Top 10 Favorite Movies of 2014

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I feel so late to the party in naming off my favorite films of 2014. It was a tough list to make, because there were a lot of movies I genuinely enjoyed, and still so many I wanted to see before making it. Just to be clear, this is a list of my personal favorite movies from last year, it’s not a list of the best or most critically acclaimed movies. They are all films that personally resonated with me for one reason or another, and they are all ones I have already revisited multiple times, or am planning to watch again and again. So before you condemn me for not having acclaimed favorites like Boyhood on here (I’ve seen it on almost every top 10 list I’ve read), it’s not because I didn’t appreciate it or because I can’t recognize great achievements in filmmaking, it’s just that it’s not something I feel I would watch more than once. So let’s get on with it, then!

dawnoftheplanet10. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Director: Matt Reeves
Writers: Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
Cast: Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell, Gary Oldman

This movie stuck out in my mind for being a well made summer blockbuster with a lot of heart, as well as rare proof that not all sequels and reboots are terrible. It has stunning effects with motion capture technology and a story laden in harsh, realistic truths. It shows that violence begets violence, that prejudices lead to bad decisions, and that evil exists on every side. In this way, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes manages to capture the same intelligence that made the original film so great. It’s entertaining, emotional, and a promising addition to a successful rebooted franchise. Full review.

Only Lovers Left Alive9. Only Lovers Left Alive
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Writer: Jim Jarmusch
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright

A humanizing twist on the vampire genre, Jim Jarmusch created two wonderful vampire characters that put Bella and Edward to shame. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are amazing to watch as Adam and Eve–two immortal beings bound by a never ending love–who try to make the best of eternity through their passion for the arts, while dealing with the disappointment in the evolution of society and the decaying world around them. The sets, the music, and the use of lighting help to create a moody, melancholic world, one that is beautiful and strange in its own way, but a perfect fit for the tone of the film. It’s also nicely balanced in that it is both funny and sad at all the right times. It’s a movie that touched the far reaches of my soul, as I couldn’t help but fall in love with this perfect match of characters. Full review.

grandbudapest28. The Grand Budapest Hotel
Director: Wes Anderson
Writers: Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan

The star studded cast is just one of the many things to enjoy about Wes Anderson’s latest film. Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori are a delightful pair as concierge Gustave H. and lobby boy Zero. They are joined by plenty more interesting characters, some that are merely cameos, but memorable all the same. The chameleon of an actress, Tilda Swinton, is one such cameo as an old woman who is murdered and leaves behind a priceless painting for her confidant and lover, Gustave H., resulting in her son, Dmitri (Adrien Brody), to frame Gustave for the murder. The Grand Budapest Hotel is a funny, quirky adventure, as well as a sad symbol of a time when humanity was on the verge of a world war, a time when things of luxury would soon disappear and the world would tumble into chaos. Gustave and Zero are a light in a dark time, and a duo I’ll likely never get tired of watching. Full review.

theguest37. The Guest
Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: Simon Barrett
Cast: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Sheila Kelley, Brendan Meyer, Leland Orser, Lance Reddick

It’s difficult for me to find anything to not like about this movie. Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, the minds behind the hit horror film You’re Next, bring us a really fun action/thriller/horror/dark comedy that features one of the best movie soundtracks of 2014. Dan Stevens headlines the film as David, a discharged soldier who visits the family of a friend who was killed in action and wins them over with his blue eyes and polite southern charm, but it doesn’t take long for the daughter (Maika Monroe) to figure out David is hiding a dark secret from them. The Guest is, in a lot of ways, a very self-aware throwback to ’80s action and horror movies, and that retro feel creates this enjoyable, stylish atmosphere. Along with the deliberate genre mixing, everything works incredibly well in making this a stand out film that I wouldn’t be surprised would become a cult classic some day. Full review.

Birdman16. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Director: Alejandro González Iñarritu
Writers: Alejandro González Iñarritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo
Cast: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough

Birdman is such an impressive film, and not just in the way that it was shot–it was shot and edited to look like one continuous take–but also in the story and the performances. It acts as a satire about show business and a social commentary about what people consider real art and what isn’t, and it also shows the way the business gets inside people’s heads. Michael Keaton delivers an amazing performance as Riggan, a washed up actor who once knew fame from playing a superhero named Birdman, but now is struggling to make himself relevant again by putting on a Broadway show. He receives a lot of criticism for trying to be a “true actor” instead of a “celebrity,” and the bulk of this criticism comes from his alter ego–Birdman. The film balances tragedy and humor, as well as realism and fantasy extremely well. There’s so many great performances from all of the actors, which is even more impressive knowing that they had to memorize and perform such long takes at a time without screwing up. Aside from the actors, the direction by Iñarritu and the cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki is fantastic, and the score is simple and perfect. This is definitely one of the best films of 2014 and deserving of its awards nominations and wins. Full review.

5. Gone Girl
Director: David Fincher
Writer: Gillian Flynn
Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Neil Patrick Harris

Gone Girl is one of the best book-to-movie adaptations I’ve seen in a while, probably due to the fact that Gillian Flynn being both the author of the book and the screenwriter. It’s a sin that this movie wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for best adapted screenplay. Gone Girl tells the story of Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), a man who is suspected of murder when his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike) disappears. There’s more to the story than just being a murder mystery, though. This is one of the best examples of how the media can influence people. The media turns the spotlight on Nick and, in search of a good story, shows him in a not-so-innocent light. I was blown away by the book, and when I heard that none other than David Fincher was going to direct the movie, I was more than hopeful. I was not disappointed, because Fincher managed to make a wonderful, suspenseful and faithful adaptation and was the perfect pick of a director to maintain the darker tone of the story. Along with some great performances by the cast, especially Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, and a hauntingly beautiful score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Gone Girl is one of the most compelling movies of the past year. Full review.

guardiansofthegalaxy4. Guardians of the Galaxy
Director: James Gunn
Writers: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan

There’s a ton of fun to be had with Guardians of the Galaxy. The soundtrack is amazing, the cast is perfect, and the humor is right on point. There was a lot of negativity surrounding the release of a movie featuring a team of superheroes no one knew anything about. Not to mention, two of those heroes are a raccoon and a tree. It was one of Marvel’s biggest gambles in recent years, and one of their most successful. Turns out, we needed a fresh new team of superheroes to brighten the mood and remind us that not everything has to be dark and gritty to be meaningful. The visual effects are gorgeous, the story is light-hearted and enjoyable, and the action is well paced. Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot are a most welcome addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the most fun entertainment I’ve experienced at the theater all year. I can’t wait to see where their story will go and how they’ll fit into the expanding universe. Full review.

3. Nightcrawler
Director: Dan Gilroy
Writer: Dan Gilroy
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Riz Ahmed

Jake Gyllenhaal is amazing as Louis Bloom, a sociopath who takes it upon himself to become a “nightcrawler,” a guy who goes out at night and gathers footage of crime scenes and sells the footage to the highest bidding news station, in this case, that would be Nina (Rene Russo), a producer not afraid to cross the line in showing the bloodiest footage she can get her hands on. Nightcrawler shows how the media can be dark and relentless in trying to get the best story and achieve the highest ratings. Bloom is absolutely nuts, but the unethical things he does is only positively reinforced by people like Nina, who encourage him to continue what he’s doing. The script is so well-written, and the story is totally character driven, but there’s also some action involved, specifically towards the end when Bloom is involved in a car chase in his sleek, red Dodge Charger. The cinematography and the score work so well together, making the film absolutely mesmerizing and entertaining at the same time. It’s a darkly humorous movie and I was amazed when I realized how much I loved it while walking out of the theater.

The-Raid-2-Berandal2. The Raid 2
Director: Gareth Huw Evans
Writer: Gareth Huw Evans
Cast: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Arifin Putra, Oka Antara, Alex Abbad, Julie Estelle, Very Tri Yulisman, Cecep Arif Rahman

I don’t know how to even begin to describe how much I love The Raid 2. I am the biggest Raid fan girl that I’ve ever known. I took a 2 hour train ride into New York City just to see this movie on opening night, because I had waited so long for it and couldn’t wait for it to (maybe) come to theaters near me. That trip was worthwhile, though, because this movie proved to be even more entertaining and bad ass than the first movie. This sat at my #1 all year long, until another film just happened to barely slip past it. Iko Uwais is captivating as Rama, the bad ass martial artist/cop who is out to avenge his brother’s murder. He goes undercover for a local crime boss by becoming close with his son (Putra). He encounters plenty of worthwhile bad guys, including a baseball bat wielding (Yulisman) and hammer wielding (Estelle) sibling duo, and a ruthless assassin (Rahman). The fight choreography in this film is some of the best I’ve ever seen. This movie takes the action genre and turns it over on its head, and some other smart action movies are following suit (i.e. John Wick). There’s no weird angles or close-up shots of fists and feet or too quick of cuts to make it look like stuff is actually happening, when in fact, it isn’t. It’s just pure, hard-hitting action with some of the most skilled fighters in the world. I absolutely love this movie, and I can’t say it enough. Full review.

Whiplash-5547.cr21. Whiplash
Director: Damien Chazelle
Writer: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist

No other movies of 2014 made me feel as tense as Whiplash did. I love this movie because the plot is so simple and yet has this grand message of what it means to be truly great. How is greatness achieved? Does it come natural to most people who have achieved it? Or was it because there was someone behind them the whole way pushing them to their limit? Miles Teller plays Andrew, an aspiring jazz band drummer who is pushed by his instructor, Fletcher (Simmons), to the point of exuding actual blood, sweat and tears. Simmons is both scary and darkly humorous with his screaming and over-the-top insults. Is he truly a terrible person, though? The ending leaves this question open to interpretation. Teller does an awesome job, his drum skills are exhilarating, even if Simmons’ character doesn’t quite think so. He is able to really exhibit the determination it takes to be a great musician, and the desperation to impress his mentor. You feel sympathy for him, but at the same time, wonder how anyone could willingly put themselves through such abuse just for the approval of one man. The cinematography and the editing are worth noting here, because they work together to create the most tense atmosphere inside and even outside of the film, I swear it actually physically affected me. Whiplash is an astonishing film, and I’m glad it’s getting all the recognition it deserves. Full review.

