Category Archives: STREAMING

This topic/movie is streaming on one of the streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.

SENSE8 (2015) SEASON 1 – My rating: 9/10

First, let me say Sense8 isn’t for everyone. As a matter of fact, if you can get through 1 and a half episodes without giving it the kiss of death, then it’s probably for you. Sense8 starts off in a sea of confusion for its audience but once you are able to unravel the pieces, OMG and wow, wow, wow. It is one of the most brilliant series in the Science Fiction category I’ve seen, bar none. Kudos to the Warchowski duel and Michael Straczynski, there’s no stopping their talent. 8 people from around the world labeled Sensates are able to connect mentally and share each other’s lives, thoughts and experiences without being seen by anyone outside of their shared cluster. Their adventure is an experience you’ll not soon forget is an understatement. The series was filmed in 9 cities all over the world.  They included the following:   Chicago, San Francisco, London, Berlin, Seoul, Reykjavík, Mexico City, Nairobi and Mumbai. All 12 episodes of season 1 became available for streaming on Netflix June 5, 2015.  On August 8, 2015, Netflix announced that it had renewed the show for a second season.

The first episode focuses on the initial connection of all 8 of these sensates, which happens when a woman named Angelica, who is being hunted by a mysterious adversary named Whispers, kills herself to avoid capture. Before she does this, she uses her unique abilities to awaken the powers of 8 other people around the world, connecting these “sensates” into a cluster. The 8 begin to experience the beginnings of their psychic connections with each other via hearing what the others hear and seeing what the others see.  Watching these sensates helping one another and taking on each other’s task in crisis is amazing.

THE MAIN EIGHT SENSATES

Capheus “Van Damme” Onyango (Aml Ameen), is a matatu driver in Nairobi. Capheus is a passionate fan of Jean-Claude Van Damme and is trying to earn money to buy AIDS medicine for his mother.
Young Capheus (Gabriel Ouma).

Kala Dandekar, (Tina Desai) is a university-educated pharmacist and devout Hindu in Mumbai who is engaged to marry a man she does not love.
Young Kala (Yashvi Puneet Nagar).

Lito Rodriguez, (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) an actor (still in the closet) who has a Basque background living in Mexico City with his lover, Hernando.

Nomi Marks, (Jamie Clayton) a transgender woman “hacktivist” and blogger who lives in San Francisco with her girlfriend, Amanita. Nomi was born Michael but changed her name to Nomi, which stands for “Know Me”.
Young Nomi (John Babbo) (then called Michael).

Riley Blue née Gunnarsdóttir, (Tuppence Middleton) is an Icelandic DJ who is living in London while trying to escape a troubled past.
Young Riley Gunnarsdóttir (Katrin Sara Olafsdottir).

Sun Bak, (Doona Bae) is the daughter of a powerful Seoul businessman and a burgeoning star in the underground kickboxing world who is plagued by a corrupt sibbling.
Young Sun (Jane Lee).

Will Gorski, (Brian J. Smith) a Chicago police officer haunted by an unsolved murder from his childhood.
Young Will Gorski (Maxwell Jenkins).

Wolfgang Bogdanow, (Max Riemelt) a Berlin locksmith and safe-cracker who has unresolved issues with his late father and participates in organized crime.
Young Wolfgang (Lenius Jung).

OTHER SENSATES

“Whispers”, (Terrence Mann) a sensate who turned against his own kind and who leads an organization determined to neutralize sensates.

Jonas Maliki, (Naveen Andrews) a sensate from a different cluster who wants to help the newly-born cluster of sensates.

Angelica “Angel” Turing, (Daryl Hannah) a sensate from an older.

FRIENDS

Felix Bernner, (Maximilian Mauff) is Wolfgang’s best friend and partner in crime. He is not a sensate.
young Felix (Chiron Elias Krase).

Hernando Fuentes (Alfonso Herrera) is Lito Rodriguez’s lover and a professor of art.  He is not a sensate.

Overall, I have never been so mesmerized and captivated over a series.  Sense8 airs on Netflix and season 1 is divided among 12 episodes.  Season 2 is out and is divided among 11 episodes and even better than season 1.  Check it out, but be prepared to binge.

