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Today in Apple history: iTunes bags its first exclusive movie

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The producers of Purple Violets took a gamble on iTunes movie distribution.
The producers of Purple Violets take a gamble on iTunes movie distribution.
Photo: Wild Ocean Films

November 20: Today in Apple history: iTunes movie distribution begins with Purple Violets, the first film to launch on iTunes November 20, 2007: In a milestone for iTunes movie distribution, Purple Violets becomes the first feature film to launch exclusively on Apple’s platform.

A romantic comedy directed by Edward Burns, Purple Violets stars Selma Blair, Debra Messing and Patrick Wilson. With limited offers from Hollywood’s traditional players, the filmmakers pin their hopes on iTunes distribution as an alternative way to get their movie in front of viewers.

Spirited will haunt you with the ghost of Christmas crap [Apple TV+ review] ☆☆☆☆

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Spirited review Apple TV+: There's plenty of singing and dancing in ☆☆☆☆
There's plenty of singing and dancing in Spirited, but do you really expect jokes in your musical comedies?
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review Spirited, the Apple TV+ musical comedy remake of A Christmas Carol, is a depressingly literal, overly sarcastic and nightmarishly unfunny look at the lives of the people who work from beyond the grave to make Christmas cheer.

In the film, which hits the streaming service today, Will Ferrell plays a spirit who’s lost his mojo when he meets a man who’s more persuasive than he is. The laughs never start and the songs never stop in this gaudy waste of money and talent.

Raymond & Ray dramedy digs up a dull day at the graveyard [Apple TV+ review] ★★☆☆

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Raymond & Ray review Apple TV+: Half-brothers Raymond (played by Ewan McGregor, left) and Ray (Ethan Hawke) must come to terms with their father's weird posthumous demand.★★☆☆
Half-brothers Raymond (played by Ewan McGregor, left) and Ray (Ethan Hawke) must come to terms with their father's weird posthumous demand.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review In aimless new dramedy Raymond & Ray, Ethan Hawke and Ewen McGregor play half-brothers who must bury their father — and decades of trauma — over the course of a long, late-summer day.

Directed by Rodrigo García, and produced by Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity, Roma), the film is never believable for even a second. Inessential by design and pleasant enough, this one’s built to go in one ear/eye and out the other just as quickly.

The Greatest Beer Run Ever is about as palatable as a warm PBR [Apple TV+ review] ☆☆☆

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The Greatest Beer Run Ever review Apple TV+:Zac Efron plays John “Chickie” Donohue, a good old boy on a mission in The Greatest Beer Run Ever, a film based on a true story.☆☆☆
Zac Efron plays John “Chickie” Donohue, a good old boy on a mission in The Greatest Beer Run Ever, a flat film based on a true story.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review With new movie The Greatest Beer Run Ever, Apple TV+ seems anxious to pick up some easy awards from industry insiders who prefer heartwarming tales of friendship and broad gestures over strong ideas and nuance.

Zac Efron leads an ensemble cast as John “Chickie” Donohue, a guy going nowhere in life during the Vietnam War who decides he’s going to finally do something with himself. Chickie’s crazy bid for respectability — via a wild trip to the war zone, toting beer for the demoralized troops — provides hope for his whole neighborhood back home.

Director Peter Farrelly, who won the Best Picture Oscar in 2019 for the risible Green Book, returns to the well of  hopelessly condescending middlebrow emptiness with The Greatest Beer Run Ever.

10 best movies on Apple TV+

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Best movies on Apple TV+
Ready for movie night? These are the best movies on Apple TV+.
Photos: Apple TV+

From Irish folklore to ’60s New York, from culture clashes to meteors, here is a list of the very best films on Apple TV+ so far.

You can divine the company’s best impulses by seeing the best films it acquired, from arcane, auteurist curiosities and thoughtful genre pieces to documentaries that attempt to break free from the usual niches.

Cha Cha Real Smooth might be the worst movie of the year [Apple TV+ review] ☆☆☆☆

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Cha Cha Real Smooth☆☆☆☆
Take a long second to get used to this face.
Photo: Apple TV+

Only moments ago Cooper Raiff was a niche figure, someone you could avoid with a little effort. But now, he is the filmgoing public’s problem, thanks to Cha Cha Real Smooth, which premieres Friday on Apple TV+.

Writer/director/actor Raiff’s excruciating 2020 feature debut, Shithouse, captured enough viewers and earned enough praise to garner him a second chance to waste our time with the equally galling and charmless Cha Cha Real Smooth.

Apple TV+ paid an absurd amount of money for this garbage film. Unfortunately, the big gamble on this “Sundance hit” landed the streaming service an indifferently directed trifle starring a weaselly narcissist.

Today in Apple history: iTunes ditches movie trailer downloads

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Apple's iTunes movie trailers go dark as streaming supplants downloads.
iTunes movie trailers go dark.
Photo: Tookapic/Pexels CC

May 24: Today in Apple history: iTunes ditches movie trailer downloads May 24, 2013: Apple begins phasing out the option for users to download movie trailers from its once enormously popular trailers.apple.com website.

The move signifies a major change taking place in the way customers consume digital content. Downloads will continue to decline as streaming services like YouTube and Netflix pick up steam.

Today in Apple history: Apple pays $15 million to promote Mission: Impossible

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Sadly, Apple's Mission: Impossible deal doesn't quite work out as planned.
Sadly it doesn't quite work out as planned.
Photo: Paramount

April 18: Today in Apple history: Apple pays $15 million for Mission: Impossible movie tie-in April 18, 1996: Apple unveils a massive $15 million promotional tie-in for the Mission: Impossible movie starring Tom Cruise.

Designed to promote the PowerBook, which Cruise uses in the spy flick, the marketing campaign comes at a particularly bad time. Attempting to climb back into the black after reporting its largest quarterly loss ever, Apple is in the middle of trying to perform its very own impossible mission. And that’s just the start of the problems.

Apple TV+ movies sizzle reel shows a network at less than peak performance

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Apple TV+s Luck
Luck, which features a dragon voiced by Jane Fonda, is just one of the star-studded films coming to Apple TV+.
Photo: Apple

Apple kicked off Tuesday’s Peek Performance event with a look at the upcoming Apple TV+ slate of movies — and it’s not a very pretty picture.

You can look forward to the kind of forgettable, star-studded stuff that Netflix has become so adept at providing a rapacious public, most of whom seem just as eager to forget these types of movies exist. While promising Martin Scorsese film Killers of the Flower Moon remains free of both a release date and a trailer, the Apple TV+ sizzle real showcased several upcoming movies that don’t inspire confidence.

The Sky Is Everywhere delivers a big dose of young adult emotions [Apple TV+ review]

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The Sky Is Everywhere review on Apple TV+: Lennie (played by Grace Kaufman) goes heavy on the grief in this young adult film.
Lennie (played by Grace Kaufman) goes heavy on the grief in this young adult film.
Photo: Apple TV+

The Sky Is Everywhere, the new Apple TV+ film based on the young adult novel by Jandy Nelson, is exactly what you’re picturing based on its title.

Director Josephine Decker steps away from the indie film world to embrace the things a big studio budget can afford (in this case A24 as well as Apple). And she makes sure that every cent is up there on the screen. Decker gives in too much to the sugar high of teen romance, but she and her very committed cast get an A for effort.