Actualizado: 20 may 2020
The world is living complicated moments.Some countries are in situations tenser than others, but all have been affected.Many of us are having to stay at home as the health emergency crosses border after border.
A quarantine that goes on for weeks – perhaps months – is disruptive, but it can offer opportunities.So to be productive as an artist, I have been watching many movies and TV shows, because I can always learn by watching others’ artistic efforts.
Here is the list of films and series I have been watching on streaming these days with a few comments on what I have seen:
Vivir dos Veces (María Ripoll, 2019) is a Spanish movie written by friend of mine, María Minguez.This is her first long film and I’m happy with the results.It’s an enjoyable family movie about love and its ups and downs. (Netflix)
Toc Toc (Vicente Villanueva, 2017) another Spanish film, in this case an adaption from an Argentinian theater play with the same name. Very fun to watch and the work of the cast is admirable due to the chemistry between the characters that they develop. (Netflix)
Batman Ninja (Junpei Mizusaki, 2018) Can you imagine Batman fighting in feudal Japan? Well, this movie is as cool as it sounds, with amazing animation technique. The story line becomes weak at certain moments, but it keeps you entertained. (Netflix)
The Mansion (Tony T. Datis, 2017) This French movie stumbles between comedy and horror, and unfortunately sometimes you forget what it’s about.It’s a new version of teenagers in the middle of nowhere being murdered, but with some jokes in the middle. (Netflix)
Uncorked (Prentice Penny, 2020) is the second long film by Penny, who has been working as a screenwriter in TV with shows such as "Brooklyn 99" and "Scrubs".He brings us the story of a man deciding between becoming the manager of a barbecue restaurant owned by his family or becoming a sommelier. It’s an intriguing movie with superb acting by Courtney B. Vance (Law and Order: Criminal Intent) and Mamoudou Athie (The Get Down). (Netflix)
Paradise Hills (Alice Waddington, 2019) This co-production between USA and Spain brings us an interesting story of a girl fighting to have her own identity in a futuristic society where everyone has a fixed role to play. In this intense thriller, there is excellent acting by Milla Jovovich, Eiza Gonzalez, and the protagonist Emma Roberts. Also, the art direction of this movie is worth keeping an eye on. (Netflix)
The Nice Guys (Shane Black, 2016) offers a story full of action and comedy, with great actuations by Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. The 1970 ambience give a singular flavor to this tale of a competition between good and bad guys trying to recover a porn movie. (Netflix)
Gangster Squad (Ruben Fleischer, 2013) This film seems to be a mix between Dick Tracy's 90s and "The Untouchables", with the balance closer to the first movie, than the second. There’s a lot of action, fighting scenes, shooting and more, with a great cast of Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and then Josh Brolin as a real badass cop. (Netflix)
Moneyball (Bennett Miller, 2011) is anawesome movie for sports lovers who follow the backstage of baseball’s Major Leagues. Brad Pitt has a solid role as Billy Beane, the well-known Oakland Athletic's GM.This film offers a different view of sports from the business side with a fascinating screenplay by Aaron Sorkin. (Netflix)
Tales from Terramar (Gorô Miyazaki, 2006) One of the best things about Netflix is their huge anime collection. This is a fantasy tale about a young boy following his destiny and fighting evil. (Netflix)
The Post (Steven Spielberg, 2017) This is a very passionatestory about journalism and how an underdog Washington, DC, newspaper got the world’s attention after breaking international secrets of the United States Government when Nixon was president. Spielberg's view comes with one of his favorite actors - Tom Hanks - accompanied by Meryl Streep, Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) and many more. (Netflix)
El Autor (Manuel Martín Cuenca, 2011) This is a Spanish movie with the amazing Javier Gutiérrez as the main character, a man who is trying to write "Great Literature" manipulating all the people around him for his story. There's a specific scene with Antonio de la Torre (as the literature teacher), in which he is humiliating his pupil in front of the class. The interchange of energy between a humiliated Gutiérrez and the sadist de la Torre is astounding! There is great acting during all the movie, however the story loses strength every once in a while. (Netflix)
Aterrados (Demián Rugna, 2017) This horror movie comes from Argentina and is built around monsters coming from other dimensions. An interesting experiment and made with a small budget, it was a success a few years ago at the Sitges Film Festival. (Netflix)
Charlie Wilson's War (Mike Nichols, 2007)Another solid screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, the film seems to be fully charged with a United States’ message. It’s interesting to observe how the USA’s government gets involved in an international problem in Afghanistan, a country so far away, in distance as well as time and culture.The problems there encounter there will later have long term repercussions that even today continue to affect them.The amazing cast led by Tom Hanks is full of heavy weights: Julia Roberts, Amy Adams and the Oscar Nominee for this movie Phillip Seymour Hoffman. (Netflix)