 

Honorable Mentions (there’s a lot of them):

The Babadook – Probably the best horror film of 2014.
Big Hero 6 – Fun Marvel animated movie, and Baymax is adorable.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Great action, smart spy thriller, and it’s Marvel, need I say more?
Edge of Tomorrow – Intelligent and entertaining blockbuster, and Emily Blunt is a bad ass.
I Origins – Very unique, small-budget sci-fi with a lot of heart.
The Imitation Game – Great biopic of a great man, Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing is perfect.
John Wick – Breath of fresh air into the action genre, more hard hitting and entertaining than most junk Hollywood comes out with, and I love Keanu Reeves in it.
Killers – Captivating and violent, it’s hard to look away from this stylish Indonesian thriller.
The Lego Movie – Because everything is awesome.
Life Itself – Interesting look into the life of Roger Ebert, a man I always admired, but this also reminded me that I’ll never be as good as him. Sad face.
Snowpiercer – Gorgeous set designs, well-balanced with social commentary, weird violence, and unforgettable characters. Also, Tilda Swinton, again.
Starred Up – Emotional British prison drama and Jack O’Connell is an extremely impressive talent.
Under the Skin – Scarlett Johansson as an alien seducing men, it’s weird, it’s beautiful, and it’s one of the better independent films of 2014.
X-Men: Days of Future Past – It’s hard not to have fun with both the old and new X-Men cast together, so many talented actors in one place.
The Zero Theorem – I love most of Terry Gilliam’s movies, and despite popular opinion, I thought this was an intriguing story interweaving themes of society, religion and technology. Also, I love Christoph Waltz.

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Only Lovers Left Alive (2014)

Only Lovers Left Alive

If vampires ever existed, I would like to think they’d exist in the form of Jim Jarmusch’s latest creation of characters. To hell with Twilight, Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive bends the vampire genre into the most cool, sincere, and beautiful story about two eternal souls dealing with the mundane rituals of every day life and finding solace in each other for an unending lifetime.

Everything about this movie works so well in creating this moody, dark and realistic world despite it being about two fantasy creatures. Adam (Tom Hiddleston) is a reclusive musician living in Detroit and Eve (Tilda Swinton) lives half a world away in Tangier. Her only other known contact is Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt), you know, the guy who really wrote all of Shakespeare’s plays. He supplies her with blood, because these vampires don’t drink directly from the vein. They get their blood from trusted sources and drink out of tiny goblets, then tilt their heads back in a euphoric trance, it’s like watching a drug addict get his much needed fix. They’re civilized, probably due to modern society’s tendency to notice when people disappear or turn up dead, and also due to an increased risk of drinking infected blood. But let’s face it, they’ve most likely been alive for centuries and even eternal creatures of the night need to evolve, right? 

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It’s not said how long Adam and Eve have been married, but it is revealed that they celebrated their third marriage some time in the 1800s, that’s quite a long time to be in love. Eve is a lover of literature, while Adam a lover of music. While she surrounds herself with books, Adam surrounds himself with priceless collectible instruments. The only two people he talks to are Ian (Anton Yelchin), a young grungy kid who supplies Adam with whatever he needs in exchange for a wad of cash, and Dr. Watson (Jeffrey Wright), the man who supplies him with pure O- type blood. Fed up with the world around him and the humans, or “zombies,” as Adam refers to them, he contemplates suicide, asking Ian to find him a wooden bullet. Eve senses Adam’s depression upon speaking to him one night, and decides to travel to Detroit to be with him. When they meet again, it’s like they’ve never been apart. They spend time making love, playing chess, going for drives around Detroit, and sucking on blood popsicles. Everything goes smoothly until an unexpected guest comes to visit them in the form of Eve’s younger sister–the sassy, unpredictable Ava (Mia Wasikowska).

Adam and Eve are like yin and yang, they’re different, but you get a sense that they couldn’t possibly belong anywhere else but with each other. They understand each other, and very clearly need each other. Eve is the light to Adam’s dark, and quite literally, even their wardrobes and their hair are light and dark, they complement each other physically and emotionally.

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Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton couldn’t be more perfect for these roles. I feel like they were both born to play vampires at one point in their lives, not to mention, physically, they just work. These lean, pale figures up against a dimly lit background is just some of the beauty in this film. The production design is a whole other thing. I love these sets, especially Adam’s house. It is all cluttered with vintage technology–old TV sets, music equipment, instruments and records. It’s the same thing with Eve’s bedroom in Tangier, books are piled all over the place. It really gives the sense that these two have been living a long time and they have all of these things they’re passionate about that they’ve collected throughout the years to show for it. I love it, I love the clutter, the colors, and the lack of natural lighting, it is perfect for a vampire movie and perfect for the mood Jarmusch is trying to create. The abandoned streets of Detroit and the concrete alleys of Tangier at night seem like two places any vampire would be happy to live.

The other thing I love about this film is that its darkly humorous. You can’t have a movie about vampires living in a modern society without some humor involved in the situations they find themselves in, especially when Wasikowska’s character comes in to stir up some trouble. She’s careless and untamed and looks like she walked right out of 1960s Los Angeles and into present day Detroit. Despite Adam’s qualms about her presence, she stays for a couple of nights until her lack of control and unquenchable thirst for blood gets them all into a bit of trouble. Adam’s reaction to this is priceless, especially because of his very composed, monotonal personality. He’s often funny without trying to be funny, and that’s just one of the qualities he has that draws you in.

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Jarmusch has created a beautifully melancholic world with a haunting score to go with it, two of the coolest and most truly romantic vampires I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching, and a story that is both hopeful and sad. He humanized Adam and Eve in a way that I haven’t seen done in a vampire film and made them into people who are doomed to live out eternity with humans who have no regard for the planet or life. As wise, immortal creatures of very old age, they are faced with a loneliness that can only be relieved when they are together. This is not an overly sappy love story or a horror movie, it’s slow at times and the literary and cultural references may go over some people’s heads, but Only Lovers Left Alive is a movie I could watch a million times over again. It’s one of the greatest vampire movies I’ve seen and Hiddleston and Swinton are a pair that I find easy to fall in love with.

5/5

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

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I saw The Grand Budapest Hotel in the beginning of last year, and never got around to writing a review. After seeing all the well deserved love it has been getting from other viewers and recognition from awards panels, and because it’s one of my favorite movies from 2014, I feel compelled now to join in and share why I think Wes Anderson’s latest work is one of the most delightful films I’ve seen in the past year.

Wes Anderson’s unique style is really an acquired taste, he’s one of those directors people like to credit as pandering to the “hipster” crowd, making films some people consider to be pretentious and silly. To me, it’s refreshing to see directors take on their own unique styles, it allows them to stand out from the rest. Directors like Scorsese, Tarantino, Nolan, Malick, all have their own styles in filmmaking. When you see films they’ve directed, you know it couldn’t have been made the same by anyone else, and that’s what I think when I see a Wes Anderson film. I don’t see his work as pretentious, but imaginative and different. If he tends to appeal mostly to the “hipster” crowd, well then, so be it.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel is not only visually appealing with its stylish and colorful costumes and set designs, but it also has a story full of wonder and good humor, and characters who manage to shine even with the small roles some of them have been given. The story is actually a story within a story within a story. It begins with a girl visiting a monument to an author and begins reading his memoir, then we see that author (Tom Wilkinson) narrating his story from his desk telling of a trip he took to the Grand Budapest Hotel in fictional Republic of Zubrowka in 1968. There, we see the author (Jude Law) in his youth while he encounters the hotels owner, Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), who agrees to tell him the story of how the hotel came to be in his possession. We are then taken back to 1932 when the young Zero (Tony Revolori) was a lobby boy who was taken under the wing of the concierge, M. Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), and learns of a predicament the two find themselves in following the death of a certain guest of the hotel to whom Gustave was close to. Long story short, there is murder, sled chases, a coveted painting named “Boy with Apple,” and a prison break, among other things involved in this interesting, sometimes wacky story.

It is a delight to watch Ralph Fiennes as Gustave H. There’s certain quirks and a strange feminine air to the character that makes him so hilarious, and Fiennes plays it so well. He’s known for going to bed with old, rich blonde women at the hotel, he is always well perfumed with a scent that lingers long after he leaves a room, and among his few possessions is a library of romantic poetry. After the death of Madam D. (Tilda Swinton), he is willed with another possession, a silly painting called “Boy with Apple,” which leads to Gustave and Zero’s adventures outside the hotel. Tony Revolori is a fresh new face among Anderson’s regulars, a great pairing to Fiennes eccentric, lovable character.

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Some of the other faces among this star studded cast belong to Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, Owen Wilson, Harvey Keitel and Jason Schwartzman. Some of them are no more than short cameos, but still memorable in their own way. Brody has a substantial role as Dmitri, Madam D.’s son who frames Gustave for murder, as well as Dafoe as Jopling, his leather-wearing, motorcycle-riding henchman. Ronan is likable as Agatha, Zero’s love interest, and Goldblum is the unfortunate executor of Madame’s will.

