ScreenHitsTV to charge $1.99/month to aggregate multiple streaming services

I used to sign up for everything new tech-related online: gadgets, apps, services, you name it. These days I’m primarily interested in movie or TV-related technology. That is what’s relevant to this blog, anyway.

So the routine was to check it out and blog about the experience and findings. So, that’s what I did with ScreenhitsTV today, which I’m not quite sure looking it over what it will offer us for $1.99/month that we’re not already getting through Amazon Prime Video and Roku ($0/month) beyond the free annual subscription offer for the first 100,000 who sign up (that’s a pretty good deal).

Subscribers of SVOD platforms such as Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, MUBI and other streaming services, including BBC iPlayer, can integrate their existing services within the app, which is set to go live across multiple territories, including the U.S. and the U.K., by the end of this month. Entry-level subscriptions to ScreenHits will start at $1.99/£1.99 per month and will initially be available on Amazon Fire Stick, Apple Store, Google Chrome, Android and for the desktop.

ScreenHits TV to Launch Streaming Aggregator to Combat Fatigue | Hollywood Reporter

I can see the draw of being the one stop shop for aggregating the streamers, but think Roku is top of the food chain in that space and Amazon also does some of that.

The problem with these man-in-the-middle services is when they begin to flex their muscle with streaming services. This is happening right now with Roku and HBO Max (see: Still No Announcement for HBO Max on Roku, But Multiple Alternate Ways to Cast To TV at Launch) because Roku wants a cut of the streaming sub price. It doesn’t cost me anything as the customer, yes, but if I can’t get HBO Max that I want to subscribe to because Roku won’t cut a deal to “allow” HBO Max to be in their channel store isn’t how Roku started out.

Roku started out being very open and willing to allow just about anybody (exceptions for illegal activities, porn, the regular non-mainstream culprits) to use their service. Over time as they’ve gotten bigger and taken more market share in the space, there have been cases where keeping their customers best interest in mind has not been as clear.

Keeping an open mind for ScreenhitsTV (not exactly a great name, either), just in case they are offering something additional that these other two don’t offer, but somewhat skeptical.

As for streaming subscription “fatigue”? Quite the opposite for us, we enjoy the freedom of a la carte offerings of the various streaming services. I’ll admit that finding out where something you want to watch can sometimes be challenging (because movie and TV licenses tend to move around between the services), but there are numerous TV Guide-like services available that help make that easier like JustWatch, Reelgood (see: How To Use Your Phone as a Roku Remote with Clickable Movie and TV links in Reelgood App) and TV Time (see: TV Time is useful for tracking your TV series watching).

Guess we’ll find out soon what niche, if any, ScreenhitsTV fills. Argh, that name, though. It’s not as bad as Quibi, but it’s … cringey.

HBO Max Launches – Here’s What Everything Looks Like Inside #HBOmax

The HBO Max launch is here, May 27, 2020, another significant streaming service available.

For those who got in at the intro pricing $11.99/month or those getting free as part of your AT&T TV or phone plans or paying the regular $14.99/month, whichever the case, you probably don’t need this post. The rest that are curious what it looks like inside? Got you covered.

And no, still no deal with Roku as of launch day (see: Still No Announcement for HBO Max on Roku, But Multiple Alternate Ways to Cast To TV at Launch). I launched the app on my Android phone, a Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ and use the Samsung Smart Things app (built-in) to cast to TV. It works great to play the movies and television shows full screen on the TV. That is but one of several cast to TV options available besides a more convenient Roku app.

My first login experience? Clean. Wow. Very clean. Love the dark background and the fact that it instantly wants to allow me add additional profiles a la Netflix.

You can create up to five additional profiles for either adults …

… or kids. The kids require setting a pin, which the system prompts immediately and intuitively to create.

Once you’ve set a pin, then you can define the content level parental controls by MPAA rating.

Here is how the profiles screen appears once a child’s account has been set.

Now, to change an existing profile, use the “MANAGE PROFILES” link at the bottom beneath the +Add buttons. A profile name is limited to 10 characters, so I couldn’t add Todd and Kara or even Todd N Kara — so had to just settle for Todd Kara.

A suggestion, would have been nice if the font size would have auto-changed smaller to allow for a few more characters. At least 20, but that’s a minor complaint. Again, UI (User Interface) is very clean and easy to follow. They wanted to make this very Netflix-like in usability, and it shows.

Once your profiles are in order, a feature which for those who don’t know how that works, it allows the system to learn what that particular user can watch, has watched, wants to watch and will provide suggestions to him/her/them based on history.

TV Series as “Series”

Going to breeze through the TV Series portion of the interface, but it’s pretty straightforward, starting with the HBO signature features and adding some coveted complete series like: The Big Bang Theory, Friends, Rick & Morty and more!

Those who already know and appreciate HBO originals will feel right at home here.

