Random Netflix Movie Night – Red

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RED follows Bruce Willis and a group of retired, and extremely dangerous ex-CIA spies, including Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren. Their adventures take them to Russian embassies, secret file rooms in CIA headquarters, and to presidential events as they uncover a long-hidden plot in a Guatemalan town.

Willis also has a much younger love interest (Mary-Louise Parker), who he initially abducts. All for her own good of course, because bad guys are coming after the woman he loves. Ha.Ha. Ha. Of course, that’s supposed to be funny but isn’t the damsel in distress played out? They do try to turn it around. Parker is given a larger role than most damsels, and gains strength as she learns more about this ex-CIA operative world.

Karl Urban is a fun villain for most of the movie, but he could have done a lot more with a bigger role that actually utilized his acting chops. Ultimately, the movie is about the group of old school spies, and not the new enemy, but it’s still a shame to waste such an entertaining actor.

Overall, this movie is a lot of fun. Not as great as the Expendables movies, because there’s only one old-school action hero in RED and they can’t play on each actor’s filmography in the same way, but it has fun potential.

RED is on Netflix and other streaming services.

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Random Netflix TV Night — The Ranch

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Netflix recently added the new original series The Ranch to their line-up. The show follows the lives of a family of ranchers in Garrison, Colorado.

I really started watching it for the Kutcher-Masterson pairing. The brothers great when playing off each other, but the whole cast is what makes the show a success. Kutcher continues his lovable dumb guy routine from back in the day, but there’s an added maturity behind his character which I didn’t entirely expect, and Masterson keeps up the sarcastic banter that he’s known for.

Sam Elliot is fantastic as the stick-in-the-mud father, and balanced well with Oscar-nominated Debra Winger as the flighty and sometimes very wise mother. It was a nice surprise to see Elisha Cuthbert show up as Kutcher’s high school ex-girlfriend, and the episodes with the both of them were great.

As with many Netflix originals, it starts off slow. If you can push past the stilted, bad jokes of the first episode then you’ll find an endearing comedy with strong performances from everyone. Although the show can be quite predictable at times, overall it’s a really fun, enjoyable production.

3.5/5

Top Five: Best Valentines Movies – For you and your guy

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Valentines is a fun evening to connect with your beau. You don’t need a fancy dinner or a box of chocolates, just have a nice evening at home and curl up with a movie! Here are our top five:

  1. The Wedding Date. Dermot Mulroney and Debra Messing are a great pair in this movie. It’s sexy, funny, and has a great supporting cast to keep it interesting. Other notable movies from him is My Best Friend’s Wedding and The Family Stone.
  2. Only You. If you believe in fate – or want to laugh at it’s inconsistencies – then this is for you. A young Robert Downey Jr and Marisa Tomei have trouble finding each other in this very funny film set in Italy as she searches for love.
  3. Sleepless in Seattle. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were a fantastic pair in the 90s romantic film scene. This one ends with the classic Empire State Building scene on Valentines day, so it had to be on the list. Their other famous movie together is You’ve Got Mail.
  4. 50 First Dates (or any rom-com Drew Barrymore movie). She’s a great choice for the rom coms because she’s silly and ‘just like us’. Other movies of hers are Going the Distance and Never Been Kissed.
  5. Notting Hill (or any Hugh Grant movie). Hugh Grant is practically the king of rom-coms. He’s gorgeous, polite, and great at playing the loveable fool. It’s hard to choose a few favourites from him, but here we go: About a BoyBridget Jones’ DiaryMusic and LyricsFour Weddings and a Funeral, and Sense and Sensibility.

These are a great choice for the romantic, but what if you’re just looking for a chick flick or want a girl’s night for Valentines? We’ve got the list for you here.

But tell us in the comments, what are your favourite movies to watch on Valentines?

Random Netflix Movie Night: Blitz

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Jason Statham stars in British crime thriller, Blitz. It’s cop-killer versus killer-cop, but thoroughly less violent and action-packed than I expected.

I guess I just wasn’t in the mood for the cop thriller this evening, but it’s certainly not a riveting film. The dialogue is poorly written, and I was constantly hoping for Statham to pull out his action chops and save the film, but it never happened.

Statham plays a tough cop, constantly spouting sexist, racist, and homophobic stuff. Now I’m not saying that’s a reason to ditch the movie, but if you don’t want that type of old-school cop mentality, this won’t be for you. Despite the lack of action, it’s terribly violent. The cop-killer happens to be quite sadistic, and we see that and hear that, which is quite shocking.

The only female character of interest in the film is relegated to minor scenes largely insignificant for the main serial killer story.

