You Should Be Watching: September 6-12

Welcome to You Should Be Watching, my weekly opportunity to introduce you to a variety of great films, gems of the past and present, available for you to stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, FilmStruck, and anywhere else streams are found.


STREAMING PICKS OF THE WEEK


The Game

Year: 1997

Director: David Fincher

Genre: Mystery, Drama, Thriller

Cast: Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger, James Rebhorn, Spike Jonze, Anna Katarina, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Carroll Baker, Scott Hunter McGuire, Elizabeth Dennehy, Daniel Schorr, John Aprea, Charles Martinet, Caroline Barclay, Peter Donat, Florentine Mocanu, Kimberly Russell, Gerry Becker

As is common with David Fincher’s films, The Game works on multiple levels. At its surface, it’s a Kafkaesque thriller about a rich investment banker, Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas), a man who has everything. Van Orton receives a unique, well-meaning gift from his estranged brother Conrad (Sean Penn). The gift is access to a new type of personalized game that would integrate into his everyday life and activities, hopefully adding some excitement to it all. But very quickly, Van Orton finds himself trapped in an inescapable nightmare where fiction increasingly becomes his reality.

At a deeper level, Van Orton is a real character. He’s a man who at a young age saw his father commit suicide, which has forever haunted him and overshadowed the choices he would make in life. Now as a middle-aged man, wealthy and estranged from everyone he’s ever loved, he must step up to the mirror of his father and evaluate his life. This reality–the pain, the cynicism, the independent nature along with the fear when his life teeters out of control–affects every nuance of Douglas’ performance.


David and Lisa

Year: 1962

Director: Frank Perry

Genre: Drama, Romance

Cast: Keir Dullea, Janet Margolin, Howard Da Silva, Neva Patterson, Clifton James, Richard McMurray, Nancy Nutter, Mathew Anden, Jaime Sánchez, Coni Hudak, Karen Lynn Gorney, Janet Lee Parker

Famous for playing astronaut Dave Bowman in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, here in only his 2nd film appearance, Keir Dullea as the titular teenager David along with Janet Margolin as Lisa star in this unique, brilliantly acted romantic drama that exemplifies the realities, complications, and horrors of living with mental disorders. Key to making the drama compelling is the detailed character development and compassion shown in Eleanor Perry’s script, and director Frank Perry’s skill in dialing up the tension by taking us into the experience.

David has a genius-level intellect and a strict concept of how things must be ordered, which has made him arrogant and difficult to control, but the threat of a single touch causes him intense fear as he’s convinced it might kill him. He also has terrible recurring nightmares of killing people in surreal ways. Lisa, of much lower IQ, is in a constant battle between herself and an alternate, darker, much more self-assured personality, who can only be kept at bay by rhyming, both by her and by those talking to her. Both find themselves in the care of a mental institution and find themselves drawn to each other, but they have to battle to both understand each other’s difficulties as well as learn to cope with their own if they’re going to make it work.

 


The Thief of Bagdad

    — Expires September 14

Year: 1924

Director: Raoul Walsh

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Family, Romance

Cast: Douglas Fairbanks, Snitz Edwards, Charles Belcher, Julanne Johnston, Sôjin, Anna May Wong, Brandon Hurst, Tote Du Crow, Noble Johnson, Sam Baker, Winter Blossom, Etta Lee, Mathilde Comont, Charles Stevens, Eugene Jackson, Jesse Lasky Jr., David Sharpe, Paul Malvern, Scotty Mattraw, Jess Weldon, K. Nambu

Don’t let the nearly two and a half hour run time of this classic silent adventure fantasy scare you off. This surprisingly fast-paced adaptation of several of the ancient Arabian Nights tales, which was remade for the sound era in 1940, was made by the prolific director Raoul Walsh, whose filmmaking career spanned 51 years and is regarded as Douglas Fairbanks‘ favorite of his performances. It entertains with its variety of locations, exotic set design, colorful characters, delightful special effects, and the creative and intriguing story elements.

