Current Redbox/Netflix/Amazon Pick?
Since there's not a lot of terribly interesting movies coming out and fall TV hasn't started...
Anything that's recently hit Redbox or Amazon or Netflix or whatever and deserves a look?
I watched Drive a couple weeks ago (finally) and I would recommend it. I also watched Safety not Guaranteed. I would definitely not recommend that. Orange is the New Black was great, but I already said that.
I enjoyed "Safety" quite a bit. It had a similar vibe to "K-PAX". WHich you should see, Kylie, if you haven't.
I had to scroll down thru their list quite a bit before I found two I could suggest: the "old mob guys night out" story, "Stand Up Guys" and the semi-biographical and very atmospheric "Hitchcock".
I was gonna start a separate thread on some of this, and I probably still will, but here are a couple of faves this summer:
ORPHAN BLACK. Okay, I admit that the last episode fizzled, but this is a very nicely conceived sci-fi, spy-kinda thing from BBC America, with one of the most jaw-dropping lead performances you've ever seen...maybe that you'll ever see. Again, conceding a limp across the finish line for Season 1, I still don't think I've been this excited for a Season 2 since Lost.
Not surprisingly, the show, and its star in particular, were among the very hottest things at Comic-Con, maybe second only to Tom Hiddleston as Loki...who was of course hotter than the freaking sun.
I'm never going to miss an excuse to post this again:
Sound City, a documentary by Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters, and now, officially rock-n-roll's elder statesman. It's a terrific story of a tiny, filthy recording studio that accidentally became great. Some of the amazing array of artists who recorded there include Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac album (the first one with Buckingham and Nicks), Tom Petty, Rick Springfield, Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, Rage Against The Machine, Queens Of The Stoneage, Ratt, Cheap Trick, Pat Benatar, Elton John, Johnny Cash, Death Cab for Cutie, and yes, Nirvana, who recorded Nevermind there.
It is, understandably, a love story about analog recording technology, but even moreso, the analog aesthetic, its lifestyle. The last segment of the movie has two incredible sessions, the first with Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age, Dave Grohl, and Trent Reznor establishing himself as one of this generations great musicians, a role he's rarely seen in. The second session is with the surviving members of Nirvana fronted by Paul McCartney. Holy spit.
Also of course lots of great stuff with the people responsible for the studio, and a lovely, lovely testament to the Neve console. Audio nerds need to know no more than that, but the movie does a very nice job explaining why it's a big deal to people who have no clue about anything related to recording.
No rock music fan should miss this for any reason. It's also a nice documentary for fans of lighter-weight documentaries as well. It's playing on Palladium right now, one of the cable channels you're probably getting without knowing it.
Casting By is another nifty documentary, about the role that casting directors have played in the last 40-50 years of movies in particular, with a large part of it featuring Marion Dougherty -- in a stroke of tremendous good fortune, filmed just before her passing at age 88 in 2011. She was a lion right up until the end, a fantastic, charismatic interview. Among the people she cast in their first roles: Hoffman, DeNiro, Pacino, Voight, Segal, Redford, Beatty, Hackman, and a ton of others. There's also a ton of great stuff about the New York film, TV, and stage scene in the 50s and 60s in general, and the gradual movement of that kind of work out west.
Just for grins, there's a lot of subtle stuff about power (the DGA fought, and is still fighting to keep them from being credited as Casting DIRECTORS -- Taylor Hackford is all "there's only ONE director on a movie" -- dick), sexism (she was often not credited AT ALL), and the evolution of filmmaking style.
This is actually an HBO doc, so you can catch it on demand right now.
I've repped Arrow before, but ima do it again. If you like comics even a little, WAAAAAAAAAAATCH THIIIIIIIIIIIS SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW. You can take Nolan's Blahhh-man, any Spiderman you want, Thor, any Superman but Reeves (and Reeve in the second one) -- really, other than Jr as Iron Man and Hiddleston as Loki, this stands alone as the best embodiment of a comic hero that I've ever seen.
My favorite thing about it is that it started a little wobbly, and they were absolutely the first to admit it. They were quite public about it, too. They aggressively worked to get better, and danged if they didn't. I adore this show.
Also tasty on it, the ever-tasty John Barrowman, who could arguably be higher on this list for Torchwood, another of those British...well, I'll quote IMDb: "a renegade criminal investigation group founded by Queen Victoria to battle hostile extraterrestrial and supernatural threats." It's a genuine gas, a gazillion times more entertaining than Dr. Who for me, and with nice short seasons, really lends itself to summertime bingeing.
