HBO Max Hits 64 Million Paid Subscribers

Yes, they are a long ways from 200+ million, but the HBO Max paid subscriber count continues to inch closer to the 100+ million mark.

In its Q1 earnings report released this week, the company cited “first-quarter results that showed continuing customer growth in wireless, fiber and HBO Max and strong cash flows.” It further went on to cite 2.7 million total domestic HBO and HBO Max net new subscribers, further noting 44.2 million total domestic subscribers and almost 64 million global subscribers. But those numbers don’t tell the whole story, and buried in the fine print at the very bottom of the report, AT&T sort of breaks down how those figures work.

Those HBO Max Numbers Aren’t What They Seem

This is an increase in subscribers of approximately three million since the last time we wrote about this in January 2021 (see: Wonder Woman 1984 Helps HBO Max Gain 3+ Million Subscribers To 41.5 Million).

It’s fascinating that skeptics remain everywhere for HBO. They’ve been around since the 70s, I don’t think they’re going anywhere in the streaming race any time soon. No, they aren’t Netflix, but they have plenty of movies and TV properties to stay relevant for years to come, regardless if AT&T torpedoes them from time to time. Some people see the value in their content library (see: Tom’s Guide Article Declares HBO Max As Currently The Best Streaming Service)

Not scientific by any means, but we looked at how many movies we’ve watched across the various streaming services in 2021 so far as well as watched in theaters for comparison. Here are the numbers as of this writing (through 4/26/2021):

  1. Watched In theaters – 21
  2. HBO Max – 21
  3. Netflix – 16
  4. Amazon Prime Video – 14
  5. Hulu – 12
  6. Shudder – 10
  7. Paramount+ / CBS All Access – 8
  8. Peacock – 5
  9. Disney+ – 5

This list above through the first four months will be interesting to revisit at the end of the year — to compare and contrast.

The movies being watched (or rewatched) and reviewed are being organically chosen based on interest at the moment. We don’t go to HBO Max first, it just has the largest library of movies, both new and older that we want to see. Netflix is higher up the list because they release more new movies than any service. Some don’t appeal to us, like the new Melissa McCarthy movie we didn’t bother to watch, but they release far and away the most new movies, usually exclusives than any streaming service. This is their way of getting on streaming subscribers organically chosen list — and clearly it works with us.

Down the list in the middle comes no surprise with Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. They share some similarities in their respective movie libraries. Amazon Prime Video has way more movies, but a lot that you’ve never heard of. Hulu has a decent library of foreign titles.

At the bottom of the list comes Paramount+/CBS All Access, Peacock and Disney+. None of these three services release many new movies. Disney+ has the best existing library, perhaps followed closely by Peacock. Despite the name change, Paramount+ still has a comparatively small streaming movie library. It’s not all about quantity, but for movie lovers, there are better choices than Paramount+.

Speaking of quantity, Shudder is also middle of the road in the list above, but for horror they would be toward the top. For a niche streaming service, they have movies other services don’t have and are worth watching — if you like horror, of course. There are other niche streaming services that deserve attention. We were subscribed to Boomerang for animated shows, for example, and that has a good library too.

The ad-supported streaming channels aren’t being tracked through our Letterboxd list, but we do record them by tag. We don’t watch many of those channels, really, you can can’t the movies watched on one hand probably through the first four months. The answer is usually to do with the ads. Peacock has too many ads for their ad-supported version. Having ads come on frequently isn’t the way we want to watch movies. We could pay $4/more a month for Peacock without ads, but the movie library will need to be much more compelling to pay more.

We probably will try the HBO Max with ads offering to see how intrusive the ads are. If they are anything like Peacock, then we’ll go back to paying for the ad-free subscription tier.

What streaming channel are you watching the most movies on?

As Creepshow Season 2 Finishes Airing, Season 3 Is Under Production

We missed the good news about AMC’s Shudder renewal for Creepshow Season 3, which is currently under production and scheduled for release later in 2021. Perhaps, presumably, by Halloween 2021?

“During our Season 2 production, Shudder was so pleased with what they were seeing that they asked us to roll right into production on a brand-new third season that will feature some of our most ambitious stories yet,” said executive producer and showrunner Greg Nicotero. “I’m incredibly thankful to the team at Shudder for the opportunity to continue honoring the genre with more gleefully ghoulish tales over not one, but two new seasons of Creepshow this year.”

Shudder Renews Creepshow for Third Season, Orders Black Horror Anthology

As the article indicates above, clear back in February 2021, they also greenlit a new Black Horror Anthology. Am curiou show that will turn out. We wish there were more anthology TV series with multiple stories. They used to do this more frequently. Something like Fantasy Island the TV show being rebooted would be worthwhile considering. The movie wasn’t very good, but the TV show could come back. They just need to follow the Creepshow template from Shudder and have a passionate showrunner that will pay homage to the past and usher in new stories under the proven framework.

The final episode of Creepshow Season 2 will stream on Shudder April 29. We haven’t watched any of the episodes yet, but it’s high up on the watchlist.

MIT COVID-19 Study Concludes No Safer 6 feet than 60 feet Social Distancing

A new study under extensive peer review has determined that what we’ve been told about social distancing is inaccurate. Six feet is no safer than 60 feet, according to this study. It also concludes that more time spent inside a confined area is more hazardous, regardless of social distance.

This doesn’t sound good for time spent inside a movie theater, particularly if it’s for a long movie (ahem, Snyder cut).

“This emphasis on distancing has been really misplaced from the very beginning. The CDC or WHO have never really provided justification for it, they’ve just said this is what you must do and the only justification I’m aware of, is based on studies of coughs and sneezes, where they look at the largest particles that might sediment onto the floor and even then it’s very approximate, you can certainly have longer or shorter range, large droplets,” Bazant said.

“The distancing isn’t helping you that much and it’s also giving you a false sense of security because you’re as safe at 6 feet as you are at 60 feet if you’re indoors. Everyone in that space is at roughly the same risk, actually,” he noted.

MIT researchers say you’re no safer from Covid indoors at 6 feet or 60 feet in new study challenging social distancing policies

In our county in Washington State, we’re on the verge of a 4th COVID-19 spike. They just rolled us back to Phase 2 which reduces allowed occupancy indoors at movie theaters. According to the study above, this reduction is pointless for actually reducing the risk of infection.

Got to love science. All these smart minds and we’re just figuring this out now?

Sony Patent Will Allow AI Clone To Play Games For You, What’s Next, Watching Movies For You?

The title might sound hyperbolic, perhaps even ridiculous, but think again. AI clones, we don’t need them for entertainment, right? The following game-related patent sounds appealing, but think about it more carefully.

The patent also points out that games may be able to flag if a player needed AI help to beat a task. “If the AI character has completed specific tasks, those tasks can be identified as being completed by the user with assistance from the AI game controller,” it explains.

Another example given is online multiplayer co-op games, where a player may need to leave the game to eat or work. In this situation, instead of the game having to end, the player can turn on the ‘automatic mode’ and have the AI play with their friends in their absence until they can return to take over again.

Sony has patented an AI that will play your games for you

A major part of the satisfaction in gaming is beating your previous best score, reaching new game levels, beating an end boss. These all require your own skills. That all goes out the window if someday you can have your AI clone buddy sub out your gameplay.

If we have AI clones that can sub for us when we’re eating, it’s not too far-fetched to suggest the AI clone will do other tasks we don’t have time for like, yeah, read books, watch movies. Imagine tasking your AI clone with catching up on the new Stephen King book because you don’t want to sit down and experience it yourself, or sit through the 10 episode TV season or, gasp, watch the newest movie so you don’t have to spend the two plus hours. Your AI clone could report back what you might have thought of it, because it knows you so well.

I’m one of the most tech-friendly guys out there, but don’t want an AI clone to do any of the things mentioned above. I want to experience human created art directly and personally, not through some sort of artificial proxy. I don’t like using the word “never” but here it fits: never.

Now, what I might be interested in is playing against an AI clone in a game. We are already doing this in some games, I’m sure. What tougher computer opponent could there be than one that plays like you do? But, um, it’s a big N-O to having an AI clone someday experience entertainment for me.

Then again, maybe someday my AI clone will write these posts. Why not?

Mortal Kombat ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mortal Kombat – R – 1 hr 50 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Friday April 23, 2021
AMC Lakewood 12 – Lakewood, Washington
21st new movie seen in theater in 2021

Subzero vs. Scorpion starts in the 1600s and moves to present day with a descendant learning what the strange mark on his arm means. A tournament is coming between good and evil and if the bad guys win, it’s game over for earth.

Looked forward to seeing this movie with a little skepticism because almost every movie based on a videogame is not what it could be. Here, the filmmakers paid homage the awesome fighting game. Fatalities are brutal, just as they were in the game and there are plenty of cool nods to the game.

As we left the theater and recorded the video below, it was refreshing to hear we both had similar feelings about this film. Good action, pacing, excellent fight scenes, an overall fun, exciting film that reminds of playing a videogame.

There were a lot of showings sold out which confirms our thoughts that this is going to have a good opening weekend. Maybe among the better openings of any film since the pandemic. Whether you can see it in theater or on streaming, this is recommended.

Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Todd) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  (Kara)

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND #17 of 2021 Movie and TV Streaming Picks – Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Shudder

Netflix: April 22 – Anna Kendrick

Weekend #17 of 52 (4/22 – 4/25/2021) for 2021 Picks By Streaming Service

Three new movies at theaters this weekend to check out, which is more than the one and occasionally two we’ve been receiving. Streaming still going strong, with plenty of new movies to check out this weekend.


*Title with asterisk – newly released
Title is linked and has star rating – already watched, rated and reviewed
Title bolded – on our schedule to watch/rewatch, rate and review (or in progress)

NOTE: If you’re coming to these posts weeks or months later, some and/or all of the picks listed below may no longer be on the streaming services indicated. Anything marked as “Original” typically doesn’t expire on the streaming services.


  1. *Stowaway (Apr 22)
  2. *Heroes: Silence and Rock & Roll (Apr 23)
  3. Tell Me When


  1. *Zero (Apr 21)
  2. *Life in Color with David Attenborough (Apr 22)
  3. Shadow and Bone (Apr 23)

Disney+ Movies & TV

  1. Disney Junior Puppy Dog Pals (S3) – (Apr 23)
  2. Disney Liv and Maddie (S1)
  3. Disney Liv and Maddie (S2)
  4. Disney Liv and Maddie (S3)
  5. Disney Liv and Maddie : Cali Style (S4)
  6. Disney My Music Story: Sukimaswitch
  7. Being the Queen
  8. Baby’s Day Out


  1. *Mortal Kombat (Apr 23)
  2. *A Black Lady Sketch Show, Season 2 Premiere
  3. *El Robo Del Siglo (Aka Heist Of The Century)
  4. Dreamgirls – 2006 (Apr 24)
  5. The Artist – 2011 (Apr 26)

Amazon Prime Video

  1. Merantau – 2010 (Apr 21)
  2. Muay Thai Giant (2011)
  3. The Hero Of Color City (2014)
  4. Venus And Serena (2013)
  5. The Artist (Apr 26)


  1. *Cruel Summer: Series Premiere (Apr 21)
  2. *Greta Thunberg: A Year To Change The World: Documentary Premiere (Apr 22)
  3. *The Place of No Words – 2020 (Apr 23)    
  4. *Wild Mountain Thyme – 2021 (Apr 25)    


  1. *Boys from Country Hell (Apr 22)
  2. In Search Of Darkness: Part 2 – Documentary (Apr 26)

Opening 4-23-2021 in Theaters: Mortal Kombat, Together, Together, Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train

Thursday, week #17 of 2021 (4/22 – 4/25/2021).

Three movies available this weekend, including the much awaited Mortal Kombat in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.

Mortal Kombat

For those with HBO Max you can watch the first few minutes of this already. I passed, as we already have reserved tickets for the first showing on Friday.

Anticipation: 7/10

Together, Together

This surrogate for a single dad story is only showing at one AMC theater nearby, so we might not get to see this one in the theater, but it’s opening this weekend as well. Think Kara might enjoy this premise anyway. I’m not that excited by the trailer above.

Anticipation: 2/10

Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train

This anime film, I believe, is the highest grossing film in Japan of all time. This is putting me in an Akira frame of mind. Have been wanting to see this for months now. Kara has zero interest, so I’ll be seeing this one solo. Can’t wait! Yes, I”m actually looking more forward to seeing this than Mortal Kombat (and I’m really looking forward to that)

Dubbed and subbed, here we come!

Anticipation: 8/10

Wherever you are watching movies this weekend, happy watching to you!

The Unholy ⭐️⭐️½

The Unholy – R – 1 hr 39 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Monday April 19, 2021
AMC Lakewood 12 – Lakewood, Washington
20th new movie seen in theater in 2021

The nude general antagonist from Die Hard 2 and Death from the Bill & Ted movies, grizzly-faced William Sadler, a priest uncle of a deaf girl who becomes the conduit to Mary, mother of Jesus. Or so the people believe. Even the skeptical banished journalist Gerry Fenn (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), looking for the next great sensational story to get back on top.

