DreamWorks

The Netflix Cometh

Over the course of 2016, Netflix is rumored to be releasing 30-something original programs, which more than doubles their original content available now.  They’ve managed to be the industry leader when it comes to how we watch television, seemingly always one step in front of every other channel (I know it’s a streaming service, but it’s a full blown channel too).  Its unique platform, allowing it to act without the national censors and maintaining its ability to get outside programming as well, Netflix has made itself a household staple next to a fridge and a bed.  There is literally some original programming for everyone available. Not only do they provide the content, but the content itself is some of the best stuff on television.  You can’t tell me that Orange is the New Black and House of Cards hasn’t deserved every single Emmy and Golden Globe. Netflix is becoming the only television service you need.

Wanna know what your 2016 television schedule should be? Check out some of the more promising shows in the list below:

Chelsea Does

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Chelsea Handler moves from late night to binge television with a four-part documentary series featuring subjects that she finds personal and social connections to: marriage, drugs, Silicon Valley, and racism.  Scheduled to premiere Saturday, January 23rd.

3%

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This dramatic thriller focuses on the daunting statistic that only 3% of people succeed.  It will be following characters attempting to seek the “better life” and their triumphs and struggles.  The show will both film and debut in 2016.

Fuller House

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In a brilliant attempt to tug on everyone’s nostalgic heartstrings, the 1980’s and 90’s classic sitcom Full House is retold through the perspective of a grown DJ Tanner. Recently widowed, she will be joined by her younger sister Stephanie and life-long friend Kimmy Gibbler in the effort to raise three boys, and Kimmy’s teenage daughter. Scheduled to premiere February 26.

DreamWorks 

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Among the many Netflix shows this year, we’ll be seeing multiple animated shows from DreamWorks.  This includes the recently announced Voltron reboot and Guillermo Del Toro’s Trollhunters. These will be joining the likes of The Adventures of Puss in Boots and Dinotrux.  The alliance between DreamWorks and Netflix has only gotten stronger which means we can only expect more.

Marvel

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Marvel and Disney have also increased their bonds with Netflix by adding to their original Defenders lineup.  Originally, the plan was for 4 series, each featuring one of the Defenders in an intense story arc. However, within days of the Daredevil premiere, we knew that was going to change.  Now Daredevil has a second season beginning March 18th featuring Marvel fan favorite, Punisher.  Jessica Jones lacked the same kind of hype but received equally admirable critic nods.  Luke Cage is in production as we speak and the rights to other darker Marvel characters are rumored to be explored. Chances are the Defenders is added to the MCU Phase 4 lineup and we see a Blade, Cloak and Dagger, and Punisher series.

The Crown

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A dramatic portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II’s long reign over England, this series will explore many different time periods and the prime ministers who were there to help lead the country.  With a strong cast of Claire Foy as the Queen herself, Matt Smith as her husband Phillip Mountbatten, and John Lithgow as Winston Churchill, the 10 episode run will likely fulfill your every British need…unless you watch Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, or Sherlock.

The Frontier

game-of-thrones-star-lands-leading-role-in-netflix-original-western-frontier-716666Jason Momoa leads a cast of fur traders in, you guessed it, frontier America.  What plans to be a brutal look at life in the harsh elements of 18th century North America could just be the replacement for Justified and Deadwood everyone has been clamoring over.  Prepare yourself for hatchet fights and tense showdowns between Native tribes and Europeans.

 

As the year rolls on, we’ll be seeing more shows out of Netflix and you can bet that we’ll be there to cover them all.  In the meantime, is Netflix your drug of choice?

The Netflix Cometh

Bridge of Spies: Review

In 1957, the Cold War was well under way with both the Soviets and the Americans planting agents of espionage in enemy territory. When one of the Soviet spies, Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), is caught by the FBI, insurance lawyer James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) is recruited to give him a proper defense. However, Donovan goes above and beyond when he manages to keep Abel from getting the electric chair. Instead, he proposes that Abel may prove to be a decent trade should one of the American agents fall into Soviet hands. His prediction ends up being valid when pilot Francis Powers (Austin Stowell) crashes a spy plane in Soviet territory. Now it’s up to Donovan to negotiate a trade of spies between hostile nations.

Francis Powers (Austin Stowell) on trial in the Soviet Union.

Following movies like the largely fictional Warhorse and the “there’s something missing here” Lincoln, Bridge of Spies makes for a fantastic return to the sort of movies that that we love from Stephen Spielberg. This movie proves that Spielberg can still make a good film without all of the awkwardness that his previous two films afforded him. The cinematography is clever with the peculiar artistic angles that we have come to expect from a Spielberg film. The opening of the film shows Abel; however, as the camera pans back, we see that it is actually Abel looking at himself in a mirror. Then we see that it is in fact Abel looking at himself in the mirror as he is painting a self portrait. It’s a clever and inventive way to start the film, and the cinematography continues to gain ground from there.

Although John Williams, who usually composes the music for all Stephen Spielberg films, did not compose this film (he is most likely far too busy with The Force Awakens), Thomas Newman (Skyfall) does a good job making a subtle score with all of the grace that one could be deceived into thinking that he is Williams.

Abel (Mark Rylance, middle) and Donovan (Tom Hanks, right).

Speaking of Rudolf Abel, Mark Rylance portrays the character in a very eccentric and sincere way. From his slight quirks as a character, like when he asks the FBI agents if he can brush his teeth upon arrest, to some of the more intimate character scenes with Donovan, he is fun to watch and a welcome addition to the screen during his scenes. Likewise, Tom Hanks once again proves his acting ability as he plays an insurance lawyer reluctant to defend a Soviet spy, despite his vast experience going all the way back to the Nuremburg Trials.

Truth is often far more interesting than fiction. In this case, sticking to the true story of Donovan delving into the complicated politics of the Cold War was both intriguing and educational. After all, who doesn’t like to see legitimate espionage methods firsthand (like the enigmatic trick coins). Also, one striking scene has Donovan crossing the Berlin Wall via train. He witnesses just how far people will go to get away from East Germany. It’s a powerful scene to say the least.

Although Bridge of Spies does run a bit on the long side, it is well worth the two hours and twenty-one minutes of your time. Watch the true story of Cold War espionage and politics come to life. It’ll be worth it. Trust me.

Have you seen Bridge of Spies yet? Let us know your thoughts on the new Spielberg\Hanks film in the comments!

Bridge of Spies: Review