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When Netflix Is Attacked at Cannes, Will Smith Steps Up

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Two of the films in competition at this year’s prestigious Cannes Film Festival were produced by and for Netflix. It may be a watershed moment for films, given that the two movies — Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories — were produced for a TV streaming service, and not for a movie theater. At the festival’s opening press conference on May 17, renowned Spanish filmmaker and Palme d’Or prize juror Pedro Almodovar read a pre-written statement that said in part, “I personally do not conceive, not only the Palme d’Or, any other prize being given to a film and not being able to see this film on a big screen.”

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Pedro Almodovar (Laurent Emmanuel)

When Will Smith raised his voice in defense of Netflix a while later, a conversation began that reflects a seismic shift — and for some, a sobering one — in the film industry. Almodovar and Smith were each no doubt reflecting the views of many other people.

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Almodovar and Smith (Anne-Chirstine Poujoulat)

Prior to Almodovar’s statement, the mood at the press conference had been completely different. Though Cannes is always the place to see movie stars, few these days have the sheer wattage and charm of Will Smith, who had the room wrapped in the palm of his hand. “West Philadelphia is a long way from Cannes,” the star said, noting that, “I was probably 14 years old the last time I watched three movies in one day. Three movies a day is a lot!” Such is the lot of the Cannes festival juror. He also joked that he’d be trying to set a record for most outfits worn at the festival, 32, to top last year’s juror Kirsten Dunst’s 28.

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Smith and crowd crush (Loic Venance)

Almodovar claimed his stance doesn’t come from being anti-technology, saying, “All this doesn’t mean I’m not open to or don’t celebrate the new technologies. I do.” And yet another statement of his suggests otherwise. “I’ll be fighting for one thing that I’m afraid the new generation is not aware of. It’s the capacity of the hypnosis of the large screen for the viewer,” the filmmaker says. “The size [of the screen] should not be smaller than the chair on which you’re sitting. It should not be part of your everyday setting. You must feel small and humble in front of the image that’s here.” Has he not seen the gargantuan TV screens on which people watch TV these days?…

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt boss explains that surprising Netflix crossover

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Warning: This article contains spoilers from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 3 episode 5. Read at your own risk.

The fifth episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘s third season ended with a surprising twist: an Orange Is the New Black crossover.

In “Kimmy Steps on a Crack!,” the FBI asks Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) to help them diffuse a situation involving her former bunker-mate Gretchen (Lauren Adams), who started a cult comprised of kidnapped young boys and who is now threatening to blow up the cult’s compound. Kimmy’s able to talk Gretchen down, and she convinces her to accept the consequences of her actions by going to prison. And not just any prison! (Read our full recap of the episode here.)

In a very FriendsMad About You-esque twist, the half-hour ends with Gretchen being sent to Orange Is the New Black‘s Litchfield Penitentiary, where she meets Black Cindy, a character on that show played by Adrienne C. Moore. Which means Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Orange Is the New Black are actually in the same universe!

“We thought it was funny to suggest we lived in the same universe,” Kimmy Schmidt co-creator Robert Carlock told EW when we hopped on the phone with him for a quick chat about how this crossover came to be, what input OITNB creator Jenji Kohan had, and whether or not a line from the scene was an intentional nod to another Netflix series. Read on below to find out more about this fun aside!

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where did the idea for this crossover come from? Who pitched in the writers’ room?
ROBERT CARLOCK: Well, once we went down that road with that story, which we wanted to tell, we knew that Gretchen either had to go to jail or get blown up. We didn’t want to blow up Gretchen or any of the people around her, so we knew she was going to jail. I think [the OITNB scene] was just half a joke pitch and half we felt we could somehow save money, and that turned out not to be true. And, it turned into purely a joke that I think was Tina [Fey]’s. We thought it was funny to suggest we lived in that same world as Orange Is the New Black, and of course, we’re always looking for Netflix synergies. That’s our main thing that we do day-to-day. We’re gonna have a lot of stuff with Fuller House coming up — any opportunity we can to crossover with other Netflix shows.

