Death Valley #Netflix365

Did you know that MTV used to play music videos?  The first ever video was “Video Killed the Radio Star“, by The Buggles on August 2, 1981.  I was there and it was great (at the time).  Now MTV plays programming that is reality and scripted.  I do not watch most of the show because, as I stated, am old enough to have been around for the “I want my MTV” days.  There is one show, Death Valley, that has caught my attention.  The world has been invaded by zombies, vampires and werewolves, and it is up to the Undead Task Force (UTF) to keep the people of California safe.

If you can imagine Reno 911 with zombies, vampires and werewolves, and it is not set in Reno, and they wear blue uniforms, and a better looking cast, and is filmed and not taped, you get Death Valley.  It is a comedy, with the police being documented by a film crew like in Cops.  The 12 episode first season is now being screened on Netflix instant.  I had never seen or heard of the show until Netflix.  I watched for the zombies, vampires and werewolves, and stayed for Caity Lotz and Tania Raymonde.  The show has good writing and a great production.  I have enjoyed the show and am saddened by the fact that this is the one and only season of the show.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

Advertisements

Citizen Gangster #Netflix365

Citizen Gangster is based on the story of Edwin Boyd.  Boyd was a Canadian WWII vet with a family.  Driving a bus was not what he had in mind when he returned from the war.  An aspiring actor, Boyd wanted the fame and money with little work.  Frustrated, he created a persona of a garish bank robber, who actually robbed banks.  Flirting with the tellers, Boyd became a “hero” to some.  Gaining notoriety he was part of a police man hunt.  His wife found out and felt extremely guilty and did not want her children to be raised in this way.  Boyd was caught and in jail found friends that looked up to him and fed his ego.  Escaping, the legend of the “Boyd Gang” grew.  After many robberies and the shooting of a police detective, the Boyd Gang were captured and two were hung for the lawman’s murder.

Boyd spent many years in prison.  He was later released on parole, but his former life, wife and children were not available to him.  The end credits show some information where Boyd was relocated with a different name, he was a bus driver that help people with physical limitations.  He was given awards for being a good citizen and recognized for his work.  No one knew about his prior life as a bank robber.

The beginning of the movie does paint a glamorous picture of a person who does not live by the law and can get what they want by stealing and pointing a gun in someones face.  The movie does progress and show a down side, not at robbing banks, but to being caught.  The toll that Boyds family went through in having to fend for themselves, cringing at every siren and loud sound and knowing that every time Boyd left he may not come back, either being shot or going to jail.  The other members of the gang also felt hardship in the same way Boyd did, by either not getting the proper credit, leaving their wife and new baby and  the things that come with having to be on the run.

After reading the end credits and how Boyd spent the remainder of his life, I wonder why the filmmaker did not start there?  When I read the credits, I felt a disappointment that the wrong story was told or that both could have been told rather than just the bank robber part.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

Mansome #Netflix365

Mansome is a documentary that discusses male grooming.  Morgan Spurlock, Jason Bateman, and Will Arnett produce a film on styles, trends and part of the why and how men groom.  This is not a hard hitting expose.  It is a fun look at how men pay attention to how they look and what the definition of being a man is as it relates to grooming.  The doc does focus on the extreme people and grooming and does not spend much time on “regular” daily activities of male hygiene.  One story was on a “beardsman” who “competes” in beard competition.  Another on a self proclaimed “metrosexual” who obsesses on his looks.

The commentary by Bateman and Arnett is done tongue and cheek with a day at the spa.  There is commentary from Paul Rudd and Adam Carolla which is also funny.  A couple of psychologist and sociologist had input and the thing that I took to heart the most was that most men want to have a certain look due to attracting a mate or having the appearance of a certain look for showing dominance, but having the look should appear to come with little effort.

Morgan Spurlock, is a decent filmmaker.  He may best be known for Super Size Me, where he ate nothing but McDonald’s for a month.  That film showed that fast food is bad for you (surprise) but is also tasty and addictive (surprise).  There may not be new ground attained by the films but there is a better understanding of an issue.  The culture of fast food, male grooming, comic conventions and marketing are all parts of our society.  These types of things, may be mundane or ordinary, but need to be documented.  It is also good to have documentaries that are interesting and that can be watched by a larger audience.  Bringing humor and alternate subject matter is a way for this to happen.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

Parks and Recreation #Netflix365

Staring Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation is set in Pawnee, Indiana.  Focusing on the P&R department, Poehler is a perky over-achiever, deputy director and deals with small town politics and an inside look at the inner workings of town government.  The dynamic of Poehler and her office mates is a hilarious take on an The Office style TV comedy.  The focus is on Poehlers character but all the characters in the show get their time in the spotlight and are well written and fleshed out.

