which would allow members to see its films in theaters for free.

“I know I’d spend an extra 2 dollars a month to see films like ‘Roma’ or ‘Buster Scruggs’ on the big screen,” Baker tweeted. “Just an idea with no details ironed out. But we need to find solutions like this in which everybody bends a bit in order to keep the film community (which includes theater owners, film festivals and competitive distributors) alive and kicking.”

Netflix has poured in billions of dollars in original contents to leverage exclusivity and lure in new subscribers. In 2018, the company spent more than $12 billion on original material and was expected to make it to $15 million in 2019. According to The Wrap, the company spent approximately $20 million to $30 million on campaigning Roma for the Oscars.

Nonetheless, the success of Netflix’s content in this year’s Academy Awards is a sign that the streaming service giant is becoming a significant player in Hollywood. Last month, Netflix was the first streaming service to join the Motion Picture Association of America.

A consumer tech and cybersecurity journalist who does content marketing while daydreaming about having unlimited coffee for life and getting a pet llama.

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LOOK: The King’s Man, A Kingsman Prequel

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20th Century Fox

The first trailer into the 2020 Kingsman prequel, The King’s Man just dropped, and if you’re the type who does not like the typical rom-com movie on Valentine’s Day, you’re in luck since the action-packed spy saga is releasing its latest installment on February 14th next year.

The first thing that needs to be addressed, the main star of the Kingsman franchise, Gary “Eggsy” Unwin played by Taron Egerton, will not be making an appearance in the February 2020 installment since The King’s Man will be exploring into the reason behind the creation of the independent Kingsman organization years before Eggsy was born.

Although the one minute and 48-second trailer bare any information on how and what the movie is all about, the film’s synopsis says: “As a collection of history’s worst tyrants and criminal masterminds gather to plot a war to wipe out millions, one man must race against time to stop them. Discover the origins of the very first independent intelligence agency in The King’s Man.”

For starters, The King’s Man will be set in the early 1900s and will follow the events that lead up to how the Kingsman organization ought to be. It will dive into the fantasy of World War I and the events after that period.

Furthermore, The King’s Man will be a history book reimagined since it will star memorable personalities such as the exotic dancer, Mata Hari who charmed her way to receiving privileges in a war-stricken era but eventually died as a convicted spy.

There are also other infamous characters such as Thomas Edward Lawrence or T.E. Lawrence and Herbert Kitchener, who will be played by Liam Neeson which gives this action-packed movie more intensity from the Taken star.

There’s also the casting of Aaron Taylor-Johnson as “Lee Unwin,” suggesting that we may see some of Eggsy’s bloodline in this prequel and how the Unwins get deeply involved in the Kingsman organization.

Taking on the “Eggsy” role or the lead in The King’s Man is Harris Dickinson as Conrad. There’s no clear direction on how his character fits in the whole story, but if he’s playing the “Eggsy” here, he’s coming in when the organization just got started and will be trained to fight alongside the organization.

Other castings in The King’s Man include Ralph Fiennes playing T.E. Lawrence, Daniel Bruhl playing Gelix Yusupov, Gemma Arterton playing Mata Hari, and Rhys Ifans playing the infamous Grigori Rasputin, Matthew Goode as Tristan, and Stanley Tucci as Merlin.

The King’s Man is once again directed and co-written by Matthew Vaughn, but Vaughn will seemingly take a more serious route in this prequel. Probably an homage to history or following the footsteps of the other great espionage films he previously looked up to such as Bourne, In Like Flint, 24, and others.

Speaking to The Playlist, Vaughn teased about how he was looking forward to the prequel and how it was going to be something entirely new. “Next year you’re getting The Great Game. It’s wrapped,” he said. “I love spy movies, and this is a very very different tone and style and as a spy film, that no one’s made in a long, long time. “

In other news, with regards to the original and iconic “Eggsy” Unwin, we will see more from him. Not just next year, though.

“That doesn’t mean I won’t be in Kingsman ever again,” Egerton previously confirmed. “I was with Matthew [Vaughn] as little as a few days ago, we’re still very much in business together, but his next journey in that world doesn’t involve me. His idea for the new one is incredibly exciting. I’m sad that I won’t be on that journey with him, but it’s not the last you’ve seen of Eggsy.”

In the same interview with The Playlist, Vaughn teased that “we hope to shoot Kingsman 3 either late this year or early next year, but it won’t be out until 2021, so, who knows?”

