The Rockford Files #Netflix365

“Hello, Jim, this is the grocery store, your check bounced……again.  Should we rip it up or put it with the others?”  In 1974 James Garner starred as Jim Rockford, a private eye dealing specifically with closed criminal cases.  Rockford did time for a crime he said he did not commit and was later pardoned.  He became a private detective.  He lived and worked out of a trailer on the beach in Malibu.  Yes he drove a cool car (gold Firebird).  Rockford was forever broke, but always cool.  This program, written by the late Stephen J. Cannell, was  the ultimate in ’70’s cool.  If you look now no one would ever wear a plaid polyester suit with a giant collar, but Jim Rockford made it look cool.  I have only started watching the show myself getting most of the way through the first season, but remember my parents watching (I was two when it started and 8 when it ended).  So I had an idea of what the show was about.

Either a “hot chick” needed a private detective or a “hot chick” lawyer needed help, and Rockford was often the reluctant hero, I say reluctant because he was always looking to get paid but that did not always work out.

There are some great guest starring roles by Lindsay Wagner and James Woods in the first couple of episodes.  For a show that is almost forty years old it holds up.  There will be an upcoming feature length film staring Vince Vaughn as the title character, I only hope it is as cool as Rockford was on TV.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

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Assassination of a High School President #Netflix365

Assassination of a High School President is a film that surrounds itself around a dedicated school paper reporter with a high moral standard for the finding the truth and the theft of the schools SAT test.  Did the high school president steal the test or was he framed?  This movie has a film noir style narrative by the intrepid reporter.  I did find the movie enjoyable.  There are some funny moments as the awkward reporter is allowed into the inner workings of the popular clique, but I would not call this movie a comedy.  It is more of a satire feel using the social dynamics of high school as the back drop.  I find that high school works well for this type of device because there is already an established stereo type of how certain people look and how they are expected to act, this allows the story to move along faster and can be more surprising when a person is expected to act one way and then acts differently.

Keep your eye on the principal played by Bruce Willis.  He is a real life “Principal Skinner” type in this movie and looks like he enjoyed his time in this not typical Willis movie.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

Strangeland #Netflix365

Captain Howdy is sent to prison for sex crimes, a normal and reformed person is released from prison who has to take a chemical castration drug to suppress Captain Howdy.  So what happens when he stops taking his med’s and Captain Howdy returns, what happens when you give the Captain a new thing called the “internet”? Access to your young daughters would be the correct answer.

Dee Snyder (yes that Dee Snyder) plays the Captain in ,Strangeland, a movie of his creation.  If you look at the movie and the time period of when it is (new internet, introduction to chat rooms) with cell phones just beginning to get into everyone’s hands, only kids know how to use computers and know what a chat room is, you can see that this is a good movie.  This is pre To Catch a Predator film.  Captain Howdy is a fun character in that he is a sadist who likes to inflict pain, but also a masochist with the piercings, tattoo’s and hooks.  Like I said if you can get past the time period (if you compare the tech from then and now you will find flaws) you should enjoy this thriller/horror film.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

Playing House #Netflix365

Playing House starts off as newlyweds move into a new house along with the grooms best friend.  The best friend ends up meeting a new girlfriend and the movie revolves around how the girlfriend inserts herself into the newlyweds life.  I did enjoy this movie even though it is a very close copy to Fatal Attraction (not exact but close enough) there is even a “bunny on the stove” scene in Playing House that, while I already thought was a close story, solidified why I thought it was a close match.

This movie did not have the same production values, or caliber of actors so the expectation is not the same.  I enjoyed the movie and the girlfriend is a total sociopath and played well.

What are you watching?

 

#SeanSpeak

Heckler #Netflix365

In the documentary Heckler, Jamie Kennedy delves into the two sides of heckling where a person in the audience inserts them self into a performers act.  This is typically a person in audience of a comedy show yelling at a comedian.  The expectation I had with this movie was to see hecklers and comedians maybe why hecklers do what they do and how do comedians respond.  There was some of this in the beginning of the movie.  There are some clips of heckling then some “hey why did you heckle me” and “I don’t go to your job and yell at you” but then the doc went in a totally different direction.

Instead of focusing on hecklers, the film then focused on film critics and went on to bloggers.  The film is called Hecklers and there has to be a ton of material to either show clips of shows (more than they did) and speaking to comedians and how they deal with heckling.  Instead Kennedy went into how criticism is doled out by critics and how creators of content react and how it effects them over a period of time.  To me there a difference but in the documentary there is no difference placed on a heckler (someone who shouts in a crowd), a professional critic (a person who is paid to have an opinion, has some kind of credentials to give credibility) and a blogger (an anonymous person with an opinion and mostly writes for fun, not a journalist and usually can not back up an argument with any proven facts).

There is a huge difference in these people focused in the film, so the film does not teach anything.  As for entertainment, there are some funny encounters where Kennedy had a face to face meeting with some of the harshest of “critics”, bloggers.  Kennedy felt that any harsh criticism was mean spirited (the examples he gave were), but when faced with his “nemesis” he was mean spirited back.   There was one guy who was very harsh and Kennedy called him pure evil and this just fed the bloggers ego even more.

