Whit Stillman Turns To Amazon Original Series With THE COSMOPOLITANSSeptember 22, 2014

Whit Stillman Turns To Amazon Original Series With THE COSMOPOLITANS

THE COSMOPOLITANS (Amazon Studios)

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies and TV Series on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: THE COSMOPOLITANS (television pilot exclusively on Amazon Instant Video).


If films made families, Whit Stillman would have fathered twin boys in Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach, and Greta Gerwig would be Chloë Sevigny’s little sister. Reality might not be that far off.


Beginning in 1990 with METROPOLITAN, the Oscar-nominated study of collegiate Manhattanite anti-characters, Whit Stillman launched a genre focused on the unusual burdens of existence suffered by the class of the young and privileged. He never tipped his hand to reveal his contempt for his characters, and – no surprise – only a limited audience got it. Most of that audience was in Manhattan.


Fast forward through his next film, BARCELONA, a story only really accessible to Americans who lived abroad and encountered anti-US political and philosophical sentiment (Other countries are critical of the US?!), and end at THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO, a film where his characters finally grew up, albeit because Studio 54 closed. (The more recent and long-anticipated DAMSELS IN DISTRESS (2011) was unfortunately the STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE to the minor masterpiece of his original trilogy.) Thankfully, when Whit went on hiatus from filmmaking, Wes picked up with RUSHMORE and THE ROYAL TENEBAUMS, Noah with THE SQUID AND THE WHALE. Certainly any fan of these films would love Whit’s writing and direction.

 

THE COSMOPOLITANS (Amazon Studios)

 

Mr. Stillman’s latest offering, THE COSMOPOLITANS, tries to re-experience his favorite dinner in New York 25 years ago, by eating brunch at its sister restaurant in Paris today. 

Rose Leslie (GAME OF THRONES) & Director Leigh Janiak’s Top 6 Things You Need To Know Re: HONEYMOONSeptember 13, 2014

Rose Leslie (GAME OF THRONES) & Director Leigh Janiak’s Top 6 Things You Need To Know Re: HONEYMOON

Rose Leslie and Leslie Janiak / HONEYMOON (Magnet Releasing)

Young newlyweds Paul (Harry Treadaway) and Bea (Rose Leslie) travel to remote lake country for their honeymoon, where the promise of private romance awaits them. Shortly after arriving, Paul finds Bea wandering and disoriented in the middle of the night. As she becomes more distant and her behavior increasingly peculiar, Paul begins to suspect something more sinister than sleepwalking took place in the woods.


Treadaway (Showtime’s PENNY DREADFUL) and Leslie (HBO’s GAME OF THRONES) give captivating leading performances as a couple that takes new love to disturbing depths. With romance slowing giving way to terror, writer/director Leigh Janiak puts her unique stamp on this intimate, chilling thriller.

 

 

Rose Leslie (GAME OF THRONES) & Director LEIGH JANIAK's Top 5 Things You Need To Know HONEYMOON

 

Rose Leslie:




1) Jumping into the lake for the scene with Harry and I on the canoe, was the best part of that day! It was cold but refreshing and I loved it far more than I thought- even though I was slightly dubious of the creepy crawlies in the water, I was disappointed I only got to do it once!



2) Whilst working on HONEYMOON, it was the first time I had ever driven in the US and on my second day I smashed and snapped the wing mirror whilst parking, the producers told me from then on that I should stick to taxis.



Leigh:



3) “There was a time before the rains...” We shot in western North Carolina in the spring. About a week into production the sky just exploded with torrential downpour. The road into our cottage location turned to mud. The lake levels rose and completely submerged our dock. We had thunder driving our sound guys crazy. The lights would go out. It was terrible. Finally, with only one day left at our cottage location we got lucky and the heavens parted. We were on nights at the time and so we had to shoot all night long and then straight into the next day for another six hours of glorious sunlight and an epic 18 hour shoot day!



4) My SFX make-up artist is this amazing guy named Christopher Nelson. He works a lot on "American Horror Story". He’s about seven feet tall (OK, I think he’s really like 6’4) and he wears crazy black latex serial killer gloves when he works. He also played the Groom in KILL BILL. And he’s the best with blood and goo.

