The Hot List - 5 Flicks/Series You Can't Miss
Altered Carbon - Netflix is killing the original content game, specifically with diamonds like Altered Carbon. Talk about a revolutionary way to acquire a second chance at life. Picture this, the world, 2384, and your wealth or lack thereof determines the stages of your immortality and no one and nothing is what it appears to be. Intrigued? No. How about an original Sci-Fi starring Joel Kinnaman? Oh now I've got your attention. I'm not going to lie to you, the plot is so heavily layered that it's nearly impossible to track and define but that doesn't detract from how interesting and innovative this series plays out on the small screen. Imagine that the human body is a separate entity from the human mind and in 2384 we have found a way to store and upload consciousness into small round discs called "stacks." Now imagine that all human bodies are called "sleeves" which can house anyone's stack including the original "stack" for that particular "sleeve." Complicated? I know but the visuals and intrigue together with the incredible cast ensemble create a dynamic world that can turn all of our perceptions inside out. If there's a 52 year old white man's stack in a 23 year old black woman's body has this future eradicated racism? What about prejudice regarding one's sexuality? Since the rich can also purchase clones (another level to this world) and upload and backup more than one stack can they essentially live forever and therefore control the lessor's destiny eternally? Is there belief in God in this future? This series touches on all of those questions fueling our imagination in directions we may have never really explored.
Mute - I don't know what it is about these fair haired giants but these scrumptious Swedes are topping my charts! Here's another original Netflix Sci-Fi gem set in very different Germany 2018 called "Mute" starring Alexander Skarsgard, Paul Rudd and Jen Ann's soon to be ex, Justin Theroux. Similar to Altered Carbon, at the heart of Mute is a mystery to be solved. Skarsgard plays a semi-Amish bartender who actually is mute due to a childhood accident. His love interest is a waitress that works alongside him in a seedy lounge/strip joint that attracts all the wrong people. Soon after Skarsgard/Leo has an altercation with one of the ruffians harassing his girlfriend, she disappears. Leo's snub of technology ill equips him on his search to locate his girlfriend Naadira but his natural intelligence and observation skills do much to aid him in stringing together one clue after another. Paul Rudd's boisterous character is excessively violent (odd pairing, given that he's a medic) though his performance cleverly weaves witticism and boorishness in equal measure. Rudd plays this to perfection. Theroux, Rudd's counterweight (whom I did not recognize until the credits rolled) is chillingly mellow and affable. The intersection of these three main characters is what pitches the audience forward and jerks them back with whiplash speed. It's a must see.
1922 - 1922 is actually a novel by Stephen King but the movie is a Netflix release. I'm telling you, these guys are really putting out some quality films. If you haven't been on Netflix for awhile, it's time for you to log on and take a gander. Thomas Jane is not only the main star of this flick but also the voice that narrates the events. I found his accent, tone and inflection as soothing as Morgan Freeman though Jane has a bit more gravel and given the subject matter was murder, odd that I found myself quite at ease. This story focuses little on the actual murder of Jane's wife, carried out by father and son but rather the aftermath and horror of haunting regret and the recognition that desire and greed exact a terrible price.
The Expanse - Thomas Jane is a man on fire. The Expanse is one of the greatest Sci-Fi shows ever and the ending of Season 2 primes us for a Season 3. The only unfortunate thing is that these guys take their time in betwixt series much like Game of Thrones. And also like Game of Thrones there's a very legitimate reason, they are determined to bring big screen quality into itty bitty living space. TE utilizes language, dialect, accents, clothing, occupation and culture to visually tell the story of Earthers, Martians and Belters truly bringing multi-dimensional scope through each character and the world they represent. Thomas Jane's performance is truly a magnificent work of art and while he stands out for me there is no question that each and every actor in this series, brings their A game forward. The trajectory of this show is unpredictable. Just when you think you can foresee an outcome your mind is blown by exactly the opposite. Put this one on your watch-list as a Must See.
Den of Thieves - Any movie with my Rockn'Roller Gerry is going to be a winner with me. Den of Thieves is no different but you're going to have to try to catch this one in the theater. Now true, this movie is not going to garnish any Golden Globes however it's absolutely a fun watch. Part The Usual Suspects, with a hint of Ocean's Eleven and a smidgen of Heat - not nearly as genius as any of the three but I predict you're still gonna dig it.