Tag Archives: Netflix pick of the week

Suspense Saturday: The Sixth Sense

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Post written by Ainsley Peace

I remember the first time I saw The Sixth Sense. While my surroundings are blurry, I can reach back into my memory and recall exactly how this film made me feel. By nine years old I had already fallen deeply in love with cinema so I could easily tell you that this movie had one of the best twists ever. This may come as a shock to those of you who have experienced more of M. Night Shyamalan’s failures than his successes but The Sixth Sense was one of the best films of the year.
The Sixth Sense follows child psychologist Malcom Crowe after he is confronted by a former patient. Shaken by the encounter, Crowe takes on the task of attempting to cure a young boy who “sees dead people.”
Inspired by an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? The Sixth Sense has a depth that many ghost stories and horror films were lacking at the time. The emotional impact far outweighs many horror films with its use of child psychology and very personal fears. Cole, played by Haley Joel Osment, who was best known for playing the titular character’s young son, gave a memorable performance as the young boy plagued by literal ghosts.
There are probably very few people that don’t know the twist of this movie. With the wide variety of content that is constantly being released there is a chance you won’t be as surprised as the audiences that originally saw it. As you go into this movie let go of all the baggage that comes with ghost stories, horror films and movies directed by Shyamalan. Allow yourself to be swept up by the psychological thriller. It’s slow pace and lack of gore make it the perfect horror movie for people who don’t love horror movies.

Netflix Pick of the Week: Rogue One

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Rogue One, now on Netflix

If you are a big Star Wars fan chances are you have already seen this one in theaters. If you are a casual fan, chances are you’ve seen this one in theaters. That doesn’t mean you can’t spend a Friday night in front to the TV chowing down on popcorn as you invest another two hours on this incredible movie with a diverse cast and a strong female lead.

Funny and full of information, Rogue One proves that these are the years for Star Wars movies to be made once again. Constantly the target of online trolls and sexist reviewers, the current movies in the franchise have had its fair share of backlash due to the diverse casting they now employ.

Standing alone from the new trilogy of films and a prequel to The Force Awakens, Rouge One follows Jyn as she joins the resistance to stop the building of the Death Star.

If you enjoyed The Force Awakens for its strength, answers and story, Rogue One should be another enjoyable adventure through the future. The new films in the franchise given us what the Prequels did not. While we had a few characters to entertain us there still lacked something to root for and with strong female leads like Rey and Jyn we are give woman that we and our little girls can look up to. With men of color like Cassian and Fin, men are given someone that resembles them on the screen. It is so easy to forget the importance of female leadership and diversity but for those who have been waiting a long time the casting of these film’s mean a lot more.

For lovers of strong female leads, diverse casts, sci-fi, Star Wars and adventure, a night in with Rogue One should mean a lot to you. I know it means a lot to me.

Netflix Pick of the Week: Scream

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Released in 1996

Since I’ve been on a Wes Craven kick I’ve decided to choose this nineties gem and Kevin Williamson written slasher starring Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Jamie Kennedy and Drew Barrymore as my Netflix Pick of the Week. A standout picture that has now become cliche due to the saturated market of teen horror that has tried to imitate it, Scream is a great movie born out of a clever script.

Self aware and witty, this nineties slasher knew what it was doing. Scream is more than your typical horror film, while playing with some of the rules set in to motion before slasher scripts were a thing, Scream found its own way in to the heads of its audience. While there are certain things you may question (check out cinema sins Everything Wrong with Scream) the good far out ways the bad. An enjoyable movie that I return to at least once a year, Scream is a classic thanks to great direction by Craven and a fun script by Williamson.

