Last of the 2013 Netflix Additions

Title pretty much says it all but expect a flood of New Year’s titles

A Lonely Place to Die

Action/Adventure: 6 Guns, A Lonely Place to Die, Sherlock Holmes

Anime: Princess Jellyfish

Comedy: The History of Future Folk, Maz Jobrani: I Come in Peace, MST3K: Laserblast, MST3K: Future War, The Guilt Trip, Black Pond, Trevor Noah: African American, Stand Up Guys

Documentary: Bronies, Big Star: Nothing Can hurt Me, Deceptive Practice, Drew: The Man Behind the Poster, Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation, Caesar Must Die, Degenerate Art: The Art & Culture of Glass Pipes, The Fruit Hunters, Vegucated

Iron Lady

Drama: The Iron Lady, Camp

Family: Shrek the Musical, Romeo & Juliet: Sealed with a Kiss, Snow Queen

Foreign: You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, Una Noche

Texas Chainsaw

Horror: Texas Chainsaw, The Fog

Television: Turbo Fast, Bering Sea Gold: Under the Ice, Property Wars, Shark Week: 25th Anniversary, Yukon Men, Maron, Oddities: San Francisco, and new seasons of Toddlers & Tiaras and Being Human (UK)

Thriller: Plush

Stranded…in front of this movie

Stranded is currently available on instant Netflix.

Stranded

 

Stranded (2013) – Not Rated

After being bombarded by a meteor shower, the crew of a lunar space station discovers the meteors harbor alien spores, which replicate and mutate into a shape-shifting predatory life form hell-bent on destroying the astronauts one by one.

That description is waaaaaay more exciting than the movie. I think what they ought to put on the box is “From the director of Battlefield Earth!” just to warn you away. Director Roger Christian also co-wrote the snoozer of a script.

This is one of the most generic films that I have ever had the misfortune of sitting through. The budget was less than an Asylum picture. Instead of CGI, they use a number of models. While I appreciate models, the ones used in Stranded were inferior back when Space:1999 was being filmed. The opening meteor shower is a joke.

The lunar station is horribly generic. Don’t worry about bad special effects on the space suits as all but one of the space suits are destroyed in the meteor shower. The lunar station only has four people manning it yet the escape capsule can only hold two (seems like they might have put a second one on there).

The ‘creature’ is laziness personified. The female cuts her finger, infecting herself which naturally impregnates her. She may give birth to a deformed baby rather quickly or it may be a hallucination so they hardly show it. The creature then duplicates a crewmember so we don’t actually have to have any special effects apart from some random goo that they cover characters with from time to time.

I’d really love to rip on the ending but I don’t do spoilers – even for bad movies like this. Suffice it to say that you’ll likely see the ending coming from quite a distance. All four of the actors show up to collect a paycheck – none of them make an impression. absolutely the only interesting moment in the entire film is the demise of a particular character and that only lasts seconds.

Dead Man Down – Dead Man Down!

Dead Man Down is currently available on instant Netflix

Dead Man Down

 

Dead Man Down (2013) – Rated R

This taut crime thriller stars Colin Farrell as a brutal gang enforcer who falls for a woman bent on exacting revenge on his boss. Via seduction and blackmail, the woman persuades the gangster to help her achieve a bloody payback.

I wanted to like this movie. I really, really did. Back in spring, when it came out, Carolina Cinemas served a Dead Man Down cocktail for a few weeks. Frozen Peach Nehi, white wine, and fresh fruit garnish – all served in a Dead Man Down cocktail glass. They were tasty and I have four of the martini glasses in my house, mostly used when my wife and I split a frozen Smirnoff cherry limeade. Still I ended up missing the film in theaters.

Dead Man Down is, like the drink I had, very very pretentious. It tries hard and puts ‘important’ pregnant pauses in the dialogue and significant glances to let you know important connections are happening. Unfortunately it doesn’t gel at all well. My wife gave up about halfway in.

