Monday, 25 November 2013

New to Netflix UK - 25/11/13

Only three new titles this week...

The Last Stand - After a violent drug lord escapes from prison and makes a run for the Mexican border, a local sheriff sees it as his duty to stop him. It's a real shame this film was so overlooked when it came out as it's a great come-back vehicle for Arnie, features a lot of the same wacky humour Jee-Woon brought to 'The Good, The Bad, The Weird' and it's just a hell of a lot of fun.

Twixt - A struggling writer investigating a local murder finds himself becoming more and more obsessed in the case to the point that his destiny becomes linked to it. It's an interesting film that takes some interesting turns but it's overtly ambitious and the end result can feel muddled and incoherent.

Once Upon a Time in Mexico - A hitman becomes tangled in a vast conspiracy involving the CIA, a rogue general and the Mexican president.The final act in the 'El Mariachi' trilogy, the film does an excellent job in providing you with the OTT action you seek but it's attempts at trying to deliver a 'serious' political thriller results in a generically dull plot.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

New to Netflix UK - 18/11/13

[Sorry for posting a day late...]

The Giant Mechanical Man - A women who's finding hard to adjust to adult life finds a connection in one of her co-workers, a man with similar problems and who moonlights as a street performer. It's not perfect and it's easily forgettable, but it's charming and quirky and perfect for a quiet night in.

Best Worst Movie - Documentary looking at how horror movie 'Troll 2' went from worst movie ever made to being a midnight-screening cult classic. Although this is aimed more towards the fans of Troll 2, it's still an insightful look on how movies are made and in particular how public opinion over them changes with time.

Revanche - After a fatal encounter with a policeman following a bank robbery, an ex-con hides away on a farm only to learn that the police officer and his family live nearby. Less of a conventional thriller and more of a character study, this is still a highly engaging film full of twists that will leave you hanging on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Safety Not Guaranteed - A journalist intern is brought along to capture the story of a 'crazy' man who believes he has travelled through time and is looking for a partner to experience it with him, and ends up finding a deeper connection with him. Based around an actual ad in the wanted pages of a local newspaper, the film is a highly imaginative and a very enjoyable comedy/drama/sci-fi/romance with a strong script and an amazing cast.

Maniac - A mannequin store owner is approached by an art student for help with her exhibition, but their friendship begins to take its toll and the owners repressed dark desires begin to surface. Grisly, sinister and extremely violent, this is not a movie for the faint hearted and while the plot may feel like a sub-par slasher at times, it's Mr Wood who keeps us watching thanks to his highly watchable (but highly disturbing) performance.

Hysteria - In Victorian England, the sexual frustration of women is put to an end when a doctor invents the vibrator. Given the subject matter, the film is surprisingly light and opts for a more comic approach to the backstory of one of the most popular inventions created, and for the most part it works.

Monday, 11 November 2013

New to Netflix UK - 11/11/13 (plus a bonus short movie, "The Fifth")

There's some bad, some really good, plus the addition of one of the better-but-lesser seen dark comedies of the last year inspired by one of my favourite short films.

Race to Witch Mountain - Two siblings with psychic powers enlist a reluctant taxi driver to help them escape from a shady government organisation. Dwayne Johnson manages to provide enough charisma to keep this children-fantasy film moderately engaging but otherwise it's typical mediocre Disney fuel.

The Human Centipede 2 - A mentally troubled loner obsessed with the first movie decides to re-enact the events. The meta angle the film aims for is interesting to say the least but it's still a poorly executed mess of tasteless images that only a niche audience will appreciate.

There Be Dragons - A journalist uncovers a slew of dark mysteries about his father when he interviews one of the father's former friends. The storytelling is inconsistent and the characters and dialogue feels forced and unnatural but it is still a decent portrayal of the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, which has unfortunately been largely forgotten in recent years.

Lore - The children of a Nazi Officer flee for their lives when the allies start sweeping in through Germany, forcing them to come to terms with their beliefs. A highly engaging, thought-provoking and well-acted drama that shows a side to the war that is seldom portrayed.

Starbuck - A slacker who has been donating sperm for the last few years finds his life spiral down another direction when he discovers that he's the father of over 500 children, some of whom are taking legal action to find out who their real father is. The story has it's issues and holes but if you look over it you can find a rather unusual but warmhearted comedy.

