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.

New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 11/24/15

Man in High Castle

Well the big release for the week is the Marvel/Netflix collaboration, Jessica Jones. This will make a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend binge along with the just released first season of The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime.

Some Kind of Beautiful

Comedy: Naomi & Eli’s No Kiss List, Some Kind of Beautiful, The Brothers Solomon

Documentary: Wanted 18, Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World

Drama: People Places Things

Foreign: Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna

Jessica Jones

Television: Jessica Jones, River, The Insider, Sin Tetas No Hay Paraiso, and new episodes of Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu, Ultimate Spider-Man, and The Red Road

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.

Lots of FREE Movies at the Theater – Jurassic World

Vudu

Haven’t shelled out the bucks for Jurassic World yet? Buy one of the original three films on Vudu ($9.99) and score a FREE ticket ($7 Fandango promo code) to Jurassic World (offer ends 6/26).

Avengers Age of Ultron

Wal-Mart still has specially marked boxes of Eggos that will score you a FREE movie ticket. Ignore the Avengers: Age of Ultron packaging – the FREE ticket is good for any movie. Wal-Mart also has an endcap with varios movie moneys attached to DVDs and Blu-Rays.

Jurassic World

I’m not sure how long this offer will last but Amazon is offering the Jurassic World Premiere Pack for $29.99 and you will a $15 Fandango promo code to see Jurassic World, the original Jurassic Park in digital format, and the pre-order for the Blu-Ray combo pack of Jurassic World.

Regal doesn’t understand what BOGO is supposed to mean. They currently have a Father’s Day promotion where if you buy someone (that someone can be you) a $50 gift card, they will send you, the buyer, an additional $10 gift card.

FREE movie tickets for Terminator Genisys have started popping up on Blu-Rays in Target. Unfortunately list on the Blu-Rays is a little high at the moment ($14.99 and up). Expect those prices to come down when they get featured in an ad at the end of June.

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.

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.

25 Best Cult TV Shows – Netflix 13, Amazon 11

I’m culling this from an article in Entertainment Weekly entitled “25 Best Cult TV Shows from the Past 25 Years”. Netflix has 13 of the 25 series available on instant.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2002)

“Despite her desire to live a normal life at Sunnydale High, tough-as-nails teenager Buffy Summers fulfills her mystical calling as a Slayer to protect humankind from vampires, demons and other supernatural creatures- with some help from her friends.”

Although nowhere near as good, the spinoff series Angel does have its moments and is also available.

Arrested Development (2003-2005)

“This Emmy-winning sitcom follows the Bluths, a wealthy California clan gone to the dogs after patriarch George Sr. gets busted for fraud. Now, long-suffering son Michael keeps the family business afloat as he spars with his dysfunctional relatives.”

There’s always money in the banana stand.”

Mystery Science Theater 3000

“The hit comedy television show about an ordinary man (Michael J. Nelson) and two robots being forced to watch the worst movies ever made becomes a movie about an ordinary man and two robots forced to watch the worst movies ever made. A demented scientist schemes to subject Nelson to unspeakable horrors, but his test subject has mankind’s ultimate defense: a sense of humor, which he and his robot companions use to make hilarious commentary.”

Netflix has the movie and thirteen of the movie episodes available on instant.

The X-Files (1993-2001)

“Tracing both their personal and professional lives, this award-winning Fox series centers on FBI agents Scully (Gillian Anderson), a skeptic, and Mulder (David Duchovny), a believer, and their efforts to uncover a government conspiracy to hide evidence of extraterrestrial activity. From voodoo curses to bodies found in California that are missing various internal organs, the chilling show also stars Mitch Pileggi and Robert Patrick.”

Not only does Netflix have all nine seasons of The X-Files available but they also have the series that inspired The X-Files, Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1993)

“In the year 2364, Capt. Jean-Luc Picard leads the new Enterprise on missions of discovery. First Officer William Riker, engineer Geordi La Forge, and Klingon crewmember Worf join Picard as they explore the universe and interact with alien species.”

