The Latest In Television, Movies and Documentaries
Whenever I stumble onto a great television show, movie or doc, I will post it to this page. When possible, I will provide links to the best add-ons for streaming the available content. Otherwise, I will suggest you add this to your trakt.tv account for future consideration. If you don’t already have a trakt.tv account, I highly recommend you get one. It’s the best way to save a suggestion from friends, family, co-workers or social media post. With one click you can add the television show, movie or doc to your collection and it will be there waiting for you to watch when you get home. Another great feature of the trakt.tv account is the “Discover” section. Using “Discover” opens the door to new television shows and movies that may not be on your radar. You can quickly use the Information feature to get the shows synopsis and trailer. I find lots of great content this way. If you find something you think I should check out, please drop me a line via my fb page. You don’t have to like my page or follow me on Twitter however, if you do like what you find on my site, please do me a favour and click on one of the banner ads to the right. You don’t have to buy or subscribe to anything. I make a few pennies from every click and it goes a long way to paying my hosting fees for this site. All the best!
My good friend Carlo recommended Cardinal to me and I’m just now getting caught up. For the record, Carlo was the one who recommended Stranger Things before the entire planet got on board so his recommendations are to be taken seriously. I’ve marathoned the first four episodes and so far, I really like it. Neither the plot or the characters are going to surprise anyone. We’ve all seen the brooding cop with the low gravelly voice, often misunderstood by his coworkers but deep down, we know this cops got a heart of gold and stands by his work. That’s detective Cardinal in a nutshell. He’s secretly being investigated by a small task force with his new partner Lise, a tough, no nonsense french Canadian smokeshow providing all the information. It’s believed Cardinal is taking bribes from the head of a drug ring in exchange for inside information. So far, it’s not looking good for Cardinal and I want to believe he’s innocent. At the heart of the story, Cardinal is on the trail of a serial killer in Northern Ontario. As the story goes, Cardinal has always maintained the death of young Katie Pine was at the hands of a predator. He believed so vehemently on it, it nearly cost him his career. It’s not until Katie’s body is discovered do we learn Cardinal is right. Thus begins the pursuit of the predator in Northern Ontario. I recommend you check it out on the following add-ons; Exodus, Bob, Specto, Lucky TV, and TV Times
Before you make your Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress pics for this years Oscars, be sure to watch Fences. Denzel Washington plays Troy Maxson, an incredibly flawed character who’s led a very hard life. Troy wants to make amends for his past mistakes by doing what is expected of a man to provide for his family. He left home at the age of fourteen where he had to use his skills as a thief to support himself. This ultimately led Troy to a 15 yr prison stretch for murder. Following his release from prison, Troy played baseball in the Negro Leagues where he was very successful however, his advanced age during this period (he was roughly 40yrs old), prevented him from going on to the majors. Troy believes this had less to do with his age and more to due with the colour of his skin. It’s during this period Troy meets his wife Rose, played by Viola Davis. She’s an incredibly loving woman who like most women of the time, looked after the home while Troy worked during the day as a garbage man. The couple have one son, Cory. Troy has another son named Lyons from a previous relationship prior to his prison term. Troy believes his sons should follow in his footsteps by learning from the mistakes he made in life, both by his own actions and through the oppression/racism he’s experienced. Cory is a talented football player and has been recruited by a good college to play for them. Lyons is a talented musician who’s motivation to get out of bed everyday is the pursuit of his music. Not surprisingly, Troy thinks both sons should give up their dreams for a steady paying job because in his eyes, you’re not a man if you can’t provide. Of note, the house Troy lives in with his family was made possible by a $3000 settlement Troy received after his brother returned home from the war with head injury. It’s something Troy wrestles with throughout the movie. This is a really good story and great movie based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play from August Wilson. If Viola Davis acts the pants off of everyone in the 2017 Oscar class! Denzel for his part does what Denzel does as an A list celebrity and puts on a great performance. Denzel also directed this film. I’m not sure Fences will win in the Best Picture category but it should certainly take home a few gold statues in my opinion. You can stream it via Exodus, Bob, Specto, Alluc and give Cold As Ice a shot too.