 

 

Rose Leslie / HONEYMOON (Magnet Releasing)



5)  I grew up going to a cottage in Canada every summer and since the script is set there, Canada was my first choice for a production location. Rose only had a brief gap of free time between seasons of "Game Of Thrones" though, so we had to shoot in North Carolina, where we were assured the lake temperatures would be a lot more reasonable for humans. It ended up being a still very cold 60-something degrees. Lucky for Rose and Harry they only had to jump in a few times each. Our key grip Jose, on the other hand, spent about four days straight in the water dealing with our boat rig. He had a wet suit, but…


6) The crew called me “General Leigh” and would often play the Dukes of Hazzard theme song on their cell phones when I arrived on set. This was affectionate. I think...

 

 

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Jack O’Connell (UNBROKEN) Stars in STARRED UP - Now On DemandSeptember 13, 2014

Jack O’Connell (UNBROKEN) Stars in STARRED UP - Now On Demand

STARRED UP (Tribeca Film)

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today's review: STARRED UP (Tribeca Film).

Prison movies are rarely tons of fun. With the threat of horrific violence permeating every frame, it’s only a matter of time before some hideous shanking or repugnant attack occurs and reminds everybody just how much fun a stretch in the joint really is. From THE LONGEST YARD (the original, of course) to ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ to THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, prison flicks are generally a tough row to hoe as far as entertainment is concerned.

 

Jack O'Connell / STARRED UP (Tribeca Film)


 That brings us to STARRED UP, directed by David Mackenzie. Starring Jack O’Connell, who plays real-life war hero and Olympian Louis Zamperini in the upcoming UNBROKEN, directed Angelina Jolie, STARRED UP tells the story of ironically named Eric Love, a young convict in a British jail. Pathologically violent, Eric is “starred up,” which means that he’s making the transition from juvie to adult prison.

 

Jack O'Connell, Rupert Friend / STARRED UP (Tribeca Film)

 

Once inside the joint, Eric finds that his equally violent father, Neville (Ben Mendelsohn, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES), is also incarcerated there. So begins a dark tale of the two working within the nightmarish confines of the prison to establish some kind of parent/child bond, however psychically scabbed each party may be.

STARRED UP offers little in the way of anything new to the genre. The convict hierarchy and racial tensions of other, better-told tales are in place, as is the discussion group run by the earnest, insightful, fearless therapist who believes in the fundamental humanity of the prisoners. The numerous violent episodes are gory and graphic and convey the debasing environs through which Eric, despite his swagger and faux confidence, must navigate. 

The Video Glutton Binge Guide To “ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK” - Season 2September 12, 2014

The Video Glutton Binge Guide To “ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK” - Season 2

Orange Is The New Black (Netflix)

On Demand Weekly provides new reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: “Orange Is The New Black," Season 2. Enjoy a binge whule waiting for the Fall TV Season begins.


It’s been a loooooooooong, Litchfield-less year, but the ladies are BACK, and I was more than eager to dive right in!

The first episode plunged right back into Piper’s point of view as it shows her journey from Litchfield’s SHU to Chicago to testify against the drug dealer she briefly carried for. It was a terrific call back to the real-person Piper’s memoir on which the show is based, and gave a realistic glimpse of the humiliations inflicted on prisoners. Piper is asked if she needs to use the bathroom before they take her out of SHU, but they don’t tell her where she will be going, or that it will be a long, long bathroom-less trip. She and the other inmates on this trip, including a cameo from Lori Petty, are not told where they are going or why, they are just bussed to an airport and bundled onto a plane.

 



Piper has no idea what is happening to her until she arrives in Chicago and sees Alex. Last year’s mythical chicken chase gets one-upped in comedy and grossness when Piper accidentally kills her Chicago cellmates’ cigarette-running cockroach and has to find and train a replacement!

It’s a great episode, but I missed all the other Litchfield women. On the other hand, when Piper gets back to Litchfield, she’s got a totally different attitude than last year’s, and it is the perfect re-introduction to our favorite community.

With the exception of Miss Claudette (sniff), all of our favorites are back, even Pennsatucky, whom Piper did NOT kill. Of these, we get more back story on Taystee, Poussey, Crazy Eyes, Lorna, Gloria, “Sister” Jane, and several of the less out front characters who are given more focus this season. Pennsatucky’s obedient sidekick Leanne gets to take stage as she becomes the new leader of the meth-heads, and we even see a slightly more human side of Miss Figueroa, although I could have done without that.

 



My favorite of the smaller parts stepping forward is the glorious performance of Barbara Rosenblat as Miss Rosa. It’s extraordinary how a character that basically just lay in bed looking crabby last season is allowed to flower into a rich, vibrant character. Her character’s arc is the most satisfying of all.

And then, there is the introduction of the new Big Bad: Vee. Her story intertwines with both Taystee and Red as we discover that Vee helped mold them into who they are today (and not the best parts of them). Lorraine Toussaint raises the bar in everything she does, and even here, where the bar started pretty darn high, she manages to bump it up. Wielding her inherent warmth, sexiness and intelligence as weapons, Vee Parker is an expert at divide and conquer. She charms Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” into becoming her wingman as she guilts Taystee into bringing in the rest of the “family.”

Since a feeling of family is the deepest desire of almost all these outcast women, Vee is able to worm her way into becoming the instant Mother/leader of her group. If that means a greater racial divide in the prison, well, that just works to her advantage. Poor Red (and who would have thought anyone would ever use that expression, “poor Red?”) who lost her position of Queen of the kitchen along with her role as Mother/leader of her family has to desperately scramble to hold onto every little bit of progress she makes. 

 

Top 6 Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Series & Movies Now On DemandSeptember 08, 2014

Top 6 Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Series & Movies Now On Demand

Game of Thrones (HBO)

Hey On Demanders! I know your film palettes are bustling to the brim with Daniel Day-Lewis being dramatic, Meryl Streep being dramatic, some stately British actor being dramatic, and a nice Jim Carrey comedy thrown in for good measure. But sometimes you need to escape the land of Aaron Sorkin scripts and crying, and watch some guy with a sword get seared to death by a CGI dragon.

That’s where I come in. As the author of “ZO of the Marked Age” a post apocalyptic fantasy novel, I consider myself a huge fan of genre fiction. I live for wizards in high towers, apocalyptic time frames, medieval familial dysfunction, bat shit crazy dystopias, and lots and lots of dragons. That’s why I’ve compiled my top On Demand Sci-Fi/Fantasy films and TV series for your viewing pleasure. Grab yourself some mead and a “Down with society” T-Shirt and check out my top six picks below!

 

GAME OF THRONES - Available on HBO GO 
HBO's fantasy hit is a dynamic story that redefines the phrase "dysfunctional family". Its Emmy nominated cast has propelled this character driven show forward, defining it as one of the most watched and critically acclaimed dramas in recent years. Based on George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, "Game Of Thrones" is equal parts bloody, raunchy, and shocking. It’s a must see for fantasy enthusiasts and TV fans alike. And did I mention there are dragons?

REVOLUTION - Available on HULU
This post apocalyptic science fiction series, helmed by J.J. Abrams’ production company, garnered a huge cult following in its two seasons. One committed binge watch and you’ll be completely engrossed in the "Revolution" world. Set fifteen years after a permanent global blackout, this imagining of post apocalyptic America deals with the fallout of a near future society that must now deal with the consequences of its own destruction.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER - Available on AMAZON PRIME & NETFLIX
Buffy is one of the best heroines in TV history. For seven seasons she kicked ass, staked vampires, dealt with the apocalypse, died on more than one occasion, all while trying to decide which lipstick went best with her killer outfit. Thanks to Joss Whedon we have Buffy in our lives and now you can too. All 145 episodes are available On Demand, and you should go watch them now! 

 

If you’re not watching Buffy,

I don’t know what you’re doing with your life.



THE WALKING DEAD - Available on NETFLIX

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