The arrival of HBO Max and what it offers

BY NEIL MORRIS, CN+R Film Critic
Posted 6/5/20

The biggest news in online entertainment in the last week or so was not a particular film or series.

It was the arrival of HBO Max, HBO’s latest entry into the standalone streaming marketplace. …

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The arrival of HBO Max and what it offers

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Anna Kendrick stars in 'Love Life,' now streaming on HBO Max.
Anna Kendrick stars in 'Love Life,' now streaming on HBO Max.
Photo courtesy of HBO
Posted

The biggest news in online entertainment in the last week or so was not a particular film or series.

It was the arrival of HBO Max, HBO’s latest entry into the standalone streaming marketplace. Unlike HBO Now, which offered cord cutters the full slate of HBO programming, HBO Max leverages HBO plus its sister pay TV service Cinemax and the full panoply of WarnerMedia (aka Warner Bros.) entertainment content. WarnerMedia says the channel will have over 10,000 hours of content at launch, including over 2,000 films. The biggest draw will be the “Max Originals” programming exclusive to the new channel, starting with two tentpoles offerings. “Love Life” stars Anna Kendrick and “follows a different protagonist’s quest for love each season, with each half-hour episode telling the story of one of their relationships,” according to the streamer’s description. “Legendary” dabbles in the reality TV genre, with an unscripted ballroom competition show following young teams competing in balls and showcasing fashion for a panel of judges.

HBO Max launched on May 27 with a price tag of $15 per month. It already has distribution deals with most entertainment providers and platforms (Roku and Amazon Fire are the two primary absences at present).

Back to the established confines of Netflix, here are last week’s top new offerings:

“Uncut Gems”

The gonzo, critically acclaimed 2019 film stars Adam Sandler, who plays hard-luck hustler and diamond dealer Howard Ratner. From my review: “The genius of the Safdie brothers’ script—grounded in greed’s corrosive effects, it’s like the Coen brothers on acid—is that we end up rooting for the otherwise repellant Howard.” Definitely worth a stream. Dropped May 25.

“Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich”

This miniseries is based on the 2016 book of the same name by James Patterson. Beyond the conspiracy theories, the show shares stories of the actual survivors of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and how he used his wealth and power to commit these crimes. Available since May 27.

“Space Force (Season 1)”

This much-anticipated series is created by Greg Daniels (known for his work on several television series, including “The Office”) and Steve Carrell, who also stars. It is a workplace comedy series that centers on a group of people tasked with establishing the titular sixth military branch. Carell’s character, Mark Naird, is the general in charge of the effort. Expect a “Strangelove” vibe; indeed, a Space Force scientist named Dr. Adrian Mallory (played by John Malkovich) is described as a Dr. Strangelove parody. The 10-episode season dropped on May 29.

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