My Netflix Queue Review 3

My Netflix Queue Review 3

Over the course of a week I watch a lot movies and neglect my responsibilities and personal hygiene, all for your benefit.  Here is the list of movies I have seen this past week.  Try to keep up:

We were all reaching a bit in this movie.

Sunshine – This syfy was was definitely more fy than sy.  I am not a billion percent sure what I was expecting when I sat down to watch a movie about a trip to bomb the Sun, but looking back, I probably got what I should have expected.  In a movie like this, you have to establish a reality where certain things are possible.  If you create a world where humans can fly, and then I see a human fly, then I am OK.  Sunshine never did this for me.  They had a situation where I was on board with going to the Sun (I stretched a lot to get there, but I got there) because they seemed to set up that we had the technology to do this.  The ship was based on the science of the movie.  Fine.  Then they started just doing stuff.  Not cool, and a sure way to take me out of the movie (i.e. I don’t care how much tin foil you wrap yourself in, you will never be able to line up two spaceships and propel someone 50 meters through the vacuum of space with its 2.7 Kelvin temperature [molecular friggin motion stops at 0 Kelvin!], let alone the pressure difference, without a spacesuit, from one ship to the other [and even if I grant you that you could, the success rate of this maneuver would be nowhere near 67%].  Yes it’s a movie.  I don’t care.  You still can’t do it.  You can’t.)  I just wasn’t able to get into it.  Danny Boyle did a very nice job on the visuals and the style of the movie was nice, but overall I never got into the film.  It was just too unbelievable for me, and that’s before I even get into the lack of story and character development…

Dolphins: the crying clowns of Sea World.

The Cove – OK, if after watching this documentary you don’t want to fly to Taiji, Japan and yell, “hey, you, with the dolphin axe, what the crap are you doing?!”  (Except you’d probably have to do it in Japanese because I am like 90% sure English is not their native language.  But I guess if you speak loudly enough English is understood everywhere.  It’s like a universal language, like math, except it won’t get you beat up in high school for knowing it.) then you are a robot that doesn’t have enough RAM to feel emotions.  The film calls into serious question the morality of a person that can treat another living thing with such disregard.  The film centers on Ric O’Barry, the man responsible for the training the dolphins for the hit show Flipper.  But now he is a changed man and he is hell bent on changing us. (At one point Ric says, he spent 10 years building up the dolphin industry and has spent the next 30 trying to bring it down.)  A powerful movie, a suspenseful movie, a movie that will make you reflect, not just on the treatment of these majestic beings, but on how you value life as a whole and the power we each possess to make a change when we see an injustice.  Please see this movie.  It may be tough to stomach at times, but it should to be seen.

Don't worry, Ben, I was bored too.

Hollywoodland – It is like you are walking down the street and someone comes up to you and says, “hey you look like Brad Pitt,” so you are thinking, nice, he is a good looking guy, I’ll take it.  But then that person continues on and says, “like an overweight, balding Brad Pitt with bad teeth and the smell of swiss cheese faintly emanating from them.”  Renders your sails windless a bit doesn’t it?  That is what I am going to mean when I say this movie reminded me of L.A. Confidential.  Hollywoodland was like a bad L.A. Confidential.  The story was there, it had a good cast that each contributed nice performances, but in the end, I was left very unsatisfied and mostly wondering what the old man in the cut off jeans was doing lifting barbells by the pool.  Not a good sign.  The movie had its moments, but it was predictable (which is weird because the true life story isn’t) a little cliche (I will be honest, I can get over cliche scripts if the film is giving me something else: a powerful character study, inventive storytelling, something interesting that I can grab ahold of, but Allen Coulter didn’t give me much to hold onto.) and overall a miss for me.  At the end of the day, if you are looking for a good Hollywood crime noir, pick up L.A. Confidential.

If you're finished using them as shoulder pads, Boeing would like their wings back.

Heathers – It was initially a tickle hard to get into this movie.  You had a classic 80’s score, shoulder pads you could launch missiles off of and Christian Slater doing his best Jack Nicholson impression.  That sounds like a recipe for disaster.  Throw in a director who, it seems, wasn’t able to decide if he wanted to go whole hog 80’s teen or dark comedy (maybe, more accurately, he was pitting his desire to do an all out dark comedy, with the studios idea that a teen movie would be more profitable), so he attempted to merge the two and you have a bad movie, right?  Hold your horses buddy.  Not quite.  While there were distracting portions of the movie, the good parts were real(ly) good.  When it hit its stride, it was a great movie.  Sufficiently dark for a comedic movie about the struggles of high school and death/suicide, I found myself getting into it.  Laughing at images that, in other contexts might make you cringe.  Overall it was too inconsistent to be great, but it was a good film.  A step in the right direction for a pop 80’s movie.  I kept getting a Lynchian vibe in some scenes and wondered to myself what he would have done with a script like this (or Kubrick, who the film was originally written for).  I would see this movie, if, for nothing else, the last image of the film.  That was definitely worth it.