I finally got around to watching Moonlight, a strong contender in the Best Picture category for this years Oscars and I have to admit, I found it hard to watch. It’s the subject matter of the film that I found challenging. It’s told in three acts; Little, Chiron and Black, each pertaining to a specific development period in the main characters life. As a child, Chiron aka. Little played by Alex Hibbert, is mercilessly bullied by his classmates calling him derogatory names like “faggot.” Little is too young to understand of what it means, only the hate behind their intent. At home, Chiron get’s no reprieve from his drug addicted mother who lashes out at him repeatedly, often using the same hurtful words as the bullies who chase him after school. The island in this storm is a local drug dealer named Jaun, played by Mahershala Ali. Juan offers Chiron his time, kindness and a guiding hand during this formative period in his life. Cut to Act II where we meet Chrion as a teenager, played by Ashton Sanders. The bulling from his classmates and his mom have intensified. For me, this proved to be the most difficult part of the film to watch as you witness the abuse coming at Chiron from all sides. I felt so bad for the guy as he doesn’t deserve any of it (the writers, actors, they all did their jobs well here). The climax of this chapter sets us up for Act III, where we meet Chiron aka. Black as a young man, played by Trevante Rhodes. Chiron has become a carbon copy of his mentor. He has done his best to push all of the negativity he experienced growing up to back of his mind. That’s until a voice from the past comes calling. Really, this is a good movie and despite my believing it’s a difficult movie to watch, I think it’s well worth the time. Will it be the dark horse on Oscar night?? Possibly. It has all the elements to make for a strong upset. Of note, Janelle Monáe from Hidden Figures has a small but solid role in this film. You can stream this on Exodus, Bob and Specto
Continuing with my 2017 Oscars homework last night, I watched two great movies and contenders in the Best Picture category. The first is Lion, easily my favourite of the pack so far. It’s a story about a young boy (Saroo) from a small village in India who gets separated from his family after he falls asleep in a train station. He manages to survive on his own for a few months before the authorities intervene. Saroo is eventually adopted by a couple and moved to Tasmania, half way around the world where he enters into an upper middle class upbringing, a life of privilege as Saroo would later describe it. Cut to 25yrs later and Saroo now an adult studying Hotel Management, is confronted by a past he had almost forgot when he is at a party with his fellow students, some of whom are from Calcutta. Saroo opens up to them about what had happened to him and how he came to be in Tasmania. Saroo was so young when all this took place that he cannot remember the name of the train station he had been left at nor could anyone identify the village he said he was from. His friends encourage Saroo to seek this information out through the use of google earth. Thus begins an obsession for Saroo to be reunited with his lost family from India while confronting the family he has known for the past 25 yrs of his life. This story is an incredible journey and one that really took place. Saroo is played by Dev Patel, who easily conveys Saroo’s struggle with loss and identity in his performance. Nicole Kidman plays Sarro’s mother from Tasmania who’s appearance in the film is sparse but really well played, as she establishes her connection to Saroo’s and his struggle throughout the film. This is my pick for Best Picture. You can stream it via Exodus, Bob and Specto
La La Land
The second film I watched last night in my 2017 Oscar marathon was La La Land featuring Emma Stone as Mia, a young aspiring actress working as a barista on the Warner Brothers lot, going from one audition to another in her quest to make it in tinsel town. Mia has a number of memorable run ins with Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling, a struggling Jazz pianist firm in his convictions who aspires to one day have a place of his own. The two eventually embark on a romance that could only be defined as one of inspiration and true love. Created by Damien Chazelle the same person responsible for Whiplash, this film will likely win a boat load of awards in this years Oscars. It has all the trappings of a Hollywood blockbuster; all star cast, romance, location set in sunny Hollywood California, it’s a musical, etc. It pays homage to the style of film from the late 1940’s through to the 1950’s that even in it’s most campy moments, never feels contrived. In fact, the nostalgia only serves to create an endearing connection with the audience, perhaps a desire to return to a seemingly simpler time and a romantic time that strengthens the theme of love between the two main character. In my opinion, It’s what ultimately sets it apart from other formulaic Hollywood blockbusters vying for the Best Picture crown this year (Hidden Figures). This is a thoroughly enjoyable film. You may want to hate it but the writing, the cast and the story are so good, you risk painting yourself as either a film snob or incapable of recognizing brilliance to say otherwise. You can stream this on Exodus, Bob and Specto
Manchester By the Sea
The Raptors were getting blown out by the Phoenix Suns last night and instead of enduring a 4th quarter thrashing, I opted to catch up on one of this years proposed Oscar picks, Manchester by the Sea. I can safely say the only thing more depressing than watching my Raps get thrashed by a sub .500 NBA squad is this F@#king movie! Now, to be clear I had be forewarned this film would be sad. I was willing to accept and over look that considering all the praise Casey Affleck has been receiving for his acting in this film, not to mention the forth coming Oscar nod. Casey Affleck plays Leigh, a character damaged by his own actions and unable, as he puts it, “to beat it.” A moment so devastating it will sit with you well after the film is done. An opportunity for redemption comes from Leigh’s brother Joe (played by Kyle Chandler), who entrusts the guardianship of his teenage son to Leigh upon his death. Leigh is offered redemption in various forms throughout this movie but he is so damaged he refuses to accept it, including this grand gesture from his brother. And that’s pretty much how the movie plods along; it’s one big flat line right up to the very end. Watch it at your own risk but you have been warned, you will not get that time back. You can stream this on Exodus, Bob and Specto
When A Monster Calls
Continuing with that sad theme, I recently watched When A Monster Calls, a story of a young boy named Conor (played by Lewis MacDougall), struggling to process his mothers terminal illness. Looking for help, Conor summons a monster whom he hopes will help his mother get better. The monster (played by Liam Neeson) tasks Conor with three stories where Conor must produce the forth and admit to his nightmare. The story was originally conceived by Siobhan Dowd, who at the time was battling cancer herself and past away before she could complete it. Patrick Ness took up the charge to complete the story with illustrations by Jim Kay, with whom they have both won medals for. The film adaptation features their beautiful illustrations intertwined throughout with great acting performances by Sigourney Weaver, who plays Conors grandmother and Felicity Jones, who plays Conors ailing mother. As mentioned, this is a sad film, dare I say a real tear jerker but I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s really well done and one of the best films I have seen from 2016. Not sure if it’s going to be nominated for any Oscars this year and it would be a true crime if it were not. You can stream this on 1 Channel, Specto, Alluc, Exodus, 1080p Movies, and Bob . All the best!
