Today’s Recommended Roku / Amazon Prime Selections
Roku’s AMAZON Channel details here!
Roku’s AMAZON Channel details here!
the earth remembers
the stones remember
If the earth and stones could only speak
they would tell us many things
—Native American Proverb
Stylish and existential, this is a very different crime thriller, that has a voice over (a film noir trope for this new age film noir) that is compelling.
The movie does lose momentum mid-way through, forgetting to use in any meaningful way or examine the interesting idea of the title character’s affiction, and becomes a rather ordinary and plodding man on the run film.
So a film not without its failings but one that has enough intriguing moments to transcend those failings, and have you interested in the end. Grade: C+.
Recently added to the Roku platform, VIEWSTER is a Swedish run on-demand channel that presents a surprising variety of free on-demand films. With a nice helping of Indie and Documentary films you are unlikely to find on other on-demand channels, as well as classic and current films.
Some that may be of interest this week are:
THE THIRD MAN
WHEELS ON MEALS
LOVE COMES SOFTLY
EVIDENCE OF A HAUNTING- the word on this movie is the only thing interesting is the poster, but you can see it for free here and decide for yourself
THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME
HE WALKED BY NIGHT
THE AMAZING MR. X
THE RED HOUSE
THE FRAGILITY OF SECONDS
SO YOU’VE DOWNLOADED A DEMON
UNDER OUR SKIN
THE SISTERS FOUR
THE MYSTERY OF SINTRA
THE BIG COMBO
Take a gander and let me know what ones you recommend.
THE PACT- this for most of its running time is far more interesting and compelling than your typical jump-scare ghost movie. I think the film would have been better without the cheap last shot it tacks on, but that acknowledged it is still an intriguing view up to that point. Grade C+.
VALHALLA RISING- Lyric and Brutal
THE BAY- Starts off intriguing, loses its way and ends up in bad parody territory. But still worth a look.
RECYCLE- A fantasy film, with horror trappings, wonderful visuals elevate this tale that is equal parts Alice in Wonderland and Dante’s Inferno by way of Thai Mythology
It is a very low key film, that has some quirky points I have not previously seen in an action/thriller, such as an assassin possessing a well known ailment, and having to perform while dealing with said ailment.
I was quite intrigued by this film’s general quirkiness and oddness, however the real selling point for the film is the fight scenes. They are by no means plentiful but when they come they are jaw dropping. Wesley Snipes remains an awesome martial artist to watch perform and these fight scenes are particularly and literally bone-breaking, and helped by strong direction and cinematography.
And finally the story itself and performances moved at a fast clip, kept me engaged and entertained and culminated in a satisfying conclusion. Zoe Bell, Aunjanue L. Ellis, Robert Davi (A walking ‘Movie Tough Guy’ Institution with over a 120 film and TV credits to his name) and Gary Daniels (showing the impressive Kickboxing skills that made him a World Champion) deliver straight forward but compelling performances.
I like the clean, stripped to the bone efficiency of this film’s narrative. No pesky side-kick (the plodding THE CONTRACTOR comes to mind), or hackneyed back story, or awful comedy relief, or crow-barred in relationship/love-story (all of which Wesley Snipes has had to deal with, as have most action actors). The flash-back framing excepted, this film is almost in real time and is simply about a mission that goes wrong… and dealing with it.
All-in-all a tight and largely impressive 90 minutes. The fight scenes alone, put this high on the recommend list, and will keep this film one that stands up to repeated viewings. Grade: B/B+. Based on the strength of this film I’m looking forward to Snipes’ upcoming films including EXPENDABLES III! Yeah Baby!
You can try the film for free on the on-demand channel CRACKLE. Easily available if you have a Roku Digital Media receiver.
Or for the ‘I just want to buy a DVD’ demographic among you (I’m a card-carrying member :)), you go here: Game of Death [Blu-ray]!
WORLD’S END- Written by Terry Nation. It’s a pretty dire opening with
someone committing suicide. A fitting opening for an episode entitled
World’s End. Grade: B. Commentary with Gary Russell, Verity Lambert, and
DALEKS- Reintroduces the almost immediately iconic Daleks. A tale of
humanity attempting to resist… in an age called Dalek. A captivating
story, solid performances and a large cast for a WHO production, but man
the Dalek effects (little streamers supposed to be the gun firing) and
the battle scenes are shockingly bad. Shockingly bad. Even for 1965 the
special effects, saucer flying scenes, and fight staging are c
ringingly, embarrassingly inept. Only the script, performances make it
worthwhile. The Doctor comes into his own in this episode using his
genius to launch an escape, only to find himself out of the fire and
into the frying pan. Questionably directed by Richard Martin. Grade: B-.
