Category Archives: STREAMING

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

ANON (2018) – My rating 7/10

Anon is a 2018 British science fiction thriller directed and written by Andrew Niccol and financed by Sky Cinema Original Films.  Anon follows a troubled detective in a futuristic world where privacy and anonymity no longer exist. A woman is discovered that has defied the governmental transparency system, which is now the focus of this detective.  This movie gives a whole new meaning to the term “Big Hal is watching” but could easily become reality in the near future.

In a modern world where advanced biosyn implants mean everyone is subjected to a relentless visual stream of information they call the “Mind’s Eye”, privacy and anonymity as we know them have vanished. Everyone’s personal information is on public display and each person’s life is recorded down to the millisecond to a vast grid called “The Ether”, a database which law enforcement can access and use to prosecute criminals. This means no one has any secrets.  Any and everyone can access your information, which is the opposite of HIPAA.  It seems that the government has done an about face on privacy.

Sal Frieland (Clive Owen) is faced with a series of shocking murders which appear to be linked. The police find themselves unable to identify the killer or killers. It soon becomes apparent that what the murders have in common signals a major breakdown in the system on which society has come to rely upon. As he delves into the case, Sal encounters a woman (Amanda Seyfried) who seems to have no identity. Something he initially assumes is a minor glitch becomes the first clue that security of the “Mind’s Eye” has been compromised, sending Sal into a mission where he acts as bait to trap someone who effectively does not exist before they kill again.

Going forward, Sal is tasked with a highly technical mission trying to catch this young lady and stop her reign of murder.  It was fun watching this mystery unravel.  It’s an eerie feeling knowing that chips are already implanted into selected people that holds all of their medical history.  That means, we certainly have the ability to make a movie like this real.  None the less, I enjoyed Anon which is currently streaming on Netflix and not a series.  I recommend Anon to science buffs and those who are interested in SiFi films. There are parts of the movie that are no easy to follow.  Check it out!

 

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THE CROWN (2015 – 2018) – My rating: 8/10

The Crown is a biographical drama streaming on Netflix, created and principally written by Peter Morgan and produced by Left Bank Pictures and Sony Pictures Television for Netflix. The Crown evolved out of Morgan’s 2006 film The Queen and 2013’s stage play, The Audience. The Crown tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II, who reigns in the United Kingdom.

The first season covers the period from Elizabeth’s (Claire Foy) marriage to Philip (Matt Smith) in 1947 to the disintegration of her sister Margaret’s (Vanessa Kirby) engagement in 1955.  Also covered in season 1 is the depiction of Winston Churchill (John Lithgow) resigning as Prime Minister and the monarchy’s denial to Princess Margaret’s request to marry Peter Townsend (Ben Miles), a divorcé.  I tried to watch The Crown but didn’t care for the story or the acting.  After hearing many mentions of The Crown and how good it was, I tried again, almost 2 years later, and binged watched seasons 1 and 2.  I liked it very much, especially when I realized it was about the current reigning Queen of England.  I had just watched the royal wedding between Prince William and Meghan Markle a few weeks earlier and could now relate to all the royal subjects.

The second season covers the period from the Suez Crisis in 1956 through the retirement of the Queen’s third Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan (Anton Lesser) in 1963 to the birth of Prince Edward in 1964. Also covered in season 2, is The Profumo affair, a political scandal,

Beginning with season 3, Olivia Colman will portray the Queen. Season 3 will also cover Harold Wilson’s time as Prime Minister, and will also include Princess Margaret’s five-year affair with baronet and gardening expert Roddy Llewellyn that leads to the Princess’s divorce from Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1978. It will also introduce Camilla Parker Bowles and Lady Diana Spencer, who will be a focus of the fourth season (set during Margaret Thatcher’s premiership). The third season will continue from 1964, covering Harold Wilson’s two terms as the Prime Minister until 1976, while the fourth will see Margaret Thatcher’s premiership and a focus on Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Crown is intended to last 60 episodes over six seasons, with 10 one-hour episodes per season, covering Elizabeth’s life from her younger years to her reign, and with new actors being cast every 2 seasons. For the third and fourth seasons, Olivia Colman will take over as the Queen, Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip, and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret. Filming for the series takes place at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, with location shooting throughout the United Kingdom and internationally.

