The Killing was an American remake from AMC based on the nordic noir show popularised over here by showings on BBC 4. The US version moved things to Seattle where it rained constantly and revolved around the murder of Rosie Larson. Unfairly compared to Twin Peaks when it debuted, it was nonetheless something of a hit on Channel 4 for at least two seasons. I lost track of it around the mid-point of season two, not because I didn’t like it, I enjoyed it lots despite its grimness but it became impossible to keep up with the weekly scheduled showings and 4OD was, and still is not very good. From what I hear season two wrapped up the murder of Larson and season three moved on to a new mystery which was just as gripping.

The reason I mention this anyway is that like Arrested Development, Netflix has picked up The Killing for a new and final season which will debut on Netflix on Friday August 1st.  August looks set to be a pivotal month for Netflix with animated comedy BoJack Horseman coming on August 22nd and hopefully this will be a sign of things to come with multiple original shows debuting each month rather than the three-month gap between them.

This weeks new additions of note to the streaming services are as follows:

RIPD Set 1

R.I.P.D – (2013)

Universal Studios R.I.P.D became the summer blockbuster whipping boy last year after everyone was done with The Lone Ranger. To be fair Universal didn’t do a good job with the marketing here as there was nothing to really make it stand out as nothing more than a more supernatural version of Men in Black. R.I.P.D  was pretty much a January dump movie that just so happened to come out at the height of summer silly season where it disappeared quickly. R.I.P.D is actually far more enjoyable than you might think and really does feel like some kind of 80’s cartoon aimed at the kids come to life. The action sequences are enjoyable enough and it has a fairly unique take on what out of control spirits living in our world might look like. Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges have pretty good comedy chemistry as unlikely partners thrown together, but Jeff Bridges seems to have an issue with his throat and it’s getting worse with each movie, his dialogue borders on unintelligible. If I had paid to see this in the cinema then its likely I would have joined the rest of the world and felt let down, as it is now on streaming services it’s probably more likely to get a warmer reception.

Available on Now TV


Runner Runner (2013)

Try as he might Justin Timberlake can’t seem to land that key leading role he should have despite consistently choosing interesting projects. The things he seems to get sound great in concept but constantly fall apart in execution like 2011’s In Time. Runner Runner is as good-looking as any Bond movie with lovely looking locations and lots of pretty people but the story seems out of date and should have been hot button in 2008 rather than 2013. Despite taking place in the dubious world of online casinos and the people behind them, it feels like a story seen over and over since film history began and really never rises above the pretty but shallow visuals.

Available on Now TV

Crystal Fairy

Crystal Fairy (2013)

Known as “Crystal Fairy and the Magic Cactus” when it debuted at Sundance in January 2013, this was the first movie that Michael Cera did with director Sebastian Silva in Chile in an attempt to break his constant type casting. The other film was the tedious Magic Magic and this is far better although still not that great when all is said and done. Cera plays a self-centred young man on the look out for a life altering drug experience with some friends in Chile, he thinks mescaline holds the answer and on the way to an ideal location for his experience and stealing a cactus he encounters the hippy girl called Crystal Fairy who he resents but who is far deeper than the surface shows. Much of this film is true indie style with lots of stumbling about and mumbling conversations. There are worse ways to spend your time but your patience won’t exactly be rewarded with a moment of self realisation that comes far too late in the day.

Available on Now TV


Filth (2013)

One of the great unheralded performances of last year was James McAvoy acting his socks as a depraved, immoral and possibly insane Scottish policeman who is slowly unravelling as he tries desperately to stab everyone in the back in order to rise to the top. McAvoy is wonderfully supported by Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots and especially a very sad Eddie Marsan but it really is a one man show with McAvoy giving it all he has and walking away with the film. Although this is largely enjoyable, it’s not exactly feel good cinema and will not leave you with the warm fuzzies afterwards. Despite this and a third act twist that feels a step too far, this is largely wonderful filmmaking that British cinema should do more of after the industry destroying triangle of Walking on Sunshine, Mrs Browns Boys and Pudsey The Movie this summer.

Available on Netflix

The Colony (2013)

This straight to video sci-fi thriller has a great cast with Laurence Fishburne and a resurgent Bill Paxton. Sadly it pretty much wastes these cats with a derivative and uninspired snowy apocalypse that induces sleep rather than a sense of wonder and constant danger. Despite its low-budget it has some nice production design, but a similar thing bordering on masterpiece is on the way with Bong Joon Ho’s Snowpiercer, which hopefully eventually will get a proper UK release.

