Streaming Movies of the Day : Amazon Prime Hits and Misses!

NOT WORTH FINISHING:

Mark Heap, Sean Verey, Danny Kirrane, David Mumeni, and Timothy Renouf in Fubar (2018)

GOOD:

It stumbles in the 3rd act, but most of it keeps your attention, and plays initially like a smarter and less gory SAW.

GREAT:

Riveting and dangerous and endlessly surprising viewing experience. A great debut feature film by writer, director Marvin Choi, and marvelously performed by Darnel Powell and Joseph Price. All of these men, are talents to watch. Grade: B+. Highly Recommended.

Streaming Channel of the Day : KANOPY and 3 Movies to Try!

 

So I have been a Kanopy viewer for a few months now, and I really like the service. It is free as long as you have a participating Library, and you get a huge range of films to choose from. Tons of stuff that you will not find on Netflix or Disney or Hulu.

I’m a huge fan of classic and silent films, and this channel is a home run, if you are such a fan. Now if you do not like classic films, or black and white films, or foreign films, this channel may not be for you. While it does offer some recent films, such as the recent Dafoe/Pattinson LIGHTHOUSE, the strength of this channel is its huge catalog of classic and world cinema films, that you otherwise would have to pay for to view.

Great classic films from FLICKER ALLEY to KINO to CRITERION to the BFI, is the draw of the KANOPY channel.

Now there are some drawbacks to the service. You get to watch 15 items per month – yay! But you only get to watch 15 items per month – Boo!

But generally I have other demands on my time in a month so while I think offering 20 or 25 titles a month is more reasonable,  15 titles viewed, I can generally stretch it out and make it work.

However, what really  bugs me with KANOPY is, if you start a film but do not finish it, and come back later in the month to view it, that finishing the same film—gets counted again, as a new viewing. IT IS INFURIATING!!

It is not always consistent with this double dipping, but it does it enough to be annoying. I do not think I have had a single month of KANOPY usage that I actually got to watch 15 distinct films. The most I think I have managed is 12 or 13 films, before they cut you off telling you you have reached your 15 viewing limit. GRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

So while I like the service, there are definite bugs in it that make it infuriating.

That said, even when you get cut off after ‘reaching’ the 15 title limit, you are however able to watch a small library of their credit free films, all documentaries as far as I’ve seen.

Okay so July has just started, here are the titles I  have so far tried this month:

Archangel (1990)Guy Maddin’s 1990 film ARCHANGEL. I wanted to start with his first feature TALES FROM THE GIMLI HOSPITAL, which was on KANOPY’s service last month, however it is no longer on KANOPY this month. So another note regarding KANOPY, movies can disappear anytime, so watch the ones you are most excited for first. As far as ARCHANGEL, I have tried a previous Maddin film, so I was aware he would be an acquired taste. 15 minutes into this film, and it is clear, it is not going to happen with this film. I understand being strange for strange sake, I’ve watched TETSUO and the works of Lynch, but I think above all you have to be interesting and good. And the first 15 minutes of this film do not strike me as either. I may try and finish this film later, but it won’t be this month. Don’t want to risk losing another KANOPY viewing on this film. I’m thinking I am going to give his 1992 film, CAREFUL, a try, and hopefully that works better for me than his films to-date.

L’INHUMAINE- this silent film is living up to its description. The score is fantastic, and story-line pretty riveting. With the slight exception, the titular star hardly seems the great beauty that giants of industry and kings, would be moved to throw themselves at. But that casting curiosity aside, a very good film. Wonderful set design and visuals. At its making it was a monumental undertaking and it shows. It is an art deco masterpiece in more ways than one. This one I’m going to pick up the Blu-ray for. I am that impressed by it.

 

Confusion Na Wa (2013)CONFUSION NA WA(2013)- I just discovered this film and it is my movie of the day. See my separate review on it. It is that good!

 

p.s. And if you like this blog, support this blog, by  supporting and patronizing the sponsor link below. There is a great sale on posters going on. Thanks!

 

GREAT DEALS OF THE DAY!

 

The Final Word : Netflix’s EXTRACTION contrary to the Naysayers is a stunning Directorial Debut!

EXTRACTION (2020) – EXTRACTION is the latest in direct to Netflix films, that seem to be pilloried as a matter of course, seemingly more for being on Netflix, than for the actual content of the movie. Joining films like 6 UNDERGROUND and TRIPLE FRONTIER, as top-notch action films, that are arguably under-appreciated on the streaming service.

