Posts Tagged ‘HBO Max’

Bats, man

August 9, 2022

“Uh, sorry, Batgirl. Misdial. We were trying to reach The Taxman.”

“Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation.” — U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, speaking at a U.N. conference on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Oh, good. I’ve often wondered what it would take to put an end to the proliferation of dumbass superhero movies. A global thermonuclear holocaust might just get ’er done.

Or maybe we just need the right supervillain.

It wasn’t the Joker, the Penguin, or the Riddler who croaked “Batgirl” in her crib. No, the killer was the Green Eyeshade at Warner Bros-Discovery-HBO Max p/b AT&T, who discovered — with tens of millions already pounded down this particular Bat-hole — that writing off a made-for-streaming Bat-flick on the conglomerate’s Bat-taxes would not be at all, well … batty.

Industry insiders cite two changes between concept and execution. The first, in ownership, makes this one-time “purchase accounting maneuver” possible, as long as the movie is never released in any way, shape, or form; and the second, in strategy, aims to once again give theaters a head start over streaming as in days of yore.

With a budget made for television, “Batgirl” apparently began life as a B movie in more ways than one. But it can’t be a net positive when the entertainment press is quoting sources as saying that “the film tested once, and the result wasn’t that bad. …”

Too bad for TV? Have these people seen TV?

But when studio CEO David Zaslav tells investors in a second-quarter corporate earnings call, “We’re not going to put a movie out unless we believe in it. And that’s it,” well … piss on the fire and call in the bats, son. If a cameo from Michael Keaton can’t save you, you’re fucked.

Speaking of fucked, how many of you have bomb shelters? Raise your hands … yes, you there, crouched under your desks as if we were all reliving Those Fabulous Sixties.

Which we very well may be, if you listen to the U.N. secretary-general.

“The clouds that parted following the end of the Cold War are gathering once more,” Guterres warned in his remarks to the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

“We have been extraordinarily lucky so far. But luck is not a strategy. … Eliminating nuclear weapons is the only guarantee they will never be used.”

Yeah, well, good luck with that, Tony ol’ tiger. We can’t even cut back on “Spider-Man” movies.

While we’re debating whether “The Sandman” is true to Neil Gaiman’s original vision, you can bet your Batarang that some miscreant is trying to steal a tactical nuclear weapon from the Russkies, hoping to vaporize a hospital full of nuns, widder women, and crippled children in Ukraine, and then sit back and watch the fun.

The subsequent tit for tat as old scores get settled would quickly strip the planet of its tits, and also its tats. Anyone who can swing a bat (har de har har) will be stepping up to the plate, and the game will not be called on account of accountancy. Not even Michael Keaton can save us.

The good news is, this will make for some spectacular TV. The bad news? It will be on every channel at once. Welcome to Fyou Island, folks.

Not everyone will get voted off the isle, of course. There will be survivors, in remote spots like Tierra del Fuego. And people being what they are, some bored techie-turned-sheepherder in the former factory town of Rio Grande will eventually link one of the locally produced netbooks, powered by a solar panel, to the scattered strands of the once-mighty Internet.

Of an evening, weary of sheep, he will follow this thread, and then that one, and who knows? He might even unearth the digital archives of Warner Bros-Discovery-HBO Max p/b AT&T, buried deep beneath the glowing remains of Tinseltown in a blastproof vault.

Maybe he stumbles across that unfinished “Batgirl” movie, with its Latina star, and watches it.

“Hijo de la chingada,” he will mutter to himself. “This sucks.”

Dune buggy

October 23, 2021

Your Humble Narrator cultivates desert power.

I’m not casting a very long shadow around here lately.

Frankly, there’s not been much to report. That little tease La Niña is in town again and I’ve been chasing her around on the ol’ bikey bikes.

While all you Left Coast/PNW types deploy your parasols and Gore-Tex your loins against the Million-Pound Aquahammer, we here in the desert Southwest are enjoying a balmy period which makes us forget that before long we will be drinking our own sweat and tears, like Paul Atreides and his mom in “Dune.”

Yep, we watched Part I on HBO Max, and it was a’ight, pretty damn fine actually, not bad atall atall. Made the 1984 David Lynch flick look even worse than it actually was, which was pretty fucking bad.