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The cast of characters are far more complex than the characters of this films predecessors. Randy, played by Jamie Kennedy, is the know-it all film buff. He is the odd one out in a group of friends including final girl, Sidney Prescott, who is still reeling from mother’s murder one year prior to the events of the film. Her boyfriend Billy Loomis, with his perfect teen heartthrob hair, is the brooding type while his best friend Stu is the goofball. Tatum is the best friend and the perfect foil to her good girl friend, Sidney. Apart from the high school students is Dewey, a sheriff and brother to Tatum, and Gale Weathers, a reporter who believes Sidney was wrong about the man she accused of killing her mother. There is also a special appearance by Henry Wrinkler as the Principle and a cameo by Director Wes Craven who appears as a Janitor that looks suspiciously like Freddy Kruger.

The film is brutal but not gory. Funny and is dramatic without becoming overly cheesy. There are many ways this film could have gone wrong but while refusing to take itself seriously, Scream is able to standout in a difficult genre.

Checkout MTV’s Scream, on Netflix, A Nightmare on Elm Street and New Nightmare by Director Wes Craven are on Netflix and The Vampire Diaries and The Following created by Kevin Williams are also available on the streaming website.

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Netflix Pick of the Week: Band of Robbers

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Band of Robbers

Starring Kyle Gallner, Adam Nee, Matthew Gray Gubler and Hannibal Buress. Directed by Aaron and Adam Nee and adapted from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Band of Robbers is a modern adaptation worthy of your time.

Available on Netflix, I originally watched the film a year ago. Ready to write a review I took to the computer but didn’t finish it. Saved to drafts I am happy to finally be sharing this independent gem with you. Fallen under the radar, Band of Robbers stars a few of your favorite TV stars including Matthew Gray Gubler, known for his work on Criminal Minds and Kyle Gallner, who’s had many guest starring roles on TV and many roles in Independent film. The characters are all adapted from the work of Mark Twain and are imagined in a modern setting as grown ups.

After a stint in prison, Huck Finn wants to turn his life around. Upon his release friend and cop, Tom Sawyer have other plans. Sawyer, along with friends Joe Harper and Ben Rogers form the “Band of Robbers,” in order to find Injun Joe’s treasure. When things don’t go as planned there are dire consequences.

There is a little Tom and Huck in all of us but some of us grow out of wilder days but a reckless childhood turns into a reckless adulthood for this pair of literary heroes. Of course Sawyer grows up to be a law man while his good ole friend Huck Finn is a criminal just out of prison. Bad news for Finn, his best friend isn’t the good old boy everyone has him figured out to be.

If you are looking for a film to check out this week while you sit around your apartment after a long day of work and errands, Band of Robbers is a funny thrill ride paired well with a bucket of popcorn.

Netflix Pick of the Week: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

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New Nightmare released in 1994 

“Freddy, Freddy, Freddy.”

The longest film in the franchise and the only one to feature no opening credits, New Nightmare is the seventh film made featuring Freddy Kruger. Many aspects of the film play into the real life of its stars including Heather’s husband working in special effects and her having a stalker. This version of Freddy is Wes Craven’s original vision for the character and the story was originally pitched as the storyline for Dreamscape but was turned down by the studio. However, in 1994 this film was made and has become one of the better rated films of the franchise.

Freddy Kruger enters our reality when a demonic force uses him as its portal. Heather Lagenkamp returns as herself and a mother of one. After her husband’s death by Freddy’s claw while returning home things begin to go more than a little crazy for Heather. Robert Englund returns as himself and as the infamous Freddy Kruger. This time the entity he portrays is far darker than the Kruger we know from the original. There are also appearances by Wes Craven and Robert Shaye as well as stars of the original film, Jsu Garcia and John Saxon. Lin Shaye who made an appearance in the original Nightmare on Elm Street as a teacher appears in this film as a nurse.

My third favorite in the franchise after the original and Dreamscape, New Nightmare was the first film I saw with Freddy. I didn’t know it at the time or watch the entirety of the film but I do remember the first time I saw it vividly. It wasn’t until a few years later that I saw the original film and while I didn’t believe I was scared it affected me a lot more than I thought it did. New Nightmare was the second film in the franchise I saw and I fell in love with the concept and the returning characters. The story is interesting and while I prefer the original look of Freddy from the first film this look is a lot more demonic and plays into the reality of the storyline.