Elementary. It is STUPEFYING to me that anyone who likes Bumbershoot Cumberswatch's Sherlock isn't a fan of this. People who like Swizzleboot Himbersuch are all "ooh, I could NEVER enjoy anybody else as anything Sherlocky." That's like saying you won't listen to The Beatles because you like The Rolling Stones. Sure, most people prefer one to the other, often a LOT...but most people also like BOTH a whole lot. Jonny Lee Miller is killing this, and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson is a nice twist.
(TV cognoscenti will remember Miller from Eli Stone, which he also slew. Pop cult cognoscenti will remember him as Angelina Jolie's FIRST HUSBAND. Yes, really.)
Needless to say, anyone who hasn't watched Humplesnoot Bimberbang as Sherlock really should. And in fact, Martin Freeman is even more of a gem on that show. They're shooting the next season now, so it shouldn't be too too too too long. Although it already has been.
Put together Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and the executive producer of Lost: whaddya get? Under The Dome. I'm not shocked that it's the most popular show of the summer. I'd be shocked if it wasn't. I'm also not shocked that you commercial TV haters have been missing out.
The whole "town caught under a dome" was of course done in The Simpsons Movie, which Stephen King claims he wasn't familiar with...and I believe him. It's not at all similar other than the dome, and King in fact posted his 1993 treatment of the story....while also having the grace to work a Simpsons reference into his show anyway.
Not that I'd call it great, but a great example of what summer replacement series used to be: a nice 13-week bite to pace the 22 eps of the rest of the year.
And dude, seriously. King. Spielberg. Lost's Jack Bender. WTF.
Oh yeah, and Dean Norris playing (surprise) understatedly vicious.
Not that I think this is the best from any of them, but seriously, you're not even giving it a try?
Similarly, Falling Skies, which I've also repped before. This IS among Spielberg's best work on TV -- like a War Of The Worlds in which we're two years into the aliens having all but won the war. At this point, they're just stamping out skirmishes...needless to say, one of which may yet undo the whole thing and return Earth to the control of earthlings. As lightweight and tasty as watermelon. Not a ton of nutrition, but hey, what's summer without it?
Not at the 'flix, Amazon, et al, but available on Fox On Demand, as well as clips at Fox.com....
I know I'm gonna get laughed at for this, but that's okay. I'm sad for you for missing So You Think You Can Dance. While a competition show with its share of filler and hideously annoying judges, this is NOT Dancing With The Stars. It's some of the highest caliber dancing in the history of television, in more styles than you can name, from some of the most highly respected choreographers working today.
At its most spectacular, the emphasis really is on spectacle. There's nobody doing better lighting week after week, and while nobody will ever approach American Idol's live studio camera work overall, the steadicam work on this show is nothing short of heroic. Rather than Idol's dramatic swooping and jaw dropping coverage (and I don't even LIKE the show anymore --but skilz that cannot be denied), the goal here is to serve the DANCE, to use camera work to support the choreography, and to otherwise stay invisible. Anybody who's operated a camera knows that this is close enough to impossible to look like magic when it works.
The piece that I liked most last week is actually kind of stark. Not much in the way of lighting at all, and the camera work is subtle to suit the delicate song. Yeah yeah, the crowd is annoying -- it's still a competition show -- but day-yum, I found this really moving. (I'm hoping that this girl, Amy Yakima, wins. The guy dancing is in fact the Emmy-nominated choreographer. I saw his dance company, Shaping Sound, a couple of months ago -- the best company I've seen since the Boston Ballet.) I just watched it twice AGAIN on my way to get the embed code. Also a great version of a song you've surely heard before.
Okay, one more with my girl Amy. Her partner here is a fella who goes by the name Fik-Shun, a completely untrained street dancer (whose hip hop skills are INSANE) who's really raised his game. Definitely technically wanting in a few passages, struggles to keep up a couple of times, but this kid entirely has the goods, and delivers in a big way on this Viennese waltz. Another pretty song. Ends with gorgeous steadicam too.
A big part of the show is dancers dancing outside their comfort zone and having to step up...but every now and again, dancers get to show their own stuff in a solo. Since I showed Fik-Shun struggling with a waltz, here he is doing his own thing for 40 perfect seconds:
Week after week, a dozen or more top-notch performances of every variety. There's never been anything like this before. Maybe...maybe...my favorite show of the entire year of any sort, on any channel. Happy summer!
