TIME Television

Offline Viewing Is ‘Never Going to Happen’ Netflix Executive Says

Netflix Illustrations Ahead Of Earnings
The Netflix website and logo are displayed on laptop computers arranged for a photograph in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2014 Bloomberg/Getty Images

#SorryNotSorry

You won’t be able to watch Netflix without an Internet connection. Ever.

“It’s never going to happen,” said Cliff Edwards, the video-streaming site’s director of corporate communications and technology, speaking to TechRadar about the possibility of offline viewing.

A few other streaming services do offer the ability to download shows and then view them without Internet access, but Edwards said Netflix is of the view that downloadable content is “a short-term fix for a bigger problem” of wi-fi access and quality.

The Netflix top brass fully expects both those things to improve significantly in the near future, and Edwards opined that the concept of offline viewing may be a thing of the past as early as five years from now.

[TechRadar]

TIME White House

Obama Tells America to ‘Go to the Movies’

After Sony pulled The Interview amid threads

In an interview with ABC News that aired Wednesday, President Barack Obama addressed the recent cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. He recognized the severity of the situation, but suggested people still go to the movies.

“Well, the cyber attack is very serious,” Obama said. “We’re investigating it. We’re taking it seriously. You know, we’ll be vigilant. If we see something that we think is serious and credible, then we’ll alert the public. But for now, my recommendation would be that people go to the movies.” Moviegoers, however, won’t be able to see the film believed to be at the center of it all: The Interview.

Unknown hackers recently broke into Sony’s computer system and released sensitive information: emails, Social Security numbers, salary figures, projects in development, etc. It was thought to be a move against Sony’s Kim Jong-un-assassination comedy, The Interview. On Tuesday, that thought was confirmed. The hackers threatened a 9/11-style attack against those going to see the film, prompting Sony tocancel its release. Shortly after, it was revealed that the North Korean government was “centrally involved” in the attack.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME movies

This is President Obama’s Favorite Movie of 2014

President Obama Speaks At White House Hanukkah Reception
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the White House Hanukkak Party, December 17, 2014 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

The film has already won lots of awards, but perhaps none so fine as the leader the free world's approval

Like everyone else, the President of the United States of America likes to relax with a movie sometimes. And he has a favorite for 2014: Boyhood.

Boyhood was a great movie,” he told People, in a joint interview with Michelle Obama. “That, I think, was my favorite movie this year.”

The movie has been nominated for five Golden Globes, including best picture, and has so far routed this season’s film awards circuit, picking up all kinds of accolades.

The president also talks to People about his current favorite book, the videos his daughters show him online, and “the most astonishing Vine” he saw this year. It involves, naturally, Michelle — plus, a turnip.

Read more at People

TIME celebrities

Rapper Bobby Shmurda Has Been Arrested in New York City

Bobby Shmurda is seen at Jimmy Kimmel Live on Dec. 8, 2014, in Los Angeles RB—Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

He was picked up while outside a recording studio on Seventh Avenue

Brooklyn rapper Bobby Shmurda was arrested in New York City on Wednesday, in connection with an investigation into street violence and drug trafficking in the city’s outer borough.

Shmurda, whose real name is Ackquille Pollard, was taken into custody by investigators as he sat in his car outside Quad Recording Studios on Seventh Avenue, the New York Times reported.

The 20-year-old rapper has increasingly had run-ins with law enforcement this year, having been arrested for possession of an illegal firearm in June followed by an October arrest for possession of marijuana. Both arrests took place in Brooklyn, where the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for New York City is conducting an investigation along with the New York Police Department’s newly formed Brooklyn South Violence Reduction Task Force.

More than 12 others have been arrested as part of the investigation, and authorities said further details and charges would be unsealed in court on Thursday.

[NYT]

TIME movies

See Which 25 Movies Will Be Added to the National Film Registry in 2014

Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi
This handout photo provided by Universal Studios and the Library of Congress shows Jeff Bridges as “The Dude,” left, hanging out at the bowling alley with his buddies Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi) in "The Big Lebowski." Associated Press

This year's selection brings the total number of films in the registry to 650

Twenty-five films will be added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress this year.

Titles include Steven Speiberg’s Saving Private Ryan, Ethan Cohen’s The Big Lebowski and the original 1971 version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The Film Registry chooses movies that are at least 10 years old and which are considered “cultural, historical or aesthetic cinematic treasures.”

“By preserving these films, we protect a crucial element of American creativity, culture and history,” said James H. Billington, the librarian of Congress.