I’m a big fan of Martin Scorsese and I have been anxiously awaiting his latest, Silence. The film is set in the 17th century and follows two Jesuit priests played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver as they sail to Japan in search of a missing colleague, played by Liam Neeson. What the two Jesuit priests encounter upon their arrival in Japan is a hostile attitude towards their faith, where Christians are tortured and driven underground. Rumors circulate that Father Cristovao Ferreira (Neeson) himself, has renounced his faith after being tortured. The challenges that await the two young Jesuit priests will challenge their faith in each other and their god. I’ve no doubt Silence will prove to be beautifully shot, brutal at times, and epic. Martin Scorsese always delivers! You can stream this via Bob. ENJOY!
It’s that time year again when the production houses release their screeners in anticipation of the up coming Academy Awards. For Movie junkies, it’s like Hanukkah with new releases daily. Arrival is one of the first I’ve seen in the new movie lists. I saw this in the theatre and just watched it again last night. I love sci-fi and anything to do with aliens from another world. I thought Arrival has a fresh take on the first contact genre. It’s a great story based on the short Story of Your Life with a great cast. Amy Adams is in the lead as a linguistics expert brought in to help the US military/government make first contact. The race is on as there are 12 of these alien ships around the globe with each foreign nation attempting to make first contact and ultimately to determine, is the true nature of the aliens visit friend or foe? Arrival also stars Jeremy Renner and Forrest Whitaker. Check it out on the following add-ons, Specto, Alluc, Exodus and 1080p Movies
Hell or High Water
Hell or High Water is somewhat of a modern day Western starring Jeff Bridges, Ben Foster and Chris Pine. The story takes place in rural Texas where two brothers take on the Texas Midland Bank in a string of robberies. The goal is to pay off the reverse mortgage that will forfeit the family ranch if not paid off by the end of the week. Jeff Bridges plays a near retired Texas Ranger hot on their tail. The story may be a little predictable however, the acting is great and the story keeps your attention. I really enjoyed it anyway. Check it out on the following add-ons, Specto, Alluc, Exodus and 1080p Movies
Hidden Figures is up for Best Picture in this years 2017 Oscar Awards. Based on a true story, Hidden Figures tells the story of Katherine Goble, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan, three friends of African american decent working at NASA in the early sixties during a time of racial segregation and civil unrest. Katherine has an exceptional mind and is recruited to assist director Al Harrison of the Space Task Group, to put a man into orbit following the success of the Russians with Sputnik. Mary is an engineer working on the heat shield of the space capsule, struggling to have her voice heard when very few women, let alone women of colour, were taken seriously by their colleges in this profession. Dorothy aspires to be a Supervisor at NASA and goes the extra mile to not only learn Fortran, the computing language of the IBM 7090 computer installed at NASA, she teaches her co-workers the language so they might work on it as well. Katherine, Mary and Dorothy are all firsts; challenging their superiors, white co-workers and the system to see beyond the colour of their skin, to look beyond racial prejudice and see the contribution they were making to their Nation in getting a man into space. The film in my opinion is not spectacular but it is very enjoyable and well worth the watch. I don’t see it taking home the Oscar for Best Picture given the stiff competition in this category this year (La La Land, Arrival, Hell or High Water, Moonlight, Hacksaw Ridge, Manchester by the Sea, Fences and Lion). You can stream this movie on Specto, Alluc, Exodus, 1080p Movies and check out the new section on Bob Oscars 2017. All the best!
Gimme Danger is the first full length documentary to articulate the rise and fall of Iggy Pop and the Stooges. Boasting photo’s, footage and unprecedented access to all band members (both Ron and Scott Asheton died in 2009 and 2014 respectively), director Jim Jarmusch promises to deliver on what he describes as “the greatest rock band ever!”. That’s a bold statement. Even if you’re not a fan of The Stooges or terribly familiar with their catalog, provided you haven’t lived on Mars for the past 40 years you must be at least remotely familiar with their contribution to Rock, and/or familiar with the tales of their exploits. In my younger days, I read Danny Sugarman’s, Wonderland Avenue where he documents how The Doors considered carrying on after the passing of Jim Morrison with Iggy Pop as their front man. If a fraction of the stories told in that book and within the hallows of Rock lore regarding Iggy Pop are true, this documentary promises to be nothing less than a plane ride cursing @ 25 000 ft… with the cockpit missing…and it’s on fire. Add this to your Trakt.tv account.