Denis Villeneuve’s take on the Frank Herbert novel might’ve worked better as an HBO series; then he could’ve used a scalpel instead of a cleaver to move things along over the course of a season or two. But only a geek like myself, a science-fiction dweeb who’s read the book 1,207,275 times, is liable to grouse about the subtleties steamrollered to make the narrative march.

Too, if a series proved successful, there would be the temptation to milk the rest of the “Dune” tales. (We may have to deal with this in any case.) Me, I lost interest after trudging through “Dune Messiah” and “Children of Dune,” which is a very short trek indeed through the vast Duniverse.

Anyway, Rebecca Ferguson is the best of the bunch as Lady Jessica, and Timothée Chalamet is a whole lot better than I expected as Paul. He brings a whiff of Nic Cage and maybe a soupçon of Christian Bale to the role. Meanwhile, Javier Bardem as Stilgar is definitely channeling Anthony Quinn’s Auda abu Tayi from “Lawrence of Arabia.”

And the Hans Zimmer score is a character all its own, though digging it through our obsolete surround-sound system was like listening to the London Philharmonic performing Metallica over a walkie-talkie.

Still, it beat squeezing into the old stillsuit, flagging down a passing sandworm, and crossing the Duke City desert to the Harkonnen IMAX. We got beverages around here ain’t even been drunk once yet.

Spare (me the) change

December 24, 2020

Funny-looking reindeer around here.

When I was a greedy and impatient young pup my parents granted the opening of one present each on Christmas Eve.

Now I’m a grizzled old mutt and there is just one present under the tree, period. And it’s for the both of us, Your Humble Narrator and Herself.

Opening it this evening seems silly, especially since we already know what’s inside: an Apple TV HD. It is to replace our Apple TV (3rd generation), which no longer pulls down HBO Now, Now having been rechristened Max, as in Mad, which I am.

We generally enjoy an hour of TV with our dinner. But should there be anything worth watching on HBO Max, which lately seems as unlikely as finding a sense of honor and duty in government, we have to bypass our old Apple TV — though, oddly, it seems to work just fine with everything save HBO Max (happy holidays, AT&T, you miserable pricks).

Dig that crazy midget Xmas tree, daddy-o. And the cool wrapping on the lone gift.

The workaround involves booting up the even older Mac Mini, lighting a candle to the shade of Steve Jobs, chanting our Video Mantra (“TV Input, HDMI-1, Receiver Input, AV-1”), switching inputs on both TV and receiver, launching a browser (Which one? I never remember), and finally shrieking, “Goddamnit all to hell anyway!” and running right back to the loving tentacles of Netflix, sister of Cthulhu.

Tomorrow we will have the new Apple TV, so, yay, etc. Herself’s gift will be watching it. Mine will be setting it up.

This is less enthralling than it might have been long ago, in the Before Time. After 30 years of providing my own tech support for personal and professional gadgetry I’m having trouble working up any enthusiasm for wrangling a new comosellama just in case HBO, against all odds, comes up with another “The Sopranos,” “High Maintenance,” or “The Wire.”

I’m for sure not holding my breath while waiting for a new George Carlin special. Neither is George.

Who might ask: Is newer always better?

When it comes to bicycles I’m much more interested in friction shifting, rim brakes, and the nine-speed drivetrain than I am in the latest shiny object making the registers ring, when customers and product can be found in the same place at the same time.

I have an Apple Pencil for my iPad Pro, but when I sat down yesterday to draw a holiday card for the neighbors, I used my old analog A.W. Faber 3H pencil, a fistful of Sakura Pigma Micron pens, and a sheet of Strathmore 300 Series Bristol paper. And yes, the card was in good old black and white. (I thought of making a quick trip to the art-supply store for colored pencils, and then I thought again.)

Speaking of iPads, there’s a metric shit-ton of e-books on mine, but I notice I’m mostly reading real books lately. The kind you don’t have to plug into the wall.

This is just the yelping of an old dog who’s tired of learning new tricks, pining for a day when he not only didn’t have to keep stuff running, he didn’t even have to buy the stuff. It just sorta, like, grew there, under the tree.

But time passes and things change.

“Nothing endures but change,” as Heraclitus observed.

Izzat so? Well, spare me the change, you one-scroll wonder. And gimme some George, goddamnit. I already got too much stuff.