Netflix, I’m leaving you

Netflix, I’m leaving you

Dear Netflix,

You were the one.

You were the scrappy upstart, the daring pioneer, the one who put established movies, TV shows and  unique content together, showing me that life without cable didn’t have to be all about streaming movies and shows off of dicey websites and downloading files under threat of jail and insidious malware.

You were the one. I went legit for you.

Oh, you delivered. Some of my happiest times were spent on the couch with you and take-out food. We were good together, you and I. We were happy in each other’s company. You were a part of me, knowing what I wanted before I did, keeping a list for me. You never forgot anything and were always solicitous, suggesting things I might want to see based on something I’d already seen before. We were perfect. We were beautiful.

Netflix, I’m leaving you.

It’s the bajillion movies and TV shows you’ve come up with in the past two years, 90% of which are kind of … garbage.

It’s all the comedy specials I don’t think I’ll ever find the time to see.

It’s the suggestions that make no sense.

It’s the enthusiasm for auto-play, which I didn’t mind at first, but slowly began to resent.

It’s my dwindling attention span.

It’s not you, it’s me.

It’s inflation.

It’s the unjustifiable price increase.

Netflix, you put She-ra in shorts. Shorts.

It’s not me, it’s you.

It’s both of us.

Netflix, I’m leaving you. I’m leaving you for Crave. Crave has HBO, and movies I want to see. Movies I want to see right now, anyway.

Thanks for the memories, Netflix. Le Hubs thanks you for the complete seasons of X-files (before you pulled it) and the complete seasons of The Office. I thank you for the complete seasons of House, M.D. (that I never got around to watching again, damnit), the first three seasons of Orange is the New Black, the awesomeness that used to be House of Cards, the first season of Daredevil, the gloriousness that is The Crown,  and finally, for introducing Jo Koy to the world.

In closing, we both thank you for Black Mirror and Stranger Things. It’s been fun, and a helluva lot of bandwidth. I have no regrets.

All the best,

Me

Mary Poppins Returns, and so do the Nineties, Yay!

Today is a pretty good day for trailers you guys, even if it does seem rather early in the week for Flashback Friday. But never mind all that, there’s things to see, starting with the nanny we all wish we had…

Mary Poppins Returns

The Banks children are all grown up and overwhelmed by the stresses of adulting, so naturally their former nanny comes back to add a spoonful of sugar into their dreary lives. It seems slightly sacrilegious to admit I’m probably going to throw money at this thing, especially when we all know there can only be one Mary Poppins, and that’s Miss Julie Andrews. Forgive me for going, Miss Julie, but it looks… interesting? Fine, it looks like a boatload of fun, with re-imagined themes that bring us right back to the original, from the nostalgia-inducing kite and giant clock to escapist adventures replete  with old-timey technicolor animation. While I’m sure a number of Hamilton fans are plotzing over Lin-Manuel Miranda, I’m in this for Ben Whishaw and Emily Blunt, who always seems to  make everything better with that posh British accent. Also, Colin Firth, who does makes everything better, but is not in…

Captain Marvel

Never fear, Jude Law is there to represent the Brits. Speaking of nostalgic 90’s movies, Marvel Studios wastes no time going all-in on the best decade ever (the nineties rules and everything else is trash, I’m clearly biased, don’t @ me!) by having the titular heroine crash land into a Blockbuster in the first official trailer for Captain Marvel. More than just a big Flashback Friday moment, it could also be a cheeky reference to how all the Marvel movies have been blockbusters. Kevin Feige, you sly dog. Anyhowitzer, here’s hoping that bit becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because it does look sorta/kinda/maybe boring? I’m not sure how I feel about this trailer.  I do know it didn’t make me scream and abuse the replay button the way I did for Avengers: Infinity War. I also know zilch about Captain Marvel, and in the interest of not spoiling the experience, have resolved to avoid further research. We shall see what we shall see.

Random YouTube K-hole: Thespians Thesping Thespily

Random YouTube K-hole: Thespians Thesping Thespily

August is coming around the bend like a freight train, and the year is more than halfway through. I’m getting whiplash just watching the months pass by. Where’d all that time go? The summer blockbusters have come and gone and true to form, the Oscar contenders are lining up for the fall season, where everyone is expected to do an about-face from frivolous explosions and superheroes to grown-up adult fare. No, not me. Everyone else.

Still, I’m up for a few serious dramas, just to cleanse my palate and remind myself that I am an adult and not everything needs to be Marvel-inspired. Full disclosure, I’m not the best at catching up with award-season contenders; I end up waiting for them to hit Netflix or go on sale on iTunes (i.e. I, Tonya, Three Billboards). So here are a few I just might watch, with emphasis on the word might:

First Man – Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy / D: Damien Chazell

I’m on the fence about this one. On the one hand, Claire Foy! On the other, The Gosling being all method and things. I’m not a big fan when The Gosling goes all method and things, I prefer him standing in front of Steve Carrell with his schwantz hanging out, teaching him how to pick up women. Or standing in the rain, proclaiming how much he’s not over someone. Damien Chazell brought us singing, dancing, tortured artist Gosling via La La Land, and now he’s bringing us studying, practicing tortured pilot Gosling as Neil Armstrong in First Man. Do I really want to see another behind-the-scenes reimagining of the events that lead to some major NASA space mission, even if it does have Claire Foy, who makes everything better? I’m torn.

