Belinda_kisses_tnBelinda’s been checking out Netflix and discovered the Secrets Of… series. If you like castles then this might be for you!

 

 

Secrets-of-Highclere-CastleThe PBS Secrets Of series.

The great thing about watching commercial free stuff, especially things like documentaries from America is that there isn’t the constant recap that tends to happen once we, the viewer, comes back from the add break.

As we know from the Vikings review, I love me some history. So it’s no surprise when I was sucked in by, The Secrets of the Tower of London, and then, The Secrets of Hampton Court. There are a few others, and I will be watching them, you can be sure of that.

I’m glad they chose to use a British Narrator, because an American accent wouldn’t feel authentic.

We look into the back stories of the monarchy and the motivations behind much of what went on inside these magnificent buildings. It really makes me want to head off to England to check this stuff out in the flesh… or stone as it may be!

The big question is, do they actually divulge any secrets we didn’t already know? Guess you’ll have to watch and find out.



between-poster

In a more traditional format of one episode being released weekly on the popular website, Netflix, is the sci-fi drama, Between.

The small town of Pretty Lake is struck down by a mysterious virus that kills anyone 22 or older. So you literally have a modern teen friendly mix of Lord of the Flies, Gone, and Under the Dome.

There are the usual suspects, the rich family, the poor family, the smart family, the religious family and the farming family; each with their own internal struggles as well as their fight to make a place in the new pecking order.

Throw in a few conspiracy theories and you have an intense mix of angst and suspense to keep you coming back for more.

The one stand out character for me was Krystal Hope Nausbaum who plays Amanda. I am impressed that the writers bothered to add such a complex character into the fracas. I have great respect for a script to include a character with Down’s Syndrome, and not only make the character intelligent, but have the other characters interacting in a way where the character’s differences aren’t pointed out in an overt way. She just is. No apologies, no explanations.

Kudos to Michael McGowan on creating an addictive program. I have a feeling we’ll see more stuff like this from him in the future.

I hope you’ll all give Between a chance and let me know what you thought.

 



Joelene_tnTomorrowland reviewed by Joelene Pynnonen

 

tomorrowland-movieThe world is hovering on the brink of crisis. Wars are escalating, climate change is an ever increasing threat, and too few people are doing anything to combat it. For Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) letting the world fail around her is not an option. She has high hopes for the future and is willing to break the law to see them realised.

When Casey is bailed out of jail, the unfamiliar ‘60s pin she finds in her effects seems innocuous enough. It’s only when she touches it that she realises that it is like nothing she has encountered before. When against her skin, the pin transports her to an advanced and beautiful world; the kind of world that she can’t help but want to be a part of.

Tomorrowland is a wonderfully hopeful movie about the future – especially given how many gloomy dystopias have been popping up lately. I mean, I love a solid dystopia as much as the next person, but sometimes it’s nice to think of the world in terms of positives as well.

There’s quite a lot to see in Tomorrowland. The special effects are terrific, the storyline is solid – if simple, and the scenery and cinematography is stunning. It’s the characters that kept me riveted though. They’re by turns funny, admirable and compelling. Athena (Raffey Cassidy) is a robot who is amazing at finding people with vision and integrity and is pretty handy in a fight but lacks the ability to understand the emotions of those she recruits. Casey is a visionary – a dreamer who will do what it takes to make the world something better. Frank (George Clooney) is jaded after being rejected by Tomorrowland and finding himself unable to fit back into the real world. On their own these characters are interesting, but together they have a dynamic that is difficult to ignore.

There could have been more depth to the world of Tomorrowland. We see very little of it in the movie and there is so much anticipation of it that it is a little of a disappointment. That said there are some really inventive scenes involving contraptions made by Frank, which makes up for a lot of that.

Tomorrowland is everything that the teaser trailer promised – a fantastical journey through a visually stunning landscape. It is adventure at its best with wonderful characters, a lashing of humour and vibrant visuals. It’s a refreshing break from all of the dismal futuristic visions out there.



Belinda_kisses_tnSnip review by Belinda Hamilton as she enjoys her new Netflix

 

VikingsAt the encouragement of my boss, this time I’ve been watching Vikings. Now I do realise I’ve missed this one on free to air TV via SBS and I think I’ll wait for season 3 to come to Netflix before I catch up so I don’t have to deal with ads, and can just marathon them like I did these first 2 seasons.

I’m a history buff, and European history is always a shiny trinket to my magpie mind. Michael Hirst writes about actual historical figures with, I guess what would be considered,  some accuracy, making this program something special.

The cast is perfectly selected, from Ragna Lothbrok played by Travis Fimmel, to Lagertha Lothbrok played by Katheryn Winnick, whom you may know from Bones.

This brutal and bloody series from the History Channel is extremely entertaining and makes me long for the Abbey Festival.

Once you’ve finished all the Netflix stuff, there is plenty of youtube content from comic con and other interviews.

If you haven’t seen this series yet, you’re welcome in advance.

Skål!

 



Damian MageeDamian Magee reviews the latest offering from Aardman AnimationsDamian is a West Australian writer and reviewer and a member of the Sherlock Holmes Society. He’s a life long fan of crime, sci-fi, anime, literature, history, biography, TV & films who has been writing reviews, non-fiction, & presenting seminars on these genres for the past 30 years. 

 

Shaun_the_Sheep_titleThe latest film from Aardman Animations is Shaun the Sheep, a feature length version of the TV show.  It is a delight seeing Aardman doing what they do best: stop-motion animation.  This film is about Shaun going from the farm to the big city with fun results.

Shaun and the sheep flock want a day of summer holiday, so have to concoct a plan to keep the farmer in bed, in a caravan, and asleep for the day.  After a series of unfortunate events, the farmer ends up in the big city, lost and with amnesia.  Shaun, the sheep flock, and Bitzer the dog go in search of him, having to navigate the hostile city streets, and the rabid animal control officer voiced by Omid Djalili.

It’s wonderful to see the stop-motion animation breathe life into these characters.  I like that the film gives you a brief flashback to the farmer starting out as a young man, with a puppy (Bitzer), and a lamb (Shaun).  The opening shows Shaun getting his famous haircut, setting up a vital plot point further on.  Like the TV series, the film is filled with wonderful gags similar to the great silent comedies.  A great example is where Shaun and the flock are in disguise in a restaurant and chaos ensues.  Some might find the plot a little thin, but there are jokes aimed at both adults and children, so all can enjoy.

There is a very silly ending in the credits, so stay if you can.  Shaun the Sheep is a good length at baa-rely 85 minutes.

 

 



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