Netflix. Mostly.

November 29, 2012 No comments

So. Um.

A couple years ago at work the corporate folks came out with this policy that made vague hand-waving motions at social media and as I recall it essentially said that on social media sites we should remember who our employer was and consider that fact with every single post we made and picture we uploaded and if we were going to post something that anyone might find offensive or distasteful or bothersome, then we should really consider whether or not we should post it, and what the employment consequences of that post or photograph might be. It was around then I removed all reference to who my employer was where I thought I could. On the Internet, you need to decide what sort of balance you want to strike between being a public figure and a private citizen, and then and now I opt for the private citizen side of that. So, my Twitter is protected, and my Facebook account is (hopefully) locked down as well. I don’t begrudge anyone whose decision is different, this is just what I’m comfortable with. My one public figure vice remains this mostly dead blog, because for absolutely no good reason I like writing the Netflix posts. So, no discussion of my personal life here, just the next 20 stupid movies to eventually arrive through my Netflix queue.

Point Blank (NF)
No, not the movie with Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. That’s Point Break. This is the movie from the ’60s with Lee Marvin playing a crook who gets double-crossed and left for dead on Alcatraz and his quest for revenge. It’s from the Parker series of books by Richard Stark (Donald Westlake), except Westlake never sold the rights to the Parker character, just the books, so the character is always named different. In this movie, it’s Walker, in the Mel Gibson movie Payback it’s Porter. Anyway. I liked the few Parker books I read, that may be why this ended up in the queue?

And, yes, the Parker character in Leverage is named as an homage to this Parker.

Danger UXB: Discs 3 & 4 (NF)
Still watching through this, it’s as high tension as I thought it would be, sort of proto-nerd (they call them "boffins") warfare as the Nazi bombmakers devise more complicated and lethal fuses on the bombs build to kill those trying to disarm them and the measures the British engineers develop to thwart those innovations. And the incidental body count keeps going up…

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (NF)
I put this in the queue way before Robert Downey Jr. had his career resurgence with Iron Man/Sherlock Holmes, or at least I think I did. He plays a raggedy thief who stumbles into a casting event for a movie and… it looks mental. With Val Kilmer playing the gay police detective assigned as his consultant on the movie. Here, take a look.

So… in the time it’s taken me to write this post, I’ve actually gotten this far down my queue and have now seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and can give it a very high recommendation. It was a hoot.

Green Street Hooligans (NF)
Elijah Wood plays an American college student who ends up in England and falls in with his hooligan relative… yeah, I have no idea exactly why this ended up in the queue. Elijah Wood’s talented, but I don’t recognize the writer or director just by name, so… here’s hoping! The reviews of it are pretty positive.

Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (NF)
Because Richard Pryor is hilarious.

CSA: Confederate States of America (NF)
An alternate future mockumentary where the Confederacy won the Civil War and the Union supporters fled to Canada. I’m sure I had a real specific reason to add this to the queue back in 2005 or so. It’s 90 minutes long, and I hope that’s not too much.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979) (NF) (3 discs)
The old BBC miniseries version, starring Alec Guinness as the British agent hoisted out of retirement to track down a mole inside the intelligence service. Supposed to be great! And if it is, there’s a sequel (Smiley’s People, I think?).

Match Point (NF)
My sampling of Woody Allen’s oeuvre has been… light, mostly because what he’s done in his later life makes me pretty uncomfortable, and I can’t help thinking about it while watching his movies. I say this mostly to say I have no idea what possessed me to put this in my queue, but if it’s lasted this long, I might as well let it actually make it all the way to the top of the queue. Hooray for random anthropomorphization! Anyway, this is a suspense movie about a tennis pro who ends up entangled with the darker side of high society. Maybe I liked the trailer? Who knows.

Double Indemnity (NF)
I enjoy film noir, and this is one of the classics, and I’ve never seen it! Remade as Body Heat, it’s the story of an insurance agent who plots the "perfect murder" with one of his clients who wants to collect the policy on her husband.

Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (NF)
Albert Brooks (of one of my all-time favorite movies, Defending Your Life) stars as a comedian who’s tapped by the State Department to go to Pakistan and find out "What do they find funny?" Put in the queue possibly because uncomfortable humor can be funny. And I really liked Defending Your Life.

Team America: World Police (NF)
The movie the South Park guys made with puppets. I say that and that probably makes up your mind whether you want to see it or not.

Lucky Number Slevin (NF)
So. Josh Hartnett plays Slevin, who’s visiting New York and mistaken for this guy who Morgan Freeman (The Boss) wants to kill. Bruce Willis plays the killer, SIR Ben Kingsley plays the other crime boss ("Why do they call him The Rabbi?" "Because he’s a rabbi."), Lucy Liu is the neighbor across the hall so Hartnett has someone to have dialogue with… I have no idea if this is accurate or not, but I think of this as being part of the boomlet of crime movies with arch dialogue that came out after Ocean’s 11 did so well. (see also: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). The trailer makes it look amusing, at least.

