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How COVID-19 is changing what movies and TV shows you’ll watch in 2021

On December 11, a film that feels eerily familiar will be available for your streaming consumption. Produced by action filmmaker extraordinaire Michael Bay, and released by STX Entertainment, Songbird is a dystopian-to-the-nth-degree vision of a world consumed by a virulent pandemic called COVID-23 (a mutant strand of the more familiar strain).

There is much to relate to in the narrative: People are shut indoors for hundreds of days and suspicious of their neighbors’ coughs. But, this being a Michael Bay film, the drama is naturally amped up a wee bit. The desolate streets of Los Angeles are patrolled by military squadrons wielding machine guns. In one scene, soldiers aim their artillery at a man who falls to his knees, yelling, “I’m immune! I’m immune!”   

The movie was cooked up virtually overnight back in March, when the idea of a movie inspired by COVID-19 seemed like a cool, timely thing to do. Eight months later, as countries around the world succumb to a new round of lockdowns in response to the long-predicted winter surge in COVID-19 cases: perhaps not so much. Even with its blatant Hollywood-esque spin, Songbird, which will be available to rent on premium video-on-demand platforms, feels a tad tone deaf given the number of COVID-19-related deaths being marked every day, not to mention a very un-fun thing to watch right now.   

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