Instant Netflix also has Star Trek, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Enterprise available.

My So-Called Life (1994)

“Suburban teen Angela Chase (Claire Danes) is changing, but her hair color isn’t the only thing that’s different. She’s also pulling away from her parents to spend more time with a new crop of friends — and a major crush (Jared Leto) with amazing eyes. Along with launching the careers of Leto and Danes (who won a Golden Globe in the series’ first and only season), this teen drama garnered a loyal cult following before its cancellation.”

Lost (2004-2010)

“After their plane crashes on a deserted island, a diverse group of castaways adapt to their new home in this Emmy-winning drama. As if learning to survive and get along weren’t enough, they soon must contend with the island’s mysterious forces”

Firefly (2002)

“Set almost 500 years in the future, this short-lived but much-loved sci-fi series follows the adventures of the ragtag crew of the transport spaceship Serenity, who view no job as too small, too dirty or too close to the line of illegality.”

After you finish this marvelous series, watch Serenity, the movie sequel.

Twin Peaks (1990)

“In David Lynch’s surreal cult classic series, eccentric FBI agent Dale Cooper arrives in Twin Peaks to investigate the murder of teenager Laura Palmer. Soon, many secrets concealed beneath the small town’s façade of normalcy start coming to light.”

Battlestar Galactica (2003-2008)

Deep in the universe, cybernetic Cylons have all but wiped out the human race, laying waste to the Twelve Colonies of Man. Cast out, the few survivors aboard the Battlestar Galactica search for a so-called 13th colony: the mythical planet Earth.”

Instant Netflix also has the original Battlestar Galactica, Galactica 1980, and the prequel to the new Galactica, Caprica. While the 2003-8 Battlestar Galactica is fantastic, the others are not really worth the time.

Supernatural (2005-2010)

“Raised by their dad to fight supernatural forces, grown siblings Dean and Sam crisscross the country in their 1967 Chevy Impala, investigating paranormal activity and picking fights with deadly demons, ghosts and monsters.”

The first six seasons are currently available on Netflix and by the time you finish those I wouldn’t be surprised to see season 7 be available.

Farscape (1999-2002)

“This Australian science fiction series follows the crew of Moya, a living spacecraft that houses a group of various beings united in their desire to escape from a corrupt military force known as Peacekeepers. American astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) joins them when he accidentally flies through a wormhole. As the series progresses, John makes enemies with brutal Peacekeeper Scorpius, while developing a relationship with crewmate Aeryn”

Better Off Ted (2009)

“As head of research and development at soulless conglomerate Veridian Dynamics, conflicted single father Ted (Jay Harrington) attempts to balance his personal code of ethics with each of his immoral assignments, such as freezing co-workers or weaponizing pumpkins. This scathing corporate culture satire co-stars Portia de Rossi as Ted’s heartless supervisor and Andrea Anders, the new product tester whom he longs to bed.”

Archer (2009-2011)

“Sophisticated spy Archer may have the coolest gadgets, but he still has issues when it comes to dealing with his boss — who also happens to be his mother — in this wicked animated spoof of spy flicks and the sex-crazed agents who populate them.”

Netflix has the first two seasons of Archer on instant.

Amazon Prime has Pushing Daisies, Better Off Ted, Farscape, the first three seasons of Fringe, Firefly (but not Serenity), Lost, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Buffy (& Angel), Arrested Development, The X-Files and while you don’t get Twin Peaks, Prime members get the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Amazon charges for some their MST3K content but they have a whopping 71 free ones with Prime – far more than Netflix.

Amazon Prime comes up a few shorter than Netflix but they are pretty close. Now if only Amazon shores up their movie selection, they can be a real Netflix competitor.

