Archive for the ‘Amazon Prime’ Category

Review: Don’t call it a comeback—The Boys returns better than ever in S2

October 17th, 2020

Superheroes abuse their powers rather than using them for good in The Boys, which just concluded its second season.

In my review of The Boys S1 last year, I called the Amazon Prime series "a wickedly funny, darkly irreverent adaptation" and "ideal late-summer therapy for anyone who has grown a bit weary of the constant onslaught of superhero movies." I wasn't alone in my love for the show: The Boys was a massive hit, and that success has continued with S2, which was the most-watched global launch of any Amazon series to date, pretty much doubling the show's worldwide audience. S2 is even better than its predecessor, deftly tackling timely themes and hot-button issues, while never sacrificing all the biting satire and good, gory fun that we loved about S1. And can we just give Antony Starr an Emmy already for his stunning performance as Homelander?

(Spoilers for S1 below; some spoilers for S2, but no major reveals.)

The Boys is set in a fictional universe where superheroes are real but corrupted by corporate interests and a toxic celebrity-obsessed culture. The most elite superhero group is called the Seven, headed up by Homelander (Starr), a truly violent and unstable psychopath disguised as the All-American hero, who mostly bullies his supe team into compliance. The other members include A-Train (Jessie T. Usher), who boasts super-speed but has also become addicted to the experimental performance-enhancing substance called Compound-V. The Deep (Chace Crawford) can breathe underwater, thanks to having gills—voiced in S2 by Patton Oswalt during a hallucination sequence—and converse with marine creatures.

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Review: Utopia is a very good series released at exactly the wrong time

October 14th, 2020

It's a rare TV series that gives me pause about even writing a review, but Amazon's new sci-fi thriller Utopia turned out to be just that. Not because it isn't good—on the contrary, I found it both entertaining and thought provoking. But there are several key elements of the central plot that proved disquieting enough (even for someone like me who is not generally squeamish) that I had to ponder the pros and cons of giving space to a show whose release perhaps should have been postponed by a few months, given current world events. (I mean, read the room, Amazon! Geez!) In the end, the pro arguments won out.

(All major spoilers are below the second gallery. We'll give you a heads-up when we get there.)

As we reported previously, the series is a reboot of the 2013 British version, about online fans of a graphic novel called Dystopia that seems to have the power to predict the real-world future. The fans are obsessed with tracking down the sequel, Utopia, and this makes them targets of a secret organization. Amazon has kept the same basic premise (with a few tweaks) and swapped in an American cast. Per the official premise: "When the conspiracy in the elusive comic Utopia is real, a group of young fans come together to embark on a high-stakes twisted adventure to use what they uncover to save themselves, each other and ultimately humanity."

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Amazon Prime Day 2020: All the best tech deals we can find (Updated)

October 13th, 2020
Amazon Prime Day 2020: All the best tech deals we can find (Updated)

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Update 4 (10/14/20 5:25pm ET): We're rounding the corner on Prime Day, so the stampede of deals is starting to slow. Still, we've updated our roundup with a new low on a Core i5 MacBook Air, a handful of discounted Anker charging accessories, and a variety of Tile Bluetooth tracker bundles.

Update 3 (10/14/20 10:40am ET): We've made the first refresh of our best Amazon Prime Day deals list for the second and final day of Amazon's sales event. The latest batch of discounts includes new lowest-ever prices on a 16GB RAM/512GB SSD version of the 16-inch MacBook Pro, a good budget mechanical gaming keyboard from Cooler Master, Motorola's wallet-friendly Moto G Power phone, Samsung's Galaxy Watch Active 2 smartwatch, a good affordable pair of Anker noise-cancelling headphones, a well-regarded Canon mirrorless camera, and more. We've also published a roundup of our favorite Prime Day deals under $50, if you're shopping on a budget.

