The Foreigner

The Foreigner

Watchability Factor – Must Watch
The Foreigner is the best action movie since John Wick. A smart script that packs emotion without sacrificing pacing is what makes this the kick ass movie of 2017. Instead of the cartoonish, CGI style fighting that has ruined most action movies, The Foreigner delivers down and dirty, hand-to-hand fighting scenes that are exciting AND make you feel the characters can actually get hurt.

Jackie Chan is perfect as Quan, the grieving father relentlessly pursuing the men who killed his daughter in a terrorist attack. He’s empty and devastated with nothing to lose yet always in control. Pierce Brosnan as Liam Hennessy the ex-IRA fighter turned politician is his adversary, the ying to Quan’s yang, who has everything to lose. That sense that the stakes are high for these two men and everyone around them—that they are all human is what keeps you invested from the opening to the very last frame.

The Foreigner works on every level. The directing is decisive and assured, the editing is seamless, the cinematography is both lush and gritty, and the acting is top notch. There isn’t one misstep in The Foreigner. The only mistake would be for you not to see it.

Arrival

Arrival

Watchability Factor – Watch and stream Arrival

I recommend seeing Arrival even though it is extremely slow. I actually fell asleep for a bit in the middle. I wish the execution of this film matched the level of its intelligence with an equal measure of drama. It is worth seeing though for the mind-blowing ideas that it presents and Amy Adams delicately mesmerizing performance. Arrival has a cerebral, dreamlike quality that delivers an emotional punch at the end that would have made this a more accessible film if the filmmakers had found a way to weave that emotion throughout the rest of the story.

The_CrownWatchability Factor: Background TV

A well acted, well done show about the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II. In other words, it’s the visual equivalent of Muzak. A show about wealthy, uptight, privileged English White people and their “problems.” Sorry, but the fact that Prince Philip must give up Clarence House, where he and Elizabeth live before she becomes the Queen, to go live at Buckingham Palace isn’t a dilemma that moves me—call me crazy or call me an ex-New Yorker who knows you don’t complain when you get to live in more than one room AND at the taxpayers’ expense. Although, in Philip’s defense, I’ve toured Buckingham Palace and it’s not exactly comfy.

The historical aspects of the show are interesting. John Lithgow is great as Winston Churchill. I’d rather watch a show about him; someone who had to actually earn his position and fight to keep it. And, the scenes that center on Prince Edward who gave up the crown to marry Wallis Simpson are the most involving and emotional. He was an elitist brought down to earth by ultimately being human like the rest of us. Overall though, this is definitely not must-watch TV.

The OA

The OA

Watchability Factor – Must Watch

The OA is a strange, original and creative show that lends itself more to consecutive nightly viewing rather than an all night or weekend binge. You need time to ingest this weirdly intriguing show. OA does not move fast. It reveals itself at its own pace and is not action packed in the traditional sense, yet there is so much going on.

You have to intellectually and emotionally unpack and sift through the heady ideas proposed by this trip through the imagination of what’s possible. The series maintains an intricate balance of the spiritual, emotional, and cerebral which is extremely difficult to pull off but The OA succeeds.

3%_jpgWatchability Factor: Binge 3%

3% is Brazil’s answer to The Hunger Games. In this dystopian future world an attractive, multi-ethnic group represent the 97% of the slum dwelling population who at the age of 20 get to compete in an annual brutal competition called ‘The Process’ which determines the mere 3% who will make it to the utopian ‘Offshore’.

Except for one boring backstory episode that veers into weirdly cheesy Latin programming territory (yes, I’m talking about you chapter. 5), the series maintains a consistent mood and tone that creates a believable world and keeps you hooked with just the right combination of action and character development.

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