Netflix Ultra HD 4K Lineup in 2016 – 15 of 25 new releases are in the new format

NetflixJust two years ago, a 60″ Ultra HD 4K was around $5,000. Today, it’s closer to $1,000. But what is Ultra HD 4K? Think of it in pixels. Ultra HD 4K is four times high definition. If you think it doesn’t make much of a difference, just go to Target or Best Buy and check one out. It’s breathtaking.

From: http://4k.com/resolution/

But before people buy TVs, there needs to be content. And for content, people need a way to watch. So amidst all the new releases on Netflix, 5 of the 6 films and 10 of the 19 series are in Ultra HD 4K. Amazon is not far behind, but more on that soon. Here’s what’s coming:

FILMS

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Sword of DestinyCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny – February 26th

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny tells an epic story of lost love, young love, a legendary sword and one last opportunity at redemption, set against breathtaking action in an epic martial arts battle between good and evil that will decide the fate of the Martial World.

Directed by the renowned martial arts choreographer (The Matrix Trilogy and Kill Bill 1& 2) and director (Tai Chi Master) Yuen Wo-Ping, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny stars Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Lady) as Yu Shu-Lien and Donnie Yen (Ip Man 1&2, Monkey King 3D) as Silent Wolf.

Based on the acclaimed novel, Iron Knight, Silver Vase, by Wang Dulu (book 5 in the Crane-Iron Pentalogy) and written by John Fusco (Marco Polo) the new film is produced by Harvey Weinstein (Academy Award winner – The King’s Speech, The Artist) and Peter Berg (Emmy Award winner – Friday Night Lights; Lone Survivor, Hancock) and Sarah Aubrey (Friday Night Lights; Lone Survivor, Hancock) and executive produced by Morten Tyldum (Headhunters, The Imitation Game), Ralph Winter (X-Men franchise), Anthony Wong and Bey Logan (The Medallion).

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny also stars Harry Shum Jr (Glee, Revenge of the Green Dragons), Jason Scott Lee (Seventh Son, Hawaii Five-O), Roger Yuan (Bulletproof Monk), Eugenia Yuan (Revenge of the Green Dragons) and newcomer Natasha Liu Bordizzo.


Jadotville

New war thriller Jadotville, starring Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey) and Guillaume Canet (Tell No One), across all its territories in 2016. Netflix acquired Jadotville at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival.

A gripping true story of incredible bravery against impossible odds, the film thrillingly depicts the 1961 siege of a 150-strong Irish UN battalion under Commander Patrick Quinlan (Dornan) by 3,000 Congolese troops led by French and Belgian mercenaries working for mining companies. Canet plays a French commander who sought to defeat Quinlan and his men.

Directed by Richie Smyth, a well-known commercial and music video director (U2, Bon Jovi, The Verve) and written by Kevin Brodbin (Constantine), Jadotville will film in Ireland and South Africa. Alan Moloney will produce for Parallel Films (Haywire, Albert Nobbs, Byzantium).

The story of how Pat Quinlan led his troops against an overwhelming force without losing a single man is one of the great stories of the 20th century, and we are proud to be working with such a talented and committed team to bring it to life,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “This film will be an amazing addition to our global original films initiative.”

“As filmmakers, we are constantly looking for new ways to bring a movie to the largest possible audience. Netflix has already reinvented the TV market and is now moving front and center into the film business. We are proud and excited to be part of their story and innovation,” said Parallel Films’ Alan Moloney.


Mascots - Christopher Guest NetflixMascots

Welcome to all the drama, intrigue, and occasional excitement of The 8th World Mascot Association Championships, where a group of “unusual” men and women, with big heads and furry suits, compete to win the prestigious gold fluffy award and be crowned best mascot in the world.


Pee-wee-NetflixPee Wee’s Big Holiday

In Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, a fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger inspires Pee-wee Herman to take his first-ever holiday in this epic story of friendship and destiny. Judd Apatow (Anchorman, Bridesmaids) and Paul Reubens (Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Pee-wee’s Playhouse), worked together to bring the project to fruition and produced the film. It was written by Reubens and Paul Rust (Comedy Bang! Bang!, Arrested Development), and is directed by John Lee (Wonder Showzen, The Heart She Holler).


