Author Archives: Julia

The Crown: First Impressions

Last month, Netflix added another original, The Crown, which follows and focuses on Queen Elizabeth II’s ascent to the throne and the issues she faced from those around her. In true Netflix original style, the show is incredibly well done, providing viewers with a rich and detailed royal drama.

Although slow paced and possibly a bit disconcerting at first if you are unfamiliar with some royal history, the lush settings and music will immediately hook you. The show begins with Elizabeth’s (Claire Foy) marriage to Phillip (played by Matt Smith!) and goes from there, exploring some of the years leading up to her ascension. The quiet chemistry between a lot of the cast, especially between Claire Foy and Matt Smith, is incredibly well done and carries the show even when it seems a little slow. John Lithgow’s performance as Winston Churchill is fantastic, and if you’re an avid British TV or movies watcher, especially in regards to Jane Austen, this show turns into quite a few moments of “Wait, where do I know them from?”

The Crown Season 1

The Crown Season 1

I’m only on the 4th episode (out of 10) but I’ve already experienced some deep emotional connection to the story and the characters. It probably helps that I was brought up on British royal history, but it also helps that I watched The King’s Speech (which is incredibly well done and absolutely worth a watch if you have not seen it). Being aware of King George VI’s history, especially his health and how he was unprepared for the throne upon his brother Edward’s abdication, can help understand the underlying melancholy and tension in the first few episodes. It certainly helped me become incredibly attached to the King in the first two episodes, and Jared Harris’ performance is fantastic.

If rich costume dramas are your style, or if you like history, or Matt Smith, this is definitely a show worth checking out. Netflix has again proven itself a strong contender in original content.

What’s Streaming, December 2016

December seems like it will be both a big month for movies and also not. There’s a lot of content coming, but there’s a lot of content leaving streaming for the end of the year as well, especially over at HBO. Amazon will be adding quite a few older westerns to their lineup, as well as adding some original content. Netflix gets to see one of the first examples of its new agreement with Disney by releasing one of Marvel’s newest releases.

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Sims 4: City Living Expansion

At the beginning of this month, the newest Sims 4 expansion was released, and I eagerly downloaded it day one. The Sims series always have a “Downtown” expansion, although they normally introduce nightlife, dating, and basic apartments that don’t necessarily reflect actual apartment living. Since nightlife (bars and nightclubs) was already introduced in the Get Together expansion, it was interesting to see where they would go with the City Living expansion, and I must say it’s a very fascinating addition to the game so far.

Sims 4 City Living adds apartments and apartment life in a much more realistic way than we’ve seen previously. Every lot now has up to three traits, which can be either good or bad. Some cause all of your appliances and electronics to break overnight (I mean all of them…and as far as I could tell it was happening every night…) while some help you level up certain skills faster. Excluding the penthouse apartments, each of the buildings has several apartments available to place Sims in. The interactions with neighbors are fun too, since they can keep you up partying or being loud in other ways. They also respond to your Sims making noise as well, which definitely adds levels of realism to the concept. The starter apartments are definitely starter apartments, and there’s plenty of incentive to try to work hard and move into bigger, nicer apartments as you go.

Within downtown, there are different districts, each with their own hosted festivals and neighborhood theme. The Spice Market neighborhood, for example, hosts the Spice Festival where your Sims can try different spicy foods and purchase spices to make those foods at home themselves. The festivals happen once a week, and are a fun way to experience a (new for the Sims) cultural experience. I think the most interesting part of this expansion to me has been the way that they tried to capture the essence of cities and how diverse they are. They made a concerted effort to populate the city with diverse residents, and introduced items, clothing, foods, and experiences that allow for your city to be full of many different Sims with very different backgrounds.

There are three new careers, each with two different paths available; Politician, Social Media (the only one I have tried so far), and Critic. These new careers allow the option to work from home if you want, and if you choose that option it gives you a few goals to complete at your own pace. It definitely gave a very modern, upgraded, dare I say Millenial sort of feel to the game, which actually works quite well. The only new aspiration available is the Location aspiration, which gives Sims a strong desire to explore the city and everything it has to offer, and certainly fits in well with the idea that city dwellers usually do absolutely love their home turf in the city. A few new skills and hidden talents were added, including singing at karaoke bars (buildable skill) and chopsticks and tolerating spicy foods (both hidden talents).

I will say, my biggest complaint for the expansion so far has been how easy it is to fall into the habit of routine, and how easy it can become to ignore what’s going on in the streets below when your Sims are in their apartments. After a bit of doing all of the new things I could, I fell back into a habit of trying to build up their careers and relationships like I always do. It’s still nice, though, to see how seamlessly the expansion has added on to the stories you can create with your Sims. Overall, I’d say 8.5/10 for this expansion.