Update 2 (10/13/20 9:10pm ET): We've done another sweep of Prime Day deals, adding new offers such as a 3-month Xbox Live Gold subscription for $15, a 27-inch Dell 4K monitor for $300, new lows on Anker's Eufy Video Doorbell and Sony's X900H 4K TV, and 8Bitdo's excellent SN30 Pro+ Switch controller for $40, among others. We're also obligated to direct you to our roundups of Amazon and Apple device deals, just in case you're interested in one of those gadgets.

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The future of the Belt has begun in first trailer for The Expanse S5

October 9th, 2020

The fifth season of the sci-fi series The Expanse will begin streaming on Amazon Prime on December 16, 2020.

Amazon Prime debuted the first trailer (embedded above) for the upcoming fifth season of The Expanse during the series panel at the New York Comic Con's Metaverse today. And the stakes are high. According to the official premise, "The future of The Belt has begun as Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) wages Armageddon against the Inners for a lifetime of oppression and injustice."

(Some spoilers for prior seasons below.)

As we previously reported, The Expanse is based on a series of novels by James S.A. Corey (the pen name for writing team Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), exploring interplanetary tensions that are breaking out all over a Solar System long since colonized by humans—mostly between Earthers, Martians, and "Belters." Part mystery, part political thriller, part classic space opera, The Expanse has earned almost nothing but praise from critics and its devoted fans alike, not just for its gripping storytelling, but also its excellent use of accurate physics. The third and fourth seasons earned a rare 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes (seasons one and two earned 76 percent and 96 percent, respectively).

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Here’s the trailer, release date for Simon Pegg/Nick Frost sitcom Truth Seekers

September 24th, 2020

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play ghost hunters in the new Amazon Prime horror comedy Truth Seekers.

Back in July, during the virtual San Diego Comic-Con@Home, Amazon Studios released a beguiling teaser for Truth Seekers, the forthcoming sci-fi/horror/comedy series starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. It looked like a lot of fun—how could you go wrong with a reunion of Pegg and Frost? The full trailer just dropped, and it definitely reinforces that positive first impression. We also now have a release date: Amazon will screen the first two episodes at the Canneseries festival on October 10 and will release the full series on Prime Video on October 30, 2020.

As we reported previously, the series was created by Pegg, Frost, James Serafinowicz, and Nat Saunders. It's envisioned as a cross between The X-Files and the British TV series Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World. Each of the eight episodes will focus on a specific paranormal incident, a throwback to a classic monster-of-the-week format. Rather than going with pure spoof, Truth Seekers will apparently take its horror aspects seriously.

Per the official synopsis:

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Posted in Amazon Prime, Entertainment, Gaming & Culture, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, streaming television, Trailers, Truth Seekers | Comments (0)

Introducing Apple One, Apple’s subscription bundle answer to Amazon Prime

September 15th, 2020
Apple One tiers.

Enlarge / Apple One tiers. (credit: Apple)

After months of rumors that it was right around the corner, Apple's subscription bundle has finally been announced. Dubbed Apple One, the service combines multiple Apple services like Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, and Apple News+ into one subscription—a page from Amazon's book, to be sure.

Apple One will offer three tiers. The lowest-priced one, at $14.95/mo, includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage for a single user. The next one up, "Family," offers those same services to multiple family users for $19.95/mo. The highest-priced "Premier" tier, at $29.95/mo, includes bundled magazine subscription service Apple News+ and Fitness+ as well, along with a bump to 2TB of iCloud storage.

Apple says these plans will roll out "this fall," with a 30-day free trial for all new users to determine which tier is best for them.

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A dark comic book conspiracy turns out to be all too real in Utopia trailer

August 18th, 2020

John Cusack and Rainn Wilson star in Amazon Prime's black comedy/conspiracy thriller Utopia.

Last month at the virtual San Diego Comic Con, Amazon dropped the first teaser for Utopia, a reboot (adapted by Gone Girl and Sharp Objects author Gillian Flynn) of the controversial 2013-2014 British black comedy/conspiracy thriller. Now the streaming platform has released the official full trailer, and the series looks like it's going to be quite the wild ride.

