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  • Brian Alex Clark 2:13 pm on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , KIDS, MTV, skins, ,   

    Skins UK Episode 1 Review 

    It’s going to be strange reviewing this considering I’d seen the first few episodes of the US adaptation prior to this one episode and I’m pretty sure I liked the US pilot better.

    The basic premise is simple: Skins is the british version of the movie KIDS. It’s a bunch of drug doing, sex crazed underaged teens. It’s the validation of every psych paper saying that our youth are becoming more irresponsible and acting less mature than any previous generation. Big whoop, these kids would say. Is it really so wrong to enjoy sex?

    According to this group, not at all. Hell, it starts with the main character Tony Stonem (Percy Jackson‘s Nicholas Hoult) waking up with his blanket pulled tight. What might be on the blanket of a sex crazed underage kid? Sexy Wonder Woman perhaps? Nope. His blanket is the shoulder down picture of a naked man and a naked woman. And yes, this kid stays with his parents. No emancipated minor here.

    After making fun of his main “girlfriend” Michelle (April Pearson) for her weird nipples and checking out the naked older lady across the street (the lady knows of her admirer, by the way), he gets moving with the day’s mission: pop his best friend Sid Jenkins’s cherry like it’s a balloon and he’s got the needle. Because if his friend is still a virgin by his 17th birthday, they obviously can’t be friends.

    The plan is simple: they go a party where his Sid (played by Mike Bailey) is the big kahuna supplying all the weed and they hook him up with their recently-released-from-the-mental-hospital Cassie Ainsworth (Hanna Murray), who agreed to it because… well, Michelle said it was going to happen. It’s too bad it’s obvious Sid is in love with Michelle.

    Did I mention Slumdog Millionaire is in it, too? Yes, it’s Dev Patel as Anwar Kharral, a young sex crazed Muslim boy. In fact, the first time we meet his character is in the middle of prayer when he answers his phone and starts asking if there will be a lot of pussy at the party later.

    As you might imagine, things go worse than could be hoped. Sid is pressured by the drug dealer to take three ounces instead of one, and on credit too (he’ll have 48 hours to pay it back), the party they end up at is hosted by a snobby girl who can’t have smoking in her house because of the new new wallpaper “mommy just had flown in”, Cassie has a lot of fun on a trampoline then tells Sid he better fuck her fast because she took a lot of pills, and finally they steal a car from the party so they can dump her at the hospital doorstep but when she wakes up fine they end up driving it into a lake and down it goes. Along with the three ounces of pricey weed, I might add.

    So being a sex crazed underage kid is hardly the glamorous life we’ve all been led to believe it is. But it is interesting. The only criticism I might have is the casting of the Tony. Though I am a fan of the actor’s later work, the character is supposed to be a real lady’s man and the actor is a much better fit for the not too confident type that rises up to become a hero. This might be because I’ve seen a bit of the US version and the kid playing the main character is such an overconfident and womanizing asshole that the original just doesn’t measure up, but nonetheless it’s about 5% off from perfect.

    Personally, I think while it’s not as good as the US Pilot, which I can remember rewinding because some of the moments were so good, it’s definitely something people can get into. Most of the heat from fans of the UK series is just that: they were fans of the UK series and it’s not exactly the same.

    If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this is something I would check out. I’d say wait till I assess both the US and the UK versions, but America went into a giant hissy fit over it and it got cancelled in it’s first season, while this show is already in it’s 7th Series (season in british) with the first 6 already on Netflix.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence, check out the trailer below. Keep in mind this is a promo and doesn’t show glimpses into any of the actual scenes, but you’ll get the idea of what the show is all about from watching it. Cheers. 🙂

    Let us know what you thought about the show by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here are some helpful links to physical copies of everything mentioned above:

    Skins UK, Vol. 1

    Skins US: Season 1

    KIDS

    Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief [Blu-ray]

    Slumdog Millionaire [Blu-ray]

     
  • Brian Alex Clark 4:14 am on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: action, katie domeaux, kick-ass, , la femme nikita, maggie q, mission impossible, nikita, , the cw   

    Nikita Episode 1 Review 

    Nikita should have sucked. That’s the conclusion I came to. A TV show on The CW based on a 1997 television show based on a 1993 remake of a 1990 movie. From what I’d read, the original TV show didn’t have a large budget, forcing it to keep the action light and the story strong–very strong, based on reviews–to keep the audience returning every week. The new show’s budget? Much higher. Meaning increased action scenes and decreased plot. The new station? The CW, meaning it probably would be more focused on looks and frequent cheap plot twists.

