All posts tagged: Netflix

Watch “The Wolfpack” – A Mesmerizing Documentary That’s Available on Netflix

Directed by Crystal Moselle, The Wolfpack journey’s into the secluded lives of six brothers who had non-traditional upbringings, characterized by a severe lack of connection to the outside world. In order to escape the confines of their Lower East Side Manhattan apartment (which some years, they didn’t leave at all), the brothers watched and recreated their favorite movies. The Wolfpack is an exceptional documentary about extraordinary young filmmakers who harnessed their oppression as a means of creative power. They maybe grew up sheltered, but their intelligence and appetite for creation seems to outshine the effects of their seclusion. To see the world through their eyes – at times lost, sometimes disillusioned, but above all, hopeful – is a gift unto itself. The Wolfpack, which is available on Netflix, is an absolute must-see film. It embodies so much of what I love about documentaries; not only are the viewers allowed a glimpse into the peculiar lives of “The Wolfpack” and their family, but we are given, if briefly, a chance to rediscover the outside world and bask in its infinite possibilities. After you watch The Wolfpack, be sure to check out their short …

If You Care About Our Environment, Then You Must Watch “Cowspiracy”

As a vegetarian for the past decade or so, I’ve been well aware of the ethical implications of eating meat, but I was never fully educated on the extreme impact animal agriculture has on our environment. About a month ago I decided to become vegan for three reasons: animal welfare (because eating dairy and eggs causes just as much harm to animals as eating meat does), the positive impact a vegan lifestyle has on the environment, and for health reasons. I was inspired by a number of vegans on YouTube (who I will post about in a few weeks), and documentaries available on Netflix, but watching Cowspiracy has cemented my decision more than anything else. The truth of the matter is, if you want to leave a planet for our children and our children’s children to thrive on, then we need to start making changes. There is so much that the general public isn’t aware of when it comes to animal agriculture, pollution, and sustainability, but the information is out there and we do have the power to make a difference. If you think of …

Brief Thoughts on Netflix & Other Streaming Services

In a recent interview with Vulture, Quentin Tarantino voiced his opposition to streaming on a small screen: “It’s just a generational thing, but that doesn’t mean I’m not depressed by it. The idea that somebody’s watching my movie on a phone, that’s very depressing to me.” Though I believe that nothing trumps absorbing a film in a dark theater with your loved ones sharing the experience with you, or even just alone, it seems that having the chance to watch at home has fortified our ever-evolving relationship with media. We can now watch movies or shows in bed, on a plane, or in a car. One could argue that this new way of watching has destroyed the experience a little (and the intentions of the medium itself), and maybe that’s true, but one could also assert that it has strengthened the relationship between the viewer and what they’re viewing. Accessibility and intimacy has revolutionized media. Our role as audience members is less formal, and in many ways more powerful. We consume in a manner that has muscled its way into our day-to-day life. Watching something …

Countdown to ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Wet Hot American Summer. It was a wet, hot, Tucson summer, and my friends and I decided to check out this movie we had never heard of that was playing at a cult classics screening at The Loft Cinema, a southern Arizona staple. Earlier in the day I glanced at the film’s IMDb page (what a cast!) and watched the trailer, and in that moment, I knew I had found my newest comedic obsession. Needless to say, I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT. Now I try to watch WHAS at least once a year, and I’ve subsequently also fallen in love with David Wain/Michael Showalter’s newest gem, They Came Together. So when I heard WHAS was going to be made into a Netflix Original Series, I was BEYOND ECSTATIC. Anyhoo, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp premieres on Netflix tomorrow. I’m going to be out-of-town for the weekend, but as soon as I return, I’m diving right in. I don’t want to binge too hard, because I enjoy savoring a show, but we’ll see how my attempts …

Unsettling & Beautiful: “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”

I’m not one for reviewing movies, so lets call this a brief one-sided discussion in which you are welcome to join in the comment section below. A few weeks ago I watched Lily Ana Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night because it was available on Netflix and I remembered reading such great things about it after its 2014 Sundance premiere. The reason I wanted to write a bit about Amirpour’s film is because it felt so new and original to me that it demanded a post of its own. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night takes place in a close-to-empty Iranian town called Bad City. The film’s tone is new wave cool, with a spaghetti western vibe and a vampire-horror theme. Although her style of filmmaking is clearly influenced by many genres, I believe Amirpour’s film transcends all genre stereotypes. With A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, I felt like I was watching something important unfold before my eyes. It’s one of those films, like 8 1/2 or Mulholland Drive, that’s iconic the very moment it’s completed. I want to hear from you! What did you think about A …

