Battlestar Galactica (2004) #Netflix365

In 2004 the Syfy channel brought a re-imagined Battlestar Galactica back to television.  I remember growing up watching the original and could not wait for new episodes to come out.  The story was simple: man created a dependence on machines to the point where they (the machines) became self aware and rose against their makers, destroying everything.  The machines only agenda was to destroy humanity.  The survivors, led by the ship Galactica, were trying to find a new home, Earth.  They had adventures along the way.  Simple.  The special effects were poor, the acting average and the character’s were only superficial, but I loved it.

The new version of Battlestar Galactica is almost the opposite of the original.  The basic story is the same, machines rise, kill humans, find Earth, but the series had a depth of having a mythology behind it (So Say We All!).  There was a strong and successful effort to have excellent writing with characters that were more than what they appear on the surface, including the Cylons.  There are some battles in space between Colonial Vipers and Cylon Raiders but the action and drama is really between the cast, either on a ship or land.  Syfy added to the mythology of the series by having a spin off show Caprica, set in a pre rise of the Cylons, along with some other special programming of made for TV film, The Plan.  The spin offs were not as successful as the series but added history and depth to the BSG universe.  If you are a fan of drama, political intrigue, action, thriller you will enjoy this program, do not let the science fiction scare you off.

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#SeanSpeak

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With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story #Netflix365

There are people who are people who are at the top of there field, they are successful, they are good but have not yet stood the test of time.  There are others who have defined the industry they are in, everyone wants to be them.  These are the living legends.  Stan Lee is a living legend.  He is prolific in his creation of the most popular superhero’s in the comic industry, ever, regardless of what is your favorite is, a Stan Lee creation is, I am sure, in the top ten, if not top five.  Stan Lee is what every fan boy dreams of becoming.  With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story documents the creators journey from growing up in the depression to creating a legacy of entertainment for the masses.

Excelsior, ‘Nuff Said.

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#SeanSpeak

Griff The Invisible #Netflix365

“The greatest superpower is love.” is the tagline for the movie, Griff the Invisible.  The film starts off with a slick super hero fighting crime to keep the citizens of his neighborhood safe.  The day time persona is just plane Griff, office worker.  He shuns attention and is basically invisible in society.  One of the only interactions he has is being bullied at work and from his brother.  He has many quirks and is very private hiding his secret.    The viewer sees what he sees, high tech monitoring equipment, martial arts expert, and his invisibility.  What everyone else sees is a stalker, public nuisance, and an odd duck.   It is not until his brother introduces Griff to his new girlfriend, Melody.  Melody is just like Griff in that she sees the world in a different light.  She also sees Griff as the super hero he sees in himself.  Melody breaks it off with Griff’s brother and starts a friendship with Griff.  The both find that their “powers” are stronger together than apart.  There comes a time when the bubble burst and Griff is forced to see things as they are.  He becomes more withdrawn and angry, things become rocky with Melody.  People close to Griff and Melody see the effect on them and instead of fighting them on what is real and what is not, decide to “play along”.

The comedy drama, is done well, great acting and direction.   I spent the movie, that was made in Melbourne, Australia, trying to figure out where I have seen the actor playing Griff.  Ryan Kwanten can be seen in the HBO program True Blood as “Jason Stackhouse”.  To me that is a mark of good acting, Griff is the exact opposite of Stackhouse.  I had never heard of this film so this was a good surpise.

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#SeanSpeak

Color Me Kubrick #Netflix365

If you could pretend to be any celebrity you wanted who would it be?  Would you pick someone obvious that you may resemble? Or would you pick someone more obscure that would be harder to follow up on?  In Color Me Kubrick, John Malkovich’s character Alan Conway, chooses to go with the more obscure,  people have heard of Stanley Kubrick, but not many have ever met him or have seen him in public.  In the movie Alan Conway does not necessarily ape Kubrick, but does use his name. “I’m Stanley Kubrick” is the common theme of the film.  The movie plays up the humor in how the imitator is super gay and does everything he can to seduce young men.  There is one funny part where he is crying in a young lads lap.  Occasionally during the crocodile tears he peers up to make sure his plan is working.  There are some other funny parts where a “sugar daddy” is spotted up on the stairs and he starts “singing” Lionel Richie’s “Hello”.   This film is based on a true story but is camped up quite a bit.  Overall this is not a bad film, has moments of hilarity, but is repetitive in that the “con” that Alan Conway preforms are all portrayed  the same. “I’m Stanley Kubrick.”  Another funny line was when Conway was asked about the current movie he was working on and asked who was going to play the lead.  His reply was: “John Malkovich.”  “Who is that?”

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#SeanSpeak

Monsters #Netflix365

Monsters is set in a time when the world is invaded by aliens and monsters have taken over parts of the world.  A photographer  is documenting a section that the US Mexican border where forces are trying to contain the creatures.  The photographer gets a call from his boss stating that they are going to close down border crossing closing him off if he does not leave immediately, the boss does not really care about him he just wants him to escort his daughter who happens to be in the same location he is in.  The movie was done on a budget, but done well.  The acting and direction is fantastic.  This is a must watch.