The Bridge (TV) - A body on the bridge linking Sweden and Denmark forces two detectives from, one from each side of the bridge, to team up and catch the sadistic killer. Standard Scandinavian fare in that it's an exceptionally well thought-out and manoeuvred thriller (putting most English language productions to shame) that still manages to remain original.

Bomb Girls (TV) - Follows the lives of a group of women working in a munitions factory during WW2 as they struggle to cope with the changing social scene around them. Engaging drama from Canada that does a good job of reminding how hard it was to be a woman during the war and the obstacles they had to overcome, even when they were directly contributing to the war effort.

Some Guy Who Kills People - After he is released from a mental institution, a man finds himself stuck in a dead-end job and decides to exact revenge on the people who screwed up his life. A very dark and twisted comedy, with a great performance from Kevin Corrigan, that looks like a sure fire candidate to become a cult hit.
(It's based on a fantastically dark short by Ryan Levin, who also wrote the movie, which you can watch here).

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Netflix and Marvel Sign Deal for Four Exclusive Superhero Series

Netflix must really be hungry to offer more original content as they've just signed a deal with Marvel to produce four individual series based on the Marvel Universe. This isn't exactly too surprising given that Netflix and Disney already have an exclusivity thing going on, and Marvel are owned by Disney, but it's interesting to note that they are going ahead with a full series (probably ~12 episodes), not just greenlighting a pilot.

The catch? The superheroes in question are from the B-list of superheroes..
-Luke Cage, an excellent fighter with superhuman strength and an amazing durability to harm.
-Iron Fist, an expert martial artist who channels his power through his fists.
-Jessica Jones, who has the ability to fly as well as superhuman strength.
-Daredevil, whose blindness has heightened his other senses making him a formidable fighter.

While the characters may not be from the more popular pages of the comics, the end product should be very interesting as all the characters end up crossing paths in one way or another at some point in their careers.
Luke Cage (as Power Man) and Iron Fist start up a detective agency together called "Heroes for Hire", Iron Fist dons Daredevils persona at one point to prove Matt Murdoch isn't Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are romantically involved and Murdoch employs Jessica Jones as his bodyguard.

The potential for this deal, if handled correctly, would be allowing for each character to cross over into another's story almost seamlessly, much like in the comics (or even like with the Marvel-verse movies).

It's worth noting however that it's unlikely all four will be released at the same time as their plan is to release them over the course of several years, starting in 2015.

I feel really sorry for DC Comics right now.

Monday, 4 November 2013

New to Netflix UK - 04/11/13

Nothing too special out this week.

Episodes (TV) - A husband and wife writing team head to America to remake their beloved TV show, but it all falls apart when their lead character is replaced by the unpredictable ex-Friends star 'Matt LeBlanc'. Highly amusing, if somewhat slow, series that has some great laughs but above all gives LeBlanc a chance to show he isn't just Joey (to some degree).

Wake Up - Documentary following a man who wakes up one day to find he has the ability to see other-dimensional entities. The credibility behind it is highly suspect and the sceptics out there will dismiss it as a hoax, however the film provides a unique look on achieving spiritual faith without the hassle of organised religion.

Blackthorn - An aged Butch Cassidy decides to leave Bolvia to finally return home, but his plans are put on hold when he stumbles across a miner who's on the run after stealing money from his employers. The idea of making a 'sequel' to the immortal Roy Hill movie leaves a bad taste in the mouth (no less because of the way it ends) but Blackthorn manages to conjure up a decent 'what if' scenario resulting in a rather sombre epilogue for one of the greatest robbers ever created for the big screen.

The Deep Blue Sea - The wife of a respected judge engages in an affair with an RAF pilot but the passion doesn't last long and it soon begins to break her down both mentally and physically. Incredibly well adapted version of Terence Rattigan's play, the film is heartbreaking to watch but the compelling performance of the lead characters makes this drama a hard one to miss.

Funny Games (1997) - A family on their vacation find themselves in increasingly horrific situations when two charming psychopaths hold them hostage. The original game-changer from Haneke, this film is less about the violence on screen but more about the psychological torment the viewer goes through as the film breaks every horror/thriller trope and movie law.

And apparently there's a movie called Big Fat Gypsy Gangster...
If this is what counts as original ideas nowadays I can see why all the studios are so obsessed with remakes and sequels.