Movies

If you don’t finish a movie and move around a convenient “Continue Watching” menu appears at the top of the home menu so you can quickly return to in-progress movies.

Movies have a detailed A-Z menu along the right hand side so you can quickly and conveniently skip to the first letter title of a movie, versus scrolling through the entire list.

The movie sections are divided up into A-Z (full listing with breakpoints by letter as shown above), Originals, Just Added (!), Last Chance, Coming Soon, genre and studio and/or content grouping (DC, Sesame Street, TCM, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Looney Tunes, Crunchy Roll, Studio Ghibli).

I could write a detailed post just describing the DC grouping. It’s like a mini DC Universe worth of movies in there, including Batman getting his own section.

No comic books like DC Universe, but one could see how the two services could merge into one super, powerful mega streaming service (I’m surprised this wasn’t offered from the get-go for like $19.99/month for both). If Warner truly wants to take on Netflix with something they don’t and likely can’t offer, this would be one way to do so. Amazon, could counter this with putting up Comixology which they own. Sure, DC could pull their license of DC Comics from that service, but they wouldn’t. Watch for this being a possibility someday in the future.

DC has all the DC-related live action and animated movies in one organized place. Some of these movies left the DC Universe platform to come to HBO Max (causing unrest in that community, by the way). In September 2020 the DC Universe Rewards program ends and something is going to happen … no idea what that is, but perhaps that will be when there is a bundling deal in time for holiday (this is pure speculation on my part, but not an impossibility by any stretch).

Plenty of cartoons available under the Looney Tunes category. 31 seasons of Looney Tunes, alone.

A-Z some of many movies available for streaming at HBO Max launch

Not going to put out a complete A-Z listing of movies in this post, like we did for Peacock at launch, but below are some few notable titles:

2001: A Space Odyssey
The Abyss
Alien
Aliens
Alien: Resurrection
Alien 3
Alita: Battle Angel
Along Came Polly
American Pie
American Pie 2
Any Given Sunday
Apocalypse Now
Aquaman
The Art of Racing In The Rain
Arthur
Arthur 2: On The Rocks
Babe
Babe: Pig In The City
11+ Batman movies (see below)

Batman fans will be right at home with HBO Max

Beauty & The Beast
Ben Hur
Black KkKlansman
Blinded By The Light
The Blob
Bohemian Rhapsody
Bonnie & Clyde
Braveheart
The Bridges of Madison County
Bright Lights Big City
Casablanca
Casino Royale (the original)
Casino Royale (James Bond – Daniel Craig)
Citizen Kane
Cimmaron
Contagion
Crazy, Rich Asians
4 Critters Movies (Critters 1, 2, 3, 4)
Dick Tracy
Die Hard
Die Hard 2
Die Hard With a Vengeance
A Dog’s Life
Downton Abbey
Emma
Enemy Mine
The Entertainer
Equinox
Eraser
Eraserhead
Eyes Without A Face
Fantastic Planet
Fight Club
A Fish Called Wanda
Flawless
Galaxy of Terror
Gamer
Gangs of New York
Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster
Glengarry Glenross
8 Godzilla movies (!!!!!)

It’s Christmas Day in late May for Godzilla fans at HBO Max!

Gone With The Wind
Good Boys
Great Expectations
Green Lantern
Gremlins 1 & 2
Hackers
Hamlet
Happy Death Day
Happy Death Day 2 U
Hanzo The Razor (3 movies)
Happy Feet (2 movies)
Harry Potter (entire 7 movie series)
Hellboy
Hey Arnold The Movie
The Hitcher (1986)
The Hobbit (3 movies)
How The West Was Won
I Shot Jesse James
It: Chapter 2
Jaws (4 movies: 1,2,3 and 4)
Joker
Judge Dredd
Justice League (Snyder Cut coming in 2021)
Kin
King Kong (The original black and white!)
Kung Fu Panda
La La Land
The Lady Vanishes
The Land Before Time (10 animated movies)

Many The Land Before Time animated movies to watch/rewatch

LEGO Movies (5 movies)
Little Shop of Horrors
Lola
Lolita
Lone Wolf and Cub (6 movies)
The Lonliness of the Long Distance Runner
Long Shot
Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Rings (the complete trilogy)
Lost In Space
Madagascar
Madagascar 3
The Maltese Falcon
The Meg
Metro
Million Dollar Babies
Mona Lisa Smile
Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Mrs. Doubtfire
Nightmare on Elm Street (5 movies)

1, 2, Freddy’s coming for YOU … at HBO Max

North By Northwest
Notting Hill
The Nun
The Odd Couple II
Of Mice and Men
An Officer and a Gentlemen
Oliver Twist
Othello
The Outsiders
Paradise Lost (3 movies)
Pearl Harbor
The Pelican Brief
Pet Sematary (the original movie)
Pirahna
Police Academy (7 movies)