Thought this would be another wannabe God vs. Satan cliched horror story, but it tries harder than that. Sure, the familiar tropes are there including Jesus statues bleeding from the eyes, burning crosses, misguided miracles and the like. It’s more of a mystery thriller with some horror undertones, but it’s not scary.

There are a couple of jump scares, but they are well placed and not overdone. The sounds are mostly stock, nothing too original or noteworthy. That’s really the biggest problem of this film: nothing stands out as fresh or new. Right down to the main character which seems ripped off from Jurassic Park’s Malcolm played by the incomparable Jeff Goldblum. Did the filmmakers pattern Gerry Finn after this character? Certainly the portrayal feels very inspired, or for the more negative types: outright ripped off. Did Goldblum turn down this film role, so they told Jeffrey Dean Morgan to play his best Jeff Goldblum for the role?

Just leaving the theater we recorded our non-spoiler review and I felt stronger about this movie than Kara.

In the end, it was entertaining enough most of the time. It wasn’t scary so for those who think they’ll see this and be scared you’re in for a major disappointment. No, we can’t recommend, but we’ve seen several worse films in 2021 so far.

Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️½  (Todd) ⭐️½  (Kara)

FIRST LOOK: Mortal Kombat

Historically movies based on videogames have been trash. Some have been better trash than others, but the vast majority of movies haven’t captured the videogame stories — which in fairness are usually very short stories — as good as they could.

Maybe movies should be anthologies of several videogames instead of full-length movies?

Anyway, the new Mortal Kombat movie, a game that has already been made into several movies, is hitting the big screen and it looks like it’s capturing a lot of what makes the videogame so cool: gruesome gory fatalities and finishing moves, plenty of martial arts and the signature character designs.

MMA fighter Cole Young, accustomed to taking a beating for money, is unaware of his heritage—or why Outworld’s Emperor Shang Tsung has sent his best warrior, Sub-Zero, an otherworldly Cryomancer, to hunt Cole down. Fearing for his family’s safety, Cole goes in search of Sonya Blade at the direction of Jax, a Special Forces Major who bears the same strange dragon marking Cole was born with. Soon, he finds himself at the temple of Lord Raiden, an Elder God and the protector of Earthrealm, who grants sanctuary to those who bear the mark. Here, Cole trains with experienced warriors Liu Kang, Kung Lao and rogue mercenary Kano, as he prepares to stand with Earth’s greatest champions against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe. But will Cole be pushed hard enough to unlock his arcana—the immense power from within his soul—in time to save not only his family, but to stop Outworld once and for all?

Movie Insider: Mortal Kombat

Teaser trailer (you’ll have to visit YouTube to watch the official restricted trailer, which is even more graphic)

We just advance reserved our tickets for opening day. Not seeing this one in IMAX or any other special format, although it looks like that might be a good way to see it as well. Are you planning on seeing in theater or catching on HBO Max?

Mortal Kombat opens in United States theaters and will be streaming on HBO Max Friday April 23, 2021.

In The Earth ½

In The Earth – R – 1 hr 47 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Friday April 16, 2021
AMC Lakewood 12 – Lakewood, Washington
19th new movie seen in theater in 2021

Ever watched a movie thinking it would be about something, perhaps from the trailer and story info and then watching it and seeing something total unexpected? That’s this movie which we thought would be dealing with a pandemic and instead deals with people acting strangely in the woods.

But “strangely” doesn’t even describe it that well.

There is a guy that captures people, dresses them up in white clothes, blocking out out their eyes and snaps pictures of them. There’s his wife that is making some kind of talk to the plants audio-visual epileptic seizure inducing deafening show and then there are two people that inexplicably want to visit her.


If that description is confusing, hey, join the club. Several times I wanted to walk out of this one and just should have. It should earn bonus points for a few cringe-worthy violent scenes with an axe, but no.

Worst movie we’ve seen since Cats. It’s not that bad, but it’s slow, weird and unwatchable. Seeing some others giving it somewhat decent reviews so maybe you might like this. I’m a fan of weird movies, but they have to make some kind of sense. This one? Um, no.

Rating (out of 5 stars): ½ (Todd) ½ (Kara)