As we reported previously, the series is about online fans of a dystopian graphic novel called Utopia that seems to have the power to predict the real-world future. The fans are obsessed with tracking down the sequel (which supposedly also predicts future world events). This makes them targets of a secret organization called The Network.

The British version received critical praise for its originality and visual style, offset by strong reservations about its extreme violence, which struck many as unnecessarily gratuitous. (The most famous scene involved a torturer using a spoon to gouge out a victim's eye). It remains to be seen if Amazon's Utopia will match the same scale of violence, although Flynn recently told Deadline Hollywood that it wouldn't be as prominent.

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Review: Rosamund Pike is riveting as Marie Curie in uneven biopic Radioactive

July 28th, 2020

Rosamund Pike stars as Marie Curie in the film Radioactive, now streaming on Amazon Prime.

A resolute young woman in Paris in the 1890s sets the scientific world ablaze with her revolutionary discoveries in Radioactive, a film about the life of Marie Curie, based on the 2010 graphic novel Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout, by Lauren Redniss. Director Marjane Satrapi's film is part earnest biopic, part arthouse film, elevated by a luminous, intense, and riveting performance by Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) as Marie Curie.

(Some spoilers below for those unfamiliar with the life of Marie Curie.)

Satrapi is perhaps best known for her powerful autobiographical memoir, Persepolis, depicting her childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution in graphic novel form, which she later adapted into an animated film. So it's not surprising that she would admire Redniss' graphic novel about Marie Curie. Still, Satrapi admitted in an interview that she was initially reluctant to take on the project. "I was like, why the hell would you make another script about Marie Curie? There are already four of them," she told WWD. In the end, she became "obsessed" with making the film, which she views as being as much about the aftermath of Marie Curie's discoveries as her life and science.

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Posted in Amazon Prime, biopic, Entertainment, film, film review, Gaming & Culture, Marie Curie, Physics, physics history, radioactive, radioactivity, Rosamund Pike, science | Comments (0)

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost return to horror-comedy roots with Truth Seekers teaser

July 23rd, 2020

Amazon's new supernatural comedy series Truth Seekers reunites Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

A group of part-time paranormal investigators team up to uncover a deadly conspiracy in the first teaser for Truth Seekers, a forthcoming sci-fi/horror comedy series from Amazon starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The first teaser was unveiled today at San Diego Comic-Con @Home, which has had to switch to an online-only, virtual format this year due to the continuing pandemic.

Created by Pegg, Frost, James Serafinowicz, and Nat Saunders, the eight-episode series is envisioned as a cross between The X-Files and the British TV series Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World. Each episode will focus on a specific paranormal incident, a throwback to a classic monster-of-the-week format. Rather than going with pure spoof, Truth Seekers will apparently take its horror aspects seriously.

“You have to not make fun of the horror,” Pegg said during the Comic-Con panel. “It’s tempting with genre fare to parody that... but I think the key for horror-comedy is to take the horror seriously.”

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First teaser for The Boys S2 promises another wild and bloody ride

July 9th, 2020

Our vigilantes are on the run from Homelander (Antony Starr) and the rest of the Seven in the second season of Amazon Prime's The Boys.

The war between corrupt, evil superheroes and a ragtag band of vigilantes out to expose their true nature and curb the power of "super" in society will escalate dramatically, judging by the first teaser for S2 of The Boys. The Amazon Prime series—one of the most-watched on the streaming platform when it debuted last year—is based on the comics of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson.

(S1 spoilers below.)

The Boys is set in a fictional universe where superheroes are real but corrupted by corporate interests and a toxic celebrity-obsessed culture. Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) is a self-appointed vigilante intent on checking the bad behavior of the so-called "supes"—especially The Seven, the most elite superhero squad and, hence, the most corrupt. Butcher especially hates Seven leader Homelander (Antony Starr), a psychopath who raped his now-dead wife. Butcher recruits an equally traumatized young man named Hugh "Hughie" Campbell (Jack Quaid, son of Dennis) to help in his revenge, after another Seven member, A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) used his super-speed to literally run through Hughie's girlfriend, killing her instantly.

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