Pretty and Pink
Pride and Prejudice
Quadrophenia
Quantum of Solace (James Bond)
Rebel Without A Cause (James Dean)
Rodan (more Godzilla, yes!)
Rock Star
Rock The Kasbah
Scanners
School Of Rock
Scooby Doo
Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
The Seventh Seal
Singing In The Rain

When life after the pandemic returns in your area, there is also a Singing In The Rain slot machine

The Skulls (3 movies)
Solaris
Son of Godzilla
Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains The Same
A Star Is Born (original movie)
A Star Is Born (remake 2019)
A Streetcar Named Desire
Suicide Squad
Teeth
Terror of Mechagodzilla
The Thief of Baghdad
Through A Glass Darkly
To Be Or Not To Be
Tokyo Story
Tropic Thunder
True Lies
Twins
Unfriended
Unfriended: Dark Web
Us
Valkyrie
Water For Elephants
Western Stars
Wild Hogs
Wings Of Desire
The Witches Of Eastwick
The Wizard of Oz
Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot)
X-Men
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Yesterday
The Zookeeper’s Wife

A very good mix of movies both very new, very old and in between. A better selection than what’s available at any other single movie streaming service. That’s Netflix, Amazon, they don’t have all these quality movies. They have good selection, but not this overall quality of film library on day one of launch.

However, if you want originals, every streaming service has its strengths. Disney+ has Star Wars, Marvel and their animated classics which are some of the greatest movies ever made. Peacock has the potential for a good library, although their initial launch wasn’t as solid as what HBO Max offers. Maybe when Peacock goes full launch mode in July, they will draw more from their classic library available as well as even more great TV series.

It’s a full-on war of streaming and we — movie and TV show lovers — are benefiting. It’s not what is available to watch, it’s what to watch next?

A very solid launch for HBO Max. I know people may balk at the price tag, but it’s worth at least signing up and watching movies — some of which haven’t been available anywhere else except on TV until now. We’ll be subscribed for awhile.

Are you subscribed to HBO Max? Will you be? What do you think? I’m curious to read thoughts from others.

27+ Scoob Reviews – Not Quite A Scooby Snack, But Tries … A Little

Purchased Scoob! on Google Play! for our grandchildren and us to watch

Scoob! ⭐️⭐️½

Although my rating indicates I’m not recommending this, if you are a long time Scooby Doo fan, it’s still worth a look. My grandchildren loved it and I liked some parts of the effort and was somewhat entertained.

While DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls: World Tour” generated the most advanced buzz — heralded as the first big-budget film to abandon its theatrical release and embrace the streaming route in the COVID-19 era — “Scoob!” is a better film, with its eye-candy animation, sly script and, best of all, a hilarious vocal performance from Lafayette native Will Forte as the boy-man Shaggy. Forte even rivals Matthew Lillard’s scene-stealing take of dog’s best friend in the 2002 live action “Scooby-Doo” dud. Forte perfects Shaggy’s crackly puberty voice.

Review: ‘Scoob’ is all we could want in a Scooby-Doo reboot

Going to get into some SPOILERS in what follows, so a warning to those who haven’t seen the movie yet.

… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …

Scooby & Shag: The Younger Years

Loved the opening at Venice Beach with Scooby swiping the sausage and rollerbarreling it with a bicycle cop in pursuit. Then Shaggy meets him for the first time and covers for him, giving the policeman his Scoob’s name. Ok, so it’s not realistic the policeman’s reaction, but we’re in a cartoon.

The other scene I liked was in the bowling alley. From there, it went (mostly) downhill for me. The grandchildren remained glued to the TV, so they didn’t mind that the story lost all focus.

Where were the rest of the gang?

Not enough of Fred, Daphne and Velma. All the best Scooby Doo episodes I’ve seen have a team focus on solving the mystery. There is a little of this here, but not enough. I dug how Velma was super tech hacker. Fred and Daphne might as well have been the same character gender reversed because neither does anything that substantial.

I realize the title is focused on Scooby and yes, there needs to be plenty of him and Shaggy — usually in search for food and avoiding danger because they are both easily scared. They gave us this, but in the story seem to have mostly forgotten about the rest of the gang. Disappointing to me.

Did we need the other shared universe characters?

Falcon Fury? Didn’t work for me. Then again, I’m not opposed to introduccing among other comic book characters into Scooby Doo and the mystery gang’s world.

They had Simon Cowell, but missed the perfect opportunity to spoof American Idol! Wouldn’t it have been cool to see him in some sort of judging role scene? Even if it was something ridiculous like judging how scared Scooby and Shaggy were of something. Oh well, in my imagination I’ll get this missed opportunity scene.

DC Universe subscribers, get your Scooby comic book fix

Until the end of summer 2020, DC Universe subscribers can dive into 100+ Scooby Doo comic books as part of the subscription.

Just visit the comic book section and search for “Scooby Doo” or click here.

