Netflix reviews, part 1

Rather than doing reviews of current movies–which would be useless, since Guardians of the Galaxy is the only one I’ve seen this year (4.5/5 stars), I’m gonna tell ya what I think of stuff I’ve seen on Netflix recently. You’re welcome.

Space: Unraveling the Cosmos

Did not know the moon affects the earth THAT much, to a point where life might not be possible without it. Also did not know the famous Dr. Hubble made his discovery of another galaxy at the Mt. Wilson Observatory, which I can see from my window. . . the antennas, anyway. But that’s about all I learned. Thing had tons of CGI, beautiful visuals but mostly entry-level astronomy; if you’ve seen Nova or most specials on space you know all this stuff already. Ultimately fell asleep. . . 3/5

The Croods

Excellent voicework, particularly Emma Stone. Fantastic animation; loved the colors. The plot? Not so much, but what can you really expect? It did what it was supposed to do excellently. 4/5

The Bachelorette

Note: this is not about the not-so-reality show on TV; this is a rom-com movie, at least supposedly.

The discussion of blow jobs on the plane was surreal. . . and though I knew it was coming, it was still bitchy of her to play the poor guy like that, especially with that last lie that confirmed it was all a setup. . . (that got ya thinkin’, didn’t it?)

Let’s face it, the only reason I clicked on this was because of a certain redhead named Isla Fisher. Her best moment was when she blurted, “I took French?” in high school, but I’m tired of watching her play airheads. Finally gave up less than half an hour in. . . 1.5/5

Victim of Beauty

An incredibly typical suburban mystery, with one particularly great thing at the beginning: the credit “introducing Jeri Lynn Ryan!” Yep, 7 of 9’s first work. She’s competing in a beauty pageant and singing opera! Nice. Her sister is her manager, makeup person, hair, everything; they even snark about the hula hoop girl. Everything changes when the sister is kidnapped, and that’s where the movie goes for the rest of the time.

By far the best part is watching Jeri be the opposite of 7 of 9; she even has some crying scenes, which she did well. Call it a sign of things to come. She even sings Amazing Grace at the end. But that’s it. The movie itself, it bears repeating, is incredibly typical and quite a bit dated, not really worth watching except for the novelty of a young Jeri Ryan. 2/5

Hit and Run

After the slight disappointment of the Veronica Mars movie and the huge disappointment that was The Lifeguard, here’s a Kristen Bell movie I can wholeheartedly recommend. Written, co-directed, and co-starring her partner Dax Shepherd, you also get Tom Arnold (actually pretty good here), a cameo by Jason Bateman, and for all the Marshmallows an appearance by Ryan Hansen, who does his signature backflip right before getting whaled on by the one and only Beau Bridges. Some parts are tough to deal with–Dax’s character is not the best guy ever, even if he wrote it himself–but it’s surprisingly sweet. . . and there’s a lot of fast cars. 4.5/5

The Science of Sex Appeal

I can’t trust anyone who makes sex BORING! 1/5

Ceremony

Very uneven story about a young guy having an affair with an older woman who’s about to get married. Not nearly as good as it thinks it is, but. . . Uma Thurman is in it, so that’s that, watch it. And once again I didn’t recognize Lee Pace, after he was the baddie in Guardians of the Galaxy. Definitely not making pies. . . 2.5/5

When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions

Space exploration at its best, only helped by Gary Sinise’s wonderful narration. Told chronologically, each episode covers a specific time and/or program, leading to the best part, the moon missions, including the infamous Apollo 13. The interviews are fantastic; on the mission before Armstrong and Aldrin finally landed on the moon, the previous flight’s assignment was to orbit the moon, and NASA had to make sure not to include a way to lift off in case those astronauts got the urge to land against orders. Hilarious. The also didn’t whitewash the three disasters, especially Challenger. 5/5

Prophets of Science Fiction

A series about some of the grand masters of science-fiction writing; as you might expect, this aired on the Sci-Fi channel, or whatever it’s calling itself this week. Gets a little silly at times, with reenactments of their younger years; having to find actors that matched some of these nerdy guys couldn’t have been easy. There’s the ones you might expect like Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke, but you also get Mary Shelly and George Lucas among others. Most of the time is taken up by interviewing various people about today’s state of the technology those authors proposed; my favorite was Clarke’s Space Elevator, since I’d just finished rereading The Fountains of Paradise. 4/5

A Bit of Fry and Laurie

Most people probably haven’t heard of this show, but if you’re at all a Monty Python or Benny Hill fan, you’ve got to see this. Stephen Fry isn’t that well known in the States, but I’ve never seen him be anything less than hilarious, and Hugh Laurie certainly wasn’t famous here before House. The “last name: lighter dropped on counter” sketch is right up there with Dead Parrot.  5/5

;o)

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