June 30, 2012

What I watched on Netflix.

Okay, without further ado, here are my reviews of what I watched on Netflix during my free month trial of Instant Watch.  Enjoy!  Let me know if you've seen any and what you think!

Breaking Bad (2008-current)
OH MY GOODNESS I'M NOT SURE I CAN EVEN ARTICULATE HOW MUCH I LIKE THIS SHOW.  JUST ASK NATALIE.  This show is so INTENSE and ADDICTING and WELL WRITTEN and WELL ACTED.  I've now seen seasons 1-3 and have probably texted Chris at least 100 times saying how insanely awesome this show is.  I really need to watch season four before season five airs on July 15th!
5/5 stars

Arrested Development (2003-2005)
After seeing a fair number of screen caps of it on Tumblr, and it being recommended by several friends, including Stephen, I finally caved and started watching it.  As my oldest brother noted (and I agree) it's sometimes difficult to watch episodes immediately back-to-back because the humor is the same.  Don't get me wrong, I've already grown attached to the characters and their quirks, but sometimes the story lines seem a little contrived.  It's still absolutely hilarious.
4/5 stars

Still on my to-watch list: Lie to Me, Sherlock, Friday Night Lights, Downton Abbey

Note: Clicking on the movie title will link you to a trailer for it unless I couldn't find one.

This was really good.  I think it helped that the lead (Daryl Wein) was incredibly attractive.  I thought the overall pacing was good and it was well acted.  As most indie films, -- at least the ones done right -- it was aesthetically pleasing to watch and the characters seemed genuine and thus more relatable.  I don't remember if this was considered a drama or a comedy, but it definitely had its amusing moments.
3/5 stars

Collapse (2009)
This documentary blew me away.  I immediately went and raved about it to my friend Robert and urged him to see it.  Basically it's about this one man, Michael Ruppet, who is/was considered a 'conspiracy theorist' because he was an investigative journalist who understood how peak oil worked and tried to point out the cracks that were forming in the the U.S. Economy leading up to the 2008 Financial Crisis.  He's not a lunatic; he was right. And although it's just this man talking about his life whilst sitting in a chair in a dark room and occasionally smoking inter spliced with stock images and videos of what he's talking about, I found it incredibly informative and compelling.  I hope it gets you thinking like it got me thinking.
5/5 stars

I'll be honest and I just watched it because I knew a certain song was in it and I was curious how it paired with the scene.  Also, after loving Ryan Phillippe in Breach, I wanted to see how his younger self acted.  Ultimately, this became way too sexual and I felt like it was a stupid premise.  Perhaps it was attempting to be truer to life or something, but I thought the ending was a) unrealistic and b) pretty stupid.  I'm pretty sure I yelled at the screen.  One of the characters also annoyed me tremendously and I wish her storyline was left out entirely.
2/5 stars

Keith (2008)
I'm kind of a sucker for movies that begin with where they end, so immediately this movie was great.  A long time ago Abs reviewed and recommended this on mix tape (the collab blog I started) and I always knew I wanted to see it.  You might be deterred because the main character is played by Jesse McCartney, yet that didn't bother me as much as I thought it might.  He was surprisingly good in this role, actually. I thought the story was well paced, and what teenage girl isn't attracted to a mysterious boy?  I felt like the tone was spot on and none of the dialogue felt forced, which is always good (provided it's not too rife with meaningful glances, balance is key.)  Overall, I think it's worth watching.
4/5 stars

Dakota Skye (2008)
If you watch the trailer you would see how low-budget this movie was.  This only bugged me at some points when the protagonist's moodiness or angst translated into awkward scenes.  Despite other minor details that failed to impress me, I connected with the complicated romance between her and her love interest (who isn't her boyfriend...dun dun dun.)  While her being able to perceive all the lies she's told and just "know" the truth seems like a lie itself, I give the writers credit for using a different enough premise.  There was a scene where they went to the Grand Canyon and I'm convinced that is somehow symbolic for something else I'm not aware of because it appeared in one or two other movies I watched.
3/5 stars

If you are not a fan of dialogue-driven films, this is not for you.  But if you are, I think this could have a spot as one of your favorites.  Given the characters are older and have had more life experience than I have, I feel a rematch in a couple of years might be in order.  That way I can glean more from the turbulent, long-term friendship these two characters shared.  I liked how it jumped around from present day to the past, explaining things that needed to be said.  That said, I did not like all the 'dream' sequences Wes had, but maybe that's just me.  The Grand Canyon also made an appearance here.
4/5 stars

Submarine (2011)
Artistically gorgeous.  Main character was adorable.  Soundtrack was by Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys so that was great.  Karen did a photoshoot inspired by the film for a portfolio class she took and she beautifully captured some of the best scenes.  The voice-over narration added something and the actors did a good job making it believable.  I wish I had more to say about it, really.
3/5 stars

This may be the very definition of an indie film from the rich parts of New York City.  The star also wrote and directed it, so there was a commanding voice.  If that makes sense.  I was stupidly envious of the fresh post-grad's ability to get a job as an hostess, but the rest of the film mainly points out the challenging transition a young woman goes through when coming back home after college.  She doesn't have it all figured out and you root for her to find what she's looking for, although that's never clear.  The mother and sister had some good lines -- father out of the picture, making it a female dominated cast.  Overall it was pretty entertaining, yet I could see how it would attract a limited audience.  Warning: there is very brief nudity.
3/5 stars