Oh, and I miss Casey Kasem and Matthew Lillard’s Shaggy

No shade at Will Forte who did a decent voice job, he just wasn’t as good as Matthew Lillard or Casey Kasem who retired in 2007. Apparently, the producers never offered it to Lillard. It’s puzzling, because he’s been the live action and voice of Shaggy for over 10 years. Even Lillard was disappointed from stories I’ve read.

Hint to animation voice casting department: offer the role to the established actors first … or at least explain why they don’t get the role. Recasting key voice characters is going to matter more than you might think.

Reviews by Others

What do others think of Scoob!?

Recommended

  1. Den of Geek: “Parents might not be as engaged with the story as younger viewers, but there are plenty of silly, raunchy jokes and classic character appearances to keep adults entertained”
  2. Dewey Singleton: “…certainly stays true to its roots and manages to include several exciting cartoon characters”
  3. Frankenculture / Steve Pokorny! (4/5): “The story progressed at a fine jaunt and was exciting throughout.  For fans of the classic and people looking to introduce your kids to the Hanna-Barbera  universe I would whole heartedly recommend this film, and to own it for $25, it’s a steal.”
  4. Full Circle Cinema (7/10): “While it’s not groundbreaking in any way, It’s not bad – it’s heartwarming and enjoyable for any age. I liked it quite a bit, and my 10-year-old cousin loved it even more. More than anything else, that’s what matters most because this movie was intended for him and his age group and we, as critics, forget that sometimes”
  5. Geekly Goods: “It’s one of the best family-friendly films I’ve seen this year. The humor is definitely meant for the adults, but the kids will get a kick out of Scoob and his joyous spirit.”
  6. IslandMovieBlogs: “…is a nice nostalgic trip for the whole family. The story might not be the best, but like i said, thats not what’s important. If you have a connection to these characters, its nice having them again.”
  7. James Bachman / Thinking Outside The Box Office: “It isn’t trying to break the mold, and it isn’t a subversive masterpiece like The Lego Movie. But for a quick, Scooby Snack sized film with really crisp animation, you might just want to see what is new with Scooby-Doo.”
  8. Jason’s Movie Blog (3.4/5): “…is one of those animated movies that works but doesn’t at the same time. Its enjoyable, but its not the best. It’s not terrible, but its not quite memorable.”
  9. Maz The Nerd Uncanny (Grade: B+): “Yes, “Scoob!” is a bit silly and oddly plot-heavy when it comes to Alexander the Great mythology. But I still loved every second of this film.”
  10. Melody MacReady (8/10): “It was a good change for the franchise and I look forward to a possible sequel or spin-off in this new universe.”
  11. Movie Paws / Sharon Knolle: “…is as loving an homage as the recent “Scoobynatural” crossover with TV series “Supernatural.” And it leaves the door open for more Hanna-Barbera team-ups.”
  12. Robert Butler III / Geeks of Color: “Aside from the superhero shared universe culture that’s cultivated in recent years, SCOOB! delivers a sweet and sometimes funny tale drenched in a little popular culture tanginess. If you’re a parent looking for something to watch with the kids this weekend, SCOOB! is fun for the whole family.”
  13. sambel203 / Moving Forward: “Would I see it in theaters? Well thanks to COVID-19 our house is now the theater so yeah, I’d upgrade what we have to rewatch it. It was honestly a really good movie.”
  14. Songs Voices Never Share: “How good Scoob! would’ve done if it were released in the theaters? I can’t possibly tell that, but the last act of this movie would definitely have been a blast to watch on the big screen. So, I would recommended you to watch this film – kids will love it, and chances are you will too.”
  15. The Avacado: “…is, in fact, a Blue Falcon and Dynomutt movie, one that pits those heroes in a struggle against Dick Dastardly (of Wacky Races fame), with Mystery Inc.’s own Shaggy Rogers and his faithful dog Scooby-Doo acting as the requisite audience surrogates. Your response to that bit of information, whether it be intrigue or disgust, will be a major factor in determining whether or not this film is worth any of your time.”

