Stranger Things: Season 2 official trailer and poster


Revealed at SDCC today, the official trailer for the much anticipated season 2 of Netflix multiple Emmy* nominated original drama is here! And what a ‘Thriller’ of a trailer it is!

I have watched this trailer multiple times now and still can not get over all of the 1980’s nostalgia in it.

Ghost Busters:

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Dragon’s Lair: 

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Oh, and Upside down Will:

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If you want to watch the ‘Thriller’ of  ‘Stranger Things’ season 2 trailer, you can here:

And the official poster is here:

stranger things season 2 poster

 

Stranger Things returns on Netflix October 27, 2017

*The Emmy’s airs Sunday, Sept. 17 at 8pm ET. on CBS.

The Things You Find on Netflix: Christine (dir by Antonio Campos)


I really regret that I didn’t get a chance to see Christine when it played here last year.  I wanted to but the movie was only in theaters for a week and then it vanished.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that Christine didn’t become a blockbuster.  I imagine that most potential viewers were turned off by the fact that 1) it wasn’t a remake of the movie about the killer car and 2) it was based on the true story of a reporter who, in 1974, committed suicide on live television.  I imagine that, to many people, the film sounded like it would be indescribably sad.  It certainly sounded that way to me.  That’s why, when the movie opened at the Dallas Angelika, I said, “I’ll see it next week.”  Of course, by the time “next week” rolled around, the movie was gone.

And that’s a shame.  I just watched Christine on Netflix and I discovered that it was one of the best films of 2016.  Yes, it is a sad film but it’s also a frequently fascinating one.  The movie may tell the story of a tragedy but it’s anchored and enlivened by a brilliant performance from Rebecca Hall.  People who love movies, of course, already know that Rebecca Hall is a brilliant actress but, unfortunately, she rarely gets the roles in the films that she deserves.  As of this writing, her most financially successful film was probably The Town and, in that film, she was pretty much wasted in a nothing role.  She is perfectly cast in Christine, perhaps as perfectly cast as any performer could ever hope to be.

Rebecca Hall plays Christine Chubbuck, a reporter who was based in Sarasota, Florida.  In 1974, she started a newscast by announcing, “”In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in ‘blood and guts’, and in living color, you are going to see another first—attempted suicide.”  She then drew a gun from a shopping bag that was sitting behind the anchor desk.  As thousands watched, she shot herself in the back of the head.

Along with the gun, the shopping bag had contained the homemade puppets that Christine used whenever she volunteered at the local children’s hospital.  On the anchor desk, among her papers, was a news report that she had written the previous night, announcing that “Local news personality Christine Chubbuck” had shot herself on live television and had been taken to the hospital in critical condition.  Christine, who was reportedly frustrated both personally and professionally, was briefly the number one story in the nation.

One of the more interesting things about the suicide of Christine Chubbuck is that it happened in 1974, long before YouTube, Facebook Live, or Twitter.  Chubbuck’s suicide was only aired once and the footage has subsequently vanished.  If Christine Chubbuck, or anyone else, committed suicide on television today, it would immediately be all over the internet.  We would end up seeing, at the very least, clips of it on an almost daily basis.  Sadly, we would see it so much that we would probably become desensitized to it.  Since Christine Chubbuck’s death was recorded but remains unseen, both she and her suicide have achieved an almost mythical quality.  One can look at the details of Christine Chubbuck’s death and see almost anything that they want.

Christine follows the last few months of Chubbuck’s life.  As played by Rebecca Hall, Christine is confident enough that she can imagine interviewing Richard Nixon but insecure enough to obsess over whether she was nodding too much while the imaginary President gave his imaginary answer.  She lives with her mother (J. Smith-Cameron), a self-described hippie who keeps making references to a breakdown that Christine had in Boston.  When she complains about the pressure that she’s under to sensationalize the news, her boss dismisses her with “You’re a feminist!”  (He says it like an accusation.)  When she gives in and purchases a police scanner so that she can find the stories that the boss is demanding, she ends up spending most of her night listening to two cops brag about “how far” they got with their girlfriends the night before. When she goes to the doctor to complain about chronic stomach pain, she’s told that she has to have an ovary removed and she’ll probably never be able to conceive.  When she thinks that she finally has a date with the man who she’s been crushing on, she is instead dragged to an empty-headed encounter group.  Her group partner has a slick answer for every problem that Christine has until Christine says that she’s thirty and she’s still a virgin.

“Oh,” her partner replies, flummoxed.

In the film, Christine struggles with both depression and, in my opinion, bipolar disorder as well.  Unfortunately, for her mental well-being, she’s a woman in 1974.  The only thing that the world has to offer her are vapid self-affirmation (“I’m okay, you’re okay!  I’m okay, you’re okay!” one co-worker chants at a particularly dramatic moment) and sexist bosses who dismiss what is clearly a manic episode as either “being moody” or “being difficult.”  Speaking as someone who is very sensitive as to how mental health issues are portrayed onscreen, all I can say is that Christine gets it right.

I’m probably making this film sound like the most depressing movie ever made and it’s definitely not a happy film.  I had tears in my eyes by the end of it.  At the same time, it’s also a compulsively watchable character study.  Rebecca Hall gives such a good and brave performance as Christine that you can’t look away, even when you feel like you should.  Rebecca Hall is also ably supported by Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Morgan Spector, Timothy Simons, and Maria Dizzia, who all play her sometimes sympathetic, sometimes annoyed co-workers.