Netflix Top Ten and MGM Deigns to Sprinkle Amazon

* Ugh! When is Netflix going to fix their suggestion algorithm? I just looked at their Top 10 suggestions for me. Six of the ten are items I have already WATCHED & RATED on Netflix. How is it a suggestion if I’ve already told you that I’ve seen it and how good it was? a seventh suggestion is one that I’ve watched on Netflix but have yet to rate because I haven’t finished it (the TV series Spaced with Simon Pegg). Out of their ten suggestions, there are only three actual suggestions – one animated that I might watch and a science fiction and a horror suggestion that I have no interest in.

* Amazon Prime has signed a deal with MGM for more streaming. Unfortunately while the news services tout this as news, it is not like you get a large selection of their films. Almost the entire Clint Eastwood catalog is MGM. After this deal, Amazon Prime users can watch a whopping four Clint Eastwood films (Where Eagles Dare, The Gauntlet, Paint Your Wagon and the Clint Eastwood-directed Breezy). So well over 50 starring roles and we get three. By contrast Netflix which did not announce a new deal has nine starring and a further two directorial efforts from Eastwood.

Okay let’s look at another hallmark of MGM – the James Bond series. Twenty-two films from Sean Connery’s Dr. No through Daniel Craig’s Quantum of Solace. How many are available through Amazon’s fantastic new MGM deal. Oh that’s right – not one. To be fair they were also yanked from Netflix. I guess they are trying to create value for the James Bond mega Blu-ray set available September 25th (all 22 and a hardcover book) and for the new Bond film, Skyfall (yay!).

Amazon’s Prime Directive

I would really like to see someone give Netflix a run for their money. Sadly Hulu, which has a great TV selection, only pays lip service to movies. Blockbuster’s service is a joke and all others are a la carte. The individual pricing model ($3-$7 per viewing) for streaming is ridiculous given the ubiquitous nature of Redbox kiosks (less than $2 for a 24-hour rental and many coupons and special offers). Digital distribution requires no physical item and no physical presence so why would it be more expensive?

All of that leaves Amazon as the remaining alternative. I had expected the amazon Prime service to grow by leaps and bounds when the Kindle Fire debuted but was disappointed. Unfortunately Amazon hamstrings itself. They are attached to the a la carte model so there is no incentive for them to put their utmost into Prime. This means that they are still running a distant second to Netflix in movies and third to Hulu and Netflix in television.

Two recent news stories are hopefully pointing to some beneficial changes. First they have reached a deal to finally put Amazon Prime videos on the Xbox 360. Presumably the difficulty there lay in the offerings from Microsoft’s failed Zune service. Amazon Prime is now available on Kindle Fire, PS3, Roku, Xbox 360, and many TVs and Blu-Ray players. Xbox 360 Gold members will be able to preview the Prime service from June 1st-June 3rd.

Amazon Prime has also debuted their new watchlist program on Xbox 360, PC, Mac or Kindle Fire (coming soon to PS3 and Roku). It is essentially Netflix’ queue system but is welcome nonetheless.

The second news story is that Amazon and Paramount have inked a deal to add Paramount’s back catalog to Prime. Fortunately I have learned that many of these announcements are little more than hype. What the announcement really means is that some select Paramount movies will appear on Amazon Prime. For example, the announcement mentions that Mission Impossible III will be available. I understand Ghost Protocol is too new but why wouldn’t Mission Impossible 1 and 2 be available?

Gizmodo recommended 20 films to immediately add to your watchlist, some of which I found rather dubious though it was still a good list. Additional comments to the list are mine.

Team America: World Police Really? Recommending puppet porn? Good first pick Gizmodo!

Into the Wild Please please please do not watch this – instead go read the far better source book by Jon Krakauer. Optionally, read the equally harrowing Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. The film is not a bad adaptation but it does lose something in translation.

Nacho Libre Interesting especially because there aren’t many English luchador movies but not much more than that.

Downton Abbey Sadly this has been in my Netflix queue for a while but my wife and I have not gotten around to watching it in spite of numerous recommendations.

Grizzly Man

Iron Giant This is an absolutely charming animated film that is great for children and adults.

