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Dua Lipa’s ‘Levitating’ Gets The Ultimate Remix Thanks to Madonna and Missy Elliott

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Go big or go home, right? And it doesn’t get any bigger than Madonna. Dua Lipa enlisted both the Material Girl and Missy Elliott for her ‘Levitating” remix and it’s everything you expected it to be.

” ‘LEVITATING‘ REMIXED BY THE BLESSED MADONNA FEATURING MY IDOLS MADONNA & MISSY ELLIOTT – 14TH OF AUGUST – DREAM COME TRUE LETS GO!!!!!!” said Dua Lipa when announcing the lead single off her Club Future Nostalgia: The Remix Album. Her enthusiasm was warranted because it’s not every day that one gets Missy, 49, and Madonna, 61, on a track remixed by The Blessed Madonna (fka The Black Madonna aka Marea Stamper). In fact, Dua couldn’t wait until the 14th to release the song, and she dropped it half-a-day early. The results, as expected, were pure club magic, with a song that should make everybody’s body move. Is this a late contender for Song of the Summer?

“It’s just such a mind-blowing experience,” Dua told Zane Lowe on Apple Music about the process, including writing alongside Missy Elliott. “Being a fan of Missy’s for so long and then having her to be like, ‘Yeah, I love the song. I love the remix. I love the track. I feel inspired by it. I want to jump on it.’ I’m like, ‘Oh my God, this is so crazy.’ Just like what you said, I jumped on the phone with her and we had a little talk and she really just does stuff that she really believes in, so that I felt it was such a massive compliment for me, for her to be so inspired by the remix and the track, and to want to be a part of it and be a part of this mix tape. And it really is a dream come true. I still find it, just talking about it, I’m like, it doesn’t make sense.”

As for the iconic Madge? “Madonna has been an artist that I’ve listened to my whole life,” Dua told Zane. “And I think just, I guess her career trajectory as well has been something so inspirational and the momentum that she’s kept and the way that she’s grown with her music. And I’ve always found that really, really inspiring and to get to work with the diva herself.”

As the name implies, Club Future Nostalgia is a dance-ified version of her critically successful second studio album, Future Nostalgia, released in March of 2020. As soon as it dropped, fans and critics alike were marveling over Dua’s new project, and by the half-way point, many publications listed it as one of the best albums of 2020. Rolling Stone dubbed it “a breathtakingly fun, cohesive, and ambitious attempt to find a place for disco in 2020… Its camp, Daft Punk-ian robot funk accents silly, full-of-nonsensical-but-smartly-delivered one-liners… It’s the type of big, Robyn-esque breakup, dance-pop anthem that every pop star is due to attempt at least once.” By the end of July, Future Nostalgia had an 88/100 on Metacritic, making it one of the better reviewed albums of the year.

Dua Lipa guests at the 70th San Remo Italian Music Festival (SplashNews)

In addition to this Missy-Madonna sandwich, Club Future Nostalgia will feature a Mark Ronson-remixed version of Dua’s “Physical” with a guest appearance by Gwen Stefani. Following Dua’s announcement of the remix record, Mark tweeted his own excitement. “”On the real tho sooo psyched to be on this DUA project,” tweeted Ronson. “I can’t wait for you all to hear this ‘Physical’ remix I spent half of lockdown working on. @gwenstefani sounds so good. PLUS I’M IN A TWEET WITH @MissyElliott!!!”

Fans may get a chance to see Dua perform this remixed single at the MTV Video Music Awards. She’s one of the artists rumored to perform at the Aug. 30 event (which is now no longer taking place indoors at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, but across NYC at audience-less outdoor performances.) Dua is up for four MTV VMAs, with her “Don’t Start Now” being nominated for Best Direction. Her “Physical” video also nabbed three nods -for Best Art Direction, Best Choreography, and Best Visual Effects.

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Netflix is developing a live action ‘Assassin’s Creed’ show

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Netflix announced this morning that it’s partnering with Ubisoft to adapt the game publisher’s “Assassin’s Creed” franchise into a live action series.

The franchise jumps around in history, telling the story of a secret society of assassins with “genetic memory” and their centuries-long battle the knights templar. It has sold 155 million games worldwide and was also turned into a nearly incomprehensible 2016 film starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, which underperformed at the box office.

The companies say that they’re currently looking for a showrunner. Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik of Ubisoft’s film and television division will serve as executive producers. (In addition to working on adaptations of Ubisoft’s intellectual property, the publisher is also involved in the Apple TV+ industry comedy “Mythic Quest.”)

“We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft and bring to life the rich, multilayered storytelling that Assassin’s Creed is beloved for,” said Netflix’s vice president of original series Peter Friedlander in a statement. “From its breathtaking historical worlds and massive global appeal as one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy.”

It sounds like there could be follow-up shows as well, with the announcement saying that Netflix and Ubisoft will “tap into the iconic video game’s trove of dynamic stories with global mass appeal for adaptations of live action, animated, and anime series.”