Thank You for Smoking (NF)
Aaron Eckhart plays a spokesperson for a tobacco company, and it’s hilarious. Writer/director Jason Reitman would go on to make Juno, Up in the Air and Young Adult (all of which I want to see SO MUCH). Also in the movie: William H. Macy, Mario Bello, Sam Elliot, J.K. Simmons, Rob Lowe, and Robert Duvall. It looks really really… you know what? Just watch the trailer. I think you’ll be on my side.

Night of the Living Dead (1968) (NF)
Not sure what this one’s about, something about vampires maybe?

Dawn of the Dead (1978) (NF)
Okay. The first sequel to Night of the Living Dead, it’s supposed to be a zombie classic. All I have to say is I added this to my queue about six years ago, so it sure wasn’t The Walking Dead’s popularity that nudged me into doing this, but I have no idea what it was.

Cars (NF)
I was possibly unreasonably concerned about this movie when it came out, for some reason it seemed overly toyetic to me (yes, I know the first Pixar movie was TOY STORY, I don’t know why this one made me make the squint-eyed suspicious face and the other didn’t). Anyway, I’ve never seen it, Penny & Alex may have seen it at a friend’s house or something, I don’t know for sure. I may not even end up getting this via Netflix because I think a fair number of friends have it and I may just borrow it from them instead one weekend rather than use up the rental slot.

A Scanner Darkly (NF)
I’ll admit it, a big reason I want to see this movie is I want to SEE it. The director, Richard Linklater (Some Other Stuff) did this rotoscoping CGI style that just looks really neat. I have no idea if it’ll be any good or not. I do know that I just want to see it, to see if it’s any good. Oh, yeah, Phillip K. Dick adaptation, nature of reality, blah blah blah, have another trailer.

That’s it. There are 281 items in the queue and the last 5 are All That Jazz, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Black Dynamite, Prometheus, and The Town. Thanks for coming, and I’ll see you at the movies.

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Netflix Netflix Netflix!

October 8, 2011 No comments

Well, I quit WoW again, and while I’m spending most nights watching streaming shows & movies from Netflix (finished Veronica Mars, getting going on Arrested Development and Eureka, dabbling in Psych and Lie to Me, probably will finish off Buffy & Angel this way), I am still watching the discs enough that I’ve worked my way through the last 20 blogged-about titles, and am now into the next score. Without further ado, they are…

Withnail and I (NF)
It’s a comedy! A comedy about being a poor drunk actor in England in the late 1960s and heading to the country for not especially good reasons. Bad reasons, even. To quote Roger Ebert in his entry for the movie in his Great Movies series:

Why does the film, which I have made sound so depressing, remain so popular after more than 20 years? It achieves a kind of transcendence in its gloom. It is uncompromisingly, sincerely, itself. It is not a lesson or a lecture, it is funny but in a consistent way that it earns, and it is unforgettably acted.

Shopgirl (NF)
Steve Martin and Jason Schwartzman romance Claire Danes (the titular Shopgirl) from opposite ends of the social and age spectrum, based on Martin’s own novella. I’m not sure when I became so interested in Steve Martin (on Twitter as SteveMartinToGo), but the banjo-player sure does keep me interested.

Here, watch him sing a song on Letterman.

Sideshow: Alive on the Inside (NF)
Um… yeah. I’ll just paste the description in here.

Jason Alexander narrates this eye-opening documentary that explores the long history of the circus and carnival sideshow, right down to its present-day incarnations. Archival footage and fascinating, behind-the-scenes interviews with the performers themselves, such as Sandy Allen the world’s tallest woman, reveal a compellingly human portrait of the lives led by those who practice this unusual and sometimes controversial profession.

If you have any interest in the human oddity fare that is the sideshow circuit… well, now you know I do, too. Couple that with my predilection for documentaries, and wanting to see The Great Waldo swallow and regurgitate a live mouse, and here we are.

Zatoichi: Vol. 1: The Tale of Zatoichi (NF)
The first in the long-running series of movies about the blind swordsman. It’s possible I added this to my queue after researching the origin of the character Zato Ino from Usagi Yojimbo.

Munich (NF)
So, here’s an interesting Oscar theory I heard someone propose a bit ago. What if there was a five-year waiting period on the Oscars? At the end of this year, instead of picking the best movies of 2011, what if they tried to recognize the best movies of 2006? It deflates some of the hype out of the scenario, and might let some movies that got overshadowed rise up while others that were hyped at the time be viewed in a more rational light.

I bring this up because Munich was nominated for Best Picture in 2005, and I don’t think I’ve heard anyone mention it ever since. For the curious, the other not-winning nominees that year were Brokeback Mountain, Capote, and Good Night and Good Luck, with Crash winning the prize. And I think the only time I’ve heard Crash mentioned is in the context of, "Hey, the movie that got the award instead of Brokeback Mountain."

Oh, plot summary. Yes. Munich is about the Mossad tracking down the terrorists who killed a group of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympics in Munich. It stars Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Geoffrey Rush and Some Other People I Don’t Recognize.

Penn & Teller: Bullshit!: Season 2 (NF)
Penn and Teller skewer… well, some pretty easy targets (PETA, The Fountain of Youth, The War on Drugs, The Bible: Fact or Fiction), as well as some more generally accepted sacred cows (Safety, 12-step programs, recycling). Even if I don’t agree with it, it’s usually funny. :-)

Ripley’s Game (NF)
A sequel in only the loosest sense (I don’t think many Matt Damon fans rented this one), it apparently hews much closer to the Patricia Highsmith Ripley novels. I should read some of those.

City of God (NF)
I caved on this one. I allowed Netflix constantly recommending it and the stellar reviews and accolades to finally drive me into adding it to the queue. A hard-R movie about three decades in the slums surrounding Rio de Janeiro and the lives of the gangsters who populate them, it’s supposed to be fantastic. Or so I hear. Over and over and over again…

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (NF)
Tommy Lee Jones stars in and directs this Western about a hardass who seeks redemption for his killed friend. I’m in.

Syriana (NF)
Some day, a story about political infighting and intrigue in the Middle East that revolves around the oil industry won’t be topical… but not yet. Stars George Clooney (who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and Golden Globe for this movie), Matt Damon, Amanda Peet, Mark Strong, Chris Cooper, Christopher Plummer, Gina Gershon, Tim Blake Nelson, William Hurt, Jeffrey Wright… yeesh. That’s a Murderer’s Row of Actors.

Rescue Me: Season 1 (NF)
This series, about Denis Leary as a tormented FDNY firefighter, feels like it should be right in my wheelhouse but I’ve watched one episode so far (hurrah, streaming), and it didn’t absolutely hook me. Still, I’m giving it a chance. And, yes, I’m starting to watch it now that the final season is starting to air on FX. Timing, I has it.

Night Watch (NF)
Russian modern urban fantasy, about the Night Watch, who police (after a fashion) the shadowy forces of the night. I watched the trailer years & years ago and I just rewatched it and… it’s not all that I remember thinking it was. Maybe it got a recommendation from someone else, too?

Devil in a Blue Dress (NF)
Denzel Washington plays a private eye of sorts, in a twisty noir movie based on Walter Moseley’s novel set in post WWII Los Angeles.

Danger UXB (NF)
Hee hee. I laugh because I know exactly when I added this movie to my queue. Netflix used to allow you to recommend movies to your friends. Heck, Netflix used to allow you to have friends on their site. But I digress. You could send someone a recommendation, and it’d email them, “So-and-so thinks you’d like the Adventures of Lucky Pup.” Well, if I search through my email for the term UXB, the sole search result is Jeremy recommending this series to me on June 13th, 2006. It’s about the UneXploded Bomb division operating in London, charged with defusing and disposing of undetonated German bombs from the blitzkrieg. If I had to guess, it came from a conversation where I recommended The Sandbaggers to him. (The Sandbaggers: SO SO GOOD.)

The Matador (NF)
And lastly, Pierce Brosnan bids farewell to Bond (at least in my chronology) by playing a scraggly hitman (possibly?) that Greg Kinnear talks to in a bar and somehow endears himself to. Or something. I probably haven’t seen a trailer for this in about five years, gimme a break.

And that’s it for the 20. UXB spans this group and the next, but that’ll just mean the next post will be a teeny bit shorter. Teeny bit. Can barely see it.

264 discs in the queue, and the last 5 in the queue are 13 Assassins, Tropic Thunder, Dog Day Afternoon, Hanna, and Red State.

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Another Netflix Score

March 25, 2011 No comments

Another next 20! Warcraft is (again) losing its shine for me personally, as I find I only really enjoy it playing at the same time as friends, and Liz is writing (earning the writerly bacon!), and lots of other people are actually social, so while I enjoy the Monday Night WoW activities, I find I’m not playing very much aside from that. The upside to that is, again, increased Netflix activity. Not just the discs, though, but the instant watch. I’ve started watching a couple TV series (Veronica Mars, Psych, and Lie to Me) through that, as well as other random things (when in a downer mood, the Bob Saget roast is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser).

For the last set of 20, I did end up skipping the Quatermass disc, I never ended up getting the Kolchak movie DVD (libraries for the win), and only watched one of the TV series discs, so I got through that set fairly quickly. That brings us to the next 20 discs which are…

Cracker: Series 2 (NF)
Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid, the Harry Potter movies) plays Fitz, a police psychologist who is absolutely masterful at his job, but horrible at his life. I watched Series 1 (it’s a British show, so a “season” only runs about 8 episodes) several years ago and thought it was just amazingly compelling.

The Brothers Grimm (NF)
So, I thought it was interesting to see this show up at the top of my queue, because looking at the year it was made (2005) it means it apparently takes about six years for something to get from the bottom of my queue to the top… or, at least it did starting in 2005. So, I have 283 movies in my queue, and this is the position at which each year first shows up in the queue: 2006: 55; 2007: 86; 2008: 120; 2009: 215; 2010: 262.

Anyway, Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Terry Gilliam directs. I have high hopes (Gilliam is my favorite director), Liz said she heard it suuuuuuuuuuucked. Still. High hopes.