War Machine

Inspired by the best-selling book The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan by the late Michael Hastings,War Machine concerns a four star, “rock star” general whose lethal reputation and impeccable track record vaults him to command the American war in Afghanistan. Determined to win the “impossible” war once and for all with a radical new approach, the general and his motley staff of commanders and press advisers race across the globe navigating delicate international alliances and troop requests, the charged battlefield of Washington politics, the voracious appetite of the media, and the day-to-day management of the war itself – all the while struggling to stay connected to the lives of men and women out in the field.


SERIES

Chelsea Does – January 23rd

Chelsea Does Marriage– In this funny and personal documentary, Chelsea Handler examines modern romantic relationships by interviewing experts, kids, an ex-boyfriend and even her own family members. The film also features appearances by Jason Biggs, Jenny Mollen, Colin Cowie and former Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman, among others.

Chelsea Does RacismHandler explores a serious, hot-button topic the only way she knows how: by being outspoken and unwaveringly honest. Highlights include a roundtable discussion with experts from the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League and other civil rights organizations; a sit-down conversation with Rev. Al Sharpton; a trip to a South Carolina plantation; and Handler’s eye-opening journey to Israel where she has an intimate conversation with former president, Shimon Peres.

Chelsea Does Silicon ValleyIs technology making us better or worse? What are the consequences of Internet shaming? How does Netflix work? In this doc, Handler, a self-proclaimed technophobe, seeks answers to all of these questions. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Khloe Kardashian, Jon Ronson, and other notables help her adapt to a tech-savvy world.

Chelsea Does DrugsHandler embarks on several long, strange trips in this documentary, from Willie Nelson’s tour bus all the way to Peru, where she takes the hallucinogenic drug ayahuasca. Whether she’s dining on a marijuana-infused meal or mixing alcohol and Ambien (under a neurologist’s supervision), Handler’s sharp sense of humor is matched by her repeated willingness to “go there” on camera.



Cooked – Docu Series February 19th

From best-selling author Michael Pollan (The Botany of Desire, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food), Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room), and an all-star cast of directors and cinematographers comes the Netflix Original Documentary Series Cooked, which examines the primal human need to cook and issues a clarion call for a return to the kitchen in order to reclaim lost traditions and restore balance to our lives.

Each of the series’ four episodes examines one of the physical elements used throughout the ages to transform raw ingredients into delicious dishes: fire, water, air, and earth. Cooked takes viewers on a visually stunning journey to meet, among others: an Aboriginal tribe in Western Australia that fire-roasts Australian monitor lizards, a Connecticut Benedictine nun and microbiologist who makes traditional French cheese, Peruvian brewers who use human saliva to ferment a traditional beverage, and an ancient Moroccan granary powered by rivers. Each episode also returns to Pollan cooking in his Berkeley, California, kitchen, appetizingly delivering his core message that, surrounded as we are by fast food culture and processed foods, cooking our own meals is the single best thing we can do to take charge of our health and well being.

“Fire”
With help from Aboriginal hunters and a barbecue pit master, Pollan shows how fire shaped human gastronomy, and weighs our duty to the animals we eat.

“Water”
Pollan looks to the kitchens of India for a lesson in the value of pot cooking and examines the consequences of eating highly processed food.

“Air”
Visit food labs and Moroccan fields as Pollan delves into the science of bread-making and the nature of gluten.

“Earth”
Discover how microbes help turn raw ingredients into delicacies like chocolate and cheese as Pollan tackles the mysterious process of fermentation.

The series is a co-production of Netflix and Jigsaw Productions. Michael Pollan, Alex Gibney, Stacey Offman, Caroline Suh, Lisa Nishimura and Adam Del Deo serve as executive producers.


