Monday, May 23, 2011

Things to Watch on Netflix, Part II

I've finally figured out how to see stats on Blogger (which is horrifying if you know how many techy people are in my family).  Quite amused by which posts seem to be popular.  But it seems like people are always looking for stuff to watch on Netflix, and there are tons of new viewing, so let's get started...

Doctor Who: Series 5

The Premise: The Doctor (Matt Smith) has regenerated and landed somewhere in Scotland.  He meets a young girl, and after a repast of fish fingers and custard, offers to take her for a spin in the Tardis.  Thing is, he's got to be right back.  He leaves and returns to find that young Amelia is gone.  In her place is Amy, Amelia all grown, a girl who grew up with the idea of her imaginary friend, The Doctor, in the back of her mind.

My Take: Stephen Moffat has taken the reins for the series from Russel T. Davies; likewise, Matt Smith has replaced David Tennant as the Doctor.  But the story-telling is so strong, and Smith so winning, that in many ways the series feels re-reborn (especially if you're watching series 6 right now on BBC America. Oh. My. Goodness).  Rory takes a while to become likeable, but (as it always happens on the show), once he does, he's grand.

Masterpiece Mystery: Sherlock Holmes

The Premise: A modern-day take on Holmes and Watson, solving crimes out of 221B.  This time, Holmes mocks the police with text messages and Watson's war wounds are from Afghanistan. 

My Take: Written by Who writers Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss, the dialogue is snappy and the plot is twisty.  A Study in Pink is my favorite.  The others aren't quite as tight, but they're still completely enjoyable.  House viewers will particularly enjoy the dynamic between Holmes and Watson, as it's quite similar to House and Wilson at their best.  I'm very much looking forward to the second season.

**P.S. You should know that Watson is played by Martin Freeman, who's also the new, younger Bilbo in Peter Jackson's upcoming adaptation of The Hobbit.  And it makes sense.  He has a proper hobbit-y sort of nose.

Premise: Young, innocent Richard ((Zac Ephron) gets more life lessons than he bargains for when he finagles himself into a role in Orson Welles' Broadway production of Julius Caesar.  Richard is alternately awed and disgusted by the sheer talent and hubris of Welles, brilliantly played by Christian McKay.  Claire Danes has a supporting turn, but my favorite appearance is Zoe Kazan's short story-writing Gretta Adler.

My Take: Me & Orson Welles should have received more American awards love, but at least Christian McKay received an Independent Spirit nod, as well as a BAFTA nomination for his turn as Welles.  For writers and film-buffs, it's really not to be missed.

Premise: In a scenario that's rather like Hitch in reverse, Alex (Romain Duris), his sister, and her husband have tapped into the niche-market of breaking up bad relationships.  But when he's hired to break up the perfect couple (Vanessa Paradis, most famous in America for being the mother of Johnny Depp's children, and Andrew Lincoln, of Love, Actually), Juliette and Jonathan, before their Monaco wedding, he meets his match.  Specifically, his love-match in the spunky, independent, George Michael and Dirty Dancing-loving Juliette.

My Take:  Since Hollywood hasn't released a proper romantic comedy in a while that's managed to be both romantic and funny, Heartbreaker is a breath of fresh French air.  It's spontaneous and light, and while some of the subplots get a bit murky, the comedic high-points make up for it.  Romain Duris, of Moliere and Paris, is charming and funny in a way that most American actors wish they could be.  Vanessa Paradis' Juliette is a class act, whip-smart and winsome as her wedding approaches and she starts to second-guess her choice in a spouse.  There are dozens of hysterically funny set-ups and pay-offs (and trust me, it's even better the second time around), but my favorite is the ongoing tribute to Dirty Dancing as Romain Duris' Alex recreates Patrick Swayze's iconic dance sequence.  He's no Patrick, but he has enough French swagger to make it a memorable cinematic moment.

...and if watching a tribute to the classic makes you want to watch the real thing, you're in luck!  One of my favorite parts? Watching Emily Gilmore shimmy at the end. 

Glass bubbles in space! Angry indigenous peoples! The Spanish Inquisition! Awkward bathtub scenes! Monkey test subjects! Hugh Jackman tattooing himself in space in linen pajamas! Not only is it Darren Aronofsky's worst film, but it was the film Danny and I watched on our first real date.  I highly recommend watching the first twenty minutes, just so you can see how completely bizarre this movie is.  In worst-beginnings-ever, it's up there with Scorpion King; the trouble is, it's sincere.

(Though it should be noted, the last ten minutes are really something as well.  Especially if you garden.)

So! There you have it.  What are you watching, especially now that network TV is wrapping up for the season?


  1. "I've finally figured out how to see stats on Blogger"

    And do you have Google Analytics installed on your site to tell you (kinda) who's visiting you?

  2. I have not heard of this Google Analytics. Google maps on the other hand...

  3. I'm a huge fan of Doctor Who- and I've got to say that I'm loving seasons 5 & 6- Matt Smith is amazing- and the series really does feel reborn!
    As for Sherlock Holmes- love it! And I'm in complete agreement- A Study in Pink WAS the best! I'm looking forward to season 2.
    And I really can't wait to see Me and Orson Welles- I've been wanting to see it forever, I'm just waiting for Redbox to get it in a nearby location.

    And well... now I'm curious. I just might have to watch those other two. Thanks for the recommendations! :)

    Are you an Austen fan? If so- have you watched From Prada to Nada? It's actually really good!

  4. No, I haven't watched Prada to Nada, I'll have to put that on my list. Thanks for the suggestion!

  5. Haha! Love your comments on the Foutain. I watched that with someone who loves it. Quite the experience. Talk about a weird film, and the trouble is, it's a little TOO murky. If it was a weird film that had some interesting themes and was somewhat accessible, and tied the different versions of our main character together, etc., I could maybe allow it. As is, though, it's just a big pile of okaaaaay...

    Anyway, agree abuot Doctor Who series six. Fantastic so far. And the new Sherlock Holmes is awesome.


Join in on the discussion!