Available on Netflix

Final Destination 5

Final Destination 5 (2011)

After the mishap of The Final Destination, director Steven Quale steered things back on course with this fifth and so far last entry in the death comes calling franchise. Final Destination 5 is not concerned with anything other than giving you a grim and darkly hilarious ride as the obligatory survivors of a bridge collapse have death not take no for an answer and come get them in more excruciatingly paced and elaborate ways. Good gory fun.

Available on Amazon Prime


The Informant (2009)

It’s a shame that Steven Soderbergh has retired from filmmaking as apart from directing a record number of films per year, he was also able to balance films that skirted through every genre and made it look like second nature. The Informant based on a true story generated awards whispers that sadly didn’t pan out for Matt Damon. The film  manages to combine the breezy and fun nature of the Oceans 11 movies with the more serious-minded message movies like Traffic and Erin Brockovich. This is a mostly hilarious and somewhat tragic story as a man who sees himself as some kind of moral bastion,  finds his lies piling up and getting more and more elaborate until he becomes the very thing that he decried in the first place. In someone else’s hands with a different tone this could have been depressing but there is something recognisable about Matt Damon’s Mark Whiteacre that results in several forehead slapping moments of awkward hilarity. Good to see Scott Bakula in a meaty role again too.

Available on Amazon Prime


Derailed (2005)

Somehow despite Hollywood trying its damnedest, Clive Owen never became as huge a deal as he should have. It’s possible that the projects he picked were just too left of the mainstream so he never broke through into the public consciousness, despite appearing in a Jerry Bruckheimer production with a woefully wooden performance in King Arthur.  This largely ignored 2005 thriller also features Jennifer Aniston playing against type which is always a good thing and Vincent Cassel in a home invasion/Hitchcock thriller hybrid that Hollywood has seemingly forgotten how to make. Despite the gloss this has a rather nasty edge to it and was actually really entertaining, although it’s possible it may not stand up on second viewing.

Available on Now TV



Luther Series 3 (2013)

If you haven’t gotten up to speed on the adventures of haunted and driven DCI John Luther yet, then the good news is that Amazon has series 1 and 2 to prepare you for this third and apparently last go round for Idris Elba’s titular tec. The third series has the authorities closing in on Luther after his philosophy of getting justice no matter what starts to get the better of him thanks to a former colleague turned snitch and Luther faces even greater evil than he ever has before whilst under the watchful eye of a new boss. It may not end the way fans wanted but this is still top-notch drama produced by the BBC with slick production values and wonderful performances. Americans complain that we only have 3 and 4 episode ‘seasons’ of our top shows but that’s because we produce things like this with massive quality which is hard to beat.

Available on Amazon Prime and Netflix

Utopia children

Utopia – Series One (2013)

Timed perfectly with series two now showing on Channel 4, Netflix has added the first series of this genre busting conspiracy thriller. Utopia revolves around the contents of a graphic novel created by a mental patient which some cell within the shadows behind the government doesn’t want the public to see. So we get a few young strangers thrown together in a battle for survival with some creepy as hell assassins in the mix and rich types in leather chairs in wooden rooms giving the orders. It’s violent, complicated and for a TV show in the UK, visually impressive. Don’t be put off by the complex nature of it though because I understood it whilst I was watching it, I just couldn’t explain it back to you. Now it’s on Netflix to binge in all one go though it’s probably going to be a breeze to follow. Superb stuff and hopefully series two continues the quality and isn’t too much of a re-tread.

Available on Netflix


Joe (2013)

Slowly but surely we are getting more and more lower key releases coming out on demand the same time as they appear in the cinemas and hopefully by this time next year we will have caught up with our American cousins in the distribution stakes. Joe is the latest film from Prince Avalanche and Pineapple Express director David Gordon Green and is more in line with the former with Green returning further to his indie roots with this story of an ex-con loner bonding with a teenager in backwoods America. Tye Sheridan plays the teen and lives up to the promise he showed in Mud and Joe himself is played by Nicolas Cage in a performance which is being hailed as a major return to form from someone who has become something of a joke sadly despite being quite talented when he isn’t just showing up for the money.

Available on Film4OD/Virgin Movies/EE / TalkTalk

A Long Way Down (2014)

Nick Hornby’s novel A Long Way Down is one of the best reads of the last few years so when they announced this I was pleased to see that the casting was spot on. Sadly it didn’t meet with great Reviews when it came out in the Spring and didn’t set the box office on fire either. The problem seems to be that the sharp comedy of the novel has been replaced by schmaltz and you really lose the perspectives of the characters from the book resulting in something that feels like it just happens rather than a situation unfolding organically. Still a lot of Hornby’s spot on characterisations remain and this is probably worth a look on a lazy afternoon if nowt else is on.

Available on Film4OD/Virgin Movies/EE/Talk Talk