As someone who is always willing to give every new streaming service a chance (even covering Quibi on this very site when it launched) the roll out of Apple TV + has been a total disaster. Lack of content ,not available on the majority of devices that aren’t directly Apple related (always been a keen iPhone user but never invested in any other Apple products and was not going to watch new streaming content designed for a much larger screen on an iPhone) and terrible web UI for one of the world’s biggest tech companies it was completely all over the place. Given that the Apple TV + app launched on LG smart TVs over the past week and they have given their newest original film (Sofia Copula’s latest) a three-week theatrical window. This seems like a step in the right direction. as someone who has no interest in keeping Apple TV + for any length of time but is happy to go out and support his local independent cinema as well as getting the chance to see the film early it was worth taking in a theatrical screening. How is the film?
On one level it’s the sort of rich people doing rich things dramady that one could expect coming out of Coppola (you can certainly see why Apple were attracted to this as a prospect.) It has an audience and will definitely win acclaim from certain sectors of the critical press, but it is one very slight genre shift away from turning into season three of Big Little Lies. Everything is held together through excellent central performances from Bill Murray and Rashida Jones who bounce off each other very effectively playing father and daughter with great chemistry. Their scenes together make the film worthwhile. Also, nice to see Marlon Wayans showcase some of his range in a solid supporting role as Jones potentially cheating husband. An easy and likeable enough watch but it is also the sort of thing that’s dime a dozen in the indie film market and only elevated in this case because of talent in front of and behind the camera. Much as Apple want to position this as a big release for their streaming service It is the kind of production that will likely only gain an audience of people like the ones depicted in the narrative. It will not be gaining traction in the same way as your big Netflix or Amazon streaming releases.
On The Rocks is perfectly fine. Bill Murray and Rashida Jones are great together and their chemistry carries what is otherwise a very middle-class characters doing middle class things comedy/drama offers nothing new to that subgenre. Apple are positioning it what has one of their big autumn releases for Apple TV + but it’s hard to see the film gaining any traction aside from seacole Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray fans or critics that are willing to give the majority of streaming releases a chance.