Hope everyone had a great Veterans Day, and even if you don’t serve, we still hope you had a good day since we’re all veterans at this game called life. If everyone isn’t too busy keeping our country safe for the next week, there are more than enough streaming entertainment choices to keep you busy. As a plus, most of them are new…ish!
Europa Report (Netflix Instant)
Sebastián Cordero’s low-budget mock doc Europa Report, which hit theaters earlier this year, dealt with unfair comparison to the borefest that is Apollo 18, but it doesn’t take long for the film to differentiate itself, filling its short runtime with a smart, tense look at exploration and humanity. A team of scientists on a mission to Jupiter’s most promising moon Europa, hunt for what rests beneath its giant ice sheets. A winning appearance from Sharlto Copley, and interesting, though vague, auxiliary characters compliment the brainy sci-fi. Not even a weird cameo from Dan Fogler can pull this one down. There’s no doubt Gravity has the advantage when it comes to CGI, but Europa Report one has my vote for the most interesting space-based thriller of the year.
Robot & Frank (Netflix Instant)
A touching look at aging and losing one’s facilities, Jake Schreier’s Robot & Frank tells the story of Frank Langella’s elderly jewel thief, also named Frank, whose son (James Marsden) gets him a robot companion (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) to help the stubborn senior citizen with his failing memory. With a winning supporting performance from Susan Sarandon, and a wholly original story, Robot & Frank is one of the quieter and more touching robot stories you’ll ever see.
The Host (Netflix Instant)
I still haven’t watched The Host, based on Stephenie Meyer’s non-Twilight novel of the same name, a book I started and never finished. What I can tell you is that the human race has mostly been taken over by aliens, and Saoirse Ronan plays a human infused with an extraterrestrial presence trying to track down the last remaining pure humans. Am I right? This flick didn’t sit too well with a lot of people, but now you can judge for yourself by streaming it like I will eventually. That, or I’ll just put on the Bong Joon-ho creature feature of the same name, which I already know is awesome.
Neverhwere (Hulu Plus)
Neil Gaiman created this 1996 series, and also turned the story into a novel. A tad more fantasy than we usually take things here at GFR, Neverwhere is still worth a watch. It tells the tale of a man who tries to save a woman only to end up getting stuck in a mirror version of London called London Below. Lots of inventive stuff going on here, though the series’ radio cast would have been far more stunning to see on the screen. This series also has the distinction of looking like it was made deep in the 1980s.
Computer Chess (Netflix Instant)
Nerds who love comedy, this movie is for you. While it may look like a stale, outdated documentary about humans and computers dueling one another over a chessboard, this 1980s-set mockumentary is like a Christopher Guest movie without all the characters being in on the joke. Championing realism over broadness, Computer Chess is hopefully a sign of just how intriguing writer/director Andrew Bujalski’s career will pan out.
Ashes to Ashes (Hulu Plus)
One of the stranger concepts for a TV show, Ashes to Ashes is the sequel to the BBC detective drama Life on Mars, only it takes place in the 1980s, with Keeley Hawes’ Alex Drake replacing John Simms’ Sam Tyler. It wasn’t as successful as the original series to me, though it did bring some characters back and keep the storyline going. It’s just not the same, you know? Anyway, all three seasons are available, so check them out before you go back in time.
Do We Really Need the Moon? and Future Earth (Hulu Plus)
Both of these BBC shows give an interesting take on how fragile life on this planet really is. In the first, the moon is championed as the reason why life on Earth exists as it does, and in the second we’re shown the awful state of affairs the global population will experience if temperatures continue to rise. Not the kind of pick me up you want to watch on a Saturday morning.
For those who still haven’t slayed the beast, Sharknado hit Netflix as well, and it’s still ready to chomp you up. Stay warm, streamers. See you next time.