Anderson created this whole fictional, parallel world of Zubrowka, which looks like it could be a real place located in Eastern Europe, complete with a named capital, mountain peaks and fictional diseases. Imagine Eastern Europe on the verge of World War II, and that’s basically where this film takes place, and the soldiers which are led by Norton’s character resemble Nazis without the swastikas. The story is somewhat tragic in a way that it takes place during a time period like this, when things of luxury will soon vanish, and the world will know only destruction and war. The hotel will not be teeming with guests, or quite as colorful as it once was, as we can see by the time Jude Law’s character, the young author, visits. It’s already become a military post towards the end of older Zero’s tale. Gustave is like the light in the dark, though. He’s a troubled, but hopeful character, always wanting to maintain the illusion of a world where humanity hasn’t become completely barbaric, and Zero follows in those footsteps, making them both such an endearing mentor/student pair.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel has plenty going for it. It’s a murder mystery, an adventure story, a love story, a tale of friendship and loss, and a comedy, as well as a visual treat, and it expertly balances all of these elements without ever seeming too chaotic or silly.

Wes Anderson created yet another fantastically colorful world with a great story and a lot of memorable, likable characters and taking a ride through his imagination is an invigorating experience. For those wanting to catch up with the Oscar nominees they’ve missed over the past year, The Grand Budapest Hotel is worthy of watching first. It’s also near the top of my list of films from 2014 that I would consider a must-see.

5/5

American Sniper (2014)

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American Sniper is Clint Eastwood’s controversial biopic on the life of Chris Kyle (played by Bradley Cooper), one of the deadliest snipers in American history, having piled up around 160 confirmed kills during his four tours in Iraq. The film is based off of Kyle’s autobiography, a book which contains quite a few questionable stories and passages that have created plenty of controversial backlash in the wake of the film’s release. While some claim that Chris Kyle is an American hero who served his country honorably and saved the lives of numerous fellow soldiers, others claim that he was a psychopath and a liar who enjoyed the feeling of the kill and felt no remorse for the Iraqis whose lives he took. Having not read the book myself, nor having ever met him before in my life, I’m going to avoid making any judgement on the real Chris Kyle, and not let extreme political opinions about the Iraq War alter my view of the film itself. Instead, in order to root out a fair criticism, I’m going to judge this movie as a movie alone, one that just so happens to involve a soldier and a war.

Like so many films before it, American Sniper shows how the violence of war has deep psychological effects on the men who fight in it. It shows us a man who is so driven by his innate feeling of duty to his country, that he’s willing to put it before everything else in his life. Where the film succeeds is in showing us the real stress and conflict when it comes to having to decide whether or not to pull the trigger on your enemies, even if those enemies sometimes come in the form as a woman or child. Saving the lives of fellow soldiers seems a fair enough priority to put before the lives of those who mean to do harm to them. Even if on the surface, one recognizes that it’s the right thing to do in the circumstances, deep down it’s hard to deny that taking lives is no real easy feat. I think that the film shows this, along with the thought that he couldn’t save more lives, as some the reasons for why Chris Kyle suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. So I think it’s safe to argue that Eastwood has presented us with a story that is anti-war, although it is ridden in themes of patriotism and heroism. But what we see here isn’t just a man who is credited with saving lives, but is known as a “legend” for taking them, a reputation that he carries with him to and from the battlefield and ultimately causes him to disconnect from his family life.

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The story goes back and forth between Kyle’s soldier life and his family life in the duration of four tours. He enlists with the Navy SEALS after feeling a sudden responsibility to serve his country, and leaves behind his dreams of being a cowboy. Within a few years he meets his future wife, Taya (Sienna Miller) at a bar and marries her. Shortly after, 9/11 happens, and Kyle is sent off to Iraq to serve as a sniper. Here, he experiences exactly what serving his country entails, some of which includes constant danger, tough decisions, and loss of close friends. Every time he returns home he seems more and more distant. He becomes obsessed with the idea that if he isn’t on the battlefield looking out for his brothers, then no one will be looking out for them. He lets his unwavering patriotism drive him to carry that heavy responsibility on his shoulders, even if he doesn’t know exactly what he’s fighting for anymore. It isn’t until his wife, who eventually finds herself taking care of their two children on her own, offers him an ultimatum and he decides to leave the soldier life and return home for good, only to continue to face the psychological after effects of fighting in a war for so long.

Bradley Cooper is impressive in his transformation into Chris Kyle. Even though his character never fully expresses what’s going on in his mind other than “I must serve my country,” you can tell from the performance alone that there’s a bit more stirring beneath the surface than just blind patriotism. He thinks things and feels things that he might feel too ashamed to say out loud, but they’re there. I don’t know if this was definitely the case for the real Chris Kyle, but that’s the man Bradley Cooper brought to life on the screen. A patriotic, yet somehow, deeply troubled human being who let his sense of duty envelop him and his entire life a little too much for his and his family’s own good. This is the best performance I’ve seen yet from Bradley Cooper, and certainly deserving of his Oscar nomination.

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Eastwood succeeded in creating a tense and suspenseful atmosphere especially when it comes to Cooper’s character locating a target through the scope of his rifle and deciding whether or not they’re a threat. The scene from the trailers where you see him with his finger on the trigger while watching a woman and a child who may or may not be carrying a weapon, is a scene that opens the movie and immediately sets the dark tone through the harsh realities of war. It is during times like these where the movie is most intriguing.

The movie does have its weak points, though, and some of those include the time spent on the relationship between Kyle and the supporting characters. I can’t even remember his friends’ names let alone the actors who played them. His wife didn’t have much of a role either. It would have helped to see how deep her struggle went as a wife who didn’t know whether or not her husband was going to come home every time he left. This is the same kind of a problem I noticed in Selma, where the main character shines but the side characters fade into the background. I know this movie is about Chris Kyle and not the others, but it’s the relationships he forms with these other characters that would have helped his character develop a little more all around. Instead, I felt detached from him as viewer. I would have also been curious to see where his brother ended up after he saw him for a brief moment and he was clearly shaken by the war after one tour, but he wasn’t around even after Kyle comes home for good.

The ending also seemed very abrupt to me. After he leaves the military, he clearly has issues to sort out, and he does so by helping veterans, which is a great piece of story that leads him on the road to recovery psychologically, but there’s hardly any time spent with that. You spend so much time with this person and his personal struggles, and then just when he seems to be getting better, he dies, and it happens off screen. Sorry if anyone sees this as a spoiler, but if you’re going to watch a biopic you should at least have an idea by now of whether the person it’s about is still alive or dead. Either way, it’s hard not to feel cheated in the end.

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I know some people have been making a huge deal out of the fake baby used in one of the scenes between Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller. I’m not one for nitpicking, but it was blatantly obvious, I noticed it even before I heard anyone say anything about it. It took me right out of the scene, which was supposed to be an emotional one, or at least I think it was because Miller was crying in it, but I have no idea what was said. That’s how distracting it was.

American Sniper is a good movie for what it is, which is, a war movie showing the effects of war on a specific soldier. If you go in already hating Chris Kyle and everything he stood for, you’re not going to enjoy this. But if you can put all the controversies and your political bias aside, I’d say this movie is an enjoyable one and worth seeing. Is it a truthful depiction of America’s most lethal sniper? I have no idea. But what I can say for sure is that despite its flaws, I still found it to be an intriguing and moving story of a man who pays a great price for the time he spent serving his country, and that’s something that was, is, and will always be relevant.

4/5

Netflix: Expiring Soon (January 2015)

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Below you will find lists of titles expiring on Netflix during this month (January) in the US, Canada, and the UK. For anyone wanting to know what has been added this month, you can find that list here. I try to keep it as updated as possible.

As usual, if anyone comes across any expiration dates that are not on this list, leave the title in the comments and I will add it. Enjoy!

Note: Unless any of these titles are renewed, the dates below represent the date of the last day these titles will be available for you to watch.

Netflix US

1/19
Venus and Vegas (2010)
1/20
Mutant Girls Squad (2010)
1/21
Barrio Tales (2012)
Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story (2012)
Death of a Superhero (2011)
Eden of the East: Paradise Lost (2010)
Hansel and Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft (2012)
Scary or Die (2012)
Sleepless Night (2011)
1/22
A Haunting at Silver Falls (2013)
Budz House (2012)
Dil Chahta Hai (2001)
Don (2006)
Lakshya (2004)
Meant to Be (2012)
1/23
Beware the Gonzo (2010)
The Collection (2012)
Essential Killing (2010)
Grave Encounters (2011)
1/24
The Man from Beijing (2011)
1/26
Impostor (2001)
Lore (2012)
1/31
2 Days in the Valley (1996)
Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Apocalypse Now Redux (2001)
Astro Boy (2003)
Babes in Toyland (1961)
Blood (2005-2006)
Blue Mountain State (2010-’11) (TV)
Breakheart Pass (1975)
The ‘Burbs (1989)
Campion – 2 Seasons (1989-’90) (TV)
Canterbury’s Law – 6 episodes (2008) (TV)
Cashmere Mafia (2008)
The Catherine Tate Show – 3 Series (2004-’06) (TV)
Come Fly With Me – 1 Season (2010) (TV)
Coupling – 4 Seasons (2000-’04) (TV)
Creature Comforts America – 1 Season (2007) (TV)
Dilbert (1999)
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
From Russia with Love (1963)
From the Terrace (1960)
Goldfinger (1964)
Hammett (1982)
Hiding Out (1987)
Jekyll – 6 episodes (2007) (TV)
Kingpin (1996)
Live and Let Die (1973)
The Living Daylights (1987)
Mad Max (1979)
M*A*S*H (1970)
Mr. Mom (1983)
Nacho Libre (2006)
Never Say Never Again (1983)
Pride and Prejudice – 5 episodes (1980) (TV)
Seems Like Old Times (1980)
Small Soldiers (1998)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
Tetro (2009)
The Tick (2001)
Trading Mom (1994)
A View to a Kill (1985)
The White Buffalo (1977)
You Only Live Twice (1967)
Zodiac (2007)

 