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#SeanSpeak

Shadows of a Leader: Qaddafi’s Female Bodyguards #Netflix365

In the documentary Shadows of a Leader: Qaddafi’s Female Bodyguards, there is insight given into the all female unit tasked to protect the leader of Libya.  The program shows how there is a paradox between the way woman are treated in an Arab country and the military unit.  First off woman on appearance may have more latitude in Libya than other Arab states.  The full burqa is not worn by all women, besides the bodyguard unit, women, and young girls, have opportunity to join a pseudo police force used for parking tickets and directing traffic, so some authority is given to women in public, behind closed doors there may be a different attitude.

The film focuses on the bodyguards and their training.  The footage shown does not show an elite force, I am not sure if they were only given access to new recruits or if the entire team is in need of more training.  I will not go as far as saying ineptness, but I am sure there would be better people entrusted to protect a nations leader regardless of who it is.  Because of the leaders (Qaddafi) quirks he chose to have bodyguards made up of all females.  As a guy, the idea is appealing to surround yourself with women in any capacity, if you watch the film it is clear he did not pick the unit based off of his vanity to be surrounded by pretty women (not trying to be offensive just trying to show that appeal was not one of the criteria). So why did he pick these women?  Again on the surface it shows that some Arab countries have allowed women to have different roles in the society.  Is this a publicity stunt or just the quirks of a crazy person?  Again the footage shown could not be what is actually happening, women in this country still have a long way to go but is in a better position than in other countries.  The soldiers tasked to follow the camera and director do not treat the film maker with complete respect showing that the unit of female bodyguards may be a novelty and window dressing.

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#SeanSpeak

Hello Lonesome #Netflix365

Hello Lonesome follows three different stories and focuses on on six different people.  A man who does voice over work in his home studio becomes friends with his deliveryman after being left by his wife and has no contact with his estranged daughter.  A couple who meet over the internet have a huge “issue” dumped in their lap early on in their relationship. An elderly woman coming to grips with her aging befriends her younger neighbor.  All the parts have strong personalities and quirks that seem to work with this story.  As a viewer you do care for the outcome of each person and hope for the best.  This was an unexpected pleasure watching this film.  It can be tough when you have a vignette of stories trying to connect the dots when the stories are different on the surface but underneath all have similar aspects of the human condition.  The stories all come together and is acted and directed well.

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#SeanSpeak

The Hunt for Red October #Netflix365

The Hunt for Red October, in my opinion, is the best of the Jack Ryan films.  Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin are at their best as a Russian submariner and CIA analyst.  A new class of submarine is created by the Reds with full nuclear capabilities and a silent propulsion system.  When the sub is suddenly “lost” by both the US and Russians, the countries scramble to locate before there is the possibility of a worst case scenario.  There is not a lot of action in this film, but there is a serious amount of tenseness built through the thought of this dangerous weapon possibly headed to the US coast for a first strike.  The acting and directing is superb.  The movie was released in 1990 but holds up against time, the true mark for a classic.

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#SeanSpeak

Talk Radio #Netflix365

In a film directed by Oliver Stone, Talk Radio, has an insiders view of a Dallas talk show host played by Eric Bogosian.  The show is about to be picked up for national syndication.  The host of the show has his idea of how the show should be run, on his own terms without management interference.  Can the host keep his show on his terms? Can the management gain control of the show without losing what made the show a late night mainstay?  Will the host stay with his producer girlfriend or will he go back to his currently married ex-wife?  Are there any callers that can keep a conversation?  Are the death and bomb threats real or a hoax?  Great story, fantastic acting.  This is a simple story told well with a dark edge.  Not the epic story associated with Stone, but in my opinion one of his better films.

One of the best scenes is when the host is at a basketball game to introduce a VIP.  While waiting for his intro many “fans” come up for his autograph, the host signs but does not interact much continuing his conversation like they are just flies.  One “fan” comes up and asks for an autograph and then goes into a rant about how no one likes him, he needs to go, etc…The host tries to fire back but his usual attitude of the typical fan is not smart enough to hold a conversation or have a valid argument overshadows his own point.  The “fan” just laughs at him, throws a drink in his face and walks away giggling.  When it is time for his intro there are fans clapping and cheering mixed with boos and hisses.  This continues until everyone is booing and yelling.  At first the host enjoys the controversy until the sound is over powering, he does not even get to speak when he is escorted from the podium.  Great scene. (it is better than what I could describe)

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Immortals #Netflix365

This was a disappointing weekend for movies, I was hoping after Conan the Barbarian (2011) to see something a little better, so I watched Immortals.  Immortals tries very hard to recreate the same style of action as 300.  They did not.  I am a big fan of Roman and Greek mythology, and although they may have gotten the names and such correct, the dialogue was boring, the action scenes were lack luster.  The CGI was only ok.  Where Mickey Rourke was awesome in The Wrestler and Sin City, he was un-awesome as King Hyperion.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak