‘The Lodgers’ on Netflix

Irish gothic supernatural thriller The Lodgers is available on Netflix from Thursday, 23 August.

1920, County Carlow, rural Ireland. Anglo-Irish twins Rachel and Edward share a strange existence in their crumbling family estate. Each night, the property becomes the domain of a sinister presence which enforces three rules upon the twins: they must be in bed by midnight; they may not permit an outsider past the threshold; if one attempts to escape, the life of the other is placed in jeopardy. When troubled war veteran Sean returns to the nearby village, he is immediately drawn to the mysterious Rachel, who in turn begins to break the rules set out by The Lodgers.  The consequences pull Rachel into a deadly confrontation with her brother – and with the curse that haunts them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irish Film Review: The Lodgers

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‘Maze’ Available to Stream on Netflix

Based on the true story of the 1983 mass break-out of 38 IRA prisoners from HMP Maze high-security prison in Northern Ireland.  As Larry Marley (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), the chief architect of the escape, schemes his way towards pulling off this feat, he comes into contact with prison warder, Gordon Close (Barry Ward).

Initially Larry and Gordon are confirmed enemies, born on opposite sides of Northern Ireland’s political divide, but when Larry realises that Gordon may be unwittingly useful for his escape plan, a slow seduction begins. Larry intends to use and manipulate Gordon in order to get closer to his goal but what follows is a tense, and intriguing drama in which an unlikely relationship is forged between two enemies that will have far reaching consequences for both of them.

Maze is directed by Stephen Burke and stars Tom Vaughan–Lawlor, Barry Ward and Martin McCann.

 

“What Maze does impressively is blend historical context with genre filmmaking, managing to feel both important and exciting.”

  • Read Stephen Porzio’s review

 

Actor Barry Ward, ‘Maze’

 

Stephen Burke, Writer/Director of ‘Maze’

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‘Hill Street’ and ‘The Guarantee’ Now Available on Netflix

 Hill Street directed by JJ Rolfe

The Irish skateboarding documentary Hill Street and the banking drama The Guarantee are now available to view on Netflix in Ireland and the UK.

Hill Street looks at the evolution of skateboarding culture in Dublin from the initial driving force ‘Clive’s of Hill Street’, a unique skate shop in the north inner city in the 1980’s, through to Powell Peralta ‘Bones Brigade’ Team historic demo with the legendary Tony Hawk right up to the skateboarding scene today.  The film comprises interviews with key players in both the Irish and global skate community and features rare, never-seen-before footage.

 

Meanwhile the IFTA-nominated feature The Guarantee recreates the drama surrounding the most significant political decision in modern Irish history; when the Irish government decided to guarantee the entire domestic banking system.  Starring Peter Coonan and Gary Lydon as Anglo Irish Bank Chief Executive David Drumm and Taoiseach Brian Cowen respectively, with David Murray and Morgan C. Jones also starring as Finance Minister Brian Lenihan and Anglo Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick, the film charts the origins of that pivotal decision and follows developments through the peak of the boom to the beginning of the bust.

Hill Street and The Guarantee are just the latest Wildcard titles to become available on Netflix in Ireland and the UK joining the award-winning documentary The Summit and feel good quirky comedies Life’s a Breeze starring Pat Shortt and Fionnula Flanagan, Gold starring Game of Throne’s Maisie Williams and James Nesbitt and Standby starring Jessica Paré (Mad Men) and Brian Gleeson on the platform.

The titles above are also available on iTunes and a variety of online platforms and are available to purchase on DVD on Amazon.co.uk and on the Wildcard website.

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Madagascar’s King Julien Swings onto Netflix

DreamWorks Animation All Hail King Julien

 

The first five episodes of DreamWorks Animation’s All Hail King Julien kidvid, a spinoff of the studio’s Madagascar franchise, will be screened on Netflix from December 19th, with additional installments to follow next year.

 

King Julien is back and shaking his booty harder than ever! Discover the wild world of Madagascar as the king takes on the jungle’s craziest adventures in this comedy series. With his loyal sidekicks Maurice and Mort, they meet a whole new cast of colourful animals, including ambitious head of security Clover and the villainous Foosa. No one can stop this king from ruling with an iron fist…in the air…wavin’ like he just doesn’t care.

 

All Hail King Julien features a voice cast that includes Henry Winkler  as Julien’s regal predecessor, Uncle King Julien, with Danny Jacobs as King Julien, Andy Richter as Mort, Kevin Michael Richardson  as Maurice, and India de Beaufort as Clover, the king’s special-ops expert.

 

When the lemurs send their “Franksgiving” wishes up to their sky god Frank, King Julien accidentally gets swept away in “Enter The Fanaloka,” one of five new episodes of All Hail King Julien debuting Dec. 19, 2014, only on Netflix.

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Bojack Horseman

BoJack Horseman is a darkly hilarious, irreverent, serialised, animated comedy for adults featuring a great ensemble cast. Cathy Butler checked out the first three episodes ahead of its launch on Netflix on Friday, 22nd August.

On paper, the various elements of Bojack Horseman are fairly intriguing, if bordering on the absurd; the eponymous Bojack is a one-hit wonder, nineties sitcom actor, and also a horse, voiced by Will Arnett; unkempt layabout Todd, voiced by Aaron Paul, is sleeping on Bojack’s couch and hiding a bizarre past; Bojack can’t get started on his biography so he enlists the help of ghost writer Diane, voiced by Alison Brie; Bojack’s on-and-off girlfriend Princess Carolyn, voiced by Amy Sedaris, is also his agent, and is also a cat.

The outcome is as bizarre as it sounds, but surprising in its reach. Its opener is weak – not unusual for pilot episodes – but it gains in strength as it goes on – also not unusual. Walking and talking animals can be a bit of a stretch of the suspension of disbelief, particularly in a series aimed at adults. Once it hits its stride however, these humanised animals provide some of the better comic moments of the show.

A voice cast coming from some of the most lauded television series of recent times – Arrested Development, Breaking Bad, Community, Mad Men – is certainly a draw, and as screen actors they handle the transition to voice acting fairly adeptly. Paul in particular does well with the hapless Todd. It can be difficult to un-hear Jesse Pinkman, but soon you forget about Jesse and only hear Todd, which is impressive given his largely peripheral role. Similarly, Arnett’s distinctive tones work against him initially, but eventually become synonymous with Bojack’s self-absorbed cynicism.

What on the outset seems like a raucous, one-dimensional comedy, ultimately manages to address some weighty issues – toxic family situations, unstable relationships, celebrity worship – without coming across as mawkish or disingenuous. That a morally ambiguous character such as Bojack can elicit any sympathy at all is impressive in itself. Not just a talking horse, apparently.

Despite a shaky, unpromising beginning, Bojack Horseman is worth pursuing..

Season one of Bojack Horseman featuring Will Arnett & Aaron Paul premieres with 12 episodes exclusively on Netflix on Friday, 22 August at 8am.

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Competition: Win a 6-month subscription to Netflix

Netflix Snowflake

 

A big Christmas thanks to the people at Netflix, who have given us 5 x 6-month Netflix subscriptions to give away.

Netflix is the world’s leading internet TV company and they would like to give you the chance to win Netflix for 6 months.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer the following question:

What current Netflix-produced series stars Kevin Spacey?

Email your answer to filmireland@gmail.com before Friday, 13th December when 6 lucky winners will be selected by the Film Ireland Hat in full Christmas costume. Be sure to follow us on  twitter.com/FilmIreland & www.facebook.com/FilmIreland

 

Netflix is the ideal Christmas gift for TV or film lovers, or anyone who enjoys good entertainment.   Why give just one DVD or Box Set when you can give someone access to thousands of TV series and films including Netflix original series like House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, Hemlock Grove, Arrested Development and TURBO FAST.

On frosty winter days and nights, Netflix members never have to leave the house – they can select and instantly watch 1,000s of hours of movies, TV programmes and documentaries in high quality on over 1000 devices including their laptop, tablet, smartphone or on their television via internet-connected devices, including smart TVs, media players, game consoles and Blu-ray players.

