Page 2: We Recommend / Or Not - New and Existing Titles
Page 4: We Recommend / Or Not – Archive
The following titles are scheduled to expire soon. One or more of our contributors has shared a review, recommendation, some relevant facts, or perhaps, a word of caution. Titles are listed by the last day to watch. Please scroll down to find the date and movie you want.
Two of our frequent contributors have distinctively recognizable styles. In order to make reading through the page breezier, they are credited here:
> All details of Oscar wins and nominations: Pox Voldius
> All reviews with star-ratings: Eric Vandenberg (see Eric's explanation of his star ratings)
> Pox and Eric will be specifically credited where there would be any ambiguity without doing so.
> All other contributors will be credited at the end of their review.
> If others wish to mention Oscar awards or give a star rating, please feel free to do so. You will be clearly credited for your review.
Room 237 (2012) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting documentary on symbolism and subliminal images in Kubrick's "The Shining." I felt that the filmmakers were reaching a bit for some examples, and had too much time on their hands.
Delirium (2014) 2.5 stars
Well acted and paced, Argentinian comedy-drama.
The Double (2013) 1.5 stars
Well acted, slow paced, bizarre, boring, relationship drama. Reminded me of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil."
The Drop Box (2014) 2.5 stars
Fairly well paced Korean documentary about abandoned children.
Headhunters, aka Hodejegerne (2011) 2.5 stars
Well acted and paced, Norwegian thriller.
In the Loop (2009)
1 Oscar nom: Writing (Adapted Screenplay) — Pox Voldius, September 17, 2017
Well acted, moderately paced, annoying, political dark comedy. Strong supporting cast. 2.0 stars
— Eric Vandenberg, September 16, 2017
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013)
1 Oscar nom: Music (Original Song - "Ordinary Love") — Pox Voldius, September 17, 2017
Well acted, fairly well paced, biographical historical drama. 2.5 stars
— Eric Vandenberg, September 16, 2017
9/11: Stories in Fragments (2011) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting look back at chroniclers and responders of twin tower destructions.
Babies Behind Bars (2011) 2.0 stars
Fairly well paced documentary about pregnant women in prison. Completing stories sequentially rather than in tandem would have helped flow, and avoid repetition.
Cabin Fever: Patient Zero (2014) 2.5 stars
Well acted and paced, biological horror.
Escorts (2015) 2.5 stars
Well paced, 46 min., British sex-workers biographical documentary.
Midnight's Children (2012)
Well acted, moderately paced, overly long, historical and relationship drama. Characters not developed appropriately; plot based around India's politics and history, and trying to draw a familial thread throughout, but characters too shallow for viewer to care. 2.0 stars — Eric Vandenberg, September 19, 2017
If you want to supplement your viewing of Midnight's Children, BBC Radio is streaming an audio version of it. The hitch is that Part 1 expires in about 15 hours. Late notice, I know, but I didn't realize the movie version was going away until Carol posted it today. The good news is that on a Windows computer (haven't checked this out on my IPad or my phone), if you start an expiring BBC radio stream and then pause it, you can usually come back to it later, even though it's expired, as long as you leave the browser tab open, and don't refresh it (works with IE, Firefox, and Chrome). This is similar to what you can do with an expiring Netflix movie, except BBC is more forgiving. You can usually restart the paused stream days later (as opposed to about 15 minutes for Netflix), and usually can resume it after Hibernate as well.
[Editor's note: Part 1 has now expired, but you can access Parts 2-5 at the link that follows.]
Here is a link for the audio version of Midnight's Children, Omnibus, Part 1: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b092k3sc — Ventum Mingit, September 18, 2017
My Online Bride (2014) 2.0 stars
Fairly well paced, 47 min., British documentary about men looking for foreign brides.
My Sex Robot (2010) 2.5 stars
Fairly well paced, 46 min. documentary about the state of animatronic dolls in 2010.
Revenge Porn (2015) 2.5 stars
Fairly well paced, interesting, 46 min. examination of how certain naked pictures appear, and spread on the internet.
