What is stream viewing like outside of the obvious choices? Remember the days when people use to rent movies at Blockbuster, or if you’re older – Video Ezy? Or how about that short lived era of DVD kiosks and vending machines?
We’re seeing alot of old favorites come back across many of our favorite streaming platforms as we see the effects of last year’s extended lockdowns and some of the restrictions that still remain today across the world that shut down many production houses. New content to stream is becoming rare as streaming platforms cleverly cover up the holes left behind. New release dates of features and series are delayed as platforms play on our nostalgia as classics get a new lease of life.
Now there’s a bit of a mixed bag here, but if it’s originality you’re after, come into it with an open mind.
F.E.A.R. – FORGET EVERYTHING AND RUN – takes the old overdone zombie genre into a new playing field by letting its audience invest in its characters. Straying away from the typical formula, Zombies provide the backdrop to world where resources have become scarce. Looting, murder and robbery are a daily threat to the Allister family who fight to survive in a world now ravaged by a mysterious disease that turns people into cannibalising zombies. Days of Our Lives fans and Dead to Me Fans will enjoying seeing a different side to the acting chops of Marci Miller and Jason Tobias who play the hardened matriarch and patriarch of the family fending off their fellow man, now reduced to its most primal instincts.
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HAPPILY is available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime and it is a thinker… If your’e after a film that’s low key, non-sensical and cinematically beautiful with gaping holes in the script, do it. There’s a very awkward logic to this story that introduces ideas without fully developing them. A potentially great ensemble has also been underused, with little room for characters to develop leaving some key moments without the satisfying resolution they should have had. However, in saying that, it’s a non-intensive watch requiring little effort to process as viewers are thrown pieces of a puzzle that doesn’t fully get put together by the ending credits.
Community’s, Joel McHale plays a cartoon-like character of the perfect husband, Tom. Somehow the chemistry he manages to find with co-star Kerry Bishe, who plays wife Janet, brings a cynical sense of realism as they’re surrounded by resentful friends who find it impossible to fathom their deliriously happy and fertile marriage after fourteen years. Seems simple enough, until we get pulled into a vortex out of Netflix’s Black Mirror where anything goes really. Supporting ensemble standout, Natalie Morales, we know from, Netflix’s ‘Dead to Me’ and ‘Santa Clarita Diet’, so there’s no disappointment in her performance given what she had to play with.
It’s difficult to understand what the point of the story was here as it leads with the idea that marriage is destined to become a state of complacency and misery, before introducing an unexplained architect and puppet master that imprisons Tom and Janet in a luxury mansion for a circle of trust therapy session. Did we lose you? Yeh, there’s alot of that in this. Unexplained resentment between characters, serious issues of domestic violence which we weren’t particularly invested enough in to appreciate by the end, and a sex-deprived housewife that flew under the radar for most of the film turning out to be the catalyst for much of the deception the group’s captor was wanting everyone to confess. It’s confusing, with so many pitchforks in the road, and the film fails to tie it all together, let alone make believable a longstanding relationship and history with this group of people. This was a film, I didn’t have to watch, but there will be some appreciation value for McHale and Bishe fans most definitely, despite the film failing to mesh comedy, horror and romance together.
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Depending on where you are, PORTALS which was renamed in some countries as DOORS. The film strings together multiple stories that revolve around the alien lifeform appearance of doors that appear across the world. It attempts to do what, Crisis did earlier this year,in terms of the narrative, however each short story operates independently from each other.
It’s the provocative notion of science fiction and alien life that piques our interest when playing on some familiar notes many of its viewers will be able to relate to as a result of the pandemic experience that has recently been lived through. The doors / portals are a situation that stops the world, has no explanation, and yet seems to be taking over as populations see millions of their people disappearing when they are mysteriously summoned into the doors, never to beheard from again. Those that do return, are portrayed as stoic gurus.
Give it about twenty minutes, because that’s where you begin to see the potential in this film if you’re willing to overlook a few things as, Josh Peck (Fuller House) and Lina Esco (S.W.A.T. and Kingdom) take the stage and show us exactly what the film is trying to do as they work the thriller element of this film in spades.
What makes this an easy watch are the short glimpses into the different perspectives of the global phenomenon the film revolves around, giving us enough room to not only question the existence of extraterrestrial life, but a motive and purpose for their arrival. It offers a self reflection to the rationale of the current destructiveness of humanity, stitching ideas of parallel universes together with the idea of a collective human consciousness. An exciting proposition which holds its own as a science fiction thriller.
Jamal’s (Kyp Malone, Never Back Down) story of first contact offers a realistic highlight despite an unclear ending.
It may not be strong enough to compel serious science geeks, but has components creating a melting pot for fans of films like Sliding Doors and series like Sense8. By independent movie standards, it’s a pretty strong attempt.
What is it about Jonthan Rhys Meyers? He seems to be bringing the same character with him everytime he pops up on our screen. From King Henry VIII on The Tudors to Largatha’s Season 5 toyboy on Vikings, Bishop Heahmund he plays another old-English speaking patriarch and historial icon in the form of Sir James Brook in EDGE OF THE WORLD and somehow manages to just keep it fresh. We can’t speak for historical accuracy here, but it’s an interesting story about a Western explore who becomes a ruler and Sultan of South East Asian country, Brunei. Brunei was under the jurisdiction of the British empire from the late nineteenth century until it gained independence in 1984. There’s some interesting themes of social hierachy, culture differences, brutality and politics that make this character driven piece a great watch.
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