Hey, and disk 2 of The Hunger Games. The best filmmaking seminar since LOTR:FOTR, with even BETTER material on previz, editing, and the role of previz FOR editing. Stellar entertainment as well, but must-see for people in our biz. Does Redbox or Netflix do second disks anymore? YOU MIGHT HAVE TO ACTUALLY BUY THIS. lol Totally worth it.
And on my way out, the usual suspect:
Justified. People who haven't...Must. Watch. This. Show. ALL of the seasons. This past one in particular: Patton Oswalt not getting nominated for an Emmy was insanity. Tim Olyphant not getting nominated every year is even more insane. One of the best scenes on any show this year: an extended allegorical conversation between Ron Eldard and Jacob Pitts on radios, as they stare at each other through binoculars. Just talking.
I'm sure there are others, but these are off the top of my head.
yeahhhhh, I've always got a lot of stuff in my head.
This is what I picture in my head when Tim starts going on about "Sound City":
Two of our "never miss" weekly TV shows are
Hell On Wheels
Burn Notice, which has it's final episode this week. BN inspired and led the way for something like 5 other more-or-lress successful shows that copied it's look and production style, but there's still nothing like the original. Which itself isn't very "original" in concept, but always ahead of the pack in execution and actor chemistry.
I was late to the game on Burn Notice...I'm late to the game on almost all TV Shows :-) I really love how he explains what and why he is doing. They have created really go chemistry amongst the characters. I started to get tired of yet one more bad guy higher up the ladder from the last bad guy so the change is storytelling this season is welcomed.
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Obligatory seconding of Justified.
Enjoying Torchwood over Doctor Who is the biggest pile of blasphemy I can imagine. Though Torchwood was my gateway drug to Doctor Who. Maybe if Torchwood's consistency remained the same, because I really enjoyed the risky dark stories. But damn, Children of Earth sucked and Miracle Day was completely unwatchable.
I'm glad someone appreciates So You Think You Can Dance. I've rarely seen it and I probably won't ever make time to watch it (for now anyway, since I don't have a DVR), but dammit, that's better than these other horrendous competition shows. Maybe I'll watch online.
Another to throw in again, I think I've mentioned it too much on here - Parks and Recreation is coming back soon and between Netflix and Hulu, you can catch up with every episode. I recently rewatched (starting with season 2) and I think this is one of the most solid comedies (maybe THE most) on right now, at least on network TV. The character development is amazing, and Leslie Knope is one of my favorite characters ever.
And also Louie recently added more to Netflix. Best comedy overall, I think.
[Kylee Wall] "completely unwatchable."
I actually used those exact words for Dr. Who but decided I'd done enough throwing down for one post and took 'em out.
Yes, I edit my posts. Yes, I try to tone them down.
But upon further review, I should probably have kept Torchwood off my list anyway. I was swept up in my John Barrowman love, and I'd have avoided some controversy.
Okay, THAT, I don't do a lot of. LOL
I can accept Torchwood over DW on the basis of Barrowman.
[Kylee Wall] "I can accept Torchwood over DW on the basis of Barrowman."
I rest my case. LOL
On Arrow, he's a bazillionaire industrialist shattered by the death of his wife...think Bruce Wayne really twisted around...which gives him many opportunities to wear ridiculously expensive suits and tuxedos when he's not wearing [spoiler]. Full Windsor, baby.
Even without the Barrowman love, Arrow is in my top tiny handful of favorites right now, any season, any channel. Gorgeous cinematography, stupidly intense physical stuff (including by Barrowman), writing by the guy who's currently writing The Flash for DC, another was a co-exec producer at Fringe, lots of other tasty credits among the team -- totes legit.
I've never watched anything on the CW, but Arrow looks pretty decent. Total missed opportunity not having Barrowman be Scottish for no reason other than it's awesome.
Hopefully this show doesn't get the Summer Glau kiss of death.
I'm late to the party on this, but Safety Not Guaranteed was just really not great in my opinion. My problems were mostly with the script - it felt like an idea where they saw the popular Internet picture for the ad with the time traveler and wanted to write a story about that person. That's cool, but the angle they took ended up not being able to sustain a feature. So they add a sub plot with the boss that goes nowhere at all and adds nothing to the story. It drops out 75% of the way. My other problems were the ending (so cheesy but whatever) and the interaction between Aubrey Plaza and time traveling dude. He seemed old enough to be her father and not in a way I found endearing. Ugh.
