Monday, June 6, 2011

Discontent

Most of us live fairly monotonous lives. There are elements to our lives that are fascinating but generally things are not too exciting. That is why film is so popular; it allows us to experience excitement without forcing us to disrupt our complacent lifestyles.

Well, although movie Complacent now streaming via Netflix , did capture the “suburban” lifestyle, it wasn’t even half as exciting to watch as when my neighbors arrive home from the bar.

“Complacent” is really a story of four different couples living in suburbia. Each couple has their own personal struggles, but puts on a fa├žade to the rest of the world. When an individual in the group (Myah) decides to divorce her husband, she really challenges her sister Beth to become more independent. Beth’s controlling husband, doesn’t like the idea of independence so he attempts to turn everyone against Myah. Every couple had different struggles, and in the midst of a tragedy is when people begin to change.

This movie was about 45 minutes too long. Seriously, it was really long and drawn out.

I did think this film was able to capture hypocrisy, and the general viewpoint of the upper middle class, but it was just too bland for my liking.

If you have a lot of time you might enjoy this film, but your best bet is to just watch your neighbors.
courtesy of toothpastfordinner.com

If your neighbors are really crazy, here are the instructions to protect yourself from a Crazy Neighbor, seriously if you look in the right places you don't need film to entertain you at all!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Holy Moly!

I always thought of people associated with the drug business as sleazy, unshaven guys wearing hooded sweatshirts and lurking in corners. When I see individuals in traditional religious clothing while out in the community, the thought never crosses my mind that they are doing something “shady”.

Apparently other’s have the same assumptions as I do, and that is why a group of Hasidic Jews were able to smuggle over 1 million ecstasy pills into the United States during the late nineties.

Holy Rollers now streaming via Netflix, is about a young man (Sam) that is following his family’s path for his life. When plans for an arranged marriage are broken, Sam is convinced by a neighbor (Yosef) to smuggle in “Medicine” from Amsterdam. After Sam’s first smuggling trip goes well, Sam begins to separate from his family and gets caught up in the “risky” lifestyle of a smuggler.

I am not going to give the ending away, but as you can imagine with every rise comes a fall.

“Holly Rollers” was based on true events, and I believed was a good depiction of the event. This movie did a great job at portraying both the values and expectations of those living in these tight knit communities.
The film itself was fairly slow, and not very exciting. Holy rollers did an excellent job at capturing the events of the story and the characters involved, but did not have much action.

I found this movie interesting, but if you are looking for a thrilling movie about drugs and the “fast life” this movie is not for you.

Monday, May 23, 2011

That Bites

Courtesy of www.filmofilia.com

The thought of immortality has both fascinated and terrified people for thousands of years. Generally in folklore those who are immortal have to pay a price. For the vampires, the price is drinking blood and spending their existence in the dark. Being a night person, it wouldn’t be the worst thing to have to spend my waking life at night, but drinking blood would really suck.

The movie "Daybreakers", now streaming via Netflix's Instant Play, imagines a world where vampires are the majority population. The vampire’s sustenance, human blood, becomes a rare commodity. Those that choose not to become a vampire either live in hiding or risk being “farmed” for blood.

 The story is about a vampire scientist (Edward) that is working on creating a “blood substitute”. He works for a large corporation that supplies blood, and begins to feel empathy for the humans being drained of their blood. Through a series of events he secretly works with humans  in order to discover a cure to the problem that now threatens both the human and the vampire race.

A fascinating aspect to “Daybreakers” was the vampire sub race. In the movie, if a vampire was deprived of blood for too long they became a ruthless animalistic type created with wings. When the blood supply decreased, since blood was produced by a private corporation the blood prices skyrocketed. Of course, not every vampire could afford to buy the blood so they turned into bat like creatures and began wreaking chaos throughout the city. When things got too out of control they were destroyed by being forced into the sunlight by the vampires. The reason I thought this scenario was interesting, is because it kind of represents how modern society works, in a less extreme way.