Real Murders: an Aurora Teagarden Mystery (Martin Wood, 2015). This is part of a series of movies for television (five from 2015 - 2019) that seems more like a Sunday afternoon movie.The plot revolves around an amateur detective trying to solve murders that occur around her. It's fun to see Candace Cameron Bure away from her San Francisco home in "Full House". Others of the cast worthy of note are Lexa Doig (Continuum) and Marilu Henner (Taxi). (Amazon Prime)
Red Riding 1974 (Julian Jarrold, 2009) What an incredible story of murder and violence in the England of 1974! This is the first of a three part movie series (1980 and 1984) in which a serial killer is murdering children from poor neighborhoods and a young journalist (Andrew Garfield) will become obsessive about what is happening. You shouldn’t miss Game of Throne’s Sean Bean in his role as a sadistic gangster. (Amazon Prime)
Todos tus Secretos (Manuel Bartual, 2014) This film is a Spanish experiment with a webcam's point of view of nine friends in front of their computers. The acting is solid, especially with Cristina Gallego in the last scene in front of the screen. The most important factor is not the story, but the experiment by Manuel Bartual to split the screen in nine portions (as the very popular video meetings in these days). (Amazon Prime)
Hotel Artemis (Drew Pearce, 2018) is a place where all the mafia from a futuristic Los Angeles can hide – and that means trouble is brewing. The story is about betrayal among thieves and has exciting fighting and shooting scenes. Led by Jodie Foster, the cast is very solid for an action movie, with outstanding performances by Dave Bautista ("Guardians of the Galaxy"), Sterling Brown ("Black Panther"), Jeff Goldblum ("Jurassic Park") and the badass model Sofia Boutella ("The Mummy"). (Amazon Prime)
Lovelace (Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, 2013) "I was part of the adult film industry for 17 days and this is going to haunt me for the rest of my life", Linda Lovelace.
The story, led by the protagonist of "Deep Throat", is a dramatic tale set in the liberal 70s rife with drug and sex parties and tells of an abusive husband who uses his wife as a prostitute.Amanda Seyfried does a great job as Linda Lovelace whose experience is told in a fascinating way with the first half of the movie full of fun while the second half reveals the shocking truth. (Amazon Prime).
Robin Hood (Otto Bathurst, 2018) What did they do to you, oh Prince of the Thieves???
I mean, I got it -- I love the intention and of course, with the steampunk flavor I would be more than ready to agree with that. BUT, so many things were sacrificed to try to do a new version that everything else is lost in the effort, including an admirable Jamie Foxx in the role of a really different Little John.
This film’s Crusades parallelism with the Afghanistan war was outstanding... but not enough to give life to the rest of the movie. (Amazon Prime)
Hustlers (Lorene Scafaria, 2019) A stripdancing scene by Jennifer López... what can go wrong with that? Well, ANYTHING. Actually, the dancers' world is a small part of this solid story about women trying to survive in a wild society that has no scruples for hard workers.
This true story about a group of dancers seducing and stealing from bankers is very interesting without all the morbid part of sex and drugs, and focuses on their roles as mothers trying to get money for home. (Amazon Prime)
Community: A group of students try to survive their years in one crappy Community College. The Paintball episodes are already classics from the TV history. (Netflix and Amazon Prime)
The Shield: Nobody is entirely evil or entirely good. That's a great premise if you are seeing a TV show about cops in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of Los Angeles. (Amazon Prime)
Vikings: Beautiful art and detailed historic ambience. The show was very good in its first three seasons, however, now it’s more like a soup opera. (Netflix and Amazon Prime)
The Expanse: This is one of the few sci-fi series with an amazing story to follow. The last season is available on Amazon Prime.
The Badlands: Martial arts + steampunk + future = entertaining adventures from around the world.
All or Nothing: A sports documentary series follows a single team during its season. My favorites ones are about the NFL, but you can also find European Football and International Rugby.
Fleabag: Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a revelation as she brings to the screen a black humor story about a woman fighting against almost everybody - including her family - and an inevitable middle age depression.
Of course, this crazy list of entertainment that covers almost every genre has its ups and downs. I do not recommend each one, but, as an artist, I have tried to extract interesting aspects from each one so you can have a general idea of what is worth seeing, worth avoiding or worth analyzing.
Be careful, stay at home. Stay healthy. Let’s try and keep in touch.