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (NF)
A documentary about an unemployed musician in San Francisco who tends to a flock of feral parrots. Liz asked, “How did this get into your queue?” The answer ties into the observation of someone who thumbed through my instant queue: “You must really like documentaries.” I don’t know if I like them automatically, but I really do find them interesting, at first blush. I look at something like this and I think, “This is real. This is someone’s life, or lives. This wasn’t plotted out, or written, this is something they live.” So I end up with a documentary about wild parrots in San Francisco in my queue. I think it’ll be neat. :-)

The Aristocrats (NF)
Quoting the movie’s tagline, “No Nudity, No Violence, Unspeakable Obscenity”. The Aristocrats joke is an old, old dirty joke that has a near-identical setup and punchline regardless of who tells it, but the middle… this middle is where the person telling the joke puts their own spin on the joke, improvises, almost like a jazz performance. A staggeringly obscene jazz performance. The list of comics in the movie is gigantic, and star-studded (Hank Azaria, Lewis Black, Drew Carey, George Carlin, Billy Connolly, Tim Conway, Whoopi Goldberg, Eric Idle, Eddie Izzard… look, I’m tired of picking names out of the Wikipedia article. Feel free to read about it yourself if you want. This is getting silly.)

North Country (NF)
I… ugh. At the time I put this in the queue, I thought it looked like a great drama. Now I have a growing sense of dread about it. Charlize Theron stars as a woman working in a Minnesota iron mine fighting for equality and oh fuck it’s over two hours long gherkdasdjksduf…

The Ice Harvest (NF)
Okay. Deep breaths. New movie. The Ice Harvest! John Cusack stars in a Harold Ramis black comedy. This movie may be the carrot that gets me to watch North Country.

Jarhead (NF)
Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a Marine in Iraq, directed by Sam Mendes and… again, this is from 2005. The trailer looked great six years ago. Sheesh.

A History of Violence (NF)
Actually, still really looking forward to this. Viggo Mortensen stars as a normal guy who stops a robbery at a store, but then the who-is-he-really part of the movie kicks in. David Cronenberg directs, and I did make it to the theater to see Mortensen & him team up for Eastern Promises which I thought was fantastic.

Good Night, and Good Luck (NF)
Yes, I’m a leftist who hasn’t seen this movie about Edward R. Murrow struggling against Tailgunner Joe McCarthy. I’m amazed, too. I’m getting to it.

Bukowski: Born into This (NF)
Documentary about Charles Bukowski which… look, I know not too much about the man besides the barest of summaries. Modern masterful drunkard/writer. It sounds like it could be interesting or… the other thing. Bono’s in it. Cause for concern.

Everything Is Illuminated (NF)
Another movie I put into my queue because the trailer looked interesting SIX YEARS AGO. Granted, it still looks interesting now, but seriously. SIX YEARS. So, at current pace, I’ll be watching Black Swan in 2017. Ugh.

I need to figure out how to go see grown-up movies and still be a decent father/husband.

Arrested Development: Season 2 (NF)
If you haven’t seen an episode of Arrested Development yet, I highly recommend just sitting down and giving the pilot a viewing. It’s 21 minutes and it’s just hilarious. This is Season 2, which I may tear through in a few days on Instant Watch if I get sick or just can’t bear to go into work for whatever reason.

Capote (NF)
INTERESTING MOVIE FROM SIX DAMN YEARS AGO LET’S DO THE TIME WARP AGAAAAAAAAAAAAIN.

King Kong (2005) (NF)
I really debated whether or not to put this in the queue, and eventually decided that I did want to see what Peter Jackson and modern special effects and CG would make of the classic. I still have the original King Kong at home, and haven’t had the chance to sit and watch it yet, hopefully with Penny. I’d really like to do that, and then do a follow-up with this, and see what her take on it is.

Human Nature (NF)
I… ugh. Look. Michel Gondry directed & Charlie Kaufman wrote it, and I thought Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was absolutely amazing, but… the plot synopsis for this is just terrifying. Terrifyingly bad. It does have some rave user reviews on Netflix, though, so not all hope is lost. Just some.

Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers (NF)
The last of the Babylon 5 movie things. The ratings and reviews are… not kind. Still, if I don’t see it, I won’t know for sure.

And that’s it! 279 discs in the live queue, the last five of which are Get Low, Red, The Great Mouse Detective, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and Taken.

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Always More Netflix

October 2, 2010 No comments

So, it turns out if I get back into WoW in a big way, my Netflix viewing slows down quite a bit. However, of late my fascination with the game is slacking off again, so my Netflix account has been getting a workout again, and I’ve polished off the most recently blogged-about set of 20. The next 20 is…

The Hired Hand (NF)
A Western! Starring Peter Fonda! And… I have no idea why I put this in my queue. I’ve Googled the movie and read a few articles about it and nothing rings a bell. I’m guess something else I watched at the time cued it up as a recommendation? Again, I wish for the ability to leave a note with Netflix saying what the hell I was thinking.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (NF)
Things I like: Terry Gilliam, Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp, and Benicio Del Toro. It’s probably overdue that I see this. High hopes!

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (NF)
My level of apprehension with regard to seeing this is best described as: Very, very high. I really liked the books and a bad adaptation would be frustrating.