    I am glad to say I was pleasantly surprised. Don’t get me wrong, the title character is pretty weak. Played by Mission Impossible alum (aka actress not good enough for sequels) Maggie Q, Nikita is an expressionless toothpick who has just come out of hiding to take down the organization Division that she escaped three years previous. She just doesn’t have the badass cool about her that Uma Thurman had in Kill Bill, though that has to–absolutely has to be what she was going for. Because there was no emotion to be accounted for during the episode.

    It’s not really her fault. The series starts with a GREAT hook, introducing Alex (played by Kick-Ass love interest and How I Met Your Mother daughter Lyndsy Fonseca) in what is essentially Nikita’s origin. It’s a very clever technique. These kinds of productions are often weighed down by an overabundance of flashbacks without which would leave the audience at least slightly confused as to what happened before. Alex is busted for armed robbery and murder (her teammate escaped) and is looking at a life behind bars when Division fakes her death and recruits her to be a part of their shadowy organization. It’s not implied that she has much of a choice in the matter.

    Lyndsy Fonseca is frankly one of the most talented young actresses in the business, and she gets to show it when Division saves her from life in prison or worse to become yet another of their operatives (read: assassin). As soon as I saw this talented actress was part of the show, I did two things: I immediately wished this wasn’t Nikita when she was younger, thus eliminating the use of the actress once we see her all grown up, and then I went on Wikipedia to see how many episodes she was in. And I immediately sighed with relief to see that she has stayed to be in every single episode. Mark my words, this will basically guarantee I see every episode. This actress–as well as the other actors in her pool of fellow recruits–are quite talented. Honestly, they could have done the whole show from the perspective of the recruits and cut out Nikita as nothing more than a mark to put in their crosshairs and it would have been 3 times as interesting.

    What we get instead is not boring, you just know it could have been better if they’d gotten an actress that didn’t make you cringe from the amount of ribs you can see jutting from her when she wears a bikini or underwear (and there are a lot of scenes like this). While Nikita is on the outside toying with Division and saving their assassination targets and playing a cat and mouse with former handler Michael (Shane West, E.R.), Alex is having a tough time inside, being less than appreciative with people like Amanda (Melinda Clarke, The O.C.), whose job it is to teach her how to be a lady–so that she can manipulate others, of course.

    It all comes to a head rather anti-climactically, actually. After having played a wonderful game of cat and mouse, Nikita decides to just strut out in front of her former and Michael’s current boss, the corrupt boss of Division (think Morgan Freeman in Wanted) and then runs away when he says he wants to kill her. But when Michael gives her a head start we are promised complicated things to come, and are also revealed who Nikita has on the inside.

    Personally, I hope the further seasons of Nikita find their way to Netflix, because this is a show I’ll be watching.

    If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this is definitely one to run your fingers through. Good for us it hasn’t been cancelled yet, so one way or another you won’t have a Firefly situation on your hands.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence, check out the trailer below.

    Let us know what you thought about the show by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here are some helpful links to physical copies Nikita and the it’s previous incarnations:

    Nikita: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]

    Nikita: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray]

    La Femme Nikita: The Complete First Season

    Point of No Return [Blu-ray]

    La Femme Nikita (Special Edition)

     
  • Brian Alex Clark 2:34 am on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: american adaptation, , being human, Blog, , ,   

    Being Human UK Episode 1 Review 

    It’s the safe bet that the majority of U.S. audiences who have heard of Being Human is thanks (or no thanks?) to it’s American adaptation. The premise is simple enough: What happens when a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost split an apartment? It’s probably what lent it such an easy crossover onto American television screens. It’s not the first show that’s taken the route. Back in 2005 The Office came to America, inspired by the 2001 UK version. In 2011, Skins came to MTV based on the 2007 UK version while Being Human was a more successful American import on the Syfy network, adapted from it’s much more recent 2009 UK version. According to those who were familiar with the UK versions (or at least, according to the majority) the US adaptations are always lacking.

    Luckily for all of us, ALL SIX SHOWS mentioned above–Being Human UK, Being Human US, Skins UK, Skins US, The Office UK, and The Office US–are available on Netflix. Oh, it is good to be an American (even if our adaptations don’t seem to be as good).

