Monday, 30 June 2014

New to Netflix UK - 30/06/14

Last week saw nothing new added. This week fares somewhat better...

You're Next - A family reunion quickly turns nasty when they are attacked by masked killers, but the killers themselves did not anticipate for themselves to be targeted back. A really good horror film that keeps throwing twists and turns to offer something new to the 'home invasion' genre.

Carrie (2013) - A bullied teenager finds her angst amplified by growing telekinetic powers, which soon become too much for her to control. It offers nothing new from the de Palma classic and what results is a watchable, though somewhat unenthusiastic, excuse to redo the notorious prom scene using cutting edge CGI.

Tron: Legacy - 20 years after his father disappears, a son finds himself transported to a mysterious digital game world where he has to fight for his survival. The first movie, while watchable, was more of a CGI showcase than an intellectual pursuit and the same could be said for this emotionless sequel.

Hair - A young man gets side-tracked from joining the Vietnam War when he befriends a group of activist hippies. Cult musical that, while dated, is still a fun trip down memory lane.

Monday, 16 June 2014

New to Netflix UK - 16/06/14

An interesting selection this week...

The Great Beauty - After spending nearly all his life living extravagantly from party to party, an ageing journalist is forced to reconsider his priorities in order to make sense of his accomplishments. It's hard not to be reminded of the love and energy of Fellini films, but Sorrentino has managed to both pay tribute to the great auteur while also carving his own unique gem of a movie.

Lovelace - Biopic of adult film actress Linda Lovelace, who suffered much abuse from her husband before finally taking her life into her own hands. Seyfried does a good job at making us care about Linda, but the whole movie lacks any real depth to make us care about anything else that goes on.

Upstream Colour - After a woman is drugged with a strange substance, which forces her to divulge all her financial assets, she meets a man who suffered a similar incidence and finds that their lives are linked by the strange substance. Carruth's follow-up after the mind-numbingly complex time travel movie Primer is not exactly any more straight-forward, ditching conventional narrative for something else entirely, but even if you are unable to follow what is happening you can still marvel at the amazing cinematography on screen or the haunting music that Carruth himself composed for the film.

His Girl Friday - After finding out his wife is leaving him for another man, a newspaper editor will use every trick in the book to stop this from happening. Classic Cary Grant movie full of quick-fire wit and that level of class that Hollywood has been unable to reproduce.

Vacancy - After checking into a motel during a storm, a couple find themselves at the hands of a voyeuristic snuff-film enthusiast. It's a dumb movie, but it's also watchable thanks to good lead performances from Wilson and Beckinsale.

Archer (TV) - Follows the exploits of spy organisation ISIS, whose agents are not always exactly competent. Still as funny as ever, season 4 picks up following their return to earth after destroying the space station while season 5 changes the pace slightly with ISIS having been disbanded and the group resorting to drug running to pay the bills.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Orange is the New Black - Season 2

The latest episodes of this (sort of) true story continues the story of Piper, a middle-class woman sent to jail due a past relationship with a female drug dealer.

The new season sees the focus shift more onto the other inmates, especially with a violent new inmate trying to take over the joint. Piper, meanwhile, begins to do some investigative work on the prison's dodgy finances.

New to Netflix UK - 9/6/14

Mostly just some new (older) Woody Allen films and one excellent supernatural action movie this week.

Odd Thomas - A young man with the ability to communicate with dead people becomes troubled by the dark omens he begins to see around his home town, forcing him to take action. It's a shame that this never saw a cinema release as Sommers' adaption of Dean Koontz's supernatural novels is a remarkably competent piece of entertainment.

Mighty Aphrodite - Discovering that his adopted son is a genius, a father heads out to find the mother but is disappointed to find she's a prostitute, and not a smart one at that. It may not be Allen's finest film but the auteur's attempts to bring Greek drama to the modern age isn't completely without its merits.

Deconstructing Harry - A famous author suffering from writer's block finds his himself facing the difficult choices in his past as events, both real and fictional, play out in front of him. It's become one of his more overlooked films, probably due to the more serious tone of the film, but this is still one of Allen's finer dramatic pieces that showed he wasn't afraid to bare his raw emotion in front of the camera.

Celebrity - A recently divorced husband and wife each find themselves trying to climb the different ropes of the celebrity lifestyle, both with very different results. Another Allen movie that was perhaps ahead of it's time, this is a sharp and scathing look at the glitz and glamour of being famous.

Monday, 2 June 2014

New to Netflix UK - 02/06/14

A pretty good selection this week.

Pulp Fiction - A series of violent and unpredictable intertwining tales following the exploits of criminals as they try and get by in life. It's twenty years old but Tarantino's crime opus still hit's every mark thanks to it's terrific cast and quotable lines.

It's a Disaster - A casual brunch among friends quickly unearths a lot of deep-seated issues among them, a matter only made worse by the dirty bombs that have been set off outside. It's by no means perfect, but a great improv cast and sharp dialogue means this black-comedy ends up hitting all the right notes.

Romeo + Juliet - A modern re-telling of the Bard's classic romantic-tragedy about the two love-crossed children of rival families. It looks the part, and often that's just enough, but anyone looking for a deeper experience will likely not find it.

Days of Glory - Four North African soldiers who enlist in the French army to help fend off the Nazis find themselves fighting the enemy on their own side. Filled with both spectacle and brains, the movie paints a harrowing portrait of the racism men had to endure despite all believing in the same goal.

A Bug's Life - An ant, desperate to save his colony from the villainous grasshoppers, seeks help from a troupe of circus performers, whom he believes to be fearless warriors. Pixar's update of one of Kurosawa's greatest movies is often glossed over for their more popular movies but it still remains a fine example of what great animation actually comprises of.

What Maisie Knew - Divorce as told through the eyes of a 6 year-old girl, who becomes a pawn in a messy custody battle between two very self-centred parents. Heartwrenching to watch but also filled with moments of hope, the movie is one of the most emotional depictions of divorce since 'Kramer vs Kramer'.