Update: I finally got to see this doc last night courtesy of Specto and it was well worth the wait! Jim Jarmusch did an incredible job of telling the story of The Stooges with what little footage exists, both of the band in their prime and of the principal members. I was surprised to discover all of the primary members of the band have passed on with the exception of Iggy Pop and James Williamson. For his part, Iggy provides the bulk of the material for this doc. He’s reserved about some of his exploits and drug use during this time. He doesn’t get into too much detail regarding his relationship with David Bowie apart from admitting he didn’t know what deals he was signing at this time and doesn’t appear to be too fond of Tony Defries. What Iggy does make abundantly clear is, The Stooges were a response to what Iggy felt was the over commercialization of popular music. Iggy feels that much of what came out of that 5yr summer of love period (late 60’s to early 70’s) was manufactured and packaged by suits and record execs. who wouldn’t know what real music and real art was if it walked up to them and slapped them in the face. No one was doing what The Stooges were doing back then save for maybe the MC5’s, a band they hung out with and toured extensively. The market was ripe for a band like The Stooges to come along when they did. The were ahead of their time. The music they made and the impression they left on the music industry is still being felt today. In addition to Specto, you can find this doc on Exodus and Alluc. All the best!
I stumbled onto this movie the other night while sifting through New Releases on Exodus. Patterson is a film by Jim Jarmusch that tells the story of a bus driver (played by Adam Driver) in New Jersey as he works through his daily routine of getting up early, heading to work, listening to the interactions of the passengers on his bus and in his spare time, writing poems about it. Paterson’s wife Laura (played by Golshifteh Farahani loves his poetry and is his biggest supporter, urging him to seek a publisher for his poems and take his work public. It may not sound like much but I was charmed by the trailer and the story. It’s not yet available so add it to your Trakt.tv account.
Captive is an 8 part Documentary Series from Netflix the reconstructs some of the most intricate and famous hostage negotiations in history. The documentary features re-enactments that are very well done along with interview from key players in each ordeal. Each episode is riveting! You can stream this show on Exodus, and Specto. All the best!
I watched the first episode of this 8 part mini series the other night and think it has legs. Tabbo is a period piece that takes place in the UK somewhere in the early 19th century. Tom Hardy’s character returns home after an extended absence following the death of his father. It had been believed Tom’s character, James Delaney had drowned some years ago. Following his return, James reunites with his sister and is thrust to the helm of his fathers shipping company. It would appear the family owns Nootka Sound, a small piece of land off of Vancouver Canada that both the US and the British are extremely interested in acquiring. The US and Britain are at war during this period and the East India Company, based in the UK, believes James should sell the land to them at their offered price. James knows the value of the land as a gateway to China and refuses, putting him in a unfavorable position with the East India Company. As mentioned, so far so good. Looking forward to ep. 2! You can stream this show on Exodus, Specto, Bob via Blue’s Place, and Watch Over Here. All the best!
Command and Control
Command and Control is another great documentary I’m looking forward to. In 1980, two 21 year old air force officers were working on a Titan II rocket (which was 3 times more powerful than that of the nuclear bombs used in WWII) when one of the officers accidentally dropped a socket wrench which bounced off the floor and punctured the rocket, spewing rocket fuel into the silo. What follows is a nightmare cover up that came very close to erasing 10 million people from the face of this earth. The documentary explores that cover up and similar instances where the US came uncomfortably close to an accidental nuclear nightmare.
Update: I just watched this doc on Exodus and thought it was very good. The frightening reality of the number of nuclear war heads that exist in the U.S and the potential for disaster is made abundantly clear during this doc. The doc is not framed in conspiracy. It presents the facts as they unfolded in 1980 and in the events that led up to that date. The doc interviews everyone that was there, from the guys on the ground, up to the Director of Nuclear Energy and the Secretary of State. If you’re not up for a heavy dose of reality, steer clear of this doc. If however, you enjoy a doc that shows you what’s behind the curtain and let’s you marinate on what it reveals, you’ll enjoy this one! All the best!
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
Since 2004, when the movie starring Jim Carry was released, die hards of this book adaptation have been patiently waiting for a proper reboot. It appears that day has arrived. Netflix has commissioned an 8 episode series starring Neil Patrick Harris in the lead as Count Olaf, with a handful of appearances from the likes of Catherine O’Hara, Joan Cusak, Alfre Woodard and Patrick Warburton to name a few. The story as it goes; after the Baudelaire parents die in a mysterious fire, young Klaus and Violet Baudelaire are left to the charge of their wicked uncle Count Olaf, who will stop at nothing to steal their family fortune. How can this fail?!