At times, some episodes of the Crown is a little slow but interesting enough to stick with the series.  I’ve changed by opinion about the acting as it got better and better as the series progressed.  I’m looking forward to season 3 through 6.  I feel as though I have had an intermate history course in the Monarchy as well as how England operates politically.  So far, I’m enjoying The Crown and recommend it to those who are into a historic look at the real Monarchy.  The Crown is currently streaming on Netflix — check it out!

 

SENSE8 – SEASON 2 (2017) – My rating: 9.5/10

The second season of Sense8, a science fiction drama is created by Lana and Lilly Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski.  If you think my previous review that defined Sense8, season 1, as great — you’re in for a treat, because season 2 is even better.  I didn’t think Sense8 could get better, but it did.  This is a remarkable series.  If you didn’t see season 1 you will need to see it first or you will be totally lost. All 8 characters come together once again to form a Cluster of life changing telepathically shared relationships that’s unlike anything you’ve seen.

You will also need to read my first review of season 1, which outlines Sense8’s purpose.  Season 2’s plot continues with Milton Bailey/Whipers (Terrence Mann) seeking out the 8 sensates for reasons I will not reveal, hoping to whet your appetite. Obviously, I’m truly a fan of this series and highly recommend it.

Siting creative differences, Aml Ameen has been replaced by Toby Onwumere who will take over the role of Capheus “Van Damme” Onyango, otherwise all other actors remain the same as in season 1 but with many new additions.


THE MAIN EIGHT SENSATES

Capheus “Van Damme” Onyango (Toby Onwumere), 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.

NOTE:  Sense8, season 3 has been CANCELLED. According to a Netflix statement, “the audience was simply “not large enough” to support the show’s vast production costs”.    You can see the 2-1/2 hour finale movie, which is currently streaming on Netflix.  It’s a whopper of an ending.  Check it out!

LOVING VINCENT (2017) – My rating: 7.5/10

Loving Vincent is a 2017 experimental animated biographical drama about the life of painter Vincent van Gogh, and in particular, the circumstances of his death. Loving Vincent is written and directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman and is the first fully painted animated feature film. Every frame is hand oil painted on canvas, which has never been done before making Loving Vincent the most unique animated film. It took a team of 125 painters to achieve its visual master piece.

One year after Vincent van Gogh’s (Robert Gulaczyk) suicide, Postman Joseph Roulin (Chris O’Dowd) asks his son Armand (Douglas Booth) to deliver Van Gogh’s last letter to his brother, Theodorus “Theo” van Gogh (Bartlomiej Sroka). Roulin finds Vincent’s death suspicious, as merely weeks earlier Van Gogh claimed through letters that his mood was calm and normal. Armand reluctantly agrees and heads off for Paris.

Père Tanguy (John Sessions), a Montmartre art supplier, tells Armand that Theo actually died six months after Vincent. He suggests that Armand travel to Auvers-sur-Oise and look for Dr. Paul Gachet (Jerome Flynn), who housed Van Gogh after his release from an asylum, shared his love for art, and attended the funeral.   Once there, Armand learns that the doctor is out on business.

Will Armand get to the bottom of the mystery concerning Van Gogh’s death?  While the adventure is skimpy, it gives you much school for thought.  Don’t look for too many answers because they’re not there.  I found the story to lack content therefore not doing justice to the uniqueness of this film.  I’ve rated it mostly on the oil painted frames.  Loving Vincent is not a bad movie, however, it’s definitely not for children — they would fall asleep or just not show any interest.  Loving Vincent is on DVD and Blu-Ray if you’re interested.  It would be great just to see the frame work.  Check it out!

[Loving Vincent is Oscar nominated for Best Animated Feature]

 

FERDINAND (2017) – My rating: 8.5/10

Ferdinand is a 3D computer-animated comedy-drama adventure film produced by Blue Sky Studios, Davis Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Animation. The film was based on Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson’s children’s book, The Story of Ferdinand, written by Robert L. Baird, Tim Federle and Brad Copeland and directed by Carlos Saldanha.  Ferdinand is another animated movie I was obligated to see because of the Oscars.  Ferdinand is also another animated movie I was happy to have seen because it was excellent with a beautiful message.  I must say, animation story telling is getting better and better.