For a full list of the films read more at LA Times.

TIME celebrities

Elton John to Wed Longtime Partner David Furnish

Elton John AIDS Foundation's 13th Annual An Enduring Vision Benefit
Elton John (R) and David Furnish attend the Elton John AIDS Foundation's 13th Annual An Enduring Vision Benefit at Cipriani Wall Street on Oct. 28, 2014 in New York City. D Dipasupil—FilmMagic/Getty Images

And it may be this weekend!

Will the holiday season bring wedding bells for Elton John?

Possibly!

The singer will officially tie the knot with longtime partner David Furnish, his rep confirms to PEOPLE.

In 2005, the pair – who are parents to sons Zachary and Elijah – entered a civil partnership. The ceremony, which took place in Windsor, England, was followed by a $2 million reception attended by stars including Donatella Versace, Ringo Starr and Victoria Beckham.

In March, shortly after England’s legalization of same-sex marriage, Furnish hinted to The Las Vegas Review Journal that they might be planning a May wedding.

“We don’t feel the need to take an extra step legally,” Furnish said at the time. “But since we’re committed for life, we feel it’s really important to take that step, and take advantage of that amazing change in legislation. We all live by example.”

In recent weeks, wedding rumors have run rampant about their impending nuptials. Various outlets have reported that a private, intimate ceremony will take place at their Windsor estate on Dec. 21.

This story originally appeared on People.com

TIME movies

Steve Carell’s North Korea-Set Movie Is Dropped Amid Sony Scandal

It was described as a “paranoid thriller"

As plans for the release of The Interview unravel with Sony canceling plans for a Christmas release, New Regency’s North Korea-set project has been halted.

A source has confirmed to EW that an untitled film with Gore Verbinski and Steve Carell attached as director and star, respectively, is not going forward. Deadline first reported the news, describing the film as “paranoid thriller.”

Over the past week, a message claiming to be from the group that hacked Sony invoked 9/11 in a threat, which prompted movie theater chains to decide not to show the film. Following the theaters’ decisions, Sony canceled plans for the film’s Christmas release. The New York Times has since reported that the U.S. has reached the conclusion that the North Korean government was “centrally involved” in the hacking.

In The Interview, a comedy, James Franco and Seth Rogen play a television host and producer who are recruited by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

This article originally appeared on EntertainmentWeekly.com

TIME Music

Buena Vista Social Club Star Ry Cooder: Cuba Decision ‘Is What We’ve Been Hoping Obama Would Do’

The Buena Vista Social Club performs at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1998.
The Buena Vista Social Club performs at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1998. Stuart Ramson—AP

Ry Cooder, who recorded in Havana, says he expected openness between the U.S. and Cuba, but is optimistic nonetheless

Ry Cooder is the American guitar player involved with the so-called Buena Vista Social Club, a group of local musicians in Havana whose 1997 album led to global fame and a renewed interest in Cuban music. (That included limited touring in the U.S. before the Bush Administration halted the group’s visits stateside.) Reached by phone on Wednesday following the announcement that the Obama Administration would begin working to normalize diplomatic ties with Cuba, Cooder was not surprised, not least because he claims to have heard “through the grapevine” that President Barack Obama was planning something.

He was also aware of the effect the Club’s music, and other cultural exchanges, had piqued curiosity in Cuba that became impossible to ignore. “Pete Seeger suggested that music was a bridge between classes,” Cooder said, noting that after stateside fans of the Buena Vista Social Club wanted to visit Cuba, “You can’t go to people and say You can’t go there.

Were you surprised by the news of normalizing relations between Cuba and the U.S.?

Well, it is what we’ve been hoping Obama would do. There was word we were getting through the grapevine that he was going to do something before he left office. When we saw he was doing work at that torture center at Guantánamo Bay, we figured he was doing something. We knew it was within his authority to declare such a thing. The embargo is no use. It only brought suffering to men, women and children, like embargoes always do. You ask yourself what venal, grasping, backward looking so and so’s—we could name a few—who benefit? Follow the money, as the man says. We are the only country that did this—and the whole thing was insane. Just stupid. So today, we’re all happy and pleased. You can’t turn back the clock. We, as a nation, have a lot of problems. But something good can come from all of this. I came downstairs this morning and my wife Susan, for once, said “a great thing just happened.” As opposed to all the things we despise!

Did you anticipate that this would happen someday, then, even before Obama’s election?

