This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: June 28 – July 5

~YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE~

Johnny Cash & Joni Mitchell – The Long Black Veil

My most heartfelt recommendation this week:

insideoutenglish

~THE MOVIES~

NEW ON NETFLIX & IN REDBOX:

A few favorites are LEAVING Netflix streaming soon, so catch them while you can:

Stephen King’s The Stand (1994) TV mini-series

Available on 2 DVDs from Netflix.
No longer Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
This is a great (Gary Sinese) and terrible (Molly Ringwald) adaptation. I’ll recommend it, but I admit it’s mostly about nostalgia, and love for the book.
On IMDb here.

Also leaving, The Langoliers.

Natural Born Killers (1994) Director’s Cut NR

Available on DVD from Netflix.
No longer Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
What a cast: Juliette Lewis, Woody Harrelson, Robert Downey Jr., Tommy Lee Jones. Written by Quentin Tarantino. A brutal movie, but a great one. (I have not seen the director’s cut, which is most likely MORE bloody and brutal than the theatrical release — though I’m hard pressed to imagine how.)
On IMDb here.

The Manchurian Candidate (2004) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
No longer Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
Another great cast: Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Meryl Streep.
On IMDb here.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) PG

Available on DVD from Netflix.
No longer Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
I missed this completely when it came out, then forgot all about it. Is it worth a watch?
On IMDb here.

Underworld (2003) R AND Underworld: Evolution (2006) R 

This is a great opportunity to see the first and second installments of the Underworld series. If I remember right, Underworld is a fun adventure movie–not great art, not great horror, but a fine way to spend a couple of hours. I’ll rewatch and, if I still like it, I’ll give the sequel a go.
On IMDb here.

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.

Ascension (2014) TV mini-series

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
This was a three-night mini-series on SyFy, in December. I’m a sucker for a good period piece and the reviews look promising.
On IMDb here.

The Secret of Roan Inish (1994) PG

Available on DVD from Netflix.
No longer Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
I can’t find a decent trailer, which does not bode well. Still, I think I liked this when it came out. I’m not going to give it a color rating yet, because I don’t really remember it. If I give it a go, I’ll come back to update my opinion.
On IMDb here.

This week, Redbox will be getting in a couple of things worth mentioning too:

The Houses October Built (2014) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
Saw it. Eh. I liked the first third best, and the ending felt rushed. Neither as suspenseful (which would have been good) nor as gory (which would have been bad) as it could have been. Also, this is one of those movies where you end up thinking they are all idiots, who could have walked away at any time. I’ll add it as an alternate to the Halloween movie list, because it’s not horrible and it does capture something about Halloween. I will say that it made me realize I’m awfully trusting (too trusting?) when it comes to haunted attractions.
On IMDb here.

 

(FORMERLY) IN THEATERS:

Terminator Genisys (2015) PG-13

In general release on Tuesday, June 30th.

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
Boy, this one cries out for a drive-in screening, doesn’t it?
On IMDb here.

Max (2015) PG

In general release already.

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
Here’s my complete outlier for the week. We saw the preview for Max while waiting for Inside Out to start. All three of us choked up. (The 19 year old boy, the Ogre and me.) Way to hit me in multiple tender spots, movie-maker-people. As soon as we all have a day off again, we’re going to see it. I will bring a purse full of Kleenex. Can someone reassure me that the dog doesn’t die? Please?

UPDATE: We teared up when we were supposed to, but we also laughed inappropriately at how bad parts of this movie were. My son suggested it would have been much better if they’d spent more time showing us the rehabilitation and adjustment of the war dog, and he’s 100% right. When it comes to the humans in the movie, there’s far too much stereotyping, troping, and character simplification going on. You kind of know a movie is pretty mediocre when a few lines, scattered through the film, strike you as REALLY good … compared to the rest. Save your theater money and wait for this to become available to you via a cheaper option.

SPOILER: Highlight here -> The dog does not die.
On IMDb here.

Speaking of movies that hit me right in the heart:

GO SEE INSIDE OUT! 

If you can, go when the theater has a mixed audience of adults (male & female) and kids. For more thoughts about this movie, visit its updated listing here.

~ON TV~

Humans | AMC | Sundays | 9/8c | June 28th

This show premiered on SUNDAY the 28th. If you can’t On Demand it, you can watch it at AMC.
From IMDb:
“In a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a ‘Synth’ – a highly-developed robotic servant that’s so similar to a real human it’s transforming the way we live.”

I’m especially vulnerable to emotions inspired by the ethical problems inherent in A.I. (The movie did a number on me.) I just saw Ex Machina, though, and I liked that. Perhaps I’m too sensitive about the topic when it involves a child robot. I’ll absolutely give Humans a shot. I think shows like this can be a good way to get people thinking about, and talking about, the potential consequences of bringing artificial intelligence into the world.

UPDATE: I’m giving this a cautious green, but I reserve the right to change my mind after I see some more episodes. I like what actress Katherine Parkinson is doing with the role of Laura, the mother in a family that has just obtained its first synth. As usual, I hate the way the teenage children are presented as sullen and difficult … but it seems apparent that popular media in general is incapable of suggesting there is any other option, so I can’t hold that against this show … at least not too much.

Zoo | CBS | Tuesdays | 9/8c | June 30th

From IMDb:
“A young scientist searches to find out what’s causing a rash of violent animal attacks.”