We emailed Jenji Kohan just asking if it was okay that we said she was going to that prison, and then I think we added the idea of, “Oh, it’d be nice to have one of their actors to make it really real.” And, we asked if that was okay. Jenji was very open to us just trampling all over the world she created, which we were very appreciative of. At one point, the line that Black Cindy has‚ which is about stabbing her boss at Sea World, was phrased where it made it seem like that was the reason she was at that prison, which pulled a little thread. Jenji did ask us to make that something that happened…

Bong Joon Ho Defends Netflix in Cannes: “They Gave Me Total Freedom”

The 'Okja' director was diplomatic in addressing the various controversies surrounding the streaming giant, while Tilda Swinton said
Bong Joon Ho

Following a rocky rollout but mostly positive reception to his film Okja during its first press screening in Cannes, South Korean filmmaking phenomenon Bong Joon Ho shrugged off the controversy that has swirled around the movie since the 70th edition of the iconic French film festival began on Wednesday.

He said he enjoyed working with Netflix and was happy for jury president Pedro Almodovar to see his movie despite his critical stance on Netflix.

At the start of Okja‘s debut screening on Friday, the movie was temporarily misframed on the big screen, leading to boos and jeers from the assembled international press corps. Eventually the screening was briefly stopped so that the problem could be fixed and the movie restarted. Cannes organizers later issued a statement taking responsibility for the incident and apologizing to the filmmakers.

The snafu followed some heat for Okja during the Cannes jury press conference earlier in the week. This year’s jury chair, Spanish auteur Pedro Almodovar, read a prepared statement that suggested he might be preemptively excluding the film from consideration for the Palme d’Or, due to Netflix’s involvement and the streaming giant’s plans to release the movie online in most markets.

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“I personally don’t perceive the Palme d’Or [should be] given to a film that is then not seen on the big screen,” he said. “All this doesn’t mean that I am not open or [don’t] celebrate new technologies and opportunities, but…

Laughs and winces as Tracy Morgan returns to stand-up with Netflix special ‘Staying Alive’

Tracy Morgan: Staying Alive
Comedian Tracy Morgan, critically injured in a 2014 road accident, returns to the stage in the Netflix special “Tracy Morgan: Staying Alive.” (Cara Howe)

In June 2014, comedian Tracy Morgan, formerly of “Saturday Night Live” and lately late of “30 Rock,” was returning to New York from a show in Delaware when the minibus in which he was riding was struck from behind by a Wal-Mart truck. Fellow comic James “Jimmy Mack” McNair was killed; Morgan was hospitalized with broken bones and a brain injury. He was briefly in a coma.

Almost two years later, Morgan made his return to the stage with his Picking Up the Pieces tour; an October appearance in Red Bank, N.J., not far from where the accident happened, was filmed for Netflix, which has been investing in high-profile stand-up specials by comics including Dave Chappelle, Louis C.K., Amy Schumer, Maria Bamford and Jim Gaffigan. Morgan’s premieres Tuesday for streaming, under the title “Tracy Morgan: Staying Alive.”

The special begins with a filmed opening, with nods to “Saturday Night Fever,” as Morgan cruises Brooklyn with a Wal-Mart bag full of settlement money; he buys three slices of pizza instead of two, and he eats them piled one on top of another. A gag transports him into a John Travolta white suit and onto the stage of the theater, which is set with a table and armchair into which he occasionally collapses. One suspects this may be a matter of necessity, but mostly, he is on his feet and moving, encouragingly, and carrying an hour of material in his head.

There is a shape to it; with a few video projections and lighting cues, you could call it a theater…

You can no longer download Netflix on rooted Android phones

Image: mashable / brittany herbert

If you’re an Android user with a rooted phone — there’s bad news for you.

Netflix may no longer work on your rooted or unlocked device, due to an update to the app. Netflix now fully relies on Google’s Widevine DRM, the company told Android Police. The change comes not long after Netflix enabled downloads for offline…

Netflix is blocking rooted Android phones from downloading its app

Netflix is blocking rooted Android phones from downloading its app

If you’ve rooted your Android phone in order to gain access to more settings than the average user, you will no longer be able to grab Netflix’s app from Google Play, as the company is blocking downloads on such devices.