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SNEAKY PETE (2016) – My rating: 8/10

Sneaky Pete is an Amazon original streaming on Amazon.  I found this series to be a fun adventure in the life of con artist.  Sneaky Pete focuses on a lone grifter and whatever crew he picks up for his con game.   At times the story gets pretty complicated as con games go.  I found myself binge watching the entire season in 1 night — so I’d say Sneaky Pete is pretty good.

Marius Josipovic (Giovanni Ribisi) is in prison for a crime he had to commit in order to save his life.  While in there, he finds out from his brother Eddie Josipovic (Michael Drayer), that he cannot come home once he makes parole, so Marius decides to hide from the gangsters he owes a great deal of money to by assuming the identity of his cellmate, Pete. He moves in with Pete’s family, who hasn’t seen him since he was a small boy (over 20 years ago) and is roped into the family’s bail bond business. Marius ends up a criminal taking down other criminals and, in the process, he’ll discover the family life he’s never had, among other things.  The situation is not “easy peasy” for Marius because the leader of the old crew knows Marius is out of prison and is threatening Eddie to get Marius to return.  Of course there are many unanswered questions Marius attributes to memory lapses, which cause suspicious moments from some of Pete’s family members. This problem definitely motivates Marius to work overtime researching the answers, even paying a visit to the prison to see Pete, who talks excessively about his pass family life.  Sneaky Pete is both dramatic and humorous but make no mistake, dangerous and violent.  Vince (Bryan Cranston) is the ruthless leader of the old crew and is always at the top of his game.  Otto and Audrey Burnhardt (Peter Gerety) and (Margo Martindale), respectively are Pete’s grandparents, who almost steal the show as they are smart, bad ass and resourceful, not your typical grandparents.

Sneaky Pete airs in 10 episodes on Amazon and is exciting, adventurous and suspenseful.  I was hooked after 1 episode.  Season 2 is slated to start in 2018.

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MR. CHURCH (2016) – My rating: 8.5/10

I recently viewed Mr. Church on Amazon even though it was said to be released in theaters in September of 2016 — I’ve never heard of it, too bad because it is a wonderful, feel good movie from beginning to end.  This one flew way under the radar.  Mr. Church is an unusual story of how I wish people really were but no sense in pondering over what isn’t, instead I’ll relate this story to you the best I can and urge you to see it if you can.  Mr. Church will warm the cockles of your heart.  The opening titles include the phrase: “Inspired by a true friendship.” In 2011, the screenwriter, Susan McMartin, posted “The Cook Who Came to Live With Us,” which appears to be the story on which the screenplay is based.

A little girl name Charlotte “Charlie” Brooks (Natalie Coughlin) lives with her single mother Marie Brooks (Natascha McElhone) in a small, just below the poverty line, apartment. The 2 lived alone happily together until one morning, Charlie is awakened by the heavenly smells of breakfast and a strange Black man in their kitchen named Mr. Henry Joseph Church (Eddie Murphy). Upset because Mr. Church was invading their privacy, Charlie was rude and asked that her mother get rid of him.  She later learns that Mr. Church was hired by Richard, her mother’s deceased ex-lover, to take care of them for six months because Marie has breast cancer and has been given just six months to live.

Six years later, Marie is still living and Mr. Church has become a fixture in the household. An older Charlie (Britt Robertson) is a senior in high school and even though her mother is still alive, she is weakened and on heavy medication and bed rest. Charlie had grown even closer to Mr. Church because of her inability to come to terms with Marie’s impending death. Marie lives long enough to see Charlie go to prom with her dream guy Owen (Xavier Samuel), but dies soon after.  Mr. Church stays with Charlie after Marie dies and remains as much of a mystery as the day he came into their lives.

There is so much to learn about Mr. Church.  Charlie gets accepted to Boston University, which becomes an adventure in itself.  It seem like there’s nothing Mr. Church cannot do, including designing and sewing a prom dress.  Mr. Church and Charlie gives us drama, mystery, love, tears and some OMG moments.  I absolutely enjoyed the movie and was thrilled that I got to see it for free on Amazon as a Prime member.  It’s also on DVD.  I highly recommend Mr. Church for a nice change of pace.

