HMV, Britain's largest music and video retailer, is launching a beta version of its video-on-demand rental service today (Thursday) in the hope of offsetting slumping in-store sales. The retail chain said that it is partnering with FilmFlex, a joint venture between Sony Pictures TV and Disney that operates as a Middleman -- it calls itself a "white label service" -- to provide online movie distribution, marketing and promotion for other British media companies. (Its other partners include HMV rival Virgin Media and commercial broadcaster Channel 4.) HMV is entering an increasingly competitive marketplace in the U.K., challenging Amazon's Lovefilm and Blinkbox, launched by the supermarket chain Tesco. Nevertheless, it says, it will offer more new videos than any of its competitors. HMV is also getting the jump on Netflix, which recently announced that it plans to launch a video-on-demand service in the U.K. early next year at about the same time that HMV plans to lock in its service so that customers will be able to access movies on a variety of devices. Meanwhile, Netflix, which has been criticized for expanding internationally before its domestic streaming service becomes profitable, saw its shares go into another tailspin on Wednesday as they closed at $68.50, a new 52-week low.
Continue reading: British Music Retailer Launches Video-on-demand Service
In a landmark antitrust ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1948 (United States vs. Paramount Pictures) motion picture studios were barred from owning the theaters that showed their movies. Since then, they have operated through distribution companies (most of which they own themselves) that are essentially middlemen between themselves and theater owners. A similar arrangement now exists online, whereby the studios have signed rights deals with leading video websites to sell or rent their films. But on Wednesday, Paramount, the defendant in the 1948 case, said that it is planning to eliminate the Middleman in the case of Transformers Dark of the Moon and directly offer the movie online via streaming on its own site. There'll be no price reduction, however. A standard version of the film will cost $3.99; an HD version (for Windows users only), $4.99.
Continue reading: Paramount To Offer Latest Transformers Movie On Own Site
Christian Slater, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Holt McCallany have joined the cast of Sylvester Stallone's forthcoming action movie.
The 'Guns, Girls, and Gambling' actor is the latest addition to the cast of the currently untitled movie, which is based on the French comic series 'Bullet to the Head', in which Variety reports he will play a "local handler who acts as a Middle Man".
Also joining the movie - in which Sylvester plays a New Orleans hitman who joins forces with a Gotham policeman (Sung Kang) after both their partners are killed - is 'Lost' actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and 'Lights Out' star Holt McCallany.
Continue reading: Christian Slater To Star In Stallone's Bullet To The Head
Middleman offer us another slice of highly infectious feel-good pop with their new single 'Chipping Away'. Released on December 12th 2010 through Blip Records / Universal it sees the Leeds based four piece back on form and comes complete with a remix from Napoleon IIIrd.
Continue: Middleman - Chipping Away
Good To Be Back
Middleman really like their buddies. Both tracks off latest single 'Good to be back' are heartfelt homages to friendship and familiarity, skilfully crafted into pocket-sized pop/rock/electronica packages. 'Good to be back' is a stylistic step forward for the Leeds band, introducing some welcome new colours into their palette. We are treated to a lead vocal performance from bassist Lee Smith in the acapella first verse, before guitars and synth arrive in a combination recalling the Killers, making perfect sense among the elements more familiar to Middleman fans, such as Slurpy's tight-as-your-jeans drumming and Andy Craven-Griffiths' rapped second verse.
Equally satisfying is b-side 'I love my friends', which has been a highlight of the band's live set for over a year. The song gives space for Andy to show off his considerable skills as a wordsmith, with his east midlands accent flowing amiably and intelligently over a particularly (and I hope intentionally) cheap-sounding keyboard, showing a more considered side to Middleman's space-hopper-pop. The chorus just about stays the right side of sickly sweet, and will surely have lighters swaying emotionally back and forth throughout the land. Although the boys might think its 'Good to be back' among their friends in Leeds and Dr Wu's, they shouldn't get too used to it. If they continue releasing pop songs of this quality, they'll be back off on their travels again before long.
Continue reading: Middleman, Good To Be Back Single Review
Neon Nights Mixtape
To some, namely that amoeba that got kicked off Big Brother, the indie-dance scene is a brand new phenomenon. In reality it has actually been ticking over nicely for a good few years now.
Admittedly, there has been something of an explosion in what has loosely been dubbed 'nu-rave', and this compilation from the makers of the Back to Mine series shows what a deceptively diverse genre it is.
Middleman's 'You Look Like You Do' is a highlight, with an insanely addictive chorus that is destined to become a massive sing-along hit in both the clubs and the gigs, whereas Tigerforce, who are represented by two tracks here, take a more arty, multilayered approach to equally impressive effect.
Other gems include Datarock's funk-a-licious 'Fa-Fa-Fa' and Kate Nash's bone-rattling version of 'Caroline's a Victim', but these pleasures are conspicuous in their singularity. Many tracks simply fade into each other here, an effect which can't be blamed on the seamless production, but rather on the sameness of some cuts. Blah Blah Blas' offer a competent slice of Joy Division lite which would be improved immensely with beefier production, but next to the similarly nondescript 'Dull Thud' by The Bleeps it descends into a damp, grey mess.
Another grumble in such an eclectic collection is the inclusion of the ubiquitous 'Standing in the Way of Control' by NME headline spewers, The Gossip. Next to the other, more underground cuts, it sounds as tired as 'you can stand under my um-bah -rellah-rellah-rellah'.
The Neon Nights Mixtape will serve as a good introduction to several exciting new bands, and will show the fly-by-night nu-ravers that there is more to the genre than Klaxons.