Roku On-Demand Watching Guide NETFLIX Edition

This Week’s (Sunday 19 Jan 2014 to Saturday 25 Jan 2014) On-Demand Recommended watching Guide for NetFlix!

You’ll need ideally a Roku device Roku 3 Streaming Media Player
and a Netflix account: NETFLIX

For the young and young at heart I recommend the following cartoons:

DEXTER’S LABORATORY
BATMAN THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD
THE SUPERHERO SQUAD

For the action fans:

ip_man_ver3_xlgIP MAN (all three movies are available, I’ve seen the first two so far and they are great. Director Wilson Yip and star Donnie Yen crafting a dramatic biopic anchored with brutal and impressive martial arts scenes. That one man could have lived such an influential and pivotal life is truly inspiring)

SOLOMON KANE – this disappeared out of the theaters quickly, but once you get past the weak opening, it is an enjoyable fantasy, action film, led by the always solid James Purefoy.

arrow_ver11 arrow_ver7 arrow_ver10ARROW- probably my favorite television show discovery in a while, nearly every episode of the ARROW has been outstanding (I tend to like my heroes, to not be killers, so the later episodes, are getting a bit bloody and hypocritical for my liking. I’m starting to root for anyone except the titular hero. The series creators will need to watch that) .

Who knew the CW could make a show I actually like. The first season is on NetFlix, and sports fun stories, a strong lead, and perhaps a particular selling point for me, a large and diverse cast with multiple actors and actresses of color. I personally just can’t be bothered with shows that sport no characters of color or only the one token character of color. ARROW is a well acted, directed, and written show and provides lots of diverse actors in non-stereotypical roles. It’s a gem in a sea of sameness. Loving that first season enough to pick up the Bluray.

For the SciFi and Horror Fans out there I recommend:

EUROPA REPORT, THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY and TROLL HUNTER are all three, enjoyable examples of the found footage film.
RIPPER STREET
THE WALKING DEAD – I’m not a Darabont fan, typically because he doesn’t have a subtle bone in his body, and his usage of characters of color shows a pattern of being unflattering at best. I understand the Walking Dead TV show is going to be a different animal from the Walking Dead book, that said changes when they happen should improve upon the source material, not diminish it. And I feel the first few episodes of THE WALKING DEAD unnecessarily takes a dumbed down approach, to very innovative material.

On the Drama/Thriller side I recommend:

hummingbird_ver7_xlrgREDEMPTION (aka by the less intriguing title HUMMINGBIRD)- starring Jason Statham, is a surprisingly well acted film from the typically taciturn action star. Along with SAFE and THE EXPENDABLES it is one of his best films.

LIE TO ME- Based on an Israeli TV show, this is one of the few police procedurals I enjoy.  Incredibly engrossing and informative.

BURN NOTICE- is another enjoyable series. I like to describe it as, Macgyver if it was good. :).

For the gastronomically inclined among you I recommend:

MARCEL’S QUANTUM KITCHEN
KITCHEN NIGHTMARES US Version

Those are the ones to seek out, some to avoid on Netflix are:

KILL ‘EM ALL
TACTICAL FORCE- interesting cast, but the directing, writing is subpar
THE FROZEN – couple stranded in the cold and hunted, sounds like an intriguing premise. But is a recipe for boredom in this film.
THE INNKEEPERS- I was and am a huge fan of Ti West’s HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, so was very much looking forward to watching THE INNKEEPERS, but unfortunately while it sports the wonderful Ti West use of Framing and Camera angles, the movie has no real substance or interest. The writing, plot is a major failing, with dumb and annoying characters choosing to do dumb things which immediately takes me out of a movie. Plus the scare scenes are poorly done and edited, the movie lacks any real power, and end of day is both predictable and empty. Rating is: Avoid.

As far as the ones to own:

Arrow: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]

Ip Man [Blu-ray]

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10 Favorite Martial Arts Films of the last 25 Years!!

While Donnie Yen’s IP MAN is all the rage today, for my money Donnie Yen’s two best films are refugees from over 20 years ago. Wow I can’t believe 1990, was that long ago. 🙂

But yeah the films are:

IN THE LINE OF DUTY 4
TIGER CAGE 2

I Love these two films because it’s the trinity of him and his friends, American actors Michael Woods and John Salvitti. And the magic of these guys going at it, just puts the shine on an already brilliant martial arts film.

and


RIGHTING WRONGS (aka ABOVE THE LAW)-Not only Biao Yuen kicking ass, but Cynthia Rothrock’s finest role as well. Not only a great Martial Arts film, but a surprisingly bleak crime film.


TOM YUM GOONG/HONOR OF THE BEAST- Jumping ahead a bit , Tony Jaa who last time I looked gave up film to join the monastary, in this film catapults himself into the forefront of martial arts stars. Look past the at times horrendous story and acting, and the film has some phenomenal, breath taking action sequences. The long uncut tracking shot up the stairs being not just a martial arts highlight, but a cinematic one as well. Not a great film, not even a very good film, but it has moments of greatness that can’t be ignored.

FIST OF LEGEND- Jet Li has done tons of films since this 1994 film, he’s done UNLEASHED, CRADLE TO THE GRAVE, etc. FIST OF LEGEND remains not just the best martial arts film he’s done, it remains a great film.

And staying on the Jet Li kick for just a second, I’m going to commit sacrilege here and add two conventional, big budget Hollywood films (that are ostensibly just action films) to this list:

BOURNE ULTIMATUM
EXPENDABLES

Yeah I said it. I think both of those movies are stunt and fight choreographed brilliantly. I mean, I am in no way a Matt Damon fan… personally I’m tired of seeing him in every movie that comes out, he’s overused and too often miscast, that said, he’s phenomenal in BOURNE ULTIMATUM. And I can re-watch that and EXPENDABLES endlessly. So definitely non-traditional choices, and I am taking great liberties with the Martial Arts label, but hey… I think they kick enough butt to sneak on the list.

THE TOURNAMENT- Has some great martial arts sequences by Sebastien Foucan, Kelly Hu, and Scott Adkins. Unfortunately the movie is completely gutted by a horrendously pathetic performance by Ving Rhames, badly written and directed and plodding sequences whenever the camera gets to Rhames’ storyline. But when not on him, the movie flies. Sebastien Foucan, the Free-running Frenchmen, co-creator of Free-Running (and also was the actor in the beginning of CASINO ROYALE) is criminally underused. He has only been given two bit parts in movies to date, and to my mind he should be up for roles in the same vein as a Statham or Damon. I would prefer him in roles over those two. He’s an amazing, exciting presence and the camera loves his free-running style. This one is more of an honorable mention, due to just how much I had to fast forward through Ving Rhames ‘acting’. Don’t get me wrong, I like Ving Rhames in some things, he was okay in DAWN OF THE DEAD… it just seems that with him less, is better. And again this is an honorable mention, and doesn’t get counted as one of the 10.

DISTRICT B13- speaking of free running. Just an adrenalin inducing, fun, mile a minute ride. it’s great. Honorable mention being LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD that also stars fellow free-runner David Belle.

And the last two spots goes to… no not IP MAN, no not MERANTU…

For me, by a wide, wide margin the two best, top of the list Martial Arts films of the last 25 years, both star a criminally neglected Martial Artist, and a fantastic actor. Unlike most Martial Artists.

I’m talking about the films…

UNDISPUTED II

and the number one film…

BLOOD AND BONE.

Both of these I was actually avoiding. I was like ‘uggg, cheesy martial arts ripoff film. How good could it be.’. No, effing no. These are two of the best Martial Arts Films, for a really surprising reason, it’s because first and foremost… they are great films. Period.

Solid story. Solid performances. Great direction. And on top of that you add, frenetic, kick ass Martial Arts.

UNDISPUTED II (aka ICEMAN)- Is better than the Walter Hill directed original. Much, much better. Directed by Martial artist Isacc Florentine, and starring martial artists Michael Jai White and Scott Adkins, the film first and foremost… looks great. Is compelling from beginning to end. It’s just fantastic. And… it has a great, not to be missed commentary. Do yourself a favor, get this film. You won’t be disappointed.

and the top of the heap goes to the not exactly confidence inspiring titled BLOOD AND BONE, I mean the box art and poster looks brain-dead stupid, but Mein Gott is this a good film!

It frigging earns the title of BLOOD AND BONE. Directed by, for me at least, virtual unknown Ben Ramsey, I’ve watched Martial Arts films longer than I care to reflect on, and I’ve rarely seen a more confidently directed and brilliantly shot Martial Arts film. I think a lot of the credit, and they are quick to point out in the commentary (which is a must listen), has to be shared with veteran cameraman Roy H. Wagner. But end of the day this is Michael Jai White’s day as he choreographs one of the most complete, entertaining and amazing fight films in years.

And it is packed from floor to rafters with real top notch MMA fighters. It is amazing, and I’d love to see a series of films with this character. The fact that a movie like this doesn’t make it in to theaters, and crap like Kevin Smith’s COP OUT can open on 2000 screens, I find deeply, deeply troubling.

So that’s it guys, my list of my 10 favorite martial arts films of the last 25 years. Thanks for viewing and if you are interested in purchasing please use the links below. As every penny helps keep this blog rolling. Thanks!

Blood & Bone

Undisputed II – Last Man Standing

Above the Law

Tiger Cage 2

In the Line of Duty 4

Fist of Legend

p.s. One more honorable mention, the genre defying film, BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF.

Lord of Dark Places

I heard something profound today
About those who ride the lightning
That invariably they fear the thunder
Because it proclaims their day is done

Books on my to purchase/read pile:

Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos (Paperback) by Michio Kaku
Airing Dirty Laundry by Ishmael Reed
Violent Spring by Gary Phillips
Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman by Malidoma Patrice Some

African Rhapsody by Nadezda Obradovic
Joyce Ann Brown:Justice Denied by Joyce Ann Brown
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines
Flat Broke in the Free Market: How Globalization Fleeced Working People by Jon Jeter
Deals With the Devil: And Other Reasons to Riot by Pearl Cleage
The Lord of Dark Things – Hal Bennett
Insanity Runs in the Family – Hal Bennett
Brother: Black Soldiers in the Nam

FBI War on Tupac Shakur & Black Leaders by John Potash

Sites of the day:
Afrikanworldbooks.com
Akpress.com
rentometer.com

When the law itself is lawless, what do you do?

DVDs of the Day:

TOO MANY WAYS TO BE NUMBER 1
ONCE A THIEF
DRAGON INN (1992- Donnie Yen)
LEGEND OF THE WOLF (1997- Donnie Yen)
BALLISTIC KISS (1998- Donnie Yen)
BIG BULLET
BEYOND HYPOTHERMIA
MY FATHER IS A HERO
BODYGUARD FROM BEIJING
DOWNTOWN TORPEDOES
CRYSTAL HUNT
BACK TO BACK FACE TO FACE

Directors of the Day:

Henri-Georges Clouzot 1907-1977 his masterpieces are WAGES OF FEAR and DIABOLIQUE
Jean Pierre Melville 1917-1973 his masterpieces are LE SAMOURAI, LE DOULOS, BOB LE FLAMBEUR

“There is no greater solitude than the samurai’s
unless it be that of the tiger in the jungle”– Le Samourai’s preface

tell me about summer
tell me about fall
i can’t make it
make any reason at all

Korean word of the day (spelt phonetically so you can pronounce them)-

Ahn young hah say oh: hello-peace-do peacefully
Kahm sah hahm nidah: Thank You
Chae Song Hahn Nidah: Pardon Me
Toe Wah Jew Say Oh: Please Help Me
Ahn Young Hee Gae Say Oh: Goodbye
Cheon Man Ne Yo: You are welcome

Quick Book Reviews:

GHOUL by Michael Slade: Excellent

WASP FACTORY by Ian Banks: Disturbing

CABAL by Clive Barker: So-So

INHUMAN CONDITION by Clive Barker: Not as great as the first three BOOKS OF BLOOD, but still recommended

HARVEST OF HORRORS by Eric Potter: Average

DARK VISIONS by Harlan Ellison: Very Good

MISERY by Stephen King: Very Disturbing

WHISPERS I by Stuart Schiff: Good

Edgar Allen Poe

James Baldwin

Today’s recommended audo drama/listen:

CHATTERBOX AUDIO THEATER HALLOWEEN SHOW 2009 PT 1 & 2- Finally listened to this today. Short review? It’s just great. A compilation of seven tales of terror. I mentioned this group previously, and they continue to just get more impressive. It’s really nice to see Audio Drama not only still being produced in the US, but productions of such an incredibly high quality. This is work to make the greats of radio’s heyday proud. Also I appreciate them using the American spelling of theater rather than the British spelling, like some American productions (perhaps to seem more “artsy”) are wont to do.You can listen to THE HALLOWEEN shows here.

Also while there check out the shows SURFACING and THE YELLOW WALLPAPER. Both are highly recommended.

Okay well that’s all my rambling today. Enjoy!