Not Recommended

  1. Bringin The Juice: “As I said I was excited for this movie and the idea of a Hanna-Barbera universe, however this movie did not feel like a Scooby-Doo movie. It felt like an overstuffed Hanna-Barbera jumble that needed to breathe a little bit.”
  2. Darren Lucas / Movie Reviews 101: “This is just a terrible version of the much loved characters, we do have heart with friendship, only it lacks any mystery required which is the central point of the whole show.”
  3. DC Bolling / DC’s Take: “Sadly, I gotta say Scoob! was a disappointment. It’s good enough for young kids’ to enjoy, but for adults who grew up with the original cartoons, there isn’t a lot to get out of it when a lot of the jokes weren’t all that funny and has a story that leaves little of interest.”
  4. FILMAHOLIC: “…a film based on beloved cartoons that leaned into their wondrous mysteries and incredible characters, is merely a shadow of what came before. Every single character, perhaps except for the leading duo of Shaggy and Scooby, has no traits beyond being a shallow caricature of what they were in old cartoons. It makes for an awkward and meaningless watch.”
  5. Frankie Gilmore / DiscussingFilm (2.5/5): “Alas, Scoob! represents the further descent of a culture dominated by films advertising their sequels before the credits have even rolled. A film that kids will love, but will have other fans of the characters wondering…”
  6. From the mind of Victor Lovecraft (2/5): “With Warner Animation Group’s new film Scoob!, I confess that things seem off again. There’s always something strange about Scooby’s theatrical runs, even as this one eventually ended up on VOD”
  7. Gavin O’Neil / Overcranked: “…does little to add anything unique or interesting to the expansive amount of content already made with these characters. In fact, it almost feels like it has taken a step back with throwing out any type of mystery. Still, SCOOB! at least keeps your attention the whole time and there are never really any moments that make you want to immediately turn it off.”
  8. Geoff Swanson / Movies With Geoff (6/10): “Is this the Scooby Doo I know? Not really. I miss the creepier horror component and the formulaic nature the episodes had. Perhaps it’s just nostalgia. That being said, the difficulty this film had was straddling the roots of the characters and the original show, which probably would now come across as cheesy to a much savvier child audience”
  9. Gordon Levitt / Gliterati*Lobotomy: “…is not a vote of confidence in WB’s ability to create quality content for younger audiences, and it’s not good proof that WB even wants to put money into these movies.”
  10. Jesse Revell Reviews (5/10): “Certainly not a failure but far from a success.”
  11. Luke’s Living Room: “Seriously, you guys, it was not great. But what can you expect from a movie that has a total of SIX different writers?”
  12. MisterJ / Brain of J: “Despite nice animation and a few fun gags that harken back to the original series, Scoob! is a dispiriting movie. It might entertain families and young ones on the fly but for me, I’d rather pick out the original series or try my luck with the other animated films.”
  13. The Bloomgist: “At one point in Scoob, Fred insists that this is their “most important mystery ever” rather than being “about some guy in a rubber mask”, an annoyingly smug attempt to elevate this above the many entertainingly dopey adventures we’ve seen them on before.”

Linked above and wondering what would be the cool thing to do next? Commenting once in awhile is always good (I like reader and other blogger interaction). If you have the trackback/pingback come to your site then just approve it because after people read your review then they can come here and follow links and read someone else’s review. What comes around goes around and sharing is the ultimate “thank you!” on the internet.

Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quoting from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.

Happy movie watching!

TV Time is useful for tracking your TV series watching

For some time I’ve been looking for something to track TV watching like Letterboxd does for movies. After using TV Time for a couple months, this feels like one of the better options available at this time. If anybody reading wants to recommend another, perhaps better option, please let me know in the comments.

The price is right: free. The site isn’t invaded by ads. In fact, I didn’t see any ads anywhere. That’s my kind of clean user experience.

One complaint. I don’t see an easy or intuitive way in the app or on the website to link to my individual TV series reviews (share links are available inside the app, so that’s probably one way to create the link, but I don’t want to share a link to a social media service every time, just to get a link), nor is there any way (that I see) to export my activity on this site, which is problematic for me using as a permanent source for reviews. Therefore, I’m going to continue to post TV series reviews here and use it primarily for tracking what’s been watched. TV Time is, however, very good as a watchlist tracker.

“There’s an incredible amount of quality TV being made today — some of the budgets are insane — and because all these different platforms are doing it, it becomes more confusing for the consumer to find out where to watch, to remember where they left off, and to remember when the premiere is,” says TV Time COO Dan Brian. “It’s hard to wrangle it all.”

TV Time, the TV tracking app with over a million daily users, can now find your next binge | TechCrunch

Some other things I’ve learned about TV Time. When you want to skip around and watch different episodes, click on the TV series title in the app and that will take you to the overall summary of the show. I don’t rewatch TV series episodes in order. Instead, I’ll rewatch my favorite episodes, jumping all around in between seasons. For example, when Star Trek: Picard was on recently, I went back into TNG and watched relevant episodes with Data and Bruce Maddox.

It is possible to track what you’ve watched this way in TV Time although the app by default displays the newest next episode, so if you watch something from season 5, it will show you the next episode following the season 5 episode you last watched. At first, this puzzled me, but it makes sense when you’re watching a series for the first time and you would want to see the next episode. Just keep in mind, you aren’t restricted to watch a TV series this way. Just click the title of the TV show and you’ll always return to the home which displays all seasons in the series. From there you can quickly find the episode you want.

As for movies, TV Time is just … OK. It isn’t nearly as useful either statistically or functionally as Letterboxd. I wasn’t looking for a Letterboxd replacement, anyway, especially when the name of the app has “TV” in it, but you can track, rate and review movies.