Netflix Canada

1/19
Could This Be Love? (2007)
Moscow, Belgium (2008)
Romanzo Criminale (2005)
Scenes of a Sexual Nature (2006)
Still Life (2006)
Villa Amalia (2009)
1/23
Being Erica – 4 Seasons (2009) (TV)
The Slammin’ Salmon (2009)
1/31
An Affair to Remember (1957)
The Apparition (2012)
Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
Daddy Long Legs (1955)
Down to Earth (2001)
The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)
Johnny English Reborn (2011)
K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)
Never Been Kissed (1999)
Resurrection County (2008)
Righteous Kill (2008)
Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny (2006)
Tower Heist (2011)
Traitor (2008)
World Trade Center (2006)

 

Netflix UK

1/19
The Chaperone (2011)
Cougar Hunting (2011)
The Experiment (2010)
ID:A (2011)
Knucklehead (2010)
Legendary (2010)
Seconds Apart (2011)
Strippers vs. Werewolves (2012)
1/21
Kevin & Perry Go Large (2000)
The Lords of Salem (2012)
The Unborn (2009)
1/22
Blank Check (1994)
The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros (2006)
One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing (1975)
1/25
Fighting (2008)
1/28
The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008)
1/31
Bad Boys (1995)
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Gothika (2003)
Joe Dirt (2001)
The Medallion (2003)
Mo’ Money (1992)
Multiplicity (1996)
Nowhere to Run (1993)
Ruthless People (1986)
Stick It (2006)
Tears of the Sun (2003)
Top Gun (1986)
Urban Legend (1998)
Whatever It Takes (2000)

Selma (2014)

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Selma is one of the newest additions to the season of a whole lot of biopics. We’ve got a depiction of Cheryl Strayed in Wild, Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, John du Pont and Dave and Mark Schultz in Foxcatcher, Chris Kyle in American Sniper, Louis Zamperini in Unbroken, J.M.W. Turner in Mr. Turner, Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, Margaret Keane in Big Eyes, and now we’ve got one about the great Martin Luther King Jr. Have I missed one? Oh, probably. It’s hard to say what makes a biopic a good one. Sometimes the facts get muddled or are sacrificed in the name of good drama, sometimes these real human beings’ lives don’t shine on screen as much as you think they should. Sometimes you go in, and you don’t come out all the wiser. But, regardless, stories like these should resonate with us, they should linger in our minds long after we’ve left the theater. It is not to my dismay that a lot of these movies, while not perfect, succeed at this, and Selma is no exception.

Ava DuVernay and first time screenwriter Paul Webb tackle a short time period within Martin Luther King Jr.’s (David Oyelowo) life in 1965 when he struggles to get a bill passed that will abolish voting rights restrictions, and tries to organize a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in order to demonstrate how serious the issue is, especially after a young black man is shot during a peaceful protest. Lives are lost during this struggle, but King’s persistence and faith is unwavering. Governor George Wallace (Tim Roth) is hell bent on not allowing blacks to vote in his state, regardless of the passing of the Civil Rights Act, and he’s not the only one. The marchers are often faced with whites standing in their way of taking advantage of their rights. King, however, will not stop until President Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) does something about it, and it’s a powerful sight to see so many people of different races stand behind him. These events eventually lead to the creation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which enforces blacks’ rights to vote.

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One of the things I can appreciate about this movie is that it doesn’t put Martin Luther King up on an unreachable pedestal. He, like anyone else, was a human being. Human beings do great things and they also make mistakes. It highlights his infidelities as a husband, which also directly leads to him missing out on the infamous “Bloody Sunday” march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge where 500 protestors were attacked by an Alabama state police force. He stayed home instead in order to try and work out his issues with Coretta (Carmen Ejogo). It also shows him as a man who struggles with decisions to figure out the right ways to lead the people towards effective change in a nonviolent way. He has to not only try to convince the President to take action, but he also finds himself clashing with some of the members from the SNCC, who were also intent on helping blacks to be able to register to vote. He also faces some backlash when he leads the march back to the same bridge, and turns them around when the state troopers step aside. It’s clear that he doesn’t always know what the answer is, and he feels the pressure as a leader to achieve what he set out to, despite the injuries and deaths that are occurring in the wake of it all.

I also find it impressive that DuVernay and Webb had to write their own speeches for Martin Luther King, because they didn’t have the rights to the real speeches. So even though you’re not going to hear snippets from the famous “I have a dream…” or anything similar, the character is still just as powerful and inspiring despite this.

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The only problem I had with this film is the under usage of some of its characters. Coretta, for example, is the one person who is there to remind you that above all else, King was a husband and a father, and an imperfect one at that, but a man worth loving nonetheless. She keeps his character grounded, but she’s hardly ever on the screen. She has a few great moments, specifically when she asks him whether or not he loved any of the other women he’s been with, but afterwards, she just fades into the background for much of the story, which is a shame, because Carmen Ejogo has an electrifying on screen presence.

Annie Lee Cooper (Oprah Winfrey) has a great opening scene, where she tries to register to vote but is denied upon being asked a few ridiculous questions no other white voters would probably even know the answers to. She has another scene where she hits the Selma sheriff Jim Clark (Stan Houston), and is repeatedly beaten for it. Other than that, Winfrey doesn’t have much of a part, despite the trailers advertising her star power.

I think a lot of the supporting cast, aside from Tom Wilkinson as LBJ and Tim Roth as George Wallace, is unfortunately forgettable. Even Common, I have to admit, I had to remind myself who he was playing because I couldn’t remember (he played James Bevel, an important civil rights activist and director of direct action at the SCLC). There aren’t too many characters who really stand out from the rest, but the film still succeeds in the solidarity of the characters and what we see on screen as a group of people working towards the same goal.

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Some of the scenes in this film are hard to watch, specifically the Bloody Sunday scene, among others. It doesn’t feel as though they were put there just for shock value, though, as these things actually did happen in 1965, and yeah, they shocked the world back then, too. I feel like they’re necessary to not only retell history, but to further the story and act as the catalyst for change, which it definitely was. It’s also no surprise that King and the rest of the activists essentially used the media to gather people from all over the country to stand behind them and help them further the cause, it was just as strong an influence back then as it is now.

It was a good decision to focus on just one small part of the man’s life, as anything more would seem less inspired and more of a checklist of events. DuVernay does a decent job with this skillful crafting of MLK, a man who was more human than anything else, and Oyelowo brings him to life with an impressive performance. It’s about time there was a good movie about MLK, and even though many of the characters don’t have enough moments to shine on their own, the story that is told is still one worth telling, the events are still powerful, and the message is still relevant.

4/5

The Guest (2014)

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The Guest is the most recent thriller from writer Simon Barrett and director Adam Wingard, whose previous works include the well-received horror film You’re Next and segments in both V/H/S and V/H/S 2. Anyone who is familiar with these guys knows that they have a knack for mixing genres, specifically horror, action and dark comedy. That’s exactly what we get with the The Guest, along with its ’80s retro style and fantastic soundtrack, it is undeniably a whole lot of fun.

The Peterson’s welcome an unexpected guest into their home who introduces himself as David (Dan Stevens). David, a recently discharged soldier, claims to be a friend of their son who died in action in Afghanistan. He is polite, helpful, and an all around likable guy who earns the trust of everyone in the family except for the daughter Anna (Maika Monroe), who remains suspicious of him throughout. After some digging into his past, Anna eventually comes to realize that her suspicions are warranted and that David isn’t exactly who he says he is.

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Dan Stevens, who is previously known for his role as the well-mannered Matthew Crawley in the series Downton Abbey is probably the last person I could imagine playing this role. I mean, he’s Matthew Crawley, he’s like the boy next door, not the crazed anti-hero/villain type. But that’s the beauty of him in this role. David is supposed to be likable. He’s got those baby blues and that soft spoken voice, yeah, I’d invite him in, too. So it’s easy to believe that the mom, Laura (Sheila Kelley), wouldn’t think twice about it, especially after he points himself out in a photo she has sitting up on the mantle of her son with David standing right next to him.

David works his way in with each of the family members. He becomes the dad’s (Leland Orser) personal drinking buddy and sits there and listens while he complains about his work problems. He develops a mentor type relationship with the son, Luke (Brendan Meyer), who is bullied at school, and David takes it upon himself to teach them a violent lesson. He helps the mom out with stuff around the house and becomes a bittersweet reminder for her of her own son who she’s been missing. The only person who doesn’t take to him right away is Anna. She is unappreciative of his sudden presence and doesn’t think that her family needs a walking, talking reminder of her dead brother. She warms up to him a bit during a friend’s party she’s forced to invite him to. Plus, she can’t resist swooning over the hot bod when she catches him walking out of the shower (I can’t blame her for that one). But these feelings soon dissipate and transform into full blown suspicion when she overhears David on the phone in an urgent sounding conversation. On top of that, one of her friends turns up dead and unexplained things continue to happen, all of which she attributes to his presence.

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It’s clear to the audience from the start that there’s something not right with David. Even when you begin to like him, the camera will focus in on his face as he stares ominously into the distance. It’s actually hilarious to watch, it’s such an unsubtle way of reminding you that David is not the protagonist, even though you kind of want him to be. It’s like watching a parody of any old thriller/horror where the villain pretends to be a nice guy, but there’s just something in his eye that reminds you he’s actually bad. The Guest totally exaggerates that, and while some people may find it ridiculous, I think it’s awesome. The action scenes are so over the top and because Wingard has created this silly, self-aware environment right from the start, it all works so well.

Wingard and Barrett apparently took inspiration for this movie from Halloween and The Terminator, and this is definitely a mash up of those two genres. The setting in The Guest takes place some time around Halloween, which you can see right in the second shot of a scarecrow outside the Peterson’s house, and the theme remains prevalent throughout. There’s even an ending sequence which takes place inside a haunted maze with a house of mirrors, among other things. But it’s not just the holiday that makes a movie like this similar to movies like Halloween. David was created to be an ominous presence like Michael Meyers, the difference being that he doesn’t hide in the shadows and come out only to kill people, but he does become this retro slasher type villain towards the end, the kind who seemingly shows up out of nowhere and doesn’t need to run to catch you.

