Dame Helen Mirren says streaming is ‘devastating’ for cinema

Dame Helen Mirren has said the rise of watching films on streaming services at home is “devastating” for people who want to make films for the big screen.

“It’s devastating for people like my husband, film directors, because they want their movies to be watched in a cinema with a group of people,” the actress told Total Film magazine.

Dame Helen, 72, is married to Taylor Hackford, director of 2004 biopic Ray.

She said the “communal” experience of cinema is in danger of dying out.

“An audience, a movie, and you’re all in it together,” she said. “You’re frightened, you laugh, you cry all together. So it’s a communal thing. And that’s beginning to disappear.”

The Oscar winner’s comments continue a debate about services like Netflix, which has bought films like Annihilation and Mudbound for its own subscribers.

Its business model generally bypasses cinemas – a fact that has unsettled many in the film industry.

Netflix films have been banned from this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which has introduced a rule saying all films in competition must have a cinema release.

Streaming services may be able to offer fans advantages in terms of price, selection and home comforts – but the attraction of the cinema doesn’t seem to be waning.

Last year, UK cinemagoers spent a record £1.38bn on tickets, up 6.1% on the previous year.

Cinemas v streaming – which is best?

We put Dame Helen’s comments to our Facebook group. Here’s a sample of what people said:

  • “I love the cinema experience but it’s so expensive that I only go to see a movie I’ve been waiting ages for (next trip is Avengers: Infinity War!). With Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions there are so many movies I can watch at home in the comfort of my living room and movies tend to come out faster for streaming than they used to on DVD.” Rosie Smith
  • “I love seeing great films on huge screens in the dark in comfy seats and with treats to eat. However, my husband will no longer go any more because of the cost and the fact he can now download for free so feels there’s no need nor justification to go.” Claire Stokes
  • “I love going to the cinema, as nothing compares to being completely enveloped in that room with that sound and vision! Yes the price has risen a lot but where hasn’t it these days? If you’re watchful you can get two for the price of one or become a member for reduced prices. Compared to the cost of a meal out or the price of a few drinks, it’s much less expensive.” Louise Prior
  • “The cinema has become so expensive, so I’ll only go a few times a year. Love the experience, but will only go for films I am dying to see and have been waiting to come out. Otherwise I feel these films do come to Sky or online pretty quickly, so I’m happy to wait.” Eve St Claire
  • “I love the cinema and my hubby and I would like to make it a weekly treat. However the cost means we wait until a film we desperately want to see comes out rather than seeing less exciting films. With travel and ticket price a cinema trip has become a luxury and not a regular outing.” Bbev Hall Palfreyman
  • “I still go regularly. I like being at the cinema but also like having a closer look at the production, maybe because I also enjoy the theatre. Film is definitely a big screen medium and it’s a shame to see the works ignored at the cinema. Lots of times I have seen only three or four people at a screening for something that was really good and that a lot of effort had gone into.” Alex Pinfold

    Join the conversation on our Facebook group. It’s a place to chat about everything we’re watching at the moment, as well as discuss the big issues in the entertainment world.

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Will Netflix’s Amo be the Philippine Narcos?

Allegations of historical inaccuracy, character stereotypes and the glamorisation of a drug-fuelled past have long plagued the critically-acclaimed Netflix hit series Narcos in Colombia.

And in early April, the global streaming giant will release another drug crime drama, this time from the Philippines.

Set against the backdrop of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ongoing drug war, Amo – produced in the Philippines and directed by Filipino Brillante Mendoza – tells the story of a troubled teenager named Joseph, who gets pulled into Manila’s underground world.

Traffickers and dangerous drug lords, crooked cops and corrupt government officials all feature prominently in the 12-episode series.

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    Produced by commercial broadcast network TV5, the series will be the first Filipino Netflix Original to be screened globally, starting 9 April.

    Netflix’s vice-president of content acquisition Robert Roy told the BBC it was a “bold and suspenseful show that has the potential of capturing thrill-seeking audiences worldwide”.

    But while there’s some local pride in a potentially breakthrough Philippine show, there’s also concern about the message it will send, not least because Brillante Mendoza is an open supporter of President Duterte.

    Since Mr Duterte launched an all-out campaign to stamp out drugs, rights groups estimate that more than 12,000 people have died.

    Many were shot without trial by police or vigilantes, their bodies left out in the open.

