A childhood favorite I use as a comfort blanket, The Secret Garden to stream online. Enjoy this today’s Netflix Pick of the Week: The Secret Garden.
Adapted from the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden follows a young girl from a wealthy family who loses her parents during an earthquake in India. Having all the possessions she could desire but she lacked the affection of her parents, Mary has grown into a contrary girl lacking social skills and compassion.
After her parents passing Mary is sent to live with her Uncle who is always away and her cousin who she knows very little about. There is meets and interacts mostly with servants who don’t treat her the same way she is used to being treated in India. As a child, I used to mimic and repeat the lines of both Mary and Martha. Lost in the giant mansion in the English Moores, Mary exits the gothic hallways and ventures out on her own. Outside she comes in contact with Dickon, brother to Martha. They strick up a hostile relationship that soon turns to friendship. Outside, Mary finds her aunts garden, a place her mother and Aunt (they were twins) used to play as young girls. The secret garden soon opens up Mary’s heart and she comes alive with it.
One of the most important films of my childhood, The Secret Garden is a forever favorite that I will revisit with nostalgic wonder. I own two elephants similar to the one Mary has that belonged to her mother. This little piece of trivia still manages to make me happy. If you are looking for a movie that will send you back on childhood adventures, will make you laugh and tug at your heartstrings, head on over to Netflix now.
Netflix Pick of the Week: Gerald’s Game is the most recent adaptation from Stephen’s Kings massive body of work. Gerald’s Game comes after critical falure, The Dark Tower, the highest grossing horror film of all time, It, and TV adaptations of The Mist and Mr. Mercedes.
The Stephen King renaissance is among us with several new adaptations and remakes from the Master of Horror. Some have not succeeded in bringing the material to life and not all of them can live up to the recent adaptation of It, but Gerald’s Game is a great film that manages to take tricky subject matter and turn it into 103 min of entertainment.
Spoiler Alert: Gerald’s Game was released on Netflix on Sept 29th. This post doesn’t reveal everything about the film but does dive into much of the story. If you want to watch the film completely spoiler free stop here.
Gerald’s Game follows, married couple, Gerald, and Jessie as they head out to their remote lake house in order to spice things up. The fridge is stocked with expensive foods, the gardeners and maids have been at work making the place look as good as new. With no one there to disturb them, Gerald takes his viagra and Jessie slips into a silky nightgown. Soon things take a turn for the worst and it doesn’t stop there. While engaged in foreplay that turns sour from the couple, Gerald has a heart attack leaving Jessie alone and handcuffed to the bedpost. Over the next few days, she suffers hallucinations, comes in contact with a stray dog and a man who may or may not be real. As time passes Jessie faces her past and must figure out to survive.
Trigger Warning: If you have suffered from or if sexual abuse has played a part in your life this film might be triggering to you. It deals with abuse as a child and the psychological effects that the silencing of abuse causes to victims in later life.
Gerald’s Game is psychological horror at its best. The film showcases a complex woman who was the victim of sexual abuse. The abuse she suffered as a child turned her into a prisoner and the handcuffs are used as a metaphor throughout the story. During the run of the film Jessie suffers, unsurprisingly from a breakdown and she must get through her hallucinations to survive. At the end of it all, it is her persistent efforts that save her life.
The film reminds us the importance of “no” and what it means to listen to your partner. Everyone has their comfort zones and they have them for whatever reason. If someone says “no” or tells you to “stop” do it. Just because you are comfortable doesn’t mean they will be or have to be.
I have yet to read the source material but I can imagine that it may have been a challenge to adapt a story that takes place in a person’s mind. It is not however surprising that the script is successful due to Flanagan’s reputation. He is the Writer/Director of Hush and the Director of Ouji: Origin of Evil.
For lovers of Psychological Horror and Suspense, Gerald’s Game is a great opportunity to check out the beauty of simplicity in a film.
If you have read the novel and consider this a worthy adaptation of the source material comment below. Also, comment if you have some qualms about the adaptation or story itself.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
"Is the cinema more important than life?" Francois Truffaut