 

13 REASONS WHY (2016) – My rating: 9.5/10

“13 Reasons Why” is not a movie but instead a 13 episode series streaming on Netflix about a young teenager who enters high school with all the expectations of a student with their whole life ahead of them. The series focuses on a female who happens to be very pretty with no visible sign of deformities, always trendily fashioned and no brain malfunctions. In other words, she seems quite normal. For some reason, she was taken advantaged of via a form of bullying over the years, which caused her reputation to take a roller coaster ride during her time in high school while her self esteem plummeted as well. After committing suicide, 7 double sided tapes, that she made for the students who contributed to her demise were allocated for each one, which made for a brilliant series everyone should see.

The series starts with Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), who returns home from school and finds a mysterious box of seven double sided cassette tapes laying on his porch. The tapes are recorded by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), his classmate and unrequited love, who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier.  These 7 double sided tapes reveal an emotional audio diary, detailing the 13 reasons why she decided to end her life. With each package of tapes, Hannah instructed the following: each person who receives a package is one of the reasons why I killed myself, so after each person has completed listening to the tapes, they must pass the package on to the next person. If anyone decides to break the chain, a separate set of tapes will be released to the public.

NOTE: Each tape is addressed to a select person in her school and details their involvement in her inevitable suicide. Responsibility for the separate set of tapes was given to Tony Padilla (Christian Navarro),  who is Clay’s best friend.

These are the school members who Hannah held responsible:

Episode 1 Tape 1 Side a
Justin Foley (Brandon Flynn)  – Jessica’s boyfriend and Bryce’s best friend

Episode 2 Tape 1 Side b
Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe)  – was Hannah’s best friend

Episode 3 Tape 2 Side a
Alex Standall (Miles Heizer)  – Jessica’s boyfriend

Episode 4 Tape 2 Side b
Tyler Down (Devin Druid)  – School photographer

Episode 5 Tape 3 Side a
Courtney Crimsen (Michele Selene Ang)  – Most popular girl in school

Episode 6 Tape 3 Side b
Marcus Cole (Steven Silver)  – Basketball team player

Episode 7 Tape 4 Side a
Zach Dempsey (Ross Butler) – Basketball team player

Episode 8 Tape 4 Side b
Ryan Shaver (Tommy Dorfman) – School poetry curator

Episode 9 Tape 5 Side a
Justin Foley (Brandon Flynn)  – Jessica’s boyfriend and Bryce’s best friend

Episode 10 Tape 5 Side b
Sheri Holland (Ajiona Alexus)  – Cheerleader

Episode 11 Tape 6 Side a
Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) – Hannah’s true love interest

Episode 12 Tape 6 Side b
Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice)  – Justin’s best friend

Episode 13 Tape 7 Side a
Kevin Porter (Derek Luke)  School guidance counselor

In addtion, Lainie Jensen (Amy Hargreaves), was Clay’s mom, Olivia Baker (Kate Walsh), was Hannah’s mom, Andrew “Andy” Baker (Brian d’Arcy James), was Hannah’s dad and  Matt Jensen (Josh Hamilton), was Clay’s father.

If you subscribe to Netflix, you merely have to choose “13 Reasons Why” to experience this incredible story that could change the way one looks at what bullying can cause.  This is a life changing look at a very serious problem.  Many schools are viewing the series as a  possible standard for their students.  I think it’s a must see for everyone!

O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA (2016) – My rating: 9/10

ojmadeinamericaThrough interviews, new footage, and archival audio and video, O.J.: Made in America traces the life and career of O. J. Simpson, starting with his arrival at the University of Southern California as an emerging football superstar and ending with his incarceration in 2007 for robbery. Throughout the documentary, Simpson’s life – the football success, television career, relationship with Nicole Brown, the domestic abuse, Nicole and Ron Goldman’s murder, the trial – runs parallel to the larger narrative of the city of Los Angeles, which serves as host to mounting racial tensions and a volatile relationship between the city’s police department and the African American community.

