Columbus Circle #Netflix365

Columbus Circle is set in a desirable New York City apartment building.  A woman who has not been out of her home for 11 years lives across from an elderly woman who dies.  The woman in the apartment is known for being a mysterious agoraphobic but is really an heiress hiding a secret.  The death draws attention by the police and a detective, Giovanni Ribisi, requests to go into the apartment of the heiress, she reluctantly agrees.  Although she can not help with the investigation at this time, the detective does notice that there is more to the heiresses story than meets the eye.  New neighbors move in across the hall.  Do they also have a secret?

Columbus Circle has a great cast.  Selma Blair plays the shut in, Amy Smart and Jason Lee are the couple that move in across the hall.  I usually do not like Ribisi due to the characters he plays usually seem like each one has a mouth full of marbles.  Ribisi does a great job as the investigator and I hope to see more roles where he does not mumble his way through the film.  Columbus Circle is a decent crime drama, the story is kind of predictable so as a mystery is not great, but as a crime drama is better than other attempts at a similar movie and style.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

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Primal #Netflix365

Primal is set in a forest in Australia.  12,000 years ago a cave painting was made warning people of an “evil” that lived in a cave.  Present day, a PhD candidate and his friends are traveling to the site that has not been touched by humans in over 120 years.  While there the group is excited to camp, document the cave painting and pair off into couples.  One girl thinks it is a great idea to jump into a pond,  When she gets out she is covered in leeches.  After removing the leeches she becomes ill.  Her sickness seems to be a retrovirus that transforms her into a “primal” beast, all teeth.  She wants to eat any living thing she sees including her friends.  She settles for a kangaroo.  She leaves the carcass at the mouth of the cave as an offering for whet ever lives there.

Primal does have some story holes but does offer some good fighting scenes and gore.  Some of the issue is that the beast is afraid of nothing but fire, and not a blaze but a torch.  She fights off being hit with a stick but if the stick had a flame on it she ran off.  The story also has some “bugs” that eat through anything but do not eat the people?  And the primordial ooze that lives in the cave dies a little to easy.  Otherwise not a horrible movie.

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#SeanSpeak

Antibodies #Netflix365

Antibodies is a German crime drama.  The beginning of the movie starts off like a shotgun blast, literally.  A German serial killer is found and captured.  While in custody the police attempt to gain information about unsolved murders that he may have committed.  The killer is not talking until a farmer/policeman arrives in an attempt to close an open case that he has from his own town.  The killer finds a connection with the farmer and as long as the farmer plays by the killers rules he will talk.  The problem is that the killer often lies and it is up to the farmer to decipher the truth from the lies.  While conducting his interrogation the farmer finds himself being sucked into the killers mind.  They equate the evil as the same as a virus that is contagious.   The farmer does begin to act outside of his humble upbringing and participates in acts that he would have otherwise left to people from the city.  There is a joke in the movie about the killer being similar to “Hannibal Lector”, there are some similarities where the killer does require a “quid pro quo” and will not offer any information until his questions of the farmer are answered.

Antibodies is a foreign film and the dialogue is in the German language, this does not detract from the film, the subtitles go at a speed that is easy to read and keep up with what is happening on the screen, although some of the translations are a little quirky.  One thing that attracted me to the movie was that one of the top billed actors was Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead).  He is only in the opening of the movie and does not speak.  Not sure how he was cast in the movie but I wanted more.  Besides the parallel of Silence of the Lambs, Antibodies does have a good story and has a  good twist at the end.

I have said this before, Netflix has a great selection of foreign films.  I know people will not watch certain movies because of a foreign language and subtitles but should not limit themselves this way.  There are some great movies that are produced outside of the United States.  One way to get into a foreign film is to select one that is from an English speaking country, baby steps.  Find something that would be interesting to you and just give it a chance, most of the time you will be rewarded.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

54 #Netflix365

In the Seventies disco was king.  The premiere club in New York was Studio 54.  Steve Rubell was the owner.  His idea of a club was to be as exclusive as possible, but also to be able to have all walks of life have the opportunity to dance, drug, and sex; a plummer has the chance to dance with a prince (as long as they were beautiful).  Rubell had a dream to build a club that rivaled the ribaldry, raunchiness and debauchery of a Roman gala.  54, the movie is seen through the eyes of a young busboy, Ryan Phillippe.  The busboy had dreams of meeting a famous soap star, falling in love and living happily ever after.  Parts of his dream come true and others are tarnished with harsh reality.

54 has great characters but the story is kind of choppy.  If you like disco there are some great mixes and performances.  54 has a decent production value.  Mike Myers plays the dramatic lead of Steve Rubell.  Not typical of Myers (SNL, Austin Powers) he gives a decent performance.  Other notables include: Selma Hayek, Neve Campbell and Breckin Meyer.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

Madison County #Netflix365

A group of college students head out to Madison County to find the writer of a book about an undocumented serial killer “Damien”.  One of the students had been corresponding through mail for research.  The writer invited them out to meet in person.  When they arrive they find that there is more than meets the eye.  The towns people act strange to the newcomers.  The group is directed to the home of the writer but is found empty.  In the woods the group is being stocked by the “Pig Face” man.  One by one the group separates from each other (a horror movie no no) and Damien picks them off.

