Tag: Netflix

Sunset Song (Movie 2015)

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Usually, I don’t write scathing reviews.  I’m pretty nice for the most part.  However, this movie really left me depressed and unsatisfied.  It is a dark story with no happy ending of rural life in Scotland pre-WWI.  It’s been highly rated by critics, including Roger Ebert’s Website, but since they don’t pay me the big bucks to write reviews, I’ll let my peanut-gallery two cents proceed with my ranting.

Apparently, this movie is an adaptation of a novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbons.  The story revolves around a daughter of a Scottish farmer.  Hailed as an “epic rights of passage” for a young farm girl, Chris Guthrie, it’s frankly a depressing journey, to say the least.  As a young girl with her older brother, they live in an abusive household with their father who is a tyrant and jerk.  He beats the elder son and has no mercy for constantly impregnating his wife. (Of course, I get it, no birth control back then.)

Her mother gives birth to twins, when she already has four children, and then becomes pregnant again.  After falling into depression, she poisons herself and the two babies.  Eventually, the son leaves home, and Chris is left to take care of the household putting her dreams of being a teacher aside.  When her father has a stroke, her life is further burdened with his care until he finally dies.

She inherits the family farm, meets a young man, gets married, has a baby, and he is called off to serve in the Great War.  The movie is a continual spiral downward regarding her life, husband, and eventual widowhood.

This story is not a rite of passage with anything uplifting whatsoever.  It’s a dark and depressing look into the life of one family that leaves very little at the end for its viewers.  Clearly, suffering is understandable in life.  Written into a story it should at least have some purpose for its characters that leave the audience in a decent mood.  However, this film has no redeeming purpose in the end.

Instead of floating my remote, it sank.

Rebellion (2016 Series)

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(No butter to make it tasty either.)

In one scene behind a commanding officer from Britain are the bold words “BRITISH EMPIRE” on a map hanging on the wall.  As I write this blog on July 4th, sitting in the United States of America who fought for their freedom from British rule, I think of other countries who have done the same throughout history.  We have all seen our share of movies that tell the stories of Scotland, the Sudan, India, and wherever else the sun never set on the empire where people sought to be free from the monarchy. And here I am in the twenty-first century, wishing I could live across the pond.

Streaming on Netflix is Rebellion, which is television miniseries telling the familiar fight for freedom involving the Irish.  The Irish broadcaster RTE produced the series. The premise of the story is based on the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin that occurred while the world was fighting World War I. The story is fact, of course, and focused on a group of individuals who want freedom from tyranny.  Oddly enough, at the same time, the rest of the world, including British and Irish soldiers are fighting to maintain their independence from German rule.  One poignant voice among all the killing in the movie is a line (and I’m probably paraphrasing here), is that “the world is one huge slaughterhouse.”  After watching this series, I agree.  Will humanity ever stop killing each other?  Don’t get me started on that ranting.

In short, you are drawn into the lives of a group of Irish individuals. The majority of the characters want one thing – Irish independence.  The Irish Nationalist Party and the faithful who didn’t wish to wait for the war to end to push for freedom, begin their war and plan the infamous Easter Rising in April of 1916.  Of course, outnumbered by the British Army, they were no match for them. Eventually, they surrender, and Britain quickly makes a point by placing the leaders in front of firing squads to squelch the uprising and make examples of traitors. What happens to each of the characters – whether it be death or life in prison – contains its own sadness. The irony of it all, at least to me, is that the rebellious are shooting at their own countrymen in British uniforms who had joined to fight the Germans.

Like any other historical series, I usually run to the Internet afterward and check the facts. Apparently, the series received heavy criticism even in Ireland for misrepresentations of historical incidences.  Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a series that involves a bit of history, you might enjoy.  As far as acting, it’s mediocre, as well as the characters and background stories.

The oddity for me personally is that my ancestors apparently immigrated from Ireland in the mid-1700’s to England. Their name was originally Mullholland, and a few years after their arrival they interestingly changed their name to Holland. As I think about even those time periods, it’s obvious to me they were attempting to blend in as English. As the 1800’s and 1900’s generations came and went, they were English by all accounts.

Well, the firecrackers are cracking outside my window to remind me that we won our war of Independence. How odd, I wish I could live in England. All of my romance novels are set in England, too. To increase that oddity, my sales in the U.K. are extremely high compared to the U.S.  You can be assured that I’m not fighting to be free of that empire of revenue.

HUM∀NS (2015-)

humans

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Saturday I was in a fit of depression. Sunday, I snapped out of it and went to the Oregon coast and got some perspective.  Of course, ever since I know the big one is lurking out there in the Cascadia fault line, waiting to drown all the Oregon coast habitats in a tsunami, I stare at the white waves in trepidation.  If it happens during one of my visits, I probably won’t be able to run fast enough to higher ground.  (Don’t you love these odd introductions?)

Okay, so back to Saturday and depression.  On Amazon Prime, I stumbled across HUM∀NS. It’s a period drama not backward but forward into the not-so-far-away future of owning an android to help us around the house with chores, cook, babysit, carry our golf clubs, make sure we take our medications or have sex with a “synthetic” or what is called a “synth” in this series. In the development of these androids lurks a mad scientist who can’t keep well enough alone.  He gets the brilliant idea to make a family, including one who is half human/half machine to replace his dead son.  This family, though, is not like the others wandering around the world.  These guys have self-realization thoughts and are nearly human-like, except for the chips that make them run.

It’s that age-old fear that we will build machines that will dominate the human race because they are smarter, stronger, and far superior to our weaknesses in the flesh.  Each of these family members appears to have a variety of instincts from the mothering-type to the psychopathic killer.  When they realize that they can evolve even farther because of a secret code their creator has implanted in their machine psyche, they have the ability to connect with every android on earth giving them realization.  It’s a code for disaster. The question remains, can you build a machine with a soul that knows right from wrong, evil from good, or how to really understand what it means to be human.

The first eight episodes are pretty good, filled with some of your favorite British actors.  Apparently, it’s scheduled for a return in season two in late 2016 to the UK and 2017 in the US.

It makes you think about the future because we are not far behind in robotics development.  The Chinese and Japanese have human-like ones now that give you the creeps.  Frankly, a hundred years into the future, and we will no longer be writing science fiction because it will be reality if we don’t nuke the earth, die from global warming, or a comet smashes and wipes us all out.  On that note, have a great day!

 

The Crown: everything you need to know about Netflix’s £100 million series about the Queen’s reign

 

“The success of Downton Abbey across the Atlantic proved that American audiences are suckers for a British period drama. Which helps to explain why Netflix, the US video-on-demand service, is staking £100 million on a series about the Queen – from the early years of her reign through to the present day.”

 Looks like a great cast, including one of my favorites – Jeremy Northam.

Source: The Crown: everything you need to know about Netflix’s £100 million series about the Queen’s reign

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