He added: “There’s two more to come – hopefully, people like them enough that we can count on making another one.”

“MARV Films [Vaughn’s production company] loves spy films, so I’d love to always be making them, and the whole point about Kingsman is a celebration of espionage. And Kingsman will always make the spy film that no one else is touching.”

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‘Bond 25’ Full of Surprises; Lashana Lynch Is Agent 007

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Lashana Lynch's Instagram @lashanalynch

The Bond Franchise is getting an upgrade!

Lashana Lynch, the British actress who played Captain Marvel’s Maria Rambeau, will assume the role of agent 007 in the upcoming Bond film.

A film insider talked to The Daily Mail and shared that the 25th installment of the Bond franchise introduces Lynch in a pivotal scene in the movie. The part is when M calls for Agent 007, saying, “Come in, 007.” To which, Lynch responds and walks in.

Although Lynch is playing 007, she won’t be taking on the persona of James Bond. According to IMDB, her role’s name is Nomi, while Bond is still played by Daniel Craig who’s said to be retired from the agency in this storyline. However, we can expect that Bond will be pulled in for the mission even when he’s retired.

Before Captain Marvel, Lynch worked on TV shows in the UK. Her notable roles are Arjana Pike in Bulletproof, Rosaline Capulet in Still Star-Crossed, and Gemma in Crims.

Although Lynch did not have many action setting in Captain Marvel, she has had plenty of experience in the action scenes of Bulletproof.

The new Bond film, which is set to be released in 2020, was written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Known for her brilliance in the TV hit show Fleabag, Waller-Bridge also has Killing Eve and Drifters as part of her writing portfolio.

Aside from being a writer, Waller-Bridge is also an actress. Her memorable roles include India in Bad Education, Susie in The Iron Lady, Abby Thompson in BroadChurch, and as the main protagonist of Fleabag.

Before today’s reveal, speculation on a new Bond agent was abuzz, especially with rumors of Craig getting ready to leave the franchise. The previous buzz involved Idris Elba to replace Craig in one of the most iconic roles in history. According to reports, Bond 25 will be Craig’s last movie in which he reprises his role as James Bond.

Craig and Lynch are facing off Rami Malek as the movie’s antagonist.

Fans are thrilled to see a change in diversity in the Bond movies.

Breaking Stereotypes

With Lynch taking on the iconic Agent 007 role, the upcoming film is appealing to the #MeToo advocates.

Breaking free from the movie franchise’s machismo tone, the refreshing take of female heroes is reportedly present in Waller-Bridge’s script. The characters have the wit and humor that shows the writer’s talent.

For years, the Bond movie series has cast Caucasian men to play Agent 007. Having a female person-of-color actor play the part is both refreshing and exciting.

With Lynch’s involvement, the speculation, whether she will completely take over the role of Agent 007 from Craig, is louder than ever. In recent years, the movie series has craftily introduced the successors of each character in the movie. An example of this is when Judi Dench handed over her role as M to Ralph Fiennes in Spectre.

Aside from the possible long-term female agent, the production is calling on for the help of the media to promote positive changes. The Daily Mail insider also revealed that the term “Bond girl” is no longer permit to be used about Bond’s leading ladies. The production has asked publications to use the term “Bond women.”

The change of term is not just a simple change. It’s a complete change of the mindset. Waller-Bridge has been outspoken about changing the Bond movies’ treatment of women.

“There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not [the Bond franchise] is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women. I think that’s bollocks. I think he’s absolutely relevant now. It has just got to grow. It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesn’t have to. He needs to be true to this character,” Waller-Bridge said in an interview with Deadline.

Aside from breaking the stereotype of Bond women, Malek also revealed that he insisted that his character not be stereotyped as an Arabic-speaking terrorist. Malek, who is best known for his role as Freddie Mercury in the Bohemian Rhapsody, said his decision stems on pursuing ways to provide positive representation on his ethnic background.

The new Bond movie seems to have a lot of exciting changes. According to The Daily Mail’s source, “This is a Bond for the modern era who will appeal to a younger generation while sticking true to what we all expect in a Bond film.”

Take a look at Bond 25‘s teaser below:

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‘Stranger Things 3’ Breaks Netflix Records

Season 3 is out! Spoilers, ahead!