Netflix has a sled load of great hollywood movies and tv shows to click and watch instantly over the festive season including Breaking Bad Seasons 1-5 (if you haven’t caught up already), Dexter, The Killing, White Collar, The Good Wife, Seven Psychopaths, The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Expendables 2, The Hunger Games, Cars 2, UP, Ratatouille and WALL:E.    Festival films on Netflix include A Christmas Carol, Eight Crazy Nights, The Santa Clause 3, Becoming Santa, Holiday in Handcuffs, Dreamworks Holiday Classics, Knowing Me Knowing Yule, Scrooged and Silent Night Deadly Night.

Be creative and surprise your loved one, a family member or a friend, with a Netflix gift subscription. The process is simple – choose from 1 to 12 months subscription, pick the relevant theme for the occasion, personalise your message, and after a few easy steps you will be ready to email or print your gift. www.netflix.com/gift

Have a great Christmas with Netflix!    www.netflix.com

Netflix Gift Box

 

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Netflix Add RTE TV Series

Netflix and RTÉ Digital today announced an agreement to bring a variety of great RTÉ television series to Netflix members in Ireland and the UK.

Starting 15 September, critically acclaimed RTÉ television series such as The Clinic, Killnaskully, Trivia, and Mattie will be available for Netflix members in Ireland and the UK. The hit series, Raw, will also be available in Ireland. Netflix members will be able to instantly watch these titles and many more streamed over the Internet to over 800 connected TVs, tablets, game consoles, computers, media players and mobile phones.

“We are thrilled to partner with RTÉ to add these great Irish TV shows to our growing catalogue of serialized TV,” said Kelly Merryman, Vice President of Content Acquisition.  “We know these TV favourites will be enjoyed by our members in Ireland and are excited for them to find a new audience as we introduce them to our Irish and UK members.”

“We’re delighted to join forces with Netflix to bring these popular RTÉ series to the one million Netflix members in the UK and Ireland,” said Aisling McCabe, Director of Content and Strategy, RTÉ Digital. “Our strategy is to ensure viewers can view their favourite RTÉ programmes everywhere and anywhere, and working with Netflix gives viewers even more choice.”

Recently Netflix announced that it reached the one million-member milestone in Ireland and the UK within seven months, faster than any other territory it has launched. Netflix is available to try one month free at www.netflix.com and charges a low monthly-unlimited viewing fee of €6.99 in Ireland and £5.99 in the UK.

Through the Netflix agreement, RTÉ content is now available not only on RTÉ Player on www.rte.ie, but across multiple Netflix-enabled devices such as iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, desktops, notebooks, and PS3 but also via the RTÉ Player app on Samsung connected TV’s.

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Xtra-vision and independent store Moviedrome’s response to online distribution and Netflix

In Film Ireland 141 summer 2012 Niall Kitson checked out the new wave of online distribution services such as Netflix and Volta. But what about the future of the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ film rental stores in Ireland?  Simon Bourke examines how national chain Xtra-vision and the independent Moviedrome in Limerick City have evolved to meet the challenge.

 

In a rather ironic twist of fate, the passing of the SOPA legislation in Ireland followed hot on the heels of the arrival of Netflix, the online streaming service which became available to Irish customers at the turn of the year. Amid much controversy the SOPA act was pushed through and verified leaving an open door for the new kid on the block to hoover up all those battered into submission by the legislation. Early figures suggest that for many, the decision to move to Netflix was an easy one with a take up described by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings as ‘the highest net additions [of customers] we’ve ever seen in the first 90 days of an international market launch‘ points to an audience all too keen to embrace this new form of home entertainment.  But while consumers have been digesting this change in the landscape of online movie viewing there is a much wider debate which needs to be examined. What is to be the fate of the ‘brick and mortar’ store? The rental store which for so long has been the bedrock of our communities but now faces up to the kind of challenge it has never faced before.

 

So has the arrival of the on-demand internet streaming site caused panic and dismay among those at Ireland’s leading Home Entertainment Store? Not so says Director of Business Development at Xtra-Vision, Brian Gilligan, ‘We haven’t seen any decline in revenues due to the launch of Netflix. This is understandable as Xtra-vision’s business is very different to that of Netflix in that the vast majority of rental transactions in Xtra-vision are on new releases’. Therein lies a key issue which is preventing Netflix from cornering the market and driving rental stores out of business. The quality of its content. If you only wish to watch TV shows then Netflix is a godsend, with programmes ranging from the Emmy award-winning Breaking Bad to the most obscure BBC productions there is something for everyone.