Following people on TV Time is not intuitive at all. You need to drill down on comments and look at the person and then click follow. It’s almost like following other people inside TV Time is an afterthought. What I’ve been doing is following those who leave great comments on TV shows I like a lot (Harley Quinn!).

Commenting in TV Time is a neat experience. You can leave memes and in some shows pick actual screenshots to include. Of course you can include your own screencaps from shows. I’ve found the phone apps Pic Stitch and Over useful for editing pictures (stitching multiple pictures together and adding formatted text).

Both apps are free and if you want to pay for additional features offer a pro version. I made the stitched picture above for Stargirl using both phone apps.

Speaking of Letterboxd, on 5/23/2020 I passed the four digit followers milestone.

Thank you to those following my movie reviews, it’s much appreciated. A friendly reminder to newer readers: all new and old movie reviews are posted to my Letterboxd account first. Maybe it won’t always be that way, but really dig using this site. It lets you export all of your activity any time you want, which is cool. If only it did TV shows too … alas, it’s only movies. TV Time scratches the TV itch, I guess. Not as well, but it comes close enough for now.

TV Time, again, as far as I can tell (corrections welcome in the comments), does not provide any sort of export function for your activity. If you’re looking at spending any amount of time creating content at another site, keep in mind that if the site/service goes away, you won’t have it any more without export functionality. Having your own blog at least provides a way to pull all content you’ve created together in one place.

I’m open to options that have both movie and TV review functionality as well as provide full export at any time (you should always own your own created content). I haven’t found any site or service which nails this for both … yet. Have you? Open to suggestions in the comments area, please. Will keep looking…

21+ The Lovebirds Reviews – Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani Friend Zoned, Unfortunately

The Lovebirds ⭐️⭐️

Romantic comedies are a well-traveled genre. The number one ingredient that I look for remains if I can believe the two leads can be a couple, that the romantic spark is there.

There is chemistry between Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae, but for me it’s all in the friend zone, not love … and that hurts a movie with that magical four-lettered L word in the title.

Not only do they have great chemistry, but they look like a real couple that actually exists in America. It’s particularly refreshing to watch two people of color star in a movie like this, in a genre that has been dominated by white couples for so long, and absolutely crush it. It makes watching movies like this exciting again. Couples that look like real couples. What a concept!

‘The Lovebirds’ Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani Review

Obviously, I didn’t feel the same as the reviewer above, except for the part about them being a more “real” couple. That is true. Just real friends.

As we get into more details below, it’s necessary to throw down the SPOILER warning.

… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …

The trailer had (most) the good stuff

“Take the grease!” — that was the punchline we heard in the trailer repeatedly. I mean the lead-up in theater previews for this movie was off the charts. Sadly, as in the case of all too many trailers, the good parts we’ve already seen. Now, when the movie comes it’s like we’re rewatching the film. Let down.

What’s up with Issa Rae’s overly-white teeth?

Nothing wrong with teeth being white, but I swear every time Issa Rae smiles her teeth are too white. It threw me off from the story.

She’s a beautiful lady, absolutely. I don’t care how white her teeth are, nothing changes that, but this was distracting for me watching the film.

“But Hollywood smiles are full of veneers. They don’t simply bleach their teeth; they don’t have the original surface of their teeth. The standards are getting more and more impossible to achieve. Are we chasing a chimera? Absolutely.”

Blindingly White: Teeth Bleaching Gone Too Far – NBC

I remember Issa in The Photograph and her teeth weren’t that white. Actually think she looked hotter in that movie than this one.

Still, this overly white teeth complaint is a minor annoyance.

Crappy caper

My biggest beef with this movie is the script. It’s just bad. I think if the two leads had a better script with a caper that wasn’t outright corny and nonsensical, this would have been so much more fun.

Or, go The Whole Missy route and just make it a farce. Those that blast Happy Madison comedies, at least they go intentionally over the top. I couldn’t make out if this movie was trying to be too serious with the comedy. It just felt flat throughout most the viewing.

Reviews by Others

What do others think of The Lovebirds?