The God Who Wasn’t There (NF)
From the Netflix synopsis: "Borrowing the lively approach of documentaries such as Fahrenheit 9/11 and Super Size Me, ex-Christian fundamentalist Brian Flemming’s exposé shines an unflinching spotlight on Christianity and the existence of Christ. Flemming interviews religious experts and Christians of varying backgrounds, ultimately asserting that Jesus Christ is more than likely a fictional character based on legend and that Christian doctrine is rife with contradiction."
And with that, since most everyone has probably either already moved on to reading the next entry or gone to add this to their own queue, I’ll just say it’s the "ex-fundamentalist" part of that description that bothers me most of all….

The Libertine (NF)
Starring Johnny Depp, this is a movie about John Wilmot a 17th century… let’s say poet and shithead. The Netflix reviews are extremely wide-ranging and mixed. At the very least, it inspires reactions.

Le Samourai (NF)
It’s New Wave French crime movie with undertones of samurai movies! What could go wrong? Besides that.

Arrested Development: Season 1: Disc 3 (NF)
Okay, I’ve told this story before, but it’ll be fun to actually type it all out.
Back when I got sent to New York, one of my officemates at the time gave me some TV DVDs to watch while I was out. There was a Simpsons season (1? 3? Early on.), a Space Ghost Coast to Coast set (meh), and Arrested Development, Season One. I started watching Arrested Development and loved it. LOVED IT. It’s hilarious, and at half hour per episode even if I binged on a whole bunch of episodes, it didn’t take hours and hours. So, I watched Disc 1, Disc 2, and… there was no Disc 3. There was a second Disc 2, but no 3. I put it in my computer to see if it was a misprinted Disc 3, and nope, it was a second Disc 2. I emailed the officemate. "Hey… did you get your DVDs mixed up and accidentally put someone else’s Disc 2 in your set, and they have your Disc 3?" Turned out he hadn’t even opened it before lending it to me, and I ended up sending it back to Amazon for him. But I never saw Disc 3. So now I’ve got Disc 3 in my queue! And it’s available via Watch Now, so I’ve been catching up on Discs 1 & 2 before this one arrives. I may actually watch it all before this gets to the top of the queue, but since the 21st movie is the start of a new series, I like having the divide where it is.

Quatermass (1979) (NF)
I keep flipping back and forth about taking this out of my queue and leaving it in. Obviously, so far, leaving it in has one. Here’s the thing. Quatermass is a hugely influential British science-fiction serial, more or less, that began in the 1950s. Well, those shows aren’t available through Netflix. Neither are the ones 1960s. So… what is available is this telemovie, from 1979. Part of me wants to… acquire the earlier movies somehow (I checked the local public library, no luck), but part of me is thinking I can find better things to obsess over.

The Night Stalker / The Night Strangler (NF)
Kolchak: The Night Stalker (5 discs) (NF)
So. Darren McGavin. Probably best known to me and most of my friends as Ralphie’s dad (The Old Man) in A Christmas Story. Here’s the “I didn’t know that!” part. Back in the ’70s, he starred in a proto-X-Files series called Kolchak: The Night Stalker about a reporter that investigates… strange, unexplained phenomena that seem to always have a supernatural bent to them. The first DVD has the two TV movies that came out prior to the series, and then the series. I figure I’ll either get a kick out of it and watch them all, or this 20 will get compressed somewhat.

Penn & Teller’s Magic and Mystery Tour (NF)
It’s a Penn & Teller special I haven’t seen yet! At least, I don’t think I’ve seen it yet. Anyway, whee! Liz might even watch this with me. ;-)

The Mark of Zorro (1920) (NF)
The Mark of Zorro (1940) (NF)
Yes, these are in the queue because of Batman. Still, I do like Zorro, and it’ll be interesting to see one silent version of the story (starring Douglas Fairbanks), and then a talkie version (starring Tyrone Power).

King Kong: Special Edition (1933) (NF)
Nope, never actually saw this. Ever. I may see if I can get Penny to watch it with me.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith (NF)
It looked like fun. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie blow shit up.

From Dusk Till Dawn (NF)
Another, ‘hey, it looked like fun’ movie. George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino end up in a Mexican cantina with hostages and… hey, Salma Hayek’s a vampire!

So, that’s the next twenty. As for current stats, I have 290 movies in my queue, and the last five are Sherlock Holmes (Downey, Law), Kick-Ass, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, The Librarian: Return to Mines, and The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice.

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Movies the Old-Fashioned Way

August 28, 2010 No comments

The Kimball/DOG St. Theater has a decent September/October set coming up, and I thought I’d note here for myself and anyone else who might have this in their RSS reader the upcoming shows that I think look… interesting. As a note, some of the times are almost relentlessly inconvenient.
JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK
September 1-7, (1-3, 5, 7, Screening room), 4:30 and 6:15PM
AGORA
September 10-17 (11, 13, 15, 17 screening room), 4:15 and 6:30PM
THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE
September 15-24 (16, 18, 20-21, screening room) 4:30 and 7PM
WINTER’S BONE
September 26 – October 2 (27-28, 30, Oct. 2, screening room) 4:30 and 6:20PM, October 3 6:30 and 8:20PM
GET LOW
October 23-29 (24-26, 28, screening room) 4:45 and 6:45PM
RESTREPO also looks very good, but… it sounds like a tough movie to watch. A company of soldiers stationed at a highly dangerous posting in Afghanistan… I doubt the movie ends with them all petting a fuzzy bunny.