Fairbanks plays the lead character Ahmed, a common thief who finds himself on the run from the palace guards after he sees and becomes infatuated with the unnamed princess, played by Julanne Johnston. Stop me if this sounds familiar. Ahmed disguises himself as a prince in an attempt to win her heart and soon finds everything coming up roses, despite the existence of other suitors. That is, until the princess’ Mongol slave, played by oriental siren Anna May Wong discovers Ahmed’s identity, leading to the princess having to beg for his life. It goes on from there with a competitive quest and a flying carpet, a cloak of invisibility, a giant underwater spider, and so on. Douglas Fairbanks is a fun, charismatic actor to watch, and the special effects are impressive, especially for a film that’s nearly 100 years old.


COMING AND GOING


LAST CHANCE (last date to watch)

NETFLIX

September 13
Pete’s Dragon (2016)

September 14
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)
Half Nelson (2006)

September 15
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

September 27
The Imitation Game (2014)

AMAZON PRIME

September 15
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)

September 17
The Witch (2016)

FILMSTRUCK

September 7
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
The Band Wagon (1953)
Giant (1956)
Grand Illusion (1937)
Home from the Hill (1960)
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
Slacker (1990)
Some Came Running (1958)
Steamboat Round the Bend (1935)
Tea and Sympathy (1956)
The Thin Man Series (1934 – 1947)
Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954)

September 14
Advise & Consent (1962)
Easy Rider (1969)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
Fruit of Paradise (1970)
The Night of the Iguana (1964)
A Patch of Blue (1965)
Queen Christina (1933)
Seven Days in May (1964)
Splendor in the Grass (1961)
The Thief of Bagdad (1924)

September 21
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)
Mean Streets (197
Night Moves (1975)

HULU

September 30
American Psycho (2000)
Angel Heart (1987)
Babel (2006)
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Bound (1996)
The Brothers Bloom (2008)
Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
Field of Dreams (1989)
Hoosiers (1986)
The Ladies Man (1961)
Miami Blues (1990)
Rabbit Hole (2010)
The Rock (1996)
Sleepers (1996)
Spaceballs (1987)
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Witness (1985)


JUST ARRIVED

NETFLIX

Black Panther (2018)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Bruce Almighty (2003)
The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
Groundhog Day (1993)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
King Kong (2005)
Lilo & Stitch (2002)
Nacho Libre (2006)
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Scarface (1983)
Unforgiven (1992)

AMAZON PRIME

Chinatown (1974)
Blow Out (1981)
Dressed to Kill (1980)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Ghostbusters 2 (1989)
Hustle & Flow (2005)
Jerry Maguire (1996)
Miami Vice (2006)
Primal Fear (1996)
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
Testament (1983)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

FILMSTRUCK

Cul-de-sac (1966)
Dead Man (1985)
Kes (1969)

HULU

13 Going On 30 (2004)
Adaptation. (2002)
Blow Out (1981)
City of God (2002)
Dressed to Kill (1980)
The English Patient (1996)
Field of Dreams (1989)
The Fly (1986)
Jerry Maguire (1996)
Primal Fear (1996)
Rushmore (1998)
Signs (2002)
Searching for Sugar Man (2012)
Sixteen Candles (1984)
The Terminator (1984)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Unbreakable (2000)
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)


COMING THIS WEEK

NETFLIX

September 7
Next Gen–NETFLIX FILM (2018)
Sierra Burgess Is A Loser–NETFLIX FILM (2018)

September 11
The Resistance Banker–NETFLIX FILM (2018)

September 12
On My Skin–NETFLIX FILM (2018)

AMAZON PRIME

September 8
Stronger (2017)

HULU

September 8
Stronger (2017)


Jacob Neff is a film enthusiast living east of Sacramento. In addition to his contributions as an admin of the Feelin’ Film Facebook group and website, he is an active participant in the Letterboxd community, where his film reviews can be found. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his latest thoughts and shared content.