Recommended

  1. Alex Brannan / CineFiles Movie Reviews (Grade: C): “The script does not provide consistent humor, putting forward plenty of out-dated references but rarely a genuinely clever joke. It does better work fleshing out a grounded relationship for its eponymous pair, but even this falls short of emotional effectiveness.”
  2. Arianne Binette / The UnderSCENE: “Sometimes a film doesn’t need to be everything to actually be good and The Lovebirds is just that. It does just enough for you to enjoy the story and yourself at the same time.”
  3. blackwatchmovies: “…reminded me of Game Night mixed with elements of Queen & Slim (only because there is a couple on the run for a murder they are not really responsible for). You will laugh at the stupidest things in this movie. It is the good kind of absurd.”
  4. Britany Murphy / Geeks of Color: “…is certainly a must-watch for any lovers of comedies that are coupled with an intriguing murder mystery plotline. It easily pairs its comedy with moments of seriousness that work extremely well and adds realism to the film that would otherwise feel a bit unbelievable due to the murder mystery aspect.”
  5. Cristina’s Blog: “For those looking for an elaborate plot with eloquent screenwriting and elaborate cinematography, you may find that The Lovebirds falls short. But take it for what it is – a whimsical, silly romcom that you don’t need to read too much into.”
  6. DC Bolling / DC’s Take (Grade: B-): “Even though it won’t be labeled as the funniest comedy to come out this year with a script that isn’t the best, you’ll easily get some enjoyment from Rae and Nanjiani’s chemistry with genuine laughs in between.”
  7. David Crow / Den of Geek: “As an action-mystery, The Lovebirds is a little imbalanced and imperfect. As a portrait of a couple rediscovering everything they like about each other, it’s charming and stubbornly hopeful. The old dating adage comes to mind: Every relationship ends, until it doesn’t. Every mystery is unsolvable, until it is.”
  8. Dewey Singleton: “…is the cinematic equivalent of Cotton Candy. It’s sweet on the surface and for brief moments can be satisfying, but the film is an empty experience.”
  9. Finn Schlote / Cinemaspot.com: “…is a perfectly fine Netflix comedy, with charming leads and some funny scenes. It benefits from it’s short runtime and therefore is an entertaining watch. For fans of the comedy genre or if you just want to have an easy watch, this is the one to go.”
  10. HCMovieReviews: “…is an easy and entertaining watch that feels right at home on Netflix, rather than on the big screen. It’s most definitely better than a lot of the original Netflix content that it has similarities with, its collection of well written comedy and superb leading actors setting it apart.”
  11. High Contrast: “I would like to see Rae and Nanjiani work together again sometime. They make The Lovebirds worth a watch despite its flaws. Just don’t expect anything other than a formulaic (and short) bit of escapism with a few laughs.”
  12. Keith & The Movies (3/5): “I wouldn’t say they are brimming with romantic chemistry, but as a comedy duo they pair up nicely doing a lot with little and ultimately keeping “The Lovebirds” afloat.”
  13. Leo Rydel / Geekly Goods (6/10): “While I can’t say I’ll find myself watching this movie again, it was fun to sit through two of my favorite stars going through a quick hour and a half murder mystery together.”
  14. Mirza Baig / Welcome To The Movie Ark: “…is a funny enough comedy to guarantee as a one-time watch.”
  15. MoodyB / The Cinema Critic: “Though it contains a very minimal and generic plot, thanks to the undeniable chemistry from its two extremely likeable leads, Lovebirds is not a particularly memorable, but surprisingly enjoyable 86 minutes.”
  16. Nathaniel Muir / AIPT: “In between all the great comedy and so so action is a couple who love each other. They exchange knowing glances and there is a feeling of genuine love here. More than anything else, this separates The Lovebirds from similar movies.”
  17. R. Crunden’s Blog: “It’s a fast paced comedy movie that’s a perfect escape for those in the mood for something light!”
  18. samhowe98 (3/5): “I never felt fully gripped or engaged in the story enough to really love the film, and it very much only gets by on the charisma of its lead two stars.”
  19. Shane Vassar / Not A Real Person Yet: “It’s not a perfect movie by any means, but it does provide some good laughs and helps prove that both Nanjiani and Rae are going to continue to find a lot of success in Hollywood.”
  20. TheFlemishSeth: “…isn’t as romantic as the title suggests, but for sure is a (mostly) good time with two hysterical lovers, taking us on a personal journey through their relationship’s ups and downs while getting in all kinds of trouble.”
  21. Trailer Trashed: “It’s not original, but it is pretty funny at times, so for a quick pick me up in these dire times, I guess it’s worth your time. “

Not Recommended

  1. Jeffrey Kan / Differing Opinions: “There is nothing genuinely funny in this movie that wasn’t already in the trailer; the most it received from me was a chuckle after a frat boy is labeled “little Brett Kavanaugh” (but that’s also going to be an outdated joke soon). Just watch The Big Sick; you’ll have a much better time.”
  2. Mark Tan / Full Circle Cinema (4/10): “No doubt are there more unpleasant comedies than this, and I am at least grateful to not pay to see this in a theater. But when that statement counts as a compliment, you know something is not right”
  3. Tom Moore / Moore Reviews (2/5): “Rae and Ninjiani make it a perfectly serviceable comedy, but it lacks literally anything else to make it a step above and it’s the kind of okay movie you watch only for it to quickly fade from memory”

Linked above and wondering what would be the cool thing to do next? Commenting once in awhile is always good (I like reader and other blogger interaction). If you have the trackback/pingback come to your site then just approve it because after people read your review then they can come here and follow links and read someone else’s review. What comes around goes around and sharing is the ultimate “thank you!” on the internet.

Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quoting from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.

Happy movie watching!

Still No Announcement for HBO Max on Roku, But Multiple Alternate Ways to Cast To TV at Launch

They are taking this down to the wire, indeed.

It would definitely be more convenient if Roku makes a deal and has an HBO Max channel, but even if they don’t this won’t be a Quibi launch without cast to TV situation: there will be multiple ways to cast HBO Max to your TV.

WarnerMedia is racing to hammer out a deal with Roku to get the super-size streamer on Roku’s popular over-the-top TV platform. But sorry, Amazon Fire TV owners: It appears that HBO Max will not be there for you on May 27.

Will HBO Max Be on Roku at Launch? Companies Are in Talks on Deal – Variety

Android and IOS users with the HBO Max app will be able to cast to TV just like any other application (except Quibi, that blocks it). Another way would be to use Chromecast. Sounds like Fire TV is out.

My guess is, drama aside, there will be a deal cut with Roku and a channel will be available. Probably the announcement comes within the next 24 hours, but if not, it will just make it a little more inconvenient for Roku users. I don’t think Roku wants their customers to go outside of the Roku UI, so my guess is if Warner doesn’t budge, Roku will.

This same drama played itself out over Fox Sports not too long ago, and Fox blinked. I’m not sure Warner has to do so here.

Who reading has their HBO Max subscription already? The $11.99/month deal is still available as of this posting, but it won’t last much longer.

This whole post could be outdated shortly after it’s posted. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. Only 1 more day until HBO Max launch!

TV SERIES Review: Stargirl S1E2 – S.T.R.I.P.E ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Season 1
DC Universe / CW
May 24, 2020 @ 9:00pm PT (GMT-5)

Episode 2 – S.T.R.I.P.E

At the end of the first episode, Pat/Stripesy shows up inside a mech robot, following Courtney’s interrogation by Brainwave. He flies Courtney out of the situation and home.

Pat explains to Courtney how he searched all around for the Injustice League of America (ILA) and that they moved to Blue Valley because he thought they’d be safe there from them there.

Brainwave talks to his son, Henry, again about the fight at the drive-in. He wanted to know if it was a girl that beat up his friends and blew up their car? He replied that it was too dark and he couldn’t see.

Day #2 at Blue Valley High School and Courtney is trying to fit in. She took the Starman uniform and makes sewing alterations. She wants to have her own uniform to protect her true identity.

Pat visits Ripped City, a fitness gym to build his muscles. Nice use of music from Karate Kid (“Your the best!”). Starting to wonder if the creators are Karate Kid fans.

Open House at Blue Valley and Brainwave is trying to track down Courtney’s identity based upon an ID badge that was burned at the tire factory. He finds her and wonders if he is Starman’s daughter. “You keep thinking of him, over and over.” She tells him, “You’ll pay what you did to the JSA and my father.” Brainwave tells her that she’s going to bring him the cosmic staff at midnight. He threatens to kill her mother if she doesn’t comply.

Courtney tells Pat what happened and he tells Courtney to protect her mother. That if he doesn’t return after that night’s battle, to take her mom out of the city and somewhere where she can be safe from the Injustice League. Pat heads to his garage, planning to fight Brainwave as the mech robot known as S.T.R.I.P.E outside Blue Valley Tire.

Brainwave rather easily disables S.T.R.I.P.E and is about to destroy him when Stargirl flies in on the staff.

Brainwave attacks throwing all kinds of debris with his mind. Stargirl is trapped by the bumper of the car and Brainwave moves in, about to crush her with his mind …

Check out the second episode to see if Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E escape Brainwave’s attack. What about the rest of the Injustice Society? Is Stargirl’s mother safe?

Summary

Another solid episode, this one also written by Geoff Johns, co-creator of Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E. Perhaps this is normal for superhero TV shows but there is a bit of an air of corniness. Some of the dialogue, in particular, just sounds a bit cheesy. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a comic book adaptation, but at times it doesn’t sound like something people would say. Sure, they might say these things in comic books, but not in a live action show.

We now have enough origin backstory and see how Courtney Whitmore becomes Stargirl and Stripesy becomes S.T.R.I.P.E, we also know a few of the villains of the Injustice League. There is a real sense that another epic battle is brewing.

For those catching this show on DC Universe, they offer a bunch of comic books providing the history of Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E. in a dedicated section called: Get To Know Stargirl here: https://www.dcuniverse.com/collections/gtk-stargirl

As a benefit to DC Universe subscribers, there are thousands of comic books, including STARS & S.T.R.I.P.E (1999-) which detail the adventures of Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E

This show is acting as a good gateway, similar to Harley Quinn the adult animated show, encouraging viewers to deep-dive the comics and learn more. I haven’t read any of these comic books, but am getting more interested. It’s working.

An entertaining start for the series, I’m definitely looking forward to more episodes.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½