Update:I’m three episodes in and so far so good. I found it a little slow to begin however, Neil had me laughing in the 3rd episode. He’s doing a great job as Count Olaf. You can stream all 8 episodes of season one via Specto, Alluc, and Exodus
The Mick is a new comedy for Fox. The Red Band trailer above has a few expletives in it that I didn’t hear in the pilot, nor do I think they’ll make it to prime time however, the television world is a changing! The Mick seems to be an updated, more adult version of Uncle Buck featuring Kaitlin Olson (Always Sunny in Philadelphia) as aunt Mackenzie (aka. Micky); a complete train wreck who somehow is left to look after her niece and two nephews after her sister and wealthy brother-in-law are forced to leave the country on the lamb from the FBI. Comedy ensues. Hey, I watched the pilot and laughed at some of the jokes. I admit, it was low hanging fruit but a chuckle is a chuckle and I’ll give ep. 02 a try. Check it out on the following add-ons, Specto, Alluc, Exodus and TV Times
Update: I watched ep. 2 and once again I chuckled, in particular, when Micky and Alba go out for a night of dancing all high on goofballs. As mentioned, low hanging fruit. That’s a win in my books! I’ll give ep. 3 a shot and why not?!
Miss Sharon Jones
Miss Sharon Jones is a documentary following the late soul singer’s life and success, which didn’t arrive until she was in her 40’s. Miss Jones was a corrections officer at Rikers Island and a security officer for an armored truck, all the while tearing it up with her band The Dap Kings by night, who by the way were the backing band for Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black album. Miss Jones earned fans around the globe as a soul/R&B powerhouse. The documentary follows her career and her diagnosis with pancreatic cancer in 2013.
Update:I watched this on Friday via Exodus and loved it! There’s a scene when Sharon goes home after her surgery and sings at her church. Needing comfort and support from her friends and her faith, Sharon puts everything she has into her song. It’s very moving as she is moved and exhausted from the performance. Miss Jones will be missed but we have her music to remind us of her immense talent. You can stream this on Specto, 1 Channel and The Royal We
Okay, I’m three episodes in and I must admit I’m a little less enthusiastic about The OA then I was after watching the first episode. The OA the follows a young woman who resurfaces after having been missing for 7 years. Once blind, she returns with her sight along with some slightly unusual behaviours. This 8 episode series is part mystery, part drama, part science fiction. Brought to you by Netflicks, created by Britt Marling (who plays Prairie Johnson in the show), and Zal Batmanglij with Brad Pitt as an executive producer. Since it’s only 8 episodes, I’m not giving up on it. Check it out on the following add-ons, Specto, Velocity, Exodus, Zen and try using MetalliQ
Update: I finished it. It had moments that are great but I thought the end was a little vague and unconvincing. I would have liked for it to have stuck with a more realistic end but then there would be no need for a season II. Still, worth checking out for yourself. All the best!
The Selection: Special Operations Experiment
The Selection: Special Operations Experiment premiers Thurs. Dec. 8 on the History Channel following the 2 hour premier of Alone: Season III. I’m going to give it a chance. From the trailer, it looks like it could have legs. I’ll let you know my thoughts on FB following the premier and I invite you to do the same on my FB page if your up for it. You add this to your Trakt.tv account. You can watch the History channel live using the following add-ons; GoodFellas:->Free TV Channels->USA-UK-Canadian Ch.->Canadian Channels->Canada:History,cCloud: All Channels->History Channel.
Alone: Season III
If you follow me on Instagram or FB, you know I have a couple reality show guilty pleasures and Alone is certainly one of them. I absolutely love this show! This season competitors will have to survive in the wilds of Patagonia. New predators and unpredictable weather should make this season very challenging for all involved. I doubt any of them will make it look as effortless or as good doing it as Season II’s Nicole Apelian. Show premiers Thurs. Dec. 8 on the History Channel. I recommend you add this to your Trakt.tv account. You can watch the History channel live using the following add-ons; GoodFellas:->Free TV Channels->USA-UK-Canadian Ch.->Canadian Channels->Canada:History, cCloud: All Channels->History Channel.
National Geographic: Mars
National Geographic: Mars is part documentary, part drama. This six part series details the planned man mission to put a colony on Mars by the year 2033. It features interviews with Elon Musk, Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Andy Weir to name but a few of the brilliant minds who help to explain how this event will be achieved and some of the hurdles that will need to be overcome in order to get there. The drama aspect of the series, takes place in 2033 and projects what a potential crew would be made up of and the challenges they face getting to and setting up a on Mars. I’m 3 episodes in and absolutely riveted. If you’re a science fiction fan, this show is for you. It’s from National Geographic after all so it’s safe to watch with the kids. In fact, perhaps a great program to share with them. You can find this series on, Specto, Velocity, Exodus, Zen and try using MetalliQ
Tutankhamun is a four part mini series brought to you by iTV and stars Sam Neill of Jurassic Park fame, along with Amy Wren and Max Irons as Howard Carter, the famed archaeologist who discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb. The four part series follows Howard Carter from outcast archaeologist to his chance encounter with Lord Carnarvon, who is so taken by Carters expertise and drive, funds Carters expedition to uncover the tomb of a king in the Valley of Kings. At the time (turn of the century to early 1920’s), all of the tombs within the Valley of the Kings were thought to have been found and robbed of all their priceless possessions. The discovery was so remarkable, it was covered by news media around the globe and inspired new interest in The Valley of the Kings. The series is short, well acted and well told. You can find it on Specto, DandyMedia, Exodus, Zen and try using MetalliQ
Fleabag, is a dark comedy of the dry British variety brought to you by Amazon. It features Phoebe Waller-Bridge as writer and lead character and derives itself from her one woman stand up, for which she won a Fringe Award. The story takes place in London and follows Phoebe aka. Fleabag, through her personal relationships with her sister, boyfriend(s), friends and just about everyone else she meets. As a viewer, we’re starting to see more and more women get this type of dark comedy role and I think Phoebe is great in this! It’s only six episodes and it’s hilarious! You can find it on Specto, DandyMedia, Exodus and Zen
Black Mirror is the latest series I’ve marathoned. At only six episodes for it’s latest season (III for those in the know), it was easy enough to do. Heralded as “the Twilight Zone” for the digital age, the analogy is spot on. The themes of each episode often centre around new technology, or technology that is in the not too distant future and projects the consequences of it’s impact on our society. The first episode of Season III was written by Rashida Jones and is a brilliant story entitled “Nosedive” about a dystopian society where our success and happiness is predicated on our social media ranking. Episode III titled “Shut Up and Dance,” and written by series creator Chralie Brooker follows a kid who is blackmailed by unknown internet voices who capture video of him masturbating through his webcam. The out come of this story is will catch you off guard! The series originally aired on Channel 4 in the UK and now picked up for 12 episodes by Netflix, is well worth your valuable TV time. You can find Black Mirror on Specto, DandyMedia, Meta and try using MetalliQ.