I’d give it a 5/10. If you’re into

Top Five: New Years Movies

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New Years Eve is a magical time of year, especially in movies. There is wonder and hope, and the constant excitement of a big party. Some people have NYE traditions that involve watching the ball drop and celebrating at a big party, while others have a more relaxed evening at home, eating lots of food and watching movies galore. If you’re in the second grouping, then here’s a list of our top five movies for the big night:

  1. When Harry Met Sally. Although not entirely a NYE movie, it’s a romantic comedy that mixes the party fun of the holidays.
  2. Poseidon. A bit of a darker turn, this is a fun disaster flick set during New Years Eve on a cruise ship as it runs into some trouble.
  3. Godfather, Part 2. The first is one of the most classic movies going, but the second one’s most famous scenes are set during New Years Eve in Cuba.
  4. 200 Cigarettes. With a star-studded cast, this comedy-drama follows a bunch of characters through New York City on NYE in 1981. Check out the old school costumes, still relevant actors Kate Hudson, Ben Affleck, and Paul Rudd, and re-live the party hijinks.
  5. Doctor Who (1996 TV movie). I think every list could probably be filled up with Dr Who, since there is so much of it, but this is a good one. Filmed in Vancouver and set in San Fran, it features the Daleks and the Seventh Doctor in his final performance.

Top Five: Best Christmas Netflix Movies

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It’s Christmastime once again, and as always Netflix has created a Holiday Favourites section on their site. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of crap on there, so we’re hear to sift through all of that and find the best options for your Christmas evening.

  1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. There’s the classic animated version, and then the Jim Carrey adaptation. Personally, I really enjoy Carrey’s live action edition as the world is developed so much more fully and you get a look at way more of the Whoville characters.
  2. The Legend of Frosty the Snowman. Just like the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie, it’s a classic. You basically have to watch it every year. Unfortunately, Rudolph isn’t on Netflix so I can’t watch my favourite unless I find it on TV, but this is a good backup.
  3. Nightmare Before Christmas. Some disagree whether this is a Christmas or Halloween movie, but why not watch it for both?
  4. Arthur Christmas. Animated movies are certainly stealing this list, but that’s more because Netflix is lacking in the best movies than anything else. This is a fun, recent film that the kids will enjoy and parents won’t get annoyed by.
  5. Christmas with the Kranks. Admittedly not fantastic, but it’s a fun modern adaptation of Dickens’ Christmas Carol. We all get frustrated with the Christmas hype sometimes, so why not revel in it.

Netflix doesn’t have a big list of Christmas movies, and most of them aren’t that great. Hopefully you have Love Actually and Die Hard, my two personal favourites, and can round out a good Christmas movie night.

Random Netflix Movie Night: Mirror Mirror

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Mirror Mirror is a retelling of the Snow White story from the Brothers Grimm. Starring Lily Collins as Snow White and Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen, this film is beautiful to watch but doesn’t bring anything new to the fairytale.

Julia Roberts was a great choice for the powerful Evil Queen. She is an interesting contrast to Charlize Theron who played the same character in Snow White and the Huntsman, released one month later. Roberts is overly dramatic and flamboyant, playing up the extravagance and class relations that this movie seems so focused on portraying. As the movie seemed to focus entirely on the superficial aspects of the story, Roberts is never given the opportunity to explore the depths of her character and find the true passion the Queen needs.

This drastic contrast between the rich and poor is highlighted through the sets and costumes. The rich are lavished with fantastic imagery. Sets and costumes are lush and bold, with bright colours and lots of space for the sets filled up by the elaborately detailed costumes. The women are seen in impossibly large dresses, yet they sometimes consume the actresses and take away from the performances. The servants and city poor are tucked away in small, dark scenes to highlight their poverty. Their clothes are drab and depressing, and create a strict line between the two factions.

mirror-mirror-elves-houseeLily Collins is allowed the only break between these two groups. Once she meets the dwarves she loses her dresses and takes charge of her own defence in colourful but practical attire. As her Prince Charming arrives to save the day, she must in fact save him and help the dwarves to defeat the Queen.

It’s certainly nice to see this turn in the past few years, with the princesses able to defend themselves rather than relying on a prince as their saviour.

Overall, I would recommend this if you’re like me, and you love the modern fairytale films.

Random Netflix TV Night: Episodes — Season One

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A British writer-producer married couple (Tasmin Greig and Stephen Mangan) who created a successful, BAFTA winning show in the UK are persuaded to remake it in America, but they must overcome cast and script changes, along with strains on their marriage from the Hollywood lifestyle.

Everyone knows the leading man of the American version, he’s Joey from Friends! Matt Leblanc plays a charming and manipulative version of himself that proves the actor is not as dumb as his well-known character. His best moments aren’t the comedy between him and the uptight female writer, Beverly (Greig), or his quick exchanges with the jovial male writer, Sean (Mangan). It’s the camaraderie Leblanc develops with every character, and the emotional depth he is able to create in such a short amount of time.

This is a great example of British humour for an American audience, but that’s what happens when it’s a BBC and Showtime production (rather than a basic American network). Created by David Crane (Friends) and Jeffrey Klarik (Mad About You), I was initially surprised that two American writers produced something like this. Not only was this show self-aware about Hollywood, but it acknowledged and played on the dynamic of a British show being moved to America, and entirely changed during that move.

7.5/10. There are currently three seasons on Netflix, and a fourth aired on TV in early 2015.

Random Netflix Movie Night #10

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Tonight I watched Ruby Sparks, the story of a writer having difficulty finding inspiration until he begins writing about his dream girl who magically comes to life off of the pages.

Very enjoyable film, cute, good casting, Ruby was beautiful, Paul Dano was likeable but not us, good message (perfect ‘dream girl’ isn’t what we should strive for: it’s never perfect), such a great ending. All is happy! Sort of like (500) but not awful.