Overall, I found the movie’s plot to be choppy and inconsistent. The acting and characters were excellent, but the film tried to intertwine too many plots. The movie ending was left completely open to one’s imagination, nothing was completely resolved. There was also too much gore.  I can understand how some gore was needed to enhance the story, but some of the scenes went over the top. The concept behind Daybreakers had the makings for a great movie, but simply fell a little short.

Daybreakers was entertaining, but just wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. This movie, for the first time ever, made me thankful I am not a vampire......

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Going Medieval on You!

Imagine a world without electricity, in which you can only bathe once a week, and must fight to the death if challenged.

Courtesy of nerdfighters.ning.com
Doesn’t sound exciting? Add magic, witches, and dragons to the mixture and you have the show Merlin now streaming via Netflix's Instant Play

Merlin takes place in the middle ages, and is adapted from "Arthurian Legends" that have been circulating for hundreds of years.

 “Merlin” focuses on the young adult lives of Arthur and Merlin and their relationship. In the show, Merlin is Arthur’s servant and devotes his life to keeping Arthur safe. Merlin has the gift of “magic” but can only use it secretly because King Uther (Arthur’s father) outlawed the use of magic. King Uther will put anyone that uses magic to death, so Merlin often worries about getting caught, but still uses his powers to “save the day”.

I normally avoid fantasy shows because they are often unrealistic and corny, but “Merlin” was fairly interesting. The characters in this television series were well developed and added an element to the show’s content. I also enjoyed the plot of “Merlin”. There were new challenges and characters in every show, in addition to many “exciting” moments.

Although I mostly appreciated “Merlin” a majority of the show was rather predictable and some of themes were over used.

*Spoiler* Merlin ALWAYS saves the day, and no one extremely important ever dies...

That being said, overall “Merlin” was worth watching for its fascinating interpretation on “King Arthur” Folklore.  The show is well developed and not a complete “train wreck” like some other fantasy programming out there.

Courtesy of  brainaudit.com
If you enjoy a little magic, or simply want to escape from your daily chaos to a time much worse than ours, this is the show for you.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Life's a Circus

When I was young and got into argument with my parents, I often dreamed of running away to join the circus. 

Courtesy of rightsideofthebrain.com
I never actually did because I really hated clowns, but the thought of being a part of such a festive environment was enticing.

 The documentary "Circus" now streaming via Netflix's Instant Play, is a six part series that hi-lights the lives of those performing in the Big Apple Circus. This miniseries shows what circus life really like including the difficulties and demands involved. I learned that amidst the excitement of the circus is a world filled with hard work and uncertainty. 

This miniseries was memorizing and extremely well done. Often when we see performances we do not see excruciating work behind each show. This documentary allows the viewers a sneak peek into the world of circus performers, and tells the story of how each individual involved embraces this eccentric world. 

Even though the circus has been around for hundreds of years, and is a worldwide phenomenon, traveling shows are struggling to stay afloat in this economy. These are tough times, and all of the circus performers understand that their jobs are not secure. Many of the performers have grown up in the "circus community" and would struggle making "ends meet" outside the circus. 

Courtesy of cgnews.com
Surprisingly, one thing that intrigued me about the film was the clowns. I often joked with others that if they fail school they can always go to “clown college”, but clowns have to accomplish difficult tasks while remaining “happy”. The clowns showcased in this film were real people with health problems and mood disorders just like the rest of us. They were not frightening and creepy like I remember them being.

I really enjoyed how artistic this film was, and the soundtrack added an exciting element to this miniseries. Although I am fairly certain a lot of footage was cut, I have gained a greater appreciation of the circus.

That being said, there were parts of this miniseries that were too focused on romantic drama, and "soap opera" like situations. Most of the six hours was entertaining, but some of it was monotonous. There is some strong language, but it wasn't very noticeable. All ages would appreciate this inspiring show, and will feel a little sadness when the circus "leaves town".

After watching this film I took a "What Circus Act Are You" quiz. According to this quiz I should fly on a trapeze (yeah right) I am curious to know what other's got?