Ferdinand opens in Spain on a ranch owned by Moreno (Raúl Esparza) called Casa del Toro that trains bulls for bullfighting.  There is where a bull calf named Ferdinand (Colin H. Murphy) lives.  He is ridiculed by his fellow calves, Bones (Nile Diaz), Guapo (Jet Jurgensmeyer), and Valiente (Jack Gore) for being non-confrontational and for his habit of smelling and protecting flowers.  After months and months of ridicule, a melon collie Ferdinand runs away from home after his father, Raf (Jeremy Sisto) doesn’t return to the ranch after being chosen for a bull fight, plus a flower Ferdinand was fond of was flattened by Valiente after his own father was defeated by Raf. Running away eventually lands Ferdinand at a florist’s farm, where he is lovingly accepted and adopted into the family.

Ferdinand (John Cena) eventually grows up into an enormous bull, he still retains his non-violent, flower-loving nature. Due to his size, he is left alone when his new family, Juan (Juanes), Nina (Lily Day), and their dog, Paco (Jerrod Carmichael), goes to the town of Ronda for an annual flower festival. Against the family’s decision that Ferdinand stay home for his own protection, he decides to go to the festival anyway.  As a result, Ferdinand gets stung by a bee and unintentionally causes much chaos around town that results in him being sent back to Casa del Toro, much to his and the family’s sadness.

Once back at his old ranch, Ferdinand finds his old friends, Bones (Anthony Anderson), Guapo (Peyton Manning), and Valiente (Bobby Cannavale) have also grown up and have been joined by a Scottish bull named Angus (David Tennant) and a silent but intimidating bull named Maquina (Tim Nordquist). Ferdinand is still disrespected by the bulls, but manages to befriend a crazy goat named Lupe (Kate McKinnon).

Ferdinand goes on to bigger and more exciting adventures. The message projected in Ferdinand is extremely profound.  Between Ferdinand’s beginnings at Casa del Toro to the Florist farm and back to Casa del Toro, there are many plots to explore.  I am unable to find anything negative about this film.  Ferdinand is brilliantly smart, beautifully illustrated and well acted with lessens to be had by all. Or course, the actors only lend their voices to the characters.  I highly recommend Ferdinand, which is now on DVD and Blu-Ray and is also streaming on Amazon.  I don’t think you can go wrong with this one, the kids will love it!

[Ferdinand is Oscar nominated for Best Animated Feature.]

 

THE BREADWINNER (2017) – My rating: 10/10

The Breadwinner is an animated drama film by Cartoon Saloon. It is directed by Nora Twomey and executive produced by Mimi Polk Gitlin and Angelina Jolie. Based on the best-selling novel by Deborah Ellis, the film is an international co-production between Canada, Ireland, and Luxembourg. Being animated is not my favorite type of movie, however The Breadwinner is one of the best animated films I’ve seen. First I saw Coco and it was my pick for the Oscar, but after seeing The Breadwinner, I changed my vote. Welcome to the real world with an animated feature that was significant and profound — it has a real message!

Parvana is a young girl living in Kabul, Afghanistan, under control of the Taliban. Her father Nurullah, who is a teacher handicapped during The Soviet–Afghan War and turned a hawker, is unjustly arrested after a volatile young member of the Taliban, Idrees, thinks he insulted him while the he and his daughter, Parvana are selling goods at the Kabul market. Parvana’s family is left without an adult male relative, as her elder brother Sulayman died years ago, leaving their family: Parvana/ Aatish (Saara Chaudry), her mother Fattema (Laara Sadiq), her sister Soraya (Shaista Latif) and her baby brother Zaki (Lily Erlinghauser) without means to support themselves, as they are not allowed outside their house without a male relative. After Parvana unsuccessfully tries to procure food while going out as a girl, she decides to dress as a boy and pretend to be Nurullah’s (Ali Badshah) nephew, “Aatish,” in order to support the family. Parvana frequently entertains Zaki by telling the story of a young man on a journey to retrieve the seeds stolen by the evil Elephant King.