If you ever wondered what a real man was, watch and pay attention to Ron Swanson.  As the director of the parks department, Swanson does not believe in government and feels that the only way he can do his part against the government is to be part of the government.  He lives in a log cabin he built himself and makes his own furniture.  Every meal must have meat.  Swanson has a saxophone playing alter ego, Duke Silver, who is also another version of a mans man.

Shot in documentary style, ala The Office, the humor is both in your face and subtle.  It could be a pie in the face or just a funny anecdote.  Parks & Recreation is a great situation comedy.  One you should be watching.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

Altered Fate #Netflix365

Altered Fate, staring Adrian Paul (Highlander TV series), Cynthia Preston and Christopher Lloyd.  A reporter, Preston, works with a seasoned tabloid journalist, Lloyd, debunking or writing stories for the cash register aisle paper.  She is really undercover for a “legitimate” paper doing an expose on Lloyd’s character.  That is the only part of the story that makes much sense.  Preston runs into Adrian Paul at the laundry mat.  Then she answer’s an add for a roommate, who happens to be Adrian Paul.  The apartment is huge and has every amenity, except for a washer and dryer.  One of the stories that the two reporters are working on bring them to an asylum.  There are creepy people keeping watch on Preston.  Adrian Paul gets to sleep with chicks, including Preston’s best friend and after she gets killed, Preston.  I got kind of lost at this point.  Lloyd was getting spiritual advise from the guy he gets coffee from.  Lightning destroys stuff.

I can not fully say that this is a good movie to watch due to the confusing story.  There was nothing really to tie everything together at the end, or because I was lost, I might have missed something.  Not every selection is a winner.  I tried very hard to find more information on the movie.  There is nothing listed on IMDB and the actors do not have it listed in their credits either (go figure).  If anyone has insight feel free to let me know.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

Just Peck #Netflix365

Hey what is your name? Peck. Peck? Ya, just Peck.  A young high school sophomore is trying to navigate how he is to become his own personality, with overbearing parents, adolescent awkwardness and the pressure of high school, stand in his way.  Peck meets a girl who takes him out of his comfort zone.  She is outgoing and does things against the rules.  She allows Peck along for the ride and Peck is happy to be with her.  On one outing the kids are found breaking the rules and are to be punished.  Due to Peck’s mother being on the school board he is not given the same punishment as others but is forced to due a science project for the school science fair.  What does Peck create in order to separate himself from the others and impress the girl?  Does it work?  Watch and see.

The movie has a great cast and is done in a thoughtful way that is not immature.  The movie does touch on different aspects of how different kids are raised differently, as in overbearing parents or “latchkey kids”.  It also touches on aspects of teen drug and alcohol use and suicide without glamorizing or demeaning the subject matter.  I enjoyed the film, it was lighthearted and not necessarily a feel good movie but does deliver a theme of learning how to become your own person.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

Halloween Resurrection #Netflix365

In 2002 everyone thought Michael Myers was dead except for one.  In a mental institution Myers sister waited for the reunion.  What happens when they meet?  A good fight is what happens.  That is just the first part of the movie.  Busta Rhymes wants to have a reality show on the internet.  Spend the night in Michael Myers childhood home and have people watch, cool.

The tag line “Everyone can hear you but no one can help,” for Halloween Resurrection, fits.  At one Halloween party the room is filled with teenagers, watch eagerly as another group stay in the killers house.  Violence ensues.

