Thursday, January 30, 2014

Netflix: Improvements Requested!

It is very good technologically! There is "Super HD," which I guess is somehow better than HD. :-)

And, I got Netflix to connect to Facebook. I guess that's the only official way to get your Netflix list onto social media, unless you do it yourself.

I have found lots of good documentaries. And, there are good series, like "Sherlock," "Poirot" and "Miss Marple."

But, movie wise, I personally am pretty much out of luck! Yes, you can get positively awful Direct-to-Video dreck like "Stranded" with Christian Slater, directed by the guy who did "Battlefield Earth!"

If I want to see "The Towering Inferno," or whatever, I am out of luck. My guess is that Netflix gets the cheapest content they can, and throw in a few high-profile releases to get people to stay on.

I would rather pay $10/month and get better stuff. Because, the way it is now, once I've gone through my documentary and mystery TV titles, I will be done.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ground Zero Blues Club - Clarksdale, MS

Location: 252 Delta Ave, Clarksdale, MS 38614

Great Blues Club!

To note, I am always glad to support Morgan Freeman in all his endeavors, 'cause Lord knows he needs the money! :-)

Ground Zero is a great blues club in the very center of the world's blues scene. Because of its notoriety, you are going to get the traditional, electrified acts. So, if you are looking for the earthier type acts, you are not as likely to find them here. For that, best to come to each April's Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, and see the sidewalk acts!

The atmosphere is decidedly roughed up, but that is the idea! Lots of graffiti, bare metal, wood, that kind of thing. The food is fine, fairly straight forward, and the service is serviceable. :-)

Rating: 4 / 5 (4 Out of 5 Stars)

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"True Detective" - TV Review

Site: True Detective - HBO

*** There Will Be SPOILERS! ***

I'm reviewing the first episode, which I saw during HBO's free preview weekend. I guess I might get to see other episodes at some point. But, I'm certainly not paying for HBO! Almost all of what they have on is attention-grabbing, critic-bait garbage like "Girls." I'm certainly not going to fill their coffers for that stuff!

The opening titles don't help the show too much! It's the usual cable artsy-tartsy affair. If you know Maurice Binder, the famous opening-titles creator who did the James Bond films, the opening titles here are like his work if he had been on heavy barbiturates! By leaps and bounds, the highlight here is Matthew McConaughey. His performance should instantly get an Emmy! What he does in his opening scene earns that alone. Woody Harrelson's performance is the usual steady hand on the wheel.

McConaughey has a character who is your typical troubled serial-killer-profiler type. But, the writer does push it a bit far, since his character not only is a smoker and a drinker, but also a taker of drugs and has a freaky apartment situation, where all he has is a mattress on the floor and a stack of serial-killer books. Definitely laying it on too thick!

Not surprisingly, the women here do not have too much to do but be housewives, hookers or whatever. Disappointing in that having some strong female characters could have provided some good balance for the show.

The killing that is the centerpiece of the show seems to be pretty much a repeat of a key one from the first season of "Hannibal." Probably coincidence, but it gives a sense of something we've seen before.

T. Bone Burnett is the musical darling of Hollywood. For whatever reason, he is considered the great, go-to guy for earthy music, when it's needed. To me, he has done great work in the past, like with the Coen Brothers' "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" But, I don't really get what he's doing these days. His work on "Inside Llewyn Davis" did nothing for me. Just depressing songs, nothing more.

Here, he has this mumbly, what-the-heck opening song starting the show, and fairly indiscriminate music otherwise throughout the show.

The production values are good otherwise, with the cinematography being the best aspect. The program has gotten off to a good start. Viewers will have to see where it goes from here.

******* (7 Out of 10 Stars)

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I Feel Sorry for Michael Bay!

Story: Michael Bay implodes at Samsung's CES Press Conference - Cnet

I personally feel sorry for Bay. He doesn't endorse stuff, I don't think, ever! And, he was very obviously nervous. This was definitely a major presentation, and honestly, Samsung doesn't have a working teleprompter? Honestly? At the very least, they should have had back up cue cards or something.

And, while Michael wasn't ready to ad lib, the Samsung guy seemed completely oblivious. Being in his corner office probably means he rarely has to deal with human beings! ;-)

So, the guy doesn't even seem to pick up on what everyone else could so easily, that Michael was really nervous and needed the prompter to feel comfortable. The Samsung guy could have easily taken charge and said, "Hey, that's okay. I can talk about the TV," and just give Michael questions on movie making, get him into conversational mode.

Samsung really screwed up on this one! Also, these corporate executive guys want to be on stage so badly, especially when they have little charisma or ability to communicate well. So, if anyone is to be ridiculed, it's Samsung. They have this bad teleprompter, no back up, and an executive on stage who can't adapt to the situation.

p.s. I am definitely not a major Michael Bay fan! Just on a human level, I feel sorry for him getting flack for Samsung's screw up.

But, there is this video that finds Michael in better form!:

Video: Michael Bay Presents Explosions! - Robot Chicken

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Monday, January 6, 2014

"Inside Llewyn Davis" - I Just Don't Get It!

Story: "Inside Llewyn Davis" Wins Big with National Society of Film Critics - Variety

"Inside Llewyn Davis" just won five awards from the National Society of Film Critics. Those are major awards, as they come from a consensus of America's film critics.

I know lots of people like, and even love "Inside Llewyn Davis." But, I just don't get it. To me, the new Coen Brothers' film seems purposefully unpleasant. It's as if the Coens are challenging the audience to like characters that are almost impossible to like.

Popular actors come and go on screen in what amount to cameos. Some like Garret Hedlund, star of "On the Road" and "Tron: Legacy" is one of those on screen a short time. And, in his case, he barely says a line or two.

The music is said to be a highlight, but I thought the music was pretty sleepy. Renowned music supervisor T. Bone Burnett has certainly done better work with The Coens in previous films.

One major problem I had with the film was the cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel. He has said that his inspiration was the cover of "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," which wa Dylan's second album, and the one that brought him to public acclaim. I have a vinyl copy of that album. And, I personally don't see the resemblance between the cover photo on the album and Delbonnel's cinematography.

The film has very desaturated color to the point that the visuals are muddy. There is also quite a bit of diffusion used. Neither are the case with the Dylan album cover. The colors are rather basic as it has a snapshot quality, and the subjects are in shadow. That is why the colors aren't as vibrant. But, otherwise, I again don't get it.

I have a theory about the success of "Inside Llewyn Davis." It is interesting that people who really like the film still call it challenging and even depressing. I call these kinds of films "Critic Bait." They are almost designed to test critics to see how much praise they can give it. I think that critics see so many bad movies, that they are almost beside themselves when something different comes along. And, this movie is certainly that!

That is really the only reason I can think of why this film is as popular as it is. Now, it is good that people have found a movie that they really like! I certainly can't begrudge them something they enjoy.

But, I just plain don't get it!

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Movie Scripts of 2013 and Links to Read Them!

Story: The 2013 Awards Season Screenplays (with links) - Blue Cat Screenplay Competition

There are notable scripts from 2013 of all kinds. Personally, my favorite film of 2013 was "Rush." That script is available to view, with many others from 2013. The scripts are available in .pdf format.

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