The HeyUGuys Instant Watching Guide – October 28th 2013

The HeyUGuys Instant Watching Guide – October 28th 2013


Instant Watching Viewers Guide The HeyUGuys Instant Watching Guide   October 28th 2013

Another great week for the streaming services with some good watches from this year, last year, the year before and about ten or twenty years back. I struggle to believe we can keep up this kind of momentum and variety until Christmas but we will see what happens. At the moment this column is just a pleasure to write due to the variety of stuff available.

One thing that has amazed me this week is how a worthy and quite brilliant drama like Disconnect can just squeak out on to streaming with so little fanfare. Have things really changed that much? Is relevant, timely cinema worthy of discussion made independently really such an off-putting thing to studios and distributors? A few years back when the MUBI service was introduced on the PlayStation Network, it threatened to give us free and pay per view independent cinema that you couldn’t see anywhere else. It then just sat there and became nothing. Now it seems as if Now TV is picking up that model with stuff premiering there that has been previously unavailable elsewhere, and they aren’t burying it either somewhere only searchable, it’s front and centre with the “New In” menu. If Now TV can keep this up then the service will become perhaps the most essential of all of these services for true film fans.

Also Toy Story of Terror!! Yay!!

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Gangster Squad (2012)

Josh Brolin Gangster Squad 220x150 The HeyUGuys Instant Watching Guide   October 28th 2013Ruben Fleischer’s latest film was delayed for a few months to fix a potentially troubling sequence in the film which was reminiscent of a shooting in a cinema in July 2012. Then when it arrived, it’s fair to say it suffered a bit of a critical mauling. The thing with Gangster Squad is that it has an overabundance of style in a similar manner to The Untouchables. Like that film It’s not overly concerned with playing things real and keeping with history but more in telling a comic book version of that story in a rather clunky manner. Josh Brolin is suitably muscular and stern as the lead detective trying to bring down Sean Penn’s nasty Micky Cohen but the two of them look like cartoon archetypes that fit in rather than doing any heavy lifting acting wise. The supporting cast are similarly shallow with Ryan Gosling (the ladies’ man), Emma Stone (the femme fatale), Michael Pena (the immigrant made good cop), Giovanni Ribisi (tech support) and Robert Patrick (the ageing gunfighter). It helps if you look at this as a comic book prequel to events in LA Confidential, the better version of Los Angeles Noir during this period. Putting aside the style over substance accusations this is still quite good fun with all the gunfights and punch ups you could hope for and a worthwhile watch now it’s on demand.

Available on Now TV

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Toy Story of Terror (2013)

Toy Story of Terror 220x150 The HeyUGuys Instant Watching Guide   October 28th 2013I was so glad this was put on Now TV, although it’s only twenty minutes long it feels like a perfect check in with old friends. Woody, Buzz, Jessie etc are on a road trip living in the suitcase of their new owner when they end up lost in the floorboards of a cheap roadside motel and something is slithering in the dark taking them away one by one. This short won’t blow you away or anything but it might surprise you in terms of how much it will make you realise you really want a Toy Story 4. The story riffs on similar events from Toy Story 2 and even takes time to introduce some new characters like Combat Carl and The Pocketeer which are both frankly hilarious. The Toy Story franchise also still contains the best physical comedy from anything over the last twenty years.

Available on Now TV

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G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)

Dwayne Johnson G.I. Joe 220x150 The HeyUGuys Instant Watching Guide   October 28th 2013Another film apparently delayed for re-shoots. Seriously I can’t work this one out though; the word was it was delayed from June 2012 to March 2013 to re-shoot some additional stuff with Channing Tatum after he became a huge star with 21 Jump Street and Magic Mike. Then the film came out and he still isn’t really in it that much. I could understand if it was a delay due to the quality but in all honesty the second GI Joe is a better film than the first, somehow more grounded and yet equally preposterous if not more so. Adding The Rock to any franchise is a good move and it pays off here and even Bruce Willis threatens to wake up during his extended cameo. Director Jon Chu is going to be an action director to watch because the action sequences here feel more real and vital than anything in the first film and the Snake Eyes battle with ninjas on the side of a mountain sequence is breath-taking.

Available on Netflix

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Disconnect (2012)

Alexander Skarsgård and Paula Patton in Disconnect 220x150 The HeyUGuys Instant Watching Guide   October 28th 2013This may be the film that has left me giving up on trying to figure out distribution lines and selling strategies forever. After last week’s Hideaway and films like The Barrens and Vamps, Disconnect is the latest film to skip cinema and DVD and arrive straight on Now TV. Disconnect is an ensemble story with several plot threads that criss cross in a manner you are all familiar with and has a cast including Jason Bateman, Andrea Riseborough, Alexander Skarsgard, Paula Patton, Frank Grillo and Michael Nyqvist. The subject matter here though is technology so the threads revolve around a teenager who attempts suicide after being bullied on Facebook and his parents reactions, a bereaved couple who are the victims of internet fraud and lose their livelihood, a journalist who does a story about webcam sex chat sites who gets too involved with a source and the private investigator specialist who links all of these characters. The thing is though, Disconnect is absolutely brilliant. Imagine Crash (the Paul Haggis one) with racism replaced by iPads and that’s this film, although it’s not nearly as manipulative. Superbly played by everyone including a revelatory Jason Bateman, this is a film that really makes you wonder whether all this technology is a good thing as it’s too convenient a barrier between real human contact and empathy. The most moving scene for example is a rare case of a human to human act of kindness and charity, all too rare in this story. Like Crash, it’s a little too on the nose in some scenes but it’s mostly very well judged and paced with a tense and moving climax. This feels like a timely and important film with something to say that is going to be lost and that’s the real shame here.