Michael Myers is an iconic villain of the horror genre.  At the end of Halloween Resurrection, Busta Rhymes states describes Myers as “Michael Myers is a killer shark. In baggy ass overalls who gets his kicks from killing everyone and everything he comes across.”  A force of nature that can not be controlled.  Although Resurrection is not the best of the series, it is still fun to watch.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

Double Jeopardy #Netflix365

If you can imaging The Fugitive and US Marshals but not either, you get Double Jeopardy.  It stars Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones.  Judd’s character is accused of killing her husband.  She is convicted and sent to prison.  While in custody she finds out she was framed by her best friend and husband (who was not really dead).  She does her time, her friends in jail tell her that if she was to get the opportunity to actually kill her husband she would not be punished twice for the same crime.  They explain to her how she can manipulate the parole board where she does state she killed him and was sorry for it.  They let her go.  She is now living in a halfway house run by Tommy Lee Jones.  Does she find her “late” husband and reunite with her son?  Does Tommy Lee Jones hunt her down and take her back into custody?  Watch and find out.

This film came out in 1999.  It does not seem too dated.  The story is kind of flawed due to the double jeopardy thing.  I am not a lawyer or legal expert, but, I do think that if you are wrongly convicted but then commit a crime you would still be prosecuted.  It is not a free pass to hunt down a person and kill them (which is not what she had in mind she just wanted her son).  Even if you are innocent of a crime but are in custody, escape is a crime, any damage you do while you are out is a crime, stealing is a crime.  So if you can put the flaw of the story behind you, this is not a bad chase movie.  The characters all have a purpose.  The only ones you really get to know well are Judd and Jones, which is fine.  I do enjoy Ashley Judd in this movie but her performance is kind of delivered in a monotone, her character is driven, but she does not show a ton of emotion in the film.  Jones shows his usual personality and concise wit.  The setting of New Orleans is a good choice even if the accents were a bit over done.  The back drop of the cemetery and the music score were good.  This movie is worth a watch.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

An American Werewolf inLondon #Netflix365

In 1981 one of the best werewolfmovies ever was made.  Two Americans are backpacking through Europe.  After catching a ride with a truck load of sheep the two are given the advise to stick to the main road and to not cut through the moors.  In horror movies no one ever listens to advise.  The duo take to the moors and are soon attacked by a giant wolf.  Ther is some intervention and the wolf is shot.  One man dies, one man is mauled and the wolf is gone (replaced by a naked man with a bullet wound).

An American Werewolf in London was billed as THE monster movie.  The special effects are amazing for 1981 and hold up today.  The script is great with fantastic casting.  There is a strong use of humor in this film.  The bestwerewolf movies are the ones wher the wolf is actually a victim.  He did not choose to be a monster.  The problem is that there is then a struggle between guilt and denial playing out.  While this happens there is a large body count ammassing, the dead want to be freed.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

 

 

Deadheads #Netflix365

Deadheads is not a movie about hippies following a band around the country.  Deadheads is about hipsters who become zombies.  Deadheads is a comedy film that has its fair share of gore.  A reason that I missed somewhere, zombies are unleashed in Michigan.  Two of the zombies have a different strain of the undead disease.  The difference is that they are aware and act like anyone else, but are still of the undead.  One zombie still has his memory and feels that he needs to reunite with his lost love, whose father is the one that killed him and is responsible for creating the zombies.  A buddy road trip movie begins.

Some of the jokes are very obvious and others are subtle.  Overall, Deadheads delivers a funny, witty take on the zombie genre.  The dialogue is good, and the characters are well-defined.  The story is kind of convoluted in that the reason for the zombies is understated and the reason for the awareness is also kind of hidden.  Also there are four different types of zombies in the film.  One is the typical slow-moving type that limps around looking for brains.  Another is the slow-moving but somehow has super human strength even though the body is rotting (Cheese).  Another is the faster angry type (Police Officer). Lastly the hipster aware zombies that keep their sense of humor and most of their humanity.

This movie is funny.  The special effects are good.  Deadheads delivers enough “cheese” that it does not take itself too serious, but has a better than average production value compared to others that have tried this same type of movie on a low-budget.  The writer/directors Brett and Drew Pierce, according to IMDB, are the sons of Bart Pierce who did the photographic FX for The Evil Dead.  There is one scene where the zombies are at a drive in watching The Evil Dead, it is both surreal and ironic.  Another of my favorite lines is where one of the zombies goes to his high school reunion, someone ask if he is sick, due to his rotting flesh and bullet holes in his forehead.  His reply is a sarcastic: “I’m a zombie.”  They both laugh.  I enjoyed Deadheads, it should be a future cult classic.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak