Streaming Gems – Marlon (Season 1 available on Netflix)

Marlon

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I watched a show with Marlon Wayans in it unironically and it’s 2018… What is happening? There are certainly some bits, stereotypes, and tropes in this show that come through and show Wayans comedic roots, but this feels like a matured version of the actor we saw in flicks such as White Chicks, Little Man, and Scary Movie.  That isn’t to say that he still doesn’t play on some racial stereotypes a bit too heavy-handedly.

More in the vein of The Wayans Bros., where the two really broke through to the next level of celebrity.  Brother, Sean has been relatively quiet and didn’t make any cameos in the series like I had hoped.

This is a different Marlon. This is a family-friendly Marlon, a matured (but not mature) Marlon, and it’s all for the better.

There is nothing new in the sitcom formula here, and some of the jokes definitely fall flat, but overall it’s enjoyable first season and I’d be interested in seeing more.

Season 1 is available on Netflix as of today (8.3.2018)

Season 2 is on NBC right now and will be coming to Netflix next June

Marlon – 5.5/10

Streaming Gems – Netflix Movie Weekend

Last weekend was rainy, and we are lazy (nothing new there).  We stayed in and streamed the gloomy day away. Here is our write-up on some of the gems (and some that are teetering on the verge of being listed on a steaming coal writeup). All of these are on Netflix as of writing this article on 7/20/2018 – Enjoy!

Netflix

 

Eliza Taylor and Daniel Webber in Thumper (2017)

Thumper

A film with a plot that doesn’t reinvent the wheel, and has a few holes, but the acting sets it apart.

You empathize with every character, just doing what they have to to survive and protect the ones they love.  Without giving too much away, this is a flick about teens in over their head with drugs, violence and all around grit.  There is more going on than meets the eye, but that is left for you to see. As previously stated, the twist is a bit predictable, and you’d probably be able to get it within a few guesses.

If your a serial television streamer like us you’ll recognize most of the cast (all from shows we recommend!). Eliza Taylor (The 100 – cheesy but fun sci-fi dystopian show on Netflix), Daniel Webber (Lee Harvey Oswald in 11.22.63 – a gripping alternative-historical thriller on Hulu starring James Franco), and Pablo Schreiber (Pornstache from Orange is the New Black – A dark comedy set in an all-female prison on Netflix).  As stated, they all do a good job with their parts, with Pablo stealing the show as the deranged and paranoid drug dealer.  The trauma is believable and as violent as he gets, he still pulls at your heart-strings with his believable portrayal as a veteran suffering from PTSD.

To recap – This is nothing new, it’s not going to be in your top ten films of the year, but it is going to entertain you from start to finish and you will be glad you watched it.

Thumper – 6/10

 

 

 

Joel Edgerton in The Gift (2015)

The Gift:

A taut, suspenseful thriller that peels back the storyline one layer at a time.  While not revolutionary, it plays the cat-and-mouse game eerily well and makes you question if any of us are ever “mice” in the first place.  The acting is superb, especially by  Joel Edgerton who wrote and made his directorial debut on this film.  His upcoming directed flick about a young man forced to attend gay-conversion camp, Boy Erased (Due out in November), looks especially powerful.

Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall play the perfect target to Edgerton’s unhinged character, “Gordo”.  The only reason this film is not scoring higher is that it feels anti-climactic and off-pace at times.  I found myself often getting distracted and having to force myself back to the film, to be re-engrossed moments later.  Overall, this film is a slow burn but definitely worth the watch.

The Gift – 7/10

 

 

Charlie Hunnam in Sons of Anarchy (2008)

Sons of Anarchy

We know… We are late to the party on finishing this one. We finished watching this after a few months of binging our way through. I had seen up through season 6 a few years back and never finished;  we started from scratch and watched them all within a few short months this time.  Just like the first viewing, we had a really tough time getting through Season 3.

Is this show realistic? No way. Is this show melodramatic and filled with unnecessary violence, language, racism, and misogyny? Yes.  Is it still one of the better crime dramas to hold our attention for 7 seasons? You bet your ass.  We were brought to tears, rage, frustration, and profanity multiple times while watching the self-destructive characters on this show. We grew to love the supporting cast and felt grief when some parted ways (not spoilin’ anything here).  As cheesy as this show was, a series hasn’t been able to do that for us for a long time..

We finished just in time for the Mayans MC spinoff show to hit in September and we cannot wait.

Sons of Anarchy – 8/10

 

 

 

 

Adult World (2013)

Adult World

This film was bearable, or okay at best.  A dark indie comedy that playfully mocks the tortured and delusional artist (that this film is most likely aimed at).  Emma Roberts character is annoying, which may have been the goal, but it made it hard to get through the 90 minutes without wanting to tune her out.  I’m normally a huge Cusack fan and loved Evan Peters work with Roberts in the early American Horror Story, but this is unimagined and trite.

This movie also is another to add to the trend of Cisgendered actors playing trans* folks (as similarly noted in the uproar surround Scarlett Johanson and Rub & Tug). I wouldn’t recommend this flick to everyone except the indie-flick diehards, or Cusack fans, and even then I may think twice..

Adult World – 5/10

Steaming Coal – Day of the Dead: Bloodline (7/5/2018)

I refuse to call this Streaming Gems…. From now on if the movie is unsatisfactory it’ll be put under Steaming Coal (because no-one wants these flicks… they are utter $#!^.. Thanks Obama.

Day of the Dead: Bloodline

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Day of the Dead: Bloodline (2018) –  Is this a good movie? No. Is this better than it’s original from 1985 by George Romero? HELL NO.  This is a better flick than the 2008 “Day of the Dead” which had nothing to do with the original… but I digress..

This movie attempts to follow a similar story arc of its George Romero predecessor that focuses on the scientific response to a zombie outbreak; is there a cure? Is it ethical to test on zombies? Can zombies evolve (edit — no they shouldn’t.. This single-handedly ruined the dead/Romero series) Will our race for scientific advancement be our undoing?

Day Of The Dead Jonathan Schaech

The acting is bad (like SyFy channel direct-to-tv bad), yet it is not bad enough to feel like laughable camp horror.  The effects are par for the course for a low budget horror flick; blood and guts abound but nothing revolutionary that they weren’t doing 20-30 years ago.  

I think the worst part about this movie though is the laziness in the writing. The antagonist, Max (played by Johnathon Schaech) is a partially zombified man who seems to be the only zombie in the world with any sort of resistance to the disease, and it just so conveniently happens to be that he was a stalker and would-be-rapist of our protagonist, Zoe (Sophie Skelton), the med-student in distress who thinks she has enough schooling to create a cure.  Schaech did what he could with the poorly developed roll and cliches of his character, his facial acting was the only saving grace of this unfortunate role.

I really only recommend this movie if you are a BIG zombie/undead fan or are REALLY bored.

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It managed to hold my attention for the 90-minute runtime, but any longer and I don’t know if I would have made it..

Currently available on Netflix (as of  7/5/2018)

Day of the Dead: Bloodline – 3/10

Streaming Gems – Cargo

Cargo

Martin Freeman in Cargo (2017)

Cargo (2017) is based on the short film of the same name, which blew me away when I first viewed it upon its release.  The second I saw a feature-length film was being developed off of the short I was excited and nervous at the same time.  So little backstory is known from our characters in the short that I was worried about where the film would go. When I discovered the directors of the short would be reprising their roles as well, I was elated to see how they would elaborate.

This film takes its time to build tension and introduce different characters and their various ways of surviving the zombie outbreak.  The contrast between the lengths humans go through to survive is both telling and frightful in itself. This film hits on the old cliche that “the monsters within us are nothing compared to the walking dead”, but it doesn’t feel overly forced.

This is a fresh addition to the zombie genre and filled with brains. The writing is sharp and the acting on point. This is not a run-n-gun zombie flick, but a cerebral slow-burn of possibilities and film-making execution.

Currently available on Netflix (as of 7/3/2018)

Cargo – 7/10

Flashback Flicks – Guess Who

Flashback Flicks is when we feature a movie made a decade or more ago.  We try to focus on movies that are available through a streaming service or somewhere easily online, that way you can join in on the fun! Have you seen the movie before? Sound off and let us know what you think.