Albatross (2011)  
This was a weird film.  I picked it purely for two reasons: the girl from Like Crazy (Felicity Jones) was in it and it took place in England.  With essentially no expectations going on, I thought overall it was pretty good.  I didn't like how fast the characters seemed to develop.  The leads instantly best friends?  Okay, sure. And even though it was a comedy, I found myself cringing more than laughing.  Should I blame it on British humor?  Also, I just now watched the trailer, after having not seen it before, and realize nearly the whole movie is given away.
3/5 stars

The first ten minutes or so bored me, but I'm glad I stuck with it.  Like All the Days Before Tomorrow I think I would take away more from it if I were older.  That's not to say it isn't enjoyable or it wasn't well-acted.  I simply could not connect as fully to the female lead as I would've hoped.  Still, I think this is worthy of your time and is a certain breath of fresh air.  One of the final scenes was entirely too beautiful and will probably stay in my memory for a very long time.
3/5 stars

The Waiting Room (2007)
Once more I went in knowing nothing besides James McAvoy's wife, Anne-Marie Duff, was in it.  I'll admit, a part of me wanted to check out her acting chops in something else besides The Last Station (which is good, by the way).  I wasn't terribly impressed with the plot.  I probably could've skipped over bits and still known how it would've ended.  The characters weren't anything spectacular and compared to other films I'd seen of similar pace and style, this ranks the lowest among them.  Still, I enjoyed the charming love interest because he's my type of guy.  Warning: there is some nudity.
3/5 stars

Last Night (2011)
I've had this movie on my to-watch list since it came out and this was my chance to see it.  (Limited releases suck.)  I thought the premise was intriguing enough and quite a superb cast; I've always had a girl crush on Kiera Knightly!  The dialogue was clever and the pacing was well done.  Honestly, it's hard to find much wrong with this film besides that it has the most ambiguous ending ever, and that personally annoys me.  I can see why it was used in this instance but it still irked me.  Also, I'm no expert when it comes to alcohol consumption, but shouldn't having a drink EVERY SINGLE PLACE YOU GO in the night (bar, restaurant, friend's apartment, hotel, your apartment, etc.) cause you be a little woozy?  Wouldn't your speech be slurred?  I don't know, I just found it sort of strange.
4/5 stars

Cyberbully (2011)
I had first heard about this movie from Emilia.  She had already deemed it "one of the worst movies ever acted by Disney channel has-beens" so my expectations were set extraordinary low.  Surprisingly, there were some moments that felt authentic and worthy of being a credible feature film...and then there were some moments where the protagonist whose-name-I-don't-remember-even-though-it-was-said-many-times was really stupid and she could've saved herself a lot of grief.  Bottom line: don't see this movie unless you want to feel inappropriately unsympathetic as a teenage girl becomes the target of malicious online rumors.  My favorite line: "Even my mom is like, 'dude, check your ego.'"
1/5 stars

Still on my to-watch list:  All of these and then some.


Demetri Martin, Jim Gaffagin and John Oliver are hilarious comedians and I watched their specials.  My review of all three could best be summarized with an audio clip of my laughter. (But I'll spare you.)

Still on my to-watch list:  None at the moment.


  1. i'm so glad you watched broken english! it is one of my favorite films. the only other ones i've seen are breaking upwards (good from what i can remember, but i remember feeling sad maybe because of arguing or something?), submarine (cute cute film), & cruel intentions (watched it when i was really young & don't remember all of it except that it was overly sexual when it didn't need to be). i've been wanting to see albatross & tiny furniture! we shall see how i like them :) thanks for doing this!! i love lists like this. great picks :)

  2. Agh, it's killing me to not have immediate access to season four of breaking bag. Must. Watch. Before. Season. Five. I did enjoy Arrested Development even though I do understand how the humor could get tiring after watching a bunch back to back.

    Sherlock is actually THE BEST THING since Doctor Who. And Downton Abbey is also wonderful. Have you watched How I Met Your Mother? I don't remember who has or hasn't watched certain things anymore.

    Thank you for the movie reviews, too. I'm always looking for more things to instant watch as if I didn't waste enough of my time already... but, to be fair, most of the time wasted is time I could otherwise be sleeping, so it's not that wasted. Let's just say I won't be wasting my time with Cyberbully.

  3. Very nice list! I'll have to check out some of the movies that I haven't seen yet.

    As far as the movie Keith goes... I didn't really like it. I don't know. I think it just wasn't my cup of tea.


    Or not. I'm just a crazy, arm flailing fangirl for those two series at the moment.

  4. So many movies! Can't wait for you to see Sherlock. It was so good!

    Also, I hope you don't think I'm copying you, but I started compiling everything I watched this month, and I think I may start a "this month in movies" series on my blog. It's such a cool idea!

  5. Hi Lizzie, thanks for the lovely comment, I'm glad you like my handwriting and little drawings haha, I'll be sure to post my photos of stuff like that in future posts! The Help is already shaping out to be a great summer read, I can't wait to finish it!

    I really wish I had Netflix over here in the UK, I haven't had a chance to watch ANY of these TV shows apart from like one episode of Sherlock which was about halfway into the series so I couldn't really get into it. However, I will certainly try to watch it again. I'm gonna try and check out Breaking Bad though, it sounds like it's definitely worth watching. Thank you for all the great reviews which are succinct enough, but also explain enough - I'll be sure to check out some of these, especially Albatross (I love Felicity Jones), Collapse and Last Night -- although maybe I'll give Cyberbully a miss. :-)

    I think it's really cool that you've kept track of all the films you've watched and it really does seem that you're really passionate about films. It kind of reminds me of the novel, High Fidelity, except with films instead of music. Speaking of, have you seen the film adaptation of High Fidelity? I highly recommend it and think you'd like it. :-)

    Have a great weekend!