Category Archives: Movies

How Netflix Exec Cindy Holland Spots A Hit Show

As far as greenlighting, it really starts with the storytellers and somebody coming in with a really passionate vision for the series they want to create or the piece of content they want to create, and our belief that they have the ability to execute against that vision. It could be anything from anyone, from Jenji Kohan, who had proven success on Weeds, and came to us with a memoir about a woman in prison and told us how she wanted to expand that world and really focus on all of the characters in that world; to somebody like Raphael Bob-Waksberg, who was a well known TV writer but hadn’t run a series of his own. But he came in and he pitched Bojack Horseman, season one, all 12 episodes of that season in minute detail, and about halfway through the meeting, we said, “Wow. This is something we’ve never experienced before and never heard before.” It was such a different approach—an adult, half-hour animation series, that we were really—we kind of knew it in the room. So many times, that kind of magic happens. And you know pretty quickly that it’s there, and really that comes from the spirit and the enthusiasm of the creators themselves.

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Netflix India: Review…

My introduction to Netflix was in early 2010 and I was very excited about its internet streaming service that I had my friend in US send me a few screenshots…how it worked etc. Here are a couple.

netflix old
Web interface- Feb 2010
Screen after stopping the movie, using stop option on the blu-ray remote
BluRay Player HDTV Interface – Feb 2010


After a few weeks of its launch in India, I signed up for the Rs.800 trial. Here are a few points

  • I opted for the auto-adjust resolution based on my internet connectivity. On a 40Mbps connection, the video quality was pretty decent when I played it off the netflix app on my PS3.
netlfix training day
Training Day on HDTV via PS3 and Netflix
  • The same cannot be said of chromecast from my laptop and android mobile. The video was interrupted several times and even got stuck with ‘Loading’ message.
  • Audio is just stereo at this point of time?
  • Direct Video Streaming on the mobile and iPad is pretty good.
  • The Movie and TV Shows collection is pretty basic, hope to see more in the coming months.
  • The recommendation system works just fine. Based on my list of Training Day and Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 it threw up two of my all time favorites–Breaking Bad and The Shawshank Redemption :)


Androild Mobile Interface
IMG_0563 (2)
iPad Mobile Interface

Overall Netflix India is decent but will not replace your disc collection as of yet. So it’s ok to buy discounted Blu-Rays at Amazon for now :)


Schindler’s List

schindler crying

When I first watched the movie ‘Schindler’s List’ the scene that had a lot of impact on me was the scene where Oskar Schindler breaks down, lamenting how many more lives he could have saved in exchange for his material possessions and the money he had squandered away. I forgot the position of the scene though. Now I know in my revisit to this classic. This scene towards the end, is indeed the jewel in the crown. Just when you think curtains are down, this scene comes from nowhere and holds your attention like no other.


Schindler’s List as a movie does this to you several times during the course of movie watching.  Every scene gives you that extra bit, either in terms of story telling or presentation. One cannot but wonder the amount of work that went into making of the movie, into each and every craft of film making.  Wonder how Oscar Committee decided to award only Seven!

Here are a few observations.

  • Tribute to Master Film maker Orson Welles: Steven Spielberg pays rich tribute to Orson Welles in the introduction scenes of Oskar Schindler and Itzhak Stern, reminiscent of similar scenes between Kane and Joseph Cotten.
  • Three Story arcs and how they take the movie forward: Schindler’s list has three story arcs–the ebbs and tides of war, plight of jews from bad to worse to glimmer of hope and character transformation of Oskar Schindler. It is terrific to see how the story of Schindler takes the movie forward across the other two story arcs.  His transformation becomes the glimmer of hope for the jews under persecution. Finally, his cathartic moment beocmes the start point of a new journey for his Jew workers.
  • Finest acting performances : All the lead cast put in their best for the movie. There are several scenes in which actors emote on their own, like Ralph Fiennes looking into the mirror before killing a young boy or Liam Neeson pondering on his inner tumult or Ben Kingsley’s minimalist expressions.  But the real gems are all the combination scenes where these great actors bring the best in others. Let it be the terrace scene where Liam Neeson guides Ralph to the real meaning of power or his irritation when Ben Kingsley doesn’t enjoy his admiration for his contribution or simply when Ben Kingsley presents the ring to Neeson in the end of the movie.
  • The man behind the scenes–Steven Spielberg:  Spielberg brings all the very best from himself and the rest of the team for this movie. Production Design, Sound Design, Editing, Music…you name it, has excellence written all over it. At the end of the movie you cannot wonder if anyone else would have brought so many shades to this movie and still be able capture all those in black and white. And he succeeds in portraying humanity during one of the darkest times of human history.

Tailpiece: Who could have imagined the little girl in red other than Mr.E.T.Spielberg?

redgirl schindlerslist

Related Links:

NYTimes on Spielberg’s Oscar win.