Although I am still fascinated with the circus, and only slightly afraid of clowns I know that I will never join the circus, but I may visit the next time it comes to town! 



Monday, May 2, 2011

I Can Take It!

I want to know what you think!

I am interested in hearing your opinion about my blog. If you hate it, or think I am lacking in a certain area tell me!

I also want to know what to watch on Netflix's Instant Play. If you want me to watch, and write about a certain movie, television series, or documentary let me know!

Seriously, I will watch anything. Be forewarned that I honestly critique each thing I watch so be prepared for my blunt opinion.

Send me an E-Mail, Mention me on Twitter, or comment on this post.

Can you take it?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

ZYX Television

ABC Family now has a lot of hit shows on cable television. Luckily for those that refuse to pay a ridiculous amount of money each month for cable, many of the shows are now streaming via Netflix's Instant Play.

Now keep in mind, these shows are targeted towards the young adult population (AKA screaming, teenage girls). But, some of the shows can be appreciated by everyone.

The ABC Family shows I decided to watch were "The Secret Life of the American Teenager", "Greek", and "Make It or Break It".

I was excited to watch "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" because Molly Ringwald was one of it's stars. Unfortunately, this show was a complete waste of time. I tried to finish watching it, but I only made it halfway through the second season (I gave it a try).

This show is about a young girl (Amy)  that gets pregnant at age fifteen. Amy tries to keep the secret from her parents, but of course they find out. "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" tackles issues concerning relationships, sexuality, and spirituality. It is definitely a "teen soap opera" filled with drama after drama.

What I hated most about "Secret Life" was the acting. The conversations between characters are choppy and awkward, you could tell it is scripted. When I started watching the show I thought it was going to be a semi-realistic story about the difficulties of high school life. Well it isn't, the plot is so far fetched and ridiculous its painful to watch. So painful, that I stopped watching.

The acting in Greek was much better than in The Secret Life of the American Teenager. This show is about a nerdy college freshman (Rusty), that tries to break out of his shell by joining a fraternity. He attends the same college as his popular sister (Casey), and struggles to gain acceptance. This show is not just about Rusty, but about the people he meets along the way. This show contains romance, parties, prank wars, and of course drama.

The character's in Greek are well developed, quirky, and realistic. I enjoyed the triumphs and tribulations Rusty finds himself in, and became nostalgic of my own college experiences.

Some of the drama in Greek, was long and drawn out. The plot itself wasn't always realistic, and a lot of the relationships had a "fairy tale like" quality. Over all  this show was entertaining and I recommend it to anyone.

On a side note, Greek is definitely not a family show. I know that it aired on "ABC Family", but it contains sex, drinking, LGBT issues, and almost everything else college students struggle with. The issues are tackled lightly, but be aware before watching (or letting others watch).

The show Make It or Break It certainly is worth watching. It is about a girl from "the wrong side of the tracks" (Emily) who finds herself training for gymnastics at one of the most elite gyms of the country (The Rock). The other girls that train at the Rock are each other's support and competition.

This show tackles many issues "normal teenagers" face, along with the pressure to compete and perform flawlessly. "Make It or Break It" is visually appealing and emphasizes the work it takes to be a gymnast.

It wouldn't be an "ABC Family" show if there wasn't needless drama. This show is unrealistic, because everything always works out. When one of the "Rock girls" breaks her spine, she magically finds a treatment and is able to perform again.

 Although there are aspects to this show that are ridiculous, I think that it was very well done and merits your time. The character development is excellent and the story actually contains some substance.

Out of the three ABC Family shows I watched on Netflix, I enjoyed "Greek" the most. I still appreciated "Make It or Break It" but hated "The Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Just keep in mind, if you decide to watch any ABC Family show be prepared for drama!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Nothing Is What It Seems

Growing up I always dreamed of being a model or an actress, because I thought their lives were perfect. They wore beautiful clothes, and received large quantities of money just for making appearances. As I got older I realized all of the glitz and glamor that comes with the job, also comes with a price.