    No matter what is said from this point on, there is one fact: the US version of Being Human IS lacking when places side by side it’s UK counterpart. With the average UK episode clocking in at 57 minutes, the US equivalent (44 minutes) is lacking about 13 minutes a viewing. For those who can get a little impatient, this will seem like a plus: UK episodes with the fat cut off and minus the funny accents. If you go American, you won’t have to worry about getting bored by the “slow parts”.

    Except having seen the pilot to the original version, I can’t say there are any slow parts to be afraid of. In fact, I’m happy it had 13 more minutes of breathing room because I was definitely appreciating the world building it got to accomplish. I’ll be able to see later on, but I can’t imagine they were able to get as much done with the US pilot (for obvious time reasons). And to add an upside for you, the American writing team has kept a strict diet: they have abstained from watching the second season of the UK show. That means for lucky us (at least starting at the second season of the US version) we’ll be able to enjoy two varied stories. But I’m getting offtrack. What did I think of the episode? Is it another shining example of British television (ala Luther) or is it good that American writers were given a chance to redeem it by starting over?

    Gladly for me (and the hour I spent watching) it was very good. It’s rare you get this, but it felt like watching actual events instead of TV on my computer. And remember, we’re talking about werewolves and vampires here. Of the three characters (Annie the Ghost, George the Werewolf, and John the Vampire) this first episode focused more on the Vampire side of things. But don’t get me wrong, they didn’t skimp on the Ghost and Werewolf plots.

    I have say, I’ve seen the pictures of the US cast and I prefer this group of blokes (British television has an effect on my slang). From what I’ve been seeing, British television is much more focused on getting actors for their parts while US TV prefers stereotypical looks. For the comedic werewolf, the US got Jimmy Olsen from Superman Returns and for the handsome vampire, they gave us a… generic vampire faced guy. You know the type. Big cheek bones and the impression that he always puckers his lips for the camera like a bad male model.

    Suffice it to say, the UK version makes me much happier. To give you a little nugget into the first episode, Annie the Ghost has to deal with seeing her (ex)fiancee for the first time after her death, George the Werewolf finds himself without his usual safe house for his “time of the month” when the hospital he and John work at put it under construction for some new renovation, and the previously mentioned Vampire has to deal with keeping his hunger in check (par for the course) and the dangerous repercussions of turning a friend of theirs into his kind. Also, it seems the vampire community really wants to creep onto his turf. So many dying people they could save, after all. One high ranking member even throws out the idea of making their presence known to the public (True Blood, anybody?).

    To boil it down, this is a show that I am very interested in watching more of. I love a show that can nail it on the first episode. I’ll go so far as to hate a series when one of it’s ardent fans say an equivalent of “it get REALLY GOOD starting with the first season”. I know it’s not an easy thing, but good television should START as good television.

    So, was Being Human great British television or should you hop over to the US version in hopes it got it right?

    If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this should definitely be hanging around the top of your list.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence (or the pond) about Being Human, check out the trailer below.

    Let us know what you thought about the show by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here are some helpful links to physical copies of both versions:

    Being Human UK: Season 1

    Being Human US: The Complete First Season

     
  • Brian Alex Clark 11:57 pm on September 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , emily thorne, emily vancamp, , , revenge, , ,   

    Revenge Episode 1 Review 

    Revenge is the type of programming you consider buying on BluRay or iTunes because it’s not on Netflix but seems too good to miss out on. Of course, that dilemma would be easily avoided if you just caught it on ABC when it originally aired. But since the advent of Netflix on my phone and iPad, the feeling that I NEED to catch my shows during their weekly times is gone. (The last time I had such a need was back when Glee was in the middle of it’s third season). The problem I got tired of having was that if I missed an episode, I would inevitably fall behind since I refuse to skip episodes in ongoing stories like Glee or Revenge. It’s a little bit different if I stumble upon an episode of Family Guy with my friends.

    Nevertheless, not a month ago was I roaming the aisles of Best Buy considering if I would buy the pricey enough first season of Revenge to finally bring me up to speed with all the hype. Thankfully, I didn’t bite. Because now it’s on Netflix and the instant I saw it I was ready to rip my teeth into it. So did the long anticipated (for me) first episode live up to the praise I’ve read on the internet or Entertainment Weekly (don’t worry, I’m fully digital–I read it on my iPad app)?

    The answer is “not yet”.

    Revenge is the story of Emily Thorne’s summer in the Hamptons. Except, of course, there’s more to that. To begin with, Emily Thorne (played by Emily VanCamp) is not her real name. No, the truth is she’s Amanda Clarke, the daughter of a now deceased former Hampton-ite who was framed for a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison for life. Choosing to not follow in the footsteps of her father, who found peace by forgiving his wrongdoers, she instead is back to get revenge against everyone who wronged her and her father. And in one episode, she gets a lot done. I won’t spoil the juicy details for you, but by the end of the episode she’s already crossing one name off her list.

    While the first episode didn’t bring the guilty pleasure giddiness I was hoping for, there is literally nothing I can complain about the first entry in what will surely develop into a long and complicated story. While things happen that you could easily see in overdramatic shows like Gossip Girl or Desperate Housewives (both on Netflix, and both shows I deeply enjoyed, at least for their perfect first seasons), a twist at the end of the episode reveals that the main character Emily Thorne is more involved behind the scenes than you might have expected. This isn’t a character who believes in waiting to get her revenge. She’s going to find the perfect moment to strike; and if she can’t find one you damn better believe she’s going to make one.

    So will I continue watching Kill Bill: Slow Burn? Yes. I would be lying if I said I was interested because a long time ago I imagined what a T.V. show would be like if it was just a vicious cycle of revenge plots. “I want revenge on these people, I get it, but now their loved ones are after me, etc.” Hopefully this is what the second season becomes. But more importantly, I hope the show is up to the hype. I’ll be watching the complete first season and coming back to you for an assessment.

    If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this could easily be a show to check out.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence about Revenge, check out the trailer below.

    Let us know what you thought about the show by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries (and this has many), here is a helpful link to the physical copy:

    Revenge: The Complete First Season

    Strangely, there has been no Blu-Ray release. So you might want to wait and enjoy it for now on Netflix, though there’s been no indication that anything special will be available on the Blu-Ray as opposed to what is already on the DVD release.

     
  • Brian Alex Clark 10:42 pm on September 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: avengers, captain america, devil's double, dominic cooper, movie, , saddam hussein, the devil's double, uday, uday hussein   

    The Devil’s Double Reviews 

    The Devil’s Double is the first review from NetflixCritic.com and in the spirit of the name, we’re supplying you with DOUBLE the number of reviews in one article. Say hello to our two writers, Brian Alex Clark (creator of NetflixCritic.com) and Leo Chacon Rodriguez (plucky sidekick, the Robin to Brian’s Batman). They’ll be competing for your attention in the future, occasionally Doubling Up for reviews from time to time. So pick a side, hate the other, and Bella be damned. Here, for your reading pleasure, is The Devil’s Double… Reviews.

    Brian’s Review

    This movie could be fiction. Based on Latif Yahia’s second book by the same name, it accounts his time as Uday Hussein’s body double, something that has been disputed by close friends of Uday’s and CIA case officers alike. It’s an interesting thing to discover after having watched two hours of what you thought was fact. What isn’t fiction is this: Uday Hussein (played by Dominic Cooper), the eldest son of Saddam, was a spoiled kid driven crazy with power. His most popular pick up line in the movie is offering underage girls a ride and going so far as to use his protection detail to force them into his car. At one point he even takes the virginity of a woman–on her wedding day. He is without a doubt a monster, and no one in the movie thinks otherwise. So what happens when Uday enlists (aka forces) an old classmate Latif Yahia (also played by Dominic Cooper) to become his body double? Will Latif hold onto his humanity or become all too like the horrible man he is tasked with impersonating?

    What separates The Devil’s Double from Adaptation (another movie that utilizes the one actor for to parts strategy) is one word: stakes. In Adaptation, the main character (played by Nicholas Cage) is a longtime writer that has to struggle with his next script while his twin brother takes up screenwriting as less than a hobby, but immediately strikes big. At every moment there seems to be something working against him, something he needs to struggle to overcome.

    But in The Devil’s Double, as soon as Latif becomes Uday Saddam Hussein’s double, he stops caring, immediately making him the least interesting character in the movie. He doesn’t even fear death, at one point slitting his wrists to get out of killing a man. If a main character does not even desire to live, what does he have to live for?

