Now Playing On The Silver Stream

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We’ve all been there, aimlessly scrolling through heinously named genres trying to find the perfect movie to fill that moment. In the mood for comedy we scroll past obscure independents and unrecognizable titles from the 70′s and 80′s only to settle on that stand-up special you’ve seen a million times. Here at On The Screen Reviews we would like to extend a helping hand. Now Playing On The Silver Stream is an article series where we do that aimless scrolling for you. At least once a month we will bring you a smattering of streaming films you may just be missing out on. So without further ado, let’s take a look at three such films.

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Obvious Child, an Unconventional Romantic Comedy

Obvious Child 2014 Banner 
3star

“One thing I think our movie fights for, and I will fight for as a person, is that it’s a woman’s right not just to choose but to have complex feelings about that choice.”
 

Do a little dance, make a little love and getting down tonight sometimes results in one of the most common accidents women face today–pregnancy. It also results in one of the most glaring movie slogans of the year: “This is a romantic comedy…about abortion.”

Do I have your attention yet? Production company A24 (Under the Skin, Spring Breakers, The Spectacular Now) made a risque decision to splatter a quote containing the phrase “abortion comedy” on the poster. In response A24 founder David Fenkel said, “That’s in a quote on our poster. But it’s just one of the quotes. We didn’t shy away from the word ‘abortion,’ but we didn’t want to wear it on our sleeve either.”

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Sure it’s a funny movie, with a strong female cast and revolves around the unapologetic decision of abortion, but Obvious Child has more layers worth investing your time in than dismissing it by it’s slogan. The film explores the “dark side” of the road less traveled and does so with grace and raw emotion.

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Richard Ayoade Stakes His Claim With “The Double”

Jesse Eisenberg in The Double

Jesse Eisenberg in The Double

“I can see the type of man that I want to be versus the type of man I actually am… I’m like Pinocchio. I’m a wooden boy, not a real boy, and it kills me.”

4star-2

In an interview with The Guardian about his newest film The Double, Richard Ayoade nervously muses “Darth Vader is within all of us, and I remember that every time I shower.” The director of a new take on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novella The Double (the film takes the same title) Ayoade is known to anglophiles everywhere as the lovably and laughably naive nerd Maurice Moss from the British sitcom The IT Crowd. His quick wit and nervous humor serve him well in this adaptation which tackles the idea that we all, at times, wish we were something greater and sometimes that greater being is darker than we wish. An idea that is almost comically reflected in the difference between his comedic acting and much more serious directing.

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An Introduction

On the Screen Reviews

Greetings everyone,

After meeting Courtney through a mutual friend over the holiday weekend I was inspired to finally hit the keyboard and start writing reviews. In a move I’m hoping she won’t regret, Courtney has allowed me to share my reviews on what I consider to be a wonderfully formatted and already masterfully written blog. I look forward to this opportunity to voice my opinions on the current state of film to readers who are as diverse as you are articulate.

I was trying to come up with the best way to introduce myself and my tastes when I saw the Blogathon Questionnaire Courtney had filled out back in 2012. I believe it asks some fairly poignant questions and that this will be an interesting way for us to get to know each other. Comments are always welcome and with any luck I hope we forge a lasting relationship.

Cheers,

Derek

 

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Under the Skin — Is Sci Fi Back?

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5star“Who is it you’re waiting for?”

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“A genuine revelation. We may finally have an heir to Kubrick,” states LA Weekly in the film’s trailer. With A chilling score shrieking like crisp nails on a chalkboard juxtaposed with the serene countryside of Glasgow, LA Weekly may be on to something. The contradiction between score and cinematography is haunting yet beautiful. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen nor heard in recent years in the void of science fiction cinema…until now.

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It can be interpreted that the film uses aliens as a metaphor to question what it means to be human and what it’s like to be free of judgment or predisposed to our superficial culture. It’s completely bizarre and frightening yet impossible to look away from. Director Johnathan Glazer (Sexy Beast, Birth) has resurrected Kubrick-style science fiction that faded off-screen decades ago.

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Maleficent

Maleficent titleMaleficent3star“Royalty…Nobility…Gentry. How quaint. Even the rabble.”

With backlash from both critics and audiences over the malevolent villain from the 1959 animated classic, the argument remains that the once frightening Maleficent has been botched into an empathetic heroine to root for in the 2014 creation of Maleficent.

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Normally remakes are mere cookie cutter remakes repackaged as new product, but follow the same formula as their predecessor. It takes guts to remake such a cinematically historical figure, and notably one of the most purely evil Disney villains. The tale of a villain’s story and past is more unique than what has been unearthed on screen lately while maintaining the integrity of the original story with a 21st century twist.

With that being said, Maleficent has it’s flaws as a film (hence my 3/5) rating, but I wouldn’t call it the complete bomb that critics are blasting it with.