The Documentary "Picture Me" that is currently streaming via Netflix's Instant Play, highlights both the ups and downs of being a model in the fashion industry. This film capture's a model's perspective of the fashion industry through the video diary of Sara Ziff.

Image is so important in our society, unfortunately most of what the media produces is a facade mistaken for reality. Sara kept accentuating that when she was modeling she felt fake, and as a model she was treated like a doll, not a human. The industry itself does not value models for their hearts and souls, but for their willingness to do whatever they are told to do.

It was interesting to watch Sara over a five year span, and how she changed. At first she was so excited when she received a big check for her work, but after awhile the money did not fulfill her dreams. So often many of us think that money equals happiness, but in reality money is just a way to fulfill our physical needs not our emotional ones.

I liked the way this film was done, but at times it was a little long. I also wished that it would have delved more into the darker world of the fashion industry. Drugs, eating disorders, body distortion, and ageing were topics brought up briefly, but they could have been emphasized more. Another thing that wasn't brought up, was digital editing of the models. Sometimes models are digitally edited so much they do not even look like themselves anymore.

I think that this documentary is worth watching, especially if you are into fashion and the media. Although I didn't really learn anything I wasn't already aware of, it was interesting to see things from a model's point of view.

I learned that it is good to dream big, but be aware of the price.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's The End of the World

Well, probably not yet, but it is Monday....

I started watching the television series "Jericho" on Netflix's Instant Play this weekend. I am about halfway finished through the 1st season, and still not sure quite what I think about it. This show drags on at times and contains some mindless drama, but it's interesting enough to keep watching.

Jericho is about a small town that survives a nuclear disaster. The information surrounding the nature of this  disaster has not yet been revealed, but it could be an attack from another country. The show's main character (Jake) has a mysterious past and had just returned to the town "Jericho" before the disaster took place. There is another person new to town "Robert" that seems to have known that this disaster was going to happen, and could be a part of the conspiracy. The drama unfolds as resources begin to dwindle, and true colors are revealed. Some individuals are forced to go to extreme lengths to protect themselves from outsiders and from each other.

As I was watching this show tonight I was wondering if I could survive a "nuclear disaster". I wasn't sure so I found this Nuclear Disaster Survival Quiz and discovered I really don't know that much. Luckily, this quiz gave the correct answers instantly, so now I feel more prepared for a nuclear disaster. Thanks Jericho!

Now only if I could be better prepared for Mondays......

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Secret of Kells

I decided to go out on a limb and watch one of Netflix's top 10 picks specialized for me.

 Some of their recommendations are absolutely ridiculous and things I would never watch such as "Strawberry Shortcake". Others seem mildly interesting but "generic" in a sort of way. "You liked a movie about crime, so we are assuming that you like every possible movie about crime".

When I saw "The Secret of Kells" on my "Top 10 Picks" list I was interested, but skeptical. I briefly read the plot summary and decided to watch it. Although, I am not a huge fan of animated films I thought I would give it a try.

This animated film is about a young boy (Brendan)  that lives in a world confined to a monastery. When a monk who is well known for his artistry at creating "Illuminated Manuscripts" seeks refuge in the monastery, Brendan becomes fascinated with his cause. Brendan goes through great lengths and ventures out of his comfort zone in order to protect the unfinished sacred book of Iona (which later becomes the book of Kells). Along the way Brendan meets a new friend and is challenged both physically and emotionally.

The plot of this movie was really simplistic and not very captivating. It was fairly predictable, and there were some elements that were overly strange and irrelevant. The film itself was very artistic and the animations were amazing. I really appreciated how colorful and creatively done this film was.

After watching "The Secret of Kells" I looked up The Book of Kells on Wikepedia and the information provided about the book made me more interested in the movie. Since I never had heard about the mystery of the "Book of Kells" I did not  understand the significance of this story. If you are a history buff, or interested in celtic folklore you will appreciate this movie more than I did.

I really enjoyed the animation and the way the film was done. Although the movie "The Secret of Kells" does not make my top 10, it was worth it to watch.