Tag Archives: Netflix

Jupiter’s Legacy Review

As children, all we want is to please our parents and make them proud of us. When that wish stays with us as adults, it holds a power over our lives as few things can.

The new Netflix series, Jupiter’s Legacy, is based on the comic book by Mark Millar of the same name. Sheldon Sampson/The Utopian (Josh Duhamel) is not the young man he was once was. Part of a society of superheroes, he has lived by a code of ethics that has been his moral backbone for decades. Married to Grace Kennedy Sampson/Lady Liberty (Leslie Bibb), they have two grown children. Their son Brandon, known as the Paragon (Andrew Horton) is doing everything he can to live up to his father’s expectations. But no matter what he does, nothing feels like it will ever be enough. Their daughter, Chloe (Elena Kampouris) has chosen another life entirely.

It is up to Brandon and Chloe’s generation to continue the legacy of their parents generation going. But as it usually happens between parents and children, that continuation is complicated.

This review is solely based on the series. I had never heard of the comic book until last night, when I sat down to watch the program. What I liked was that the characters are emotionally and physically fallible, and not the images of perfection that other characters in the genre are made out to be. The first two episodes were fine, but I was lost by the third episode. Whatever emotional connections I made with the characters dissapeared.

Do I recommend it? Maybe

Jupiter’s Legacy is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Behind Her Eyes Book Review

When it comes to creating characters, the easy path is to go with the well worn 2D model. The harder path is to subvert the audience’s expectations by flipping those characters on their heads.

The setup of Sarah Pinborough’s 2017 novel, Behind Her Eyes, is a love triangle. Louise is a single, working mother who meets David on a night out. The night ends with a kiss that gives her hope that there is a romantic future after divorce. The next day, she nearly runs over Adele, who is new in town. What starts out as getting together for coffee turns into a friendship. But Adele is married to David, who is Louise’s new boss.

The only word to describe what Louise is about to get into is trouble.

The only word to describe this book is wow. Pinborough is part author and part magician. She makes us think that we know how the story will end. But the card she has in her left hand is completely unexpected and jaw dropping. From a feminist angle, I appreciated the shades of grey that she injected into her narrative. Normally the center of a love triangle in a heterosexual relationship is a woman with a man at each end. The inversion is not just the gender of the leads, but the portrayal of the women. Louise is not just the bad girl homewrecker. Adele is much more than the good little wife, waiting for David to come home at the end of the day.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

P.S. I also highly recommend the Netflix adaptation. It is as good, if not better than it’s literary predecessor.

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Betty White: First Lady of Television Review

Hollywood is not known for being the most comforting of industries. This is especially true for women of a certain age. Betty White is one of the few actresses who has been able to not only survive, but thrive in this environment.

The 2018 documentary Betty White: First Lady of Television is the story of her career. Ms. White entered showbusiness when television was in its infancy. Since her first appearance seven decades ago, she has become an icon, a groundbreaker and a performer who has entertained multiple generations of fans. Using archival footage and interviews, the viewer is given a glimpse of the real woman behind the beloved character actress.

What I loved about this film is that it shows its subject as she is. There are some biographies that present a slick and polished image of perfection. What you see is what you get. She is a smart, salty, and extremely funny woman who at the age of 99, is as real as she ever was.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Betty White: First Lady of Television is available for streaming on Netflix.

P.S. The 2018 episode of Saturday Night Live that she hosted is for my money, one of the best in the past few years.

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Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal Review

From the time we are little, we are told by our parents and teachers that our future professional success does not come without a college degree. When we enter the working world after graduation, a good number of job listings will require that the applicant has at least a BA in something.

One of the major scandals of the last few years was the revelation that some parents from the 1% paid Rick Singer to get their children into prominent universities via the back door. The new Netflix documentary Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal premiered last month. With Matthew Modine playing Singer in a series of re-enactments and interviewing several real life participants, the film follows the timeline from the first whiff of something untoward until the explosion of the truth.

If there was one word to describe the emotion I felt it would be disturbed. The financial reality of college is that the price of tuition has skyrocketed in the last twenty years. I am forever grateful that my parents were able to put money aside so I earn my BA. But not every parent has the financial means to give their child that experience. If nothing else, the movie points out this obvious inequality that can be solved, if we are willing to put our money where our mouths are.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Atlantic Crossing Review

A mother’s love for her children and a royal’s love of their country is one and the same.

The new PBS/Masterpiece historical drama, Atlantic Crossing, premiered last night. Based on a true story, it starts in 1939. Martha, the Crown Princess of Norway (Sofia Helin) is touring the United States with her husband, Olav, the Crown Prince of Norway (Tobias Santelmann). One of the events on their itinerary is having lunch with the President and First Lady, Franklin Delano and Eleanor Roosevelt (Kyle MacLachlan and Harriet Sansom Harris). FDR seems to be taken by the Princess.

A year later, Martha’s idyllic life ends World War II explodes and the Germans invade Norway. While her husband and father-in-law stay protect the nation, Martha and her children first escape to her native Sweden before traveling to the United States. Taking refuge within the walls of the White house, she start to advocate for her native land. This advocacy could be damaging in two equally important areas: her marriage and the tenuous world politics of the era.