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But David could also easily be placed inside a world like that in The Terminator because even though he can charm the pants off almost anyone when he wants to, there’s something about him that doesn’t exactly seem human, and the little that you learn about him later on in the movie kind of attests to this. The more obvious throwback to corny ’80s action movies like that is in the action itself, if you look at the way the bar scene is shot specifically, you’ll probably recognize this. It’s also hard not to laugh at Lance Reddick in the role of some kind of government military official, his character is just incredibly ridiculous, especially in the action scenes, and I’m pretty sure it was meant to be like that on purpose.

I can’t go on without mentioning the soundtrack in this movie. The soundtrack is just a whole entity in itself, it plays such a huge part in setting the tone and making this movie feel like a love letter to ’80s action and horror. There’s hardly a moment when there’s not a pulsating, electronic, synthpop type song playing in the background, and it has one of the longest soundtracks I’ve seen in such a short movie. It is definitely my favorite soundtrack from a movie last year, without a doubt, and I wasn’t even familiar with any of the artists on it before hearing it.

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The Guest is an extremely fun movie that takes a mix of genres and turns them into a self-aware throwback to the ’80s. Dan Stevens is a revelation, and his role as David makes me feel a lot better about his decision to leave roles like that which he had Downton Abbey. I’m eager to see where his career takes him in the future. Even more so, I’m excited to see what Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard choose to do next, as they’ve proven themselves as a competent writer/director duo, and have made their way on to my list of filmmakers to look out for. The Guest is one of the most enjoyable movies from 2014, and it’s one I’ll probably never get tired of watching.

5/5

The Imitation Game (2014)

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The Imitation Game is a glimpse into the life of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), during the time when he successfully broke the German Enigma code, and helped the allies win World War II. This movie stands on shoulders of Cumberbatch, as he gives a phenomenal performance as Turing, the brilliant mathematician who was later persecuted for his homosexuality. The film succeeds in showing us a man who is intelligent, but flawed, pitching the humor through his quirks and the emotional sentiment through his illegal sexual preference. He is, by all means, a sort of tragic hero. His story may have been “Hollywoodized” as stories about great men often are, but director Morten Tyldum’s biopic is worth seeing if only to realize that such a man as Alan Turing ever even existed.

The film covers three different time periods in Turing’s life. One is during his teenage years (teenage Turing played by Alex Lawther) at a boarding school where he is bullied and only has one good friend named Christopher (Jack Bannon), a boy who teaches him about cryptography. The second is the most prominent timeline, taking place when Turing meets with Commander Denniston (Charles Dance) and MI6 agent Stewart Menzies (Mark Strong) at Bletchley Park and is hired to be a part of the cryptography team to crack the German codes. The third takes place after the war is over, when a police officer named Detective Nock (Rory Kinnear) becomes suspicious of Turing and upon digging into his past, finds that his records of his time during the war are nonexistent.

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A lot of the time in the movie is spent on Turing building his bombe machine, which would dramatically cut down on the time it would take to try and crack 159,000,000,000 possible code combinations in a single day–which is obviously impossible for any man to do, even with a large team. Not to mention, the Nazis changed the combination every midnight, so all the work done in one day would be useless by the day’s end. One of the few flaws of this film is that we aren’t given any insight into how his brilliant machine works. Although the technicalities of it might have gone over people’s heads anyway, it’s hard not to feel like we are kept in the dark just as the rest of Turing’s team is. Every time someone asks him what he’s doing he simply replies that they would never understand, and just as Turing doesn’t trust his colleagues to understand the mechanics of the code-breaking machine he’s trying to build, the filmmakers don’t trust the viewers to understand anything more than the simple idea that he is a genius who wants to build something. But the wheels keep turning in his head nonetheless, and the only thing you can do is trust him.

The only person who seems to understand him and what he’s trying to do is Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), a smart woman who is hired for the top secret job after she solves one of Turing’s complicated crossword puzzles in under six minutes. The rest of his team consists of Hugh (Matthew Goode), John (Allen Leech), and Peter (Matthew Beard), three men who don’t take too kindly to Turing’s arrogance and his failure to pick up on social cues. It is those very personality traits that are used for comedic value in the film. Alan Turing, aside from being a genius and a tragic soul, is the funniest thing about this movie, despite him not being able to pick up on or tell an actual joke. His quirky personality conveniently serves as great deadpan humor, much like Cumberbatch’s character as Sherlock Holmes in the popular BBC series. It’s a good way of keeping the tone light in between the flash backs and flash forwards into the more lonely and depressing times of Turing’s life.

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Turing’s homosexuality plays a big part in how his life turned out, but it remains a rather subtle plot device throughout the film in comparison to the struggle to break the code. It comes out at first through Turing’s friendship with Christopher, when Turing writes a cryptographic message saying “I love you”–a message he never gets to deliver because Christopher dies from bovine tuberculosis, a disease Turing never even knew he had. But it’s clear that he had experienced what any other person would experience as a “first love.” When Turing builds the bombe machine later on, he appropriately names it “Christopher,” and refuses to part with it even after the war. In a way, it’s almost as if he was trying to resurrect Christopher through the machine, and that is what the machine represented for him all along.

Later on, after he proposes to Joan–an act that likely had to do with him enjoying her like-minded company and not wanting her to leave–he has to eventually tell her the truth about his homosexuality. It also, unfortunately, becomes a device for a certain Soviet spy to blackmail him with so that he’ll keep a secret. The time when it becomes the most important, though, is at the end. The end, although it felt a little rushed, is when Turing, despite everything he’s done for his country, is prosecuted and found guilty for “gross indecency” and has to choose between jail time, or a hormone drug that is supposed to cure him of his homosexuality. He chooses the drug and suffers the physical and psychological side effects of it, and those familiar white words that come across the screen at the end of almost every biopic tells us that Alan Turing later committed suicide in 1954. Of course, some say that he did not actually commit suicide, but that his death was accidental from cyanide inhalation having to do with something he was working on in his home laboratory. Either way, the film didn’t hold back in portraying his later years as some seriously depressing ones.

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The end scene is the most emotional, as Cumberbatch delivers a heartbreaking performance here as a man who is very much alone aside from his machine, the one reminder of Christopher and a time when he was recognized as a hero by the few who knew what he had done for the war. He had helped his country and then his country had turned its back on him. It’s a tragic story even though the tone is rarely ever too heavy to handle. Cumberbatch does a great job of juggling the different parts of his character’s personality, and if there ever was a person to successfully encompass arrogance and vulnerability into one likable person, it’s him.

I’m sure Hollywood has taken certain liberties with the facts, as people are already quick to point out that Alan Turing actually had not worked alone in building the bombe machine, among other things, but still, as a story of an important man’s life, I think it has done him justice. Coming from someone who was mildly unaware of Turing’s involvement in the war, and the fact that he is the father of the modern computer, I’m glad that his story was told in such an easily enjoyable portrayal.

4/5

Into the Woods (2014)

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If Into the Woods should win any award, it should be for being one of the most misleading movies of the year. For those who haven’t seen the original play version, which probably makes up for quite a large portion of regular movie-goers, they see a preview for a movie made up of some popular Grimm fairy tale characters with Disney’s name branded on it, and most likely thought that they were walking in to a child-friendly mash up of fairy tale stories that have their regular “happily ever after” endings. What they got instead was a full blown musical (yes, there are a lot of people who didn’t know this was a sing-every-word kind of musical), very adult-oriented themes, and an ending that is just a bit more grim than was expected.

Having not seen the play version by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, I have to admit that I was surprised at the twist this movie took towards the second half. I can tell I wasn’t the only one, because my theater seemed to be packed with confused people whispering, “What is going on?” There were also two people behind me who must’ve been unaware of this being a musical, because at one point, when Meryl Streep’s witch character was about to break out into another one of her many songs, they said, “Oh here we go again…” Some of the children in the theater were restless as well, fidgeting in their seats and falling asleep after maybe an hour in.

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So did this meet a lot of people’s expectations? From what I’ve observed, no. Although I can’t speak for those who already knew what they were in for, but after having researched the details of the play after seeing this, it seems this adaptation has left out a lot of the more important messages that could’ve been gained from the story, especially in the last half. It might’ve given what seemed an unnecessary twist a little more meaning, and might’ve avoided making a two-hour movie seem so long and drawn out towards the end. Before I get into that, though, let me give a little summary.

The Baker (James Cordon) and his wife (Emily Blunt) are trying to have a child, but can’t because of a curse put on the Baker’s family by the Witch (Meryl Streep). She offers them a deal, however, that if they can get her a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold in three days time, then she will be able to reverse the spell. They venture off into the woods and cross paths with characters like Jack (Daniel Huttlestone), who was sent by his mom (Tracy Ullman) to sell his white cow and is traded magic beans for it, Little Red (Lilla Crawford), is rescued from the Wolf (Johnny Depp) by the Baker and gives her cape as reward. The Baker’s wife meets Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), who is running away from the festival in her golden dress and shoes and while the Prince (Chris Pine) chases her. The wife also hears of a woman with hair as yellow as corn at the top of a tower, belonging to Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy), who was stolen away as a baby from the Baker’s father by the Witch and placed there to live out her life. Things take a turn for the worse towards the end when a giant from one of the magic beanstalks comes down and wreaks havoc on the woods.

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It is quite a nice mash up of characters, actually. I like the way the stories interweave. The first hour and a half or so is an intriguing tale about how these characters all want something, and coincidentally, their journeys lead them all into the woods to find it. They have some interesting and humorous encounters with each other on the way. Once we get to Cinderella’s wedding, however, things take a quick turn from almost happily ever after to disastrous and sad.

While I don’t have a problem with realistic endings as opposed to fairy tale endings, I don’t feel like this particular twist translated well to the screen, and here’s why. Upon reading about the original source material, it seems this movie left out a lot of the longing these characters still feel after their happily ever afters. In the play, things don’t take a turn until a year after Cinderella’s wedding, when their new lives have a chance to set in. Jack stole a ton of gold from the giants in the sky after his magic beans grew into a stalk leading him into a world he never knew existed, and he ends up missing it long after he cuts it down. The Baker and his wife now have a child, but they wish for a bigger house. Cinderella is a princess living in a palace, but she’s bored when she has no work to do. Cinderella’s prince, as well as Rapunzel’s are bored with their marriages and now lust after two women asleep in the woods–Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.

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A lot of these things aren’t shown in the second act of the movie. It seems too abrupt. All of a sudden, there’s a giant coming to destroy everything. All of a sudden, Cinderella seems restless, and seemingly out of nowhere the Prince starts hitting on the Baker’s wife, and she embraces it! I mean, it was all random events thrown in together into a mixed pot of “whaaaat?!” I like the idea from the play, it shows these fairy tale characters in a different and more realistic light. It shows how people are always wishing for something else, even if they get everything they want, there’s always something more they can strive for. Nothing is ever perfect, there’s no happily ever after, people make mistakes, people die, and people get restless with their lives. I like that twist in the story, I just didn’t think the movie was effective in its portrayal.

On the surface, Into the Woods has everything it needs to be successful–award-winning source material, talented actors, great songs (although not that catchy, in my opinion), and Rob Marshall, the director of the best picture-winning Chicago, but it seemed misguided towards the end. If it was an original story, I would’ve said they should’ve cut it off at the happy ending, because everything after that was a diluted mess. My cousin even turned to me with twenty minutes left and said, “How long is this movie?” I was just about to check the clock at that point, because I knew it was only two hours but it was starting to feel like three.

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Overall, I found this to be mostly enjoyable in the beginning, but borderline unbearable towards the end. This is also not exactly the kid-friendly movie it appears to be. Along with death and infidelity, Johnny Depp’s Wolf character seems more like a creepy child rapist than a hungry wolf, and the rest of the characters moral compasses don’t exactly point north. They get off on doing stupid things and blaming each other for it, even the Witch becomes fed up with them towards the end and disappears. I love musicals, but I felt more positively towards those like Les Misérables than I did towards this surreal fairy tale.

2/5

Netflix: What’s New on Streaming (January 2015)

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Here are the US, Canada and UK lists for new movie and TV titles that have been added to Netflix streaming this month of January. As usual, I will try to keep this list updated as I find more titles are being added later on in the month. In the meantime, you can see what new was added last month and what expired recently. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Netflix US

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101 Dalmatians (1996)
Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2004)
An American Tail: The Treasures of Manhattan Island (2000)
Apaches (2013)
Bad Boys II (2003)
Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse – Episodes 8&9 (2012) (TV)
Batman & Robin (1997)
Beauty Shop (2005)
Better Living Through Chemistry (2014)
Blood Valley: Seed’s Revenge (2014)
Blue Car (2013)
Bruce Almighty (2003)
Cast Away (2000)
Chinese Zodiac (2012)
The Class of ’92 (2013)
D.A.R.Y.L. (1985)
Dallas – Season 3 (2014) (TV)
Election (1999)
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Fort Bliss (2014)
The French Connection (1971)
The French Connection 2 (1975)
Friends – All Seasons (1994-’04) (TV)
Frontline: Death in St. Augustine (2013)
Frontline: Generation Like (2014)
Frontline: Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria (2013)
Frontline: League of Denial (2013)
Frontline: Secrets of the Vatican (2014)
Frontline: Secret State of North Korea (2014)
Frontline: Syria’s Second Front (2014)
Frontline: TB Silent Killer (2014)
Frontline: To Catch a Trader (2014)
Frontline: United States of Secrets – Season 1 (2014)
Get Low (2009)
The Hero of Color City (2014)
In Harm’s Way (1965)
Inside Man – Season 2 (2014) (TV)
It’s a Lot (2013)
Jarhead 2: Field of Fire (2014)
Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)
Knight Rusty (2014)
The Ladies Man (2000)
Life of Ryan: Caretaker Manager (2014)
Mean Girls (2004)
Mental (2012)
Monster High: Fright On! (2011)
Monster High: Escape from Skull Shores (2012)
Monster High: Friday Night Frights (2013)
Monster High: Why Do Ghouls Fall in Love? (2013)
Monster High: Frights, Camera, Action! (2014)
Ninja Apocalypse (2014)
Octonauts – Season 1 (2010) (TV)
The Quiet Man (1952)
The Ref (1994)
The Road to El Dorado (2000)
Rooster Doodle-Do (2014)
Shall We Dance? (2004)
Son of God (2014)
Soul Plane (2004)
Taking Lives (2004)
TEDTalks: Let Your Mind Wonder – Season 1 (2014)
To Be Takei (2014)
To Kill a Man (2014)
Venom (2005)
The War of the Worlds (1953)
Wayne’s World 2 (1993)
Welcome to the Jungle (2013)
1/2
The Amityville Horror (1979)
Amityville II: The Possession (1982)
The Apartment (1960)
April Fool’s Day (1986)
Basic (2003)
Big Fish (2003)
Bless the Child (2000)
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh (1995)
Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie (1980)
Chinatown (1974)
Dance for Me (2012)
Dirty Dancing (1974)
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)
Enough (2002)
Footloose (1984)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1974)
Fried Green a Tomatoes (1991)
From the Rough (2013)
Frontline: United States of Secrets – 2 episodes (2014)
Get Shorty (1995)
Ghost (1990)
I.Q. (1994)
Kangaroo Jack (2003)
Larva – Season 1-2 (2011-’13) (TV)
Lassie (2005)
Marathon Man (1976)
Marty (1955)
Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
The Mod Squad (1999)
Moonstruck (1987)
Mr. Deeds (2002)
Mr. Mom (1983)
Murder by Numbers (2002)
New Hope (2012)
The Odd Couple (1968)
Only the Lonely (1991)
Patriot Games (1992)
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
RoboCop (1987)
RoboCop 2 (1990)
The Running Man (1987)
Sabrina (1995)
Shining Through (1992)
Spy Kids (2001)
Undertow (2004)
Uptown Girls (2003)
The Whole Nine Yards (2000)
Yu-Gi-Oh! – Season 2 (2002)
1/3
30 for 30: The U: Pt. 2 (2013)
Copenhagen (2014$
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)
What is Cinema? (2013)
White Collar – Season 5 (2013) (TV)
1/4
Falcon Rising (2014)
1/5
Fantasia (1940)
Fantasia 2000 (2000)
Flesh for the Beast: Tsukiko’s Curse – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
Lady Ninja Kaede 2 (2008)
Lust of the Dead (2012)
Lust of the Dead 2 (2013)
Lust of the Dead 3 (2013)
Neverlake (2012)
The Ouija Experiment (2011)
Shin Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams (2006)
The Snitch Cartel (2011)
Years of Living Dangerously – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
1/6
Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart (2013)
Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power (2015)
1/7
Aliens on the Moon: The Truth Exposed (2014)
Brick Mansions (2014)
1/8
Daawat-e-Ishq (2014)
Frank (2014)
Psych – Season 8 (2014) (TV)
1/9
I Will Follow (2010)
Sliding Doors (1998)
The Winning Season (2009)
Z Nation – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
1/10
Automata (2014)
Ardennes Fury (2014)
In the Name of God (2013)
1/11
Zoom: Academy for Superheroes (2006)
1/12
America’s Funniest Home Videos Kids: Playtime Ain’t for Wimps – 6 episodes (2014) (TV)
Locked Up in America – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
1/13
Being Human (U.S.) – Season 4 (2014) (TV)
Bird People (2014)
Steve Trivino: Relatable (2014)
Viktor (2014)
Wetlands (2013)
1/14
Abducted: The Carlina White Story (2012)
Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy (2011)
America: The Story of Us – 12 episodes (2010) (TV)
America’s Book of Secrets – 2 Seasons (2012-’13) (TV)
America Unearthed – Season 1 (2012) (TV)
American Pickers: Collection – 15 episodes (2010) (TV)
American Restoration: Collection – 15 episodes (2010) (TV)
Ancient Aliens: Collection – 15 episodes (2010) (TV)
And Baby Will Fall (2011)
Beyond Scared Straight! – 2 Seasons (2013) (TV)
The Big Rig Bounty Hunters – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
The Bling Ring (2011)
Counting Cars: Collection – 10 episodes (2012) (TV)
Dance Moms: Collection – 15 episodes (2011) (TV)
Double Divas – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
Double Wedding (2010)
Duck Dynasty: Collection – 10 episodes (2012) (TV)
The Eleventh Victim (2012)
Fatal Honeymoon (2012)
The First 48: Collection – 15 episodes (2010) (TV)
Gangland: Collection – 15 episodes (2010) (TV)
Gangsters: America’s Most Evil – 2 Seasons (2012-’13) (TV)
Gettysburg (2011)
History’s Mysteries: Secret Societies (2001)
Hoarder’s: Collection – 15 episodes (2010) (TV)
How Sex Changed the World – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
How the States Got Their Shapes – 2 Seasons (2010-’12) (TV)
Ice Road Truckers: Collection – 15 episodes (2007) (TV)
Intervention: Collection – 15 episodes (2005) (TV)
Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret (2013)
Jodi Picoult’s Salem Falls (2011)
The Kennedys – 8 episodes (2011) (TV)
A Killer Among Us (2012)
The Killer Speaks – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
The Killing Game (2011)
Liz & Dick (2012)
Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story (2011)
Mankind: Decoded – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
Mankind: The Story of All of Us – Season 1 (2012) (TV)
Matters of Life and Dating (2007)
The Men Who Built America – Season 1 (2012)
Modern Marvels: Collection – 15 episodes (1995) (TV)
Mountain Men – 2 Seasons (2012-’13) (TV)
The Murder of Princess Diana (2007)
Obsessed – 2 Seasons (2009-’10) (TV)
Pawn Stars: Collection – 15 episodes (2009) (TV)
Preachers’ Daughters – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
The Pregnancy Project (2012)
Restless Virgins (2013)
Reviving Ophelia (2010)
Ring of Fire (2013)
Secrets in the Wells (2010)
Secrets of Eden (2012)
She Made Them Do It (2013)
Shipping Wars – 3 Seasons (2012) (TV)
Stalkers (2013)
Stan Lee’s Superhumans – 2 Seasons (2010-’11) (TV)
Storage Wars: Collection – 15 episodes (2010) (TV)
Swamp People: Collection – 15 episodes (2010) (TV)
Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story (2011)
Top Shot: Collection – 10 episodes (2010) (TV)
True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet (2008)
Twist of Fate (2013)
The Universe: Collection – 15 episodes (2007) (TV)
Vietnam in HD – 6 episodes (2011) (TV)
Wahlburgers – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
William & Kate (2011)
1/15
Blood and Ties (2013)
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! – 2 Seasons (2010-’12) (TV)
House of Last Things (2013)
Red Hollywood (1996)
Sirens – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Slugterra: Ghoul from Beyond (2014)
Slugterra: Return of the Elementals (2014)
A Small Section of the World (2014)
Sooper Se Ooper (2013)
The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents – Season 1 (2012) (TV)
Vito (2011)
Way of Life (2013)
Wolfblood – Season 3 (2014) (TV)
Zombies: When the Dead Walk (2008)
1/16
The Adventures of Puss in Boots – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster (1999)
The Bag Man (2014)
Death Comes to Pemberly – Series 1 (2013)
The Fall – Season 2 (2014) (TV)
Johnny English Reborn (2011)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
1/17
As the Light Goes Out (2014)
Open Road (2013)
Ribbit (2014)
1/18
Patton Oswalt: Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time (2014)
1/20
3rd World Cops (2014)
Doctor Stranger – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Fated to Love You – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures – Season 2 (2014) (TV)
1/21
Barefoot (2014)
1/22
Stonehearst Asylum (2014)
1/23
Iliza Shlesinger: Freezing Hot (2014)
1/24
Iceman (2014)
The Interview (2014)
Morning Star (2014)
Touch of the Light (2012)
1/25
Ben 10: Alien Force – Season 4 (2009) (TV)
The Hunters (2013)
Repentance (2013)
1/26
Coffee Prince – Season 1 (2007) (TV)
God’s Gift – 14 Days – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Good Doctor – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
K-POP Extreme Survival – Season 1 (2012) (TV)
A Word from Warm Heart – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
1/27
88 (2015)
Days and Nights (2014)
Expedition to the End of the World (2013)
Gloria (2012)
Guardian (2014)
Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve (2013)
To Russia with Love (2014)
1/28
Chef (2014)
Beauty & the Beast – Season 2 (2013) (TV)
Lily’s Driftwood Bay – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
The Paradise – Series 2 (2013) (TV)
1/29
App (2013)
Puppylove (2013)
Stephen King’s A Good Marriage (2014)
The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)
1/30
Frida (2002)
Monster High: Freaky Fusion (2014)
VeggieTales in the House – episodes 6-10 (2014) (TV)
1/31
Cam Girl (2014)
Cunning Single Lady – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Dark Valley (2014)
Fifi Howls from Happiness (2013)
Horns (2013)
It’s Okay, That’s Love – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Last Hijack (2014)
Nights with Theodore (2012)
Not Another Happy Ending (2013)
Salvo (2013)