Episode 117: Ant-Man and the Wasp

This week we are covering the sequel to the 2015 hit, and one of Aaron’s favorite Marvel characters, Ant-Man. It’s got jokes, it’s got heart, and it’s got the word QUANTUM being used more than a few times. We also have a great conversation about the recently released documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

What We’ve Been Up To – 0:00:56

(Aaron & Patrick – Won’t You Be My Neighbor?)

Ant-Man and the Wasp Review – 0:18:50

The Connecting Point – 1:09:03


Contact


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Download this Episode 


Music: Going Higher – Bensound.com

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MOVIE REVIEW: Ant-Man and the Wasp

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018)

2 Hours and 5 Minutes (PG-13)

Riding the summer movie coattails of Avengers: Infinity War, the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Ant-Man And The Wasp. Our lovable insect-sized hero is back in the clutches of the law, struggling to learn how to balance being a father, a business owner and a superhero.

Paul Rudd is back as Scott Lang, the Robin Hood-esque burglar, 2 years after his Civil War appearance in Germany. Having stolen his suit to take part in the battle, Scott landed himself on house arrest; his actions also alienated both Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and her father Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), unintentionally making them criminal conspirators. Having been the only person to go “sub-atomic” and survive, emotions are put aside when Dr. Pym and Hope insert themselves back into Scott’s life to extract any subconscious memories he has of his time in the Quantum Realm. Hope and Hank need Scott’s connection to the Quantum Realm in the hopes of saving Janet van Dyne, the original Wasp, who disappeared there decades ago. Hope suits up as “The Wasp” and this duo is back together just in time to face an enemy more powerful than they’ve ever faced. Ghost (Hannah John-Kaman) is an accidental science experiment who molecular instability allows her to phase through objects, coming in handy when she steals Pym technology for her own means.

Peyton Reed returns to the director’s chair for this sequel, bringing with him the same comedic wit and pure joy that was present in the first film. My favorite thing about the Ant-Man films is that the stakes are relatively high, but they’re not nearly as dire as they are in most MCU movies, where it seems like the fate of the entire universe is always at stake. Scott’s adorably dense yet somehow qualified ex-con friends are back,  played by Michael Peña, T.I. and David Dastmalchian, providing off-beat humor without drawing too much attention from the plot. Character growth was present in Hope and Scott, while we got a small glimpse into the past mistakes Dr. Pym made. At times the script felt like it was lacking in some stylistic ways, which could easily be explained by Edgar Wright not joining the team for this film; some of Rudd’s jokes seemed forced and unnatural, a few scenes seemed rushed without being able to fully play out their potential, etc. However, the fight/stunt scenes were well choreographed, the visual effects were blended seamlessly, and I’m still eager to see what Ant-Man and the Wasp get into next.

Once again, Reed has managed to somehow create a comic heist film but on a much larger scale, blending in elements of science fiction and physics, all while still adhering to the rules within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

PS: There are 2 post-credit scenes: the first, I was definitely not ready for but the second is completely useless and there’s no point in waiting for it.

Rating:


Erynne Hundley is Seattle-based writer and freelance film critic, currently writing and editing articles for Essentially Erynne. She prides herself on crafting spoiler-free film reviews that balance franchise history, stylistic approach, script interpretation, and the emotional turmoil the final piece creates. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram for article updates.

Episode 107: Avengers Infinity War

After 10 years and 18 films, Marvel’s ambitious, unique interconnected world of superhero films comes to this, a team-up movie the likes of which we have never seen before. Historic in its scope and in its box office success, Avengers: Infinity War is a special blockbuster and one that provides plenty to discuss. We’ve been chomping at the bit to talk about this one, its place in the MCU, and where Marvel goes from here.

Avengers: Infinity War Review – 0:02:33

The Connecting Point – 01:27:30


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Music: Going Higher – Bensound.com

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Rate/Review us on iTunes and on your podcast app of choice! It helps bring us exposure so that we can get more people involved in the conversation. Thank you!

