Author Archives: Julia

Recommended Viewing February 2017

Here’s yet another random “recommended streaming” post, which doesn’t just focus on what’s new to streaming this month but instead focuses on good movies and shows worth checking out. I know I was remiss in doing a new streaming post last month, and I apologize for that. This post may contain some crossover, so let’s get down to it. Also this month all of my recommendations are a bit tongue in cheek, so no need for genre divisions.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Amazon Instant Video/Prime)

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The entire collection of the Indiana Jones saga are on Amazon Prime currently, but I’m only recommending my two favorites. Now’s a good time to watch them and enjoy some good ol’…archaeology.

Planet Earth & Life (Netflix)

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The entirety of both Planet Earth and Life are available on Netflix. Some of the most beautiful documentaries made, with extensive work capturing all of the footage, this is currently some important and awe-inspiring viewing for your free time.

Captain America: Civil War (Netflix)

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One of the best movies from last year, I know I mentioned it coming to Netflix for Christmas last month, but if you have yet to check it out, do so now. Just in case you find yourself asking what Captain America would do in times like these…

V for Vendetta (Netflix)

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This film, based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore, is definitely worth checking out if anything else for Hugo Weaving’s wonderful performance from behind a mask. It’s not something we see that often these days, and he really does an excellent job. And also, you know…other great reasons to watch.

House of Cards (Netflix)

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If you haven’t watched any of this delightfully dark series focusing on a corrupt and power driven politician and his equally calculating wife, now’s a good time. Wonderfully acted and directed, this is certainly one of Netflix’s best original series and is worth all of its hype.

The Man in the High Castle (Amazon Instant Video/Prime)

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Loosely based on Phillip K. Dick’s novel of the same name, this series from Amazon focuses on an alternate world where the fascist powers of WW2 won the war and split the U.S. between themselves. Definitely a heavy drama, it’s still worth checking out and watching right now.


And, if you need something to decompress to, remember that two collections of Bob Ross are still on Netflix.

The Difficulty of RPGs, as Told Through Revisiting Dragon Age

Recently, I got sick after coming back from travel, which is the worst. What was awful about the cold I had though was how it didn’t have too many symptoms (sure, slight sore throat, little congested, whatever) except for an absolute exhaustion that rendered me completely useless. In addition to that exhaustion was just a need to ignore everything else going on and a deep desire to do something comforting, entertaining, and familiar. (Much as David was feeling recently.)

And so I booted up Dragon Age: Origins and started a new character.

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Julia’s Best of 2016

Best Movie – Rogue One

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This was maybe the toughest decision for me. I remember starting the year excited for the plethora of good, exciting movies that I was looking forward to so much. Then the rest of 2016 happened and sadly the excitement over movies dimmed for me. I will say, this was closest between Captain America: Civil War and what I’ve decided was my favorite movie of the year, Rogue One. I went to see it again this week, and it still holds up as one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It has action, it has struggle, it has humanity and hope, and is incredibly well done. Of all of the amazing movies released this year, I’d say this is the one I would most recommend and look forward to seeing again already.

TV Show New – Stranger Things

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I know Stranger Things has gotten a lot of buzz on the site and podcast recently, but for me I think what I loved about the show was how it blended so many genres in such a successful way. I was talking about Stranger Things with friends I would never expect to watch a sci-fi show, but because of its Goonies nostalgia and mystery. Netflix has been producing some amazing original content, and honestly I watched more new content from them this year rather than any of the major networks.

TV Show Old – Supernatural

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I’ve finally had the time to rewatch and try to catch up on Supernatural this year, and it fast became my favorite thing to binge. I’ve only made it to Season 5, but I still have seven more seasons to go until I’m caught up to the current – and that’s both exciting and daunting. But as far as best binge worthy show from years past, I’d say Supernatural is the one for 2016.

Music – Lisa Hannigan, ‘At Swim’

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I spent a lot of the year falling more in love with Hozier and Mumford and Sons, but my favorite album released this year was Lisa Hannigan’s At Swim. Hannigan got her start singing with Damien Rice, another of my favorites, but her solo work has been absolutely beautiful. Her newest album has possibly surpassed my love for her debut album Sea Sew, and I have spent a lot of time since its release listening to its eerie and captivating melodies.

