Roku Streaming Movie Oddity of the Day : THE HIKE

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Roku Streaming Movie Oddity of the Day is THE HIKE – This one got my interest, not because of quality, but scarcity. To get the Region 1 DVD of this film on Amazon would cost you (as of the date of this posting) over $40.

However through the magic of the Roku device (or your device of choice), and the channel POPCORNFLIX, you can watch this film for free and see if it’s remotely worth purchasing.

It sounds like a poor man’s DESCENT to me, and the reviews are lukewarm at best, but for the price of free I’m willing to check it out.

You can view it online here!
Or add the POPCORNFLIX channel to your Roku or other device by using the handy instructions found here to view it on your tv.


Addendum- The first 40 minutes of this film, you can be forgiven for wanting to turn off the movie, the acting is not good, the writing cringe worthy in places, however that said, it’s not completely without interest, and by the 42 minute mark, it actually becomes something of a more compelling movie than I thought it was going to be.

No one is going to confuse this with a great film, but for the genre it is a more thought out, and arguably impressive effort than you would expect. Let’s put it this way, it is far better than over-hyped films such as A LONELY PLACE TO DIE(2011) and TRIANGLE(2009). And whatever acting issues you have with the first half of the movie, are not there with the last half. Plus it boasts a throbbing, addictive score.

All in all, and while I just said no one is going to confuse this movie with a great film, I do think the 2nd half of this movie is pretty darn impressive. And I personally thought the ending was exceedingly good and lifts the whole movie up. Grade: B.

Plus this movie is available in a nice multi-region Blu-Ray for less than the price of the DVD that originally started this post. So if you determine after viewing, that this is a film you want to add to your collection, grab your copy here: The Hike [Blu-ray]. They have about 5 copies left as of this writing.

Documentary Review: A BAND CALLED DEATH

“Try your best in life, to keep your promise to God; and give God time enough to keep His promise to you.” Bobby Hackney, quoting his Dad

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I am that most horrible of things. I am a collector and a romantic, and those two things together tend to make me… sentimental about certain things.

Those two things tend to make me extremely emotional about certain things.

And I try to avoid things that will make me either emotional or sentimental. But sometimes that’s not for you to say. Sometimes there comes along something worthy of both sentimentality and emotion.

The documentary A BAND CALLED DEATH is one of those things. The phrase ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ is oft heard, but little acknowledged; you’ll acknowledge it in the watching of this film, about three Black Brothers in a thriving early 70s Detroit, creating a hyper brand of rock, a punk music, years before punk; and the winding road that winding music… takes them on.

Just a brilliant, wrenching film, the feature film debut of Mark Christopher Covino and Jeff Howlett makes you want to scream, and create, and believe in family and generations, and believe in being a better man… and that confluence of feelings, is a rare and rarefied thing. A gift.

A highly recommended documentary, viewable free via streaming, that will spur you for posterity and for joy… to buy not just the documentary, but the cds associated with it.

A Band Called Death (+ Digital Copy) –

For the Whole World to See – Here is the long awaited CD/Album referenced in the documentary. Here music that was almost lost for all time, but for a man’s faith… that the world would come

Maximum Soul Power – And here the next generation, inspired and building upon what came before

Just riveting all around. Click the links, and for little, own much.

Netflix Winners and Losers : DAVID O’ REILLY vs ROSALIND LEIGH in our Movie Throwdown!


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In this installment of MOVIE THROWDOWN let us start with a film from Netflix that falls solidly in the worth missing category:

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THE POSSESSION OF DAVID O’ REILLY- The audacity and body horror aspects of this film paints it as a decidedly different haunting/possession film, AMITYVILLE HORROR by way of Cronenberg-lite, but that’s not enough to offset the weaknesses of this film, Namely contrived overzealous performances, and a script that ignores the basic rationale of the protagonists not either committing or kicking out anyone behaving so mental.

It comes off as a manic exercise in filmic irrationality, that quickly wears out its welcome along with any modicum of sense. Grade: An intriguing premise that begins well, but quickly devolves into a hysterical mess. Avoid. D. The debut feature film of Andrew Cull it hints at definite promise, if he could reign in the excesses of script, acting and directing.

Of a similar type to THE POSSESSION OF DAVID O’ REILLY, even down to the nomenclature heavy title, but far better is…

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THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ROSALIND LEIGH- Directed by Rodrino Guidino, this is also a debut feature film, but you could not tell that by viewing it. The film has the assured look and deft touch of a master filmmaker. Impressive, grand opening sequence; beautiful use of visuals and sound. “Despair is an affliction of the godless.”.

Wonderful set design on the titular character’s cabinet of curiosities, filled as it is with religious iconography. If you are going to set a film in primarily one location, as this film does, it behooves you to have or create a location that will keep your audience captivated, and this film manages to pull that mandate off and then some.

Fluid and engaging camera work, such that it’s difficult not to stay rooted to the screen for fear of missing any of the striking imagery. The camera moves like a preternatural thing, and marries with the sound-work and set design, both of which are stunning, to create an engrossing experience.

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If a fan of HOUSE OF THE DEVIL you will adore this film and its uncoiling pacing. The unseen neighbor… very creepy. In fact this film is filled with wonderful voices, bringing to mind that this and PONTYPOOL use sound, specifically spoken word, so effectively they nearly create a whole new sub-genre of horror film.

I found THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ROSALIND LEIGH ultimately a very, no pun intended, haunting and sad and lovely film, which is an odd thing to say of a horror film, but this is no ordinary horror film. I highly recommend it. Grade: A-.

This is one you can sample via Netflix, and then if you are as impressed with it as I am, buy the DVD (currently a bluray does not exist) to watch this film in the highest quality possible and to be able to listen to the director’s commentary to have him walk you through what was on his mind as he composed these shots, composed this sumptuous study in bravura film-making.

So this installment’s loser is THE POSSESSION OF DAVID O’ REILLY and the winner is THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ROSALIND LEIGH. Both films are currently available for viewing on Netflix, and the winner available for purchase here:Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh

Tell em HT sent ya! And come back for more Movie throw-downs next time!

CD of the Day (and strong contender for CD of the Year) Gregory Porter’s LIQUID SPIRIT


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I’ve been listening to a lot of music recently. Actual cds not mp3s, not rough compressions or rough approximations of the song, but the full CD sound spectrum of the song.

MP3s were never designed as a replacement for musical CDs, it is a sampling medium, great for helping you decide what is worth buying (or even audio books where for the most part all you are reproducing is a person’s limited conversational speaking range) but not suitable as a replacement for a full range music recording. MP3s get rid of extraneous info, the highs and the lows, the extremes, but oft I’ve found it’s those very pauses and extremes… that compression schemes such as MP3 would lose, wherein we are best found.

I’ve listened to everything from Rock to Rap, sampling all those voices from the near and far. And some of those CDs are very good, but only one recently has been inspired, has been revelatory. Revelatory as in revelation. Gregory Porter’s LIQUID SPIRIT is that cd. Not since stumbling upon the works of Terry Callier or Solomon Burke have I been so impressed with a new discovery. It’s not just his voice, or even the lyrics, which as stated are inspired, it is his phrasing, his delivery. Smooth and easy crooning, holding at bay… a night falling into day. It’s a very relaxed delivery, crooning to you, as the stars… dim.

Melancholy. That’s the word, there is a vein of melancholy in Gregory Porter’s Grammy acclaimed vocals, but melancholy that is tempered by a fervent romanticism. This is timeless music, as valid for an audience of 1920 as it will be for an audience of 2020.

This is today’s MUST BUY, not just the CD of the day, but a CD to enjoy from first song to last for far longer than a day. An essential CD.

In an age of Itunes when everyone is satisfied with listening to the distant echoes of music (mp3s) this is a CD that will prompt you to invest in, that nearly extinct device, a portable CD player.

However, it is the 21st century so thankfully we have alternatives to just having a portable CD player. You can, for a little more, buy a simple media tablet about the same size and weight as a portable CD player, but that allows you to play your MP3 cd-rs and cd-rws (as much as I rail against MP3 for music, for audio books or Old Time Radio it works just fine) as well as view DVDs! That folks is what we call… a win/win!

Price both the CD and a good portable media player-tablet, at the links below. You’ll be glad… for both.

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Liquid Spirit CD

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Coby TFDVD7009 7-Inch Portable DVD/CD/MP3 Player, Black – nifty portable media tablet… now it appears Coby Electronics has gone the way of the dodo, so you may want to pick up these low cost DVD/CD/media tablets while you can.

Enjoy the links. And if you purchase through the links, I want to let you know it is always appreciated, and helps keep this Blog going. Thanks and enjoy the items!!!