I did, I really did. I felt that one reason I felt I was somewhat optimistic—tempered by realism—was that after Buena Vista got done and got a Grammy and after the film was a worldwide hit, and we saw Ibrahim Ferrer—we knew, and saw the effect it was having on tourism in Cuba—you can’t go to people and say You can’t go there. They’re going to go anyway. You can’t turn back the clock. If people want to experience something and learn about it, you can’t keep saying no.

Our leading export is this myth of democracy we have. That’s the leading edge of our export efforts. So how can we say to the American people, You can’t do it? The people will go when they want to go! A lot of people went. It’s a trend, a tendency, something that can’t be stopped. The more people want to join up with other people—Pete Seeger suggested that music was a bridge between classes. He used folk music as a bridge because it’s common to people and it’s easy to learn. He could have people singing together within five minutes. And I’ve seen that happen many times, but never so graphically as within this Buena Vista thing. You may be afraid of Cuba. Are you afraid of Rubén González when he plays the piano? No? Well that’s one less thing you’re afraid of.

Ibrahim came to America, and we went to the food store: He’s standing there looking like himself and a nicely dressed woman, elegant, and sees him, the tears came and she started to sob. She saw who it was, the emotional response in the market, in the food line. All she could say was I wish my husband was here. A wonderful exampel of humanity, which touched people. One pretty tune is the same as the next one. It’s not the notes. Many people don’t know what’s being said. What he represented or seemed to radiate—you got this from the record and the film.

Music—it’s the bridge you cross immediately. Any threats, reprisals, hideous bureaucracy, flag-waving—it all dissolves.

Do you think there’ll be renewed cultural exchange between the U.S. and Cuba now?

It’s starting up. There was—Clinton, to some extent, tried to promote this people-to-people thing. When we asked for permission to go down and make records, it was under the auspices of that. It was tough going—the bureaucrats in the State Department were against it. We got, as far as I know, the only variance on a State Department visa for an individual, not a business. I have it still, and it’s interesting to look at, a State Department document signed by him.

We got into the Bush era, and they really clamped down. They let us know, Don’t ever try this again. The first thing we have to do is [get] rid of Guántanamo. But there will be good things happening—and they need all the help they can get.

TIME

Everything We Know as Serial’s Season 1 Ends

A roundup of the evidence as the wildly successful podcast comes to a close.

As the 12th installment of Serial downloads on millions of phones Thursday morning, a common question will reverberate through curious minds: Did he do it? Did Adnan Syed kill Hae Min Lee on that January day back in 1999? Of course, for steadfast listeners of Sarah Koenig’s immensely popular This American Life spinoff, the more relevant question is whether Koenig herself will tell us whether she thinks he did it. In the moments before this final revelation — or, as the case may be, lack thereof — here are the most important clues from the first 11 episodes:

Adnan’s defense attorney may have botched the case. Koenig raises some serious questions about the competence of Adnan’s attorney, Cristina Gutierrez. It’s not clear why she never reached out to Asia McClain, whose memory of speaking to Syed at the library on the afternoon of Hae’s disappearance could have offered a crucial alibi. It’s not clear where the $10,000 she requested from Adnan’s family went, although we do know that the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland paid out more than $200,000 to other clients who claimed she had misused their money. In an interview with TIME, Koenig asserted that what Gutierrez offered Adnan was certainly “flawed counsel,” but she’s not convinced that the lawyer intentionally threw the case.

Those who knew Adnan offer mixed accounts of his character. By many accounts, Adnan was a kind and conscientious teenager respected by peers and within his Muslim community. The impression that Adnan didn’t have it in him to commit a murder is what led family friend Rabia Chaudry to approach Koenig in the first place. Though it appears he put on one face for his strict, religious parents and another for his teenaged friends, there is nothing inherently sinister in this attempt to navigate two worlds. Some sources, however, dispute this characterization and point to darker clues. In the most recent episode, Koenig reveals that Adnan used to steal money from his mosque, although he maintains that it was a regrettable mistake unrelated to his capacity to commit a heinous crime. A teacher said Adnan’s poetry showed a “dark side,” but it’s not clear whether the darkness she interpreted reflects typical teenage brooding or something deeper.

Adnan’s conviction is based almost entirely on the testimony of a former friend named Jay. Koenig spends much time dissecting Jay’s testimony and his trustworthiness as a witness. Jay claims to have helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. His cooperation with detectives is directly linked to his guilty plea to accessory to murder, in exchange for which he served no jail time. His story changes several times, and three hours of his interview with the police were not recorded. Perhaps most damning, Koenig finds that the prosecuting attorney recommended an attorney to represent him pro bono — a major conflict of interest that might have made Jay feel additional pressure to appease the prosecution. To some of the jurors Koenig interviewed, Jay was streetwise and credible. To many of his former classmates, he was an enigma, difficult to pin down and even harder to read.