Spiral - 4 Seasons (2012)
Maybe the best cop show I have ever seen. An incredibly gritty French cop show that highlights the interplay between a French police squad, prosecutors and defense lawyers, and various baddies. Well acted and outstanding, complex plots. While there is some character development, including relationships that develop as the series progresses, each season can stand on its own. If you can only watch one season, I would recommend Season 4, which has a great plot, as well as at least two incredible character plot twists that blew me away. Five stars (99% positive rating) for crime show lovers.
— Wellesley72, August 31, 2017
In addition to what Wellesley72 said, with which I agree, this series shows the workings of the French (continental European) justice system, which is quite different from the Anglo-American system that we see in U.S. and British police dramas. The magistrate judge takes charge of the case from the very beginning, and directs the police and the prosecutor in their investigations, building a dossier for the case, and attempting to get a quick plea or a dismissal. It is nothing like the independent police investigation, which can be challenged by an adversarial debate between prosecution and defense, presided over by the presumably impartial judge. In both continental and common law countries, a case can go to a jury trial, but we see only a little of the trial stage in Spiral. — CanandaiguaNY, August 31, 2017
September 30 (Note that Smithsonian Channel shows have their own list, which follows this one.)
Across the Universe (2007)
1 Oscar nom: Costume Design — Pox Voldius, September 22, 2017
Well acted, fairly well paced, teen psychedelic romantic musical. Interesting use of Beatles tunes. 2.5 stars
— Eric Vandenberg, September 20, 2017
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (2014) 3.0 stars
Well acted and paced dark comedy.
Bachelor Night (2014) 2.5 stars
Moderately acted, well paced, copious nudity, romantic comedy-drama.
Barton Fink (1991)
3 Oscar noms
Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Lerner)
Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest (2013) 2.5 stars
Well voiced and paced, animated monkey adventure / relationship comedy for children.
Dark Was the Night (2014) 2.0 stars
Well acted, fairly well paced, supernatural horror.
Dowry Law (2003) 2.5 stars
Fairly well paced, British look at the role of dowries in Indian society.
The Face of an Angel (2014) 2.5 stars
Well acted, fairly well paced, mystery crime drama.
Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
3 Oscar wins
Actress in a Supporting Role (Celeste Holm)
Directing (Elia Kazan)
Best Motion Picture
5 Oscar noms
Actor (Gregory Peck)
Actress (Dorothy McGuire)
Actress in a Supporting Role (Anne Revere)
Get The Gringo (2012) 4.0 stars
Well acted and paced, action crime thriller.
Glass Chin (2014) 2.0 stars
Well acted, slow paced, overly long, boxing crime drama.
Happy Feet (2006)
1 Oscar win: Animated Feature Film
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
2 Oscar noms
Actress (Deborah Kerr)
Writing (Screenplay - based on material from another medium - John Lee Mahin and John Huston)
Indie Game: The Movie (2012) 2.5 stars
Fairly well paced, biographical documentary.
Kagemusha (The Shadow Warrior) (1980)
2 Oscar noms
Best Foreign Language Film (Japan)
1 Oscar win
4 Oscar noms
Actor in a Supporting Role (Clifton Webb)
Art Direction (Black-and-White)
Directing (Otto Preminger)
Mean Girls 2 (2011) 2.5 stars
Well acted and paced, teen high school dramedy.
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
4 Oscar wins
Actor in a Supporting Role (Morgan Freeman)
Actress in a Leading Role (Hilary Swank)
Directing (Clint Eastwood)
3 Oscar noms
Actor in a Leading Role (Clint Eastwood)
Writing (Adapted Screenplay - Paul Haggis)
Mulholland Drive (2001)
1 Oscar nom: Directing (David Lynch)
The Squid and the Whale (2005)
1 Oscar nom: Writing (Original Screenplay) — Pox Voldius, September 17, 2017
Well acted, slow paced, family relationship drama. 2.0 stars — Eric Vandenberg, September 18, 2017
The Third Man (1949)
1 Oscar win
2 Oscar noms
Directing (Carol Reed)
11 Oscar wins
Directing (James Cameron)
Music (Original Dramatic Score)
Music (Original Song - "My Heart Will Go On")
Sound (Gary Rydstrom)
Sound Effects Editing
3 Oscar noms
Actress in a Leading Role (Kate Winslet)
Actress in a Supporting Role (Gloria Stuart)
White Rabbit (2013) 2.5 stars
Well acted, fairly well paced, teen melodrama.