Video Game New – Lego Dimensions

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Although technically released before 2016, we received Lego Dimensions as a present earlier this year and have quickly fallen in love with it. We struggle finding games we can actually play side by side, and the Lego games are always great choices for us. This one combines building Legos and playing video games, and honestly how can you go wrong with that? The ability to continue adding on character and level packs is fun if not dangerous; we foresee a future of buying lots of them to continue playing together.

An Ode to Die Hard

Last year around this time I wrote a post about some of the movie I love to watch this time of year. I was going to do a similar thing this year, naming some of the lesser known or ones I haven’t watched in a while (the animated Nutcracker from the 90s, The Santa Clause) but as I started thinking about it, I realized I mostly wanted to talk about just one.

Die Hard.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I kind of feel like 2016 has been a fireball of a disaster of a year. We kicked off the year with David Bowie and Alan Rickman dying. We’re ending it all so exhausted and ready yet also dreading next year…and honestly for me, I need a movie that best captures that feeling right now. But first, the best meme about this year if you missed it:

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So really, don’t we all need a kickass movie to finish the year out while also feeling nostalgic about holiday seasons past?

Enter Die Hard.

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In this movie, we get to see Bruce Willis try to single-handedly save some bank hostages, including his (estranged) wife, from the dashing Hans Gruber and his gang.

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Alan Rickman shines in this movie. He makes being bad look so good. This was his breakout role into Hollywood, and fun fact: they added the scene where he fakes an American accent because Rickman’s attempts at the accent were so good while on set between takes, joking around with everyone. What better way to end 2016 than to watch Alan Rickman (who was amazing…thanks 2016) be awesome? I mean come on, just look at this dashing villain:

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Besides having an absolutely amazing villain, Die Hard has some incredibly quotable lines, some great action, and classic “’80s-’90s Bruce Willis runs around in a tank top covered in blood fighting bad guys on his own” moments.

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A great movie to pop some popcorn, crack open some beer or hot cocoa, and celebrate the holidays while also saying “Yippee ki-yay –” to the end of 2016. This may just be the perfect holiday movie. Or at least, the one we all need this year.

Recommended Viewing for December 2016

I know I usually do a “What’s Streaming” post once a month, but that really only covers what new, notable additions are coming to different online services. I have a film degree, though, and movies and television are near and dear to my heart. So every once in a while, I find myself just wanting to dish out recommendations based on what I’ve watched recently or what I notice has been on Netflix for ages but only just recently showed up in my recommended categories. This may be the beautiful start of a monthly series.

Indie/Drama:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Netflix)

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Anyone who knows me at all will not be surprised to see this at the top of my list. This is my absolute favorite movie, and it’s available to watch on Netflix. This movie takes its story of romantic love gone wrong and flips it on its head by adding the element of science fiction and memory erasure. Michel Gondry directs this beautiful film starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet in what I would argue are some of their best roles.

Amelie (Netflix)

Another of my favorites, this French film stars Audrey Tautou as a quirky, lonely young woman who starts trying to help others through inventive plans and schemes. In the meantime, she almost utterly misses her own shot at happiness and love. This charming film is a great way to spend a lazy Saturday while it’s cold out, if anything for the imaginative and beautiful shots of Montmartre and breathtaking soundtrack.

Children of Men (HBOGo)

A much darker recommendation than the two above, this film based on PD James’ novel of the same name is a terrifyingly bleak outlook of the end of humanity, with only a glimmer of hope shining through. The film stays with you; I only saw it once a few years ago, and there are still parts that haunt me. If you’re in the mood for something dark, this is the perfect choice.

Comedy/Zone Out:

Keanu (HBOGo)

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I caught this film in theatres because it looked entertaining and there was nothing else to do, and I must say I was impressed. If you’re looking for some laughs at some ridiculous jokes, a hilarious film where everyone is obsessed with a little kitten, and just want to veg out and not think about anything, give this film a shot. It’s great for a few laughs, which is great since we need a bit more levity right now.