 

Netflix Canada

1/1
28 Hotel Rooms (2012)
Angela’s Ashes (1999)
Black Sheep (1996)
Blade 2 (2002)
Brothers on the Line (2012)
Churchill’s First World War (2013)
Cloud Atlas (2012)
The Coca-Cola Case (2009)
Dance for Me (2012)
Dark City (1950)
Day Watch (2006)
Death Race (2008)
Dom Hemingway (2013)
Down to the Dirt (2008)
Electrick a Children (2012)
Enemy at the Gates (2001)
Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2 (2014)
The Fighting Temptations (2003)
First Monday in October (1981)
Five Card Stud (1968)
Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Frontline: Death in St. Augustine (2013)
Frontline: Generation Like (2014)
Frontline: Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria (2013)
Frontline: League of Denial (2013)
Frontline: Secrets of the Vatican (2014)
Frontline: Secret State of North Korea (2014)
Frontline: Syria’s Second Front (2014)
Frontline: TB Silent Killer (2014)
Frontline: To Catch a Trader (2014)
Frontline: United States of Secrets – Season 1 (2014)
Generation Earth – Season 1 (2012) (TV)
Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005)
The Grass is Greener (1960)
Heleno (2011)
Horrid Henry: The Movie (2011)
King of the Gypsies (1978)
Kiss the Girls (1997)
Knock Knock 2 (2011)
The Last Gladiators (2011)
Last Tango in Halifax – Season 1-2 (2012) (TV)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – Seasons 13-15 (1999) (TV)
License to Wed (2007)
Living on One a Dollar (2013)
The Man With the Iron Fists (2012)
Monster High: Fright On! (2011)
Monster High: Escape from Skull Shores (2012)
Monster High: Friday Night Frights (2013)
Monster High: Why Do Ghouls Fall in Love? (2013)
Monster High: Frights, Camera, Action! (2014)
Night Watch (2004)
The Original Kings of Comedy (2014)
The Other Woman (2014)
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
Rio 2 (2014)
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
Seven Men from Now (1956)
Shining Through (1992)
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)
TEDTalks: Let Your Mind Wonder – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
The Tenant (1976)
There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954)
Thunder Soul (2010)
To Be Takei (2014)
Top Gear – Series 20 (2003) (TV)
Totally Spies! – Season 1 (2001) (TV)
Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997)
Twilight (1998)
Unaccompanied Minors (2006)
Union Station (2005)
The Weather Man (2005)
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
1/2
96 Minutes (2011)
Best Defense (1984)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Black Rain (1989)
Call the Midwife – Series 3 (2012) (TV)
The Counterfeit Traitor (1962)
Deep Impact (1998)
Elfie Hopkins: Cannibal Hunter (2012)
Eraser (1996)
Friends – All Seasons (1994-’04) (TV)
The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)
Houseboat (1958)
Hustle & Flow (2005)
The Iron Giant (1999)
It’s a Lot (2013)
Larva – Seasons 1-2 (2011) (TV)
Patriot Games (1992)
Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
Sarah & Duck – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
The Sitter (2011)
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)
Son of God (2014)
Teacher’s Pet (1958)
Ted (2012)
The Wood (1999)
Yes Man (2008)
1/3
The Intouchables (2011)
Necessary Roughness (1991)
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
1/4
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
1/5
Bubble Guppies – Season 2 (2011) (TV)
Lady Ninja Kaede 2 (2008)
Lust of the Dead 2 (2013)
Rush Hour (1998)
Shin Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams (2006)
Steins;Gate – Season 1 (2011) (TV)
1/6
Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay (2012)
Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart (2013)
1/7
Chop Shop (2014)
Frontline: Locked Up in America (2014)
Stolen (2012)
1/8
Arbitrage (2012)
The Cup (2011)
The Musketeers – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Snowflake, the White Gorilla (2013)
1/9
Chain Reaction (1996)
Daawat-e-Ishq (2014)
I Will Follow (2010)
Lust of the Dead (2012)
Noah (2014)
Postman Pat: The Movie (2014)
Tracks (2013)
1/10
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Part 1 (2012)
The Damned (2013)
Frontline: Death by Fire: An Update (2014)
1/11
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Part 2 (2012)
Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse (2012)
Superman vs. The Elite (2012)
1/12
Whitey: U.S.A. v. James J. Bulger (2014)
1/13
Big Top Scooby Doo! (2012)
Frontline: Battle Zones: Ukraine & Syria (2014)
The Paradise – Season 2 (2012) (TV)
Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire (2011)
1/14
Dora the Explorer – Season 6 (2000) (TV)
Frontline: Ebola Outbreak (2014)
The Master (2012)
1/15
Iliza Schlesinger: Freezing Hot (2014)
1/17
Blood and Ties (2013)
Casting Couch (2013)
The Class of ’92 (2013)
Frontline: Losing Iraq (2014)
Noragami – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon (2013)
Sooper Se Ooper (2013)
Sushi: The Global Catch (2012)
Tom and Jerry’s Giant Adventure (2013)
1/18
As the Light Goes Out (2014)
Batman: Year One (2011)
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! – Season 1 (2010) (TV)
Frontline: Separate and Unequal (2014)
Ribbit (2014)
Scooby-Doo! Spooky Games (2012)
Short Poppies – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
The Three Musketeers (2011)
Way of Life (2013)
1/20
All-Star Superman (2011)
Firefly – Season 1 (2002) (TV)
Scooby-Doo! Haunted Holidays (2012)
1/21
3rd World Cops (2014)
LEGO Batman: The Movie (2013)
The Trials of Muhammad Ali (2013)
Wentworth – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
1/22
Are You Afraid of the Dark? – Season 1 (1991) (TV)
Crossing Lines – Season 2 (2014) (TV)
The Fall – Series 2 (2013) (TV)
Fated to Love You – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
House of Lies – Season 1 (2012) (TV)
The Master (2012)
Mercenaries (2014)
North & South – Season 1 (2004) (TV)
Skeleton, Inc. – Season 1 (2011) (TV)
Steve Treviño: Relatable (2014)
TEDTalks: Into the Abyss – Season 1 (2011) (TV)
What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015) (TV)
Zombies: When the Dead Walk (2008)
1/24
Beautiful Creatures (2013)
Beyond the Edge (2013)
Dicte – Seasons 1-2 (2013) (TV)
Easy Money (2010)
Franny’s Feet – Season 1 (2003) (TV)
Hemlock Grove – Season 2 (2013) (TV)
iCarly – Season 1-5 (2007) (TV)
Plankton Invasion – Season 1 (2012) (TV)
Princess Jellyfish – Season 1 (2010) (TV)
TEDTalks: Ancient Clues – Season 1 (2007) (TV)
Top Gear – Series 21 (2003) (TV)
Touch of the Light (2012)
Undertaker: The Streak – Season 1 (2012) (TV)
Z Nation – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
1/25
The Adventures of Chuck & Friends – Season 1 (2010) (TV)
All Hail King Julien – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Bates Motel – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
Beyblade: BeyWheelz – Season 1 (2012) (TV)
Black Ops – Series 1 (2012) (TV)
Blood+ – Part 1 (2005) (TV)
Blue Mountain State – Season 2 (2010) (TV)
Bonjour Les Amis – Season 1 (2004) (TV)
Caillou – Seasons 1-4 (1998) (TV)
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! – Season 2 (2010) (TV)
Chuck – Seasons 1-3 (2007) (TV)
Clifford’s Puppy Days – Season 2 (2003) (TV)
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Darknet – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
Dead Famous DNA – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Death Comes to Pemberley – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
Doctor Stranger – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Dogs with Jobs – Seasons 1-2 (2000) (TV)
DTLA – Season 1 (2012) (TV)
Extreme Prison Breaks – Season 1 (2011) (TV)
Frisky Business – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Happy Endings – Seasons 1-2 (2011) (TV)
Huff – Season 2 (2004) (TV)
The Interview (2014)
Is This a Zombie? – Season 1 (2011) (TV)
Ken Burns: Jazz – Season 1 (2001) (TV)
Knights of Sidonia – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Life in Our Universe – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
Line of Duty – Season 1 (2012) (TV)
Luther – Series 3 (2010) (TV)
Madeline – Season 1 (1993) (TV)
Magi: The Kingdom of Magic – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
Martha Speaks – Season 1 (2008) (TV)
Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers – Season 1 (1996) (TV)
The Mindy Project – Season 1 (2012) (TV)
Moonphase – Season 1 (2004) (TV)
Nanny 911 – Season 1 (2004) (TV)
Pajanimals – Season 1 (2008) (TV)
PAW Patrol – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
Pinky Dinky Doo – Season 1 (2005) (TV)
Pocoyo – Seasons 1-2 (2005) (TV)
PopPixie – Season 1 (2011) (TV)
Pound Puppies – Seasons 1-3 (2010) (TV)
Power Rangers: Megaforce – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
Power Rangers Mystic Force – Season 1 (2006) (TV)
Power Rangers Zeo – Season 1 (1996) (TV)
Prison Break – Season 2 (2005) (TV)
Psych – Season 6 (2006) (TV)
Raising Hope – Seasons 1-3 (2010) (TV)
Real Husbands of Hollywood – Seasons 1-2 (2013) (TV)
The Secret World of Santa – Season 1 (1997) (TV)
She Is Wow – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
SpongeBob SquarePants – Season 6 (1999) (TV)
Square Pegs – Season 1 (1982) (TV)
Stuart Little: The Animated Series – Season 1 (2003) (TV)
Super Why! – Season 1 (2007) (TV)
TEDTalks: Beasts, Bugs & Bio-wilderment – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
TEDTalks: Building Wonder – Season 1 (2011) (TV)
TED Talks: Sex, Secrets & Love – Season 1 (2011) (TV)
Teletubbies – Set 1 (1997) (TV)
Tillie Knock Knock – Season 1 (2009) (TV)
Tree Fu Tom – Season 1 (2012) (TV)
Undeclared – Season 1 (2001) (TV)
Unsealed: Alien Files – Season 1 (2012) (TV)
Unsealed: Conspiracy Files – Season 1 (2012) (TV)
Vampire Prosecutor – Season 1 (2011) (TV)
Velvet – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Voltron Force – Season 1 (2011) (TV)
Wakfu – Season 2 (2008) (TV)
Wolfblood – Season 3 (2012) (TV)
1/26
God’s Gift – 14 Days – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Good Doctor – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
K-POP Extreme Survival – Season 1 (2012) (TV)
Monster Math Squad – Seasons 1-2 (2012) (TV)
A Word from Warm Heart – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
1/27
Coffee Prince – Season 1 (2007) (TV)
1/28
Mardaani (2014)
1/29
Blood Lake (2014)
Lilly’s Driftwood Bay – Season 1 (2014)
1/30
Monster High: Freaky Fusion (2014)
1/31
Air Bud (1997)
Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch (2001)
Air Bud: Spikes Back (2003)
Air Bud: World Pup (2000)
Cam2Cam (2014)
Cunning Single Lady – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
It’s Okay, That’s Love – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
Last Hijack (2014)
MVP 2: Most Vertical Primate (2001)
MXP: Most Xtreme Primate (2004)