Another problem is that Noomi Rapace’s character, Beatrice, is consistently referred to as ‘monster’. This is because of how she looks after her car accident. The neighborhood kids constantly taunt her with it and the word is etched into her door. The problem with this is that it’s not at all realistic. Beatrice has some significant facial scarring but it’s just a few thin scars on her face that don’t really mar her attractiveness. It reminds me of the recent Beauty and the Beast adaptation where the only thing ‘beastly’ was that the character had tattoos.

Dead Man Down isn’t awful – it just isn’t a taut crime thriller, it is more a romance with thriller overtones.

Hulu & Netflix This ‘n’ That

Netflix

 

* After more than a month of separating our viewing habits into three separate profiles (four now as my wife wanted her own), the differences are starting to show in the recommendations. It’s by no means perfect but it is still an impressive engine.

* I like that Netflix emails me to let me know when new seasons of shows I have watched become available (Futurama, American Horror Story). Today however they emailed me to let me know a new horror movie was available (Devil’s Pass). I’m sure that I will give it a shot, even if it is yet still another found footage movie.

Hulu

* I had high hopes when Fangoria formed a channel on Hulu but now a month and a half after Halloween, they have essentially the same exact selection.

EW Top Ten TV Shows

The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly is their end of year Top 10 issue. Of course the Top 10 Movies are not available on instant Netflix, some haven’t even hit the theater. Between the two critics, the top films were 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Before Midnight, Fruitvale Station, Gravity, Blue Jasmine, The Past, World War Z, Prisoners, Inside Llewyn Davis, Captain Phillips, Enough Said, All is Lost, Out of the Furnace, The Conjuring, and Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay.

Orange is the New Black

On the other hand, their year’s best TV shows (again between two critics) include American Horror Story (2 seasons on Netflix), Parks and Recreation (5 seasons available), Breaking Bad (all but the final episodes available), Orange is the New Black (Netflix exclusive), Mad Men (5 seasons available), House of Cards (Netflix exclusive), The Fall (first series available), Arrested Development (4 seasons – the 4th is Netflix exclusive). With results like that I’d argue that Netflix has changed the face of television. They are even bringing back the cancelled police drama The Killing.

Game of Thrones

TV shows not available on Netflix from the best of list: Time of Death, Orphan Black, Game of Thrones, Enlightened, Please Like Me, The Good Wife, and The Returned show Netflix’ weaknesses: Lack of premium channel content (HBO, Showtime) and CBS shows. Of course these aren’t just Netflix weaknesses as these aren’t available on Amazon Prime or Hulu either.

I have yet to watch Parks and Recreation and The Fall is still sitting in my queue (I tend to put off watching shows involving rape as I’m looking to be entertained more than enlightened). The other Netflix shows though are amazing and I concur that they are the best series on TV. I’m hoping that they’ll put the final episodes of Breaking Bad on before someone spoils them for me.

Christmas Additions to Netflix

This week’s Netflix titles to thrill and bore you

Action/Adventure: Bounty Killer

Comedy: Gabriel Iglesias: Hot and Fluffy, Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity, Bo Burnham: what., Lost and Found in Armenia, I Give It a Year, and a slew of new Mystery Science Theater 3000 targets

Documentary: Cutie and the Boxer, G-Dog, Of Two Minds, Punk in Africa, Food Inc., More Than Honey, Shepard and Dark, Sunset Strip

Drama: Little Birds, Newlyweeds, Paradise, The Citizen, Silver Bells, Just Like a Woman, Oka!

Family: Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger, A Princess for Christmas, Step Dogs, Bratz Go To Paris, George of the Jungle 2, La-la Oopsies: A Sew Magical Tale, Storm Rider, Winter Wonderland (2013, also 2007)

Alien Uprising

Fantasy & Science Fiction: Alien Uprising, Blast Vegas

Foreign: Chocolate, The Deflowering of Eva van End, The Wall (2012)

Devil's Pass

Horror: Devil’s Pass

Torchwood Miracle Day

Television: Torchwood: Miracle Day, Kate Plus Ei8ht, Mumfie’s White Christmas, Pingu: Super Pingu, and new episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, Gator Boys, Nightmare Next Door, Pound Puppies, Top Gear (U.K.) and Family Guy

Anchor Management – The Retailing of Ron Burgundy

Anchorman 2

 

I’m not a huge comedy fan but I did enjoy Will Ferrell’s Anchorman. I think their ad campaign for the sequel, Anchorman 2, is impressive. Everywhere I go I see Ron Burgundy shilling products such as the Durango.