With our latest 5.0 release, we now fully rely on the Widevine DRM provided by Google; therefore, many devices that are not Google-certified or have been altered will no longer work with our latest app and those users will no longer see the Netflix app in the Play Store.

While the decision to block downloads from…

Have You Watched This Netflix Series About Kindness?

Leon Logothetis had it all—prestigious job, money, a home, a beautiful girlfriend, and a friendly dog – but he traded it all in to live his dreams. His inner rebel, the part of him that yearns to follow his dreams, once again wanted to feel the magic of the human experience, but this time by connecting with people through the language of kindness.

It prompted him to travel the world relying solely on the kindness and generosity of strangers. And now, he is giving back.

“I have always had a passion for interacting with people,” says Logothetis. “I love the camaraderie of making new friends and helping those that are deserving, and I treasure the adventure of travel.”

Logothetis, a global adventurer, motivational speaker, philanthropist, author, and host of National Geographic’s hit series Amazing Adventures of a Nobody, announced the streaming version of his best-selling book The Kindness Diaries: One Man’s Quest to Ignite Good Will and Transform Lives Around the World. In this…

Cannes Keeps Netflix Movies in Competition but Says Future Films Must Have Theatrical Release

OKJA

PARIS – A week before its opening ceremony, the Cannes Film Festival said Wednesday that it would keep Netflix movies “Okja” and “The Meyerowitz Stories” in competition despite opposition from French exhibitors but that, in future, all competition titles “will have to commit…to being distributed in French movie theaters.”

The festival’s board had convened a meeting Tuesday to discuss the possibility of yanking both films from competition, as recommended by France’s exhibitors’ association, which is represented on the board. Although the idea was rejected, the festival issued a statement Wednesday expressing regret over Netflix’s decision not to release the films widely in French cinemas.

“Cannes is aware of the anxiety aroused by the absence of the release in theaters of those films in France. The Festival de Cannes asked Netflix in vain to accept that these two films could reach the audience of French movie theaters and not only its subscribers,” the statement said, adding: “The festival regrets that no agreement has been reached.”

The festival said it had decided to “adapt its rules” for the future. Starting next year, “any film that wishes to compete in competition at Cannes will have to commit itself to being distributed in French movie theaters.”

Meanwhile, sources say Netflix has begun negotiations with The Jokers, a French distribution company, and the CNC, France’s National Film Board, to obtain a temporary visa that would allow it to release Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” day and date on its streaming service, along with a one-week theatrical rollout in several…

Netflix’s controversial ’13 Reasons Why’ gets a second season

Katherine Langford as Hannah Baker in “13 Reasons Why.” (Beth Dubber/Netflix)

Netflix has renewed its controversial teen drama “13 Reasons Why” for a second season. The announcement, posted to Netflix’s Twitter account Sunday morning, comes amid a debate around whether the show glamorizes suicide.

The drama is based on Jay Asher’s 2007 novel about Hannah Baker, a young girl who kills herself and leaves behind 13 audio tapes detailing how the actions (and inaction) of her classmates led to her death.

Suicide prevention advocates, school psychologists and educators have expressed concerns that the show — which features graphic depictions of sexual assault and Hannah’s suicide — may lead vulnerable young viewers to harm themselves.

Their story isn’t over. Season 2 of #13ReasonsWhy is coming. pic.twitter.com/nY5vTUfXdo

Though Netflix does not release viewership numbers, “13 Reasons Why” is undoubtedly popular. Variety reported last month that the drama, which counts pop singer and actress Selena Gomez as an executive producer, was the most tweeted-about show this year. “13 Reasons Why”…

’13 Reasons Why’ gets second season

Selena Gomez on passion behind '13 Reasons Why'
Selena Gomez on passion behind ’13 Reasons Why’ 01:19

(CNN)The hit Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” has a new reason to celebrate.

The series about a teen who leaves behind audio tapes that explain her suicide will be returning for a second season.

Singer/actress Selena Gomez serves as an executive producer of the series along with her mother, Mandy Teefey.

The show is based on a popular 2007 young adult novel by Jay Asher in which teen Hannah Baker details the bullying and…