LOVE

LOVE

Love – Season 1 February 19th

Created, written and executive produced by Judd Apatow, Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin, Love follows nice guy Gus (Rust) and brazen wild-child Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) as they navigate the exhilarations and humiliations of intimacy, commitment, love and other things they were hoping to avoid.  Love is an unflinching, hilarious and excruciatingly honest take on modern relationships.
Brent Forrester and Dean Holland also serve as executive producers of Love.


Fuller House – Season 1 February 26th

In Fuller House, the adventures that began in 1987 on Full House continue, with veterinarian D.J. Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron Bure) recently widowed and living in San Francisco. D.J.’s younger sister/aspiring musician Stephanie Tanner (Jodie Sweetin) and D.J.’s lifelong best friend/fellow single mother Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber), along with Kimmy’s feisty teenage daughter Ramona (Soni Nicole Bringas), all move in to help take care of D.J.’s three boys — the rebellious 12-year-old Jackson (Michael Champion), neurotic 7-year-old Max (Elias Harger) and her newborn baby, Tommy Jr (Messitt Twins).

Guest appearances by John Stamos (Jesse Katsopolis), Bob Saget (Danny Tanner), Dave Coulier (Joey Gladstone), Lori Loughlin (Becky Katsopolis) and Scott Weinger (Steve Hale).

Fuller House is from Miller-Boyett Productions and Jeff Franklin Productions in association with Warner Horizon Television for Netflix. Robert L. Boyett, Thomas L. Miller and Jeff Franklin are the executive producers of the series, which was created by Franklin. John Stamos is a producer.


House of Cards – Season 4 March 4th

An uncompromising exploration of power, ambition and the American way, the series orbits Francis Underwood, the House Majority Whip. Underwood is the politician’s politician – masterful, beguiling, charismatic and ruthless. He and his equally ambition wife Claire stop at nothing to ensure their ascendency.


Flaked – Season 1 March 11th

Flaked is the serio-comic story of Chip, a celebrated long-time resident of the insular world of Venice, California who falls for the object of his best friend’s fascination. Soon the tangled web of half-truths and semi-bullshit that underpins his all-important image and sobriety begins to unravel. Will Arnett plays Chip, a man doing his honest best to stay one step ahead of his own lies.


Marseille – Season 1 May 5th

As the municipal elections approach in Marseille, Robert Taro, the city’s Mayor for the last twenty years, prepares his last coup: push through the vote for the construction of a casino in the historic center of the Marina. Nothing has been left to chance, and his successor, Lucas Barrès, is already designated. But the latter’s all-consuming ambition and the secret interests of the city’s leaders, whether they come from its opulent villas or from the cities of the northern suburbs, impede the Mayor’s plans. The race for Mayor becomes a power struggle where no holds are barred. Only one question arises: how far will they go? The cast includes Gérard Depardieu (Robert Taro), Benoît Magimel (Lucas Barrès), Géraldine Pailhas (Rachel Taro), Nadia Farès (Vanessa d’Abrantès), Stéphane Caillard (Julia), Jean-René Privat (Cosini), Guillaume Arnault (Eric), Hedi Bouchenafa (Farid), Carolina Jurczak (Barbara), and Nassim Si Ahmed (Selim). Marseille is written by Dan Franck who serves as Executive Producer. Florent Siri (‘Cloclo’), director of episodes 1-4, also serves as Executive Producer. Thomas Gilou is the director of episodes 5-8. Marseille is produced by Paris-based Federation Entertainment, led by Pascal Breton, producer of the hit French series Dolmen and Sous le Soleil.


