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2 items from 2013

It’s Not TV: HBO, The Company That Changed Television: Expanding The Brand (Part 1)

5 November 2013 9:21 PM, PST | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

If you aren’t making any mistakes,

it’s a sure sign you’re playing it too safe.

John Maxwell

By the end of the 1980s, HBO’s nightmarish headlong collision with The Wall in 1984 was just that; a bad dream fading over time. Even during the tough days, the company had remained a money-maker, and although it was taking more effort and cash to bag subscribers, the service was growing again, HBO original programming was racking up awards and acclaim, and in subscriber homes, the channel was kicking broadcast network ass. During the 1990-91 television season, the service beat all three major networks during Saturday and Sunday prime time hours. The good times were back.

Which did not change the underlying, immutable fact, and the greatest lesson to come out of that horrifying 1984 flatline: that the domestic cable universe was finite. Sooner or later, HBO was bound to hit another wall. »

- Bill Mesce

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'Ugly And Sordid'

24 April 2013 12:28 PM, PDT | Huffington Post | See recent Huffington Post news »

There's a siege mentality about Michael Bay's movies, as though viewers are the enemy holed up in a bunker and he's the guy ordering heavy-metal music around-the-clock to wear down our morale and force us to surrender.

Bay's true-crime caper "Pain & Gain" lacks the visual-effects mayhem and sci-fi cacophony of his "Transformers" blockbusters, yet the movie uses all the shock and awe and noise and bluster the director has in his utterly unsubtle arsenal.

Unlike Bay's usual action nonsense, there's a story, screenplay, characters and wry mix of suspense and pitiable comedy to be had in the tale of three Florida bodybuilders who blunder through kidnapping schemes like the Three Stooges on steroids.

All but the faintest flashes of humanity and pathos are flattened by the cinematic cyclone that is Michael Bay. He drowns "Pain & Gain" in gimmick and style which, rather than gussying things up, dresses them down »

- AP

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