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Halle Berry Shares Book That Inspired Her To ‘Refocus Her Energy’ Away From Her Phone & ‘Enjoy’ The World

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Halle Berry was thrilled to discuss a book that has helped her ‘survive this time’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, encouraging her fans to check out ‘How To Break Up With Your Phone’ by Catherine Price!

Halle Berry wants her fans to “reospin” how they read. The Oscar-winning actress, 54, took to her IG TV on August 20 to promote a 2018 book that has aided her in transitioning to a healthier relationship with personal technology — specifically her phone. During the introduction to her video, Halle expressed how she wanted to use this time to “find some meaningful things to do, or some meaningful things to discover.” As such, it led her to her latest obsession: How To Break Up With Your Phone by journalist Catherine Price.

The actress confessed that during the coronavirus pandemic she’s been thinking a lot about how we “use the cellphone. Now that I’m inside and I don’t have all the external distractions, I’m really focused on how much time we are on our phone.” While Halle admitted that we don’t want to break up with our phones in a literal sense, she did share, “when I say break up, I meant, give your phone a break — figure out ways to have more mindful living while we’re in a relationship with this phone.”

Halle then shared one of her favorite excerpts from the book: “If you wanted to invent a device that could rewrite our minds, if you wanted to create a society of people who were perpetually distracted, isolated and overtired, if you wanted to weaken our memories and damage our capacity for focus and deep thought, if you wanted to reduce empathy, encourage self-absorption and redraw the lines of social etiquette you would likely end up with a smart phone.” After reading the incredibly in-depth breakdown on society’s relationship with their cellphones, Halle admitted that it completely blew her mind.

More than anything, Halle immediately took from the segment of text “the damage we could do” if we don’t alter how we interact with our cellphones. One of the best pieces of advice Halle took from How To Break Up With Your Phone was “to download an app blocker.” The actress revealed that the tool “blocks out the apps that might inundate…We don’t want these things chiming in all the time,” she explained.

The star even described how apps can lead us down “a black hole,” jumping from one app, to a new site, to a different site, and subsequently ignoring what it is we are doing in the moment. Halle also went into how the book details that we need to “set boundaries” between ourselves and our tech. “And that’s hard to do! I get it,” she assured fans. “We become so attached to our phones; I’m recording this right now on my phone!”

But finding time to set boundaries for “when the phone is just not appropriate” has been a key for Halle in her journey to live in the moment. “Like dinner time, you know, maybe you don’t want your phone out on the table. I don’t want my kids [Nahla, 12, and Maceo, 6] coming to dinner with their iPads…For me it’s been important to try and find some quality time with people that I care about.”

Halle Berry
Halle Berry at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, CA [Mega].

Finally, Halle introduced a new term that even she didn’t know until reading Price’s book. “Phubbing,” she said. “Phubbing is short for ‘phone snubbing.’ Having your phone on the table during a meal, that’s ‘phubbing;’ checking your phone in the middle of a conversation, that’s ‘phubbing.’ And that’s just plain rude.” Price even delineates that texting at a party could even be considered ‘phubbing,’ which Halle wasn’t so keen on, especially considering that sometimes parents have to check in on their kids when they’re out.

Clearly, there’s a lot that Halle took from Price’s book. Although there were some elements and practices she may not have wholeheartedly agreed with, like guests leaving their phones in a basket when visiting a friends’ home, it’s clear that Halle is reaping the benefits of reading the book. Price offers analysis and a reading on Western society’s obsession and connection with our phones, and prescribes some tools that can help overcome the need to constantly be plugged in, described by The New York Times as a gateway “to feel like a human again.”

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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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