TV critic James Poniewozik described the director’s technique in his New York Times review: “Ezra Edelman pulls back, way back, like a news chopper over a freeway chase. Before you hear about the trial, the documentary says, you need to hear all the stories — the stories of race, celebrity, sports, America — that it’s a part of.”

O.J.: Made in America premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2016, was released in theaters in New York City and Los Angeles in May 2016 and debuted on ABC on June 11, 2016, and aired on ESPN. The documentary has received widespread acclaim and has won numerous awards.

After seeing this documentary, I was impressed at how factual and straightforward it was.  I thought I knew everything about OJ, this gave me a new perspective and something to think about.  O.J.: Made in America is an excellent source of information into the whole picture from beginning to end, so if you care to know as much as you could about the life and times of O. J. Simpson, this is a great documentary to learn about him and all that went into shaping who he is.  O.J.: Made in America is currently streaming on Amazon, and can be gotten on Netflix.

[O.J.: Made in America WON the 89th ANNUAL OSCAR AWARD for Best Documentary Feature]

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13TH (2016) – My rating: 9.5/10

13thMy reaction to this Netflix Original documentary is simply WOW!  For a Black person, it’s truly depressing but it’s history and it is what it is. This is the kind of information everyone should know. Maybe it can make some kind of a difference regarding the race issues in America. No matter what character or category of person you might fall into, criminal, bad  or compassionate, I don’t see how anyone could go along with the stinking thinking outlined in this film.  13th is titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which outlawed slavery (unless as punishment for a crime). DuVernay’s,  documentary opens with the idea that 25 percent of the people in the world, who are incarcerated, are incarcerated in the United States and argues that slavery is being effectively perpetuated in the US through mass incarceration. 13th features several prominent activists, politicians, and public figures such as, Angela Davis, Bryan Stevenson, Van Jones, Newt Gingrich, Cory Booker, Henry Louis Gates Jr. and many others.  It’s been said that one of the most compelling defenses behind this documentary is that it’s not opinionated or accusatory, it only presents the facts that are non disputable.  Racism, Slavery, the 13th Amendment, Jim Crow, ALEC, Republicans, The South, Political Leaders and Organizations, Militants,  Murder and The Privatization of the Prison System are all featured.  13th has garnered acclaim from film critics everywhere, as a major historian contribution that should not be ignored.

13th is directed by Ava DuVernay who also wrote and produced it along with Spencer Averick.  Living with and and knowing a lot of the facts in 13th didn’t make it any less disturbing to see put together in 13th.  I feel the issue of racism will never be resolved.  It’s bigger than anything we face and it’s truly a problem that’s eventually going to be our demise.  See it for yourself and form your own opinion.  13th is currently streaming on Netflix.

[13th is nominated for Best Documentary Feature]

 

THE WHITE HELMETS (2016) – My rating: 7.5/10

thewhitehelmetsThe White Helmets is one of the most profound documentaries I’ve seen. Filmed in war torn Syria, one of the most dangerous places in the world. The film follows the daily operations of a group of volunteer rescue workers of the Syrian Civil Defense, also known as The White Helmets. The film is directed by Orlando von Einsiedel and produced by Joanna Natasegara.

These men called The White Helmets are the first respondents when a bomb(s) is dropped. It doesn’t matter who needs help, the White Helmets are ready to dig through the ruins to extract anyone they can. An infant was trapped under several layers of rubble for hours when a faint cry was heard. They were able to pull the baby out, calling him a miracle. These men risk their lives time and again, every day and treat every person as though they are family, plus they never give up. Early training of volunteers was initiated in 2013 by British security consultant, James Le Mesurier, the White Helmet’s founder. Volunteers who work full-time, receive a $150 monthly stipend and do manage to travel to Turkey for training. They are young men and this is their life!  GOD bless these brave selfless men who risk everything to do GOD’s work, rescuing anyone who is in need!

The White Helmets is streaming on Netflix and is very informative.  It is a 40 minute short documentary.

[THE WHITE HELMETS won the 89th ANNUAL OSCAR AWARD for Best Documentary: Short Subject]

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