THE SHARPEST FINGERS IN CLAYBURN COUNTY – An intriguing poster, and a beguiling, inventive, witty, and fun short film by Zodiak Films, written and directed by Glen Schroeder, and starring in wordless but captivating performances Mike Dopud, Aaron Pearl and Danielle Stott-Roy, and showcasing the talents and creations of origami master Joseph Wu.
A must watch short film! Catch it on Vimeo, via Roku, or online here.
I’m not a ‘reality’ TV person, so when I tell you the HISTORY Roku Channel presented a so called ‘reality’ show that completely captivated me, you know we’re talking something pretty special.
The show is called ALONE, and its simple premise is ‘which person, in a competition style adventure, could spend the most time living off an unforgiving environment… alone’.
It’s less the contrived histrionics of SURVIVOR and more the austere, informative grace of SURVIVOR MAN.
A new episode went up every Thursday on History’s Streaming Channel, and today the entire season of the show is available for a limited time.
Well this August Netflix adds the following shows to their roster, that are worth your time:
DOCTOR WHO SEASON 8 – For those of us who don’t follow cable TV, the long awaited season 8 of DOCTOR WHO makes its appearance, and we get to see how the new Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, fills the phone-booth vacated by his predecessor, Matt Smith.
BYZANTIUM (2012) – Neil Jordan’s exciting looking take on the Vampire genre, BYZANTIUM, breaks on Netflix shores.
TRANSPORTER SEASON 2 – From an uneven first few episodes, I really grew to enjoy the first season of TRANSPORTER, and this month we get season 2.
WYRMWOOD ROAD OF THE DEAD- I dislike anything Zombie related. I think the concept is badly used and overused. I think the WALKING DEAD tv series is awful. All that said, other people who also are tired of the Zombie trend, review positively this movie, so now thanks to Netflix I can decide for myself.
UTOPIA SEASON 1 – I’ve never heard of before, but is hailed on IMDB as a visually exciting and unique show. So worth a look.
MIND OF A CHEF SEASON 3 – Relaxing, laid back and informative. Part travelogue, part biography, part cooking show.
THE LIVING – Well reviewed Indie Drama/ Thriller.
THE CODE SEASON 1 – Australian espionage thriller
What we watch in cinema, if you ask a thousand people, you may get a thousand answers. But what we want from cinema? I think that answer is simpler.
We want cinema even at its most fantastic to tell us something true. To tell us something about ourself, and how we can aspire to be better than ourself. And that is what the best cinema does, for the fleeting time we share our attention with it, whether in a darkened theater or a light lit living room, we want to aspire to more than we are, to be better than we are.
Whether inspired to, if only in our dreams, be nicer, or more caring, or more concerned, or more heroic, or more… humane. That’s a rare gift, in a dire age, for cinema for a fleeting moment to have us believe in being better.
That is what BEYOND THE LIGHTS does. With a stellar cast of new faces and seasoned pros, Gina Prince-Bythewood of LOVE AND BASKETBALL and THE SECRET LIVES OF BEES here with her third feature film, creates inarguably her best film, and one that will become a perennial classic in households everywhere. But particularly households of color, in an America that increasingly is more ethnically diverse, our cinema and media is, doggedly and obstinately it would seem, ever more dismissive and marginalizing and denigrating, to characters of color or stories of color, that do not fit into narrow, nonthreatening, and tired stereotypes.
That’s why Gina Prince-Bythewood as writer and director is so important, and BEYOND THE LIGHTS should be so heralded. In an America where Urban Love is often defined for young people in terms of players and hos, or in terms of its absence, it is so rewarding and refreshing to see a movie with intelligent Black Characters (ie more than one or two token characters) and healthy Black relationships, between Black Men and Black women, that does not fall into tired rhetoric, or bashing, or talk show idiocy.
Korean media and cinema is filled with such loving positive interplay, as is Japanese, or Thai, or Russian, or Dutch, or Indian, or Spanish. But somehow when it comes to the broad and diverse ethnic group called Black (African-American being a marginalizing appellation, misapplied and removed from the inclusive, unifying bridge it was meant, but failed to be. Defining an ethnic group, using a nationalistic descriptor being the height of stupidity), positive loving images are in drastic shortage.
As Black Men are increasingly invisible or the sexless , funny sidekick or cross dressing Enuchs in mass media, and Black women increasingly the hor, or the pining 2nd choice for the White Knight of American mass media. Or they are self-hating thugs, raised and bedded on ignorance.
With such a table, and such rotten food to feed young and old alike on, when someone brings to the table a fine steak or beautiful trout, you realize just how empty you had been, and for how long.
BEYOND THE LIGHTS is a great film, that makes you feel better for having seen it. Makes you feel better. What a concept.
Hopefully we can look forward to more such filmmakers and more such films. Highly Recommended!
Try it for free on Netflix, but only long enough to realize you really want to own this film in Blu-Ray. Get your copy here:
This week’s best and worst Roku VOD Streaming Channels!
The two pay channels of NETFLIX and AMAZON PRIME, without any surprise I think, come highly recommended, and were I to guess, they probably make up most of Roku’s streaming traffic.
Netflix for its growing empire of original programming (including DAREDEVIL, HOUSE OF CARDS) and selection of hotter in demand movies is a must-have channel for anyone.
AMAZON PRIME for its wealth of movie content, and a good number of older shows that are not available on NETFLIX, comes in a close second in terms of must have streaming channels.
Those are the only paid streaming channels I have or recommend.
The rest are no-cost, ad-supported, channels. Some of these are worth your time, many of them are not.
The one’s that are hits this week are:
Why? Well, good selection of older films and eclectic shows, mostly solid quality(screen pixelates occasionally) and ad interruptions kept to a minimum. this week’s recommended movies and shows are PHANTOM PUNCH (a Sonny Liston bio-pic directed by Robert Townsend), THE ASSAULT, IN HELL, TUNNEL RATS, SHUFFLE, BIG BAD WOLF, WYVERN, DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW, FREE MEN, BADCITY, GODKILLER and CHILLERS – A short lived horror series hosted by Anthony Perkins
I tend not to watch regular TV, so this is a good channel for keeping abreast of the current pop culture and entertainment news. Some highlights are ESCAPE TO THESE BEAUTIFUL CARIBBEAN BEACHES THIS SUMMER, MODEL STARTS MOVEMENT TO ELIMINATE PLUS SIZE, 5 WAYS TO FINANCE YOUR HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS.
THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT, THE WASP WOMAN, THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS(short film, 15minutes), FUSE, a slew of Buster Keaton comedies, CARNIES, THE MILLENNIUM BUG, EVEL KNIEVEL, LUCKY DAY (Fun 3 min Animated film), BLACK BOOK (1949), LETTERS FROM THE BIG MAN, STAN (2009 Laurel and Hardy biopic), SICKO (A 6 minute short film that put a smile on my face. Enjoyable), POOR PRETTY EDDIE, M.R. JAMES COLLECTION, CRAZY STREETS, ANTE, THE BET, HUNTING BUDDIES, THE GERBER SYNDROME, RIDDLE, BIGFOOT: THE LOST COAST TAPES, THE PURITANS (24 min Short Film), BLOOD MOON (18 min Short Film), LONDON VOODOO, DARK ARC
THE MILL AND THE CROSS, DOGTOOTH, THE OTHER SIDE, STREET FIGHTER Series
HANCOCK, 21, RETREAT, THE CAVE, BROTHERS IN ARMS,
A couple LOST IN TRANSLATION episodes, about a dozen PAWN STARS episodes, 10 AMERICAN DAREDEVILS episodes, H2 Special Presentations, 3 HUMAN WEAPON episodes
The Channels that are losers this week and will just waste your time (rather than providing you great content) are:
WATCH FREE FLIX- The sound of the too plentiful commercials is fine, but the sound of the actual content, the shows and movies, is turned down and corrupted. Pathetic and a waste of time. Especially disappointing considering this channel has some interesting content if you could hear it. Fix your sound issue or close your channel.
VANGUARD- Limited movie selections and has not been updated in months. Website appears to no longer exist.
MIDNIGHT PULP – Roku channel no longer being updated. The website shows additional content (not just the PULP ones) not available on the Roku channel. Watch THE SCARLET WORM and ZOMBIE A-HOLE then lose the channel.
ASIAN CRUSH – not being updated and content that is readily available elsewhere
CRUNCHYROLL – With the exception of ATTACK ON TITAN, I’m not a fan on Anime. And that’s mostly what this channel has.
PARANORMAL REALITY TV – more interesting content can be found elsewhere.
FILM MOVEMENT – Small selection of indie, foreign films (that can be found elsewhere) and never updated
DORADO FILMS – Small selection of mostly obsure 70s d-grade euro films, however unfortunately has not been updated seemingly since it launched. Which is a shame because the website is quite striking, and gave the promise of a great streaming channel.
FILM RISE– This was going to make it on the recommended list for one movie, the brilliant SUDOESTE (SOUTHWEST), it is one of the few channels to have this beautiful film available. Unfortunately attempting to stream from this channel was a study in dissatisfaction. Spent more time buffering than playing the movie initially. And when it did play it was interrupted by an ad every 8 minutes, as opposed to the respectable 28 minutes an ad-supported streaming channel should allow you, before hitting you with another ad. On top of that, with the exception of SOUTHWEST its content could be found on multiple other channels. FILMRISE failed to rise to the occasion.
THE MOVIE TRAILER CHANNEL – Do not make an ad the first thing I see, before even browsing content. Absolutely worthless.
INDIE CRUSH – A severe absence of content. Only about 30+ titles, and just about all of them are available at other, better stocked streaming channels. Not worth the time to add
Well I hope the above helps you find new channels to try and avoid the channels that can’t be bothered to provide updated, quality programming. Hopefully some channels that stumbled this week will improve next week.
You can add and remove channels here.
Today’s recommended channel is Watch Free Flix.
For one main reason… the movie SUDOESTE.
Eduardo Nunes’ 2012 feature film debut is a languid, assured fable, sumptuously told. Think Djibril Diop Mambety’s HYENAS meets Murnau’s SUNRISE, not in theme, but in visual language, in pacing, in storytelling.
Other highlights of this channel:
DOSE OF REALITY (2013)
ANOTHER MAN’S GARDEN
WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD
THE OTHER SIDE
TIN CAN MAN
CHILDREN OF A DARKER DAWN
HOUSE OF WHIPCORD
Try the channel for yourself:
ANOTHER MAN’S GARDEN
WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD
THE OTHER SIDE
TIN CAN MAN
CHILDREN OF A DARKER DAWN
HOUSE OF WHIPCORD