Anchorman

My daughter picked up the Anchorman: Rich Mahogany Edition at Wal-Mart. Let me tell you that is an incredible deal. For less than $20, you get the Blu-Ray of Anchorman with loads of special features, the digital version of the movie (Vudu), a T-Shirt, a FREE pint of Ben & Jerry’s from Wal-Mart, a booklet, and a FREE ticket to Anchorman 2.

Ben & Jerry

If you go to Target and buy 3 specially marked packages of Ben & Jerry’s, you get a FREE ticket to Anchorman 2. Ben & Jerry’s even has a special Ron Burgundy flavor, Scotchy Scotch Scotch!

Top all of that off with Regal Cinemas showing a double feature of Anchorman and Anchorman 2 tonight. I’m trying to decide whether to take off and go in a couple hours. I have a lot of work to do but I do love a double feature and my wife is busy.

cya!

Dear Peter Jackson

Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

I have to start with my daughter’s succinct sum up of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug:

Dear Peter Jackson, The Hobbit is not a damn video game. Thank you.

While I agree wholeheartedly with her, I did have some more to say.

Dear Peter Jackson,

Thank you so much for attempting to move technology forward. While I question the decision to take a 300 page book and make three movies out of it, each of them almost three hours long, I really appreciated getting to see The Desolation of Smaug in 48 fps, 3D. Admittedly the film went from normally nice to abnormally sharp, bright, and colorful and back again which was a bit distracting but some of the visuals were so sharp as to be jaw-dropping. Our local RPX cinema was packed in spite of the $5 upcharge because they were the only ones showing it in the format that you intended.

In spite of all the filler you have put in, especially attempting to tie it in to The Lord of the Rings, I am very much looking forward to The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Unfortunately you have spoiled me so I will only watch it at the RPX so I can catch it in 48 fps. Now if we could only see some 2D films in 48 fps.

Yours Thankfully, Marc

R.I.P. Joan Fontaine and Tom Laughlin

Lost in the big news of Peter O’Toole’s passing (and Paul Walker’s untimely death the week prior), Hollywood also lost Joan Fontaine and Tom Laughlin.

Joan Fontaine (1917-2013) passed away at home at the age of 96. While she had an extensive career (71 imdb credits), streaming Netflix only has a single title available, The Duke of West Point (1938). Shortly after that, she starred in her two most famous roles (and my favorites), the Alfred Hitchcock thrillers Rebecca and Suspicion. She was nominated for three Oscars, one each for her roles in Rebecca, Suspicion, and The Constant Nymph, winning the one for Suspicion.

The Duke of West Point

The Duke of West Point (1938) – Not rated

An arrogant Cambridge student enrolls at West Point. His superior attitude earns him the enmity of his classmates and the derisive nickname “the Duke.” However, he proves to be a good guy when he helps an impoverished peer pay for college.

Tom Laughlin (1931-2013) passed away at home at the age of 82. He had 37 imdb acting credits but was primarily known for being the star of the Billy Jack movies (The Born Losers, Billy Jack, The Trial of Billy Jack, and Billy Jack Goes to Washington). Netflix has three of his films on streaming, including two of the Billy Jack movies.

Billy Jack

 

Billy Jack (1971) – Rated PG-13

American Indian Vietnam War vet Billy Jack (Tom Laughlin) — a character first seen in the motorcycle flick The Born Losers — roams the American Southwest using his martial arts skills to protect the downtrodden and punish the bigoted. The victims of Billy Jack’s wrath here are the ignorant townsfolk who hassle the minority students at the progressive school run by Jean Roberts (Delores Taylor, who earned a Golden Globe nod for her performance).”

Also available are The Trial of Billy Jack and The Young Sinner.

Goodbye Joan Fontaine and Tom Laughlin, you will be missed.