Guess Who

guesswho

Guess Who (2005) starring Ashton Kutcher (That 70’s Show, Butterfly Effect), an early-career Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy, Avatar), and the late Bernie Mac (The Bernie Mac Show, Oceans Eleven).  Is a fun rom-com about a loveable Kutcher trying to win over the over-bearing father-in-law, played by Mac.   The movie has some shining and endearing moments that make you frustrated to love the characters of this movie.

I feel that the homophobia displayed by Mac’s character and the interracial prejudice in the NY/NJ setting may not hold up as well in 2018 and can make the viewer suspend disbelief (side note – these observations are coming from a point of privilege for this writer.. and maybe I exist in a fish-bowl, but it’s hard to picture many people like this).  Dated views aside, the laughs are light enough and ubiquitous throughout to prevent it from hurting the film too much.

The plot is nothing revolutionary, but this is a fun movie.   It’s not receiving a higher score because it follows the rom-com formula too predictably and has some content that doesn’t feel to hold up as well over time.  However, that doesn’t stop it from achieving its goal of making the audience laugh.  Check it out, and let us know if you agree or not!

Currently available to stream on Netflix (as of 6/11/2018)

Guess Who – 6/10

Deadpool 2 – Not Quite Getting There

I really enjoyed the first Deadpool flick and gave it an 8/10 after two viewings of it.  The action was great and the tongue in cheek humor really helped to make it stand out. I have always been fascinated with metafiction and its application in comics and had been writing one myself so when Deadpool came out I was hooked on that style of humor.  Alan Moore also toyed with the meta in a lot of his work (Watchmen, Promethea, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). The style just fit.

What I’m about to say is really contradictory… but Deadpool 2 relies too much on the style of the first and it’s strengths to hook me in enough to care.  Cool visuals, great action/gore and hilarious yet cheap metafictional pops aside, this sequel is far from perfect in many ways.

Spoilers from here on out — if you haven’t seen it jump to the end of this review to see the final score.

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Ryan Reynolds snark is on point when it needs to be, but any attempt at seriousness (the death of Vanessa – DP’s girlfriend) falls flat.  The X-force (Deadpools team of discount-store mutants) felt rushed together and the characters like Cable and Domino (no relation to the kick-ass Keira Knightly flick from 2005) had little to no backstory presented.   It felt pretty obvious that a Cable or X-force movie may be in the works, and that’s the biggest takeaway of importance I left the theatre with. While an X-Force movie has been cited as “in the works”, the cast is still up the air as half of the team didn’t make it out of Deadpool 2 alive.

Cable never felt like a threat due to his short and lackluster introduction and backstory, I’m not sure if Yukio ever showcased her abilities (turns out she did, and it was so fast I missed it in my first viewing), and the casting of Terry Crews and cameo of Ben Affleck (as well as the short-lived feature of Shatterstar) felt like such a waste.  I grew to appreciate Domino’s “luck” ability by the end and appreciated the cinematography used in the scenes where we saw her power at work. Russell “Firefist” was also one of the shining parts of the film, as Julian Denison (Hunt For the Wilderpeople) did a great job portraying the hurt and angst his character endured at the hands of those who tortured him.

While the two new characters of Domino and Firefist hit their strides, the rest of the supporting characters fell flat with a lack of direction. The action was great, but the writing was not there to get me to actually care about the characters or what may happen in the next film.  I’m hoping Deadpool 3 or X-Force can put some actual emotional connection and appeal into Wade Wilson again, as the Merc with a mouth has great cinematic potential still to be tapped and there is still time to right the ship. This can be so much more than a cheap-superhero cash in…

deadpool

TLDR: Action, fun, and laughs are here. Substance, a story with consequences, characters you actually care about? Not so much. Maybe I was expecting more because my last superhero experience was the impeccable Black Panther, but Deadpool 2 didn’t quite get the job done for me.

Deadpool 2 – 6.5/10

 

Do you agree? Are we big idiots? What should we review next? Let us know in the comments or share this on social media with your friends!

Till next time!

Talkies and Jabberwocky