    The strongman leader recently announced plans to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) after it began examining alleged crimes committed during his war.

    Mendoza denied his programme was Duterte propaganda.

    “As a filmmaker stepping into this project, I want to tell truthful stories. I don’t care about politics,” Mr Mendoza told BBC News in Manila.

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    He said he didn’t know whether the president had seen the series but that his representatives “liked it”.

    “My work speaks for itself and people have to watch Amo first. Just because I did a movie about illegal drugs, people are starting to accuse me of doing a propaganda film.

    His 2016 gritty tale Ma Rosa chronicled the struggles of a mother in Manila forced to sell drugs in order to make ends meet.

    “There are a lot of killings [in Amo],” he said. “I will show both sides of the coin, not just the side of the government but also the side of the victims and the police. There is a lot of corruption among them and they are partly to blame.”

    Critics say the story of the Philippine drug war will be a tricky one to tell.

    In a statement to BBC News, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the show appeared to gloss over “the vicious reality of Duterte’s drug war”.

    “The Philippine government presents a whitewashed view of Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war that paints a ludicrous veneer of civility and lawfulness. They will be well-pleased by the first two episodes of Amo,” said deputy Asia director Phelim Kine.

    “One of the most notably preposterous elements of the show is the significant number of suspected drug users and dealers actually surviving their encounters with the Philippine National Police, which is contrary to what has actually been occurring since the drug war began in 2016,” he added.

    “Any dramatic representation of the drug war should stick to the same facts that have motivated an ICC examination of the killings, rather than provide an airbrushed version which does detriment to the truth while benefiting the Duterte government’s formidable propaganda machine.”

    Narcos, which debuted on Netflix in 2015, won critical acclaim for its documentary-style depiction of Colombian drug lords, with the earlier defining seasons centring on the story of Pablo Escobar.

    But the reception in the country where the series was based has always proven to be mixed. Many native audiences questioned the show’s authenticity and ridiculed its sympathetic narrative towards police officers and politicians.

    In the case of Amo and the Philippines, could native Netflix subscribers view a show about their president’s drug campaign as entertainment?

    “I’d watch it for sure,” said Isabel Sedano. “But I’d expect a strong story that won’t shy away from showing the darker and grittier side of local law enforcement and crime.

    “Fiction personalises issues and I feel that Amo will definitely help in making the drug war feel in even closer to home than it is.”

    Kimberly Koschinger, a 20-year-old student, said she would not want anything “sugar-coated”.

    “The Philippine drug war is anything but glamorous. I’m excited to see how it will be portrayed on Netflix,” she said. “Our country may be known for beautiful beaches and friendly people but if we are going to delve deeper into the darker parts of our country, I’d want to see full disclosure of the subject.”

    Others like Gab Bonifacio expressed stronger sentiments. “What shows haven’t glorified drugs? Just look at Breaking Bad and El Chapo.

    “But do we really think the narrative in Amo will be anti-establishment? I’m sure the scriptwriters will justify all the killings just like they did in Narcos,” he said.

    “Brillante Mendoza did a lot of good stuff before but based on his work with President Duterte, it becomes overwhelmingly obvious that what the show will have is the farthest thing from an objective observer.”

    Additional reporting by Howard Johnson and Virma Simonette in Manila.

Millie Bobby Brown and five other famous fan surprises

Millie Bobby Brown has promised to help out a fan after no one showed up at his Stranger Things party.

Aaron Alambat had invited eight friends to his birthday party, which was themed around the supernatural Netflix drama.

Alambat’s brother Ayen posted pictures of the party on social media, which included a themed cake and punch bowl.

The photos went viral and caught the attention of Brown, who plays Eleven in the show, prompting her to ask for an invitation to next year’s party.

Skip Twitter post by @ayenalambat

my brother invited 8 of his classmates for his stranger things themed bday party & none of their punk selves showed up pic.twitter.com/Rw8wC5uNjo

— ayen (@ayenalambat) March 18, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @ayenalambat

She tweeted: “What!!!! Oh well you can let them all know that everyone on behalf on Stranger Things would’ve come! I think you’re awesome and next year I would like an invite… Please?”

Taylor Swift

Skip Youtube post by Taylor Swift Warning: Third party content may contain adverts Report

End of Youtube post by Taylor Swift

In 2014 the pop queen received an invite to one of her biggest fan’s weddings.