If you are a fan of horror and love Freddy Kruger this is a good film to settle in and watch on a Friday night. Don’t forget to grab the popcorn and shut off all the lights. Don’t forget whatever you do, don’t fall asleep.

Netflix Pick of the Week: Sunset Boulevard

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Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond

Los Angeles resident and famed director Billy Wilder wondered about the lives of retired actresses famous in the days of silent pictures. They still lived in the grand Beverly Hills houses they bought during their career. How is their existence molded by their past lives as film stars? Wilder concocted his own story and imagined the world of an aging, reclusive former film star he named Norma Desmond.

Starring former Vamp of the silver screen, Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard was destined to be a hit. Along side the legendary actress, William Holden starred as down on his luck screenwriter Joe Gillis.  Told in flashback and narrated by Gillis as he recalls the events leading up to his death.

Sunset Boulevard stands out in a genre that had become saturated by the time of its release. A large part of that is most likely due to co-writer Charles Brackett and Writer/Director Wilder who is famous for his work in Noir; having directed two of the best in the genre. Before Sunset Boulevard, Wilder made Double Indemnity, a 1944 Film Noir starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. Double Indemnity is often sited as the film that fits into most categories in the genre and six years later Wilder would direct Desmond, I mean Gloria Swanson in her close up.

Even if you haven’t seen this film chances are you can picture it. A garish middle aged women, a reclusive film star who lives in the past; her dreams of a comeback subverted by her break from reality. Sunset Boulevard’s image of Desmond descending the stairs is engrained in the minds of film lovers everywhere.

Sunset Boulevard is one of my favorites from the genre. It almost acts as a satire of both Film Noir and the industry itself. Not a lot has changed in the years since so many women everywhere can relate to the harsh reality of aging. Apparently we just aren’t as appealing to an audience of men that want us stuck in our twenties. For actresses their careers are harder to lengthen due to the lack of roles offered to women as they age. For men however their careers seem to get better. Norma Desmond is a product of the fantasy world that created her and spat her out when she got a little too old to stand next to the men her age. Stuck in the fantasy world of her own making and with the help of her butler Norma Desmond tries to find a way back into the world she once loved so much but it is her break with reality that will be her final undoing.

Sunset Boulevard is available to watch on Netflix. Below is a clip from the film and an introduction into the crazy world of Desmond herself.

“I am big, it’s the pictures that got small”.

Netflix Pick of the Week: Hush

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Directed by: Mike Flanagan

Written by: Mike Flanagan & Katie Siegel

Starring: Katie Siegel,  John Gallagher, Jr, Michael Trucco, Samantha Sloyan,  Emma Graves

Genre: Home Invasion, Thriller

Plot: A deaf writer lives a secluded life in the woods. She must fight for her life when a masked killer begins terrorizing her.

Review: 

A new entry into the home invasion thriller genre, Hush premiered at South By Southwest in March. Distributed by Netflix, Hush was released in April to rave reviews. Different than most films from the genre due to its heroins deafness, Hush gave us a great protagonist to root for. There is a total of five characters seen in the film, one on Skype and two others for a short period of time. The majority of the scenes feature the man and Maddie. Hush is easily one of the most minimalist films of all time. With roughly 15 minutes of dialogue there is 70 minutes that go without and it is a true testament to this films greatness that you are not really aware of that until the end.

A smart use of the genre that often comes off as lack luster. Instead of saying, “been there, done that,” you will be pleasantly surprised. Maddie, the man character is a writer and being that I am also a writer I related to her. For all creatives out there you will find something in Maddie as well. The way she comes up with stories is mentioned early on and put into use later on in the film. Hush, made great use of foreshadowing. They gave us pieces of information that kept us informed without giving too much away. If you are looking for something new to watch, a new horror film to add to your favorites list or anxiously looking through your Netflix queue for something to watch why not check out Hush?