The first episode is absolutely brilliant. Helin is perfectly cast as Martha, who could have easily been a shrinking violet, relying on the men around her. But she is smart, tough, and passionate. I wasn’t sure about the casting of MacLachlan and Sansom Harris (who also played the same role in the Netflix series Hollywood) as FDR and Eleanor. But upon seeing the full scene, the spiritual representations of these giants of American history seem to be so far pretty good.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Atlantic Crossing airs on PBS Sunday night at 9PM.

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Elizabeth and Margaret: Love and Loyalty Review

If we are lucky, the people we are closest to we are our siblings. But even a relationship born and solidified in childhood can be altered by events that occur in adulthood.

The 2020 Netflix documentary, Elizabeth and Margaret: Love and Loyalty, is about the complicated dynamics between Queen Elizabeth II and her late younger sister, Princess Margaret. Before ascending to the Throne of England, their father, the future King George VI, was the spare. His older brother David, known during his brief time on the throne as Edward III, was the heir to the throne. When David chose love over duty, Elizabeth and Margaret’s life forever changed.

Their father and mother were now King and Queen. Elizabeth, as the heir presumptive and Margaret, the new spare, would have a completely different life. Elizabeth lived and breathed duty. Her life was on the straight and narrow. Margaret was the rebellious wild child, sometimes submitting to the responsibilities of being a working royal and other times living on her own terms.

I really enjoyed this documentary. What struck me was that underneath the titles, the jewels, and the castles was an ordinary relationship between two sisters who were trying to navigate extraordinary circumstances. Though that bond was tested many times over the years, it was never broken.

Do I recommend? Absolutely.

Elizabeth and Margaret: Love and Loyalty is available for streaming on Netflix.

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The Last Blockbuster Movie Review

Those of us of a certain age may remember that the highlight of our weekends was going to Blockbuster Video. But like many corporate brands, it has gone the way of the dodo.

The Last Blockbuster premiered last year on Netflix. The documentary tells the story of the history of Blockbuster Video and introduces the viewer to the last store in the United States. Located in Bend, Oregon, this film contains interviews with the store manager Sandi Harding, celebrities who worked in the store when they were young, and business experts who explain why this once giant of the movie industry is nearly one for the history books.

I loved this movie. As a member of the millennial generation, it is pure nostalgia. Though the Blockbuster where I lived as a teenager and an early twenty-something closed long ago, the experience of entering those doors and being in film heaven is one I will never forget.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Last Blockbuster is available for streaming on Netflix.

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The Lost Pirate Kingdom Review

When we think of pirates, we think of swashbuckling men on the high seas in the 18th century, fighting for a live of freedom against tyranny. As romantic as the story is, it is a myth.

The Lost Pirate Kingdom, recently premiered on Netflix. Narrated by Derek Jacobi, it combining interviews with historians/experts and re-enactments, this six part series tells the story of the short years in which pirates ruled the Caribbean in the early 18th century. Using well known names such as Blackbeard, Benjamin Hornigold, Anne Bonny, Charles Vane, and Samuel Bellamy, the viewer sees this world as it was, not as the legends tells us it was.

I appreciated that I was both entertained and educated. I knew that democracy existed within this society, long before the American Revolution. What I was surprised to learn is that the captains of these ships captured slave ships and offered freedom to the Africans who were being taken to the Americas to be sold as chattel. That being said, it started to lose steam after the 3rd episode. I finished all six episodes, but to be frank, I was glad when the credits rolled for the final time.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

The Lost Pirate Kingdom is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Audrey (2020) Review

When dealing with childhood trauma as an adult, there are generally two paths to take. The first is that of possible mental illness, addiction, and life long emotional scars that never heal. The second is that of forgiveness, being open, and putting the past behind you.

I watched the new Netflix documentary, Audrey (2020) last night. It is an intimate vision of Audrey Hepburn, one of the most iconic performers from Old Hollywood. Using archival footage, interviews, and clips from her work, the film opens the door to an image of the icon that goes beyond the glitz and glamour. The movie documents her difficult childhood during World War II, her turn as one of the most famous performers in the world, and then her later years, highlighting the charity work she did in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

I loved this movie. It goes beyond the typical Hollywood documentary. I felt like I was introduced to the real woman, not the actress whose profile was specifically created by the studio system. As a fan, it made appreciate her more, both as a performer and a human being.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Audrey is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Moxie Movie Review

Moxie is defined as having force of character, determination, or nerve.

The new Netflix movie, Moxie, premiered earlier this month. Vivian (Hadley Robinson) is a shy sixteen year old raised by her single feminist mother, Lisa (Amy Poehler, who also directed the film). The new girl in school, Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña), is being harrassed by the BMOC/Football Captain/all around d-bag Mitchell (Patrick Schwarzenegger, son of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver). Tired of the sexist bullshit, she anonymously creates and publishes a feminist zine. It quickly gains a following, but Vivian stays silent. When push comes to shove, she must make a choice. Stay silent or put herself out there.

I loved this movie. It combines two genres (the high school comedy and the feminist revolution) into a final product that has a wide appeal. Though the main characters are teenagers, the issues they face go well into adulthood.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Moxie is available for streaming on Netflix.

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