Where is my FREE Time? Fallout 4, Jessica Jones, More

Help! I am overwhelmed with entertainment goodness. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Jessica Jones

I am loving Krysten Ritter in Jessica Jones on Netflix but fear it may be too dark for my honey. It is definitely too adult for the granddaughter so I can only watch it when I’m by myself and don’t have work to do. I am only three episodes in but I unreservedly recommend it.

Man in High Castle

Jenny and I are really enjoying The Man in the High Castle on Amazon but again it is too adult for the granddaughter so we can only watch it when she is asleep (so one episode a night if we are lucky and stay up a little late). Ditto the recommendation here – go watch it!

Fallout 4

I got Fallout 4 on release date and have gotten to play it some but, again, it is too adult for the granddaughter so I don’t play it when she is around. My marriage is also way more important than the game (duh!) and it is only single-player so I don’t play it while my wife is home either.

The game is wonderfully immersive. the only thing that breaks the spell is that you end up picking up EVERYTHING that is clickable as all the junk is actually useful. I actually found myself paralyzed at the start when you have to choose your stats as there are no throwaway stats and not enough points to distribute.

Still this is really just a complaint that my life is wonderful so umm I’ll stop here and enjoy these things as time is available.

James Bond Week – Hulu

Hulu of course has nowhere near the depth or breadth of the movies available on Netflix. However someone in their programming and procurement office is pretty savvy.

Hulu

At the beginning of the month, just in time for Spectre, Hulu acquired the exclusive rights for a slew of Bond films. Connery is well-represented, with Goldfinger, From Russia With Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, and Diamonds are Forever – even the non-canon Never Say Never Again. Only his first, Dr. No, is not available. Goldfinger and From Russia With Love are justifiable classics. The others are worth watching just for Connery though Never Say Never Again is a very lazy remake of Thunderball.

From Russia With Love

All seven Bond entries from the Moore tongue-in-cheek era are here: The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, Moonraker, The Man with the Golden Gun, and Live and Let Die. Both Dalton’s The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill are available. Heck, they even have George Lazenby’s single outing as Bond, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. That one is worth watching for the absolutely radiant Diana Rigg.

The more recent Brosnan and Craig entries are not on Hulu but 16 movies of the franchise is 16 more than Netflix or Amazon Prime have.

Mockingjay Double

Unfortunately I will be missing the Mockingjay double feature but both Hulu and Amazon Prime have The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One streaming in time for the theatrical premiere of Mockingjay Part Two. Netflix has….umm…the not really a satire Starving Games so good luck with that.

Friday This ‘n’ That – FREE Monsters, Inc.

 

Inside Out

Please accept my apologies for the lack of posts this week. When I’m sick, I’m happy enough to plug away on the keyboard even in a fuzzy state. Unfortunately, my darling granddaughter has been sick all week so I have been taking car of her. She is very demanding and, when I haven’t been doing chores or taking care of things in general, I have been sitting on the couch with her watching Inside Out (Vudu), Monsters, Inc. (ditto), animated Batman (Amazon Prime), Octonauts (Netflix), The Simpsons (Hulu), and ugh play-doh toy videos on YouTube.

Contagion

Anyways, stay healthy folks and avoid this plague like it was the…well you get the idea. Speaking of Monsters, Inc., I got it FREE for connecting my Disney Movies Anywhere account to Amazon. You can too!

The Death of Captain America

Death of Captain America

The Death of Captain America is a wonderful Marvel comics storyline from Ed Brubaker. His run on Captain America was incredibly well-written. For non-comics fans, Brubaker wrote the stories that led to The Winter Soldier, which Marvel made into one of their best movies.

Captain America

Captain America (1979)

A recipient of an experimental body enhancement chemical retaliates against his would be killers as a star spangled superhero.”

The American ideal. It’s a little tough to find these days, isn’t it?” – “Not if you know where to look” – “Right on”

Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)

The star spangled hero must battle a villain’s plan to poison America with a chemical that horrifically accelerates the aging process.”

I want your number when you get out of jail pal! The old people in this town are my friends. And if I hear they’re having problems again, I’m comin’ after you! You got that!”

This is not about that death. I recently purchased the above DVD double feature from Amazon for $3.74. That is just $1.87 per film! It was so not worth it.

These movies are just awful. Clearly intended to capitalize on the success of The Incredible Hulk (itself a ripoff of The Fugitive but at least it was well done), the Captain America movies are just goofy.