Sam Waterston, Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Martin Sheen in the Netflix Original Series "Grace and Frankie". Photo by Melissa Moseley for Netflix.Ê

Sam Waterston, Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Martin Sheen in the Netflix Original Series “Grace and Frankie”. Photo by Melissa Moseley for Netflix

 

Grace and Frankie – Season 2 May 6th

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star as Grace and Frankie, two women whose lives are suddenly turned upside down when their husbands, played by Martin Sheen (“Robert”) and Sam Waterston (“Sol”), reveal they are gay and leave them for each other. Both sparring partners and partners-in-crime, they form an unlikely bond to face an uncertain future together and discover a new definition of “family,” with laughter, tears and plenty of mood enhancers along the way. From executive producers Marta Kauffman (Friends) and Howard J. Morris (Home Improvement), the hilarious and heartbreaking comedy takes on aging with gusto – from joint pain to joint rolling and blind dates to night blindness – and offers a poignant look at how life’s turning points show us who we really are. The series also stars Brooklyn Decker, Ethan Embry, Baron Vaughn and June Diane Raphael. In addition to Kauffman and Morris, the series is also executive-produced by David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross from Skydance Productions, along with Paula Weinstein and Fonda and Tomlin.


The Crown – Season 1 2016

The Crown tells the inside story of two of the most famous addresses in the world — Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street – and the intrigues, love lives and machinations behind the great events that shaped the second half of the 20th century. Two houses, two courts, one Crown.


The OA – Season 1 2016

The OA, a new drama series starring Brit Marling. Zal Batmanglij (Sound of my Voice, The East) will direct, and Marling and Batmanglij will co-write The OA. Eight hour-long episodes of the series will premiere exclusively across all Netflix territories in 2016.

“We are thrilled to be the home of the first  television series Brit and Zal create together,” said Cindy Holland, Vice President of Original Content at Netflix. “Whether in front of or behind the camera, or both, their creative voice is always uniquely captivating.”

“Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij are singular innovators who are looking to push boundaries in new ways and embrace this incredible moment of opportunity in television. We are so excited to be a part of this project,” said Plan B Entertainment.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Netflix and Plan B to help bring to fruition Brit and Zal’s extraordinary vision,” said Michael Sugar, executive producer and partner, Anonymous Content.

Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner from Plan B (Oscar winning producers of 12 Years a Slave) and Michael Sugar from Anonymous Content (True Detective, The Knick) are executive producers of the series, along with Marling and Batmanglij. The OA is a Netflix production.

Brit Marling is an actor, writer and producer. She has starred in films including Arbitrage, and the recent I, Origins, and stars in the upcoming The Keeping Room. Previous credits include The East and Sound of My Voice, which she also produced and co-wrote with Batmanglij, as well as Another Earth, which she also produced and co-wrote with Mike Cahill. Director and writer Zal Batmaglij made a splash at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival with his feature debut Sound of My Voice, which was released by Fox Searchlight. The studio went on to make his next film The East, which they released in 2013.

Review: Amy Berg’s “Janis: Little Girl Blue” Is a Well-Honed Tribute to Rock Legend Janis Joplin

Janis Little Girl Blue - poster

This year has been an incredibly interesting year for documentaries about women in music. First came Asif Kapadia‘s electric doc Amy about Amy Winehouse now we have Amy Berg‘s equally incredible doc Janis: Little Girl Blue. There is more in common between these two women than might meet the eye and they are really good companion pieces. Berg‘s cinematic territory for most of her career has focused on some pretty heavy shit – child molesting priests, innocent kids accused of horrific murder, mind-controlling polygamist church leaders and sex crimes perpetuated on children in Hollywood. While Janis Joplin‘s story has a fair amount of tough details, this film is something that many of her others are not, and frankly they couldn’t be because of the subject matter – celebratory. This is a film that, despite the shitty elements of her life, celebrates the legacy left behind by an incredibly dynamic woman and performer, one the represented the time in which she lived as well as any.

Photo of Janis JOPLIN

What Berg gives us is a fairly conventional documentary, flush with testimonials from the people that knew Joplin from her early days in Texas spanning to her time in San Francisco to her eventual blossoming into the female powerhouse voice of a generation. Her trials and tribulations as a young girl looking for that one thing that could make her stand out and get her out of small-town Texas on to something bigger occupy a great deal of this film, although Berg doesn’t skimp on the details when she began to hit it big, first with Big Brother and Holding Company and then when she went solo. And what we see is the incredibly vulnerable young woman who even at the height of her fame doubted whether she was worthy of it all. She sought refuge with different men, but also with illicit drugs and especially booze. The film builds to the inevitable end of Joplin‘s death at 27 (like so many incredible musicians of her own time, but incidentally the same as Winehouse).