Unfortunately, Taylor couldn’t make the ceremony, but that didn’t stop her from crashing Gena Gabrielle’s bridal party in Ohio.

Taylor filmed the surprise and even brought some wedding gifts along too!

Niall Horan

Skip Twitter post by @OnMyMindNjh

HE IS SO PRECIOUS. STOPS TO TAKE PICS WITH FANS AND BUYS THEM STARBUCKS. I LOVE NIALL #MTVStarsNiallHoran pic.twitter.com/kwtU1yVMZ3

— FLICKER || MET LIAM ♡🎗 (@OnMyMindNjh) December 13, 2016

Report

End of Twitter post by @OnMyMindNjh

When the One Direction singer found out that fans had been queuing overnight to see him perform on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, he decided to treat them.

Niall had to run round New York to find a 24-hour Starbucks so he could buy them all hot chocolate to warm up.

He also took time to pose for photos with fans… complete with Snapchat filters, obvs.

Example

Skip Twitter post by @example

Just took the 12 fans on the #UltimateWeekender bus for dinner at @NandosUK in Glasgow. I look really awake don't I? pic.twitter.com/Gt1oXxHh4x

— example (@example) March 15, 2014

Report

End of Twitter post by @example

Rapper and singer Example loves Nando’s so much that he treated 12 fans to dinner there ahead of a gig in Glasgow.

In 2014 he selected the fans to come on a weekend tour, where he performed six gigs across London, Manchester and Glasgow.

The group apparently ate 12 chickens and 30 sides. Example, our diaries are open and awaiting your next piece of peri-peri generosity.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

Millie Bobby Brown and five other famous fan surprises

Millie Bobby Brown has promised to help out a fan after no one showed up at his Stranger Things party.

Aaron Alambat had invited eight friends to his birthday party, which was themed around the supernatural Netflix drama.

Alambat’s brother Ayen posted pictures of the party on social media, which included a themed cake and punch bowl.

The photos went viral and caught the attention of Brown, who plays Eleven in the show, prompting her to ask for an invitation to next year’s party.

Skip Twitter post by @ayenalambat

my brother invited 8 of his classmates for his stranger things themed bday party & none of their punk selves showed up pic.twitter.com/Rw8wC5uNjo

— ayen (@ayenalambat) March 18, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @ayenalambat

She tweeted: “What!!!! Oh well you can let them all know that everyone on behalf on Stranger Things would’ve come! I think you’re awesome and next year I would like an invite… Please?”

Taylor Swift

Skip Youtube post by Taylor Swift Warning: Third party content may contain adverts Report

End of Youtube post by Taylor Swift

In 2014 the pop queen received an invite to one of her biggest fan’s weddings.

Unfortunately, Taylor couldn’t make the ceremony, but that didn’t stop her from crashing Gena Gabrielle’s bridal party in Ohio.

Taylor filmed the surprise and even brought some wedding gifts along too!

Niall Horan

Skip Twitter post by @OnMyMindNjh

HE IS SO PRECIOUS. STOPS TO TAKE PICS WITH FANS AND BUYS THEM STARBUCKS. I LOVE NIALL #MTVStarsNiallHoran pic.twitter.com/kwtU1yVMZ3

— FLICKER || MET LIAM ♡🎗 (@OnMyMindNjh) December 13, 2016

Report

End of Twitter post by @OnMyMindNjh

When the One Direction singer found out that fans had been queuing overnight to see him perform on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, he decided to treat them.

Niall had to run round New York to find a 24-hour Starbucks so he could buy them all hot chocolate to warm up.

He also took time to pose for photos with fans… complete with Snapchat filters, obvs.

Example

Skip Twitter post by @example

Just took the 12 fans on the #UltimateWeekender bus for dinner at @NandosUK in Glasgow. I look really awake don't I? pic.twitter.com/Gt1oXxHh4x

— example (@example) March 15, 2014

Report

End of Twitter post by @example

Rapper and singer Example loves Nando’s so much that he treated 12 fans to dinner there ahead of a gig in Glasgow.

In 2014 he selected the fans to come on a weekend tour, where he performed six gigs across London, Manchester and Glasgow.

The group apparently ate 12 chickens and 30 sides. Example, our diaries are open and awaiting your next piece of peri-peri generosity.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.