And for those looking to catch Gregory Porter in concert, he has a pretty lively 2014 touring schedule, He’s currently tearing through Europe, but has a few stateside stops as well, to include, PA, New orleans, Colorado, DC, and a few more. View the whole schedule here!

Favorite Films discovered on Streaming On-Demand in 2013!

Favorite Films discovered on Streaming On-Demand in 2013!

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2013′s most interesting films for me weren’t found in the theater, or backed by major studios. They were small, even intimate, Independent films found courtesy of the new distribution opportunities that venues such as Amazon Prime and Netflix have opened up.

HALO 4 FORWARD ONTO DAWN, BOY WONDER, ANOTHER ZERO IN THE SYSTEM, and HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN are films seen in 2013, that here in 2014 still stand tall as memorable and commanding viewing experiences. The last three being some of the most haunting examples of existential angst meets neo noir meets anti-hero you are likely to find. And HALO 4 FORWARD ONTO DAWN on a shoestring budget, creates a scifi epic with more heart and style than any ten STARSHIP TROOPERS.

These are films so good that having seen them for free courtesy of streaming, I had to purchase them on DVD/Blu-Ray. After viewing them you may agree. You can price them at the links below.

Boy Wonder

Another Zero in the System

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn [Blu-ray]

House of the Rising Sun

Deal of the Day!! Winegard FL5000 Digital HDTV Antenna

Okay so if 2013 was the year of Roku, Roku 3 Streaming Media Player (Click here for more) as my tech device of the year, then the Winegard FL5000 Indoor HDTV Antenna is setting up to be an early contender as my favorite tech device of 2014.

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I dislike monopolies, and I dislike multi-year contracts, all of that translates into me not being a huge fan of cable or satellite companies. And I really disliked the highway looting and theft of American analog airwaves by government and big business. This eradication of the analog airwaves a few years ago in essence made your traditional rabbit ears useless; and was a boon to paid tv options, leaving the majority of the American population to choose between suffering with subpar reception or buying into pricey paid options to enjoy their television.

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Thankfully the infrastructure and technology of local stations has caught up, finally, with the demands of digital viewing. And add to that we now have affordable digital reception devices such as the Winegard FL5000, and free television is suddenly once again a viable reality. The Winegard FL5000 I can report after a couple of weeks of using it is awesome! If you are in a typical large city the un-powered FL-5000 will do the trick fine, bringing in numerous digital channels, with great pictures and sound, and an info option that lets you see details on the program you are watching. Combine the free coverage from the Winegard with the Roku on-demand channels and there is no reason to remain a slave to over-priced cable companies and locked-in punitive satellite services.

Put simply the Winegard FL5000 is the deal of the day!Winegard Company FL-5000 FlatWave HDTV Indoor Digital Flat Antenna – Made in USA (Click here for recent discounts and savings)

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Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (Limited Edition) [Blu-ray] (2012)

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Bond 50: The Complete 23 Film Collection with Skyfall [Blu-ray]

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Broken Bells

Recommended On-Demand TV Show of the Day : CHOPPED

There is a lot to strongly dislike if not outright hate about the proliferation of reality television. Prominent among the bullet points are the devaluation of the role of writer, and the lowest common denominator nature of the ‘reality’ that is provided as entertainment.

However thankfully there are exceptions, and gems that rise against all probability from the mire. One of those gems, is the Food channel flagship show… CHOPPED.

It avoids the cartoony caricatures and idiocy of shows like IRON CHEF and just plays it straight, as a solid cooking competition, with worthy contenders and judges you can respect; and is just incredibly entertaining because of it.

At only half an hour it is the perfect length, and is completely addictive. It’s a great show for the girl or guy in your life to watch with you, especially if you are both fresh food and healthy food eaters, and constant cooks, like we are here in house Heroic Times. :) .

We have steamrolled through seasons of the show, thanks to Roku and Amazon Prime, and they just get better and better. In addition to being entertaining, CHOPPED is very informative to anyone who cooks or aspires to be a better cook. A great show!

This show appears to be on its 17th season, I say appears because how it designates a season seems to be a bit arbitrary and haphazard, but on the whole you get four seasons per year. Another failing is the show is not available on DVD or Blu-Ray. A failing because I think a DVD with special features, and extended episodes would be great. I would buy a nice DVD collection of a full year of shows. But till then we are stuck with on-demand and streaming.

The Big Scoop [HD]