Tag Archives: Netflix

Netflix’s The Crown Makes For A Good Binge Session

As part of my new content, I will once again stick with Netflix and what is available. Netflix is most likely to biggest of the streaming services with amazon prime and Hulu close behind. I have chosen my television series to recommend is the crown. With two rich and engaging seasons so far and much news about a coming third season, it is more than worth the time to binge at whatever pace you tend to binge your shows. While I give such high praise to the show, one thing is for certain, it is not for everyone. I have been one who is very selective when it comes to British television shows so the crown comes as a surprise to me more than anyone that I found such a great love for.

We in America are fascinated with the Royals in part because we have no royals of our own. The closest we have come to having royalty was the Kennedy family as is shown by the love we still show for them and their lives. The British are enthralled with their royals because they are one of the last countries with such a large and regal royal family. The Netflix show The Crown has managed to not only give an inside look at the current royals but gives humanity to them like never before. We find ourselves relating to them as well as being sympathetic in many areas of their lives. While there is no doubt many liberties taken in the telling of details, we get a sense that much of what is told has much truth lies within it.

A stellar cast in both seasons that are available is just part of what makes The Crown a first-rate show. Claire Foy takes center stage as Elizabeth II from a princess into her time as queen of England in the role that won her a Golden Globe last year as well as two Screen Actors Guild awards. The first season also features John Lithgow in his Golden Globe nominated and SAG award-winning turn as Winston Churchill. With supporting roles from up and coming actress Vanessa Kirby as the rebellious and somewhat troubled Princess Margaret and Jared Harris as King George VI. Nearly every performance is pitch perfect lending to the overall quality of the show. With all that said it is the content and ability of creator Peter Morgan and with the help of a talented list of directors and writers which include three-time Oscar nominee Stephen Daldry which really drives the show. The ability to have the audience entranced by the daily life of Queen Elizabeth’s she navigates a life she never truly wanted or felt qualified for is remarkable.

As I mentioned before there are no doubt many liberties taken with the accuracy of many events as well as private moments of the royal family but we begin to see them as more than the rich royals from Buckingham Palace and more as a family struggling to learn life in the spotlight at such a young age with such a young family to care for. This is what gives The Crown its mass appeal. Most anyone can find parts of life to relate to whether it is the hardships of keeping a family together or the feelings of inadequacies in our personal and professional lives.

So if the forecast in your area is for one of snowfall or dreary rain this weekend I highly recommend losing yourself in the world of the Windsor family at Buckingham Palace.

Netflix Can Get You Ready For Awards Season

Award season is in full swing so I thought I would take this opportunity to make my first post of the new content I plan on bringing to showcase some of the movies available on Netflix that were either Best Picture winners or nominees. There are several movies available to choose from but I have chosen just a few of my personal favorites that you might enjoy.

The Godfather Parts 1 and 2

Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpieces are the first two that really stand out. Long considered two of the best films ever made as well as the only movies where both parts one and two BOTH won the best picture at the academy awards. While nominated for several awards each it might be surprising that they did not win as much as you would think of for such highly regarded masterpieces. With two outstanding performances by Al Pacino yet he received no hardware for either performance while his counterpart in the second installment, Robert De Niro received his first Oscar for playing a young Vito Corleone in Godfather Part II. if you are going to take a look at awards movies this is the perfect place to start.

Spotlight

The best picture winner at the 2016 awards ceremony is a hard-hitting look at the effects journalism can have on communities as well as the world. An in-depth look at how the Boston Globe single-handedly brought Boston’s powerful Catholic church to its knees and the domino effect it had on the country as well as the world. With an all-star cast it conveys the hard work and courage of those needed to tell this remarkable and harrowing story. You can read my full review from 2 years ago here.

The Shawshank Redemption

For years now Shawshank has been number 1 on IMDb’s viewers top 250 rated movies of all time with a 9.3 rating out of 10. With career-defining roles from Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, it is captivating from being to end the emotion that goes through the story goes equally through the viewer. Most shocking of all was that although nominated for 7 Academy Awards it walked away with exactly zero wins. It would be one of the movies that would go on to show the academy and viewers that time proves greatness, not ticket sales because the movie was ultimately considered not box office success. I wrote a commentary about this very thing a few years back and you can read it right here.

The Reader

Speaking of career-defining roles, The Reader was the movie that finally gave Kate Winslet her night on the podium to take home Oscar in 2009. She was a double nominee at the Golden Globes that year but it was The Reader that brought her gold that night. She plays Hannah Schmitz a former Nazi guard at a concentration camp who forms an unusual attachment to a young boy who she has a brief love affair with who she also enjoys having him read to her. The two are brought together again years later when he is a law student and she is put on trial for her war crimes in which her illiteracy leads to her being the only one convicted. As an adult, he strikes up a correspondence with her that ultimately leads to her putting an end to her illiteracy. You can also find other films of hers that are fantastic in a top 5 list I put together here.

Michael Clayton

Finally is one of George Clooney’s greats films and performance as the attorney/fixer, Michael Clayton. Nominated for 7 Academy Awards in 2008 which included the best picture and best actor for Clooney yet only brought home one for best-supporting actress for Tilda Swinton. Michael Clayton is an attorney with a special skillset who is used by a law firm to get the things done that no one else is willing to do. He is thrust into the firms biggest case when its lead attorney has a manic episode and threatens to wreck a case worth hundreds of millions of dollars. With an intense story that has you captured from start to finish Michael Clayton is without question a defining moment in the career of George Clooney. It also features an underrated supporting role for Sydney Pollack as this was his next to last acting role before he died in early 2008 just a few months after the Oscar ceremony. For other George Clooney selections, you may be interested in finding check out a top 5 list I put together here.

Well, there you have it, just a few movies worth checking out to get you in the mood for the always fun award season.

Salinger Explores The Myth And The Man

photo 1I am a great lover of documentaries and can watch one on any subject under the sun and be enthralled with it. It is for this reason I find Netflix and Amazon Prime outstanding resources. The catalogue these two posses is vast and deep. Recently I’ve gone somewhat of a binge of documentary watching and I have come across some fascinating and moving ones. I plan to write about them all here in the near future so fear not.

The first I want to talk about is the most recent one I watched entitled simply, Salinger. It is possibly the most comprehensive look in to the famed and reclusive writer J.D. Salinger. I covers quite possibly Salinger’s entire life through the voice of friends and people he influenced. With pictures and footage never seen of the man and his struggle with himself as a writer. His painful secrets and determination to remain out of the public eye and let his work speak for itself you really get a sense of the man.

Always having the desire to be a writer and follow in the footsteps of his hero, Ernest Hemingway drove Salinger his whole. Published in several magazines and acclaim for his stories did not bring him the satisfaction one would think because of his desire to be published in the esteemed New Yorker magazine which had rejected his work for years. Salinger was finally accepted to The New Yorker in late 1941 with a short story about a young teenager named Holden Caufield, until Pearl Harbor struck and the story was deemed it didn’t fit the mood of the country at that time.

Salinger then spent years attempting to enter the army and fight during WWII and was eventually accepted and immediately sent to Utah beach for D-Day. The events he photo 3would witness during the war would change him forever and shape his crown jewel of work, The Catcher And The Rye, of which the first six chapters were in his back pack as he stormed the beaches that day.

Salinger would return home and continue his writing and the many love affairs with women that would be part of his life forever. He would marry and divorce a few times and have his young women in between but all of that would be over shadowed by his defining moment in 1951 when The Catcher In The Rye would be published. It would be his only novel and during the revolution of the 1960’s would take on a whole new meaning and life. The novel would identify with so many youths and change so many lives.

Salinger published his last short story in 1965 and would lead a quite almost reclusive life until his death in 2010. Fans would attempt to track him down and ask life questions they thought he knew the answers too. The few that did confront him would soon discover he wasn’t an answer man, as he would tell them, he was just a fiction writer.

photo 2Salinger never stopped writing, almost to the point of obsession. He also never stopped having his affairs and enjoying the company of young women.

The documentary is a fascinating look into the mind and life of a man that was just a brilliant name to me before and really made him more human and even tortured look at him. It was as inspiring as anything as well because it showed that everyone has something in them that can be brilliant and change the world. He wrote what he knew and discovered people knew that too but didn’t know how to express it. He expressed things for millions of fans and readers. His unpublished work is set to be released between 2015 and 2020 and various times.