Category Archives: 30Days30NetflixMovies

30 Days 30 Netflix Movies: My Week With Marilyn

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Laurence Cendrowicz; The Weinstein Company

My Week With Marilyn (2011) is based off of Colin Clark’s memoir, which details his time as third assistant director on The Prince and The Showgirl, starring Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe.

From the time she gets off the plane, Marilyn (Michelle Williams) is a nervous wreck, with zero confidence in her acting ability and a swarm of people surrounding her, telling her she’s great. She’s hours late to set, forgets her lines and runs away when it all gets to be too much. All of this drives Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) to madness, as he is both starring in and directing the film.

Marilyn has a new husband, writer Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott), who leaves a notebook full of criticisms about her where Marilyn can and does find it. This sends Miller away and Marilyn into a spiral, insisting the only hand she’ll take to steady her be that of twenty-three year old Colin (Eddie Redmayne). Nearly twenty-four, he insists. Marilyn is thirty and already married three times. Her handler (Dominic Cooper) warns Colin she’ll make him feel like he’s the only one and then leave him behind but Colin refuses to listen.

If I wasn’t already convinced Michelle Williams can do anything, this would have cemented it. I had the great fortune of seeing her in Cabaret this year and much like her Sally, her Marilyn lives in those quiet moments, where the smallest change in voice or expression shows all the cracks, insecurities and old wounds in the character.

Let’s talk about Eddie Redmayne for a minute. You probably know him from Les Mis and I previously talked about him in my review of Hick. He’s the perfect match for Williams as he can play lovestruck and devastated in a way that’s both visually subtle and emotionally explosive. If he doesn’t have big things in the works for his career, he should.

Despite knowing better, I rooted for Marilyn and Colin. They worked in the moment, as most things that burn bright and burn fast do. There is such a level of innocence with the two: Marilyn looking for an ally that doesn’t treat her like a child and can see the true her and Colin stepping up as a man for the first time in his life. He protects her but doesn’t try to control her like everyone else does.

My Week With Marilyn is well written, acted and directed. It is an absolute pleasure to watch. Out of Loved It, Liked It, Didn’t Like It or Hated It Like Poison, I give it a strong Loved It.

30 Days 30 Netflix Movies: ParaNorman

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LAIKA; Focus Features

ParaNorman (2012) is the latest stop-motion animated feature from LAIKA, the studio that brought us Coraline. Spoiler alert: it’s awesome.

Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a loner that can see and talk to dead people and pets. He watches old monster movies with his dead grandmother (Elaine Stritch) and knows every deceased person in town. His dad (Jeff Garlin) and teen sister, Courtney (Anna Kendrick), think he’s weird but this sort of strangeness runs in his mom’s family, most notably in Uncle Prenderghast (John Goodman).

The town of Blithe Hollow has a dark history of executing a witch and has turned this into a tourist hotspot. Kitschy witch themed shops line the street and the kids prepare for the annual altered witch history pageant. Everything is relatively normal until Uncle Prenderghast alerts Norman that there’s a curse, it’s bad and it’s up to Norman to stop it.

ParaNorman is gorgeously done, smart, funny and completely unique. Norman’s friend, Neil, voiced by Tucker Albrizzi, is a scene stealer.

You have to have infinite patience and a touch of insanity to want to make a stop-motion movie but thankfully, LAIKA is made up of these talented people. Out of Loved It, Liked It, Didn’t Like It or Hated It Like Poison, I really Loved It. Seriously, go watch it right now.

30 Days 30 Netflix Movies: Star Trek Into Darkness

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Paramount Pictures

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) has one of those titles that doesn’t really mean anything but fortunately, the movie makes up for that. Starring the usual suspects: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin and Simon Pegg, this second venture into the reboot adds fan favorite Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) as a mysterious and cryptic terrorist.

Kirk (Pine) violates the prime directive by saving Spock (Quinto) from certain death on a planet that looks like the motherland of War of the Worlds‘ red vines. Clinging like grim death to logic, because Vulcan, Spock doesn’t get why Kirk did this and files his report truthfully, causing dear Jim to lose the Enterprise.

After John Harrison (Cumberbatch) destroys a Starfleet archive and then attacks Starfleet itself, Kirk, Spock and the crew take the Enterprise out to Klingon territory to find Harrison. There’s more to this terrorist than previously expected (because there’s still two-thirds of the movie left) and Kirk faces a new enemy and lots of explodey troubles.

Chekov (Yelchin) and Scotty (Pegg) are underused in this film but when they do appear onscreen, they’re total scene stealers. Sulu (Cho) gets to be badass, which is smoking hot and Bones (Urban) pokes a Tribble at one point, which actually doesn’t cause a heap of trouble.

I’d like to advise those of you with pets that one of my three cats, Xander, had a large scale end of days reaction any time anything blew up in this movie. Luke, cat number two, didn’t care at all. So, one out of three cats rate this an Oh My God Oh My God Claws Out Hit The Deck We’re All Going to Die.

Cat trauma aside, Star Trek Into Darkness is fun, loaded with action and emotional moments and reaffirms that the reboot is still on the right course. Out of Loved It, Liked It, Didn’t Like It and Hated It Like Poison, Into Darkness gets a Loved It from me.

30 Days 30 Netflix Movies: Odd Thomas

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Fusion Films

Odd Thomas (2013) is an adaptation of Dean Koontz’s best selling series of the same name. Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Fright Night) stars as Odd, a short order cook who sees dead people and helps them get closure on their untimely deaths. When a swarm of bodachs (creatures that live off of especially gruesome murders) come to town, Odd knows the small down of Pico Mundo is in for a world of hurt.

Odd is a normal twenty-something, except for the whole dead people thing. He has a girlfriend, Stormy (Addison Timlin), who he’s destined to be with forever, according to one of those fortune teller machines, like in Big. They’re too cute and everything is a little too perfect. The chief of police (Willem Dafoe) believes Odd because he’s never wrong, which thankfully cuts down on the usual donkey-stubborn resistance from law enforcement in supernatural movies and TV shows.

The infestation of bodachs, creepy translucent creatures only Odd can see, leads Odd to a guy he calls Fungus Bob and the realization that some manner of mass murder is on the way. Since Odd is the only one that can see it, he’s got to stop it.

Odd Thomas is a cross between Supernatural and Dead Like Me with a touch of Veronica Mars thrown in for good measure. It could be a TV series. It should be a TV series. Netflix, take note.

If Odd Thomas has a flaw, it’s that it’s too perfect. The dialogue is extraordinary, so much so that it’s not in the realm of possibility, which sounds like a stupid point to make about a supernatural movie but I’m making it anyway. The conversations and exchanges are what we would say, on our very best day, if we were using all of the clever points our brain had and then some. Because it’s so clever, I would think, this is so clever and then be taken right out of the movie.

Pro tip: If you take a drink every time someone says Odd, Oddie or “you’re an odd one,” you’ll be dead before the movie is over. It’s amazingly excessive.

If you like Supernatural or Dead Like Me, you’ll love this. Out of Loved It, Liked It, Didn’t Like It or Hated It Like Poison, I give it Loved It. What tipped me from Liked It to Loved It is that, despite the over-perfectness of the characters and dialogue, I know I would watch it again. I’d love to see a sequel and really want it to be a TV series. That’s commitment.

30 Days 30 Netflix Movies: Safety Not Guaranteed

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FilmDistrict / Big Beach

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) stars Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass and Jake Johnson in a movie about time travel and finding yourself. Darius (Plaza) is an intern at Seattle Magazine whose life is figuratively and semi-literally in the toilet. She volunteers to investigate an ad seeking a time travel companion with magazine writer Jeff (Johnson) and fellow intern, Arnau (Karan Soni).

They find Kenneth (Duplass), who wrote the ad, pretty quickly and discover he’s a bit weird. He thinks he’s constantly being followed by the ever-present Them, the government. Darius doubles down and matches his idiosyncrasies, gaining his trust.

Kenneth is like a manchild, completely stunted and lost in time with his denim jacket and old car. Still, he’s intense and endearing. There’s an especially adorable montage where Kenneth and Darius go through weapons and fitness training.

Meanwhile, Jeff tries to meet up with a hookup from decades ago. Ass that he is at this point, he sees her, writes her off as overweight (she isn’t) and is done with it. Jeff gives her another chance at the urging of intern Arnau and surprise, she’s a beautiful person.

Darius tries to figure out Kenneth and whether or not his claims of time travel capabilities are legit, while Jeff tries to sort out what kind of a man he is. Amazingly, this is one of those movies in which virtually everyone experiences pretty major character growth. Kudos to writer, Derek Connolly.