Okay, I’m three episodes into this series completely hooked! If I’m being honest, I was sold from the trailer. Quarry follows Mac Conway, aka “Quarry,” a US vet returning from Viet Nam in 72 after 2 tours. We quickly learn Mac saw his fare share of the shit over there in Nam. Coupled with problems at home, lack of acceptance from society for his military service and the inability to find a job leads Mac into the path of a bad guy by the name of “The Broker.” Corruption and murder send Mac down an even darker path as he struggles to get his life together as a civilian. He’s your classic anti-hero. You want to root for him but each turn he takes you cringe at the inevitable direction. The story takes place in Mississippi, the year is 1972 (the creators seem to have look and feel down) and all the actors you will vaguely recognize from other shows such as Jamie Hector from Bosch, Peter Mullan and Dewey Crowe himself Damon Herriman from Justified, (he’s really good in this). The show is from Cinemax and you can find it on Specto, Exodus and Lucky TV.
Frontier starring Jason Momoa is a Netflix/Discovery Channel collaboration that follows the Hudsons Bay Fur trade in the early 1800’s. Dubbed a historical drama, both Netflix and Discovery have been rather secretive of this show with nary a trailer to be found online when it was first announced. That said, both Netflix and Discovery are so excited about this drama and so convinced it will be a hit they have already renewed it for a second 12 episode season. I watched the first season and I thought it was okay. I would like to have preferred it to be a bit more gritty (there’s far too many pretty people in the show). It ends with a cliff hanger and I will definately check out season II. You can find it on Specto, DandyMedia, Exodus and Zen
The Grand Tour
If you’re a fan of Top Gear then like me, you probably know all about the events that led up to Jeremy Clarkson getting canned from the show. Lucky for us, Amazon picked Jeremy up along with his two co hosts James May and Richard Hammond. Amazon, who seem to know dollar signs when they see it have dubbed the new program The Grand Tour. The re branded show promises fans of Top Gear all the bells and whistles they’ve grown to love ie. racing the most expensive super cars available today in exotic locations while Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May criticize the cars and one another. You can find it on Specto, DandyMedia, Exodus and Zen
High Maintenance has been around for a bit. It started out as an indie web series and was officially picked up by HBO for the latest season. I love this show! I’m four ep. in and completely addicted. The series follows a weed dealer as he couriers his pot deliveries to his various clients (who come in all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds), around New York city. But it’s not just about that. It’s about the people and the lives they all seem to intersect with. It’s funny, it’s sentimental, it’s great storytelling and I encourage you to give it a chance and check it out. Add it to your Trakt.tv account. It’s currently streaming on Exodus, Velocity and The Royal We.
Morris from America
Morris from America stars Craig Robinson and is about a single father who relocates to Germany with his 13yr old son, played by Markees Christmas. Morris is your typical adolescent just trying to fit into his new school and surroundings. Things get complicated when Morris falls for a pretty girl, 2 yrs his senior. Morris’s dad is just trying to make ends meet and be the best dad he can be to his 13yr old son. It’s funny and the kind of movie that makes you glad you watched it. It’s currently streaming on Exodus, Specto, Velocity and The Royal We.