Burn After Reading (Netflix)

A Coen Brothers’ classic, this film features an ensemble cast and is absolutely hilarious. Part spy thriller part what is going on comedy, if you missed this one when it came out, I highly recommend checking it out. See Brad Pitt be thoroughly idiotic, George Clooney be way too into running and other weird things, and John Malkovich be, well, John Malkovich.

O Brother, Where Art Thou (Netflix)

Another Coen Brothers’ classic, this retelling of The Odyssey takes place during the Great Depression and follows George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson as escaped convicts trying to find treasure while a determined sheriff tries to track them down. Along the way they become famous after recording a song for the radio and interrupt a KKK rally. This is a definite must see.

Deadpool (HBOGo)

Did you miss Deadpool earlier this year? Did you see it and want to see it again? Great news, it’s currently on HBO if you have it! Beyond that…I don’t know if I need to say anything else. Deadpool. Go watch it.

Kids/Family:

The Jungle Book (2016, Netflix)

This live-action version of The Jungle Book, directed by Jon Favreau, was released earlier this year and through the new deal with Netflix and Disney, came to Netflix at the end of November. The film is definitely worth a viewing; the film is beautiful, it has some great actors doing the voices, and the young Mowgli is absolutely fantastic.

Zootopia (Netflix)

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I was thoroughly impressed by this film when I decided to check it out recently on Netflix. It actually feels more like a buddy cop film than an animated flick, and the story plays out in a sophisticated manner. This film took a lot of flack and criticism for pushing inclusiveness and diversity, but I’d say that’s even more reason to check it out.

Paddington (Netflix)

A film version of the story of Paddington Bear, I feel I should recommend this movie with a slight warning; if you have very little ones, this is not a movie for them. Spoiler lite reason is that the villain is a taxidermist (played wonderfully by Nicole Kidman) and can actually be very scary, especially for kids who understand that she wants to kill and stuff Paddington. Beyond that, this is a beautiful film about what constitutes family.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (HBOGo)

This is the only Harry Potter film on any streaming, but my honest opinion right now: this is the only Harry Potter film we need right now. Also one of the best done. If you don’t own copies of Harry Potter, or if you’ve missed the entire Potter craze right now, now’s your chance to check one of the best films out.

Coraline (HBOGo)

A darker film directed by Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas) based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, this amazing and beautifully gothic inspired stop-motion animated film is a must-see in my opinion. If you love any of the things listed, this is the movie to check out this month if you have HBO.

The Neverending Story (HBOGo)

This classic film is currently available on HBO so that you can relive your childhood and share the nostalgia with your family. Or indulge in nostalgia on your own, preferably with blankets and hot drinks.

Holiday:

Love Actually (Netflix)

This romantic comedy has become a holiday classic since it was released in 2003, and features a huge ensemble cast, including some faces that were newish back then but well known in the geek community by now (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Martin Freeman, Andrew Lincoln, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster). Definitely not for children, this film is a fun way to kick off the holiday season and remember that love is, actually, all around us.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (HBO GO)

The live action version with Jim Carrey is currently on HBO, and if you need a Grinch fix or some holiday fun, this is always a good watch.

The Santa Clause (Netflix)

Ready to relive some 90s nostalgia? This Tim Allen classic that sees him turn into Santa Claus after an unfortunate accident Christmas Eve is available on Netflix just in time for the holidays.

White Christmas (Netflix)

This classic film starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kane features all of the classic songs that you’ve probably grown up with. If you need some classic musical holiday cheer, this is going to be a great pick for you.

Scrooged (Netflix)

This irreverent film starring Bill Murray gives a more updated retelling of A Christmas Carol, with Murray starring as a heartless TV executive who is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.

Home Alone (HBOGo)

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I’m not sure how much I need to say about this classic, except that it’s available on HBO if you have it, just in time for the holidays!

Miracle on 34th Street (1947 classic, HBOGo)

There are a few other versions of this available on streaming, Netflix has one or two, as does Amazon Prime, but if you want the 1947 classic version of this film, it’s currently available on HBO.

A Muppet Christmas Carol (HBOGo)

Another version of the classic Dickens’ tale, this time told by Muppets! Again, if you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit and love the Muppets, this is a great film to add to the list.