It’s important for me to note that Mary Lynn Rajskub (badass Chloe on 24) looks smoking hot in the dress she wears in her first scene and that I will always have her song from Gilmore Girls stuck in my head.

Also, Kristen Bell has a tiny, kind of icky part later on in the movie. However, I like seeing her face so it was a nice surprise.

The journey in Safety Not Guaranteed is everything but the end result is pretty damn awesome, too. I liked it a lot so I’m going to break my own rule and out of Loved It, Liked It, Didn’t Like It and Hated It Like Poison, I’m giving it Liked It (A Lot).

PS – I lost 15 minutes of my life trying to figure out if I spotted Jorma Taccone (SNL, The Lonely Island) in an early scene or if I was going insane. It’s him but the verdict is still out on the latter. Big thank you to Karan Soni, who favorited my tweet about it.

30 Days 30 Netflix Movies: Heathers

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Getty Images

Heathers (1988) stars Winona Ryder and Christian Slater in a classic tale of girl with hell-bitch friends meets outsider boy who turns out to be a psychopath. We’ve all been there.

Veronica (Ryder) is popular because she can be. Her friends, Heather, Heather and Heather, who all have last names but are really Red Heather, Yellow Heather and Green Heather (Shannen Doherty), are vicious little bitches who like terrorizing their classmates. Veronica isn’t like that but goes along with most of it because high school. Enter JD (Christian Slater).

There’s nothing I could tell most of you that you don’t already know or quote by heart. Heathers covers it all: shit-ass friends, aggressive diary writing, suicide, school violence, rapey sons of bitches and how high school is temporary and never fair.

Usually with movies that are cult classics or mega hyped up, my watching experience is completely different than I expected. Somehow, Heathers was exactly what I expected and that’s a good thing. It’s obvious how Heathers influenced films like Jawbreaker and Mean Girls. Every decade needs its God, high school girls are evil bitches movie but lucky (or unlucky) for us, they all still ring true, years later.

It is weird to watch Heathers now with its discussion on teen suicide and JD’s plan to blow up the school. It’s where crazy shit belongs though, in movies and not actually happening in schools with events unfolding in real time on cable news tickers and Twitter.

If you haven’t seen it, go for it. If you have, check it out again. Out of Loved It, Liked It, Didn’t Like It or Hated It Like Poison, Heathers gets the first Loved It.

30 Days 30 Netflix Movies: The Family

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EuropaCorp, TF1 Films Production, Grive Productions.

Full disclosure: I’m an enormous Luc Besson fan. I mean, The Fifth Element, The Professional, Taken, Lockout? Come on. And Lucy, in theaters July 25, looks amazing.

In The Family, the Manzoni family has been in witness protection for ten years due to the patriarch, Giovanni (Robert De Niro), snitching on his mafia family. The Manzonis, now the Blakes, arrive in Normandy, France, a steep step down from their previous higher-end digs.

The Manzonis have a bounty on their heads, of course, and the mafia has never stopped searching for them, even murdering the wrong family of four.

There’s nothing to do in town but this isn’t new for the kids, Belle and Warren (Dianna Agron and John D’Leo), who fall into their familiar pattern of conning, assault, power plays and generally taking no shit from anyone.

Gio and Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) have a harder time assimilating. Maggie used to be the life of the party and has zero patience for the way locals treat her. Gio, against all rules set by his Witsec handler, Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones), sits in the house’s rundown greenhouse, writes his memoirs and sneaks out every chance he can get. He solves problems his way, which includes violence and intimidation and a lot of it. But haven’t we all wanted to beat a plumber who tried to rip us off or a jerk who interrupts us mid-sentence?

Besson has a history of writing and featuring the most kickass female characters in his movies. This is no exception. Dianna Agron delivers a hell of a speech to rapey boys in the park, one of which she just beat the crap out of with a tennis racket. Michelle Pfeiffer, only slightly more restrained, serves up her vengeance with a polite smile and extra lighter fluid. No one in this movie messes around.

Belle turns out to be a lovestruck 17 year old girl. I accept it and it made sense as I, too, was once a 17 year old girl but it disappointed me. I wanted her to be a female-avenging, ultraviolent, superhero psychopath and not get taken in by some dude who’s a bit cute and a lot into math.