The cell phone records the prosecution used leave much to be desired. The prosecution used cell phone records from the day of Hae’s disappearance to try to corroborate Jay’s story. But out of 14 pings to different cell towers, the prosecution only cited four, because those were the only four that matched Jay’s account. The pings that conflicted with his account were swept aside. When Koenig and another reporter attempted to retrace Adnan and Jay’s steps according to the cell tower timeline, they found that the timing possible, but dubious. To add to the phone-related mystery, a classmate of Adnan’s named Laura, who used to shoplift from the Best Buy from which Adnan allegedly called Jay after killing Hae, said that Adnan couldn’t have called Jay from the Best Buy payphone because it didn’t actually have a payphone.

We have yet to hear a probable alternative to who else might have committed the murder. In an earlier episode, Koenig explores the story of Mr. S., a school maintenance worker who discovered Hae’s body in Leakin Park. Though Mr. S. had a record of streaking, and his having randomly stumbled upon Hae’s body is somewhat difficult to believe given how well hidden it was, Koenig ultimately dismisses the likelihood that he had anything to do with the murder. Koenig raises the possibility that Jay or Hae’s new boyfriend Don might have played a greater role, but nothing seems to warrant a deeper investigation. Exonerating Adnan, of course, does not require identifying a more plausible killer. But it would certainly help his case.

Koenig’s investigation has been so thorough that Adnan’s brother Yusuf believes “she’s doing a better job investigating than the police did.” Despite the troves of evidence she’s pored over, the experts she’s consulted and even the Innocence Project she enlisted to review the case, it remains unclear whether it’s enough to sway Koenig — and her listeners — to a definitive stance on the whodunit. As she told TIME in October, “I am hopeful that I will figure it out one way or the other … I may have to give that up along the way, but today, I’m hopeful.” In the meantime, Adnan eagerly awaits an end to the rehashing the podcast has foisted upon him, and fans await details on season two.

TIME movies

Sony Should Stream The Interview — Now

A poster for the movie "The Interview" is taken down by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta.
A poster for the movie The Interview is taken down by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater on Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta David Goldman—AP

James Poniewozik is TIME magazine's TV critic and writes the Tuned In column, about pop culture, media, and society. They always told him that TV would rot his brain, and this is the result. Follow his RSS feed here.

The Seth Rogen and James Franco flick is arguably America's first literal culture war — and free speech lost

The hacking of Sony and the threats against theaters planning to screen The Interview is arguably America’s first literal culture war. And the battle just claimed a big casualty: Sony announced, after several distributors pulled out, that it was canceling the Dec. 25 release of the Seth Rogen comedy, which depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Plain and simple, free speech lost a battle here. It may have been inevitable, after the massive cyberattack on Sony’s computer data was followed by violent threats against theaters. The fear of violence and legal repercussions — and, maybe, the aura of danger created by the hacking — was enough for major theater chains to pull out. Sony, already in a corporate nightmare, was running out of places to screen the movie. None of this was especially brave, but it was corporations acting as corporations do, in their interest, not on principle.

But in a statement after the decision, Sony argued that there was a principle at stake: “We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”

O.K., then: if Sony supports the American public and its filmmakers’ right to free expression, then it should let the American people see their filmmakers’ work. In our living rooms, if necessary. If theaters are afraid to show The Interview, make it available, as soon as possible, through home streaming on demand.

The technology is in place. The legal and business arrangements may be more difficult (one reason that studios have avoided immediate VOD release, ironically, is resistance from theater chains), but reportedly Sony has considered it as an option.

Sony’s absolutely right that this is an effort to suppress a movie. And right now, after their action, it’s worked. Which gives angry parties — foreign states or anyone with an axe to grind — incentive to do it again. (Already, a Steve Carell thriller set in North Korea has been scuttled.)

Maybe Sony is waiting to see if it can put the film in theaters later; maybe it’s afraid of further cyberrepercussions. But if this is an issue of principle, then act like it. Americans have broadband, big-screen TVs, and plenty of free time around Christmas. Give us the chance to make our own statement, if we so choose, to show that we don’t want bullies squelching our expression.

Artists and audiences lost an unprecedented battle here. But we can still win the war, even if we have to do it in our living rooms.

Read next: U.S. Links North Korea to Hack

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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