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Photo: AntMan3001 | Flickr.com | CC BY-SA 2.0

Stranger Things Season 3 broke Netflix’s viewership records with over 40 million household accounts watching since its debut on July 4. Netflix adds that in just four days after the show’s release, 18.2 million of those household accounts finished the entire third season. 

The sci-fi show that explores the town of Hawkins, and the ‘Upside Down’ has beaten Netflix’s viewership records held by The Umbrella Academy, You, and Sex Education. The three latter shows only achieving more than 40 million views after a month since their debut.

The third season’s success may have secured the renewal of the series for its fourth season. Ross Duffer, one half of the show’s creator, has stated in 2017 that Stranger Things may be a four-season story. 

If you’re living under a rock, Stranger Things is a show about a group of kids living in a strange town called Hawkins. The kids investigate and have adventures (albeit, terrifying ones) with paranormal and supernatural incidents, including the sudden appearance of a weird girl with psychokinetic powers after their friend gets abducted by a creature from the mysterious “Upside Down.” Oh, and it’s set in the 1980s. 

With a hit TV series, the show’s casts shot to stardom. Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Finn Wolfhand, Caleb McLaughlin, and Noah Schnapp made up the gang of the brave kids of Hawkins. Winona Ryder and David Harbour rounded out the cast, serving as the adult support system in the show. 

In season 2, Sadie Sink joined the gang. In season 3, look out for Priah Ferguson and Maya Hawke. 

The show was wildly successful when it was first launched last July 2016 on Netflix. Fans enjoyed the mix of sci-fi, mystery, thriller, and 80’s nostalgia in one binge-able show. 

The Duffer Brothers

The instant hit show was created by twins Matt and Ross Duffer, now widely known as the Duffer Brothers. The duo got their first break in Hollywood when they pitched a screenplay which Warner Bros Entertainment, Inc. won over other studios. Their screenplay was so good that they convinced Warner Bros. to let them direct it as well. 

The movie was titled Hidden. Filming began in 2012 and was completed in 2015. Unfortunately, the studio decided to have a limited release, and only a few critics were able to see it. 

Despite not having their movie’s theatrical release, the brothers landed a job as writers for Wayward Pines, an American thriller TV series based on Blake Crouch’s novels of the same name. 

The couple continued to write and decided to pitch a screenplay for their own TV show. They caught the attention of Shawn Levy, known for his direction of films such as Night at the Museum and Real Steel. 

The Duffer brothers, along with Levy, pitched a TV show concept that’s a mix homage to Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and the brother’s love for the 80’s era. Netflix loved it, and so did the rest of the world. 

Season 3 Recap

Here’s a look at the current season’s summary. 

Season 2 ended on a happy ending with the gang enjoying their time in the school dance. Little do they know the Mind Flayer, a powerful force from the Upside Down (and season 2’s main antagonist), was still alive and watching the town of Hawkins. 

In season 3, the plot thickens as to who is responsible for making portals to go to the Upside Down. Russian agents have now come to Hawkins and started working secretly at the newly constructed mall. 

Dustin, Robin, Steve, and Erica starts investigating the Russian agents and learns that there’s a secret lab below the mall. 

The Mind Flayer is alive and has been using the abandoned mill as its headquarters. It abducts Billy and possesses him. Billy starts abducting other townspeople so that the Mind Flayer can control them, too. 

Will can sense the Mind Flayer whenever it attacks others. He teams up with Eleven, and they try to fight the Mind Flayer. They were able to identify that Billy was possessed and attacked him. The Mind Flayer overpowered Eleven and almost killed her.

Using her powers, Eleven was able to find the Mind Flayer’s lair—the abandoned mill. However, during her search for the den, the Mind Flayer was able to read her mind, too. It knows where Eleven is and is now hunting her.

Eleven, Will, Nancy, and Jonathan goes to the mall to rescue Dustin, Robin, Steve, and Erica. They prepare to fight the Mind Flayer. Hopper and Joyce investigate the Russian agents through a trail of paperwork. They also rush to the mall to help the children fight. They come up with a plan to fight the Mind Flayer and destroy the machine building the portal below the mall.

In the end, Billy sacrifices himself to save Eleven from the Mind Flayer that still possesses him. Hopper also sacrifices himself to shut down the machine, which closed the portal and killed the Mind Flayer.

In the last scene, Eleven, Will, Jonathan, and Joyce leave the town of Hawkins.

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