Bonus Review!

Oh the jokes that must pass over that table. Laugh ... riot.

The White Ribbon – OK, technically not a movie from my queue, but that’s why it is a bonus.  This was my first Michael Haneke movie and it won’t be my last.  Placing you square into a town where, if you we just to hear someone describe it, it would sound Leave It to Beaver, but 5 minutes in, you realize something is not just off, it’s possible it was never screwed  on to begin with.  Posing more question and motives than actual answers, Haneke delivers an unsettling tale of a town where the adults are  entrenched in an old world patriarchal abusive society, but look like dandy lions next to the children that are running amok.  Toss in some good old distrust and skepticism of those around you, and you have movie where the only thing protecting you from the ugly truth of these nefarious deed is a thin closed door Haneke masterfully hides his camera behind.  See it, absorb it, let it wash over you in an unsettling and powerful way.

My Netflix Queue Review: 2

My Netflix Queue Review: 2

Another week has passed.  It was a struggle to get some movie time in.  Do you think that stopped me?  No.  I am a professional.  So here we go again:

Over the course of a week I watch a lot movies and neglect my responsibilities and personal hygiene, all for your benefit.  Here is the list of movies I have seen this past week.  Try to keep up:

Killer of Sheep

Just hanging out in my dog mask, what are you doing?

Killer of Sheep – Production value was nonexistence.  Edits were occasionally cumbersome.  Dialogue was, at times, difficult to hear.  This all added up to an amazing movie about a man’s life and struggle in a Watts ghetto.  Charles Burnett crafts a beautiful film centered on Stan, a slaughterhouse worker becoming more and more cold and distant to the life surrounding him.  We never see anything amazing happen to Stan, just life and all of  the trials it presents on a daily basis.  He tries to be good (Stan turns down, in a nondescript way, the opportunity to commit a crime and make a quick buck.  And when was the last time a film had the brass-danglers to say no to an action scene?  A very powerful scene that spoke volumes for what it brilliantly didn’t do.), he tries to provide, but the struggle continues.  And after all of this, with the strength of his wife, a strong woman to lean on, at the end film, he smiles.  And so do we.  A must see.

Pickpocket

I'd be looking too. Maybe not so creepily, but I'd be looking.

Pickpocket – This film, with its cool French lack of reaction, where it is more like they are telling you lines than delivering them, takes you on a journey into morality.  It reminded me a bit of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment with its views on laws versus conscience, are there people that possess the intellect and ability to be above the law, a woman in their lives that is used as a guiding force, a friend that tries to help them achieve what they want in a more honest way, etc. etc..  Dostoevsky’s discussion is far more dark and disturbing than Bresson’s, and does get into the characters mind a lot better, but Pickpocket does create an interesting world for our protagonist Michel to mosey through. (Advantage 1 Pickpocket: the main character has one name to keep track of, whereas there are apparently 45 ways to say ‘Raskolnikov’ in Russia. Advantage 2: Marika Green looks exactly like Natalie Portman.)  Pickpocket was a good film, not a great film, and even though there are better examples of the French New Wave to choose from, I would still recommend seeing it.

Thirst

In a world of white, a blue couch can really make a difference.

Thirst – I will be honest, I went into this with a lot of concerns.  The vampire thing is very played out for me.  I have made my choice, it is Edward.  I’ve moved on.  So this movie started off playing behind the chains.  Way behind.  Halfway through, though, I was sold.  This was a good movie.  Some of the CGI was a tickle lame, but it was something I could get over.  One of the most impressive things about the movie, and this is consistent with all of Park Chan-wook’s work, is the great composition of color on screen.  It is visually arresting.  This film also, amazingly and refreshingly, stays true to the original lore of the vampire with its strong sexual content and insanely more dangerous female vampire.   I would recommend this movie for its visually stunning look and intricate story that calls into serious question morality, the afterlife, and what we decide to do with power.

My Netflix Queue Review

My Netflix Queue Review

Over the course of a week I watch a lot movies and neglect my responsibilities and personal hygiene, all for your benefit.  Here is the list of movies I have seen this past week.  Try to keep up:

Christoph Waltz

My pipe is bigger than your pipe.

