Category Archives: Movies

Masterful Marketing By Netflix – The Cloverfield Paradox

I was very excited to see a brand new trailer during the Super Bowl last night (and an exciting game at that).

Toward the end of the game, a movie trailer for a horror/Sci-Fi movie was shown and I mentioned to my better half that I wanted to see it only to find out it was going to be on Netflix. It’s not unusual for Netflix to advertise movies on regular television if they feel the movie or series has a lot of promise. I immediately switched over to Netflix during a break, expecting to find a trailer and a release date in a few months, only to  instead find they dropped the movie the very same night with no warning, no ads on Netflix weeks ahead of time telling us it was coming, and basically nothing except a bad-ass trailer show during the Super Bowl and a premiere date that evening.

You can be sure that as soon as I could after the game, I was back to Netflix to watch The Cloverfield Paradox and…well…I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. The only thing I will say is it is a prequel to the other two movies, Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane, making a nice little trilogy but hopefully not wrapping it up.

I found some parts that were “lifted” from other movies, at least in concept, and a number of things will sound familiar but it really is an original show and well worth a watch. I’m a horror/Sci-fi nut and recognized the tropes which must be present for a movie like this to work, and they were done well.

It’s important for artists to recognize another artist’s work when done well and I may do a more thorough review of the movie on another site (if so I will come back and put a link to it here). However, this round of applause goes out to the marketers who bought some of the most expensive television time spots available for a movie that no one knew was coming. I hope the numbers will support that master stroke. I know it’s why I watched it today as opposed to some other day.

The Bennett Family’s Christmas Movies

Every family has certain traditions for the holidays and the Bennett family isn't any different. We have certain dishes that have to be served, a certain type of ham we like (smoked ham from Grayson's Barbecue in the tiny little town of Clarence, La. is the best in the world), and at some point during the holidays there are always certain movies we watch. Our movie list will contain many of your favorites but probably one or two others.

A Christmas Story – we've been watching little Ralphie's pursuit of a Red Ryder BB gun since well before it became a cult classic and no Christmas season would be the same without it.

Christmas Vacation – perhaps the best of the National Lampoon vacation movies, Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo and Randy Quaid are at their Christmas finest. This may be my favorite Christmas movie ever.

It's a Wonderful Life – actually, this isn't one that we watch. I just thought I'd stick it on here so that it really would be on every Christmas movie list ever made.

Scrooged – Bill Murray in probably his best role since Caddyshack. This movie is phenomenal and I'm surprised at the number of people who have never seen it. 

Shaun of the Dead – Yes, I know it isn't really a Christmas movie but for us it s tied to Christmas. I was looking forward to the release of this movie and it never played anywhere close to us. However, when we were in Houston one year for Christmas it was playing on pay per view at the Wyndham Hotel where we were staying. I remember that it was snowing that year when Anthony and I walked across to Greenspoint Mall from the hotel to d a little shopping and grab some lunch. That was the year it snowed at Galveston for the first time in a gazillion year too. Anyway, that night we sat around the television in the hotel and watched this while we ate fast food. I've seen it a couple of dozen times since then but it always reminds me of Christmas.

Merry Christmas Charlie Brown – who doesn't love this one?

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – The cartoon, not the movie.

We have some others but this will do to start.

A Great Movie – Winter’s Bone

Winter's Bone

Last week I was in Natchitoches for the NSU Louisiana Folklife Studies Conference and the storms rolled through on Friday night and knocked out the power for several hours. I had my Kindle Fire with me and had downloaded a movie, Winter's Bone, onto it and so I decided to watch it while the power was out.

I first started watching the movie last year on Netflix but I only watched a few minutes and Netflix pulled it before I had a chance to finish watching. I bought it on Amazon Instant Video and had just never gotten around to finishing it. I was absolutely blown away by the story and the actors.

Jennifer Lawrence got an Oscar nomination for her role as Ree Dolly and this movie, more than anything else she has played in shows what kind of acting chops she has. John Hawkes, who is one of the most underrated actors around, plays her uncle Teardrop and is phenomenal.

The movie is bleak and depressing, mostly because it is such an accurate portrayal of the life many "poor folks" lead and particularly now that meth has seized control of rural America. I was especially struck by film because I had just been reading about several arrests that had taken place in a very, very small country town where I had went to school.

Jennifer Lawrence's character is forceful and determined, looking out for her family and their home at the risk of her own well being.

The movie was a very low grossing film, one of the lowest grossing ever to be nominated for Best Picture. I can see why it wasn't a box office hit. I can also see why some people don't care for it but if you truly like good writing and a good movie then Winter's Bone is for you.