Netflix Recommendations: From Poland to North Korea

Ida Directed by → Pawel Pawlikowski Written by → Pawel Pawlikowski and Rebecca Lenkiewicz Starring → Agata Kulesza and Agata Trzebuchowska Synopsis → “Anna, a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland, is on the verge of taking her vows when she discovers a dark family secret dating back to the years of the Nazi occupation.” Why I enjoyed it → If you can’t handle deeply depressing films, then Ida is not for you. But if you can, and you enjoy simple story telling and stunning cinematography, then you should give it a shot. Ida is one of the saddest movies I’ve seen in recent memory, but it is so well done that I found myself in complete awe of its beauty. It is unadorned on the surface, but vast in its emotional impact. The austere simplicity of the art direction and cinematography, spectacularly raw performances, and gut-wrenchingly sorrowful story that somehow remains hopeful, makes it one of the best films of 2013. Inequality for All  Directed by → Jacob Kornbluth Synopsis → “A documentary that follows former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich as he looks to raise awareness of the country’s widening economic …

Standout Performances of the Year

In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite performances of the year based on what films and television shows I watched in 2014. What performances stood out to you this year? Chadwick Boseman (Get on Up) → Although Get on Up had its flaws, Chadwick Boseman’s performance as James Brown was practically flawless. I believe he deserves an Oscar nomination, but unfortunately that’s not likely to happen. Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel) → Ralph Fiennes is delightful as Mr. Gustave H. I could watch The Grand Budapest Hotel an infinite amount of times and never get tired of his dapper and charming character. Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”) → Kevin Spacey is Kevin Spacey, so he’s basically amazing in anything and everything, but there’s something special about his role as Frank Underwood. When he breaks the fourth wall and talks to you in that smooth southern accent, it’s awfully scary and spectacular. Reese Witherspoon (Wild) → Reese Witherspoon is a great actress and truly takes the audience somewhere deep and personal in Wild. Matthew McConaughey (“True Detective”) → Rust Cohle is possibly the most dark …

Netflix Recommendations: Recent Releases

Happy Christmas → In wonderful Joe Swanberg fashion, Happy Christmas feels so real because it is. The dialogue was completely improvised and the production was filmed in Swanberg’s home and stars both him and is actual baby son. How cool is that?! Baby Swanberg is so entertaining that he’s enough of a reason to see Happy Christmas, but everything else about the film is quite wonderful too. Jenny (Anna Kendrick) is a somewhat careless twenty-something-year-old who comes to Chicago to live with her brother Jeff (Joe Swanberg) and his wife Kelly (Melanie Lynskey). Her arrival totally shakes things up and makes for a great story about the responsibilities that come with growing up and the importance of making personal happiness a priority, even in the face of adversity. I also enjoyed Lena Dunham’s playful role in the film as Kelly’s slightly more stable friend, Carson. Happy Christmas will definitely be on my Favorite Films of 2014 list!   The One I Love → Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elizabeth Moss) have a marriage that was once fun and loving, but is now falling apart. In an attempt …

Netflix Recommendations: Oldies But Goodies

  Some are far older than others, but listed below are some of my favorite films on Netflix that have been around for awhile. Enjoy, and please be sure to share your recommendations in the comment section below. Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) is a feature film by Jim Jarmusch which consists of 11 short vignettes. Each vignette features coffee and cigarettes, and when assembled together many carry similar themes throughout the feature. Not only do I find Coffee and Cigarettes to be quite visually compelling, but the performances and absurdity of each scene is truly entertaining. Thematically, there’s a lot going on in this film, and it was interesting to read different analyses of each scene and the film as a whole after watching. The cast is a wonderfully mixed group of actors and musicians, including Bill Murray, GZA, RZA, Cate Blanchett, Meg and Jack White, Steve Coogan, and Iggy Pop, among countless others.   The Fisher King (1991) is part fantasy, comedy, and drama. Directed by Terry Gilliam and written by Richard LaGravenese, the film stars Jeff Bridges as a radio DJ who tries …