But I've definitely seen worse movies. I did appreciate the flip flop (is he or isn't he a psycho) but maybe better actors would have helped. I dunno.
I've seen K-Pax though. Good film, much more subtle and interesting.
I guess I'll sort of throw a wrench into the "recently hit (the service)" request criteria and take a few minutes to discuss the streaming options of a lot of the best comedy shows of the last 15 years (ok, 14 years, but 15 sounds more official). And by best, I mean they are nerdy and/or polorizing and/or foreign and/or canceled and/or intentionally abstract. And I guess I'll do it in something of a chronological order, because laa-dee-daa.
Spaced (1999-2001) - Whole series available on Netflix
Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg's first venture together. It's fitting how a show this nerdy and pop culture infused (you've gotta love the many insults to The Phantom Menace) has resulted in the main character now in Star Trek movies, and the director on his way to doing an upcoming major-release Marvel movie (Ant-Man). Come for all of the amazing movie and TV references, but STAY for the best fake gunfight ever filmed.
Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000) - Whole series available on Netflix
The show that launched the careers of Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jason Segel, Martin Starr, Linda Cardinelli, Busy Phillips, and (in a way) Judd Apatow. If you've never gotten around to watching it, there's no better time than the present! One of my favorite shows of all time.
Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-Present) - Whole series available on Amazon Instant
Kind of an obvious choice here, but if you've never seen it, I'd highly recommend it, granted you really like following a terrible human being of a protagonist around everywhere. On a related note, I saw Larry David's new HBO made-for-TV movie, Clear History, recently; and it was basically just a 90 minute episode of Curb. Not complaining about that.
Black Books (2000-2004) - Whole series available on Netflix
One of the better (modern) multi-camera shows with a laugh track I've ever seen.
Undeclared (2001-2002) - Whole series available on Netflix
Judd Apatow's other failed network TV show. Not quite as emotional as Freaks and Geeks, but it has plenty of moments, and is very entertaining. Can't go wrong with Loudon Wainwright III as Steve's dad, either. And ladies, it has Charlie Hunnam in it (FUTURE STAR OF 50 SHADES OF GREY!!!!1!!!! OMG!!!!)
The Office [U.K Version] (2001-2003) - - Whole series available on Netflix
Did you know that there are EIGHT different versions of The Office in different countries around the world? That's cool, right? Anyway, why not check out the version that started it all?
Little Britain (2003-2006) - Seasons 1 and 2 available on Netflix
It's kind of like Britain's slightly funnier version of MADtv. To be honest, it's kind of hit-or-miss for me, but I enjoyed watching the hits.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-Present) - Seasons 1 through 7 available on Netflix
I will stand by the statement that Charlie Kelly is one of the greatest TV characters of ALL TIME. C'Mon, how can you not love Charlie?
Extras (2005-2007) - Whole series available on Amazon Instant
As much as I loved all the cameos from A-list actors across this show's short span, I will always consider the meetings between Andy and Darren as the greatest part of Extras. I would have watched these two (with an obligatory pop-in from Barry) just talking for 30 minutes and loved it.
Summer Heights High (2007) - Whole series available on Amazon Instant
Hilarious Australian show from Chris Lilley, who plays three characters: a flamboyant drama teacher, a troublesome Samoan teen, and a stuck-up 16-year-old girl. It's basically an Australian equivalent of a great Christopher Guest mockumentary.
Flight of the Conchords (2007-2009) - Whole series available on Amazon Instant
The greatest comedy folk band to ever come out of New Zealand! I guess the show's dry tone can turn some people off, but I love it. The music is phenomenal too. If you recall, Bret McKenzie recently won an Oscar for his song work on The Muppets, they've won a Grammy for Best Comedy Album, and they received 10 total Emmy nominations, including one for the song Carol Brown. If you're into awards, and whatnot...
Party Down (2009-2010) - Whole series available on Amazon Instant
I'm going to be super pumped if the movie actually ends up happening...!
Workaholics (2011-Present) - Whole series available on Amazon Instant
I think at the age of 29 I'm just barely clinging on the edge of the target audience for this show, but I'm still immature enough to enjoy it at this point.