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Netflix’s ‘Creep’ Is Good Low-Budget Horror– and Good Business

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On the face of it, Creep (which premieres Tuesday on Netflix) looks like any number of low-budget horror movies. It’s shot in the handheld “found footage” style, which turns the limitations of lo-fi equipment into a storytelling tool; it has, true to that style, no musical score; it only features two speaking roles of note; the bulk of the action takes place in two (home) locations. But Creep has a more robust pedigree than your average Netflix horror streamer — it’s produced by Jason Blum, the prolific horror impresario behind the The Purge, Insidious, and (a-ha) Paranormal Activity franchises, and Mark Duplass, the equally busy actor/director/producer/indie mascot. Duplass co-stars in the film and shares a story credit with director Patrick Brice, who also helmed this summer’s indie comedy The Overnight. So what the hell are they doing making a straight-to-Netflix movie?
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10 Sexily Packaged Netflix Streaming Movies That Are Not Even a Little Bit Sexy

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I see you, Internet. Every week, we do a nice little roundup of the new releases of note on the DVD/Blu-ray shelves and the streaming services, and it gets a fair amount of traffic — solid, nothing spectacular — and that’s that. But last week’s column was huge, far and away the column’s high point and one of our most clicked posts of the week, though the movies in it weren’t blockbusters. Oh, but it did the documentary Hot Girls Wanted, Netflix’s recent Sundance pickup about the horrifying exploitation of young women in the world of “amateur” porn. The disproportionate popularity of our post that mentions that title made me wonder if Netflix is seeing the same kind of traffic — if they maybe even bought the movie in part because it’s got such a click-friendly title. And all I can say, having seen Hot Girls Wanted, is that any late-night dirty-movie creepers who click “play” based on that title are in for a big, big disappointment. Which prompts the question: How many more Netflix streamers sound like they’re gonna be sexy, and really, really …Read More

Netflix’s ‘Scrotal Recall’ Is the Perfect Spring Binge-Watch: Quick, Romantic, But Not At All Saccharine

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Though it sounds like a gay porn parody of a Paul Verhoeven movie, Netflix’s Scrotal Recall couldn’t be farther from what its awful title suggests. A British half-hour comedy that premiered on Channel 4 in October before stealthily surfacing among Americans’ streaming options last month, the show is romantic and sweet (and straight, alas), even in the select moments when it gets overtly sexy. It also only runs six episodes, making it the perfect low-commitment binge-watch for a time of year when you might be saving your precious free time for frolicking in the sunshine.
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Tina Fey’s ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ Has All the Promise (and Some of the Problems) of Early ’30 Rock’

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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is the new show from 30 Rock team Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, and its first season appeared today on Netflix. The show sets up its concept in a tight two minutes: Kimmy (Ellie Kemper, best known for The Office and her supporting role in Bridesmaids) was abducted at 14. She has spent the past 15 years of her life in an apocalypse bunker.
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Grab Some Popcorn and Watch Theater Chains Fight Netflix Over ‘Crouching Tiger II’

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Well, that was fast. Less than 48 hours ago, we got word that the Weinstein Company and Netflix are partnering up for a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with an unusual distribution strategy: a simultaneous release online via Netflix and in IMAX theaters. Already, the four largest exhibitors in the country (AMC, Regal, Cinemark, and Carmike) have joined Canada’s biggest chain (Cineplex) and Europe’s second-biggest (Cineworld) to announce they will not screen the Crouching Tiger sequel if that release plan stands. Imagine my surprise.
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I Miss the Video Store: What Netflix’s Algorithims Get Wrong

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By ceding movies and television media to Netflix and other streaming plans, we’ve lost the joys of the video store, the power of browsing, and — crucially — the well-curated, hand-picked library. I discovered stuff at the video store. It was where I rented Bottle Rocket on a weekly basis, mostly because I thought Owen Wilson was cute and the Siskel and Ebert review of it was beguiling in their confusion, watching it every day I could until I nearly knew the film by …Read More

‘BoJack Horseman’ Is Netflix’s Least Inspired Original Series

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Is a good cast enough to sustain a dull story? That’s a question I think about often while watching pilot episodes like this year’s Selfie and last year’s We’re the Millers or Bad Teacher. I’m more likely to stick around after a lackluster pilot if I like everyone involved. Netflix’s BoJack Horseman boasts the voice talents of Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Alison Brie, Amy Sedaris, Paul F. Tompkins, Kristen Schaal, and more. It’s a mix of people who are universally adored, but even their presence isn’t enough to push this show above average.
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5 New-to-Netflix Streaming Movies and TV Episodes Made for St. Patrick’s Day

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St. Patrick’s Day can be seen in one of two ways: either it’s a glorious celebration of our nation’s connection to and history with Ireland, or it’s a terrible excuse for binge alcoholics to practice while wearing green and watching a parade. If you’re looking to drown out the bagpipes and the sounds of the Dropkick Murphys, avoid all that Irish nonsense (thanks, 30 Rock) with these five Netflix choices that will bring laughter and maybe tears in equal Irish measure. Check them out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now.
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HBO Is Doing Great — But Netflix’s Growth Means It Urgently Needs to Make HBO Go a Standalone Service

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As reported by Variety, HBO recently released profit and revenue figures which just go to show you that prestige-TV producing is a great business to be in, at the moment. HBO pulled down about $4.9 billion overall. But the numbers also show that Netflix is catching up. In the last quarter of 2013, HBO earned about $1.3 billion in revenue. Netflix, for its part, earned $1.2 billion, and its profits are growing much faster than HBO’s.
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The Problem With Netflix’s Goofy Sub-Genre Algorithms

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Because we love to hear about the secretly complicated ways in which the things we take for granted work, Alexis C. Madrigal’s recent Atlantic deep dive into Netflix’s ultra-specific genre-generation algorithm has been inspiring quite a bit of discussion. And for good reason — it’s a fun piece, a painstakingly researched (with said research painstakingly described) examination of one of the streaming service’s goofiest elements, complete with charts and graphs and a “Netflix-Genre Generator” and even a lengthy, on-the-record interview with the folks at Netflix (who aren’t always so open about the nuts and bolts of their organization). But its underlying assumptions and conclusions are a little dodgy, the result of a bit too much consumption of the Netflix Kool-Aid.
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