MOVIE REVIEW: Avengers: Infinity War

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018)

2 Hours and 29 Minutes (PG-13)

Marvel and The Russo Brothers had a very daunting task before them. Paying off the culmination of a decade of build-up and backstory, stretching over 18 films, is a challenge unlike any studio or director in Hollywood had ever faced. And to accomplish this feat, they worked with what has to be the largest cast of known stars ever assembled for a movie. The ambition of Marvel and its commitment to the cinematic universe it pioneered is worthy of praise and respect.

If there’s one thing I was looking for in Avengers: Infinity War, it was raised stakes. Much like the comic books these films are based on (in which characters rarely die and cities are destroyed without much afterthought), Marvel films have not fully dealt with loss in a way that seems realistic. Right from the start of Infinity War, though, Marvel makes it very clear that has changed. The potential consequences of a Thanos (Josh Brolin) victory are evident and the film progresses with an emotional weight and sense of urgency that it could not have attained if the studio followed its same old formula. This also creates much more investment in characters and the worlds they inhabit, and thus pays off quite a few very moving scenes in a much bigger way. If you haven’t cried in a Marvel movie before, you’re not alone, but this may be your first. I had genuine chills a few different times. But don’t worry, that trademark Marvel humor and witty one-liners are still there and won’t have you depressed for too long at a time.

Another area that Marvel outdoes previous films in their own franchise is with Thanos himself. Make no mistake, this is his film and his story. He is a fully developed villain with more screen time than any before him, and it helps to create a character with whom the audience can both despise and yet struggle with feelings of empathy for. Brolin’s talent is very obvious in this performance despite the incredible looking CGI that encompasses him. His Thanos is not just some loud, angry, destructive villain. He is intelligent and calculating. He is nuanced. He is cold, yes, but when he gives his reasons for what he wants to do with the Infinity Stones and why, in a very warped way it makes some sense. His presence as the foil to the Avengers and Guardians gives this film something unique and memorable.

With a cast this large it is inevitable that not everyone’s favorite will have the responsibility or amount of action they hope for. The Russo’s do an admirable job of balancing these heroes, however, and somehow left me feeling satisfied. Sure, a little more backstory or deeper character moments for them all would be nice, but it’s also unrealistic to expect in a single film of this length. By managing to give everyone at least one small moment in the sun, the Russo’s succeed where I believe many would have failed. Another result of keeping most character development small is that the film moves fast, pausing a few times for majorly impactful storyline beats, but mostly cutting between different groups of heroes working to accomplish different tasks. By keeping the heroes in smaller groups, we get to feel more focused when we’re with them, and enjoy the new forms of dialogue that emerge between characters who previously had not interacted.

The action in Avengers: Infinity War is, as expected, fantastic. Seeing heroes fight together with new gear and weapons, or teaming up in ways never experienced by movie goers before, was a huge treat. In one major battle that involves a host of heroes and countless alien attackers, the Silvestri score and rising stakes create a feeling similar to that in the Battle of the Pelennor Field from The Return of the King. While Avengers: Infinity War never quite reaches that level of epic, it comes much closer than many (myself included) ever thought possible.

VERDICT

If you’re thinking that this review is a but vague, please know that is by design. Fans have waited 10 years for this and going in with as little information possible is going to result in the best viewing experience. Avengers: Infinity War isn’t entirely unpredictable, but it’s got some surprises too. The historic puzzle that the Russo Brothers have put together is nothing short of amazing and will lend itself to multiple viewings. Perhaps that’s the highest praise possible for a film of this kind, that after it finished I immediately would have sat through those 2.5+ hours again. To sum it all up, Avengers: Infinity War lived up to the hype by being both entertaining and emotional. Well done, Marvel. Well done.

Rating:


Aaron White is a Seattle-based film critic and co-creator/co-host of the Feelin’ Film Podcast. He is also a member of the Seattle Film Critics Society. He writes reviews with a focus on how his expectations influenced his experience. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when new content is posted.