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Press Play? Netflix Instant Reviews: Price Check, Safety Not Guaranteed, Keep the Lights On, and The Awakening

August 2, 2013
awakening dollhouse

Who doesn’t love a creepy dollhouse?!

Press Play?” posts are mini-reviews of movies currently (as of the date posted) playing on Netflix Instant that may help you determine whether it’s worth a slot in your queue.

The Awakening: Not remotely related to the Kate Chopin story. This stars Rebecca Hall (aka Oh Yeah, THAT Lady) as ghost-debunker in the late 1940s who is drawn out to investigate a creepy boys boarding school by a skeptic who needs her to explain what is causing the strange goings-on. A very classic ghost-story with jump scares you see coming but STILL make you shout, it’s beautifully shot and aside from a plot falter near the end, managed to surprise me and even warrant the desire to re-watch it someday to see how it holds up knowing the answers to the puzzle…..but not for awhile, it was too chilling. If you liked The Orphanage (2007), you’ll most likely enjoy this. Bonus points for Dominic West and Imelda Staunton. [4 1/2 stars] Read more…

Who Is That Actor: Bruce Davison

August 1, 2013


Bruce Davison is not a total unknown, considering he was nominated for an Oscar for his role Longtime Companion which includes one of my favorite cinematic death scenes, but he might not be a household name for everyone, so it’s time for him to make an appearance in our series. Read more…

Goodbye, Mrs. Peacock

July 30, 2013

Sad news from Hollywood, legendary comedic actress Eileen Brennan has passed away.

Brash, hilarious and infinitely talented, Brennan was in that rare breed of actress who had it all. Her rubbery face could morph into any expression the character needed. Above all else, Breenan was actor whose sole concern was character. And her “La Vie en Rose” wasn’t bad either. Read more…

Why aren’t British films considered foreign by the Oscars?

July 30, 2013


Yesterday I was reading this article from called “Why Do Americans and Brits Have Different Accents?” (h/t Gwynne Garfinkle). It’s a question I’ve thought randomly through the years but never researched.

What’s surprising, though, is that Hollywood costume dramas get it all wrong: The Patriots and the Redcoats spoke with accents that were much closer to the contemporary American accent than to the Queen’s English. It is the standard British accent that has drastically changed in the past two centuries, while the typical American accent has changed only subtly.

So wait, all these films taking place in ancient Rome, Egypt, Germany….they didn’t have British accents in the 16th century? But seriously, it is sort of amusing that we spent all that energy to break free of the colonizers only to later take on their accents as the standard norm for period pieces. This also reminded me of a question our blog has gotten in the past: with regards to the Oscars, why aren’t British films considered foreign? Read more…

Talk Amongst Yourselves: Orange Is the New Black

July 29, 2013


Netflix has arrived for real, getting Emmy nominations last week for it’s first original series, House of Cards. (How long did it take HBO to get in that gate? I’m sure there’s been a few water cooler talks starting with “back in MY day….”). I liked HoC, mostly because of Robin Wright and her character, though the plot got a little shakey by the end so I worry for the 2nd season. Then came Hemlock Grove which was so bad it made me SO ANGRY, though I stupidly watched the whole thing just to see if they’d fix or improve anything (spoiler: they didn’t). Of course there was the much anticipated new season of Arrested Development which also didn’t do it for me – I watched a marathon of it one weekend while puttering around when I had the house to myself, and for some reason after episode 9, my player decided to jump to the final episode and I hit play and didn’t realize the mistake until AFTER THE SHOW WAS OVER. The ‘style’ of the season was to basic show every scene from 5 different angles when it was only kinda funny the second, the plot was drawn out and beat to death, and so I seriously didn’t notice at all that I’d managed to watch the finale in the middle. That sums it up a few of the show’s problems.

Then along came Orange Is the New Black. I was nervous, because Weeds made me angry, but I still had hope, plus I felt like I had to tune in to one of the few instances on television when a trans actor plays a trans character. Shocking! The episode was meh, because it was mostly about Blondie (aka Dandelion aka Piper) but it had enough juice to get me to keep going. So I came for Laverne Cox, but I stayed for Uzo Aduba, Kate Mulgrew, Lea DeLaria, Natasha Lyonne, Michelle Hurst, got won over by Laura Prepon and newcomers Yael Stone and Dascha Polanco, and managed to ignore Jason Biggs (he did serve a purpose, in a way).

We watched all 14 episodes in approximately 6 days. Then I wanted to talk about it! Read more…

FOUND! “Open Open Open.”

July 27, 2013

One thing about the internet is if you wait around long enough, eventually something you’re looking for will get uploaded onto youtube. For years I quoted the “open open open” lady from the Mervyn’s ads in certain contexts (like looking through a glass window) but eventually people stopped laughing and instead looked at me strange, they had no idea the reference.

I finally found the Mervyn’s lady!

and again here: Read more…

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