From James Patterson. Hmm. Not sure about this. I hate seeing animals killed, even in fiction. I’ll probably give it a go, but I’m skeptical.

UPDATE: It actually started off better than I thought, then resorted to a typical sci-fi plot device, then bounced back from that … a little. I think it’s just going to drive me crazy as I’m compelled to think, over and over, “but that’s not even close to what an animal would do!” I’m going to give it another couple of episodes to see where it goes.

~***~

INDEX TO ALL MACABRE & MYSTERIOUS MEDIA FEATURES HERE

The color of the title is keyed as follows:
Black = Have not yet experienced. I’m interested … or I think you’ll be interested.
Red = Have experienced. Not recommended. Worse than the reviews or buzz indicated.
Orange = Have experienced. Recommended, with reservations or cautions.
Green = Have experienced. Recommended. Good (or great) work that lives up to its potential.

A Roy G. Biv gallery, by the book.

The photo prompt for this week’s challenge became available last Friday. I wasn’t sure I’d participate because I was feeling under the weather.

But then: serendipity. On Sunday, Ogre and I stopped at the library to pick up a book he’d reserved. I decided I wanted to just browse the psychology section. I wasn’t thinking about the challenge at all when this book title popped out at me:

Sometimes the universe makes my life so easy.

All I had to do was go through my photographs to find the ones that most closely approximate the shades of Roy G. Biv — as illustrated by the book. (Yet I’m still posting it on the last possible day. Sheesh. It was a rough week.)

I'm part of Post A Week 2015

Click here to visit the Post a Week home.

Here are some of my favorite entries for the Roy G. Biv prompt  from others:

(I’m still adding as I find them, so feel free to check back.)

A Rainbow in Winter | Light as a Feather | wife at the end of the rainbow | Street Art [Rendition] | a setting sun in Scotland | wet tarmac | Peggy Lee sings a rainbow (must listen to song)Roy G Biv and his shy twin Vib G Yor | in black and white | a lovely misty spectrum | a crisp spectrum (love the oranges) | rainbow jello (and hair) | shop front | including fire & ice | just the ice, as prisms | in one shot, at Epcot | round rainbow through the trees (gorgeous) | hand-painted silk scarf | ghosting orb | inspiration for a rainbow of (unprintable) words | an ode to indigo |


Photographing memories, off-season and on.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you probably already know that I’ve been taking more photographs lately. (It’s easy to take a lot of pictures in the good seasons–any season except winter that is–because I actually go out and about instead of huddling like a post-apocalyptic survivor in my home.)

My new (nearly) daily practice makes me more aware of my surroundings and it entertains my muse. Some of the shots are artistic, some are just personally meaningful, but they all capture something about my life that I’d like to remember.

Today I started a Flickr album just for those pictures, because I realized they will get buried in my social media feeds and eventually disappear. I might do something with them here at the blog too, but for now–if you want to see them all in one place–feel free to pop over to my hauntingphotoaday album at Flickr.

I’ve been getting so much satisfaction from this practice that I’ve decided to plunge in just a little bit deeper, by starting to participate in the WordPress sponsored photo a week challenge, which you can read about here:

I'm part of Post A Week 2015

Click the badge to go to the homepage.

“Off-Season” is this week’s photo prompt, which gives me a fine opportunity to embarrass myself. I would have liked to start off with something more like actual photography than the following very-snapshot-y pics, but you get what you get when you’re responding to a prompt.

When I was organizing photos last week, I came across one, taken back in April, in which I am giving the photographer (probably Ogre) The Look. It’s not one of my favorite photos of me, but it nails that particular expression we are all guilty of. It amused me, so I put it up on my personal Facebook page. Here it is:

The Look

Within seconds, I got this comment from a woman I went to high school with: “Is it still Christmas at your house?”

That’s when I saw, for the first time in months, that gold garland hanging on the wall. Oops.

Regular readers know that I’m not a fan of holidays (other than Halloween) and that our family doesn’t do much in the way of decorating for Christmas. This last Christmas, though, I got caught up in the holiday spirit and spent a whole day lining the ceiling in our living room with multi-colored “firefly” blinky lights and garland.

We fell in love with the way the lights reflected off the ceiling and made the room glow when all the lamps were turned off. After Christmas, we still wanted and needed the cheerful lights to get through the winter. So we left them up. When spring came, we discovered we STILL liked the way they looked at night, when we were curled up watching TV or working on our individual projects.

Now it’s summer, and they are still up.

off season

Last night, we noticed that one of the strings is dying. In the next couple of days, I will take them down, because there’s little more depressing than a half-dead string of twinkle lights. If they were still burning brightly, though, I wouldn’t touch them.

So how’s that for off-season?

Edit: I’m doing the neighborly thing and taking a peek at other participant’s responses. Here are some of my favorites:

Off course | And in walks …(An artistic) Christmas Lights in June | Doormats | California Polar Bear Plunge | Off-Season DQ | East Harlem | Long Beach Island in September (These remind me of NC.) | Last of the summer blooms | Chicken Season | Frost Rose | “A rose garden is a still, expectant place in England in late May.” | Lonely Sailor | Germany’s North CoastCougar feasting on carcass (reminds me of working at the wolf center) | TomatoesSummer Cabins, Closed for Winter | South England | Rain Gauge in the Sierra Nevada Foothills |

And the challenge led me to a blog that features “Life & Death in a Small Town (including cemetery photos.)