 

However its content is more limited in comparison to the US Netflix, with a lack of recent movie releases.  Paul Flynn, who owns and manages Moviedrome in Limerick City, is not overly concerned, ‘Bring it on’ he claims, ‘I don’t mind fair threats, I’ve outlasted them all’. It is the lack of new content on offer which Paul believes will ensure his survival, ‘There’s no way they can make money at €6.99 a month and provide new films, it’s unfeasible. It becomes a threat once they start showing new stuff but then they’re going to have to start charging €20 or €30 a month and so on’.

 

But aside from the lure of new releases what else can the traditional rental store offer to ensure consumers keep coming back? In the case of Xtra-vision the answer is to offer more than just movies, to offer a one stop shop for all your night’s entertainment and an experience which only the cinema can rival. By offering deals involving popcorn, soft drinks, ice-cream and various other confectionary there has been a concerted attempt to make a night in watching movies ‘more of an event’ which Brian attests to, ‘The various bundle deals have proven extremely popular with customers. It makes the movie night-in more of an event, and because we work very closely with our suppliers to put these deals together we are able to offer fantastic value’. No longer can they afford to be considered as just a film rental store and the myriad of phone offers, televisions for sale and gaming consoles which adorn their shelves are further proof of that.

 

Paul is in no doubt that were it not for the level of service offered by he and his staff, Moviedrome would have been out of business years ago ‘You can’t beat personal contact’, he says, ‘If we didn’t provide that kind of customer service I don’t think we’d still be here. There is a sense of community in this store. Customers come in and chat about the films they rented.’ It is in many ways a mecca for film-lovers and while Netflix can offer streaming at the touch of a button it can never hope to replicate the experience of chatting with fellow film fans about the movies you love.

 

But what of the SOPA legislation? Paul welcomed it, ‘I was delighted to see it, something had to be done. I don’t think people understand that free has a consequence. We all need a reward because without that reward the creative process would come to a standstill’. But like many others Paul is still sceptical of the impact the SOPA act is having, ‘I think 99% of everything downloaded at the moment is still illegal’, he says with a sigh. The SOPA act may serve to dissuade the more cautious among us from viewing illegally sourced material online but for the vast majority it is simply just a matter of hopping from one site to another until they get what they want.

 

So is it only a matter of time before the very concept of a DVD rental store becomes obsolete? ‘Industry projections are that digital businesses will account for 10% – 15% of consumer spending on filmed home entertainment by 2015. Therefore the majority of consumer spending will still be on physical discs for the foreseeable future’, claims Brian, so for all the clamour and excitement surrounding Netflix it appears that the traditional model is alive and well, for the time being at least. Paul, however, is less sanguine than his Xtra-vision counterpart, ‘I am swimming against the tide. It’s not going to be forever but I have to be optimistic’, he states.

 

Realising that movie rentals alone were not enough to safeguard the future of his store Paul has moved to diversify the Moviedrome experience.  A matrix themed internet café is one of the first things which greets you upon arrival in his store and a dizzying array of confectionary delights rival anything found on the shelves of his competitors. A rather luxurious cubby hole devoted to all things gaming is perhaps the coup dé grace though and the various consoles and 40 inch TV screens are rarely left unattended by Moviedrome’s loyal customers. The decision to offer internet, printing and gaming service has, Paul admits, kept him in business, ‘If it wasn’t for the internet and printing I wouldn’t be here, in the past films accounted for 80% of my revenue and the internet 20%, now it’s more like 50/50’. His ultimate ambition, Paul admits, is to make Moviedrome a kind of Kinko’s for Ireland, a place where your every whim is catered for and somewhere which just happens to offer a wide selection of movies into the bargain.

 

So what does the future hold for Xtra-vision, Moviedrome and the video rental store? Is this the beginning of the end for them as we know it or is it just a matter of diversifying to compete with their new adversaries? Xtra-vision’s mail service has provided a taste of what’s to come for the company, ‘It offers real convenience for those who don’t live near a store, or are too busy to make the trip to a store to rent and return’, says Brian.