Categories: Blathering Tags:

Untitled Netflix Project

May 22, 2010 1 comment

Here it is, time for another Netflix entry! And this blog is dead enough that this is the only thing I post anymore. Ah, well. On to the list of the next 20. Sort of compacted for a reason that will become apparent as it’s read through.

Primer (NF)
It’s the twisty turny time travel spectacular the likes of which haven’t been seen since… um… well, I don’t know, really. I remember Jeremy and Braz speaking highly of it, but I can’t check back on that very well ever since Netflix removed the ability to see friends reviews of movies. Nine hundred thousand sites are falling over each other trying to add social components to their site, and Netflix is deleting useful social features from their site. Fantastic.

Anyway, yes. A short (77 minutes) movie about someone who discovers time travel. Liz says she has no interest in it, so I’m going to stream this from Netflix and save my actual disc shipments for something like…

The Prisoner (10 discs) (NF)
Yes, that says 10 discs. That’s why this entry covering 20 discs has so few posts. It’s not even that long a series, each disc has around two ~45 minute episodes on it, so it’s about the length of a standard American season. The Prisoner is a British sci-fi series from the 1960s about a secret agent who resigns from the service and is held prisoner in a strange village where everyone is assigned a number in place of their name, and… look, I don’t know much else because I’ve been avoiding reading about it so the damned thing isn’t spoiled for me. I know it’s a very influential piece of television, and everyone I know whose seen it really liked it. So… 10 discs. Yup.

Sleepless Town (NF)
Yet another movie that makes me wish I could put little notes in Netflix when I add a movie to my queue. It’s a Japanese crime movie that I put in my queue because…? No idea. None of the actors ring a bell, the director isn’t familiar… hope it’s okay!

Sin City (NF)
Put in my queue when it came out in 2005, now near the top of the queue. Ow. And I really want to see this one, too. It looked really, really neat. And, of course, I have all the comics.

Con Air (NF)
An amazing cheesefest I have in my queue in case Liz wants to see it, or in case I decide the featurettes are compelling enough I want to rent it; I’ve already watched it through Netflix’s streaming feature. And, WOW. Cheese. “Put. The bunny. Down.”

Oldboy (NF)
The middle movie of director Chan-wook Park’s Vengeance trilogy this one is… well, here’s the synopsis from Netflix: "With no clue how he came to be imprisoned, drugged and tortured for 15 years — and no one to hold accountable for his suffering — a desperate businessman seeks revenge on his captors, relying on assistance from a friendly waitress. Korean director Chan Wook Park — a former philosophy student and Hitchcock devotee — uses his influences to create a mesmerizing psychological drama with a resolution that will leave you speechless."

Yes, I’m willing to give it a go.

Holes (NF)
A kids movie recommended to me by, of all people, my Mom. A kid is sent to a juvenile prison of sorts where the warden has all the kids digging holes all over the property. Warden played by Sigourney Weaver.

The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (NF)
I am expecting some low-rent Indiana Jones action here. I hope to not be too disappointed.

Profit: Season 1 (3 discs) (NF)
To quote the write-up again, "This darkly comic and short-lived Fox television series follows the nefarious pursuits of Jim Profit (Adrian Pasdar), an antihero who vows to lie, cheat and steal his way to the top of a multinational corporation. With his good looks and slick talk, Profit’s managed to charm nearly everyone, including the company president (Keith Szarabajka). But he can’t fool the suspicious security chief (Lisa Zane), who has her eye on his every move."

I’m interested in movies and such where a bad guy is the main character, and this was spoken very, very highly of by… I have no idea anymore. Really, it’s amazing I remember to wear pants most days, at this rate.

Anyway, that’s the next 20, current stats are 306 discs in the main queue, the last 5 being (loosely defined), Purgatory, Kidulthood, The Terminal, Veronica Mars: Season One, and Smallville, Season Two.

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Netflix: It Never Ends

November 23, 2009 No comments

Someday, I may write a non-Netflix blog entry. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that, though.

The 4400: Season 1: Disc 2
Still haven’t watched the first disc of this mini-series… not much to say, then.

Dark Days (NF)
Liz has accurately observed in the past I’m drawn to documentaries about people who don’t have the easiest of lives. Dark Days is yet another piece of evidence in her favor. It’s the story of some homeless in New York City who live in an abandoned railroad tunnel under the city. I’m interested… but as with so many of these, I wish I had been able to leave a note in Netflix when I added it to my queue saying what moved me to do so.

Casino (NF)
Martin Scorcese does a gangster movie with Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci? I’m in.

Hoop Dreams (NF)
A documentary about kids looking to get out of the ghetto via basketball… And, from Ebert, "Today, fifteen years after I first saw it, I believe ‘Hoop Dreams’ is the great American documentary. No other documentary has ever touched me more deeply. It was relevant then, and today, as inner city neighborhoods sink deeper into the despair of children murdering children, it is more relevant."

