New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 10/20/15

Obviously the big news this week is Beasts of No Nation – a film boycotted by the major theater chains (Regal, AMC, etc.) because of its simultaneous release on Netflix. In spite of this, Beasts of No Nation is garnering quite a few good reviews, although it’s a hard watch.

Comedy: Anthony Jeselnik: Thoughts and Prayers, Katt Williams: American Hustle, Katt Williams: The Pimp Chronicles

Documentary: Pentatonix: On My Way Home, All American High: Revisited, Finding Jesus: Faith Fact Forgery, First Comes Love, From Baghdad to Brooklyn, Gardeners of Eden, Isabella Rossellini’s Green Porno Live!, My Monkey Baby, Road, Three Stars

Drama: Beasts of No Nation, The Christmas Card

Family: Seventeen Again

Fantasy & Science Fiction: Ferocious Planet

Suburra

Foreign: Suburra, Gulaab Gang, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania

The Lazarus Effect

Horror: The Lazarus Effect, Djinn

Jane the Virgin

Television: Jane the Virgin, Adaalat, C.I.D, Dinotopia, El asombroso mundo de Zamba, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Huntik, Maharana Pratap, Medialana y las Noches Magicas, Skins, and new episodes of All Hail King Julien and Some Assembly Required

Thriller: Circle, The Guvnors, Rear Window (1998), The Sitter

Marvel, Paradise Regained

Yesterday, I covered how Marvel set up a series of deals that helped rescue them from financial difficulty but horrifically tied their hands. Now, Marvel has a wonderful cinematic universe where, just like in the comics, stories cross over each other.

Daredevil

The Daredevil and Punisher licenses have lapsed (Yay!). Marvel and Netflix made a wonderful series out of Daredevil (and I daresay spent less than they did on the mediocre movie). I have high hopes for Jessica Jones (November!), Power Man, Iron Fist, and The Defenders.

Agents of SHIELD

So why doesn’t Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. work? It was sold as being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This means The Avengers as that is basically what the MCU is, given the absence of mutants, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and others. Yet for being based on The Avengers, there is no sign of Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, or any superheroes at all. The closest they come is that Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) guest stars in two episodes. That’s two episodes out of two full seasons. In the second season, they added Bobbi Morse aka Mockingbird but haven’t done much with her.

Another part of it has to do with SHIELD. SHIELD as a comic book evolved out of the James Bond series. Nick Fury was a spymaster with a vast array of incredibly cool gadgets but that was in the 70s. The cinematic Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is based more on The Ultimates line of comics and works well.

Unfortunately, a television series could not afford Samuel L. Jackson on a regular basis so the leader of SHIELD is seen in only three episodes and even then it’s briefly. So they resurrect Agent Coulson to lead the team so that we have at least one familiar face. The gadget antics wore out their welcome long ago. It’s why when Daniel Craig became Bond, they went back to basics and ditched the outlandish gadgets. Unfortunately the SHIELD team thinks these items can substitute for plot. They don’t really understand how a Mcguffin works.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has already had a wide array of supervillains, drawn from a long history of comics. While many of the heavy hitters like Dr. Doom and Magneto are unavailable, we still have Loki, Malekith (who was much cooler in the comics), Thanos, Yellowjacket, Ironmonger, Whiplash, The Mandarin (sort of), The Red Skull, Arnim Zola, Ultron, and others, heck they even manage to shoehorn Strucker and Klaw into a movie that didn’t need them.

Who does SHIELD have for a supervillain? Umm, The Enchantress guest stars in an episode. Kyle MacLachlan periodically guests as Calvin Zabo. Who?

SHIELD has started to introduce the Inhumans, one of the few properties not sold off. Unfortunately, they do so in a rather lame fashion. Black Bolt? Nope. Medusa? Nope. I guess they are saving those for the eventual Inhumans movie.

Agent Carter

There is the real crux of the problem. Marvel appears to be saving everything for their blockbuster movies, leaving nothing for SHIELD (or Agent Carter for that matter). There was even talk of a spinoff from SHIELD featuring Bobbi Morse (Mockingbird). Why do a spinoff when you cannot even get the original right?

Obviously, the Inhumans are SHIELD’s big push this year, until the inevitable spring tie-in with Captain America: Civil War. I am a die-hard Marvel fan from my kid days but I feel I have invested too much time in this already.

Excuse me, The Flash is about to come on.

New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 10/13/15

Another week, another dump of vintage kung fu?

Action & Adventure: American Heist

Anime: Aldnoah.Zero, Durarara!!, Durarara!! x2, Sword Art Online II

Comedy: Robert Kelly: Live at the Village Underground, Cheatin’

Documentary: Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Drama: Uncertain Terms

Family: Lou! Journal infime

Police Story Lockdown

Foreign: Police Story: Lockdown, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Crippled Avengers, Five Elements Ninjas, The Five Venoms, Hero (1997), Hum Aapke Hain Koun, Invincible Shaolin, Masked Avengers, Return to the 36th Chamber

Arrow

Television: Jane the Virgin, Lalaloopsy: Band Together, e-Dreams, The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show, Flor Salvaje, Legends, and new episodes of Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Arrow, Supernatural, and Mighty Med

Strangerland

Thriller: Strangerland

New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 10/6/15

Oodles of television to catch you up before the fall.

Comedy: Anjelah Johnson: Not Fancy

Documentary: A Sinner in Mecca

Drama: Northless

Family: Little Loopers, Alpha and Omega: Family Vacation

Man from Reno

Foreign: Man From Reno, Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal, El Viaje de la nonna, La Leyenda de la Nahuala, Victorio

3-Headed Shark Attack

Horror: 3-Headed Shark Attack, Tremors 5: Bloodline

The Vampire Diaries

Television: Team Hot Wheels: Build the Epic Race, The Flash, American Horror Story: Freak Show, iZombie, and new episodes of Reign, Last Man Standing, The Originals, and The Vampire Diaries

Thriller: The Stranger (2015)

October’s New Netflix Titles

It seems as though Netflix just did a huge garbage dump of cheap television shows but they did add way more classic era movies than they have before, most of them musicals.

Batman Begins

Action & Adventure: 10.0 Earthquake, Alexander: Theatrical Cut, Batman Begins, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, King Kong (1976), The Punisher, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Anime: HALO Legends

The Wild Bunch

Classic: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Anchors Aweigh, Around the World in 80 Days (listed as the 2004 version but actually the 1956 version), Carousel, A Christmas Carol (1938), A Clockwork Orange, Daddy Long Legs, The Devil at 4 O’Clock, The Graduate, High Society, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Laura, The Odd Couple, On the Town, Pal Joey, Pepe, Some Came Running, Take Me Out to the Ball Game, There’s No Business Like Show Business, The Wild Bunch

Comedy: American Pie, American Wedding, Bachelor Night, The Butcher’s Wife, Coyote Ugly, Heartbreakers, The Impostors, Kingpin, Risky Business, Someone Like You, This Must be the Place, The Wedding Singer, Mac & Devin Go to High School, Trailer Park Boys: The Movie

Documentary: Art & Copy, Big Men, Bigger Than T. Rex, The Black Kungfu Experience, The Day the ’60s Died, The Hacker Wars, Inside the Court of Henry VIII, John Denver: Country Boy, Nature: Invasion of the Killer Whales, Nature: Penguin Post Office, The Navy SEALs: Their Untold Story, Never a Neverland, The Nightmare, Nova: First Air War, Nova: Killer Landslides, Nova: Rise of the Hackers, Nova: Surviving Ebola, Nova: Vaccines: Calling the Shots, Queens & Cowboys, Richard Pryor: Icon, Secrets of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Secrets of Underground London, Tell Spring Not to Come This Year, Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father, Where Was God? Stories of Hope After the Storm

Drama: About Alex, Anna and the King, Any Day, Boogie Nights, The Chambermaid, Cru, The Face of an Angel, The Girl is in Trouble, Glass Chin, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Good Thief, Hotel Rwanda, I Believe in Unicorns, Innocence, The Lesser Blessed, The Lesson, Million Dollar Baby, A Necessary Death, Runoff, United Passions, White Rabbit, Wild Horses, Midnight’s Children, Ned Rifle

Family: Cats & Dogs, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Max Dugan Returns, Nature: A Sloth Named Velcro, Nature: Animal Misfits, Nature: Mystery Monkeys of Shangri-La, Nature: Owl Power, Nature: The Last Orangutan Eden, Wakufu, Leafie: A Hen into the Wild

Fantasy & Science Fiction: The Corpse Bride, Sphere

The Relic

Horror: The Beast of Xmoor, The Blood Lands, Curse of Chucky, Dark Was the Night, Pernicious, The Relic

Television: Gringolandia, America’s Test Kitchen, American Experience: The Poisoner’s Handbook, Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics Collection, Beachfront Bargain Hunt Collection, Chopped Collection, Chuck’s Eat the Street Collection, Cyberchase, Dear Genevieve Collection, Design on a Dime Collection, Emperor’s Ghost Army, Escape from a Nazi Death Camp, Extreme Homes Collection, First Man on the Moon, Fixer Upper, Genevieve’s Renovation, Girl Eat World, The Great British Baking Show, The Great Food Truck Race Collection, House Hunters Renovation Collection, How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson, Ken Burns: Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, La Casa de al Lado, Man v. Food Collection, Million Dollar Rooms Collection, Monkey Thieves, Monumental Mysteries Collection, My First Place Collection, Nova: Ben Franklin’s Balloons, The Physics of Light, Property Virgins Collection, Robin Williams Remembered, Salvage Dawgs, Selling New York Collection, Sex in the Wild, Shushybye, Small Space Bug Style Collection, Soul Food Junkies, Tales from the Royal Bedchamber, Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab, Throwdown with Bobby Flay Collection, The Time In Between, Twice Born: Stories from the Special Delivery Unit, The Vanilla Ice Project, Why Planes Vanish, Worst Cooks in America Collection, Zoboomafoo, Spiral, and new episodes of Nazi Mega Weapons, agatha Christie’s Poirot, Murdoch Mysteries, and Street Food

Thriller: Pressure, Reasonable Doubt, Cruel

The Last of September’s Streaming Netflix Titles

 

Comedy: SMOSH: The Movie, Love Actually

Documentary: The Drop Box, Because I Was a Painter, Iris, Soul Boys of the Western World, The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne, The Barefoot Artist

Philomena

Drama: Philomena, Finding Neighbors, Puncture, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, The Duke of Burgundy

Family: Vampire Dog, Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls

Foreign: The Brainiac, Shootout at Lockhandwala

Zoo

Television: Zoo, Dark Matter, Monster High: Boo York, Boo York, and new episodes of The Walking Dead, Hawaii Five-O (new), VeggieTales in the House, Bones, and Blue Blood

The Loft

Thriller: The Loft, The Canyons, Intruders

The Best of the Best of the Best on Netflix

Why not watch the best of the best? Netflix has ten of the American Film Institute’s top 50 films. I don’t recommend The Birth of a Nation except as a racist historical oddity but the others are all solid choices.

Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia (#5)

Follows a brilliant, flamboyant and controversial British military figure and his conflicted loyalties during wartime service.”

Sunset Boulevard (#12)

A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.”

All About Eve (#16)

An ingenue insinuates herself in to the company of an established but aging stage actress and her circle of theater friends.

Chinatown

Chinatown (#19)

A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption and murder.”

Apocalypse Now (#28)

During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe.

Annie Hall (#31)

Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditsy Annie Hall.”

High Noon

High Noon (#33)

A marshal, personally compelled to face a returning deadly enemy, finds that his own town refuses to help him.

To Kill a Mockingbird (#34)

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice.”

The Birth of a Nation (#44)

Two brothers, Phil and Ted Stoneman, visit their friends in Piedmont, South Carolina: the family Cameron. This friendship is affected by the Civil War, as the Stonemans and the Camerons must join up opposite armies. The consequences of the War in their lives are shown in connection to major historical events, like the development of the Civil War itself, Lincoln’s assassination, and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (#50)

Two Western bank/train robbers flee to Bolivia when the law gets too close.”

New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 9/22/15

Here ya go:

Action & Adventure: Skin Trade

Closer to the Moon

Comedy: Closer to the Moon, Serendipity, From Prada to Nada, Matt Braunger: Big Dumb Animal, Vinyl Days, Moonrise Kingdom

Documentary: Cowspiracy, The Only Real Game, Rubble Kings, Keith Richards: Under the Influence

Drama: The Road Within, Last Hours in Suburbia, Reservation Road

Faith & Spirituality: Catching Faith

Foreign: The Beast, Immoral Tales, The Mugger, Reality, Aqui Entre Nos, Kung Fu Killer, Dedh Ishqiya, Goodbye Cruel World, Ishqiya, Red Eagle: The Movie

Call the Midwife

Television: How to Get Away with Murder, Gotham, Ax Men, Toobys (English and Spanish), Beyblade: Metal Fusion, Canimals, Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs, Kambu, Myth Hunters, Tweeny Witches, and new episodes of Call the Midwife, The Fosters, and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

The Bank Job

Thriller: The Bank Job

Burying the Ex

Burying the Ex is currently available on instant Netflix

Burying the Ex

Burying the Ex (2014) – Rated R

When Max (Yelchin) learns that his new live-in girlfriend, Evelyn (Greene) is controlling and manipulative, he is afraid to end the relationship. However, fate occurs and Evelyn is killed in a freak accident. A couple months have passed and Max meets his dream girl, Olivia (Daddario). The new romance gets tricky when Evelyn comes back from the grave and insists on continuing their once relationship by all means.”

Joe Dante does not direct films very often. When he does, they often involve horror and comedy – two great tastes that don’t always work well together. He cut his teeth on making trailers back in the Roger Corman days and, together with John Landis, runs the wonderful Trailers from Hell website. New trailers with expert commentary arrive Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and each week is themed.

He directed the best Jaws ripoff, Piranha in 1978. He is probably best remembered today, among horror fans, for The Howling (1981)  and Gremlins 1 & 2 (1984, 1990). My favorite is his wonderful homage to entrepreneur William Castle, Matinee. I was really looking forward to Burying the Ex.

Burying the Ex stars Anton Yelchin as our likable boyfriend with a quandary. He has been in horror movies before – Only Lovers Left Alive and the Fright Night reboot. He played the titular Odd Thomas and helped anchor that quirky horror feature. He is certainly amiable here and very sympathetic.

Ashley Greene does a fine job as the proverbial girlfriend from hell, sexy yet horrifying. Alexandra Daddario is suitably winning as the new girl, Olivia. Essentially the only other cast member is Oliver Cooper as Max’s half-brother Travis. He’s a little annoying but bearable.

Unfortunately the writing here by Alan Trezza is not up to par. His only other writing credit is for the short of the same title. Therein lies the problem. Burying the Ex is cute but feels terribly padded out. The idea is good but honestly, in spite of the ‘R’ rating, they are afraid to go anywhere with it.

There are uncounted references to numerous horror movies. Sadly these are not homages nor are they plot important in any way so they quickly become tedious (and this is from a certified horror nut). As they don’t really feature in the plot other than to establish Max and Olivia’s cred, I am not sure if the fault belongs with Dante or Trezza.

Burying the Ex is pretty much completely inoffensive. It is mild fun but could have been so much more.

 

Friday This ‘n’ That – Hulu & Netflix

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Hulu

* In addition to their regular service and deluxe add-on of Showtime, Hulu now offers an ad-free service for $11.99.

* Season 4 of The Mindy Project is now streaming exclusively on Hulu

Netflix

* All the episodes of Netflix’s second Marvel series, Jessica Jones, premiere November 20th. I can only hope that they are as good as Daredevil. Soooo am I going to binge on them myself immediately or do I have the wherewithal to wait for my wife?