Archive for the ‘Flixtream this!’ Category

Flash! Netflix raises prices (and makes cheaper no-DVD plan)

November 24, 2010

Flash! Netflix raises prices (and makes cheaper no-DVD plan)

You know how Netflix has been this incredible deal at $8.99 a month for one DVD at a time…and all you can eat streaming video?

Well, it’s still one of the best deals, but now that plan is $9.99 a month.

I do like that one: while there are more and more great movies and TV shows available streaming, I do like to get some of the newer shows.  We don’t like to wait those extra months for the next season of Dexter, for example.  I also like some old movies that just aren’t that likely to show up on streaming in the near future.

However, if you are fine with streaming only (and I would consider that), Netflix is now offering a $7.99 plan.  So, if you’ve forgotten you can even get physical DVDs, this saves you a buck a month. 

Other plans (which allow more DVDs at a time) are also going up.  Basically, add a dollar a month per DVD you can have out at a time.  If you are on the five at a time deal, you’ll pay $5 a month more (from $29.99 to $34.99).

Why is this happening?

It’s a digital world, baby.  More TVs and movies are streamed from Netflix already than are seen on DVD.  They need to put the resources where they can best be used…getting us more streaming (although again, there is a lot of it now).

Yeah, I wouldn’t want to be a DVD player maker right now…

The details of the changes are in this

Netflix blog 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

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Flixtream this! Special Halloween 2010 edition

October 31, 2010

Flixtream this! Special Halloween 2010 edition

You can get streaming Netflix in a lot of different ways: directly on a computer, through a Roku device, through a gaming system (Wii, XBOX 360, PS3), even through some TVs.  You can watch all the streaming stuff you want (and get 1 DVD at a time) for $8.99 a month.  I’m going to start recommending some things for you to watch…I call it Flixtreaming (for “NetFlix Streaming”).

Halloween and scary movies…for me, they go together “boo-tifully”.  😉  A lot of the classic costumes are based on those movies: the flat-headed Frankenstein’s monster (Jack Pierce’s brilliant design for Boris Karloff); the evening-dressed Dracula (Bela Lugosi); and the hairy-faced wolfman (Jack Pierce again, for Lon Chaney, Jr.). 

Other people extend beyond the Universal horror movies…Freddie Kreuger from A Nightmare on Elm Street; the shuffling zombies from Night of the Living Dead; and the sexy vamp Elvira.  Yes, TV can count, too.  🙂

Whether it’s keeping the kids entertained waiting for trick-or-treat time, or a party for adults, streaming Netflix makes it easy to get in the Halloween mood.  I’m going to make some suggestions…be careful, not all of them are good for all audiences. 

Dracula (1931)

This is the classic, the one that issued in the whole Universal horror cycle.  Bela Lugosi, who had starred in the stage hit, stars as Count Dracula…and yes, the action starts out in Transylvania.  Great lines (“I never drink…wine.”) and Dwight Frye as the maniac Renfield make this the must-see.  Is it hokey?  Sure…and what is that armadillo doing in a European castle?  Still, I would definitely put this on the list.

Frankenstein (1931)

Boris Karloff is brilliant in the largely non-verbal role of Frankenstein’s creation.  While he later would be associated with the role of the mad scientist, that honor belongs to Colin Clive in this James Whale-directed classic (he also directed Dracula, above).  Ken Strickfaden’s electrical work for Dr. Frankenstein’s lab has been imitated many times.

The Addams Family (1964…)

If you want one that will entertain the kids and adults alike, I’d recommend a marathon of the 1960s sitcom.   While “mysterious and spooky” to the outside world, this is actually a loving family.  While somewhat dated in its plots, its outsider mentality fits right into today.  If it had been a musical (well, it is now, but that’s not the same thing), it would have been great for Glee. 

Dark Shadows (1967…)

Prefer your vampires and werewolves as romantic leads?  Consider revisiting this 1960s soap opera with Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins and David Selby as the werewolf Quentin.  Just like with the Addams Family, there are enough episodes for you to watch all day.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Not for kids!  It’s really the writing that makes this terrifying…although there is gore.  If you’ve never seen it, I’m not going to spoil anything.  Just be prepared for a difficult night’s sleep afterwards…if you sleep at all.

The Exorcist (1973)

This story of a possessed girl (Linda Blair) scared people in a way that movies really hadn’t done before.  Based on the best-selliing William Peter Blatty book (itself inspired by an actual event) this can be really disturbing, in ways beyond a quick scare.  Again, definitely not for kids.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Not for kids for a different reason.  🙂  This one may certainly be best in a group with a party atmosphere.  It’s a musical tribute to the Universal horror movies…but with a definite twist.  If you’ve ever seen this one, let me say…it’s a lot better on the second viewing.  Why?  There is a lot of foreshadowing.  Tim Curry deserved an Oscar nomination for this one…although that wasn’t going to happen.  🙂

Paranormal Activity (2009 wide release)

With the sequel in the theatres, this is a great opportunity to see the original.  It’s one of the most profitable movies of all time…but don’t think that means it looks cheap.  I was pleasantly surprised by it.  The strength is in Oren Pell’s directing and writing and Katie Featherston’s naturalistic performance.  It’s really creepy…very intense.

There are a few suggestions for you.  🙂  I could list a hundred more, but I’ll leave it up to you.  What movies and TV shows (available on streaming Netflix) do you recommend for Halloween?

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

Flixtream this! A Boy and His Dog

July 31, 2010

Flixtream this! A Boy and His Dog

You can get streaming Netflix in a lot of different ways: directly on a computer, through a Roku device, through a gaming system (Wii, XBOX 360, PS3), even through some TVs.  You can watch all the streaming stuff you want (and get 1 DVD at a time) for $8.99 a month.  I’m going to start recommending some things for you to watch…I call it Flixtreaming (for “NetFlix Streaming”).

You know how you go to watch something that you saw decades ago and wonder how it is going to hold up?

Oh, you weren’t born decades ago?  Well, use your imagination, bub.  😉

I saw A Boy and His Dog when it first came out…actually, I saw it at a convention before it was even released.

I don’t think you’ll get a good idea of what it is if you are just browsing through your streaming Netflix choices.  Heck, you can even read the description of it and not get it.

First, it isn’t a kids’ movie, despite the title.

Second, it may look like it’s a goofy comedy…that’s not really right, either.

Third, yes, it stars Don Johnson…but I do think he is good in this.  I bring that up because you might think it’s going to be like Miami Vice or Nash Bridges…it’s not.

I’m really careful about spoilers, but I can give you the basic set-up without too much trouble, I think.

It’s a PAW (Post-Apocalyptic World), created in a short story by Harlan Ellison.   People scramble to find things to eat…it’s a violent place.

Vic is a human “rover” who has teamed up with a telepathic dog called Blood.  This isn’t some macho German Shepherd…the dog is more of a Benji-looking type.

That’s as far as I’m going plotwise.  🙂

The movie is a social satire, but not slapstick.  It’s certainly adventurous as well, in a sort of Mad Max way (not the second one, but the first one).

I am going to warn you: some characters in the movie treat women badly…really, really badly.  The movie doesn’t, but some characters do.  There is nudity and sexual themes and violence…but none of those overwhelm the relationship between Vic and Blood, which is the big draw.

Okay, I’ll go a bit further into that relationship, again without spoiling plot points.

Blood, the dog, is the mentor.  His relationship is sort of like KITT’s to Michael Knight.  Vic is the hot-head, Blood the voice of reason.  But their bond is strong…both knows that they need the other.

So, did this hold up for me?  Yes, I’d say it was even better than when I saw it the first time.  I think at that point I was perhaps dazzled a bit more by the surface than I was now. 

Ignore the image and the description on Netflix, and, taking into account the content warnings I’ve mentioned, give it a try.  You might be pleasantly surprised…

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

Flixtream this! Jekyll

July 22, 2010

Flixtream this! Jekyll

You can get streaming Netflix in a lot of different ways: directly on a computer, through a Roku device, through a gaming system (Wii, XBOX 360, PS3), even through some TVs.  You can watch all the streaming stuff you want (and get 1 DVD at a time) for $8.99 a month.  I’m going to start recommending some things for you to watch…I call it Flixtreaming (for “NetFlix Streaming”).

Jekyll (2007 BBC miniseries)

Steven Moffat is a dark, edgy, funny screenwriter.  He brought a new flavor to Doctor Who. 

In a six-episode miniseries, he created a sequel to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Not a remake, a sequel.  In this world (which is our world, today’s world), the book exists as we know it.  Some characters are more familiar with it than others, as it should be.

It’s not the tale as you know it.  I’m quite careful about spoilers, so I’m going to stick with some broad observations.

This Mr. Hyde is not a werewolf, not a beast.  I think that image was heightened by the Abbott and Costello version.  No, this one is witty…vicious, but witty.  He has extreme speed, compared to a normal person, and remarkable strength.  He’s into pop culture.  In fact, he’s much more like Jim Carrey’s version of The Mask than a snarling animal.

Consider for a moment that you had this kind of…condition.  One of the key points in this version: it isn’t that Jekyll is real and Hyde is an illness.  They have worked out an understanding.  A psychiatric nurse is hired to help, and she must be approved by both of them.  She keeps their secrets from each other.  She protects them from each other.

High-tech comes into it as well.  They have a digital message recorder: Jekyll leaves use it to leave messages for Hyde (who isn’t so thoughtful).  They have rules, agreements.  Hyde isn’t to kill anyone, because Jekyll would surrender to the police.  Jekyll isn’t to look for a cure…because Hyde would put a bullet into his own (and Jekyll’s) brain.

They monitor each other’s movements by looking at the records from a GPS device.

That’s the basic set-up, and it works very well…for them, and for us as an audience.

Jekyll isn’t called Jekyll, by the way…it’s Jackman.