Inglorious Basterds – This was a rewatch from my summer viewing.  The fact that it is a rewatch should tell you I like it.  If it doesn’t, I will tell you: I like it.  A lot.  Tarantino uses his trademark dialogue in a meaningful way (a nice rebound from Death Proof which, though I think the idea behind all that dialogue was sound, was a lot less hip than maybe he thought it was) and sets you on a fun rewrite of history.  The acting was well done, top to bottom, with the top being Christoph Waltz who puts on a delicious performance.  And say what you want about Tarantino, the guy knows how to make a film.  See the movie that is quickly becoming my favorite of his.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

I will always be hungry again.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford – The long title is a pretty good way to foreshadow the pacing of this movie.  It was slow, methodical and brilliant.  I had seen this in the theater twice (not something I normally do for a movie with this little nudity), and remembered liking it a lot.  So last week I was out and saw it on sale at the local movie shop and decided, to forego using the money for my dinner, and bought the movie.  Money and hunger well spent.  One of the best of the decade.  Fact.  The train robbery scene alone is worth the price of admission.  Just thinking about this scene gives me chills.  I have said before and I will continue to travel these here United States saying it again until everyone listens: the western is one of the best contributions to cinema that America has made.  TAoJJbtCRF is a fantastic film that continues to illustrate that this genre is still a well with plenty left to give.

Public Enemies

I'm sorry, what was your name again?

Public Enemies – You know when you meet someone and they are all, “hey, my name is Margaret,” and you are all like, “cool about the name thing,” but then you walk away and instantly forget their name?  That is Public Enemies.  Overall pretty forgettable, which surprised me because I like Bale, Depp and shootouts.  The whole movie felt weird, like walking in pudding shoes.  And you might think to yourself, “hey, I like pudding, and I like shoes,” but trust me do not mix the two.  The direction was a bit lost, and the camera work seemed a bit too modern for this type of movie.  It was shot on video, and worse it looked like it was shot on video.  This was a giant distraction for me that I was never quite able to get over.  I wouldn’t go as far as saying avoid this, but I wouldn’t say seek it out either.

Baraka

Dinner, maybe a movie, then who knows?

Baraka – If a person comes away from a movie and just mentions cinematography, it is probably, overall, a failed movie.  You typically do not sit down and watch a movie just for a good visual/pretty pictures.  You want a little substance, a story, characters (even in some abstract existence), and by not providing these, you have, in my awesome opinion, a failed movie (*cough* Avatar *cough*).  Now take what I said and unapply it to Baraka.  Visually stunning, beautifully shot, the cinematography was one of the main points.  So even if you came away from this movie just talking about the look, the film still worked.  Luckily, though, it provided much more: it  gave a narrative that was wide open to interpretation.  None of the images lingered longer than they should have.  I highly recommend it, but know what you are getting into before you pop this in on a date.

-Brandin

Netflix for iPhone?

Rumors of a Hulu app on my iPhone got me very excited, but it has been a while since those rumors hit, and still nothing. But, this new rumor, is definitely even more exciting. Netflix could be releasing an official iPhone app that lets you stream the companies “Watch it Now” video streaming selections.

Though, this would be awesome if you could stream via 3G, but it is likely, much like the SlingPlayer app, you’ll only be able to stream while connected to Wifi.

Oh well, either way, it’d be awesome to watch Lost, Mad Men, Dexter, and some movies during my lunch break.

I take long lunch breaks.

Netflix “Watch Instantly” Coming to Xbox 360

Netflix “Watch Instantly” Coming to Xbox 360

NetflixIn an extremely exciting announcement, Microsoft Xbox 360 owners and Netflix subscribers have something to cheer about. For months, the internet has been abuzz with rumors of a partnership between the two groups to bring Netflix “Watch It Now” to the successful gaming console. Well, its official. [Read more…]

Netflix To Raise Fee For Blu-Ray Renters

Citing higher purchasing costs, Netflix has announced that it will raise fees for those who rent Blu-Ray DVDs through the popular on-line rental website.

In a first quarter earnings conference call yesterday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said, ‘because of the higher cost of Blu-ray and the consumer expectations around high-def content, we are planning on implementing a modest monthly premium for access to Blu-ray some time this year.’

No word on how much the premium will be.

Blockbuster Aims to Acquire Circuit City

I hate all things Blockbuster. So to hear Blockbuster is looking to acquire Circuit City, I’m not quite sure how to react. The two companies are no stranger to danger, with Circuit City falling way behind rival Best Buy (oh best buy, how do I hate thee, yet I still go to you), and Blockbuster falling behind Netflix, the merger of these two entities might be good business for both!

Apparently, Blockbuster was looking to purchase a majority in Circuit City at $6 to $8 dollars a share, and has made the offer public in order to drum up a response from shareholders. Circuit City’s board has said that they would carefully consider and evaluate the offer.