Janis Little Girl Blue 2

Berg draws so perfectly from home video and archival interview footage to help Joplin speak for herself throughout the film. What may well be the truest stroke of genius in the film, though, is that Berg slowly but surely removes the talking head interviews throughout the film until we are left with just people speaking in voiceover, if any at all, with footage of Janis. Ultimately, Berg lets the footage act as Janis’ voice and this really captures the essence of what I expect she was all about. While I’ve stated that this is fairly conventional documentary with a linear telling of Joplin‘s tale, that doesn’t make it any less impactful. Another deft move was having Chan Marshall aka Cat Power narrate the film. Her voice is strikingly similar to Joplin‘s, and at times in the film, I couldn’t tell whether it was Marshall or Joplin speaking.

Janis-Little-Girl-Blue-21

My mother idolized Joplin and growing up, I learned what a powerhouse she was through her voice and her music. I honestly didn’t know much about her outside of that. Perhaps that’s how Janis would have wanted it, to let her music speak for her. Berg has put together a touching portrait that fills in the void that I, and many others, likely had in Joplin‘s story. This film in quite engaging and I think that it does Joplin justice. It stresses her importance to the music scene of the 60s and her lasting influence well beyond. I would be wholeheartedly surprised if this film doesn’t at least make the shortlist for the Oscars and I could certainly see it end up with a nomination. It’s that damn good.

This film hits theaters in New York today and premieres in LA on December 4. If you love music and the legacy left by one of the greats, you’ll run and see this one.

Get there, people.

Girls On Film Podcast: ‘Steve Jobs: The Man In the Machine’ – Liz & Melissa discuss Alex Gibney’s Documentary

Steve Jobs, Woodside CA 1984

This week’s podcast is dedicated to Alex Gibney‘s documentary, Steve Jobs: The Man In the Machine. Liz and I attended a screening, Q&A and reception where Gibney spoke with the press audience. After, Liz and I realized that as a user and non-user of Apple products, we had a great opportunity to discuss the film from both perspectives. Read More →

Trailer & poster for Steve Jobs documentary from Alex Gibney ‘Steve Jobs: The Man In the Machine’

jobs.poster

Written & Directed by Alex Gibney

In his signature black turtleneck and blue jeans, shrouded in shadows below a milky apple, Steve Jobs’ image was ubiquitous. But who was the man on the stage? What accounted for the grief of so many across the world when he died? From Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney, ‘Steve Jobs: The Man In The Machine’ is a critical examination of Jobs who was at once revered as an iconoclastic genius and a barbed-tongued tyrant. A candid look at Jobs’ legacy featuring interviews with a handful of those close to him at different stages in his life, the film is evocative and nuanced in capturing the essence of the Apple legend and his values which shape the culture of Silicon Valley to this day.

Running time: 120 min

Jeremy’s Review: Alex Gibney’s ‘Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief’ Is a Scary and Spot-On Adaptation of Lawrence Wright’s Book

going clear posterHaving read Lawrence Wright‘s bestseller Going Clear before seeing Alex Gibney‘s documentary adaptation, I was well-versed in much of what this film covers with regards to the “Church” of Scientology. The book is dense with the craziest shit about founder L. Ron Hubbard and the operation of his religion and the zealots that surrounded him and took over after his death in 1986. The book focused heavily on the journey of Oscar winning screenwriter-director Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby, Casino Royale) through the ranks of the church as he attempted to go “up the bridge” to the highest levels, covering nearly 35 years. His resignation letter hit like a ton of bricks and really brought to light many grievances that had been trickling out from ex-church members without much in the way of corroboration since the church had so far been able to silence those who left through extreme intimidation tactics. Even armed with all of this knowledge, seeing this story play out on screen did nothing more than seal my perception that Scientology is a bigoted, dangerous enslaving cult.