So where this film is called a documentary and starts off as a documentary ends as just a comedy “bit”.  As I stated there were some humorous parts but this was not an interesting documentary nor a funny “mockumntary”.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

Firefly #Netflix365

Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy and Angel, also created a space western called Firefly (and a movie you may of heard of called the Avengers).  When the Earth became non habitable humans moved to inhabit space.  This show ran on Fox and only had 14 episodes.  The main character played by Nathan Fillion (Castle) was the captain of a cargo ship.  In the past there was a civil war of sorts between the establishment and the “Brown Coat’s”.  Reynold’s (Fillion) was part of the BC and as part of the story is some of the tension that still existed and the fact that the cargo ship was also used for smuggling.

Fox really dropped the ball when they cancelled this show.  They did try to make up for it by pleasing the fans with a feature film, Serenity (also available for Netflix streaming) which is also a good watch.  In Firefly check out the episode entitled “Mrs. Reynold’s” and see a younger blonder Christina Hendricks (Mad Men).  I whole heartily suggest you watch Fire fly and Serenity.  Also check out the internet for Firefly fan films, there is still a large following of Firefly fans and they are very dedicated to the story and characters.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night #Netflix365

Dylan Dog is about a private detective who primarily helps with cases that involve the supernatural.  In his case the supernatural is actually normal dealing with an underground society of zombies, werewolves and the like.  The effects of the movie are not bad, the acting by Brandon Ruth and Sam Huntington (Being Human U.S.) is not bad, there is decent production value, but the story does not do anything to tie everything together.  Dylan Dog is based off of a comic book.  The original source material was first published in Italy.  I have not read the comic ever so I do not know if the writing issue is with the script writer or the source material.  Either way Dylan Dog is not the best adaptation of a comic book to movie, not the worst either (1st Punisher, 1st Spiderman, 1st Captain America, etc).

Just because you use comics as a source does not mean it will be an automatic hit.  On the surface Dylan Dog should have been at least a mild hit, but fizzled even before it opened.  Comics as source material is a great source though and the story boards are already built in.  In the past comic book movies were not given serious consideration for what ever reason and the result was attempts at creating superhero movies without consideration making them good (no production, low tech special effects and poor writing).

If you look at the trend for comic book movies now, the characters do not have to be a major player in the comic universe it lives in like, Iron Man,  and Thor.  If you look at movies like Superman Returns (another Routh movie), Batman Forever, and a couple of Hulk attempts, just because it is a major character does not mean that the movie is good.  There are a ton of fans of all ages that have grown up watching every movie, TV show and comic book that even mention Batman, Superman and Hulk.  These people know everything there is to know about who they are and how they got there.  If you vary this at all, it turns fans off.

Using characters that people have heard of but may not know every nuance of the characters life, can survive if a writer decides to change the story or fit an origin into a more reasonable timeline, thus the success of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Avengers.  Same goes for X-Men.  These are very popular comic series but have also been adapted well to the screen due to many characters with many different origins but may not be known by all but the most die hard fan.

So you can give Dylan Dog a chance on Netflix because you do not have to pay for a movie ticket, it is not a horrible movie but may be a little less than average.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

Brian’s Song (1971) #Netflix365

Whats starts off as a rivalry between two running backs for the Chicago Bears, turns into a heartbreaking friendship.  Brian Piccolo and Gayle Sayers are the subject of this movie which is a great sports biopic.  Piccolo later on is diagnosed with cancer.  James Caan plays Brian Piccolo and Lando  Billy Dee Williams plays Gayle Sayers.  The story begins with both players vying for the same position on the team.  A friendship does develop despite the fact of going for the same job and one being white and the other black (this may have been a bigger deal in 1971 than now but can still be considered relevant).

Great cast, with superb acting and a great story.  Warning: this movie is a tear jerker (even for the toughest of us).

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

Prison Break #Netflix365

Prison Break was a television show that appeared for four seasons on the Fox network.  The first season connects brothers, one falsely imprisoned and the other determined to break him free.  In order for the two to break out there needs to be a plan, which is done meticulously and is mapped out as a tattoo on one of the brothers body.  Bumps in the road do arise and the brothers are forced to join forces with other inmates and also do things that may seem outside an ethical code of “normal” in that just because you are in jail, the claim is that there are sides of good and bad, good people act one way and bad people another.  The sides are often blurred by everyone involved.

One notable character is that of Robert Knepper.  He plays a despicable character “T-Bag” not to be confused with tea bag, two different things.  T-bag for the most part you hope something bad happens to him, and often does, but you also root for him in some instances during the series you hope that he see’s where he went wrong and would either just be good, turn himself in, get killed in an accident or just come to his senses and kill himself.  He also makes an appearance as the same character in the A&E show Break Out Kings.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark #Netflix365

Guillermo Del Toro is one of the greatest story tellers ever.  Whether you are a Spanish speaker or not the enjoyment that you can get from watching his movies, or his books (The Strain Trilogy with Chuck Hogan) is hugely satisfying. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is not what I consider his magnum opus but is a decent horror/fantasy picture (he writes this film does not direct).  Katie Holmes does a decent job in her role as one of the protagonist.

The creatures in the film are sufficiently enough scary and creepy.  There is one scene that was reminiscent of The Others where there was someone  under neath the sheets when a monster appears and scares everyone.  The Others did it first and better.  Other wise Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is a passable modern horror film from one of the greatest writer, directer, producers in the business.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak