It’s really no surprise that within the last year and a half (give or take), more of us has been looking at electric screens for all sorts of things, raging from keeping in touch with other people, finding out the latest news and information we need to know and perhaps not to really care about, to keep us entertained, and from keeping us from going insane!
Of course, the pandemic had a lot to do with it all. But even before the time when all hell broke loose, folks were embedded with electronic devices that sports a video screen. Smartphones that Apple first introduced as the “iPhone” in July of 2007 was the beginning of the end when it came to becoming mesmerized by an electronic device that was originally introduced as a tool, not as an obsession.
And television devices, that electronic toy that’s been around since the 1940’s, started its next trend is video hypnotism. It was the middle aughts when TV sets began to get bigger is screen size, became wider and thinner in length and depth, and held a picture that became sharper in visual quality. (Audio became richer as well, but more on that in a minute!) For a while, 3-D television made its debut, only to fail due to the fact that there wasn’t enough 3-D TV shows to gawk at, and the fact that one had to wear those pesky glasses to see images that seemed to leap out into your lap–so to speak!
But now, there is a new(er) method of grabbing video content, be it from a TV device (in 2-D), a smartphone, a electronic tablet (i.e. an “iPad”), or a laptop of one’s choosing. This method that’s all the rage is called “streaming”, “video on-demand” a.k.a. “VOD”, and other descriptions of “over-the-top a.k.a. “OTT” television. This is where video contact is available whenever the viewer wants to see it, no matter when and where the viewing is going to take place. All one needs is the for noted electronic devices, a stable internet based connection, as well as a subscription to gain access to the said content. It’s not like in the so-called “good old days” when if somebody wanted to view a specific program, one was at the source’s mercy to view the said content at a day and time of day where the source deemed for for viewing access. In other words, one has to work their schedules around to view the program(s) in question, rather than the other way around.
For a while, TV fans had some control in seeing a program of such that was more at the viewer’s choice through the magic of capturing the program with their video cassette recorders (VCR’s for short) that did the “watching” for the viewer only to see the program much later–assuming that they eventually got around of viewing the program they recorded in the first place. But this is all besides the point!
Now with streaming in the norm and the devices to take it all visually, people are getting rather tired in all of this viewing.
Recently, IPG Mediabrands, a company based in the United Kingdom that describes itself as …a client-first, consulting-led, community-driven group of 13,000 media and marketing specialists in over 130 countries on a mission to ensure our clients win in the marketplace as stated on their LinkedIn page, released a report coauthored with the digital audio group Spotify stating that the pandemic was a major contributor to “screen fatigue” that shifted American media consumption toward audio content, especially of the digital kind that Spotify carries.
Why the rise of audio contact one may ask? It’s because of the notion of looking at video screens for just about everything, such as bingeing on past and current episodes to The Handmaid’s Tale (among other programming) to participating on meetings conducted through Zoom whose meeting topics were about everything from educational classes, business meetings, bible study groups, job interviews, as well as for birthday parties, weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, as well as for creating and/or viewing home brewed porno movies! (Don’t laugh folks! The website PornHub.com has (had?) a number of these sessions posted and available for anyone to see, although a few of them are even worth the time and effort to look at!)
And listening to audio has indeed been a source to release that screen fatigue. Within the last few years, podcasts, an audio program that’s been around since the aughts and has taken its name when one could hear these shows on one’s iPod device–a device that went out of vogue since smartphones can perform the same task that can house audio files as a stand alone iPad once did, has been of the rise of late.
Generally speaking, a podcast is a radio show that’s not found on the radio. It’s a mix of a talk show and a classic radio program once heard during the “golden days of radio” of the 1930’s through 1950’s, complete with dramatic music, sound effects, and other audio to give the show more appeal than just having a couple of voices talking about the subject(s) of the show on hand. Podcasts are so profound nowadays, media companies such as iHeart Radio has dedicated places on their web presence where one can turn in to even “subscribe” to the program, usually as presented on a serialized basis rather than a single one-show episode.
Of course, there are musical shows that cover all genres of music from tribal folk songs to progressive alternative ska music. (Don’t ask that kind of music this is as we don’t know either!!!)