 

Netflix UK

1/1
90210 – 4 Seasons (2008-’11)
The All Together (2007)
An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars (2012)
Barbie: Princess Charm School (2011)
Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure (2011)
The Believers (1987)
Blue Ruin (2014)
Brasslands (2013)
Brothers on the Line (2012)
Class of 1999 (1990)
Compulsion (2013)
Cube (1997)
Curious George (2006-’09)
Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey! (2009)
Dance for Me (2012)
Day Watch (2006)
Death Note (2006)
Draft Day (2014)
Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
Educating Yorkshire – 8 episodes (2013) (TV)
For Colored Girls (2010)
Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends – Seasons 1-2 (2005) (TV)
Ginger Snaps (2000)
Grand Theft Parsons (2003)
Heartless (2009)
Heathers (1989)
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)
The Informant (2013)
Joe (2014)
Johnny Be Good (1988)
Junebug (2005)
The Killing Season (2013)
The Legend of Hercules (2014)
LEGO: The Adventures of Clutch Powers (2010)
Locke (2014)
A Long Way Down (2014)
The Mighty Quinn (1989)
Misfits – Season 5 (2013) (TV)
Music for Mandela (2013)
My Bloody Valentine (2009)
The Omen (1976)
Postman Pat: The Movie (2014)
Pretty Little Liars – 5 Seasons (2010-’14) (TV)
The Quiet Ones (2014)
Sabotage (2014)
Samurai Jack – Season 3 (2002) (TV)
See No Evil 2 (2014)
Sons of Anarchy – Season 6 (2013) (TV)
Stargate Universe – 2 Seasons (2009-’10) (TV)
TEDTalks: Let Your Mind Wonder – Season 1 (2014) (TV)
The Tomorrow People – Season 1 (2013) (TV)
Vampire Knight – 2 Seasons (2008) (TV)
Van Helsing (2004)
Walk on Water (2004)
Yu-Gi-Oh! – 2 Seasons (2001-’02) (TV)
1/2
Attack on Titan – 1 Season (2013) (TV)
Black Butler – 2 Seasons (2008-’10) (TV)
Blue Exorcist – Season 1 (2011) (TV)
Curious George – Seasons 1-4 (2006-’09) (TV)
Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Gus (1976)
High School of the Dead – Season 1 (2010) (TV)
The Informant (2013)
Larva – 2 Seasons (2011-’13) (TV)
Leaves of Grass (2010)
Psycho-Pass – 22 episodes (2012) (TV)
Van Helsing (2004)
1/5
The Covenant (2006)
Forensic Files – 1 Collection (2000)
The Office (U.S.) – Season 9 (2012) (TV)
Pineapple Express (2008)
1/6
Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay (2012)
The Vampire Diaries – Season 5 (2013) (TV)
1/7
Doctor Who: The Movie (1996)
Miss Violence (2013)
Vampire Academy (2014)
1/8
Daawat-e-Ishq (2014)
The Lost Medallion (2013)
Next Stop Wonderland (1998)
1/9
Bon Voyage! (1962)
The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969)
I Will Follow (2010)
Preservation (2014)
1/13
Far North (1988)
1/14
Albatross (2011)
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (2012)
Home Alone 3 (1997)
Les Misérables (2012)
Revenge of the Nerds 2: Nerds in Paradise (1987)
1/15
Apartment 143 (2011)
A Small Section of the World (2014)
In My Dreams (2014)
Sooper Se Ooper (3013)
1/16
The Adventures of Puss in Boots – Season 1 (2015) (TV)
Ice Princess (2005)
1/18
The League – Season 6 (2014) (TV)
1/21
Amazing Grace (2006)
Confidence (2003)
The Fighter (2010)
The Lucky Ones (2008)
Streets of Blood (2009)
The Young Victoria (2009)
1/22
Burton & Taylor (2013)
Skyline (2010)
1/24
Aladdin (1992)
Iliza Shlesinger: Freezing Hot (2015)
My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks (2014)
1/25
Happy Christmas (2014)
1/27
Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia (2013)
Mardaani (2014)
1/28
Ace High (1968)
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
Back to School (1986)
Changing Lanes (2002)
The Cutting Edge (1992)
Dead Like Me: Life After Death (2009)
Fled (1996)
Get Real (1998)
Gorky Park (1983)
Into the Blue 2: The Reef (2009)
The Keep (1983)
The Molly Maguires (1970)
The Night of the Grizzly (1966)
Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style (1992)
Walking Tall (1973)
1/29
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
Foyle’s War – 8 Series (2003-2013) (TV)
The Warriors (1979)
1/30
A Country Coyote Goes Hollywood (1965)
The Good Wife – Season 5 (2013) (TV)
Saw IV (2007)
1/31
Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier (1955)
VeggieTales in the House – new episodes (2014) (TV)
The Good Wife – Season 5 (2013) (TV)