Movie of the Day : THE GREAT ST. LOUIS BANK ROBBERY

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Starring Steve McQueen, (the famous actor not the famous director) in one of his earliest roles, THE GREAT ST. LOUIS BANK ROBBERY is a docu-pic/heist film, very much in the vein of other true crime films such as KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL, that were all the rage in the late 50s. What differentiates this film from crime classics as KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL is how ugly, and unkempt and unglamorous and unromanticized and in places mundane it is. It’s not a great film by any means, following as it does petty damaged lives in search of quixotic windmills, but this very seeming plodding approach, leads to moments of surprising and unexpected veracity and brutality.

It’s unsentimental nature, by the end becomes its strength, powering it, along with flashes of directorial style, to a memorable ending. So definitely worth a viewing. Grade: C+.

View it for free on your Roku device by signing up for Nowhere Archive here.

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Recommended On-Demand/Roku Channel : POPCORNFLIX

The Roku on-demand channel POPCORNFLIX currently offers 29 sci-fi films for your free viewing pleasure. That’s the good news, the bad news is most of those movies aren’t worth watching. Movies like DAY IN THE LIFE OF DOE that are poor and inept, and insults to the term film.

However the channel has two films in its sci-fi rotation that are worth your time. They are:

SHUFFLE – From the description it sounds like a poor man’s GROUND HOG’S DAY, but from the first frame announces itself as something inventive and unique. Recommended.

GHOST FROM THE MACHINE- This undeniably low budget film is surprising in its delicacy, more intimate drama about people living in the aftermath of loss. And what happens when things lost can in some semblance… be found. Recommended.

Now don’t expect Amazon Prime quality, the video quality of films on PopcornFlix is marginal, but still watchable. The plus being that unlike the travesty that is the CRACKLE channel, where the amount and frequency of ads makes watching films an awful experience, you can actually have a complete, relatively uninterrupted viewing experience on POPCORNFLIX

Try it for yourself here!

What I’m Watching! Free Shows on ROKU/Amazon Prime!

THE GREAT

GRIMM Season 1- Surprisingly entertaining fantasy show that works in a way that other shows such as WAREHOUSE 13 do not
LIFE Season 1- A wry and off-kilter and charming and undeniably different tv drama. tinged with a whimsy and a bit of magical realism that makes it more than a simple police procedural
TOP SHOT Season 1, 2, 4- I’m not a ‘reality’ tv fan, but this history channel competition show is nothing short of  fantastic. Additive and fun watching

THE OKAY

TOP SHOT Season 3 – One competitor and the drama he introduces (the words functional psychopath come to mind) almost makes the season unwatchable. Thankfully he gets removed, and allows for an exciting season finale.

PRIMEVIL Season 1, 2

THE MEDIOCRE OR JUST PLAIN AWFUL

24 Season 1
24 Season 2- horrible and moronic writing and painfully contrived plot choices, and overblown performances makes this ultimately a waste of time

Today’s Recommended Roku Channel: VIEWSTER


Today’s Recommended Roku Channel: VIEWSTER

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:

CROPSEY
THE THIRD MAN
WHEELS ON MEALS
LOVE COMES SOFTLY

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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

CLAY
SHADOW PEOPLE
DARK WOODS
THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME
HE WALKED BY NIGHT
THE STRANGER
THE AMAZING MR. X
THE RED HOUSE
THE CEREMONY

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SUBHYSTERIA

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THE FRAGILITY OF SECONDS
SO YOU’VE DOWNLOADED A DEMON
BLOODMYTH
UNDER OUR SKIN

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THE SISTERS FOUR
THE MYSTERY OF SINTRA
THE BIG COMBO

Take a gander and let me know what ones you recommend.

TECH TIPS: Today’s Recommend Roku TV Guide Watch List

Recommend list of movies/programs to catch on Roku today:

CRACKLE the premier channel for free on-demand movies is showing the following recommended flicks:

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PUNISHER WAR ZONE Exceedingly violent straight to the point action flick. Good if not overly memorable.

KIDNAPPED is a fantastic, but short lived series, but you can watch the whole series for free here. It’s highly recommended. Once you start watching you’ll want to pick up the DVD set to have.

ANGEL OF DEATH- A modern day serial by Ed Brubaker(Comic Book/Graphic Novel writer) starring Zoe Bell, as a female assassin on the wrong side of her profession. Good and enjoyable.

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ASSASSINATION GAMES – Just plain great. One of Van Dammes best movies in years.

BLOOD AND BONE- I’ve raved about this film before. One of my favorite martial arts films (I’ll put it right up there with Jet Li’s FIST OF LEGEND), because it has great martial arts, and great performances, and a great story (the last two you don’t often get in a martial arts film). An easy A+.

GAME OF DEATH- see my previous review, in short, definitely recommended Action film/thriller.

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HIT LIST- Good direct to video movies and Cuba Gooding Jr don’t often go together in a sentence, however it does this time. THE HIT LIST on the surface is nothing more than a take-off on Michael Mann’s COLLATERAL, under the surface turns out to be a very good movie in its own right with solid performances by all involved. Cuba Gooding is surprisingly good here. Strongly Recommended.

Movie of the Day: Wesley Snipes in 2010’s GAME OF DEATH

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GAME OF DEATH (2010) – This is a very interesting film, that belies its pretty tepid IMDB and Amazon ratings. Wesley Snipes stars as a covert agent who finds himself betrayed by his own team, and out in the cold with hundreds of millions in dollars fueling his death.

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!

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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]!