Wild Horses (2015) 2.0 stars
Fairly well acted, moderately paced, Western / crime / relationship mystery.
September 30 - Smithsonian Channel Shows
America’s Secret D-Day Disaster (2014) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting, 51 min. WW2 training disaster documentary.
Black Mamba: Kiss of Death (2013) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting, 46 min. nature documentary.
Black Wings (2012) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting, 51 min. documentary about negro aviation in U.S.
Blondie’s New York (2014) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting, 51 min. examination of a studio album.
Bombs, Bullets, and Fraud (2007)
Bombs, Bullets, and Fraud is a look at the Postal Inspection Service, probably one of the least-known and least-understood arms of the U.S. Postal Service. It shows the history of the postal inspectors, and follows some modern-day inspectors as they track down criminals that use the mail. A very interesting watch, especially if you are interested in law enforcement in general. — Nica, April 25, 2017
Fairly well paced, 51 min., interesting amalgam of historical postal criminal incidents. 2.5 stars
— Eric Vandenberg, April 25, 2017
Civil War 360 - 3 Episodes (2013) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting historical documentary.
The Day Kennedy Died (2013) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting, historical documentary.
Day of the Kamikaze (2007) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting, WW2 Japanese military strategy documentary. Good mix of archival footage and interviews. Particularly appreciated voice-over vs. subtitles.
Death Beach (2012) 2.0 stars
Fairly well paced, 46 min., shark-mystery nature documentary.
Hindenburg: The Untold Story (2010) 2.0 stars
Well acted, moderately paced, repetitive, overly long docudrama. Interesting subject matter.
Hip Hop: The Furious Force of Rhymes (2012) 2.5 stars
Fairly well paced, 69 min, heavily subtitled, musical documentary look at hip hop around the world.
Hitler's Riches (2014) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting, 46 min. biographical, historical, forensic, economic investigation documentary.
The Hunt for Bin Laden (2012) 3.0 stars
Well paced, interesting, fairly comprehensive, biographical history and U.S. intelligence response. Good access to key players.
The Incredible Bionic Man (2013) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting, 46 min., medical science documentary.
Leopard Fight Club (2014) 2.0 stars
Fairly well paced, 46 min., overly flowery narration, select animal biography. Some strange cutaways, semi-edited for family viewing?
Ninja: Shadow Warriors (2012) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting, 51 min., Japanese historical documentary.
The Real Beauty and the Beast (2014) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting, 46 min., historical biographical documentary.
Samurai Headhunters (2013) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting, 46 min., Japanese historical documentary.
The Seven Dwarfs of Auschwitz (2013) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting, 46 min. WW2 documentary.
Titanic’s Final Mystery (2012) 2.5 stars
Fairly well paced, interesting, shipwreck examination, minimal repetition.
Titanoboa: Monster Snake (2012) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting, nature investigation documentary.
Treblinka: Hitler’s Killing Machine (2014) 2.5 stars
Fairly well paced, slightly repetitive and scattershot, 46 min., WW2 death-camp excavation documentary.
Truly Strange [The Secret Life of Breasts] (2014) 2.0 stars
Fairly well paced, somewhat interesting, 46 min. cancer documentary.
Venom Islands (2012) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting, 46 min., scientific nature documentary.
World War II Spy School (2014) 2.5 stars
Well paced, interesting, 46 min., WW2 historical documentary.
Man From Reno (2014) 2.5 stars
Well acted, fairly well paced film noir. Too many subtitles.
Dinotopia: The Mini-Series - 3 Parts (2002) 2.5 stars
Moderately acted, fairly well paced, well done sfx, action adventure.
Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015) 4.0 stars
Well voiced and paced, highly amusing, animated children's relationship adventure comedy. Strong supporting cast.
Eric's star system and review process"I use the Videohound rating system out of 4 stars.
> Essentially, 1.5 or less, I do not consider to be worth watching for anyone.
> 2 stars may be greater enjoyment for others than what I derived from it.
> 2.5 is competent.
> 3.0 or more is very enjoyable.
The most important factors for me are acting and pacing."
Have you watched one of the expiring shows, and want to share your thoughts, feelings, reactions? All reviews are welcome, even if you would like to add your two cents about one of the titles above.