There were some great parts in this movie.  The scenes with the killer, and running through the woods did build some suspense.  The story needed work.  The group seemed to be stocked from the woods even before they hit the town.  The stops they made were random but just happened to coincide with a stalker in the woods.  The chances would have to be astronomical to have a person at every stop or the woods would have been full of people to be at all the places they stopped.  There is a side story of a missing girl that is underplayed but is key to the story, the stop in the taxidermy shed was just filler and played no part in moving the story along.  When one guy goes to “find answers” he ends up wanting to swim with two of the locals, if he was concerned about finding answers why would he just want to stop to chat, I have an idea why (no shirts or suits) but seemed out of character.  There is also a conspiracy with the town that is left open and does not completely come out into the open or get explained.  With the exception of taking a shower every horror movie “rule” is broken and with out this happening the story could not go forward.  So the parts in the woods good, everything else average.  Still not a bad movie to watch.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak

Animal Farm #Netflix365

Animal Farm is a movie that first aired on TNT in 1999.  The voices are mostly British but could be any farm in any country.  The animals talk, similar to the Babe movies.  Animal Farm is nothing like Babe.  These animals are tired of being under the rule of man.  The animals rise against their “masters” and take over the farm.  In the beginning the idea of a Utopian society where all animals are equal and are not subject to anything on two feet.  Run by the pigs, because pigs are just smarter, the animals feel that things will be better without the farmers around.  Things are for a while, but as the movie progresses so do the pigs thirst for the finer things (sleeping in a bed, eating at a dinning table and whiskey).  The rules of the new society are changed to fit the pigs need for power and comfort.  The community is changed from a Utopian dream to a Totalitarian regime.

Based on the George Orwell book, Animal Farm tells a tale of the rise and fall of a society that is created for the right reasons but continues to exist for all the wrong ones.  I read the book in Junior High and loved it.  The movie is good, the special effects are decent.  The decent of the society is told in a great fashion with the use of propaganda films and images that could be related to the rise of Communism in Soviet Union.  The ending is kind of bright and fluffy but does not detract from the rest of the movie.

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#SeanSpeak

Taps #Netflix365

Wouldn’t is be cool if they made a movie with Sean Penn, Tom Cruise, Timothy Hutton and George C. Scott?  They did in 1981.  Taps, an action drama about a military academy with a long history of producing young soldiers.  The leader of the school, played by Scott, has to make a terrible announcement.  The school has been sold and is being made into condominiums.  The cadets to not take this lightly, lead by Hutton, the student warriors take control of the school.  Due to the arms and training of the cadets the Army is called in to negotiate.  Tin soldiers against a real army, Taps is a fantastic movie with a stellar cast.

This was a great cast in 1981 and would be a great cast today as well.  Taps does deliver great drama and decent production value.   If you have not seen Taps I highly suggest that you do.

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#SeanSpeak

Vile #Netflix365

There is a new drug on the market.  The only way to get it is from brain fluid that is produced from a person experiencing pain.  A group of people are kidnapped and wake up in a room tied to chairs.  None know why they are there, they have attachments on the back of their heads (to collect the fluid but they do not know that).  Once freed from the chairs a video comes on with a creepy doctor explaining how they can escape from their confinement.  There is a meter that reads 0, all they have to do is to get the meter to read 100.  The only way to do that is to endure pain.  How they endure the pain is left to the group to figure out.  What happens next is is torture, literally.  Each volunteer to allow the group to inflict pain on one another, some are a simple punch to the face and others are a hot iron to the belly.  The worst of humanity is discovered in the room by each person.  Some seem to have more fun than others at both taking and giving pain.  Do they escape ?  Watch and find out.

Vile is a modest horror film that is not scary and is brutal in nature.  Although each take turns in giving and taking pain, the viewer is not forced to bare the brunt of watching each infliction.  That is not to say they do not show some violence, they do, but is not shown, there are some scenes that are left to the viewers imagination, the screen sometimes goes to a different room but you can hear the screams, other times the screen goes black but the screaming continues.  There are a few little twist offered and the ending is not unsatisfying.

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#SeanSpeak

Lockout #Netflix365

Lockout staring, Guy Pierce and Maggie Grace, begins with the presidents daughter being taken captive in a maximum security prison.   There are two major reasons the prison is maximum security, one it places the inmates in a “stasis” where they are basically frozen and held in a capsule; two the prison is in a “fixed” orbit in the Earths outer atmosphere.  Pierce plays “Snake“, I mean “Snow”, the tough son of a bitch, who is wrongfully accused of a crime and is given the chance to escape his sentence if he can rescue the girl, Maggie Grace.

Lockout is a mix of Outland, Escape From New York and any movie about Attica.  There are a tremendous amount of plot holes in this movie.  Why would there need to be a secret service agent in the same room as a prisoner if the presidents daughter was in her own sectioned off room with bullet proof glass?  The final escape from the prison is also kind of silly.  Lockout, plot holes aside, does have fun with the dialogue, the fighting scenes are not terribly ridiculous and if you take on face value is a good Sunday afternoon popcorn film.

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#SeanSpeak

The 300 Spartans #Netflix365

The story of the Greek warriors, Spartans, and the battle of Thermopylae, is an inspiring tale of bravery.  300 Spartans fought and held ground against an almost infinite number of Persian soldiers.  The brave 300 was able to delay the invasion so that the rest of the Greek army could assemble.  Their actions inspired the the country into action that lead up to a victory.

Most people know the 300, a Frank Miller comic an movie but The 300 Spartans was done first in 1962.  The movie was made without the benefit of computer graphics, wires and technology (unless you count color film as a new tech).  The story is not less inspiring or less exciting and possibly more accurate than its future retelling.  The drama, history and action are done well.  I also think it is ok to enjoy both movies.  One focuses more on the drama and story the other is more stylized and focuses on the action.  I am suggesting that you should watch The 300 Spartans on Netflix instant viewing.

What are you watching?

#SeanSpeak