Smallville: Season 1 (6 discs) (NF)
I’m a big Superman fan, so I want to give this a chance. But it sort of looks like it’s targeted at teenage girls, so I’m… dubious. Also, it’s still on the air, in Season 9 or something. By now, shouldn’t the series title be changed? Just a bit? I’m just saying…

Frailty (NF)
I remember there being some buzz about this movie when it came out. It was the first movie Bill Paxton directed, and I think it was a lot better than people initially expected. It’s a thriller/suspense movie with Paxton and Matthew McConaughey (yes, I copy & pasted that) and Powers Boothe, who I really liked in Deadwood. And Tombstone. Hope he does well in a non-Western movie!

The Sea Hawk (NF)
Errol Flynn does swashbucklery. The novel, by Rafael Sabatini, is some fine stuff, too.

F for Fake (NF)
Orson Welles’s "documentary?" on art and deception. Can’t wait.

Babylon 5: The River of Souls (NF)
Babylon 5 I haven’t seen yet! With Garibaldi! Hopefully it doesn’t suck!

Battle Royale (NF)
A touching coming-of-age drama where… hang on… updated copy follows: "When even schoolchildren begin to abuse a system on the verge of social collapse, the Japanese government introduces a strict new punishment whereby randomly chosen students are taken to a deserted island and forced to fight each other to the death. Renowned Japanese auteur and actor Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano stars in this explosive, violent drama from director Kinji Fukasaku, based on Koushun Takami’s novel."

The Sandbaggers: Collection 2 (3 discs) (NF)
A BBC espionage series from 1980I got hooked on several years ago. Just ruthless with characters, bearing no resemblance to Bond whatsoever. The show creator was a former intelligence agent with MI6 who disappeared while flying a small plane in Northern Canada, which effectively canceled the show.

Million Dollar Baby (NF)
No, I haven’t seen it yet. Yes, I’ve been avoiding reading about it ever since it came out. No, it hasn’t been completely successful. Still… looking forward to this story about I DON’T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IT’S ABOUT BECAUSE I’VE BEEN TRYING TO AVOID READING ABOUT IT! Yeesh. I know it’s been out years at this point, and all reasonable people have seen it, but what about us unreasonable people?

Alphaville (NF)
Full title: Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution. Oh, yes. I heard this described as "Godard‘s movie about Tarzan vs. IBM." étrange indeed.

287 discs in the main queue, 15 in the Saved queue, last 5 titles in the queue are Milk, 25th Hour, Charley Varrick, Deadwood, Season 2, and When the Levees Broke.

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Moar Netflicks

September 3, 2009 No comments

Seems like I just did one of these, eh? Quitting WoW, it sure has done quite a bit for giving me buckets of free time back. Free time I’m spending watching movies, apparently.

Lately, I’ve also started using Netflix’s Watch Now to while away random evenings if I don’t want to watch what I have on-hand. The selection by no means can be dubbed ‘good’, or ‘current’, but there is a reasonable range of titles, and I’m usually able to find something I’d like to see. This is especially handy if there’s a movie in my queue available through Watch Now that Liz doesn’t want to see. I can drop it from the queue, watch it on the ‘puter, and hopefully get a disc we’re both interested in. Which may well apply here, because looking through the list, the number of discs I’m guessing she’ll want to see can be counted on one hand. I’d be happy to be proved wrong, of course.

Anyway, the picture quality, it must be said, is pretty variable. Sometimes it looks like washed-out VHS tapes, and at best it approaches, “all right.” Still, for something that I’m getting at no extra charge for my standard subscription fee, I’m pretty impressed with it. Gift horse, mouth, etc.

On to the DVDs.

In the Mouth of Madness (NF)
Until recently, this was the only decent movie I know of that was based on H.P. Lovecraft’s writings. Also, I like John Carpenter (the director, did The Thing remake and Escape from New York among others), and Sam Neill. I think I stuck it in the queue on reading an article on the web about underappreciated/lesser-known horror movies. Probably sometime in 2004 or 2005.

City on Fire (NF)
Yeah, it sounds like Tarantino was "inspired" for the plot for Reservoir Dogs from this movie. A lot of inspired. Cop goes undercover with a band of jewel thieves, gets shot up during the heist, and suspicions arise type of inspired. Still. Chow Yun Fat. Should be fun.

For Love of the Game (NF)
Kevin Costner’s made two fantastic baseball movies (Bull Durham and Field of Dreams, for those suffering momentary memory lapses), here’s hoping this is a third.

The Rookie (NF)
One of two rated G movies I have in my queue (the other one is Cars). The based-on-a-true-story story about guy in his late 30s who against a whole bunch of odds ends up a rookie, pitching for a major league team. I’m sure it’ll be very feel-goody and possibly treacley. I’m still gonna watch it.

Crimson Rivers 2: Angels of the Apocalypse (NF)
I watched the movie this is a sequel to (The Crimson Rivers – NF, IMDB) years ago, and thought it was fantastic. And then I found out there was a sequel, so here I am, another subtitled French action movie in my queue. Starring Jean Reno (Leon: The Professional) and Vincent Cassel (one-armed guy in Brotherhood of the Wolf). Hope it works out.

Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (NF)
Loved the manga, hoping the movie doesn’t suck. That about sums it up.

Deadwood: Season 1 (6 discs) (NF)
I looked forever to find a commercial or something for Deadwood, and the best I’ve found is this. As Liz is not a huge Western fan… this and the following set of DVDs might make for a loooooong string of me watching movies by myself. :-/

Have Gun Will Travel: Season 1 (6 discs) (NF)
Yyyyyyyup. Then again, if either of these turns out to not be my taste, I’ll purge whatever hasn’t gotten to me yet from my queue and move on. I did that last go-round with The Young Ones. It was funny enough… just not 8 hours worth of funny.

The 4400: Season 1 (NF)
No idea why this is in the queue, but various people I know have spoken highly of it, so… I’ll give it a whirl.

Dead Ringers (NF)
The second time this movie’s climbed up my queue. The first time it got a couple spots from the top, and then fell out of Netflix’s inventory, and into the Saved queue. Now it’s back again, and… well, we’ll see how far it makes it this time around. Jeremy Irons plays twin gynecologists, David Cronenberg (The Fly, Naked Lunch, Eastern Promises) directs.

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Netflix: I Like to Watch

July 7, 2009 No comments

Sharpe’s Regiment (NF)
Sharpe’s Siege (NF)
Sharpe’s Mission (NF)
Sharpe’s Revenge (NF)
Sharpe’s Justice (NF)
Sharpe’s Waterloo (NF)
Sharpe’s Challenge (NF)
So…. much like last time, there’s a whole block of Sharpe movies in the queue, and there’s no way in hell I’m writing about each individual one. The continuing adventures of Richard Sharpe (currently Major Richard Sharpe) in the war against Napoleon, the movies are a little bit like a period James Bond, what with adventures and derring do and the somewhat ridiculous romances the manly man has, with an additional dash of buddy movie thrown in, as Sharpe and his company (the Chosen Men) troop about killing the French. I still miss Brian Cox as the "engineer" (spy), but, ah, well. I think there have been three intelligence chiefs so far, with a fourth coming up in Regiment. They’re like drummers in Spinal Tap, just can’t manage to stick around…

Gremlins (NF)
Nope, never seen Gremlins. Ever. I’m aware for some people this is possible evidence I’m an alien impostor.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (NF)
The original Lion King 1½. ;-) Telling the story of probably the two most minor characters in Hamlet, the mere idea of this has fascinated me since I heard of it. And now, finally, I get to see it.

Get Shorty (NF)
John Travolta and Elmore Leonard make fun of Hollywood. I understand various characters are essentially based on real people (the one I think I remember is Danny DeVito is ‘playing’ Dustin Hoffman). It’s supposed to be funny and witty and is recommended to me because I liked Bull Durham and Pulp Fiction, which is a heck of an interesting pairing, to say the least.

The Young Ones (NF)
3 discs of a British TV series I put into my queue on a whim because of the recommendation of a former office-mate. The synopsis reads in part "Four mismatched university students share a house in North London: Neil, the hippie; Cool Guy Mike; Rick, a would-be anarchist studying sociology; and Vyvyan, the punk medical student who is prone to extreme violence." That fourth character sounds like it has some promise.

Shine (NF)
The movie where I first heard of Geoffrey Rush, as he won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of a schizophrenic virtuoso pianist. Which, I think, he closely followed up by playing Casanova Frankenstein in Mystery Men. Nicely done, Mr. Rush!

Lone Star (NF)
A modern-day (?) Western, starring Chris Cooper (!), and… Matthew McConaughey. Oy. Still. Really, really looking forward to this one. Possibly irrationally. But, yeah. Looking forward to it. Chris Cooper hasn’t disappointed me yet.

Trees Lounge (NF)
Steve Buscemi writes, directs, and stars in a movie about a shiftless barfly. I like Buscemi. Ergo…

Slap Shot (NF)
So, as I sort of like sports movies and funny movies… thought I should take a chance on one of the most well-spoken of funny sports movies ever. Starring Paul Newman, even.

House of Flying Daggers (NF)
Yup, put this in my queue when it came out in theaters, just now finally getting around to actually seeing it. A very colorful, stylized martial arts drama, I’ll be watching this by myself, while Liz mutters, "I can see the wires…"

Captain Blood (NF)
It’s Errol Flynn as a pirate. Either that means nothing to you or you want to watch it. I’m not sure there’s middle ground.

Anyway, that’s it for the next 20, for random stats, 278 discs in the main queue, 13 in the ‘Saved’ section, and the last five are Jersey Girl, Taxi to the Dark Side, The Wild Geese, The Wrestler, and Harlan Ellison: Dreams With Sharp Teeth. See you in 20.

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Subtlety Comes Later

June 30, 2009 No comments

Setting: This morning, in the car. A CD of random iTunes purchases is playing.

Penny: Daddy? Is this song still about Alex?

Me: Well, the last one was sort of a silly joke about Alex. This one is sort of about you.

Penny: Why is this song about me?

Me: Well, because it’s about a daddy and how much he loves his daughter.

Penny ::small pause::

Penny: Daddy, when can I get a diamond?

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