Apple TV+ to Debut ‘The Oprah Conversation’ July 30

Apple TV+ July 30 will debut “The Oprah Conversation,” a new series from Oprah Winfrey that will explore impactful and relevant topics with thought leaders from all over the world.

In the debut episode, “How to Be an Antiracist,” Oprah and best-selling author professor Ibram X. Kendi will speak with white readers who confront their own racist beliefs. The episode will be available to stream for free exclusively on Apple TV+ July 30 at 4 p.m. PT.

“The Oprah Conversation” will continue with a special two-part interview with athlete, commentator, activist, and creator and host of “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” Emmanuel Acho on Aug. 7. In part one, Acho will speak to Oprah about his web series and take questions from white viewers. Part two of the interview will see Acho and Oprah dive deeper into their unfiltered discussions about race in response to questions from white and Latinx guests.

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The series will also offer conversations between Oprah and change makers such as Equal Justice Initiative founder and best-selling author Bryan Stevenson. Stevenson’s story and memoir inspired the acclaimed film “Just Mercy.”

“The Oprah Conversation” will premiere alongside “Oprah Talks COVID-19” and “Oprah’s Book Club,” now streaming in more than 100 countries on Apple TV+.

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Apple TV+ is available on the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac, select Samsung and LG smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, as well as at tv.apple.com, for $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. The Apple TV app will be available on Sony and Vizio smart TVs later this year. For a limited time, customers who purchase a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free. This special offer is good for three months after the first activation of the eligible device.1 For more information, visit apple.com/tvpr.

Apple Expected to Bow Video Streaming Platform March 25

Apple is expected to announce its much-anticipated Apple TV video streaming platform at a special “Apple Event” March 25 at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, Calif.

The tech giant March 11 sent out “It’s Show Time” media invites without elaborating further details about the contents of the presentation. Media reports suggest that while Apple may announce the streaming service, it may not be functional until later this year.

Apple, which is reportedly spending $2 billion on original content for the rebooted Apple TV app, has been slow to jump on the over-the-top video bandwagon ever since co-founder Steve Jobs infamously characterized online video a hobby.

Now with entertainment management hired, and content deals involving Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Bill Murray, Sofia Coppola, Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) among others, in production, Apple TV reportedly will also offer third-party OTT video subscriptions – notably HBO, CBS All Access, Showtime and Starz — similarly to Amazon Channels.

Separately, Apple and Roku reportedly are finalizing details on an agreement that will enable Roku users to stream content, including video and photos, to and from an iPhone, iPad or Mac to a connected TV through the AirPlay 2 integration on the Roku device.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Inks Content Deal With Oprah Winfrey

Apple June 15 unveiled a multi-year content partnership with Oprah Winfrey, “the esteemed producer, actress, talk show host, philanthropist and CEO of OWN,” the tech giant announced.

Winfrey and Apple will create original programs that “embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world,” according to Apple.

Winfrey’s projects will be released as part of a lineup of original content from Apple.

Disney’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Coming May 29 on Digital, June 5 on Disc

A Wrinkle in Time, starring Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling and directed by Ava DuVernay, will come out May 29 on Digital HD, 4K Ultra HD and Movies Anywhere and June 5 on Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD, DVD and On-Demand from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

The film has earned $93.7 million in theaters.

Based on Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery Medal-winning young adult novel, the story follows Meg Murry (Storm Reid) who — with the help of Mrs. Which (Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Kaling) — journeys across dimensions with classmate Calvin (Levi Miller) and younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) in search of her father (Chris Pine), a world-renowned physicist who mysteriously disappeared four years ago.

Bonus material includes an extended featurette providing inside access to the cast and crew; audio commentary from DuVernay and team; deleted scenes; bloopers; and two music videos, “I Believe,” performed by DJ Khaled and Demi Lovato, and “Warrior,” performed by Chloe x Halle.

The Star

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street 2/20/18;
Sony Pictures;
Animated;
$30.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG’ for some thematic elements.
Voices of Steven Yeun, Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi, Keegan-Michael Key, Kelly Clarkson, Patricia Heaton, Kristin Chenoweth, Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey, Aidy Bryant, Anthony Anderson, Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Plummer, Ving Rhames, Gabriel Iglesias, Mariah Carey, Phil Morris, Roger Craig Smith.

This fluffy faith-based animated adventure frames the tale of the Nativity from the point of view of a group of animals whose lives intersect with the coming of the Messiah.

The Star follows a little donkey (Steven Yeun of “The Walking Dead”) with big dreams who befriends the pregnant Mary (Gina Rodriguez of “Jane the Virgin,” playing another woman pregnant by unusual means here) before she leaves for Bethlehem, then sets off with his animal friends to protect her after learning King Herod (Christopher Plummer) has sent hunters after her in his attempt to prevent the birth of the King of the Jews. The camels (Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey) of the Three Wise Men also seek out the impending birth of Jesus to protect him.

Lest anyone worry about the film straying too far from scripture with its talking animals, one of its best running gags involves the fact that the animals can communicate freely with each other, but just sound like animals to the humans around them.

It’s a testament to the earnestness of The Star, and a sign of how it expects its audience to approach the film, that an early scene involves Mary returning home to her husband, Joseph, after being away for an extended period of time. Visibly pregnant, she explains it’s the Son of God and that it’s his duty to help her bring the child into the world, and he embraces the calling. Were this not a faith-based movie aimed at children, I suspect most men being told that story by their wife might have a different reaction.

The film’s screenplay was originally intended for a live-action production of the Jim Henson Company, which reportedly would have employed a style similar to Babe, using visual effects to make the animals appear to talk. When that didn’t pan out, the project was revived at Sony Pictures Animation by DeVon Franklin, a prominent Christian preacher and motivational speaker who has produced a number of notable faith-based films, such as Heaven Is for Real.

The end result is a cute adventure that, despite some broad Looney Tunes-type humor, remains grounded in its piety. While not a musical, the film relies heavily on a soundtrack consisting of modern renderings of some classic Christmas songs.

The songs are the subject of a good portion of the Blu-ray’s bonus materials, which include several “lyric videos,” two sing-alongs and a dance-along video.

The Blu-ray also offers some typical behind-the-scenes featurettes, such as the 13-minute “An All Star Cast” and the two-minute “Creating the World of 9 Months B.C.” There’s also a commentary with executive producer Franklin and director Tim Reckart.

But the Blu-ray also has ambitions to serve as a faith-based teaching tool, and to that end it includes the 10-minute “Faith All Year Round With DeVon Franklin,” in which the producer discusses the film’s message with a group of children. For those who prefer something more interactive, there are three arts-and-crafts videos.

Finally, the Blu-ray offers a bit of background art for special occasions in the form of an animated Nativity scene that runs on a 21-hour loop.