But as the pandemic changes for the better, many of those that were watching too much stuff on their video screens as well as hearing more content through their earbuds will continue to do such. Yes, these audio and video fans will socialize in person once more. They will be meeting with others without the need to keep six feet away from one another and to wear that face mask. But old(er) habits do die hard(er)! Just as long as the video and/or audio content is worth its mark, then it’s worth being a keeper. And the best part, it’s all disposable. If one gets fatigue in viewing or listening, then one can shut off the device, and enjoy the real sounds and sights that’s worth all its peak. All of the real sights and sounds are all in stereo, 3-D visuals, and it’s free to boot! And no wifi connection is required! One can’t beat that!
F9: THE FAST SAGA (Universal) is the ninth entry to the action-adventure movie series The Fast and the Furious, featuring Vin Diesel as Dominic “Dom” Toretto and his group as they embark into another mission taking them through various places around the globe.
This time around, his clan of fast driving individuals consisting of Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) arrive at Dom’s farm to inform him that the aircraft of Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) has gone down and out within the jungles of Central America with the infamous Cipher (Charlize Theron) in his custody. The team has come to Dom and his spouse Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) expecting the pair to join them and get back into the game. Letty is up for it but Dom hesitates. That is, until he learns that the person behind this plot is led by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered: a man who also happens to be Dom’s forsaken brother, Jakob (John Cena). So with wits, might, as well as a lot of machinery (and fast driving vehicles) they head off upon another mission to save the world!
If the above scenario doesn’t seem to hold much of a plot, then that is the whole idea to this feature film! It has action, gunfire, hard driving vehicles driving through terrain set in world wide exotic places, along with enough stunt scenes that is too good to be true! And these depictions all take place within the first twenty minutes of the movie! This notion beats on what’s called the “twenty minute movie rule” a.k.a. “the first reel rule” that describes that if nothing happens on screen within the first reel of a movie, nothing is going to happen!
Guess what, folks? One will get their money’s work in terms of said action, gunfire, explosions, with plenty of visual special effects to boot! Vin and company are back ready to take on the bad guys that always seem to have a cause in some form of conflict that can’t be resolved with a one-on-one conversation. (If that would ever take place, one would’t have much of a movie!) Daniel Casey & Justin Lin’s screenplay with story by Lin & Alfredo Botello and Daniel Casey is another comic book-esque form of entertainment that made summertime movies just what they are; Another “popcorn” type of feature. (It also could be described as a “nacho with cheese goo” movie, but one gets the idea here!)
Justin Lin, who not only penned part of the story and screenplay as well as directing the third through sixth entries of the F&F franchise, is back calling the shots as seen on screen. If one is a fan to this franchise of movies that made a killing for Universal since the turn of the 21st century (and when the studio was once owned by Vevendi, a French based water and sewer utility company, with the studio changing many hands since, now owned by NBC), one won’t be disappointed! One will get one’s dollar worth, although one will receive more satisfaction in experiencing this film in a real movie theater rather than through a video-on-demand platform such as NBC’s Peacock.
Rounding of the cast appearing in this vehicle (and perhaps driving a few of them as well) is Grammy-winning superstar Cardi B as new franchise character Leysa, a woman with a connection to Dom’s past, and a cameo by Reggaeton sensation Ozuna. (Reviewer’s note: the above paragraph was word copy extracted from the official press notes as provided by NBCUniversal as this same reviewer isn’t too familiar with Cardi B. and Ozuna. Perhaps it’s due to the reviewer’s demographic!)
Again, if one can see this movie in an actual movie house, one will get that big screen with booming sound experience! If one desires to see it through another platform, make sure the volume control of one’s audio system is cranked up as loud as the management will allow since Brian Tyler’s music score is pretty decent for an action/adventure pic. And with its running time running two hours, twenty five minutes, one should either hold off on guzzling those fizzy drinks if set inside of a theater, or one can guzzle as many as one can if viewing at home. When nature calls, it’s either hitting the pause “button” on the viewing device, or it’s a bathroom break during the movie where one might miss some of the action. Then again, the plot’s rather easy to follow, so never mind…!
F9: THE FAST SAGA is rated “PG-13” for action sequences and mild(er) cussing. Now playing in theaters where available ——————————————————————————————————————-
In next week’s issue, Accessibly Live Off-Line will present its annual State of the Union Address. Don’t miss it!! ——————————————————————————————————————-
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