The Family has the action, clever humor and characters to root for that is expected from a Luc Besson film and puts a new twist on the mob movie. I truly enjoyed Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer’s performances. I’m glad they finally got to share scenes on screen together, as they never have before. Out of Loved It, Liked It, Didn’t Like It and Hated It Like Poison, I have to give it a Liked It*.

* My internet was worse than a thousand armpits and it took me a day to gather up enough internets to play the whole thing. I would definitely watch it again, in one sitting, instead of a hundred separate ones. Kiss kiss, Verizon.

30 Days 30 Netflix Movies: Hick

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Phase 4 Films

Hick (2011), written by Andrea Portes (who also wrote the novel), directed by Derick Martini (Lymelife) and starring Chloƫ Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, Carrie), Eddie Redmayne (Les Mis) and Blake Lively (Gossip Girl) is strange and gorgeous. Luli (Moretz) is a thirteen year old bar baby, as her peers call her, that spends her time drawing lush pictures in her notebook and hanging out at the local bar.

Her mother is a professional barfly, her father is a fall down alcoholic and all the regulars know Luli, giving her gifts including a 7-11 keychain for her 13th birthday party in the bar. She’s also given a .45 that she points at Lux, her mother’s new guy, when Luli finds him in her house at 8am the next day. He mistakenly calls it a gun.

Luli has a fondness for classic movies, quoting them in the mirror as she wishes she was anyone else, anywhere else. She decides to run away to Vegas, meeting Eddie (Eddie Redmayne), a cowboy with a limp and an anger problem, and Glenda (Blake Lively), Luli’s smooth talking, optimist fairy godmother, along the way.

Because the world is impossibly small when you want it to be infinite, Glenda and Eddie know each other. Neither fills Luli in on their acquaintance and she, like us, isn’t exactly prepared for what she finds out on her way to Vegas.

It’s an independent film, to be sure, but one that knows what it is and what it wants to say. It’s strange but in an endearing way and Luli’s drawings help connect the dots in her past and present. ChloĆ« Grace Moretz is in virtually every scene and carries it well. Blake Lively was a nice surprise as Glenda. I’m pretty sure we don’t give her enough credit as an actress. Eddie Redmayne was both charming and terrifying. Translation: he did a phenomenal job.

Ray McKinnon showed up about 35 minutes in, which was a nice surprise for this Rectify and Ginny Mule Pictures loving girl. I see he’s also going to be in Mud, another movie on my playlist for this month, so I have that to look forward to.

Hick isn’t the happiest of movies but it manages to end in a positive way. For this series, I’m giving movies a Loved It, Liked It, Didn’t Like It or Hated It Like Poison rating. Hick gets Liked It from me, so check it out sometime.

30 Days 30 Netflix Movies

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If you’re anything like me, you add things to your Netflix queue and leave them there to die. I decided to change this by watching 30 movies from my queue during July. I’m calling it 30 Days 30 Netflix Movies. I’ll be watching all kinds of movies I’ve never seen: new, old, classic and possibly craptastic.

I know July has 31 days but James Gunn and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy comes out on August 1, and I need a day to prepare. Seriously.

Day one hit a snag when Sexy Evil Genius with Katee Sackhoff, Seth Green and Michelle Trachtenberg was removed overnight. I replaced it on the list with In Bruges, which was probably a good idea all around.

The list below is not in any order and I’ll be choosing that day’s movie based on what I feel like watching / what my cat chooses / the weather / because reasons.

1 The Family
2 Girl Most Likely
3 Mud
4 Charlie Countryman
5 Star Trek Into Darkness
6 Cloudy 2
7 Don Jon
8 Tiger Eyes
9 Short Term 12
10 Odd Thomas
11 Kill Me Later
12 Hick
13 Sexy Evil Genius /removed. In Bruges
14 Paradise
15 My Week With Marilyn
16 To The Wonder
17 Upside Down
18 Safe Haven
19 The Ledge
20 Family Weekend
21 The Paperboy
22 Jeff Who Lives at Home /removed! Rapture-Palooza
23 Safety Not Guaranteed
24 Bully
25 Paranorman
26 Heathers
27 Compliance
28 Timer
29 Ondine
30 Say Anything

Join me and watch some from my list or your own queue. It’ll be fun or something! Comment here with what you’re watching or tweet me @boxcollection or using #30Days30NetflixMovies. I know it’s long. It’ll be okay. We’ve got each other and our Netflix accounts.