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years
I’m a rabid Beatles fan and for me, you can never say enough about the band that changed popular music forever. This film by award winning director Ron Howard and still Richie Cunningham in my books, covers The Beatles from 1962 up until they stopped touring in 1966. There’s plenty of behind the scenes footage of the Fab Four preparing for shows as well as live stuff that showcases what a finely tuned live performance band these guys really were. There’s interviews with authors, musicians and celebrities describing what it was like to see The Beatles at that time and what the band meant to them. There’s also current interviews from the two remaining Beatles (Paul and Ringo), both beginning to look the statesmen in their 70’s after all. There’s also interviews unearthed from the archives with Gorge and John. If you didn’t know, this Documentary is available now via Phoenix->One242415->New Releases. It’s well worth your time, check it out
Eat That Question: Frank Zappa In His Own Words
How can a guy be so anti pop and yet churn out some of the greatest pop songs you probably never heard!? Such is the genius of Frank Zappa’s music. Eat That Question: Frank Zappa In His Own words, delves into the mind and music of the late composer. Frank Zappa’s music combined elements of Rock, Jazz, Fusion, even classical. His lyrics are derived from the mind of a brilliant cynic. At times absurd, hilarious and of course, thought provoking. He’s not for everyone however, everyone should see this documentary. You can find this doc on 1 Channel, The Royal We, iStream and Alluc
In A Valley of Violence
The Magnificent Seven is weak! This is the Western I want to see! Starring Ethan Hawk and John Travolta, this is the story of a town that picks a fight with the wrong drifter. It’s all fun and games until you shoot a mans dog, then may god have mercy on your soul. Does the plot sound a little familiar? Well it should cause this is a classic western tale and I can’t wait to see it!
**UPDATE: Nov. 6** I watched A Valley of Violence last night using Exodus and I really enjoyed it! If you like your westerns smothered in spaghetti, then this is right up your alley. From the Theme song and the graphics, all the way down to the plot, this movie pays homage to the classics that paved the way for the genre. Ethan Hawk is great as the drifter and John Travolta plays a salty plainsman caught between a rock and a hard place. Much like country and western music, there’s nothing in the plot that will surprise you. It’s obvious to a fault, which plays to its charm. I even got misty when the dog died. I hope you give it a chance.
Continuing with that western theme sprinkled with a lot of sci-fi for good measure, Westworld is perhaps, the most anticipated series from HBO coming this fall (premiers Oct. 2). This series is a re adaptation from the 1973 movie starring Yul Brynner. The series adaption comes from the mind of both Jonathan Nolan (Person of Interest) and J.J Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and stars Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris and James Marsden. Set in the not too distant future, the series depicts an era where AI exists and people can play out their fantasies in a futuristic theme park called Westworld. But you know this already because you like me, have been waiting to see this series since the announcement from HBO last fall. ***Having watched the entire season, this was one of the best series I seen in a while. Really looking forward to Season II. You can find it on Specto, DandyMedia, Exodus and Zen
Atlanta follows two cousins who get swept up in Atlanta’s rap scene. Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles is about to break it big with his cousin and manager Earn at his side when a shooting occurs. Earn is played by Donald Glover, who is also the writer and creator of this series. I watched the first episode and liked it a lot. FX has already renewed it for a second season. You can stream it via via 1 Channel, Exodus, Velocity and iStream
Dark Net is a documentary series that takes a deep look at the internet. The many ways it pushes the envelop, aiding in the progress of civilization, as well as the dark reaches of cyber space. Brought to you by Showtime and available for streaming via 1 Channel, Exodus, Velocity and iStream
Amanda Knox premiered on Netflix Friday and I watched it on Exodus last night. Forget what your think you know about this individual and the jury of public opinion that has forever changed her life. This documentary explores the facts of this case and how the media and growing social media (this took place in 2007 when facebook and MySpace were just getting started) distorted the facts to complete a narrative that was sexier than the truth. Well worth the 90 mins. You can stream this on Exodus, Velocity, and The Royal We
A Class of Their Own
The following is a list of my all time favourite tv shows. They represent a combination of great script writing, great story telling, great cast, great acting and memorable characters. If you have yet to see any of the television shows on the following list, I highly recommend you commence binge watching immediately! ;)’ All the best!
There are many scenes I could have selected here to demonstrate the quality of Fargo currently a two season (with a third in the wings) television series brought to you by Netflix. This scene from S01, is a memorable one featuring Billy Bob Thorton as a hit man paying a visit to his “contracts” after he strikes up an unlikely deal with an unlikely character by the name of Lester Nygaard (played by Martin Freeman). The chain of events set in motion will keep you riveted to each episode in that, “let’s just watch one more episode” sort of way, even though it’s midnight and you have to be up early for work in the morning. The cast for Season 1 includes Keith Carradine, Bob Odenkirk, Key and Peele, Oliver Platt and Colin Hanks. Season 2, which is arguably better than S01, features an equally stellar cast including Ted Danson, Patrick Wilson, Bokeem Woodbine, Kieran Culkin, Jeffrey Donovan and Nick Offerman, who provides some exceptional comic relief throughout this season. Kristen Dunst is the female lead in S02 and it’s perhaps, her best role to date. S3 is set to be released in 2017 and I will be making a point of re-watching S02 and possibly S01. Get caught up on S01 & S02 of Fargo and the need to review both seasons will become crystal clear to you too!
