Tag Archives: netflix

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.

TV Tuesday: Zoo

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Post written by Ainsley Peace

Loosely based on the novel by James Patterson, Zoo was quite the surprise when I decided to watch it. I am glad that I finally jumped on it as there are many aspects of this show that play into our very real fears. It makes us question our place on the food chain and puts at the very bottom as animals begin to attack humans. The investigations bring’s together five very different individuals, tour guides Abraham Kenyatta and Jackson Oz, French Intelligence Officer Chloe Tousignant, Veterinary Pathologist Mitch Morgan and Journalist Jamie Campbell. Caught up in the investigations the team leads their old lives behind and realize that even when fighting the animals, humans really are the worlds worst predators.

There has been a lot of growth in the series and not all of it has been beneficial. It is normal to lose characters early on and new ones to be added. The changes that occurred in the second season may have changed things up quite a bit the added characters gave the show something more as the story developed and the problem grew larger. Now the show is in its third season complete with time jump and major character development it appears that the story may have take far too many sharp turns. What I loved about the first season with the viability and honesty that came with it. It was an adventure and the characters were relatable but still gave us someone to live through. I was enthralled with the story but as I went into season three I realized that so much about what made seasons one and two enjoyable are missing.

While I wouldn’t be so quick to recommend the series were it is now I would gladly send someone over to Netflix to watch the first two seasons. Two strong, independent female leads who don’t sacrifice their femininity for strength stands out. Friendships and a growing familia bond that is embraced over the course of the first two seasons adds to the heartbreak that comes with fighting the war on humans, a war that many of the audience members probably understand.

Zoo may take the story to extremes but as you watch this show you will probably embrace some of those fears we once thought as irrational while nodding along to the fears that are all too real on a daily basis. We are often told not to be afraid of animals because they are more afraid of us. Now I am beginning to think that is part of the problem.

Film Noir Friday: The Third Man

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Joseph Cotton with Wiener Riesenrad behind him

 
Directed by Carol Reed from a screenplay by Graham Greene, The Third Man is a British Film Noir often considered one of the best films from Britain. Starring Joseph Cotton, Alida Valli and Orson Welles, The Third Man is celebrated for its acting, score and cinematography.

American Holly Martin is given in a job in Vienna by his friend Harry Lime. When arrives he is told that Lime is dead. Believing the death to be suspicious, Martin begins to investigate.

One of the top films that I love to recommend to people, The Third Man is a stunning look at post World War II Vienna through shadows and distorted angles as a man investigates the death of his friend. Played by real life friends with multiple collaborations under their belts, Joseph Cotton as Martin and Orson Welles as Harry Lime add a little something extra to the characters.

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Orson Welles as Harry Lime

The Third Man is a great use of a variety of film techniques and looks like the perfect mesh between British and American Cinema during the time of the film’s release. The use of Vienna’s landmarks, American lighting techniques, and Dutch “Deutsch” angles, a German filming technique used to portray psychological unease, The Third Man mixes various genres and styles to create a film that makes you feel out of place.

With one of the greatest scenes and film speeches of all time, one you have to hear for yourself, this 1949 Film Noir is a must see. If you are an aspiring director or a successful one, this is a film you should study. Also an important film for Cinematographer’s to view, The Third Man’s use of angles and lighting portray the unease of being in a foreign country while dealing with strange circumstances.

The Third Man is available to watch on Netflix. Perfect for Friday night viewing, turn off the lights, make some popcorn and grab a beverage of your choice. It’s time to investigate the death of Harry Lime.

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.

Film Noir Friday: Laura

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Laura

Detective Mark McPherson investigates the apparent murder of advertising executive Laura Hunt. Told in flashback by Newspaper columnist Waldo Lydecker, Laura follows the detective as he falls in love with her through diaries and a portrait that hangs on her wall.
Gene Tierney stars as Laura, the titular character whose image floats through the film as if she were a mythical creature. Dana Andrews stars opposite her as the detective, Clifton Webb is Waldo Lydecker, Vincent Price is Shelby Carpenter, a role that would surprise today’s audiences, and Dorothy Adams is Bessie Clary.
Laura was adapted to screen from the 1943 novel of the same name by Vera Caspary. Directed and Produced by Otto Preminger, Laura is a classic Film Noir making lists of the top Noir’s for years.
While today’s audience may not find themselves as satisfied with the reveal, Laura still stands the test of time. A successful and talented woman is at the helm. Put on a pedestal by all the men, today’s feminist audience may see these male characters in a less than romantic light.
Film Noir has allowed women to take on roles usually reserved for men. After the Hayes Code was instated women typically portrayed the love interest, the wife, or the daughter. Occasionally they got to play roles far more interesting than that and Laura was a role worth having. Gene Tierney is perfect, as it is believable that any man could fall for her on her portrait alone. She has an essence that pours off the screen; her image excites us as she glides through the memories and imaginations of the other characters. While this role puts Tierney in a place of objectification she is also a strong and smart woman who fights against the ideas that men have of her.

 

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Gene Tierney and Vincent Price

Laura could have been created for the young starlet who by this time was best known for her film Heaven Can Wait alongside Don Ameche. While other good roles came before Laura better ones came after. Tierney would go on to star in Leave Her to Heaven alongside Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain and once again, Vincent Price. Vincent Price would appear in a few more roles outside of the genre he is most associated with but would eventually find his home in horror.

 

 

 

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.