The ploy works, and Parvana is able to get food and money. While working, she meets another young girl, Shauzia (Soma Bhatia), who is dressing as a boy to support her family.  Parvana gets lots of advise from Shauzia who shows her how to make better profits to survive.  On the advise of Shauzia, Parvana goes to the prison where her father is held in hopes of bribing the guards into letting her see him. The plan fails, and Parvana is driven away. She works to save money to get a larger bribe, taking on hard labor jobs with Shauzia, who is trying to save enough money to escape her abusive father.

The rest of this story really moved me to tears.  The Breadwinner is a heartfelt story of how another part of the world is for a family and how suppressed women are under the Taliban.  Parvana moves on to many adventures including trying to get her father out of prison.  While I think Coco is an excellent, fun filled story, I think The Breadwinner is a story that needs to be recognized and seen everywhere.  Kudos to Deborah Ellis for writing this beautiful story.  If you haven’t seen The Breadwinner, please make an effort to rent it, as it is now on DVD / Blu-ray and streaming on Netflix.  Check it out!

[The Breadwinner is Oscar nominated for Best Animated Feature.]

MUDBOUND (2017) – MY rating: 7.5/10

Mudbound is an American period drama directed by Dee Rees and written by Rees and Virgil Williams, based on the novel of the same name by Hillary Jordan. Mudbound is a Netflix Original production. The film depicts two World War II veterans – one white, one black – who return to rural Mississippi each to address racism and PTSD in his own way. I never really wanted to see this movie because it just stirs up painful issues of yesterday, which I’ve seen enough of.  However, I found Mudbound different from what I’m use to seeing — all history albeit redundant is significant, so I watched it, especially because Mudbound is Oscar nominated.

Henry McAllan (Jason Clarke) and his brother Jamie (Garrett Hedlund) struggle to bury their recently deceased father, Pappy (Jonathan Banks) during a rainstorm. When the coffin proves too heavy for the two of them, Henry flags the passing Jackson family for help, despite the obvious tension shared by both families.

The film then flashes back to 1939, when Henry buys a farm outside the fictional town of Marietta, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta, and moves there with his wife Laura (Carey Mulligan), with whom he shares a passionless marriage,  their daughters and his racist father, Pappy. The Jackson family, led by tenant farmer Hap (Rob Morgan) and his wife Florence (Mary J. Blige), work the farm’s cotton fields and dream of owning their own block of land one day. As World War II begins, Jamie commissions to become an Army bomber pilot while the eldest Jackson boy, Ronsel (Jason Mitchell), enlists in the Infantry and commands a tank. While serving in Europe, Ronsel strikes up a romance with a white woman and enjoys relative freedom from racism.

Both families suffer the threat of poverty when the Jacksons’ mule has to be put down and Hap breaks his leg. Florence, who worked for the McAllans as a housekeeper, has to give up the job to help cover Hap’s work, and an unsympathetic Henry forces Hap to rent the McAllan’s mule, cutting his wages in half. Laura takes pity on the family and pays for Hap’s doctor.

When the war is won, both Ronsel and Jamie return home. The handsome and charming Jamie rekindles his attraction to Laura, but suffers from alcoholism, PTSD and the scorn of his father, who disparages air force bombing as “easy and anonymous killing”.  Ronsel, on the other hand, is defiant when Pappy demands that he use the back door of a general store instead of the front door, because he is black. Henry warns Hap and Florence that Ronsel’s fiery streak could provoke problems for all involved if he does not keep it to himself, and Ronsel is forced to apologize.

As usual, I will stop here to avoid spoiling the rest of the movie.  I thought Mudbound was interesting and had significant history.  As hard as racial movies are to watch, it’s important to know what happened.   This story has much more to offer so I recommend you take the time to watch it.  Mudbound is streaming on Netflix and is also available on DVD and Blu-ray.  Check it out.

 

NOTE: Rachel Morrison is the first woman ever nominated in the category of cinematography and Mary J. Blige became the first person to ever be nominated for an acting and song award during the same year.

[Mudbound is Oscar nominated for BEST: Supporting Actress, Original Song, Adapted Screenplay and Cinematography.]