Monday, 31 March 2014

New to Netflix UK - 31/03/14

Another somewhat lacklustre week in terms of new content.

Africa - BBC documentary about the world's largest continent. By this point we've seen some of it before and some of it is new but the cinematography is as amazing as it's ever been and Attenborough is still a charismatic tour-de-force.

Fright Night (2011) - After discovering that his new neighbour is a vampire, a teen turns to a Vegas magician for help in bringing him down. The original was good campy fun, nothing special, and yet the remake still manages to deliver a good solid movie with some great performances and an interesting revision on the original story.

An Inconvenient Truth - Documentary following Al Gore as he gives his famous climate change presentations across the world. Say what you will about the man or the subject but the film is still highly engrossing to watch, even if the facts may be slightly skewed to emphasise the apocalypse.

Monday, 24 March 2014

New to Netflix UK - 24/03/14

Not much new, but there's a few lesser-known movies that are worth checking out.

Dead Man Down - Two people with a lust for vengeance form an uneasy alliance in order to achieve their goals. What starts off as a decent thriller soon erupts into a Hollywood-wannabe mess of a movie, however if you can stomach the sudden change in quality it still ends up being a watchable movie.

Breathe In - A family has their relationship and morals tested when they take in a foreign exchange student. It boasts some excellent performances from the key actors, and the film is incredibly well shot, however the emotional impact the film is trying to convey often gets bogged down by a plot that seems far too linear given the events presented to us.

Days of Grace - Three stories about crime and corruption in Mexico city, set during the three football world cups between 2004 and 2012. It's not for the faint of heart, taking a similar stance to gang portrayal as City of God, but the result is a very entertaining crime movie reminding us of the chaos many people have to put up with on a day to day basis.

Monday, 17 March 2014

New to Netflix UK - 17/03/14

A nice selection this week, including some top-notch TV shows and one of the biggest blockbusters of the decade.

Homeland (TV) - A US Marine, returning home after being a captive in Iraq, only for a CIA agent to suspect him of being an al-Qaeda mole. Decent political thriller that does a good job of keeping it's viewers hooked on the edge of their seats thanks to it's impressive performances by the main cast.

American Horror Story (TV) - An anthology of mini-series that provide an eclectic mix of old-school horror tropes with more modern takes on the genre. AHS falls into that category of entertainment that you will either love or you will hate, throwing its viewers around for an often bizarre ride filled with many WTF moments and plot defining twists.

The Returned (TV) - A small mountain town find themselves at the centre of strange and wonderful phenomenon following the return of the recently dead, who continue life as though nothing had happened. Very atmospheric French chiller that does a good job at bringing a fresh take to the 'zombie' genre, while adding it's own spin on the Twin Peaks mythos.

Uwantme2killhim? - A detective finds herself caught up in the seedy underbelly of online chatrooms when she is put in charge of a case involving a boy stabbing his best friend. The acting is very good, especially considering the age of the younger actors, however the story, while trying to hype up the dangers of online socialisation, doesn't always manage to keep it's footing resulting in a well-meant but overall underwhelming film.

Cinema Paradiso - A young boy, with a fondness for the movies, befriends the local film projectionist who opens his eyes to the wonders of chasing your dreams. It's not hard to see why this movie is a favourite of film-lovers everywhere as it manages to capture the wonders of film through a child's eyes and yet finds a way to grab an emotional hold on all who watch it.

Avengers Assemble (AKA Marvel's The Avengers) - Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk and Thor must put aside their differences and work together to fend off an alien threat led by Thor's brother Loki. The entire Marvel film line-up has been building to this one outing and it doesn't fail to disappoint, offering exactly what we want from a mega-hero movie - laughs, action and bickering among the lead characters.

Monday, 10 March 2014

New to Netflix UK - 10/03/13

Not much new and noteworthy this week but there's two pretty awesome movies to indulge in.

Toy Story 3 - With Andy all grown up now the toys find themselves relocated to a daytime nursery however they are soon forced to find a way to escape after they learn it is run by a human-hating stuffed bear. Pixar knock the threequel curse out of the park delivering their most affectionate, emotional and nostalgic movie yet and providing closure to one of the greatest series of modern times (until Disney force a forth movie out of them).

21 & Over - An over-achiever spends his 21st birthday doing all the things he never had a chance to do, and then some, leading to a night that soon spirals out of control. It provides some amusement, providing you like these sorts of movies, otherwise it's nothing different from the many other movies about teens 'going wild'.

Stories We Tell - Documentary following Sarah Polley's family as they each recount the families secrets with their own versions and interpretations of what happened. An engaging account of a family that serves as it's own detective story as well as works as a dissection of the family myth and an incredible in-depth look at the way we relate fantasy and reality.

Monday, 3 March 2014

New to Netflix UK - 03/03/14

It seems like everything's back to normal after last week's no show...

Grimm (TV) - A man discovers he is a descendant of the Brothers Grimm and that it is his job to keep the real world safe from fairy-tale creatures who are very much real. While it shares a lot with Once Upon a Time, Grimm manages to offer a different look at the clash between fairy-tales and reality by crossing it with a police procedural thriller, which works for the most part.

Event Horizon - A rescue ship tracks down the distress signal of an experimental craft which has been missing for many years, only to succumb to the same mysterious horrors that killed the first crew. Trashy sci-fi-horror that has somehow developed a cult following.

Neil Young: Heart of Gold - Concert documentary following Neil Young performing in Nashville. Still widely regarded as one of the best music docs, though it may only appeal to Young fans, it is a fine example of how to mix music and the emotion for music that is felt by those who watch and listen as well as those who create it.

Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyers Cut) - Six part documentary that follows the lives of the Monty Python crew, from their humble beginnings to going about their separate ways. A must watch for any fan, this endearing documentary hits all the right notes in bringing forth nostalgia and generally fascinating tid-bits of one of the greatest sketch-comedy groups ever assembled.

Young Adult - A teen-novel writer, who's own life is going nowhere, heads back to her hometown to try to patch things up with her ex, even though he's happily married and expecting a child. It can be hard to warm up to, given that Theron's lead character is as unpleasant as they come, but if you stick with it you'll find that there's actually a level of warmth to this darkly twisted movie.

30 Minutes or Less - A pizza delivery boy finds himself forced to rob a bank when two dimwitted crooks abduct him and strap him with explosives. It should have been a lot funnier, given the talent involved, but fans of low-key toilet humour shouldn't be too disappointed by what is on offer here.

The Firm - An up-and-coming lawyer joins 'The Firm' after they lure him with irresistible perks, but he soons find there's a much more sinister side to the company when two associates turn up dead. It has a strong cast but the over-long running time means this thriller ends up fizzling out before the ending is even near.

Primal Fear - A high-profile defence attorney takes the case of a mentally-challenged young man accused of killing an archbishop, though what initially started as a ploy to raise his public profile soon turns into a sinister game of hidden motives. A very well made legal-thriller with great performances, particularly by Norton, that has enough great twists to keep you guessing until the very end.

The Great Muppet Caper - The gang have to try to solve a jewellery robbery after the culprits frame Miss Piggy. Fun feature-length outing for the Muppets that features a decent story and some catchy songs.

Sister Act - After witnessing a mob hit, a lounge singer hides out in a convent, impersonating a nun, where she finds herself in charge of the school choir group. Amusing, if somewhat lacklustre, comedy which features Goldberg at her best even if the writing isn't always up to it.