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.

AMC Shows for Support & Planet of the Apes Double Feature

AMC

AMC theaters has introduced a cheap alternative to movie tickets. Every Monday-Wednesday at 9:30, they will show select movies for $3. 100% of the proceeds will go to charity. It is kind of like the summer movie program but for adults.

Catching Fire

6/30 – 7/2 Catching Fire

Non-Stop

7/7 – 7/9 Non-Stop

7/14 – 7/16 Robocop

7/21 – 7/23 300: Rise of an Empire

7/28 – 7/30 Pompeii

8/4 – 8/6 Need for Speed

8/11 – 8/13 Ride Along

Apes Double Feature

 

Cinemark, Regal, AMC, and other chains are doing a double feature of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on Thursday, July 10th.

FREE Movies Everywhere – Disney, Divergent, 300

Disney

 

* Disney has launched Disney Movies Anywhere. It is not only a platform to sell their digital movies but you can connect it with your iTunes account to have all of your iTunes Disney movies available. If you do so, Disney will give you The Incredibles for FREE.

* Disney Movie Rewards will give you a FREE Blu-ray ($3 S&H) if you enter three movie codes (from DVDs or Blu-Rays) by the end of March. Titles to choose from include Cars, Dumbo, Secretariat, and Tron Legacy.

* NOT YET so don’t enter them until it goes live but Disney will have a promotion for the upcoming Muppet movie. Once it goes live, entering a Disney Movie Rewards number from a Muppet DVD or Blu-Ray will net you a ticket to Muppets Most Wanted.

Divergent

* On Friday, Best Buy will have movie money to see Divergent on The Hunger Games and Catching Fire steelbooks. Target also has this deal on some of their Twilight titles.

300 Rise of an Empire

* Best Buy also has movie money to see 300 Rise of an Empire on select blu-rays like 300, Clash of the Titans, Braveheart, Gladiator, Troy, Alexander, 10,000 B.C., and Wrath of the Titans. Amazon and Target also have this deal.

Frozen and Catching Fire

Being at opposite ends of the temperature scale, one might expect these two movies to be vastly different and they are.

Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) – Rated PG-13

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.”

I really enjoyed The Hunger Games. I have not read any of the books but Jennifer Lawrence is hugely likable and Katniss is a real heroine. She does her best in the face of adversity while staying true to her ideals. She is neither a wilting flower constantly in need of rescue nor is she a parody of a female buttkicker.

The world was well-realized and the supporting players quite good. The only problem was that the direction was just awful. Supporting characters weren’t fleshed out properly. The action was absurd with shaky cam all over the place to hide the seams in the budget.

Catching Fire has a much bigger budget and a better director. The action is clear and concise (there was only a moment or two where I couldn’t tell what was going on). The acting is much better and the characters are fleshed out quite a bit. Effie, while quite bizarre, no longer seems the caricature she was in The Hunger Games. Costuming and set design are wonderful.

Catching Fire is an enjoyable romp through a dystopian landscape. I am very much looking forward to the two MockingJay movies.

Frozen

Frozen (2013) – Rated PG

Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna’s sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.”

Disney boardroom:

Exec #1: Sales in our princess line are sagging. Toy sales are flat and revenues in our music division are falling.

Exec #2: I’ve got it. How about we throw together a movie with a princess, a cute sidekick character to turn into a toy, and have lots of songs so we can sell the soundtrack. We can even get a big singer to sing the credits song so we can qualify for an Oscar.

Exec #1: No, no. That’s why you’ll always be Exec #2, you’re thinking too small. Take your idea but let’s have TWO princesses and TWO cute sidekicks. We can sell twice the toys. Also let’s make them sing all of their dialogue so we can sell a double soundtrack.

Yes, this appears to be what happened. Sven the reindeer is cute. Olaf the snowman is even cuter. Sadly the movie is not about them. Even the scene in the teaser where Olaf and Sven fight in a lake over a carrot is NOT IN THE MOVIE! Maybe it would have been too cutesy to make the movie about them. I feel certain they will return in direct-to-video sequels.

Instead the movie is about Anna and Elsa. Their parents are dispatched surreptitiously – blink and you’ll miss it. Everything is strictly by the numbers. Disney really appears to have skimped on the voice-casting. Wreck-It Ralph was filled with recognizable names and voices as are most Disney animated movies. The songs are banal, so much so that my daughter and I were singing our dialogue for the next hour or so after we left the theater. It was more interesting.

All of this is not to say that Frozen is bad but more that it smacks of assembly by committee. The only thing memorable was the adorable Mickey Mouse short in front of Frozen, which will no doubt be nominated for an Oscar.

 

Frozen Knoxville Pinnacle Stadium 18 Catching Fire

Along with apparently everyone else, I got to see Catching Fire and Frozen over the holiday weekend. We were visiting Knoxville and went to the Regal Pinnacle Stadium 18 Imax & RPX.

Frozen Marc

The last time we came we saw Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Imax. The movie was great but their Imax cinema is unimpressive. It is one of those baby Imax theaters. The screen is large but not as large as at a real Imax theater. Remembering this we saw Catching Fire in one of the normal cinemas.

Pinnacle Lobby

This Regal made a number of improvements since the last time. As with my beloved Carolina Cinemas, the soda fountains are out with the customers. This is such an easy and marked improvement. Soda costs almost nothing – it is still true that most of the cost of the soda is in the cup. Cups were a little oddly sized as the lids were one size fits all (except kiddy). The Regal 56 oz. bucket of soda that I could barely carry one-handed was gone as there is no need to ‘stock up’ on soda when you can slip out for a quick refill.

Wife Selfie

 

They also had a frozen yogurt dispenser which was fascinating. At the condiment cube, they had both popcorn ‘butter’ and salt so you can season your popcorn to your heart’s content. The bathrooms had not only the Excel jet dryers but also the Dyson ones. The Dyson ones look cool and dry quickly but it’s much like playing a game of Operation, trying not to touch the germ-ridden sides.

Lego Marc

 

The lobby was nice and spacious with plenty of room for displays and arcade games (and lines should circumstance require).