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EXTRACTION while treading familiar ground, does it in a filmic and inventive and action drenched manner. And it does this while also managing to provide solid performances and the necessary emotional beats to the film. The only slight misstep being an exposition heavy scene between Hemsworth’s protagonist and his young charge, that comes off as forced and clumsy.

But it is a minor misstep into forced sentimentality and clumsy dialog. For the majority of its run-time the film is compelling and balances its themes; and showcases for viewers a riveting mission that is painted in hues of blood and sacrifice. For this viewer, the performers are strong and the characters striking (particularly the special forces bodyguard/antagonist, who visually is so interesting, his face unusual in a way that is both captivating and offputting) and coupled with the breakneck narrative, creates a film that checks all the boxes for satisfying and re-watchable viewing.

 

And, it is necessary to mention an extended multi-minute one shot-ish sequence that goes from car chase to interior, that is jaw dropping in its execution, and places this film on any list of most thrilling action sequences.

All in all a satisfying, straightforward film that while not on the level of say a MAN ON FIRE or JOHN WICK I or RAID, is still very good and is much better as a whole than theatrically released films such as JOHN WICK III and DREDD. Sam Hargrave, Actor/Stuntman turned fight coordinator turned Director, creates one heck of a debut film. Grade: B+.

 

 

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Currently Watching : SHADOW South African TV series – One of the Best Shows on Netflix

SHADOW (2019) – Six episodes in and I am still loving this 2019 Johannesburg centered series, starring Pallance Dladla as the titular Shadow, Khathu Ramabulana as the dependable best friend Max, and Amanda DuPont as the absolutely ravishing and riveting Ashley.  Equal parts ‘ROSEWOOD Medical Examiner Police Procedural’ and ‘EQUALIZER Action series’, this is just a fun, well acted, and intelligently written action series.

Toss in beautiful photography, surprisingly cutting edge and compelling and heartwarming stories (loved episode 6), and likeable, enjoyable characters and you have an early contender for one of my favorite shows of 2020. The Brainchild of Phillip and Fred Wolmarans and Nick Keulemans and Gareth Crocker, and executive produced by Chris and Colleen Lawrence, here is hoping Netflix gives this one a 2nd season. Grade: B+

 

Shadow | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix - YouTube

 

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Today’s Blu-Ray Player of the Day!

Today’s Blu-ray Selection of the Day!

Early Contender for one of my favorite TV Shows of 2020 – Netflix’s SHADOW Action Series!

The 1st season of THE TERROR, the 1st season of Amazon’s BAD BOYS, and the 1st and only season of BBC’s BODYGUARD on Netflix were my favorite television shows of 2019.

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4 episodes in and I am absolutely loving Netflix’s South African action/thriller series SHADOW.

Part EQUALIZER meets WALLENDER meets STRIKEBACK, the other part is its own unique texture and vibe; this series is hitting all the right notes… the actors are fantastic, plots Baroque and strange and compelling, the action riveting. Took a while for me to actually give this series a try, however now it (along with Netflix/BBCs DRACULA) is an early contender for one of my favorite tv shows of 2020.

I really hope both these shows eventually get a Blu-Ray release, complete with special features/director’s commentary. The best of any year deserves the permanence of DVD/Blu-Ray. That said I’m still waiting on season 2 of Luke Cage to make it to Blu-Ray… looking at you Netflix. 🙂 .

 

 

The Return of SPENSER FOR HIRE??? – Netflix Movie trailer+Poster

Spenser Confidential (2020)

 

There are a few shows I hold in very high reverence, as television at its finest. Stuff that stands and will stand the test of time. The 1980s SPENSER FOR HIRE is one of those shows.

Starring the great Robert Urich and Avery Brooks (as two very different, but equally imposing 6’1 guys, running around Boston putting people thru windows 🙂 ) and based on a long running series of novels by the prolific Robert B. Parker. The highest acclaim you can give the TV show, is the author himself acclaimed Avery Brooks Hawk as superior to the character in the novels. So I loved that 3 season Boston based series.

Now, it is clear this Mark Wahlberg Netflix movie will have virtually nothing in common with that great 80s series; however it puts that series back in the limelight, and I call that a good thing. And even though the new Netflix movie seems… not very ‘Spenser’ like; despite that… the trailer looked fun and enjoyable. I’m a huge fan of Winston Duke from his work in PERSON OF INTEREST and BLACK PANTHER, so looking forward to checking out this new take on Spenser and Hawk.

It of course will not be the slightly elegiac brilliance of the 1980s series, but it doesn’t have to be. That series thankfully is now available on Dvd. If you have never seen it, it comes with the highest recommendation. It is an unjustly overlooked, often bittersweet and equally haunted and hopeful series, that stands as television at its finest.

Get Season 1 here!

Get all 3 Seasons here!

EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO Netflix Streaming VOD Marathon

 

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EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO Marathon

I’m currently watching the 2nd season of EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO, courtesy of Netflix, and it just gets better with each episode.

Despite the fact that, like most time shows, the logic does not hold up. The rules of what they change, or do not change, does not really stand up from episode to episode, or minute to minute. It can be dissatisfying, if you ponder the holes in the show too closely.

But if you gloss over the issues with the central conceit of the show, the chracters themselves, and the overarching storyline, is entertaining and addictive, and the perfect thing to marathon on a lazy Sunday!

Streaming TV Series of the 1st Week of 2020 : Amazon Prime’s THE EXPANSE 4th Season

THE EXPANSE – So the 4th season of THE EXPANSE has dropped on Amazon Prime, and I said in a recent post having tried the first episode of the new season, I wasn’t loving it. This coming from someone who raved about the first 3 seasons of THE EXPANSE.

However, getting into episode 2 and later episodes of season 4, and the breakneck pace, and engrossing storyline, I’ve come to love kicks in, and it becomes the addictive show I’ve grown to acclaim. It also reminds me that THE EXPANSE has always been a slow burn of a show. The 1st season took a long time to get good, not really hitting its stride till the 2nd and 3rd seasons. And the 4th season is that in a nutshell, slow start, strong finish.

It is dangerous, this continued weak start of THE EXPANSE. These days with so many demands for a viewers time, the first episode really needs to stick the landing, as the saying goes you seldom get a 2nd chance, to make a first impression.

Not everyone made it through the weak first season, to see the amazing show it became. And likewise I’m sure they lost people with that weak first episode of the 4th season. But I can tell you, if you power thru you will be rewarded with an addictive, compelling season. Though not the biggest fan of ending on a cliffhanger, particularly when another season is not definite.

Final verdict: Slow start and some annoying characters aside, it remains the best SciFi show since FARSCAPE. Not as emotionally riveting and likable as FARSCAPE, but far more imaginative and complex and sophisticated in its world building. A very good show. Grade: B+.

Streaming TV Series of the 1st Week of 2020 and Quite Possibly the Year : NetFlix’s DRACULA

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Netflix’s DRACULA – I have been looking forward to this series ever since i saw the first teaser trailer a month or so ago. The series has finally dropped on Netflix, and I have to say… the first episode exceeds my expectations.

Smart. Lavish, Biting, Charming and Ironic and irreverant when it needs to be, and above all dripping with gothic athmosphere and horror, this adaptation of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA is off to a phenomenal start.

I’ve been underwhelmed by most of the new shows recently, 2nd season of JACK RYAN, WITCHER, even the 4th season of THE EXPANSE… not really wowing me yet, but DRACULA… yeah, I’m on board. Looking forward to upcoming episodes, and to see if the 3 episode mini-series sticks the landing.

Grade: A/A+.

Book of the Day : ALEISTER & ADOLF

Like most of you reading this I have a backlog of material to get to. Being a collector I likely have more of a backlog than most. Books, comic books and graphic novels, music, cds, movies, streaming, old time radio, podcasts, youtube, and the list goes on.

So it is not unusual for Books that I get with all intention of reading, getting parked in a very long queue. For any of you with Netflix or Amazon Watchlists, you’ll understand this.

So often times books only make it to the top of that list when going out the door.

Case in point with ALEISTER & ADOLF. I have started finding new homes for books I have not had a chance to get around to, ALEISTER & ADOLF became one of those books. I was packing it up to ship to its new owner, and while I had flipped thru it never really had gotten a chance to read it. Well about to pack it up to ship off, I wanted to read a bit of it.

I opened the book, and ended up reading the whole thing, standing in one spot…. and I found it, riveting. I found it an interesting tale of the part symbols play in history, and in our concept of reality. That advertising and salesmanship, while seen as a very modern thing, is actually since time immemorial… at the heart of empires, their rise and their fall. The hearts and minds of people, is where wars and peace are won, and oligarchies sustained.

If you are a fan of writers like Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, while not told with the elegaic poetry of these writers, Douglas Rushkoff‘s writing and Michael Avon Oemings‘ art, weaves a succinct and engrossing page turner of strange fiction, based on even stranger facts. 

A worthy addition to the writings, both fact and fiction, on that most pivotal and bloodiest of Wars, what Roosevelt would come to call… The Survival War.

Great read. And I see myself re-adding this to my collection in the future.

Grade: B+.

 

Get your copy here. You may want to hurry as they are almost out of stock.