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To paraphrase the late Gil Scott-Heron, the revolution will not be televised — it will be streamed. Given the surge of popularity of streaming devices and entertainment, Target recently announced that they'd be joining the streaming bandwagon with their new "Target Ticket" service.
In the age of "binge-watching," it almost seems archaic to watch episodic television on a weekly basis. Why must we give in to the draconian schedule of broadcasters we cry! Old Blockbuster stores will serve as the post-apocalyptic backdrop to the latest original series on Netflix and on-demand cable is just a thumb in the dam — blocking the imminent flood of streaming entertainment.
Target's catalog of 15,000 movies and shows may seem measly compared to Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, Netflix and Apple TV libraries, but they've just entered the game. While quantity is a huge appeal to viewers, quality is what will beat out the competition. One of the main reasons why movie fans flocked to Netflix and streaming services in the first place was to find alternative titles than the wall full of Garfield DVD's that would greet you at your local video store. Now Apple TV even streams movies before they hit theaters — giving indie films a whole new audience, especially for those don't have access to art-house venues.
Besides catering to niche interests using fancy algorithms and shifting libraries, original programming seems to be the new frontier of which many of these services are shooting for. With the advent of Amazon's new production company and Netflix nabbing 14 Emmy nominations for their original series, these companies are no longer just a platform. Their definition of streaming devices as "inexpensive smart TV adapters," is apt considering the way we consume entertainment now.
Despite their convenience and cost, these services still have to answer to the big entertainment companies who continue to drive up the cost of their content. Just this year, they also lost 1800 titles due to contracts with MGM, Universal, and Warner Brothers that were not renewed causing a massive backlash against this "streamageddon" by users. But for every title lost, another one takes its place, as the company announced a new deal with the Weinstein Co. that will give Netflix the exclusive streaming rights to the company's first-run films starting in 2016. The costs are understandable, considering the sheer numbers that go into making the content. And until these companies find some sort of mutually beneficial solution, your favorite titles will continue to fluctuate. Although now Netflix will update you when something is about to expire.
Our televisions have become thinner, hi-def, 3D but have they become any smarter? While the cable companies battle it out with broadcasters, Sony, Intel, Google and other companies are looking to sidestep cable altogether by offering packages of channels via online. Nobody wants to settle for exorbitant cable packages and be stuck with useless shopping channels. As the Internet would reply — "ain't no one got time for dat."
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If there's a cinematic alchemy award to be given this year director Bill Condon deserves to take it home after magically turning the tedious Twilight franchise into entertainment gold. 2011's Part 1 was a horror camp romp that turned the supernatural love triangle — the naval gazing trio of Bella Edward and Jacob — on its head. Breaking Dawn - Part 2 continues the madcap exploration of a world populated by vampires and werewolves mining even more comedy thrills and genuine character moments out of conceit than ever before. The film occasionally sidesteps back into Edward and Bella's meandering romance (an evident hurdle of author Stephenie Meyer's source material) but the duller moments are overshadowed by the movie's nimble pace and playful attitude. Breaking Dawn - Part 2 will elicit laughs aplenty — but thankfully they're all on purpose.
Part 2 picks up immediately following the events of the first film Bella (Kristen Stewart) having been turned into a vampire by Edward (Robert Pattinson) to save her life after the torturous delivery of her half-human half-vampire child Renesmee. She awakes to discover super senses heightened agility increased strength… and a thirst for blood. One dead cougar later Bella and the gang are able to focus on the real troubles ahead: Renesmee is rapidly growing (think Jack) and vampiric overlords The Volturi perceive her a threat to vampiric secrecy. Knowing the Volturi will travel to Forks WA to kill the young girl (a 10-year-old just a month after being born) The Cullens amass an army of bloodsucking friends to end the oppression once and for all.
Packed with an absurd amount of backstory and mythology-twisting plot points (some vampires can shoot lightning now?) Condon and series screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg mine revel in the beefed up ensemble of Breaking Dawn - Part 2 and thanks to a wildly funny cast it never feels like pointless deviation. Along with the usual suspects Lee Pace adds swagger to the series as a grungy alt-rock vampire Noel Fisher appears as a hilarious over-the-top battle-ready Russian coven member and Michael Sheen returns has Volturi head honcho Aro and steels the show. Flamboyant diabolical and a steady stream of maniacal laughter Sheen owns Condon's high camp vision for Twilight and he lights up the screen. There are a few throw away nations of vampires — the oddly stereotypical Egyptian and Amazonians sects are there mostly there to off-set the extreme whiteness — but the actors involved bring liveliness to a franchise known for being soulless. Even Stewart Pattinson and Taylor Lautner give personal bests in this installment — a scene between Bella and her dad Charlie (Billy Burke) is genuinely heartfelt while Jacob's overprotective hero schtick finally lands.
Whereas Breaking Dawn - Part 1 stuck mostly to the personal story relying on the intimate moments as Bella and Edward took the big plunge into marriage and sex Part 2 paints with broader strokes and Condon has a ball. Delving into the history of the vampires and the vampire world outside Forks is Pandora's Box for the director. One scene where we learn why kids scare the heck of the Volturi captures a scope of medieval epics — along with the bloodshed. Twilight might be known for its sexual moments but Breaking Dawn - Part 2 will go down for its abundance of decapitations. The big set piece in the finale is something to behold both in the craftsmanship of the spectacle and in its bizarre nature.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 had the audience hooting hollering and even gasping as it twisted and turned to the final moments. There's little doubt that even the biggest naysayer of the franchise would do the same. No irony here: the conclusion of Twilight is a blast.