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Maleficent Gif Maleficent Gif

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Life in your 20′s According to “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead”

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“I don’t believe this! I have to get up at 5:30 every morning so I can beat rush hour traffic into the city and go sit behind a desk for eight hours a day and miss Oprah Winfrey everyday on my summer vacation. And then, I get to drive home in gridlock IN A VOLVO with no air conditioning just so I can take care of you guys and put food on the damn table! It’s a rat race and it sucks, Kenny. So what do you want, a medal?”

Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

If you were part of the ’90s youth, you’ll likely remember the movie Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, the story of unintentionally abandoned siblings for one summer starring a young Christina Applegate as Sue Ellen “Swell” Crandell. The best summer for Sue Ellen revolves around her mother going abroad to Australia, and Sue Ellen assumes responsibility to watch her siblings for the summer months.

Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead Summer freedom is quickly jolted when Mrs. Sturak arrives, a decrepit, whistle-blowing babysitter hired at their mothers request and Sue Ellen’s dismay. Within no time flat, the hellish Mrs. Sturak croaks, and the kids decide to discretely drop her off at the morgue in a trunk with a kindly-worded note attached. The problem? All the cash needed for the summer was left on Mrs. Sturak. Would you call mom? Absolutely not, because it’s the early ‘90s, and we’re going to rock on and get through this on our own.

Despite it’s ’90s retro palette, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead offers a lot of déjà vu into my post-college life. Here’s what I gathered:


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In Defense of The Grand Budapest Hotel

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5star

“You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed that’s what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant… oh, fuck it.”

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“A number of years ago, while suffering from a mild case of ‘summer fever’ (a chronic form of pulmonary rheumatism) I decided to spend the month of August in the spa village of Nebelhorn below the Alpine Sudetenwaltz — and had taken up rooms in the Grand Budapest — a picturesque, elaborate and once widely-celebrated establishment. I expect some of you will know it. It was off-season and, by that time, decidedly out-of-fashion; and it had already begun its descent into shabbiness and eventual demolition.”
– The Author, The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Variety reports that The Grand Budapest Hotel has grossed a tremendous box-office take of $103.8 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film ever made by Hollywood power director Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums is second with $71 million worldwide). But let me be honest, I’ve never been a fan of Wes Anderson’s films despite his  artistic, palpable visuals and undeniable cult following. As a friend of mine quickly quipped in response to his newest release, “Anderson is a fraudulent artist.”

However, there was something special about The Grand Budapest Hotel; a pivotal shift in direction that not only gave this film a broader appeal, but it has become an instant five-star winner for me–someone vehemently unattracted to the typical Wes Anderson craft of storytelling. Here’s what I have to say in defense of Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, and why this film works:

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Decoding HBO’s True Detective

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5star
“It’s just one story. The oldest…light versus dark”

True Detective

If time is a flat circle, the obsession to uncover the darkest corners of the nightmares in our culture yesterday, today and tomorrow is futile.

The first season of HBO’s eight-episode drama True Detective ignited high public interest before the pilot episode aired. With an 11 million-view count, the highly anticipated finale caused the great crash of HBO Go due to the overwhelming fan base wanting resolution behind the gruesome mystery of Carcosa.

Written by novelist Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Joji Fukunago the series focuses on Detectives Rustin Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) as they investigate the brutal, ritualistic murder of a woman in 1995. The two are reunited 17 years later by two other detectives trying to solve an identical murder suggesting the original killer from 1995 is still alive.

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Poetically stylized and hauntingly menacing in the broad, tranquil grounds of rural Louisiana, True Detective far exceeds the procedural crime drama. It’s an investigation into the human character; searching for a creature you can’t see and hails on a dark philosophy suggesting that humanity is an error of evolution.

“To realize that all your life—you know, all your love, all your hate, all your memory, all your pain—it was all the same thing. It was all the same dream. A dream that you had inside a locked room. A dream about being a person. And like a lot of dreams there’s a monster at the end of it.” Detective Rust Cohle

True Detective

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Liv and Ingmar

Liv and Ingmar Documentary

4star-2“We make each other alive; it doesn’t make a difference if it hurts”

In Hollywood today we have friendships between directors and actors that have the power to produce cinematic masterpieces. From Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese to Brad Pitt and David Fincher to Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino, some actor-director relationships spawn an amicable courtship that translates so well on screen that audiences never want the pairings to end.

Liv and Ingmar Documentary
In the ’60s/’70s the world had the romantic yet professional connection between Norwegian actress Liv Ullman and director Ingmar Bergman. Bergman died in 2007, but Ms. Ullmann, still beautifully mesmerizing in her mid-70s, recounts their life-changing relationship on and off camera. Whether or not you know the legacy and impact these two created amicably and hostilely together, their partnership in this documentary reveals themes everyone can relate to unfolded in six chapters: Love, Loneliness, Rage, Pain, Longing and the the most powerful form of Friendship that can only be described as soul mates.

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