Beautiful Boy – Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet / D: Felix Van Groeningen

Speaking of Mr. Carell, he’s in Beautiful Boy, as a loving father who doesn’t quite know how to fix his tortured son in a film by Felix Van Groeningen. How could Steve Carell have dysfunctional children? There’s just no way. Not in my head. Anyway, if like me you’re scratching your head, unfamiliar with anything Felix Van Groeningen has done, IMDB says he’s a Belgian director, which could be the reason I haven’t seen his films. (It’s films in Europe, because they’re classy and mature. Which makes Felix Van Groeningen an auteur, thankyouverymuch.) Anyway, here’s sweet, tormented young boy of the moment Timothée Chalamet – who last made a splash as a sweet, tormented young boy in Call Me By Your Name – as yet another sweet, tormented young boy with what looks like white people problems. Someone’s being seriously typecast, you guys.

Mary, Queen of Scots – Saiorse Ronan, Margot Robbie / D: Josie Rourke

Accents? Check. Period drama? Check. Costume extravaganza? Check. This, I am definitely on board with Like Claire Foy, Saiorse Ronan is great in everything she does, and this should be an interesting clash of queens – one who followed her heart, and the other who followed her head.

Young, pretty, the former queen of France, Mary, Queen of Scots’ claim to the throne of England lay in her descent from the sister of Henry VIII, which made her and Elizabeth I first cousins. As Elizabeth I was seen by some as a bastard and, despite her clear resemblance to her father Henry VII, by some as a product of Anne Boleyn’s alleged affair with her lute player, her claim to the throne was precarious in the eyes of the French and the Scots, who were allied through Mary’s first marriage to the Dauphin. This is for anyone who loves the Tudors and a good old-fashioned catfight, and I’m all in on this one!

Ant-Man and the Wasp: the Stinging Sequel

Ant-Man and the Wasp: the Stinging Sequel

I saw a joke about The Wasp that was floating around Twitter a few weeks ago involving Armie Hammer. Specifically that Armie Hammer should play The Wasp because he’s a WASP so he should be The Wasp.

*crickets*

Well that fell flat and it read better as a Twitter post which I can no longer find the link to, so let’s just shrug it off and move on, shall we? Ant-Man is back and this time he’s brought a partner! But before I get into the whys and wheretofores, a quick multiple choice doubling as refresher course:

Paul Rudd is:

  • an ageless vampire
  • the guy who played Josh in Clueless
  • the winner of the same genetic lottery as Keanu Reeves
  • all of the above

I used to think aging like fine wine was only limited to Sean Connery, but Paul Rudd, who is just a year shy of fifty, is still hot, still funny and just fiiiinnneee, girlfriend.  Paul Rudd can. I would let Paul Rudd, but Paul Rudd would definitely not let me, and neither would my lawfully wedded spouse if we’re being entirely honest here, so I’ll just have to settle for crumbs by paying the entry fee at the local Cineplex to see him as Ant-Man. Who says money can’t buy everything?

I loved the first Ant-Man movie. It sits right in the top five of my mental list of best Marvel Studio offerings, next to the first Iron Man and Thor: Ragnarok. So I came prepared to be amazed and left the theatre a trifle disappointed, which made me sort of wonder: is Marvel losing its touch? Is Ant-Man and The Wasp a victim of the dreaded sophomore slump?

Now that I’ve had some time to ruminate,  I realize it doesn’t quite feel like a Marvel movie because the stakes are refreshingly small. In Thor: Ragnarok, Asgard was at stake. In Black Panther, it was the future of Wakanda. In Avengers: Infinity War, it was the existence of Earth and everyone who lives in it. After that crazy collision of galaxies, superheroes and mystical jewels/ingots/McGuffins, we’re suddenly in San Francisco, where the only things at stake are a magically shrinking building and an electronic part available on the black market. (Cue the always arresting Walton Goggins as one of the baddies: “I got the lab!”).  It’s peanuts. And that’s the genius of Ant-Man as a superhero.

Ant-Man is all about scale. It’s life viewed from the perspective of someone who can grow and shrink at will, and it’s the little things that make it funny, like blowing up a Hello Kitty Pez dispenser and using it to wreak havoc through the streets of San Francisco. At it’s core, Ant-Man is really a story about an ex-con who really, truly, wants to make good and be a good dad but somehow life keeps getting in his way.

Slight spoilers ahead, read at your own risk!

Continue reading “Ant-Man and the Wasp: the Stinging Sequel”

The first fifteen minutes of Infinity Wars, in a running commentary that’s as spoiler-free as I can make it

The first fifteen minutes of Infinity Wars, in a running commentary that’s as spoiler-free as I can make it

And he went through so much to save them.

Noooooo! 