 

Further plans to expand this model and offer a streaming/download service are in the pipeline and may yet rival the likes of Netflix. But what of Paul and Moviedrome? With his limited resources he can only dream of offering a home mail service so what are his hopes for the future. When he opened the store, back in February of 1996 using his own video collection as the stock, Paul never envisaged it would have such longevity, ‘I said I’d give myself a couple of years behind the counter and that would be it.’ But it didn’t quite work out like that. From starting out as a video rental only store Paul has gradually built Moviedrome into much more than just an ordinary movie shop. But at the end of the day Paul is just like you or I, and away from his movie store and his love of his films his ambitions are simple, ‘Fifteen years ago I wanted a Moviedrome on every street corner. Now all I want is to pay my bills, be able to go home and put food on the table, go on a holiday, whatever. I don’t want to take over the world anymore’.

Simon Bourke

 

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Report: Netflix Launch

Irish actress, Sarah Bolger (In America, The Tudors), pictured at the launch of the Netflix Film and TV subscription service in Ireland. Irish film and TV fans in Ireland can now subscribe to Netflix and instantly watch unlimited films and TV programmes for the low monthly price of Û6.99.

Pic. Robbie Reynolds/CPR

With the launch of Netflix in Ireland, Brian Lloyd was at the launch and spoke to Reed Hastings, CEO and Neil Hunt, Chief Product Officer.

For those who don’t know, Netflix is an Internet-based streaming service for film and TV. Working with a wide range of distributors and studios – such as Momentum Pictures, MGM and more – Netflix has a dynamic library that features ‘10,000 hours of content and rising’, according to Neil Hunt.

The service is a month-to-month subscription of €6.99, for which you receive unlimited viewing of all content. The service doesn’t feature any contract and can be cancelled immediately. ‘We make it as easy as possible for people to start using it. You just click, fill out your details and you’re ready. There’s no contract, you can stop using it and cancel right away without any fines or fees.’

CEO Reed Hastings spoke at length about the variety of platforms Netflix is available on – including XboxLive, PS3, PC, iPads and AppleTV. ‘I really believe in Internet TV, with click-and-watch capability. And I think, in the future, it’s going to be as common as mobile phones. It’s becoming that way, already. Twenty years ago, the idea of mobile phones being so popular was unheard of, and now we can’t think without them. I feel it’s the same with Internet TV,’ says Hastings. The same goes for broadband capability, which Netflix is heavily reliant on. ‘There’s rural areas in the US and Canada, and in those areas, broadband and fibre-optic cables are reaching there. It’s like telegraph wires, when the demand is there, the capability will be there.’

Netflix has already made waves in the US market and given new life to films that either performed poorly in the box office or were overlooked by cinema audiences. Most recently, Netflix has moved into original content – such as Kevin Spacey’s House of Cards and a new series of Arrested Development. ‘It depends on how succesful House of Cards is. If it’s a big hit, we’ll see about making more. We’re growing steadily and it’s a great direction for us.’ He also mentions that the service isn’t necessarily schewed towards television or film. ‘We try to get a lot of both. We have a bias towards good content. Good content is what people want, so it’s in the eye of the beholder.’ As mentioned, Netflix has a wide variety of films in their library, but what of Irish films in particular? ‘We have Ondine and Secret of Kells coming on in a couple of months, the content available from Ireland comes from independent distributors and doesn’t get a wide distribution, aside from the occasional films like Once. But interestingly, films like Ondine and Secret of Kells that were in theatres for a very limited run in the US, people watched millions of hours of films like that using Netflix. So, in a way, they discovered independent films through services like Netflix that they may have missed or been unable to see in theatres.’

There is a charge that because a service like Netflix being so cheap and accessible, does it devalue the content itself? And what of piracy? ‘We want to make it the best value possible for consumers. If you compare it to piracy, it’s better value. There’s better quality with streaming, we’re integrating into all the services (XboxLive, SamsungHDTV), you don’t have to worry about viruses or downloads, etc. – all the major companies see Netflix as their best shot to confront piracy.’

Netflix are offering a free one-month trial in Ireland and say they’re here for the long haul. ‘There’s no question that InternetTV that is going to be very successful and very popular in Ireland. We’re patient, we want to build a fanbase that will expand from there… we want to start with a small, loyal customer base and go from there. We’re not setting targets that we want to reach, we just want to make sure that people who use it will love it and want to keep using it.’

Brian Lloyd

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