Available on Now TV

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The Lords of Salem (2012)

the lords of salem preview 220x150 The HeyUGuys Instant Watching Guide   October 28th 2013When you are in a cinema screen packed with critics then critics get comfortable and feel confident in being very vocal about their displeasure with a film. When I saw Rob Zombie’s latest film I was in just such a screening and honestly the critics were far worse behaved than any multiplex audience I have ever sat with. So during Lords of Salem there was nothing but loud guffaws and vocal sniggering and cries of “What?” Although I do not think The Lords of Salem is a good film, I have been curious as to whether the circumstances coloured my impression of it. It’s disjointed and weird for the sake of being weird without much thought as to plot but from what I understand A LOT was trimmed which when you read the novelisation of the film, suddenly it all makes sense. The first half is very evocative of early John Carpenter and is effective and creepy but then it does go off the rails big time with imagery designed to shock for no apparent reason and Zombie throwing in his cult horror actors for little reason other than he likes them. I’m glad it’s gone on to streaming now because since my first Review, a lot of horror fans have been very vocal about their disagreement with any bad reviews so I’m eager to give it another watch free of the booing masses.

Available on Netflix

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Moneyball (2011)

moneyball2 220x150 The HeyUGuys Instant Watching Guide   October 28th 2013You wouldn’t think that a film about a man trying to change the way a sport is run through formulas and spread sheets would be all that interesting. So kudos to director Bennett Miller who takes the story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane trying to revolutionise baseball with pie charts and statistics and makes it compelling and inspiring the whole way through. Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are wonderful as the duo trying to make an argument for pay based on actual recorded talent rather than hype and it makes you pine for a simpler time back when we didn’t know how much all of our sports stars were paid. For about an hour afterwards I was interested in sport again, but then I realised I didn’t have time for that and went back to other stuff, no small feat. This is a great story about one of those pivotal moments in history where an industry is changed by someone with crazy ideas so should be seen even if it’s just so you can have the Premiership wages debate afterwards.

Available on Lovefilm

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The Change Up (2011)

The Change Up Blu ray Packshot The HeyUGuys Instant Watching Guide   October 28th 2013Remember when there was that period in the late 80s where body swap comedies were all the rage? Yeah sometime after Freaky Friday people like Judge Reinhold and Dudley Moore suddenly cottoned on to the fact that this was comedy gold so we got a whole slew of that stuff. Then more recently it made a comeback with 17 Again and this. Here though instead of a cute kid and his workaholic father we get Ryan Reynolds forever single ladies’ man and Jason Bateman’s doting father and husband who swap places spiritually if not physically. Of course this being the second decade of the 21st century, the emphasis is on mean-spirited crass humour rather than actual hilarious misunderstandings. There are one or two sniggers to be had here but with more heart and more soul this could have gone a lot further. Also the first film to ever CGI nipples on to an actress who apparently has perfectly good nipples of her own, Hollywood!

Available on Lovefilm

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The Debt (2010)

the debt mirren1 220x150 The HeyUGuys Instant Watching Guide   October 28th 2013This thriller would make a pretty good companion piece to Spielberg’s Munich. The Debt concerns some tragic news that reaches some former Mossad agents who now live a peaceful life but nonetheless flashback to the 60s where their unit was charged with hunting down Nazi war criminals and the case that nearly killed them. Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman wrote a great script here but it’s let down a bit by John Madden’s rather flat direction which never really comes to life the way it would have in the hands of someone like Paul Greengrass. Having said that Jessica Chastain is superb in this which was made during that year where she came out of nowhere and was suddenly in 7 films and Helen Mirren is her equal playing the same character some years later and haunted by her past. Even Sam Worthington does his best impression of someone who is “concerned”.  Despite not being all it could be, this film still feels like it deserves more love.

Available on Lovefilm

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National Treasure (2004)

National Treasure Poster 220x150 The HeyUGuys Instant Watching Guide   October 28th 2013Although the franchise was killed by a terrible and tedious sequel, the first National Treasure film is actually a lot of fun. Treading similar territory to the then very popular The Da Vinci Code but being what that film should have been instead of a crushing bore. Its fast, its light and it’s interesting and has a great lead performance by Nicolas Cage who really let himself go after this. Cage is supported by a cast who all seem like they are having great fun including Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Sean Bean, Jon Voight and Harvey Keitel. A great old-fashioned Saturday afternoon matinee style romp.

Available on Lovefilm

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In The Line of Fire (1993)

Line Of Fire 220x150 The HeyUGuys Instant Watching Guide   October 28th 2013After his comeback triumph with Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood teamed up with director Wolfgang Peterson for this assassination thriller where Eastwood plays an ageing secret service agent haunted by a tragedy thirty years earlier with the JFK assassination. He gets the chance to prove his worth and make up for it when John Malkovich’s lunatic master of disguise rears his head and threatens the president’s life. This is one of those thrillers that makes me go “They don’t make them like that anymore” and it’s true. Whatever happened to the summer blockbuster that was a mid budget glossy thriller more concerned with thrills than blowing things up? In this day and age it’s hard to believe that this or The Fugitive would even get a cinema release during the summer and it’s only been twenty years. In the Line of Fire is fast paced, thrilling, moving and essential Eastwood more exciting than a dozen superhero films.

Available on Now TV

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