Now, I do think that I should warn anyone from thinking that Christine is a 100% accurate look at Christine Chubbuck’s life and death.  The film left me so moved that I actually did some research and I came across this article from the Washington Post — Christine Chubbuck: 29, Good-Looking, Educated, A Television Personality. Dead. Live and in Color.  After reading the profile, it was easy to see that the film did take some dramatic license.  However, it was also easy to see that Christine gets the essence of the story right.

If, like me, you missed Christine in the theaters, you can now see it on Netflix.  And you should!

Here’s the Trailer for Marvel’s The Defenders!


Much as how all of the early films in the MCU were leading to the creation of The Avengers, all of Netflix’s Marvel series have been leading up to the creation of The Defenders!

The time has come.

I assume that, while the Avengers are defeating big-budget threats, The Defenders will keep peace on Earth by fighting Sigourney Weaver and ninjas in hallways.

Oh, and Elektra’s back…

Netflix Review: Mystery Science Theater 3000 11.1 “Reptilicus”


I grew up loving Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Since my favorite was always Tom Servo, it never mattered to me whether Joel or Mike was the host.  Even after the show went off the air, it was always nice to know that I could say, “How much Keeffe is in this movie?” and at least one person would know that the correct answer would always be “Miles O’Keeffe.”

When I first heard about the Kickstarter campaign to bring back Mystery Science Theater 3000, I was worried.  As someone who owns all of the Rhino DVDs, along with The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Colossal Episode Guide and several VHS copies of the original broadcasts on both Comedy Central and SyFy, I was happy to see that there was still life in the show.  At the same time, I was worried that a possibly inferior reboot might ruin some of my favorite childhood memories.

I just finished watching the first episode of the Netflix MST3K and there is no need for alarm or concern.  My childhood will survive.  While it wasn’t perfect, it was still more than good enough.  It may not have ranked up with the classic episodes of MST3K but it’s at least as good as the one where Pearl forced Mike and the Bots to watch the Russian version of Hamlet.

Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt were great as the new Mads.  I appreciated the return of the invention exchange and that the show still had the same deliberately cheap look that we all know and love from the original.  With Tom Servo, Crow, and Gypsy all being voiced by new actors, it’s going to take a while to get used to the new crew on the Satellite of Love but, by the end of the episode, both Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn had settled into their roles of Tom and Crow.  Considering that it was his first episode and that it is still strange to see someone other than Joel or Mike hanging out with the bots, Jonah Ray did a commendable job as the new host, bringing a laid back vibe to the role that was very reminiscent of the Joel years.  (That’s not surprising, considering that the revival is largely Joel’s baby.)  Tom being able to fly and Gypsy now being suspended from the ceiling are things that sound like they should not have worked but they did.  My one real complaint is that, without the Netflix captioning, it is often difficult to tell the difference between Jonah’s voice and Tom’s.

The movie was Reptilicus.  As a badly dubbed Danish monster movie, it was the perfect “experiment” with which to start off the new MST3K.  Everyone, even Gypsy, got a few good jokes in at the film’s expense.  Among my favorites:

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark and it’s this movie.” — Crow

“Now, you’re Mr. Filing Cabinet.” — Gypsy, after one of the film’s scientists placed his hat on a filing cabinet.

“The Danish Army, cheaper than extras and less busy.” — Tom

“Reptilicus Returns in Reptilicus 2: 2 Fast 2 Danish.” — Jonah

The show’s best joke came during a host segment, when Crow and Tom asked Jonah to explain how every country has a monster “preferably in rap.”  The chorus of “Every country has a monster/They’re afraid of in their nation/Every monster has a country/Yeah, a station they call home” stayed with me long after the song ended.

Finally, I was happy to see the return of viewer mail segment.  It is nice to know that, in 2017, eight year-olds are still drawing pictures of Tom and Crow on the Satellite of Love.

If you are like me and you were worried that a new Mystery Science 3000 would destroy your childhood, don’t worry.  MST3K is back and, so far, it’s pretty good.

 

Here’s the teaser for Mindhunter!


Coming to Netflix in October…

It’s a new show about serial killers and the people who study them, hunt them, and hopefully capture them.   It’ll be like Criminal Minds, though it’ll probably feature more profanity and nudity and less Thomas Gibson-involved physical assaults.

This show was produced by David Fincher so you know every film blogger is going to have to watch at least one episode.

Here’s The Teaser for War Machine!


Hmmm…

Okay, so for two months — January and February to be exact — I was convinced that War Machine was going to be some sort of Oscar contender but this just released teaser has changed my mind.  It’s not that the teaser necessarily looks bad as much as it’s the fact that it ends with “Only on Netflix.”

(So, I guess it’s time to update those predictions before all the other award bloggers come across them and laugh at me.  Seriously, award bloggers are mean!)

(Of course, it’s also not uncommon for Netflix to play their films in a Los Angeles theater for a week so that they’ll be Oscar eligible.  That didn’t really work for Beasts of No Nation, of course….)

Anyway, here’s the teaser!

 

Classic Film Lovers Rejoice! Here’s The Trailer for Five Came Back!


If you love classic movies, you’re going to love this trailer for the new Netflix documentary, Five Came Back!

Based on Mark Harris’s brilliant non-fiction book, Five Came Back takes a look at the work that five great directors — Frank Capra, William Wyler, John Huston, George Stevens, and John Ford — did during World War II.  It’s a fascinating story and it was a fascinating book.  I just hope this documentary does it justice.

We’ll find out on March 31st!

(Incidentally, Five Came Back is narrated by Meryl Streep so expect to see her nominated for Best Actress next year…)