Sige, Taylor Swift pa more.

Is it over? Is the Gwyneth gone?

Ha! These two with their zingers flying. 

(No, that was not a euphemism.)

These zingers are fun. 

Who wrote these zingers?

Zingers. Zingers everywhere. 

“We’re all gonna die!”

New York City bus drivers, they’ve seen everything.

 

I’m seeing this movie again.

A quick run-through of my initial reaction to the official trailer of Avengers: Infinity War

The official trailer for Avengers: Infinity War has been released, and I just realized I feel  the way I used to feel catching a featured music video from an upcoming movie on MTV. Why? because I’m old and music videos used to function as unofficial trailers. Anyway.  It’s here!

I have no idea how many times I’ve hit replay because that thunderous Avengers theme is so emotionally manipulative, I don’t know where to begin. Or maybe I have all the feels because I’m revisiting how much money I’ve spent on the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the past ten years and this April I might end up spending even more. If the movie is as great as its trailer, I just might watch it a couple more times. Or five. It’s like the MCU is a goddamn annual subscription or something, you guys.

(It is.)

So, a few things:

Are we 100% convinced that Thanos is Josh Brolin and not Bruce Willis in Smurf drag?

thanos.gif

Teen Groot!

teen groot.gif

Rocket Raccoon and the fervent hope that Pepper Potts doesn’t appear anywhere in this movie!

rocket raccoon

Doctor Strange as the 1% who want to know where the hell Hawkeye is and his adversary as the rest of us who don’t give a rat’s arse!

stephen strange.gif

And lastly, but not leastly, I expect the mandatory Marvel superhero heaving beefcake shots to be on a strict 1:1 ratio.  Or this happens.

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Sorry, paying customer here. It’s only fair.

Sleeping With Swamp Thing

Sleeping With Swamp Thing

I was looking forward to The Shape of Water, something Le Hubs and I have been planning to go see, but through a combination of factors – chief of them being apathy because it’s winter – didn’t really get to see until yesterday.

The Shape of Water, which, by del Toro’s confession, came from his obsession with the Creature from the Black Lagoon, is the story of what would happen if the girl ends up with the creature. It doesn’t help that the creature – referred to as “The Asset” – looks so much like Abe Sapien from Hellboy, it’s hard to silence the voice in my head screaming “origin story!” (For the record, I wasn’t the only one doing this.)

Set in the Cold War era, Elisa (Sally Hawkins, here a soundless tour-de-force) is a cleaner who works for a top-secret government institution whose main goal is to outstrip the Russians in the race for space dominance. She’s mute, lives above a movie theatre and has friends who are full of spunk: a gay BFF (Richard Jenkins) and a sassy black woman (Octavia Spencer, earning every inch of that Oscar cred) at work. Her life is a routine, and she seems content. Well, content enough. Whatever frustrations she may have are exorcised in her bathtub  before her morning even begins.

A story isn’t a story unless something happens, so of course something happens to Elisa, in the form of a mysterious tank brought in one day by Strickland (Michael Shannon, channeling that intense menace as always) who turns out to be the worst sort of alpha male. Twisted, racist and brutal, Strickland is dismissive of and yet inexplicably turned on by, imperfection.

The tank holds The Asset, an amphibious humanoid (Abe Sapien!) caught in the wilds of the Amazon and dragged to America for dissection because scientists need answers for allowing astronauts to breathe in space. Elisa meets The Asset (Abe Sapien!) and feels sorry for him. She decides to keep him company during her lunch break, and their unlikely bond is formed by  hard boiled eggs and classic oldies. Despite The Asset (Abe Sapien!) having a bulge as unobtrusive as a Ken doll, there are clearly sparks which lead to the inevitable.

Other things happen of course, as they must, because stories have to have beginnings, middles, and ends. There’s a beautifully evocative scene involving some towels and taps that are allowed to run. Stripped of everything, The Shape of Water celebrates love in its purest form, where looks don’t matter, shortcomings are overlooked and physical barriers are swept aside, the way humans have improbable sex with dinosaurs in those crazy erotic fiction novels that actually exist.  But having effectively silenced “Abe Sapien Origins!” the voice had popped up again, squeaking things like “monster porn!” and “slimy, slithery, splendid!”, the possible mechanics of this particular scenario so distracting, it messed with my ability to appreciate the movie  for how visually striking and remarkably tender it really is.

Maybe this was because I didn’t go in expecting a love story. That’s on me, for ignoring every obvious marker and breathless movie blurb. To be fair, I never expect a romance when it comes to Guillermo del Toro. Not even when it’s marketed as one. (Exhibit A: Crimson Peak.) To watch a Guillermo del Toro film is to surrender to the clutches of the visionary equivalent of Edgar Allan Poe, even when he goes full-on Technicolor with something like Pacific Rim. It’s the dance of the dark, and the sinister, everything imbued with the sweet scent of rot that seeps through his work. If there’s any sort of romance to be had from del Toro, it’s the deep and abiding love he has for the macabre.

 

Artwork by James Jean, by way of the official website of The Oscars