Commentary with Gary Russell, Verity Lambert, Richard Martin, Bill
DAY OF RECKONING- Written by Terry Nation. The human attack against the
Daleks has been rebuffed. And now the Daleks have only one thing on
their mind… extermination. And on the battle scenes, considering the
show is done for the most part live/in real time, you can excuse much of
its failings. However the Dalek shooting effect, and saucer footage,
there is no excuse for anything that lame. I say again, shockingly bad.
Susan gets to step up this episode and even gets a bit of romance going
on. And one fantastic, iconic scene this episode is the Daleks’
possessive march through London. Done to a great atonal score. Unusually
cinematic and very impressive. The highlight of the episode, and my
guess would be the serial. Appearance of the Black Dalek. Great
commentary. Grade: B.
THE END OF TOMORROW- A possibly explosive opening as Susan and her beau
David, save the day. Nice scene of the Daleks overseeing their human
slave labor. Nice THE GREAT ESCAPE feel as multiple story-lines converge
on the same goal… freedom. It is impressive and layered storytelling
by Terry Nation and Story Editor David Smith. Alligators in the Sewers
of London. Human vs Human. And a Dalek Guard Dog… the Slither?
Color-coded Daleks. And another strong cliffhanger. Great, full house
THE WAKING ALLY- Ian and compatriot, escaping the Slither must face the
secrets of the mine. Doctor, Susan and cast must face the horrors of the
Sewers of London, and Barbara and friend, find uncertain shelter. A
wonderful Terry Nation script that continues to plumb the horrors of
humanity as much as the horror of the Daleks. The romance of Susan and
David continues. And the Black Dalek/The Supreme Controller announces
the reason the the Daleks have come to Earth and boy is it a doozy! They
intend to turn the planet Earth into a ship that they can pilot
anywhere?! That’s massive huge thinking by Terry Nation, way ahead of
its time! Commentary with Richard Martin, Carolyn Ford, Bill. Grade: B+.
FLASHPOINT- Ian is a fly in the ointment and nearly pays for it with his
life, Barbara launches a bold plan at the heart of the Daleks, And the
Doctor, Susan and cast also launch their attack against the heart of the
Dalek invasion. Nice use of Dalek-vision. Nice wrap-up, actually pretty
fantastic wrap-up with Susan and David. Strong episode. Grade: B+. Richard,
Verity, Carol, and Bill on commentary
Star of SINISTER, Ethan Hawkes continues his streak of being (for me) an actor to avoid, in movies to avoid. But in his partial defense the brain-dead story-arc he is given to follow would keep any actor from performing credibly [SPOILERS: But honestly this film is too rotten to spoil any worse :). But here is what passes for a plot. A seeming serial killer leaves evidence of his slaughters in the home of his latest victims, the home the protagonist decides to buy, and not only does this protagonist, a failing true-crime writer, think it is feasible to keep evidence of mass murder from the police, he also thinks nothing of keeping his family in a house that there is all evidence said mass-murderer will return to. Like I said with a plot like that, it arrives spoiled. :)]
Just slap “insult to intelligence” on this film and move on.
SINISTER goes beyond stupid, to really being an insult to the viewer’s wit, and a waste of the viewer’s time. And on top of that the direction is so uninspired and tepid, the scenes with the prancing children shushing people look like the rushes of a bad home movie, impossible to take seriously, or be anything but silly.
Final Verdict: Stick with INSIDIOUS and avoid SINISTER!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER
This movie is far better than the exploitative popcorn title would have you believe. It mixes (surprisingly elegantly) outrageous fantasy and monster tropes with still redolent historical moments, and wraps it all in mesmerizing action and brilliant direction. I was and remain hugely impressed. Timur Bekmambetov continues to be a director to watch. And writer Seth Grahame-Smith surprises with a script that for all its action and outrageousness is surprisingly heartfelt and earnest and full of the import of those years of civil war. Highly Recommended.
I think far more movies in general, and horror movies specifically, disappoint than satisfy. INSIDIOUS fortunately falls into the latter category. Being from first frame to last a downright compelling, creepy, and scary horror film. It’s a keeper.
David Mamet on his game is a joy to behold, and here in REDBELT he is plain superlative, in this tale of a Jujitsu instructor, played mesmerizingly by Chiwetel Ejiofor, and the lives that intersect one night, and the ramifications of that intersection. It’s a wonderful drama, that also happens to have some thrilling sequences of… prevailing. A movie to own. Highly Recommended!
So if these are this week’s winners, what are the losers? Glad you asked, they are:
That’s all for this run around. Check back later for more.