    I would have preferred to see this as a fictional miniseries instead of a biography. There could have been so many more interesting things to do with the main character. He could fight to stay good natured but as he lived in Uday’s shoes more and more, he would not be able to stop the inevitable transformation into his lesser half. And that is where this film fails: there is no question of identity. Good Dominic Cooper is Good Dominic Cooper and Bad Dominic Cooper is Bad Dominic Cooper. Latif begins by seeing Uday as a monster and his vision is never blurred, which is unfortunate. There are so many ways perspectives could have been played with, I am forced to look at films like The Black Swan and ask “what if they went this far?” Because based on the trailers, I went into this film thinking Latif would eventually make a power play to replace Uday permanently, ala the plot of the Hitman movie. But when we see Latif using a retainer to mimic Uday’s teeth, we suspect that will not be an option.

    It’s unfortunate Dominic Cooper’s (up till this point) career making role is stuck in such a lackluster film. In terms of acting, it’s in a completely other league from what he did in Captain America: The First Avenger, another movie available on Netflix Instant Streaming. And yet this performance does not make his turn as Howard Stark seem any less talented.

    If you have Netflix or are considering a 30-Day Free Trial, it won’t hurt your pocket to check out The Devil’s Double for Dominic Cooper’s performance. You’ll definitely keep an eye for him in future blockbusters after seeing this. But if you’re looking for something on par with Adaptation, where everything is firing on all cylinders, you’ll be unfortunately left wanting.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    Leo’s Review

    The Devils Double tells the story of deranged playboy, Uday Hussein, son of Saddam Hussein, and his ‘fidei’ or Body Double (a dual role played by Dominic Cooper). The film beings with Latif Yahia, an Iraqi soldier fighting in the Iran-Iraq war who is offered with a propostition far from his position as a war fighter, taking part as Uday Hussein’s body double. At first Latif refuses Uday’s proposition which enrages Uday, leading him to be tortured and forced to work for Uday or else he and his family will be killed.

    Latif reluctantly takes the job and becomes his double.

    The film fulfills it’s premise as a firsthand account of the life of the sadistic son of Saddam while still giving enough time to explore the man held with the task of being his bullet catcher. The film could have done a better job at giving a more appealing look into Latif’s character, which is where the film kind of seems to slow down a bit, but the performance given by leading man Dominic Cooper is worth your time, which I believe to be the biggest highlight of this film. The film as a whole gives us all it has to show, with a lot of major scenes striking us like a gun to the head.

    I myself enjoyed the film for what it was solely for the fact that it was exactly what I was expecting to get out of it. Although I will admit I wouldn’t spend money on the film, it has it’s moments and performances which is where I found most of it’s charm; but I’d consider this a solid rental. My partner Brian deserves most of the credit for using films such as Black Swan or Adaption as examples, giving a better understanding of the film. I look forward to seeing Cooper headline more mainstream films in the near future. If our reviews may not be enough, give a film a look see on Netflix, it’s worth the watch.

    If you’re still on the fence about the The Devil’s Double, check out the trailer below.

    Let us know what you thought about the film by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    The Devil’s Double is rated R for strong brutal bloody violence and torture, sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and pervasive language.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here is a helpful link to the physical copy:

    The Devil’s Double [Blu-ray]

    I wanted to give you links to the paperback and ebook as well, but the only one available is a used copy priced at $489.00 and the ebook simply does not exist! For now we’ll only be able to enjoy the cinematic version of the story. Hopefully the publishers get their act together and release another printing. They missed an opportunity for a good amount of sales to coincide with the theatrical release. #theymessedup

     
  • Brian Alex Clark 1:27 am on September 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Hello Future Netflixers! 

    A 30-Day Free Trial is a beautiful thing. Why squander it? If you ever wanted a free run on a product BEFORE the free run, you’ve come to the right place. Because we can be exactly that to you. We’re opening the pearly gates before you ever have to sign yourself up for the free tour.

    By being a review site focused SOLELY on Movies and Television Shows on Netflix Instant Streaming, you don’t have to scour the internet for each title you might be interested in watching, with only a blind hope that it will be part of the vast (but still limited) selection Netflix offers through your computer or mobile devices.

    You’re here for the ride, come on board. The tour is free. 🙂

     
    • Mr WordPress 1:27 am on September 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hi, this is a comment.
      To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.

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