Streaming Movie of the Day : Paul D. Hannah’s THE LAST LETTER [2013]

Streaming Movie of the Day : Paul D. Hannah’s THE LAST LETTER [2013]

the-last-letter2

The film initially showed promise. A solid cast, well photographed, passionately performed, but unfortunately it’s sabotaged by a script and character actions that are insultingly stupid. I could choose a more elegant word, but stupid and idiotic and nonsensical sums up the problems with this script.

Well before halfway, the brain dead actions of everyone involved, and the complete unlike-ability of every one involved completely eradicates any interest in the movie or concern for the characters. And a movie where you have lost interest in all the characters is the definition of boring and a waste of time.

And it’s a shame because I do applaud Paul Hannah’s attempt to broaden the Black cinematic experience beyond the ghetto of dramas, comedies, relationship bashing, or Gospel/Christian/message movies they unfortunately tend to be relegated to.

Black themed films desperately need more action films and thrillers and horror movies and scifi and fantasy, however they need to be good. And unfortunately THE LAST LETTER isn’t. However with a better script (it would be hard to be worse) there’s potential for future Hannah thrillers to be better.

Grade: D-

Available to view this month on Netflix Streaming.

A minute with the DOCTOR : WHO defeats EBOLA in NIGERIA?!!!

“WHO Declares Nigeria Ebola-Free

Abuja – The World Health Organization, today, 20th October, 2014 officially declared Nigeria Ebola-Free, having passed the mandatory period with no new cases; 42 days after the last confirmed case of the virus was discharged from the hospital, giving sufficient confidence to declare the outbreak over.”

“This is a good public health story with an unusual twist at the end. As part of preparedness for an imported case, several advanced countries with good health systems are now studying technologies “made in Nigeria”, with WHO support, to improve their own contact tracing capacities.

The story has another very clear message, as noted by Dr Margaret Chan, the WHO Director-General. “If a country like Nigeria, hampered by serious security problems, can do this – that is, make significant progress towards interrupting polio transmission, eradicate guinea-worm disease and contain Ebola, all at the same time – any country in the world experiencing an imported case can hold onward transmission to just a handful of cases.”

Read the whole remarkable story here!

Streaming VOD DVD : Director & Movie of the Day — DEFIANCE by Edward Zwick

legends_of_the_fall_ver1

glory_ver1

last_samurai

courage_under_fire_ver2

defiance_ver3


Edward Zwick, the master of the sprawling, thrilling, heartfelt epic, continues his home-run streak with 2008’s DEFIANCE. One of Zwick’s older films, it recently made its appearance on Netflix streaming, and only today made my viewing list.

Following in the footsteps of other Zwick masterpieces such as GLORY, COURAGE UNDER FIRE, LEGENDS OF THE FALL, and LAST SAMURAI, the film DEFIANCE follows his pattern of expertly mythologizing moments of our history, thereby creating visual ballads of those places where we stand up. And like those aforementioned movies, DEFIANCE manages to both rouse and move. Highly recommended. Grade: B+/A-.

All of the Edward Zwick movies named are highly recommended. Most are available on streaming so you can try before you buy, but the films are clinics on film-making, and should be owned for the commentaries as well as being able to see the movies in the best quality available.

Streaming VOD DVD : Movie of the Day — THE 13TH UNIT & The Worst Movies on Amazon Prime!

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

THE 13TH UNIT (2014) – The genre of storage unit horror is thankfully small, relegated as it is to the pretty forgettable Noel Clarke vehicle STORAGE 24 or this extremely low budget entry, THE 13TH UNIT.

Despite an obviously anemic budget, some solid camera work, for the most part involving performances, initially show promise and keep me watching. Unfortunately the film is sabotaged by a cliche ridden script, annoying characters who make obviously irrational and stupid choices, and a complete lack of audience investment due to the stupidity of these characters. It’s finish-able, however ultimately not worth that investment of time. Grade: D.

Other movies to avoid, far more inept than 13TH UNIT are FALSE FACE, 5 SOULS, BEAST WITHIN, 7 NIGHTS OF DARKNESS, THE CREEPY DOLL, and NO ONE WILL KNOW.

Netflix Hits and Misses for October 2014

THE ARTIST AND THE MODEL- Fernando Trueba (director of Oscar-winning BELLE EPOQUE and Oscar-nominated CHICO AND RITA) collaborates with legendary screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière to present this exquisite tale of a quest for beauty and artistic inspiration. Sumptuously shot in black and white by Cinematographer Daniel Vilar, and with captivating performances from Jean Rochefort, Aida Folch, Claudia Cardinale and Chus Lampreave, THE ARTIST AND THE MODEL is a delicately crafted contemplation on life, death and art that won Trueba the Best Director award at San Sebastian Film Festival.

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS- Revisiting the movie it continues to reward, and becomes more enjoyable. Grade: A.

SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE- John Malkovich and William Dafoe star in this dark fable take, on Murnau’s filming of NOSFERATU. Solidly enjoyable. Grade: B.

BIG ASS SPIDER!- Far better and more enjoyable than recent stabs at the B-movie monster quickie. This one is solidly aware and embracing of its influences. Well performed and engaging bit of 90 minutes. Grade: B.

STATE OF EMERGENCY- Beautifully filmed, this claustrophobic little film is definitely a slow burn, takes a while to get going, but stick with it, I find its content and quality belies its idiotic poster. I am not a zombie fan, I think the first two seasons of the Walking Dead TV Show are both idiotic and annoying, but I like this film. Grade: B/B+
JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI- Inventively told Documentary is good, if a bit overhyped and overlong. Grade: B-/B.

COUNT YORGA VAMPIRE- An interesting take on the Vampire craze, sensuous and bloody, this takes Vampire out of Hammer’s Victorian age and deposits him into the Free Love Movement and the age of Aquarius 70s. Equal parts ludicrous and engaging, this movie is better than I initially thought it would be. C+.

THE MACHINE (2013)- Fantastic looking poster, and solid visuals throughout, however this scifi film feels overlong, like a retread of better films and already well trod cautionary tales. Worth a look.
SPACEBALLS- Huge fan of Mel Brooks films like HIGH ANXIETY and BLAZING SADDLES, I don’t like this film. I want to like it I just don’t particularly find it well cast, funny, or interesting.
UNREST- Start interestingly, this tale of a cadaver that may be more alive than it should be, devolves quickly into utter nonsense. Grade: D.

SACRAMENT – Ti West has three movies on NETFLIX, the great HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, the tedious INBETWEENER, and this film an intriguing but flawed looked at cults and massacres. Just underwhelming. Grade: C-.

DOOMSDAY PREPPERS -hit
CHOPPED -hit
CUTTHROAT KITCHEN -hit
DEATHNOTE -hit
ARROW Season 2 -hit
BEING MARY JANE -hit

Television Review : CWs THE FLASH

cwposter

Two episodes in and I like but don’t love CW’s THE FLASH. The casting of the lead actor, CW going for a 20 something Kid-Flash like Flash, does not initially endear.

It reminds too much of DAWSON’S CREEK meets ‘insert-superhero-title-here’. That said, actor Grant Gustin does have some range, and I can see him growing into the role. Particularly the dynamic between Gustin as the young Barry Allen and Jesse L. Foster as Detective Joe West, his Foster Dad, is particularly good.

However that inventive relationship is married to one that doesn’t feel inventive at all, the relationship between Candice Patton as Iris West and her triangle between Grant Gustin as Barry Allen and Rick Cosnett as Detective Eddie Thawne. I am not a fan of there being a distinct lack of representation on Film or Television of male characters of color getting the girl. It’s a bit tired all these shows with Black actresses tossing themselves at White actors.

It would be different if these shows were offset by an equal number of shows and movies with actors of color getting the girl. Unfortunately there isn’t. It’s a telling and glaring discrepancy. In the absence of that parity, all this sameness of storytelling feels more like a programming/propaganda than storytelling. It seems more like Black Faces and White Messages.

It’s the reason shows like MARY JANE and ARROW (the only real standout CW show) work for me. They embrace a needed and neglected dynamic, of romance and sex being a purview of more than the White Male.


CW’s FLASH, if it was not engulfed by a sea of movies and tv shows selling the same dynamic to the same impressionable audience, would be easier show to enjoy on its own merits. However it’s only two episodes in and I’m hopeful the show grows beyond its sophomore ticks, to be something the equal of its sibling show… ARROW.