First, they are a complete ripoff of, believe it or not, The Six Million Dollar Man. Whenever Steve Rogers/Captain America lifts something, we get the Steve Austin bionic man sound complete with slow motion video. His powers also seem to be nearly the same – fast running, heavy lifting, great eyesight, and super hearing, the last borrowed from The Bionic Woman. Strangely, star Reb Brown had two small parts on The Six Million Dollar Man.

By the way, Steve Rogers is the son of Captain America, though he does don the persona once he too gets super powers. The donning is also part of the problem. Here is Captain America in all his glory:

Captain America

His shield is a painted clear plastic frisbee:

Captain America

I had to watch this at some point because the second film features Christopher Lee as the villain, Miguel. I have now scratched that one off his filmography. I guess I should be thankful that this never made it to series.

Reb Brown did get another shot at stardom. He was Yor in Yor, The Hunter from the Future.

Do yourself a favor and spend the extra bucks to get one of the Chris Evans movies. Your time is too valuable to waste on this bargain bin enterprise.

Film Noir and Class for FREE

I have been spending a lot of time on my FREE film noir course (Thank you TCM and Canvas Network). If you haven’t signed up, the class is still available and, as noted, FREE. Even if you don’t have access to Turner Classic Movies (I don’t – I cut the cable many years back), the instructors provide a link to a public domain film each week that they will discuss.

Scarlet Street

This past week’s PD film was the excellent Fritz Lang’s Scarlet Street (1945). It stars Edward G. Robinson in a truly heartrending performance. Scarlet Street is also currently showing on instant Netflix and Amazon Prime. Netflix has a great selection of recent films but their classic catalog is sorely lacking. Two of the film noir from last Friday are FREE to watch on Amazon Prime, Dark Passage (w/ Humphrey Bogart) and Woman on the Run. I enjoyed them but Scarlet Street was haunting.

M

Two important precursors to the film noir movement are currently streaming on Hulu. The Fritz Lang classic ‘M’ (1931) and the French film, La Bete Humaine (1938). If you watch one, M is certainly your best choice.

Dorothy’s Superheroes

Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Batman: The Brave & The Bold, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited are all currently on streaming Netflix. My granddaughter Dorothy and I have sat through all of them.

Green Lantern

 

Green Lantern: The Animated Series (2011) – Rated TV-PG

In deep space, Earth’s Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, patrols the Guardian Frontier, where he must face invasions from the evil Red Lantern Corps.”

Dorothy’s chant: “No man escapes the manhunters!”

In the age old question of Marvel vs. DC, you have to give movies to Marvel. Sure, Christopher Nolan’s Batman series was great but then you have drivel such as Man of Steel, Jonah Hex, and, of course, Green Lantern.

Green Lantern: The Animated Series was made at the same time as the movie but is actually quite engaging, even though it didn’t find enough of an audience to last more than a season. The writers did a great job of having individual stories while at the same time having multi-episode arcs as well as a steady progression to the series finale.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold

 

Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008-11) – Rated TV-Y7

Batman travels both time and space to fight crime in this animated series, which finds the Caped Crusader teaming up with his fellow superheroes.

This is definitely a very kiddie oriented version of Batman. Rather than the dour Kevin Conroy Batman, this one has Diedrich Bader doing the growly yet much lighter in tone Batman. As befits The Brave and The Bold moniker, each episode features at least one guest hero, sometimes many.

Dorothy likes this version best because it is very light, often reminiscent of Adam West’s Batman. I enjoyed it for the never-ending roster of DC guest heroes and villains. Aquaman is an absolute hoot in this series and appears many times. Bat Mite I could do without but thankfully he doesn’t infest too many episodes.

Justice League

 

Justice League (2001-3) – Rated TV-Y7

Anything’s possible in this animated series when world-famous superheroes band together to fight crime as the Justice League of America.”

Justice League relates the story of the core Justice Leaguers: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman, J’onn J’onzz, and Hawk Girl. I enjoyed the series more than Dorothy. There wasn’t enough humor to hold her interest I expect and that facet was not improved upon with Unlimited.

Kevin Conroy returns as Batman and the rest of the voice cast is quite good. The guest villains are also quite well-voiced with Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown) dominating though Mark Hamill steals scenes as Solomon Grundy.

Justice League Unlimited (2004-5) – Rated TV-Y7

As humanity faces new villains, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and dozens of other animated superheroes create a league to combat each menace.”