That’s only the beginning, though.  The six episodes have a logical, accelerating story arc.  Life becomes much more complicated for them, and others become involved.

I want to warn you: this Hyde is really evil.  He has restraint, but he’ll say things and do some things you probably wouldn’t want a child to see.  It also has what I consider a hallmark of Moffat’s writing: children in danger.

I thought it was quite well-written, though, and yes, funny (intentionally) at times.  The story kept me wanting to see what would happen next, and I did care about the characters.   Star Stephen Moffat was nominated for a Golden Globe his performance as Jackman (Jekyll) and Hyde.  There’s a fun part for Paterson Joseph, as a wise-cracking but very dangerous character.  He’s a Brit playing an American…and I almost wouldn’t have known (that’s certainly not always the case).  The only two times I picked up on the accent was the present participle form of the “f word”.  When something is described as “effing” (but he says the “real word”), his first vowel is bit off.  Small point, though.

For the most part, it isn’t gorily violent (although there is violence), and there is anything overly “adult”, except for themes.

I’d recommend that you give this one a try…both of you.  😉

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

Flixtream this! The Day of the Triffids (1981 miniseries)

July 13, 2010

Flixtream this! The Day of the Triffids (1981 miniseries)

You can get streaming Netflix in a lot of different ways: directly on a computer, through a Roku device, through a gaming system (Wii, XBOX 360, PS3), even through some TVs.  You can watch all the streaming stuff you want (and get 1 DVD at a time) for $8.99 a month.  I’m going to start recommending some things for you to watch…I call it Flixtreaming (for “NetFlix Streaming”).

The Day of the Triffids (1981 miniseries)

If you’ve never seen or read The Day of the Triffids, you’d probably get a severe misunderstanding of it from any short description.

For example, it’s referenced in Rocky Horror…”And I really got hot when I saw Janette Scott fight a Triffid which spits poison and kills.”

Look at posters, and you’ll see these giant, actually pretty silly looking monster plants.

Yes, they are in the story, and yes, they are important to it.

However, in the 1981 British miniseries (six episodes) which is far more faithful to the book than the movie reference in Rocky Horror, they aren’t the most interesting part.

It’s really about people.

I’m going to spoil something that happens very early in the first episode, and which you would probably read in a TV guide type listing:

SPOILER ALERT

People  observe a celestial light show, which may be a kind of meteor shower…and it causes them to go blind.

That’s the basic set-up.  People who didn’t see it, for whatever reason, still have their sight.

The world turns harsh very quickly, but not unrealistically.  Sighted people have an advantage, certainly, but there are many, many more blind people…and they want to force those sighted people to do things.

What type of people wouldn’t go out to look at something beautiful in the sky?  What would their personalities be like?

The main character didn’t have a choice…he was in hospital, recovering from an operation with his eyes bandaged.

It’s how he makes his way in this Scared New World that we follow: the people he meets, the people he escapes, the person he befriends.

It’s a TV series, but I’ll warn you that it is harsh…people behave badly, as you might expect in a desperate situation.  The newly-blind stumble about, certainly reminiscent of zombies…but those with sight can be worse.

The music is jarring: intentionally so.  The special effects for the Triffids…well, what can you do?  They are physical effects (actual plant puppets), and just can’t be that convincing.

Is it dated?  Certainly some. 

I liked the tone, though…there would be a temptation to make it too melodramatic, or too philosophical.  Instead, it seemed largely…reasonable.

Many of you may be familiar with Blindness, either the novel by the recently deceased José Saramago, or the movie with Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo.  Is that The Day of the Triffids without the Triffids?  Well, there are certainly some similarities…

If it being 1980s doesn’t turn you off, and you can get past the giant killer plant thing, I’d say, give it a try.  🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

Flixtream this! Firefly: The Complete Series

June 16, 2010

Flixtream this! Firefly: The Complete Series

You can get streaming Netflix in a lot of different ways: directly on a computer, through a Roku device, through a gaming system (Wii, XBOX 360, PS3), even through some TVs.  You can watch all the streaming stuff you want (and get 1 DVD at a time) for $8.99 a month.  I’m going to start recommending some things for you to watch…I call it Flixtreaming (for “NetFlix Streaming”).

Firefly: The Complete Series

This TV series from Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) only ran for one season, but has attracted a fan following (who call themselves “Browncoats”).  A feature movie was also made (and is also available streaming) called Serenity.

It’s essentially a Western in space, but with great characters and fun writing.  The cast includes Nathan Fillion (Castle), Morena Baccarin (V), Summer Glau (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), and Ron Glass (Barney Miller).

I’d say this is actually a good place to introduce yourself to Joss Whedon.  Buffy and Angel are simply too sprawling as a place to start (it’s a big commitment), and, um, I didn’t like Dollhouse as much.

I would watch the episodes in order, although that isn’t crucial.  You might also find yourself consuming a few at a time.  😉

This is also something you can watch with other people…and a lot of people who haven’t seen it wouldn’t mind watching it again.

Browncoats.com fansite

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.


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