ICYMI: Trailer Watch

Last week we had a bit more to contend with and focus on than what movies to look forward to next year. Which is unfortunate, because last week several awesome trailers were released, and I think a lot of us missed them. So, let’s do a Trailer Watch!

We begin with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets:

From Luc Besson, the visionary director of The Fifth Element, Lucy, and Léon: the Professional, this sci-fi epic looks absolutely, richly gorgeous. Personally, this may be an opening day flick for me. If you’re interested, you have plenty of time to check out the graphic novel before the film’s release as well.

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What’s Streaming November 2016

This month there seems to be some more shuffling of collections of movies to different or new streaming sites, including what looks to be the movement of most of the Bond films to Amazon’s streaming service. We also see several Batman films coming to HBO, just in time for them to premiere Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Other than that, it’s a slightly slower month, but that’s okay, since we have several exciting movies coming to the big screen this month in time for the holiday season, namely Doctor Strange on November 4th and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on November 18th.

Netflix logo

The Crown, November 4

A Netflix original chronicling the early days of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign in the United Kingdom. Netflix has generally delivered wonderful original content, and if you like history or are an anglophile, this definitely looks to be worth watching.

Paddington, November 16

If you grew up reading Paddington Bear and the Knickerbocker Rainbow or one of the others, this film adaptation should be worth a watch for nostalgia sake. I know I missed it in theatres and am looking forward to a chance to see it on Netflix.

Burn After Reading, November 16

A fantastic ensemble cast heads up this espionage thriller, so to speak, directed by the Coen Brothers. One of my absolute favorites, if you haven’t seen it and are a fan of the Coen Brothers’ peculiar sense of humor, this will be a perfect fit.

Gilmore Girls:A Year in the Life, November 25

You’ve probably heard that the Gilmore Girls are coming back to Netflix, and finally, this is the month! Also, just in case you still need to catch up or see what all the fuss is about, the entire series is currently available for streaming in every region.

Boyhood, November 25

An interesting coming of age drama that was the “darling” of the awards circuit, Boyhood is fascinating for its premise. Made over the course of twelve years, filming for a few days or a week each year, so that the actual growing up and changes that are seen in the cast are changes that happened naturally. If indie film is your thing, check this one out.

The Jungle Book, November 30

The live action version of The Jungle Book, directed by Jon Favreau, will be coming at the end of the month. Part of Disney’s effort to revive their classics as live action, and the first non-princess one to debut. Definitely worth watching if you like the original.

 

Amazon Instant Video logo
The Night Manager

This AMC miniseries is based on John le Carré’s novel by the same name and stars Tom Hiddleston as the titular character. If you missed it when it premiered on AMC like I did, check it out when it starts streaming on the 1st. It’s supposed to be a well-crafted, well-acted thriller, and also…Tom Hiddleston. Need I say more?

The Addams Family Values

The second Addams Family movie was available until recently on Netflix, and I’m very happy to see it returning to a streaming service. If you’ve never seen it and love the Addams Family, give it a watch. This may be a case of the sequel being better than the original.

Bond Films, Classic up to Pierce Brosnan Era

Too many to name, and so I’ll just say…it looks as though the Bond collection has moved to Amazon! Everything except for the Daniel Craig films will be available, and what better way to spend some of your holiday weekends than doing a Bond movie marathon?

 

HBO Go logo
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, November 26

If you missed this in theatres but have access to HBO streaming, rejoice! Because now you can watch this mediocre jump start to a franchise without having to pay movie ticket prices. Bring out the popcorn, or something stronger, if you’re like me.

Batman, 1989, Batman & Robin, 1997, Batman Forever, 1995, Batman Returns, 1992

Ahhhh, the ’90s Batman movies. (Okay, the ’89 Tim Burton version too…) These will all be available on HBO, and if you feel so inclined, you can relive the campy nostalgia of mainstream Batman. Although I will say, the ’89 Batman is very good; Jack Nicholson makes a fantastic Joker.

Also available if you need even more Batman fix, some of the Batman cartoon films will be available as well:

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1, 2012

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2, 2013

Batman: Under the Red Hood, 2010

Batman: Year One, 2011

 

 

Want to see the full lists of everything streaming in November? Check out these links:

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/183134/20161021/hbo-now-november-2016-movies-tv-shows-available-stream-leaving.htm

http://screencrush.com/new-amazon-prime-instant-video-releases-november-2016/

http://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/whats-new-on-netflix-shows-movies/