If you’re a fan of The Wire and you’ve not seen Treme, then you should be kind of ashamed of yourself. Treme is every bit as good as The Wire, and with good reason. Treme consists of the same writing team (Eric Ellis Overmyer, and David Simon) who are not only responsible for The Wire, they have worked on other classics such as Homicide: Life on the Street, Boardwalk Empire, The Affair and Bosch just to name a few. Treme takes place in New Orleans post hurricane Katrina. It delves into the lives and politics of all those effected, from the homicide detective (Lt. Terry Colson played by David Morse), to the street musician (Antoine Batiste played by Wendell Pierce), to the chiefs of the native tribes (Albert Lambreaux played by Clarke Peters), to the people who came to help and never left (Annie Lucia Micarelli, Sonny Michiel Huisman), and on and on. This series is so good and so deep. It starts off slow through the first 6 or 7 episodes introducing you to some of the characters and the issues that effected New Orleans in wake of the Hurricane. The series reaches an unmistakable crescendo in season 1 and by the time you get there, you will be so hooked on the characters, the music, the dialogue, this series! Other actors featured in this fantastic series include John Goodman, Steve Zahn, Kim Dickens, Rob Brown and a veritable who’s who of the music industry from Elvis Costello, to Steve Earle, Dr. John and many more. Watch it, you won’t regret a single episode!
Omar Comin! At the risk of sounding cliche, I’m adding The Wire to my must watch list. There’s a reason this series ends up on so many “Greatest Television Shows” of all time list. In many ways, this series reinvented the serial drama. Based loosely on writer/Creator David Simons 12 yr stint as a writer with the Baltimore Sun, this series explores the lives of those involved in the Baltimore drug trade. From addict to low lever corner dealer, all the way on up to the politicians who orchestrate the war on drugs. The criminals in this story aren’t always on the streets slinging drugs. Corruption exists at all levels of the political circle. Each season typically explores a specific aspect of the drug trade. Season II takes place primarily in the ports of Baltimore and may be a bit slow for some. Season IV is all about the kids and it’s perhaps one of the best seasons of television I can remember. To add to the authenticity of this series, Simons based many of the characters on real life individuals. Simons drew upon their mannerisms and actions as well as depicting events that actually took place. Both real cops and criminals were hired to play roles within this series to further the authenticity. It’s just a great story from season to season. It’s what all great dramas aspire to be and well worth binge watching.
Occasionally, a comedy series comes along where you find yourself laughing out loud and uncontrollably with every episode. The kind of series that leaves you craving the next episode, as you would if you slowly ate a Cadbury chocolate bar one square at a time. Case in point, Californication starring David Duchovny as Hank Moody; a gifted writer who’s early success led to excess and poor choices. Many, poor choices. Hank relocates to California in an attempt to repair his relationship with both his daughter and his ex-wife Karen (played by Natascha McElhone) whom Hank continues to pine for. Hank for his part, is witty, charming, very smart, has the best come-backs and is not unlike a 15yr old trapped in a 40 something body. Hank has a difficult time saying no to a good time, especially when alcohol, drugs and women are involved. Better yet when all three are on the table, which is often the case with Hank. Charlie Runkle (played by Evan Handler), Hank’s agent and best friend along with Charlie’s wife Marcy aka “Cokey Smurf” on the count of her minor cocaine addiction (played by Pamela Adlon) are two of the funniest characters throughout this series. Season two is a standout with Lew Ashby (played by Canadian Callum Keith Rennie,) a famous rock producer who when paired with Hank Moody, are like a couple of sailors on shore leave. Season 3 is also a stand out with Rick Springfield playing a down and out version of himself. Lastly, Rob Low plays a recurring character by the name of Eddie Nero, whom I’m convinced is based on Brad Pitt. Way too funny!! Even in it’s final season, I was marginally tired of Hanks relentless pursuit of Karen in spite of his self sabotage. I promise this series will make you laugh snot bubbles out your nose!
The name of this show should not deter you from binge watching this very funny series. Created by Jenji Kohan, whom some of you might recognize from that other super hit Orange is the New Black. Weeds, follows the life of Nancy Botwin (played by Mary-Louise Parker), a suburban house wife from California who is suddenly left to support herself and her two children after her husband dies suddenly, leaving the family little to nothing for their future. In order to maintain her upper middle class lifestyle, Nancy turns to selling pot. As the series progresses, Nancy begins to draw in anyone within her inner circle to the ups and downs of becoming a pot dealer. Comedy ensues. While Nancy Botwin’s life choices and poor decision making can get a little old, there’s stand out comedic performances from Kevin Nealon who plays Doug Wilson, a narcissistic accountant who’s decision making when paired next to Nancy’s, makes you cringe for the inevitable train wreck that is bound to occur. There’s also Justin Kirk who plays uncle Andy, a heart of gold kind of guy and also somewhat narcissistic who despite finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, always comes out smelling like a rose. Both Doug Wilson and Andy Botwin never get old throughout this series. Much like with the series Breaking Bad, the moral note (if there really is one), nothing good ever comes from selling drugs. Let this series serve as a lesson to us all…just kidding.
If you’re a fan of great television, then Breaking Bad has to be top of your list.