Justice League Unlimited picks up right where Justice League left off, including the relationship between Green Lantern and Hawkgirl. The difference is that our core members are joined by a cavalcade of other DC heroes. The best of the bunch is The Question (expertly voiced by Jeffrey Combs) who appears in five episodes.

I expect that we will be trying Young Justice next before moving on to the Marvel animated canon.

Amazon Prime has four volumes of Kevin Conroy’s Batman: The Animated Series as well as three volumes of Superman: The Animated Series streaming.

Woohoo! HBO on Amazon Prime!

Amazon Prime

A long time ago, I said that if Amazon Prime wanted to distinguish itself, it would have to go big or go home. They have had some exclusives but most were just meh. Locking up Dora, SpongeBob, Team UmiZoomi, et al was a big feather in their cap. Netflix was still home for the adults.

A month or so ago, Amazon Prime announced a partnership with HBO. Today it went live. For once, the deal was actually MUCH better than announced. In point of fact, the content is simply amazing (albeit no Game of Thrones).

The Sopranos

* The Sopranos – The ENTIRE series!

Deadwood

* Deadwood – The ENTIRE series!

* The Wire – The ENTIRE series!

* OZ – The ENTIRE series!

* Seasons of True Blood, Treme, Carnivale, Big Love, Eastbound & Down, Six Feet Under, Flight of the Conchords, In Treatment, Extras, Generation Kill, Bored to Death, and Boardwalk Empire

* Full miniseries – Band of Brothers, The Pacific, Rome, John Adams, Mildred Pierce, Angels in America, and many more!

* Family Tree, Parade’s End, When the Levees Broke, You Don’t Know Jack, Hemingway & Gellhorn, Too Big to Fail, Little Britain USA, Twist of Faith, The Special Relationship, The Sunset Limited and still more!

* Comedy specials from Ellen DeGeneris, George Lopez, Lewis Black, Will Ferrell, Jim Jefferies, Bill Maher, Robert Klein, and Will Ferrell

I hope this deal lasts for a long time because I have sooooo much to watch.

R.I.P. H.R. Giger and Malik Bendjelloul

 

H.R. Giger

H.R. Giger has passed away at the age of 74 in Switzerland. While not part of the Hollywood machine, Giger, designed the iconic look of the Ridley Scott’s Alien. This endeared him to me as the Alien series is probably my favorite. Alien and Aliens are both in my top three films. I thoroughly enjoy the remaining four films and Prometheus, in spite of the quite variable quality of those endeavors.

Future-Kill

Giger also had a hand in the design for Species, a guilty pleasure of mine. He designed the poster for Future-Kill (above). He was a conceptual artist for Poltergeist II and his works were the basis of the videogame Dark Seed and its sequel. Unfortunately, Netflix streaming does not have any of his films. Amazon Prime has Species III but it is pretty meh.

Malik Bendjelloul

 

Malik Bendjelloul died on May 13th, 2014 as a result of suicide. He was the director/writer/editor/producer/title designer/illustrator of Searching for Sugar Man which won the Oscar for Best Documentary last year. Searching for Sugar Man is not available on Amazon Prime or Netflix streaming.

HBO for FREE – Amazon Woohoo!

The Sopranos

Well only sort of FREE. Something called the HBO Collection is coming to Amazon Prime on May 21st. If you have Amazon Prime then you get it for FREE. If you don’t, then you can always sign up for a FREE month and spend that month watching classic HBO.

True Blood

Full details are not yet available but it appears as though it will be the full series of The Sopranos and at least the first seasons of True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, Deadwood, and The Wire. I would expect Deadwood and The Wire to be the full runs as they have been off air for quite some time and are only three and five seasons respectively.

Deadwood

No word yet on other series like Rome, Treme, Oz, Six Feet Under, etc. nor miniseries like Band of Brothers, The Pacific, Mildred Pierce, and others.

Valentine’s Day This ‘n’ That

House of Cards

 

* What a nice Valentine’s Day present from Netflix – season two of House of Cards. This series is awesome (though not quite on par with the British original) and Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright Penn are simply wonderful as a power couple.

Hulu

 

* Community is finally back. I caught the first two episodes of the new season on Hulu and they may have brought back the magic they lost last season.

Amazon Prime

 

* I forgot to mention that Amazon Prime has added season 4 of Justified to their instant offerings. We blitzed through all 13 episodes over the holidays and thoroughly enjoyed them.