That's not just amazng ...


Audio That is indeed, FANTASTIC! We live in strange times, but none stranger (ish) than the fact there now exists in the world a Big Finish audio adventure featuring the one living actor who at no point, in any way shape or form, seemed like he would ever play the Doctor again. Having wondered why in the meantime, I've just noticed this 2018 interview which said that his relationship had broken down with Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson during the first recording block but he kept to his word that he agreed not to effect the show's reputation and indeed praised RTD in subsequent interviews. 

It also didn't show in his performance, which was impeccable throughout, just as it is in these few snippets which highlight what are sure to be the more manic elements of the recordings. When previous Doctors have returned for the audios, there has always been the brief moment before pressing play on a trailer or full adventure when you wonder if they'll sound "right" or "like themselves", if they'll be able to pick up where they left off and by golly he does.  This is thrilling stuff, helped immeasurably by the visuals and the return of that Deviant Strain font, typos and all.  It’s Saturday night tea time in 2005 all over again!  Sixteen years.

When will these be set?  Rose was famously written (the episode not the person) in such a way as to suggest that he'd only recently regenerated, but this has since been retconned at Big Finish and Davies himself in The Day of the Doctor novelisation to indicate that he did indeed travel for a bit before turning up at the Powell Estate but literally tried to avoid looking at himself because of all the children he thought he'd killed when destroying Gallifrey (having forgotten he did nothing of the sort).  But The Beast of Bablyon suggests he also had whole adventures during the dematerialisation moment at the end of Rose, so it's 50/50.
‘Promising Young Woman’ skips UK theatrical release to debut on Sky Cinema in April. A small but significant update to my post about where all of this year's Oscar nominations are available to watch. Other than The Man Who Sold His Skin in the International film category, Promising Young Woman was the only feature film not to have a UK release date confirmed.  Now it does. But instead of the theatrical release by all accounts it richly deserves, Universal and Focus Features have decided to simply bung it out on NowTV which during the past few months has become the clearing house for what would have been 2020's mid-range release slate (see also The Glorias, Palm Springs and Antebellum).

The Bosch Project is a selection of ultra high definition images of Hieronymus's paintings that offer the ability to zoom in close enough to see brush stokes and individual cracks in the paintwork.  Bosch's scenes often include minute background elements which would be difficult to see with the naked eye even if you're standing right in front of the actual painting.  It's the work of Rob Erdmann of the Rijksmuseum and he's also given a similar treatment to Rembrandt's Night Watch.

Doctor Who's limited edition boxsets are finally being reissued in a more standard amaray packaging starting with seasons 12 and 19, which will be great news for fans who missed out on the original releases and find themselves unable to justify spending some of the outrageously high prices on eBay (this £1200 is an outlier but not uncommon).  Judging by the artwork, these will include a booklet, although the press release indicates this is a basic 12-page affair with disc breakdowns and "selected artwork".

Black Widow is not dead.

Film At this point I remain convinced that in the post credit sequence of the Black Widow, Natasha Romanov is going to wake up at the bottom of the cliff on Vormir wondering how the fuck she's going to get home. I don't see how any other conclusion to that film could be anything other than a downer, especially if its a hit and they're turning it into a trilogy. 

Fortunately for those of us still under the dark shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic and sheltering at home, Disney have announced that it'll be getting a Mulan-style day and date release in July 2021 on Disney+ so that those of us who don't want to return to cinemas (assuming they're open!) can enjoy whilst sat in our own lumpy chair. 

I've long been an advocate of day and date releases, giving us audience members the choice of watching films without having to hike out to a drafty auditorium and deal with people who're treating that space as their lounge. Paying £10 to listen to someone masticate through a box of popcorn before walking just before the credits role is not fun. 

As the pandemic recedes, presumably studios will return to the theatrical model but perhaps with a slightly more relaxed attitude to how it effects the bottom line to release things for home simultaneously. Cinema chains too, who've traditionally owned release windows and such, will be in a slightly weaker position now that they know that to an extent, the studios don't need them as much. 

Back in 2016, Sean "Napster" Parker was pitching "The Screening Room", a DRM heaving special streaming box so consumers could watch films day and date for $50 a pop with revenues flowing back to cinemas, which many of us rolled our eyes at because we already had a pretty decent streaming box already.  Seems like the pandemic has forced studios to realise the same thing.

Immediately, as with Mulan, critics and fans were moaning about Disney+ charging extra for Black Widow as though its some great scheme to steal money out from under people.  I saw one goober indicate that he wouldn't be paying "because it's just a prequel and she's dead already anyway". 

But Disney isn't a charity. They're well within their rights to charge extra for Black Widow and not just throw it up on Disney+ as part of the subscription especially in territories were the cinemas, which would have been its traditional home, are closed.  Including advertising, Disney have sunk at least $300m into this thing and a cut of the subscriptions won't be enough to cover that.

Without the pandemic it would have been in cinemas a year ago and we'd all have it on shiny-disc. They waited a year in the hopes of protecting it as a theatrical experience but that hasn't worked out so they doing the next best thing and charging cinema rates.

Of course, the fairer option would be the Wonder Woman 1984 route of making it available on all the pay-per-stream services outside the Disney+ cordon and give subscribers a discount, but again they don't need to.  The MCU is a big enough brand that people will most certainly come.

Not to mention the old lobster pricing rule. Around a decade ago there was a glut of lobster available to restaurants and very cheap prices. But they kept the prices the same as they were when there was a smaller overhead in order to protect their status as a luxury item. 

I can understand why studios spending hundreds of millions of pounds on films don't want them to become essentially valueless and part of a content farm, as so much of the new material on Netflix has become, mostly uploaded without much hype unless there's some awards potential.

Just to add that I know they are putting some things like Nomadland on the service, but such things have a limited box office spotential by comparison and aren't four quadrant releases and are perfect drivers for the Star section of the service.  Although that is admittedly one film I would have gone to the cinema for.