Netflix recently placed an eight-episode order for “Resident Evil,” another video game franchise that was previously adapted for the big screen. And it also had a big hit with its adaptation of “The Witcher,” which is based on a fantasy book series that was popularized via video games.

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Original Content podcast: ‘Lovecraft Country’ is gloriously bonkers

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As we tried to recap the first season of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” one thing became clear: The show is pretty nuts.

The story begins by sending Atticus “Tic” Freeman (Jonathan Majors), his friend Leti Lewis (Jurnee Smolett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) on a road trip across mid-’50s America in search of Tic’s missing father. You might assume that the search will occupy the entire season, or take even longer than that; instead, the initial storyline is wrapped up quickly.

And while there’s a story running through the whole season, most of the episodes are relatively self-contained, offering their own versions on various horror and science fiction tropes. There’s a haunted house episode, an Indiana Jones episode, a time travel episode and more.

The show isn’t perfect — the writing can be clunky, the special effects cheesy and cheap-looking. But at its best, it does an impressive job of mixing increasingly outlandish plots, creepy monsters (with plentiful gore) and a healthy dose of politics.

After all, “Lovecraft Country” (adapted form a book by Matt Ruff) is named after notoriously racist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, but it focuses almost entirely on Black characters, making the case that old genres can be reinvigorated with diverse casts and a rethinking of political assumptions.

In addition to reviewing the show, the latest episode of the Original Content podcast also includes a discussion of Netflix earnings, the new season of “The Bachelorette” and the end of Quibi.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:36 Netflix discussion
3:18 “The Bachelorette”
6:30 Quibi
14:35 “Lovecraft Country” review
31:32 “Lovecraft Country” spoiler discussion

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The short, strange life of Quibi

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“All that is left now is to offer a profound apology for disappointing you and, ultimately, for letting you down,” Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman wrote, closing out an open letter posted to Medium. “We cannot thank you enough for being there with us, and for us, every step of the way.”

With that, the founding executives confirmed the rumors and put Quibi to bed, a little more than six months after launching the service.

Starting a business is an impossibly difficult task under nearly any conditions, but even in a world that’s littered with high-profile failures, the streaming service’s swan song was remarkable for both its dramatically brief lifespan and the amount of money the company managed to raise (and spend) during that time.

A month ahead of its commercial launch, Quibi announced that it had raised another $750 million. That second round of funding brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

“We concluded a very successful second raise which will provide Quibi with a strong cash runway,” CFO Ambereen Toubassy told the press at the time. “This round of $750 million gives us tremendous flexibility and the financial wherewithal to build content and technology that consumers embrace.”

Quibi’s second funding round brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

From a financial perspective, Quibi had reason to be hopeful. Its fundraising ambitions were matched only by the aggressiveness with which it planned to spend that money. At the beginning of the year, Whitman touted the company’s plans to spend up to $100,000 per minute of programming — $6 million per hour. The executive proudly contrasted the jaw-dropping sum to the estimated $500 to $5,000 an hour spent by YouTube creators.

For Whitman and Katzenberg — best known for their respective reigns at HP and Disney — money was key to success in an already crowded marketplace. $1 billion was a drop in the bucket compared to the $17.3 billion Netflix was expected to spend on original content in 2020, but it was a start.

Following in the footsteps of Apple, who had also recently announced plans to spend $1 billion to launch its own fledgling streaming service, the company was enlisting A-List talent, from Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Ridley Scott to Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and LeBron James. If your name carried any sort of clout in Hollywood boardrooms, Quibi would happily cut you a check, seemingly regardless of content specifics.

Quibi’s strategy primarily defined itself by itself by its constraints. In hopes of attracting younger millennial and Gen Z, the company’s content would be not just mobile-first, but mobile-only. There would be no smart TV app, no Chromecast or AirPlay compatibility. Pricing, while low compared to the competition, was similarly off-putting. After a 90-day free trial, $4.99 got you an ad-supported subscription. And boy howdy, were there ads. Ads upon ads. Ads all the way down. Paying another $3 a month would make them go away.

Technological constraints and Terms of Service fine print forbade screen shots — a fundamental understanding of how content goes viral in 2020 (though, to be fair, one shared with other competing streaming services). Amusingly, the inability to share content led to videos like this one of director Sam Raimi’s perplexingly earnest “The Golden Arm.”

It features a built-on laugh track from viewers as Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan lies in a hospital bed after refusing to remove a golden prosthetic. It’s an allegory, surely, but not one intentionally played for laughs. Many of the videos that did ultimately make the rounds on social media were regarded as a curiosity — strange artifacts from a nascent streaming service that made little sense on paper.

Most notable of all, however, were the “quick bites” that gave the service its confusingly pronounced name. Each program would be served in 5-10 minute chunks. The list included films acquired by the service, sliced up into “chapters.” Notably, the service didn’t actually purchase the content outright; instead, rights were set to revert to their creators after seven years. Meanwhile, after two years, content partners were able to “reassemble” the chunks back into a movie for distribution.

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