L. A. Confidential This is a fantastic story of three VERY different cops played by Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, and Kevin Spacey very early in their careers. Won Oscars for Best Writing and Kim Basinger’s performance though I thought Spacey’s was better.

In the Loop

Last of the Mohicans This is one of my absolute favorite movies. Are there any other action movies set during the French and Indian War? Filmed in my beautiful backyard (the mountains of western North Carolina), this is a wonderfully romantic story with some of the best action setpieces made.

Time Bandits Can one ever tire of David Warner as a villain? How about Ralph Richardson as the Supreme Being? If that isn’t enough to sell you then how about John Cleese, Michael Palin, and Sean Connery? Another film that can entertain adults and children.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Entertaining and a nice turn from Jim Carrey but overrated.

Good Night and Good Luck Wait you mean George Clooney can write, act, and direct? Yes he can and wisely gives a starring role to perpetual character actor David Strathairn.

Gosford Park

Melancholia

Braveheart A fine biography of William Wallace from your favorite (or perhaps least favorite) anti-semitic, misogynistic madman, Mel Gibson.

Elizabeth While not as intensive as BBC’s Elizabeth R, Elizabeth is still a great film with wonderful performances, particularly from Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush.

Restrepo

Before Sunset

The Tudors Yikes I cannot get behind this pick as the history is pretty lousy and there are much better adaptations of the period, namely BBC’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII.

Page One: Inside the New York Times

 

 

 

Max Out the Imax

Instant Netflix has quite a few Imax films available. They are short, ranging from half an hour up to a little over an hour. All the ones I have seen are quite beautiful and most are narrated by a big name actor with a distinctive voice (Leonard Nimoy, Ed Harris, Helen Mirren, etc.). None of them seem to go into much depth but they are an entertaining diversion and generally fit for the whole family.

Arabia (2010) – Not rated

“Helen Mirren narrates this sweeping exploration of Arabian culture and history that’s driven by stunning IMAX cinematography. Standing at the center is a young film student who returns from studying abroad to shoot a movie about his homeland.”

Dolphins (2000) – Not rated

“Pierce Brosnan narrates, and Sting provides the music for this IMAX documentary that steps into the world of wild (and highly intelligent) dolphins.”

Everest (1998) – Not rated

“Noted climber David Breashears leads an IMAX crew to the top of the Mount Everest, providing the first 360-degree view from Earth’s highest peak.”

Beavers (1998) – Not rated

“The natural woodland engineers of the great northwest are studied in fascinating detail in this film festival favorite, originally in IMAX theaters.”

Titanica (1995) – Not rated

“Titanica follows a 1992 expedition to the wreck of the Titanic, the “unsinkable” luxury liner that collided with an iceberg and sank in 1912.”

Amazon (1997) – Not rated

“Actress Linda Hunt narrates this enthralling IMAX presentation showcasing the vitality and magical wonder of the Amazonian rain forest.”

Legends of Flight (2010) – Not rated

“Learn about, and ride along with, two “game changing” designs in the world of aviation: the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A380.”

The Living Sea (1995) – Not rated

“This Oscar-nominated documentary explores the world’s oceans, celebrating the vast variety of life and activity found in their exotic depths.”

Journey Into Amazing Caves (2001) – Not rated

“This IMAX film accompanies two cave explorers on some unusual adventures, from ice caves in Greenland to underwater caves in the jungles of Mexico.”

Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia (2007) – Not rated

“Donald Sutherland narrates this larger-than-life IMAX production that explores the history, evolution and extinction of the dinosaurs.”

The Magic of Flight (1996) – Not rated

“Tom Selleck narrates this documentary that deftly navigates the history of aviation from the Wright brothers to the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels.”

Volcanoes of the Deep Sea (2003) – Not rated

“Travel 12,000 feet below the ocean’s surface into an exciting and rarely explored area of hydrothermal volcanoes in this scientific journey.”