going clear - la office

Gibney’‘s film is incredibly well-crafted like the rest of his films. He fleshes out Wright‘s story by bringing a long list of extremely high ranking former – Scientologists, among them are Haggis, former Executive Director of the Office of Special Affairs Mike Rinder, former Inspector General of the Religious Technology Center Marty Rathbun, former SeaOrg executive Tom Devocht, handler for John Travolta, Spanky Taylor and actor Jason Beghe (check out his video describing his life in Scientology). Wright also appears filling in gaps. This is a veritable who’s who of ex-Scientologists and each of their stories are incredibly compelling and really sad in so many ways. Many of them spent decades in the church and you can see the pain it has caused them and still causing them as they are routinely harassed by members of the church and private investigators that are hired by the church.

going clear - mike rinder

Funny enough, the film doesn’t concentrate a ton of time on L. Ron Hubbard himself. Sure, there is enough to give us a working knowledge of who he was and the evolution of his ideas into what later became Scientology.  Of course Hubbard (who famously said, “You wanta make real money, you gotta start a religion”) and his legacy are never far away, but the main focus of the film is what happened with the church after he died and the direction it took under its new leader, David Miscavige. Miscavige is portrayed as a paranoiac who has gone to extreme measures to consolidate his power, doling out abuse in any way to keep his detractors, both real and perceived, in check. The people listed above corroborate these charges, they being the very reasons they left.

going clear - lrh

We get our requisite time on Tom Cruise‘s transition into the poster boy for the church and his special relationship with Miscavige, although the book goes into far more detail about how abusive Miscavige is even to someone like Cruise. His rise and the church’s win in the battle with the IRS over getting tax exemption status and the absurd way that they ended up getting it, really opened the flood gates of money and the church’s ability to snap up real estate all over the world adding to their coffers. But the more steam the church gained, the more Miscavige flew into rage and pushed out those who were closest to him.

going clear - miscavige

This is a powerful story and one that is quite scary. The vigor that the members of the church, and I do use that term as loosely as one can, protect their beliefs is undying. If someone they know leaves the church, they completely disconnect from them and never talk to them again. They dedicate their lives, and some even sign a billion year contact with them, to the messages of Hubbard. They are fanatical in ways that echo the followers of Jim Jones, but go far beyond sans the suicide. The words of the former Scientologists are harrowing and Gibney does a great job of illustrating what they go through after leaving and why the followers of this “religion” are as cult-like as you’ll find (here’s a good example).

US actor, Tom Cruise smiles during the i

There will be blow back from this film, but it’s good to know that HBO lawyered up from the outset of making this movie in anticipation of Scientology trying in their typical fashion of shutting anything down that is critical of their beliefs. Gibney and company pull back the curtain and really expose Scientology for what it is – a quack religion that is built on the money of the members who sacrifice literally everything they have for the church. The active members are, by all intents and purposes, enslaved both physically and mentally and in a Hotel California kind of way – you can check out, but you can never leave. Like so many documentaries of late, this film plays out more like a thriller than a non-fiction film telling a story, which engages the viewer even more than the fascinating story unfolding over the two hour running time. The church likens itself to a humanitarian effort, that it is doing the work that no one else will or can, but the words of people like Mike Rinder and Marty Rathbun quickly counter that notion. The charges in the film might be unbelievable without the cast of former members to flesh it all out, but due to the sheer absurdity of the beliefs of this particular cult, I can’t say that’s really the case. I think the most shocking things are that they were able to coerce the government into giving them tax exemption and that they get away with the culture of degradation and violence that appears to be rampant and unchecked.

This is an absolute must see film this year. I give HBO and Alex Gibney all the credit in the world for tackling this subject knowing there was going to be legal wranglings from the very beginning of its production. In addition, I urge you to read Lawrence’s book. It is able to give far greater detail about much of what is covered in the film.I dare you not to be intrigued.

Here’s the trailer: